Monday, October 28, 2013

It's been busy

Hi faithful readers,

   I'm so sorry I've been delinquent in writing.  It's been extremely busy.  I also don't feel that it's particularly wise to do my blogging at work, as a brand new employee.

   At MPE, there were established break times, which made it very easy to take 15 mins to write on a blog.  At my new job, there are no such clear cut times for breaks.  So for me to go online and start blogging could easily look like I'm slacking off.

   Right now, I'm working hard at putting together a database, as well as other drafting concerns that I need to help with.  So, I'm learning lots every day, as well as doing alot every day.  My hours are... unusual.  8:30 - 5.  And I work 25km from home.  It's a 30 minute drive, depending on the level of traffic each day.

   My free time is even more fleeting it seems.

   I love you all, and when I get a routine established I'll try and get back to more regular writing.

   I'm also looking into meetups out here and trying to find a social life for me and my family.  It's tough not having many friends out here.  I'm hoping we can change that at some point.

   Take care fellow seekers, God bless.

Travis Penner

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catching up.

  Things are finally beginning to settle in place for us out here in Vancouver-land.  We have settled into our home with my in-laws and I'm starting to become familiar with the area.

   I find it hugely ironic, that Albertans get all fussy about the speed limit laws in BC (if you go over 40 you can have your car impounded), and yet most people out here in Vancouver often go 40 - 50 kph over the posted speed limit.  Whereas, even in Calgary, I wouldn't do more than 10 over.

   It's pretty crazy sometimes.

  Jana and I have also both found jobs out here.  I start on Tuesday and Jana has been working at Van Heusan on weekends.  Although, my job now is more challenging than I've ever had.  Rather than just being a cad monkey - I will actually be organizing files, determining project schedules, working within a budget... etc. etc.  Essentially becoming a CAD manager.

  This is more responsibility than I've ever had so I will definitely be working harder than I've ever had in a CAD job before.

  I know Paul was talking about something else in this passage but I continually think of

2 Corinthians 2:10 Wherefore I delight in infirmities, in outrages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake, for, whenever I may be weak, then I am powerful. 


Phillipians 4:12 I am aware what it is to be humbled as well as aware what it is to be superabounding. In everything and among all am I initiated, to be satisfied as well as to be hungering, to be superabounding as well as to be in want.
13 For all am I strong in Him Who is invigorating me -- Christ!

  Having a migraine?  When you're weak, he is strong.  Feeling tired and need a nap?  When you're weak he is strong.  Feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of your job/  When you're weak, he is strong. Feeling intimidated by the responsibilities you have?  When you're weak he is strong.  For all am I strong in HIM who is INVIGORATING me!!

  My wife made a good point to me last night.  "You may be intimidated by your new responsibilities - but remember, God brought us out here for a reason, and surely He's given you this job.  Trust him."

Our Celestial Calling

  Because of some of Martin Zender's shows, and things I have read in Romans, I have been thinking about this.

  In 1 Corinthians 15:49 Paul tells us that those in the Body of Christ will be receiving Celestial bodies.

  In Ephesians 2:1-7 it says that God will be using us to demonstrate his grace to the celestial regions.  In essence we  will be evangelizing the furthest regions of space!

  Paul repetedly talks of our celestial calling throughout his letters.  He also writes that we are constantly being blessed by God.  Whether good or evil happens to us, these are ALL blessings from God, and preparation for our work in the eons to come.

  That's intense!  Today's experience is the school, the education, and the workshop all to prepare me - and everyone in the Body of Christ, for our eventual job as missionaries to the furthest reaches of space, bringing the glorious message of God's grace to ALL of creation!!

  I cannot get over that.  That God would grant us, the most powerless beings in creation, on a far flung ball of mud, the privilege and power as the very representation of Christ takes my breath away.

   It is this that I'm often thinking of, these days.  We have left the ease and comfort of Calgary, where everything was predictable.  Everything was safe.   I was largely a cad monkey, with very little responsibility beyond making sure my drawings were done correctly, on time, and i was learning about engineering and design a little bit every day.

  Now we live in another province, another city, and into a job that has far more responsibility and risk than I've ever had.  It is here, I am constantly forced to trust God and believe that he is in control.  And every once in a while, I stop, look behind me and see all that he has done and go...

Oh my God.  How did he do that?

  To see that and embrace it and realize that these experiences are the textbook I will be referring to in the eons to come...Wow...

  Anyways, I gotta go.  Love you all, and god bless.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Pendulum Swings

What a day...  What a month really.

