Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last Time

The last one….yes that’s right…
It is the last Simple Thought for 2011!
I guess it needs to be a good one then?

When I think of the ‘last time’ it kind of adds some emphasis to it without even trying.
It creates something special out of something that may have happened many times before now.

While this is the last Simple Thought, it is also the last week of another year.
It is the last Wednesday of 2011.
In fact it is a day I will never get to have again...ever!
I am reminded that all I have right now is what I have, and that to waste that seems pretty silly!

You only get to live each year once...and then it is gone.
As you get older, time does seem to go by so much quicker. I sometimes wish that wasn’t the case!

When Jesus shared a final meal with his disciples he made a big deal about the last time part.
It was the last time he would eat and drink with them.
It was the last time things would be as they were.
It reminds me how important each little moment of our lives are. How to never take them for granted.
I bet those disciples remembered that night all the days of their lives.
The ‘last time’ made it a hugely important time.

As you finish this year, may you find yourself making the most of the moment.
Celebrate the best of the year.
Reconcile the rest of it...
Love, forgive, sort out, leave behind...whatever you need to do to make the most of this ‘last time’
To make it your very special time!

Something to think about…

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sophisticated

If you want proof that we are not as sophisticated as we think we are...check out some guys public toilets.

I mentions guys only, not because I am picking on the guys but because I have no experience of the feminine version for obvious reasons.

And a wee note to readers, I am not asking the ladies to go hunting through the men’s loos.

I went to one the other day while Christmas shopping.
It is in a brand new building with all the latest in toilet technology. But that hasn’t helped people with their aim in regards to anything unfortunately…

I better leave the toilet thing behind before you freak out and stop reading!

In the 21st Century we generally think of ourselves as more sophisticated than in ages past.
We have mobile phones, computers, cars, running water from a tap and toilets that flush...and therefore that makes us better in some way.

Those things are awesome to be sure.
But as human beings we are the same I think to many years a go...even 2000 years a go when a baby was born in a manger in a very unsophisticated manner.

An obvious question to ask is why a manger?
Why a feed trough for a bed?
Why a place which is arguably the least hygienic in all of Israel to be born?
Was God not thinking straight and neglecting the birthing hygiene rules?
No. God had a bigger idea at play for this special occasion.

Because we are not that sophisticated He wanted to make sure this baby, this Jesus, was accessible to anyone and everyone. That no matter a persons background, this Jesus could be related to by all. Whether you were a smelly farmer or a clean cut wiseman...this Jesus was for them.

And nothing has changed...
When you strip back all the stuff we have in life, we are all the same as those people living back then.
We all have this Jesus, this Christ Child who was unsophisticated, to make sure the ‘God with us’ thing that God wanted to introduce, would really work.
No barriers.
No class system.
Just Jesus, here for you…

Nothing too sophisticated about that then, is there?

Something to think about…

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Really Know

A couple of days a go I stood in a queue waiting to board a flight. To my right as we shuffled slowing forward was the leader of our country, John Key, our Prime Minister.


I found myself wondering what he is really like?
I wondered what he is like to talk to?
Is he interesting in real life?
Would we get along or would we clash?

For the majority of us we will never really know.
All we will get to see is our Prime Minister on the TV with little sound bites.
We will never get to sit with him and his family.
It is pretty much impossible to know him really well and be able to say “this is what John Key is like…”

How many of us can say we know God?
Is it even truly possible?
The difference is that God has set things up so that you can know Him and what He is like.
He doesn’t have a security detail protecting Him from the world. He isn’t too busy to fit you into His day.

I think it is actually pretty simple to get to know God.
And it seems to be very similar to how you get to know other people…
Spend some time checking out what He is like.
Reading the Bible, listening to great teaching, hang out with others who know something of Him.
Spend some time talking with him.
Checking in with Him in prayer, hanging in His presence.

He is actually very approachable I have found.
You never need an appointment or to wait in line.

How Jesus came into the world paints this picture so powerfully for us.
He arrives as a baby.
Babies are approachable and unpretentious.
God wants you to see Him that way as well because that is who He is.

This Christmas time my heart and prayer for you is that you get to know some of Him and not just about Him.
That you would see Him as someone you can approach and get to know.
When you think of that baby called Jesus...think about how that is kind of how God would like you to approach Him. Come and look. Come and adore.
And eventually come and worship our King...

I think this is an opportunity too good to miss out on!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Gift

So the Christmas countdown is officially on...

Advertisers will soon start to try and stir panic inside us that we have only x number of days left to buys gifts for people.
Numerous friends on facebook are posting comments about this countdown and how ready or not they feel.
Jack even came up to me this morning with some random countdown based around that 12 Days of Christmas song.

If you are really looking forward to Christmas, no doubt you are counting down the days also.
The excitement will be building…
You are probably making plans for that one special day?
Maybe you have got a tree and decorations up as an ever present reminder of what you are looking forward to?

Expectant parents, especially first timers, act very similar.
They have an idea when the big day is coming.
There is excitement and trepidation.
And most like we were...run around preparing for the new arrival.

This all makes me wonder how God felt leading up to that very first Christmas?
Was He excited? Or even nervous?
Was He planning on it being a very special day?
Well I think He was excited...and probably not nervous.
He knew very well what this monumental day would mean to the Kingdom of Heaven. He knew what was going to unfold over the ensuing years.
If it was just some random day like any other He would have never organized a huge choir of angels to perform.
If it was just another day He would have never told some wise men about it weeks before it would come to pass.

I think Christmas is special to God!
It should also be so special to us as well, not because of our gifts or maybe even lack of them...but because it was the day of days when God gave ‘The gift’ to mankind.
That gift? God with Us...
You can’t top that one no matter how hard you try!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sick

My youngest boy Alex was concerned about me on Monday. He asked whether the fact I had not been well that day was because I had just turned 40?
While I don’t think that number had anything to do with my health, he was right to notice I wasn’t so well.
In fact I still feel pretty nasty.

Because of my lack of energy and inability to move around it has given me plenty of time to consider what being sick reminds me of.

Being sick reminds me of what it is like to be someone who is sick.
I find it is easy to forget what some people face each day. Being this way reminds of others struggles with their health, and it stirs some compassion inside of me.

Being sick reminds me that I need others in my life.
Having an inability to totally look after myself reminds me that life was not meant to be ‘self done’.
It works better with others around me.

Being sick reminds me that I can’t do this life thing with God.
He is my help. My sustainer. Without Him I would be lost!

The Bible says that we don’t serve a saviour who does not know what we go through as human beings.
He was tempted. He was saddened by things.
He understands sick and He understands pain.

