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…
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