Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Christmas story mentions several encounters with what we call angels.
In fact the Bible is full of stories on how they interacted with God and us humans here on earth.

What I love about angels is how they seem to just show up when people lest expect.
I don't recall reading about anyone who planned to see an angel, or anyone who know ahead of time they were about to arrive.

Looking back at my life I think I have met an angel or maybe two angels to be precise.
It took on the same pattern. I was taken by surprise.
The circumstances were so random that you couldn't have planned it.
As you read on, I will let you decide for yourself…

While in Russia many years a go, I was traveling around with a Pastor.
Part of that journey required us to take two different trains within Moscow itself.
The problem was that we couldn’t figure out once on the first train where we needed to get off. If we missed the right station, we would most likely miss the next train???
Someone took notice of us and introduced himself as a Doctor from Afghanistan.
He stayed with us until we got to the correct stop and made sure we were ok.

Some years later I found myself in Japan on my own, having to catch several different trains to a remote part of the country.
Part of my problem was that I don’t speak or read Japanese.
The further we went from the main centers, the less English was used on the signs.

The last train I had to catch pulled out on schedule. I knew I needed to get off at a place called Inuyama, but didn’t know how many stops away that was.
At the first stop I looked out the window and to my horror, found all the signs in Japanese only. Now I had no way of finding out where to get off!
A man approached me (I must have looked distressed) and in English, asked if he could help.
He introduced himself and explained he was from….yes you guessed it Afghanistan!
He also stayed with me until the correct stop and even got off the train to make sure I made it off the platform ok.

What are the chances of that happening in two different countries under those circumstances!
I have wondered ever since whether maybe God sent an angel to help me???

Hebrews 13:2 says...
Some have entertained angels without knowing it

So when you read the Christmas story in the Bible…
Matthew 1:18-2:18; Luke 2:1-20
Maybe you could imagine what it would be like to be visited by an angel?
Maybe you have already experienced that at some time in your life?
Or maybe it is something for you to look forward to!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I think that it feels good when you know where you are going…

When I am driving my car to some new location, or a street in a part of Auckland that I haven’t been to before...there is part of me that is uneasy. It is that ‘unknown’ or only having part of the picture that effects your thinking.
You find it sometimes hard to relax on the journey.

When I was in Japan a few years a go I really experienced this feeling.
I was on my own and had to catch several trains from different stations to get to a meeting.
Not speaking any Japanese didn’t help much.
The last train I caught pulled into it’s first stop on the journey. I looked out the window and my heart sank...the station signs were only in Japanese. I know the station name I was going to, but had no idea what I was going to do as I had no way of knowing where to get off…
It is a long story, but I eventually did make it ok. Will tell you another time.

Anyway, having a clear plan and knowing some steps along the way feels so much better than having no idea!

Many people I talk too seem to not have much idea what God wants them to do with there lives.
That is why we did our little series called ‘Chazown’. It is the Hebrew word for vision.
I think God wants a balance in this for us. Yes, we are to walk by faith...but he doesn’t expect us to walk blind. Remember that his word is a lamp for our feet. Light is something that is seen!

God wants you to not only know some direction for your life, but also to see some of it.

If you want something practical to do help you find some more direction over Christmas…
How about doing what I did and read a book.
In particular Chazown by Craig Groeschel.
It is real easy to read, and fun to work through.

What not give it a try???

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It seems Christmas is a ‘deadline’ time of the year.
We treat it as such a pivotal moment of our calendar, not necessarily because of the meaning of
Christmas but because of it’s position on our calendars.

Recently we had the roof replaced on the church building because it was so rusty you could even get wet coming to church.
The goal was to have it complete way before Christmas, and we have signed off completion today!
For me personally I have a number of goals...which all have to be complete you guessed it…before Christmas.

Many people have lots left to do before the magical Christmas date…
Whether it be getting their car fixed, buying presents or even visiting the dentist.
Many companies that I deal with are sending me Christmas type cards, pushing me to get in quick with orders before they shut early for Christmas.

Now add to that mix all your normal day to day activities…
Now add to that planning for Christmas day with family and who needs what, and who we are
giving this and that to…
Now add to that preparations for Christmas services…
….ahhhh….stop the bus...I want to get off.

No don’t panic I am not that bad.
I have learnt that I have a pace that I can go over this time of year. That has come from over
doing it many times over many years. I have learnt that I have the power to control how I behave and feel leading up to Christmas. That power does not belong to anyone else!

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

It is one of the few Bible verses I know that talks about saving yourself…
So how? Very simply this is talking about keeping a close eye on yourself (not other people).
Are you doing too much? Are you organized? Are needing more sleep? Are neglecting time with God in prayer and his word? When was the last time you hung out with other disciples?
All stuff that you are qualified to answer for yourself.

If you want a Christmas time with less stress...look at yourself and do what you need to do…
Look after yourself.
Enjoy the Season, don’t just survive it!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

For me, sometimes there is a gap between what I know and what I believe.
I definitely know in my head that God wants to bless me, but find it hard to believe in my heart.
This means that when some blessing comes along that was not expected, I sometimes struggle to accept it. I even think I don’t deserve it and that seems to rob me of the fun of it!
Trust me, I don’t like thinking this way.
The concept is quite simple...I just need it to work down into my heart!

I know I am not the only one who struggles to believe that Gods wants to bless us.
We know the things we have done and the people we have hurt.
We know that if we were God (thank goodness we aren’t) that we wouldn’t want to bless us.
But this ignores who God really is. It ignores what we should know about his nature. His heart.

Number One
The whole deal with Jesus should be a dead giveaway!
The fact that while I didn’t know him or acknowledge him, God sent Jesus to be sacrificed for my sin. God wanted to give me an opportunity for a clear conscience. Jesus was the ticket to that.
All I have to do is believe it and accept it.

Number Two
The bible says that God cares for the smallest of his creation. He does it supernaturally.
He does it to the point where they are not panicking about where their next meal is coming from. They know instinctively that God will provide. God says that we are more important than those creatures, and we should learn from their example.
Maybe with our so called superior intellect we feel we have to work it out?
That is also our achilles heal...we don’t have to work it out!
Again all I have to do is believe it and accept it.

Number Three
So how am I going to deal my warped thinking?
Well here is my plan…
The Bible says that God’s word is so powerful that it can supernaturally bury deep into my being.
It says it achieves everything that it was designed to do.
So the plan is simple. I want God’s word in me.
You get this by reading it. Looking at it. Meditating on it.

If we can do this, God has the best chance of healing our thinking…
I want God to bless me and for me to enjoy every moment of it!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Many of you will know that am I about to embark on a new challenge early next year.
What most of you will not know is the journey that lead up to this point…

We have had this funny feeling for sometime that God was about to do something different in our lives. Some people call it a ‘sense’.
Whatever you want to call it, we knew something was coming that God knew all about, but we didn’t have any idea about...a ‘God’ surprise.
What that stage meant was a lot of praying and seeking after him for what he was about to do.

Some weeks a go a lady I don’t really know that well offered to prophecy over me (prophecy like this is God speaking through someone to you)...of which I accepted. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear from God whenever the opportunity arise?

She said some very encouraging things and then made a statement that really struck me.
“God was about to open a door that hasn’t existed before. It is like you can see a wall which has no doors in it and then suddenly there is a door...because God put it there.”

Well this excited me immensely. God was about to open a new opportunity to me!

And within a few weeks that door did appear in my life. A role where there was no ‘natural’ opportunity
before this suddenly appeared. A role which we have accepted.
The opportunity to grow the edge/sphere ministries over 3 churches!

