Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why? - Part 3

'Why' question sent in...
"Why do people often act selfishly? We often comment on unselfish acts.
If that's what we like, why do we not practice it?"

This question and comments got me thinking...
How do you answer this without it being far too long?
And how do you answer this so that it is helpful?

First off we need to actually be real honest, raw honest even about ourselves!
All of us want to look good but know deep down there are parts of us that are not so good.
In your mind and heart you know when what is flowing through it, is not the best.
We all face the battles to do good and not bad.
That is why it is easy to see selfishness in others...because it is a battle we face ourselves!
People recognise in others what they know about themselves as well.

Most people acknowledge that there is a thing called 'human nature'.
Seems to be a phrase that sums up for many the collective emotional and responsive issues as people we can have. It doesn't justify any particular trait, even though some try to use it as an excuse for their behaviour.

If you read through Romans chapter 7 you see the writer talking about his wrestling match in life. There are things he wants to do and knows he should, but at the same time finds himself not wanting to do them or getting it wrong. He tells his story because he ultimately knows it is all our story.
We can relate because we are all the same...
He actually finishes his little monologue encouraging us to turn to Jesus for some help with this. As a Christian this might seem painfully obvious, but is also something many forget.
In their wrestling with these issues, excuses are sometimes tossed around instead.
But Jesus and the living for His glory are the first steps to mastering this stuff.

This same writer wrote some advice to someone who he was trying to help.
He finishes one sentence of a letter with the phrase "train yourself for godliness".
He wasn't meaning to try and be God himself.
He was meaning that in order to master our nature, we need to be intentional.
We need to go after God, let him work in us. And make sure we learn and develop ourselves intentionally, not haphazardly.

I hope that helps you a little?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why? - Part 2

Why do people say that God exists?
...can science prove it?

One of the 'Why' questions that came in last week related to what I have summarised in the title. And I think it is a really good question!
Please understand that I can not prove out my thoughts in such a short forum.
I just want to share some ideas to stimulate your thinking and conversation...

Here we go!

I have been in both camps.
Pro Science and Pro God.
For a large chunk of my life I didn't believe in God at all.
I would have said I perscribed to evolution theory as a way of trying to explain the world I lived in. And I was pretty anti anyone who thought differently, especially if they brought God up at all.
Then one day it all changed very suddenly!
On saturday all the way back in 1991 I decided I wanted to follow Jesus. Along with the extreme of that decision, I found my ideas on what was real and how things were, seemed to be shaken to the core.

When we talk about Science vs God and all the permutations, one of the reoccurring themes that comes up is faith.
When you believe in one or the other it takes lots of faith.
To believe that random chance created everything you see and experience takes faith.
To believe that God created everything you see and experience take faith.

Then people talk about evidence...
The problem I have with basing things on evidence is that evidence isn't always definitive.
Evidence these days is based on the balance of probabilities.
The more apparently probable, the stronger the evidence. And bias seems to sway us!
If I look at popular science it tells me that evolution is a key to understanding definitively how the universe came to be. But if we are honest, there are gaps in the theory. And for it to be definitive it can't have gaps...
I think if we are also honest, science can not definitively prove God exists or doesn't exist. And I will add that I don't think God really cares that much. He isn't worried about whether science proves he exists or not...
If you ask all scientists to answer this question you will get both answers. Both saying that science proves it either ways.

Then people move to opinion...
People love to quote others to help build their argument.
And if you can find a 'big name' then that means you have a bigger argument.
Of those that believe in science over God, most popular is at the moment is to quote Stephen Hawking.
I am the first to admit that he is a extremely gifted intellectual.
At the same time, some of the work Stephen has produced proving out some of his theories has been shown to be at best unprovable and at worst wrong. But that doesn't stop many accepting it and adopting it as fact. It goes along with their opinion so it has value to them.

And finally I go to relationship...which may seem strange when we are talking science etc.
But for me this is really important.
As I mentioned before, my thoughts on whether God existed changed when I accepted who Jesus was and what he achieved by his death and resurrection.
The relationship changed my resolve...
If you want to know whether someone is real it seems logical to go find out for yourself.
That is what I did and what I still do...I go looking for myself.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why? - Part 1

Why did God need to send us the Holy Spirit?

When I started at a certain job many years a go there were more expectations of me than I ever imagined.
There wasn't that much of an induction process, in fact I didn't know of such things back then. There was just an expectation of me producing results in regards to sales dollars without me having any real experience and a complete lack of industry knowledge.
To add to my struggles was the fact they gave me a business card that declared me as a Trainee Sales Engineer. Not the best impression to give a general manager when you first nervously meet!

