Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Sunday, I watched the final few holes of the golf tournament that Tiger Woods won in dramatic fashion. Like many other people, I am not a golfer but I do take the time to watch this man when he is in the finals of a golf tournament. Why? If I don't really like golf, why watch this particular golfer? Probably for the same reason I used to watch Michael Jordan play basketball even though I didn't really care to watch professional basketball. These are two unique and gifted athletes. There is something about their personalities and the way they play the game that elevates them above others in the same sports. Under the most adverse circumstances, they have a special drive to find a way to succeed.

I watched a TV program a couple of days ago that featured a street person who had an obvious learning disability who thought he was a super hero. He tried to help people in distress. A man who tried to help him ended up being helped by the man with the disability instead. The "super hero" died in the show and the man who was helped said to the the show's star:" I tried to help this man who thought he was a super hero and he ended up helping me instead." The show's star said in the last line of the show: " That's what super heroes do. They come to the rescue".

That line really caught my eye and I begin to think about who are the real super heroes in this life. Jesus said that when you help those whom society thinks are the least valuable, you are really helping Him. Who is going to come to the rescue of the unborn? Tony Piantine in his blog: The Bantum Blogatorium, referred to a link that James and Jill Kocian sent to him concerning an article in an English newspaper about not allowing babies with Down Syndrome to be born because they really are a drain on society. Parents who had and loved their children with this condition were considered to not be telling the truth when they claimed that these children were really an incredible blessing to many.

So how I read this is that parents who chose to have and love their children with Down Syndrome or any other disability are really losers and don't really care for society or their children by choosing to burden themselves and society with a child who will be an obvious drain on resources. Hmm. What an interesting contrast to how Jesus looks at each one of these people. I think he would call parents like James and Jill Kocian and people like Tony and Karol Piantine and people like Jason and Lora Stonelake super heroes. Now I know they wouldn't even dare to think about themselves as super heroes, but in doing what Jesus himself commended, that is exactly what they are in God's Kingdom.

If society takes what the above-mentioned article says as truth, then what about the very elderly? Are they also a drain on societies resources? And what about those with life-altering diseases? Should we withhold medical resources to them because they just aren't worth the cost in the long run? And where do we stop?

Listen people, I think God has called us all to be super heroes, don't you? To help those whom society deems unfit and unworthy of much help or attention. You may not feel like much of a super hero but those whom you help will think you are and God notices. Do you want to be a part of a "real" reality show so to speak. Sign up as a helper for one of Camp Daniel's summer camps. Log on to Tony Piantine's blog: The Bantum Blogatorium and find out more. You could be a super hero to someone like the little guy that Lora talks about in Tony's latest blog.

Do you really want to do something great in the Kingdom of God? Then Up North Wisdom says reach out to one of societies "least of these". It's really not that hard to be a super hero in God's Kingdom. You may not be watched by millions on TV like those who watch Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, but I think the Word of God is clear that you will be watch by millions in the "great cloud of witnesses" in the heavenly realms. (Hebrews 12:1)

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Winner

I just received news that my friend, mentor, brother in Christ, and much loved member of our church went to be with the Lord very early this morning. While the news didn't come as a shock because he was elderly with many physical problems, it was very sad for me to hear. I have known Bob O'Connor since I was just a young boy and he and his dear wife, Bea, were big in my life.

I spent time in their home while a teenager in the church, and have had a close relationship with them ever since. In many ways, there were like second parents to me. They were always an encouragement to me throughout my life and were some of my greatest supporters and prayer warriors when I became their pastor. They always let me know how proud they were of me. When it came to their "Jerry", they were incredibly unselfish and totally loving. As I was leaving the house this morning, I thought of an incident that has given me a title for Bob's funeral message.

Bob taught me how to play racquetball many years ago. He was an excellent player, one of the best in the area in his prime. He would spot me 18 points in a game to 21 and almost always beat me anyway. He was very competitive. After he beat me one game and I didn't seem too sad about it, he said to me, "Bruette, do you know what they call a good loser?" I said, "no, what?" He said, "A loser". He said that to get me mad and fired up to do my best and it worked.

Bob was a winner in every sense of the word. The Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Phillippians that everything the world had to offer he considered loss in order to "win" in his relationship with Jesus Christ. When Bob gave his life to the Lord, he became a winner. He was a winner in prayer. He was a winner in his devotion to the Word. He was a winner in giving. He was a winner in praise and worship. He loved to play his tambourine during our fast praise time at church. He was a winner in his witness for Christ. Like Paul, Bob fought a good fight; he finished the race; and he has won the prize of the crown of righteousness. Everything he lived his life for, he has now realized.

So, Up North Wisdom says, Are you ready to meet Jesus Christ? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? If not, give your life to Christ right now by asking Him to forgive your sins and to come into your heart. If you do, the Bible says you will receive the gift of eternal life. You will leave the best legacy possible when you leave the legacy of a life lived out for Jesus.

Bob left a great legacy to those who knew him. I will miss him greatly but we haven't lost him. No one is ever lost when you know where they are. And we certainly know where Bob is.

