Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Perfect Timing?

There once was a girl called Mary...

She was engaged and has been keeping herself for her husband.
Angel turns up. Tells her she is going to be pregnant.
Bad timing?
Why not wait until after she is married?
Would be more convenient. Would cause less of a stir.

Then Mary finds out that while she is very heavily pregnant she has to travel.  Joseph has to report in at the 'family town' as part of a government census.
Not in luxury, but on a donkey.
Not for a few hours, but a few days.
Bad timing?
Why not wait until after she has given birth?
Would be more convenient. Would cause less of a problem.

Mary's experiences remind me of this...

God's timing is not about convenience and comfort.
God's timing is about His grace, favour and a demonstration of His power.
If God's timing is all about our timing, there is less need of His grace, favour and a demonstration of His power...

What are you facing that seems a bit weird in regards to God's timing?
Stay faithful.
Do your best to trust Him.
Wait and see what God does!

Something to think about...
&
Merry Christmas my friends!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rocket Man

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self interest,”  John Glenn

I read this quote the other day as news of this mans passing spread around the world.
A man who had been around the world unlike many others, as the first american to orbit the earth!

He was one of my early childhood heroes.
As a kid fascinated with the 'space race' and digging through my uncles National Geographics for anything relating to it - John Glenn was up there with the biggies...

Jesus famously said that "to truly live life you must give up your life".
We rightly tend to focus on the sacrifice part of these words. But can I also get you to consider another component to this equation?
Jesus was I think telling us as well that life is truly lived when it is not the average life.
When life becomes predictable. When life is lived to merely survive. When it is devoid of faith, mystery and adventure it isn't truly living the life God has planned for any of us.

As you close out the year and for many look forward to resting, can I ask you to consider what you would like your life to be like in a new year?
Do you want to look for ways of getting by, surviving, avoiding challenge and making too many mistakes?
Or do you want to push towards living it beyond all those things?
Living for something bigger.
Living to honour Christ with your faith filled choices and exploits?

I think you should do the second option! Become a John Glenn of your faith. Maybe take some time over this Christmas to ask God what 2017 could be like for you?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Sheep

I know a little about sheep as I grew up on a farm with them...
Even dabbled in raising my own pet versions ironically all called "racer". I mean, when you of sheep you think of speed and agility don't you....not!

So when I look at the mention of sheep in scripture it generally makes me smile. Why did Jesus use them as an object of our faith, something He used to help us understand the kingdom?

If you want a list here is a link.
Here are a sample of the many options.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 niv

Jesus is not an average shepherd or one learning the ropes and making mistakes along the way.
He is the good shepherd. He has shepherding skills.
He knows exactly who you are and where you are currently at, and where you are heading on your faith journey.
And check this out - He would lay down His life if needed to protect or rescue His sheep. Spoiler alert - He has already done just that :)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 niv

Shepherds in Jesus time were a little different to now. The sheep back then used to follow the shepherd as opposed to now, where the modern shepherd pushes sheep from paddock to paddock.
Sheep back then listened for the shepherds voice and were ready to move when he moved.
They trusted his voice and leading because he never let them down. They understand that if he spoke it was for their benefit. Interesting when you see the parallels for us today!

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:26 niv

If you are reading this and have left the flock - just come back :)
Let Jesus be the shepherd and overseer of your soul once again.
I think He knows what He is doing...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Towers

I have been thinking lately about certain objects that appear in scripture, some reoccur many times, and what that mean for my faith today...

As I was thinking and praying about this weeks Simple Thought I remembered a scripture about towers. It in turn reminded me of a song we sang at Church when I first went - don't worry - not about to bring it back to ya - but the message of it is very powerful.

Check it out...

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 nkjv

I hope reading the scripture causes you to ask a few questions. Questions like:

How can a name be a strong tower?
I find it intriguing the writer don't talk about a place, but a name, as the tower that is strong.
When we think of towers it is always an imposing structure with maybe a spiral staircase and a lookout. Here we are told to look at the name of the Lord as our tower.
Here is why I think he did that...
Firstly if it was place we would all at some point head off on a pilgrimage to it. If it was in Taupo for example, all the Christians would come running. But God can be your strong tower where ever you are.
Second the name of Lord is the highest place. Scripture tells us there is power in His name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord.
I don't know about you, but I want to be associated with that name!
That is the best "name drop" you can have!

Do I need a strong tower?
At some stage you are going to face a moment or series of moments where you are going to need God in this way. Where life has happened and you are needing a rescue, needed to be lifted up.
If you look at the Hebrew for tower you can translate it as tower. Nothing staggering there. But a tower is actually a place that lifts you off the ground. Lifts you above the circumstances. Now that is an image you can grab. An image of Jesus being the safe place and lifter of your life above whatever you are facing.

Why are the righteous needing to ran to it?
The righteous are running to it because that is what the righteous do.
We always come running to Jesus. We make the most of the best and safest place to go.
When things happen I am unhappy about or I find challenging I simply run to Jesus.
I consider that my best option out of all the options open to me.
You can trust the name of Jesus. You can be safe!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Coins

If you are like me, then on most days you can put your hand in your pocket and find those little round metal disks we call coins.
I generally remember them when I am getting changed and they fly all around room.

Now if you think about these things called coins, there is something they all have in common.
While they may be of differing sizes, colours and with different inscriptions they all share something.
They have value...

Jesus talked about the value of the coins that the widow put in the offering. She gave all the value she had, God noticed, and God honoured her for it.
Jesus talked about the value of giving to God what belongs to Him and to the systems we live in, what belongs or what we owe them.
Jesus another time asks one of His friends to catch a fish. This particular fish was discovered to have coins in it. Value enough to pay something Jesus and his friend needed to pay.

And then Jesus shares another story...

8"...suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10 niv

God sees value in you!
If you are lost He does all that is needed to find you and rescue you.
In fact God loves and cares for you so much there isn't anything He won't do to find you and to restore you.

Jesus mentions a lamp. Why?
God will light up the darkest places to find and rescue us because of the high value He places on each of our lives.
Jesus is also described as the light of the world. He lights a lamp of His Son to come and seek us out.
Isn't that awesome?

Maybe today you are feeling a bit lost or left alone in the dark?
Please know that is not where God wants you to feel left! Let Jesus light up your world and circumstances and have a revelation of your value to Him.
If you are lost - please know God is looking for you right now.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fixated on the fuel gauge


I have a very clear recollection of travelling in our cars as a kid. Wherever we went I was always, and I mean always, watching the fuel gauge. Watching, analysing, considering our options for how far we could go before vapours were our only fuel source? Wondering where we could next fuel up and calculating whether we could we actually make it that far?
I was it seems, pretty paranoid about the capacity of our fuel tank.

Now I leap forward a lot of years and I have realised the car fuel tank is not the one we should be most interested in...it is actually our own fuel tank.

I firmly believe that each of us has a capacity.
A level where we can each function well and keep on running our race.
There are always times and seasons where we run a little harder or a little empty, what I am talking here is our 'normal' or maybe 'average' capacity.
The trouble is that we don't realise many times there is an issue until we have run out of gas or are dangerously close to it. We have natural and spiritual gauges we can and should be watching.

