Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Not planning on graduating for a long time!

You might be wondering what I am referring to?
I thought the idea of study and learning in some field of endeavour was to graduate as quickly and efficiently as possible? Well might be true of things like becoming a doctor or a teacher etc but not how I see my living for Christ.

I have come to believe that I need to embrace the idea of being a perpetual student of Christ.
He is my teacher.
I am in His classroom.
And I aint leaving until He graduates me to heaven!

A disciple is not above his teacher, 
but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40 esv

I take my study personally and passionately.
I read scripture as much as I can and frustratingly I still don't read it enough.
I research themes and ideas for myself even researching what others have to say that make me a little uncomfortable at times. I want to know if I am right or wrong beyond my pride...
I study 'up'. Meaning a read and research to improve what needs growth in my life.
I am always asking Him to speak to me in any and every way.
I am not there yet but always pushing forward to be more and more like my teacher.

Can I encourage you today to dive into the classroom of life that Jesus has just for you?
Learn from Him. He will teach you at a pace and place that works best for you personally.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 esv

Religious people think they have already made it so they stop learning.
Their world continually shrinks and grace slips further and further from entrenched positions and postures.
Don't be like them. Be a perpetual student of Jesus.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Once upon a time I noticed a girl at Church

Once upon a time I noticed a girl at Church...
I had an idea that I would like to be with her and highly likely to marry her.

I schemed, planned and put in a lot of effort to win her as my bride.
I prayed a lot and talked to a few key leaders about it before setting course on winning her heart.

Step one was to infamously get a friend from work to invite her to our end of year Christmas function. My cunning plan was once she was there, I would eventually pluck up the courage to ask her to dance, she would fall in love with me, and the rest would be history.
Unfortunately my plan was as lame as when this is portrayed in the movies. When I finally asked her to dance she said no. And to make matters worse was given a ride home by another guy.

Did I give up at this point even though tempted through the disappointment?
NO!

I did other things over the many months this potential relationship was on my radar and in my heart.
I then got traditional with my tactics and invited her to see a movie.
She agreed to this one thank goodness! Can even still remember what we saw.
When she got sick I sent her a get well card under the guise of "pastoral care".
Yes I cared she was sick, but thought it might show my caring side and hopefully get her to like me a little more?
When New Years Eve came around I offered to give her a 'new years eve hug'.
Several days later all my praying and planning seemed to work.
We kissed for the very first time in a park by a tree. It was awesome!
Just over 2 months later we were engaged.
And at the end of that year after graduating Bible College, we got married.

So why am I telling you all this?
What is my point?

I wanted to be married to the girl so I put everything I could into it.
Half hearted would never win her heart.
Giving it a try and giving up at the first hurdle would achieve me nothing.
It took a dogged determination to win her and I think it was worth all the effort and ups and downs along the way.
I had to be fully immersed in the process to achieve what I was looking for.

I truly believe your relationship with Jesus should be the same.
You need a dodged determination. A passion to make it work, see it flourish and grow.
The Bible tells us that it takes loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
It is all or nothing. 'Full immersion' as I like to call it.
I am more than willing to give my all for my King! What about you?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Experiment

My youngest kid loves doing experiments.
His most common passion right now is to freeze all sort of random things and see what happens.
He tests his results outside and seems to really enjoy himself.
It can drive us nuts finding random things in the freezer, but it is a small price to pay for his enjoyment...

After nearly 27 years of being a follower of Christ I have met a lot of like minded people.
A regular theme has been made clear to me...
Everyone of those people who took God at His Word.
Everyone of those people who put into practice what they learned.
Everyone of those people who decided to experiment and it give it a try.
They are the ones who had an adventure of faith.
They are the ones who have keep the faith.
They are the ones who never got cynical and tired.
They are the ones who still many years and experiences good and bad, they are the ones who have not given up on that faith.

James says something extremely important from his many years of experience being a Jesus follower...
"...be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:22 ESV

My faith has never stopped at learning! It has been made real because I have always experimented with what I learnt.
When I heard about giving to God in a Church and they called it tithing, it sounded weird to me, but I thought what the heck, I'll give that a go...
When I heard that we are all supposed to be able to pray for the sick and they will be healed, even though I was new at this Jesus thing, I gave it a go on a guy who twisted his ankle in front of me and he got healed! I don't know who was more surprised me or him?
When I heard you can share you faith, I gave it a go...
When I heard you can serve in your Church, I gave it a go, in fact I gave every ministry you can think of a go...
You probably get the idea?
I have always experimented with my faith and it has also worked for me!

