Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Finding your answers

A lot of us have been asking what ever happened to that little girl from that scorched almonds television commercial from many, many years ago?
I think in our house we have just about asked this every Christmas for years!
We actually kept asking this question each year - and each year we still didn't have an answer...

Then this week, a local television producer did something about this conundrum.
They got to work researching and amazingly found this little girl - or should I say young lady?
As she is now 21 years older!

I sat there thinking about this last night and a few thoughts have spun through my mind since...
Maybe something from this story mixed with my thoughts, could inspire you and help you at this time?

Someone got off their butt and did it!
That's right, a producer decided to make something happen and it happened.
The reality of life is that answers come most of the time when we put in the effort to finding them.
They don't come so easily when no effort is applied.
If you want some answers from God, then go to Him about it.
I love how His word talks about "finding Him when we seek Him."

Nestle apparently owed her royalties and had been sitting on it for years!
Obviously they hadn't tried that hard to find this lady...

Talking about it only with others who didn't know - left us still not knowing!
A theme I have seen play out too many times, is one of where people question the wrong people for answers they really need in life. If you want answers from someone who doesn't know either, most likely it will leave you still not knowing and actually even more frustrated.

I saw this play out on Facebook again this week.
As usual at Christmas, someone posted a question about what has happened to the scorched almonds girl. There was no lack of response. Everything from how much they liked the advert, to whether they liked scorched almonds, to other random directions in conversation.
In the end, there still was no real answer!

God says about Himself some pretty bold claims.
Things like that He knows how the world was formed and how we were made.
So if He knows that much, it makes sense to talk to Him about the big stuff in life.
And if I have questions to ask another human being about God, I ask people who I believe know more about God and how thing work than me.

I see a parallel here with part of the original Christmas story.
A bunch of people called the Wise Men wanted some answers about a coming Messiah.
They didn't sit there simply pondering it!
They didn't post something on facebook waiting on an opinion!
They Wise Men wanted they went on a journey that cost them both time and money!

Maybe you have some big questions that will have equally important answers?
Do you need to decide to put some more effort into searching for the answers?
Do you need to change your strategy?

I love how it concludes for the 'Wise Men'!
They find what they were looking for all along.
The same is waiting for you!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

You who are highly favoured!

I think a good Christmassy 'Simple Thought' begins with something from the real Christmas story.
Nothing about North Poles, and Santa 'Clauses', or naughty or nice lists...or a lump of stupid coal as a threat for better behaviour.

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. Luke 1:26-30 niv

I will keep this real simple because the point here is simple...
God wants his favour to rest of you.
Not because of how special or not you are.
Not based on your talent level.
Not predicated on what others think of you.
But because God wants to give His favour to you.

Remember Mary is not shocked because of His divine pregnancy plan being told to her yet.
She is not surprised that an angel would suddenly appear.
What bakes her noodle is that God would tell her that His favour is on her.
Someone who is not special in the world she lives, is seen by God himself as more than special enough to receive His favour.

I think that is pretty cool! 
And that should encourage you because most of us are just like Mary.
We are not that special compared to everyone else, and yet God chooses to favour us.

May you go into this Christmas Season wearing that as your christmas jumper?
May it cover you and show you and others just how special you are to God.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Rest Is Up To You...

I watched this amazing footage today of a diver checking through an overturned boat at sea.
As he swam through the decks with some torch light leading the way, all of a sudden you see a hand reach out to his!
I wonder if it gave him a fright?
Maybe he 'went' in his wetsuit? I guess it wouldn't of mattered?

The story goes that the boat capsized some day before, and out of all the 8 crew, one guy manages to find an air pocket. He then sits alone in the darkness, hearing apparently the noises of the boat slowly sinking. I can't imagine how horrible that would have been! Alone. In the dark. Waiting to die. Waiting longer to die.

Over the weekend someone very famous to this generation jumped into a car for some joy ride thing. The terrible irony of what happens is astounding. This guy is famous for being in ridiculously fast cars driven in even a more ridiculous fashion and living through scrapes and even crashes. The reality he faced was a tree and a car are not a good mix at speed. And at the age of 40 his life is now gone.

I know personally of someone who stared mortality in the face after a parachute malfunction.

Here is what all this reminds me of...

Life is so much shorted than we think.
Life stops on a day and a time we know not of.
Life is a gift to make the most of only while it is within your grasp.
Life is here and now for you and me.
Life on this earth was never promised to last forever.
Life is indeed a gift. And gifts by nature and design are given, received...and well...the rest is up to you...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The other day I hear a swoosh sound right behind my head as I am powering up a steep hill on my trusty two wheeled steed.
I swing my head quickly around to see one of those angry little magpies circling around me, but clever enough to stay behind me. Twice more this same varmint went for the back of my head. And twice more I swing around, a little more wildly each time, determined to not let this beast get the better of me.

You will be pleased to know that eventually it gave up this game of intimidation.
But as I rode off into my virtual sunset it did got me thinking about life a little.

There are plenty of times when we are travelling in a planned direction when something decides to try and intimidate us. And that intimidation is designed to do one thing only. To stop us or restrict us.
That magpie was determined to get its point across that day.
It wanted to make sure I didn't go that way again.
Well guess what little magpie? I am not giving in to you!
And when intimidation comes at you in life (more likely in a human form), why don't you scream at it the same thing? I am not giving in to you!

