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...