Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Message from me...

Hi there everyone.
Seriously I just want to simply wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for this holiday season! May God bless and keep you and bring you happy, healthy and whole into a brand new year.

I am so honoured that many of you return again and again to see what I have to say! I truly hope it continues to help you on your journey in some way?

Looking forward to another year with you very soon.
Expecting my first post to be early in January after short break to try and recharge and hang with my little family in the sun.
In the meantime, I have linked some past Christmas favourite posts if you want to check them out...


Love to you all...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Simplify

When I think of that first Christmas I don't imagine decorations and lighting displays. I can't imagine frosty the snowman or rudolf with his shiny nose issues.
Bigger, brighter, better were not the central theme or mantra of the time!

What I can picture in my mind is something highly meaningful, if not totally understood.
From the accounts in the Bible, I can picture for myself a small family taking in those first moments after a lady has just given birth. Coming to terms with the implications of becoming a new family.

If you were like the Shepherds or Wise Men who came to visit Mary in that makeshift maternity ward previous known known as a cow shed. I think you would taken by the simplicity of the whole thing...
Nothing special, clean and even organised about this first Christmas at all.

Now jump some 2015 years later give or take a calendar adjustment here and there...and now you and I face our own Christmas Season.
If there is anything from the first I can take to the latest it is this...
Simple is how it started and maybe simple is what is needed now for it to be special, for it to have meaning for me in 2015?

I am a huge fan of lights and trees, food and festivities!
But ultimately I want something simple.
That is why lunch with some friends on Christmas Day means so much to me.
The simpleness of sharing a BBQ and singing some Christmas Carols is also high on my list each Christmas Eve.

Someone once said "Big Is Good" while encouraging us to spend in their store.
Today I say "Simple Is Best" while encouraging you to find meaning this Christmas for yourself.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

"Dear God - thanks for this one thing..."

I have watched with much pride a family navigating a very difficult time in their life...
Why am I proud? Because they have handled themselves a little differently from many these days.

Instead of getting on Facebook and have a rant every single day about how it is not fair. Instead of seeking to apportion blame. They have with dignity and maturity updated us all on their faith journey and always thanked God for even the smallest glimmer of hope.

They have reminded me that even in the middle of whatever is wrong, you can always find something to thank God for.
I see something spiritual happen when you do this. It brings faith more and more into the middle of your trial.

No matter what you and I may be facing right, I bet you a free dinner that there is something you be thankful to God for. Some glimmer of hope you can hang on to.
Gratefulness is so attractive to us in the natural. I would go as far as to say God finds its even more attractive.

Please don't lose sight of God in your trial. Focus on Him more than the trial itself. And you will find faith welling in your soul.
Maybe you could stop right now and finish this prayer with me?
"Dear God - thanks for this one thing [ you fill the blank ]"

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Check Please...a reality check...

When you visit someone who is really ill in hospital it is truly a reality check. What I mean by that specifically is that it reminds you and all those involved what is truly important.
It is a reminder of this fragile gift of life we each have been given.
It is also a reminder that we probably shouldn't waste our lives on things without meaning...

It some parts of the world you get your final bill when finishing a meal at a restaurant by raising your hand and carefully saying "check please".
And in some cultures they add something to that 'check please' moment, they include a tip, that little something extra that get's added.

So adding that idea to where I started today, I think we can add a 'tip' to our 'reality check'.
What little extra can we add to our 'reality check' so that life has more meaning?
Paul talked about a big 3 - faith, hope and love.
We can always add to our life and experiences with those closest to us by applying faith, hope and love.
Don't forget to seek God together (pray together).
Hope for great things in Him. Encourage each other with what only God can do.
Love Him and those around you with everything you have.

That has been my reality check today...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Filter

With all the is happening around me, you and the rest of the world, I wonder if we need a filter?

I saw a picture someone posted online saying that if all that is in the news scares you, simply switch off. That got me thinking...
Someone else has been sharing lots of 'end of the world' type messages. That got me thinking more...
I look around me at my world and current circumstances. And that got me thinking some more...

Filters are helpful.
Take making coffee for example? When I use a plunger I simply want the coffee, not all the gritty coffee grounds in my cup. My plunger filters out what I don't need so I can enjoy all that caffeine goodness.
What about my cars oil filter? It helps remove the pollutants that occur over time in my cars oil as it circulates around my engine. Without filtering, this oil that is supposed to protect, would eventually damage my engine.

With life, I think we need the right filters in place to better navigate life.
Without filters we get what we didn't need.
Without filters we get polluted.

Not everything is helpful to us...especially unfiltered in some way.
I also think that hiding in a hole doesn't really help either...

So what filters do I use?

Other people
I value communicating with other people with similar or better values, knowledge and skills.
I use those relationships to filter my own life, my values, knowledge and skills.
The drawback of age is not that your body can let you down, it is the arrogance of time. With age wisdom is supposed accrue. I think wisdom only grows with the right people filter in our lives.
They should help us remove what we don't need and other wisdom pollutants.

Other viewpoints
I am not a fan of 'collective opinionism'. Where decisions on life, the universe and everything comes from a collective approach.
The 'other viewpoints' I am meaning are probably more likely from an eternal source.
I filter most of my views as I best I can through Jesus. Talking with Him and meditating on His responses. I filter my views through as much of scripture as I can find. I filter my views through a selected bunch of teachers in my life (not everyone who teaches knows what they are talking about!).

Can I encourage to apply godly filters to your life?
Let God help you grow in discernment.
Let Him increase your wisdom as you humbly work with Him.
I think it will help.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Most Important?

If I asked you what the 3 most important things were to you in this exact moment, what would they be?
Without thinking too hard...seriously what would you say?

In light of all that is happening in the world, it seems to me that we live in a time when we need to focus on what is truly important to us.
It is time to make the most of today and what we truly think is important (Ephesians 5:16). We are like a vapour - one minute we are here - the next we are gone... (James 4:14)
No one knows how much time they actually have.
All we know is we are blessed with 'now'.

Now all this talk is not about being negative or simply staring at my belly button! No, it is the opposite. I feel more alive when I am doing, saying, acting out my highest values, what I value the most. That is life and all it's fullness to me (John 10:10).

So take a moment and make a list with me...
1.
2.
3.

Now look at your list and make sure that is your priority going forward...
If something else is coming before anything on your list maybe consider what you next move should be? Sometimes bravery is disguised as an opportunity to make changes?

Let us throw off anything that hinders us and run our race (Hebrews 12:1) with purpose, passion and a plan.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Was Jesus a food critic?

Kind of a weird question I know, but I wanted to share something I have been thinking about...

I was in town the other day and wanted to order myself a coffee to enjoy while I worked on a project.
The staff talked me into buying a slice as well, a vary particular slice they knew I liked.
The only issue was that it wasn't quite ready, apparently still in the oven. I was promised it would be ready in 20 minutes. I figured I could wait to get it as fresh as any slice could ever be.

The problem was that after 50 minutes I still had no slice and had to leave to get to my next appointment...
By the time I left I was dying to have that slice. I had built up expectation that was left wanting...

At my next appointment I meet with some friends and it come up in conversation.
I told them about what had happened and they of course wanted to know where it was.
But here is my point...I had made a decision beforehand that I would never tell them where exactly I had been. I wanted to give the place I had been a chance to get it right.

Why?