The reason I am saying this is simply in a hope to encourage you!
God does have a plan for each of our lives. In fact he says he has plans...not just a little singular plan.
The creator of the universe who has each day of lives recorded, wants to bless me and use me for his glory.
He used a lady to speak into my life and prepare me for something he had planned since the beginning of time.
God is at work in all of our lives even though we might not feel it, see it or even know it!

Jeremiah 29:11
says
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Today, trust God is indeed working things out behind the scenes for you.
He is working out all things out just for you!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Spring and a holiday, what a great combination…
Ok it rained most of the time!
But I loved the chance to have a few days to rest, reflect, recharge, re… anything else I could think of.

As I write this I can see my plum tree and all its new growth for spring.
This year I paid more attention to the tree, and put fertiliser around it at just the right time.
Looks like I am going to get a great crop….yummy!

Spring is a time for me to reinvent part of my life.
Winter for many of us sometimes sees us hibernate in different areas of our lives.
Spring therefore reminds us about new life, a new start.
An opportunity to grow new growth.

For me part of that new growth was I needed to reinvent part of my quiet time…especially in the area of reading my Bible.
I prayerfully sat down and came up with a new plan that will reinvigorate my reading of God’s word. It’s realistic and challenging all wrapped up in one.

One of the reasons for doing this was the challenge I felt in my own heart from God, to go up a gear in this new season.

Have I felt down or condemned over this? No Way!
I have felt reinvigorated to go after God more.
To reinvent areas that maybe have not had enough attention in the previous season.

My challenge to you this week…
To ask God what areas in life you might need to review.
Relax about what he shows you, and put a plan in place.
If you take the time to fertilise areas you want to grow in your life, you will get much better results!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This week a well known celebrity created a world wide stir.
They have apparently adopted a little African boy, and everyone has an opinion on whether it is good or bad!

It seems the boys father was not consulted.
The grandmother is not happy.
Others argue that it is good, because this little boy will have opportunities beyond his wildest dreams.
Those cynical amongst have questioned the $6,000,000 given to an orphanage as part of some sort of an adoption deal.

Driving in my car and listening to talk back radio, I heard all these opinions and more...

A simple thought occurred to me listening to these people…

The Bible says that we should “do good” Galatians 6:9

God’s plan is that all of us should do the good that we find we can do.
If an opportunity presents itself to help, then we should be the first to do so.

No one can complain with any integrity when we do something unselfishly, even sacrificially.

Sometimes (not as often as I should) I have come across situations where I could choose to do something good or carry on my way.
Things as simple as picking up a toy a child has dropped in the supermarket and returning it.
Or helping someone with a door as they carry too much to do it themselves.

Because of the fact that the world we live in is cold and hard...random, even simple acts of goodness, really stand out those who receive them.

One writer in the Bible said that “Jesus went around doing good”

Let’s be prepared to do good to those around.
Be on the look out to be Jesus to those around you.

You have no idea the impact it could have on someone’s life!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I love the idea of reading...is it just that I am not so good at it…

Currently I am reading a number of books at the same time, which is not too bright, but I am up for the challenge.
Some of them include:
- An Unstoppable Force / Erwin McManus
- Chazown / Craig Groeschel
- Your Church Has A Fantastic Future / Robert Schuller

WHY?

Something I have learnt is that we need to keep our ‘Faith Fresh’.
You can not live on past revelation alone for too long.
Either it will bore you or stop you in a time warp that even you can not perceive.

I know that even with all that I may have learnt already in life, that I need to know more.
I want to understand how this God thing works!
I want to have answers when people ask me questions!
...so I invest in myself by reading and studying...so that I have something to offer others.

I am not too proud to say that I do not know everything.

What we have is an awesome opportunity in our time to learn and gain understanding about what we believe in.
If you are struggling to come to terms with some sort of ‘God thing’, why not read about it.
Wrestle with it until it makes sense to you.


‘Books’ have undoubtedly shaped the lives of other Christians around the world.
God uses this medium to help us all to grow in some way.

How about you grab a great ‘christian’ book today and start reading with me...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I have been talking a lot about ‘Seeing God’
My heart is stirred to the point that I am now desperate to see him ‘obviously’ at work in all our lives.
I have come to realise that most generations throughout history have struggled with God when they haven’t
experienced him personally.
This thought drives me to help us all see God at work. Without it, we only have history to go by and most of us either hate history, or ignore it.

As part of my Bible reading recently I found another story that kind of goes along with some of what I have been talking about.

Back when Jesus was born there was a very old man called Simeon.
The Bible actually calls him ‘righteous and devout’...very complimentary.
Simeon had been calling out for God to move in his generation. Asking God to do something before he died. His heart was to not miss out on seeing something of what God had promised happen in his time.

He loved God and we find him in the Temple when he first sees Jesus.
Because of Simeon’s heart, apparently God had promised that he would see the Messiah before he would die. When that actually happened we don’t know, but we do know he believed God, that he stayed the course and God fulfilled his promise.
He got to SEE Jesus.

The Bible also says that he was waiting…
This is that ‘active waiting’ I have been talking about.
He didn’t sit on his hands when God gave him the promise. He was looking and expectant enough that the Holy Spirit was able to prompt him be at the Temple the same time Jesus was there.

I am convinced that God wants us to see him!

The keys are very simple!

Isaiah 641-5a
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
©Today's New International Version. 691. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 2001, 2005.

1. We need to do right
2. We need to wait on him

God wants us to see him be dramatic and do what he has promised.
He is not a man that he should lie about anything!

We need to keep things simple and focused.
Do what you know is right
And actively wait on him.
Do the things like prayer and worship and getting together.

Can I encourage you as I encourage myself…
To turn our thoughts and hearts towards God again this week.
To begin to cry out that he would show up!
That this generation would SEE him…

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Recently I was reminded of something that I haven’t done a lot of in public lately.
Namely this thing we call “speaking in tongues”

At our Snow Camp over the weekend, I had the opportunity to share some thoughts on what God wants to do with this generation.
Part of that was God releasing his anointing in a new way that this generation could clearly identify as coming from God.
I had the opportunity to pray for each person at camp.
But I felt it right to pray over them mostly in tongues…

I went away thinking about that.
I wondered if it seemed strange to those present that I would do such a thing?
Because it is not something you hear as much as we used to in Church circles.

For those of you wondering what I am even talking about…
“Speaking in Tongues” is very simply a prayer language that the Holy Spirit gives us when we are baptized in him.
You can read at the start of the Book of Acts the following…

Acts 2:1-13
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

Even after all the history we have had between then and now, it still sounds strange to many people.

I love what the Apostle Paul taught on the subject!

1 Corinthians 14:5
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues

Paul is real clear that this is for all of us!
The Prophet Joel said that God would pour out his Spirit on ALL flesh.
All the believers who were first filled with the Spirit of God at Pentecost were able to do it.
It wasn’t something for some special group only!

1 Corinthians 14:18
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.

It was something Paul encouraged we should do as much as possible. He even seems competitive about it?
One of the reasons being, that it encourages our spirit. It gives you things to say to God when your human words run out...

1 Corinthians 14:22
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers

Paul even says that it is something we should not hide away. That it is ‘right’ to be public with it. That it is a sign that God is doing something in our generation.
At the very least people will ask questions….and that is a good thing!

1 Corinthians 14:39b
...and do not forbid speaking in tongues

From time to time over history, people have tried to stop Christians from speaking in tongues…
You won’t get that from us!

So if you filled with the Spirit, please pray...please pray in tongues
Let your prayer language grow and develop.
Don’t let it die!

If you think that you are not filled the Spirit of God, talk to us. It is for you!
We would love to talk to you about it and pray for you...and see God fill your life in this way.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

God wants you to think!

Why do I say that?
Well firstly I believe God gave us all a brain.
Secondly, God wants us to use it to all it’s designed ability. That bit he leaves up to us!

