Thursday, December 13, 2007

December seems to lead to something special on our calendars…Something called Christmas.
But if there was a time of the year when your life may feel a little wobbly or not quite where it could be, it is now.

I thought we could take some time to reflect not on the season, but on our place in the Christmas season.

Our lives are like a bicycle wheel.
There are many spokes that make up the whole wheel and give it structure and stability. But if one of the spokes in our lives comes lose of fails, our lives tend to go the same way.
If you ignore a loose spoke it doesn’t get better. It always gets worse.

And eventually more spokes join in the activity until your wheel collapses.

Many of us wait until we are really sick before we get help.The reality is that if we ignore the small stuff, it sometimes grows into big stuff!
We ignore a small tooth ache until it becomes a root canal.
We ignore a something wrong on our skin until it becomes a growth.\

Here are 3 spokes for you to consider this Christmas time…

ONE. people spoke
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without there being people around.The people you relate too make or break your Christmas!

Romans 12:17-18
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

If you want to feel good over Christmas, make every effort to get along with others.

TWO. finance spoke
Putting yourself into large amounts of debt for any celebration, no matter how religious it is, is not a good idea.
My children can not remember what I got them each Christmas.What they do remember is what I was like on the day…how I behaved.

Matthew 6:20
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

I know that when this spoke is loose in my life I don’t feel very good.It robs me of any peace and enjoyment.

THREE. God spoke
This is the most important of all!Without a relationship with God your life, your wheel, can take any shape.

Jeremiah 29:13-14a
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD

God is not hiding from us. He is there if we want to spend time with him.We just have to purpose in our own hearts to have that time with him.
Set realistic goals. Don’t set yourself up to fail.

William Booth said “I do promise God that I will rise early every morning to have a few minutes – not less than five – in private prayer…I hereby vow to read no less than four chapters in God’s Word every day.”
Have a plan to spend what meaningful time you can with God.
Don’t just hope you will, otherwise others things will bury it.

I believe God’s plan for you over this Christmas is for your spokes to stay strong and true.
God’s heart is for you to have a great holiday season!
Don’t wait for the crash to happen in your life!
Take the time to resolve it now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Have you looked at any bumper stickers lately?

It is not something I do all the time, but when I was stuck in traffic today I had a chance to look at the world around me...and one particular sticker jumped out at me.
It went like this…

Heaven doesn’t want me and Hell is afraid I will take over

I wasn’t upset by it.
I didn’t chase the vehicle down the motorway, throwing bible tracts at them.
And I didn’t get the guys number (it was a work van) and phone him for a chat.

Now I am probably guessing, but I guess the owner of the van has a problem with eternity.
They are hoping that there isn’t one.
Sometimes when you are uncomfortable with a subject you make fun of it.
It is a defense mechanism to make you feel better.

The reality is that ‘Heaven’ or more specifically God, 100% does want the driver of that van.
That ‘Hell’ is in no way worried about him and whatever management skills he thinks he possesses.

The Bible says that people in this world have been blinded to the truth.
And that somehow we need to help them find the truth.
Now I don’t think it is all about Heaven and Hell either. Yes they exist and are important.
But what is more important to God is relationship with him.

Today I want you to know that God actually wants you!Jesus said that he is preparing a place for you. A place in heaven where you can have uninterrupted relationship with him.
Hell is not for you or anyone you know.
Hell was designed for Satan and his band of little demons.

Many of us will be doing events with family and friends over Christmas, most of whom will probably not be interested in eternity.
Can I encourage you to pray for them?
Pray that eternity will become all important to them.
The Bible says that God desires that all people be saved, so when you pray for them you will know you are praying according to his will.

Something for you to think about...


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Last night I was running on a treadmill at the gym, and all of a sudden all I wanted to do was quit!
If you have been to a gym or done exercise you will know the feeling…

I was tired.
I was a little sore.
And I was running out of motivation!

But I kept going with what, I was not sure...
Maybe the thought of quitting in the middle of my run and how guilty I would feel afterwards?
Maybe also the knowledge that I would loose out on some sort of benefit?
Anyway I kept going. I pushed through. And eventually completed my programme.