1. 'Relationship' is more important than being 'Right'.
My relationship with that place comes before many other things. We have been loyal to each over many many years without many issues at all.
While I may have seen some justice in having a whinge to my friends, it still wouldn't have been right to me. Based on the relationship I have I just knew that it would work out eventually...

2. Being 'Right' doesn't give you the right to have a 'Rant'.
So many people are raring to go it seems these days. Looking for the smallest slight to give it all barrels. I still remember a while a go watching a guy having a go at staff over his fish n chips meal and that it was disgusting and demanded a refund. What made it a farce was his plate was empty!!!

I actually have never read that Jesus criticised places he ate or the sinners he hung around.
He also seemed to have a different agenda from the so called 'norm'.
His agenda was based on wanting the best for others, beyond his own needs and wants.
He valued relationship!

We criticise the people whose relationship 
we do not value!

If someone is criticising you, I would hazard a guess that they don't really care that much about you.
If you are doing the same to someone else, the same thing applies.

Maybe the challenge this week is to look at our world as a place to make better, not simply critique?
A world where we fight to keep relationship over being right anytime?

What happened next?
The next day I was back in town and they gave me 2 slices! BOOM!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Trophy

I got a trophy on Saturday night, actually I got a few...but my favourite is this one...

Why?
Because it was from my peers recognising that I am progressing in my running.
While I may not be the fastest, I know that I am certainly getting better.
It is not just based on how fast I am improving, but that I am improving.
They have noticed all the work I have put into this hobby of mine.

17Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 new king james version

We are called to go from glory to glory. We are designed with transformation in God's mind.
He wants to see us grow. His dream is to see us growing in faith and action. He takes pleasure is seeing His kids grow and develop, seeing them go through many milestones.
While that journey can certainly experience it's ups and downs, it should always show signs of moving forward.

With my running, I make sure I am moving forward by being purposeful and disciplined about it. I make the most of opportunities to improve. I hang out with others better than me. I push myself just enough as to stretch my abilities from where they are at the time.

With our faith we need to be the same, purposeful and disciplined about it. We make the most of opportunities to grow by meeting together, worshipping together, serving together, learning together. We hang around others of faith that maybe have faith stronger than ours. I stretch myself by reading God stuff (the Bible & books), praying, ministering to others.

It is unwise to simply compare today with yesterday...that can lead to disappointment.
I measure myself only by where I have come from in the last year. What I have learnt? How I have changed? How I can improve?

Have you heard the phrase "we are trophies of grace?"
When we let God lead us and grow us, we actually become a trophy.
Something that signifies God's greatness.
You are a trophy to God - keep on going my friend!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

who can do it?

I am reading this part of the Bible I have read plenty of times before and it leaps out at me...
Don't you just love how God can do that? How He can take some of this 'living word' and prove it is really 'living' in a single moment and make something alive to you - even if you have read it before!

It is the account of Nehemiah and the whole building a wall thing...
Yes many of us have heard messages on this and even preached a few ourselves.
But this is what leapt out at me. The question of who was actually doing the work of rebuilding?
You can be forgiven for thinking it was either the masses or the qualified. Because that is how things normally go isn't it?
Either a whole group got stuck in with no distinction between each other. It is like the mob (in a good way) decides to do something and makes it happen.
The other extreme is where the most qualified are left to do the so called 'best job'. Makes sense if they do it and the rest watch. That way it is 'done right'...

God doesn't work to this rigid of design or agenda.
When you ask "who can do it?", "who can do something special for God?" - God shows us here something special...something I think that is about how you and I are called to be.
Check out some verses with me a moment. All based around Nehemiah's account of who actually did the work. Yes there were priests and other so called qualified people. But others got a special mention. There is something we can learn here I think...

Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Nehemiah 3:8

Goldsmith and Perfumes-makes building a wall!
Reminds me that qualification is not a 'God-term'. As the phrase goes, God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called! It doesn't matter what you do for a crust, God can use you to do anything if you want Him too. Forgot if you are qualified or not for...if God puts it on your heart to do something then you are more than qualified on that point alone.

Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters. Nehemiah 3:12

Referring to the daughters is such a biggee - especially coming from this culture.
The women were never allowed to do the most important things. But here they are taking responsibility for the most important thing of the time.
Reminds me God doesn't care about gender or position in society. He cares about heart and willingness. They are the people that God picks everytime!

The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors. Nehemiah 3:5

Here are the so called 'qualified' not wanting to help. The people who thought getting stuck in to the work of God was beneath them. That they had some how grown past this role and it was for others.
Reminds me that we never should think this way. You never graduate from 'the work' to simply 'the watch'. There is always something we can do to contribute. Our world doesn't need more supervisors and/or critics. It needs love with hands on, hands willing to be part of building whatever God wants to build at the time.

...Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. Nehemiah 3:20

Baruch was just another name on a list of names. But he has the distinction of being recognised for his passion for the task. It is noticed by God and given recognition.
Reminds me the God's people should be the most passionate for the ministry we have been given.

Maybe there is something in this today that has stirred you in some way?
Maybe today you want to join up with God and build something for His glory?
Who can do it? You can, that's who!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What it reminded me of

Inspired by an article I read online early this week...

Some people just like you and me decided to build a Church long ago.
A pretty impressive place it seems it was as well!

Unfortunately after some time things didn't go well for this building...
It was reported to have been abandoned after a plague decimated the area two centuries later.
The final blow to its existence it seems came in 1966 when it was buried due to the damming of a river.

Pictures are now floating around the internet of the Church rising from the depths. Slowly it is coming back to the surface due to a drought effecting the area. The locals are apparently so happy this is what one man said...
“The people celebrated. They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish. They did processions around the church.”


I have keep a tab on my web browser open all week since first seeing the article.
The more I keep looking at it with my intrigue in the story growing...the more it actually reminds me about what God can do for a Church, a group of people, a family or a life...

It reminds me that...

  • That no matter how buried you feel, God can always rescue you?
  • That when we feel like we are drowning, we can be raised up again? God can even cause us to rise above the waters!
  • That no matter what man plans to do to bury us, God is always bigger and He will always rescue!
  • That if God wants something, it will happen!
  • That the gates of hell will never prevail!
  • That we are seated on the rock, and that rock is Jesus!
  • That we have a firm foundation!

Both you and I are destined to rise.
As a Church we are destined to rise, far beyond our current circumstances!

What does this account remind you of today? What is God reminding you of or telling you about?
May it stir your heart, stir your faith, and may you rise...

Something to think about...

http://www.churchleaders.com/daily-buzz/264771-16th-century-church-ascends-from-the-depths.html




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Good things happen when you... (Part 4)

When I think about my faith and what I truly believe, there is a tension sometimes...
What I mean by that is that there can be a difference between what I want or what I think God wants and what I see as my current reality.
There is a difference.
A gap.
And something inside says..."this needs to change!"

Good things happen when you expect breakthrough!

If we say follow Jesus, if we have decided to make Him Lord, then we are signing up for breakthrough. It goes with the territory...
Contact with Jesus and making Him your No.1 has the power to change any life completely.
Simon the sometime naughty, sometimes presumptuous fisherman became Peter the fisher of men.
Lydia the businesswoman became Lydia the house church leader.
The untouchable leper got healed and was able to return to society.
The blind man on the side of the right expected Jesus could heal him.