The end of another year and the run into Christmas seems to do it for me.
It reminds me to look down at my Locky dashboard and just calculate my tank.
For me in the last few days, I have begun to look at the load I am carrying and I have begun to make some decisions for my journey. You see I want to make it to my destination. I don't want to run out of juice and be left on the side of the road.

The Bible encourages us to do some things around this issues:
To shake off whatever is hindering us
Do you need unload something that while it might be good, just might not be right for you to carry?
Maybe you have a habit, an issue or even a sin that just needs sorted because it is draining your tank?
To take onboard God's burden designed for your God given capacity
Jesus tells us to not wear any other burden (yoke) other than the one He has personally designed for us. Are you and I wearing the right one? Are we wearing someone else's because we want to impress? Are we wearing one at all?

Romans 12:2 says makes this call statement...
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You and I need to throw off the patterns of the world and its expectations, values and business, otherwise we will indeed burn ourselves out.
If we don't we lose focus on what is important to God and to us.
It makes it harder to decide what we should and shouldn't do with our capacity.

"When we overdo with what God didn't ask us to do - we lose all our peace!"
Maybe you need to take a moment today - look down at your dashboard - reflect and then respond to what you are seeing?

Something to think about...



Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Response

With all that is happening in yours and my world right now, can I suggest that our response is the most important aspect of it?

Jesus said that "out of the overflow our heart actually speaks".
He is essentially saying that our chosen response is what dictates the position of our heart, the level of our maturity, even our level of spirituality.

For me that means at times I have to review my responses to different situations and use them as a litmus test of my life.
It is actually a handy tool to have. God uses my circumstances to help me really know my level of maturity and spirituality.
From there I can seek change to what needs changing or at least makes moves in the right direction...

Have you ever responded badly and said things like "where did that come from?" or "that wasn't me?" - I am afraid to say that it came from your heart and it probably was you...
The good news here is that God is in the business of helping us with our heart. Helping us to ultimately respond better to life and the things that come.

Maybe you could ask God to help you this week if this is an issue for you?
Ask Him to give you a new heart or a better heart just like King David did?
Please don't pray that He reveals your heart without expecting your responses to be tested...you have been warned...

You will know you are on the right track if you are honest with God.
And you will know you are on the right track if your responses are more and more like salt...flavouring the world for the better.
Let God help you to become more and more like Jesus.
That is the goal I have for myself!

Something to think about...

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Live Like This

I shared some thoughts on this recently and to be honest I just can't shake it, can't stop meditating on it and its implications.

1 Peter 2:12 starts with this phrase...
"Live such good lives"

Peter is passionately imploring us all to live lives that are above the level of those without Christ.
In fact scripture tells us again and again we are not to act like those around us, but to be more and more like Jesus. Told to copy Him and how He deals with things. To copy Paul and how he navigated life and faith at the same time.

I feel so challenged to look at how I live.
To make sure I am living life the way Christ would want me to, on display in front of the world.

When I drive I am on display.
When I shop, buy a coffee, order a meal, again I am display.
When I coach the kids touch rugby team.
When I preach.
When I go for a run or ride my bike.
When I post things on Facebook.
When I like what someone else posts on Facebook.
When I go to a movie and people discover what movie I went to see.

Heaven is watching my life and faith in action.
My family is. My Church is. The town I live in is.
And the people I interact with around the world are.

Maybe you could join me taking this scripture from an idea into a practice?
Let's live such good lives among the world watching us, that they see God at work in our lives.

Something to think about...



Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12 niv

 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
1 Peter 2:12 message

Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when Christ returns.
1 Peter 2:12 the living bible

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Fact Check

There is no denying it now I guess, with all the technology and the ensuing platforms for communication it has created, it is actually getting a little tricky for people to find truth...

Today I just want to stir the pot a little with your thinking.
Why? Because the world you and your families are navigating for information is so full of half truth, propaganda, and filtered presentation. We no longer live in a world where you can trust what you read or watch.
For years America has had political leaning media, partisan ownership of news outlets. They understand that concept. We don't.
Our human nature loves to discover scandal and intrigue. Juicy stories trump truth to entertain our souls. Then add to the mix that we are very cynical, you have a recipe for confusion.

I have heard people say many times "that you shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story". They you should not worry about the delivery or truth, as long as your intended result is achieved.
The Nazis did that last century and look where that got us!

Here is my advice...

Think twice before sharing or reposting information online.
Just because it looks exciting or even fits your personal beliefs and agendas, don't be too hasty to share it with others. I fell for this a couple of years ago when I shared picture of several leaders meeting with a terrible character in world history. Someone contacted to let me know it was photoshopped. A quick check of other sources showed it was indeed a fake...

What is the hurry?
I think it is worth those around you to take a few moments to check sources, ask around some people more clever or learned than you. If it is true it will prove itself. The quickest aren't always the wisest.
Again and again I have said when a news story breaks, wait a few moments, even days, so more of the truth comes out before blasting your opinion.

Is it going to help others on their journey of faith?
This is a great question to ask yourself. Sometimes sharing things, while seemingly interesting can actually be a huge distraction to someone else or at worst, hurt their faith. Not everything is beneficial to be shared. Apply some filters to your communication.

Be a picky eater.
I have learnt that even though my desire is to be always learning, I am being more refined in my sources of truth and information. Less is more as they say. I would rather eat less information and stay on course than have a buffet of the stuff and get sick...

Acts 17:11 niv
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

There is nothing wrong with doing your own research. I have always encouraged people who listen to me to check out what I have to say.

God actually offers to help us by giving us wisdom.
This wisdom is there to help you with all this stuff.

James 1:5 niv
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Be prayerful as you navigated the 'truth' presenting itself to you.
Compare it what God says. Look for truth is actually back up with more truth.

Something to think about...


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 4

There was a movie I watched quite a while ago where the coach of a football team was being interviewed as they walked to the changing rooms for half time. The interviewer was asking why they played so bad in the first half, just what he thought was missing from their game?
Coach simply taps his chest with his play book a few times and says something like "lots of it".
Lots of what you might be asking?
Without saying directly you just know what he is referring to...heart...


We love to talk a lot about heart in everyday life.
If you heart is into or not into something it makes all the difference.
When a relationship fails for whatever reason, many times we say that our heart is broken.
Christians many times say that God is in their heart.

God is into heart.
He is actually more interested interested in this very internal, hidden and yet highly influential vestibule. When He is looking at yours and my life, heart is what He sees.

When a young man was busy in the fields one day, helping on the family farm, he was brought home to meet a visitor.
This visitor had been looking over the other sons in the family to see which could be a good fit for a special role. None matched the criteria even though some had the looks, the physique and even the charisma for the role.
God famously said this that day while this process was all unfolding...
"...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 niv

Ironically is was also David who asked God to give him a new heart later in life. After a period of reflection he had come to the realisation that something was wrong with it, and that God was the only one who could truly help...

So how is your heart today?
If God was looking at it right now (which I believe He is) what would you heart say about who you truly are?
Is your heart really into life, and especially into seeing the Kingdom of God expanding in your part of the world?
Maybe you heart is a bit busted at the moment? God can heal it!
Is God in your heart, in the most centre of all your being? Make Him Lord of your life.