As I drove home I thought about what I had just gone through.
That even though it was hard and uncomfortable, I did feel good that I had made it through without quitting.
At this time of year you can be tired, worn out and not feeling like you have anything else left to give…You may even want to quit or run away?

Galatians 6:9 says…
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Don’t give up even though you may be tired.
Yes be wise about how you live and the pace you live it at…
God promises us all to reward us if we will just hang in there and complete what we have started.

Something for you to think about...


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at a church that I hadn’t been to before.
I wasn’t sure where to park so found a spot around the back and went on inside.

After the service there was a lot of commotion outside around the area of my car so I went to check it...dreading what I might find.
I didn’t know until just then but I had actually parked beside the worship leaders car...and his car had been damaged during the service by someone trying to break into it.

I drove away eventually not sure how I felt…
On one hand I felt bad for the guy.
I couldn’t understand why they attacked his car and not mine.
On the other hand I was thankful they hadn’t attacked mine.
At the same time I felt guilty for being thankful….
Aaaah! am I supposed to think?

In America this weekend they celebrate a holiday around being thankful called thanksgiving day.
It was started many years ago by some immigrants who were very thankful for what God had done for them. They had been through many hardships and were even still going through many. But they took the time out to focus on what had done for them so far.

Martin Rinkert lived in the town of Eilenburg in Germany 350 years ago.
The son of a poor coppersmith, he became a minister of his local parish in 1617.
Just one year later, in 1618, the Thirty-Year War broke out and Eilenburg was caught right in the middle of it. In 1637, the plague that swept across the continent hit Eilenburg and it is recorded that over 50 people died each day. The man called upon to bury most of the corpses was Martin Rinkert.
In all, over 8,000 people died, including Martin’s own wife, but his job was to keep on digging graves. His ministry spanned 32 years and all but the first and the last were overwhelmed by the great conflict that engulfed his town. It must have been tough for Martin Rinkert to be thankful. But somehow he was…he even managed to write this hymn?

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices.

In the midst of terrible darkness and death Martin Rinkert was able to write these words because he knew what it meant to be truly thankful.

Maybe it is not that we are ignoring the things that have gone wrong…it is just that focusing on what has gone right stops the bad things having the same power over us.
In the midst of whatever you have been through recently...
I am sure you have something you can thank God for!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes I wish I was a bit more ‘gifted’ at gardening…
I am not completely useless in this department but I am far from being a David Bellamy or some other famous plant dude.

Our backyard is a mixture of things.
Some completed projects and lots of “I got it started” types.
One of those was an area of soil we moved many months a go, which left a large area of bear earth.

In my mind, I was quietly hoping that it would grow grass again on its own.
And for a while it looked like it might make it.
But as you can guess, different types of weeds crowded in around and eventually took over.
We have now started to rectify the situation with some proper grass seed.
But we also know that the weeds want to come back. We have to be on weed alert whenever we can to protect the new life that is coming through.

Jesus talked a few times about things growing and weeds.

Matthew 13:3-8 (niv)
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

An area inside of us I think God plants ‘seed’ is in our heart.
It is this extremely fertile area of our lives.
God deposits the seed he needs to into our heart and waters it.
The trouble is our hearts can become unfertile if we don’t look after them.

A question for you today is…
What is the soil of your heart like?

Do you still keep your heart soft or has life hardened it?
Have you let things come in and crowd it?

Can I encourage to do as David did many years a go, to examine your heart.
Not so you can feel stink about something wrong.
But so you can deal with any things that need dealing with.
If you ignore them for too long it hurts even more to sort out!

God wants to produce a huge crop from our lives.
Our job is to simply look after the soul.

Something to think about...


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Once again I reminded about how complicated we are…

On one hand we love the idea of freedom.
We pursue it. We admire it. We even imitate William Wallace in the movie Braveheart, where he cries in the throws of death “freedom…”
One the other...we cry out for more rules.

When something is wrong we sometimes want new rules.
Something's not right and we want government legislation.
In the last few days, some innocent people got hurt by a couple of fireworks...and now the government is looking to ban them :(
If there is a chance something might go wrong, you will need a permit.
Even trying to get a simple bonfire is impossible without a $3,000 application fee. Crazy!

