Working On It

postit scrabble to do todo
Photo by Breakingpic on

I was reading the bible recently. Actually, it was this morning. By the time I finish writing this blog it could be last week. Or the week before that. In any case, in the course of my little reading fest a little phrase jumped off the page and demanded my attention. The Israelites were about to entire the promised land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. But there were still nations of bad people in the land who were so wicked that they would burn their children to death as sacrifices to their false gods.

Co-existence with such people was not an option. They had to go. The Lord promised He would drive them out and here’s where the phrase came flying off the page directly into my heart (or at least my mind). He promised to drive them out “little by little.” Obviously, the Israelites had a part to play in this driving out process. And they would do their job “little by little.”

They shouldn’t, or couldn’t, drive out nations of big, strong, nasty men all at once. They had to do it bit by bit, day by day, hour by hour. And so I thought, ‘Isn’t that the best formula for approaching life, especially when it comes to tackling the all-consuming, ever expanding, to-do list.’ We can’t grapple everything at once. Some things must wait. There are only 24 hours in each day and 7 days in each week.

For instance, our house is a bit of a mess. Desperate for decluttering. In need of a major dust mite eradification initiative. It’s a big job. The thought of doing it all at once is overwhelming to me. It makes me feel like I’m teetering on the brink of a major nervous breakdown. But thanks to the leaping phrase from my bible reading, I’ve discovered a better strategy. I don’t need to, or rather can’t, do it all at once. But just maybe I can tackle it gradually. Room by room. Here a little, there a little. Inch by inch it ought to be a cinch.

Now that I think about it, life is full of unfinished tasks, especially if you’re in ministry. There are so many things that never get done. You can work on them but you can never really complete them. Consider preaching. You spend hours upon hours studying, writing and praying for Sunday’s message. Sunday comes, the message is delivered, you feel like you’ve been run over by a transport truck or a freight train, then you get up Monday morning and realize another Sunday is just around the corner, so you must start the entire process all over again.

Apparently, preaching is a task I can never remove from my to do list until Jesus returns, or until I draw my last breath upon the earth. Or until I retire, at which time I expect to be so tired and worn out that I cannot possibly enjoy life, even just a little bit. But I could be wrong. God could restore my fledgling frame. He could renew my strength. He could actually cause me to mount up with wings like an eagle and soar, which is slightly problematic for me given my fear of flying. And that’s one reason why I’m not overly excited about the Rapture inasmuch as this event involves “being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.”

I’ve been caught up from earth to sky in an airplane on a few occasions and I really don’t like the feeling. Perhaps the rapture is a different feeling entirely, at least this is my hope.

Anyway, I think I hear my to-do list calling. Time to tackle some tasks while failing to finish them. I will finish them someday, but likely not today. Is my house cleaned up yet? No, but I’m working on it. Is my message ready for Sunday? No, but I’m working on it. Lot’s of unfinished tasks. But I’m working on them. And maybe that’s what really matters.

The Pleasure Principle

food healthy people woman
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on

While completing a wildly practical Bachelor of Arts degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland I took a few psychology courses as electives. This obviously qualifies me to speak to the masses concerning the psychoanalytic phenomenon known as the pleasure principle.

Of course, several years have passed since my university days so I do confess to having refreshed my memory by visiting The pleasure principle is there defined as “the idea that psychological processes and actions are governed by the gratification of needs. It is seen as the governing process of the id, whereas the reality principle is the governing process of the ego: see also hedonism.”

Observe the phrase: “see also hedonism,” referring of course to the teaching that pleasure or happiness represents the highest good for humanity. Therefore, we should pursue pleasure at all costs. We should live for it. Spend our money on it. Sacrifice our children on its altars.

The trouble with pleasure is that it’s just so pleasing. It feels good. It’s opposite would seem to be pain or torment or general unpleasantness. Who wants that? Sin is tempting because it promises us this fairly immediate, though temporary, reward of pleasure. Sin initially gratifies something within us. Something dark and sinister perhaps, but nevertheless it seems to satisfy that certain something.

Hebrews 11:25 tells us that Moses choose to suffer mistreatment with God’s people rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. So let’s say two roads were before him. He had to choose which one to travel. One promised pleasure. The other was marked with suffering. Why on God’s green earth would he chose the later road?

Let me offer two good reasons? Firstly, he knew the pleasures of sin were fleeting. They would quickly vanish into thin air, like money often does from my bank accounts. Devastating consequences would follow Moses choice to sin, as they inevitably do.