I know that we have someone we can turn to and rely on when things are hard.
He is here for you!
I hope you don’t need some sickness to remind you.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Circumstances

Why is it that we can easily say sometimes that God is in the blessing we receive, while not sure whether God is in the trickier things of life?
Is it that we find it easier to think of God as only bringing good stuff to us?
Do we normally struggle to see God at work in all our circumstances?
For most of us the answer is Yes!

I have lost track of the times that I have heard people say how blessed they feel by God, when things seem to be going well. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I have also heard people blame the devil a lot when things don’t go as well as they had planned.

Not all circumstances are ultimately bad...
I have learnt and are still continuing to learn, that not everything that seems bad is there to ultimately do me harm. Sometimes God needs to let some things happen to us to help grow us. To help grow our character.
To help us be who He dreams we can be...

When Suze got severe post natal depression years a go my first comment was...WHY GOD?
Now I have a better understanding of why.
We now have genuine empathy for people struggling with issues affecting their mind.
Suze has ministered to plenty of mums and their struggles effectively, all because of some tough circumstances in her past.

Trying to avoid or ‘praying away’ our circumstances would have ultimately made us less than what we are now. When you decide to follow Jesus it is not a free ride ticket. It is an supernatural opportunity to grow here and now for something better in the future.

Maybe that is why faith and trust as so critical to our living our lives for Jesus.
Without faith and trust we can easily be tossed around by life and what it appears to bring. We can easily misinterpret what is really happening and why?

God promises us to guide our steps...even the steps through the difficult circumstances in life.
Whatever you are facing this week, don’t forget to press into the one who is wanting to lead you through them.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Decisions

We are fast approaching that time of year…
Or maybe you are already in it?
No I am not talking about getting the Christmas ‘spirit’.
I am talking about making decisions.

Around this time of year many people make big choices regarding their futures, the direction they are going to take in the new year.
I think that is great!
It is a good thing to be purposeful about the direction of your life.
With that natural desire though, you need to do your best to make sure the decisions you make are good ones.

Personally I don’t think making a major life altering decision on your own without contact with anyone else, is very wise at all.
If you are afraid to ask others about it before you do it...that is a big red flag as far as I am concerned.
If you only ask people who are guaranteed to agree with your proposed decision, maybe you are restricting good counsel on purpose...just a thought…

Proverbs 24:6 NKJV says this...
For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

The writer recognises that our own life journey or even ‘battle’ is our own. That it only goes well with good advice. That good advice needs to come from many around us...

Counsel helps cut down on the paralyzing effects having to make life changing decisions can have on us.
Counsel helps give you some security, even some sort of a faith boast.
And counsel is there to help keep you on track in life, not there to hold you back and limit your opportunities.

Whatever big decision or decisions you maybe facing, make sure you get some good counsel.
Use the best of what God has placed around you…

Something challenging to think about…

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Angry

How angry is too angry?
Because most people get angry at some stage, and so many seem to get in trouble with it…
From the person who has over disciplined their child.
The person who has lashed out over some grievance.
To the person who thinks that things have to change.
There is anger in a lot of places these days.
Maybe even in your life somehow?

Most Christians are taught these days that anger is ok.
They read stories about Jesus getting angry at the money lenders in the temple, whipping them out with his home made disciplinary device.
They read stories about how God got angry with His people at different times for the silly things they did.
Anger is part of our existence.
It is na├»ve to think it won’t be.

So again, how angry is too angry?
Because it seems to be where all the pain kicks in...

Maybe too angry is when it takes you beyond what you would in hindsight think it should have gone?
Maybe too angry is when it inflicts pain disproportionate to the original offence?
Maybe too angry is when it makes someone else around uncomfortable with the level it got too...not why you are angry?
Maybe too angry is when you can’t sort it out quickly?

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

If you have been struggling with this recently, it is the day to start sorting it out.
Check in with God.
Check in with others you can trust to talk it through with.
Please don’t let anger get the better you.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Compare...maybe it could be a good idea?

When I read about people like Elizabeth Gaunt, I can’t help but compare their life, their choices to me and my life.
Many say comparison is a bad thing.
I agree most of the time.
But when it comes to looking at others, their choices and their relationship with God...then comparison can be a nice challenge to our senses.

So who was Elizabeth Gaunt I hear you ask?
She was someone who lived during the ‘wonderful’ 1600’s in England. The word wonderful is something I am using sarcastically if you hadn’t already guessed...
This was a time in history when people were regularly punished or even killed if they were seen to even remotely challenge the authority of those times.

Elizabeth Gaunt unwittingly became the scapegoat from a failed coup attempt.
A guy called James Burton begged for her help when he was on the run after his plans failed. He begged Elizabeth to help him because he had a family.
As someone who loved God she felt that charity was how she should respond, and even gave him her savings.
In the course of time James turned himself in to take advantage of a plea bargain type arrangement that had been publicised. He handed over Elizabeth, the woman who had taken pity on him, to save his own skin.

She became known as the last ever woman burned alive in England for treason. Apparently she arranged the straw herself to help speed the burning to death process.
Beyond that little history lesson, how does that make you feel?
Beyond feeling maybe some anger that she was unjustly punished...do you feel a little challenged?

I know I do!

I want to make sure that I am that serious about my relationship with God, that I would hopefully make the right choices, not matter the consequences.
Anything else just seems lame compared to what people like Elizabeth considered ’normal’.

Something challenging to think about…

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ALL

I don’t think I can share something today without referring to the Rugby World Cup Final in some way.
It was such an intense night watching it with some friends! That final half was so stressful to watch. It must have been pretty tough to play let alone for us watching from the comfort of a lounge…

Everyone now has an opinion on the game itself.
Why they won?
Who played the best?
What team deserved the prize?
Who played using the most dirty tactics?

But beyond all the drama, one inescapable fact stares me in the face…
Those boys really wanted to win and they were willing to give everything of themselves to win. Even if it meant they could feel pain or shed some blood.
In my opinion they won not because they were necessarily the best on the day but because they really, really, really, wanted to win!

When it comes to life in general and your relationship with God, maybe you could take a leaf out that teams playbook?
Things go better when you put all of yourself into it.
The Kingdom of God is all about ALL.
All your heart.
All your soul.
All your mind.
All your strength.
It is never about trying or giving it a go.
It is never about seeing what might happen.
It is most definitely about giving your all.
There is no other way…

It worked for the All Blacks...so what about you?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

reaction | response

When I went to school some physics teacher tried to instill in me this idea…
‘That every action has an equal or opposite reaction
Sounds a bit like hedging your bets both ways to me…
I guess the point is that with every action there are some options when it comes to reaction.