Can’t help but wonder whether as humans we are naturally confused?

When Jesus was on the earth, he addressed the religious leaders and gave them a hard time about all their rules. About how they couldn’t live up to them and yet they were expecting others too.
He addressed the fact that rules do not bring anyone closer to God or help people grow. A lot of the time I think they can help us fail.
God says he far prefers mercy to sacrifice. That if he has to choose between them...he will pick mercy over religious rules any day!

Elsewhere it says that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law (rules).
He completed them so we would not need them quite the same.
He completed them so we could have freedom.

The harder question to answer is how do you help?
How do you make things better without more restriction.

Jesus said that he wanted us to have life and have it to the full.
He also summarized the 10 commandments into 2, in a sense getting rid of some rules. Or did he?

The ideal to me seems to be relationship.
Right relationship with God.
Right relationship with People.
If they are right, we do right. It is then what we ‘naturally’ want to do.
Better relationships means we need less rules...

So instead of looking for more rules.
Look for more relationship.
More rules will not save our world or ultimately save you or me.
It is all about relationships!

Well that is what I think anyway...

God bless


Thursday, November 01, 2007

To be honest I was not sure what to say this week…
When you do these little devotional type things there is a little pressure you feel to make it exciting, so that you will read it.

Everyday you are probably sent things to read, and you have to decide whether they are important enough to look at.
You probably get bulk email forwards like I do, mostly with mindless entertainment. Sometimes you probably just delete before looking at it.

Just a few moments a go I got something.
A bulk email that I could choose to look at or bin 13.
I looked at it...and now it has taken me several moments to get over it!

People say all the time in ‘church circles’ that God is good and he is faithful and that he meets our needs, I think because we live in a place where we can get stuff and enjoy our surroundings to some degree, we do eventually take it for granted.
Because God is good all the don’t notice it simply because you don’t have anything to compare it too.

Contrast is what makes things stand out.
Think of a picture. Without contrasts in colour and shape it is really uninteresting and even hard to understand. In fact it is sometimes a blur.

Back to this email…
What I saw in the email had huge contrast to my life!
The life in the email was barren, pathetic and very uncomfortable.

My life is full.
I know God has blessed me!
While I may not be able to go down to Harvey Norman and buy a new 42 inch LCD...I am not hungry or without hope.
I am not like the picture of the little boy, licking (I guess that is what it was) a cows butt just to stay alive. Note—I am not trying to be sensational is what I saw!

So what I do when faced with this type of contrast in my world?
How should I respond to what I have seen?

It took me a few moments to recover and then this is my thought...

Thank God for what you have
Do something with what you have

Thank God today for what he has already given you.
You are indeed blessed no matter how blessed you might feel.

In Acts it says this about Jesus…
That he went around doing good and releasing people from oppression.
If you are in a position to it!
Jesus should we.



PS If you want to see the email let me know and I will forward to you...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

There are a few things in my life at the moment that revolve around fire.

I friend of mine recently moved to California to start a new job.
A series of out of control fires have sprung up in that particular part of the world causing lots of damage and even loss of life. I rang him just to make sure he was ok, as he is only 50km from the edge of the disaster area.

A tradition I have grown up with, and have really enjoyed is Guy Fawkes.
It is this crazy event where we have fires (if the council let’s you) and set off fireworks. Apparently it is to commemorate the catching of a guy call Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the English parliament buildings.

Which obviously got me thinking about fire.

The Bible talks about a day we call Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out onto the early Christians, In the Book of Acts it says that “tongues of fire came down and rested on them”.
That would have been pretty cool to see!
Jesus even said that God wants to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And that God will test our lives with fire.
Hebrews even says that God is a consuming fire!

There is this strange balancing act in this area.
On one hand we want fire...and on the other we want to put them out.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 says
Do not put out the Spirit's fire

One fire we want and that we don’t want to put out, is what God is doing and wants to do in our lives!
Many people as they get older think they have God all sorted out.
They think God only works in certain ways that they have experienced.
They miss the point that God is ultimately creative and wants to do new things!

