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...