Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Does God have a problem with your questions?

I don't think God has a problem with you asking Him questions?
Those why, when, how, what phrases to heavens throne do not phase Him one little bit...
Jesus asked His disciples and the crowds questions all the time to get them to think.
God through the prophets of old used to ask questions while sharing truths.
In fact questions are the gateway to understanding.

Is there something about this faith in God thing that you don't understand?
Ask a question...
Are you wondering what could be your next assignment from God?
Ask a question...

God has promised each of us that we have ears specifically designed to hear His voice.
God wants to answer your questions.
Speak to your heart.
Give your direction.
Maybe the question back is - will you listen?

Can I encourage you this week to not be afraid or ashamed of asking God anything?
Let Him speak to you and guide you.
You might be pleasantly surprised?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Confer

“And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:29‬ ‭niv‬‬

I absolutely love this verse and what it implies for you and for me!
Reading it this week, it really lept off the page and hit me between the eyes.
God wants to confer something pretty special to you!
Every translation says the same thing with an equally powerful word, appoint (KJV), assign (ESV), grant (NLT)...I just like the power and meaning of confer.

Think about it for a moment, God wants to confer on you what He gave Jesus.
What did He give Jesus?
The ability to to hear exactly what He was wanting to say, when He wanted to say it.
Opportunity to operate beyond human restriction and ability.
Positioned Him above every rule and authority. And so much more!
Now consider again that this is exactly what Jesus is saying God wants to do for you and how you can live and breath and be...

You are not little “your name”, you are Gods kid given everything you need to change the world.
The same Holy Spirit that anointed Jesus to preach, teach, and display the greatness of God is available to you. Available so you can do exactly the same things!
That is why he said you can do...because you can do...don’t limit yourself to your understanding or false humility. Live up to and operate in the high calling of God and accept the role conferred to you today!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Jesus Relevance and Politics

Wow, just wow...
All around the world I am seeing this amazing move of engagement in politics.
I am old enough to have noticed a change since my first days of voting in a general election here in New Zealand. With the new platforms that social media have brought us, I believe the number of people saying what they think has grown dramatically.
And they are saying it loudly.

Here is my angle today...
I am a firm believer that as a follower of Christ, a disciple, I need to do what I can to copy my Saviour.
When Jesus was here some 2000 years a go there were politics, they had social upheaval worse than many of us face, He faced pressures to speak out on those issues and more.
I am disturbed many times when I see other believers seemingly acting nothing like Jesus and saying Jesus supports their actions. While that may upset some readers, I am more concerned with us discovering the relevance of Jesus to our world and in particular our political engagement.

Now to offend maybe some more of you...
After studying Jesus life and ministry for many years, I have come to the conclusion He was ______.
I leave it blank on purpose.
I don't believe He was left, right, centre, populist, communist, republican or democrat.
He was here as He said "on His Fathers business", the business of getting people to see past politics to eternity and the Kingdom of God.
Jesus relevance was to bring heaven to every personal encounter.
Jesus didn't set up a political party but a world changing movement of like minded and hearted people. People who look past labels to helping people secure an eternal home in heaven.
Jesus was not a social justice warrior.
Jesus was not a political activist.
Jesus was and still is, the Son of God.

So my challenge to us all as we navigate our own personal political preferences and leanings, is to filter it through what our Saviour modelled.
He modelled compassion.
He modelled truth and grace in equal measure.
And he modelled laying down your own preference for the sake of others.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

When you are low God issues an invitation

I was struck by something I hadn't picked up on before in the story of Gideon over the weekend...
When we are introduced to Gideon it is actually at a bad time in his life (Judges 6).
He is feeling pretty bad about his place and station in life.
He is hiding. Some even believe that he was possibly depressed?

What does God do?
God turns up in the middle of his despair and speaks to him via an angel. And what God says and how He says it I think is very much important and something we can learn from.

God's response is not to simply pat him on the head spiritually and commiserate.
God speaks directly to who Gideon can be instead of who he currently considers himself to be.
God wants to lift Gideon out of that pit different to how he went in.
He tells him who He says that Gideon can be. Not ignoring Gideon's circumstances, but issuing a divine invitation to lift him up. To place him somewhere better. Offering a new way forward which carries favour from heaven.

If you are not in a good place right now, can I issue you an invitation to find out Gods new invitation to you?
Maybe take some time to seek Him in His Word?
Maybe seek out someone filled with the spirit of God to prophecy over your life?
You do not have to stay in any form of a pit.
Rise up you mighty man or women of God!!!

Something to think about...



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Not planning on graduating for a long time!

