HMCdigital Tuesday 10AM Devotional with Dave – He Will Carry You

MATT 11:28-30
May 26, 2020

Have you ever been tired and just needed to stop and take a break? You needed to catch your breath? I can! As you know, I have been doing more exercising the last several months as I have been trying to get back into shape. Just the other day, I went on my bike for the first time in 2 years. I will admit, I was a bit nervous as the last time I biked, it was a lot heavier and in way worse shape. And at that time, it had been years since I had been on a bike. I was nervous to say the least. Overall, it went well, but there is one hill where, even with everything I gave it, I had to stop because my legs just couldn’t push hard enough. I had to get off my bike, walk it up the hill, take a rest, before I kept going. And when I finally did get home I had to rest because my legs were so tired that they felt like rubber.

We all get tired. We all need a break. We all need a rest. This is a reflection on all of life. There are times where whatever it is we are facing is exhausting and we need a break. Life happens for everyone, and with that is a whole lot of good, but also a lot of things that are completely exhausting that come from every angle: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It can be situational, circumstantial, relational, or as the result of our own choices. Whatever the cause, no one is exempt.

There are days I am sure that any one of us will be tempted to throw our hands up in the air and ask “when will I get a break from this? When will this end? Where is my help, my relief, my break? I can’t do this anymore, so who is going to help me?” It is in those moments that I find the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30 to be especially needed.

Read Matthew 11:28-30

VERSE 28 –

The statement here is to “Come to me”. That phrase could be translated and re-understood as “believe in me, receive me, accept me.”

Who is to “come”? All who are weary and heavy burdened. In other words, all those who are tired, worn out, exhausted, spent, and are carrying around what feels to be the weight of the world on their shoulders. This is directed at all those who are stressed out with life as of late, wondering how the bills will be paid, wondering how their job is going to turn out, how they are going to get their kids to study, concerned with what will happen to their mortgage, worried about their own health and the health of others. This invitation to come is written to anyone who is facing life, especially us today!

What happens when we who are weary and carrying burdens believe, accept, and receive? Jesus gives us rest. He takes what appears to be stormy waters in our hearts and minds and speaks peace into it. He takes those moments where we are exhausted, worn out, and stretched out of shape on every angle, and brings refreshment and renewal to our lives. All of us who are tired and carrying the heaviness of life, through our belief and acceptance of Him as our Saviour and friend, we find rest.

VERSE 29 –

When Jesus mentions ‘yoke’, the crowd would have understood Jesus to be talking about a farming device used with the oxen who were pulling a load and being worked. It was a wooden beam which would come across the shoulders and neck of an oxen, and pair it with another so that the two oxen would pull together, and the collective force of the two animals could be harnessed together.

The word ‘yoke’ would have also evoked images of being enslaved or tied to something.

In this case, the term ‘yoke’ would have also been a reflection upon obedience to the Law that the people had to follow.

What Jesus is telling the crowd is that they are tied to, partnered with, and enslaved to a law that was heavy, tiring, and unattainable. They were tied to the religious system of the day that crushed people under the weight of what the Pharisees and Scribes expected and taught as the only way to be religiously right and acceptable before God. It was a heavy load, and unrealistic load. Read Matthew 23:1-4 to get an idea what that load was like.

Jesus implies that the people are feeling that they are under a heavy yoke that they can not carry. They feel worn down, weary, tired, and overwhelmed by the impossible task ahead. It is in that implication that Jesus says “Take my yoke”… not the yoke of the religious leaders, not the heaviness of all that was imposed on them by others, but take the yoke that Jesus wanted to put on them.

He says: learn from me, learn about me, learn my teachings, the way of living that I model for my followers. Don’t be caught up in the learning of the religious leaders who burden you with all the DOs and MUSTs, don’t fall into their traps, but instead learn from me. Model your life after me. Know me. I am not a slave driver or task master. I am not harsh and demanding. I am gentle, I am humble, I came to serve and be like the least. Learn from me.

When this happens, Jesus says that their souls would find rest. There would be a break, an intermission, a period break from the heaviness that people were carrying.