Faith is only fully realised when you act on the revelation you receive.
It has never been complicated. But many don't get past the hearing and onto the doing and boy oh boy are they missing out!

If you are a frustrated believer right now maybe you are because you aren't experimenting with your faith?
Maybe you have been listening for many years and you are spiritually bloated from all the great teaching you have sat under?
Don't diet. Start to do something with it.
Loose your bloating by experimenting and taking God at his Word.
Come on and join in with me. Get off the bench and into the game.
It will make far more sense to you when you do!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Nobody's Perfect

I would be surprised if you hadn't heard the phrase "nobodies perfect" before! And yet I have come to discover that some people like to hope that others around them are.
Invariably when they discover those 'others' aren't as perfect as they hope, they are disappointed.
I have even seen some people do a social media campaign against a leader because they are not as perfect as they hoped.

Please understand 2 things before I go on with this simple thought :
1. Scripture tells to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) - a goal we should have without destroying ourselves, we should none the less go for.
2. We should be careful not to have our faith destroyed by false teachers or manipulative leaders. So of course be wise about the influence others have over you. (2 Peter 2:1)

I read today a story that has come to light since the death of Billy Graham. It appears that he was not a great dad many times during his ministry.
He apparently missed the birth of his first child.
He didn't recognise one after an extended time away in his ministry. The account goes that it broke his heart and that particular child never forgot the look on their fathers face and the tears in his eyes...
Billy Graham was not perfect. In spite of it he was seeing thousands saved. Many have grown in the faith journey under his teaching. How dare I consider righting his ministry off over some of his struggles!

When I have looked at briefly the lives of most of the major players and influencers of our faith, I am struck that none were perfect.
- Moses didn't speak to the rock when God asked Him to.
- David stole another mans wife.
- Peter denied Christ.
- Martin Luther challenged theology and practice and got a few things wrong.
- Every Pastor I have served under and learned from had issues they were working through, and yet God used them marvellously in my life. I wouldn't be half of who I am now without their ministry.

I see people telling others online not to learn from this pastor or that leader or that Church because of something that haven't got right.
I guess you have to follow your own conscience. But can I encourage you to weigh things up maybe a little more balanced?
If they are 99% right about faith, isn't that enough? Learn from that 99% and forget the rest...
My relationship with God is not based on others having their faith and theology perfect. It is based on my relationship and their teaching helping me along the way. I always go away and look into what I have been taught. I ask whether if it not right, whether it is a 'deal breaker' if it is not.
Sometimes they are not wrong and I am...and then I am challenged to review my theology and that is a good thing! Maybe God is using their struggles or failings to challenge me, to grow me, to speak to me?

As a leader is it so tiring!
I want to be perfect for you and I just can't quite get there...
That doesn't mean I won't keep trying. But I ask that you extend the same grace to me that you expect I extend to you?
We are imperfect people doing our best to follow a perfect God.
I will keep going for perfection and at the same accepting the grace I so desperately need from Him.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

There is a lot I don't like about the world right now!

There is a lot I don't like about the world right now!
And it caused me to pause and think this morning with an ounce of trepidation for what world my kids are about to inherit.

Please let me explain...
We have drivers of cars who don't care about waiting or following rules when they need to get to where they feel they need to go.
We have entertainment that is so encompassing, so pervasive, that many have no time for real relationships anymore.
We have so many ideas on every single thing, but it seems very few answers that truly make a difference for the average person.
We have so many broken homes and broken relationships resulting in broken people.
We have politicians who seem to think lying and cheating is totally ok as long as it meets their end goal.
We have media who love to report the world we live based on sound bites or clip bait headlines, it seems never telling the whole story.

What else do we have?
We have HOPE.
Hope that promises to never disappoint, that points to something better, that can create lasting change to a life, a family, a church, a street, a city, a nation.
If you have any sort of faith in Christ, hope should be part of the package you are buying in to.

I don't believe this hope is like something that is like a trinket in your pocket.
Whatever hope you have is supposed to be bigger than that...
It is more like the clothes you were and the life you lead. It should be on display, shared around, shown with grace and compassion and yet shouted from the rooftops.
"There is HOPE!"

Can I encourage you today to pick one space or place where your hope could make a difference?
Share in actions or if you need, with gracious words.
Your hope should stand out like a light in a dark place...

Something to think about...