You might be wondering what I am referring to?
I thought the idea of study and learning in some field of endeavour was to graduate as quickly and efficiently as possible? Well might be true of things like becoming a doctor or a teacher etc but not how I see my living for Christ.

I have come to believe that I need to embrace the idea of being a perpetual student of Christ.
He is my teacher.
I am in His classroom.
And I aint leaving until He graduates me to heaven!

A disciple is not above his teacher, 
but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40 esv

I take my study personally and passionately.
I read scripture as much as I can and frustratingly I still don't read it enough.
I research themes and ideas for myself even researching what others have to say that make me a little uncomfortable at times. I want to know if I am right or wrong beyond my pride...
I study 'up'. Meaning a read and research to improve what needs growth in my life.
I am always asking Him to speak to me in any and every way.
I am not there yet but always pushing forward to be more and more like my teacher.

Can I encourage you today to dive into the classroom of life that Jesus has just for you?
Learn from Him. He will teach you at a pace and place that works best for you personally.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 esv

Religious people think they have already made it so they stop learning.
Their world continually shrinks and grace slips further and further from entrenched positions and postures.
Don't be like them. Be a perpetual student of Jesus.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Once upon a time I noticed a girl at Church

Once upon a time I noticed a girl at Church...
I had an idea that I would like to be with her and highly likely to marry her.

I schemed, planned and put in a lot of effort to win her as my bride.
I prayed a lot and talked to a few key leaders about it before setting course on winning her heart.

Step one was to infamously get a friend from work to invite her to our end of year Christmas function. My cunning plan was once she was there, I would eventually pluck up the courage to ask her to dance, she would fall in love with me, and the rest would be history.
Unfortunately my plan was as lame as when this is portrayed in the movies. When I finally asked her to dance she said no. And to make matters worse was given a ride home by another guy.

Did I give up at this point even though tempted through the disappointment?
NO!

I did other things over the many months this potential relationship was on my radar and in my heart.
I then got traditional with my tactics and invited her to see a movie.
She agreed to this one thank goodness! Can even still remember what we saw.
When she got sick I sent her a get well card under the guise of "pastoral care".
Yes I cared she was sick, but thought it might show my caring side and hopefully get her to like me a little more?
When New Years Eve came around I offered to give her a 'new years eve hug'.
Several days later all my praying and planning seemed to work.
We kissed for the very first time in a park by a tree. It was awesome!
Just over 2 months later we were engaged.
And at the end of that year after graduating Bible College, we got married.

So why am I telling you all this?
What is my point?

I wanted to be married to the girl so I put everything I could into it.
Half hearted would never win her heart.
Giving it a try and giving up at the first hurdle would achieve me nothing.
It took a dogged determination to win her and I think it was worth all the effort and ups and downs along the way.
I had to be fully immersed in the process to achieve what I was looking for.

I truly believe your relationship with Jesus should be the same.
You need a dodged determination. A passion to make it work, see it flourish and grow.
The Bible tells us that it takes loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
It is all or nothing. 'Full immersion' as I like to call it.
I am more than willing to give my all for my King! What about you?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Experiment

My youngest kid loves doing experiments.
His most common passion right now is to freeze all sort of random things and see what happens.
He tests his results outside and seems to really enjoy himself.
It can drive us nuts finding random things in the freezer, but it is a small price to pay for his enjoyment...

After nearly 27 years of being a follower of Christ I have met a lot of like minded people.
A regular theme has been made clear to me...
Everyone of those people who took God at His Word.
Everyone of those people who put into practice what they learned.
Everyone of those people who decided to experiment and it give it a try.
They are the ones who had an adventure of faith.
They are the ones who have keep the faith.
They are the ones who never got cynical and tired.
They are the ones who still many years and experiences good and bad, they are the ones who have not given up on that faith.

James says something extremely important from his many years of experience being a Jesus follower...
"...be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:22 ESV

My faith has never stopped at learning! It has been made real because I have always experimented with what I learnt.
When I heard about giving to God in a Church and they called it tithing, it sounded weird to me, but I thought what the heck, I'll give that a go...
When I heard that we are all supposed to be able to pray for the sick and they will be healed, even though I was new at this Jesus thing, I gave it a go on a guy who twisted his ankle in front of me and he got healed! I don't know who was more surprised me or him?
When I heard you can share you faith, I gave it a go...
When I heard you can serve in your Church, I gave it a go, in fact I gave every ministry you can think of a go...
You probably get the idea?
I have always experimented with my faith and it has also worked for me!

Faith is only fully realised when you act on the revelation you receive.
It has never been complicated. But many don't get past the hearing and onto the doing and boy oh boy are they missing out!