God has given His people a task or a number of them as I see it.
He wants us to share His love through us with the people in this world.
He wants us to tell others about what Jesus can do for them, to share the 'gospel' with those who don't know Him yet.
But all that is real hard and really daunting without some real and effective backing.

God doesn't want to send us out into the world without any experience of who He is or of what He can do. He doesn't want us running around aimlessly and stressing and struggling to meet others targets. And He doesn't send us out hamstrung with labels that will always limit us.

What God does do is to send us the Holy Spirit!

He is the one who Jesus said would come along side us and help.
He reminds us of who God is. He helps us beyond our perceived limitations.
The business card or label He gives us is the mark of acceptance and authority.
And He gives us the power to make a difference in any and every conceivable way.

I wouldn't want to live my life for Christ like I did at the job...not for a moment!
For me the question is now not - 'Why the Holy Spirit?' - it is more like 'Why wouldn't I want the Holy Spirit?'
When I faced the toughest moments in that job I simply went to God and asked Him to send the Holy Spirit to help me...and if I had time today I could fill this page with the amazing things He did...

Something to think about...


It is the word or phrase that says so much without anything being added to it yet.
You know instinctively that when you hear it...that it is seeking answers.
Kids use it a lot when they are young.
As adults sometimes we use it when wrestling with the biggest questions in life or when something is really effecting us in some way.

So over the next few Simple Thoughts Locky produces I thought a good series would be to tackle some 'Why' questions.
If you have a Why question you would like answered, please let me know. I would love to have you direct and guide some of the conversation.  Simply fire a 'Why' at me.
Nothing out of bounds or too tricky. I will do my best to answer it and be honest if I can't...

Email any 'Why' question you have to

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I am in Debt

I am sure you have had some experience with owing something to someone, having something commonly known as a debt...
If you are like me, then maybe you have had one of the following:
- Lent money from a Family Member
- Owed someone a favour after they did something for you
- Hire Purchase Agreement
- Mortgage on a Property

In lots of ways and in all sorts of circumstances, you and I will owe someone or have a debt to someone or something all through our lives.

And as you get older, those particular debts will most likely change.
When I was a teenager I owed someone some money I borrowed to help me purchase a car.
As an adult, I owed a bank a lot of money to help us buy our first home.
And even though those debts no longer exist, I find I am still in debt.
I now owe something to others. 

I read this yesterday while sitting at an airport waiting to board a flight home...

Give to everyone what you owe them:
If you owe taxes, pay taxes;
if revenue, then revenue;
if respect, then respect;
if honour, then honour.
Paul who wrote this, starts like I have today, about financial debt which we all understand to some level.
Then he takes it to a conclusion that is even more important, deep, and even Kingdom based.
As followers of Jesus we owe a lot and in all sorts of ways.
If I don't owe money, that doesn't mean I don't have a debt anymore. I just have a different debt that still needs servicing.

He even goes on to teach this...
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Paul's encouragement to us is that any debt should be paid.
And just as the world looks less than favourably on people who run away from their debts, it is the right thing for Jesus disciples to pay what they owe.
My life doesn't belong to me anymore. Paul said something similar as well.
I ultimately owe a debt to my Saviour that I more than willing to pay.

May the debt you face not just worry and concern you. The important thing with any debt is you make payment towards it, in whatever way you can and should.
May you be challenged like I have been, to tackle the rest of week motivated to love, to share and to honour.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Not Everyone Likes Me

Not everyone likes me...
I know that is shocking, I mean I am so likeable (note - I am joking!)

In the last few weeks I have been attacked personally with some cutting words and opinions.
It happens to all of us many times during our lives.
And it always leaves you trying to process how much of what someone said was right or wrong? How you should or shouldn't respond? And what to do next...

Then I was reading today through some of the stuff Jeremiah, an old testament prophet went through and had to say. He had a hard job!
He was the guy who was tasked with telling a bunch of stroppy people that they had gotten it wrong lately, that God wasn't very happy about, and ultimately what God was going to do about it all.

One day a leader was so annoyed with a pot breaking demonstration and subsequent prophetic outburst that Jeremiah did, that they put him in stocks!
Not long after this experience Jeremiah records his feeling, his response to God.
It helped me process stuff better and maybe could help you?

I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!
Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends
are waiting for me to slip, saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we will prevail over him
and take our revenge on him.”

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Jeremiah 20:10-11 niv

This is the encouragement I take from this:

  • I am not the first to be misunderstood, be criticised, or even to get things wrong
  • I will not always be liked, and sometimes not liked by some people close to me
  • While that is not the best - I have the best on my side - God himself!

If you and I stay humble, stay focused on Jesus, stay running our race with determination...we will win our prize. No matter what anyone else thinks or even says about us.
I chose God's opinion of me over anyone else's!
Can I encourage you to do the same?

Something to think about...