Secondly, Moses knew that the suffering was fleeting too. Just as the pleasure wouldn’t last, neither would the suffering. Right choices always get rewarded, even if the immediate result is suffering. Bad choices will always get punished, even if the immediate result is pleasure. Moses understood this. Hebrews 11:26 tells us that Moses, “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Did you catch that? Moses knew his initial suffering wasn’t the full story. Eventually, he would be rewarded for his choice to serve God. It’s too bad more people didn’t grasp this truth today.

Now when I say this about reward and suffering I’m not really factoring in God’s grace and mercy. God can and often does turn this entire process upside down by forgiving people and giving them what they don’t deserve (grace) and withholding from them what they do deserve (mercy). We don’t deserve heaven but we get it, that’s grace. We deserve hell but we don’t get it, that’s mercy. We all need the grace and mercy of God, which is why I pray for it every day. You might want to consider doing the same.

Life consists of a myriad of choices. We make choices about the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the education we obtain, the person we marry. But the most right choice we can ever make is the choice to believe in Jesus Christ. Not just to believe some things about Him but to believe everything the bible says about Him, from Genesis to Revelation.

According to Jesus Himself the simple choice to believe in Him carries the greatest reward of all. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47) Can it really be that simple? Believe in Jesus and have everlasting life? Well, try it and see what happens. Read a little bit about Him every day. Find out everything you can about Him. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Trust Him. I think you’ll find that the rewards of seeking Him are truly out of this world.

My Sanctified Addiction


We’re only a couple of weeks into it but the new year is not off to a great start.
It could be worse of course, but it could also be better. The problem with the new year is that it follows Christmas. We’re pressured to make resolutions right after a time of uninhibited gluttony and drunkenness. Which begs the question. Why must the season of excess be immediately followed by a time of gut-wrenching restraint?

I had almost gotten my coke addiction under wraps. But then Christmas came along bringing its annual barrage of stress. I can’t drink beer anymore. Wine is out of the picture. Liquor and I never did mix well, no pun intended. Some would say that I could drink beer or liquor if I wanted too because we’re not under law but under grace. My current attitude to alcohol is best summed up in a quote by William Shakespeare: “Oh thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou has no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.”

The truth is, I have no desire to drink the stuff. I never did like the taste of it. The taste of coke or pepsi is another matter entirely. I actually read somewhere that this drink was originally concocted by a doctor. Such a discovery gave me hope that perhaps the drink is not as unhealthy as we are sometimes led to believe. I could wish it were the healthiest drink on earth. It would be better for my conscience and also my stomach. But alas I fear that some of the scientific studies are correct.

Can I then judge smokers? What is the sin with tobacco smoking? A. It’s unhealthy. B. It’s addicting. The trouble I’m having is that those two criteria can probably be applied to my favourite carbonated soda. Ouch. A case could be made as to the difference in degrees. Yes, coke is unhealthy but probably not nearly as unhealthy as smoking. Yes, people get addicted to coke but don’t they also get addicted to food in general. I absolutely refuse to give up food. I simply will not do it. I know people who have and it didn’t end well for them. I can’t believe it’s possible to be addicted to salads. Must I restrict my diet to food that is green and leafy and tasteless? As Job said, “Can flavourless food be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the white of an egg?” (Job 6:6) Thanks Job. Now I’m craving bacon.

My problem is that I carry two labels that constantly tempt me toward perfectionism. Firstly, I am a Christian. Secondly, I am a pastor. Should I not then have victory, even over the slightest of temptations? Shouldn’t I be praying instead of watching the hockey game while sipping on a cold glass of coke and munching on a bag of chips? Should a man who preaches God’s Word every Sunday indulge in a second bowl of ice cream or spend his hard earned money on a chocolate bar? The money for the chocolate bar could have been given to the poor. It almost sounds like something Judas would say doesn’t it? Many people in the  world don’t have the bare necessities much less a chocolate chip cookie and a pound of bacon.

Perhaps I am dodging the issue. The real problem is sugar. I love it. I can scarcely get enough of it. I consider it my sanctified addiction. I’m not yet to the point where I stash sugary treats away in hidden corners of the house. There’s really no need for that. My wife likes it too, which is a great relief. She can appreciate the thrill of a sugar rush. I probably won’t start carrying around a bottle of coke in a brown paper bag stuffed inside my jacket. I trust it won’t come to that.

