Wednesday, December 29, 2010

two words

Hi there...
With the end of 2010 upon us, it always makes for an ‘interesting time’ for many.
Many of us are excited about a new year, with many new opportunities?
While others have maybe not enjoyed what 2010 brought to them, and have some apprehension about yet another year?
Whatever place you find yourself, can I please encourage you with a couple of words?

eyes
What I read about how God wants me to live seems to revolve around using my eyes. The scriptures say to turn your eyes to Jesus...indicating that maybe they have been somewhere else?
Peter could do amazing things when he saw Jesus.
His life sank when he didn’t see him!
He sunk in the water and sunk when he denied him.
I have learnt that if I keep looking to him, and can keep on going...then that going seems to exceed my expectations! Which leads nicely to my next word…

expectation
If you are like me, your nature is to think a bit negatively sometimes...and guess what I get when I do?
That’s right, nothing much good!
I tell you that I am determined to expect great things for yours and my new year!
To expect that God hasn’t changed at all from the days when he provided miraculously for people in a desert.
Hey, they saw Him! He did stuff. They were left without any doubt that He was their God!

That is my heart for yours and my 2011.
That we are left with no doubt!

But here is the kicker…
You can’t be passive.
Using your eyes and expectation are not passive things at all!
Grab 2011 by the throat and make the most of it and your relationship with God!

Locky :-]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

song title

“All I want for Christmas is you”
...well that is how the song goes…

One year as a kid, people taught me a song called “All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth”. Obviously that was something I probably needed at the time.

I bet that first Christmas, before it was even called Christmas, Mary would have had an interesting title for what she wanted. Probably related to the fact she was about pop out a baby!

Kids in our western culture get an opportunity to say what they want for Christmas too.
You can send a letter to someone called Santa Claus who apparently lives at the north pole. And no matter how little or inaccurate the address you place on the envelope...it seems to always get there???
Plus you can add to your ‘chances’ of getting what you want for Christmas by visiting him at a Santa’s Grotto, get your picture taken, and tell him again what you really really want.
(note to readers : a spice girls song just popped into my head….aaagghhh!)

So what do you really want for Christmas?
If you could have anything, what would it be?
And if there was someone who was really listening and that someone had the power to grant the request...what would it be?

Check this passage out from the Bible...

Philippians 4:5-7
5...The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Santa can be fun...but he really lacks the power to change your life. To meet the needs you really have.
I am so thankful I have my God to talk to, to ask stuff of.
I am so grateful he is listening.
I am so grateful he can answer my requests…
I pick him over a red suit guy any day!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

frisbee

When I was a kid, one of the favourite Christmas songs we would listen to was Snoopy’s Christmas by the Royal Guardsmen.
That song came out all the way back in 1967 and was a huge hit then. My mum had a 45 Single (at which some of you reading this are saying...what?). Before the days of iTunes single downloads, CD’s or even cassette tapes...singles came out on these small vinyl albums called 45’s.
I remember the day that sentimental song and item came to a very sad end!
My sister, wound up by me I have to admit, out of
frustration decided to try and decapitate me with the closest object she could find.
Unfortunately that object ended up being this little 45.
She quickly took aim and fired it at me like a frisbee.
I also remember ducking with my superhero reaction skills and watched as it sailed over my head into the lounge wall...shattering into many pieces!

While that song is fun to many and way too corny to others...it does illustrate something very powerful about Christmas time.

The story is fictional about the Red Baron and a guy called Snoopy in a dogfight during World War 1. They decided not to kill each other that day because it was Christmas!
There is some fact about that time in history.
During that same war, at many places along the front, Germans and English soldiers stopped fighting. They cleared the no mans land of bodies, shared gifts of beer, cigarettes and tinned meat. Even some played soccer!

I guess the point for me is that Christmas is a time to do what no one expects!
God did what many didn’t expect and sent His son to earth in the form of a baby.

Maybe this Christmas time you can be like the Red Baron?

Maybe be like a solider during the ‘great war’?
Maybe be like Jesus?
Just maybe you can use this season to not be what
everyone expects you to be?
Maybe you can bless someone who has tried to destroy you at some time this year.
Go on, shock the world with your love and forgiveness…
Find someone to bless whether they deserve it or not.
I dare ya!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

gob

I was reminded again this week what power each of us has to influence someone’s life.
Either to do good...or completely the opposite.

Now I am not talking about your abilities or gifts.
It is not just restricted to people in high places!
Everyone can influence by that soft fleshy muscle thingy flapping around in their face...their tongue!

According to the Bible your tongue even though it is moist, can set a forest on fire.
Maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively.
With it you can destroy someone pretty quickly.
For me, I can think of several moments in my life where what someone has said to me or about me has caused damage. They sad thing is, most of those people don’t seem to care.

The Bible also says there is the power of life and death in the tongue.
Whether you believe it or not...it is a weapon of mass destruction and only you have the launch codes.

I have seen what sharing kinds words over someone and towards someone can do. How change happens in their life.
I have seen someone get a word of encouragement in a Church and it totally change their day for the better.

Please think about this and not pass on it…
This is not someone else’s word for today.
It is your word for right this second.

Please, please, please think about what you say.
Choose to be a person who speaks ‘life’.
That you will be non-negotiable about it.

If you are struggling to do this simple thing, get help!
Other peoples lives are at stake.
If you have hurt others ask for their forgiveness.

Let’s be mature not immature…
Let’s be a huge blessing this Christmas not just with gifts but because of what comes out our gob...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

tradition

I have never kept my love of this time of year secret.
Many people who don’t believe what I believe about it get into it in some way. Either by exchanging gifts or cards, singing some carols somewhere, listening to music inspired by the season..or even going to a church of some kind.

Since the original Christmas was over 2,000 years a go, you can imagine that a lot has changed since then. And with all that time and change there have been a lot of weird and wonderful ideas come up about it.

Here are a few...

In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzaroi sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. In order to get rid of them, salt or an old shoe is burnt. The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the Kallikantzaroi.
Other techniques include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney.

In the Ukraine, if you find a spider web in the house on Christmas morning, it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck! There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children’s tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold.
An artificial spider and web are now often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.

While that is interesting, I am more interested in now.
What makes Christmas special to you?
Do you have any traditions that have special meaning?
Are they so special as to really influence how you feel about this time?

One of mine is simple but not so cheap.
We love turkey. That is our tradition.
We have it every Christmas and without it I wouldn’t think it really was a normal Christmas.
One year we had Christmas with Suze’s parents and the turkey got overcooked. So to make sure Christmas felt right, we got another one and cooked it a few days later.
Another one we have is to do something different to show people what Christmas really means. Things like making something edible as gift for all our neighbours.

My hope and prayer for you is that this season is great!
If you don’t have a tradition to help add to the special-ness of this time...I hope that you can find one.
Share what you love about this time with someone else.
I think that is in part what Christmas is all about.

Something to think about…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

day

I posted something 3 years a go that keeps coming up in my stats for this blog.
So thought I would post it fresh for you...

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 he 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;
Whowondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices.

In the middle 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???

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

priorities

If you were to write down your top five priorities in life, what would they be? And have they changed much compared to 5, 10 or more years a go?
Interesting thought really…
If you answer that question honestly you are guaranteed to learn a lot about yourself.
I would even go as far as to say...that you will find where you are at right now.

When I was a teenager they went like this…
1. My Band
2. Music
3. Girlfriend
4. Food
5. Family

I think they have changed quite a lot in the few years since!