The Apostle Paul has a lot recorded in scripture about what he did and some who wanted to intimidate him, even mentioning a specific person. Some dude called Demetrius. Who actually was a guy who didn't like what Paul was doing for Christ and stirred up trouble for him. He didn't like his style, his tone, his anything and made it his goal to try and intimidate him into stopping.
Does Paul give up?
No way!
Does Demetrius fail?
Yes way!
All because Paul didn't stop. He kept on going with the call of God that was resonating in his being.

There is a silly old proverb, and no it is not from the Bible!
It goes something like this...You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. 

The truth is in the pudding here. When the birds (whatever that bird is for you) come to attack and intimidate...simply don't give up! Keep on cycling or moving or preaching or sharing or loving or leading, whatever it is for you.
There will always be some magpie or a Demetrius. But let's not let them stop us from fulfilling the call God has for our lives.
Paul made it all the way to his destination of Rome.
Demetrius just becomes some bit player in the course of a life.

Scream it out with now..."I am not giving in to you!"

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I think I have learnt a few things along my life's journey so far.
And one of them is that I need to pace myself.
And I'll take it further, I have found I need help to pace myself.

When I first got into sports I thought it wouldn't be too hard if I just kept working at it.
I soon learnt that I struggled to know what effort to put into what areas, and for how long.
I used to run or cycle on my own, and it left me struggling and confused many times.

So I had a cunning plan and joined a running club.
That opened up to me a world of opportunities. Most of which was the new found ability to learn the art of pacing. Others helped. Some coached. Some yelled. It all went into the mix to help develop pace in my sports life.

I then bought a watch that tells me every 1km or 10km how my pace is going.
I found I needed it because there are times I can't be around the group, and yet I still need help with it. My watch helps me. I know I can trust it. It is a far more reliable judge of my pace than I can be.

In our walk or journey with Jesus I firmly believe you need to develop pace.
Notice I didn't say speed.
You need to find a divine pace that works best for you at each and every season of your life.
And just as in my sport life I can't trust myself alone to get it right.
The same I think applies to my spiritual life.
So I have influences and influencers to help me find the right pace.

I have several mentors who are not my 'friends' but who are my mentors. That way I know I will be mentored and not just told what I want to hear in regards to pace.
I read the Bible as much as I can to let it judge my thoughts, motivations and attitudes. I have found to really helps me pace right.
Finally I have my relationship with Christ.
If I am going to compare my pace expectations with anyone it is with Him. I want with all my heart to move along at the pace Jesus expects of me and knows I can operate under in His strength.
Having Jesus as my 'pace man' means I can never be complacent or lazy. He sets the tone of my life, and I am more than happy to live up to His expectations.

Can I encourage you to find your pace?
But make sure it is based in Christ and not in yourself...
Then I think you will run a race that will definitely gain you 'the prize'.

Something to think about....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Having a wee laugh to myself today...
Last night my neighbour was swearing at another neighbours dogs for their incesant barking.
Now that same neighbour has been blasting the same hip-hop based track for the last hour, as loud as they can, just the same as they have done for the last few days!

We are funny creatures aren't we?
We notice what offends us so well, and yet we don't always notice what we offend others with.
We want to deal with someone else issues, and yet don't always acknowledge or want to deal with our own.

When it comes to food we use seasoning to make something taste the best it can.
I add salt to some things. I add pepper to others. Sometimes I just go crazy and add both!
I use sauces, herbs, extra butter (hmmmm butter) and everything is better it seems.

Can I encourage you to add some seasoning to your life?
Seasonings like...
And the ultimate seasoning of Jesus.

Maybe our lives will taste a little different if we do?

Something to think about... 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Snare

So many times I have found myself in this position...
That moment you think about giving up on something because it scares you.
That time when you may have just not shown up, because you thought it would be uncomfortable.
Have you been like that recently? Or sometimes during your life?
When the fear of something has put you off...

Fear is 'the snare' that robs many of us of what life in Christ can truly be like!

One of the Proverbs in the Bible says this...
That the "Fear of man will prove to be a snare".
What is a snare anyway and how does it work?

Snares are actually a tool used by hunters.
They were these little (hidden) traps set to catch their desired prey.
And when the prey got too close or stood on the snare. it would catch them and hold them in place.
Sometimes the snare would imprison them until the hunter came to finish them off, and other times it would slowly kill them as they lay helpless and stuck.

For weeks I had planned to do a sports event that was happening on the monday night.
In fact it had been many years in the making after being part of a team version of the same thing some decades ago. I really wanted to try this event!
But as the time for the race approached, and I don't know why, I got progressively more nervous, and let fear well up inside. It got to the point where I even started to fish around in my mind for some excuse not to do it.

I am now very thankful I didn't give in to it.
Because that fear was a snare.
It would have robbed me of a sense of accomplishment.
It would have sown in me possible failure and disappointment.
And it could have created a precedent in my life that stops from doing things like it again.

Let's check out the rest of the Bible verse I mentioned before...
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

The key is putting your trust in something other than the wrong thoughts we have to wrestle with.
Trusting God has always worked better than fear for disciples of Jesus!

Psalm 25:15 says "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare."