I’m not sure it matters much in terms of my Christian witness. John the Baptist fasted frequently and barely ate enough to keep a bird alive and people thought he was demon possessed. Jesus ate and drank freely and they called Him a glutton and a winebibber. Therein lies one of the many paradoxes of being a Christian. It matters greatly what you say and do and yet it doesn’t matter at all. What really matters is what Jesus said and did.

A couple of paragraphs ago I said that the real problem was sugar. I now relent. Sugar is not the problem. The real problem is sin. Hence, I give myself permission to quit focussing on minor issues. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution? If I was addicted to frequent outbursts of wrath that frightened my wife and freaked out my kid then I’d have something to worry about. But an affinity for sweets? Nah. I’m not sure it’s even worth the mental energy required to overcome it.

But I could be wrong. It doesn’t happen often but I must allow for the possibility. Of course, the only One who was never wrong was Jesus. Which brings me to the long awaited summary. Sin is the problem and Jesus is the answer. There’s the gospel in a chocolate covered nutshell. In the new year I intend to focus more on spreading it, like raspberry jam on a slice of toast. Will I follow through? I hope so. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I feel a craving coming on. I have only two choices. Deny it or satisfy it? Hmmm.

Naturally Negative: 4 Steps to a Negative Life

freely-6193I have to say up front that I have a bit of an advantage over most people when it comes to the subject matter at hand. At the risk of bragging, I really don’t have to work at being negative. I’ve never had to train my mind to take on a negative bent. Negative thoughts just seem to come naturally to me.

I guess you could say, “I’m naturally negative.” It just sounds so arrogant of me to say it out loud. Anyway, if you’re struggling with positivity let me encourage you. You can change. You can become a poster boy (or girl) for negativity if you follow my simple 4 step program.

1. Think Negative Thoughts
If you find it difficult to conjure up negative thoughts then you’re probably not watching enough news, or you’re just not trying hard enough. We can learn what not to do from the life of Joseph as recorded in Genesis. He kept a positive attitude despite the negatives that had occurred in his life. His brothers planned to kill him. But they eventually settled for selling him as a slave. Then he was falsely accused of sexually assaulting his bosses wife. Even though it was really the bosses wife who was trying to seduce him, he still wound up in prison. Yet, Joseph refused to focus on the negatives. Instead, he made the tragic mistake of staying positive by keeping His eyes fixed on God and by continuing to serve Him. Which brings us to the next step.

2. Speak Negative Words.
Again, Joseph is a terrible example in this regard. Despite the bumpy road that marked the journey of his life the scriptures do not record a single negative word that proceeded from his mouth. Obviously Joseph had not been properly instructed in the power of negativity. Perhaps his father Jacob spent too much time talking about God. The problem with God is well stated by the Apostle John: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) If you get too close to God you run the risk of eliminating darkness from your life. And that darkness would certainly include negative thought patterns that lead to negative conversation.

As Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” According to this saying of Solomon you will eat the fruit of whatever you love most, whether it be life or death. If you want death then you must speak death. You must love death. Which brings us to the third point.

3. Read the Bible Less and Pray Less.
If you read the bible too much you’re going to come across men like the one discussed above. Don’t let the seemingly negative stuff of scripture fool you. The book is actually the most positive piece of literature on the planet. It brings life instead of death. And don’t be fooled about prayer either. Consistent pray-ers have been known to experience drops in anxiety and depression levels along with corresponding spikes in peace and joy. Reading the bible increases the risk of believing it. And if you believe its message you might actually wind up in heaven one day. Is that what you really want? Wouldn’t you rather spend eternity in the most negative place in the universe?

4. Hang-out with Negative People.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this step. Negativity is like a contagious disease. You can catch it just by spending time in the company of people infected by it. Spending an inordinate amount of time around them allows you to bask under the shadow of the dark cloud that follows them everywhere they go.

Scripture bears this out. “Evil company corrupts good habits.” So says the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33. So what are you waiting for? Go and get yourself some evil company. Put down the bible and start binge watching netflix. Get up off your knees and start hopping down the broad road that leads to destruction. Pollute the atmosphere of your home with verbal filth. Fill your mind with all things dark and dreary. In short, commit moral and spiritual suicide.

Then and only then will you truly know the power of negativity.

The Dark Side of Prayer

I’m sure we’ve all heard it. Pastors and ministers railing on about the benefits of prayer. And we can’t deny it. Prayer has the potential to change the world. But shouldn’t we also consider the dark side of prayer? Thankfully, I have personally considered it and you can now benefit from my consideration. (Don’t mean to brag but apparently I have a gift for considering the negative side of things.)