Please know today God is never just looking at your heart to judge it!
He is looking at your heart in part, to know exactly what you need.
He is your Dad and he cares about you!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 3

There is an account in scripture of Jesus being hungry and looking to satisfy his hunger with some fruit. His expectation was to go up to a fig tree and relieve his cravings. Even though it wasn't the season to collect fruit from that type of plant. (Mark 11:12-13)
On face value you could be forgiven for thinking this is a little unfair of Jesus, to expect fruit out of season. But dig a little deeper and his example, his life based analogy, well it speaks a lot about us and our spiritual health. About ultimately what He is looking for...

When I looked into this today I learnt something interesting.
Fig trees can actually start producing fruit even without a healthy plume of leaves. Their DNA just wants to produce fruit. Fruit comes before foliage, before aesthetics, every single time.

Now tie this concept into yours and my life...
Image is nothing - fruit is everything!
What counts for each of us is the fruit of our lives. How good a 'christian' you look like on the outside isn't as important as the fruit your life actually produces.

We are 'all season' fruit producers!
We can actually produce fruit in season and out of season. Our DNA if you like is designed to produce fruit. Because we are not just natural but are spiritual, in Christ I believe we can regularly produce a harvest of fruit, not restricted by our feelings and foliage.

God is looking for fruit from our lives...
Fruit indicates how truly healthy something or someone is.
Fruit also shows what something truly is, because it is produced from its core.

Around our old home in Auckland when we first purchased it were a number of trees.
Not being the best at plants, horticultural exploits or gardening for that matter, we weren't really sure what they were.
When their fruit appeared finally appeared, that is when we truly knew. The mandarins, lemons and red plums told what the trees were. And their quality of fruit told us how healthy they each were.

It was at that time we decided which we would keep and which we would help with fertiliser, watering, pruning and whatever else was needed to produce more and better fruit.

Jesus talked another day about this concept. Sharing a short story about a man going to visit his fig tree in his vineyard. For 3 years he was waiting patiently for it to fruit (typically fig trees produce by then). Because it wasn't fruiting yet a decision was made. Dig it and dung it. Give it some more help and see if it will produce something good. (Luke 13:6-9)

I am reminded that if I am not producing cool fruit from my life, maybe I need to look at a number of factors...
What am I feeding on?
Am I feeding on it enough?
Do I need some specialist help from another spiritual gardener?

As you think about this possibly today, can I encourage you to focus on the fact that you can be a fantastic fruit producer? Your life can make a difference to many lives!
Take stock. Do what needs to be done.
God is looking for your fruit...

Something to think about...



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 2

A new season began of multi-sport events for me this week.
I always look forward to it, but a bit of nervousness is always peppered into the equation.
That is because I am very competitive with myself. And I know it will hurt - but in a good way.

As the starter sent us off for race 1 of the series, I kept telling myself to run my own race.
I took the run leg a little slower than I could have, or how I had in the past.
When the cycle leg started I held back and looked around at how best to strategise where I would pass or let others dictate the pace. Then when the final run leg was happening I tried to not let others dictate my pace and just ran to do the best I could. Giving it a good kick in the final 50 meters to pass another competitor.

Normally I wouldn't do it that way.
Normally I would just go as hard as a can for as long as I can.
I would try and stay in front of others out of fear of being passed. And if they did pass me I would then die a little inside and back off.

I believe that God is looking to see how we will run our race of faith. He has the best seat in the universe to watch us out there on the field of endeavour.

All through scripture 'the race' is linked to living our life of faith in Christ. Paul mentions it many times and uses it as an analogy on how we should approach it.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me. Acts 20:24 niv

We are running to finish. Never just to participate.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? 
Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24 niv

We are running to win. Encouraged by Paul to run our race in such a way that we make it to the finish line and the prize that awaits us personally.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 2 Timothy 4:7 niv

We are running, but we are also aware we have to take some responsibility for how we run.
You can not let others dictate your pace to the detriment of your race. And never allow others to cut you off or disqualify you for what you are pressing on for in God. Others can help you but it is still your race to run.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 niv

We are not running without an audience.
Heaven is watching and heaven is cheering us on.
From the day heaven rejoices over your coming to Christ to the day you bring it home crossing the finish line - a great crowd is cheering you on. The head cheer leader is quite possibly God himself!

Something to think about...



Wednesday, October 05, 2016

What is God looking for? Part 1

Many of us say we are on a journey looking for God.
Trying to seek Him out. Discovering what He is truly like.
Who He can be to each of us personally.

What you may not have realised is God is also looking...
But what could the God who created everything be looking for?
Over the next few blog entries I thought we could look at this together.

Check out this account for Matthews Gospel with me.

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 
Matthew 8:5-10 niv

What impressed Jesus about this man?
He discovered that he actually understood what faith was.
Maybe it was a shock / surprise because God's people normally think they have faith down pat. But yet this man with a limited understanding of God, seemed to understand it more...

Jesus also famously asked this question after teaching about prayer.

"....when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 niv

God is looking for faith...simple as that.
He is more interested in your faith than your fashion.
More responsive to faith than flashy religious expression.
It is all about faith a faith a faith...

With that in mind, God is looking to you and I to have faith.
To operate in faith.
To let faith be one of the major defining characteristics of our life and ministry.
The question He is wanting to discover and is looking for, is just how much we are willing to live by it.

Something to think about...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Namby Pamby

Why is that the title?
I read this quote again the other day from a cool dude by the name of CT Studd!

This is who I want to be and want to encourage you to be with me.
Radical followers and copiers of Jesus.
People not looking for the perfect faith platform and Church, rather people passionately wanting to live by faith.
Masculine (grunt grunt) holiness. Spine of steel and a heart of flesh.
You can do this!
  1. “Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past!...Should such men as we fear? Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God...and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts...we will have the real holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have the masculine holiness one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ”

    CT Studd 
Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Time to rip the band aid off?

Some time ago I scraped my hand on a door frame when I was carrying something through it. So I slapped a band aid on it and carried on with my life.
A few days later I noticed a red trail going up my arm, leading into my armpit. Thought that looked a little weird. Was I morphing into a some mystical creature or would I become one of the new X-men? Nothing that exciting in reality.
It was at this point I ripped off the band aid to discover that what was hiding under there was an infection. Yucky. Hiding it under a band aid actually wasn't helping me...

Many of us when we have been hurt look for a band aid to cover that hurt. And with that band aid fully in place we try and get on with life.
Never wanting to remove it, hoping that was all that is needed and thinking all that it would do is remind us of the pain.

Injuries are injuries, whether they be physical or emotional.
And injuries don't heal properly when concealed and by trying to pretend they haven't happened.

I have to admit there is something uncomfortable about being honest with God. But in the end it is sometimes the only way to get whole. Confession is good for the soul they say.
Honesty can be a cathartic experience.

Jesus shared a story about 2 men praying to God one day.
The first was very religious and even picked on the guy next to him in his prayer. He thanked God he wasn't a screwed up mess like 'that guy'.
The second one for whatever reason with head bowed, came to God acknowledging that he had issues and needed God's grace.
Jesus wraps this story up by telling us that the second guy was the one who went away different from that experience.