Can I encourage you to not give into what snare is lying in wait for you?
And if you have been ensnared, look in the right place for your release?
Please don't let fear be 'the snare' for you any longer...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Straight Up

There was this song from many years a go that I will mention, and in doing so further show my age...

Straight up now tell me
Do you really want to love me forever oh, oh, oh
Or am I caught in a hit and run?

I couldn't remember who sung it when it popped into my head, and my research told me it was an early Paula Abdul song. Now I am truly showing my age...

What I am getting at with this thought?
Simply this...
That ultimately we need to be 'straight up' or we need to hear things 'straight up'.

When you are in love with someone you really want to know if the feelings are mutual. 
And just as Paula was wrestling with this, it drives you crazy when you don't know. 
You don't want to invest yourself into something that is not right or going in the right direction.

When Jesus was talking with those closest to him you see he was pretty 'straight up'.
He didn't sugar coat things or water them down.
He just said it as it was.
One minute he is telling Simon he has a special role to play after he leaves.
The next he is telling the same guy off in very strong terms.
Another time he challenges the stupid teaching of the overly religious.
And the another time he speaks gently and firmly to a women caught in adultery.

I wonder if you are like me?
I want to things to be 'straight up'.
I want people to be that way with me and I want God to be that way with me.
I even want to be that way with others.

Maybe this week you need to be 'straight up' with someone and say something that is needing to be said?
Maybe you need someone to be 'straight up' with you and share some truth that will ultimately help you be a better version of you?
Paul taught us that both are the best for us when we "speak to each other in love".

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Every day I am looking for highlights!
I am not talking about highlights from a sports game or just personal highlights from my week.
I am not meaning those highlights that a hairdresser can add to you head of hair.
But those neon based coloured highlights I add and find throughout my Bibles.
I wonder if you are a like me and regularly highlighting things in your Bible?

What has God spoken to you lately from his Word?
What leapt out so much that you highlighted it?
Here are some of mine from the last few weeks and what they have spoken to me.
My hope is that by sharing these we encourage you to be radical and first read the Word and by doing so, you give yourself a chance for God to speak to you as well...

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

- God has a big picture for my life that goes beyond trials and 'unfair' circumstances
- God will get me where He needs me to be to have the biggest impact I can have
- Even if someone does something to me that seems wrong, could it indeed help get closer to the goal God has for me?

Psalm 19:13
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

- Is there a difference between willful and and non wilful sins?
- Reminded about how much I need help from God to not muck things up
- I can not be happy for sin to rule over me. Need to deal!

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

- Found myself humming along to the Boney M version of this scripture (help me Jesus!)
- Great prayer and underlining concept to have for our lives!
- Reminds me how my words and my heart are important and how influential they are.
- I need to rely on Jesus to help me with these two keys parts of me

Mark 14:10
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.

- This staggering concept that people I know who may have seen Jesus do amazing things around them, through them and for them, can still walk away.
- I need to do whatever I can to not be that guy!
- What can I do to help others not be that guy?

Do you have some highlights?
What is God speaking to you and revealing to you through His Word.
Get Radical, Get Reading, Get Highlighting!

Something to think about... don't just 'think about', do something about :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I belong to a club.
That club to others can look a little weird or maybe even classed as a sickness?
It seems we are always changing things, looking for elusive perfection, endless tweaking and upgrading. I am like thousands around the world who keep upgrading and changing our guitar effects pedals. And we never seem to be totally happy with what we have or what it can do. Someone always comes up with a new variation and we think we just have to upgrade!

In my faith in Jesus we can be a little like that can't we?
Always hanging out for the latest and greatest worship song or teaching.
We clamber for new styles of expression.
If a new way of doing things appears somewhere in the world we tend to throw away what we had for this hopefully helpful upgrade...

Now that is not all bad...
But I also wonder whether we tend to move on too much and far too quickly?
That is why I am challenging my Church to think more in the line of building and discipleship as opposed to what we can consume and glean for a time.
To look at what is taught as something to build one brick at a time into our lives.
To not be in too much of a hurry to move away from one thing to the next.
That we all need times of selah, meditation, reflection and ultimate long term implementation.

That is what has been so radical about our recent teaching series called Radical.
It is not a few weeks of quick fire encouragement. It is more like the challenge or experiment of what doing certain things for a year or more, could do in our lives.

Can I please encourage you to look at what you have or learn or experience a little different?
See them as building blocks and not chocolate blocks...
Take a longer term view of life.
Build and structure and build even more of Christ into your being.
I think that will do more to help us than craving newness and Church perfection...

Something to think about...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Decision Making #4

One of the ways I have heard we can use to make good decisions, is it get advice.
But there is inherent risk with using this method for decision making.
If you get good advice and take it up, then that is good.
If you get dumb advice and take it up, then that is bad.
If you get good advice and don't anything with it, it is...

When it comes to getting advice, not any old advice will do!
What you and I need is Godly, wise, love based advice that will help us make godly, god honouring decisions.

Doesn't the Bible say that we should do this?

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 niv

Of all the scriptures I have heard used to justify getting advice, this is the most quoted.
If you take this scripture in isolation it seems like you and I should get lots of advice.
That if we do we will get the decision right.
But here is the rub...
If we aren't honest about the process it is easy to manipulate the process.
If we get a broad spectrum of ideas and then choose the one we wanted to listen to the most, then haven't we continued to manipulate this process?