Priorities show what you truly value.
They help show what you want emphasized in your life.
They tell everyone else around you subconsciously what sort of person you really are.
Your priorities can not be hidden. You can’t even try.
Priorities help pinpoint what might be making you happy or even making you unhappy.
They help indicate what the spiritual temperature of your life might be currently…

As a pastor I have found time and time again that people who don’t feel very loved or very close to God have a priorities list that can look a bit lop-sided to others.

So what is God’s idea for good priorities?
What would be in His top 5 for our lives?
That is easier to answer than what you may have thought…

Jesus gives you a big hint when he was challenged by some religious nutters about what really matters in life.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

So this is what I think is God’s list for you and me…
1. God
2. Family/Friends/Neighbours
3. whatever you like
4. whatever you like
5. whatever you like

Maybe this concept is a challenge to you? Great!
Maybe you and I need to check that our priorities in life match what God thinks?
God’s way ultimately I think is the best way to live.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

hills

For most of my life the cars that I have owned have struggled to get up hills.
Either I felt like I needed a ‘run up’ to get over them or I employed a crazy technique of leaning into the steering wheel to aid the cars climb. Sometimes rocking backwards and forwards seemed like a good idea...
The second technique must have looked stupid!
In fact I am laughing at myself as I write this…

Hills are different to me now.
With my new hobby of road cycling, hills represent a whole new challenge to me. You can’t just get a ‘run up’ or lean forward if you want to successfully get over one.
I have also learnt that it is not just about effort.

Getting over hills for me is all about what I believe!
I remind myself before I start my climb that I can do it.
I remind myself that the short term effort will be rewarded with the satisfaction of making it to the top.
I even remind myself that no matter how big the hill may be...that God is always bigger.

In life as well, you face many hills.
‘Run-ups’ or simply leaning into the challenges we face is not enough to guarantee success.
I remind myself about who God is whenever I face my hills. I talk to myself and tell ‘me’ that with God on my side I can do it. I also focus on the satisfaction I will feel making it over the challenge before me.

Just like the Bible reminds us...
if God is for us, who (or what) can stand against us?

So can I encourage you to not hope you will make it?
Rather place your hope in the One who can guarantee you will make it.
Remind yourself who is bigger.
Remind yourself again and again…

See you at the top!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

statue

In Poland someone thought it a good idea to build a very large statue to represent Jesus...
Now I don’t want to get into a debate on whether this was a good idea or not. Whether the time and money could have been spent on other projects.
Or whether this is something God is that excited about really at all.

This is not something new to people of faith.
People have been building statues to represent what they believe for a very long time.
When I was in Japan some years ago I was taken to a very large and respected Buddhist Temple.
In the centre, surrounded by beauty and everything man could offer, was an enormous gold statue of Buddha.

What it does bring up for me is how big is God really?
Here we have some people making a very european looking Jesus as large as they can...but how does that compare to God?

Here is what we do know.
The Bible says that God is so big that if he wanted he could use the earth as a footstool. The question for me then would be, which country gets to be the resting spot for his feet?
It also says that he moulded everything with his fingers.

If God is so big...then that gives me hope.
Hope that someone that big and powerful can help deal with the issues that I face. He is more than able too based on His perspective. Our big issues by perspective are so small. And small issues by nature are easier to deal with.

So whatever you are facing at this time...please know there is a God bigger and he is ready to help you.
Why don’t you try Him out?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

yeast

Sometimes I feel like making my own bread…
There is something therapeutic about making it, smelling it as it cooks, and then eating it hot smoothed in buttery goodness!

The only problem with this craving is that it nearly always happens when I have every other ingredient in the house except the most influential one.
That being yeast...

Yeast is that special something that makes the bread expand and swell as it turns into the finished product we have been dreaming of.
Without it all you end up with is a small lump…

Jesus talked a bit about yeast, but with a little angle to it. He didn’t teach on how yeast will make the perfect loaf. What he did teach was that there are parallels between this little product and life in general.

Jesus and his friends were in a boat one day.
He starts to tell them to “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Of course the disciples think they are in trouble because they forget to bring bread for their boat trip.
That wasn’t the point at all.
What Jesus was doing was relating yeast to an important principal for our lives.

Matthew 13:33 says this...
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Jesus relates yeast to teaching...teaching being what you learn. What you study. What you let into your life that has the power to influence your thinking, attitudes and ultimately the direction you take.
This yeast is a double edged sword for us.
It can be good for you and it can be bad for you.
It will effect you. This is guaranteed.
The type of yeast or teaching is the key.

Jesus warned his friends that religious people will present teaching that will not help you at all.
Exposure to it will effect you. It is yeast. It will get in.
The opposite is true. Good yeast, good teaching will effect you. It will get in.

So the next logical step is ask yourself…“what teaching am I exposing myself too?”
You can’t say that is doesn’t matter.
What you expose yourself to will effect you just like yeast will to dough.

If you want good stuff to happen in you and through you, check your yeast is good yeast.
Don’t be like me and forget about the yeast stored in the fridge...which has now expired…

Get some good yeast into your life.
It will cause you to grow. That is a certainty!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

hide

Everyday I used to pray the same thing.
In fact I am safe in saying without being a normal exaggerating Pastor (being evangelastic), that I did it everyday for years.

So what was this prayer I hear you say across the cyberspace gap between us?

Simply this...

“Help me to hide Your Word in my heart
So that I might not sin against You”

Now this isn’t something I came up with on my own.
Someone wrote it in a very long song to God that you can find in the Bible under Psalm 119:11

Everyday when I sat down to read the Bible I prayed that prayer. I recognized then and I still recognize now, that I am more than capable of sinning.
If it was good enough for that Psalm writer to say that, then it is definitely a good idea for me.

That writer recognized I think that whatever is on the inside of you is probably who you really are.
That what rests inside us, our thoughts, desires, attitudes will take us somewhere. That they will come out somehow even if we don’t want them to.
The writer recognized that a major key to trying to stay on track was to replace the junk inside with God’s Word.
It is this idea that we have a better chance of doing the right things if what is on the inside of us is right.

Like the Bible also says about itself...that it can get into even the marrow of our bones. That is pretty deep!
That those words we read in the Bible can change our thoughts and motivations.

The key is getting it in there in the first place.
It is not just a band-aid for sin but a vaccination from sin.

So what is on the inside of you?
Do you want it to be different from what it is now?
How about taking some time this week to just read a Bible?
But before you do...how about praying that prayer?

“Help me to hide Your Word in my heart
So that I might not sin against You”

Something to think about…and to do...

Friday, October 22, 2010

door

I opened a door for someone last night...
Actually I open doors for people all the time. This was something my mum taught me when I was really young.
It is the polite thing to do. The ‘right’ thing to do for others.

Christians are funny people I think...
We talk all the time about God opening doors.
We say things like...
“I won’t do it unless God opens the door”
“I am just waiting for the right door to open”
And that idea or theology is ok.
But I also wonder whether we take it too far?

Last night I opened a door for a guy as we left the gym.
I had no idea who he was. We had never said a word to each other before.
My opening the door created a response from him...a “thank you”.
Next thing we are walking down the stairs to the carpark engaged in some small talk.
We get to the carpark and now we are talking, really talking.
In the space of a few minutes we know each other’s name.
How many kids we have.
Where we moved from to come to Taupo to live.
What we love about our town.
All because I opened a door...

The thought I went away from that supposedly chance meeting was that I opened a door.
By simply opening a door, God opened a door.
That by my small effort...was God now doing even more with it?

Christians spend a lot of time waiting it seems to me!
Hoping that some opportunity in life or to reach out to someone else will just fall into their lap.
Maybe we need to open some more doors?
Open doors for someone else?
You just never know where it might lead?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

stories

Just been reflecting on the last few days and thinking about what to share…
I guess that what we have done would be a good place to start.