If you are a frustrated believer right now maybe you are because you aren't experimenting with your faith?
Maybe you have been listening for many years and you are spiritually bloated from all the great teaching you have sat under?
Don't diet. Start to do something with it.
Loose your bloating by experimenting and taking God at his Word.
Come on and join in with me. Get off the bench and into the game.
It will make far more sense to you when you do!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Nobody's Perfect

I would be surprised if you hadn't heard the phrase "nobodies perfect" before! And yet I have come to discover that some people like to hope that others around them are.
Invariably when they discover those 'others' aren't as perfect as they hope, they are disappointed.
I have even seen some people do a social media campaign against a leader because they are not as perfect as they hoped.

Please understand 2 things before I go on with this simple thought :
1. Scripture tells to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) - a goal we should have without destroying ourselves, we should none the less go for.
2. We should be careful not to have our faith destroyed by false teachers or manipulative leaders. So of course be wise about the influence others have over you. (2 Peter 2:1)

I read today a story that has come to light since the death of Billy Graham. It appears that he was not a great dad many times during his ministry.
He apparently missed the birth of his first child.
He didn't recognise one after an extended time away in his ministry. The account goes that it broke his heart and that particular child never forgot the look on their fathers face and the tears in his eyes...
Billy Graham was not perfect. In spite of it he was seeing thousands saved. Many have grown in the faith journey under his teaching. How dare I consider righting his ministry off over some of his struggles!

When I have looked at briefly the lives of most of the major players and influencers of our faith, I am struck that none were perfect.
- Moses didn't speak to the rock when God asked Him to.
- David stole another mans wife.
- Peter denied Christ.
- Martin Luther challenged theology and practice and got a few things wrong.
- Every Pastor I have served under and learned from had issues they were working through, and yet God used them marvellously in my life. I wouldn't be half of who I am now without their ministry.

I see people telling others online not to learn from this pastor or that leader or that Church because of something that haven't got right.
I guess you have to follow your own conscience. But can I encourage you to weigh things up maybe a little more balanced?
If they are 99% right about faith, isn't that enough? Learn from that 99% and forget the rest...
My relationship with God is not based on others having their faith and theology perfect. It is based on my relationship and their teaching helping me along the way. I always go away and look into what I have been taught. I ask whether if it not right, whether it is a 'deal breaker' if it is not.
Sometimes they are not wrong and I am...and then I am challenged to review my theology and that is a good thing! Maybe God is using their struggles or failings to challenge me, to grow me, to speak to me?

As a leader is it so tiring!
I want to be perfect for you and I just can't quite get there...
That doesn't mean I won't keep trying. But I ask that you extend the same grace to me that you expect I extend to you?
We are imperfect people doing our best to follow a perfect God.
I will keep going for perfection and at the same accepting the grace I so desperately need from Him.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

There is a lot I don't like about the world right now!

There is a lot I don't like about the world right now!
And it caused me to pause and think this morning with an ounce of trepidation for what world my kids are about to inherit.

Please let me explain...
We have drivers of cars who don't care about waiting or following rules when they need to get to where they feel they need to go.
We have entertainment that is so encompassing, so pervasive, that many have no time for real relationships anymore.
We have so many ideas on every single thing, but it seems very few answers that truly make a difference for the average person.
We have so many broken homes and broken relationships resulting in broken people.
We have politicians who seem to think lying and cheating is totally ok as long as it meets their end goal.
We have media who love to report the world we live based on sound bites or clip bait headlines, it seems never telling the whole story.

What else do we have?
We have HOPE.
Hope that promises to never disappoint, that points to something better, that can create lasting change to a life, a family, a church, a street, a city, a nation.
If you have any sort of faith in Christ, hope should be part of the package you are buying in to.

I don't believe this hope is like something that is like a trinket in your pocket.
Whatever hope you have is supposed to be bigger than that...
It is more like the clothes you were and the life you lead. It should be on display, shared around, shown with grace and compassion and yet shouted from the rooftops.
"There is HOPE!"

Can I encourage you today to pick one space or place where your hope could make a difference?
Share in actions or if you need, with gracious words.
Your hope should stand out like a light in a dark place...

Something to think about...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

You are a Rep

I walked into an appointment that was booked some weeks ago, only to discover on arrival that they had messed something important up.
Something inside of me was not very happy!
They had plenty of opportunity to let me know before the appointment there was a problem and didn't. The first staff member I encountered seemed strangely uninterested in the now plight I faced and time I was now wasting. And in that moment, wrestling with the grumpy feelings stirring up within me, I was reminded that I am a rep for the Kingdom of God...

Why is that even important?