If you want the full counsel of God through scripture on this, then it is a good idea to look more at what He says on this subject.

The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful. Proverbs 12:5 niv

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9 niv

A young King asked two groups of advisors on how he should lead when he reached the thrown. One a young inexperienced group. The other a group who had experience.
He followed the former because it matched what he wanted to hear.
And it didn't work well for him!

So who do I look for in advisors to help me make great decisions?
- people who love Jesus as much as me or maybe even more.
- people who I know to the best of my ability do what is right in every area of their lives.
- people who love me enough to tell me stuff I don't want to hear sometimes.
- people who have more experience than me.
- people who God has placed over my life in some form of leadership.
- people who fear God enough to want to get the advice right.

So having plenty of advisors is one thing...having the right advisors is the better thing.
Then you will make great decisions!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Recently I went to one of my favourite cafes.
One I probably go to more than many other options I have in the town where I live.
I like the atmosphere and they are normally consistent with their food and coffee.
Plus they know me by name which helps me feel part of the place...

On Saturday though something happened. A mistake was made with my order and they forgot to bring out our food.

Now here is the thing...
Most of us at this point feel an urge come over us.
That so called righteous something that we need to do something because of the slight we perceive. I faced a choice on how I was going to respond. I took a few deep breaths and spoke to a staff member calmly about the problem. And of course we worked something out.

There is no way I am giving up my loyalty to my favourite cafe over one mistake.
And I will go as far as to say that they can get my order wrong several more times this year and I will still keep going. Because I value the good I get the majority of the time and that is what I find worth holding onto.

Why am I sharing this story?

I was reminded about how as followers of Christ, we sometimes over-react to things not going the way we hoped for. Many people I know have walked away from the christian family we call Church, because of one or a few things going wrong.
Now please don't stone me, sometimes really bad things happen in family...and you should be safe. But the reality I have seen, is that many leave over very simple offences.
Someone makes a mistake.
The music was loud that week.
One person out of many says something that make us uncomfortable or hurts.
The message wasn't a home run hit for you.
The list is endless...

In my Church I see value in staying committed to that family over the majority of issues we might face because I truly value that relationship. My family mean more to me than much anything else!
If one thing tips me out the door then that shows it didn't mean that much to me at all.

Doesn't the Bible talk a lot about forgiveness, especially of those closest to us?
What about that thing called 'grace'? Do we expect it and give it freely as well?

My encouragement to you is to forget about 'perfect' and hang onto 'committed'.
Find what God has put you in as valuable and even fight for it.
Don't give the devil a foothold by letting disappointment or even bitterness be your guide.
And let us love because we have been ultimately loved...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Decision Making #3

Have you noticed something strange in life sometimes?
Where you might feel that a decision has been made for you or maybe felt was even a little forced on you?
When it comes to making decisions, sometimes the decision is not as important as you might think. What is really important is looking at our lives as something we hold loosely and letting God guide and lead us in what we consider our circumstances.

Decision Making requires Circumstances.

I read passages like this one below and realise how much God can and would really like to orchestrate the best for me. How circumstances planned by God, create decisions by default, and all for my good!

Psalm 37:23 nlt
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37:23 nkjv
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

Psalm 37:23 niv
The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him

You probably get the idea!
And it is real simple...
Follow Jesus the best you can, trusting in Him each step of the way...and He will help you stay on course. He will change appointments, direct traffic, organise events, all to help you make the right decision. To the point you sometimes don't even have a decision to make!

When I look at the history of the Church you see this powerfully demonstrated. Check out the book of Acts and you see it all play out...
At a time of huge growth and favour something dramatic happens. At a time where you never see them worrying about vision or the next step, everything changes because of a change in circumstances.
The Church is suddenly persecuted.
People got scattered all over the surrounding area from where they had been.
And all of sudden the circumstances answered the 'what next' decision for them.
And...the Church grew and more lives were ultimately changed.
All because God changed the circumstances...

So if you have a decision to make this week that isn't coming naturally...can I suggest a change in tactic? Stop and pray. Ask God to order the circumstances of your life so that He gets you where He ultimately needs to get you.
You next move is to just keep following Jesus and do the good He asks you to do.
Chill and let God...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Decision Making #2

I am being blatantly predicable with this part of this decision making series of simple thoughts. I can be I feel, because even though this key to good decisions may seem obvious, it none the less seems to be forgotten by some of us just when we need it the most.

Decision Making requires God.
Now if you aren't one of us Christian peeps please don't give up on this one. I think you will find this interesting.

To help explain this one as best I can I want to share with you two short stories..
The first is from the Bible and relates to a time over a thousand yours ago. Way way before our time in this world!
It goes along the lines of God is leading his people towards the 'promised land' which ironically is the land he promised...
It is recorded that they only moved when they saw God move and only stopped when God stopped. God lead them in a pillar of fire at night and then a pillar of cloud by day.
Imagine travelled around following I guess what we would think was a very tall and skinny tornado or fire or cloud. It was unmistakeable, undeniable and there for all to see.
When they needed a decision on which way their journey would take them they went where God was going.
Think about that for minute...
They only made a decision when they knew God was in it, God was leading them etc. It had to fit a very small window of criteria for them.

In yours and my life how big is our criteria for making the big decisions?
Are we willing to make moves even when we don't see God in at all?
You may think I am weird saying that to a predominately Christian audience, but trust me when I say many of us struggle to include God in decisions.