Watching some drag racing drivers on TV the other day I realized that a lot of what they do, and the potential success of each run...comes down to their reactions.
If they react quicker, they have a better chance of actually winning.

When it comes to our lives I am not sure that a quicker reaction speed serves us that well.
I mean, what if your reaction ends up being wrong?
You have then just got to a bad result quicker…

One leader I respect, some time ago called together a meeting of all his heads of departments.
They sat around the table and listened to his plans on how to increase their capacity.
Essentially his plan was to add 33% to the capacity they had with the same staff and resources. He acknowledged that this would potentially be a big ask, but asked each leader to support it and at least give it a try.

Now at that point I was a little apprehensive.
Human nature seems to so easily kick in sometimes and you then start thinking about yourself.
What about me? How much more work will I have to do?
Obviously I wasn’t the only one in the group.
Most of the leaders there were quite negative towards the proposal. They had plenty of reasons why it wouldn’t work. They reacted!

Now I am the last to say I handle this reaction thing well.
But in this case I decided to keep my mouth shut.
I wanted to respond better and not let my issues get in the way.
In the course of time this leaders decision was a great idea. Things grew beyond expectation and every negative comment was proven to be unfounded.

So here is my idea…
We need to be people who respond more than we react.
Responding speaks of a considered and planned response.
It gives you a chance to make sure you handle things well.
Whatever you are facing this week, don’t just react to it.
Take a deep breath, think, pray, consider and then respond.
It will serve you well.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cramp

Another confession time.

Today I made a mistake.

As I drove to a certain place today a little thought crossed my mind. That thought was to not go there. That if I do that it might not be the best thing for me.
To be honest I just ignored it.
I really wanted to go where I was going and do what I had planned.

So I followed through on my intentions...
And ended up stranded on a large flight of stairs at Eastern Beach, wracked with the worst cramp I have ever experienced.
When I eventually hobbled to the bottom I had cold sweats from the pain and nearly fainted.

Maybe, just maybe God was gently telling me not to go there today? Maybe that thought was actually the Holy Spirit doing his ‘still small voice’ thing?

I am recovering now typing this email late because I haven’t been able to move for a long time.

Maybe hearing from God needs two levels of trust?
One, trusting God can speak can you.
Two, trusting yourself to be able to hear.
Where you trust yourself enough to go with the ‘still small voice’ in your head.
I wish I had done the 2nd one today!

Instead of completely beating myself up over this, I am encouraged that God can and will speak to me about even non ministry things. He cares about every area in life, even trying to help me avoid cramp.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Gotta have...

Well what do you gotta have?

Check this passage out with me…
18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully
persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:18-21 NIV

The original story goes that Abraham was told by God that he would be a father of many people...so many that they would look like stars in the sky or sand on the shore to him.
That is a lot of people!
That is a pretty ridiculously looking promise coming from God!

I think God hasn’t changed.
He still makes BIG promises to us because He has a fantastic plan for your life. That plan is supposed be beyond your own imaginational level.

On a side note...If you think God’s plan is simple and achievable without something miraculous, then I suspect it’s not His plan for you.
Check in with Him and get an upgrade…

Anyway, Abraham did some things as he waited for God’s promise to come to pass. But all of them related back to something you gotta have...Faith!
Whatever big promise you are waiting for you gotta have faith as well. It is non negotiable.

It doesn’t matter if it looks hopeless.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances say.
If God said it, then faith is what you need to get you to that promise.
And didn’t God say that faith is a gift? So if you find yourself lacking in the faith department, get asking for some of that gift!

Do what you can today to strengthen your faith, not weaken it.
Do what you can to be fully persuaded that this God you serve, can do as He has promised.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fairweather

When I was a kid we used to carpool to get to sports events.
Someone’s mum would be chosen by who knows what system, and an allocated load of kids would be squished in the car.
Seatbelts were optional.
Being car sick was discouraged.

Anyway, on one of these road trips the Mum in charge was struggling to navigate her way to the desired location where our interschool cross country was to be held. She did what women seem more comfortable to do than us guys, and stopped to ask for directions.
The only problem with this cunning plan is that you need to approach someone who can actually help. What we got was a very old farmer guy, teeth missing, and an inability to communicate clearly.
He explained to us that the quickest way to get there was by ‘fairweather’ road.
Taking him at his mumbled incoherent words, the mum in charge and us kids headed off looking for a road called fairweather road. Little did we know at the time that this was not what he meant. He meant a road you could only use when the weather is fine...

That term was as foreign to us then as it is probably to you now.
Fairweather is actually something you could use to describe people sometimes.
They are sadly the types of people who do things when things are going well, and generally quit when it looks like things are hard.
Or they press into God and others when things are tough, and then walk away when everything is going seemingly well again.

For me, my faith in God, my relationship with Him, and being a leader, can never be a fairweather thing!
I don’t choose to follow Him because things are good or bad...I just choose to follow Him.
It doesn’t matter what season of life I am in...I just choose to follow Him.
Living your life for God and His Kingdom is about navigating your way through all the seasons of life and getting to the end.
Looking for a shortcut called fairweather will only leave you disappointed.

So can I encourage you to press into God this week?
Spend some time with Him, His Words, His Presence.
It is so worth it!

If you were still wondering, we did eventually make it...just in time for the race to start!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

stumble | wolves

A group of us got together last week to talk about this thing that Jesus said a bit more...

Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come…” Luke 17:1

We managed to come with over 30 things that could cause us to stumble if we were not careful.
Interesting isn’t it?
I have to say though that this is the point really...
Thinking about it before it could happen gets you more prepared for what could happen.
It doesn’t mean you freak out. It does mean you make sure you do what you need to do to not stumble, and
simply trust God with His part in the equation.

I have been reading through the New Testament a lot in the last few weeks. One of the stumbling blocks to us as Christians that Paul and Peter seemed to keep coming back to was what sometimes were referred to as wolves.

Check out these scriptures...pretty ‘full-on’ kind of statements to make!

2 Peter 2:1
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies...

Acts 20:29
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

Paul the Apostle seemed to also have an ongoing battle with some people who he called the ‘circumcision group’. They would turn up where ever God had done something amazing with people and teach all sorts of rubbish.
The people would get confused and it used to make Paul mad. At one stage he said he wished they would go away and cut bits off their bodies!

Jesus even said this one day…

Matthew 7:15
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

So if you don’t want to stumble in your faith, do as Paul advised Timothy, to watch his life and doctrine carefully. Make sure the food you get is good not just to look at but also to consume.
If someone is trying to teach something that doesn’t match up the whole Word of God, don’t accept it.

God is way bigger than weird teaching.
Focus on Him and what He says. That is all you need!

