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'...
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