When you decide to follow Jesus and then let the world know, many things change!
You get all the goodness, greatness and grace of heaven in your life.
You also get a new role in the world you are still living in. You are now a representative.
Scripture actually calls you an ambassador of heaven.
You exchanged your old life to become salt and light in any and every moment you walk and talk in.
People who are not in same camp as you yet, will forever look to you as an indication on whether God is real, whether He can work in your life, whether it is worth their while looking seriously at...

Do you rip into them? Stand up for yourself because of your importance in the universe?
I was wronged but how should I handle that?
Can I encourage to learn how to handle your role well?

I believe in sharing gracefully that something was wrong, and I believe we should not seek revenge with either our words or actions.
I believe sometimes you should even consider just being 'wronged' as Jesus put it. Turn the other cheek. Let God sort it out.
I believe you should always consider what your actions say about you and the Kingdom you now represent. Facebook rants will stay in the ether forever. Is that a good thing?
I believe in all I do and say I represent not only myself, but you, my church, my town and my God.
I know it is more than overused, but ask yourself "what would Jesus do?"

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Have you noticed...?

Have you noticed that there are plenty of people ready to state an opinion on things?
On how you and/or others should live their lives...
To what is really happening in the world...

Today I found my facebook feed flooded with diatribes on everything, and I think it was everything!
Sexuality
Crime
Poverty
Religion
Fashion
Politics
World Issues
The state of the Church
And more...

If I took it at all on face value it seems everyone is deeply angry and disappointed.
Everyone else is wrong and they are right. Someone else is always to blame.

In trying to process my thoughts on this I was reminded of a scripture...

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, 
live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 niv

I am reminded that we are not on this earth to simply point out each others faults, or to be the police over every issue, cause and creed. We are called as followers of Christ to do what we can to live at peace with others.
Each of us have enough of our own challenges at times without spending hours pointing out the challenges of others.

Maybe the best thing we could each do today is prioritise spending some time with Jesus?
Asking Him to deal with our hearts.
Asking Him to help us live at peace.
Maybe that would help this world a little better?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Please pray for your world!

Over the last 24 hours I have sat stunned at what I have read and seen...

Here are a few examples :
A a special dinner in America a 'comedian' told the audience to 'not knock abortion until you have tried it!' In fact their much published mantra is "Be true to yourself. Never apologize. Burn it to the ground."
As part of spring / may celebrations in France and apparent protests for workers rights, looters and hooligans destroyed areas of the march as they went.
And speaking of destruction, you may well have seen the wave of destruction hitting area of South Africa.

I could give you a list as long as one of my normal blogs without any trouble, listing off other places where corruption, persecution, agendas to destroy, extreme hypocrisy and lawlessness seemingly prevail. But I fear that will only add to yours and mine feelings of hopelessness?

We have one thing we can do right now - we can pray!
Please pray with me for the world we live?
Even if you only have faith for the corner you reside in, do that.
Maybe you have faith to pray for people groups or nations?

I can not in good conscience just sit back and watch from a distance.
And I certainly can not live with myself pretending that things are ok!
This is not the world I want for myself and definitely not my kids!!!

Who wants to pray with me today?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Come sit with me...

This is kind of a challenge for you...
I would love to encourage you to take the teaching in scripture, especially in the new testament, and give it a try as and when it presents itself.
Now I am not asking you to pluck an eye, or go hunting for planks in your remaining eye!
Please let me explain...

I don't go to conferences very often at all. 
There are a lot of reasons why including not having time, resource etc.
And as I arrived the other night for the first meeting of a conference I was invited to I was reminded another reason why I don't go. 
I was there on my own again. And even with 100's of people around being on your own can just reinforces your being on your own-ness.

It came time to take a seat.
So I did what seemed the right thing to do. I sat at the very back of the section allocated for Pastors.
After 10 kind of awkward minutes a man approached me and invited me to come and sit with him.
Now get this, I went from the very back to the very front!
I found myself sitting with a whole bunch of key leaders, a national leader of another denomination and the local member of parliament. It was just like Jesus taught...

10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:10 niv

If you dive into God's Word, opportunity will always present itself for you to live it out in some way.
It is true. It is relevant. It will influence, even change the circumstances of the life you live.

Something to think about...

Friday, April 20, 2018

#blessed 08

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step, He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:10 niv

I think many people truly want to believe that following Jesus will make their life better, and they are right it does! But it also brings some other challenges.
Following Jesus sets you future secure. Means you are able to access the favour and blessing of God.
Your life will have meaning. You past will be gone.
These are all outstanding benefits of faith!