1. Prayer can be time consuming. 
For instance, more time spent in prayer means less time for other more important activities like watching TV, surfing the net, or cleaning the house. You can’t find out what somebody had for supper while kneeling in prayer. You need Facebook for that. You can’t watch a TV that isn’t covered in dust by making supplication before the Father. You need to clean the house in order for such a situation to occur. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Prayer is hard work.
To pray effectively you really need to concentrate and focus your attention on God alone. If you think this is easy then just try it sometime. It’s not easy. It can be hard. Almost like work, especially when it comes to intense intercessory prayer. And who really wants to work? Don’t we all want the easy way out of everything? Checking your Facebook feed is much easier. It can be hard on the fingers but other than that it doesn’t require a great deal of energy.

3. God may say no.
When you ask God for something in prayer there’s no guarantee that He’s going to say yes. He may actually say no and who wants to hear that awful word?

For instance, a young man was once overheard having a conversation with God:
Young Man: “Dear God, please let me marry that gorgeous lady who works at my office.”
God: “But son, she doesn’t believe in Me, she’s immoral, and at times she can be downright nasty.”
Young Man: “But she’s beautiful and I think I can change her.”
God: “No you can’t.”
Young Man: “Please……..”
God: “Sorry son, the answer is no. Besides, I have someone much better for you if you’re willing to wait just a little bit longer.”

Let’s take a moment and examine this mythical conversation (I know it’s mythical because I just made it up in my head). God utters two words here that are hard to bear. Firstly, he says “no”. Then he says “wait.” Which brings me to my next point.

4. God may say wait. 
We all hate waiting don’t we? Think long, slow, line-ups at a drive-thru window. Or Christmas shopping with your wife. Or shopping any time of year with your wife for that matter. It’s like ordering a camcorder on e-bay from a seller based in China. The reason I know this is because I have actually done it. Yes, I did eventually get the camera. It was cheap and it worked fine. But I had to wait several weeks to get it. You can only imagine how devastating it was for me to check the mail week in and week out only to find bills and charity pledge forms, but no camera. The fact I have the camera now and might possibly enjoy using it for years to come doesn’t change the fact I had to spend a few weeks without it.
​5. You could end up with sore knees. 
Tradition says that the apostle James earned the nickname “camel knees” because he spent so much time in prayer that his knees became swollen. Who wants swollen knees? Knees that resemble those of a camel can be an eyesore for others, especially during the summer. The best away to avoid camel-like knees is to spend less time on them. Of course, you could use a cushion. But then you run the risk of damaging or dirtying the cushion.

The only safe way to avoid both dirty cushions and swollen knees is to forsake prayer. Of course you don’t have to kneel to pray. Rumour has it some people have prayed while standing, sitting and even walking. But there’s no need for such radical spirituality. The safest route is not to pray at all. Now if you’ll excuse I have to go and fill the rest of my day with useless busyness.


5 Benefits of Sexual Immorality


If you feel constrained by the chains of moral purity, fear not. I’m here to help. Most people have already found freedom from the clutches of commitment based living. But not everybody. Apparently, the world still has a few prudes who think sex is about something other than unbridled passion. If you’re a prude (as in excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct or dress) I have good news. You can change. You can overcome your prudishness. You too can hop on the bandwagon of moral filth. To that end I’ve compiled a brief list of some of the benefits of living like a libertine.

​(For those of you who don’t spend a lot of time on, a libertine is “a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained”.) And now the list.

1. It feels good.
God created sex to be a pleasurable experience. His original intention was for the pleasure to be enjoyed within the bonds of matrimony. Humanity has since discovered, however, that the matrimony part is totally optional. You can still enjoy the pleasure of the act without the commitment and baggage of being hitched to the same person for life.

2. You may not get a sexually transmitted disease.
Studies prove that not everybody who is sexually immoral winds up with Venereal diseases like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitus, Herpes, or Gonorrhea. Some escape it. That said, there is a possibility you still may get one of these diseases but isn’t it worth the risk though? If you’re still worried about this just keep focussing on point 1 above.

3. The gospel could be a farce and you might not wind up in hell afterall.
Many “intelligent” people still believe the gospel is a myth. Even if they’re wrong and you wind up tormented in the lake of fire for all of eternity, at least you got to enjoy a few years of uninhibited pleasure. To be sure, eternity is an awfully long time but if you just block it out of your mind somewhow then it need not interfere with your current hedonistic lifestyle. Which really brings me to my next point.