So what I am trying to get across to you today?
Very simply this - that as hard or as scary as it might seem to you - be honest with God about your hurt, your pain, your struggles. Let His grace come to your rescue. Time won't help. Jesus will!
Please don't hide from you ultimate opportunity for healing. Rip that band aid off...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What is Spiritual Warfare?

In Christianity today you will get every answer under the sun, including what I have read today, lots of dribble about not engaging in it. The other end of the spectrum can be just as wrong, so let's have a wee look together and see what we come up with?

Ephesians 6 tells that we are all in a battle. No one is able to stand on the sidelines of faith.
Paul explains things in terms of battle armaments simply because he knows it is a battle that we face.

The devil tried to trip up Jesus and he will try and do the same to you and yours.
But don't worry - do this thing God's way - and you will win!
Whatever battle you are in, it is always the Lords battle. He is the one who goes before us!
And if God is on you're side, what do we have to worry about?

Submit to the side you want to win
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 niv
If you want to win the battle submit all of your life (good, bad, struggles, hopes) to God and watch the devil run away. Resisting God is what the devil did and it hasn't worked out too well for him...
Don't hide from God when it gets hard, run to Him.

Pray with faith and declaration
It is ok to pray those "God help me" type prayers at times. But I have found that fighters choose to pray with fighting words. Using the authority God has given us, we can stand on His Word and declare His goodness and victory over whatever we are facing.

Worship in the force of insurmountable odds
Joshua lead God's people around a town they could never fight and win against. All He asked them to do is worship and shout and because they did, He tore down the walls and gave them victory over their enemy.
You can do the same. Worship God with your life.
Corporately we can worship together.
And the result will be the same - victory!

Choose action that flies in the face of logic but is Holy Spirit inspired.
I have always loved the stories of battles fought and battles won. They are ones you can learn victory for yourself from...
Like the time God got Moses to hold a staff over this head. When he did they were winning the battle.
When we do the right things for the right reasons. When we do what God asks us to do and the strategy for battle he readily provides, victory is sure.
What has God asked you to do? Do that!

So paint your face with blue (Braveheart).
Pick up your sword, up your shield.
That's fight together and see what only God can do!

Something to think about...

Extra References:
Ephesians 6:10-18
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Matthew 18:18-19
Romans 12:21
Joshua 23:10
Deuteronomy 3:22

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Preached it - Experienced it

Sometimes good surprises do happen.
Sometimes God shows up when you actually lest expect it...

On Sunday I preached a message about Honour.
Messages like this are kind of funny to me on some level. I firmly believe in the biblical principles of honour, of it being given and received. But I was very conscious that I didn't want anyone to think I had some weird agenda to garner honour for myself. Maybe I am being too sensitive, but hey, I admit I can be a little sensitive sometimes...

So here I was trying to paint the whole picture of honour as I have discovered in scripture.
Step by step explaining who God asks us to honour as we follow Him. I even had some fun getting to single out and honour some fantastic guys in our Church family.
Little did I know something God had planned, was brewing away nicely behind the scenes.

At the end of the service I spent some time enjoying a coffee, talking and praying with people.
Eventually it came time to start packing up the venue we hire and that is when I noticed something strange. On the stage, on top of my guitar case, I saw another guitar case.
It stood out initially as I knew no one else played guitar that morning and I definitely only brought in one guitar to play that day.
As I wandered back onto the stage I then saw a card sitting on top.
A little taken a back I approached a little slowly, trying to figure out what was happening. Opening the card I then see someone filming me on their phone. They knew what was happening!
That card explained that a whole bunch of people appreciated me and wanted to give me a new guitar to show their appreciation!

Here I was preaching on honour.
And at the same time God was planning to honour me...
Awesome!!!

I want you to know 2 things today:
1. When you do things Gods way you invite more of Gods ways into your life.
If you choose to do what His word says, then He does even more to show you just how trustworthy His word can be. I chose to honour and then God honoured me.

2. Sometimes God will do something so quickly in response to our faith, that we can nearly believe it is happening. God is actually poised ready to respond in your life!

May you be encourage today...


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ebbs & Flows

The simple definition of that funny old phrase I think is this...
'The ups and downs, the changing pace, the fluctuations in the tides of your life'.

You probably are just as aware as me that life in Christ doesn't excuse you from the ebbs and flows of life itself. In fact I think it makes it more apparent, but also puts us potentially in a better place to deal with it.

I was thinking about this during the week so far and eventually starting pondering the early disciples.
For me they are such a mirror for us and the Church. Made up of many personalities, giftings, backgrounds and approaches. Thrust together only because of a shared faith in Christ. They never chose each other, but Christ himself chose them...

Now can I ask you to think for a moment about these scenarios?
When they were experiencing the best of Jesus ministry, seeing miracles and lives changed, where were they?
When they were sitting under His teaching, where were they?
When after Jesus is crucified and to their minds, everything seemed lost, where were they?

The simple answer is - together!

Apart from when briefly they were dispersed during Jesus arrest and initial torture, they were always together.
They were together watching Jesus heal a man lowered threw some poor guys roof.
They were together watching Jesus feed the thousands in a remote part of Israel.
They were together even when sent out to try out what Jesus had taught them, as they went in pairs.

If indeed they are a window of the Church, what can we learn about dealing with the ebbs and flows of life? That possibly the biggest key to dealing with them is by simply being together.
Can I encourage you to not get sucked into the culture of our time which screams "prove yourself"?
Your life in Christ was never designed for a moment to be lived outside of godly relationship with fellow disciples.
When you have something to celebrate - it should be with your brothers and sisters.
When you have something to commiserate - it should also be with your brothers and sisters.

You probably already know the drill "don't give up meeting together" the scripture famously is quoted...
Let's be 'together people'. Let be people 'together' during our ebbs and flows.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I went to a meeting

Last week I was given late notice about a meeting being held in town. I took some time out to go and was really glad I did!
The presenter was someone I actually have a tiny bit of history with. They were a youth leader for Youth For Christ at the very first major outreach event I helped with. Their role back 'last century' was to teach us how to talk to people who had just decided to give their life to Christ.
Now here I was on Tuesday evening, listening to this same man (both of us a lot older) share about what God had called him to. How it been 10 years since he started this new venture/ministry and he wasn't stopping now!

Straight after he finished speaking I was so honoured to catch up with him briefly.
People like him who stay the course of faith with conviction and passion deserve to be recognised at the least and also honoured in my opinion.
He is someone who is most definitely on the frontline of faith with many in government and media taking strong stands against his moral and religious beliefs.

If you and I go the distance we create a legacy just like him.
If you and I keep on keeping with Jesus it impacts lives for many generations.
And if you and I keep supporting one enough in the good works God has prepared for each of us to do - God gets glorified, we grow in maturity, and the Kingdom is extended.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I want to be like...

Jesus was telling a bunch of stories or parables one day and Luke's Gospel seems to intimate that he told several, one after other, with similar themes.

In context, Jesus was teaching on God's heart for saving anything that is lost.
God's passion is seeing people being found by His love or returning to it.
Heaven notices, rejoices, even has a party when a life is changed in this way!