When I see those examples and think back to my journey so far, I am reminded that 'in Christ' I can expect breakthrough.
The opposite is always true. Take Jesus away from No.1 and breakthrough comes to be even more elusive, even more frustrating.

I want to encourage you this week to be a man or women 'of faith' ahead of gifting, charisma or mere effort.
That you embrace who Christ is completely and pray for and expect breakthrough in your life.
Breakthrough is what God has always done and who He has always been.
We are invited to be part of His family and live in that reality.

Let's expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.
Because good things happen when we expect breakthrough!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Good things happen when you... (Part 3)

A common criticism I have heard over the years about our faith is that it is irrelevant...
When I hear that one I actually get excited!
Why?
Because the person telling me how irrelevant Christianity is, probably hasn't discovered what it truly is yet. It then my opportunity to show them how relevant it actually can be!

Good things happen when you are relevant!
It has the potential to change not only your life, but their life and even influence history!

If you are wondering how to make it relevant keep it simple...
Tell people about what faith in Christ means to you.
Tell them about the difference God has made.
Share about Him more than your opinion of the world.
Be clever and strategic and help them to see how Jesus could make a difference for them, a difference in their life right now!
If they are sick, tell them He can heal and offer to pray for them.
If they are struggling with something, offer the same.
If they have questions...be graceful, honest and humble.

Being relevant is being relatable...

When you read the Gospels you see Jesus modelled it again and again.
To the lady caught in adultery he was graceful and honest.
To the women at the well he acted the same.
When the people were hungry He wanted to feed them.
When He saw how many felt lost, His heart was moved...

Can I encourage you to live a relevant faith this week, not only for you, but for those around who don't truly know Jesus yet?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Good things happen when you... (Part 2)

I have found that the culture you pick for your life, that you value and embrace, and that you live out...has a huge bearing on how life is and will be for you!

Some time ago I was part of a group who wanted to reinvent one of our Sunday services.
Normally you pick some people to be at the door when people arrive. They hand out something and greet people as they walk in, they are the first point of contact.
But we were after a culture change. We wanted something different from the 'norm'. So we decided that everyone part of the team putting the service together was the welcome team.
Everybody was to greet. Everybody was there to serve visitors, guests and our regulars.
And very quickly our culture changed!

As the service attendance grew everyone grew with it.
We went from 5 or 6 welcoming people to what seemed like everyone doing it.

Good things happen when you welcome!
It has the potential to change not only your life, but their life and even influence history!

Imagine coming to visit me at my home for a second...
After you have knocked on the door you wait.
I open the door and see you...
What happens next is important!
If I say no thanks, shut the door and leave you stranded on my doorstep, you would feel pretty stink!
But if I say "great to see you, want to come in?" your world will feel right...

I think we should apply the principle of welcome to all areas of our life and faith.

Have a look through scripture and welcome is a very regular reoccurring theme!
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me." [Jesus Matthew 10:20]
Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. [Luke 18:16]
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. [Acts 28:30]

Paul in a few of his letters mentioned about specific people who should be welcomed.
While John mentions a guy who was the opposite, who specifically made others in Christ feel not welcome, and that was a bad a thing!

May you decide to explore this some more this week?
Maybe decide what sort of culture is important to you?
Do you want to be someone who welcomes and what can you do to make sure this is a reality?
I think good things happen when we welcome...

Something to think about...



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Good things happen when you... (Part 1)

I can still remember it clearly...being invited to watch a "video" and have some pizza.
This young guy Dave Foote and his girlfriend decided that would be a good idea for some reason.
So on the arranged Thursday evening I came back to where I was boarding after a short run and we sat down to eat and to watch.

That evening changed my life!
No the pizza wasn't the life changer, it was the video that we watched.
This actually ended up being the beginning of my faith journey...

It all happened because of something called invitation.
Dave took the time, plucked up the courage, risked rejection, to invite me to do something that had the potential to change my life. In hindsight I don't think he had any idea how much impact it would have!

Good things happen when you invite.
It has the potential to change not only your life, but their life and even influence history!

In Marks Gospel account it says this..."That evening after sunset the people brought [invited and collected] to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed...Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons..." Mark 1:32-34 niv

When we invite those who 'need Jesus' to something where Jesus is most likely to be, Jesus has a history of meeting that need supernaturally.
All it took was the invitation and facilitation to give Jesus an opportunity to do 'His thing'.
Because He is still the same today I think maybe one of the most powerfully spiritual things we can do is invite. Inviting people who 'need Jesus' to something where Jesus is most likely to be...

So who could you invite this week? What could you bring them to?

This could be a game changer for you and them?
This could be one of the most exciting things you ever do?

Something to think about...



Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Whose Report?...pick one...

If you have a look around the world for even just a moment, it isn't always a pretty sight. I am not talking about the scenery, I am talking about the politics, the conflict, the disasters and more.
And with what is reported, it is understandable to be concerned, maybe even a little scared.

In the 20 or so years I have been a Christian I have lost track of the number of predictions I have heard.
Dates for when Jesus was coming back (not possible as Jesus even said He didn't know).
Dates for disaster predictions that never came true.
I even had a guy tell me recently about how he knew about every major event before it happened including 9/11. It is just that he didn't tell anyone before they happened?
You can be forgiven for sometimes getting confused, even a little cynical?

So what report do I put the most weight on?
The report that tells me we are doomed or the report that tells me God has a plan for my life?
The reports that seem contradictory or the report from God that are not based on confusion?

I shared recently a pretty cool Psalm.
Psalm 121 says some pretty cool things.
I read in light of all that is happening and I am trying to focus on that being the report for my life, family and ministry.

Maybe it could bring some peace to you today as well?

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121 new international version

My choice today to is to keep my eyes on Him.
To walk as humbly and honestly as I can.
To do good wherever I am and be a blessing.
And to put all my trust in God.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

You Can!

Each morning I spend a few moments reading through articles relating to our faith to learn, to be challenged and to be encouraged.
Something struck me that I wanted to share about for a few moments...

I have been 'wrestling' with quoting the Bible 'in context' lately.
I am a huge fan of being biblically correct whatever that means. The last thing I want to do is teach rubbish that harms anyone elses faith. The very thought makes me feel nauseous!!!
I am also a huge fan on God's Word being what we call Rhema. Where it is highlighted in places, even out of context sometimes, as God is speaking directly to you about something.

A writer was commenting on misquoted Bible verses. 
One in a particular is seen on a few sports persons arms, either via tattoo or bandage. 
"I can do all this through him who gives me strength".
They were saying it is not in context. Simple as that. 
That God wasn't meaning sport and physical endeavour when Paul penned it.

This is what I think. I think it is both.
It is what it needs to be for you, in that moment, for you to grow in your faith and relationship with God.
You just need to recognise which one it is and be honest about your approach.

In Context...
If you read the verses leading up to the statement, it becomes more clear what the context of what Paul was sharing is.
10I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:10-13

Paul was talking about the fact he can do all things because God can help him through all things.
For Paul it was all about his faith journey.

To quote Brian Orme - "This verse is a tribute to a man who learned to follow God in any circumstance. Whatever came Paul’s way, he handled with faith. It could be stoning, prison, shipwreck, beatings, etc." "A beautiful reminder to pursue faith and trust God in the midst of the ups and downs of a life given fully to the cause of Christ."

In context God wants you to know you can!
You can make it. You can get through whatever you are facing as you follow Christ.
If it is hard right now, keep going! God is going to get your through!

