Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New

I got a new PS3 game for Christmas.

That information may illicit different responses for you
1. You might think I am to old for games (that could be true).
2. Who cares? (it will make more sense shortly).
3. What did I get? (doesn't matter for this story).

But what is important to this story is that I traded in 3 older versions of the same game to get the new one.
Why is that important?
Because I wanted something 'new', and before I could get the 'new' I had to choose to let go of the 'old'.
Part of what was tricky for me was that I am used to the 'old'. You could even say I am comfortable with it. The new version means I have a new learning curve to go through before I can be good at the game again.

I think to embrace the 'new' that God wants to do in each of our lives in 2015, we need to embrace different responses...

1. Choice to make room in our lives by getting rid of some of the old.
Whether it is habits, patterns, thoughts, hobbies...whatever it is for you...make room for the new or you simply will not have room for the new.

2. Don't be too scared to try what is new.
I think that comfort is nice but is also a crippler.
If you are comfortable with what is not the new that God wants to do, then you will miss it. And I don't want you to miss it! Be strong and very courageous and embrace God's 'new' for your life, even if it means a learning curve.

3. What is new for you may not be new for someone else.
Guess what? It doesn't matter! Be proud to be who God made you and grab the 'new' that is applicable to you and where you are at in life.
Each of us are on our own faith journey. Moving forward on the journey is what is important. Not where you have camped...

May you enter this year to all the 'new' that God wants to bring your way!
May you have the courage to let it happen in your life.
Let go of the old. Embrace the new...

God Bless!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Today I have decided to not publish a Simple Thought because I simply want to focus on Christmas...

Sometimes in life you need to do things like that.
Make a choice about what is important.
Prioritise what is of most value or what you are realistically able to achieve.

May you find your sweet spot these holidays...
May you rest in Him and not wear a yoke you were never designed for...
May you all have a fantastic Christmas Season!
And may God bless you and keep you!

Locky :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shake It Off - 'the dust'

I was reading recently about some people when the Gospel was 'new', doing something I can't say I have seen that much at the moment.
The Apostle Paul went to some people to tell them about what God was doing, what God was offering etc. They didn't like the sound of what he was saying so he said things like "well may your blood be on your own heads".
Kind of strong don't you think?

It got me thinking especially in line with a series I have been teaching called Shake It Off.
Didn't Jesus tell the disciples to shake something as well?

One day Jesus decides to send his disciples out on a ministry trip.
And as part of the preparation He gives them a peep talk.
Gives them some advice and instruction. All before they hit the road and the adventure that lay before them.

Here is part of that talk...

Matthew 10:13-15 niv
13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Again it seems pretty strong...but if it is a reoccurring theme in scripture, and if Jesus says it, then maybe I should be taking some more notice?
Is this something I should be practicing?
And if it is, when do I do it?
And how do I reconcile it with this 'love' quotant that we are told to have?

I am really challenged by this concept to be honest!
Partly because I want to share God's goodness with as many people as possible.
Sometimes when it is hard I see it as a challenge, so I try even more.

Maybe I need to just be a little more careful or sensitive to the situation?
Maybe I need to learn when I should just shake the dust off my feet?
Maybe it would be better for me and all concerned if I acted as wisely as possible with people? That if they are rejecting my message, or sound teaching, or correction...that I be happy with that and move on...
I am reminding myself that God is ultimately in control anyway. It is Him who saves, Him who moves hearts, Him who blesses, Him who heals ultimately anyway...

My prayer as we come to a close of this Shake It Off series is that we truly learn from God what each of us need to shake off.
Whether it be the cloaks, or the grave clothes, or the yokes, or the pressure...may we each find some freedom again as we close this year?

Let's be free. Let's shake some dust from our feet!

Something to think about... 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Replace

I am unfortunately for my wife one of 'those guys'...
A guy who will wear his socks, undies etc until they have either fallen apart or are no longer recognisable as such. Yip - too much information!

Sometimes things just need replaced.
Even if you are used to them or can cope with them, a replacement is better.
I have to admit again to my shame that Suze is always right (please don't tell her), I should have replaced them way before I eventually chose to!

I shared this passage on Sunday with our Church...
Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. 
Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires. Romans 13:14 cev

I think it is such a cool picture of what should be valued in our lives!
It is a cool way of helping to explain a principle. That the closest thing to us can and should be Christ. It leaves no room for baggage, history or sin.
It covers us with something better. Jesus is the best replacement!

Is there something you need to replace in your life this week?
I am not talking about socks and undies, but things of greater influence and or importance.
Maybe fear has been covering you? That unhealthy fear, where you fear for your future. Fear that cripples or even paralyses you. That takes away from the enjoyment of life and what you have around you right now.
Check out what John wrote "...perfect love drives out fear" 1 John 4:18 niv
It is a replace type thing.

In John's Gospel he tells us this important statement that is pivotal to our faith!
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  John 10:10 niv

Jesus is the ultimate replacement for whatever you are facing that is not right, or is worn out, or is out of shape in your life right now!
Look to Him and what He can do.
Put Him on your life and see what He can do for you...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Poles Apart...

I have noticed in the last few days that people can be poles apart...
Especially when it comes to their feelings towards the Christmas season.

On one hand some are truly excited. Sharing on Facebook and other mediums their joy.
Posting pictures of their tree and maybe decorations they just purchased for the year. One friend of mine recently took a time lapse video of the tree event and shared it around.

On the other hand some are truly agitated. Sharing on Facebook and other mediums their displeasure.
Posting anti Christmas thoughts and desires.
Expressing how they are having to endure not enjoy.

Now before you may stop reading if you are offended by this, can I please say this to you?
My heart is for those who don't like the season!
You probably have a reason for not liking it. A very powerful reason.
The season may remind you of a loss or something you don't have.
There maybe memories of past Christmas times you would rather forget and not relive every year!

I want to encourage all of us to make some memories this year.
Can I encourage you to not let past memories dictate your feelings into the future?
I am not asking you to dive into the commercial aspects of this at all...but to find a way to embrace the true meaning behind Christmas?

This story may help?

For our 2nd Christmas as a couple, Suze and I found ourselves not having family or anywhere particular to go.
Because we didn't have a lot we decided to keep things simple and even invite some others who were in a similar position to us. Unfortunately this plan failed. Not only did no one show up. We found ourselves lamenting a very quiet and lonely Christmas.