"Enjoy your reward, Bob. We'll see you soon!"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Building A Legacy

It is never too late to start building a legacy. A legacy is what we hand down to those in the next generation. What are you handing down to those in your family and to those you come in contact with each day of your lives? Let me share about two men who handed down fruitful, powerful legacies.

My father. Chet Bruette, died on Labor Day of 2004 at the age of 95. He would have been 100 on March 10. I miss him a lot. Saying good-bye is never easy no matter how old the person you love is. The things I remember from dad will stick with me always. What was the legacy that he left with me? A couple of things I think are worth sharing:

1. Accept people where they are. Dad never dismissed anyone out of hand. No matter where you came from, you had a chance to be a part of his life. Consequently, there were so many who loved him and remember him with such fond memories. He would help you, share with you, work for you, fish with you and be a friend with you if you could and would accept it. He liked real people -- people who didn't try to be someone they weren't. He was real.

2. Have your priorities in order. God, family, job and others. They were all an intermingled flow out of dad's life. He was fiercely loyal to his family. We were everything to him. Each child was a special source of pride to him. And he let us know it. By the way, he was an affectionate man with his wife and kids. I never had much trouble grasping God the Father's love in no small part because of my dad's love for me.

3. Work is honorable. Work helped define my dad. He worked so hard and always let us know that anything worthwhile is worth working hard for. He provided for us and never put our family is a debt situation. Pay as you go was how he went through life and it was so important to save for whatever might come up in the future.

I look forward to spending eternity with my dad and mom. Someone said you can only take people with you to heaven. My mom and dad lived out their lives in such a way that it created a desire on my part to live with eternity's values in view. Thanks, dad for leaving me the greatest legacy that anyone could leave a child. I am forever grateful.

My father-in-law, Jim Erickson, was another man who left a great legacy for his family and for me. He died in 2006 at the age of 79. He was an example in how to live well and how to die well. With God's help, he did both. Maybe the greatest lesson I learned from him was to be the same Christian, the same person wherever you went and whatever situation you found yourself in. He was that kind of man. He was the founder and pastor of our church after being a successful businessman for many years. I saw him in many different circles and was amazed at the consistency of his Christian testimony. He wasn't one person in church and a different person at home -- or at his place of business -- or in a restaurant -- or working out at the YMCA. He lived out his life for Christ and let his light shine wherever he went. He was known by all for his enthusiasm and love for Jesus in every place he moved.

He would say that our lives are like a house with many rooms and God wants to be prominent in every room. We can't give him 95 per cent and keep 5 for ourselves. It doesn't work that way. If God isn't in control of your computer room or your television room, or any other part of your life, then you are out of order and God will deal with you. He wants all of us and deserves all of us. Thank you, Jim Erickson, for leaving me such a powerful legacy. I am eternally grateful. Your memory will always inspire me to do my best and be my best for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

By the way, Jim hugged and kissed his daughter and sons right through adulthood. I am thankful to say my kids love to hug and kiss their parents. And I especially love it that my adult son hugs and kisses his dad.

So, my friend, Up North Wisdom asks -- what kind of legacy are you leaving for those who know you. It is never too late to start a new and positive direction in your life. If you've blown it in many areas, ask God and others to forgive you and with the help of the Holy Spirit, move ahead to new and better things. Remember, with His help and your commitment, The Best Is Yet To Come. Believe it!

Pastor Jerry

Monday, March 2, 2009

Not So Mysterious

I am going to be starting a series of messages on the book of Revelation in a few weeks. There seems to be such an interest in this last book of the Bible in the last several years and even more so now. It seems that Christians love to explore the mysteries of God's Word and His will. I think my study will disappoint some in that regard. The first verse of Revelation says "The Revelation of Jesus Christ". Everything in God's Word should point people to Christ and Revelation is no exception. It is easy to get caught up in speculating about the "mysterious" parts of that book and miss out on the big picture.

God's will is not a mysterious thing. When people want God to show them the mysteries of His will, they often miss out on the obvious. Why should God show anyone the mysteries of His will when they don't even respond to the obvious revelations of His will. For instance, how mysterious is: "A soft answer turns away anger."? And yet so many people have trouble with control in this area. So if I don't respond to getting a handle on my anger, why would God mess me up with the so-call mysteries of His will. How much has God revealed to us already in our Christian life that we chose to ignore? What areas in God's Word have convicted you that you have chosen to ignore?

So Up North Wisdom says respond to the obvious of God's will which has already been revealed before you ask to have the mysteries of His unknown will shown to you. You may say: " How have I done that and in what ways have I done this?" Well, why not ask someone you trust and that you know loves and cares for you if you dare. Trust them to speak truth to you about areas where you may be lacking in your walk with God. Ask you wife, or your children or a friend or maybe your pastor. But don't ask if you really don't want to know and don't get mad when you hear something you may not like. The people that love you also know you and won't tell you the truth if they think you won't handle it well. Can you handle the truth? Up North Wisdom says ask for, listen to, receive and apply the truth and you will be set free. Blessings!

Pastor Jerry