Now if you are a cynical kind of person, maybe you shouldn’t read any further...for danger of assuming I have some self promoting agenda...because I don’t!
If I lose some reward for sharing my stories, I can live with that in the knowledge that it might help you. That can be my reward.
Maybe why I sharing this is to encourage you to try and be something similar. It will change your world and change the world of someone else around you.

First story…
Some people we hadn’t seen in many years were travelling down the country with their kids and a car full of possessions. When they got as far as Waioru their engine blew!
We got a call asking for help.
We said yes straight away and had the honour of helping them out with somewhere to stay, food to eat...whatever comfort we could provide.

Second story...
I went to the gym yesterday. In the space of one hour I had helped someone use a weight machine they hadn’t used before. I set another guy up with a RPM bike and then helped setup the RPM Class (even thought I wasn’t going to be doing it).

This is so simple!
It is “salt and light” stuff.
It is reflecting God to our world.
It is “doing good when we have the opportunity”.

Do I feel tired from doing right? No way!
In fact it energizes me…

I have no idea what opportunities to help someone else are coming around the corner. I don’t have a prophetic word about each day to prepare myself.
What I do do...is try and have an attitude of being ready to help.

Ready to respond.
Ready to say yes to someone else.

Why don’t you try and change someone else’s world today, tomorrow...and the next. Get ready...
Go on...I dare you!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

meek

I love this statement!
“…we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
Hebrews 10:39

Many people take a single passage from the Bible and build a doctrine around it that over rides everything else the Bible has to say sometimes.
Take for example Jesus saying this...
“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”
Matthew 5:5

Some take it that this is how to live life.
And even think that means you should just chill...
Just see what happens…
That everything is all about being ‘meek’.

Jesus said other things too…
What about this one?

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
Matthew 11:12

Not very ‘meek’ sounding!

Jesus one day grabs some cords and makes a whip. Then proceeds to drive out people from the Temple area who were there to just make a profit.

Not very ‘meek’ sounding!

Now back to where I started…
You should have some passion for what you believe.
You should want to take it with both hands.
You should live out your faith with some grunt…
Otherwise we can shrink and fall back.

As for me, and my encouragement to you…
Let’s go after God with passion this week!
Be humble and gentle to others with love yes...
But let’s also persevere and win the prize for which we were created for in the first place.
I am running with you!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

disappointed

Have you been disappointed recently?
I know I have been.

Just because you have a relationship with God, doesn’t make you immune to being disappointed at some time or many times during your life.

Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan.
Sometimes people do things that hurt us.
Whatever caused it is not ultimately what will define the disappointment. It is what happens next…

It is about ‘response’ verses ‘reaction’.
Anyone can react to disappointment. No real skill there!
But choosing how your will respond is harder, and harder is normally the right way to go (check out last weeks thought for more on that one).

For most of my life, when I have faced the “d” word...I have reacted. Sometimes I have sulked. Sometimes I have cried...other times just got angry.
But I have been trying to do it a little different recently.

Most of you will have heard of a man called Jesus!
Well one day he gets some news that disappoints him.
He hears that a person he has known since his childhood has been wrongly executed. Beheaded in fact!
His mother knew the friends mother.
They were part of the same extended family.
At one stage their lives crossed very publicly where this friend honoured him very highly. Even baptizing him.

Now he is dead and Jesus has to choose.
Respond verses React.

So what does he do?
Well you read that he withdraw from everybody for a short time and prayed. That is his response.

As disciples, the encouragement you can take from his story, his example...is what to do when you are facing a disappointment.
Don’t run around telling everybody why someone is a jerk for hurting you. Because that will still leave you hurting.
Get away with God for even just a short while. Pray.
Give it over to the one who understands completely.

If you read the next part of the story...he fed 5000 people with a small amount of food.
Maybe if we handle things right when we face disappointment a greater miracle is actually just around the corner?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

hard

'Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do’

We wrestle between two worlds as people.
Trying to make things easier.
And trying to do what can be hard.

We want life to be as simple as possible.
We want things to come easy.
But at the same time we recognize that the best things in life don’t always come from no effort.
That there is more reward in what we have worked for.
Just as you can not have huge muscles like your pastor...if you are not willing to work hard and develop them at a gym.

We made a decision some time a go to not take shortcuts with our life and with our Church. We have watched people try, and then watched things eventually get a little ‘hairy’ or worse.
We know in our hearts that tackling issues is the best thing to do, but that doesn’t always make it easy to do.

I am glad God thinks like this!
He chose to do the hard thing for us because it was the right thing for us. He chose to sacrifice His son because it would achieve the best result...salvation for all mankind.
The easy way out would have been to wash His hands of us. But as they Bible says...he can not disown himself, the people he has created.
God picked hard over easy...because it was right.

Maybe this week you are facing some challenges?
Something that has an easy way out or a harder option.
Can I encourage you to go for it?
Rip that bandaid off the issue and deal with it.
I personally think God honours us for the hard decisions in life when we seek to do things the right way.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

time out

You need a ‘time out’.
I am serious, you do!

Not because you are naughty.
And I have just caught you…
But because without giving yourself some self imposed ‘time out’ your life will be the lesser for it.

Let me explain.

With children we use it as a punishment.
A way of helping them with their behaviour now and ultimately their ability to make better choices in the future.
It is a discipline thing.
When it comes to us who are a bit older, we need the discipline thing, not to punish us, but to help us get through life in one piece.

By the time you read this I will be in the middle of my ‘time out’. I am making space for me to pray, meditate, think, ponder...all without my normal every day distractions.
I am doing this while driving 4 hours.
And to be honest I can not wait!

God took ‘time out’ after he created the world and everything in it.
Jesus took ‘time out’ especially in moments of sadness.
They thought it was a good idea...so I think it is a good idea for us.

Maybe you can look at it as a refreshing holiday for your soul? I dare you to give it a go.
Have a ‘time out’.
Get away for even a little while from your normal routine.
Pray, think, rest…
I dare ya!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

honest

Why is it that being honest seems one of the hardest things for humans to do?
I mean, we can conquer mountains.
Break land speed records.
Break out of orbit and fly to the moon.
We have all this ability...yet without the natural ability to tell the truth.

Just watch a Motorway Patrol programme and see all the dishonesty plastered around…
“No officer...I wasn’t speeding”
“No officer..I just don’t have my license on me”
“No osifer...I’m not *hiccup* drunk!”


Plus you have that famous line...“no, I did not have sexual relations with that women”

The reality is that we don’t want to get into trouble by telling the truth.
For many, truth equals bad things happening to you. Being dishonest can simply be an attempt to protect yourself from the consequences of whatever thing has happened.
Again the reality is that you are only hurting yourself and delaying the inevitable.

The challenge for us as believers is to be honest.
It doesn’t matter how much everyone else around is being honest, how much you are is the most important thing.

Can I encourage you to be honest on three levels?
With yourself.
With others.
And with God.

The Bible is really simple and clear on this.
It tells us to answer others honestly...let your yes be yes or your no be no.
It encourage us to confess our sins to one another, so that we can be healed from whatever it hurting us.
It also shows us to not be afraid to pour our hearts out to God, like David did in many of his Psalms.

It is slightly tacky, but the phrase makes sense…
‘Honesty is the best Policy’

May this be a mark of your character?
May you have the courage to be honest with your life and by your actions?
May you and I be known as a people of honesty?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

stir

It is pretty hard not to want to tie into the earthquakes our friends, family and countrymen are facing...when writing for your blog this week.
It has been and continues to be a very trying time for them!

It did get me thinking about life in general again.
How that being shaken is not the most pleasurable experience you can have.