The next year we were determined to never let it happen again!
Suze cooked a Turkey the day before. We drove up to a beach north of Auckland with a Christmas themed picnic and looked for a blooming pohutakawa to rest under.
It was an amazing Christmas even though it was quiet.
We created new memories to help counter the old.
For the next few years that is what we looked forward to and planned for. That pohutakawa resting spot with a Christmas picnic. It was bliss!

I think that is the key...
Tradition if working for you is nice. But something truly meaningful is thought out and planned.
For the last few years, in part because we don't have family where we live, we invite others to join us for lunch. We are creating new memories for ourselves and others to help build something good into our lives.

And maybe, just maybe, that is a little of what this Jesus would like us to do and participate in, this Christmas season?

Something to think about...






Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Man Vision

Man Vision - that is apparently what I have?
It is that thing that men get accused of when we are hunting for that allusive ‘thing’ stored you ‘know where’, that you last saw ‘way back then’. 
When ever my wife sees me ‘hunting’ see asks if I need her help because of my apparent Man Vision issue.

Is there something you are looking for?
Something you would really like to find, but you just can’t track it down on your own?

Because of the season we are entering into, I am reminded about others in history, who were searching for something important to them.
Some of them found exactly what they were looking for and expecting.
Others found what they were looking for, just not how they expected it to be.

It is recorded that Wise Men came from the east looking for a King. 
What they found was a baby in a manger who would grow up to be a pretty amazing type of King.
Shepherds left their flocks at night to visit a baby, all because a choir of angels told them to check him out.

So again I ask you what are you looking for?
I pray that you would find it this holiday season…
Whether it be peace or comfort or provision or health or rest, may you find it?
Even if it comes in a form you may not recognise or even expect, may you find it?

God bless you heaps!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finding Your Declaration?

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." - JFK September 1962

What an amazing quote and an even more amazing declaration!

When the President spoke those words at Rice University it was a declaration to his nation and the whole world. That the US of A was going to do something very specific. Something very hard. Something no one had do before and many thought was actually fanciful.
History tells the outcome the declaration. It shows us that the right thing declared over a situation at just the right and considered time, can indeed galvanise resolve, and achieve the objective.

I am huge fan of declaration!
Speaking out loud what you believe and what you want to believe...
I think it biblical. Gospel centred. Faith orientated.

Joshua made a declaration in his generation.
"As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!"

David made a declaration in his generation.
"I will praise the Lord!"

Jesus told the generation around him...
"I will destroy this temple and raise it again in 3 days!"

Jesus tells this generation to declare...
"Speak to the mountain and tell it to move!"

So what is your declaration?
I ask because because it is very important!
It will help guide you, set you up...and lead you to your future.
The life you live right now could very well be because of the declarations you have previous made?

And how do you find your declaration?
Here are a couple of ways I have found have worked for me and help me avoid falseness and vain hype:

1. Worship 
Simply choose to do it. Determine to do it even when you don't feel like it.
Be a David and tell your soul to worship. That type of declaration will take you somewhere and you end up feeling like what you are saying. Your soul will eventually catch up with your spirit!

2. Read the Pslams
I love the example of David and his speaking to his soul. Telling it get in line with his spirit.
We can look and learn from his example.

3. Specific Scriptures.
We write scriptures that speak of God's desire and goodness for our lives and our ministry on the mirror. Every time I go to the bathroom I look at them and declare them over my life.

4. The 'Iron' Effect
Hang around people of faith. When you do it will effect your declaration.
If you spend your most valuable time around those with little or no faith, your faith will suffer.
The opposite has always proven true for me. People either make your sharper or blunter. There is no middle ground!

My prayer and hope for you this week is that you find your Godly declaration and speak it out.
Shout it out even if you have to. Post it on Facebook. Write on your mirror. Share it with a friend.

Something to think about...

I watched this great clip today. Maybe it could help fuel your new declaration over your life?
Unstoppable God - Elevation Worship
Our God is unstoppable! He can and will do the impossible!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why aren't we flying?

...because getting there is half the fun...
Apparently that is what Chevy Chases character Clark Griswold states in the movie National Lampoon's Vacation.
As the patriarch of his family unit, he made a decision to take his family on a journey to a theme park not the quickest way, but one where adventure was more likely to exist.
They could have flown and got there in a day. But that was practical, predictable and kind of boring.
A family car trip across states lines appealed a lot more to his sensibilities.

What ensues is 90+ minutes of drama and experience that if real (because in the end this was just a movie) would actually make the destination more worth while.
Why?
Because the journey increases the value of the destination to those on the journey.

I shared with our Church recently that Jacob was frustrated in part with his life, because he was so focused on his destination, that he was robbed of the enjoyment of the journey.
And we are just the same. At least I know I can be like that.

When we as a family are heading away somewhere, all I think about is leaving on time and getting their as quickly and effectively as possible.
But in between where I am leaving from and where I am heading to is a whole expanse.
Wouldn't God want me to enjoy the expanse as well?
Shouldn't I be taking in what is around me along the way?
Could I in fact be robbing myself of some of Gods goodness from my life?

I think of scriptures like...taste and see that the Lord is good.
It is not talking about finding out how good God is when you 'get there'.
It is about tasting how good God is along the way!

So this week can I encourage to take a moment and look around you?
If you are on a journey of faith never loose sight of the destination, the race you are on.
But also don't forget take notice of where you are along the way.
Ask God to meet you along the road, along the path, where ever you are right now.
I think it will make your journey more meaningful, enjoyable and valuable.
It will help make the destination of your life grow in value to you...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Roller Coaster

What a roller coaster the last week could have has been for me!
Please let me explain for a few moments...

I walked into a venue (not our Church) and one the first things that happened was a guy stood up and started going off his nut at me and a mate. Using an expletive ladened tirade, he expressed how he felt about us. Obviously not my biggest fan! 
Later that same night and at the same venue later I had fans.

Then in the last 24 hours I have been told of 2 totally different peoples opinions of me.
One person thinks I am not very good as a leader.
The other thinks I am really good as a leader.

If I based my life. 
Based my opinions of my own value. 
Lived my life based on what others think and say about me. It would be an emotional roller coaster! Complete with spiral twists and turns that one moment make me smile, and the next make me want to throw up.