The Holy Spirit wants to do new and amazing things through your life.
We need to stay hungry and not grow ‘old’ in our faith thinking.
I personally want the fire of God to be in my life.
To be a christian that we call ‘on fire for God’
I pray the same for you this week!

How about asking God what that means for you???


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Apparently on this date in history a guy with the very strange name of Ignatius of Antioch was martyred.
Apparently he was so eager to be martyred for Christ's sake that he even begged the Roman church not to prevent his death. Before his death, Ignatius wrote to seven churches instructing them to be unified, to trust their leaders, and to be steadfast in the faith.

When I read stories of people being martyred (killed for their faith), it freaks me out. I am one of those people who has a vivid imagination. I think of the situation, imagine being there, imagine the pain and the torment. I am also a person with a very low pain threshold, so the whole thing takes on huge significance in my mind.
When I heard about Ignatius of Antioch this week I thought about it different this time. I wanted to know why he was not concerned about the pain. I wanted to know why he was so keen to die and that it not be delayed.

The Bible says we are aliens in this world, that this world is not our true home. This guy obviously was keen to get ‘home’.Paul in one of his writings in the New Testament even said he was torn between two worlds. He longed to be here on earth and longed to be with God in heaven.
Both these men died living for Jesus.
It seemed to them to be an honour to do so.

In our little corner of the world we don’t face this issue, and to be honest I am really really happy about it!
The point maybe though is not how they died but that they were willing too.
They didn’t see the gift of life as something that belonged to them completely.
They saw this life as something to be given away freely.

What challenges me today is how much am I willing to be like Ignatius or Paul. How much do I want to live for Christ?

Paul also said these immortal words…
Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Let us live our lives for the ‘great cause’.
Let us throw off the stuff that hinders us…And let us not be afraid to give what we have in this world to gain something better for the next...

Locky of Howick

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Isn’t it funny how on one hand we say we want something…but we do the opposite???
Most people I meet are really keen to have good friends, to have good relationships that are real and authentic. But we have a tendency nowadays to create lifestyles where that can’t happen for us.
Then we try and fix it by creating virtual worlds where we are supposed to meet.
While they can be is never a good replacement for simply hanging out with someone!

Even today someone recommended I check a new online virtual world where you can meet people.
It even allows you to buy and sell virtual property! Apparently you can even perform virtual concerts…again it is not real.

Now I am not against this type of tool.
I use things like this all the time to communicate with friends around the world. I really appreciate the technology! We even use some of it to help the edge and sphere ministries. It is just that it is such a pale comparison to what ‘real’ contact, what ‘real’ relationships bring to our lives.

The Bible says that we were created for relationship. In fact one of the first recorded things that God did was create people. He said it is not good for us to be alone. He even came and ‘walked with them in the cool of the day’.

God’s ultimate plan for your life is not more independence.
It is not more money or even more power.
It is about having relationship with him and with others.
God doesn’t want to exist for you in some sort of virtual reality.
He wants to exist for you in reality.
His plan is for you to have relationship with other believers, with people you work with and with your friends and family.

Maybe my next comment will seem like I had some agenda...well tough :)
God has created the perfect environment to grow in relationship.
The church gives you the best of all these worlds. Whether it be through the Sunday services, Connect Groups or special is a fantastic to develop your relationship with God and others.
God bless!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

While flying down an Auckland highway recently I noticed a man sitting in a bus stop.
Now I don’t normally drive around looking at bus stops, but this man drew my gaze even if it was for a fleeting moment.

He sat there head down, staring I guess at his shoes.
Lost in his own thoughts…
He looked like a man deep in thought.

Now I don’t know what he thoughts were or whether he was ok or not…
But I do know that he was definitely thinking…

When you are on your own…
When you think no one is watching...what do you think about?

Many people I know are troubled by the thoughts that run through their minds. They sometimes try and find ways to avoid thinking.
They fill their lives with tonnes of activity or noise or medication just to dull the noise in their heads.
But we don’t have too!
God offers us all a better world to live in.
Not necessarily free from troubling thoughts but with stuff to help us deal with our thought life.