Last night I saw a documentary on a fairly famous rockstar called Nikki Sixx.
Essentially it was about his journey from young screwed up guy...to rockstar...to drug addict...and somehow out the other side.
At one stage he overdoses and the people around try and shake him to see if he would come out of the coma he is in. When it doesn’t work they threw him in a dumpster thinking he was dead. Not the best of friends obviously!

Sometimes if we are honest, we can look a little dead.
Maybe some stuff has happened to get us there and maybe it was not by our choice?
Maybe we have made some silly decisions to get us to that point as well?

As humans we want things to always be ‘settled down’.
It is like the mantra about having a normal life.
The more I have thought about that idea, the more ‘settling down’ makes me nervous.

I don’t think the life that God truly has planned for us is all about ‘settling’.
I think it is more about being wound up or even ‘stirred’.

2 Timothy 1:6 simply says...
...fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…

I think what God is saying is multi-faceted…
One, everyone of us has the potential no matter how
talented or gifted to just want to settle down.
Two, everyone of us probably should take some time every now and to check out where we really are at.
Three, you have to be purposeful about the things of God in your life. You have to put some effort into it. You have to fight the urge to just ‘settle’.
Four, it is not too late. If you feel settled already, you don’t have to stay there.

Get stirred. Getting ‘fanning’.
Come on...lets live the life that God truly has for us.
I think you can do it!!!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

random

‘Random is not random’
...is something you can say in a Yoda voice...and it sounds really cool...deep...and meaningful…

This is what I believe…
When it comes to our lives.
The things that happen.
The choices we are faced with…
Nothing is random.
There is something or someone who is ‘helping’ our lives along.
Creating opportunities.
Arranging circumstances.

God has a history of orchestrating things so we end up in the right place.
It can look and feel random at the time or as you are going through it. But in hindsight, it was exactly the way things should have worked out.

Now you might say that is not cool.
That you want to be in ultimate control of everything.
Fair enough.
But that also means you are ultimately responsible for every outcome.

Maybe, just maybe…
When you do something which might seem random for someone else...it was supposed to be that way?

Man, this is getting a little deep for me as well!

Let me finish by saying this...
If you can believe God created the world, the universe, and can hold it all together in perfect working order…
Then believe that God can arrange opportunities for you.
Believe God will direct you into everything He has for you.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

attention

Generally, I think we all like attention.
Maybe not all the time?
But quite a lot of the time…

We want to be noticed.
We want to be complimented.
Most people are looking for their 15 Minutes of Fame.

We have the tools now more than ever to live out this primal human desire.
Facebook.
Twitter.
YouTube.
MySpace….
Endless amounts of avenues to grab yourself some of the attention you crave.

Before you judge someone else for their attention seeking stunt or comments, I bet on some level and in some way you have tried to do the same recently.

You see, no one wants to be ignored or to feel completely invisible...unless they are needing ‘some space’.
As humans we have something inside of us that craves attention. My wife thinks I need too much attention...but that is another story for another time…

I reminded myself today that while the old facebook/twitter thing can fulfill that need in some way, ultimately I can upgrade.

God is always paying you attention!
Now that might freak you out, but that is the deal.
He is paying so much attention that he can record all your activities in some books.
Maybe God likes scrapbooking?
He also spends time each day counting the hair on your head. Personally I would like Him to count and add hair at the same time…

Why?

Because he wants to pay you all the attention your heart desires...you can’t outdo His capacity to pay attention to all that you do.
God cares more than just wanting to police your life.

Next time you are sitting there craving attention
Update your status...
Tweet or retweet…
Post something…
...Directly to Him.
He Cares!
He is paying you attention!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

people

I gave myself a pop quiz this morning!
Yes, I am weird…
I mean who gives themselves a quiz???

I was thinking ‘If someone put me on the spot and asked me what the most important things in my life were...what would they be?’

I was surprised by the first thing that came to mind.
Coffee was the first thing...
Most likely because I wanted one anyway and was about to pour myself some freshly brewed goodness.

It didn’t take me long to answer a bit more thoughtfully to the quiz master in my head.
My real answer...people!

Now before you switch off from reading this saying how predictable that was, please let me say a few other things?

For me people are everything!
Without people in my life I will do anything to hide the fact I need them.
I will eat too much.
I will drink too much coffee.
I will watch too much TV.
I will play too much PS3…

People are the ones who define really what sort of life you have. People are who you are designed to be connected to on this little planet of ours.
You need friends.
You need ‘family’.
You need connection with people in all facets of your life.

My encouragement to you as you read this very ‘simple thought’...is to choose to immerse your life with people.
All sorts of people.
Inconvenience your life with as many people as possible!
I bet you will look back over time if you do this well, and be more grateful for the ‘people’ then all the coffee...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

manners

When you were growing up, were you told again and again to have good manners?
To say “please”.
To say “excuse me”.
To say “thank you”.
Funny how things go in cycles...now I am teaching my kids (well I am trying) to do the same.

Today I have been thinking about these ‘manners’ things.
Thinking about why we do it.
Thinking about what effect it has on me and those I practice them with?

Saying “thank you” is actually quite a powerful thing!
People seem to respond well to hearing it.
People even get upset when they think they should have heard it from someone...and then didn’t.

Part of what got me thinking about “thank you” was a
passage of scripture we shared from on Sunday.
Jesus said these words just before Lazarus came out a tomb where he had been dead for 4 days…

...Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” John 11:41

In fact Jesus said “thank you” a few times…
And each time something cool or supernatural happened.

He thanked God as he took those few loaves bread and fish...and fed 5,000 in one sitting.
He broke bread and thanked God during what we call the last supper...and then went to the cross for us!

Why say “thank you”?
Not just because it good manners...but because it is good!
You can’t really go wrong saying it.
And you may just have something cool or supernatural happen from it.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 simply says…
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Something to think about…

Thursday, August 05, 2010

laugh

Hey...thought I shock you all and post something twice in 2 days...
Now before you read any further...watch the clip from the link below...then come back and carry on reading. I guarantee it will make sense.

[video]

The Bible says that God laughs...
It also says that we are made in His image, so we are designed specifically to laugh as well...


It is normal for people who believe in God to laugh!
I think we should take our faith in God seriously...but not to the point where we are dead!
Why is it that religious people are seemingly no fun or potentially have no personality?

It is actually 'christian', actually 'biblical' to laugh!

God wants us to be salt/light/attract.
I have found that fun people who can laugh and enjoy stuff tend to be better at the attracting of people more than boring religious types.
People are naturally attracted to fun people.

Laughter seems to even change something inside of us.
When I was looking into this yesterday and medical research into it, there are several things scientists have found:
1. Laughing causes blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body to expand promoting blood flow.
2. It produces endorphins, which make you feel happy.
3. In some studies they have found the limbic area of the brain being involved.

That is the part of the brain which helps us with all the basic functions needed for survival.
So is laughter a basic requirement for human survival?


Many of us have seen the movie Patch Adams.
It is based on the true story of a medical student who found happiness seemed to improve quality of life.
He found that happiness was like a drug.
It had power to transform a life.
Power to kill some pain.
Power to possibly heal?

Funny how God knew this all along, and we take some time to figure this out...

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


The Amplified Bible puts it like this...
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.


Make sure you take some time each week laugh if you can.
You are designed to function better when you do.
Take some time to enjoy life...
Take a moment...
LAUGH!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

clean

Suze & I had a little conversation that I thought more about after, then during...if that makes any sense?

We were talking about what we like or appreciate clean in our house.
For Suze it was the removal of all the dust.
For me, I like having a clean toilet.

