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Friday, January 18, 2008

My Spiritual Birthday

January 18 holds great significance for me. Fifty-six years ago, on January 18, I became a Christian. About a thousand teenagers and I had gathered at the Armoury in St. Catharines, Ontario, to view the Bill Pierce film, “The Gathering Storm.” While viewing this film, I was impressed with the victorious faith of Korean Christians when tested by militant Communists. That night, I knelt by my bed and received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Less than two years later, I enrolled at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, to study for the ministry.

I became a pastor at age 22, and have never lost the wonder of the salvation message. Jesus loved even me, died for my sins, and arose triumphantly from the grave. Nor have I tired of proclaiming this message. It is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

I will be engaged in pastoral visitation today in the vicinity of Penrose, Colorado, about 35 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, and I will be taking the message of salvation with me. It is as relevant now as it was 56 years ago!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trilingual USA

I grew up in a bilingual country, Canada, but I attended college in the United States and moved to the U.S. on a permanent basis in 1960. Five years later I became an American citizen. I don’t remember when I dropped “eh” from my vocabulary. Now, I think I am living in a trilingual country in which our languages are English, Spanish, and slaughtered English.

Case in point: the editorial page of yesterday’s local newspaper features a column about the presidential race. The title in large boldfaced type announced, “Whomever wins the Oval Office faces daunting budget tasks.” This title employed neither English nor Spanish; it used slaughtered English.

It isn’t always easy to figure out our relatives, is it? “Who,” “whom,” “whoever,” and “whomever” are relative pronouns that trouble many speakers and writers; but try to remember “who” and “whoever” are subjects, whereas “whom” and “whomever” are objects. Is it asking too much of journalists to get it right?

“Where is it at?” is another example of slaughtered English. So is, “He was laying at the side of the road.” We don’t have to use “at” with “where,” and we should not use “lay” unless an object follows it. It’s is right to say, “After laying my book on the computer desk, I decided to lie down on the sofa.”

Preachers, too, may be guilty of using slaughtered language. It isn’t kosher to say, “This verse applies to you and I.” Nor is it appropriate to say, “Please move closer to the front of the church and fill the empty space between you and I.”

The English language has rules. Let’s try to follow them, eh?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Trust Your Pilot

Boarding a commercial airplane can be a scary experience, especially if you spot a fellow passenger who fits your preconceived image of a terrorist. But an equally scary experience for me is that of seeing a pilot who doesn’t fit my preconceived image of a trustworthy pilot. In my thinking, the person who sits at the controls should look like Mr. America or Wonder Woman. I want a pilot that inspires confidence. I would feel uneasy if a Barney Fife look-alike in a pilot’s uniform stepped into the cockpit. And I wouldn’t feel at ease either if my pilot wore trifocals. Maybe these are just personal hang-ups, but I’m guessing you have them too. Deep down inside I know it doesn’t matter what a pilot looks like if he knows what the instruments look like and how to use them. All that really matters is his ability to have everything under control from takeoff to landing.

I don’t know what Jesus looks like, but I do know He is always in control. He holds all authority in heaven and on earth. Nothing escapes His gaze. Nothing slips from His grasp. Nothing takes Him by surprise. Nothing thwarts His purposes. He protects all who trust in Him, and He will land all of us safely in heaven someday.

—Jim Dyet, from The Anchor, © 2008, Haven Ministries. Used with permission.