Last week I was looking up some trivia questions on the net and found a site that told me the names of the “3 Wise Men”. I was shocked! Who was able to work this out?
What amazed me even more is that I haven’t been able to find any record in the Bible of “3 Wise Men”. What it does say is that there were a group called the ‘Magi’. No mention of 3 men…

It reminded me to always know for myself what the Word of God says…
Yes listen to what is taught and be teachable, while always checking it out for yourself and coming to terms with it yourself.

I love quoting that passage in Philippians 2:12
“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”

I think God wants us to understand. He wants us to think.
God is not so much interested in out religious stories or folk tales that can be passed down.
He wants you and I to understand personally what he thinks.
He wants you and I to know what he has done and what he is about to do.

That is again the beauty of the time we live in.
A time where most of us can read and most of us have access to the Word of God.

Please understand that I am not encouraging you to be cynical about everything that is taught you. That would be swinging the pendulum too far. Instead, I want to encourage you to learn about our faith for yourself. Ask questions, wrestle with it.
Then you will feel more connected to it and understand better how to explain what you believe to others.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I heard a Dad on the radio the other day talking about his kids…
He talked at length about what each one was like and what they had achieved.

This man was in his late 40’s I guess and the age range of kids was quite pronounced.
What really stood out to me was what he said about the youngest...

His youngest kid has dwarfism.
And you got the distinct impression that this son held a special place in his Dad’s heart.
He spoke about how cool this kid was. In fact he said “he doesn’t even know he is different!”
He never treated him as weird or different. He loved him all the more!

It reminded me of what we do as humans.
We tend to judge so much by what is visible in a persons life. Like the clothing they wear or the ‘weird’ little differences they might have from us.
And then a phrase starts coming to mind, that they are not “normal”

But what is normal?
Is normal simply what is similar to us?
Or am I not normal…

Thousands of years a go a man was asked by God to anoint a new king for Israel.
He visited a family as directed by God and proceeded to look at the possible heirs to the throne.
He wanted to anoint the oldest as that seemed the most logical to him...what was normal.
God had other ideas. He wanted the youngest anointed.

God knew who this little guy called David really was.
He knew his insides, he knew what he was really about and how God had designed him.
It was to be ‘his’ normal that David though young, was to grow up to be an awesome King.
In fact God says latter that David was a man after his own heart! WOW.

Don’t worry if you are ‘normal’ or not!
What really matters is what your Dad thinks of you. How God sees you…

You are normal to him and are all that he wants you to be.

If you are struggling with your self worth, then look to him and what he thinks…
Nothing else matters!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I regularly head to Queen Street in Auckland City to meet up with people or even just to have some time to think.
There is something about wandering around a city’s main street, hanging out in its main square, that really helps you connect with what is happening in the city.

This week I was supposed to be meeting someone for lunch on Queen Street.
The thing is, that at the same time a parade was going to be happening.
Now normally that wouldn’t bother me except this parade was a little different.
It’s title should tell you everything...“Boobs on Bikes”.
For those not familiar with the term ‘Boobs’, it very simply means topless ladies on the back of motorbikes.
Apparently it is promote women’s equality, but most of us know it was to promote the Erotica Show happening a few days later.

It really challenged my thinking.
Could I go to Queen Street for legitimate reasons and not be caught up in this?
If someone saw me, would they conclude I was there for the parade?

I realised again that it didn’t matter what my honorable intentions were or how pure my motives…
If someone saw me they would make judgments. They might even think I was there for the parade.

It reminds me of a few passages of scripture…

1 Corinthians 10:23
"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial.

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

The Bible also goes on to say that I shouldn’t do something that might cause others to fall over.

Part of the challenge for us a disciples is that our lives are not one of isolation.
What we do and the choices we make can have a dramatic affect on other peoples lives.

When I was a youth pastor many years a go a learnt this lesson.
I used to work long hours and had very little time to myself. Generally that time was a Saturday afternoon.
To help unwind I would sit down in front of the TV and watch whatever was on.
One of the programmes screening at the time was Beverley Hills 90210. Please don’t think I was a fan, it was just something to watch (before they started sleeping with each other).
I never told anyone what I did on this afternoons. Didn’t think there was anything to report.

Then one day a girl from the youth group had a fight with her mum.
It was over what she watched on TV on Saturday afternoons. Her mum didn’t want her to watch 90210. To which the girl replied...“if Locky can watch it, then I should be able to as well!”
I never told anyone I watched it, but people knew. People notice things in our lives that we think don’t matter.

So with all that in mind I changed my plans. I asked to meet somewhere else.
Yes it was going to make it harder, but at least I could have a clear conscience over what I was doing!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Recently I shared about someone in the Bible who is not looked at in the best of ways…
That person didn’t commit a crime, didn’t do harm to another living soul, but is still held up as someone less than perfect.

That person is Martha.

She lived in the same time and place as Jesus.
She was part of a family and did all the normal things that Jewish ladies of her day would do.
She took pride in what she could do for others.

Let’s look at what is written about her.
The passage you are about to read is the most commonly referred to about this lady.

Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


The picture would appear that she did wrong.
That she didn’t understand what Jesus was looking for.
It would appear that working hard and serving Jesus was not what he wanted...
That worshipping at his feet is all that matters.

Later we can read that Martha’s brother was sick and dying. (John : Chapter 11)
You will not read that Mary, the more ‘spiritual one’ went to Jesus asking for help! It was Martha.
Martha told Jesus “I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask”
She demonstrated an amazing faith for someone supposedly second class because she was always busy.

Martha was never just serving.
Making meals, looking after Jesus and his disciples needs were not a job to her. It was actually her way of
worship. It was her way of expressing her feelings towards her Saviour.
Martha always took care of things, so that people like Mary could have the opportunity to sit at Jesus feet.

For me serving at church has never been about a Job!It has always been about serving Jesus. It has always be part of my
expression of worship.
When there have been times time I haven’t served, I have felt
very disconnected from what is happening.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus is the best thing to do...just not the only thing to do!
The Bible encourages us to worship God with what we do, not what we don’t do...

Matthew 20:28
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many

Ephesians 6:7
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men

Thursday, August 10, 2006

John 14:12
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

Have you ever really thought through this statement that Jesus made?

In my Bible I read of a Jesus who touched people.
People touched him and they were healed of all sorts of diseases.
People that couldn't walk…walked.
People that couldn't see….saw
People that could speak….spoke
And the list goes on.

It looks like that God is saying we can do the same and more!
Maybe it is more about how we look at ourselves than how God looks at us?

God has planned for us to be his answer for this generation. To be the ones that bring healing.
Do you want to be part of this?

Here are some keys:
1. You need to want to do it (God answers the desires of our hearts)
2. You need to be looking and praying (Be prepared/Do what God is doing)
3. You need to step out in faith (Give it a go)

Faith is such a major element of who we are supposed to be.
God is saying to us as he said to Joshua thousands of years a go...be strong and courageous!
Maybe this week you could look at your world differently?
Maybe you could begin to believe that God wants to use you in signs and wonders.

In the book of Mark, Jesus said…
"they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well"
He is talking about all of us, not just the guy in the flashy white suit!

Friday, August 04, 2006

I think our generation understands the concept that we will probably not do the same job or occupation
all of our lives.
Previous generations were educated and then entered a career that was their choice for life.
We live in a time where we may have several career changes, which includes trying to make that change at the right time and in the right way.
The danger is that we hide behind this concept and run away, or make changes before they should happen.

As a kid growing up, my parents had a simple rule for me…
That if I started a hobby, that I had to do it for minimum of one year.
I started to learn the Piano when I was 6 and studied it for nearly 4 years.
I learnt the Cello for 1 year.
I learnt the Trumpet for 1 year.
And the list goes on…

What this engrained in me was the habit of sticking to a course of action even when it got hard, but not feeling guilty if change had to occur at some future time.

