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 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!