Something pretty challenging to think about…

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

stumble | attitude

Obviously spurred on by this series we have started called Bait & Tackle, I have been thinking about all the things that can cause us to stumble.

Jesus said this…“Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come…” Luke 17:1

I have managed to come up with a bit of a list!
There are many things I have found that have caused me to stumble around at times, and obviously I have been witness to what others have stumbled over as well.

One that stands out is attitude.
Unfortunately even just mentioning that word will cause some people to stop reading (but please keep reading). We have heard so many truthful but yet tacky catch phrases relating to it over the years.
Things like…

“Your attitude determines your altitude” Author Unknown
“Happiness is an attitude” Francesca Reigler
“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails” Author Unknown

Whatever catch phrase speaks to you or even annoys you...the truth will still remain.
Your attitude towards the life God has given you will determine whether your attitude will cause you to stumble or not.

If you are tired and cynical in general, then that will always translate over to your spiritual life. You will probably be tired and cynical about the things of God.
If you generally aren’t passionate about anything, that may well mean you are not passionate about God’s Kingdom and you potential in it?
But if you have faith. If you have your eyes fixed on the prize in front of you...you will speak a whole different language.

If you now realise that maybe your attitude is a stumbling block for you, you don’t have to stay tripped up.
Couple of things for you to do. And they work!
Get around others who have the attitude you want. It will wear off onto you and give you a ‘new normal’.
Get into reading more of God’s Word and mediate on it. It will help change your thinking.

I knew that sounds simple...but it works!
Simple + Works, you know then that you can’t lose...

Something to think about…and do...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Subsitute

My wife Suze read something to me that caught my attention the other day.
It went something like this:

“Better than the real thing...Egg Substitute”

Have you had egg substitute? I have!
When I was in Japan a few years back I was excited to see a buffet breakfast at the hotel I was staying at.
My excitement turned to horror as I tried to swallow what I thought was scrambled eggs.
The taste wasn’t right.
The consistency wasn’t right.
It was kind of like eggs, but in reality it didn’t even come close. I guess that if you had never had eggs before it might pass as close enough? Then again, this muck could quite possibly put someone off real eggs for life!

That statement got me thinking…
How much do we settle for a substitute over the real thing? It is possible to do this with spiritual things as well as edible things (actually those ‘eggs’ were not edible!).
There is no better substitute for the real thing...even if the substitute thinks it is better!

Jesus said those famous words...that his desire for us is to have “life and all it’s fullness”. John 10:10
I don’t think that Jesus would rather you have a substitute over the real thing.
So don’t settle for the substitute!

Don’t settle for other things over a relationship directly with Him.
Don’t settle for average and normal over supernatural.
Don’t settle for a podcast if you can get the real thing with a Church.
Don’t settle for facebook over hanging out with some people.
Don’t settle for someone else’s interpretation over reading the Word for yourself.
Don’t settle for struggles over freedom.
Don’t settle for sickness over health.
Don’t…well you probably get my point?

Substitute is there only to help or to fill a gap.
It never replaces or supersedes the real thing.
Don’t settle for anything less in your life!
Go after God yourself and have the ‘fullness factor’.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First

Matthew 5:23-25
23“...if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary…”

Why is it sooooo easy to offend one another?
Why do believers seem to get sooooo offended so often.
I hate it when I do!
I hate hurting people! Offending them.
As much as I try not to, I fail every now and then.
It makes me feel stink inside.
Kind of like butterflies that are so angry that they plotted to torment my stomach until they get bored...

So this is what I try and do…
I try and sort it out as fast as I can.
The last thing you or I need is to have things like this hanging over us.

The Bible encourages us to keep short accounts!
That just simply means to deal with it asap.
If someone has hurt you...deal with them directly.
If you have hurt someone else...apologise asap.
If you know me at all, you will know that I am not the sort of person who wakes up thinking...“who can I hurt today”!

I have also learnt the hard way that pressing into God and hoping the issue will just go away by magic doesn’t work and will ultimately frustrate you to pieces.
It will never go away...because time has no healing effect on hurts and offence. It may dull down, but something will eventually bring it back to the surface.

Pretty challenging thought for the week I know, but we all need to practice Jesus advice.
Please forgive me if I have ever offended you!
Please forgive others who have done the same…

Something challenging to think about…

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Switch

So I see this guy I know again…
I ask myself... “why do I have to keep bumping into him?”
To be really honest I don’t really like him that much.
And I am pretty sure he doesn’t like me either.

At this point you might be asking yourself what is wrong with me?
To which I would reply...you are probably more like me than you might want to admit.

You would think that Christians would never have any enemies because we are all about love.
You would think we would all like each other no matter what because of Jesus doing whatever it took to save us. But the reality is that we are still human. We still have a human nature, a sinful nature that we are trying to crucify every day.
It is normal then, that during this process in life, that some relationships won’t always go to plan.

I actually think Jesus is not as concerned that you have a few enemies, but rather how you handle your enemies.

Check out what he says here...

Matthew 5:43-44 NIV
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

As I was looking across to him, something happened...
I prayed for him. I really did. I prayed like I meant it.
I prayed that God would bless him and help to work through all that he is struggling with.
I prayed that God would heal him completely.

And guess what?
I walked away somehow changed.
It was like a switch was flicked inside me that meant I could look at him with some affection. And none of it was manufactured!
If I bumped into him again in the next few days it wouldn’t bother me that much at all!

Taking God at His word...doing it His way works!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Unexpected

Most of you will know that we had some snow around New Zealand this week.

It has been pretty exciting.
It was also pretty unexpected.
I mean unexpected in the sense that it is not normal for our country to get nationwide snowfall.

Unexpected can be pretty cool.
It certainly can make life a lot more interesting.
For us as believers I think you need some unexpected.
You need some pretty cool God unexpected moments!

Here are some thoughts on that:

It is exciting
God does not save you for ‘normal’ or average.
It is supposed to be an adventure.
Adventure always has exciting as part of its mix.
If your life doesn’t have some of this, some of the time...ask God for some unexpected.

It is scary
When the adventure gets exciting another feeling normally comes along with it...the fear factor.
It really tells you that you are alive.
But what it should do is drive you closer to God and your trust in His ability to bring you through the unexpected.

It is stressful
I read today that Wellington in particular had problems with their electricity supply. It was stressed to near breaking point during the snow storm.
When the unexpected does happen, you can’t rely on your own strength and power. That is when the power that God can supply comes into its own.
God’s strength is perfected in our weakness.

So here is the deal my friend.
Go after some unexpected this week.
Milk this adventure God has for you for all that it is worth!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Song

We quote something a lot when we are wanting to help people to worship God...we say that the Bible says to sing a new song.
This last Sunday was no different.
We sung a new song and I mentioned that passage as we introduced it.