We like clean don’t we?
We like to be in a clean environment.
To visit clean places.
It just makes things ‘feel’ better...

Which got me thinking about us.
I like to feel clean.
Not just that feeling you have in the shower washing away the grime you have accumulated.
But that feeling of clean when you know you have done the things you should have.
When everything seems right in your life.

One of the key ‘themes’ to our relationship with God is that he wants us to be clean.
And the best part of it for me...is that it is more to do with what God can do in us, that what we can do.
It is a ‘grace thing’.

King David wrote some stuff in songs, and sometimes they referred to his desire to have a pure heart and clean hands.
Even back then they recognized that without all this clean stuff, that you didn’t feel quite right and that it affected their relationship to God.

Check out how this works for us now…

21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:21-23

The question is…”how clean do you feel?”
If you don’t, don’t panic!
Just simply come back to Jesus and get it sorted.
It is not complicated.
God doesn’t want it to be.
Get clean and enjoy the life that God has for you...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

skin

Here is something you most likely didn’t know…
My belly button is not on right!
When I look in the mirror it seems like it is not in the centre. I thought they were supposed to be.
I kind of sits off centre a little. Weird!

My skin is also very pale.
I remember the day I got baptised for many reasons.
One being that it was a highlight of my spiritual journey.
The other being was that I was laughed at by nearly everyone there I think.
As I walked into the swimming pool area after getting changed, the first thing people noticed was not my angelic glow being so spiritual, but the glow of my Scottish heritage induced legs.

The reality is that we do care what others think.
At least a bit.
For many years I have heard people say “it doesn’t matter what others think” as though that it is a universal truth to live by...if you can ever make it that far and be the ultimate in maturity.
I now think it is only partly a good philosophy…

If you don’t care at all you will go around potentially unwashed, unkept...and unapproachable to others.
That takes the “it doesn’t matter” thing too far.

A better way to go is to have a better ‘point of reference’.
As humans we always care on some level what others think. It is part of our human condition, how we are wired.
But if you can change the ‘point of reference’, your opinion can change to be a little more balanced.

I have chosen to try and keep looking for the best ‘point of reference’ to compare myself to.
For me, that is God.
What He thinks about me is ultimately what I want to think of me.
God says that He made me to a specific plan.
He says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

My belly button position.
My glow-in-the-dark legs.
They are all part of what God designed for me.
They are all part of what makes me who I am and how special I am to God.

So even in the middle of winter I will wear my shorts to the gym.
I no longer have an issue with my leg colour.
My ‘point of reference’ is changing to be more in line with how God sees me.

I am happier in the skin I am in now than before.
What about you?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

evolved

We think we are so evolved don’t we?
We wear clothes that are way more ‘cool’ and functional then any other generation.
We have technology way more advanced then previous generations could have ever dreamed of.
And in the west we have access to resources beyond many other more desperate parts of the world.


But even with all that is going for us...we still have common struggles.
For many of us it is the relationships we have.
Family.
Friends.
Work.
Where ever this a human relationship...there always seems a chance for something to be wrong.

We get offended.
We get hurt.
Our expectations get dashed.

One of the biggest needs/desires in our heart is for love.
To feel it, to express it...to live a life enveloped in it.
We want to get along with those in our lives.

I think we get disappointed because we don’t understand what love is. We think love is all about feeling, when that is only ever a part of it.

The best example I could ever find is pretty extreme!
The Bible says that Jesus gave himself to be crucified because he loved us first.
I am convinced he wasn’t feeling all gooey towards us when he made that choice and when he went through his expression of love towards us.

Love for Jesus was expressed all in his actions.
Not on feelings and how it would impact his lifestyle.
Not on whether someone deserved to be loved or not...

There are times when you will feel all gooey, but that is not the definition of love and not the guarantee of good relationships in your life.
What I think works for us is love that is built on action, built on decision.
We get to decide to love.
It is not always some mystical thing floating in the sky!

Please choose this week to build your life and relationships on that foundation.
Love in action.
Choose to forgive.
Choose to let things go.
Choose to do the opposite of what may seem ‘logical’.
Give others the ‘benefit of the doubt’.
I know this is challenging…
It is a big call.
But you know it is the right way to go.

Doesn’t the Bible say that people will know God is real because of our love for one another?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

organs

Don’t you just hate that pit of your gut feeling when you find out you have offended someone?
For me it is like some internal organs have decided to move south in my body. It just feels wrong!

Do I offend people on purpose?
No way!

I think this happens all the time for people in this world.
Jesus even had something to say about offence when he said these crazy words “offences will come...”
He knew that there would be moments for all of us where offence would find a way to invade our lives.

Kind of like a game of tennis...you are either serving it up or receiving it.
And if you are naturally a sensitive type of person, you seem to cop more than your fair share of offence balls to your side of the court.

So what to do?
Can you avoid offending someone?
Probably not...but you can lessen the chances of doing so by making wise decisions.
Can you avoid being offended?
Probably not...but you will always have an opportunity to respond to it.

Whether you are the server or the receiver you are still in the same game.
We forget I think that there are always two in the game.
We aren’t all out to ruin people’s lives.
And we aren’t all perfect and well behaved 24/7.
A rule of thumb I try to live with is that you give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Jesus even challenged us all to forgive.

Don’t hang onto an offence...it will just drag you down.
And if you offend someone...do what you can to make things right.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

sleep

I was so ‘geeky’ that just before I went to sleep recently I got on facebook and twitter via my phone just before nodding off…
Initially it was just to check for messages and comments. But then I had a little idea pop into my head...and posted it up on my profiles…

‘sleep is a good idea and a great invention...and us humans can't take any credit for it’

None of us invented sleep.
It is something that is both natural and learned.
Parents end up helping there offspring to do it.
Teenagers fight it until the wee hours and then sleep through out the other end.
Workaholics try to avoid as it seems like such a waste of time.

Apparently the world record for going without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes while the person participated in a rocking chair marathon. The record holder did however report suffering from hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.

I am my own worst enemy with this.
While I like sleep while I am doing it, I tend to avoid it because there are so many other things I would rather be doing.
The problem is that eventually it seems to catch up with me and ‘cracks’ start to appear.
I start to get headaches and my moods change...that sort of thing.

One prophet in the Bible was told by God to get some sleep because without it, God know he couldn’t do everything planned.
If this person couldn’t survive or achieve without it, neither can we. Especially if we are wanting to do cool things for God!

As believers we all want to feel good about ourselves and right on the ‘inside’.
Maybe if you aren’t right now, you might just need some sleep?
Not more activity of entertainment...but more sleep.

Think I might start going to bed a little earlier?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

'word'

“word to yo motha”
I heard that phrase in an 80’s song that someone was performing recently...funny aye!
It actually comes from an old Vanilla Ice song.

Apparently the meaning is one of agreement.
If you said that, you were agreeing with a statement someone else had just made.
The other funny part is that it is commonly attributed to the Afro-American culture...not some skinny white guy trying to rap...very badly!

This week saw us doing this E100 Challenge reading to some similar sounding words

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

On face value this can look as confusing as Vanilla Ice trying to be cool.
It is seemingly comparing God and words, and showing that they completely linked together in some way.

I now think that is point!

God is not like us in the sense that he operates exactly like us.
Number one, he exists outside of our time.
Number two, he can not lie.
Number three, he is perfect.
Number four, he is the definition of love.

With all that going for him, when you are talking about His word or what He says...it has a whole new complexion to it.

You see, God doesn’t just think about doing something…
He actually does what He says.
You don’t find references to God promising to deliver on something and not following through.
God ultimately has the power to stand by His word.
He can make it happen!
God’s words to you are powerful.
They are the only words you can fully trust in and never be let down by.
They have a history of proving their reliability.