The Bible talks about seasons. Talks about that there are times for everything.
Seasons are normally fairly obvious, and they are designed to not last more than a certain length of time.
If you are thinking that a season in your life is changing that is awesome. But consider the season carefully.
Check for physical signs that it really is time for change. Not just that you are tired of the season.
Personally I am sick of winter, but shortening it would effect then rest of the seasons and cause trouble.
Talk it through with people you trust.

Finally, the Bible also says “we are not ones that shrink back
If your current season is not over, press on and don’t ever give in!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

“How was your day Locky?”
….I hear you asking…

Well thanks for asking, it has been very interesting so far!

Most of my day has related around talking with people.
And all those people had the same issue, it is just that they came at it from different directions.
Each one of them said they were really keen to come to church, but didn’t think they could.
When I pressed them for why, the same answer came out of their mouth’s…

“Because I am not good enough!”

Now I was shocked!
Where did this happen? Did we plan it for people to think this way?
Is this supposed to be how it works?
No Way!
Christ died for sinners not saints. Christ loves us as we are, not what we are.
He gave his life for us before we are so called right with him.

It scares me to think that people who want to follow Christ think they can’t spend time with other disciples just
because they don’t ‘meet the grade’.
The reality is that none of us do, myself included.
I am saved through grace, not by works, so that I can not boast about my righteousness.

Hebrews 10:10 says…
We have been made Holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

If you have struggled with this recently. Know that God loves you as you are.
The reality is that we all have issues. No one is perfect. No one is more special than anyone else...we are all God’s kids.
Church is great for you, because it exists so we can support each other through our struggles.

Catch you soon...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

People have a tendency to make things we call ‘blanket statements’.
While they may have some wisdom about them, sometimes they can also box you into ‘thinking’, that stops you from looking at other possibilities…

A common blanket statement is...“don’t worry what other people think”

The small element of wisdom in this statement will protect you from letting others put you off fulfilling a dream or a goal. The flip side, the danger side, is that it can also stop you hearing from God!

Wooo, what are you saying I hear you cry?

The 3rd key on learning to hear from God on big things...is to listen to those around you.

Sadly I have watched many well meaning disciples spend all of themselves on a dream or a goal that has never worked. They were so focused on it that it consumed them, and eventually wore them out when it didn’t come to pass.
These people all had a similar trait. They didn’t like anyone questioning the dream or offering some guidance. They sometimes looked at everyone around them as enemies to the vision.
Therefore they miss out on God ordained guidance/support/help that was put there to bless them and help them get it right.

When I was new to Christianity people around me used to say crazy stuff like...I see the call of God on your life.
This motivated me to work out with God if they were right or not. They saw something with me that I could not
necessarily see myself at the time. It didn’t mean I was less intelligent. It was simply God’s design at work.
Also over the years I have taken great comfort from checking big decisions out with people I trust. I value their opinion and recognise the fact that God can use their speech to guide me, or to tweak me.

I have found that most people are not out there trying to destroy me.
The valued friends and leaders around me want the best for me. So when I talk to them, that is the angle I know they are coming from.
Other people have something we can never have personally. An ability to see us from the outside.
This is meant to work to your advantage not against you.

Job 15:8
Do you limit wisdom to yourself?

Is such a challenging thought…
Below is part of the answer...

Proverbs 13:10
Wisdom is found in those who take advice

So if you are facing big decisions this week...find someone to talk too and weigh up the wisdom they might share with you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I love the way God has designed us. It is so cool!
Built into each one of us is a component you can not see no matter what the machine or
technology. But it can be one of the most powerful forces to guide you in life.

Remember how I am sharing on how to make big decisions/hear from God
Well this force inside of you is put their at birth and develops through life to enable you to make right choices.
You can be like Luke from Star Wars and learn to use it or you can ignore it and suffer for it.

It is simply called your “conscience

Bible verse after verse mention conscience and adds words like clear and good to describe how it should be.

When I was 8 my parents returned from an overseas trip that lasted some months.
They traveled right around the world including a country called Italy.
From wherever they went they brought home little souvenirs of the journey including money.
As an 8 year old I was fascinated by the 10,000 lira note they showed us. To me I could not understand that it was worth only a few dollars in New Zealand currency. I believed it was worth $10,000. More money than I had ever imagined.
One day I was showing it off to some kids and ended up wrestling with it...you can imagine what happens next!
Yes, we ripped it!!!
I was so upset. I thought I had ripped and destroyed $10,000 dollars.
So I hid the money and tried to pretend it never happened.

That night I could not sleep. My mum kept asking me what was wrong, but I could bring myself to tell her.
In fact many years went by before I did anything about my crime.
I lived with this horrible feeling in my gut for so long. Before I knew it was called a conscience.
Eventually I confessed and found out how silly I had been. But I learnt a valuable lesson...to listen to my
conscience and not to pretend it is not there. Otherwise I just hurt myself.

The Apostle Paul commended his friend Timothy to keep a clear conscience.
To let that conscience confirm he is making right choices.

1 Timothy 1:19
holding on to faith and a good conscience

Paul wrote in Hebrews that the Spirit of God will cleanse our conscience, so that we will be able to make right choices for our lives.

So when you face stuff. Check in with your conscience. How does it feel?
If you feel sick about it don’t do it!
Let the Holy Spirit and your conscience guide you in everything.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I have been thinking again this week on something most of us really try to get our head around…
How to make decisions…on the life changing things.

The major difference for us who are disciples is that we generally want to do something we call ‘Gods Will’.
Therefore our decision making can be either easy or stressful depending on how you look at it.
We should be able to derive comfort from knowing we have someone bigger than us to turn to for help with this stuff. It should give us confidence that we will get it right, if God is leading us like we hope.

Unfortunately I bump into many people who have all the above but still find making the ‘bigger’ calls on life
direction, a horrible situation to be in.
So I thought I would help us all out (myself included) and look at this over the next few weeks.

There are some characters in the Bible that inspire me more than others.
One of them is Paul, who used to be called Saul.
Have you ever thought about that? The fact that God changed his name by only one letter!
Maybe God could change my name to Rocky or Jocky or Mocky...let’s hope not.

Sorry, back to what I wanted to share…

Paul was used by God in amazing ways. You can read about him in the book of Acts. How God met him where he was at, and how God used him to change/enhance the course of the early church.
He faced so many drama’s and issues. He had to make very important decisions that he knew would effect more than just himself. He knew he had influence and wanted to get it right.
But I don’t read anywhere where he stressed or panicked on what he thought God wanted him to do.

He wanted to do things...that seemed good but we read this…
Acts 16:6
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.

Paul was like is and wanted to do things that looked right on the surface. But he always kept a check on himself by checking with the Holy Spirit. Seeing what he could sense God wanted him to do.
It wasn’t just all about opportunity.

I think we make it hard for ourselves sometimes.
Trust God!
Trust that he will lead you to make the right decision.
Heart is everything! If you do all you can that is all you need to do.
God has invested life itself into you. He takes his job seriously to lead you and nurture you to maturity in him.

Stay soft and let the ‘still small voice of God’ lead you.
Maybe a good idea for you is to find a quiet place and just listen.
Ponder what God may speak to you, and trust you will hear from him...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Have you ever sat back and wondered if we have got it right?
I am talking about this thing called 'church'...

I believe this is a valid questions for every generation, especially in the time we live.

