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 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 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 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...