So as you rock into the rest of your week…
May you remember what God says?
May you trust what he says will come to pass.
It is, and has always been...about His words.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

confess

In a movie I watched over the last few days, a very young and inexperienced priest kept asking an old man to come to confession.
He wanted the old guy to ‘confess’.
The old guy tells him go away...not so nicely!
Over the course of the movie things changes for both people. Until one day he confesses
He doesn’t confess what the priest was expecting, but things that had been bothering him for many decades.
Apparently he felt heaps better afterwards?

We all have secrets don’t we?
Even today as I drove around, a lady was talking on the radio about the fact she had an abortion when she was 17 and the fact that her husband still doesn’t know.

I have secrets too…
Things I try to hide.

Now you are probably going to keep reading this hoping I am going to confess to some life shattering sin?
Well today when I was out I bought a sausage roll.
I made sure I ate it before I got home so my wife wouldn’t find out about it.
I regularly ‘sneak’ chocolate out of the cupboard in my office, which sits directly behind me even now as I type…
The problem is that I am hiding something that will eventually get found out anyway...when my body gives me away!

In James 5 it talks about “confessing your sins to each other and praying for each other so that you may be healed.”
Now me confessing bad eating habits won’t stop me getting fat, but it may have other positive outcomes.

Guilt sucks when it comes to the things we try and hide.
It saps the life out of you.
It can get you so distracted you can go off course.

Maybe you need some confession time?
If you do find someone you can really trust.
Confess and get it off your chest.
Let them pray for you.
And get healed from the guilt that might be eating at you?

If that is not you...remember to have some grace for those you know struggling with some stuff right now...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

angry

Why is it that some emotions are easier than others to experience it seems…?

Take getting angry for example.
Most of us have been angry at some stage recently.
Maybe even in the last 24 hours?

Lots of things can make me angry.
And yes I do get angry
Pastors aren’t all sweetness and light you know….

I get angry when a referee makes a bad call in a game.
I get angry when someone hurts someone else maliciously (not by accident).
I can get angry at home sometimes too…
The spectrum of anger is so varied, and yet it is all the same emotion.

So what is the deal with anger? Is it ok?

I guess ultimately anger can cause a lot of pain.
Anger can scare those around you.
Too much will cause you to do crazy things!
But anger can also cause you to come to someone’s aid in a time of need. It is like an emotional turbo boost!

If you read the Bible you will see everyone in the Book seems to get angry at some stage…even God! The common theme to everyone’s anger which lead to something good...was they didn’t stay angry.
It was for a moment. And then it was gone.

I think that being angry for a moment, and where it doesn’t take you too far in your response, is ok.
Where it is not cool is when it never stops.
When it takes over.
That is when your life is now one of being angry.

Ephesians 4:26 simply says...
"In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

We all get angry sometimes. That is life.
The key is to not let it take over and cause you to sin.
Plus don’t hang on to your anger...let it go.

As the day ends...let it go with the day...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

dodgy?

Have you in the last few months thought that what someone else you know watches or listens too...is a bit dodgy?
You know...beyond their tastes, to the actual content…

I have found that ‘opinions’ on this vary all over the place.
What someone feels comfortable to watch…someone else thinks is terrible.
Where is the tipping point?
Where is the boundary?
Now more than ever, that place is very grey.
Someone else’s opinion is not the best guide I don’t think.
But again where should be a boundary?
Should there be a boundary?

Take porn for example.
Most would agree that it will damage you.
But when does porn become porn?
For many porn is porn when you see private body parts.
Others argue that it is not porn to them.
There seems differences between guys and girls.

Another one is...what is bad language?
To one person a word is bad, while to another it is acceptable.
And then most agree that certain words are not appropriate in certain settings. You don’t use certain words in a Church service...but then some people who think that, are happy to hear those words in a movie or a song.

See where I coming from?

People quote the Bible over this sometimes and say things like “everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial...” but was Paul talking only about food or things beyond?

Jesus said this profound statement…
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”
Luke 11:34-35

Essentially he is saying that what you let into your life has an effect.
Everything you let in does.
Everything you experience.
My ‘opinion’ is that we need to be aware about what we listen too and watch...and the effect it will have on us.
Assuming that it won’t effect us is wrong.

Is what you are listening to and watching good for you or hurting you.
Is what is ‘entertaining’ you just ‘entertaining’ you or doing something more?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I am in danger of being over simplistic with what I am about to say...but I am sure you will get the point…

I have been thinking about something today and have come to realize that the relationships we have with
people, discovering who they really are, comes down to two levels.

When you meet someone, first impressions seem huge.
We judge people on their looks.
What they are dressed like. What they look like.
How good looking...that sort of thing.
In a short space of time we figure out someone’s
personality and their obvious talents...

The next level is when we judge someone’s character.
Character I have found is more about who a person is rather than their looks, personality or talents.
When we find out more what a persons character is like, we then decide if this person is really someone we want to invest ourselves in.

God cares about those first impression things, but cares way more about the character part!
Character counts above everything else.
It doesn’t matter how good looking and talented you are...without good character...you end up lonely.

So maybe today, take a few seconds to think about your character? What others would say about it if they could, and we wouldn’t get too offended? Pretty challenging!!!
Maybe ask God to grow your character and mould it.
What do you think?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

rescue

I always find it interesting that in the middle of something else that is being said, presented, taught...there can be another truth revealed…

Here I was talking about freedom on sunday, and I am still talking about with people since the weekend...and the idea that God sends someone to help bring freedom to us keeps popping its head up.

I used the example of Moses and God picking him to help rescue his people from Egypt.
But what about these other people?
Joseph was sent ahead to rescue his people.
Joshua lead the people into the promised land.
Rahab helped the spies before Jericho fell.
Deborah.
Gideon.
Samson.
...they all saved their people.
God looked around one day and finds Isaiah to send.
God even sends His own Son for us…

The Bible is full of these stories!
Stories of where God sends a person (not just a man) to rescue others.
I think that is awesome, and applies to you reading this right now.

If you need rescuing in anyway in your life...pray that God would send someone and he will!
If you don’t need rescuing in anyway in your life...be ready for God to send you to someone who needs it.

God rescues!...through you and me...

Something to think about…

Thursday, May 20, 2010

coincidence?

There is a character called The Merovingian in the Matrix Movies.
He is a bit of a dodgy French guy (please note, I am not saying the French are dodgy, just this character) and he starts to philosophy in one of his conversations.
“Have I told you before there is no escaping the nature of the universe? Is it that nature that has again brought you to me. When some see 'coincidence', I see 'consequence'. When others see 'chance', I see 'cause'.”

Due to some events in my life this week and how they tied into my past...they got me thinking about this thing we call coincidence.
Let me explain…

As I was working on this thought on Wednesday, my reading for the day from E100 was about Joshua and what God said for him to be as the new leader of his people.
That is the same passage God gave us when we were looking at whether he wanted us to move to Taupo.
I was reading it on the same date I said yes 365 days before.
How crazy is that?
How random you could say?
Maybe you could say it means nothing?
Or that it is just a coincidence?

I am wandering around the resource area of the conference I am at on Tuesday and I bump into a guy I hadn’t seen for many years.
We get talking and find out that a course we are thinking of running later this year is actually headed up by him for New Zealand. I had no idea!
How crazy is that?
How random you could say?
Maybe you could say it means nothing?
Or that it is just a coincidence?

Maybe what we call coincidence is not just some strange event at all?
Maybe it is not some thing that nature or the universe made up?
But could it be the creator of nature and all of the universe arranging things exactly for our benefit?