8“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ " Luke 15:8-9 niv

Here is a lady doing everything she can to find what she wants to find.
She seems to have a plan. She follows through on it completely. And she doesn't give up until she has found what she was looking for.
To cap it all off, when she succeeds she decides to share and celebrate with whoever she can.

Check out this other parable for a moment...

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." Matthew 13:44 niv

These people share the same drive and dogged determination.
Both want to find what they need to find.
They are willing to go all out for it and pay whatever cost to reach the goal.

I don't know about you, but when I read this passages I am reminded that this is someone I want to be.
I want to be so passionate about the Kingdom of God and what matters most to God, that I will stop at nothing to play my part.
I want hunt for the lost.
I will pay whatever price.
I will give up anything that hinders.
I will ran after the One...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Tourist

A long time a go a guy who was not your average tourist was looking around Athens Greece.
He was taking in the sights, thinking and praying as he went.
Paul was that sort of guy.
Mindful of where he was in the world and always it seems looking to discover why God had him in any and every situation.

In the book of Acts it says he was introduced to a certain group of people. Made up my of locals and a select/curious bunch of foreigners, who used to meet and hash out all the latest ideas in the world. They had heard of this 'tourist' having a passionate discussion about his beliefs and it intrigued them. It met their vision of looking into new ideas - so he was brought to be their TEDx speaker for the day.

What Paul did was special.
He didn't just tell them what he thought he knew.
He tried to frame his faith around what they already understood. Relating it in some way to their culture and beliefs, even gaps in their beliefs.
The upshot is that God changed the lives of a number of those listening that day!

Something that has always struck me about this account is how Paul made something simple out something so marvellous. To a group always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in the world, he presented Jesus as the original and the best for them.

In our culture we value things like those Athenians.
We value new and inivation very highly. We can't want for updates to technology.
We value new discovery over tradition.
Even with our faith - many are desperately looking for new ideas relating to it. New expressions and dimensions. New teaching. New songs. New denominations...

New ideas are fantastic. I love discovery based on curiosity and need.
At the same time I never want the desire for 'new' to outweigh my simple desire for Him!
Paul recognised that for these people that they had enough new ideas to sink a ship.
He knew that the one and true thing they needed was a relationship with the God of the Unvierse.

Can I encourage you this week to maybe be a little more simple about your life and faith?
Put aside the distraction of always chasing after the new and go after the best.
Let the simplicity of the love of God be your goal.
Be content with that.
I know that Jesus is more than enough for me!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

One Thing Left

One of the coolest things about having faith in Christ in this...
When you seem to have nothing else, when you feel like you have exhausted all other options...you still have one thing left.
We can pray!

There have many moments like this for me over the last few years.
Where I have run out of ideas or resource or both. But I have never run out of an opportunity to cry out to God!

Your world right now is surrounded with people who maybe think all they have is all they have right now. They live in a certain unease. An unease that whispers in their ear that it could all go in a moment.
You and I have something very special we should cherish!
We are invited by God to come to Him with our needs, requests and desires.
We are encouraged to lay it out before Him to see what only He can do.
We have hope because of this.

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like again with this gift of hope...yuck!
I am so grateful that even in the most trying times, God is right there for me.

When Peter was put in prison what could the Church do?
They did the only thing they had left - they prayed.
What I find funny about the account in Acts, is that when their prayers were answered and Peter was released, they found it difficult to believe it when God rescued him. But God specialises it what is difficult, what seems impossible for you and me!

This week, may this give you some encouragement and hope?
May it remind you that you are never without an answer or a next move?
May it also remind you to share some of this hope with someone who might desperately need it?

Something to think about...

Philippians 4:4-7 Matthew 7:7 Acts 12:1-16


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The sincerest form of flattery

It has been said that the sincerest form of flattery is to copy someone.

You have probably seen it...
Maybe even participated in it yourself?
The copying or emulating of someone you looked up...

When I was a teenager I desperately wanted to be a rockstar.
I studied them, dressed like them, acted like them (badly ...), started a band.
Vince Neil was in a band called Motley Crue.
I thought he was pretty cool at the time. I wanted to be like him so much I even made copies of his stage outfits and wore one to a school dance. How embarrassing!!!
My life is quite a bit different now. I want to copy Jesus.

The simplest definition I have found for what copying Jesus is is this...to be His disciple.
By definition disciples simply copy who they are being discipled by.
If I am being discipled by Jesus - I copy Jesus.

If your desire is be a disciple of Jesus like me, what is something you could copy from what you have seen Him do?
He trusted in God to meet His needs - even paying a temple tax via fish one day.
He was able to be a blessing even without resource - at a wedding feast.
He healed those He come into contact with.
He made
time to spend with His Father.
He said the right thing to the right people at the right time in the right way.
He picked the right people to spend the best of Himself with.

My challenge to you if you are keen, is to pick one thing and copy Jesus for the next 7 days and see what happens...
I am not meaning one day of copying. Copy Him every day for 7 days.
Then see what your life is like then?

Something to think about...

Ephesians 5:1
1 Peter 2:21
1 John 2:6

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Here comes the bride...


Most of us love a good wedding...
It is exciting getting the invitation and then planning to be part of the event.
On the day you file into the building with some anticipation.
What will the bride look like? What will the dress be like?
Probably questions the girls are more interested in, but everyone is curious just the same.

For some time leading up to the day, a lot of work has been going on.
Trying dresses. Dress fittings. Guest lists. Food choices. It is a big deal in a good way...
Then the moment arrives.
You know it has because the atmosphere changes. A hush falls. Music begins. Everyone stands and turns to see the bride revealed...

If you then spend the rest of that wedding critiquing and criticising everything about the wedding and especially the bride...I guarantee you would not enjoy the wedding and you will probably not be that supportive of the union.

Did you know that God's Church is referred to by Him as His Bride?
And a lot of work is going on preparing her for the 'big day'.
He is sending His Son at just the right time to come and collect the prepared bride to be with Him and join Him for eternity.

When we get all picky and critical of the Church we are actually picking on His Bride...
I have been guilty of this.
And I see so many others doing it...

Many criticise the Church whenever possible.
We think we know how it should be done and what is the only right way to 'do Church'.
It is not 'perfect', but it is being 'prepared'.

I am not saying to ignore issues. Everyone has issues.
Maybe we just need to trust God a little more that He is actually able to prepare His own Bride.

This week, let's together speak well of, pray for, serve, love, honour and respect the Bride that God is indeed preparing. It will do our heart good and help us all to see her for who she can truly be...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Band Aid Jesus

I have the coolest Band Aids my thoughtful sister sent me a while ago.
They are styled with images of a very catholic looking Jesus.

But here is something we could consider today - and it is real important to our faith.
Jesus was never supposed to be seen as a band aid to life!
That idea sells Him so short from all He has done and wants to continue to do for us.

He wants to be your :
Saviour - rescue you from the life you were drowning in, then give you the life you were destined for in Him.
Redeemer - someone who makes an exchange and pays whatever prices is needed for us.
Healer - someone who wants to us to be healed and whole, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Friend - someone not content to watch us from a distance, He wants to be as close as possible every minute of every day.

