Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Are you just holding on?

Over a lifetime you will have good and not so good times.
The not so good times will probably test your faith.
They will maybe get you to question where your hope and trust are truly placed?

David wrote these interesting words obviously after a lifetime of observation.
I was young and now I am old,
Yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
Or their children begging bread
Psalm 37:25 NIV

He wasn't saying that they never faced trial on their journey.
Or wasn't saying that there weren't moments where things seemed impossible.
He was saying that in spite of all - God was faithful for His people, even the children under their care.

My family and I can relate to this sentiment right now!
As we face a minor crisis of not having a home to move to with a looming deadline in a few days to move, we are hanging on as best we can to the promises of God.
I am personally hanging onto what David observed. That God doesn't leave the righteous forsaken.

Are you just hanging on this week?
Let's encourage each other with these words...

Something to think about...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Holy Spirit & ______ Part 2

I was recently struck by something...
It seemed to me that every time the Holy Spirit was mentioned in scripture there was always 'an and' to accompany His mention.

After doing my own study I was surprised by the scope of it.
Not only is the Holy Spirit here to give us power, to minister to us and through us, He does even more. Kind of like one of those old tv infomercials - "but wait there is more..."
Maybe that is the point or revelation I have been having, there is indeed more with the Holy Spirit added to your faith? And there is always more!

For a number of weeks I have been preaching at our fantastic Church around this concept.
You can catch some of it if you like on our podcasts?

Today I wanted to encourage you with more!
Here are a sample of Holy Spirit and can you experience right now...

Holy Spirit and Faith
He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:24 NIV

Faith always accompanies a person filled with the power of God.
So if you perceive to be lacking in faith, maybe more of the Holy Spirit will actually change you perspective on your faith levels?
I believe the Holy Spirit opens you eyes to the possibilities that faith will bring and the courage to step out into it. Remember you only need a mustard seed size faith to move a mountain in your life!

Holy Spirit and Miracles
I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. 
Galatians 3:5 NLT

It should be the expectation that miracles both large and small follow someone living under the power and anointing of the Spirit. That is the normal for any follower of Christ.
In the last week I have had small miracle after miracle and I am believing for more!
In fact I have a healthy expectation of it in the middle of all that seems impossible.
I find the Holy Spirit prompting to me please believe and expect.

Holy Spirit and Prophecy
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. Luke 1:67 NIV

There is not one person on this earth that I have met that doesn't want to hear directly from God.
They are just sometimes wondering what God might say to them...
When the Holy Spirit is around, prophecy is active.
It is where God uses you or someone around you to speak something from the heart and throne room of God. The majority of the time is to all about our encouragement. Sometimes it is about helping us stay or get on track with the best plan God has for us.
People thought Saul was a prophet when he came into contact with the Spirit and he wasn't a great king. If you come into contact with the Spirit just what might God say to you or through you? Exciting!

Did you catch Part 1 of this Blog Series? Click here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Holy Spirit & ______ Part 1

I was recently struck by something...
It seemed to me that every time the Holy Spirit was mentioned in scripture there was always 'an and' to accompany His mention.

After doing my own study I was surprised by the scope of it.
Not only is the Holy Spirit here to give us power, to minister to us and through us, He does even more. Kind of like one of those old tv infomercials - "but wait there is more..."
Maybe that is the point or revelation I have been having, there is indeed more with the Holy Spirit added to your faith? And there is always more!

For a number of weeks I have been preaching at our fantastic Church around this concept.
You can catch some of it if you like on our podcasts?

Today I wanted to encourage you with more!
Here are a sample of Holy Spirit and can you experience right now...

Holy Spirit and Joy
At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever..." Luke 10:21 NLT

Many of us can be forgiven for having an impression that being a Jesus follower is serious business, and therefore requires a serious demeanour. Joy is actually one of the definition characteristics of being like Jesus. Joy in all things, whether good or bad.
The cool thing is you don't have to generate your own joy. Invite the Holy Spirt to bring joy to your life and faith. Let the Joy of the Lord be your strength. The thing that stirs your heart to action and your continence to express your hope.
That is the light that world is looking from your faith...

Holy Spirit and Assurance
...our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance... 1 Thessalonians 1:5 NKJV

Let the Holy Spirit bring you reassurance today.
Reassurance you doing the right thing serving where you are and that He will lead when things might need to change.
Let Him reassure you of your salvation and that your home is indeed in heaven. He is a seal guaranteeing your inheritance. You can rest in your future being certain right now!

Holy Spirit and Wisdom
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things. Acts 15:28 NIV

Everyone of us wants to make good decisions. Maybe even decisions that go above and beyond our own skills and gifting?
The Holy Spirit wants to come along side you and make you wise. Doesn't the Word of God say that He gives wisdom to all without finding fault? Let Him help you today with wisdom to not make life more complicated than it needs to be.

Check back later for more...because there is always more!










Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Complete

I think I would be safe to say that all of us would like to be the best 'us' we can be...
We want to be the complete package if we can for God, for our family, for our friends, for those we come into contact with.
It is the idea of being "complete" as a person.

Maybe you are like me and have big hopes and dreams for your life?
Maybe you have even prayed asking God to mould and shape you into the complete person you would to be?

I am reminded today as I have been praying through and considering the season my wife and I are facing, that God has a process to answer that hearts cry.
Unfortunately the answer to my prayer involves equal amounts of adventure and uncertainly, equal amounts of excitement and trepidation.
I think James is right when he describes how things seem to work...


The very act of testing of your faith, is what grows your faith.
It shows you where it has room for growth.
Where your faith has possible holes in it.
It reveals what your heart is currently like and where there is room for maturity.
If you and I want to be complete in our faith, then we need to acknowledge that we are indeed like scripture says, clay on a potters wheel, being moulded, stretched and more to become something better. Even complete?

I can confess today that I am not totally thrilled by this process.
Dang it is uncomfortable!
I am simply hanging on by the "skin of my teeth" to my hope in Christ. Hanging onto His unfailing love and His faithfulness that is supposed to be new even every single morning.