This morning I am still thinking over what that means.
It is very easy to hear something like that verse and take it on face value.
“Sing a new song...ok I will sing a new thing” vibe.
But you have to ask yourself why so that you know why.

Does God get bored with the songs we sing?
Well I am not sure God can get bored in the first place?
Can we get bored with the songs we sing?
Well of course we can if we do the same thing too many times without thinking about it.

Like I mentioned on Sunday, it is all about heart!
When you are bored with a song, you simply can’t put your heart into it. Then that song just becomes like any other song. Not really what God is looking for from His people when we get together...

Take this a step further now.
What about life away from Church on a Sunday morning?
Does ‘new’ need to fit into that equation as well?
Or do we just need to find something that works and keep doing just that?

I have learnt that God likes new and old.
But I think he ultimately likes lots of new.
He is described as a creator first and foremost.
That is all about new.

If you want life to have its ultimate meaning for you, then I think you need ‘new’ in there on a regular basis.
That’s what helps make it exciting and ‘good scary’ at times. That’s what will stretch your faith and help you to grow more.

Do something new.
Meet some new people.
Study something new.
Cook something new.

Whatever it is...I am sure it will challenge you and grow you!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Deserve?

By the time you read this, it will have already happened.
What I did was write a little note to each of my boys about how I feel about them. I included a little treat and left it on their pillows for them to find when they came home from school.

Why?
Do they deserve it?
Well not really!
They haven’t been that great at getting ready for school, in fact they have been a little challenging with their behaviour lately.

I did it for one inescapable reason...I LOVE them!
That’s what love does.
It does things that people don’t expect.
It goes beyond what you deserve or they deserve.
It goes beyond ‘normal’.

For me, a big part of how I see God and how He does things is all about opposites
I believe that God chooses to love us even when we don’t love Him.
I believe that God forgives us, reaches out to us and blesses us beyond what we deserve or what would be considered normal.

And God takes it all a step further, if that was even possible...and invites us to get in on the game.
To love others. To bless others.
And all unconditionally.

Maybe today you could do something random and loving for someone else in your life?
Or maybe today you would like to find out what this God is like and experience His love?

Please don’t settle for normal!

That’s something to think about…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

honour

This simple thought is unashamedly going to carry on from what we shared on Sunday.
Like I always try to do, I try to share something from God that you can implement in your life beyond the moment you hear it.
I never just want to give people information.
I think helping someone’s life to be impacted is a way better outcome!

One of my favourite scriptures from Sunday…

Romans 12:10 ESV
Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honour.

Outdo one another...awesome stuff.
God getting us to be a little competitive over honour.

So is this something you do? Am I doing enough myself?
The reality is that we probably have a lot more room in our lives to honour others.
Even this morning I was thinking of how I could honour some of the most influential people who have been part of my life. Then it hit me. Publish it via this format.
This is not meant to embarrass anyone.
My heart is to express some thanks and honour to some of those who have truly impacted my life in some way.
So here goes…wish I could honour more!

Mum & Dad
It goes without saying that you are why I am here!
Thanks for being my parents. For blessing me so much in my childhood with so many opportunities and fantastic holidays!

Gran
Even though Gran you will never read this since you are 96...I still want to honour you for being awesome!Living not far from you as a kid was fantastic. All those afternoon teas have not been forgotten. The Whipped Cream and Honey Puffs for breakfast are an enduring memory.

Chris Chilton
Thanks for the support of my band when I was a teenager, when no one else seemed to believe in us. That newspaper article in the Southland Times is still a firm favourite in our house.

Sharon Winning (different last name now)
Thanks Sharon for letting me stay with you when I moved to Auckland in 91. Your support has more to do with my life now that what we probably both realize.

Dave Foote
You may not remember it, but without your invitation to eat some pizza and watch a video...I would not be doing what I do now. Your invitation changed everything for me! Thanks Major D...from Angus MC

John Houston
You will always be remembered by me as the guy who saw something in me that no one else saw. You took me under your wing as they say and helped me get started on my journey.

Mark Bilton
You and Helen were such a support. Letting me stay with you some weekends. Helens breakfast in bed was awesome! So honoured to know to you both. Never forgotten what you shared over my life the day I got baptised!

Don Newitt & Mandy Haynes
Thank you for believing in me and supporting me beyond what is normal. The opportunity to serve in your Church, to minister when we went away, and the ultimate of living with your family!
Wow, you deserve to be honoured!

Dave & Jean Fraser
It is still staggering to think you would ask me to live with you while I went to Bible College. You didn’t know me, but chose to sacrifice to enable me to grow in God. Thank you!

Chris Bethwaite
Good friends are sooo important. You have been there through most of my adult life. Good and Bad times. Thanks for being my mate!

Russell Ballantyne
You took me on as a staff member when it seemed not many others thought I could be of value. What you did for me set me on the course we are now on. Your belief in me made a huge difference!

Luke Brough
Another amazing Man of God who has supported me, believed in me and set me up for a fantastic future. You have done more for me than most would ever know. You are a fantastic leader and I count it an honour to be part of your team.

Rachel & Hayden Briscoe
Thank you for honoring us a little while ago with your connect group. You taught us a lot about honour!

Lynette & Treacle Warn
I never thought I would love sport like I do now. You Lynette are my super coach! Thanks for helping me get started and pushing me. Hope I can make you proud by achieving some other sporting goals.

Steven Furtick
Your messages and what you have done as a leader really inspires me. The world needs plenty more Church leaders like you!

Craig Groeschel
What an amazing example you are!
Your generosity is something that stands out in our world and amongst the Church. You deserve to be honoured for the impact you are having around the world!

So that is me just getting started…
Who can you think of to honour today?
What are you to do to about it?
How are you going to express it?

Something to think about…and do something about…
Can you outdo me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rules

We love to break the rules don’t we?
By ‘we’ I mean people in general…
If a sign says to not do something...there always seems to be someone who thinks it doesn’t apply to them.
If it is illegal to do something before a certain age...there are always many of us wanting to do it.

Some have said that “rules are meant to be broken”.
But is that something you can live by or just a catch phrase to throw out there when it suits us?

I have to admit that I always like to go above the speed limit. Not by much I must say.
It is easy for me to justify because I can say things like:
“Everyone is doing it.”
“I am a good driver.”
“The Police have a tolerance factor before giving you a ticket.”