Here is a key in this area:

Philippians 4:8 (niv) says
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things

Think about the good stuff God has done is your life.
Think about what the Word of God says about you!

God even promises to help us in this area by his Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:7 (nkjv) says
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind

So if you are struggling with your thoughts…
Do not panic!
Simply ask God to help and do what his word suggests.
I know it will help you...


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of the things I like about life is food!
Food is cool. Good food makes me feel good….
Some of my favourite things to eat include Veal Scallopini, Cheesecake, Roast Turkey…(I am getting hungry just thinking it...hehehehe)

Isn’t it cool that something we need to consume each day to live can taste so good and even give us pleasure.
In fact lots of the most exciting things we do in life are associated with food.
For birthday’s we have cake.
At weddings we have a feast.
And even at sad occasions, like funerals, there is normally something to eat afterwards.

Someone the other day asked me where I get fed…
Now they weren’t meaning, where do I get the food I have just been
They were meaning to ask, where do I get fed from God?

I can ask you the same question...
Where are you being fed at the moment?
Are you getting enough to eat?

Just as your natural body needs and enjoys natural food.
Your spiritual body, your spirit, your soul...they need food as well.
If they go hungry or even starve, you will find your life quite difficult to cope with!

One day Jesus was talking to his disciples. He said that he had food that they didn’t know anything about. That his food came from a supernatural source. That he even gained sustenance through doing God’s will. (John 4:31-34)

Here are some places where you can get some food from God...

Communing with God
Simply by spending time talking to God like you would anyone else...except that he is God. Reading some of the Bible. Read good Christian books.

This is a great place to worship with other believers. Plus the bonus of
someone sharing something from God and his word. It will help grow and develop you.

Connect Groups
Spending meaningful time with other believers and being real with them will help fill you up. You will feel connected!

Just like Jesus recognized...contributing to the Kingdom of God will feed you. Whether that be through serving in some way and will grow!

Again...where are you being feed?

We have a great buffet of places and ways for you to be fed!
Don’t just do them all!
You will not regret it...


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

As I drove home from work the other day I suddenly remembered a terrible thing I did many years a go.
Now it wasn’t as if I had never dealt with it before…
Or that I had never asked God to forgive me…
It just was so random and made me feel stink!
Nothing I had been thinking about or listening too, or even looking at related to the thoughts that flooded my brain.

So after a great day at work, here I was pulling up to some lights feeling quite bad about myself.
It seemed to make me feel like I was someone who didn’t deserve God to bless my life or even love me…

I started to think about why I was feeling that way.
Reminded myself that I dealt with that issue many years ago.
Reminded myself that when we ask God to forgive us of something that he does… In fact he says he removes our sin as far as the east is from the west!

I then chose to pray!
I thanked God for forgiving me years before.
...and then I felt great again...

After thinking about this event I remembered that the Bible talks about the devil wanting to shoot flamming arrows or darts at us.
Obviously they are not real arrows but something spiritual.
I think they are sometimes little reminders of your past.
Because he wants to make you feel bad.
To stop you being all you can be for God.

But you have to fight and you have to defend yourself!
And then you will always WIN!

Read this famous passage of scripture.
Let it encourage you and give a plan when the enemy tries to put you off...

Ephesians 6
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For 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.
13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

God bless!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Bible talks a lot about gifts.

The Bible even says that each one of us has at least one gift (1Corinthians 7:7), something special that will make a difference in our world.

I been thinking a lot about this during the week and have broken my
discoveries about God’s gifts to us into 5 levels.

Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
This is the most basic level and the foundation of our faith.
God’s foremost gift to us is Salvation.

Level_2_Holy Spirit
Acts 2:38
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
God wants to give you the power to live out the life he planned for us. He wants us to have the same anointing Jesus had as he walked the earth.
Now that is cool!

Level_3_Natural Abilities
1 Peter 4:10
Each one should use whatever gift he has received
Many people are born with abilities in certain areas. Whether it be sports or academics or working with your hands...God has implanted something into your dna.

Level_4_Life Basics
All of us need some basic stuff to help us enjoy life.
And God wants to give that stuff to you freely!
For example...
Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

1 Corinthians 14:1 says that we should eagerly desire the spiritual gifts…
That it is something to desire and ask God for.