If you are facing a huge faith hill to climb, where the odds seem against you, and the road is a bit uncomfortable and rocky, I am with you
Please know that I am with you, cheering you on, to let God finish the work He needs to in this season of your life.

On the journey with you...


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Time to take charge???

Some of you will know I have been wrestling with some injuries over the last few years. In particular
recently I found something go pretty wrong with my right foot. It has meant I can no longer run, which is an issue for me, due to it being my time out activity.

After a number of weeks of resting it, it just wasn't improving, so I "maned up" and went to see my Doc. He kindly wrote me a letter for an orthopaedic surgeon to see what could be done?
The issue I then discovered was that I was going to have to wait 6 weeks just to see him, let alone have anything else done.

So being a little cheeky I phoned his surgery to see if I came to his city whether I could get an earlier appointment. The answer was yes and so I travelled there today to get his expert opinion.
There are 2 options of what could be wrong and what might need to happen, but he needed an MRI to confirm. Armed with a referral letter I simply walked into the local imaging centre to get an appointment instead of phoning. To my surprise they asked if I wanted to get it done in 30 minutes. Of course yes!

I learned something from this experience.
I had time to think as I sat inside a room on my own with an MRI machine doing its crazy loud noise thing all around me...

Here I was humbly taking charge of what was wrong physically with my body.
I wondered if this is something we should do when something is wrong spiritually with us well?

Now I am a firm believer in waiting on God.
Resting in His ways, grace and timing.
And I am also I firm believer that there is also the balance of taking charge for your own spiritual life.

Scripture doesn't feed my soul magically with my Bible sitting on a shelf.
Prayer doesn't become more comfortable and confident only watching others do it on my behalf.
Ministering to others doesn't flow simply and effectively just reading about how to do it.
I have to take charge for my ministering to God, myself and others.

Maybe you are reading this and you are not in the place you want to be spiritually?
And maybe you have chosen the road most seem to and withdrawn or potentially given up by putting things on hold?
Can I encourage you take charge of your spiritual life?
With God's help get out of the boat, walk on the waters of faith!

Scripture reminds us that God responds to certain specific things:
When we draw near to Him He draws near to us.
When we step out in faith He moves to meet that faith.
When we speak in a healthy expectation of His supply, He indeeds moves to met and even exceed it.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Did you miss it?

So what do you do when God speaks and you move past it?
Has He spoken or put something on your heart to do or say and you maybe got scared and forgot about it?

God recently reminded me of something I felt He wanted me to do.
I wondered if I had missed it by not dealing with it at the time?
And yet when I finally 'stepped up to the plate' and took my step of faith it still worked out really well!

Samuel was a young man who wasn't sure if it was God speaking and it took a few goes before he got it right. Even then he wasn't 100% sure but went with it and acted in faith.
Gideon asked God multiple times to confirm the things He was saying over a number of days and a number of ways. God didn't get upset or change His mind.
Mary wasn't sure what the angel was telling her in regards to carrying the saviour of the world. Scripture tells us many times she pondered the things God told her in her heart.

I wonder whether sometimes we feel we let God down by not doing what we felt prompted to do immediately? Wondering whether He will not fulfil a promise because we let Him down on the timing somehow?

Can I encourage to believe in Gods grace, favour and goodness?
Go in the faith you have...
I personally believe God is happy when we finally have taken a step of faith in regards to whatever it is. He will do what only He can when we take courage and step and do whatever He asks us to do.

If you have fallen off your faith horse, get back on it and ride that sucker with some confidence in Him.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

3 Wells

At this time of year I get a planned spiritual break/holiday/reset.
We have our movements annual conference in New Zealand's biggest city, and I take it as my opportunity to hear afresh from God.

Every year I have been blessed to have my expectations met.
God has each year without fail given me vision, direction, correction, whatever I need at this conference. And not always from what the speakers have shared, but just from having the opportunity to be in His presence.

One thing He spoke to me about I wanted to share in the hope it may help and encourage some of you.

I felt God tell me that it was time to dig a new well for my spiritual growth, especially for my personal devotion time with Him.
I then remembered the story of a man called Isaac who had some issues with wells.
It seemed to me God was speaking something important to me...

Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
Genesis 26:19-22

Each of those wells had a meaning.
Dispute / Opposition / Room

Life will potentially see the well you have been drawing from either dry up, be filled with clutter from the others or even lost in contention and the struggles of life.
Maybe the lifestyle you lead is different to say 5 years ago? And now you can't do what you used to do? Well (excuse the pun) it is time to probably change things up...
Sometimes staring at your dried up well asking "what went wrong?" is kind of pointless.
Nothing changes no matter how how you wish, will or wonder.
Sometimes the best thing to do is simply dig a new one.

Isaac eventually got a well that gave him room again to flourish.
He showed us that if his well wasn't going to make him grow, then he has to be proactive and go dig again.
I think I need a new one as well to flourish again in God.
Maybe you need one as well?

I am setting aside a new time, style etc in my devotions and exploring a new well.
And looking forward drinking something new and refreshing in Him.

Something to think about...

Friday, September 29, 2017

It must not go out

I was reading through the hugely detailed list of plans, rules and scenarios for the original temple as part of my Bible reading plan and came across a phrase.
It really lept off the page and I believe it is a 'rhema word' for me and maybe for you reading this ?

The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.
Leviticus 6:13

Once you have a fire going the biggest shame is to see it wether and die.
After all the time, effort and resource to get it going it is always a downer to be d left with only dead embers!

Fires go out simply because they were not given attention.
No one tended to the fire and eventually it runs out of fuel.

For the fire on the altar of my life to continue to burn for Him, I need to play some part in it combusting continually. I need to discover what fuels that fire and then manage it from there.
For me personally I have discovered I have a few fuel sources that seem to make be burn.

In no particular order they are...