Here is story number 2.
A leader over me some years ago had an idea about me starting something in a different town, and no this not Taupo I am talking about...
So over a number of weeks I travelled there. Driving around praying about this idea and trying to hear God was strangely difficult for me. I could not say honestly I had any God sense about the move at all. When I thought about it, my motivation was more about not letting the leader down. In my heart I knew God was not speaking to me to go.
When we eventually talked some time later about it, I found out plans had changed and someone forgot to tell me.
You see, God didn't want me to go so he kept silent about it.
Maybe I wasn't asking the right question in the first place?

The lesson I learnt was powerful and I will never ever forget it...
If God isn't saying for you to do something  - then maybe he isn't saying for you to do something?
If you are praying about leaving your job and you have no God sense about...can I suggest God probably doesn't want you to change your job.
And even when someone offers you an opportunity that looks on paper great and you still have no God sense about it...can I suggest God probably doesn't want you to change your job.

Through history based on His word and through others experiences...making big decisions without God is dangerous!
Chill out a little more than maybe you think you need to.
Take to God in prayer. Ask Him to lead you like He has others over thousands of years. To make His plan and His direction clear.
No answer = no change in my book.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Decision Making #1

I feel inspired to do a little series of Simple Thoughts around something many have issue with...

Decision Making.

This is not because I am always good at it and I think I have the decision making skill nailed in my life. I just think I have learnt some good ideas along the way that have helped me.
Plus I have met plenty of people over the years who have really struggled to make decisions.
Others have looked good at making them because they did so quickly, with time then showing that it was not the best decision they could make.

So here we go with the first one...

For the sake of our audience I am going to assume that when it comes to decision making, that we all want to include God in the equation?
While I have seen people make the craziest calls in life not caring how God would like us to do something, most followers of Jesus really want to do what is right.

A key I have learnt in regards to this thing is that Decision Making requires Peace.

That's right, it should in the end be a relief on some level to have made a decision.
And with that goal in front of us, that can motivate us to get there as sensibly and quickly as possible. Because a good decision feels good. It brings peace into your life.

The Bible teach us that the peace of God should rule in our hearts, that it should lead us in some way when we need to make a decision.

I have always tried to put this into practice.
Whether it be asking God to give me peace as a guide. Asking the "do I feel on some level this is the right thing to do?" questions.
Sometimes I use peace as a steadier of my soul while I work through the decision making process.
I also try and look past the decision to see how much peace I would have based on that decision. If I know in my heart I wouldn't have peace...then sometimes that is a great indicator not to make that call in my life.

Now I feel I must mention that there can be caution and nervousness, or similar emotions surrounding this. Sometimes we can feel nervous about a decision even when it is the right one that will lead us to peace.

As you will already know, decision making is never science, it is more of an art.
Maybe a key for you is to decide to look at differently?
Treat your next decision as part of your 'life learning process', and try and use the peace that only God can supply as your guide?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It was a passing comment yesterday that inspired my thinking today...
Someone saw me on the mountain yesterday and made that old chestnut statement..."the life of a Pastor aye?" It is not the first or last time I will hear it.
It was a tuesday and I guess they guessed that being a pastor means that I have tons of free time to go skiing whenever I feel like it. Maybe they think I am wealthy and I can do anything I want? And maybe I should have had a good reply, but I just didn't.
I simply shrugged my shoulders and carried on with my day.
What they were most certainly unaware of was that I stupidly hardly ever take a day off (something I am trying to fix) and someone else's extreme generosity meant I had this amazing opportunity.

Now please don't think that this is a rant to justify myself!
I have a bigger meaning for sharing this little story.

It is this...

That most people have no idea what someone else's life is like!
They can't. It is not totally feasible because we are all unique and have our own challenges or circumstances we deal with. And I don't for a minute expect everyone to understand me or 'get me'.

What this event reminded me of was that as follower of Christ I should be doing things differently.
Scripture teaches us that God doesn't look only at the outside of someone, that He looks at the heart of a man or woman.
Scripture tells us to pray for each other and look for any reason to love one another.
Scripture explains that a wise person checks out their own issues before attempting to judge someone else's.
You probably get the idea...

So this week, can I encourage you with this?
That when you see someone else please don't assume anything about them?
Pray for them at the very lest. Maybe even get to know them better?
What about being happy for someones else's blessing that are getting to experience?
And what about making sure empathy rises in our hearts when we see someone else's struggles?

I think at least in part that is what Jesus would like us to do...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

If there was anything I was reminded of after all the crazy in the media this week it's this...
That no matter how much we don't want it to be sometimes, our lives are inextricably linked!

A famous girl made a decision to perform in a certain way and it created a firestorm of opinion.
A country decided a while a go to fight over its leadership with all manner of weapons.
A global business wanted to make more profit so fixed things in their favour to achieve that goal.

The result was never isolated!
Many are concerned about the influence this performer is having on young women around the world.
Others are talking about invading a country.
Most of us are a little poorer to help achieve a business goal.

We are linked...

And on a more personal level, every choice we make in life never ends with us.
For example, a husband over spending from the family bank account affects all of his family in the end.
There are plenty more personal examples I could share, but I will stop there because I might strike a nerve with someone.

Some good news...