I personally think God is at work for us more than we will ever realize. He is looking after His kids and making all the right days, times and ‘appointments’ work to our benefit and for His glory.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2 days

I would have thought 2 days would have been long enough to recover...but I am wrong!
I am sore.
I find it hard to move.
And I am very frustrated…
All because I did something stupid.

My wife had been for many weeks now ‘encouraging’ me to try her class she does each Monday morning.
Now I am not Mr Unfit, but I seriously over-estimated my abilities doing something different.
So during what they called the ‘warm up’ I loaded more weights than my wife suggested and proceeded to try and follow the instructor.

I should have known something was wrong as my legs began to shake in ways I had never experienced quite before.
But here I am surrounded by others that I thought would judge me as ‘weak’ if I didn’t keep things going…
So I pushed on through.
Trying to stop the leg shake from being too obvious.

We are now 2 days later and my muscles hate me.
In fact I think they have said to themselves that I am stupid and that I don’t deserve their cooperation.
I'm left cringing every time I try and move.
I actually crawl up the stairs because walking normally is impossible.

We do this with our lives sometimes don’t we?
We push ourselves to the point of extreme pain.
We don’t want to stop because we don’t want to look bad in front of others.
We can think honesty now is the same as weakness.

I have found that it doesn’t matter whether you have a relationship with God or not. You still have your own freewill to decide how far you will take things.
I should have stopped.
I should have taken it a fraction bit easier.
Swallowed my pride.

My encouragement to you is that you watch your boundaries. Know how far you can push before something may start to break...like my leg muscles...
If God thought it was a good idea to rest for a day...it
certainly can’t be a bad idea for us either!

Go hard in life, love, faith...and all that.
But don’t destroy yourself in the process.
Otherwise you can’t enjoy this life that God offers us...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Got a phone call yesterday.
Been asked to speak to a group of people tomorrow that on face value have more experience than me, been around longer than me doing what I do…
It is an honour.
But also a little daunting, I have to admit.

In life opportunities come up all the time.
The ones that stand out I think in our minds more are the ones we don’t think we can do, or what push us out of our comfort zone.
Smaller opportunities come and go, and are forgotten a lot quicker because they don’t cost us or tax us that much.

So faced with this thing...I am reminding myself these few little keys.

God organizes a lot of things on our behalf.
Proverbs 20:24
A man’s steps are directed by the Lord…

God has planned great stuff for us.
Jeremiah 29:10-12
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We can trust it will work out great.
Proverbs 3:5-6
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight


When we don’t know what to say, God promises to give us just the right things to say.
Matthew 10:19
...not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say

I can’t wait to see what happens with this opportunity!
Can’t wait to see what God does with it and through me!

If you have an opportunity at the moment to do something you know God wants you to do, but you are a little scared...good!
You get to see God do as he has promised you.

Make the most of it, no matter how you feel.
It is going to be awesome!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

'funner'

I have no idea why this thought come to me the other night?
Or do I have an idea?

After sitting through the latest episode of The Pacific
And then a few minutes of Saving Private Ryan
I realized how much having friends meant to me again…

Take The Pacific episode.
It finishes with a sergeant living on a plane, headed for home to help sell war bonds.
You got this sense watching it that he is a little torn.
On one hand you get the idea he is happy to be away from all the fighting, the bloodshed, the misery of war.
But he also is wanting to be with his friends…

I have friends here in Taupo.
And I have friends around the country, and even other countries..

While we all watched the TV on Monday night or did
whatever else we had planned for that evening...many of us were contacting each other.

There was debate on facebook over the merits of The Pacific vs Desperate Housewives.
There was a friend chatting to me via Skype.
There were numerous texts.

You know what I think?
I think that it is really cool!
I like having friends.
I know that I need friends in my life.
In fact friends make my life way more interesting.
They make the fun more ‘funner’
They help you through the times that are not so cool.
Without friends we seem to feel less than what we could be.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (New International Version)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!


All that I want to say at this point is…
Thank you for being my friend!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

eat

So have you been eating your Bible?
Like really biting down hard into its juicy goodness!

I find it interesting that the Bible compares itself to food.
Milk, Meat, Bread, Honey…
Like we learnt last Sunday, this is not an accident.
God’s Word is supposed to get inside of us like food does.
It is meant to be ingested.
Digested.
To then provide us with something on the inside.

I have been thinking about this some more today...
But along the lines of that funny word ‘palette’.

Over the last few days we have had some friends staying with their 2 year old and a baby.
You watch what they eat...or should I say try to eat...and you can see it is not that sophisticated.
Their ‘palette’ is not yet developed to enjoy more adult things like Hollandaise Sauce and Trifle soaked in sherry.

One thing I have experienced is that the more I ‘eat’ God’s Word the more my palette has developed.
It is not just soap and toast to me anymore.
It is rich and classy.
It has texture and body.

It all starts from just starting.
Trying a piece here and there.
Developing your palette through just reading each day.

If you keep eating it your palette will grow as well.
It will nourish you more. Speak to you more.

Plus it has this added bonus...you can eat as much as you like and it will never make you fat!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

warehouse

I heard this story a few years a go now…
It seemed to me a good time to re-tell it in light of what we are launching as a church this weekend…

In the 1930s, Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers in the former Soviet Union. Millions of Bibles were confiscated and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags (prison camps), where most died for being “enemies of the state.”

In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance. Recently, the CoMission ministry, which Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored, sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history was not known at that time. But when our team was having difficulties getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored ever since Stalin’s day.

After much prayer by the team, one member finally got up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMission asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was “yes”!

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man, who was a skeptical, hostile, and agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading the Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually, then found him in a corner of the warehouse weeping. He had slipped away hoping to quietly take a Bible. What he found shook him to the core. The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother! It had been her Bible!

Out of the many thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the one belonging to his grandmother—a woman persecuted for her faith all her life. No wonder he was weeping—God had just dramatically revealed Himself to this young man. His grandmother had no doubt prayed for him and for her city. Her prayers had followed him, and now this young man’s life has been transformed by the very Bible that his grandmother found so dear.
Source: Campus Crusade for Christ

That is not much I could or should add to this story...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

veil

I can’t help it…
Several days after Easter and I am still thinking about it.
Maybe it is the recovery from a long weekend?
Maybe it is the sugar detox I am now trying to be on?
Whatever it is, I guess it can’t be a bad thing to think about?

There is this moment in the whole story where part of the temple in Jerusalem was damaged. Namely the Veil.
Matthew recorded it like this…
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
Matthew 27:51 (New International Version)

What was the moment?

The moment where Jesus died…

And what does it mean?

It is really quite important!
Up until that time the veil was always a barrier.
From the days of Moses until then, it was a barrier
between the presence of God and everyone else.
Only the appointed priest could go behind the barrier, and even then for only a short while to perform certain tasks.

The big deal in the moment is this…
God gets rid of the barrier between us and Him and says no more! No more will only a special someone have that privilege! We all now get that opportunity.
We get a chance to see God for ourselves.
To have access to His presence.

We finally get to see God…
And what is our first impression?
Jesus dead on a cross! God in human form sacrificing himself just to make this all happen.
What an amazing first impression!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

do you really know?

Seems to be a reoccurring theme for the last couple of weeks, but I saw another interview today that inspired me to share these thoughts.
Unlike last weeks where the interview lasted 5 minutes or more...this one lasted seconds.
That was all it took to share what they knew.
And what they knew, was very little...

A young girl from a religion based school was asked if she could explain what Easter was about. Asked what her teacher had taught them about this annual event on our calendars.

