Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Your Report?

I noticed a link to a news article that bothered me greatly!
They were reporting that someone thought to be trust worthy and honourable, had in fact been the opposite.
That they were a crook! Well that is how the article went...

I asked myself lots of questions:
What should I do?
Should I repost this to Facebook?
Would I be doing a 'public service'?

So I then hunted for a little more information...
I then found an eye witness account to what transpired at the person in questions trial.

Their report was different. And that bothered me!
Why?
Firstly, how can people report an event 'as fact' with to differing reports?
Second, where does that leave me?

It is actually really simple I think!
You and I choose which report we give.
In all ways, in all areas of our life and faith, we are the reporter.
We get to choose what we will say and how our thoughts and attitudes will be expressed.

Just as 12 spies got to choose the report they would share (Numbers 13), you and I have the same opportunity.
If we are a follower of Jesus we can point people to Jesus working in our lives or point out only where we struggle. We can show them Jesus or show them someone else's hypocrisy. We can share what God doesn't appear to have done or share about all the great things He has done.

So what is your report going to be today?

Something to think about....

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

To judge or not to judge?...that is the question!

Here is a polarising issue if there ever was one in our faith!
Are we allowed to judge or not judge?

There are plenty of scriptures based on Jesus words that indicate it is a no-go area for us all.
That none of us has a right to make a judgement on someone else, their choices, their actions.
But is that the whole picture? 

Recently someone said they were upset at others judging them.
What were they feeling judged over? 
Their lifestyle change...
In particular that for some time they had declared to all who would listen that leading a moral life was what God wanted and expected. Now with a change in lifestyle, when others who had previously supported the first position, asked why the change?...the retort was that they were being judgemental.

I can't help but feel we need a bigger perspective on the issue.
So recently I did some research of my own, reading through every Bible scripture I could find relating to the topic. Reading blogs and articles written by all sorts of people both religious and not. 
All in the aid of getting some big picture.

Here are my observations...

1. You are not supposed to Judge.
2. You are supposed to Judge sometimes?

Here are a sample of quotes from Jesus and others in scripture...
"Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
"Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?"
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged"
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."
"Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?"
"I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes."
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
"Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?"
"Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!"
"Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?"
"I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say."
"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day."

Maybe what you and I need to do is not judge the majority of the time, but if we are in a position where judgement is required, be very sober, humble and careful.
I think of the example used in 1 Corinthians about a guy being found out to be sleeping with his Dad's wife...YUCK!...and how no one had done anything about it. Judgement on some level was required. A lack of judgement meant something wrong was left to continue, which is an even greater wrong!

To judge or not to judge?...that is the question!

I think this is worth some thinking about?



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines Day (the story behind the tradition)


Isn’t it funny how we come up with special events based on some thing that happened and the meaning gets mutated over the years?
Here we are at Valentines Day, that annual event that you look forward to or possibly dread (depending on your relationship status).

One of the images used for the day is a fat little toddler, in a nappy trying to shoot people with arrows to make them fall in love. As cute as it maybe, if you think about it, it is a little crazy.
I have personally known quite a few toddlers, and I would never give them a weapon to use or let them choose a partner for me.
The reality is that they would probably make you fall in love with a teddy bear or Barney.

Anyway, the real story behind Valentines Day is quite cool!

During the early church times Valentine seemed to be quite a common name. The name became more popular it seems because many were martyred for their faith who had that special name.
One man in particular who lived in Rome stood for his faith against growing opposition and persecution, again his name was Valentine.
Claudius passed a law banning marriage so that the young men would join his army and not be distracted by fiancées or wives. But Valentine believed marriage was in fact a gift from God and something to embraced and celebrated, not run away from. So he would hold secret wedding ceremonies. Couples would meet with him and he would whisper the vows.

Unfortunately one day he was caught and thrown in prison for his activities.
Apparently the jailers daughter would visit him many times. She supported his stand and wanted to learn more from him.
The story goes that on the day Valentine was to die he left this girl a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love from your Valentine”. That note, written on the day Valentine died – February 14th, 269 AD – started the custom of exchanging love notes on St Valentine’s Day.