Erwin McManus explains this really well in his book An Unstoppable Force.
He talks about our current generations being so different from each other.
When you compare them and attitudes from the 1800-1900's it is striking! It wasn't uncommon in past centuries to wear the same type of clothes your father or grand father wore. You were also comfortable with the same music and lifestyles.
Now we are normally poles apart. I personally do not want to wear the same style of clothing my father wears, let alone listen to his music.

With that in mind, we need to explore 'church' for this generation.
What is important?
What should it look like?
How will future generations look at it?

I don't want to assume that 'church' based on another generations model is right for us now.
I want to think, ponder and understand.

I want to take the good from the past but push on for the better that God has for us now!
Let's not be afraid to wrestle until we find God for our generation now!

Starting in July at Cafe Church we are exploring this in depth.
Looking at the early christian church you read in the Book of Acts.
Learning from them, but applying to the world we find ourselves.

Should make for an interesting journey!
Keep watching this space...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We live in a western world where 'war' is a dirty little word.
Where 'war' is something that should be avoided at all costs!
Since the 1960’s the ultimate goal of each western generation has seemed be something they call peace.
Because that call has been around for over 40 years and become embedded in our culture, there is an interesting unspoken philosophy in church circles that the ultimate goal of our lives right now is peace. With peace is the blessing of God.
But that doesn't line up with what I read in the Bible.
Yes, we should be at peace with each other, but not completely at peace.

Jesus said some interesting things...

Matthew 10:34
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Luke 22
35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
"Nothing," they answered.
36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one"


This doesn’t sound like things should always be about peace!
In fact, the Bible makes it very clear that there will be seasons for battles, for wars in our lifetime.

Judges 3:1-2
These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):

God knows we need to learn to fight.
What we fight for will mean something too us. What we don't have to fight for, we can take for granted!

If you haven’t guessed it, this is a call to fight!
For some of us it is simply a reminder
For others it is something new.

2 Chronicles 6:34-35
"When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause."

So the expectation is when not if

So who are you supposed to be fighting?

Eph 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

There are things, forces, the devil even out there to destroy you.
It is one thing to become a disciple it is another to get involved in the fight.

The last thing the devil wants for you now is to fight. If he can keep you bound up and scared, or even tired and cynical…they you don’t pose much of a threat.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

God has given us weapons to fight with…
And the most powerful one you have is your mouth!
With your tongue you can build up and you pull down.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil he used his mouth! He spoke the world of God and he overcame.
He didn’t just study it or even just understand it. He used it!

God is not looking at our generation and wanting us to enjoy peace at all costs.
Just like previous generations, we have a battle that only we can fight.
Whatever you are facing please fight. Fight for what God has for you!
Open your mouth and declare what God has spoken, what God has promised.
Stand and Fight.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Recently I have had the privilege of sharing with some people what we believe as Christians - as disciples.
You know, the very basics of our faith. Stuff that you can build on.
Now they tell me as we talk and study that they are learning a lot...but I am learning just as much, or should I say reminding myself?

From all that a phrase popped up that intrigued me.
It went along the lines of...'Christ needs to be the centre of who we are and what we do'

Step back from a phrase like this and ask why?

God is amazing in that he arranges simple teaching and instruction for us, not just to tell us what to do, but to benefit us greatly.
Christ being the centre is exactly the same. The why questions helps clarify the how.
When Christ is the centre, when he truly is the focus...it means we don't get caught up in dumb stuff.

As a guy I can be very focused on things I like!I love playing American Football on my XBOX. To the point that it takes up all my focus and I sometimes don't see other things around me.
When Christ is your focus and you really focus...all the other issues in life can seem a little different.
The problems that you may be facing might not take over your thinking so much. They even might be put into a better perspective.

The Bible encourages us to "fix our eyes on Jesus".
Why? Because it is the best thing to do!
Without it you can get distracted by other things that don't matter as much.

The Book of Revelation mentions several times about Jesus being "in the centre" and everything else revolving around him.
This picture of heaven showes where Christ should be for us personally and as the church.
With Christ as the centre of our lives everything else will fit into heavens plan.

...let's fix our eyes on him again...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

There are many ideals we would love to live under or live in.

Some may be a perfect society where there is no crime or fear of crime.
Or maybe that families would always be safe and stay together.
Or maybe that as Christians we would see 'God Stuff' happening all the time...

The reality seems sometimes so far away from the ideal.
Does that mean we don't look for the ideal?
Does that also mean we don't expect it, or even give up completely?

Your answer should be NO!

God has placed us all here to change our current reality into His reality.
It is easy to see all the bad stuff in the world.
The challenge is what are going to do about it.
The questions from God to you, is what are you going to do about it?

I have learnt something over the years...
Just sitting around doing nothing achieves exactly the same, nothing!
You have to do something to achieve something.

I have grown up in christian circles hearing how God is like this and that. That he wants to do miracles. We have have been told again and again what Church should be like. But it doesn't always seem to be that way.
It would be natural to assume that if we put together a special prayer event that people would sign up as fast as possible. The reality is that only a few do. It is like we are waiting for something else? But I am not sure what it is?
We talk a lot about this generation making a huge mark in history. What scares me is that we might miss it. Why? Because we aren't always that aggressive in going for it. We are still waiting!

Can I encourage you to stop waiting (if you are?).
If you want to change this generation or society or even church then you need to do something about it. If you are hungry for God to move than you need to do something about it.

How you may ask? Well it is real simple!
Start with what you do know and let God do the rest.
How about this weekend you go after God with some renewed passion.
Get involved in the Global Day of Prayer...it is only 30 minutes out of an entire weekend.
Come along on sunday and be part of God doing something amazing things with us as a church.

Look what Jesus said....

Matthew 11:12 (niv)
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

Remember...that ideal and reality are just two poles we live in between.
You can move between them in whatever direction you like. The choice is always yours...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I have a relative who says...
"When I win Lotto, I am going to do this and do that"
The only problem is that they don't normally buy a ticket. So all they really have at the moment is wishful thinking.

Now I am not telling you go buy Lotto tickets. I am simply wanting to share with you the point that hoping, wishing, even dreaming sometimes is not enough to see something happen. You need a little more than that.
You generally will only get something when you go for it. When you work for it. When you pay some sort of cost for it.

Many times I have hoped to get something. Even sat around waiting for it...and guess what happened?
You guessed it...nothing!

Many years a go, God spoke to a young guy about something he wanted him to do.
I noticed that he didn't give him the '5 step plan', or a special 'thing' to achieve what God had for him to do.
The two things he gave him was His favour (spirit, presence, anointing) and advice. And that advice was pretty simple.
He said "be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:6)
Simply having the idea to win battles or having the strategies were not enough for this guy called Joshua.
God told him to have some guts and get on with it. That way he would be successful.

For you, don't just sit around wishing.
If God has given you something to do, please just do it.
Please be strong and courageous. And then God can bless what he gives you to do.

What God spoke to a young Joshua, he is speaking to you today.
How about you encourage yourself with the whole passage of scripture?
I know God will speak to you through it!

Joshua 1:6-9 (niv)
6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I have heard so many sermons and devotions on dreams, and how we are supposed to have one.
To be honest I find them difficult sometimes...especially if you still waiting on yours to be fulfilled!

Personally I have many dreams.
Today I wanted to share with you a dream and a dream fulfilled.
To at least show that they do come true, that God will fulfill the dream he places on your heart.

22 months a go I started work on something that I had dreamed of and we had dreamed of as a church.
Our very own Cafe!
We came up with ideas, worked the ideas, presented the ideas and I prayed a lot!
After all that happened in early 2005 I began to think it might never happen. I found myself questioning whether I had the dream right in the first place. But I continued to pray...even if it was a little 'shaky'.

Last sunday morning the dream came to pass. We opened our Cafe for the very first time.

