Thursday, December 25, 2008

special christmas thought...

As I look back on the many Christmases I have experienced some gifts stand out?

• The year my grandma gave me a Shoeshine kit...I wasn't very happy!
• The year some relatives gave me 3 of every chocolate bar available at the time...I got hyped on sugar!
• The year everyone seemed to get together and declare it Ugly shirt year!
• Christmas last year with my family in Invercargill was one of my favourites!

The also seems to be lots of rules about Christmas Gifts:
• No touching
• No peeking
• No shaking
• No opening before the appointed day/time

Jesus is God’s gift to us.
But with a huge difference…there aren’t a whole bunch of rules!
You can touch. You can sneak a peek. Maybe not a good one to shake.
But it is here again for you today at the appointed day/time.
It is a gift God has got planned for you for Christmas if you haven’t received it before.

Two men who knew quite a lot about this gift called Jesus penned these words…

Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)

…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The amazing thing about this gift is how it comes to the form of a baby.
Someone as innocent and unthreatening as possible.
Someone totally approachable.
Which is exactly the way I think God wants it.

So how do you receive this gift?
The same way really you receive an everyday sort of gift.
• You accept it.
• You unwrap it.
• You make the most of it.

The Bible simply says that if you in believe in your heart and say you accept this gift…then you have received it completely. It is yours and no one can take it away. It won’t go out of fashion…and it will never wear out!

Something to think about.
Merry Christmas everybody!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time for a Christmas thought…
Have you ever wondered where we get some of our Christmas traditions from?
Things like christmas trees, presents and mistletoe.
One I have been curious about is a thing called Christmas pudding?

Christmas pudding can be traced back to the 14th century when porridge like mixture, called ‘frumenty’ was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices.
Towards the end of the 1500’s, frumenty had become more like a plum pudding. It had been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, and dried fruit and given more flavour with the addition of beer and spirits.
By the mid 1600’s it had become the traditional pudding to end a Christmas meal, but in 1664 the Puritans banned it. They thought it was a ‘lewd tradition’ as the ingredients were far too rich for God-fearing people.
King George 1 was had apparently tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding and re-instated it as part of a traditional Christmas meal in 1714. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

There are many superstitions surrounding the Christmas pudding.
Some say that it should have thirteen ingredients, representing Jesus and his Disciples.
In other households, everyone takes a turn to stir the pudding mixture with a wooden spoon. You should stir in an East to West direction. This custom honours the three wise men who came from the east.
Although traditionally we eat our pudding at Christmas, the sprig of holly placed on top of the pudding is said to represent Jesus’ Crown of Thorns that he wore at his crucifixion. Obviously this custom is more in keeping with Easter. Also the spectacle of flaming alcohol on a pudding is said to represent Jesus’ love and power.
In the middle Ages, holly was also thought to bring good luck and to have healing powers. It was often planted near houses in the belief that it protected the inhabitants.
Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it.

I bet you didn’t know all that?

Well anyway, if you are like me you will simply enjoy eating stuff like this and be very grateful it is still not in its original form...yuck!

Something to think about...

Merry Christmas everybody!
I hope you have a great time...and I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here I was standing as the anchor runner of a parents relay team.
I am about to race a group of school teachers.
My heart is pounding.
The crowd cheers are sending my senses into over drive.
I sense a moment of destiny approaching.
A moment of sweet victory where I can savour a win and feel for a moment what winning at the Olympics might feel like.

It was all looking good until I found out my competitors had cheated and brought in someone’s nephew...and he is really fast.
Then one of our team collapses trying to round the first mark. By the time it is my turn to run, the race was already lost.
The electrical atmosphere was gone.
Dreams of victory seemed like a long distant romance.
Dreams lost in the fog of time.

Note to reader...I have eaten too much chocolate today and my creative juices are now a torrent. Please excuse all craziness in this simple thought.

As I take off on my little run I think it the right thing to do to run the best I can.
My son is watching me.
My wife is watching me.
My mum is even watching me.
And I didn’t want to rob the crowd of seeing me speed down the track.
The only problem was I rounded a marker a little too aggressively and I felt something go wrong with my leg.

Now I am left with a torn calf muscle.
No victory.
And my run has been whittled down to a limp.

There is a verse in the bible that describes our bodies being totally linked together. It explains that every part of the body needs the other. That if one part hurts, the whole body hurts.
I have hurt my leg, and the rest of my body knows it.
It simply can’t ignore the plight of one of its members.

These holidays, my dream for you is to have a great time.
But if for any reason it is not the holiday season you have dreamed of, know that we care. If you hurt, we will hurt with you.
You are part of us and we want to be there for you.
Let’s stay close, hang out and enjoy this time together.
Let’s make every effort to love one another.
And make this a Christmas worthy of its name.

Something to think about...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are you like me, and you are looking at all the work that needs doing before the 25th?
Looking at all the invites to parties and events.
Looking at what you wanted to achieve this year…And thinking aaahhhh, I am not sure how to get it all done, and how to keep everyone happy???

You and I are part of 1000’s facing the same thing!

So what do we do?
Do you just work harder, try harder, and hope for the best?

This is what I think…

We hear and teach a lot about grace.
Firstly the grace that God extends to us, through what he did through Jesus, and then for the rest of our lives.
Secondly the grace that we are encouraged to show to one another, by forgiving and doing what we can at all times to live at peace with one another.
And I think there is a third.
Grace for yourself.

You can’t please everyone all the time.
You can’t win all the time.
You may not achieve all your goals all the time.
You need some grace for you. To give yourself a break.
Grace is never an excuse not to try or take something for granted. But it is definitely there to protect you and stop us from overdoing it.

Jesus even said this to us...
Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

So as you head into the end of the year…
Don’t forget to look after yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up.
Extend some grace to you...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Someone killed my car!
Someone nearly killed my wife!
Stuff happens sometimes that catches you by surprise.

When Suze drove off in our little car to head to an event the other night, I had no idea that 20 minutes later she would be calling me from the back of an ambulance!
A drunk driver with no license had driven straight through a give way and straight into the car.
When I arrived at the site I wish I could report that I was full of love and grace for the other driver and her drunken passengers...but I wasn’t.

I felt angry.
They had hurt my wife.
They had wrecked our little car that we really liked.

As I thought about these events I began to wonder how hard it must have been for Jesus to handle what people did to him.
Here he was going around healing people and doing good. Looking after people, feeding people...meeting everyone’s needs. But people wanted to kill him!