Along with faith and favour is sometimes a fight against your faith and favour.
For all sorts of reasons there can come opposition.
Sometimes because our faith is a stumbling block to others...
It can stir emotions they want to ignore.
It can remind them of the struggles which they can feel powerless in.
It can anger the very hater of your soul, the devil, who wants to destroy the life you now have.
As we have been learning together lately at our Church, the later is not a concern. No matter what the enemy throws at us God is always bigger and in control.
That fact alone should give us comfort and peace.

Jesus goes on to explain this further...
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12 niv

What an honour to be persecuted, not a pain!
Scripture also ask us "why not rather be wronged?"
Don't be surprised or offended if someone or something attacks your faith - be encouraged that you are probably right on track. As long as you are doing the right things for the right reason in Christ, then you have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of in your stand for Christ!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#blessed 07

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step, He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God."
Matthew 5:9 niv

I have heard it and said it myself many times, that there is a huge difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper! God has not called you as His kid to be the later but the former...

The trouble with being a peacekeeper is that you ultimately want to keep things as they are even if they are not perfect sometimes just to avoid any conflict.
Much of what I see in the world today doesn't need peacekeepers.
They only seek to keep a status quo that is plainly not working in my opinion...

I think of the UN Peacekeepers tasked in Europe and Africa over the last few decades.
They have tried to keep the peace by trying to avoid conflict. But the underlying issues each of those people groups and nations faced didn't go away avoiding the issues.
Ultimately the peacekeepers were seen to be a problem in themselves...
Peacekeepers trying to avoid WWII by appeasing a nation simmering with resentment, and war come no matter how much peace was talked about and longed for.

I believe a godly peacemaker is someone who longs for the best for people and the Kingdom of God.
They passionately want to see God move in peoples lives.
They actively pursue the presence of God and His anointing not just for themselves, but so they can make a difference.
Peacemakers go out of their way to invade places and spaces that are maybe difficult, believing that if they do, that God can move, heal or save, and be glorified.
I would even go as far as to say they get in the fight as a way of bringing healing, not avoiding a fight to ignore the issues.

Which one would you like to be today?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#blessed 06

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step, He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God."
Matthew 5:8 niv

And I hear all the time believers saying that they want to see Him and see Him even more.
It is pretty clear from what Jesus was saying, that there is way you can see God.

So what is the key here that Jesus is mentioning?
For you and I to see God we need be "pure in heart".

I don't always dive into the original language to help understand scripture but in this case it is such a help...
The Greek word for “pure” is katharos.
It means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.”
The Greek word for “heart” is kardeeah.
This can be applied to the physical heart. But it also refers to the spiritual center of life.

I am firm believer you can not purify your heart on your own. That is way David prayed for it and he was called a man after God's own heart.
If you, to the very best of your ability have a single minded passion to follow Jesus, keeping your heart from bitterness and cynicism, seeking Him with everything you have...you will see God.
You will see at work in your life, those around you and all over the world.

From my own experience I find it harder to see God at work in any form when I lose focus on him and my heart becomes tainted for whatever reason.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Thanks for asking what I did in the weekend...

Sorry about the title, just trying to get your attention to tell you what I did over the weekend because it was pretty cool!

This was the 3rd year in a row I have had the privilege of being part of something called Easterfest.
It is this amazing Easter weekend adventure in Taupo where Taupo Churches including our own Elim Church, join forces to do something bigger together than what we could do apart.
From what we know so far, it appears that this was our biggest event yet.

I have been reflecting today on why this event 'worked' and thought I would share those ideas.
Maybe there is something you can take from it personally or for in your own Church circles?

People respond to a vision
We had a guest speaker for our Sunday night who is a very sort after man. When I sent a simple email asking him to come he replied in less than an hour saying yes. That was a huge shock to me!
When we finally got to talk on Sunday I asked why he responded?
His answer was nice and simple - vision!
Even though my sentences were short on ultimate detail, he saw the vision and that is what God used to stir his heart to come.

Do you have a vision for something special in God?
Share it with others not worrying about all the detail and see who joins with you.
Have you been stirred by someone else's vision?
Can I encourage you join in on it and let God take you on an adventure you could never have possibly dreamed up for yourself.


People respond to something bigger
Some people think it is not spiritual but I disagree...
We are pre-wired I believe to want to part of something bigger, something that matters, something of significance. I love being a following of Jesus in part because I am now part of something huge called the Kingdom of God.
People were drawn to Easterfest in the 1000's because it was big.
It was bigger than my Church right now and I am ok with that.
It also gave I believe an opportunity for our people to have a vision about what God could do in each Churches, if people bought into the vision of reaching the world.


