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?


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 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...