Then you have Jesus on the Cross.
God’s own creation killing his own Son.
For God, It must have been one of the worst things he had ever had to watch. In fact you read in the Bible that God actually turned was just too hard for him.

God doesn’t enjoy bad things happening to us.
We are his kids, and he has invested his life into us.I am so grateful that Suze is ok, apart form all the nasty bruising.
Moments like this experience remind how our lives in this world are for only a little while. That every moment is something you can never live again. And ultimately we will never probably know when our time is up.

So this life as though you may not have as long as you may think.
Try and enjoy every moment you can of it.
It is a gift that God has given you.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am not sure what you may pick up from what I share next...but I think it is cool anyway!

As a family we were sitting around the table the other night having dinner. Just the usual things happening.
Kids not wanting to eat certain things on their plates.
Talking about normal things families talk about.
Then Alex asks us all a question…

“Am I a Christian?”

Now a little background.
We have never said to our kids that they have to become a ‘Christian’.
Our heart for them, is that they make that decision themselves. It is about them deciding they want a relationship with God. Not about inheriting our ‘religion’.
We have done everything we can to live out what we believe with as much integrity as we can. We want what we believe to be attractive to others including our kids not just by what we say, but what we do…

Back to the conversation…

I simply asked Alex if he had decided to live for God, to do his best for him. Whether he had asked Jesus to be his savior and friend.
To which he said “No”.
I asked him if he wanted to do that.
To which he said “Yes”.

So as I tucked into bed that night, I led him in a simple prayer so he could commit his life to God.
That was so cool! And something I will never forget!

Apart from the ‘feel good’ factor of this story, there is something deeper I want to share with you…Don’t worry about having the right things to say to people about the hope that you have.
Wise words and arguments may feel good for a moment, but very rarely do they change lives.
What changes lives, what helps bring people you know come closer to God is all on how you represent him.
What you do.
What you say.
By being how God created you.
Those things are so powerful that eventually it becomes attractive to those around you.
They start to ask questions…And God will give you the answers!

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

This week, just live.
Live like you live for God.
It is the best form of outreach you could ever do.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

“If I was God…
...I wouldn’t let you choose!”

A little while ago I shared on another “If I was God…” statement.
Thought it was time to share with you another?

If you or I were God, I don’t think we would give people choice in life.
In our human thinking, it makes sense to just make people do what you want them to do.
To give them the right path and make them stick to it.
You could argue that that would be loving.
Simply because you want the best for your creation.

I wouldn’t let people hurt themselves by making wrong choices.
I would wrap them in ‘cotton wool’ to protect them from the ‘bad things’ that this life can throw at us.

But if you think about it a little begin to realise that it doesn’t seem so loving to make people live out a ‘puppet type’ existence.

1 John 4:8 says
...God is love.

God never forces, otherwise we couldn’t say that he is love.

Deuteronomy 30:19 says...
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

God always gives us choice.
Yes he is biased, but he is also right.
He knows which way we should go because he knows how good it will be for us.
But he never forces us.
He always gives us choice.

Joshua 24:15
...if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

I have come to realise that God has put me and you in an amazing position.
He always gives us chose...and he always will.
So this week...what is your choice?
How will you live?
Who will you serve?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sometimes different opportunities pop up in life.
Things you weren’t expecting.
But they turn up just the same.

I have found that as you start getting older...yuck...that you have this natural ability to shy away from what is new. It is like some cosmic force trying to stop you take advantage of new things.
Little voices telling you not to bother.
You get nervous because it is not what you normally do.
It is exciting. But it is also uncomfortable.

In the last few weeks I have found myself with some opportunities that I never expected.
Even last weekend I got to be a polling place manager for our general election. This isn’t something I expected to be doing. It wasn’t part of my life long dreams for my life.But I got to do it just the same.

My advice to you is make the most of every opportunity!
You never know where they can lead.
Or what other door may open to you.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says…
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

Yes you have to be wise.
Not every thing you get put in front of you is good for you.
We need to hear from God, be lead by him, and trust where that takes us.

But I have found that many of us shy away from the new.
We want safety.
We want ‘normal’.

I have found that nothing will age you quicker that getting conservative with your life.

As soon as you have it safe and sorted you get old.
You can get boring.
And you wake up one day wondering what happened.

So this week...take some chances!
Make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
And enjoy the life God has given you!

Something to think about...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You can read about a guy who suddenly found out you can talk to God in a book you might all have…
This seemingly crazy idea that you can talk to God, and that especially he can talk to you, that you can hear him...

One day God spoke to this young guy through a angel, but because this was all new to him he asked God for several tests to check it was really him speaking.
God didn’t seem to have a problem with it.
He passed the tests this young guy set, and the course of his life and that of his country radically changed.

The story goes on from this encounter to him hearing from God and making decisions rather quickly and efficiently. No record of needing to test this out again and again.

This story illustrates what it is like to be normal.
Getting to know the voice of God is sometimes a little unsettling to start with.
You wonder if it is just your thoughts?
Just your desires?
You wonder why God may speak to you.

The deal for God is that he designed with two sets of ears.
One set that sit on the side of your head.
Another set that are spiritual.
They don’t have a fixed location I can tell you about...they are just part of the spirit that God has placed inside each of us.

Maybe this concept of hearing from God is new to you, or maybe you don’t know his voice all that well yet. Don’t panic.
God is totally comfortable with that.
He is not upset if we question his voice as we get to learn its sound, it nuance.
He is love.
He is graceful.
And his heart is to help you learn.
That as you grow in him it becomes more normal and natural.

So this week…
Take some moments out to ask God to speak to you.
Explore this part of this relationship.
Give it a try.
Have fun with it.
Because God wants to have fun with you….

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You know that feeling, that maybe you have had, where everything else for a moment seems so lame?
Where you really want to have something special with someone bigger than all your day has been or is going to be?

You know that you can have this anytime you like?

Driving to work today I decided I needed God.
I didn’t want to just drive to work.
Decided that I just didn’t want the same old start to my normal wednesday.
I was hungry for more than that.

And it is always so easy.
So easy I think that we regularly forget.

God says to us…

James 4:8 (nlt)
Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you...

Elsewhere it says that we will find him if we seek him.

I love it that God is not hiding from me.
That he is not hiding, or playing tricks on me.
He doesn’t tease.
He doesn’t lie.
He doesn’t do anything at all to make our relationship with each other hard.

