Archive for March, 2011

“Europe and Quebec have abandoned religion”

March 25, 2011

“Over the past 30 years religiosity has risen in the U.S.,” says Graves. “Europe and Quebec have basically abandoned religion.”

This line was written by a secular journalist. Here’s the rest of the article:

“Evolution has been accepted as scientific fact for around a century, but 14 per cent of Canadians believe humans were created by God.

However, that number is low compared to the United States, where three times as many people believe in creationism.

This is according to a recent poll conducted by EKOS that gauged attitudes of Canadians toward politics, science and religion. The data is compared to a survey conducted by Gallup in the U.S. last December in which similar questions were asked.

“This difference in belief systems is one of the most important factors distinguishing Canadian and American values, which have largely been converging over the past 20 years,” says EKOS president Frank Graves.

“Americans are far more likely to be church attendees and to favour a more moralistic world view, hence more socially conservative views on issues such as same-sex marriage, capital punishment and abortion right-to-life issues.”

When asked if humans evolved through natural selection, 58 per cent of surveyed Canadians answered affirmatively compared to only 16 per cent of Americans.

When asked if humans evolved with help from divine guidance, 19 per cent of Canadians agreed compared to 38 per cent of Americans.

Finally, when asked if humans were created by God in the last 10,000 years, 14 per cent of Canadians agreed while 40 per cent of Americans said yes.

“Americans are the most Christianised and frequent churches attendees of all of the advanced Western societies,” says Graves.

While 40 per cent is still a large percentage, it is the lowest since Gallup’s history of asking the question. The number of U.S. respondents who believed in creation within the last 10,000 years hit a high in 1993 and 1999 at 47 per cent. The number of Americans holding the “secular evolution” view that humans were created without God’s help is up from nine per cent in 1982. Despite slight changes, the basic structure of beliefs about the origin of humankind have remained similar since the early 1980s.

The Gallup poll found views vary based on level of education and religiosity. Those with less education are more likely to hold a creationist view and the more education one has, the more likely he or she is to believe God had no part in the evolution process.

On the Canadian front, the EKOS poll also asked about people’s preferred source of personal guidance. While 14 per cent of Canadians said they would go see a priest, rabbi or other religious leader, 71 per cent said they would see a psychiatrist or other professional.”

…which is why Graves writes: “Europe and Quebec have basically abandoned religion.”

Very Grateful for Grown Sons

March 24, 2011

Especially grateful for grown sons who enjoy cooking.

Two Thirds There!

March 24, 2011

We are in awe of God, and our hearts are full this week, as we have received two very generous gifts designated for a replacement “home on wheels” for the ministry!! This is a huge step forward in our waiting upon God, as two weeks ago we determined that our old ministry trailer was beyond further use. Within 24 hours of this difficult decision, God answered our faith in His ability to intervene.

We have two thirds of the funds needed to purchase a used or discounted trailer!! We are brim-full of gratitude to our Lord.

Thank you so much, those who are praying, and helping, and now rejoicing with us in this process; may Christ be glorified in the details of our lives!

Life After Work

March 18, 2011

Activate Faith Through Thanksgiving

March 18, 2011

I think this is a re-tread post, but I can’t remember and don’t have time to check. I was so blest by this blog entry; I hope you feel a tug at your heart as I did at mine to envelope our thoughts in thanksgiving to God for all things. The original post is from September 17, 2009 at http://emersonandsarah.blogspot.com

Cal Rychener, the pastor of Northwoods Community Church in Peoria, Illinois, shared this poignant memory with me.

“I remember a situation from 1979. I was home for Christmas from college and one afternoon when just my mom, dad, and I were home for lunch, I saw my dad at the table with his head down in his arms. That was very unlike him and I said, ‘Dad, what’s the matter?’ He said, ‘I’ve got a $300 fuel bill that I don’t know how I’m going to pay.’

“Everything in me wanted to say, ‘Dad, let’s pray about it, turn it over to God and see what he does about it.’ But I didn’t say that. I didn’t want to sound super-spiritual. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that God might do something and then nothing happen. That’s the real tension in faith. If you truly believe God for anything, there are going to be times that you’ll feel like an idiot for trusting him. Because until he comes through you don’t know if he’s going to, and if he doesn’t, you feel like maybe you weren’t supposed to trust his promise like that. So we play it safe, and worry and fret instead of trust!