Now you may be thinking that it was a little dream. Or maybe even not that spiritual. That doesn't matter.
What it did tell me is that God will fulfill a God Given dream! That is what he does!!!

We quote the life of Joseph so much on this subject...
He had dreams, and he also had times of hardship before the dream came to pass.
Don't panic if you are in the hardship phase. It just means your dream is that little step closer.

I am reminded of a little story in the Book of Daniel (Chapter 10), where Daniel is visited by a someone like an angel.
This person explains to Daniel that he had been trying to get him the answer to what he was asking for 21 days. But it was delayed because something evil was stopping him. But as Daniel continued to pray, the prayer was eventually answered.
Sometimes when we have a dream we have to pray and fight spiritually. Just because it might be taking a while doesn't mean God is not answering. It could mean that the enemy is trying to stop it. So keep praying. God will send the help he knows is needed to fulfill his purpose.

Here is a good scripture to finish on...

2 Chronicles 15:7
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I love coffee!
It is such an amazing drink...

When you get a coffee from your favourite cafe, a lot has happened, and has to happen to make sure you enjoy your coffee.


Those simple beans have to be picked right
Roasted Right
Ground Right
Drawn Right
Then you add the milk...
It has to be Right
Stretched Right
Heated Right
Poured Right
...and finally you get it with a smile.

While thinking about this, I couldn't help but see how our lives are like this process.
We are like a bean, raw and untainted.
Before we can be exactly who we need to be, God works on us little by little.
Sometimes it feels like you are being roasted. Other times like being ground.
But in the end we can be something of huge value to those around us.

Without some refining, without some pruning, we can't be all we can be.

The Bible says this...
James 1:2-4
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Jesus said the following...
John 15:1-2
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Again, I love my coffee. I can see that the process it goes through is worth it!
The process you may be going through will be even more worth it!!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I have got another traffic story for you...

After dropping Jack off I hit the motorway.
Like most of you I am secretly praying that by some divine miracle that the roads will be clear. That I will arrive at work in record time and totally relaxed. But who am I kinding? I live in Auckland.

Today was just like any other day.
It is normally not bad in regards to flow until you get to a certain section. Generally you will always find yourself stopped there surrounded by people just like you. For that brief moment in time you have everything in common with them. No matter what happened before that day or what station of life you are in....the motorway can be the great 'leveler'.
At this point no one cares what sort of car you drive, we are all the same!

Today I looked behind me and noticed a young guy in a really nice car. You could see he was listening to an iPod or similar and just waiting there like me. But I began to think about him. To wonder what life was like for him...and then something happened...I found myself praying for him. I was asking God to bless him, to save him, to meet him where he was at.
It was at that point I realised I could turn this frustration of a traffic jam into a time where I could pray for those around me.
As soon as we started to move I found myself praying for the van in front, praying for the lady beside me...it was fun!

All of us like people praying for us. We love it when we know that someone is talking to God on our behalf.
So next time you are stuck in traffic...I dare you to look around and find someone to talk to God about it.
You will probably be the only one praying for them that day.
Just imagine what God might do with your prayer for them.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

When I was fairly new to this 'christian' thing, someone said something to me that really bothered me!
There was a group of us travelling in my car to an event. Me and my best mate in the front and two young ladies in the back. We were talking about how we had recently made 'decision's for Christ' and they replied...
"how cute, we just love baby christians"

I just about stopped the car and kicked them out...but was too much of a gentlemen.

The thing is, it doesn't matter how long you have been a christian or where you are at in your journey with God...we are all the same. Yes, our knowledge and experience levels might be different, but God loves us as equals.

A short time later something cool happened!
I was sitting reading my Bible at someone's house while I waited for them.
Reading through 1 Timothy, I came across some verses that changed my life and influenced my thinking, also who I was as a christian forever (1 Tim 4:12-14)!
It had such an impact on me that day that I could tell you where I was, what time of the day, what couch I was sitting on....you get the picture.

Part of that scripture goes like this.
1 Timothy 4:12 (niv)
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

What God is saying is that it doesn't matter if you are young or new to christianity. We are called to the same thing.
We are called to live our lives as examples to others, even those who we think may be more 'sprititual' than us.
The phrase "Don't let anyone look down on you" can also be interepted "Do stuff so that it causes people to look at you differently".
You don't have to have 20 years of experience to be an example for other christians!
Don't be who people expect you to be, do what you think God expects you to be.
That is why as a so called young christian I went for it. Studied what I could. Changed the course of my life...because God said I could.

God is encouraging us to let all of our life be an example. That God can use all of us to help others.
God is saying that you can be like this. It is not just a pipe dream. God doesn't say stuff to us that is not possible.

Remember to be who God has called you to be...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

When I was a kid I had a wild imagination!
I would dream of being all sorts of things, but I had a particular favourite...
I dreamed of being an astronaut.
My toys included rockets, star wars ships and figures...anything to do with 'space' was alright by me.
When it came time to do some 'creative writing' at primary school I generally only wrote about my space adventures. In fact my first song I ever wrote was called the 'Spaceship'

Then something happens to your life. You get older!
And people start telling you, that you have to stop imaginning silly things, like going to space and get a 'real' job.
Essentially they are telling you to grow up and stop pretending.

But I have noticed a funny paradox here. Most of us still pretend.

I used to be a Salesman as part of one of my jobs I used to do.
My boss would regularly try to tell me to pretend.
To pretend I knew what I as talking about when I didn't. To pretend I had done something before when I hadn't.
People wear makeup to pretend they look different to what they really do (please don't stone me!).
We get operations to make ourselves look different to what we really look like.
And sometimes we pretend to have life all sorted out, so that we won't look weak to someone else???

There is one place you don't need to pretend....and this is with God.
What is the point of pretending with God? He knows eveything. He knows all about our lives.
And there is huge safety in that! You can go to God not having to pretend anymore.
God accepts you as you are, not who you think you should be.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

One thing I take great comfort from, is knowing I can go to God at anytime and talk to him honestly about where I am at. So can I encourage you to always be honest with God. Let him more into the real life you are living this week....
He cares and he wants to help!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Over my ‘christian’ lifetime I have tried to keep learning.
Initially it was mostly for me. I wanted to understand what this whole ‘being a christian thing’ was all about. I wasn’t ever happy with just saying I was one, I wanted to know why I was one.

I have found most people are the same. They don’t naturally choose to be confused about what we believe, they don’t choose to not understand.
You see this most of all in people who have just made the decision to become disciples.

The other day I was sitting in the lounge early in the morning trying to read my Bible when Jack came in.
Basically my reading was shot…but in a good way.
Jack wanted to read what I was reading and he picked Matthew to start.
He started to read how Jesus was born, which brought up questions.

“Daddy, how does God make babies?” was his first question, which he attempted to answer himself. He said that God does magic. He wiggles his fingers and says a special phrase and all of a sudden there is a baby.

Now he was actually right to some degree.
But I wanted to help him understand a little better, so we looked up Genesis 1:1.
It simply talks about God speaking and then it happens. No need for God to wiggle fingers, he is all poweful and can do anything.

We then went to Psalm 139 and I showed him the passage about God knitting us together in our mothers womb.
He loved it! Talked about how God knitted his ears and how God made him from the tip of his head to his toes.

God wants us to PASS
Pass on to others what we have learnt, what we have found from Him.
Especially his Words, which are way more prowerful and have more authority than our opinions.
Under the Old Covenant, Moses passed on the words he got from God to the people. (Acts 7:38)
Under the New Covenant, we all are called to Pass the Word of God on.

1 Corinthians 11:2
I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

So what is my point?
Very simply, we need to pass on what we have to others…and the Word of God is the easiest to pass on. It is the most important to pass on. It is the most powerful ‘word' to pass on.It takes the pressure off us to personally to have every answer for every situation.

