Month: May 2019

Pastor's Blog

Why Porn Shops Don’t Have Windows

Last Sunday’s message on Psalm 19 brought to mind this quote from John Piper’s 1990 sermon on the same passage:

Do you know why there are no windows on adult book stores? Or do you know why there are no windows on certain kinds of nightclubs in the city? I suppose your answer would be, “Well, because they don’t want people looking in and getting a free sight.” That is not the only reason. You know why? Because they don’t want people looking out at the sky. You know why? The sky is the enemy of lust. I just ask you to think back on your struggles. The sky is a great power against lust. Pure, lovely, wholesome, powerful, large-hearted things cannot abide the soul of a sexual fantasy at the same time. 

I remember as I struggled with these things in my teenage years and in my college years. I knew how I could fight most effectively in those days. Now I have developed other strategies over the years that have proved very effective. And one way of fighting was simply to get out of the dark places — get out of the lonely rooms. Get out of the boxed-in places. Get out of the places where it is just small — me and my mind and my imagination, what I can do with it and get to where I am just surrounded by color and beauty and bigness and loveliness. And I know that when I used to sit in my front yard at 122 Bradley Boulevard with a notepad in my hand and a pen trying to write a poem, at that moment, my heart and my body were light years away from the sexual fantasizing that I was tempted by again and again in the late night, quiet, secluded in-house moments. There is something about bigness, something about beauty that helps battle against the puny, small, cruddy use of the mind to fantasize about sexual things.

And then turn it around. It works this way, too. We know from experience that if we give way to sexual fantasies and yield to lust and dwelling on unwholesome things, our capacities for seeing the sky are cut in half and then cut in half again and then cut in half again until you are just a little worm on the ground and your language and your mind is nothing but smut. It can happen to anybody. And so I just commend to you: Don’t let that happen. 

Battle lust along with all of the other weapons that you are given in the Scriptures — battle it with the upward glance of the magnificent blue and the thunder and the lightning and the sunrises and the sunsets and the glory of God. And say to yourself, “If I give way in this hour to that kind of thinking, I won’t enjoy this. I won’t have a large heart. I won’t have a capacious mind. I won’t be a noble person. I will just be an old gutter person.” Preach to yourself like that and then give yourself over to the ministry of the sky and let it help free you from lust. 

Pastor's Blog

His Handiwork

We studied Psalm 19 on Sunday, which told us that “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

We can see a lot of this glory-displaying handiwork just by looking up, but in recent years, tools like the Hubble Space Telescope have opened our eyes even wider to how vast this universe is—and how great is the God who made it all.

This video from the American Museum of Natural History shows the place of our own planet within the known universe, and will give you a sense of how big things really are out there:

After watching that video, it might be easy to forget just how large a single galaxy is. This next video will help fix that problem:

For some more perspective, think about this: after the Sun, the nearest star to earth is 4.3 light years away. Scientists have named it Proxima Centauri, and it’s quite close to us in the scope of the whole universe.

Now consider the world’s fastest aircraft, the Lockheed SR-71, which has a top speed of about 4042 km/hr. It flew from New York to Los Angeles in a single hour. It is literally faster than a speeding bullet.

If you were able to get an SR-71 and fly towards Proxima Centauri at top speed, it would take you about 267,176 years to get there.

And that’s just the closest star.

Now, for the icing on this astronomical cake, check this out:

Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Isaiah 40:26 tells us, “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.”

And finally, hear from Psalm 103:11: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.”

This is our God! Let the heavens lead you in worship to Him today.

Note: most of the videos above refer to the age of the universe. The issue of starlight from distant galaxies is a potential problem for Christians who believe that creation happened thousands, not billions, of years ago. Interestingly, the issue of distant starlight is also a problem for those who hold to an old universe. This article from Creation Astronomy is worth the read if you’re interested in the science side of the discussion:
Pastor's Blog

Canada’s Silent Holocaust

Imagine you opened the news this morning and read something like this: “Authorities have uncovered a scheme, hidden in plain sight, in which Canadians are being murdered at an alarming rate. And what’s worse, the victims have been the most vulnerable members of our society—babies. A technical loophole has enabled Canadian mothers to bring their unwanted infants into local clinics and hospitals, where a team of medial professionals dismember and dispose of the infant’s body. An astonishing 25% of Canadian women have been involved in this crime, with an estimated 100,000 babies per year being killed in this way. Those in government have been repeatedly notified but are cautious to address this situation given its political risks.”

How would this make you feel? Would you believe it? If you did, would you have the uneasy realization that the nice, polite country you lived in was actually a bit of a facade? That Canada was a lot more dystopian, a lot closer to, say, Nazi Germany, that you might have thought?

And now what if I told you that such a news article would be basically true, with one small detail changed: each of the babies were still living inside their mother’s womb when the murder happened? With that adjustment in place, everything you read is 100% fact. These are the bloody facts about abortion, Canada’s silent holocaust.

I’m not sure how you react to a discussion on abortion. Many Christians feel uncomfortable with it, given its perception as a political issue. I felt that way for years. I think it’s time to move past that assumption. Abortion is a moral issue, and one that touches a surprising amount of our population.

Personally, I do not have much hope that Canadian politicians will ever do much about abortion. But I do have a lot of hope that individual Canadians, armed with the facts, can influence the way their fellow citizens think about this issue, and thereby play a role in saving innocent lives from being murdered.

I also believe that abortion is a golden opportunity for Christians to speak about the gospel. Many women deeply regret their abortions, and walk through the rest of their life suffering the effects of a guilty conscience. They need to know about the One who was crucified in our place to pay for all of our sins—including the sin of being an accomplice in the murder of your own child.

In our small group a few weeks ago, we discussed how difficult it can be to share the gospel with Canada’s middle class, given its climate of moral complacency. “How can you tell a successful, outstanding citizen with a perfect-looking suburban life that they need Jesus?” The bloody facts about abortion may be just the thing to rip the mask off of our illusion of morality and lead someone to seek God’s forgiveness.

I grew up in Ottawa, and some of my earliest memories include joining my family in pro-life marches on Parliament Hill. After years of neglecting and trying to ignore this issue, I’m too bothered to keep doing nothing. And so this year, my wife and I have decided to financially partner with Samuel Sey, a man who works on the front lines of the pro-life movement with the Canadian Council for Bio-Ethical Reform. Samuel is a solid Christian and I really believe in the work that he’s doing.

I’d encourage you to find out more about Samuel and his work, if only to grow in your knowledge about the kinds of things that are being done to fight against this great evil in our country, and some of the ways that you can play a part:

Reactions to the late-term abortion bills in New York and Virginia illustrate the contrast between America and Canada. Late-term abortions are controversial in America, but they are conventional in Canada.