  • Word of God - reading scriptures and meditating on them
  • Prayer - talking as much as I can to God about everything and anything
  • Worship
  • Serving others
  • Being creative
  • Finding joy
  • Being in the presence of God
  • Reading great books
  • Sitting under inspiring teachers

Well that is me...
What do you need to do to keep the fire of God burning in your life?
Think about it for a moment because that is the fuel you need prepared to keep your fire going.
You fire will continue if you keep the right resources for it, tending to it purposefully.

Maybe you need a fire starter moment?
Where you recognise after reading this, that the altar of your life is feeling a lot like cold, grey and dusty embers?
I love the account in Acts where the disciples gathers, prayed, worshipped and in that moment something like tongues of fire came on them. Maybe that is for you right now?
Take some time to wipe away the embers and get ready to have your fire restarted.
Seek Him with all your heart. Scripture tells us, in fact promise us, that we will find Him if we do such a thing. God is actually more interested in your fire burning than you...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Now? now that the election is sort of over...

So what do you do as a follower of Jesus now the voting is over?
This had been one of the things I have been considering lately and shared with our Church Family recently...
• Celebrate that your favourite has won?
• Panic that the result is not clear?
• Rant on Facebook?
• Hide in a hole for another 3 years?

I think scripture has some great advice for us all in this season.
So here are my practical tips you can take away with you today...

1. Prefer one another
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another
Romans 12:10 nkjv

Paul advice to these roman christians is the very same I would encourage for you...to be kind to one another, to honour one another.
Would Jesus want us to gloat or get upset? I think He would prefer us to act in grace just as He did...
If you know someone who is struggling with the election result, have compassion for them.
Show some love, grace and compassion.

2. God chooses our leaders
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1 niv

That I can exercise my democratic right to vote, and at the same God is still in charge actually amazes me. God is still sovereign over all - even elections...
Because God chooses our leaders...we get to choose as well our response to them.

3. We choose to respect our leaders
It is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Romans 13:5 niv

...give respect and honour to those who are in authority.
Romans 13:7 nlt

Back in 2008 the day before the general election that year I had the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House! While I wasn't a particular fan of their personal politics I was thrilled to meet them. To show respect.


When we moved to Taupo in 2009 I was struck by the reaction of people to our mayor at public events. People would boo and shout when someone he up to speak.
I was brought up differently.
You respect those over you!

If we want things to go well for us I think it is truly better to show respect to those over us.

4. Remember your hope stays secure
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people
Ephesians 1:18 niv

I want you to know today that your future is secure.
No matter what government, no matter what policy, no matter what position - you can have hope and be secure in it.
You inheritance is for here and how, and there and then.
You can feel secure that God will provide and protect now.
You can feel secure that God is preparing a place for you in heaven.

As a believer, as a follower of Christ, you can feel pretty privileged.
We don’t worry like the world around us worries.
Many put their hope in things and governments to make life better but we have hope in Christ and in Christ alone!

And by the way - it would probably be good to pray for our leaders...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Why do I give #6

I want a great heart

Show me what you, I, a Church, a City or even a Nation does with its money...and I will show what it truly cares about.
It reveals the heart. It shows what truly means the most...

I have discovered that few things reveal our hearts other than money.
When we don't don't have enough it hurts our heart.
When we have plenty there is potentially less stress on our heart.
Where and how I use the money I have, reveals my hearts motivation.
A generous person or a stingy person are both recognised by their decisions on how they use the money they have.

I wonder just how much God uses money to reveal to Him and us the true condition of our hearts?

Jesus shared these important words...

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 niv

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 6:24 niv

If you took 5 minutes right now to review how and where you spend, what would it tell you about you?
Where is your treasure truly kept?
Do you need to make some changes?

As for me, I want a great heart.
And as part of that desire, I choose to keep looking to how God would like me handle what He has blessed us with.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wagging Tails

When I was young we had the privilege of having lambs to rear by hand. They were orphans or lambs not bonding well with their mother.
So at this time of year here we were, multiple times a day making up milk bottles, nice and warm, and then feeding these cute little creatures...

I can still picture those lambs that were small and weak when they came to live with us.
I can also remember the way they grew and came to enjoy these feed times, their tails wagging furiously with every impassionaied gulp of the bottles we held for them.

How does this tie in with our faith?

I felt God remind me that we are all maybe like this relationship...
Either we are the lamb desperate for support and through that support being grown and strengthened.
While others of us are like the bottle preparer, bottle holder, having the joy of watching someone grow through our efforts.

Isn't this what our faith is supposed to be like?
Disciples making disciples?
Either we are are being discipled or we should be discipling someone else?

And I guess that is the underlying challenge with this thought today...
Which one are you?
Because I truly think you need to be one of the two.
I struggle to see a third option.
Because the only third option I can come up with is as a spectator, watching others grow, watching others help others to grow.

Before the end of today can I encourage you decide which one you need to be in this season?

Something to think about...

image copyright bbc.co.uk

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Love this Quote...gets you thinking!

"Christianity began in Galilee
as a fellowship of men and women
centred on Jesus Christ.
It went to Greece and became a philosophy.
It went to Rome and became an institution.
It went to Europe and became a culture.
It came to America and became an enterprise.
We need to get back to our roots."

Richard Halverson, former chaplain to the US Senate

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Why do I give? #5

I want a harvest

If you are a little cynical about some of the claims from preachers around the idea of "harvest", trust me, I totally understand...I am the first to admit that maybe some have taken the concept on a pendulum swing too far?
But, and I mean a big BUT...
Please don't throw away the spiritual principal based on a potentially misguided emphasis!

Scripture is actually pretty clear about how life works.
It reminds us that there are seasons.
It reminds us that there is a time to sow and a time to harvest.
And for me I find this easy to picture because of my childhood...

I grow up on a farm that included growing grain and seed crops.
Each year my Dad and uncle would pick a certain time of year to sow what they wanted to harvest more of at a certain date.
It was very calculated. Well planned. Our livelihoods depended on the process.

