Sept. 28th, 2017
A Changed Father thru the SON
(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)
Josh McDowell was telling a fellow about his new life, when the other guy interrupted with “are you trying to tell me that God has changed your life? Give me some specifics.”
Here is one of the things Josh McDowell told him about:
“I hated one man more than anyone else in the world— my father. I hated his guts. I was mortified that he was the town alcoholic. If you're from a small town and one of your parents is an alcoholic, you know what I mean. Everybody knows. My high school friends would make jokes about my father's drinking. They didn't think it bothered me because I fell in with the joking and laughed with them. I was laughing on the outside, but let me tell you, I was crying on the inside. I would go to the barn and find my mother beaten so badly she couldn't get up, lying in the manure behind the cows. When we had friends over, I would take my father out to the barn, tie him up, and park his car behind the silo. We would tell our guests he'd had to go somewhere. I don't think anyone could hate a person more than I hated my father.
About five months after I made that decision for Christ, a love from God entered my life so powerfully that it took that hatred, turned it upside down, and emptied it out. I was able to look my father squarely in the eyes and say, "Dad, I love you." And I really meant it. After some of the things I'd done to him that really shook him up.
After I transferred to a private university, a serious car accident put me in the hospital. When I was moved home to recover, my father came to visit me. Remarkably, he was sober that day. But he seemed uneasy, pacing about the room. Then he blurted out, "Son, how can you love a father like me?" I answered, "Dad, six months ago I despised you." Then I shared with him the story of my research and conclusions about Jesus Christ. I told him, "I have placed my trust in Christ, received God's forgiveness, invited him into my life, and he has changed me. I can't explain it all, Dad, but God has taken away my hatred and replaced it with the capacity to love. I love you and accept you just the way you are."
We talked for almost an hour, and then I received one of the greatest thrills of my life. This man who was my father, this man who knew me too well for me to pull the wool over his eyes, looked at me and said, "Son, if God can do in my life what I've seen him do in yours, then I want to give him the opportunity. I want to trust him as my Savior and Lord." I cannot imagine a greater miracle.
Usually after a person accepts Christ, the changes in his or her life occur over a period of days, weeks, months, or even years. In my own life the change took about six to eighteen months. But the life of my father changed right before my eyes. It was as if God reached down and flipped on the light switch. Never before or since have I seen such a dramatic change. My father touched an alcoholic beverage only once after that day. He got it as far as his lips before thrusting it away. Forever. I can come to only one conclusion: a relationship with Jesus Christ changes lives.” (More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell, p. 162-165)
June 15, 2017
Heaven’s Passing Grade - 100% Perfect
(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)
It is just about
time for final report cards in the school year. What grade will be enough?
When my son was getting ready to take his driver’s test, he asked how I did on my drivers test. I was the first in my family able to pass on my first try. Four brothers before me had not accomplished that feat. That may sound like bragging, but then I had to go on to say, because of issues with the car I took to the driving exam, I had to go borrow someone else’s vehicle, and get squeezed into a different time slot that day. My test was only about half as long as usual, and even then I lost several points.
Talking with a dentist friend of mine, regarding a child of his who was trying to get into the school of optometry, he told me about how hard it is to get into certain post-secondary professional programs. He said, besides getting good grades in High School, the student needed to show activity in volunteering, and maintain top level marks in university. They could apply to be picked as one of very few people across the whole country to get into a particular professional course. If accepted, they would then have to be picked out of that small group, into a much smaller group, to make it into a very rigid and stressful interviewing process. They would also have to pass, by nearly 90%, some specialized and broad exams that took almost a whole day to complete. That was just to get into a certain professional program of studies for several more years.
The 2012 summer Olympics were nick-named the ‘bronze Olympics’ for Canada, by some Canadian broadcasters, where Canada received only one gold medal, 5 silver and 12 bronze medals. To try to get a gold medal at the Olympics, you need to get noticed in your local area. Then you would train and compete for several years at regional events, being so exceptional there in your particular sport, that you might go into a small pool of national athletes. Out of that pool of people, the National participants, to go to the Olympics, eventually get picked. Then on the world stage, you might do your personal best and end up outside of the medals, with a 12th place finish.
In his book, Cross Purposes, Author James Kennedy says, “Today, many people think that when they sin, they can simply pile a few more good works on the other side of the scales. They do not know that they have no hope of ever being good enough – that the passing grade is not fifty-one percent, but one hundred percent.” (p. 115)
To stand okay before a Holy God, and to be accepted into His presence, we would have to be perfect. That might be hard to understand for those of us who can get a driver’s license with an imperfect score, end up in a professional school or win a gold medal by doing exceptional - but not being necessarily perfect.
James 2:10 in the Bible reads, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Exceptional won’t get us into heaven or into a proper connection with Almighty God. Perfection will only do, and there was only One who was perfect. That is why we need Jesus. He was without sin. But if we say that about ourselves, we deceive ourselves.
1st Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” We need to acknowledge our moral imperfection, repent and turn from our sin and futile self-effort to be right with God, and place our trust in Christ, the only Righteous and Perfect One.
Thanks for reading. As I close, let me encourage you to take in a Church Worship Service this coming week-end. God Bless you thru faith in Jesus Christ, life’s only Savior!!
From Humbug to Hallelujah – Born to Set Us Free
(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert. Sk.)