So here I am driving in my car.
Some new worship cd blasting.
Singing my lungs out to God.
Not caring what anyone in a car around me is thinking.
Realising once again that by simply opening my heart I found God.
Yes, I had the goosebumps.
Yes, it made me feel close to God.

Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity that we have.
Where we can get together very simply with God.
For me it was singing in my car.For you it might be sitting by the sea.
Or just chilling in your room.

Whatever it is for you…Why not do it again today?

Something to think about...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It is pretty unavoidable at the moment...wherever you turn people are making promises.
You know those people, in the flash power suits, with thousands of hanger on’s…
“Vote for me” they say and “you will be better off”
“Vote for them and your life will be a mess….”

It is easy to be cynical.
It is easy to think it is a load of rubbish...they give us so much ammunition!
But it is also easy to miss the point, the bigger picture of what is going on here.

Being someone who wants to follow Jesus. Being a disciple…
You need to ask yourself how you fit into this whole messy thing?
Should you make a noise?
Should you pretend to not care?
Should you vote?

One thing that does come to mind is a scripture that goes like this:

Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

It is like the Bible is telling us that the leaders we have are there because God wants them there. That if you have a problem with them, that you have a problem with what God might want to do through you and them.

Colossians 1:16 says
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

God wants our country, the place where you live, to be led by the right people.
And that is where you come in as a disciple of Christ.
You can have the inside running on who God would like running the show.
If we don’t step up and be part of this election, we will get something else by default.

So as we head into polling day, this is what I suggest…
Pray—ask God for his will be to done, that the right leaders are voted into power.
Pray—that God will help you make the right choice.
Act—and get out there on the 8th of November and make a vote that counts.

Something to think about...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I was sharing with a group of people the other day and we were talking about words that make us feel uncomfortable in our christian faith.
Words that when you hear them, if you are honest, something inside of you cringes or just reacts.

Some of the words mentioned were tithing, giving, discipline and of course evangelism.
The funny thing about words like these is that there is nothing wrong with them.

They are an important part of the Kingdom of God.
It is just sometimes our past experiences taint their flavour for us.

Take evangelism for example. Many of can feel uncomfortable about it.
But with our funny feelings about words like these we are robbed of its meaning, power and design.
Have a read of the 10 things below that may help change your mind about that particular word.

"I don't have any non-Christian friends."
Jesus was a friend of sinners. We need to take risks to follow his example.

"I don't have the gift of evangelism. It's not my thing."
Jesus gave the Great Commission to the entire church. We all have a vital part to play by using approaches that fit our unique personalities.

"I don't have time right now."
Mix outreach with things you're already doing by inviting unchurched friends to join you. Think of the difference one lunch made in the life of Zacchaeus!

"I'm afraid of what friends will think of me."
That's a good sign you're sensitive enough to approach people in ways that won't unnecessarily offend them! If you interact respectfully, they'll likely be open.

"I'll just live out my faith in front of my friends; they'll figure it out."
That sounds appealing, but it's neither biblical nor effective. Paraphrasing Romans 10:14, they're not going to see it unless we also say it.

"I don't know how to bring up the topic."
Pray for wisdom and courage to seize split-second opportunities to steer ordinary topics, like getting a drink of water (John 4), into spiritual conversations ("I could have given you living water").

"I wouldn't know what to say once the topic was raised."
That's okay because it's best to do more listening at first anyway. Once you're into it, you'll find experiences to explore, questions to discuss, and stories to tell—and the Holy Spirit will guide you!

"I don't know enough."
The best way to grow in this area is simply to dive in and say what you do know. You can always delay answering a tough question until you've had time to look into it.

"In our church's tradition, we don't talk about personal faith."
Your friends need to understand the gospel message because it's "the power of God for salvation." Stretch yourself to communicate it in ways that fit you, and them—maybe writing letters or sending books or tapes. Take small steps, and it'll become more natural.

"My church is more into teaching and worship than evangelism."
Don't excuse negligence of one area because we have competence in another. For the sake of lost people who matter to God, let's do all we can to reach them, personally and through the church.
© 1998 Christianity Today International. This article originally appeared in Leadership journal. For more articles like this, visit

We need all together to reach this generation for God.
We need to take chances and risk something because someone did that for us.
Maybe this week you could pray for some opportunity to reach out to someone?
Maybe you could invite them to a service or even one of our events?

Something to think about...


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Some people think that our basic emotions are some what primitive.
That maybe you should try to avoid them or suppress them?

They don’t want to cry or to laugh because that can be messy.
They don’t want to love or be passionate in case they get hurt.

I don’t think that God gave them to us to simply hurt us or make us feel uncomfortable.
There must be some bigger use for them.
Something to do us good.
Because that is God’s do us good and not harm us.

Take laughter for example.
I think it is awesome!

As Christians we sometimes take ourselves too seriously.
We mistake being all serious for ‘godliness’ when sometimes that is just being religious.
Then other times we laugh at things we shouldn’t and hurt others or even ourselves.

Laughter is a gift from God.
It has a powerful effect on our lives.

I read this today about some of its good effects…

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.

Have you ever felt like you "have to laugh or I'll cry"? Have you experienced the cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.

A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.
Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.

Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a 'threat' or a 'challenge'. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as 'challenges', thereby making them less threatening and more positive.

Laughter connects us with others. Also, laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!

Proverbs 17:22 even says...
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Something to think about...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes you read a piece of news and it stands out to you.
You know, beyond all the murder, death, kill we are presented with every day…

Apparently there is a small company called Algordanza based in the mountainous southeast of Switzerland, which uses the ashes of dead people to make diamonds as a permanent memento for their nearest and dearest.
For around about $10,000 NZD you can wear your loved one on some jewelry where ever you go.

The technology for making artificial diamonds was first pioneered by General Electric in the 1950s, and mirrors what happens naturally in the earth by subjecting carbon to huge pressure and temperature.

Pressure can do amazing things like turning what looks like basic carbon into a precious stone.
Pressure keeps your car tires up.
Pressure exists in your body as blood is pumped around.

But when many of us use the word ‘pressure’ it is used to express something bad in our lives.
We complain about being under too much pressure, or that we feel under pressure.
I personally think pressure can be good or is just having the right balance of it.

Just as too much pressure can be bad...too little, and nothing much seems to change.
Take the diamond example.
Add the right amount of pressure and you get a diamond.
Add too little pressure and all you get is a lump of coal.