Simply trust that whatever you read and study from his word...he will bring out of you just when it is needed.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I regularly sit at a set of traffic lights waiting my turn in Manurewa.
It is like most other intersections in Auckland. Mad rush in the mornings. Most people looking tired, or grumpy or both!
But this intersection has these little areas they call 'bus lanes'. They are marked very clearly with signs on poles plus the road has this crazy green coloured seal on it.
You are probably wondering why I am telling this?

Well, those little bus lane make me grumpy. No it is not the bus lanes itself, it is the cheeky people who cue jump the rest of us and use them when they know they shouldn't. I sit there looking at them, thinking how I would like to do something that would 'punish' them or whatever.
If I am not careful I start to get angry. I start talking out loud about how rude they are....
I think you get the picture.

The problem is, is that all my ranting and raving, my getting upset...doesn't effect them in the slightest.
They don't even know about how unhappy I am. I am in my car...they are in theirs.

Today it happened again!
Plus someone ran a red light in front of me.
Plus someone cut me off on the motorway, while talking on their cellphone!

But today I tried something different. I said under my breath that I forgive them.
I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they really didn't mean to annoy me. And that felt much better.
Instead of arriving at work in a grump. I arrived chilled out.
Maybe there is something to this forgiveness thing that applies to simple everyday life...not just the big things.

The bible talks a lot about forgiving one another. God knew that it would an issue for us all our lives, and so reminds us about it again and again.
He tells us this because he knows if we let this stuff on top of us, that it will damage us...not necessarily the person we need to forgive.
He tells us this because he knows it could cause us to harden our hearts towards each others.

So the next time those 'little' things happen that could wind you up...
How about forgiving, letting it go...and maybe you will have a much better day?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

When I was at school there was some specific things that I didn't really enjoy very much...
For many of you, you will probably relate to this.
It was when it came time for 'picking teams'...

Yes, I was one of those kids that nobody wanted on their team.
Either they thought I wasn't fast enough or cool enough or strong enough.
But thinking back I wasn't that bad. It was just how they saw me.

When you are standing there in that situation it is horrible.
The is the dread of being picked last, which isn't really getting picked, it's just you are left over and you have to go somewhere.

While sitting in a staff meeting this week a scripture came up that reminded me of this in a good way.
No it didn't make me depressed.
It reminded me that as an adult at one time someone picked me for a team, and I wasn't the last one picked!
Someone picked me because they wanted me.
They could see that I was special.
They could see that I had something to offer.
They wanted me on their team because I could be in the game...and matter!

Ephesians 4:11-12
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Now I have read this scripture a few times before. Except this time I saw something different.
It talks about 'God's People', it talks about the 'Body'.
It isn't talking about a special sect or priviliged few. It is all encompassing. Meaning all of us are included in the statement.
You have been picked for the team. All of us have a role we can play.

Leaders are there not to just pick people. Leaders are there to equip us to be part of the team.
No one misses out. No one is picked last!

Elsewhere in scripture it says that "we didn't choose God, he chose us"

God has picked you for His team.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Last week I started praying for something...
To be honest, I was asking for something, but at the same time wanting to see if it was something God wanted me to do.
Maybe I was really setting a 'fleece' as we sometimes call it? (Judges 6:37-40)

After one week of talking to God about this thing...things started to happen.
The phone went. Opportunities that didn't exist before came up. Things that weren't even possible a week a go now seem possible.

Of course this has an effect on you!

It reminds you again that Prayer works! That asking God is a good thing to do.
It humbles you to think that what you pray might affect you and those around you.
It tells you again that God is real and that he loves you.

A scripture comes to mind:

James 5:16 (niv)
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective

We sometimes think that to have prayer answered we must be 'righteous' like it says above.
But we add that we aren't really righteous. That we are not good enough to be righteous...so therefore our prayers will never do much, never affect anything.
The true meaning of this scripture is then lost.

You are RIGHTEOUS!
When you accept Christ into your life you get the whole package.
Christ's righteousness becomes your righteousness. It is all part of the 'new life' the we are promised.
Being 'righteous' simply means 'being in right standing with God'
Accepting Christ's forgiveness means you get that standing.

So if you are Christian (Disciple) reading this...please be encouraged.
What you pray today, tomorrow, or whenever, it is powerful and effective.
God is listening to you and God is answering!
You just have to ask...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How do you find God? Where is Jesus?
These are questions I have heard many times.
There is that classic line from the movie Forrest Gump, where the now wheelchair bound Lt Dan asks Forrest "have you found Jesus yet Gump", to which he replies "I didn't know he was lost!"

But how do you find God?
Is he living in heaven millions of light years away?
If he is so far away, how are we supposed to have a relationship with him?

The Bible talks about God not in terms of being far away, but in actually being right here, right now!
In Genesis, the very first book if the Bible, it says that God was around to create the world, that his spirit hovered over the waters (Gen1:2).
It also says this really cool phrase regarding the time when the people of earth decided to build a really big tower..."the Lord came down to see the city and the tower" (Gen11:5).
That doesn't sound like a God watching from a distance!

Gods plans have never changed. From the beginning of time he has been working to get closer to us.
He walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Gen3:8-9). It was something he wanted to do, something he looked forward to do.
Now he is doing the same...

God isn't just looking for you to check up on you and tell you off or stuff like that...
He is looking for you because he, the creator of the universe, wants to spend time with you.
So when we talk about spending time with God, it is not about looking for him!
It is about being in a position where you can realise he is already there...

For each of us that 'position' can be different. For some it doing some sort of outside sporty thing, while others it sitting quietly on your own. I know for me, it is when I go for a walk, or when I worship with my guitar.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I used to think that if I read the Bible completely a few times through that maybe I would find it hard to still read.
Like if you have a favourite novel. Once you have read it once or twice it stays on a shelve because you can't bring yourself to read it again. Not many people have read War or Peace or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy many more times than once, because it lived for you once. You may have loved the experience...but it is never the same again.

The weird thing with the Bible is that I have read it through at least 4 times completely (no, I am not boasting, just illustrating my eventual point) and I am still learning stuff from it all the time. Currently I have been working my way through Proverbs and have got stuck on one chapter. In chapter 18 I am reading the same passage again and again.
Now I haven't gone crazy. It is just that no matter how much I read, it still comes alive for me.
One particular verse has caught my imagination. It is challenging me and provoking my life.

The Bible actually says in the Book of Hebrews that "the word of God is living and active"

God promises us that it should never get boring. That his word will always be something that is alive and doing something.
So what is doing? That same verse in Hebrews talks about the Word of God getting deep into our lives. Deeper than any earthly thing can go. God's word will feed you from the inside out. It is not something you apply to your skin and hope it will change you.

So whatever you read this week, whether one verse or many...
Can I encourage you to let this living word get into your life and feed you, help you, inspire you and make you more and more like Christ.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Isn't it always the simple/small things that stand out in our every day lives.
If you think back over your day so far, what can you remember? I bet it is stuff like whether you were late for work, or the fact you forgot something or maybe someone said something to you that helped you to get through the day.

When someone says something that helps, it is simply called 'encouragement'.

Now, after many years of searching, I have not found anyone that doesn't like some 'encouragement'.
We may shrug our shoulders and act a little embarrased when someone does it for us, but we really do like it!
Man, I would say that I love it!!!

The little notes people send me, the emails, the comments in person, can stick with you for more than that moment.
They can lift you up for days, weeks, even years!!!
Things my old youth pastor said to me and shared with me set the course of my adult life up to now. He had no idea that it would have such a lasting effect.

For me personally, the encouragement many of you have shared with me keeps me going. It helps me to go further with what God has called me, even what it gets tough. I only hope we can be this to each other all our days. We all need it. It is part of the fuel of life.
A discouraged person is empty even if their tummy is full.