Just as a bad decision we make can have a negative influence on others, so can a good choice have a positive influence!
We just have to remember that our lives, our choices, they all have a flow on effect to others even if we never planned for them to.

The Bible says this...If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12:26 niv

Jesus taught us that our lives can be described as being like salt. We have influence and we flavour the world all around us, and where ever we go.

My hope and prayer for you this week is this...
That you see the huge power for good and for God your life you can be.
And that we all make great choices to influence our world for the better.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yesterday was a very special day for us as a family!
4 years since we moved to Taupo.
21 years since I last had the opportunity.
1st time ever for the kids.
We went up a mountain to enjoy a day in the snow!

Why mention all that for my 'simple thought' this week? Am I skitting? No that is not my agenda at all!
It was the fact I was reminded how in life their should be some highlight moments that are savoured and never forgotten. Moments that you can say you were blessed by God or moments where something changed for you...

I have said for years that as a Christian, you can think by reading the Bible, that life should be one amazing day or adventure after the other.
When you read the stories of Paul, David, Abraham, can appear their life experience was one dramatic event or adventure after another. It can appear that way because we are reading over a few short pages all the 'highlights' or lowlights of their journey. We don't see all the quieter times. The day by day just doing God honouring living.

My day again in the snow after all those years...
The day I met Jesus for the first time...
When I got married to Suze...
The day my kids were born...
Coming to Taupo and God speaking to me about seeing lives changed here...
They are all big days, big events along my life's journey.

I choose to savour them and remember them.
I also choose as a follower of Jesus to look forward to the next ones, while all along staying faithful to the process of His work in my life.
I don't expect something life changing everyday, but I do expect God to met all my needs for each day. I simply choose to follow and that matters more!

Can I encourage you this week to enjoy the highlights and remember them?
Stay faithful through the times in between. And look forward to what the next highlight God brings your way...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I have been so challenged recently, made so uncomfortable, even stirred.
And that is a good thing I think!

Why? Because of what I have been reading.
You see I have stopped reading things (books) I want to read and started reading things that will challenge me to the core of who I am and what I believe. I can't stand the idea of being the same as who I am now for the rest of my life. I am not bad, I just want to keep growing and developing. I want to continue to discover who God really is and grow in relationship with him.
After following Jesus for over 20 years I have realised that on some level I can operate out a learned culture and not solely based on a divine relationship.

With all the material around for Christians to read these days, you can pick and choose until your fingers go numb. How to be a winner, how to be a success, how to live your dreams, how to be financially secure...are all good on some basic level but I have found they can leave a believer in Christ frustrated, bored and unfulfilled.
When I read what I have been reading and look through the Gospels I don't see much about that stuff. What I do see is people passionately following Jesus. Giving their all and being happy to do so. Serving those around them even to some sacrificial level. Being involved with God to bring healing and hope to the world around them. I see my adventure!
That is Christian Cool and not just Christian Culture and comfort.

If you are reading this and feeling frustrated or even bored...personally I don't think that is the life that Jesus saved us for.
Maybe you can be like me and want to actively make sure you life matches the Gospel of Jesus.
Have a read through the Gospels and the Book of Acts in a Bible.
Sit down and talk the things of faith with someone who is a 'grunty' follower of Christ.

Stir it up my friend. Get in the game and never just watch.
That is part of what following Jesus is I think!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Have you lost something?

If you are like me, then sometimes you lose things...
Somethings are important and missing.
While others are not so important but plain frustrating when missing.
Today I was upstairs and couldn't find something that has been in the same please for a very long time...and now you guessed is missing! Time to blame the kids... LOL

So what do you do when you have lost something?

Most of us hope we will stay calm and sort it out.
The reality is that if you are kid, you give up in 5 seconds and call out to a parent to find whatever it is.
If you are a little more grown up, you might possibly panic a little?
Or maybe get a bit irritated and frustrated?

Here is some practical advice from Locky today:
1. Stop and breath
2. Think about the last time you saw it, used it and go back there?
3. Is there another 'logical' place it could be?
4. Pray and ask God to help you

Now you may be wondering why this semi practical bit of advice giving?
Here is the angle I am getting to...

Sometimes in life we realise one day we have lost something we used to have.
Maybe it was something you used to do.
Something you used to be like.
Something you used to feel.
Or even someone you used to have relationship with.

When that happens you have a few options.
Can I suggest you do things kind of like you should naturally?
1. Stop and breath
2. Think about the last time you had it, used it and go back there?
3. Is there another 'logical' place you could be to have it again?
4. Pray and ask God to help you
You may need to tweak the wording for your situation but you will get the idea I hope.

If you are reading this and maybe reminded of what you may consider to have lost during life's journey, can I encourage to stop for a moment? Take some valuable time to review things. Decide calmly what you need to do to get whatever it is back in your life again.
And then take some action...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No Junk Mail

Last night I cleared our mailbox of what many call Junk Mail.
We joke sometimes that there is so much of the stuff that it took a tree or two to make it...
And as I walked back down the driveway I thought of others in our street who don't get all this stuff. The main reason it seems is that they have a little sign you may have seen which simply reads 'No Junk Mail'?

I don't know why I thought much about it, but it did strike a thought in my mind...

