The Blog of Pastor Jude St. John

In The Trenches

One of the things I love about football is its applicability to life. So much of what happens on the football field corresponds to our experience of living. And in particular, one can draw many parallels between the game of football and our life of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of my years playing football were played “in the trenches.” That is, I was an offensive lineman who plied my trade on the line of scrimmage. That no-man’s-land of much physical violence between opposing forces which derives its name from the battle situations of the World Wars. That place which seems, as often as not, to be an experience much like our lives. I hope to communicate with you a few things that will hopefully be of some help as you fight the good fight of faith. And since I am in this battle too, you might consider that I write these thoughts as I live my life for God in the trenches. 

Books I've Read in 2019

    • John Newton by Jonathan Aitken
    • Supernatural Power for Everyday People by Jared Wilson
    • The Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards
    • The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Philips
    • Biblical Theology by Nick Roark and Robert Cline
    • Understanding the Lord's Supper by Bobby Jamieson
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 1 by John Newton
    • Understanding the Congregation's Authority by Jonathan Leeman
    • Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach
    • The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 2 by John Newton
    • Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow's Experimental Preaching by Tanner G. Turley
    • The Inquirer Directed to an Experimental and Practical View of the Atonement by Octavius Winslow
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 3 by John Newton
    • Missions by Andy Johnson
    • The Gospel-Driven Church by Jared Wilson
    • Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard
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  • Oct21Wed

    A Thanksgiving Reflection

    October 21, 2015

    This is just a reflection. Something to think about. It should not be read as an accusation, a revelation, or even an exhortation. Just a reflection.

    What got me reflecting about this particular thing was the beautiful Thanksgiving weekend we recently experienced in Southwestern Ontario. More specifically, the beautiful weather is what really set me off. Though it seems farther removed than two weeks ago with the rain and snow we have had since, that warm and bright weather on Thanksgiving, with the fall colours emerging, was splendid. And like a stubborn bloodhound on the trail of some quarry, I can't seem to stop reflecting on the topic that came to mind that weekend. Maybe writing about it will help.

    Those moments aren't uncommon: the day you married the love of your life, the birth of a child, that thrilling time when you finally accomplished that long sought after goal, learning to tie your shoes, or managing to get the puck off the ground with a slapshot. You know what I'm talking about...that perfect moment. Those moments cause us to breathe deeply, and relish the brief period of time, hoping it will last forever. There is contentment.

    Contrast that to when you read in the newspaper of yet another shooting on a school campus. Or when your Twitter-feed informs you that ISIS has beheaded another group of Christians. Or you learn on Facebook that there is another video exposing the atrocities of an abortion clinic in their harvesting of baby parts.

    Nobody wants those moments to last. Nobody wants to hear again, for the first time, how their loved one has cancer. When you get the tragic news or live through the tragic event you only want that moment to be gone. "When will this be over" you think to yourself.

    And then you mutter, "Come Lord Jesus."

    "Come quickly Lord."

    This, it seems to me, is a right response in those dark moments. Come, Jesus, and put this evil misery to an end. Stop the atrocities. Stop the heinous events and the horrendous experiences.

    And take us home.

    But, here is what I have been reflecting on: it also seems to me that our response to those magical moments when everything seems as right as can be should also be, "Come Lord Jesus."

    That is, just as the horror of tragedy or evil causes us to long for our Saviour and the perfect communion that is promised at his return, shouldn't experiencing the precious moments of beauty, contentment, and peace also elicit from us a response of "Come quickly Lord?"

    It doesn't, at least for me, but perhaps it should. When we taste that fleeting flavour of heaven, when we smell the faint aroma of the divine, when we experience blessedness in this life, shouldn't it cause us to desire all of that and more in the eventual reality that those experiences point to?

    I want both those experiences-the bad AND the good- to cause me to long for Christ's return, to long for “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:13 ESV). In fact, I want, in all my highs and lows and everything in between, to respond with the desire to be with my Redeemer.

    Not accusing anyone or even convinced I'm right this time. Just thinking.

    What say you? Should not our wonder-filled moments cause us to wistfully watch, wait, and want more than ever to be with the very source of wonder? Let me know what you think.

    For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. - Philippians 1:21-23 ESV

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