I have heard it said we should live our lives 'for an audience of one'.
That 'one' being God. Living in such a way as to just focus on pleasing Him.
The trouble is we forget to do this or even how to do this...so I find it easy to go back to old habits.

What I have tried to do for many years relates to that concept, and I have found far more effective for me personally.
Don't try to live your life to please.
Instead live your life to serve.

So what does that mean practically?
Pleasing people is such hard work! And it is ultimately very frustrating.
People judge you then on your motives and effectiveness to varying degrees and score you accordingly. And if you are a little sensitive at times like me, the scores given out can dictate your perceived value.

Instead I do my best to just serve others. In whatever way I can with the talents, time and resources at my disposal, I simply try and serve.
And in the serving you end up by default live your life 'for an audience of one'.

Can I encourage you to shake off the bounds that trying to please imposes?
Choose to serve others as a way of life.
And see what God does through you and for you as you do...

Something to think about...

Matthew 20:26-28 niv
26...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Costumes

Throughout every calendar year there are reoccurring themes and events.
For me some of the highlights are Easter and Christmas. I particularly love summer time as well, getting to spend extra time outside with my kids, swimming and enjoying some rays.
Tack onto that my families birthdays and the monthly events we do as a Church family, and I have plenty to look forward to!

Others get excited about other annual events.
In particular some are buzzing over this week because halloween has rolled around again.

Now I am not about to get into some debate with you over its merits or not. I was just thinking about it in light of what we do as people with it. The whole idea of wanting to be someone else for a night or a time.
For some they would say it is simply fun.
For others they would possibly say it is a form of escapism.
While for others it is an excuse to be someone they secretly or not so secretly wish they were.
In the end, people apply costumes to be part of this fantasy.

In all my dealings with people and their inner most challenges and turmoil at times...I have never found the applying of costumes or fantasy to be much use!
They can cover over, or seemingly shield and protect for a while.
And they can give a period of escapism from the life they are living.
But they never ultimately help us to achieve any true sense of identity and peace in my opinion.

God wants to bless you, the real you. The you that He has also dreamed and planned you can be.
I firmly believe that God finds it more effective to bless you, not the pretend or fantasy you.
Jacob was always destined to be a great man. But until He was real with God he never could get past his past. Could never truly enter into this thing we call our godly destiny.

Can I encourage you this week to be real with God and others who love you for who you are and can be?
For you maybe this is a season of not applying a costume, but actually getting rid of the costume?
A season to be healed, made whole and walking into your blessing...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Deconstructed

It seems to be fashionable at the moment to deconstruct yummy foods.
If you go somewhere to eat and order something like an apple crumble, they may bring it to you separated out into all the parts they would normally make up the whole.
It gives you an opportunity to see all the components that normally make it work as a whole.

When I read different passages in the Bible I try and deconstruct them in some way. Why?
Because I want to understand how, why, where and all that jazz.
When I treat it like a novel, I can potentially miss what God is trying to say to me.
But when I break it down into its parts, studying how it has been put together and why...then I regularly learn and have revelation.

Don't be afraid to pull a passage apart from scripture and study it!
Dissect it.
Deconstruct it.
Check out all the parts that make it what it appears to be.

If you are not sure how to do this, then just ask me or someone you trust.
Maybe get with a group of disciples and hash it out together.
Use resources like Bible dictionaries, books, commentaries etc to help you along.

I don't think that God is scared of you scrutinising His Word.
He has confidence in what it can do to you when you do!

Something to think about...


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prayer that changes everything...'in faith'

I think it is right for people to pray.
To pray for their everyday needs and to be thankful when God continues to provide.
A lot of translations talk about it in terms of 'your daily bread'. Those things you just need to get by and continue to move forward in life.

I also see God asking me, even challenging me, to do something else with prayer...
The phrases 'Prayer of Faith' or 'in Faith' also appear in God's instruction to us.
For me I see this as a maybe as crudely as it sounds, to be prayer at a level beyond existence/sustaining prayer, to prayer that speaks to the impossible to become possible.

The Gospels tell us that God has given us the keys.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But he will not allow anything that you don’t allow. Matthew 16:19 cev

As His ambassadors on this planet we have been given an amazing opportunity to stand in the gap for many people and for their many needs.
When things seem impossible, that is the time for us to rise and shine. For us to pray 'in Faith' for things to change, or a disease to be gone, or a need to be met.
Never forget that God specialises in doing what in the natural seems completely impossible and makes it possible. Prayer like what I am hinting at, is the gateway for that miraculous outworking to be released into peoples lives.

Can I encourage you this week to never feel guilty about asking God for what you need?
Can I also encourage you to look for God's leading to what 'in Faith' prayers you could pray?
You hold the keys. Your prayer could be the catalyst for a major change?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Prayer that changes everything...how long?

Suze and I have been reading a great book on prayer recently called Push by Jurgen Matthesius! It is called Push because that is an acronym for Prayer Until Something Happens.

In his introduction he reminds me of our tendency to put a 'human' time limit on the answers we are looking for when we attempt to pray. He likens it to going through the drive through at McD's and getting upset because we don't have our food in 3 minutes.
I think sometimes we might just treat prayer like this.
Where we throw up a few lines to God. Then if there is no answer in the way we had hoped for within a short space of time, we attempt to come up with answers ourselves.
I have even heard people use this line of thinking to justify all sorts of decisions.

Let's be honest though...
This trying to pray and follow God's will is not as easy as we might hope!
Even Jesus wrestled with it at one stage (Garden of Gethsemane).
I totally understand if you are facing frustration at this time. You need to trust me that I can relate. Maybe not with the same circumstance you are wrestling with, but I have had my own...

An account that has always fascinated me in the Book of Daniel may be an encouragement I hope to you today...
In Chapter 10 it talks about Daniel receiving a visitor from heaven with a message specifically for him. The problem was that it had been delayed 21 days due a huge battle in the heavenly realm (please don't give up on me now if you are finding this weird).
This visitor said this to him “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them."
He is telling him that from the moment he prayed he was heard. God put into action a response.

Please be encouraged by this:
- When we pray God hears us straight away.
- When we pray God set things into action.
- When we pray it can take time as the Kingdom of God shifts things in our favour.
- When we pray it is so powerful that it can cause wars to break out!
- When we pray we need to be careful not to give up before the answer comes...because the answer is coming!

Something to think about...

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Prayer - how to pray to impress God?