VERSE 30 –

Why is this possible? Because the yoke that Jesus wanted and wants to give is easy. It is good, virtuous, mild, and pleasant as opposed to the harsh, oppressive, impossible, and heavy yoke that the people would have expected in their own religious system. Jesus says “the burden you are carrying today that is imposed on you, the heaviness you face is not so with me. What I give you is light.”

How can Jesus say this? It comes back to the image of the yoke. It is a partnership agreement and arrangement. Both OX are put into the yoke, and the load is shared. And in the case of Jesus, the yoke is carried for us so that we don’t get crushed under the weight as we too have to push through life. We are paired with an ox who is carrying the heaviness of the yoke for us.

You see, it comes back to partnership, and who you are partnered with. Belief leads to relief. This does not mean a guarantee of an easy life without struggles, trials, hardships, pain, loss, and all the other stresses we face. Those things are still there. But we are getting paired next to the same Jesus whose shoulders were big enough to carry the Cross and take with Him on that Cross all the brokenness, pain, and sin that we were carrying. And because He carried that load, that burden, that weight, that yoke, today He is also carrying your yoke as well. He invites you to believe, receive, and accept. He invites you to come to Him so that as you are facing your load, whatever it might be, He can carry your load. He can carry you so that you don’t have to be weighted down.

Here is the struggle. While we know we are being crushed by our own loads, by the yokes of this life, the struggles, pains, and hardships, and we know it will destroy us if we let it, we hold on. We cling to our stresses, our feelings, our obligations that we place on ourselves. We choose to live in our anxiety. We find security in what we know, and find comfort, even in our pain because it is what we know, even though it is not healthy.

The only way for us to find relief is for us to want to let go of our stuff and actually let go. We have to let Jesus remove from us the self imposed yoke that we can not carry, and replace it with His yoke, where He is the one doing the carrying – where He is carrying you. If you are still spinning with stress and feeling crushed by the weight of life, chances are you haven’t actually let go of our yoke. You may have asked Jesus to help you, but you are still clinging on to your yoke, even subconsciously, as it is what you know.

Lately I have been feeling the exhaustion of life. I don’t know about you, but living in a pandemic is tiring. Life’s routines are all changed. We have to relearn everything. A lot of things don’t seem to make sense. So much is upside down. And if it isn’t this pandemic, it is a whole lot of other stuff in life that is wearing me down. But I also know that I need to come to Him, let Him lift my burdens, my yoke. I need to let Jesus give me His yoke instead where He takes all my pain, all my stress, all my struggling, and as I walk with Him through all that, He carries me. He will carry you also if you let him.

HMCdigital Tuesday 10AM Devotional with Lyndsay – Examen/Daily Review

Examen/Daily Review

1) Preparation: enter into a time of quiet, be still and know how much God loves you.
You may like to read scripture, a prayer, lyrics of a song that reminds you of God’s love for you as you prepare.

2). Invitation: invite God to be with you as you search for God’s presence in the day and you learn about yourself during this process of Daily Review.

3) Review: here we identify the main events of a day (week)
– spiritual practice ( e.g. reading scripture, prayer)
– meals (thankful and gratitude.. slow and enjoy provisions given)
– interaction with other people
– any other significant events in day home/work/school

4) Give Thanks: thank God for each part of your day
for is presence with you in the midst of your day,
for those moments you sensed a growing freedom from sin and a greater capacity to love God and others,
if they unresolved issues or questions about the day, expressed those to God,
allow your self to experience gratitude for God’s presence with you even in the places that fell fuel dark and confusing.

5) Confession: name actions, attitudes or moments he fell short of reflecting the character of Christ or the fruit of the Spirit.
As God brings areas to mind, reflect on what contributed to the situation and what might enable you to respond differently in the future.

6) Forgiveness: expressed a willingness to any concrete steps needed to allow Christ’s character to be form in you.
Be assured when you ask for forgiveness that God forgives
Ask God if there is anything you need to do to make things better (situation you confessed)

7) Spiritual Friendship: seek out and share what you are discovering about God and yourself.

There is Something
By: Ted Loder

Holy One,
there is something I wanted to tell you, but there have been errands to run, bills to pay,
arrangements to make,
meetings to attend,
friends to entertain,
washing to do…
and I forget what it is I wanted to say to you, and mostly I forget what I’m about or why. O God,
don’t forget me, please,
for the sake of Jesus Christ….