Rhema time...
God may be saying to you today..."You Can"!
You are going to achieve _____ because He is with you.
You Can.
You Can.
You Can.
Whatever God has placed in front you to do...

Don't give up my friend. You can do this!

Something to think about...








Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gold on the ground

As I opened the door this morning seeing one of my kids off to school, we were greeted with the sight of gold powder on the ground.
Sorry to tell you that it wasn't real gold!
It was actually the first signs of pollen and the first real sign of spring not being that far away now!

It gave me hope that a new season was indeed not that far away. Hope that enables me to hang on through maybe a few more wintery days and experiences because I now have had a glimpse of something better.

Hope is so powerful and something you probably need just as much, or maybe even more than me today?
Can I encourage you to hold on to hope a little longer?
And as you hold on, look for signs along the way that can build your hope...

Here are a couple of scriptures to feed on today...

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. 
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5 NLT

We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. 
After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. Hebrews 10:23 CEV

Hang on to hope my friend.
Your new season is coming.
Our God is faithful...

Something to think about...



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Chart of my Life

I have two charts for you...
The first is what I think my life should look like.
The second is probably a little more realistic...
I am continuing to discover that being 'good at being a Christian' is not about continual growth, continual increase, continual building and continual success. It is actually a lot deeper than that!

Following Jesus doesn't mean smooth sailing, but it does give you a reason to keep on sailing.
You have a destination for your life. A reason. A purpose.
The Apostle Paul was arguably one of the best at being a Christian. What he says is actually quite interesting in light of all this... 
He said he knew what it was to be in plenty and to be in want. To know comfort and distress.
He experienced amazing success in ministry and many times of shear frustration.
He preached to plenty but also spent time locked up and in chains.

Check this out...

Philippians 4:12-13 niv
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

If you take your eyes off Jesus, even for just a moment, all the ups and downs, the waves of life will distract you.
All that matters really is Jesus. If I am living to please him I can not fail! It matters less if my life goes up or it goes down because it is all for Him.
My view of life and the world it exists in can not match my view of Him and who He has called me to be!

Here is a promise to help wrap this all up I hope for you...

Psalm 34:19 niv
The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Can I encourage you to not focus on whether you are up or down in the course of your journey?
Rather, let's simply focus on Jesus, He will keep us from sinking and get us through!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Man I love food!!!

I really like food...in fact I love it. I love eating, eating, eating!

My own personal kryptonite is good stuff like caramel slice, veal scallopini, chocolate biscuit cake, apple crumble...the list goes on.
In fact I now feel hungry!
When I was younger, the way to my heart was to take me to a smorgasbord restaurant. All you can eat good times! Yes you know there would be pain afterward, but it was all so worth it.

After a few days of studying my way through a particular book of the Bible, I was thinking about how the Bible describes itself as food.
It made some sense to me because I actually felt like I was feeding on something spiritual. It was 'getting in' some how. Stirring my thinking. Challenging me.

Jesus mentioned about living on the words that God speaks, that it was bread (food) to Him. He asked the disciples to feed His people with the Word of God after He was gone.
Jeremiah, one of the main Old Testament prophets, describes how he choose to eat God's Word when it came to him.

You get the hint that maybe we can see the Word of God, the Bible as food? For me there are so many parallels between the Bible and food!

First of all you need to eat it.
Windows shopping it or looking it as a menu won't have the same impact as actually chowing down on it.

Eat what you need to and eat what makes you happy.
Sometimes when I am getting bogged down in a part like genealogies I dive as well into a part I do like maybe even more. I find some of it is like broccoli and other parts chocolate cake. I need some cake sometimes while I work my way through the veggies I am not as big of a fan about.

You need to eat all of it.
All of the Word of God is good for you!
Eat as much variety as you can. In all sorts of way and times of the day. It is a smorgasbord just waiting for you to try a piece here and a piece there.

Finally don't starve yourself spiritually by ignoring it.
It has spiritual nutrients you might not see, but will nourish you in your soul.

Something to think about...




Wednesday, August 05, 2015

I need this more and more!

I am even more convinced I need this more and more!
With all that is happening in my life, to those around me, and the world in general. With all the opportunities and distractions. Events and adventures. I keep coming back to something I have quoted maybe more than any other scripture in the 20 plus years of trying to follow Jesus...

"Fix your eyes on Jesus..." Hebrews 12:2

Why?

You won't get distracted.
We are blessed and 'cursed' with so many options these days! Different forms of entertainment, Churches, books, clothing styles, sports to play or watch...the list is endless.
If you aren't careful you can feel overwhelmed and totally distracted.
When you look to Jesus and keep looking to Jesus it takes away the confusion and simplifies life.

You won't be as susceptible to deception and all the other methods the devils uses to try and trip you up.
Kind of flowing on from the above, Jesus is all you need to navigate life well.
His Word is a path to our feet to keep us on track.
His face is the direction we should maintain no mater the terrain.
Think of Peter walking on water. He was good at it when he was looking at Jesus. Not so good when he looked around at the wind and the waves. All that changed that day was where he was looking. Nothing else!

You are more able to make great choices on your journey.
I find that when I am looking to Jesus, making Him my true focus, it helps me make better calls on life.
In a sense I think it helps me filter through what is good, right or even better for me.

Here is a sobering thought to consider...
If you find yourself having to look away from Jesus to do something...then most likely it is something you shouldn't really do?

So why not join me this week in making sure Jesus stays the centre of our vision? That He is the direction we head in.
Let's fix our eyes on our King!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I long for you...

Check out this uber cool letter intro with me...

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-8 niv

Our faith is in part all about imitation.
Not merely pretending and acting but actually imitating those who have gone before us as a way to learn how to live by faith.
We are called disciples before we are christians.
You are known as a christian because you are actually a disciple of Jesus!

Paul puts a lot into context here for me, particularly with the season we are in.
- He thanks God for the people God has put in his life.
- He says that he sees them not just a members of some club but actually has partners.
- He goes on to encourage them about the future.
- And the he wraps it all up but expressing just how much he longs for them. That he has them each in his heart. The people he knows are not just acquaintances, they are far more important to him!

I find this so challenging and something I think we can go for in our Christian Culture.
Cultivating it to the point where we "long for one another with the affection of Christ Jesus"

So who has God put in your life?
Maybe you like some, really like others and maybe think you could live without the rest?
But I believe God has put us together for a truly divine and beautiful purpose.
A purpose you can only discover if you want to look at things maybe a little different.

Decide today that you want to be present and be engaged.
Look for ways to be with, along side, minister to and with his people.
Hunt for excuses to be together, not reasons to be apart.
Maybe even see this level of love and longing as actually a measure of true spiritual maturity?

Something to think about...



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Naked Pastor

I had a little fun with the Church Family recently and showed them a picture of me naked as part of my message...
Yes I was butt naked. In the nuddy. In my birthday suit.

Now before you destroy your faith picturing me in my 'el natural' glory, you need to understand it was a baby photo I found. In it I am lying I believe tastefully face down on a sheepskin. It was apparently the thing to do in the 70's...yes I am that old!

The point?

We were talking about being authentic with our faith and ultimately our lives.
You see the more I thought about Jesus relationship with his disciples before he went to the cross, the more I realised just how much they must have known about each other!