People respond to the gospel
Most of our weekend was based around the basics of our faith centred on the death and resurrection of Christ. And 1000's came to listen, to watch and experience.
Did they come because it was the best? Not sure that was the key. I think God blessed us because we focused on the gospel first and entertainment second. We lifted Him up first and foremost.

If you want to help others connect with God, don't panic about proving how cool, popular or knowledgeable you are. Focus first on the gospel and see what God does with that?

Something to think about...

And see you at Easterfest in 2019!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What's the deal with Palm Sunday?

In my circles there has been talk of something called Palm Sunday recently...
It is on more traditional Churches and expressions of christian faith calendars, remembering a moment in history, where Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

It is recorded in Luke 19:28-42 that just before his crucification, Jesus rode into town and people laid palms, some even their cloaks on the rode before him. They also worshiped as he rode by.
What an amazing scene if you take the time to think about it!
In literally a few days this same man they are going out of their way to honour, is going to be brutally murdered. And yet in this moment there is giving, joy, celebration, peace...it would be a very beautiful and spiritually powerful time for those participating.

In all my pondering this occasion I couldn't help but wonder what that means for me here in 2018?
What does Palm Sunday say to me if anything?
Can my time leading up to Easter be as possibly meaningful?
Can it have an impact on my life as it no doubt did for this in Jerusalem that day?

Here are the two questions I have myself...
What can I bring?
And when I ask myself what I can bring, I am actually am asking myself what of value can I lay down for Him to honour Him.
Those people didn't lay down a spare cloak they no long needed. They laid down their cloak, maybe the only one they had.
They laid down something that cost them something.

How can I worship?
Faced with the occasion and action they took, another heart response poured fourth.
They choose to worship Him with song, with words of adoration and faith. There was no way they weren't going to let their hearts bust out in praise.

Something to think about...



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

You are not alone...

I has personally discovered that making a stand, giving of yourself for God, can on some level feel a little lonely, leave you potentially feeling vulnerable...but are you really as you feel?

What about when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown into a fiery furnace for their stand in faith? 
I wonder if they felt a moment or two of vulnerability or the fact the whole known world was against them? In the end their feeling didn't dictate the result and they found themselves in the middle of the worst their enemy could do to them, Jesus beside, and came through completely unharmed.

What about the prophet Elijah who felt like he was the only one who was really trying to live for God? 
He wasn't the only one, as God had 'kept a remnant for himself'.
When we was tired, down and wanting to give up, God supernaturally supplied what he needed to be restrengthened again.

Today if you are feeling a little on your own can I encourage you with these words?
You aren't alone!
Jesus is with you. A great crowd of witnesses are cheering you on. You have people around you who are praying for you.
You aren't vulnerable!
Jesus is right beside you. God has sent angels to minister to your situation. Let who God puts in your life encourage you.
You aren't without hope!
In fact we have all the hope we need when we look to Jesus.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#blessed 05

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step, He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy."
Matthew 5:7 niv

Jesus words so well match the many others found throughout scripture....
"whoever refreshes others will be refreshed". Proverbs 11:25
"A man reaps what he sows". Galatians 6:7

There maybe will be a time for each of us where we will desperately want others to show us mercy?
You can prepare for that day by living for it today.
Showing mercy to others, whether they deserve it or not.
It is the Jesus thing to do. From the women caught in adultery to the lady at the well and the many "sinners" He choose to give the best of himself for...His life and ministry reflected His heart of mercy.

Could you show some to someone else today?

Something to think about...

Monday, March 12, 2018

Are you like this guy?

Each of us can reach that moment...
Where we are tired, worn out, sometimes from even doing the right things for a protracted length of time. As someone rightly said years ago, we are 'human beings not human doings'.

- If you find your thoughts are tilting towards more negative that positive...
- That your conversations with God are more about what is wrong than praying for what could be right...
- If deep down your know your heart has become weary...
- Maybe your mood is darker. Your nerves a little frazzled...
Can I share something from scripture that I discovered recently?

Elijah the prophet has just had a major victory! (1 Kings 18)
After what was arguably one of the most demonstrative battles between faith in God and another god, a battle between one man and nearly a 1000, God shows up and answers in the most dramatic and miraculous way.
And yet within a short space of time you see Elijah venting to God about how much he wants to die! (1 Kings 19)
Shouldn’t this be a moment to savour in victory?
Shouldn’t he be riding a wave of ministry euphoria?
Why can’t this be a momentum moment to springboard his ministry to a book deal, speaking tour and more?...

He is tired.
He is worn out.

What is Gods advice to him?
Rest and Eat.
Seems too simple doesn’t it? Maybe that is why people like me actually struggle with it.
I naturally want a supernatural importation of strength, a shundy bundy moment.
While they are awesome, maybe God wants to do it different for you right now?