We have access to so much.
You get posts on your Facebook, even to your phone 24/7.
We can read news online at any time.
You can hear about earthquakes via an app the moment they happen.
We can entertain ourselves with music, games and tv programmes around the clock.
So Much Stuff!
And it just keeps on coming...

At the end of the day I think you sometimes need to ask it all worth it and is it all good for me?

Maybe those No Junk Mail signs are what we need to use, not just on a mailbox but also for our hearts and minds?

Proverbs 4:23 says this...
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

It doesn't mean that we need to put a wall up around our lives.
I think it means for us to just be wise about what you let into your life...

You don't need every new thing on the market.
Not every new song released is going to be good for you.
Not every latest release movie will be helpful.
Not every 'post' is going to help you and me get closer to Jesus.

I am looking a fresh at what I let into my life through a No Junk Mail filter.
I want to get closer to Jesus, not closer to the world.
I want my life to reflect His goodness, His glory and His power!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Have you seen those adverts on TV for coffee?
The ones where some girlfriends contact each other for a 'cuppa'.
They all meet up, drink some caffeinated goodness and seem to smile away sharing their lives...
While that may be a little corny for most of us and just a way to try and sell dried coffee, it reminds me of something more than valuable for us all.

As Suze, the boys and I drove up to Auckland for lunch with her mum yesterday, I was reminded of something powerful that can happen in our lives. It was a long way to go for lunch, but hey she is family and after her last few months it is the least I could do.

Because we had over 6 hours of driving it meant a lot of space to fill as we travelled.
Our kids have a portable DVD system we hook up to keep them entertained and more importantly quiet! All parents will understand why I mentioned the quiet part...
Instead of Suze and I sitting in silence or listening to seem rocking tunes we actually talked.
It wouldn't be exaggerating to say we spent most of that 6 hours yakking!
We talked about things important to us.
We talked about struggles and things we have wrestled with lately.
We talked about our hurts and things that have made us happy.
We talked about our past and our future.
We talked about what is important to us.
We talked about where we want to be and our dreams for our future.
We talked about what we value and what we are looking for.
We talked about through theology and our beliefs in what God likes and what He can do.
And we talked about God. What is He doing? Where is He leading?
Lots and lots of talking talking talking...

When I look back on that trip I realise a lot happened in the talking part.
It went beyond filling up space on a long journey to being a key part of our growth as followers of Christ. I think I grew spiritually talking. Talking with someone who values me and wants the best for me. Sharing with someone with similar values and goals. These conversations seem to grow you, make you closer and cement something of spiritual value in your life.

Can I encourage you pick someone, to find someone or even a group of someones?
A person or group with the same values or with values you think God wants you to have in your life. Some peeps you can grow with and learn from in conversation.
If coffee helps the conversation juices flowing, then roll with that.
Just find a way to talk with others. It could be the best thing you do with your time?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


"David strengthened himself in the Lord"

You can find that statement in the Bible 1 Samuel 30:6
It is this moment of truth for David at a time of complete exhaustion and personal disappointment.
I would even go as far as to say that it was a defining moment for him, in the sense that a lot of his future hung on this decision.
What if he didn't do it? What would happen next? What would his future then look like?

Those questions lead me to a more personal level...
How do I actually do the same thing as David?
What does this strengthening yourself in God actually look like?

I understand how to get stronger in a natural sense.
It comes with repetition and resistance. Lifting and pressing weights to build muscular strength.
But is that a good link or picture of what this strengthening is about for me as a follower of Jesus?

Here are some brief thoughts I have around it...

Strengthening yourself in the Lord is about...
Focusing on Him first, the issues of life second.
When we decide to just focus on Jesus all the other things of this world fall into their rightful order and priority. Think of Peter walking on the water. The moment he looked away was the moment he started to sink.
While it may sound cliche, your own personal time praying and reading through the Bible, will do more to strengthen than most anything else.

Strengthening yourself in the Lord is about...
Declaring what God is actually like not declaring only your current reality.
I believe fully in honesty and especially honesty with God.
But when I look at how others have done this, there has also been declaration or what could be. Saying out loud something seems to change something on the inside of us.
Recently I declared out loud that if God can part the Red Sea (a natural immovable barrier) while the enemy closed in behind...then God can most certainly come to my rescue beyond any natural barrier. I reminded myself in the declaration how big God was and it changed my heart and my faith. It stirred me once again. It strengthened me.

Strengthening yourself in the Lord is about...
Choosing to expose your life and growth to other passionate followers of Jesus.
The early Church taught that being around others who can build you up, listening to and living out the teaching of trusted leaders, serving and sacrificing with other Godly people, were all part of the recipe to Godly strength.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Saturday our PS3 stopped working.
Now this might sound like a weird place to start this thought from, but it was a mini crisis in our home. Not only was I concerned about how much it would potentially cost to fix, but my youngest was in tears, hiding away on a chair, concerned that all his "hard work" as he put had been lost.
So as I sat down on Monday to work through what was the real issue, all the time dreading what might be the result.
Would it cost me a fortune?
Was it cost effective to fix?
How will I tell Alex if we have lost all his high scores and stuff?
As I worked it all through with some testing of the box, the tv along with some 'googler' actually was found to be a faulty HDMI lead connecting the unit and our TV. Something I could replace for $20 or less! That was a better result than we were expecting!
What a relief for me and my boy!