The lived together constantly it seems over a number of years.
Camped out under the stars. Stayed in peoples homes.
They travelled together on long walking journeys with plenty of time to talk.
They shared all sorts of meals together under differing circumstances.

Take a moment now and think about what life would be like if you lived that way with 12 other people from your Church Family...interesting?

The Gospels give us a list of highlights and lowlights of their time together.
From when some ministry moment went extremely well all the way to where they stuffed up.
Even after all they went through they still loved Jesus, maybe even more!
And this Jesus was just as convinced it seems that they were still the people for the job of sharing the gospel, being the beginning of the Church.
Authenticity, honesty and transparency hadn't ruined their relationship, it seemed to have helped?

So this week can I encourage you to take a chance with others of faith?
Be just that little bit more engaged, involved, open, honest, transparent.
Let others share with you as you share with them.
Serve others and let them serve you in some way.

If we are all like that and understand why, then I think we are able to be a little more mature about it?
I also think being this way could be the most beautiful thing in your week?

Something to think about...


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Acceptable - Better - Best

I have a little challenge for us all this week!
When it comes your options, your choices, your work, your family, your friends...
To what level do you want to operate at?
How far do you want to go?

Levels:
- Acceptable
- Better
- Best

Here is how it might work for us?

example 1
If your boss asks you to perform a certain task as part of your job, do you just do enough to squeak by to complete it? Or do do a little better than enough? Or could you even choose to exceed expectations and do the best job possible, maybe even ahead of schedule?

example 2
You discover that a close friend has had some bad news regarding their health, do you flick them a quick text to say your sorry to hear the news? Or do you pick up the phone and call to say hello? Or could you even choose to jump in your car and drive around to theirs, and then listen to them share how they are?

One of the beautiful things about life is the majority of the time, we all have choice. We get to choose how we respond to life.

This is just my opinion, but I think the most God honouring and Christian thing to do is go for the highest level we can at any time.
Best is always Best!
God demonstrates His 'best is always best' attitude by sending Jesus to earth for us. Going all the way with His sacrifice. Going even further by offering people like you me salvation, salvation that is never deserved. Plus He even gives us His Spirit to lead us and empower our lives.
I like God's best. I want God's best for my life...

Because of His example and my desire to honour Him, I want to give my best! How about you?

Something to think about...


Monday, July 06, 2015

Don't be too quick...

I am reminded of this again and again...
Sometimes things aren't what they appear to be on first glance.
Sometimes what is reported to have happened, isn't the whole story.

The world we live in now loves sound bites, headlines, quick responses to events.
It seems to be that gone are the days of taking the time to report a story or event with as many of the 'facts' as possible. 'Fair and balanced' has been replaced with the 'quick, free and easy' access to ideas.
No longer is it the 'norm' to be unbiased with reporting.
And even reporting from 'bias' is more than accepted.

I actually love how social media and the internet in general has sped up the flow of information.
For things like natural disasters and breaking events that people need to be aware of for a humane response or for safety, it is amazing.
On the flipside, it seems to me that this same medium has been hijacked but reactionary blasts without much consideration to fact, fairness or consequence.

How many 'news stories' lately have actually changed after a few days?
Where when both sides of the debate have been presented or more facts come to light, the story is kind of different to what was published...

I made a decision some time ago to slow down responding to things that everyone gets excited about.
I let a day or so pass before leaping to my keyboard. I watch. I research. I pray. I consider.
Then and only then do I think about making a response.

Scripture reminds me of many things that I think are related to this:
- To consider carefully what I choose to believe and then report.
- To not be too hasty in what I say or do.
- To be careful and considered in how I deal with others and their ideas/beliefs.

Can I encourage you to take a breath next time you are about to vent about something you have heard or read. And let God show you what your response should be...maybe even sit on it for a day or two?

Something to think about...


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Who are you supposed to be?

I got asked recently what I have learnt from the last few years leading a Church here in Taupo.
As quickly as I pondered my answer, words seemed to just fall out of my mouth...
"You need to be yourself" was my quick retort.

Since making that comment I have thought a lot about it and now I am not so happy with my answer.
It is the answer most people give these days when asked who we are supposed to be. All around the world people are celebrating the so called diversity that exists, and using the "you need to be yourself" catch phrase.

Who are you supposed to be?
This is what I think would be my answer now...

1. Be Yourself
Who has God made you to be? What are the gifts and talents He has deposited in your life?
What have you learned? What are the some of your life experiences?
What are the personal tastes you have? What's your favourite way to have eggs (Runaway Bride Movie)
They are all part of being yourself, or at least discovering it along your journey.

The world needs you to be the you that you were destined to be!
Not simply a facsimile of someone else.

The other side of this I consider is important and helps avoid the danger of arrogance, when we are focused on the me being me...
If I am a jerk by nature or by hurts and circumstance, the world doesn't need me to be myself. I need help to be more than myself. A God planned and instituted change needs to happen in my life.
I am scared that the 'just be yourself' mantra is many times trotted out as an excuse to cover over the worst of our human nature.
I know that I am called to more and to better!

2. Be Everything to Everybody
Paul said that he was everything to everybody so that he might save some.
The hint he gives is that being yourself might not quite be enough?
I truly believe we need to be ourselves, the honest version of us...and at the same time we should desire to be more than that for others.
Real love actually sees beyond our needs and who we are, to who we can be for someone else.

3. Be Salt & Light
Jesus said that His people are designed and mandated to be salt and light in the world.
People who stand out for all the right reasons and season the planet with His Kingdom.

Learning to be yourself is a journey, maybe even an art?
I think as long as we are honest with ourselves, with others, and with God, that we will be able answer our initial question.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Don't take my word for it...

I truly hope this comes out right and you discover my intentions here...

Can I encourage you to not take too much on face value at this time in history?
Don't just always take peoples word for things without any analysis?

Why?

I believe that the biggest battle in the world right now is based around the battle for the 'hearts and minds' of people. Propaganda seemingly now exists everywhere and on every level.
Even those with good intentions seem to sometimes get caught up using half truths to promote their ideals. It is seen as ok if the desired result/change occurs. The ends seems to justify the means...

Today I read an article promoting a certain way of thinking.
The author even encouraged their readers to be aware of 'theology' as part of journey to discovering 'their truth'. Sounding good so far...
Upon further investigation though, the source for their theology and truth was from people who regularly twist theology to their own means and desires. One contributor even makes up historical 'facts' to suit the argument at the time. This person never engages in debate but only in making statements so as to avoid being challenged in a form they can't control.

Just because someone is passionate doesn't mean they are right.
Just because someone quotes something doesn't mean they are right - sometimes the quote is wrong.
Just because someone tells you "the Bible says" doesn't mean they are right.

Many years a go a teacher I know fairly well tried to explain their motives for something. They gave me a bible verse and they quoted the greek text to help justify their life decision.
I felt uncomfortable but at the same I respected them. So I went away and did some research of my own and found out the greek never said what they considered it to say.
I was glad I took the time myself.
It made sure my life and faith wasn't sidetracked.
I learnt a lot from the experience.

I am never afraid to click beyond the place I first land...
What I mean is that I am more than happy to dig a little deeper than face value.
If someone quotes a scripture to me and tells me it means such and such...I regularly go away and research it myself.
I want to make sure my theology stays as correct I can possible. I don't want confusion as part of my life. I am passionate about making sure my life and doctrine match as close to what Jesus expects and desires.

