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…
There was an error in this gadget