Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Research


It maybe me just noticing it, but I have noticed people misquoting things a lot lately?
And what disturbs me the most around this, is the number of Christians 'quoting' the Bible, and when I have checked they actually had it really wrong.
Now I am not talking about interpretation...
I am not talking about an impression they have with the Spirit of God talking to them through something...

Just the other day someone said something like this..."you know how it says such and such in the Bible".
Now when they said it, it did sound sort of right. But I also had a little check in my spirit about it.
And that is problem.
I researched it myself, and found they had it wrong. Real wrong. And by sharing it with others, they had a huge potential to confuse at best and corrupt at worst what God is like and how He would like us to be.

I am finding more and more people are saying things and attributing it to God because it sounds right.
Sounding right does not make it right.

As humans we are susceptible to being swayed by our own hearts, prejudice and agendas.
Just like the argument that 'if it makes me happy to do something it must be God, because God wants me to be happy.'
God loves to make us happy, but not everything will make you happy.
When God disciplines His kids (which He says He will do because He loves us), it will not feel happy happy joy joy!
Unfortunately a good sounding idea can corrupt good theology.

What is the answer to this?
It is actually nice and easy - with some effort on our behalf.
And I personally think it is worth the effort.

First - be humble!
It is attractive to others and God.
'Know it all' types are so unattractive and tend to bully others with their inflated opinions. That is opposite to how we should act if we follow Jesus.
It is ok to acknowledge you don't know everything (even when you are a Pastor)...and let it drive you to my next point...

Second - do some research!
No matter how long you have followed God, you can't leave this habit behind.
God's Word actually encourages us to study and research, ponder and meditate.
You never graduate from it.
And when you think you have, I will predict one day you will get something of wrong...

Check this scriptures out with me...

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts17:11 NIV

Interesting that they are mentioned. Probably because they took the Word seriously enough to check what they were being taught.
I am not above these people. I check humbly everything I am taught by others.
That way it is reinforced in me when it right and corrected if it is not.
I take my relationship with Christ seriously enough to take ownership of the teaching I receive.

Psalm 101:2 says "I will study the way that is blameless"
Psalm 111 in the message version says "God's works are so great, worth a lifetime of study (research)."

Can I encourage you to research maybe a little more than you do right now?
Search the scriptures yourself and for yourself.
Don't blindly take in everything people tell you...and use the Bible as your own plum line. That way, things will make a lot more sense, and you will grow in your faith...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finish Part II

This week I am posting a little differently...
After seeing a clip while looking at something I thought was unrelated...I felt I should share it with you.
To me, it seems to fit perfectly with teaching we have been looking at over the last few weeks...

So feel free to check out this youtube clip.
I hope you enjoy it and gain something from it...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Finish


Based on some study and teaching I have been doing lately for our Church, I have an observation...
I don't want this is be a negative thing today, but a challenge to us to look at our faith differently?

"Maybe the reason some fall away is because they never had a plan to finish?"

When I married my wife Suze, I wasn't just thinking about the day, the honeymoon or the next 10 years.
I was thinking about the end. Of my marriage going the distance.
When I first came to our Church here in Taupo, I was never just thinking about the first sunday or the the next.
I was thinking about the vision God had for it, how big, how influential and what I would be passing onto another generation.
And when I look at my life, especially my declared relationship with God through Jesus Christ...
I am constantly looking at it with my goal of Heaven in mind.
I want to finish up there. That is my ultimate prize.

What I see and have noticed is this...
Lot's of people start things.
New hobbies, jobs, roles and relationships.
Some people are seemingly professionals at it. New jobs or activities on a regular basis.
To the outside they can look like go getters with drive and passion.
Time will show you that many struggle to stick at anything long term.
'New' is seen as the only way to feel better. Commitment, dedication, persistence are for other people.

If you ask an Ironman athlete why they train to do a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and then cap it off with a full marathon...
They don't just say for the fun of it or it was just a good idea.
Anyone I have spoken to about it, do it because they want to finish!
They want the prize, which is in this case a medal and someone enthusiastically saying over the loud speakers "you are an ironman" as they cross the finish line.

As Christians we can't afford to look at life and faith like the world looks at most things.
If you do, you run a huge risk of stumbling and possibly even falling.
You and I need to be like those ironman athletes.
We need to remind ourselves again and again why we are following Jesus.
And ultimately it is because He wants us to win our prize...

Paul said these famous words...
"Run your race in such a way as to win the prize"
Meaning to not run because it suits you or fulfills some need in your life right now. Don't treat it is a hobby to use while it 'works for you'.
But treat this gift of life that God offers us as the opportunity to run the race that helps you gain the true prize.

Let's live today, tomorrow, in fact everyday...looking towards our finish line.
I think that will help you more than most other things.
It can motivate you, sustain you and finally get you home...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Investigate


There is an investigation going on at the moment.
While the biggest sporting spectacle of the year was underway, there was an apparently random and dramatic power failure.
As my friends and I watched the Superbowl, cheering, eating, drinking and checking out Facebook in some cases...the stadium where the game was held in New Orleans plunged into darkness.
We along with over 100 million other viewers were left sitting there stunned and kind of stuck.
You are left wondering how long it would be on hold?
When would the game start again or could it even?

At the core of this problem was one thing...a lack of power.
If they had power everything carries on.
Without it and everyone is left in limbo.

It reminded how life mirrors this event.
When we lack power, we feel stuck and in a perpetual limbo land.
With power, we carry on with what we are supposed to be doing.

If you are a follower of Jesus, power is part of the deal.
You haven't just signed up to a set of beliefs. You are signed up for the whole package God has for us.
This includes having power in our lives.
It is the power that Jesus promised would come to his disciples after His departure.
It is the same power that the prophet Joel promised them and for all the following generations, including us.
It is even the same power that rose Jesus from the dead and is now available to you!

My question to you today is this...
Do you have this power in your life?
If you don't can I suggest you do like the NFL officials are doing on a large scale right now? Maybe you need to start an investigation of your own?

The Bible suggests some places to start.
Check to see if you have become luke warm about your relationship with God.
Check to see if you are doing the right things, in the right ways, for the right reasons.
Check to see how much your flame is glowing on the inside, and whether it needs some fanning or not.
Check you attitudes and the condition of your heart.

Ultimately you are I are called to be people of power and love...not just love.
So let's investigate and let's make sure we have all the power available to us.
Otherwise the world around us will be left in the dark just as they were in that stadium.
It's could be time to investigate?

Something to think about...
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