While that maybe sounds a little silly, many people struggle with praying to impress God on some level.
It is that thinking that maybe if you 'nail it' with all the right words and phraseology, that God might give it special attention? That God could be more likely to answer in your favour?

Jesus 'nailed it' when it shared a parable about two dudes going to the temple to pray...

10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Luke 18:10-13 niv

Jesus goes on to say that the dude who humbled himself, was honest, who gave into God and His sovereignty was heard more.
There is something we can all learn from this simple example.
Let's keep it simple, honest, full of heart.
Let's pray like He is listening and that He sits on the throne of Heaven.
I think that is the type of prayer Gods likes best...

Something to think about...


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Prayer - is anyone any good at it?

You may be wondering why I have asked such a strange question...
"Prayer - is anyone any good at it?"
Because I don't know many people who would honestly say they are an expert.
And by expert, I mean someone who knows exactly what to pray all the time.
Or someone who prays for literally hours a day (because most of us don't live in a bubble).
I think that we think that to be good at pray-er, that you need to be some sort of a monk...
And that my friend is kind of ridiculous! And it also sets you up to feel like a failure!

As a Church Family and for myself as well, we are beginning a 4 week journey on this thing.
Looking at prayer afresh.
Looking to be people where prayer actually changes something, changes everything, changes the world!
Exploring what and how and why.
Getting it settled in our lives again for this next season that God has us in.

Jesus said many things about what prayer can be like for us including:
Ask and it will be given to you
If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer

Max Lucado summarises it I think really well!
"Jesus never attached such power to other endeavours. "Plan and it be given to you." "You will get anything you work for." Those words are not in the Bible but these are -
If you remain in Me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you - John 15:7

Before we dive into this area over the next month can I remind you and me this?
That Jesus is not looking for experts and perfectionists in prayer over relationship.
Your relationship with Him far outweighs the need for proficiency in prayer.
He wants you. And from relationship prayer should be an overflow...

Looking forward to the journey with you!

Something to think about...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review - 7 Men by Eric Metaxas

I heard about this book through a friend so I ordered the Kindle version to check it out...

As I don't normally read biography style books this one appealed because it was 7 in 1. And not only that, I was intrigued as to why Eric Metaxas picked these guys in particular...
Once I started to read this book I quickly understood his plan.

Each one of these men have something about them and their journey through life that can inspire you.

From William Wilberforce and his courage of conviction through to Chuck Colson and his conviction leading to revelation, I gained a lot from their stories.

I found it easy to ask questions of myself and the world I operate in based on their experiences.
Asking myself if I would make the same choices...
Challenging myself to apply something of their character and conviction into my own context.

It is an easy book! Go get yourself one...


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Puzzled - In Jail

Let's face it, life doesn't always work out how we possibly have planned.
Somethings when things look like they have gone wrong at the same time as you are trying to do everything right...this can be extremely puzzling to try and understand.

When I read about two guys called Paul and Silas and their experiences, I learn something extremely powerful! They were put in prison for doing something good and right. Not because they broke the law or some other deserving act.
They have every opportunity to feel sorry for themselves. To spend their time questioning God about what they did wrong? Maybe even blaming each other for the reason they now find themselves confined in chains...

It simply records that at midnight they prayed and worshipped God while still in their prison.

What actually happened when they did this?

  • An earthquake!
  • Everybody in the jail including themselves, found their chains supernaturally fell off!
  • A whole new family was added to the Kingdom!
  • They were released from captivity!

All because of their simple act of prayer and worship...

To 'break out' you sometimes need to 'bust out'...
Bust out, burst out in worship and see the prison doors open and your chains fall off.
Telling God about your prison experience is one thing. Worshiping Him despite of it is a whole new level. And one that could potentially remove you from your jail sentence.

Maybe life hasn't worked out they way you thought it would by now?
In your relationships, or career, or finances, or health...and because of this you feel in some sort of captivity?
Maybe it is time to get like Paul and Silas?
To simply pray and worship in spite of your circumstances. To see what God can do to change things over what you are obviously powerless to do.

Let's do this...

Friday, September 12, 2014

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

I think this is actually a really good question?
And maybe one that relates even better now to the world and generation we live in...

Early in Genesis you read this short account of Cain and Able.
Cain is really angry that God liked the offering Able gave to God a little more than his. And in the first recorded example of jealously and the power of it, hatches a plan to wipe out his brother.
God shows up after he has murdered his brother and asks Cain where his brother is to see what his response will be, not because He didn't know.

"Am I my brothers keeper?" Cain replies...

I think he asks that because he knows that is actually who was meant to be to Cain.
God doesn't respond to the question, because it goes without saying that he is.
They are brothers. Full stop. Brothers!

The word keeper comes from the Hebrew word shamar.
And it simply means to look out for, guard, honour, to save, protect.
Asking God if he should do that for his brother is like asking God one of the most ridiculous questions you could ever come up with.

I never just take one scripture in isolation.
I do my best to hunt down others that may relate to it throughout the whole of scripture to help me understand God's possible intention.

So when I also read...
That we are to love another.
That we are to treat follow believers as brothers and sisters.
That we need to meet together when and wherever possible.
That we should warn each other of where we are possibly going wrong along with encouraging each other.
That there are times we need to deal with a divisive person.
That we need to pass on what we have learned.
And that we need to make disciples - disciples by definition have brothers in their lives!

It paints this bigger picture that I am my brothers keeper...

Can I encourage you to look out for, guard, honour, to save, protect your brothers and sisters?
Don't just sit back and watch someone who professes to love Jesus shipwreck their faith and life.
Be wise on how you do it please...and never look for excuses to get out of our divine responsibilities.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Puzzled Intro - how did that happen?

I love me some entertaining and informative youtube clips...
Each day I set aside some time to check out some of the youtube channels I subscribe to. I get to learn about the latest technology, hints on guitar tone, through to historical facts and figures.

Now with the 100 year anniversary of the what was to become known as World War I, there have been some documentaries I have seen recently. And one of the things that has stood out to me is that in the middle of such struggle, suffering and hardship, has come some amazing things that we get to use in everyday life.
Did you know that the tea bag was invited by accident during this time?
That women's sanitary products came about in part because of trying to help soldiers?
( If you want to watch the clips - you can view them here British Pathe 3 WWI Inventions )

While you can argue that the 'war' left a horrible mark on our history. It certainly brought some amazing steps forward for our quality of life. And that is the dichotomy of the situation for me.