Life is like a pendulum.  It has it's high moments, and then it will swing down to it's lowest points and come back up to the highest again.

A month ago we were scrambling to get to BC.  Everything was going wrong.  The barbecue fell apart in the truck, crap fell all over everything.  Our cat got lost on the trip.  Cassidy was sick.  Jana was sick.  I was sick.  My tablet broke.  Our lawyer failed to disclose some important financial details on the sale of our house to us...By the time I got out here I was having significant doubts as to the wisdom of our move.

Nevertheless, we had clearly felt God directing us to move here.  So we held on and thanked God that my in-laws had given us a home for refuge.

We dug into our savings to clean up some of our financial needs.

We lived far more cheaply than we have ever done before.

Jana's parents took care of our immediate needs.

God is incredibly good.

I drove back from a job interview this afternoon enjoying the beauty of the countryside and feeling particularly blessed.  I felt the interview had gone really well, and thus far from what feedback I've heard it has.

The pendulum has swung up again.  And things are looking well.  I know there are valleys to come, and other mountaintop experiences that will also come my way...

But at this time in Canada, it's thanksgiving.  And I'm incredibly thankful to God for the blessings, and beauty and everything he has given me.  He is constantly faithful to me and my family.  Giving us far beyond all we need or ask.

I have been studying Romans lately and in my studies and meditations, I am learning that which can be painful.  Even evil - is also from God.  And God blesses us through evil as well as good.

Paul has written in Hebrews 12

11 Now all discipline, indeed, for the present is not seeming to be a thing of joy, but of sorrow, yet subsequently it is rendering the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those exercised through it.

  In fact of all the apostles it seems Paul suffered the most for his evangel and often talks of the blessing that resulted from persecution and other evils he experienced.

  Anyways... It's funny, I was accused today of being in a cult.  To which I had to laugh.

  I'm not in any kind of cult as I have no leaders about me.  No organization I've joined.  No creed I worship.  In fact, the only reason I believe what I believe is because the Bible says in black and white what I believe.

  I've been in cults.  Cults are about deprivation of freedom.  Deprivation of happiness.  Deprivation of time.  Cults are all about control and manipulation.

  My life's only master is God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus.  So... I'm not so sure my accusers are even aware that they, more likely than I, are probably part of a cult.

  That's what I find really amusing.

Anyways... Just some random thoughts today... It's been a good day, and I'm hoping for even better ones to come!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hello, Goodbye and Baptism

Sorry guys, I know it's been a very very long time since I wrote.  The past month has been extremely busy.  We finally got everything moved, September 25th.  It was exhausting, however, by the end of the move every single one of us was sick, tired and burned out.

  In addition, not all things have gone smoothly.  Let's just say, if I were to have remained in Calgary - I'd never use that lawyer again.  We still have no received all the monies due to us from the sale of the house.  In addition, he did not cancel our TIPP program so we ended up paying someone else's taxes for the month of October.

  To say we're upset is putting it mildly.  This move has been extremely stressful and expensive.  A lawyer who's not representing my interests very well is extremely frustrating.

  Fortunately, we're living with our extremely generous In-Laws and while we may not have much, we still have each other, a roof over our heads, and are eating healthily every day.  Which is more than some people have.  I know...

   Cassidy was so thrilled to see her grandfather she literally ran and flung herself into his arms when he saw her.  Those two have a special relationship, and I'm very happy to be out here to allow her to have the privilege of enjoying her grandfather's company as much as she can.

  In addition, I am happy to report that for the first time in over a decade, I am enjoying fall weather without struggling with a migraine nearly every day.  It is such a relief not to wake up every morning dreading what my head might feel like.

  However, I'm still job searching, and Jana is considering looking for another job with more hours.  So we're not completely settled yet.  It is somewhat discouraging not to be working.  I am expecting a job interview after Thanksgiving, but it's a long time to wait.  In the meantime, I'm learning to be patient and content with what I have.... and resigned to knowing that God is directing everything in it's time and order.

Baptism is driving people Batty

  A few times in the last week baptism has come up.  It's amazing, how even today - this practice of water baptism continues to be a contentious subject that people go so far as to hinge their entire salvation upon it.

  This amazes me.  When Jesus Christ died on the Cross and said "It is finished" at no point in time did he add "PS. You need to get baptised" or some other bullshit.

  In fact Romans 10 makes it quite clear

8 But what is it saying? Near you is the declaration, in your mouth and in your heart -- that is, the declaration of faith which we are heralding
9 that, if ever you should be avowing with your mouth the declaration that Jesus is Lord, and should be believing in your heart that God rouses Him from among the dead, you shall be saved.
10 For with the heart it is believed for righteousness, yet with the mouth it is avowed for salvation.
11 For the scripture is saying: Everyone who is believing on Him shall not be disgraced.

