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 yourself...is 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

Talking


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

Strengthen?


"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' advice...it 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 person...in 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 it...trust God...and see your life change before yours and everyone else's eyes.

Something to think about...
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