I think it is normal to have some pressure in your life.
Pressure will actually help grow you, help mould you, help make you the person God planned for you to be.
The Bible uses phrases that reflect this regularly.
Phrases like perseverance doing its work, being blessed when we persevere, that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Don’t is not all bad so to speak.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (message) says
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

So when you next face some pressure check it out. It may not be all bad...
Pressure in the right amount is good for you. It will change your life for the better.

Trust that God has your life in his hand and he will lead you and grow you.

Something to think about...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I have been thinking this week about something I read.
I actually read it many years ago as well and decided to give it a go...

This is it…

Romans 12:20
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

For me, it is two parts.
The first being the challenge to do the opposite of what we would normally want to do.
The opposite of what our flesh screams out to do.
The concept of doing good to someone who is doing something bad to you.
It is in fact finding a way to meet an enemies need, even when you think they don’t deserve it.

When you think about is kind of like a ‘Jesus’ thing to do…
When you think of his life, you see him doing good all the time.
It didn’t matter what people said or did, he stayed focused on what he was here to do.
Even the events leading up to him being crucified, echoed these values...

Acts 10:38 says
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

The second part is what intrigues me the most about this scripture.
What is this heaping burning coals thing?
And what does it do?

It is a picture.
It is a spiritual response to what you do to your enemy.
Imagine having these burning coals on your head...
It would hurt. It would make you think about why you had them there.
Coals like this were a picture in the Word of cleansing.
Doing good to your enemy puts them in a spiritual position for God to cleanse them.
For God to fix them or the situation.

God promises to look after us.
To avenge us if we need avenged.
This passage is reminding us to do what is right.
To let God sort it out.To trust he is in control.
Because when we is way more powerful and effective!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I worked out recently that I have now heard over 1000 sermons…
Now you may be wondering why I would even try to figure that out, but I was curious.

I wanted to know.

It reminds me that we can hear lots about God.
We can hear lots about what God can do in our lives.
And we can hear lots about what our response can be.

In fact we can spend a lifetime ‘hearing’.
Now that is a good thing!
I want us to ‘hear’.
But there is always a next step. Something else that needs to happen otherwise we get good or bad at ‘hearing’.

Something I am have always tried to do with any sermon, preachit...teaching thing, is I ask myself what I can do with what I have heard?
What can I learn?
And then how can I do something with what I have just learnt?
That is the step that bring our ‘hearing’ to life.

James 1:22-24 (niv)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

The Message version help explain it better...
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

My encouragement to you is to make the most of what you hear.
Take it on board. Ask questions of yourself.
Then what you hear will make even more sense.
It will grow you beyond just a ‘hearer’ of the word into a ‘doer’.

I am looking forward to the next 1000 sermons I hear...because I will hear lots that I can live out loud!

Something to think about...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Over the last few weeks I have been a little disappointed to be honest at some of the news.
News relating to high profile ministries and their failings.
It is a mixture of emotions….anger, pity, frustration…
And as a bystander you wonder how some of these problems ever develop or get left to escalate so much.
At the end of the day you are left to handle these thoughts and feelings…
What do you do?
When disappointments like this happen, what is the best thing to do?

This is what I think...
This is what I try to do...

A simple theme that reoccurs throughout the Bible is ‘where to look’.
What should we focus on, especially when things seem to go wrong?

Proverbs 4:25 says...
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

Then the Apostle Paul takes this concept a step further...

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith

Paul knew a story of something that happened to another Apostle many years before he wrote those words.
A story about a guy called Peter and how one day he had this ‘crazy’ idea.
While all the disciples were in a boat without Jesus, they noticed that Jesus was actually walking towards them on the water. Something they knew should be impossible.
But here was their friend, leader, pastor...doing the impossible.
Peter gets excited (I would have as well!), and decides he has to give this trick a try.
The Bible records he was successful until he does one simple thing...

Matthew 14:29-30
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

The only thing Peter did wrong was he stopped looking directly in front of himself to Jesus!
We will always have things distracting us. The world will bring all sorts of things into our peripheral vision.
We can make it and do the impossible if we simply look in one direction.
The disappointments was face during life.
The challenges we face.
All can fade into insignificance if we simply look in the direction of Jesus.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where is God?

It is a question many of us ask…

So where is he? Like, what is his exact location right now?
If someone came up to you on a street somewhere and asked that same question…
Would you have an answer for them?

This is the question I ponder sometimes.
It is not always because I am struggling or things are not go well.
Sometimes I just want to know.

I actually think there are several answers to the one question.
Not because it sounds more spiritual.
Not because I don’t really have an answer, and I just want to convince myself and others I have an answer.
It is just that I don’t think you can give simple one sentence answers when it comes to God.

How do you truly describe someone who is beyond what we can even imagine at times.
Whose ways are higher than our ways.
Whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
Who created the world we see around us and the universe that envelops us, with a single word.
When the Bible even says we only know in part...not completely.

One thing I feel safe in saying about God is that wants us to find him, and then ultimately represent him.
God is not hidden as some people think. It is just he is too big to be confined to a single simple space in time.
The Bible says that God is with us when we meet together.
The Bible says that God is with us when we do something for someone else in need.
The Bible says God inhibits the songs we sing when we go after him.
The Bible says the God is there when we call out to him.
And the Bible says that God is looking for us probably more often then we realise.

Maybe I haven’t answered the question that easily?
Maybe I have just given you something to think about...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are there sometimes during your week where things just seem a little too crazy?
Where things seem to crowd in a round you, and you can hardly think straight?
Where you no longer feel in control of your life?
Where your life is seemingly being controlled by everything else around you…

I think we all have moments like that.

The trick is to know what to do during those moments.
Is there something you can do that will help?

To be honest, my week has definitely been like that so far.
But the cool thing is, there are 4 things that help me.
4 thoughts I consider that make a huge difference to me...and I know they can help you too.

thought one
Jeremiah 8:18
O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.
The Bible calls God our comforter. In fact one of the original Greek words for the Holy Spirit means the same thing. He is the one called to come along side us when we need help.
I always ask the Holy Spirit to help me, to comfort lead and guide me...

thought two
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
God doesn’t expect you to be superhuman and carry all your burdens and even everyone else’s on your own.
Simply hand them over to him.
Talk to him along those lines…Hand it over...don’t hang on to them.

thought three
1 Corinthians 10:13
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
I believe the principle here is the same for when are struggling. God will not let the present trial you are under ever be beyond what you can survive through.
He even will provide a way out.

thought four
James 4:8
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
This is cool. I know that when I feel under pressure, the best pressure release I have is to simply come before God.
To get in his presence. To get away with him.
To let the peace of God rule over my heart.
It helps get things back into perspective. To know God has get things under control even if I don’t understand them.
I mean, he is the creator if everything. Nothing is beyond his reach or influence.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I got a message from someone from edge this week that got me thinking…
They shared about a decision that they made based on they beliefs of what is right and wrong.
And it reminded me of a very similar decision I faced a few years ago.
Their stand while looking maybe small to others, I think is part of a greater, more powerful truth.