As you can see, Valentines day is for people in love, but also for people to thank others for their love.
The Bible talks a lot about the relationship we are supposed to have with each other. It says things like love another, do nothing out of selfish ambition, do what you can to get along with each other, greet one another with a holy kiss…(ok I am getting carried away, but you get the picture).
As Christians we are supposed to be the expression of Gods love on this planet.

Part of our role is to share that with anyone we meet.
So today, how about showing some love?
Maybe a simple email or text to a loved one or friend?
Thank someone for caring about you...
That is the real Valentines Day!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." 
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

The man who spoke these words is simply known by the name of Michelangelo these days.
No he wasn't a Ninja Turtle, even though one of the characters borrowed his name!
He was a man who lived in a world very much harder than many of us will ever face.
And yet these words indicate to me an inbuilt desire if you like, to dream as hard and as high as one can...and then have the courage to see if you can get close to that dream.
Better to 'go for it' than to 'settle for it'.

But was he nice guy and did he have it all sorted?
No way! He had his struggles.
Apparently he even slept many times in his clothes and with his boots still on his feet.
He never retired from whatever work or opportunity presented itself.
From what I have read recently he was still working when he died.
He spent as much of his life dedicated to what he could try and achieve. An artist, architect and poet that influenced a large part of the world.

If you base going after a big dream, achieving something with God to make a difference in the Kingdom based on your good looks, or perfect mental state, or comfortable environment...you probably won't get too far.
Mr Simoni is encouraging you and I to look past whether we think we can, to going for it!

I love what William Carey said one time...
“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

Now if you add to this equation that fact that God says this...
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us 
Ephesians 3:20 niv

God has a dream for yours and my life. And that dream includes power from Him to help it come to fruition. I think that is cool!

I have a dream/vision for my life, my family, and my Church.
In fact we spent last Sunday sharing this again with our Church. You can listen to it here if you like?
I decided a long time a go to for it. That I would rather try than not try.
I would rather attempt to reach those heights...because what if the dream becomes a reality, what will the world be like then?

What are you waiting for?
What is holding you back?
What are you going to do?
What is the dream you want to chase, to reach towards?

Something to think about...




Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Impact


Some of the things that people share on Facebook are truly inspiring...
Ok, granted there is lots of stupid as well, but let's focus on something good for a moment.

It was an old BBC TV type excerpt of a talk show kind of thing.
An older gentlemen was sitting in a studio audience totally unaware what or who was seated around him. The host then goes on to ask anyone who owes their life to this particular gentlemen to stand, and all of sudden heaps of people stand up.
Before World War II, 669 children who were destined for Nazi death camps were rescued and transported to England by Sir Nicholas Winton. And many years later, they had came together for a touching surprise tribute to their hero.

If you are like me, then you find this stuff so inspiring...
Sir Nicolas Winton didn't realise what impact he had had on so many.

As I was reading another book yesterday on the life of William Wilberforce, I saw was struck by the impact he not only had on abolishing the slave trade, but on society all together. His legacy or the impact of his life spanned generations! Reforms he prayed for and fought for changed his world!

Now I have never met these gentlemen so I am going to go out on a limb here.
But I don't think they did what they did for fame, fortune or even Facebook likes.
It was something deeper and more profound for them.

They didn't see their lives as merely their lives.
They sensed in some way that they were here for more than themselves.
And because of how they choose to live and use their lives, they impacted the world!

I think that if you want to have an impact you need to be willing to sacrifice something.
Whether it be comfort or resources or safety or pride or position or ....?
Sir Winton and Mr Wilberforce seemed more than willing to go that way, to have their particular impact on the world. 
The question is..."Are we you and I willing to do the same?"
How much I am willing to sacrifice seems intrinsically linked to my impact.

Something to think about...
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