I have for years welcomed people to challenge me on what I teach on Sunday or any day that matter, if it isn't right.
I have elders whose role in part, is to make sure we give sound teaching and interpretation.
In the past I have been 'corrected' by others, and while it is uncomfortable, it is the right thing to have happen. I think it is biblical!

I truly hope you don't think I am asking you to be the worlds biggest cynic!
Scripture encourage us to 'weigh up what is spoken'. To be wise. To let our yes be yes and no be no. To study ourselves as to show ourselves approved. To watch our life and doctrine closely.

Maybe the best thing for us today it 'get curious' for ourselves.
I firmly believe that God wants us all to be able to understand, not just a few learned elites.
Have some fun diving into study and research. It will change your life!

Something to think about...

PS If you want to tools to help you do your own study, I am more than willing to help you!



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"I just want to be happy!"

Is it too much to ask?

My cool nephew contacted me recently and asked for some help with a school project.
Looking at the whole idea of happiness, what I think it is, how you can be happy...

Along with the email of thoughts I had, I sent him a link that you may find interesting or helpful or both...
A few years a go I actually did a series of Simple Thoughts on happiness. It started out as something planned to be a few short weeks...which eventually turned into 24!

If you are curious to discover happiness for yourself, maybe one, some, or all of the posts may help you in some way on your journey.
I hope it is a blessing in some way to you today!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Answer For Everything

Thought I would break down a passage I find interesting today...

Ecclesiastes 10:9 niv
A feast is made for laughter,
wine makes life merry,
and money is the answer for everything.


1. A feast is made for laughter
If you read this verse and the others as part of this book that Solomon wrote, the theme is the same...
God wants us to get on with life. To enjoy what you can.

Feasts by definition are a table with all sorts of culinary opportunities in front of you to choice.
The variety and bounty is all part of the fun of it. What makes it extra special.
Life with God I believe is the same.

I think part of God’s plan for you and I is to look to make the most of the life we have been given. To grab opportunities to make life better for ourselves whenever we can. To be intentional about life. Maybe even aggressive? To not just sit around hoping life will happen, or it will happen to you!

Can I encourage you that when opportunity comes up, that you ignore how scared you might be, ignore the risk of failure, and go for it! Seek God for His plan and then go for what He offers and/or shows you.

Part of the feast of my life is that I can laugh at all the people who told me I couldn’t do this or that, or achieve anything. If you believe God has given you an opportunity for something, do it, enjoy it!

2. Wine makes life merry
Before you get too excited...I am not encouraging to crack open a few bottles of wine tonight.
There is something else going on here I believe.
As with all scripture, each of us need to ask God what it is saying to us personally.
When I think of this scripture, I am reminded that in scripture, wine is used to describe God’s presence many times.

I have found that...
• Sour people don’t want God’s presence
• Sour people can’t see God’s presence.
• Sour people don’t understand God’s presence.
They don’t want new wine - they always consider the exisitng wine / experience / understanding they have already to be all they need.

God's presence should make us happy, add to the enjoyment factor of following Jesus.
If you want your Christian experience to be a good one, can I encourage you to seek out the presence of God for your own life?

It makes following Jesus more enjoyable, more of an adventure.
It will help prevent it from becoming some dry religious experience!

3. Money is the answer to everything
When I read this I consider this idea...
If money is the answer - what was the question?
Solomon has been talking about the enjoyment of life. The hint is here that money will help make a difference.

God’s word tells us that everything is spiritual. Money is just as important as many other things in life.
Religious people will tell you that money is bad and misquote scriptures and say things like ‘money the root of all evil’.
I really think that being poor is nor more spiritual than being rich...it is just poor.

My question for you based on this idea is this...
How much of a blessing do you want to be in your life?
Money is going to have a play a part in it.

Maybe there is something in all this that speaks to you and encourages you in some way today?
Maybe it will encourage you to make some brave decisions, or big faith filled prayers about your ability to be a blessing to others, or to desire God in your life even more?

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

"Tell me something of your story"

I get reminded of this all the time...
When someone tells you something of 'their' story - how it totally changes how you see that person.
If you can get beyond your own agenda, prejudice or whatever for just a moment, your life can be inexplicably changed from your encounter.

Someone 'mature' can learn empathy, understanding, grace and more from gently listening to (and with your mouth firmly closed) the journey someone else is facing or has been through.

I think that most of our prejudice and judgement comes from our naivety, not our knowledge.

When you see someone struggling with their health, do you wonder why or do you make a judgement about them?
When you discover that someone is making silly choices around their lifestyle, do you write them off before discovering a little more about them?

Don't worry, everyone does it!
Even the people that say they aren't judgemental or racist or biased actually are or have been recently.
It is human nature 101.
The question is - "do you want it to be different for you?"

I think the antidote is to ask someone to share some of their story...
It will change you.
It will empower them.
God can use it to change your heart or stir your heart to goodness in some way.

So this week, if this has stirred you in some way, why not find someone who you can ask...
"Tell me something of your story"
And see what God does to you both?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to encounter God? #3

You might have heard the phrase "honesty is the best policy"...
I think it applies to encountering God just as much as any other avenue in life.

When you think about it - why would God honour us with an encounter if honesty wasn't central to it? God is holy and dishonesty doesn't really mix with His holiness.

Here are some thoughts that might help...

Let's be Honest with God
Jesus was honest with God when has cousin was murdered and He needed some time to process the event, be healed enough to carry on with his life and ministry.
Jesus was honest with God as He met Him in the garden, asking God to take a cup away, and working through the thoughts and feelings He had at the time.
The reoccuring themes are there. Honesty in the presence of God. 
Jesus met with Him because of, not despite of His honesty.

Don't ever think you can scare God's presence away because of honesty. I think the opposite is true!

Let's be Honest with Ourselves
Following on from the above is the next logical step I guess...you need to be honest with yourself.
Giving yourself a pep talk and telling yourself everything is ok when it is not, won't get you closer to God. I wonder if it just makes you guilty and frustrated?
It is good to give yourself a gentle and godly critique every now and then.
May it drive you towards His mercy and not away to a pity party!

When you are honest with yourself you can ascertain whether you have done everything you know to meet up with God. If there is something blocking the way.

Let's be Honest with Others
Being dishonest is a killer to intimacy with God.
It will seperate you from it and potentially kill it off...and you don't want that!

It may be a dramatic example, but one that is worth pondering, that of Ananias and Sapphira.
In the Book of Acts they pretended to give the Church a sum of money in line with what they had sold a property for. They wanted to look holy and awesome to everyone. Put on the Christian show for anyone who would notice them. Unfortunately they lied and kept some of it for themselves.
It was their property, they were entitled to do what they wanted with it. The issue was that they lied about the sell price to everyone in the Church family.
The price they paid? They actually died. On the spot. As quick as the lie passed their lips.
My point? Be honest with others.
It doesn't mean you have to publish all your dirty laundry to anyone willing to listen. It just means be honest about stuff in the context of what is happening. 

Don't pretend to be spiritual as it doesn't actually make you spiritual...it makes you religious at best and a little weird to everyone else at worst.
It certainly doesn't help you truly encounter God.

When you ask for prayer...it is pointless not being honest because it cripples the whole experience and the potential of it. 

