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 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