If you are breathing then you know that life isn't always easy.
Many of us try and avoid the non-easy moments in life.
Some even question whether God loves them or has decided to leave during those times.
When the very thing we want out of, or want to avoid, could in fact change our life or someones else's for the better.

When Suze was very dangerously ill when Jack was born I thought like that for a time.
But because of this non-easy moment we got to meet another couple going through something very similar to us. We could relate. We became friends. And I eventually got to marry them!
You see, you never know what 'good' can come from what seems bad.

So if you are going through something you wouldn't choose for yourself right now, can I encourage you to try something with me?

Look for what God could teach you.
Or what you could grow into.
Look for what opportunity it bring open up to you.
Or what revelation you could receive.

Try as best as you can to relax and let the God ordained circumstances work something new and amazing ultimately into your life.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Motivated...

Motivated is a good word...
It means - someone with a reason for doing something, someone stirred, excited, having a new zeal and/or realisation.

When we decided to look at our 'heritage' recently this was the main result we were looking for.
Not that people would just be informed. Not that it would be a well constructed History Channel experience. But that it would stir us to see what God could in our generation...
Because if God really is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, then I firmly believe He can do something amazing in our time and we can be part of creating a godly heritage.

So on Sunday we gave people some options on how to respond to what we have learned.
I wanted to pass them on again here today. Not because I don't have anything else to share, it is just that I don't want to move on from this time without some sort of response.
If you were there please take a few moments to remind yourself what God put on your heart and have the courage to step into it.

Build Yourself
2 Peter 1:3-8 encourages us to ultimately add to our faith.
Not to just exist or sit around, but partner with what God can do with us and through us.
We asked the question of ourselves - "what can I add to my faith right now that would help build me up in Christ?" - what is your answer?

Built people are in a better place to leave an inheritance.

Go Fishing
Jesus calls us as disciple to not only have the privilege of knowing Him but also so we can partner with Him.
“Come along with me and I will show you how to fish for the souls of men!”
Matthew 4:19 the living bible

My encouragement to you is to think and act like a fisherman.
One that plans, prepares, expects to catch something.
And even if you don't - that you can't wait for the next opportunity.
Fisherman are not called fisherman because they tried once and maybe failed.
They are called fisherman because that is what they do, who they continue to be...

Leave an Inheritance
Proverbs tells us that "A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children…"
For you what could that be?
And for us as a Church what?
Inheritance is best when it is intentional. What could you and I be intentional with that will leave something for generations far beyond us.

Finally, when I think of my heritage I am actually very grateful.
Men and women in the most difficult of circumstances at times, won for us most of what we have right now. That motivates me now to want to do the same for others.
I want to create heritage!

Something to think about...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Heritage should have some wow factor!

I was checking out how the blog was going this morning...
And I found something I posted back in 2005, yes 2005 that had meaning for me today!
In light of the Heritage Teaching Series we are doing as Church and wanting to encourage you that you can be part of creating heritage...I share this story again nearly 9 years later.
Enjoy!

In the 1930s, Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers in the former Soviet Union. Millions of Bibles were confiscated and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags (prison camps), where most died for being "enemies of the state." 
In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance. Recently, the CoMission ministry, which Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored, sent a team to Stavropol. The city's history was not known at that time. But when our team was having difficulties getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored ever since Stalin's day.

After much prayer by the team, one member finally got up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMission asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was "yes"!

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man, who was a sceptical, hostile, and agnostic collegian who had come only for the day's wages. As they were loading the Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually, then found him in a corner of the warehouse weeping. He had slipped away hoping to quietly take a Bible. What he found shook him to the core. The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother! It had been her Bible!

Out of the many thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the one belonging to his grandmother -- a woman persecuted for her faith all her life. No wonder he was weeping -- God had just dramatically revealed Himself to this young man. His grandmother had no doubt prayed for him and for her city. Her prayers had followed him, and now this young man's life has been transformed by the very Bible that his grandmother found so dear.

Source: Campus Crusade for Christ

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creating your own Heritage

I think a lasting heritage is actually created on purpose.
While not always because of a desire for a heritage, but at least from considering something worth while enough to make it a big deal for future generations...
When we take the time to make our world a better place in some way, that creates something of a heritage.

I heard many years a go when our boys were still little, that traditions in the home are never forgotten.
It made me think back to highlights of my childhood.
How every year Christmas followed a certain pattern. Which relatives were visited when and how things would go. When I look back on those times now I am very grateful for that part of my heritage and it stirs me to do something for my family now that is special.
Another tradition were the family holidays and the fantastic experiences and memories that created for me.

With all that in mind we decided on something that seemed simple at the time.
Every Saturday morning I make my boys pancakes.
I have been doing this nearly all their lives, so that works out to be at least 10 years of pancakes. That equates to something like 6,240 round disks of goodness over that time!
Even when circumstances didn't permit the saturday morning part to be fulfilled, a 'rain check' has always been used.

Now that is just pancakes, a heritage based on food.
What about eternal things? What traditions do we have that will become part of their heritage?
One would be their exposure to our faith. The weekly meeting with others at Church services and special events. Their Connect Groups they attend. Their seeing God at work in peoples lives.
Second our encouraging them to have their own relationship with Christ.
That is heritage I can help generate for them that I trust will have far reaching effect in their lives.

My challenge to us this week is that we create heritage on purpose.
That we see the impact of our lives for what they can potentially mean. Never lives that are accidental in nature. But something that could impact this generation now and well into the future.

Let us be the people who future generations talk about, learn from and even preach about...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heritage is a story that can continue...

The reason for the title will hopefully become apparent and encouraging pretty quickly as you read this...

I first heard this amazing story in its entirety back in 2004.
It is testament to how a Godly heritage should and can be passed on!

Near the end of 1961 a young german man by the name of Reinhard Bonnke was walking kind of aimlessly around the streets of Clapham London. I heard him say that he was killing time before his ferry was scheduled to leave later that day. He had just finished training at the Bible College of Wales in Swansea and was planning to head home to Germany, unsure of what his future held in store for him.

So here he is seemingly lost and looking around the neighbourhood he found himself in, when he saw the name George Jeffreys on the side of a house.
Now Reinhard would have known that name after hearing about how a man with the same name was saved during the Welsh Revival and then saw thousands saved and healed during his ministry.
Could this could be same George Jeffreys?