Eternal one,
there is something I wanted to tell you,
but my mind races with worrying and watching, with weighing and planning,
with rutted slights and pothole grievances, with leaky dreams
and leaky plumbing
and leaky relationships that I keep trying to plug up and my attention is preoccupied with loneliness, with doubt,
and with things I covet
and I forget what it is I want to say to you
and how to say it honestly
or how to do much of anything.
O God,
don’t forget me, please,
for the sake of Jesus Christ….

there is something I wanted to ask you
but I stumble along the edge of a nameless rage,
haunted by a hundred floating fears,
of war,
of losing my job
of failing
of getting sick and old
having loved ones die
of dying
and I forget what it is the real question is I wanted to ask
and I forget to listen anyway because you seem unreal and far away and I forget what it is I have forgotten.
O God,
don’t forget me, please,
for the sake of Jesus Christ….

O Father in heaven
perhaps you’ve already heard what I wanted to tell you. What I wanted to ask in my blundering way is
don’t give up on me, don’t become too sad about me,
but laugh with me,
and try again with me,
and I will with you, too.
O Father in Heaven,
perhaps you’ve already heard what I wanted to tell you, What I wanted to ask is,
forgive me,
heal me,
increase my courage, please.
Renew in me a little of love and faith,
and a sense of confidence,
and a vision of what it might mean to live as though you were real, and I mattered,
and everyone was sister and brother.
What I wanted to ask is for peace enough, to want and work for more, for joy enough to share
and for awareness that is keen enough to sense your presence here,

This prayer poem by Ted Loder expresses the longing which so many of us face, the desire to truly connect with God while being distracted by life.
Ted Loder’s prayer is from “Guerrillas of Grace”.

HMCdigital Tuesday 10AM Devotional with Dave – In my Weakness, I am Strong

Isaiah 40:31

New International Version

31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

In My Weakness, I am Strong
2 Cor 12:5-10
May 5th, 2020

We love a good show of physical strength. There is something entertaining and exciting watching people push their bodies to the absolute limit in an act of strength and ability. We celebrate physical strength as a society and reward it. If you don’t agree with me, think about that the next time you are watching sports, or the Olympics, or the next episode of one of those talent shows where the person auditioning is hanging from a trapeze bar by one hand 40 ft in the air while having their athletic partner holding on to them by their leg. Or how about the next time we see on TV those really strong guys competing for the ‘ultimate strong man’ championship, singlehandedly pulling a school bus. Or the next time we watch an ironman competition.

There is something entertaining about watching people push their physical bodies to the absolute limit, and in a sign of personal physical strength, accomplish something amazing. And we celebrate it!

What if life isn’t about what we can do, but what we can’t? What if it is actually okay to be weak?

I am coming more and more to the realization these days that I need to be okay being weak. This life, on its own, is hard. I won’t be able to figure out everything, beat everything, avoid everything, or manage everything on my own. At the end of the day, I am actually very weak. This is why I need someone to be strong for me.

God doesn’t need our strength – He needs our trust.

This morning, I want to share with you an instance in Scripture where embracing weakness actually produced greater strength. We will see how God doesn’t need our strength – He needs our trust.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:5-10

Verse five starts off as if it were a part of a larger conversation and context. If we were to read the preceding five verses, we would see Paul, talking in 3rd person about a vision that he had. It was a magnificent, astonishing and indescribable vision of something called the third heaven. All he can say is that it was astounding and beyond anything he could describe.

He goes on to say that he could boast about this experience. He could wear it as a personal badge of honour of what he experienced, and how God chose to reveal this to him. It would give him a platform to pat himself on the back, but he chooses not to boast as it would profit nothing. He did not want to cause people to give him undue credit and recognition beyond what they can plainly see in his life. He realized that His life wasn’t about all the things He saw or did, it was about how the message of Jesus changed him – and only that was boast worthy. Instead he is choosing to boast in his weakness.