We don’t do it that much now, but we used to rent a lot of dvds to entertain ourselves.
Over the years I have belonged to quite a few video shops and have lots of stories to tell about crazy things that happened with them.
But one day we found a new chain that started that was a little different to all the others we had been part of.
They hired the same movies as everyone else with one subtle difference.
They had a policy of not hiring out porn.
Without trying to sound too ‘holy’, we decided to support them over any other store.
Because of their stand. We made our little stand.
We gave them our business completely.
To some little degree we felt like we were part of something good.

Jesus seemed to have the ability to influence everywhere he went.
You don’t seem to read anywhere that a visit from Jesus meant nothing changed.
Peoples lives, circumstance, dreams...all seemed to change in the light of his presence.

It is like he was a spiritual seasoning to the world around him.

If you have decided to live your life for Christ?
If you have decided to orientate your whole world around who he is?
The Bible calls that being a disciple.
And being a disciple means you can be just like him.

Matthew 5:13 says
You are the salt of the earth

Mark 9:50 says
Salt is good

It is the little we do that changes the flavor of the world around us.
Your life is the seasoning God would like to use.
Just like real salt, a little of it changes the whole taste of something.
You don’t need heaps, you just need some.

You can season the world around you, just by the little things you do.
The stands you take for righteousness.
The doing the ‘right thing’ instead of the ‘wrong thing’.

You don’t to do just have to do something.
That kind of takes the pressure off us.

Your life can change your world. That is guaranteed!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I have probably said this before, but I am always surprised about what I find in the Bible…
Even in places I have read many times, I find phrases or ideas that I have never seen before.
Things that jump out at me...things that suddenly have more meaning…

Like today I read this in what I was reading:

Mark 10:29-30
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

On one hand it is really encouraging.
But on the other hand it mentions persecutions.
Seemingly not very encouraging...

So God tells us he will bless us, but we will be persecuted even more.
So then do I want to be blessed?
Of course I do!

The reality is that our faith costs us something.
But that cost is never more than what we have gained.
100 times more than what I am giving up goes along to cover the persecutions or struggles I may face.
I still think it is the best deal for me.

The early disciples loved this concept.
No they weren’t sicko’s looking for punishment!
They learned that to become mature you need to go through some things to help you mature.

Consider what James & Paul wrote…

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

Romans 5:3-5
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

I’ll be honest with you…I don’t like pain, discomfort, persecutions and all that stuff.
But I will gladly go through it if they help me become more mature.
If they help me grow in my faith.

My flesh wants the easy path in my walk with God.
My spirit wants to pay the cost so that I inherit everything God has promised.

Paul says this amazing statement that I will leave with you...

Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why is it so hard to find time for some things?
Like time to clean up something we should have done months ago…
Like catching up with a friend that you keep thinking would be a good idea to catch up with…
What about time to pray?

Most of us consider our lives to be really busy, with not much room to add anything into them.
When people ask me how I am...I seem programmed to reply “really busy!”
But am I really busy and or am I really good at looking busy and feeling busy?

Being busy can help you feel good.
It can reinforce feelings of meaning, feelings of your life being important.
It can help hide issues in our lives we don’t want to face.
It can mask guilt.
It can even be a drug...
I know for me, I have often made myself busy to make sure I don’t feel guilty about not being busy enough...aaaah!

A negative about busyness is that it will eventually rob you!
I guarantee it!!!
It robs me of the most important things in life.
Robs me of my time, family, friends and eventually God...
It will make you so tired that eventually you can’t even stay awake to pray.

Some people like to use passages of scripture like the following to explain about our prayer life...
Then he (Jesus) returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Matthew 26:40-41
I didn’t think Jesus was religious about his prayer life.
What we do know is that Jesus made sure he did take time out to pray.
To seek God. To be in his presence.
No matter how crazy things got he never got too busy to pray.

Many years ago there was a christian ministry called the Change the World School of Prayer.
They essentially went around teaching people why they should pray. How to pray. That sort of thing.
I remember a promo clip they had really well...because it was so embarrassing.
They promoted that if you came to the course they ran, not only would you get a work book...but you would also get a free plastic bag.
This bag wasn’t amazing or anything. It was like a shopping bag from Foodtown.
Hardly anything to get excited about.

But I did learn something from my day of lectures…
That God has designed it so when we get together to pray about anything he promises to do a few things.
One, hear us.
Two, be there.
Three, do something.

I think that is awesome!
Maybe, just maybe, that might give that little bit more encouragement to come pray with us tomorrow morning?
Or to pray sometime today?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Last night I found myself around 6pm sitting on a park bench.
A large street light was above me and the bench itself was located at the top of some stairs.
I was looking out on the amazing view from there, breathing heavily because I had just run the 115 stairs for the tenth time.

Even though it was nearly dark, a little light was still on the horizon as the sun was fully setting.
The air was really still and cold.
It was really quiet.
The only sound I could hear was my breathing and the occasional subtle noise from a neighbouring house.

So here I was...and I suddenly thought that God could see me.
That he noticed me sitting there.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think about things like that all day long.
It was just this amazing feeling. The feeling that God saw me sitting there.
Not because my pasty scottish heritage white legs were gleaming as a beacon all the way to heaven…
But because he wants to see me.

For a moment I wondered why God noticed me?
Out of all that he could see or take notice of, why me?
While famines and disasters occur all the world, why does God still take the time to seek me out?

I then thought of a whole bunch of things that God says about you and me in the Bible.
Things like…

John 15:16 (niv)
You did not choose me, but I chose you

1 Peter 2:9-10 (message)
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

Isaiah 49:16
I have engraved you on the palms of my hands

Even back in Genesis you see God’s heart.
It records how God came walking in the cool of the day looking for Adam and Eve.
He even asked “where are you?”
Simply because he wanted to be with them!

God notices you!
God wants to be with you!
No one else cares about you and what happens in your life as much as God!
No matter where you go in this world God still sees you...because he wants to!