You can read about a town in the Bible who had a water problem.
Apparently it was yucky and you couldn't drink it. And to add to their dramas it appeared that because this water was bad, that the countryside wasn't very productive.
The town leaders are freaking out a bit and go visit a prophet called Elisha.

In 2 Kings 2 it says this...
"Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the LORD says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.
And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said.

There must have been huge relief when this miracle happened.
Life would have been far more comfortable and normal.
All it took was something as simple as a bowl of salt to change everything for them.

In life I have found that we look at the big things as the most important to change in order to make life better for ourselves.
We do the same with challenges that come our way. We look at the biggest component of the challenge as being the part that is needing our attention or needing to be fixed.
Experience has shown me that most of the time it is something small or simple that needs addressed - and with that everything changes or is perceived to change for the better.

So if you are facing a challenge or a struggle that seems really huge, can I encourage to look it a little differently?
First take some time to talk to God about it.
Second find out what one little thing you could or should do that will help your situation.
Let God direct you in the way you should go no matter how simple it seems to you.

You will be glad you did. It will feel like such a relief.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

You are supposed to be scared sometimes...

This weekend I have signed up to something I kind of regret in some way.
After picking to do it I did some research into it - maybe not the most clever - but hey that is how I roll sometimes...
Taupo is hosting the North Island Cross Country Champs on Saturday and I entered my age division. I am not what you would call a gifted or natural runner. I just seem to like doing it.
It was after signing up that I found out that the slowest time for my group last year is faster than I have ever run before.

It is at this point that I faced a choice...because I am scared of what I am about to face.
My ego doesn't want to do something I will most likely come last at. And at the same time I know that it will be an experience I will never forget no matter what the outcome.
I remember that being scared is not a good deciding factor to do something or not do something. And I also remember that as a follower of Jesus, God has not called me to decide things based on my feelings.

The very first worship song I lead had a phrase in it that I am reminded of today.
It is based in scripture. It simply says "fear not, for I am with says the Lord"
That scripture and statement has far more meaning to you if you have a chance of being scared by doing something. Or if you are facing something massive right now.
If there is no opportunity to be scared, then you don't need God quite the same.

I think this...
That if you want to stay the same as you are now - don't do anything different from what you are doing now!
But if you want to grow, develop and change - make sure you are do something different with your life. Find something that will challenge you enough that it will potentially be scary.

It is in the 'scary' place where faith is tested, stretched and grown.
Security, safety and the like will not grow you as a fact it can have the opposite effect...

Maybe you need to dive into something scary today?
Start a new ministry or join one at your Church.
Find a Club to be part of where you don't know many people.
Give to your Church more than you have ever done before financially.
Offer to serve someone in some way where they could never possibly pay you back.
Whatever it is make sure you have some scare factor built into God...and see your life change before yours and everyone else's eyes.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Not being one to turn down something free!

I have not met many people who don't want free stuff.
I mean who doesn't want presents, cool things that are a blessing and the like?
When I read through different bits of the Bible there is a re-occuring theme.
It appears again and again that God wants to give people gifts.
He is so keen to do so that He doesn't even base it on how good we are, whether we are cool or even like Him. He gives gifts to every person walking this earth.
So as you walk down the street next, look around you.
See the people in front you and behind.
And realise you are surrounded by talent...

Then and if that wasn't good enough God ramps it all up with abilities that could be called supernatural. Most translations of the scriptures call them spiritual gifts, but they are very truly supernatural in origin, design and effect.
These gifts are there for you if you have taken the amazing step of choosing to follow Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
You are promised at the very least one of these amazing gifts!
They are free, available and ready to be discovered in your life...
They are there to help you do supernatural stuff to glorify Him and have some fun in our faith!

To help you discover what your supernatural gifting might be I have some hints for you...

Hints to discovering your Spiritual Gift?
Study what the Bible says about Spiritual Gifts
Ask God to show you your Gift(s)
Talk to someone who understands Spiritual Gifts
Try some things out - see what fits - see what others recognise in you
Take a Spiritual Gift Test (try this one online today)
Do what the Holy Spirit leads you to do

Something to search out and receive today...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Everywhere you go...

I have been thinking about our teaching from last Sunday and a song popped into my head...
"Everywhere you go, you always take the weather
Everywhere you go, you always take the weather, take the weather with you" Crowded House

So what is the link you might be asking?
Well if we are what Jesus said we could and should be - Salt and Light to our world...
Then it stands to reason I am taking something everywhere I go each day.
When I get gas for the car...I am taking something with me.
When I buy a coffee...I am taking something with me.
When I check the mailbox.
Visit the doctor.
Get some dinner for the family.
Everywhere I go I not only experience weather, but I am taking something of God's Kingdom with me!

I am not sure about you, but I find that challenging, sobering and exciting!
Challenged because my life is on show. I represent God on this earth to everyone I come into contact with. His reputation is on the line with every bit of interaction.
Excited because where ever I go and whoever I bump into, I am taking the very power and presence of God with me. The mere fact that I am somewhere, could actually change everything!

Maybe what I need to do is remind myself of this amazing concept every morning?
Maybe this revelation could help me look and prepare for each day just that little more purposefully?

If you are a follower of Jesus like me - embrace who God has called you to be.
Let's change our world together and flavour it well...make it better just by being in it.
Let's start each day telling ourselves just how influential we are, making the most of every godly opportunity.

Something to think about...