Her answer went something like this….
“Easter is when Jesus was going to be born”

Now whether she got camera fright.
Or whether she was very badly informed…
The reality is that she didn’t know what Easter meant.

Do you?
Do you know what it is all about?
Do you know what it means to you personally?

My encouragement to you (I am doing this myself).
Is to look at the story behind the first Easter again.
Don’t wait until Friday or Sunday.
Take some time today or tomorrow and check it out.
Let it get into you. And let God speak to you through it...

To help you, you can read about it in your Bible.
If you don’t have a Bible check out this link
Matthew 26:26—28:15
Mark 14:32—16:19
Luke 22:39—24:12
John 18:1—20:31
Watch the Passion of the Christ Movie.
Read a book like The Case for Christ.
Maybe even check out this Brick Testament version

Do whatever you can, to know what you can, about the season that changed the modern world.
A season and event so powerful that it reset the calendar forever!

Something to think about…

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

eeeekkkk!

This week I am doing some things that to be honest I feel a little apprehensive about.
Funny how a little change or a little variation to a so called ‘normal week’ can change your feeling and outlook on life.

I saw an interview with a guy who has moved here from the USA recently.
He is on the face of it, a very successful businessmen at only the age of 24. He seems self assured and naturally confident. Things appear to have worked for him very well.

Apparently his life revolves around moving every 4 months to another country to explore, learn, develop networks and grow his businesses.
He doesn’t actually chose the new location.
His followers of his blog suggest where…

Now you would think such an adventurous guy would not have much to say about moving and change. But he freely admitted in his interview that it scares him every time.

I am going on a camp for a few days with people I don’t know, to a place I have never been before…
On the face of it I am scared as well.

But that scared just indicates the change.
It doesn’t dictate the result of the change.

I reckon it will be better than I expect.
It is actually a great opportunity to serve others I don’t normally get to serve.

My point is that I want to encourage you push past the fear of change this week.
Don’t be afraid to live life with change.
Don’t avoid it. It will grow you...and maybe help change your world just that little bit more….

Something to think about…

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

imagine your life being a roller coaster

Do you sometimes wish your life was more stable?
Maybe more consistent?
You know, a life with less ‘drama’ or unexpected moments?
That sort of thing….

I catch myself thinking that way sometimes, which got me thinking this week. Would I be happier?
Would it be better for me?

The more I thought about it, the more I started swinging back the other way.
Here’s why...

Imagine your life being a roller coaster, except that this roller coaster just does one thing.
It may be a roller coaster in theory but it does one predictable thing. Just loop after loop.
The trouble with the predictability is that it makes you sick.
Sure you know what is coming.
There are no nasty surprises.
But the lack of variety eventually wears you down to probably boredom and/or vomiting!

Imagine your life is like driving to a destination that is a long way away…
What makes the journey better for you?
Driving in a straight line for hours just because it seems simple and more efficient?
Or winding roads, sweeping corners, changes of scenery?

I have reminded myself that life isn’t really living when it is predictable, safe...lacking in some ‘drama’.
Realising this doesn’t make it easy, but helps flavor my attitude a bit. Easy isn’t so good after all…

I want a great life!
I want everything I can get from it!
So I think I will fight the desire for stable and safe just that little bit more.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

distracted

I watched a bunch of people (actually a large bunch) being very focused on their task, their goal, in the weekend.

Over 1100 people were competing in the annual Taupo Ironman, and I was one of the many thousands volunteering to help make the event work for them.

It is an amazing event.
Even more amazing to me actually being there and being involved in my little way.
3.8 km swim.
180 km bike ride.
And to cap it all off...a complete marathon!
That is 42 kms as a bonus…

One thing it made me think of is that you can’t do this event by accident. You can not just getup on that Saturday morning and turn up to the swim start line at 7am and expect to complete the race.
Neither can you finish the race with just being there.
You need to be determined.
You need to be focused.
You have to shut everything else out and not be distracted.

As someone running a different sort of race, there are quite a full parallels for me.
It has reminded me that my race requires the same things…
Turning up is not enough.
I need to be determined.
I need to be focused.

A guy called John, who later in life is nearly boiled to death in a big pot, wrote letters to churches the same as some of the other early disciples.
He finishes one letter not with the usual pleasantries.
But with a curious phrase…
“keep yourselves from idols”

Why?
Because John knew that to make it as a disciple you have to prevent yourself from being distracted.
That if you keep your eyes on where you are heading, then you have a better chance of making it there.

My encouragement to you this week as you run your race of faith in God, is to not be distracted.
If you know that you are distracted or not as focused as you could be...remove whatever distraction you may be facing.

It is worth it! And you will complete your race.
Just like an Ironman...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

plonker with an opinion

I found myself upset again today because of someone’s opinion. Their opinion was pretty ‘out there’ and in many places plainly wrong in my opinion.

Here’s the deal…

I was doing some research for a group I am sharing at tonight. I remembered some stuff that a guy called Rick Warren had written in a book called The Purpose Driven Life related to my thoughts.
So I did the google thing.

Yes I did get the references for what I was looking for…
But I also got a lot more.
Most of them seemed to be extremely critical of Mr Warren and his book.

One guy with an opinion had created a blog to ‘warn’ us all of how bad Mr Warren and his book are.
Part of his opinion was the reasoning that the cover art proved it was anti-God because it had a tree and roots showing. It his zeal to express himself he has taken a scripture out of context from the Bible to try and prove his point.

To be honest...I thought this guy was a plonker!
Actually a few hours later, I still do.

Everyone can have an opinion.
But having an opinion doesn’t make you any more right about an issue or a subject.
Opinion is not always fact.
Opinion can change at any time if something else convinces it otherwise.

For me I don’t want more opinion.
I want to better understand what God thinks about something.
And when I don’t understand everything completely, to not develop an instant opinion that it must be wrong.

Jesus said that by something’s fruit i.e. what it produces, that you can have a more educated opinion of its worth.

For our man with the opinion...I don’t know much about him or what good fruit he is producing except being wrong. And bitter. And upset.
As for Mr Warren...millions have been helped by his book.

Think I will vote for Mr Warren at this time.
That’s just my opinion...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

some people are just 'strange'

Do you have strange things happen to you?
Strange things that involve other people?
Suze & I had one of those experiences in the weekend...

I had the honour of taking a wedding for a close friend of mine in another city from where we live.
So after many hours travelling via car we finally arrived.
It was a beautiful day...but very hot.

The wedding went well I thought.
I didn’t say anything too stupid.
The place where the bridal party and I stood was on the edge of a river bank. I know Suze was worried about me falling into the river. Apparently I kept stepping back towards the edge.
You will be pleased I stayed dry. The happy couple ‘tied the knot’ all without any drama. Nice!

It is what happened afterwards that was strange.

The reception was walking distance away.
And as is normal these days, each table in the venue is allocated seating.
What was funny was that it was very crowded and a couple who were already at the table were blocking the way to our seats. We politely asked if our names were to the left of where they were seated, which they confirmed.
They wouldn’t get up.
They just sat there.
Stopping us from getting to our seats.
Stopping us on purpose!
It was uncomfortable just standing there.
You could see them giggling about it.
We were just dumbfounded why they were doing it.

You see life has these moments.
Moments where you get to chose what happens next.
The point is not what they were doing being dumb or not.
The point is our reaction.

You can guess how I wanted to react.
But we let it go. We worked around it.
Being in ‘the right’ is not our excuse to do something wrong back to them.

When you face people who do strange things why not try this 3 things?
You will feel so much better for it...

- Hold on to your integrity
- Hold on to your sense of humour
- Hold on to love

Something to think about…

ps Wouldn’t it be funny if they read this and work out it was them???
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