If you want to settle for a Band Aid Jesus you miss out on all that.
His love can cover us yes, but that covering is supposed to do more than hide what is wrong...that covering has the power to makes things right!

Whatever you are facing at this time, please don't seek a Band Aid Jesus.
Expect what God wants to give you. A Jesus who wants to make you whole.
Band Aids while helpful simply cover the injury. My Jesus can do far more than cover it.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Psalm 77

So you want to see God at work in your life?
That is a great thing to desire I think.
It is something every Pastor dreams of for the people they minister to. That they discover who God truly is and who they and He can be together...

So how do you go beyond this great idea to seeing it become a reality?

There are a number of things I could say in answer to that, but let's start with a key idea.
Honesty. Honesty makes a lot of difference...

When I was young my Mum and Dad were preparing one Saturday late afternoon for a dinner party they were hosting that night. Dad had tidied up around the outside of the home. Mum focused on the inside and the traditional role of food prep.
We were told repeatidly to not mess anything up or do things that would make their preparations more difficult than they already were.
The invariable did happen though. I somehow managed to break a window in the door everyone would be coming through. I remember trying to lie about it saying it wasn't me. Tried to hide beside a toy I was holding as though that would help me avoid the reality of what I had accidentally done.
It was not cool for me or my Mum as we wrestled away with who was to blame.
Eventually I was honest. It was a little uncomfortable.
But something strange happened. It seemed to resolve the situation and we moved on.

If you want to see God at work in your life...
If you want to sense Him more, maybe even discover His blessing over it, then honesty is a key to seeing that become a reality.

What always strikes me about reading the Psalms, is just how raw and honest they are.
I have many times wondered why they share so much information. Why mention pain? Why mention failing? Why mention a sense of not finding God at work as expected?
Read them carefully and you will see that honesty lead the writer somewhere, normally to a place of revelation, of healing and of moving forward in God.
Psalm 77 is known as one of the Psalms of Lament (you can check it out here).
The writer sings their heart to God. And in the process feels closer to God because of their honesty.
Maybe being truly honest with God today is something that could help you see Him more in your life?

Something to think about...






Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Roller

I have a little friend who lives in my office cupboard.
Sometimes I just find I need him to keep going.
His name is Foam Roller. First introduced to me when I had some leg problems from simply doing the same things week after week.
I wasn't doing anything wrong. It is just that I needed this foam roller to roll out the kinks in my leg muscles.

You and I can be going along in our faith and assuming just by keeping on going, everything should be ok. But at the same time you recognise some issues. You are not quite sure what to do about them.
The good news for you and me is that God certainly knows how to get the repetitive kinks out...He sometimes uses a little pressure, a little stretching...to help us on our journey.

The idea behind the foam roller is that I roll it up and down my legs using my body weight.
The pressure while uncomfortable on sore muscles, actually brings about some release.
I have discovered again and again that God uses pressure from somewhere or something against my faith to actually help me. Whether it be an test or a trial, a challenge or a crisis...God promises to use everything for my good.

Maybe this week you feel some 'spiritual tightness'?
Maybe after a season of repeating good things, you sense a change is needed?
Don't throw away your confidence by stopping your 'good doing', but simply trust God to help get the kinks out.
Please don't run away from allowing God an opportunity to help you and grow you.
Stay close in prayer and relationship and let the 'God Roller' be your friend...

Something to think about...



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How is it supposed to work?

I am asked regularly how this 'Christian thing' is supposed to work?
Like what are the most important things for us to do or focus on?
What does it really look like to follow Jesus and what does God want to do for me?

Check out what Paul teaches us here in scripture...
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
Colossians 1:9-12 NIV

What was the reason? Paul is so excited to write this to people who have begun their journey of faith. And he is super passionate that they don't stop with a decision to follow, but that the reader realises just how big and amazing this relationship with Christ can be!

Never stop praying. You have leaders praying for you. In fact each Sunday for over a month before each service the elders at Elim here in Taupo have been doing just this. Make sure you are around leaders who care enough to not just pray, but leaders who never stop praying. Maybe this challenges you to pray for those you minister to as well?

Continually ask God. Don't ever be afraid to keep on asking. Ask, seek and knock is what Jesus taught and this prayer strategy still exists for us today.

Seek His will and divine understanding. God's will is key to living this faith life well. It goes beyond th opinion of friends, family and well meaning social media acquaintances. His will is discoverable if you truly want to discover it for yourself.

Live different. We are called to be 'in the world and not of it'. Salt and Light not 'same and samer' to everyone, every popular opinion and pop culture expression. 

Seek to please the One. When we seek to please God, we have the balance right.

Bear fruit. We are branches designed to glorify Him with fruitfulness. Use your gifts, talents and resources to bring Him glory.

Grow in knowledge. No matter how long your have known God there is more to know. Yesterday's revelation and understanding belongs to yesterday. Continue to learn, study, wrestle with God's word and with things you discover. Sit under great teaching, study for yourself, read books...

Be strengthened with His power. Nothing amazing happens in your Christian walk without the Holy Spirit. Period. Keep asking God to anoint you and fill you with His very power and presence.

Keep on going! Galatians asks us specifically to never give up. You will win if you keep on going.

Be thankful. And finally just be thankful. Thank God for what you have learnt, have etc. Gratefulness is beautiful and attractive to others but especially to God.

This is not a complete summary of our faith, but my hope helps you a little more in your understanding and growth.
My true heart for you today is this...
To encourage you to embrace all this relationship with God can entail for you.
Don't be robbed by thinking it is one thing or another. It is everything in every way.
Let's be people who embrace faith in Christ in its entirety.
It will change your life!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hiding

Maybe it is a human nature thing?
Maybe part of some inbuilt strategy to try and deal with things in our own way?
Whatever it is, many of us when things aren't the way we like or aren't going well, try and hide from God.

I hope this doesn't come across as too harsh...
But how does that work to our advantage?
How has that strategy really worked for you lately?

Check this passage out with me...

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:7-12 niv

There is no where you can truly hide from God!
And that is not a bad thing at all, it actually fantastic news...
You see God is desperate to love on you, minister to you, heal you and restore you.
Hiding doesn't get you there at all. In fact all it does is rob you of any form of hope.

Take a moment with me today to say this...
"God, I am not hiding from you - all I want is You and what you want for my life"
Let His peace come and bring something good to your soul.
He loves you and you and I know that we need Him desperately...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Ingredients

One of my favourite things to consume and the share are my Chocky Chip Cookies!
Since tweaking a recipe for a cafe over 10 years ago to suit, I have just kept on making them.
They always taste great - just have have to ignore how naughty they are...

The key I have found is having all the right ingredients.
You have to get the proportions just right otherwise they aren't right, they aren't consistent and the making process becomes frustrating.

The same thing applies I believe to being a disciple of Jesus.
If you get the ingredients right in your life, it is truly a wonderful thing.
Get the proportions wrong or inconsistent and it can be a frustrating relationship at times...

To paraphrase Psalm 37:23 a little - God has your steps and processes for following Him all worked out! We just have need to go with the recipe He has for our lives.

What are the ingredients you need to be a disciple?

