Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wagging Tails

When I was young we had the privilege of having lambs to rear by hand. They were orphans or lambs not bonding well with their mother.
So at this time of year here we were, multiple times a day making up milk bottles, nice and warm, and then feeding these cute little creatures...

I can still picture those lambs that were small and weak when they came to live with us.
I can also remember the way they grew and came to enjoy these feed times, their tails wagging furiously with every impassionaied gulp of the bottles we held for them.

How does this tie in with our faith?

I felt God remind me that we are all maybe like this relationship...
Either we are the lamb desperate for support and through that support being grown and strengthened.
While others of us are like the bottle preparer, bottle holder, having the joy of watching someone grow through our efforts.

Isn't this what our faith is supposed to be like?
Disciples making disciples?
Either we are are being discipled or we should be discipling someone else?

And I guess that is the underlying challenge with this thought today...
Which one are you?
Because I truly think you need to be one of the two.
I struggle to see a third option.
Because the only third option I can come up with is as a spectator, watching others grow, watching others help others to grow.

Before the end of today can I encourage you decide which one you need to be in this season?

Something to think about...

image copyright bbc.co.uk

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Love this Quote...gets you thinking!

"Christianity began in Galilee
as a fellowship of men and women
centred on Jesus Christ.
It went to Greece and became a philosophy.
It went to Rome and became an institution.
It went to Europe and became a culture.
It came to America and became an enterprise.
We need to get back to our roots."

Richard Halverson, former chaplain to the US Senate

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Why do I give? #5

I want a harvest

If you are a little cynical about some of the claims from preachers around the idea of "harvest", trust me, I totally understand...I am the first to admit that maybe some have taken the concept on a pendulum swing too far?
But, and I mean a big BUT...
Please don't throw away the spiritual principal based on a potentially misguided emphasis!

Scripture is actually pretty clear about how life works.
It reminds us that there are seasons.
It reminds us that there is a time to sow and a time to harvest.
And for me I find this easy to picture because of my childhood...

I grow up on a farm that included growing grain and seed crops.
Each year my Dad and uncle would pick a certain time of year to sow what they wanted to harvest more of at a certain date.
It was very calculated. Well planned. Our livelihoods depended on the process.

I can still picture going out in the fields after the seed and was sown and struck by nothing. That's right, there was just dirt and the tire tracks from where the machinery had been.
It wasn't until later you got a glimpse of a potential harvest when the shoots finally emerged.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10 niv

God wants you to have a harvest.
To get that harvest He supplies you with seed.
In your hands is the seed right now for your future harvest.
And you sow in faith, not expecting a harvest the next day, but at a time God blesses you with.
As seed is hidden for a time, so is the growth of the spiritual and material harvest you will receive.

Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 niv

I unashamedly sow for a harvest!
Yes I give to God for many other reasons, especially my love for Him.
But I would be naive to think I could ever reap a harvest without first choosing to sow...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why do I give? #4

I don't want to muzzle

I give because I want the Church to do well.
Unashamedly I really want the Bride of Christ to be looked after, blessed, well taken care off.
In fact I think it is part of my responsibilities as a follower of Jesus.

Jesus is coming back for His bride and I want her to be as glorious as possible on her wedding day.
I recognised a long time ago that my giving helps play a part in making sure the Church is not muzzled, restricted, even destroyed. My small part I pay helps a bride be prepared for its groom.
Please know I am speaking as a member of Christs body not just as a Pastor looking to placate some agenda.

When we withhold in the gracious gift of giving, we actually restrict what God can do through others.
I know some have been burned by leadership mistakes, but I can not in good conscience settle for that as an excuse to remove my giving from the equation.

Have you ever bought a coffee and it wasn't that good?
And based on that bad experience did you decide to never buy a coffee again?
Did you declare loudly and proudly that it is your civic, neigh moral duty even to make others aren't burned as you have been?
Maybe a silly analogy, but a similar story to what I have heard as a leader.

For Scripture says, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
1 Timothy 5:18 niv

I in no way want to muzzle and restrict those whose role it is to serve us in leadership and preaching, so I give a portion to play my part.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
Proverbs 3:27 niv

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Why do I give? #3

I want to honour

I think that this word 'honour' gets used by you and me without possibly thinking about its meaning...and it has a pretty cool meaning!
It is used as both a noun and verb.
It is both the naming of something or someone to honour them and also the act of honouring them.

I have learnt that I can honour God with the 'fruit of my lips' and 'what lines my pockets'...

Scripture shows every generation of God's people doing both.
They honoured God by what they said of Him and their faith in Him.
They honoured Him with their actions, especially in the act of giving financially.
It is 'normal' for God's people to give a portion of what they have received back to Him as soon as physically possible.

Honour the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
Proverbs 3:9 niv

You might be thinking this sounds kind of weird...
What does God care about what I do with the money I have?
Very few things show what you truly honour, except what we say and how we spend. In fact scripture tells us that God gets a real clear picture of how much we truly honour Him by how we handle our finances, whether we are giving or not, the level of our generosity.

Maybe this will help?
The writer of this proverb finishes his sentence this way...

then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:10 niv

When we honour God the pattern seems to be that He then honours us even more.
I choose to honour God with what I give, not because I am after blessing, but it is a pretty cool byproduct for me!

Something to think about...
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