Something to think about...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

When was the last time you had a really good laugh?
You know the one I mean...where you are just about loosing it from laughing so hard!
I had one last week and I realised that it had been a while since I had experienced such a thing…Which of course got me thinking about laughter and how good it is for us.

It all started with 4 guys in the church foyer talking about a meeting we had been at that week.
We found some of the things interesting to talk about, and then the conversation took on a life of its own.
It got more and more outrageous...more and more funny.
It finished with us laughing so hard we had to walk away…
Good times!

Proverbs 17:22 (amplified) says...
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Maybe a good laugh is the medicine you need right now?
Maybe you should find somewhere/somehow to get this into you and see what it does in your life.

After that moment with those 4 guys, I went away feeling great.
Things didn’t seem to weigh me down.
Life seemed a little different, even for just that moment.

Here is another interesting verse…

Job 8:20-21
Behold, as surely as God will never uphold wrongdoers,
He will never cast away a blameless man.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with joyful shouting.

Have you thought about the fact that God designed us to find things funny?
It is part of his amazing design for us. Part of the package he promises when he talks about us having life, and all its fullness.
We also know Jesus had his disciples who he lived, ate, slept with over about a 3 year period.
I wonder if they had times of laughing? Whether they got to share a good joke with Jesus and just about loose it laughing so hard?
Wouldn’t that be an amazing experience? Having a great laugh with Jesus...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maybe you don’t like winter and what it brings?
But you can’t really hide from it or pretend that it is not happening.Hiding in your bedroom works for a while, but eventually you have to have to face facts.
It is winter, it is cold and it is going to last for a season.

With winter come those storms, just like our country has been seeing just this week.
They are part of the whole ‘winter’ package.
Storms are actually quite natural. And our natural human reaction is to try and get away from them.
One person I spoke to yesterday mentioned about flying out of one of our cities that same day. They felt some really bad turbulence just after take off, and then the pilot mentioned that the airport they had just left had been closed due the stormy weather.

A while a go a preacher who is a pilot explained a principal that he had learnt.
He said that when he saw a storm approaching along his flight path, 9 times out of 10 it was better to go directly through it than to try and avoid it.
Better the bumpy ride for a short time, than the long drawn out ride around it. It was apparently safer as well.

In our lives we face storms.
Sometimes we see them coming and sometimes we don’t.
But either way, you are presented with them and have to navigate your way through them.
Pretending that I am not in a storm of life has never worked that well for me. And I have learnt that approaching them head on is 9 times out of 10 the best way to go....and if you can accept this, sometimes they can be a whole lot of fun…

When I was quite young my family was on holiday in Queenstown.
We had a boat that we spend many a summer enjoying around the lake there.
One day the weather got really bad and the lake obviously changed into a churning, rough looking place. My dad decided we would still head back to the jetty downtown and so we set off.
It was really rough and we were being thrown around all over the place. I will never forget it though when the waves started getting bigger than our little boat. And I will never forget when my dad decided to go full throttle into one.
The boat went under the wave, or was it the wave went over our boat...either way there was a lot of water, a lot of noise, and my sister screaming!
I thought it was awesome. It was actually heaps of fun.
My dad seemed to enjoy the experience as well…

Sometimes the storms we face can be fun depending on how you look at them.
Even in the last few days, as soon as the hail fell, people rushed to the windows of our buildings to look.
Storms don’t last. The finish sometimes as quickly as they started.
They make you appreciate ‘normal’ weather.

If you are going through some storms of life right now…Don’t run and hide.
Face it head on and let God bring you safely through.
You may even get to enjoy some of it?

Proverbs 10:25
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This week I have been struggling…
Struggling with my thoughts and emotions in light of all the ‘bad stuff’ happening close to where I live.
In the last few weeks one man was shot, another old lady beaten in her own house and left for dead, and then another lady run over after her bag was stolen.
To be honest that sucks!
And I am not happy about it!!!
In fact I am spewing…

My immediate human reaction is I want revenge.
I want to ‘deal’ to these ‘scam bags’ for what they have taken away from us.
But as I continue to think, continue to pray...I don’t think God wants me to go on a ‘holy’ shooting rampage.
At the same time I don’t think God is thrilled if I just throw my hands up and give in without at least doing something.

So what do I do? What do you do?

The Bible says this intriguing thing in Ephesians chapter 6
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.

To be honest it is hard to think sometimes that this is not just an earthly issue.
That in fact it is spiritual as well.
That the issues in my part of the world aren’t just bad people doing bad things. It is also a bad devil doing bad things.
As Christians we need to be aware what is going on, so that we can respond the right way.
Personally I don’t think me walking around my neighbourhood waving a banner and screaming and yelling is going to make much difference to make it safer.
I think the answer is so simple that we don’t want to do it because it seems too simple.
We have just got to PRAY!

We need to fight in prayer for what we want and value.
It isn’t just going to get handed to us on a plate. Salvation has been...but this stuff is where we get to get into the game and be Jesus on this earth...right here...right now.

The Bible even says that our prayer is Powerful and Effective!
It is not lacking in power, lacking in ability to change things.
If you need proof that it works, check out the Transformations videos that were around a few years ago.They documented how small groups of people decided to simply pray and seek God for their neighbourhood, city or generation. And time after time God did something dramatic.

So what is next?
Over to you really…
You can sit there waiting on the next headline to show up or you can be part of changing our world for the better, you can start by praying.
Suze and I are starting up prayer walks next week around our community.
Tomorrow morning we start our monthly early morning prayer meeting which we would love to invite you to be part of. 6:30am @ Elim House...and we even offer you breakfast :)

Get in the game guys.
Let’s pray and change some stuff!

Something to think about...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

‘seek Mentors not Money’...are the first lines of a book I heard someone talking about on the radio recently…
It has immediate impact for me, but also reminds me of so much.As I explain, my hope is that it encourages you...

Many of you will know that I was saved in my late teens.
Saved while in a mildly successful Heavy Metal Band called Animal Instinct.
As with most stories about peoples lives, you only ever know small parts as they are revealed. We are all way more interesting and complex than what you see on the surface.

When I first went to church most people were freaked out by me, or fascinated that some strange looking guy would step inside their special doors. But I am very grateful that not everyone treated me as a side show, or a christian novelty.