1. Trust
Trust is key for the best relationships. How much do you trust God? Have you truly given over all of your life to Him and His Lordship.
2. Faith
Without faith it is impossible to either please God or to do the things that Jesus said you should be able to do.
3. Heart
God judges our heart far more than our appearance. Is your heart right with him and with others?
4. Love & Forgiveness
We are told in scripture that without love we are nothing. It is what we need to receive and accept from God and also pass on to as many as we can during our lifetime.
5. Prayer
The lifeline to any relationship is communication. Speaking, listening and processing it right.
6. Word
As the psalmist said, we need to hide His Word in our hearts. It is also your spiritual food and without it we starve ourselves.
7. Worship
The lifestyle God is looking for you is based around a lifestyle of worship. Where you see your life as a living sacrifice. Where you desire to express worship to our Father in Heaven whenever possible and in all sorts of ways.
8. Service
You are created by God to do something very special. Discovering what that is is part of the process and doing it should become part of your joy.
9. Rest
You are a human being not just a human doing. You need to balance your work with your rest. You need to 'enter' the rest that He has for each of us.
10. Presence
You can experience some of heaven here on earth before we go there. Seek His presence and you will find His peace.

Have you got all those ingredients in your life?
Anything you need to add? Do you need to adjust some proportions?
Simply begin right now by praying this a little through, letting the Holy Spirit point the way to getting your ingredients list right.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Hosanna

“Break my heart for what breaks yours 
Everything I am for Your kingdoms cause”

I am still thinking about these words after mentioning them in a message I preached recently.
They if you don't know, make up some lyrics to a song we used to sing in Church a few years ago.

It is dangerous to say things to God. Why?
He is always listening.
Our words are important to Him.
Your prayers are as powerful as Elijah's were several thousand years a go

I have recognised lately that a lot of my prayers are based on these to thing:
1. What I want
2. What I don't like

Something seems to happen after walking with Jesus for a while.
We can go from wanting to do anything we can for Him, so grateful for His saving work and grace in our lives, to wanting God to meet every need...and now!

Maybe it is circumstances, sometimes teaching we have received, maybe even a season in life?
Whatever it is I love the challenge we have been presented with over these last few weeks...
How much are our prayers revolving around what we want as opposed to what God might want?
What would happen if we prayed Search Me, Break Me or Send Me?

Can I encourage you to take some time this week to really consider praying these powerful and ultimately dangerous prayers with me?
Then I need to you be 'strong and very courageous' and follow through on whatever the Lord shows you, speaks to you, opens up to you...
You will change and grow more doing that than many other activities in your faith!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Find a way to keep being challenged

I sat there watching a movie last night and continued to ponder away today, processing what I saw, comparing it to what I thought I knew or understood...realising that it some way that it is a healthy thing to do.

Why is that good thing?

Time brings a lot to our lives. Experience. Learning.
You work out what you think you know and build some blocks of knowledge and experience around you.
The negative is we can either become complacent, arrogant, blinded or all of the aforementioned negatives things, if you are not looking to be challenged in some good way.

Jesus main issues were never with the sinful people of the world.
He seemed to have huge compassion for them. Again and again His attention and heart was drawn to them in a good way and His desire was to serve them.
The people who rubbed him up the wrong way.
The people who struggled with what he taught.
Those people were never the sinners or the less educated.
It was the people who thought they knew it all or at least enough to navigate the world and life in general. They are the ones who struggled and sometimes fought against his teaching.

The way I look at it, I want to grow in my knowledge and understanding on as many things as possible. But no matter what I learn, experience and disseminate, nothing compares to allowing Jesus to challenge the assumptions I make about life, my life, how I should lead etc.

I watch movies.
I read books (be it ever so slowly).
I study scripture.
I watch doco's on different topics.
I listen to others I trust.
And all the while try to keep my heart as soft and open to him as possible.

Can I encourage you to make sure God has room to always challenge you?
Don't think you ever graduate from the classroom of Christ. The moment you do you head down a pretty tricky road that many never recover from.
Pray with me today that God challenges any wrong thinking, understanding or more.
Let God challenge us in only the way He best can.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Take your time

It is kind of a simple 'simple thought' this week...

Recently I was out around our town to deliver some stuff and other errands.
It took a whole lot longer than I had put in my diary planner earlier that same day.
Why did it take longer?
Because I kept bumping into people. People wanted to chat. Offers of coffee (which I very rarely decline). Fantastic conversations ensued.

The problem I have sometimes is that can get so focused on task or on productivity...even both at the same time, that I forget that life doesn't always work like that.
I have also found the the Kingdom of God doesn't fit into neat 15 minute time slots.
When you take your time with your day, trying to listen as you to the Spirit of God, the day can be different than you planned. Satisfying without the next to keep ticking off task lists.

As you navigate the rest of your week, take your time while being purposeful about your time.
Take your time with people around you.
See what God does through you and in you.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Questions that GOD asks...(blog series part 6)


God asked a guy a question that is recorded way back in the beginning...
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?" Genesis 4:6
And that question has got me thinking...

Why was indeed Cain angry?
Why am I sometimes angry?

I hope this doesn't come across as too simplistic of a thought, of an answer to that question?
I wonder if being angry is many times a symptom? When I am angry am I just frustrated or disappointed?
And is that frustration and disappointment simply manifesting itself as an emotion called anger?

Cain was angry because his offering wasn't as 'good' as his brothers.
The emotion manifest was just an outworking or overflow of what was going on in his heart at the time. Maybe it had been brewing for a while and this was the latest thing to tip him over the edge into anger?

When I am angry and then get a moment to think about why, I have many times realised that what made me angry was not the thing at all.
I had pent up frustration about something else.
Disappointment in regard to some other area of my life.

So when God asks me "why are you angry?", I wonder if God is hoping I will take a breath, take a moment to reflect, and work out with him what is really going on inside?

This week can I encourage you that if you are angry about something, don't hide from it or quickly try to justify it?
Take a moment for you and God and pray/talk it through.
See if God shows the root of your frustration and then deal with that.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Questions that GOD asks...(blog series part 5)

I want to finish this little simple thought series with a question that God asks, that is kind of confrontational...
The thing about God is He is passionate about not leaving us unchanged by an encounter with Him in some way. His presence should affect us and leave us changed. His word is designed to do the same.
Hebrews 4:12 explains how His word isn't just some nice encouraging thing to meditate on, but something with the ability to affect the very core of your being.

That is true for me when I God asks me this question...

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" Luke 6:46 niv

I don't know about you but this question has some bite to it.
It challenges me to my core. Makes we stop and think for a moment...
- Am I doing everything the way Jesus would like?
- Are my motives for what I do right?
- I need to make sure I am not being a hypocrite!

I don't shy away from scriptures that aren't all encouraging and uplifting...because as Paul put it "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16 niv).

May this question remind you to consider again what God would like you to do or to focus on this week?
What has He asked of you? What is He reminding you?
That is your next step...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Questions that GOD asks...(blog series part 4)

The Bible tells us that Elijah is a "man just like like us".
That means there is probably a lot we can potentially learn from his story and his interactions with God...