I can still picture going out in the fields after the seed and was sown and struck by nothing. That's right, there was just dirt and the tire tracks from where the machinery had been.
It wasn't until later you got a glimpse of a potential harvest when the shoots finally emerged.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10 niv

God wants you to have a harvest.
To get that harvest He supplies you with seed.
In your hands is the seed right now for your future harvest.
And you sow in faith, not expecting a harvest the next day, but at a time God blesses you with.
As seed is hidden for a time, so is the growth of the spiritual and material harvest you will receive.

Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 niv

I unashamedly sow for a harvest!
Yes I give to God for many other reasons, especially my love for Him.
But I would be naive to think I could ever reap a harvest without first choosing to sow...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why do I give? #4

I don't want to muzzle

I give because I want the Church to do well.
Unashamedly I really want the Bride of Christ to be looked after, blessed, well taken care off.
In fact I think it is part of my responsibilities as a follower of Jesus.

Jesus is coming back for His bride and I want her to be as glorious as possible on her wedding day.
I recognised a long time ago that my giving helps play a part in making sure the Church is not muzzled, restricted, even destroyed. My small part I pay helps a bride be prepared for its groom.
Please know I am speaking as a member of Christs body not just as a Pastor looking to placate some agenda.

When we withhold in the gracious gift of giving, we actually restrict what God can do through others.
I know some have been burned by leadership mistakes, but I can not in good conscience settle for that as an excuse to remove my giving from the equation.

Have you ever bought a coffee and it wasn't that good?
And based on that bad experience did you decide to never buy a coffee again?
Did you declare loudly and proudly that it is your civic, neigh moral duty even to make others aren't burned as you have been?
Maybe a silly analogy, but a similar story to what I have heard as a leader.

For Scripture says, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
1 Timothy 5:18 niv

I in no way want to muzzle and restrict those whose role it is to serve us in leadership and preaching, so I give a portion to play my part.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
Proverbs 3:27 niv

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Why do I give? #3

I want to honour

I think that this word 'honour' gets used by you and me without possibly thinking about its meaning...and it has a pretty cool meaning!
It is used as both a noun and verb.
It is both the naming of something or someone to honour them and also the act of honouring them.

I have learnt that I can honour God with the 'fruit of my lips' and 'what lines my pockets'...

Scripture shows every generation of God's people doing both.
They honoured God by what they said of Him and their faith in Him.
They honoured Him with their actions, especially in the act of giving financially.
It is 'normal' for God's people to give a portion of what they have received back to Him as soon as physically possible.

Honour the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
Proverbs 3:9 niv

You might be thinking this sounds kind of weird...
What does God care about what I do with the money I have?
Very few things show what you truly honour, except what we say and how we spend. In fact scripture tells us that God gets a real clear picture of how much we truly honour Him by how we handle our finances, whether we are giving or not, the level of our generosity.

Maybe this will help?
The writer of this proverb finishes his sentence this way...

then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:10 niv

When we honour God the pattern seems to be that He then honours us even more.
I choose to honour God with what I give, not because I am after blessing, but it is a pretty cool byproduct for me!

Something to think about...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why do I give? #2

I want to bless

One of the biggest thrills I have in my life is being able to bless someone else! I am serious about that.
I actually get frustrated when I can't bless as much as I feel I want to...

One day Suze and I felt lead to give a family a car.
We had 2 and because they didn't have one, it just seemed to make sense.
So I got up early one Saturday morning and cleaned our station wagon better than I had ever done before. Scrubbed it, polished it - made it smell fresh as a flower!
Then headed to the Post Office to get the change of ownership papers before we drove it around to the new owners.
I will never forget the looks on their faces when I simply handed them the keys and said "this is for you!"
What they wouldn't have understood is I was just as excited, if not more...

I want to be a blessing.
I think it is awesome to give to God especially financially.
Being able to give to Him is something I love to do. I want to bless Him. I want my giving to bless God's people.
I consider it an extreme honour to be part of the blessing process...

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:2-3 niv

God made this promise of a divine and exciting process to Abraham, and I believe it also applies to us today.
Our lives can be an ongoing source of blessing.
I hope you can discover the reality of this for yourself as well?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why do I give? #1

I have been thinking about why I give, especially in light of many around me questioning why you would even bother.
Many weeks at Churches around the globe there is that 'moment'. That moment where someone encourages, convinces, cajoles even sometimes, those in attendance to give something financially.

Please, before you write me off and stop reading because you really feel uncomfortable with this topic, why not take a moment to check out my personal thoughts on this?
What I am going to share is me. What I think. Why I give and even continue to give.

I want to contribute

My very first Sunday morning experience in August 1991 is where I heard about a way I could be part of what God was doing at the Church I started attending.
Now I had only been there 7 days, with my first experience being the Sunday night before.
The Pastor does something called an 'offering talk', and I can still remember thinking "how does this even work?", that it all sounded a bit strange and foreign to me.
At the same time I remember thinking that I wanted to be part of what was going on.
That if it took some of the resources I had, then why not.
I should at least give it a try and see what happens...

Jesus had radically changed my life after watching a video and then with my responding by giving my heart to him in the shower.
I was passionately trying to find my way.
And in my passion and maybe arguably naivety I went with what someone over me in Christ suggested.
I wanted to contribute.
Because I didn't have enough experience yet, I couldn't offer to worship lead, preach, even help on the door. What I did recognise quickly is that I could contribute to the work of God at that Church with some dollars.

I started contributing that way August 27th 1991, and I can honestly and proudly say I have counted it an honour to continue doing to this day!
I want to contribute to what God is wanting to do.
I want to play my part with what I can, to ultimately see the Churches needs met.
I want to make sure that I do what I can, in part to at least give something back to God for what He has so graciously done for me.

“Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the Lord has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.”
2 Chronicles 31:10 niv

What a great picture of the way it should work...
When Gods people all contribute, there is always more than enough, there are leftovers, and all of Gods people feel blessed!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thanks from me :)

Hi everybody...
Recently I took the time to have a look through the stats of my little blog page.
Was blown away that so many from all corners of the globe have take the time to visit and have a read! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

I am from New Zealand, and yet the majority of my readers come from other parts of the world. Turkmenistan, France, Portugal to name a few of the amazing places I have never been, yet you have visited me.

Thanks again for the honour of sharing with you.
I truly hope what I share helps in some big or even small way...

If you ever have any questions, comments or topic requests, I would love to hear from you!
Simply email me at locky@elim.org.nz

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 7

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 3:14-22 niv - Message to the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Have you heard of the phrase "sitting on the fence"?
Well that phrase pretty much applies here for God.
He just isn't a fan of it!
For God, He is all about knowing whether you are in or out, and simply going with that.
Of course He wants you to be in, He sent His son so you can be in.
But flip flopping with your faith is not so cool to Him.

Hot people are characterised by their absolute passion for God.
They are willing to do whatever it takes to follow Him. Giving up things, sacrificing their time, seeing their lives as no longer their own but as lives of worship for their father in heaven.
Be passionate about your faith my friend, no matter what the cost!

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Maybe today you realise after reading this that God has been knocking and trying to get your attention?
The gentlemen that He is means He is waiting patiently for you to invite Him in.
The pay off is that when you do, you never loose! It will be an adventure and ups and downs, but more ups than downs. Letting God in will mean you will grow up in every way possible.
Open the door today and let Him in again or for the first time in your life...

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 6

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 3:7-13 niv - Message to the Church in Philadelphia
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

I am reminded that God tells us that He has a plan for each of our lives...
Maybe you wonder if that plan is open to others manipulation or even prevention?
Maybe you think it is danger from some outside force ripping you off?
The answer I believe to that fear is this - NO!
God has His way, and if we want it, it is a done deal!
Nothing on heaven or earth can stop you entering into all that you can have and be in Him...if you stay faithful to the course He has for you.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

You and I need to stake our position in Christ and be immovable.
Scripture also reminds us that we are not those who shrink back, that is something God is not a fan of. We are people who stand firm in our faith.
We take our stand graciously and yet firmly on the rock that is Jesus.

My friend, in your walking by faith and fighting the good fight, stand your ground.
Don't give up on your hope or on your integrity.
Wait to see His salvation completely revealed in your life...

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 5

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 3:1-6 niv - Message to the Church in Sardis
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Reputation - funny how we value it many times and it maybe is not even the reality of someones life?
If you spend all your time trying to cultivate a reputation that doesn't match what God sees of your life, well that is pointless.
Before it gets too late sort it out. Come back to your first love.
Has God asked you do something? - complete it.
I bet you already have some idea what God wants from you. Just have the faith and courage to see it through.

Many years a go I used to hear a phrase preached...
Have an "ongoing short account with God".
No one graduates from repentance! No-one! Not me as a Pastor or anyone else I know.
Because I have sinful nature and a flesh that rages against my desire to honour God, many times I come up short of what is right.
Everyday I ask God to forgive me. I try and keep my account short.
God honours humility and contrition.

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

What is all this talk about clothes, dirty clothes, white clothes?...
In the 2000 years since this was first written for us, some things have not changed. You can tell a lot about someone by their clothing.
The clothing spoken of here is spiritual.
Dirty clothes indicates a life lived with sin struggles and where the person has given in to that struggle.

We get to choose the clothing of our soul. Clean or Dirty?

White clothes indicates a life lived where the person has exchanged this own unrighteousness for Christ's righteousness. They have chosen to live for Him. They don't want to satisfy their own sinful nature.
Victory over whatever personal struggle we may have is only possible by living for Christ and Him alone!

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Thursday, August 03, 2017

I podcast as well...

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 4

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:18-28 niv - Message to the Church in Thyatira
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

I think it is awesome that God notices what I attempt to do for Him!
Even if no one else notices, acknowledges or even thanks me for my service to the Kingdom of God, God is happy with what I bring.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Why bring up this lady called Jezebel?
This lady featured during the time of the Kings, specifically after Israel and Judah became two kingdoms. She was a very strong and forceful character married to an easily lead King called Ahab.
Her claim to infamy was her willingness to destroy others for personal gain, her lack of morals, and her manipulation of others lives.
She wanted the good bits of being part of Israel, her position and the benefits there of. But she didn't want God interfering. Didn't think He was needed.
For me the warning is to make sure I am not like her in any way.
That I don't allow others to lead me who are like her.
That I do what I can make sure that her spirit of intimidation and manipulation isn't part of my family of faith.
Those things I will never tolerate!

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

I think many of us are looking for secrets.
Like 'what is the hidden meaning of this or that' in scripture...
I believe that when Jesus encouraged us to have a child like faith, that He meant it about His Word as well. To simply take it as it is. To live it out as it is.
Many struggle to live out the most basic tenants of our faith - why look to complicate things?

When someone tells me they haven't just had a personal revelation, but that God is showing them and them alone a secret truth that has been hidden until now - I run!

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 3

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:12-17 niv - Message to the Church in Pergamum
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

You may feel like you a living and/or operating in the middle of the most ridiculous of place?
Maybe you are in a job where the management isn't that ethical?
Maybe your family doesn't behave well?
Or maybe you have a lot of friends who have questionable morals compared to how you would like to behave.
Because you are salt and light to where you are, you can stay strong in the middle of whatever you are facing and wherever God has place you. Stay strong my friend.

Tradition has it that a man named Antipas lived in this pretty wicked place but went around doing good, even healing those under demonic oppression.
He lived his life faithfully in service to God and others.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

This reminds of something...just as back then, it appears to be so even more now.
This whole trying to 'entice away' vibe that is so prevalent. All around you right now is a lot temptation, especially sexual in nature.
The enemy knows that if he can tempt you away in a sexual area of some sort, that he can put a wedge between you and God.
The antidote to all this is to always consider the Word of God.
How does God want you to behave? What is healthy sexuality?