He then talks about a thorn in the flesh that was permitted to bother him to keep him reminded of his weakness and keep him humble, rather then boasting about these visions that he saw. What was the thorn in the flesh? And where did it come from? There are some varying views on the definition. We don’t even fully know what it was. It is somewhat fascinating to look at the possibilities, what ever you may think:

  1. A figurative, spiritual / emotional thorn: As he talks about this thorn, a messenger of satan is mentioned. There is the thought that this could be an oppression that he was going through; possibly a discouragement, stress, rejection, or loneliness.
  2. A physical suffering
    • It could appear that a literal physical body referred to: the word flesh = Sarx (in the original Greek)– it refers to the physical nature of man as subject to suffering; in other words, a physical body. The word Torment / harass/ buffet = kolaphizo (in the Greek)- which means to strike a physical item with the fist, to maltreat or treat with violence.
    • Paul references health concerns elsewhere: In Gal 4:13-14 he is talking about being sick, so much so that the people could have been tempted to reject him. There is speculation (while not proven) among many scholars that he actually potentially had something called “chronic ophthalmia” which is a disease that affects the eye. More than that, it causes weakness, illness, and even physical disfiguring. We do not have hard proof, but some scholars believe this could have been the case. 2 Cor 10:10 talks about how his physical presence in person is physically weak, and in Gal 4:15 he references his eye problem and how the church would have given him their eyes if they could have.
    • It is important to remember that this thorn was not a result of Paul being disobedient. There was no wrong doing on his part that resulted in this. We live in a broken world impacted by sin, and often, things we may face that are unpleasant and difficult come naturally because of the brokenness around us. Yet God chose to use this as an opportunity to change Paul’s perspective.

Whatever the actual thorn was, it leaves us with a picture and a reminder: Paul was just a mere man who was subject to the same trials and weaknesses we are. He prayed three times that God would take away his personal weakness, yet God declines. Instead, what God essentially says is (my paraphrase):

Stop pursuing what you think you need, and allow my grace to be all you need. Not until you choose to accept that you are weak and cant do it in your own strength can my strength be perfect for you.

Paul realizes pretty fast that God doesn’t need our strength – He needs our trust. This is why he could actually be content and push on, even though he had this ‘thorn’ in his flesh. Even though he was suffering heavily and would face difficulty the rest of his life, he could be content because he knew that his strength was not enough to sustain him, but God’s would be. And all the marvelous, powerful, and praiseworthy things he had seen and experienced in his life were not from himself or his strength, but from God. They were a gift from Him.

Paul had a perspective change – that God doesn’t need our strength – He needs our trust. It wasn’t about what Paul could do, or had done, or what He had experienced. It was okay for Paul to be weak, to be nothing. He didn’t have to boast in himself. It was about the goodness and power of God at work in and through his life that was worth celebrating.

God doesn’t need our strength – He needs our trust.

What are our weaknesses? Are we boasting in all the things we have done or think we will do? Is it all about us? Or is it all about what God can and will do through us if we get the ‘strength show’ out of the way? Are you okay to be weak, to not have all the answers, to not be all to everyone, to not be able to do all things? Are you okay to live in a place where you feel the heaviness of life? Where you feel completely inadequate?

It is in our place of inability and understanding that / coming to terms with it that we can embrace that God doesn’t need our strength – He needs our trust. And when we trust Him, and let Him do what He does, His strength becomes perfect in our lives, and we can move beyond the inability, the heaviness, the weakness of today and be who God is calling us to be. We have to be reliant on Him.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
(ISA 40:31)

HMCdigital Tuesday 10AM Devotional – Date

Psalm 23

Lectio Divina: divine or sacred reading

Encountering God in Scripture

When you read Scripture are you reading for information or transformation?

The practice of Lectio Divina is rooted in the belief that through the presence of the Holy Spirit the Scriptures are alive, active, and God brief (Hebrews 4:12).

The four movements of Lectio Divina:

  1. READ (lectio) listen for the word or phrase that stands out from all the rest. This is the word or phrase that is addressed to you.
  2. READ (meditatio): What is it in my life that needed to hear this word today? How is my life touched by this word today?
  3. RESPOND (oratio): is there an invitation or challenge for us to respond to? What is my response to God based on what I have read and encountered?
  4. REST (comtemplatio): simply rest in the word of God.


  1. How was the lectio process the same and/or different from the way you normally read Scripture??
  2. What move(s) in the lectio divina was most helpful or meaningful? Which move was most challenging?
  3. What was God’s invitation to you through this reading? How might you practice the final move of lectio divina, the resolve to live out the word that has been given to you?