After what could arguably have been the most successful ministry moment in his life so far, Elijah has another type of moment. One where he forgets who God has made him to be and who God is to him.
He has just finished defeating the prophets of Baal. It is a crazy story you can read about in 1 Kings 18. Single handedly with God, he prevails against all the odds. Not long after he loses confidence in God and himself, then runs away.
That is where I pick up the story for us...
In 1 Kings 19 God ministers to him and sets him on a course again that leads to a new 'defining moment' in his life. Maybe you need a new 'defining moment' in your relationship with God today?

After a journey that takes 40 days he arrives at Mt Sinai, a pretty important place in Jewish history to say the least!
Here is where it gets even more interesting for me...
God asks him a question, not once, but twice!
“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God didn't ask because He didn't know. It was His idea for Elijah to meet Him there in the first place.
God asks because He wanted to set him up for the next stage of his ministry.
God asks twice so that 2 distinct things would happen in Elijah's life:
1. He got to meet with God and experience His presence.
2. He got instructions from God about the 'next step' for his ministry.

I believe we all need defining moments like what Elijah had.
'Two fold' moments where we not only get to experience the goodness of God and His presence, but also discover the next step part.
I am firm believer that this is not only healthy, it is the right balance for any believer.
If you have all presence and no direction you don't go, you don't do.
If you are all go and do with no presence, you soon forget why you are going and doing.

If you are needing it right now, take some time out to be in God's presence today...
Enjoy His presence, discover your next step!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Questions that GOD asks...(blog series part 3)

I find it fascinating the questions that God asks people.
If He is so all powerful and all knowing and always present...why does He need to ask in the first place? The answer is quite simple and powerful at the same time...He asks because the answer is what we needed to hear.

One that is kind of interesting and powerful at the same is the question God asks Adam and Eve...
"Who told you that your were naked?" Genesis 3:11
The story goes that they had been living a fantastic existence without struggle, loss, shame, embarrassment, all until a serpent tempted them to eat from a tree they had been asked not to eat from.
The upshot of that temptation moment was they now looked at themselves and each other differently.
Before then they were happy to be themselves. Happy to be how God had made them and certainly happy with their lot in life. Now they aren't. They have lost something very special in a moment!

To put this into a more modern context for this moment, "who told you that you were naked?"
Who told you that you were not good enough?
God never tells people they aren't good enough for Him!
The devil does...
God never writes people off because of their failings or inadequacies!
The devil does...

God accepts you as you are right now.
He wants to relate to you, provide for you, heal you and more.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Questions that GOD asks...(blog series part 2)

Here is a famous little account that I hope will encourage you?

Abraham and Sarah have a pretty special 'God encounter' one day.
So special it takes a turn that Sarah especially didn't expect and struggled to get her head around.
She gets told by God (via what we think were angels) that she is going to get pregnant.

Genesis 18:11-14 niv
11Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah has history.
Her history is telling her that even if God says it, she doesn't think it could happen.
Yes it would be nice, but can God really go against the natural order of things?
She has a life time of built up hopes and then dreams that have been dashed.

While she struggles with this news and yet another crazy promise, God asks a pretty important question. Is anything too hard for me?
Again God knows the answer, He always does!
He just wants to prove a point, teach a lesson, expand Sarah's faith...

When it comes to what you maybe facing right now...
...is anything too hard for the Lord?
Maybe you know someone facing a challenge...
...is anything too hard for the Lord?

What God is asking is a rhetorical.
He is not asking you to give Him a list of what He can not do.
There is no point. He can do it.
He is asking so that we are reminded of His ability to do anything under any circumstance.

Something to think about...

Friday, April 08, 2016

Questions that GOD asks...(blog series part 1)

God loves to ask us questions!
Never because He doesn't know the answer, but because His questions have the power to bring life changing revelation to our lives!

Check this one out with me for a minute...

Who Made Your Mouth?

Exodus 4:11 niv
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

No matter who you are there are times when we face that scary moment of having to say something. Having to respond to a situation.
Having to answer to an accusation thrown our way.
Having to give advice to someone who desperately needs some great advice.
Sometimes we have to say something when we least want to, feel less than qualified, or are simply feeling too empty to have something of value to share.

God asked Moses this question "who made your mouth?".
God already knew He had done it. He just needed Moses to have a revelation of that fact.
God designed your mouth to be used to bless and not curse.
Designed it to be filled with good things, life giving words, words of hope and love.
He put your mouth on your face to change the world around you.
And He takes responsibility to a huge degree on what you will use it for. All it takes is a willing heart to let Him use it for His purpose.

Whenever I am about to speak on His behalf...
Whenever I am walking toward a difficult discussion...
Whenever I know the next thing I say could influence someones life...
I pray. I ask God to fill my mouth with the words He would like me to say.

I can honestly say that after years of doing this I am still blown away by the words He gives me!
Such fun!!!

Something to think about...


Each Week at elim christian centre taupo we are teaching a series by the same name.
Everyone welcome to join us! Sunday 10am | Wednesday 7pm | Rotary House, 12 Story Place, Taupo

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

A little thought on faith...

I was thinking this morning about faith...
Specifically how you need to faith to make a decision.
Faith to keep going towards that decision.
And then sometimes faith to actually follow through on that decision.

I made a decision some weeks ago to offer to chop my hair off to raise funds for our Church.
The short version of the story on why is that I felt it was something I could do to help our Church Family. Felt it was something God wanted me to do.

As the weeks have gone by, I have certainly had moments of both dread and anticipation.
I have needed faith in God and the decision made, to keep me moving towards the decision.

And now I need to have faith to get me to follow through in the next few days.
Faith we get me there. Fear never will.

The cool thing about God is that He doesn't just give us faith to get us part way in anything.
Faith is available to not only help you make a decision, but also to see it completed.

So what is God asking you do in this season of your life?
Let faith help you resolve to do it and see it through...

Something to think about...


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

where I show you...

Many have a glimpse of where they want to go, even before they get there...

Abram was told by God to go to a land He would show him.
Later after he become Abraham and life had continued its due course, God showed him the land his descendants would inherit.

Throughout scripture are recorded people who saw something from God and then went. It was like they had a vision or a glimpse, and that vision or glimpse gave them direction, gave them the necessary motivation to take steps forward.

Maybe it should be no surprise to us that our journey is similar?
Both as individuals and as a Church.
We are moving as a Church family into a new facility (new to us) that is ironically shaped like a tent. Something many of these people all had in common was their journey involved tents. They didn't all live in palaces and permanent locales. They were people on the move.
They were people like us looking in faith to the future God has for us.
Over the last 2 years we used this new location as a temporary meeting place when our normal facilities weren't available. We had a glimpse of what God might be bringing us into and now we are there.

Can I take this even further?
After Sunday night and the huge Easter celebration that ensued, many close to me actually said the same thing. Along the lines of "this may be one night, but we are looking forward to this every week". It was like they had a glimpse of the future and God was drawing them excitedly towards it?

What has God maybe shown you about yours and our future?
Have you had a vision or a glimpse?
Abram was simply being faithful to God when He got his. He wasn't stressing and straining over it!

We are going where God shows us - for us there simply is no other way...

Something to think about...
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