The Bible says this...
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (niv)
"encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing"

Finally
here is a little link to something you might find 'encouraging'...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I mentioned last week about Jack going to school now...
Well that is a new part of my daily routine. I take Jack to school on my way to work, which I really enjoy.
For at least 10 minutes it is just us two...our little time together.

On monday we were driving there and Jack asks me a question...
"Daddy, how can I go to heaven, cause I don't know how to get there."
What made this question a pivotal one is that Jack was getting upset thinking about it. He was truly concerned he was going to miss out because he didn't know the directions. He knows simple things like where Nana's house is, where the school is...basically because he has already been there many times before. But in his mind he was panicing...because he hadn't been to heaven before.

So here I am...on the spot, feeling like I have 2 seconds to give him the perfect answer and I have no idea what to say!
I open my mouth and these words just fall out...
"Jack, you know that when you die your body stops right?"
"Yes Daddy"
"Well God also made you with a spirit that lives inside you and can never die. When you body stops your spirit knows how to get to heaven, so you don't need to worry about it"

Jack was stoked with my answer. I was simply stoked that I had a answer!

The Bible says this statement:
"be prepared in season and out of season" (2tim4:1-3)

God wants you to have answers for people when they really need some answers...

So how do you get prepared/be prepared?

If you want to have have answers you need two things:
To know some of the "Word"
Notice I didn't say the whole bible. I would encourage to learn as much as you can at whatever stage of your walk you are at. Keep learning, studying, letting it get into you. That is a well you can then draw from.
Trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you
The Bible talks about the Holy Spirit helping us with answers when we don't know what to say.
So just trust that that will actually happen for you.

An amazing thing I have found is that the answers affect you and the hearer.
When God uses you like this you learn at the same time.
There is also an amazing feeling for you when you are a mouth piece for God. Nothing else matches that feeling.

Don't be afraid to let God use you...you will actually enjoy it!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My holiday was a little different this time. Jack turned five at the end of January and started primary school along with the school term beginning. Now what I am about to share may mean more to the parents out there, but I know it will means something to all of you???

The first day was something I will never forget!
Here is my 'little buddy' off to school. It only seems like yesterday that he was a premature baby struggling to live. Now he is this little guy hungry to learn and start a new phase of his life. I will admit I found it hard. All his 5 years of life I have helped him, loved him, cared for him...and now he is beginning a phase I can support yes, but also only watch from a distance. I can't be there every day/all day of school. And that thought hit me as I walked to the school gate after leaving him there. I told Suze to talk about anything else but Jack, so that I didn't loose it. Sunglasses can hide so much!

Isn't this like life?
We spend so much time in similar circumstances that changing those circumstances can be very uncomfortable in deed!
Jack needs to go to school for him to develop into the man that God will make him. As a parent I have to let go a little. It is a new season. The old one is gone and will never be again. And it is exciting and upsetting at the same time.

Seasons are weird. Some of us have favourites, but they are always changing. You never see one season for all your life.
Imagine if it stayed summer all the days you are on this earth...you would cry out for a break from heat!
Imagine if you stayed at high school all your life...you would go insane!
God knows how we need seasons/change and brings it about just when we need it. We don't need to understand it, it just happens.

Trust God and his seasons for your life.
He knows your beginning from your end and is committed to you, to bless you and make you more and more like him.

Jack trusts his 'daddy' that this season is good for him...

Ecclesiastes 3 (niv)
1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What does the worker gain from his toil?
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what
God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there is nothing better
for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
13 That everyone may eat and drink,
and find satisfaction in all his toil
—this is the gift of God.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Yesterday I did something I have been wanting to do for a while, and being on holiday meant that I could.
I have never seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies! So planned a special day with my mate Chris watching all of them back to back, including 2 of them being the extended versions.
And all I can say today is WOW!

Now I am not about to tell you all about the christian parallels, well not today anyway...
The one main thought I had this morning was how an adventure, no matter how dangerous, is so exciting and enticing.
Back last century young men signed up to go to two different wars for the 'adventure', not the chance to kill!

It reminded me of a great book I read last year.
Wild at Heart by John Elderidge
He talks a lot about how God has made us for adventure, for something very special. Everything else is just not enough for us!

We all need to have adventure, to push the boundaries of life...all under the awesome call God has for each of us. Maybe you could pray that God will continue to lead further into this place. Never settle, stay unsettled ready for whatever God has for you.

Remember the destination is ultimate, but the journey (adventure) is great!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Today is my last day of 'work' for 3 whole weeks...YES I am having a holiday...and I am so looking forward to it!
So with that in mind I thought I would mention a really cool scripture...

1 Corithinans 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Many times I have heard people say our lives are like a marathon.
But when I think of a marathon I think yuck! I am not the fittest bloke in the world and I know I would never make it running that far.
Also, most of us will never run a marathon!
From what I understand about them, is that a good runner will find a pace and stick to it the whole race.
They want to find their groove and stay with it.

So if we say that our lives should be like a marathon, are we saying as well that we should only run at one pace? Are we saying we would be able to? Personally I don't think that is realistic, I don't think that is what God is trying to say to us!

It says 'run in such a way', which leaves plenty of room for interpretation. Life is not ever lived at one pace.
Have you noticed over our short lifetimes that there have been times where you have felt like you were sprinting, others you may have felt like you were crawling through the gravel. Whatever way you are 'running', the Bible encourages us to keep moving. Don't ever stop. Don't panic about the pace, cause it will change with the tides of our lives. God simply wants you to finish the race.

That's why taking a break, having a holiday is so important for all of us. It is wise to recognise that we are not superhuman.
So make sure you take time this year to recharge, got filled up on God...so we can all finish the race together!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In the last few weeks I have had to make some really important decisions. And to be honest I wasn't very comfortable with them!
They involved issues in what we call the 'grey areas' of life.
You know, those things where there doesn't seem to be any 'black or white' ruling on to go with.
So what did I do?

Checked out the Word
I went back to the Bible and read up whatever I could find on the subject and related subjects.
If you want to find out how God feels about things, this is always a good place to start.
Job 12:13 (NIV)

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.

Talked it Through
I went to people I could trust and who I respect to run it by them and gauge their response.
That didn't mean I did not go with some of the thoughts I had, I just needed others to help 'temper' my thoughts.
To guide me away from any wrong interpretations. And to confirm what I had right already!
Proverbs 15:22 (NLT)
Plans go wrong for lack of advise; many counselors bring success.

Checked out my Conscience
Don't be afraid of your conscience. God created it for a reason, to help you!
At the end of all the above I prayed and asked God to help and let my conscience guide me.
I made sure that I was comfortable with the decision, even if I wasn't comfortable with the situation.
Job 27:6 (NIV)
I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

The Bible encourages us to let the Word of God dwell (hide, live, exist) inside us. It also tells us that the Spirit of God lives within each one of us. Don't panic when life's tricky issues come up. Trust God that he will help you get it right!

Hope that is of some help?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sometimes the start of the year finds you saying things like..."I would like to be more disciplined"
But before you stop reading, don't think I am about to say that you should be. I actually want to help. Most of us want to read our Bible regularly, and we all struggle to do this at different times of our lives.

So I thought you might want to have a look at few things that can help us all.
Plus I am starting to use them myself to help me keep on track...


They are simply Bible Reading Plans...
The cool thing with these that I found is that they give you options. One of them is designed to be a 5 minutes a day system.
Others have you reading the whole Bible in a year! Navigators have 3 different systems for you to choose between...and they are free!

Click
here for a link to download some of these.
Or contact me and I will email or print them for you.

Enjoy
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