In thinking about this today I realized that rules are not just meant for me.
When a sign says “do not enter”, it is not there just for me, it is there for the person who put it there.
When I break some rules thinking I am above that rule, I am actually saying that I am above the rule creator. That I am more important. And when you step back and look at it, that seems pretty arrogant doesn't it

Then let me throw in another component to this.
Especially when it comes to personal things.
When I don’t abide by someone else’s rules or wishes, is that really love? I mean, as people who say they love God, aren’t we meant to show love all the time.

Maybe that means others rules are something we can respect and show love for them through?
Kind of challenging isn’t it?
God hasn’t given us rules and guidelines in life just to control us. They are there to protect us as well.
On a deeper level, they are there to help us show respect for the one who gave them in the first place.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

beginning

We all have seasons of things in life that demand by themselves that you think about their meaning to you.
For me these last few weeks have got me thinking about life after you finish living on this marble floating in space.

It also seems that many others around the world are thinking about this key part of ‘life’.
Much is being written in newly published books.
Debated.
Even argued about…
For me I even purchased some books to study again about it, as I want to understand it as best I can.

Don’t get me wrong.
I think I know enough to give me comfort.
But there are plenty of ideas are floating around...

Some people think life stops after death, while others believe it lasts forever in another form.
Some people think your life is transferred into another generation, while others believe it is a once only assignment inside a casing we call a body.

My encouragement to you is to look at it.
Death is not the end of life. It is just the end of this life.
I firmly believe there is an eternity to be looked forward to. In fact you are already at the beginning of your eternity! This is the beginning stages for you and me. No matter how old you are, you are still only at the beginning in the light of how long eternity lasts.

Jesus said that He is going to prepare a place for us.
The ultimate lover of your life is working away preparing somewhere else for you to be. He is getting prepared for all of our arrivals. It is ultimately our choice whether to take him up on His generous offer.

God has also promised us that this place will be different. And by different I am not talking just about the scenery and the food. I am talking about that it will be better than you can truly imagine. He says there will be no more pain, suffering, injustice...nothing to ever make you unhappy!

While I wait for that day (I am in no hurry), I have determined in my heart to make the most of this life, this intro to eternity now. I am not waiting for eternity.
I am living it now in the form God has blessed me with now.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Full

God wants you to have the whole picture.
Not just some idea of who He is, what He is about or even what He is looking for.
While this for most of us takes a lifetime to get close to, it is still at the heart I believe of Gods plan for you and me.
That is why I get ‘concerned’ about what many other Christians believe, promote and live by sometimes.
It seems they have learnt, been taught or just decided God is a certain way only, and then have lined up their life accordingly.

I have been reading a book by an author I used to really enjoy. But lately his messages have made me more and more uncomfortable. It is like something is missing…
His latest offering has tipped me over the edge.
I am struggling to read it because there is a lot missing from the story. It is like he has decided God is just one thing and that one thing to him overrides everything else about God.
It concerns me greatly what others now believe after reading his ideas, and the consequences that may follow?

Other leaders have lately wandered into debates over sexuality.
This is so dangerous when you don’t give the full story.
Basing an answer purely on scientific thought while ignoring the Bible completely can never be seriously considered ‘God’s will’ in my opinion.

An older friend of mine told me that the Bible said he could leave his wife because the Greek original text said he could. The major problem there is that he got the translation wrong!
That didn’t stop others around agreeing with him.

People like you and me make life changing decisions based on what we think we know.

Check out this scripture…

Acts 20:27 NKJV
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

Why did Paul say this?
Because he wanted his listeners to be prepared.
He wanted them to finish their race.
He even warns them that... 29For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

My encouragement to you is pretty simple really...
Don’t be afraid to read God’s word.
Don’t be afraid to wrestle with concepts and check them out with people who you know you can trust.
Don’t be afraid to cry “God, help me to understand!”

Please don’t settle for less than the whole!
Go after the FULL GOSPEL!
The FULL COUNSEL of GOD!
You are worth it...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cold

So it is winter in our little corner of the globe, and the other day I felt cold.
You might be saying at this point...“well duh, Locky it is winter!”
And you would be right...but it also got me thinking.

Cold doesn’t feel very good.
It affects your motivation.
It can affect how you feel about life.
It can even cause your judgment to be impaired.
For me it just makes me want to eat lots of really hot and fatty foods.

It is around this time of year that I hear of more people talking about a desired journey to some tropical paradise somewhere. All because they recognize cold is not so good, being warm is a whole lot better.

Jesus mentioned one day that it was possible for you to be cold towards God.
For me that means we all have the potential of feeling unmotivated, not feeling good about life, having impaired judgment...all from a cold relationship with Him.

So what do you do if you feel that way?
The point I guess is that you need to do something if you want it be different. Just as hoping to get warm while sitting in the cold is pretty ineffective.

Here are my suggestions on things to do…

number one
Draw near to God. Pretty simple but very effective.
Just as you seek out heat in the natural to warm up, seeking God out always will heat you up spiritually.

number two
Exercise your faith. Do something that stretches your faith. Maybe something you haven’t done for ages or have never done at all. If it challenges you and scares you, then maybe you will need some faith to do it.

number three
A very wise man once suggested to someone “fan into flame the gift of God”. Finding and using the gift or gifts you have in your life will heat you up. They are like a flame inside you.

Even though it is winter please don’t get cold.
Seek out some warmth.
That’s the best place to be!

Something to think about…

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shopping

A guy I really respect and enjoy listening to coined a phrase that better fits a problem in the 'western Church' than one I had been using.
You might have heard the phrase...Church Hopping?
He added one letter to make it...Church Shopping

That sums it up even better doesn't it?

The scourge of the western Church in the time we live!

Christians shopping like God has the ulitmate Mall of options of them.
Window shopping. Trying things on. Constantly waiting for the latest fashions.


No I will not be quiet about it...

And no I am not saying this because people have left the Church I lead and now I am angry and bitter...

I am just even more aware of it now and it scares me how much God's people seem to think it is ok!

It is NOT ok in my opinion.
God has not called you to be a Kindgom of Priests, a Royal Household...visiting every other household...judging it, critiquing it...and as this guy puts it...being Simon Cowell to the Church.

I think Gods plan is pretty simple.
He calls us living stones that are needing to be built together to form His Church, His Bride.
As in any building project, you can not expect to remove bricks randomly and expect something to flourish or maybe even survive.
Bricks are bricks. Their stability means others have stability.
Being a travelling brick as it were, means those bricks really do show they don't care about it any other bricks that God is working on.

If you are shopping or being part of the travelling brick brigade. Stop It!
Please, I beg you.
Pick a Church. I don't care which one. Just pick one!
Get covered in mortar and find your place and ulitmately your value there.
The Church is better if you do.
You will be better for it.
I personally guarantee you will flourish if you give yourself completely to Him and His plan for His Church. It is His by the way. And if you say you believe, then you belong to Him as well!
You are not your own. You were bought for a price...