Deciding that he had nothing to loose Reinhard knocked excitedly on the door and inquired whether he might see Jeffreys. Apparently the housekeeper was about to turn him away when Jeffreys came to the door himself and invited him in.

At some point in the conversation George Jeffreys asked Reinhard to lie on the ground beside him (which would have seemed a weird request). He placed his hands on him and prayed for his ministry and for the empowerment of God for evangelism. He prayed that the mantle he had, would be passed now to Reinhard.

This same young man went on to be one of the greatest evangelists in the African continent.
His open-air gospel campaigns attracted crowds as large as 1.5 million. Many thousands were saved and healed!

I hope that story encourages you as it encourages and stirs my heart.
I love it as much now as when I heard it from Reinhard a decade ago!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Something has been reinforced for me this week that I want to briefly mention here...
After being part of a great group of guys from our Church who meet every week.
After talking with some of our other great Connect Group Leaders.
After visiting with some of our fantastic Connect Groups.
It has been hammered home again in my heart and mind...

Growth happens with great, God focused, intentional, regular 'Connecting' with other believers!
It works people. I see it again and again.
People have grown in their faith.
They have learnt new things.
Some have been stirred to look at what they could do for the Kingdom.
We are seeing meaningful prayer becoming the normal.
And then we are hearing those prayers being answered again and again!
Spiritual Gifts are being discovered and developed.
Some are using their groups to reach others...

What isn't there to there??? Seriously, like what?

...let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

You may have heard people use this scripture to "encourage" people to attend a Sunday service regularly...
I believe that it is something far bigger. The encouragement is to find any excuse to meet together, regularly, on purpose, with a spiritual agenda. Because that is what will make a huge difference for your life and growth.
There are no shortcuts. And if there were, they would not be worth it or even last...

Let's do this together. Let's connect and grow and see our lives and those around us change!

Something to not just think about...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A little tip

Ok, let's be honest for a moment...

I bet we all have a similar issue we battle with?
Where we at some time or other look at someone else or think of someone else, and make a judgement about them.
Where we decide that maybe they are wrong and we are right?
Like that person you see on the street who is looking a little worse for wear.
Like that neighbour who has tattoos in places you would never consider for yourself.
Like the workmate and their choice of lunch that isn't the best for their health.
Or like the facebook 'friend' who posts things you don't like or agree with.

Now you may have heard that Christians are not supposed to judge?
That seems to be the consensus even though it is a little more involved than that blanket statement.
But none the less, we are encouraged not to judge others in a way that elevates us above them.

Here is my title tip. Something I do to help me not get all silly and make snap judgements about others...

When I see a person or think of a person and feel the urge to get my 'judge' on, I stop for a moment.
Then I get my 'pray' on and pray that God would bless them.
I don't pray that God would change them or make them more like what I want. I pray that God would invade their life more than they have experienced so far. That they would be blessed with great opportunities and great people around them.

It seems to help me...maybe it could help you?

Something to not just think about, but do...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Season?

I am probably like most of us and make decisions about my life based on the season.
Those seasons can be predicated around the good old spring, summer, autumn, winter variety.
They can be also be based on the spiritual, emotional and physical seasons we all navigate along life's journey.

We have a little tradition in our household where we have a selection of winter or summer only clothes. Preparation for each of these seasons means swapping over what is stored in our wardrobe and drawers. It kind of makes sense really. No point wearing summer clothes in winter...

I have also been learning over the last few years to better navigate the other seasons of my life.
To be honest I don't always get the response right to these, but I am determined to keep working on it. More on that another time...

When it comes the Gospel - there is no such thing as seasons!
There is always sowing, watering and harvesting.
And God graciously and amazingly asks us to be part of the process.

Paul encouraged Timothy with these words...
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season
2 Timothy 4:2 niv
So it doesn't matter what season we think it is, but that God can save!
I love that...

He promises us that the harvest is plentiful and that He will water the words of faith we share.
He declares through His promises that He desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of Christ!

With this in mind, can I encourage you to look at the seasons a little differently?
Be mindful of the ones we see moving perpetually through our journey.
But also ignore the idea that there is a good or bad time to share the love of Christ with someone who doesn't know Him yet.
Be expectant for God encounters.
Prepare yourself in whatever way can.
Be ready to share the hope you have with others.
And let us see a greater harvest than we have ever seen before...

That excites me and I hope it excites you?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Throw It Off!

Last week I talked about a 'compression top'.
I thought I needed it for an event I was in and found out the hard way that I had made a serious mistake! The very thing I thought I desperately needed was the last thing I needed!

And that is my point...

How often have you been like me?
Where you pushed hard to have something in your life that you thought would make things better, only to find it hindered you more?

I think as a follower of Christ we sometimes operate better 'without', more than 'with'.
But this is counter to the culture we live and operate in.
Where extra indicates blessing.
Accumulation equals success.
And increase shows personal growth in some way.

When I look at scripture and those around me who are the happy with their life and ministry, I actually see the exact opposite to our culture.
I see many who should be rich giving much of it away - and yet they seem happy.
I hear stories of people going on missions trips to the poorest of the poor - only to find themselves challenged by how much happier the poor are than them?

Many scriptures paint some interesting portraits for our lives and who we can be...

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Laying down yourself, sacrificing something of yourself, is a very Christian attribute.
And isn't that the example Jesus left us? We are encouraged to serve one another. To wash feet... 

41...“you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one... Luke 10:41-42

Sometimes simplifying things about ours lives and faith are more healthy and profitable.
Running after 'more' can ultimately bring frustration. While simple can breed contentment.

...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Can I encourage you today to take some time to read over these passages? And let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart in whatever way you may need...
Let's be people stripped of what we don't need and filled with the very presence of God.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Negative Legacy vs Positive Lesson

I think you and I are faced with this many times.
And probably more than we even realise.
Because in the course of life, lots of different experiences happen around us and to us...which can lead to either a negative legacy or a positive lesson.

Last weekend I decided to give a race, that I am plainly not in the league of, another try. Not because I am a glutton for punishment, but because I wanted the challenge.
I wanted to see if I could do better than the year before.
I was racing myself more than anyone else and I was more than comfortable with that.

