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...
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