Just something else to think about...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ponder

There is a phrase I have seen quite a few times in the last few days.
It got me thinking. In fact I have thought about it before, but not how it might relate to me and therefore maybe to you today…

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart Luke 2:19
…his mother treasured all these things in her heart Luke 2:50

This Mary, this mother, was the Mary who gave birth to Jesus.
She heard things and saw things during her life that didn’t always make total sense to her when she was first introduced to them.
The interesting thing for me is that even though she may not have understood them completely, she took it to another level instead of writing them off.

Isn’t that what many of us do?
When God does something or something happens that we didn’t see coming, we react to it and freak out, maybe run away? Sometimes we even fight it.
I think Mary decided to let it percolate in her heart a bit instead of making a snap judgment.
She sat on it. Mulled it over for a longer period of time.
She didn’t just think about it in her head.
She thought about in her heart.
She didn’t ask the whole world for advice at that time, she took her time with it instead.
Again that is a whole different level of living.

Jesus even said that there is a whole other level of thinking in us. He asked some people one day “why do you entertain evil thoughts in your heart?”
He understood that the heart is more deep than the head. It is there that we find out who we really are and what we really believe. Somewhere deep in us that is more personal and central to us that just our head space.

Maybe this week or recently some things have happened that you didn’t expect?
Maybe something went wrong in your opinion?

My hint for you is to stop and definitely not react.
Step back for a time.
Don’t respond as quick as you may think you have to.
Do the Mary thing and ponder it in your heart...
Wrestle with it a bit.
Pray over it, around it, through it a bit.
You will then do a far better job of handling whatever it is...

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'my stuff'

I have been thinking about my life on the most basic level recently. How I seem to wrestle still at times with some basic issues (I don’t mind admitting that to you).
On one hand I have a huge amount of faith to see God move in amazing ways in your life and through our Church.
At the same time I am like most people and have my own issues that I working through in my journey with God.

After a while it is easy to have one of a few reactions:
Give up and say “hey that is just the way I am”.
The other is to pretend. Put the Christian mask on, and soldier on as if we are in some sort of victory.
But there is another way.
I was reminded of it this week praying through some of ‘my stuff’.

Jesus was one day telling a story about how we approach God.
One guy was a religious leader who outwardly did all the right things. He studied the Word of God, gave money, did ‘churchy’ kinds of things.
The other was a government employee who collected taxes for a living. Not exactly endearing work to the people he lived with. People probably talked about him in terms I can’t repeat here.
Both guys approach God.
Only one went away, in Jesus words “justified with God”.

The Tax Collector.

Why?...because of his approach.

The Tax dude wouldn’t look up to heaven, instead he beat his chest and asked God for mercy. He recognized he was a sinner and needed some help with his personal issues.
The religious guy just raved on about his own efforts and self importance.

Didn’t Jesus also say that He came not for the healthy, but for the sick?

He is my point.
I am the Tax Collector. I don’t mind admitting it.
I know I am not perfect. And that is not an excuse.
It is just that being honest about ‘my stuff’ works best when it comes to approaching God.
I have done that this week.
And I will probably do it again.
As the old saying goes...Honesty is the Best Policy

Acts 3:19 says this…
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Be honest please with God. Beat your chest if you have too. Share your heart and your struggles. Confess sin if you have some. And get some refreshing…

Something to think about…

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Another Part

I am not finished yet with the thoughts I shared yesterday...

What partly inspired me to say what I said was a story coming out of my old hometown of Invercargill.
Some people caused offence to some other people because of what was written or displayed on their clothing. Things referring to Jesus and what they thought of him (not nice if you hadn't guessed).

Now I am not going to get into whether that sort of thing is good, bad or ugly.
And I don't want to get into whether it should be banned or not.
What I do want to say is this...actually two things the more I think about it.

Number One
"God doesn't need people to defend him, but rather people to represent him"

Many people think God needs defending.
Like we are the police of His honour.
If someone says something bad about Him that we should scream and yell and tell them they will "go to hell".
I think God is so much bigger than any offence you can throw His way.
He knows the silly things 'man' can come up with, simply because He knows us all by name, He knows our hearts.

Take me for example...
I used to wear stuff similar to what is in the picture.
I used to proudly sing "I am an anarchist and I am an antichrist" at gigs with my band.
And guess what?
God loved me enough to see past all my bluster and love me into His family.
Then of all crazy ideas...he gets me to be a Church leader.
Not your 'normal' expectation of a God you have tried to offend.

I actually think the more we as humans fight against His love the more He just pours it out.
The more we fight against His grace and mercy...again the more He gives.

Why?

See my 2nd thought...

Number Two
"God is more interested in saving those who are lost than worrying about their clothing"

The Bible simply says that "God desires that all men might be saved"
I think that God is more interested in us loving those who struggle with God, then panicing about their clothing styles. Let's love them. Let's shock them with accepting them...you don't have to accept the clothing.

Remember that Jesus came especially for these people.
Be inspired by my thoughts from yesterday and pray from them, not fight against them.

That's what I think anyway...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Part

Here is part of my story…

I used to have a job.
Not a very glamorous one, but it was a job none the less.
This temp job was working for a pharmaceutical company in their warehouse. The days were long and tedious sometimes but I loved the fact I could work and earn some dollars while waiting on my other dream to come to pass.

One day all the guys working in this warehouse were in the packing bay at the same time. We were having a huge argument about God.
There was one guy there who said he believed in God, while the rest of us definitely fell into a different camp.
We (myself included) were saying with all the passion we could muster that God was rubbish. And that if he existed then he must be a monkey, simply because evolution is real. That if God created us in his image and we came from monkeys, then he must be a monkey!

This is where the story got weird for me…
I was arguing away this case when all of a sudden I started to feel guilty.
I couldn’t understand why at all.
It was not like I believed any of this ‘God stuff’ anyway.
The guilty feeling kept growing to the point I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed a product trolley from that packing bay and raced away to pick product from the shelves. I had to get away and that seemed like my only option.

What I didn’t know was this…
That young guy trying to defend his beliefs was actually up to ‘no good’. The Church he was going to had decided they needed a new guitar player. His bright idea was to tell them about a guy he worked with who was in a band. And they began to pray…

What I hope you are picking up from this story is something simple that anyone who says they believe in God can do. That when you come across someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, why not just pray for them?
I am an example of someone not judging me by my appearance and what I said at the time I believed.
They looked past that and prayed to God on my behalf.
Now many of you know I not only play a guitar for God, I lead a Church for Him as well.
They had no idea what praying for some heathen wannabe rockstar would ultimately achieve?...but they did it anyway.