The first person to take note of me and see something in my life was a youth pastor called John Houston.
He spent time helping me to understand our faith.
When I had questions or things that concerned me, he always seemed to be around to help one more time.
He was the first person to tell me that he thought God had a plan for my life.
He didn’t know what it was...but it encouraged me all the same.

Next came a senior pastor called Don Newitt.
He seemed to want to help as well, and did all sorts of amazing things to help grow me and encourage me.
While others thought I couldn’t do this or that, Don always said that I could.
It was Don who encouraged me to study at Bible College.
He took me on the road to get ministry experience.
He made me the worship pastor of his church when I was only 20.

I owe these guys so much.
Without their help, without the mentoring they provided I wouldn’t be doing anything I am doing today.
I am convinced of that!

So back to the quote…
Money is able to be earned or received. Money can come and go like wind.
But what a mentor can offer or what a mentor can give lasts forever.

So now to you…
My encouragement to you is find someone you can look up to. Not in some silly way.
But someone you can model good things from.
Get with someone who will help you and encourage you in your walk.
Someone who can help you be all that God has for you.
It is not all about accountability...even though that is part of it.
It is about having someone who will help grow you, stretch you, and take you beyond where you are right now.

Warren Buffett (one of the worlds richest ever men) said this...“It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction.”

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I have decided that I like holidays!
That may seem strange for me to start like that, but I mean it…
For most of my life I haven’t liked having a holiday or taking a break.
Either I was disappointed with how it went. Or I felt guilty. Or any number of either weird or lame reasons.

For many years I even prided myself in not having holidays because I didn’t think that I needed them.
I love working hard, and not having holidays reinforced my desire to work hard and prove to everyone how hard working I really was…
At one stage I had a boast of not having a holiday in 2 years!

What a plonker!

I have come to this point in life because I have realised I have been robbing myself, my family and my friends, and even God. Pride has been a big enemy. Trying to impress people as well…How much I have tried to work hard and then work even harder?
I have hurt myself at times, hurt others around me trying to be the hard working hero!

So here I am, fresh back from a long weekend off...and I loved it!

In the Bible it says that God took a holiday.
OK it was one day, but if God needs a break...we certainly do.
Read about it Genesis after God creates Adam.
God even says that after all his creating he looked at it, said it was ‘good’...and then he had a rest!

You are allowed to enjoy life. You shouldn’t feel guilty about it!
It is a gift that God has given you to enjoy and make the most of.

This year, don’t flog yourself silly. Work hard yes!
But make sure you take some time out to rest.
To look back at what you have created.
To appreciated what is good...

Something to think about...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I hope one day you don’t come up to me and tell me you are sick of me saying the same things :)No matter how much things change around me.
No matter how much older I get….eeekkkk!
I haven’t changed in one key area...
I am still as passionate, if not more about our generation being something, doing something, experiencing something in God...maybe something no other generation has ever experienced.

We are doing it in two stages:
- Getting stuff back that we have missed out on.
- Going after the new stuff that God has for us.

Everything we are doing in edge and sphere is all about this goal!
That is the reason why we have Sunday Church, Connect Groups and our Events.
That is the reason why we had our Prayer & Worship Nite last Saturday...which was awesome by the way!
We need to do what God expects is normal.
We need to pray, we need to worship, we need to look after our world, we need to love each other.
We are hungry to grow the Kingdom of God in our Generation!
We want to reach, to serve, and to influence this generation.
We want to be the wineskin God can pour the new wine into.

I want you to know that I would like to make sure you are on this journey with us.
If you are not coming to Church at the moment, or coming to a Connect Group or are missing out!
I don’t want you to miss out. Jump on board.
Can’t wait to live out the rest of 2008 with you!

Apart from all that is happening we would really like to pray some more.
So here is the deal…Every 3rd Thursday of the month we are hosting an edge/sphere prayer breakfast.
The first one is on the 19th June, starting 6:30am @ Elim House. We will worship, and pray for stuff including each other. It will finish with breakfast at 7:30am. And the breakfast will be awesome. All that for a Gold Coin!
Book it in your diary.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I don’t know if you are like me, but I have lots of questions!
Sometimes I know who to ask, other times I don’t.
Sometimes I find the answers, and other times I don’t.

The reality is that my world, your world, if you look at it long enough with some desire to comprehend it…it will ultimately cause you to come to a place of questioning it.
Things like “if the world was designed by someone all knowing and all powerful, why did they let it be so bad now?”
The whole “why do bad things happen to good people?” type stuff.

I was thinking about this recently and realized I can choose a lot of what happens in my life.
I can most times choose my life course, things like my career, my partner, where I live…that sort of stuff.
If I don’t like something or I think it will hurt me I can generally choose to get away.
I have even been known to escape, at least in my mind, by burying myself in some xbox gaming world.

There is a dynamic at play that seems so random.
I realized there is one choice I will never be able to make.
The choice of where I will be born!
I look at my life in the country I live and I can’t help but compare it to other countries around the world. And I wonder why I was born here, why I was born me?

Why was so-and-so born in Myanmar?
Why couldn’t we have swapped places?
Was this all by chance?

After I thought about this for a while I decided that these things are too hard for me to totally comprehend.
I decided that I had to look at this differently or I would spin into some depression over it. Inevitability you have to decide what your next move is going to be.
This is where you get to once again to choose.
While someone from Myanmar may not have many choices in their life right now…I have heaps.
I can choose to pretend there isn’t a problem…or I can choose to try and do something to help.

Who cares if the world looks random or out of control?
Maybe I am the person who got the better deal in life just so I can pass on some of the blessing I have received to someone else?

simple steps
Take some time to think about the randomness of life, and why you were born where you were born. Think about one thing you can do right now to make a difference in a life where they don’t have much choice.

simple words
“Whatever you do for the least of these…you did for me” Jesus – Matthew 25:34-40
Do good – Psalm 37:3 & 27

Something to think about….

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I have found that a lot of people wonder how God might use them.
Like what ‘ministry’ should they do?...
What is my gift?...
...are all typical questions that people ask when facing how they can serve.

But I will tell you what I think…
I think we make it either too complicated and we put up big mountains to climb, on the path to finding our so called ‘calling’.
God, I believe has made it so much more simple.

The simple reality of our christian faith is that God saved you firstly because he wanted too. And secondly because you have at least one gift living inside of you that could change lives!
And I mean everyone has this!!!

Next, the Bible says that “he orders the steps of a righteous person”.
Simply put, he will gently guide you and help you find the right way to go, the right path to take, the right place to serve...just by loving him and loving others.