Be careful Christian what you watch and entertain yourself with. It gets into your thoughts and your spirit. It can lower your resolve and your values. And nothing is worth throwing away your faith over.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Friday, July 28, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 2

What is God saying today?
A little bit of a dangerous question to pose, especially as it hints that I might have some idea...

I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:9-11 niv - Message to the Church in Smyrna
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 

Jesus had regular groups of people ready to be offended, ready to pose questions to incite a reaction, ready, waiting and hoping to see Him to fail. And when He didn't, they made stuff up about Him.

Part of following Jesus is sometime having muppets try and steal your joy. They will critique and criticise you, even thinking they are doing it for God.
Don't worry about them.
Stay focused on God and what He has for you...
God wants us to know He sees, He notices, He is always mindful of the struggles many of us are facing in life.

Maybe you have a health complaint you can't shake or you always seem to struggle a bit financially, well again, God is fully aware.
And in this short sentence He tells us that even with what we lack we are rich.

Scripture reminds us that we actually have all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
Live out of that richness and let Him sort out everything else...

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Modern Christanity struggles with reconciling suffering for your faith.
Sorry my friend but suffering is part of the call. Suffering actually is a friend to your faith.
It will develop your character.
It will cause you to keep hanging onto Jesus with everything you have. Just like Paul had his 'thorn', you and I will have one to. Better to be ready for it than surprised I guess...

Scripture tells us that it must finish its work...wow...so you will be complete and not lacking anything...even bigger WOW.
The even bigger payoff for you and me is that if we stay faithful to Christ and journey God has for us, not only will He get us through, but there is always a reward.
I like rewards!
If you quit part way through you will never discover what God wanted to reward you with...

Hang in there my friend whatever you are facing.
You can guarantee others are going through it with you.
God is faithful to help you complete the race marked out for you!

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 1

I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

What is God saying today?
A little bit of a dangerous question to pose, especially as it hints that I might have some idea...

I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:2-6 niv - Message to the Church in Ephesus
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

God knows all about your life. What you do. Why you do.
He knows what you struggle with as well as the effort you put into following Him.
These few sentences will either encourage or challenge you. Both are a good thing.

Today if you are struggling please know God is noticing and He cares!

While you pursue Christ, be mindful of who you have lead you.
Go after 'godly' leaders not just people who say they are leaders.

4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

No matter how focused we are on being good or hardworking or whatever it is...nothing should ever trump our relationship with Jesus.
If you have stepped back from it in some way come back.
If you need to focus on it because it isn't where it should be, then do that.

God wants a relationship with you over everything else.
He is passionate about that, hence His language around this idea.

One of the worst things I think that can happen to any Christian is to become a professional Christian.
Where you think you have risen up through some experience ranks you don't still do the most basic things of your faith.
For me being a pastor is a dangerous place. I can make my relationship my profession...yuck!
I need to do what I did with Him before I got to this role!
I will never graduate from my own personal devotion time!

From what I can gather, the Nicolaitans had ideas about faith that didn't match God's expectations.
They mixed the things of this world with faith to suit a model they would like, especially around sexuality.
I think God is warning us to come back to our first love and watch we don't mix the world into our faith. You and I are the salt and light.

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sceptre

What does Grace and an extended Sceptre have in common? Everything!

For many of us, when we know in our hearts we have done something silly, we don't feel we can approach God.
I have watched this in my own life at times. Thinking I need to prove my repentance with counter action. If I can show God just sorry I am, then and only then will He approve of me again...

I was thinking about this recently and remembered the account in scripture of a young lady.
She needed to approach the king and doing so, it could cost her very life. She understood from the handed down customs and expectations, that if the king didn't want to see her as she approached, he could actually have her killed.

She prepares her heart by fasting.
Goes to the throne room full of trepidation...

1...Esther dressed in her royal robes and went to the inner court of the palace in front of the throne. The king was sitting there, facing the open doorway. 2 He was happy to see Esther, and he held out the gold scepter to her.
When Esther came up and touched the tip of the scepter, 3 the king said, “Esther, what brings you here? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom.” 
Esther 5:1-3 esv

Esther forgot what we forget.
The Kings heart for us.
When she approached the king she was so focused on culture, the rules, hers and others expectations, that she missed the fact the kings heart was always for her and not against her.

All that matters as we approach God is our heart.
It is always about that for Him and should be for us as well.
All you need to do is prepare your heart for a moment, take a deep breath and humbly come to Him.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, 
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
Hebrews 4:16 nkjv

Before you even need to come to God, His heart is for you.
God's sceptre of grace is ready and waiting to be extended to you right now!

Something to thing about...

Thursday, July 06, 2017

My summary on 'gracefull'

After studying this whole concept of grace and then sharing on it over 3 weeks, I have come a special place in my faith.
I can truly say that grace has proven itself to be amazing, outstanding and even to a degree, always beyond my comprehension. And that is a good thing!

I thought I had it sussed in my own mind for some time, but God has shown me it is even bigger, more far reaching and more powerful for my life and yours.
That is why scripture talks about growing in grace.
Being lead by grace.
Grace upon grace until you are promoted to glory in heaven.

Grace has work to do that is never finished.
And grace never gets tired of such work.

Every day of your following Jesus is another opportunity for grace to be the star of the show.
You can experience grace for yourself.
You can express grace for others.

None of us are exempt from grace.
And while we are not worthy, yet we still receive.
Grace is the 'charis' - greek for gift, that God generously dishes out each and every day.
Then He invites us to join with Him it dishing it liberally to our sphere of influence.

Can I leave you with 3 key scriptures today regarding grace and you?


Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 niv

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 niv

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 niv

Something to think about...

If you would something to listen to, click here for the 1st in the gracefull series...


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Mouth Rinse

As a kid growing up I had to deal with a lot of mouth rinse...
No not the soap based kind you probably first thought of!

Because of dental issues, I had a number of teeth pulled and then the recommended salty mouth rinse regime ensued for a number of weeks each time.
There was a reason for doing it, it was just not what I wanted to do.