God wants to give…that is his heart!
We simply have to receive / accept what he wants to give us.
It is not about deserving it, it about what the giver wants to give you.

Remember when you were a kid and people probably asked you questions like…”what do you want for your birthday or Christmas?”
How about approaching God the same way?
Ask him for the gifts he wants to give you?
- Salvation
- Holy Spirit
- Peace / Wisdom
- Spiritual
Whatever you need?
Ask him for it if you don’t have it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It always amazes me how complicated we make our faith!
I come to that conclusion each time I read or hear about someone younger than me sharing their thoughts on God...

Someone I know who is a missionary in Russia sent me an email and this is how part of it went...
An eight year old boy named Nikita came to one of our team’s interpreters and had said...

“I would like to become a God’s son”. The interpreter then prayed with him and after that Nikita had said to her: “Now I am a God’s son and I’m going to go and tell the whole camp”.
The interpreter had then told him that this might not be a wise thing for him to do as the other kids might tease him. Nikita had been quiet for a
second and had then said: “Then I will go tell all foreigners that I am now a God’s son”. The
following day he went and told every team member of how he was now God’s son. Two days later he returned with his brother and said to the
interpreter, “My brother would also like to become a God’s son”. They then prayed together, and Nikita along with his brother ran off to play with the other children, jumping, rejoicing and kicking up their heals.

The Bible says we are supposed to have
something called ‘childlike faith’.
It is this idea that as we get older, God wants us to think younger.
It is truly a strange paradox.

As we grow up, we all strive to think older.
We want to grow up as quick as possible and be big people, doing whatever are hearts desire.

While you were growing up I bet you did crazy things like ‘dress ups’ or role
playing some adult pursuit.
For me it was riding my bike around the
garden arresting people committing
driving offences...I was truly on the set of ‘Chips’. (A tv programme some of us grew up with)

Our faith will make more sense if we think like a kid.
Where we question what doesn’t make sense
instead of just accepting someone else’s opinion.
Where we want to experience stuff not just read about other peoples experiences.
Where we don’t complicate how God feels about us by our human experiences.

Kids get it!
And God wants you to get it as well…
Kids trust so easily
And God wants you to trust him just the same...

Just take onboard what God says as he says it.
If he says he loves simply means he loves.
If you are confused or scared...go to him with that, and see what he says.

And hey...enjoy being a ‘kid’!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This week someone stole a dead body!

A family in Christchurch lost a husband and father to an early death.
While he lay in state at a local marae, some family from up north came in and stole away his body…
Now it has turned ugly!
The grieving family are left without someone to say goodbye too.
The extended family are ready to defend their ’right’ to the body because of the family connection.
The courts are involved.
The police are involved...well sort of.

When I first heard the story I was angry to be honest.
My initial reaction was to be resentful towards the extended family because they robbed his current family.
Then I had a chance to think and look at why not just what happened...

Most of it comes down to belief and perception.
The extended family talk about things like the need to be buried with his
father, to be buried near where his umbilical cord was buried…
It is a picture of life being more than the what exists breathing now.

It is about something after life. A connection to something else beyond this natural world.
While I might not agree with these beliefs, at least they consider life to be more than the here and now.

In an email from preacher J John I read this story recently...
The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky told the story of the time he was arrested by the czar and sentenced to die.
The czar liked to play cruel psychological tricks on the people who rebelled against him by blindfolding them and standing them in front of a firing squad. The blindfolded people would hear the gunshots go off, but would feel nothing. Then they would slowly realise that the guns were loaded with blanks.Dostoevsky went through this experience himself. He said that going through the thought process of believing he was really going to die had a transforming effect on him. He talked about waking up that morning with full assurance that this would be his last day of life. He ate his last meal and savoured every bite. Every breath of air he took was precious to him. Every face he saw, he studied with full intensity. Suddenly, every experience was etched in his mind.

As they marched him into the courtyard, he felt the heat of the sun and appreciated its warmth like never before. Everything around him seemed to have a magical quality to it. He was seeing the world in a way he had never seen it before.
He was fully alive!
When he realised that he had not been shot and that he was not going to die that day, everything about his life changed. He became thankful for everything about his life. He became grateful to people he had previously despised. It was this experience that persuaded him to become a novelist and write about life in a way that before would have never been known to him.

