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…
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