HMCdigital Tuesday 10AM Devotional – April 21

Jesus Enters in the Midst of Fear

John 20:19-20, 24-29

Begin by quieting yourself. Then read the text slowly, pause, and then read the text again

Read: John 20:19-20

Now imagine you are one of the 10 disciples get it in the upper room – What is it like for you to see Jesus alive?

Personally: Where have you seen Jesus alive/active in your life? What was that like? Who did you share these moments with?

Read: John 20:24-29

Now imagine that you are Thomas. How do you feel when Jesus appears and offers you exactly what you said you needed in order to believe?

Personally: what do you need from Jesus in the midst of life today?

HMCdigital Tuesday 10am Devotional – March 31, 2020

While we’re unable to gather corporately, we will be hosting various live streaming events throughout the week to keep us connected to one another. See the complete schedule here.

Gideon: Ordinary man, Big God

Devotion 1 – God can use you

Judges 6:1-16
March 31, 2020

Happy Tuesday!

Over the next few Tuesdays, I want to take us through a study of a character in the Bible that I have always been drawn to. Maybe it is because he was such an ordinary guy with normal struggles, yet through God, he did some extraordinary things. I want to look together at the life of Gideon from Judges 6-8. I encourage everyone to read that passage these next few weeks.

Have you ever felt unqualified, unskilled, or inadequate? You have been asked to do something or be something, yet you wonder deep down if you have what it takes? Maybe, you doubt your own abilities? I am sure all of us have been there at some point. I struggle with it. Truth be told, there are days where being a pastor and being in front of you to lead or teach brings back those feelings like a flood.

Yet, as we look at Judges 6:1-16 today, we will see that even though we may feel insignificant, unskilled, and unqualified, we have a big God who can and will use us to do what we consider to be extraordinary things for Him.

Starting in Judges 6, we are introduced again to the people of Israel. Life has changed for them significantly. A couple hundred years prior, they were the ones crossing over the Jordan River into this land that God had promised them. Yet even though they had (see Joshua 4) set up a collection of stones as a constant reminder to the generations that followed about who their God was, and even though they had God’s Law that was to be publicly read regularly as a reminder, they forgot their God. And as Judges 6:1 says, they were doing evil in God’s sight.

God, to get their attention and bring about change, hands them over to the Midianites for what was seven years to be oppressed. What we know about Midian was that they formed an alliance with other Eastern nations come against Israel. They had camels which gave them a huge military advantage as they could move a lot faster and further than could an army on foot. We also know that there were many of them, much like a swarm of locusts (as they are compared to in vs 5) who multiply fast and are like a thick cloud when they descend upon a land. And just like locusts who come in like an army and destroy everything in their way, this Midianite Alliance would do the same. The Midianites and their buddies would come in whenever their was a fresh crop grown and take it for themselves (picture the frustration of leaving the grocery store to have someone waiting at your car each time to take your groceries and run). Anything else that was in the land, they laid waste to. Israel was in poverty and need. They had nothing, and they were in fear. Enough so that Israel went into hiding in caves, the mountains, and anywhere else they figured they could be save to live from the Midianite Alliance.
It is in that context that the people begin to cry out to God to save them and spare them (vs 7). God hears their cries, is moved by them, and raises up a guy named Gideon to bring them deliverance. Let’s read of the first time Gideon was called on.

Read Judges 6:11-16

1) Gideon is living in fear: When we see Gideon the first time, he is threshing wheat in a winepress. This was an indicator of the fear in the land of the Midianite Alliance, and the fear that Gideon would have struggled with. Normally when wheat is threshed, it is on a threshing floor which is out in the open, on a high flat plain, with a team of oxen working on the floor, as well as many people due to the community celebration that threshing had become. A winepress however was hidden. It was carved into a rock face. It was not easily seen. And rather than being in the open, a winepress usually was in some garden or orchard setting surrounded by trees and large vegetation which kept it hidden from those passing by. It was a single person operation rather than the big deal that a threshing floor was. Wheat would have been threshed in the winepress to keep it hidden. And in that setting, a complete stranger decides to sit under a tree right next to where Gideon is hiding out, threshing his grain.