Please don’t forget that your life is more than just the here and now!
You were created to live forever…
Let that flavor who you are and how you live your life today...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I have got a gate at home that has driven me nuts until recently!
It never seemed to work that well. Either it was stuck open or stuck closed.
It was so hard to move as it stuck to the concrete path
underneath, that we never wanted to use it.
It was hardly what you would call functional…

Then someone came round and changed the hinges and now it is free moving. It works perfectly, so much so that you end up taking it for granted.

The other night a large group of guys went bowling.
Down the end of the alleys is a large white wall where they
project images on. Things like sports or the perennial favourite at places like videos.
Now if you have seen any music video clips lately, you would see that quite a lot of them are pretty big on showing people dancing around ‘bumping and grinding’.
So here we are a bunch of guys trying to be good little
Christian’s being inflicted with all that flesh as we tried to bowl.
Some even tried to blame the video’s on their poor bowling…

So why am sharing those two things?

Well it got me thinking about a little phrase I have heard a lot over the years…
That the eyes are the gateway to your soul” (Luke11:34)

Jesus one day was talking to his disciples and he mentioned things like lamps and eyes and how important they are.
The whole idea that our eyes are a gateway into our life.
That they are like my gate at home.
That they can be taken for granted when they work.
That they control what we let into our lives.
That they can show others what is really in our soul, or what is really in my backyard...

Can I encourage you this week to think about what you let your eyes see? To think about whether what you see will help you or cause you pain?

Hebrews 12:2 says
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I bought xbox game on trademe the other day.

You probably will know that feeling of winning the auction and then the excited anticipation of waiting for your goods to arrive...
My excitement was higher than normal because I thought I had got such a fantastic deal!

So the other night when it arrived I got right into it as fast as I could.
Chucked the game on...
Looked at the manual...
And found the manual was so incomplete that I was at a lose to know how certain parts of the game worked.
I will learn over time, but it will have to be by lots of trial and error...

Which got me thinking...
Do we as people have the same issues?
Are you living your life by an incomplete user guide or do you have the whole thing?
Well the good news is that you do have access to one.
It is the Bible.

Now it won't tell you what colour socks to put on the morning, but it does give you what you need to make rights choices in life.
If you read it and let it into your life, over time you will have a knowledge base that will never let you down.

Read Esther and you will see that if you do what is right, not matter what the risk….that God will come through for you!
Read Ruth and you will see God’s heart for people, even if they don’t ‘naturally’ belong.
...the examples are endless.

In a song that David wrote, he says that he has hidden the word of God in his heart so that he might not sin.
David let the word of God into his life. He let it guide him as much as possible. He recognized the power it had to help him make right choices. And it can do the same for you if you let it!

In the immortal and paraphrased words of Dory from the movie Nemo…
“Just keep reading, just keep reading…”

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A bus said sorry to me recently…

No I haven’t lost the plot completely!
But while I was driving down the motorway towards the city, a bus drove by the other way with that sorry word emblazoned on the front. You know, those little signs above the front widescreen which normally tell you where the bus is heading…

I had a little chuckle to myself.
I mean, why did they need that phrase on the bus as it drove at 100km down the road. Did they think people would be standing along the side of the motorway waiting to flag a passing bus down?

Later that day it started to rain real heavy…
As I drove down a busy road, a car turned in front of me and I got a little upset at them for supposedly cutting me off.
But then I realised I had left my indicator going, so they thought I was going to turn. I in fact was in the wrong.

Then that little word came out my mouth…Sorry!

I actually wished they could have heard me.
I wanted them to know I made a mistake, and that I felt bad about it. They probably continued on muttering under their breath about me being an idiot or worse!

And doesn’t it make you want to spit tacks when someone scratches your car in carpark. It is worse when they don’t leave a note or is like that are not sorry that they did it.

That simple word sorry is very powerful!
When someone offends you, hurts you...just their coming and saying sorry seems to make a difference.
You can probably thinks of times when you just wished someone said it to you...