So who can you pray for this week?
Exciting opportunity isn’t it?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Taste

You don’t always know what something is truly like until you have tried it. Here is what I mean...

Take Ice Cream.
Until you try it, you have no idea what it really is like.
You don’t know the sweetness.
You don’t know the softness.
Take the Double Down as another example.
Some people had written it off as the most evil thing since Osama Bin Laden, and then been pleasantly surprised about how it tastes.

People say that God is good.
You have probably have heard that before.
It is one thing to hear that something or someone is good. How do you really know?

Psalm 34:8 puts it this way…
Taste and see that the LORD is good

Now obviously you can’t go up to God and actually eat Him. I am sure he is not looking for that type of interaction! The meaning is deeper. Unless you fully try something, you can’t find out what it is really like.

Young kids get this concept instinctively.
Whenever they find something new, what is the first thing they do to learn more about it?
Do they ‘google it’? No, they put it in their mouths.
It is the most personal and close thing you can get to something.

So if you want to find out what God is like…
What living a Christ filled life is like…
What living in freedom and truly living is like…
You have to get into it all the way to truly know.

It is not try before you buy. It is try because you buy.
You by into everything that God has for you.
You can’t sit on the sidelines and be passive.
The life that God has for you is meant to be tasted and experienced to the full.
Maybe that is why we remember what Jesus did for us with bread and wine...because it goes into our mouths. It is something to enter into via tasting.

If there is something about God and His Kingdom you haven’t experienced...taste it, try it, experience it and see for yourself!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New

I think if we are all honest...we would say that new is best.

If someone offered you a new car vs a old car you will probably choose the new one. If someone offers you a new house...same thing.

If you read up on some of God’s thoughts on this, He seems to be into it as well...

God considers giving someone new wine special.
Genesis 27:28
God likes the offerings we give to be new, not old.
Leviticus 23:15-17
God likes us to make room for the new as he blesses us with more new.
Leviticus 26:10
God is into new songs being sung to Him.
Psalm 96:1
God likes to do new things.
Isaiah 43:19
He created a new covenant for us.
1 Corinthians 11:25
God offers us new life
Romans 6:4
We are made into a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17
God encourages us to put on a new self.
Ephesians 4:24
God is creating a new Heaven and Earth for us.
2 Peter 3:13

Pretty cool!
At this point some people get uneasy.
Am I saying old or familiar is bad?
I guess the balancing act is that we don’t become obsessed either way. We are encouraged to be content. But while you are being all spiritual by being content, don’t forget to look to the God who makes all things new!

Let’s pray that new comes into our lives and keeps us truly living and fresh.
Let’s pray our world gets to experience the newness that only God can offer.
Bring on the new I say!....

Something to think about…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pie

I am one of those people who really loves bacon and egg pie...like I really, really, really, love it!
I am also really fussy about what goes into my b&e happiness.
The crust is just a yummy wrapper for the hearty goodness that awaits me inside. If it doesn’t have bacon, eggs, peas and seasoning it just doesn’t do it for me.
If you add something else not on my wish list then it is simply not as good as it could be.
Add something gross and then the whole thing is ruined.

Here is my point.
The filling is really, really, really important.
At the end of the day you can have whatever wrapper around your life that you like.
Dress nice.
Upgrade your look.
Copy someone else to try and fit in.
Your filling is what eventually decides your fate.

So what is your filling?
What are you stuffing inside of you?
Is it hearty goodness or something less?

You know I am not talking about food right?
I am talking about what you put into your life. The relationships you keep and the style of them. The things you watch and entertain yourself with. What you listen to... They are fillings that you have inside you.

What I know about God is that he wants to fill me with good things. Refreshing things. Peace things. Hope things.

I think you are worth more than pie...so why not treat yourself to a great filling?
Get some of his Word into you (maybe by the Essential Jesus programme we have started?).
Get some time with great people who you can encourage and they in turn can encourage you.
Get yourself to Church and Connect Groups as much as you can.
Give away something of yourself so more freshness can be added.

By the way...did you know that I love bacon and egg pie?

Something to think about…

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lies

A very young boy in a movie a few years back simply leaned over his birthday cake...blew out the candles...and made a wish.
That wish?
That his dad couldn’t lie for just one day!

That movie was a huge hit. Yes because it was funny, but it was also very relatable for everybody watching it. It was because if we were all honest, we have all been or are right now liars.
I haven’t met anyone yet who has never done it.
Our kids have tried to lie many times and as a parent you try and correct and teach from that point.

The world can be confusing for us...
An old boss of mine regularly asked me to lie in order to win a deal. He would say things like “it’s just business”, and I would go away praying asking God to help me find another way.
We regularly watch politicians lie or try to distort the truth for their own means. Sometimes to avoid getting into trouble and sometimes to get what they want.
We see people on consumer shows lie and deceive to avoid doing what is ‘right’.
Some people even watch different forms of entertainment where lies are just part of the plot.

So what about you and me?
Is it ok for a Christian to lie?
At what point does an exaggeration turn into a lie?
There are lots of a questions to this challenging little area.

Well here is the deal…
Don’t do it!
Simple I know, but as someone who is a disciple we are called to a higher standard of behaviour and living in general...so we can indeed be salt to our world.

Colossians 3:9 simply says...Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Don’t stone me for bringing this up…
Maybe it is an issue for you or of course ‘someone else you know….’
Let us have our yes be yes and our no be no.
That’s the way Jesus would like us to do things.

Something to think about…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

seat

Around a year a go I found a really cool chair.
It looks like something directly out of Star Trek.
Your know that chair that Captain Kirk sat in?
That is a very cool seat.
I regret not buying it when I had the chance…

Someone told me about a chair for sale today.
A chair in that same style.
I went to go have a look, but found I was too late.
Someone else managed to get it before me.

Where you sit.
What you sit on.
Seems to be really important to us.

When you go to the movies, most people want to sit near the back...maybe in the middle a bit?
I notice people who go to church like to sit in the same seat each week as well. Even when people visit us at home, there seems to be a seat they go for more than others.

Now to get all spiritual on you…
The Bible talks about chairs and seats as well.
It says that God sits down and is so big he can use the earth as a footstall.
In heaven God sits on a chair called a throne, with Jesus seated on one side.

Check this out…
19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:19-21
...And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:6

God is interested in where you are sitting more than you think.
To the point where he wants the basis of your life to be seated in heaven, because that is where he ultimately wants you to be.
That is the foundation of your life.
Now if you start from heaven itself in a spiritual sense that means you have everything already. It means we can live out of that place and all the privilege and position it gives us.
Where you are sitting...is really important!

Something to think about…
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