2) Gideon is an ordinary person: Notice the first words used by the angel of the Lord to address Gideon: “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.” These were not words that would naturally be used of Gideon. Hiding in his winepress, he was anything but a valiant warrior, and as we are going to see, he was nothing but normal.

Gideon expresses his disappointment in God. This God that the angel spoke of was the One that their tradition said brought Gideon’s people out of slavery in Egypt quite miraculously maybe 300 years prior. Yet now, where was this God? Was He weak in comparison to the other gods out there? Did He abandon His people to ruin?

What happens next (in Vs 14) is quite interesting. God actually speaks, as if to answer the challenge by Gideon. Prior, it was the angel of the Lord speaking, but now the voice of God takes over. Whether the angel of the Lord was actually a physical embodiment of God, or God directly spoke through the angel, we do not know for sure. We do know that God spoke.

God says to Gideon: Go and be the deliverer of your people. Set them free from the tyranny of Midian once and for all. I am personally sending you to lead your people.

Gideon’s response (Vs 15) is one of self doubt, insecurity, inadequacy, and feeling unqualified. Gideon looked at his social and family status. Yes, within his village, his father seemed to carry some reputation and rapport, but at the end of the day, Gideon was the least of the least. His family had no real influence that anyone should listen to him. It doesn’t sound as if they had a lot of resources that they should be high on the pecking order. And beyond that, Gideon was the youngest in his family. Why would even his own family listen to him? What qualities did he have to lead the people?

3) God sending should be enough: What does God say in verse 16? “But I will be with you.” Then, He restates His command to Gideon to lead the people against the Midianite Alliance. What God was saying here was “I am sending you. I know how weak and unqualified you are. I know that you feel you don’t have the skills or the significance to do this. You feel inadequate. But none of this matters because it is me, not you. My strength, not yours. That should be enough.”

I will save what happens for later weeks, but what I will say is that as Gideon trusted God and led God’s people, extraordinary and supernatural things happened that only God could do. God was enough. Gideon didn’t have to be anything but ordinary.

So how does God want to use you today? What ways is he tapping on your shoulder today and saying “hey, I want to use you to do something amazing for me?” Maybe it is something as simple as showing the love of Jesus to a hurting, scared, and maybe even sick neighbour, but as you think about it, you feel fear. You don’t know what to say, you don’t know what to do. What could you possibly offer that could show the love of Jesus? What if your efforts are rejected? What if putting yourself out there and reaching out to your neighbour is incredibly intimidating because you are very much an introvert yourself? What if what God is asking you to do is uncomfortable?

How about us as a church? How is God calling us as a community and family to be the love of Jesus to our greater community? To be Generations Following Jesus who Gather, Grow, Give, and Go? In what ways is He calling us to meet? In what ways is He asking us to reach out? Do we feel inadequate to do what He asks?

Is God sending you enough?

HMCdigital Tuesday 10am Devotional – March 24, 2020

While we’re unable to gather corporately, we will be hosting various live streaming events throughout the week to keep us connected to one another. See the complete schedule here.

Tuesday, March 24 – LIVE at 10 a.m. with Pastor Dave

A Zoom Room will open following each Tuesday devotion. To sign up, please pop over to our ZOOM page. A link will also be posted on Facebook that you can follow to join in.

“Defining Moment”ESTHER 4:13-14
Devotional – Tuesday March 24, 2020

What is your defining moment?

If you are into Hockey, or are older than I, you likely have heard the name Paul Henderson. Paul is an icon in the hockey world, and a local boy as well! A bio reads that Paul, from Kincardine, was a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. He learned how to play hockey in Lucknow. A left winger, Henderson played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Flames and five in the World Hockey Association (WHA) for the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls. He played over 1,000 games between the two major leagues, scoring 376 goals and 758 points. Henderson played in two NHL All-Star Games and was a member of the Memorial Cup-winning Hamilton Red Wings team as a junior. Not a bad resume overall.

Yet that is not what Paul is remembered for. His career was defined by the goal he scored on September 28, 1972, to win the Summit Series for Canada. In a series of national pride where Canada was challenging Russia in hockey, Paul not only tied up a game in the series, but went on to score the winning goal in three more games after. It was Paul who scored the winning goal with 34 seconds of play left to win the tournament for Canada. It is the most famous goal in Canadian hockey history and was the defining moment for a generation of Canadians. Decades later, Henderson remains a national hero.