The Bible talks about us dealing with stuff together.
That we should sort things out with people who have hurts us.
That we should confess our sins to one another… that God can refresh us!

So this week, if you make a mistake...say sorry!
Give it a go...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I read a story this week that really intrigued me!

It was all about a time in the history of the Israelites where they once again wanted to turn back to God.
Yes, I know there are plenty of examples of that happening…
But this one was a little different and it certainly got me thinking!

This was during the days where the Israelites were slowly returning from captivity. Ezra was a leader of a new group of returning exiles. He came back to Jerusalem with tons of silver and gold, intent on restoring the temple and hopefully the nation of Israel to some degree.

What he saw really bothered him.
He noticed that the current Israelite inhabitants were married to ‘foreign women’. They had given their sons and daughters in marriage to anyone else around them. For Israel this was something God had asked them not to do.

So what was the solution to issue?
Well they made the decision to get ‘rid’ of their wives if they were not Israelite! Which really impacted me.
It made me wonder what that would have been like?
I could imagine the distress for the families.
I could imagine the pain this caused.
The stress of having to make a call that would have been horrendous!

I sat there wondering how that story has application for my life right now?
Then a scripture came to mind…

Hebrews 12:1
...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

All of will have times where we come to reflect on the state of our walk with Christ, the state of our lives. At those times you can realize an area of sin or something that is slowing you or restricting you in God.

God’s advice to us hasn’t changed!
Don’t go there to start with.
But if you have, get rid of it! Throw it off!
Make the change that you need to, so you continue to grow in God.

Can I encourage to simply pray and ask God if there is anything holding you back at the moment?
If there is, throw it away...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I bought a new shirt the other day…
It wasn’t the sort I would normally choose.
The colour, style, even pattern is a little different from my usual look.

While I stood in the shop looking at it I had a number of thoughts...
Do I want to try something new?
What will others think, especially my wife?
Will I like it once I have taken it home, or will I regret it?

Well I obviously pushed through the thoughts and bought it.
At the end of the day I wanted something new in my life.
I wanted to push myself a little out of my comfort zone.

It reminds me of some stuff that God says…

Psalm 33:3
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Psalm 40:3
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Isaiah 42:9
See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."
Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing!
Isaiah 65:17
"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
1 Corinthians 5:7
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

I guess by now that you get the idea that God is into new?

Sometimes the new can be scary, because it is not what you are used to.

As we begin 2007, how about asking God for something new in your life.
I think that is his heart for you!
You don’t have to accept the same old things as last year.
Try something new.
Maybe try something that is scary, not because it is bad, but because it is going to grow you and stretch you.

So how about asking God for something new to do or something new from him in your life?

I dare you!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

When I was growing up I loved the idea of ‘space’…
No not time away from everyone, but that amazing stuff we see more clearly in the night sky!
I grow up on a diet of books, movies and my uncles national geographic magazines about the moon race and landings.
I knew of a comet called Haley and was really looking forward to it coming...but it was a huge disappointment for me. You didn’t see much and it was probably around then that my dream of becoming an astronaut one day died…

Now here we are 21 years later, and a comet is in the sky.
Not a comet that anyone thinks has been past us before, but a one off
special...and boy does it look good.
Jack (my oldest boy) is a huge space fan, and thinks this comet is
‘so amazing’.

Last night Suze and I took the boys and a little friend to the Stardom Observatory. We sat quietly in a presentation learning about how big space is.
My kids were amazed at the stars and how it all seemed to fit together somehow.

Then I have the opportunity to think about what I am seeing…
It is actually quite hard to get your head around!
The whole idea that we live on a planet that in the perspective of the universe is a dust spot.
The Bible even says “that the earth is the Lords footstool”
OK, you don’t see God’s feet hanging over head, but it is a perspective thing.
Just how big is the world outside of our little world?
And how amazing it is that God has shaped all things in his vision to one minute point in
the Cosmos?
That in all the beauty in Gods sight, he chooses to focus on us first and foremost...

So as you look at the final days of McNaught’s Comet...think on how amazing God really is…
How much more important you are too him, than all he has created!