Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Check yourself

Watch your life and doctrine closely. 
Persevere in them, because if you do, 
you will save both yourself and your hearers. 
1 Timothy 4:16 niv

A very influential Church Leader is being reported to have told his people to not worry about the 10 commandments. According to his recent sermon he sites different New Testament passages to back his thoughts.
Many are expressing concern over his doctrine.

An article I read recently expressed well something I have noticed recently, where many people (especially the young) make sweeping statements about Jesus, how He behaved, how He sees life for us, that bears no resemblance to the Jesus in the Gospels.

I personally thinks Pauls charge to Timothy applies to all and for all time.
You have to be very conscientious with your life and doctrine.
You have to be wary of your own propensity to self justify based on many factors.

Can I encourage you to do some of this?
Keep checking yourself against the teachings of Christ.
Keep being discipled and lead by someone over you (no matter how experienced you might believe you are).
Keep studying Jesus from scripture, what He said, what He is saying to you, and let it challenge and stir you.
As Paul soberly mentions elsewhere, others before us have 'shipwrecked their faith' and 'pierced themselves with many griefs', and that is such a waste!

Let's help each other. 
Let's remind ourselves to measure ourselves against what is right and true and 'biblical' - even if it grates us or offends us.
I would rather God challenge the very soul of me than miss the mark one more day.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Does anyone notice?

I have issued a challenge to myself and our Church to read the whole of the Bible through in one year. Totally believing it will change our lives in 2019 doing this together...

So far I have been right on track with the plan.
Today I was excited to check out the YouVersion app and see my achievement graphically represented. It would mean anyone viewing my profile would see how well I was doing.
As I type this I recognise how prideful this kind of is, but that is not my point today.

I was struck by the fact no one would know I was on track possibly because my streak was not registering for 'perfect weeks'.
Would people think less of me?
Do I keep going if the graphics don't show how awesome I am doing? (Yes I am)

I think sometimes we wonder if anyone notices the good things we do?
It can bother us that in hindsight no one seemed to notice and care. Part of our make up to some degree is this need to be noticed, to have recognition. And yes, taken too far is very dangerous for us on a number of levels.

I was reminded today that no matter what I do in life and especially for the Kingdom of God, God will also see, He will always notice, He will always recognise.
Scripture teaches us that God sees what was done in secret and in fact rewards it.
Jesus in Matthew 6 teaches us to:
Give in secret.
Pray in secret.
Fast in secret.

Please know what you do matters to God.
Even if no one recognises it and acknowledges it, you have a fan in God today.
God promises us to reward us for our Kingdom work.
Maybe it is indeed better if no one sees what you do?

Something to think about...

Monday, December 24, 2018

There is that moment...

I can remember the day with a lot of detail when both my boys were born. The location, the weather, the sounds and smells, the people involved, the drama...
Then there is that moment when everything changes.
Straight after the birth where everything stops. Where a strange calm settles. Maybe not strange in the sense of weird, but something surreal in nature.

I don't think that Mary ever forgot the day Jesus came into the world.
It had been supernatural and strange. Stressful and stupendous.
And as she sat with Joseph in that stable holding the Son of God in her young arms, I think she had a moment. Maybe even a series of moments.
Scripture tells us that she pondered.
That she treasured it all in her heart.
A peace would have come that was palpable and divine.

This Christmas may it not just be a season, but a moment for you.
As you take time to reflect on Jesus entering the world and setting you up for salvation, may God's peace flood your whole being.
There should be for you and me our moment, where our time of reflection brings a supernatural peace to our souls.

As you read this please know I have been praying this would happen for you!
To all my readers wherever you are around the world...may this Christmas be special for you.
I am blown away that you keep coming back.
That there are so many of you from every corner of the globe.

Merry Christmas from me and my family to you and yours.

Love to you all!

*I will take a break over the holiday season and be back with you in early 2019*

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Will I Be Ready?

It is that time of the year for me and maybe for you, where you feel pretty spent emotionally and physically, and yet you are planning for a new year.

Will I be ready for 2019?
The honest answer is possibly no if I don't prepare for it now in some way.

Keeping on trucking is good sometimes but not good all the time.
We need to measure and adjust our lives depending on the seasonal attributes we each face.
So here is my simple thought advice (that I am working on personally).

Press in to get things working

Often we try to press on when the best thing to do is press in.
I find pressing on easier because of my personality and work ethic.
Jesus advice for us is the opposite at this point. He encourages us to find our rest in Him and take His yoke upon ourselves.