Let's each be honest people. With God, ourselves and others...
And encounter our awesome God in some way this week!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How to encounter God? #2

If we want to encounter God, want to see what He is really like to some degree, ask someone to pray for you...
That's right, ask someone who knows God maybe even a little more than you to actually pray for you.
Trust me, I have seen it 100's of times, where someone has been prayed for and they have some sort of an encounter with God. In ways that stretch from sensing his actual being there through to seeing him do something miraculous.
When I have prayed for sick or troubled people, many times I am told afterwards that God showed up in some way for them. I think that is pretty cool!
This is not just because I am pastor. That is just my role. Anyone who knows God can pray for someone else and great things can come from it!

I don't know how to explain it very well, or the psychology around this, but asking for prayer is like asking for help and this in a sense opens your heart, soul and mind to something else. Your openness allows you to give God some room to appear in your life. Sorry if that sounds little out there, just been my experience...

Maybe you are reading this and your really do what to find out what God is like in some way?
Maybe life is not all you thought it would be or maybe you are not well?
If this interests you then here's the deal today. Ask us for prayer and we will always say yes!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to encounter God? #1

Would you like to actually encounter God?
Maybe you don't think you ever have and it is something that burns in your heart to experience?
Maybe you have been a follower of Christ for a while now, but recognise that maybe, just maybe, that if you are honest, that you can not remember truly encountering Him for a while now?

My hope is that this little series of Simple Thoughts I am starting today, helps you, encourages and grows you on your journey from this point.
Don't dwell on what may or may not have come before, but see this as a new day, a new opportunity to encounter God.

Over the next few weeks I want to throw at you a series of possibilities, opportunities, challenges, questions, with all the same purpose, to help you experience who God can be in your life.
I would encourage you to pray over them and be brave enough to be honest about where you are truly at. If you are, I am confident you will encounter God in your life in a refreshing and glorious way...

Today I want to be a little contentious and rip the band-aid off the issue for some of us...
I promise it is worth considering for a moment, as the implications of ignoring it won't help us.

James 4:8 says this...
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.


I love how James simply conveys the principal of what needs to happen.
How God is ready and willing to meet with us, and that He is looking for our next step, our intention, our desire, to move us in the right direction.
The promise simply is, that if we come near to Him, that He will come near to us. That means encounter! It is a promise!

If we do silly things that would be considered by God to be sin, then that actually hinders the encounter. The more we sin or wilfully rebel against heaven, the harder it seems for us to truly feel like we can encounter God. Sin hardens our heart which needs to be soft, and dulls our ears when we really want hear His voice.
Because God is love, the amazing thing is that we can put things right real fast, move on and get back on track with the best that God has for us. God is faithful and just to forgive us if we simply ask Him.

I personally do a stock take of myself on a regular basis.
I look at my life and ask God to forgive me for where I have got things wrong.
Where I have said wrong things. Where I have reacted inappropriately. Where I have missed the mark in some way. Where I had not acted in faith but under some other unction.

My encouragement to us, myself included, is that we live in a Christ honouring way.
Because scripture promises us that God is 'right there' for each of us when we do.

Something to think about...


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Land of Confusion

There is a song from last century that goes something like this...

There's too many men
Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see
This is a land of confusion.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in.

Maybe it is just me, but when I look across the world it does seem kind of confused? Here is a list I have complied today:

  • There is the Right to Life and the Right to Day arguments
  • Anti Smoking and Pro Marijuana
  • Lowered drinking age in a binge drinking culture 
  • More and more sex education to promote safety and yet growing amounts of STI's
  • Some expect to be forgiven or have grace shown them, and yet forget to show it to others
  • Huge focus on people rights and less of peoples responsibility
  • We are apparently more enlightened about life yet are less able to navigate personal boundaries

The point of this little list of mine is not to confuse you further!
It just reminds me about how mixed up things can get, and my absolute longing for something better...

Here is another smaller list to consider today, based around the best advice I can find in scripture...

Scripture encourages us to be 'in the world but not of it'.
This means we live here, it is our earthly home, but we don't have to copy every behaviour/accept every rationalisation. We are called to something better, something higher, something less confusing.

Scripture tells us that we have 'the Mind of Christ'.
That is pretty cool! Speaks of now and in the future. The more you build your relationship with Jesus the more you think like He does and your actions/attitudes will follow accordingly.

Scripture points us to matters of choice.
To make a choice who we will trust, believe, follow, accept.
When you make a firm choice to do the above in God, confusion has less and less a place in your life.

God's plan for our lives is never confusion but more clarity.
That our eyes are truly opened to His plan and His way.
I have found confusion creeps in when I lose sight of Him, so I do what I can make sure I keep looking in the right direction...

Something to think about...


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Juicy Goodness

I have always found it interesting that the Bible compares itself to food.
To things like Milk, Meat, Bread, Honey…

That is because God has designed His Word to get inside of us like food does.
It is meant to be ingested. Digested.
To provide us with something on the inside.
To nourish us spiritually and grow us the same...

If you watch a very young child eat...or should I say try to eat...you can see it is not that sophisticated. Their ‘palette’ is not yet developed to enjoy more adult things like Hollandaise Sauce and Trifle soaked in sherry.

I have learnt over time that the more I ‘eat’ God’s Word, the more my palette has developed. It develops it beyond my basic expectations of it being simply toast to my soul.
God's Word becomes rich and classy. It shows its texture and body.

It all simply starts for each of us by just starting.
Trying a piece here and there.
Naturally developing your palette through just reading each day.

If you keep eating it, your palette will develop and grow.
It will nourish you more and more. Speak to you more and more.
If you dig around all areas and aspects of scripture, not shying away from what challenges or even confuses you for a time, you will develop a taste that is even supernatural.

So have you been eating your Bible?
Like really biting down hard into its juicy goodness!
Today is your day...enjoy a great meal with me...

Something to think about…

Fun Fact - you can eat as much as you like and it will never make you fat!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If everything seems strange?

Let's face it, there are times when life can seems really strange, crazy or even random. And in those times you may wonder what on earth is going on?
Did you do something wrong?
Maybe you wonder if God has even forgotten about you?

I am talking about those times where many strange/bad things seem to happen all around the same time.
Like an unexpected bill, then the car breaks down, then someone gets sick...
Or when your job looks shaky, then you fall out with a family member, and someone accuses you of something you didn't do...
Some people say that bad things happen in 3's. I think that is just a silly superstitious generalisation to explain things away. I also believe there is sometimes a reason for things happening like they do.

Maybe you are actually doing really well and the enemy of your soul gets nervous about you...so he throws whatever he can at you to shake you and rob you of your peace.
Sometimes God let's some things happen to teach us and grow us or even reveal something about us.

Whatever the reason, you need to respond to the challenges of life as best as possible. Otherwise you get thrown by them. Maybe even do something silly that damages you even more?

I love how the Bible reminds you and I the best strategies for navigating this life! Check this out - simple - direct - makes sense to me!

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray James 5:13

I have learnt that when strange stuff happens that praying seems to change it.
Sometimes I even walk around my house, anointing it with oil and praying God's blessing and protection over it. And as strange as it may seem to some, I have found God does something.

If you don't think praying about it on your own is enough that is ok I think. James encourages us as you read further to get help from others when we need it, who have more experience or whatever if needed.
Go to someone who is over in Christ and ask them to pray for you. To seek God for you on your behalf and maybe even anoint you and your property.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The hardest things to do... #5

Bookend Scripture
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 nkjv

Love

I actually loved being in love, especially when I was young.
It is probably to my shame, why I was a serial dater in high school.
I loved the feeling and the excitement of it running through my veins.

