Monday, 11 November 2013


Back in high school, I loved business class.  I dreamed of one day being an entrepreneur who took the business world by surprise by filling a market niche that nobody even guessed existed.  I was captivated by managing.  Enthralled by marketing.  Exhilarated by the possibilities and challenges.  I was entranced by the blended necessities of belief in a product, knowing a product and actually having the best product available.  I was setting myself up to be a business man.  To me, business was the ultimate combination of math, science, history, logic, wit, PR, and pure willpower.      

I loved to play the numbers game.  Projecting, predicting, and planning entranced me.  I would build spreadsheets of mock businesses, plug in numbers, and gratified myself by watching one become two; and two become three.  Statistics were my game and calculating my pastime.

Then something changed.  I’m not really sure what, and I can’t really say exactly when.  However, I likely never will end up with a college business degree or mashing through the business world with some new “must-have” thingamajig.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still am intrigued by marketing, PR, managing and all those good things, but no longer do I see myself being the business entrepreneur that I dreamed myself to be in my high school days.

Instead of building my own business plan, I jumped on a bandwagon.  God has a business plan which does not fill some cramped niche but rather a gaping need.  He has a product that requires no lying and accepts all unemployed.  His basic plan is so simple yet so impossible, “that none should perish but all should have eternal life”. 

In many ways, business and missions are very similar.  Both require a quality product, a firm belief in this product, a marketing scheme, PR, logic, wit, and pure willpower.  Business is like missions because missions is God’s business.    However, there is a difference.

God is not a God of numbers.  In business, numbers tell the story.  If my numbers as a vacuum cleaner sales man are five vacuum cleaners sold one year and fifty the next; that spells the ridged difference between success and failure.  However, God is not like that.  Or perhaps I should say God does not measure our success numerically.  His business plan of wanting ALL to be saved is a mathematical statement.  “All” is a mathematical term.  But God does not pay us by commission.

We do this to much.  We get really excited that we have large churches and generous offerings.  Growth is measured by bodies and bills rather than truth and sincerity.  Kids clubs are measured by the attendance cards rather than hearts that are changed.  We “businessify” something that really is not just a business, it’s a war, raging battle, and we add one to one and call two success.  Percentages and statistics are nullified.  In war it either is or it isn’t.  You win or you lose.  Numbers are a triviality.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t claim to be the first to shout this cry, I’m not.  It’s an old battle call.  Neither do I minimize the importance of large churches and generous offering.  Acts says that three thousand were added to the church in one day and by generous offerings the awesome temple of God was build.  However, two mites and a measly dozen of thrown together vagabonds are what Jesus really praised.  Two mites. Why not a million?  A dozen apprentices.  Why not a hundred?  Because numbers aren’t in his game.   

Taking it to the Good Book I think of the prophets who laboured tirelessly calling God’s Chosen back to him.  They were met with a variety of “success” in their work.  Jonah, the prophet by force, had Bill Gates-like success.  His half-hearted preaching and sleazy attitude was greeted by the entire city of Nineveh repenting and falling in desperate repentance in sackcloth and ashes.  However, a hundred years later in the same city the frantic work of the prophet Nahum was met with stone cold resistance.  Could it be that Jonah succeeded?  Could it be that Nahum failed?  The numbers tell a story.  Jonah saves a city of hundreds of thousands of people, everyone from the smallest to the greatest.  Nahum reports not one.  The numbers tell a story but God’s business is not a business of numbers.

So look yourself in the mirror.  Stop grading yourself.  Godliness is not gained by the amount of tracts you hand out, the amount of people you lead to the Lord or the size of your kid’s club.  Two plus two does not equal Christian and each dollar you give will not paint another star on your celestial crown.  He is not a God who is most impressed by millions and hundreds, he is a God who praised two mites and taught twelve apprentices. 


Friday, 16 August 2013

“What is Truth?”

The question was screamed across the overflowing Jewish courtroom.  Not waiting for an answer the judge spun around, royal robes swishing at his ankles as he briskly exited the noisy law room.  But even though his question lasted only a moment in the angry ruckus he was leaving, it rang down loudly through the centuries.  Echoing through schools, courtrooms, homes and prisons, “What is Truth?”.

It’s a profound question.  Many have claimed to have its answer though obviously, not all have found it.  It’s a question that all persons ought to desperately want to answer and to be undoubtedly sure of it.  Without it, what more matters?  Truth is purpose.  Truth is fact.  Truth is reality, actuality, and certainty.  No one can afford to not know it.  

That fateful day the question left Pilot’s lips and bounced back at him from the heavy concrete court walls begging an answer.  TRUTH personified, sat bloodied and bruised waiting to be sentenced.  And had the judge waited for an answer, through the uproar of the mob, he may have heard the soft reply coming from the Accused Himself, “I AM”.  The Answer was seated right in front of him.   

Friday, 29 March 2013

“Caught Red-handed”

-to be caught in the act of committing a misdemeanour, with the evidence there for all to see.

Sayings like this intrigue me.  We all know what they mean but most of us have no idea where they came from.  We all know that “caught red-handed” can be defined as “caught in the act” or “guilty” or “sloppy painter”.  Where really did the phrase come from?  Sifting through the fact and fiction of European history, “caught red-handed” likely originated from the land of kilts and bagpipes, Scotland.  Scottish documents of parliament use the term as early as the fifteenth century simply to describe the deed of being caught in the act.  A murderer caught with blood on his hands was quite literally “caught red-handed”.

What the Scots don’t know is that some guy named Isaiah had referred to the term “red-handed” several thousand years before they ever wrote their documents of parliament.  Look what Isaiah has to say.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:”
-           ISAIAH 1:18A

This verse comes in the middle of a chapter where God is lamenting the blatant wickedness and unfaithfulness as well as the hollow sacrifice worship that his beloved nation offered him.  God was disgusted and frustrated, for good reason.  He, after all, was and is the definition of perfection and he was in a love relationship with an adulterous generation.  But look what we find there, the Lord proposes a debate to judge the people.  He says “let us reason together” this word means “dispute”.  So God proposes a debate of sorts.  A debate is 100% about reason.  Who best presents the soundest logic, wins.  Our courts and judicial systems are built on the cornerstone of reason.  A debate is 100% self-focused; to push your own agenda and beliefs.  A debate is to find truth, or prove truth, for the purpose of enforcing truth.  So it all sounds so legitimate, so democratic and fair.  Nevertheless, God is not a God of strict legitimacy; and certainly not a God of democracy and fairness.  Look what God’s opening statement is to the debate;

“…though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.”
-           ISAIAH 1:18B

Isn’t that mind-boggling?  Israel was caught red-handed.  They had been caught in the very act of defying God’s law.  In fact, every sin committed is caught red-handed by an all-seeing God.  But God’s reason is absolutely stunning.  Caught with blood splattered hands and faces, God offers to clean them; to wash them white.  He recognizes the facts.  To be caught red-handed is to stand no chance at all in the court of law.  Hard evidence like that is nearly impossible to defend. 

Fellow sinners, we too are caught red-handed.  The evidence smeared all over our hands.  Blood dried and caked on; running, always running, trying to not be caught.  If we just let the Judge judge us, we will find ourselves clean.  Washed whiter than snow; and whiter than wool.