I have found that by simply living life the best I can, God seems to bring opportunities to serve him in amazing ways. They come from places that I lest expect (which makes it even more cool).
The thing is, is that you have to make a choice when something like this happens.
Either to run with it and see where it goes.
Or you can walk away and never find out what could come from that opportunity…

Here is a funny story to help illustrate this.
And it is all TRUE!

A number of weeks a go, Amos and I were about to go filming an advert for church.
As we walked out the front door I was approached by a little old asian lady, clutching a letter in her hand.
She then proceeded in really bad english ask for my help. She was trying to find a place mentioned in her letter. As I looked quickly at it, I noticed it was from Breast Screen Aoetearoa...which I have to admit made me a little embarrassed and my embarrassment caused me to read the wrong address...and then proceed to give her the wrong directions!

So Amos and I head away, film, drink coffee and then travel back.

It was on the drive back to church that we noticed the little old lady had only gone up the road 500 meters, and we had been gone half an hour!
So we decided we better stop and make sure she is ok.
Now Amos did the talking and found they could speak Cantonese together. And they realised I had given her the wrong directions!
So to make amends we gave her a lift to the clinic she was supposed to be at.
Amos walked her up the stairs and talked to the receptionist on her behalf. And all was now well with the world!

We had an opportunity to do good (ok, I nearly screwed it up!).
We decided to do something.
It felt good to help. You knew you had done something right!
It was just so random!

I think that is how God does it sometimes...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some words in songs make me think…
Especially the ones we sing in our church!

I don’t know about you, but I want to mean what I am singing.
I don’t want to say things like ‘I lift my hands’...and not do just that.
I don’t want to say I am happy to praise God...and not mean it somehow.

It is part of the dna of our generation to not like hypocrisy.
We like things to be real. To have meaning.
We don’t like boring cold religion.
We want what is true and good and real in our lives.

The other week we had a guest worship band at church.
Citipointe Band played all their own material. Most of which I hadn’t heard before that night.
But as I stood near the front trying to keep up...trying to be real and go after God...some lyrics really hit me. And to be honest I haven’t been able to shake them from my mind.
I haven’t heard the song since then so that is not the reason why it always comes to mind. I
t was simply the phrase.
It has caused me to meditate on its meaning for me.

Very simply the chorus goes…
Louder now, louder now
Break out in praise to God

On the face of it, it simply looks like the writer encouraging us to sing louder.
To scream and to shout.
But for me it has meant so much more than passionate singing!
The louder now phrase rings through my consciousness.
And what it says to me is that I need to find ways for my life to be louder now.
God wants my life to be loud to our world.
To have an impact.
Not as a protestor! Not as someone just being loud because I am arrogant!
But for bigger things…
God wants my love for others to be loud!
God wants my passion for him to loud!

Like the vision of our church talks about, we want to be known more for what we are for, than what we are against.

Matthew 5 (niv)
14You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

So this week, maybe you can think about how God might turn the volume up of your life. How your loudness can change your world for the better.
There is a sound that can come from all of us that is awesome if we let it!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

With all that has happened this week...what else can I write about but the tragedy and what it has done in me.

As most of you will be aware, 6 students and 1 teacher from our college lost their lives in a freak flash flood last week.
Since Saturday their have been 7 funerals!
All of them celebrating their lives and what they had achieved in such a short time on this earth.

You can’t help but wonder what they would have done if they were still here with us longer…we will never know...

What we do know is that they have run their race.
They have gained the prize.
They have entered their rest with God.

Life is so short, and this has been emphasized so much over this last week!What we have been given on this earth can finish so quickly, and normally without any warning.
But dying is so important!
Without death a seed doesn’t begin to germinate and grow.
Without dying to our selves we don’t really grow in God.
And without ultimately passing from this life into the next, we don’t get to hang out with God in his presence forever!

There are so many thoughts, so many ideas…
Maybe I shouldn’t call this week a simple thought?

The reality is that what has happened has affected us.
It should affect us.
It should cause something in our lives to happen.

The challenge is to learn from God what he wants us to do now.
I am sure if Tony, Tom, Floyd, Portia, Natasha, Anthony & Tara could speak to us today from heaven, that they would all say the same thing…
For all of us to go after God!
To make the most of the life we have been given!
And run our race until the we can be with each other again in a better place!

Something to think about...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Many of you will now know what we as a church have had to face...and continue to deal with at this time...
The tragedy of losing 7 amazing people from our school, church and our lives.

A simple thought is not enough!
In fact the thoughts you have during these times change continually as you walk through a path not of your choosing.
But one thought we shared last night...I want to share with you now...

The Bible says that we are a body.
You know that if you hurt your finger, you feel it and are aware of it.
It doesn’t happen without you noticing and being affected by it.

The same goes for the situation we now find ourselves in.
Part of our body is hurting, and we are noticing it!
My heart is that we stand together.
That we support each other through this time.
That we cry out to God together. We need him!

If you are wondering how to respond...simply prayer.
If you want to do more, please get involved...We are all pulling together. No one is worrying about departments or their issues.
We are standing together because we are hurt.

We share a hope that no one or nothing could ever take away!

Something to think about?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Here I was last night at the gym sweating up a storm…
And a guy comes over to me, mentions my name, and asks how my workout is going…
And guess what? I haven’t got a clue who he is….
(note - if you are that guy, please accept my apologies for not knowing who you are. But know that I appreciated you asking!)

This of course got me thinking, as I racked my brains to where he knows me from…maybe church, maybe somewhere else...
I wondered how many other people during the day notice me, even without saying, and what they might think when they see me.

What about you?
This is probably happening to you as well many times a day without you even noticing. Scary thought really! Does this mean that our lives are really ‘on show’ to others around us, even if we don’t want them to be?

We quote a Bible verse a lot from Hebrews, and many interpret it to refer to angels and even people already gone to heaven. But I have been wondering if it refers to more than that?
It simply says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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” (Hebrews 12:1 niv)

I think that great cloud includes people here and now. Not just those far away or in some spiritual realm. It is the people your presence passes near everyday.
Our world is looking for truth.It wants to know what we stand for.
How we live is way more open and exposed than we probably realise.

But that is a good thing as well!
It means that the love of God that rests on, and moves through those who love him, will be seen by our world without us trying too hard.
In another place in the Bible it likens our lives to a lamp. A lamp that God wants exposed to the world, because the light of our lives is supposed to shine everywhere it possibly can.

Something to think about?