4. You have an excuse to drink more and do more drugs.
Sexually immorality still carries an element of guilt and shame for many. No worries. This is precisely why we have drugs and alcohol. Both help numb the effects of guilt, at least temporarily. Admittedly, no long term solution outside the gospel has yet been found for the guilt problem but what of it? I mean, who really cares about long-term stuff. Remember point 1 above.

5. You can make money from it. 
If you really enjoy fornication then you might want to consider one of many exciting career options that pay really well: prostitute, stripper, porn star. You may very well destroy your soul in the process but at least you’re getting rich. But if you’re still not convinced, I refer you again to point 1 above.

So throw off the shackles. Chances are your peers are already doing it so what’s stopping you? And if you’re concerned that moral looseness might mess with your marriage let me further encourage you. Some psychiatrists teach that an adulterous affair or two is actually good for your marriage. But if the “professionals” are wrong they are wrong. Isn’t it worth the risk? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? A broken marriage? Messed up kids? A lost eternity?

Please, if you’re not going to focus exclusively on point 1 above then I see no point in carrying on this discussion. Just because Moses choose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin doesn’t mean we all have to follow his example? (see Hebrews 11:25 for more about that) Remember, Moses was an example of faith, not fun. Of course, having faith doesn’t mean you can’t have fun but we can’t discuss that now because it doesn’t really support my overall thesis. In fact, it has the potential to blow my entire argument to the moon and back. Speaking of the moon, have you ever tried worshipping it? Never mind, I’ll save that idea for another blog.

Photo Credit: <a href=”″>Image used under license from</a>

5 Benefits of Social Drinking for Christians

They say confession is good for the soul. Therefore, I have one to make right now. I do not drink alcohol. Neither socially nor anti-socially. Nor drunkenly. Nor in any other way. Nevertheless, I cannot deny the obvious benefits to social drinking. They are “plastered” all across the minds of thoughtful people like myself. For the present discussion I will list five of these benefits, though I admit there are possibly several others.

1. You get to be social.
The very phrase “social drinking” indicates that drinking socially means you’re being social. That’s why it’s called “social” drinking. The implication is that if you’re not drinking alcohol you’re some kind of anti-social weirdo. Everybody knows this, even if it’s not widely discussed. defines social as “seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.” I mean, who doesn’t want to be gregarious? And how can you be gregarious while chugging spring water? Or even coca-cola? You cannot properly enjoy the company of others who drink unless you yourself are also drinking a similar type of alcoholic beverage.

2. You get to drink.
Beer commercials tell us that everybody really wants to drink alcohol, especially beer. More specifically they want to drink that particular brand of beer currently being advertised. Social drinking gives you that opportunity to partake of a questionable activity that the bible does not specifically forbid. As an added benefit you get to drink a beverage that tastes really horrible, even worse than coffee.

3. You may accidentally get drunk.
Let’s face it, the ultimate goal of drinking is to get drunk, or at least to get a “buzz on,” which means you’re not completely sloshed but at least you’re feeling the effects of the booze. You feel slightly relaxed. Perhaps a bit light-headed. More comfortable talking to strangers. The buzz might even help you flirt more effectively with members of the opposite sex. This is really helpful for Christians and pastors who might otherwise feel inhibited in their desire to push the boundaries of marital fidelity.

Let’s face it. Some people are still prudish when it comes to adultery. They’re not really sure if they should commit it. Alcohol helps remove some of these hang-ups, at least temporality, before the guilt comes rushing in like a flood.

4. You may inspire others to drink.
There could be someone you know who is hesitant to take that first sip. But if they see you doing it they will be encouraged to do it themselves. This is a great way to get your kids started on the sauce. I highly recommend that you drink at home, in front of the kids. It’s much more difficult to inspire your kids to drink if they don’t actually see you doing it. So no more closet drinking. It’s time to come out. Get it out in the open. Drink at the dinner table if you have too. Start with a little wine. Then some beer. Before you know it the entire family will be lining up for liquor and doing shots together at the basement bar.

5. You could lead someone to become an alcoholic.
Studies show that every alcoholic started with just one drink, namely their first one. That first one led to a second and then a third and so on. But nobody becomes an alcoholic overnight. They have to start somewhere. And just think, you can have the privilege of being the one to get them started down a road of self-destruction, where they could eventually lose their jobs, their families, their sanity, possibly their lives and eventually their very souls.

So don’t put if off any longer. Become a “sipping saint.” Start today. And stay tuned for my upcoming post on the benefits of sexual immorality.

Photo Credit: <a href=”″>Image used under license from</a>