What is your defining moment?

In the Bible, we are reminded of a young woman named Esther. You can read the book in one sitting (just ten chapters) that chronicles her life. Her life story revolves around a defining moment.

Esther was a young Jewish girl who found herself living in the Persian Empire. The king at the time was a man named Ahasuerus, who had a temper, and had just removed and exiled his wife for not responding to his selfish, chauvinistic, or demeaning demands. Wanting to find another wife who would now be queen, he has his attendants go out into the empire and round up the most beautiful young women to be taken into his harem where they would undergo beauty treatments and essentially audition for the role by meeting his every demand. Esther was the one who really caught his eye and gained his favour. He selected her to become his new wife, the queen. It is important to remember that at no time, did she ever reveal she was Jewish.

She had an uncle named Mordecai who had saved the king by reporting a plot of a planned assassination by two of his own servants. It was this same Mordecai who later on, got the anger of the king’s second in command, Haman. You see, Haman demanded that when he came by, people would bow to him. When Mordecai refused, it infuriated Haman, enough so that he devised a scheme that involved him deceiving the king into permitting the complete extermination of the Jewish people from the empire.

The only person who could save the Jewish people was Esther, whom the king and Haman had no idea was Jewish. She had the ability to go to the king and personally fight for her people. The only problem was that no one entered the king’s presence without an invitation, and if Esther entered his presence uninvited to bring this injustice to light, if the king didn’t extend his sceptre as a sign of welcome, she would be executed. It didn’t matter that she was the queen and his wife. She only came to him when he wanted her. The king had not invited her to come to him for the period of time ahead before Haman would act on his evil plan. The life of Esther was on the line, and she was scared to act.

Yet it was in that moment that her uncle spoke to her of stepping out of fear and into a clearly defining moment for her. He said (Esther 4:13-14):

Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”

The story from here is that rather than run in fear, Esther steps out into a defining moment in her life, and as the queen. She puts her life on the line to speak to the king, and in the process saves herself, her people, and ends the terrible plot of Haman. This week read the book of Esther for the rest of the story. It is quite amazing!

Esther stepped into a moment that would truly define her. What is your defining moment?

Today is a defining moment for us who follow Jesus isn’t it? Our lives have changed a lot in the last couple weeks. How we meet as the church has changed. How we live our daily lives have changed. Many of us are working from home, if we are working at all. We are all keeping our distance from others, staying within our own homes, and living in isolation. People are struggling with being apart.

People all around us are fearful. As the numbers of those who are infected raise, and the government comes down with more protectionary measures that affect our lives, our families, our ability to live and provide, the anxiety and fear climbs.

People around us are losing their jobs. People around us are unable to go out to get themselves food and provisions. People are worried about loved ones getting ill.

The reality is that there are a lot of challenges in front of us that could cause us to retreat in fear, rather than be who God has called us to be. What if this is our defining moment as the people of God, as followers of Jesus, as the church? While it threatens to drive us further apart and hold us back from being what we think is the church, what if this whole time is what we need to actually define us? What if this is our defining moment as the church to step out and be who God is calling us to be to a hurting world clearly in need?

Yes, we have natural fears and anxieties. Yes, there is a lot of unknowns that are in front of us. Yes, we may even be confused about how we can even be the church in these days. Yes, we may even doubt that we can share the hope of Jesus because we are all so isolated (or so it seems). But what if this is actually our defining moment to share the hope, light, and love of Jesus Christ, all be it in a new and different way?

Remember that while our methods may change, the message is still the same. As I said yesterday, how we do church looks different, where we meet looks different, but the church will still be the church. Regardless of how we say it, we are still all about Jesus Christ.

Also, in this time we are even seeing record high engagement with our church. People are searching for hope and peace in this time of uncertainty and anxiety. And the best news is that we have the Lasting Hope and Calming Peace that people need. I read a quote yesterday by a local Christian pastor, leader, and blogger. He said “in the midst of crisis, there is an opportunity to share the hope that comes through Christ to millions that weren’t interested in the conversation just a few weeks ago.”

What is our defining moment?