In our Christmas Sunday morning services, we’ve been going thru a series titled, “From Humbug to Hallelujah.” Here’s a story I told in a recent message:
“A young slave girl was placed on the slave blocks during the U.S. Civil War. She caught the eye of a wealthy plantation owner riding by. He immediately sized up the situation, had compassion on her, and began bidding. The bidding began in the hundreds of dollars but soon reached into the thousands. The leaders of the prostitution syndicate were furious but could do little about it.
Finally, the bidding ended and the stranger had purchased the girl, finished the paperwork and received the keys to her chains. He approached her and she immediately spat in his face. He wiped the spittle away and continued to unlock her chains. She cursed him violently. The chains dropped away, and to her utter amazement, he said to her very gently, ‘Woman, you are free.’
She was astounded, not knowing what to say or do. She had been purchased from the slave market and set free.
The plantation owner who had redeemed her climbed into his carriage and began to drive away. Overwhelmed, the girl chased after him shouting, “Sir, let me serve you. I want to be your slave.”
The man stopped his carriage and turned to her. “You cannot be my servant.”
The girl’s face dropped, and she turned to walk away. His gentle hand turned her around, and he said, “But you can come share my home as my adopted daughter.”
In the movie “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge, and his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, wore chains – chains that they weren’t even aware of in this life. Like them, and some that 1st Christmas, we need to be released from our chains, some that we might not even be aware of.
A Christmas Carol sings: “Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set they people free. From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee. Born thy people to deliver, born a Child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.”
All of us are in need of deliverance, release, saving and freedom. People, in the days Jesus physically walked the earth, told him they had never been slaves of anyone. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)
An angel of God said that the virgin Mary would give birth to a son, and that they were to name Him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) In the gospel of John 1:12, we are told that “all who received Jesus, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
This Christmas may the Holy Spirit of God show us what chains we need to be released from. May we thru faith and repentance be adopted into His eternal family, and be delivered from the things that even now bind us and have us weighted down. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom. May faith in Him who came to set us free, turn your Christmas from Humbug to Hallelujah.
June 23, 2016
Sports Figures Who Delivered And Were Delivered
(-pastor Lincoln Vellacott, Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)
The Canadian Football League regular season has just kicked off for another year and Saskatchewan is hoping that new coach and general manager, Chris Jones, will deliver us a championship caliber team. Toronto Maple Leaf fans are hoping the NHL draft, and Austin Matthews, might deliver their team and make it respectable again. Lebron James helped deliver an NBA championship to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. With those things in mind, let me recount some God produced deliverance and change that has occurred in a couple of well known to Canada athletes.
“Rocket” Ismail was enticed into the Canadian Football League by some large dollars and was used to promote an ailing league as its superstar. Followers of the CFL might remember a Grey Cup game in 1991, played in Winnipeg, where the Toronto Argo’s star, Rocket Ismail, ran back a late game Calgary Stampeder punt, to score the winning touchdown. Announcer Don Wittman excitedly spouted out “THE ROCKET DELIVERS.” It has become a memorable Grey Cup moment.
When Rocket Ismail was in the CFL he came across as quite arrogant, selfish and a bit of a “character” in the negative sense. In one incident, during a sideline skirmish, he stomped on the facemask of an opponent who was still in it, and who was lying on the ground.
I was excited to read that Raghib “Rocket” Ismail who “delivered” in his rookie season in the CFL, had come to know Jesus Christ as his deliverer.
According to internet accounts Rocket Ismail has become a Christian. Here is part of what he wrote while he was still playing in the NFL: “I have been blessed with the ability to play football. But I am more blessed to have God’s joy and love in my heart and home. I have the assurance that wherever I go, the Lord goes with me. One day my football career will be over, but his love is everlasting. That is a feeling that not even a great catch or Super Bowl victory could approach in magnitude. Nothing in life is more important than a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.” (www.powertochange.com)
On that same site, hockey analyst/commentator Don Cherry is quoted as saying about Paul Henderson, “You couldn’t find a better role model…There’s not many around like him.” Most of us know Paul Henderson as having scored the last minute winning goal, to win the famous Canada/Russia hockey series back in 1972. That hockey goal is often called “the goal of the century.”
Many of us do not know about Paul Henderson, that having fulfilled most of his boyhood dreams, yet he was restless and had discontentment he could not ignore.
Paul Henderson goes on to say, “Here I was playing in the NHL, doing something that I had always strived for, but I had become more bitter and angry than I had ever been in my life. I started drinking as a way to soothe the pain but I would wake up the next morning and my problems were still there. Fortunately, a friend encouraged me to examine the claims of Jesus so I started to read the Bible and look into Jesus. After a two-year search, I became convinced He loved me and wanted me to get to know Him.”
One day I just couldn’t fight it any longer. I threw all my fears aside and I said to God: ‘I am fearful, and I don’t want to tell anyone about this.’ And then I asked Jesus into my heart. Since that day, I have never been the same. God has had a positive impact in every area of my life. Most importantly, He has taken away my anger and bitterness. My life certainly hasn’t been trouble-free. Now the inner quietness, contentment and peace I experience on a daily basis assures me that His promise to love and care for me is true and real. Best of all, I look forward to spending eternity with Him.”
The best news is that there is hope and victory today. Jesus Christ didn’t just change lives in the mid ’70’s or mid ’90’s, with some famous athletes, but He still has the power to change lives today.
Are you open to His power to work change in your life? He longs to be our deliverer.
As I close let me encourage you to read the Bible, look into Jesus and take in a church worship service this coming weekend.