God wanted him to rest and eat, because there was more to do.
Struggling on in his own strength was clearly never going to work. And it was going to stop him from being more effective in the kingdom.

So today how does this simple thought find you?
Emotionally, physically, spiritually well or maybe the opposite?
Has the weight of ministry and serving in your current finally got you a bit empty and flat?
Come on and rest and eat.
I give you permission to let God minister to your very soul...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

#blessed 04

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step, He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled."
Matthew 5:6 niv

I actually have come to believe you will find what you are looking for...
Not some new age, woolly woofter kind of thing, but you will get what you go for in life and in faith.

If you are hungry, maybe even desperate to find God...
To see Him move in your life...
If you pray for and expect Him to answer prayer...
If your hope is firmly rooted and established in Him, it will never be left wanting!
Jeremiah 29:13 tells us we will find him if we seek Him. Meaning for me that God is not hard to find and is actually keen for us to seek Him out...

On the other hand, if you are tired and even cynical...the world and your faith we seem the same.
If you think the world is out to get you and there is no hope, you will probably be right. You are actually being prophetic over your life in a negative way.

My other observation here is that Jesus seems to be alluding to something related to eating, drinking and the natural order of sustenance?
In the natural and the spiritual things can be mirrored for us, so what are feeding yourself on today? Hope, faith, love and a healthy expectation of an amazing Father in Heaven or the opposite?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#blessed 03

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:5 niv

Isn't this just like Jesus, to teach us to do the opposite of how every inclination of our heart would lead us?
People normally take power by force. But here is Jesus telling us to do the opposite.
I believe it is because He isn't looking for us to take over the world by power. Power comes and goes and the Kingdom God that God is looking for can not be sustained by human will and exertion.

We will inherit the world because of our love first and foremost for Him, then next by loving those around us.
That is the plan, the agenda, the supposed MO of all who see God as their Father in Heaven.

Remember we are called to Salt and Light and to influence the world by being who we are created to be in Christ.
Not taking force in human terms. But by being ambassadors for Christ and living it our in a supernatural fashion.

I believe God wants you to influence the world around by serving and loving those in the world all the while loving God with everything you have.
This goes along for me with the example all throughout the history of Gods people, by simply following His way, trusting in Him alone...having victory over this world.

Something to think about...

Friday, February 23, 2018

A little nod...

I was walking around our town heading to a coffee meeting and I bumped into some people....
The first was a lady promoting a religion I am not a fan of, so I walked purposely past her, gave her a smile and said hello.
Crossing the Main Street I passed a someone else I didn’t know and we acknowledged each other.
Finally I am walking past a restaurant with a name a don’t like personally and the owner and I give each a little nod, acknowledging one another.

Jesus talked about love and neighbours one day. (Matthew 5:43-47 niv)
As part of that talk He mentions that if you want to live like He would like, don’t just greet people you know and like. Remember you are salt and light and treat everyone well that you can come into contact with.

As I carried on walking I felt great.
Instead of the normal religious deal of avoiding those who aren’t with you or for you, I went out of my way to include more people into my world.
I am richer for it.
The Kingdom of God is hopefully better for it...
Could you give a little nod to those you encounter today?

Something to think about...


Thursday, February 22, 2018

#blessed 02

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

"Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted."
Matthew 5:4 niv

Maybe I am a little simplistic with this one but I don't care!
Here the deal, in fact it seems to me to be a promise...
When you face the worst moments of your life, God promises to be the very best of comfort to you.
That is the simple part.

If you are mourning any form of loss right now can I encourage you to do a few things?
1. Come to God, your Father in Heaven.
Tell Him your struggles. He will respond to you very quickly!
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you.
His name translated from original texts actually means comforter or the one called alongside.
He is ready and waiting.
3. Trust that God is sending people and angels your way.
Be patient with yourself as your grieve, there is no panic to move past your grief. Let God send people to help and angels (the Bible calls them ministering spirits).

You will be comforted...so much so that it will feel like you are #blessed. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Please don't let me copy that mistake

I am so thankful that the Word of God is pretty raw and what we call 'warts n all'...
It never shies away from the issues we face. Good and bad.
God never hides struggles in some vain attempt to portray our living by faith as easy.
God, for His own reasons, shares the struggles of others in His Word to actually help us...

I read again this week of a cool king in Judah's history.
Well he stated out as a cool king and somewhere along the way forgot about God, forgot who gave him the role, forgot all the ways God likes to help when things seem impossible.
Seemingly full of his own accumulated experience and self importance he decided through his actions that he didn't need God quite same.