“I went up to my bedroom after lunch because I was feeling badly for my dad and I got down on my knees and prayed for him. ‘Lord, Dad never has had anything to spare with all of us kids. It’s always been so hard for him. Please bless him and provide for this fuel bill somehow.’

“I will never forget him coming up the walk that day at 5:00 pm with a surprise Christmas bonus that the boss had given to all the employees that day. Care to guess the amount of the bonus? $300! What a great answer to prayer!

“But I remember thinking, ‘Lord, I want to learn how to cultivate a heart of faith and joy at noon before I actually see you solve the problem at 5:00.’ The circumstances said at noon, ‘You’re in a heap of trouble. You’re not going to be able to pay your bills. You’ve got a reason to feel hopeless and dejected,’ and from our natural surroundings, we did! But, those were the lies that were designed to take my eyes off my Source! I was not any less secure at noon than at 5:00 p.m. Because of this, I want to trust God and give thanks to God ahead of time. I want to learn to pray, ‘Thank you Lord. Though this fuel bill is due and I don’t know how I’m going to pay it, you are the Source.’”

Cal then shared that he is learning to activate his faith through thanksgiving. “For me the secret to operating in faith is found in this little word – thanksgiving.”

Years later, as the senior pastor of Northwoods Community Church, Cal and his church board had the opportunity to purchase extra land for their exploding church. The price? $300,000. They didn’t have $300,000 so discussed borrowing and other options. Deciding to pray, Cal thanked God for this situation. He offered to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, having learned over the years that thanksgiving releases his faith. Cal only desired what God desired for the church, and did not want to worry and fret. Thanksgiving lifts the burdens and anxieties. Thanksgiving brings peace and confidence.

The next day in the mail a businessman in the church sent Cal a check for $300,000. This man had no idea about the need or the board discussions. He knew nothing. This man simply felt led by God to give the church a check for $300,000.

Look, Cal doesn’t receive miraculous interventions like this every time he prays! But because he has encountered God several miraculous times over the years, thanksgiving puts him in a posture to exercise faith and remain calm of heart regardless of the outcome.

Sadly, some never learn this. When the $300 bill comes, they pound the kitchen table in anger, go up to their bedroom and kick the wall, and later cope with the frustration by indulging in some carnal activity. The miracle at 5 pm never comes, and they blame God! The Bible says, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:3).

Mentors, Sisters, Mothers

March 16, 2011

For every mother, every big sister, every teacher/mentor of little ones, this is a reminder to us all:

(from J.R. Miller, who wrote Home-Making in 1882)

O mothers of young children, I bow before you in reverence. Your work is most holy. You are fashioning the destinies of immortal souls. The powers folded up in the little ones that you hushed to sleep in your bosoms last night are powers that shall exist for ever. You are preparing them for their immortal destiny and influence. Be faithful. Take up your sacred burden reverently. Be sure that your heart is pure and that your life is sweet and clean. The Persian apologue says that the lump of clay was fragrant because it had lain on a rose. Let your life be as the rose, and then your child as it lies upon your bosom will absorb the fragrance. If there is no sweetness in the rose, the clay will not be perfumed.

Thoughts from Todd

March 11, 2011

It has been a great week in the north. We started with a record-breaking snowfall, burying us in two feet between Sunday mid-day and Monday morning. While the eventual Spring will be welcome, we (especially the kids) wouldn’t mind getting pounded with even a little more winter.

On the ministry front, I am energized. My prayer for this winter has been that the Spirit of God would move more men across Quebec to a hunger and thirst for righteousness.

I have longed to see Quebecois men living out the Gospel in their homes, having their hearts turned increasingly to Jesus, and through Him to the hearts of their wives, their children, and their unbelieving communities.

As Christ said, they that hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled.

I have worked with men this week who are repenting of old and hidden sins, and who are taking their family lives to new levels of joy and strength, through the grace of God’s Spirit and the internalization of His Word.

We see God unmistakably at work in this land, spiritually dark as it is, and we are honored to be here to witness His glory

Good News and Bad News

March 9, 2011

The good news is that we don’t have to live in the trailer for a while yet.

The bad news is that the trailer didn’t survive the winter. The picture is just a wee snapshot of our sad and sorry trailer, our itinerant ministry home for seven intensive-use summers (think “living in”, not “camping in”), and which has taken us over a hundred thousand miles — what you see in the picture is a section of floor which many days of severe cold snapped into many pieces. The dark patches under the floor are from leaking water; the subfloor has collapsed in numerous places.

We’re saying our prayers for a replacement.