As the weather was kind of nasty that morning leading up the event I made the decision to wear a bit more than I normally would. I thought staying warm before the race was a good decision.
So armed with full body compression gear I lined up.
The race started.
We tore off up the first few hills.
And I noticed that something was wrong...

From feeling good to feeling sick happened too quick and it took a few kilometres to realise my error.
My compression top was new and I had never worn it at an event.
Every breath I took was hampered by this stupid thing restricting my chest.
Looking around I could see that not one other athlete was wearing what I was.
A singlet was all they thought was required. And they were better for it!

So I struggle on the finish line. In a time I was embarrassed with. More annoyed than disappointed.

So here I face the equation...
Negative Legacy vs Positive Lesson

When I reviewed what happened I had to choose one option.
I chose to stop beating myself up and chose to learn from the experience.
I plan to come back again next year and bash it out again better from the experience.

You are I can do this with even more important events in our lives.
Whenever you find you have made a mistake...with a job, or a relationship, a comment, an action or even an inaction...
Can I encourage to as quickly as possible decide if it will be a negative legacy or a positive lesson.
And then get one with this life God has graciously given each of us.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*nine*

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.

Psalm 127:1 niv

When I first pondered this whole idea of God making His home in us...
Of God saying that our bodies are His temple...
This was actually one of the first scriptures that popped into my head.
When it did I wondered why briefly and was then reminded how this mirrors the life I have experienced. 

I am a huge fan of having a faith that acts out our passion and zeal for God. Where we take seriously the new life He has won for us and make the most of it. 
I have in all my time following Him encouraged others to make every effort to live out their faith. Through actions and speech, to do something with what they have received from God.
To this day I still don't think any of that is wrong.

But where you can come unstuck is thinking your passion for God and all your activity in His service will fix everything that we maybe consider wrong with us.
The logic being, that if I work harder - that God will do more in my life.
That I operate under a reward only based system. That is called 'works'.

If God decides you are His temple, then God is majorly responsible for making it what He wants and needs it to be. Yes we can get in the way, but I still consider God bigger than our struggles!
There is a point we all need to arrive at where we let God do the building. To do the work.
When we choose to be faithful to the course we are on and let God show His faithfulness to us, He builds us into who He desires to dwell inside of.

Doesn't the Bible also say that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it?
Doesn't the Bible also encourage us to 'rest'? To enter a state of being and life where we rest of Him and not our own struggling and striving.

So may you come to realise God is probably more interested in building you than you are yourself.
That you can trust Him to build you just the way He needs you to be.
And you will be His favourite place to be in all of creation.
Just let Him in. And let Him do His work...

Something to think about...

Please note : this is the final of this series of thoughts - hope you have gained something from them...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*eight*

We wrapped up our Sunday teaching series recently on 'The Temple'.
And as part of closing it off we looked at the idea of how our temple can be known for certain things:
A place of Worship.
A place of Prayer.
A place of Sacrifice.
The concept being that the old testament version was known for those things, so as the living breathing temples should we also be able to be described along the same lines?

Here is another one I would love to share with you briefly...

As part of the worship, prayer and sacrifice seen in Jerusalem, a lot of this activity was motivated it seems be a desire for forgiveness.
Each year the high priest would offer very specific sacrifices on behalf of the nation.
Individuals during each year would regularly perform smaller rituals.
All in the add of cleansing their consciences towards God.
To seek His forgiveness and His favour over their lives.

Now that you and I are temples of the Holy Spirit...what sort of temple are we?
Would someone be able to describe you as "A place of Forgiveness"?
As you wander through life, could this be a descriptor of how you operate?

Because we are not fixed to an earthly stone foundation, we are able to move freely around the world and interact with so many.
I believe God designed us this way so that this temple, a place of forgiveness, can move around as many of possible. Sharing His love. Giving hope and freedom.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 niv

Can I encourage this week the seek to be that temple for God?
To be a place that offers and receives forgiveness...
I think you will change your world and those you come into contact with!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*seven*

Have you ever heard someone say that they are in a 'dark place'?
Maybe you have even said that based on how you were feeling?
Because that is essentially what the phrase means...a 'dark place' is that sense in your soul that things are not right on the inside of you.

This dark place we speak of can come to anyone.
It can come into our lives through choices we have made that weren't very smart.
Or it can come through circumstances that seem beyond our control.
Either way it doesn't feel cool at all.
And even God doesn't want it to be the definition of our existence!

When you look at the Jewish Temple you will find some very important features inside.
Each of those features has a very specific and important task otherwise it would not be there.
God's design leaves no room for random and unusable in His temple.

There was a lamp stand. Sounds simple because it kind of was.
While there is debate over the overt meaning behind its design, it's function points to something else.
The lampstand gave light. Crazy concept I know. Surely it must have done something else? Well not really. It gave light so that the temple could function. Without this lampstand and the service it provided, the whole temple was dark and not very inviting.

When you then consider that our bodies are now the temple where God desires to make his home, the parallels for me are interesting.
Would God want the inside of us dark? Of course not. Because God is a God of the light and not darkness.
So what lampstand can we use to make the inside of our temple is light?

Check this out...

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 niv

His 'word' is the very thing to light up the darkness that may exist within us.
It also prevents darkness from taken ground on the inside of us.
You don't need heaps to chase away the darkness. Think of a light bulb in a room of your house. One small bulb can make a huge difference!

Can I encourage you this week to light up your temple?
To make time to read some scripture during the week.
Don't leave your temple dark and uninviting for God. Light it up!

Something to think about...


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*six*

I have always been intrigued by the following statement that Jesus made...

He said to them,“Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:52 niv

Jesus in context has been sharing a lot of teaching in the form of parables.
Parable of the Sower.
Parable of the Weeds.
Yeast, Hidden Treasure, Pearls, Net...
Lots of amazing teaching we can sink our spiritual teeth into!

And then He throws this comment in which I think fits nicely our series on 'The Temple'.
That we should ideally bring both old and new out of something called the storehouse of our lives.
Interesting in a world where old or new is valued, not necessarily both at the same time?

Inside the Jewish Temple were storerooms.
Places where everything from the Book of Law, wood, clothing, to the treasures and other items of high value were kept.
In our lives we have spiritual storerooms.
Places where we can keep the teachings of Christ, the life changes experiences from long ago, and the most current revelations of God's amazing grace to us.