When we rest in Him we find refreshing not just physically but emotionally, spiritually and every other 'ally' word in faith.
Resting is an active thing. It is not some mystique eastern vibe of clearing your mind! It was the opposite. It its stopping all the striving and filling up on spiritual fuel for another day.

The 'His Yoke' part requires some honest reflection.
Am I doing what He wants or what I think He wants?
It is ok to ask yourself and God that question...

Change it up if it not working

If you are tired and life / ministry are not working like they should, maybe it is time to change something.
If Jesus asks you to change everything fine, but I tend to find He asks me to change something.
To change one thing. Sometimes a simple thing.

I am removing a few activities that while good they are not making me be great. I am looking at my routine and seeing where some tweaks can be made.
Sometimes a change can make you feel new without being dramatic.
And just because you always have doesn't mean you always should...

Train myself to get how I would like it working

In the last 10 years I have loved the sport journey that I have roller coasted on.
Not because it has been a roller coaster, but because I have learnt a lot about myself and how life works from that perspective.
When you have a goal, like a race, you train accordingly.
Spiritually it is the very same thing. If you have a goal for 2019, train accordingly.
Wishful thinking will never get you to the finish line.
You need some training in your tank before the race.

Please don't hang in there my friend hoping 2018 will finish and that a calendar change will magically fix whatever you don't like about your life...
Maybe you could do what I am doing and make some changes?
Let's be ready for 2019.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Popularity Contest?

When did the Church become so much of a popularity contest?
If the Church is God's people, why do many see some people as better than other people?
Why do many not want to be committed to one, but rather free to enjoy the best of every Church family?

Now before some of you tell me I sound upset or maybe even bitter, I want to clearly state I don't believe I am.
I am just sitting here pondering the idea that I have raised...
This is not a new idea or concept.
Others have pondered it as well.
I am not a control freak over peoples lives. I do not believe any Pastor owns the people he may have the honour of leading. They are God's great people. We are simply entrusted with doing our very best to lead them...

After nearly 30 years soon of following Jesus with every fibre of my being, and being part of many amazing groups of fellow believers in Christ, I have seen many flavours and fads over the years.
Another great leader I know calls them "winds of doctrine". Blowing people here and there depending on what is bright and shiny, hip and happening, labeled as the new thing or just plain cool.
And just as they have come and gone, many people I have walked with, ministered to and from, even had broken hearts with, have at many times come and gone with those flavours and fads.

When I first started on my faith journey, the 'such and such' were the place to be on a Sunday.
Then that changed when a new worship style appeared.
Then it changed again when a leader failed.
Then it changed once again when someone else got a new building.
Then a new move of God happened (and didn't last).
You get the idea...

So what should it be like I wonder?
Or is this exactly how it is supposed to be?

Here are my two keys for being part of a Church family somewhere/anywhere:

1. Where does God want you?
Apart from the very first Church I went, I have from then and now with my wife, always very seriously prayed and sort God about where we should be. Not praying for the best but where we could be the best fit.
You see I don't see the Church as burger restaurant. Where I can go from McD's to Burger King to Burger Fuel to Better Burger. It is far more spiritual and eternal than a flavour in my mouth and a feeling in my belly.
God has always directed us to we can be fully engaged in whatever family it would be. It has never needed to be perfect, just I hope continuing to move forward.
And just as God's people experienced in the Sinai Dessert, we only move when God moves us.

2. There has to be a mutual relationship
God places people in Church families. In fact scripture tells us He goes out of His way to place the lonely in a caring Church family to become their home.
Let's grab that burger thing again for a moment. When the Church is a burger restaurant we can easily and quickly flick from a fan to disappointed customer. Even leaving a bad review online along the way.
I see the Church as a place for mutual benefit of every single member.
Where you can be served and you can serve.
If you are hurt by life, the Church is there to help facilitate your healing in Christ, in part, so you can once be part of the mutual benefit process.

Then I think of Jesus...
Jesus was popular one day and not the next.
Some days His teaching changed their lives, changed the very direction of life for them. Then the next day it could offend their very soul.
One day they worshipped Him as King and then the next it seems, demanded that He be crucified.
So maybe I shouldn't be surprised by all this?

The questions I have pondered today actually reinforce for me personally my conviction.
That I will always seek God for where I need to be regardless of what is cool.
That I will always seek to serve God over where that place may be, what seems cool or anything else.
God's Church is so very special and it will never be a place for me of consumerism, but a place to bring the hope of God to as many as possible.

Something to think about...