When I read this passage again recently I couldn't help but be reminded of this childhood experience...

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, 
that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 
Colossians 4:6 njkv

I regularly in my role as a Pastor, have to season my mouth.
I want whatever I say, whether encouraging or correcting to be seasoned with grace.
Supposedly being right is one thing...
Delivering in a way that is received is totally another thing all together!

As a husband and parent the same thing applies...

All of us are called to this very thing...to let grace season the words of our mouths.
Let grace slosh around. Rinse it around. Shake your face to and fro until grace has permeated your teeth, your tongue and your lips.
Practically that means for me that I think very carefully before I speak.
Sometimes I rehearse it. Many times I pray fervently about it.
Grace should be the sound that is heard along with the verbs that I perpetuate.

Scripture also reminds us that there is the power of life and death in each of our tongues.
It can be a weapon of destruction or a true minister of grace.
Let's choose to season our speech to one another with grace.
Can I encourage you today to choose to speak life to one another?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fix

Are you one of those people who are good at fixing things?
Or maybe you are one of those people who just wish you had that gift? Don't worry, I'm not asking for you to raise you hand.

Part of our human nature is to normally try to fix things.
Whether it be broken hearts, busted dreams, or damaged relationships.
Either that or we try to fix them by doing the very opposite to avoid the mess...

Coldplay coined these words recently...
"Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you"

Can the words of a song really fix what might need fixing in your life right now? They maybe can help...but I am not convinced they will truly fix it.

I have some good news for you!
You don't have to rely on me or yourself to try and fix what is possibly wrong.
The fix you are maybe looking for starts I believe a little differently...

FIX your THOUGHTS

Our first choice, first action if you like, is to make some choices about what we think about the most.
Fixate on issue or focus on the fixer of our souls?

fix your thoughts on Jesus... Hebrews 3:1

There are many times something seemed impossible to fix, so I do what I can to focus on Christ, because I have no better place to turn.
And many times to help myself I remind myself or dive into His Word, to help guide my thoughts.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds
Deuteronomy 11:18

FIX your EYES

...run with perseverance...fixing our eyes on Jesus...
Hebrews 12:1-2

While you wait for the fix, you have to keep on moving.
And if you keep on moving towards Jesus, with that as your goal, your fix will come, I promise you!

Don't let yourself be distracted or put off. Run after Him.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Proverbs 4:25



Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

He's all about the Grace, 'bout the Grace...

Ok, I am being a little silly with this title, but seriously I think I have needed a revelation of this lately...and maybe this is for you as well?

For nearly 2 years I have been looking at teaching on grace.
Why has it taken me so long?
To be honest, I am not sure, apart from I haven't before now known where to start!

I read these words from an author by the name of Preston Sprinkle recently that helped me...

"Grace isn't a term. It’s not a doctrine. It’s not a buzzword.
It’s not the words of a song, a prayer before meals, a name plastered on our churches.
It’s not leniency or niceness. It’s not something that can be domesticated or completely understood. And it’s something that can never grow old or stale.
Grace is what flows through the veins of Jesus, who heart stubbornly beats for you."

One of the reasons I don't totally understand grace is because it actually doesn't make any sense.
Why is God so graceful to us when we certainly don't deserve it?
Why do we seem to at some point, to put a statute of limitations on grace, even when God doesn't ask us to?
Should grace be more simple, more defined?
I guess grace matches up to God's personality and His way of doing things. Didn't some old prophet say that God's ways and thoughts are higher than ours?

The reality for all of us is that we should never move from a place of grace, for ourselves and for others. When we do we actually move away from who God can be for us and those around us.

Many of the letters in the new testament finished with asking for God to pour His grace on the readers. And one author asked us to add grace to whatever grace we already have received...
May God this week do just that for you?
May you seek His grace and mercy over His judgement?
May grace cover you, lead you, motivate you and bring you closer to your father in heaven...

Something to think about...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

My summary on Divine Direction

We have just completed a 4 week teaching series at our Church inspired by the book Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel!
Thanks Pastor Craig - you are awesome sharing your resources with the world...
And then today I was speaking at a local school and felt to summarise what we have learned together for the kids at their assembly.

So if you are in a place right now looking for some divine direction for your life, maybe these thoughts could help you today?

Do Not Panic!

A man’s heart plans his way, 
but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

If you are doing your best to follow Jesus, to live right...you have nothing to worry about.
God has vested interest in helping you make great choices about your future!
You don’t have to have everything all planned out, because He does.
Trust Him to lead you and guide you on that plan, whenever you need a next step...

Trusting God with your life will make it more of an adventure!

Look for what grabs your attention

3They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4 NIV

• Nehemiah was a Cup Bearer for the leader of the nation where his people were in exile.
• Glorified ‘Suicidal Sommelier’
• His one job is bring the best wine to his boss.
• Make sure it is the right quality. Taste it to make sure it won’t kill his boss (possible to die on the job).

Nehemiah hears this news and for some divine reason it impacts his life like no other news he has heard before. Decides someone has to do something about it and it might as well be him.

I have learnt over the years that God uses things to grab our attention, and some of those things grab our attention in a powerful godly way.

What does Nehemiah know about Wall Building? Seriously what?
God gets people like you to do cool stuff if you want to do cool stuff for him.
It has nothing to do with age, skill, experience...but a willing heart!

Trust the Process

I was thinking about this the other day...
Who I am now is not a random thing, an accident...
Who I am now is based on me trusting the plan that God has for my life.

I can see God taking me on a journey / a divine process to get me to be who I am today and I firmly believe that God wants to do the same for you.
Probably everything you have been through has in some way helped develop you into who you have become. And if you are trusting God with all your life, then with all your life He will lead you through the process to who He dreams you can be in Him.

Be Brave

You might have heard people say they don’t regret what they did during their lives, but actually what they didn’t do?

