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...