  Yet there are those that say that the declaration is done at baptism.  And yet - not such inference is made by Paul in the entire book of Romans.

  We are saved by grace, and Paul expounds on this constantly in all his letters.  Here; he makes a simple but profound statement:

Romans 11:6
6 Now if it is in grace, it is no longer out of works, else the grace is coming to be no longer grace. Now, if it is out of works, it is no longer grace, else the work is no longer work.

  Grace and works are mutually exclusive.  One cannot exist at the same time.  There is no "Partial grace" or "Partial works"

  So why did Peter preach baptism in Acts 2?

  Look at who he is speaking to when he does

Acts 2:14
14 Now Peter, standing with the eleven, lifts up his voice and declaims to them: "Men! Jews! and all who are dwelling at Jerusalem! Let this be known to you, and give ear to my declarations,

  Peter was addressing the Jewish nation.  The very people who had crucified Jesus.  His declaration was their repentance of their hard hearts that had crucified Jesus.

  As you read through the book of Acts, it begins with such promise, such stellar happenings that had never happened before and will not yet happen again until the Body of Christ is removed from the nations.  I will not go into it into detail, as a whole book can be written on this (and has been).  Suffice it to say, what began with baptism and was received with glad hearts on the part of jewish nation quickly ended in sorrow and hard heartedness on their part as the book of Acts closes with this pronouncement.

25 Now there being disagreements one with another, they were dismissed, Paul making one declaration, that, "Ideally the holy spirit speaks through Isaiah the prophet, to your fathers,
26 saying, 'Go to this people and say, "In hearing, you will be hearing, and may by no means be understanding, And observing, you will be observing, and may by no means be perceiving,"
27 For stoutened is the heart of this people, And with their ears heavily they hear, And with their eyes they squint, Lest at some time they may be perceiving with their eyes, And with their ears should be hearing, And with their heart may be understanding, And should be turning about, And I shall be healing them.'

At this the baton has been passed from the 12 disciples to Paul.  The book of Acts closes with this statement;

28 Let it be known to you, then, that to the nations was dispatched this salvation of God, and they will hear."

  And as I have said before Paul's gospel to the nations is significantly different from the gospel Peter preached to the Jews.  Peter was a gospel of repentance and forgiveness.  Paul's was one of grace and justification.

  Where the jewish nation needed to be forgiven and work to stay forgiven.  The gospel preached to the nations was one of grace where sin on our part is not even recognized.  This is the meaning behind Justification.

   What does this mean for baptism?  Simply this; there is nothing a believer does to earn or achieve this grace from God.  Water baptism has nothing to do with this salvation.  Even the belief in water baptism for salvation disqualifies you from the Body of Christ because you have no yet appreciated the gospel of Grace.

   And yet some will point out Ephesians 4:5

5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

It also says in 1 Corinthians 12:13

13 For in one spirit also we all are baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and all are made to imbibe one spirit.

  If there is only one baptism, which is it? Baptism of the spirit or baptism of water?  If our salvation is not of works but of grace, then how can we possibly be saved by water baptism?  Minimize it as much as they will, religion tries to teach you water baptism saves you.  It doesn't, it can't.  The minute you embrace that, you deny the grace of God and his sufficiency in saving you.

  If you read the Bible, Paul began with baptism as he did in Acts, but ceased doing so towards the end of his ministry.  If it was so essential to salvation, why did he stop doing it?

  Answer: It wasn't.  In fact, Paul gives us an example for HOW destructive this kind of thinking can be

1 Cor 1:11-17
11 For it was made evident to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe, that there are strifes among you.
12 Now I am saying this, that each of you is saying, "I, indeed, am of Paul," yet "I of Apollos," yet "I of Cephas," yet "I of Christ."
13 Christ is parted! Not Paul was crucified for your sakes! Or into the name of Paul are you baptized?
14 I am thanking God that I baptize not one of you except Crispus and Gaius,

15 lest anyone may be saying that you are baptized into my name.
16 Yet I baptize the household of Stephanas also. Furthermore, I am not aware if I baptize any other.
17 For Christ does not commission me to be baptizing, but to be bringing the evangel, not in wisdom of word, lest the cross of Christ may be made void.

  Religion's gospel of baptism is created to divide and exalt one group of people over another.  It has nothing to do with the Body of Christ.  Nothing to do with the gospel of grace.