Don’t let fear stop you from following through on whatever you think God might want you to do right now!
Maybe you like the idea of praying for people and seeing them get healed? Do it - see what God does...
Maybe you have a dream of being a “________”?  Don’t look for all the reasons why you can’t be that person. Trust God will help you be that person.

Looking for more?
Would you like to dig into this some more? 
Here are some options for you :
Check out some of out teaching podcasts
Or feel free to get in contact with us here at Elim

Bless ya heaps!  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sounds good...what does it mean?


I saw this appear on a few friends social media pages this week and I instinctively clicked 'like'.
I mean it sounds good doesn't it?
But I was also left wondering what it really means for me?
What it means for the person sharing it?
And what it could possibly mean for you reading it just now?

"Let you light shine before others..."

When I read something like this I am intrigued by the words used.
It is telling me a lot with very little.
1. That there is a light coming from my life in some way.
2. That I need to let it out.
3. That it will be seen and has been designed to be seen by others around me.

It then gets me to ask some challenging questions of myself?
- What is the light coming from my life?
- How bright is it?
- Am I happy with what it says about me?
- How would others interpret my light?
- Do I need to change anything?

It is actually not as cryptic as you might think.
Light is exactly translated from a greek word meaning light, emitting light, brightness.

Jesus goes on to say that our light is actually how we behave, what we do, our true self, our true religion. All the real us and the work done by God on our lives, coming out of us naturally and supernaturally.

God doesn't want it hidden.
If God has poured anything good into your life let it out.
- If grace, shine grace.
- If healing, shine healing.
- If forgiveness, shine forgiveness.
- If generosity, shine generosity
- If gifting in some way, shine your giftedness

Get your Jesus loving life in a public place and shine like the Jesus glow worm you should be?
Interesting that I just mentioned glow worm, they operate best in dark places...and you and I can change environments with the light of Christ coming from our lives...now matter how dark they maybe!

Maybe you could be like me today and take a moment to reflect on what my light is saying what I truly believe and who I believe I am in Christ?
I want to shine for Him in the most God honouring way possible!

Something to think about...


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

8 Years

Exactly 8 years a go today our journey of being Pastors of our own Church essentially began.
Armed with more enthusiasm than skill, more passion than a plan, I came to Taupo one Queens Birthday Weekend while my family was in Auckland and led my first Sunday.
I had been part of leading at a Church in Auckland with 1000's of people. Now I had the privilege of stepping out and leading one myself.
30 people turned up that day. 
I didn't care that it wasn't big compared to where I was from, I was just super excited to have God give me a go...

What have I learned?
I have learned so much and yet discovered that I have plenty more to learn.
I probably at a pinch could sum up these last few years pastoring a Church as an 'art'.

Adventure
I have always believed that following Jesus was supposed to be an adventure of sorts.
Yes it means we can have our sins forgiven and yes we can have our consciences cleared. But it was never supposed to begin and end at that moment of decision.
We are each called to a grand adventure of following Him.
It is a walk of faith not a rest in a garden.

Coming to Taupo was an adventure and it truly still is.
While I have an idea of where we are going there are many gaps that only God can orchestrate and fill.
And that to me my friends is actually truly living!

Reality
Beyond my enthusiasm there is also reality.
The reality that while on this grand adventure God has got us on, that life still happens, and not always the way I had planned for myself.

There have been endless highs and lows on this road.
I ask God all the time to invade my reality and with His presence and guidance.
The road may be rocky but it is the road God has put me on.
And I for know I couldn't do a better job than Him planning my lifes journey.

Which leads to the biggest one for me...

Trust
If I have learned anything in these last few years it is this...
Trust is the foundation of any great relationship.
To the level I trust God with my life actually dictates the level I am able to operate in it.

I can honestly say my trust has been trialled, tested and shaken all around.
And I can honestly also say that I will continue to trust in Him.
He is with me.
He is faithful.
He planned my life.
He has made me promises.
So I am left with trust. Not on my own understanding, but I on His perfect will. For me to live is Christ!

Maybe some of my journey speaks to you today?
Following Jesus is an art.
Stay the course my friend. Look for the adventure.

Something to think about...


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The most 'over used' words of our faith #3

I wanted to do a little series of simple thoughts around some of what I have seen as some of the most overused words in our faith today.
What I do want to make clear is I truly believe in each of the words, the concepts they convey, 
and the life change they can bring.
My observation though is that many have become christian catch phrases on the altar of cool. 
And because they have the can lose the power they should have they for each of us.


There is a clip that gets shared around that always makes me cringe a little...
In it a preacher is going for it at his Church.
He isn't coming across very well I don't think. One minute he is telling someone they aren't worth 15 cents and in the next breath telling them how much he loves them.
"I am a big deal" he yells, like he has worked everything out and he is the expert on everything. Yuck! No wonder people get confused over the use and meaning of my next word - Love

Love is in fact pretty cool.
Being "in love" feels pretty unbelievable.
Experiencing love is one of the greatest pleasures we can have.
There is not anyone in this life who doesn't need it and deserve it.
While I am not a 'Beatle' I believe they were right when they penned the phrase "all you need is love".
I would prefer a world filled with real love than filled with most anything else you can come up with.

And I am not talking about love like in the "I love my shoes". I am talking about the true and purest form where it is giving, unselfish and amazing!

The Bible is actually filled with teaching on the topic.
Some would say that God's Word is all about His love for us.

The most common passage at weddings I hear is the 'Love Chapter' in 1 Corinthians 13.
The irony for me is that this famous passage is easily said and harder done. It is easy for many to let the "I love you" roll of the tongue and yet it not be true, which I find a little  disturbing.


Love is not a word with power.
Love's power is from action because of it.

The best examples of love are actually based on action.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His Son"
"True love covers over a multitude of sins"

The challenge I have for myself is that my life reflect love more than my need to declare verbally.
I want my verbs to match my actions.

I am so tired of saying it...I would rather display it.

Let's not prescribe to the type of weirdo love that idiots like that preacher I mentioned portray.
I think you and I can do so much better than that...

Something to think about...

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