You learn as you get older or as a particular 'love affair' gets longer in the tooth, that for some strange reason the original gooeyness isn't quite the same.
Many people at this point say things like "I feel like I have fallen out of love"...
Like love is some boat that by chance they fell into and then somehow correspondingly fell out of again at a later date. You can hopefully agree that it does seem a little strange when you think about it?

So why do I think love is one of the hardest things to do?
Here are a few reasons...

Love was never meant to be simply a feeling. And yet I see us simplifying it to that level again and again.

Love is many faceted in its true appearance and when we limit it to one facet it leaves us disappointed and cold.

Love is more than an idea or a fantasy. It is both a response and a premeditated choice.

Love is required sometimes when we least want to show it or experience it, yet seems life is less otherwise.

Love is used too many times as an excuse or a license for silliness, when it is meant to bring about the greatest good. Avoiding it even limits life!

God doesn't say too many different things about himself.
But when He does say something I think it is worth taking note of.
One time he said that 'God is Love'. A pretty big call to make. Especially in a statement like that.
And yet He lives up to this boost in his action, and more than in His feelings alone.

Giving up your Son. Showing mercy when none was deserved. Pouring out blessing on the good and the bad. All powerful expressions of love.

I remind myself of this amazing dynamic many times to make sure I get it.
Love can start as how you 'feel' while you learn how to 'do'.
And
Love is what you 'do' so that it changes how you 'feel'.

Something to think about...

Bookend Scripture
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 nkjv

_____________________________________________

Note on this little 'simple thought' series
I have been thinking recently about sharing honestly, transparently about some of the hardest aspects of our faith, of following Jesus. Not wanting to do this in a negative way at all, but in a way that helps us all I hope on our journey.

I am a fan of what scripture encourages us to do - to cheer each other on!
So with that in mind I am going to bookend each 'simple thought' of this series with one scripture.

A scripture that reminds us that when we are weak, God has room to do something. That when you are struggling with some aspect of following Jesus, God is ready to jump in and do His thing!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The hardest things to do... #4

Bookend Scripture
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 nkjv

Forgive

I think it is funny how we think that doing the right things should always be the easiest thing to do...

The reality of life I have found is that there is no real pattern to easy or hard.
I have discovered that doing the right things for the rights reasons, tends to give you the best results ultimately - it is just that the right thing is sometimes the hardest thing...

As disciples of Jesus, our best and most dramatic example of this in action is actually at the worst moment of Jesus life! While he hung on that cross the words, "Father, forgive them" were uttered. 

To be honest I am not sure if Jesus was 'feeling it'? 
In the middle of His pain, He was offering something profound and far reaching!
What He did do was very hardcore, an example that is definitely not easy to follow, but maybe the right one to follow for each of us?

Where I am most definitely just like you is that I have lived enough life to have discovered pain.
There is long list of people who have caused me hurt that I could justify myself in sharing with you.
But that isn't the right thing to do is it.
The right thing to do, is in the middle of what is uncomfortable or even downright painful, is to give out forgiveness.
It doesn't have to be pretty, be poetic or professional...it just has to be presented.
Jesus didn't look pretty, sound poetic or come across professional on a bloody cross. He just choose to love above the pain, with everything He could muster. And ultimately He was trusting His father with the outcome. It didn't have to feel right to be right...

Some people say they will forgive when they feel ready to forgive.
I do agree that timing is important. But it is not the most important!
The danger is that the more we look for excuses, the longer we hold onto something that is actually doing us harm. The quicker is it dealt with, the quicker the resolution.

Scripture backs this up...
We forgive because he first forgave us!

So again, let us pick up our cross and follow Him, and see what He does in our lives through our obedience?

Bookend Scripture
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 nkjv

Something to think about...

_____________________________________________

Note on this little 'simple thought' series
I have been thinking recently about sharing honestly, transparently about some of the hardest aspects of our faith, of following Jesus. Not wanting to do this in a negative way at all, but in a way that helps us all I hope on our journey.

I am a fan of what scripture encourages us to do - to cheer each other on!
So with that in mind I am going to bookend each 'simple thought' of this series with one scripture.

A scripture that reminds us that when we are weak, God has room to do something. That when you are struggling with some aspect of following Jesus, God is ready to jump in and do His thing!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Looking for a Reset

Going to keep this brief and to the point because too many words will ruin it for me and possibly even for you...

This weekend of all weekends I am going for some sort of a reset.
I want Easter to mean more than ritual and rights.
I want it to hit me in the guts and really get me where it truly needs to get me.

As a Pastor I am doing what I am doing for the both of us.
It is too simple to say it is my job or my mission or my calling.
It is our profound opportunity to reset our lives in some way.

I am seeing this Easter as my opportunity to sit at a table again with Jesus, to break bread with Him and my Church Family.
To remember.
To be thankful.
To ponder.
And to look forward.

I would love for you to join us at this time.
To make the most of the opportunity.
I am going for a reset - maybe you need one to?

Something to think about...


Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, 
and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. 
James 4:7-8 niv


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The hardest things to do... #3

Bookend Scripture
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 nkjv

Finish

Are you one of 'those' people?
You know, the ones who are really good at starting things, but find it quite challenging to actually finish things?
Don't beat yourself up as you read this! I would rather encourage you instead...

Here are two thoughts around this idea today:

1. God is able to finish what He began in your life!

The reasons why I can say that is because He actually has planned to help you finish well.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 niv

When God looks at your life He is not solely focused on the stumbles and the mistakes.
He is looking at it in its entirety. Beginning, middle and end.
Blips and bumps are just that to Him, blips and bumps. He will forgive you if you need forgiven and He will patch you up if you need patched up - all so that you can finish.

Check out the example of Peter in the Gospels and you will see how God works.
Peter makes a whole bunch of mistakes it appears at the pinnacle of all that Jesus was doing for him and for us. And yet Jesus turns up one day after the resurrection, cooks Peter breakfast, and reinstates him. All because God wants Peter to finish and not be shipwrecked by those mistakes.

2. You can finish and you can finish well!

You can finish your race!
Because God has done it, you can now do it...
Jesus on the cross didn't say large amounts, but what He did say has huge ramifications for us who believe. He actually said "it is finished" - which it a powerful 3 word statement about His life.
You and I can finish our race because Jesus has done the hardest part for us. He removed the hurdle that was always stopping us finishing well. It is now gone so what are waiting for?

Take heart that God is determined to help you finish well!
More determined than what you can generate in your own strength.
Look to Him...Trust Him...
Pick up your cross and follow Him, and see what He does in the life you now live for Christ!

Bookend Scripture
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 nkjv

Something to think about...

_____________________________________________

Note on this little 'simple thought' series
I have been thinking recently about sharing honestly, transparently about some of the hardest aspects of our faith, of following Jesus. Not wanting to do this in a negative way at all, but in a way that helps us all I hope on our journey.

I am a fan of what scripture encourages us to do - to cheer each other on!
So with that in mind I am going to bookend each 'simple thought' of this series with one scripture.

A scripture that reminds us that when we are weak, God has room to do something. That when you are struggling with some aspect of following Jesus, God is ready to jump in and do His thing!

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