The point for me is this...
That your storehouse needs all it can get and that all you have is useful for your life and ministry.
We need the balance of the past with the freshness of the new.
To be a good minister of the gospel/temple, we need all this divine storehouse can hold and then offer.

Can I encourage you today to do a couple of things?
Make sure you never let go of the testimony of God's goodness in your life. 
Store it and share it as much as He gives you opportunity to. 
Use it to remind yourself/encourage yourself along your journey.

Second - shop, hunt, find, research God's Word for fresh revelation.
Go along to your Church each week expecting God to speak into your spirit something new.
Read something of His Word.
Dive into great books, not just any books.
Listen to faith filled podcasts.
Discuss His Word with others in a Connect Group.

Then your temple will have what it needs to fulfil the expectation Jesus has for it.

Something to think about...

Sunday, June 08, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*five*

The Jewish Temple had places with very specific location, meaning and importance.
Outer Court.
Inner Court.
Gates.
Bowls, Stands etc
Lots of places that made up the whole.

You could safely say that each part was important, because the temple couldn't function as well as intended if one was faulty or neglected or even missing.
And the temple seemed to be at its peak of importance or impact when God was filling the whole thing. I think of Solomon and his temple dedication. It is recorded that God's presence was so strong and enveloping that nothing could happen. That is pretty cool!

Now if our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, it makes sense that every place of our lives needs to be considered. As the original temple had places...you are I have all sorts of places.
That the ultimate expression of our temple is that God could be in every possible place.

So the question for you and me is simple...
Is He?

Does He have permission to be in all the rooms of our soul?
Can He safely and with our blessing invade and occupy us?
Or is there somewhere you are holding Him out of?
Is there a place you don't want Him to be at the moment?

I have found that the more room I give to God the more He will actually take.
And the more I do, the more I feel His presence in my life.
The challenge is to honestly access or audit the true condition of our temple.

Can I encourage you this week to give Him all the places of your life?
Let Him completely in. Let His glory fill your temple.

Something to think about...



Friday, June 06, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*four*

Some things make me a little said to be honest...

Today I read of a sports stars decision to retire.
They sight the issues they are having with constant injury and that their family comes first.
Now I don't know them personally but I have respect for someone who can make hard decisions and puts their family first.

You are probably asking..."what is the bit that makes me sad?"

Some are commenting via social media how happy they are about his demise.
Nasty comments stand out amongst the various well wishers.
It makes me said that some feel the need to let such nastiness come out of their temple.

A throw away comment is never a throw away comment!
In the world of social media it is now recorded around the world, with computer servers more than ready to regurgitate whatever was said to anyone willing to read it.

Let's look at our lives a little different.
See them as a temple and that can have good or bad flow from it.
You are so powerful, that you get to decide the flow from your life.

May your temple be a place from which others can receive life.
May the words of your mouth bless and not curse.
And may your temple reflect more and more the goodness that God wants to pour out through it...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*three*

We have established an amazing God ordained truth in this little series so far...
That our bodies are temples of the very Spirit of the living God.
They are the place that God wants to be most on earth.

This concept actually leads me to many other questions and thoughts.
Many of which lead to answers and/or sometimes challenges...

The original Jewish temple had some very specific components to it.
One of those was the function of priests. And in particular the High Priest.
Without the priesthood the temple can lose it's direction and even it's entire meaning.
If you study the history of the Jewish temple you will see a link between how well it was functioning and the actual Hight Priest responsible.

So here is my challenge/question to you and me this week...

Who is the Priest of your temple?

- Are you the priest?
- Is Christ your High Priest?
- Or maybe you have abdicated the priesthood of your life to someone or something else?

These are challenging and pertinent questions to consider, especially if you identify with the concept of your body being the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Also if you body is a temple, then it needs a priesthood.
And what better than a priesthood that God has designed specifically for the task?

Here is a great piece of encouragement...

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:4-16 niv

When Jesus is firmly enthroned as your High Priest you can have confidence. You can begin in rest in the fact that He has got your back and your front, and whatever else you need.
Place Him as the most prominent in your 'temple' and watch you world change.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*two*

You have probably heard people saying this phrase at some time...
"My body is a temple"
Normally those people are saying that because they are on some sort of 'health kick'.
They have just turned down the hot apple crumble with whipped cream you offered them in the hope that their body will thank them for it later.
Maybe they are training for some event and want to make sure they are as ready as possible for the challenge that awaits them.

But have you ever wondered where that phrase actually came from?
How does a living breathing organism like our bodies become described as something so impressive or as imposing as a temple? We aren't made of bricks or other features that match many of our expectations of what a temple is.
In my travels I have seen a few temples, and none of them looked like me.

The phrase comes from a special book where it goes on to describe what sort of temple our bodies can be.
Not just temples of activity or a lack of activity.
Not just places to store cake...even though I love cake!
Our bodies are described as temples because God wants to be with us, and even live in us...a concept which sounds amazing if not fanciful.

We don't have to be big, small, good looking, talented or not so talented for God to want to be in our lives. The offer is there for you and me right now, just as we are. Just invite Him…

Something to think about...




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...

Jesus surprised a lot of people many years a go when He said these words...
"It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:11 NLT
And maybe you are like me and are still astounded at that statement?

When I read those words I feel very challenged!
It reminds me that I am in some way based on the words I speak to others and myself.
When I say rubbish things it reveals to me that maybe there is some rubbish in my life?
It is such a powerful litmus test of my character and attitude level. Using the very words I have spoken as a guide to what is really going on inside me.

Why did Jesus bring this up?
Simply because the religious people of the time were focusing on task and role and image...while forgetting that their words and actions truly showed the condition of their hearts.
We can kid ourselves when we base our so called 'goodness' or even 'holiness' solely on the things we do.

Even this week I have taken moments to review what I said and how I have said them.
There have been times I have figuratively patted myself on the back.
And to my shame, other moments when I have hung my head in shame.
Those words of Jesus have pierced my world to show me the true condition of my heart and my desperate need for more of Him.

Doesn't it also say that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks?
Words never just appear by accident.
When we think they are accidental it is more like a true sign post to our true insides at that time.

I thank God that He is for me and not against me.
That His dream is to turn this living, walking and even talking temple into as best a place for Him to reside as possible!

Maybe this week you can take a quick review of your words?
To let them show where you are truly at.
And ultimately drive you to cry out for His work to continue in your heart!

Something to think about...
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