Asa lead Judah against the odds in the beginning of his reign.
Enemies more skilled and numerous pretty much guaranteed his countries downfall.
So Asa cried out to God. God rescued him.
His kingdom was firmly established and things went great for a long time.

Some years later another enemy came against them in a similar manner to the time before.
Did he cry out to God? No. He used his wealth to try and buy off the struggle.
Was God happy with that strategy? No.
In fact it signalled the end of his reign.

All Asa had to do it seemed was do what he had done before.
Have a total reliance on God...

You and I can learn from this cautionary tail (actual true story).
No matter how great your life has become. No matter how long you have doing this 'Jesus thing'.
Never and I mean never loss you total reliance on God.
It is not weakness or a sign or immaturity.
It is in fact the best way to navigate your entire life following Jesus.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

#blessed 01

There was something that became mockingly part of christian and entertainment culture in the last while...#blessed.
If something good happens you tweet #blessed.
If something opportunistic happens you tweet #blessed.
All this hashtag thing got me thinking after reading some things Jesus said recently.
How does a blessed life actually work?
If there something I can do to make it a reality for myself?
Or is it something that just happens because I am doing my best to follow Jesus?

Jesus actually taught on how to be #blessed.
Sitting on a hill and speaking to anyone curious enough to listen. Little by little, sentence by sentence, step by step He paints a clear pattern and picture for us today.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:3 niv

I think the Kingdom of Heaven is deliberately set up to care!
If your life is a mess?
If bad stuff has happened or is happening to you?
If you are struggling with your past?
If you are wrestling with your fears, thoughts or doubts?
Whatever is not cool in your life, the Kingdom of Heaven is ready to answer!

Over the 20 plus years of getting having the honour of ministering to others, it seems to me that the bigger the thing that is robbing your spirit, the bigger God shows up and acts on your behalf.
Invite Him...let Him...

If you are feeling "poor in spirit" in any way today, please know all of heaven is ready of you!
Angels are being sent to minister to you.
Opportunity to experience the goodness of God is at hand for you.
It is yours right now. Grab it!

May you be truly #blessed today!
Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Head wind both ways?

Alex and I cycled into town to do the Church cleaning this afternoon.
On the way racing to make it there on time we faced a head wind. So it seemed logical to us that we would have an easier ride home with a fresh tailwind.

To our surprise after carefully locking up the building the wind had changed direction. In the space of just over 30 minutes the weather had conspired it seems against us.
Now we were facing a head wind home instead of our expected supportive puffing from behind.
As strange as it may seem I found myself thinking "good". Now I get to cycle in a way that I know will make me stronger in the long run.

3 ...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4 niv

I think if left to our own devices we will generally go for the easy route in life and faith.
Unfortunately easy never made anyone strong. And I want to be a strong person of faith.
In thinking more about it, I think I am fan of God building me through the things I face.

Try not to avoid the head winds of life and let God strengthen you.

Something to think about....

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What have I learnt lately?

I pondered that question this morning, as I actually think it is very important.
Life isn’t just something to endure.
Following Christ is not just about surviving another day.
I think that if you are open to it, paying attention, seeking God, there will always be something to learn from each day...

Recently I discovered where I was at again with my trust, when we discovered our bank account had been hit with some faudulent activity.
Other experiences revealed to me my actual emotional status and what I need to work on.
A seemingly random call which was never random to God, gave me a chance to reflect on what God has miraculously done with me, about when I was a teenager and making choices that had potential to damage my life.

Jesus taught this concept, of what we call having a 'Childlike faith'...
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

For me I think Jesus is saying to not be immature, but to have the same attributes as a kiddy to my life and faith.
Kids have an insatiable appetite for discovery, learning and experiences.
They love to take risks. Have adventures.
They never feel they have learned enough and aren't normally afraid to ask lots of questions.
I wonder how much I am still like a kid with my faith?

May you not be satisfied today with just staying where you are emotionally, experiential, spiritually - but always looking to grow in God.
So you can ask yourself "what have I learnt lately?" and follow that up with an answer.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Don't go over _____

If you have ever wondered if it was possible to 'over do' something...
Whether you can go too far with a good or a bad desire, motive or action...
Well according to scripture it is possible!

I know plenty of well meaning and not so well meaning people who either try too hard or keep flogging something that is dead for too long.
It can lead and I to frustration, and worse even burnout.

There is a pace, and ebb and flow to life and ministry we each need to find with God's and others help.
You don't "prove yourself" but destroying yourself.
No one wins out of that scenario.
We each need to find our place in God's Kingdom, each sharing in each others burdens and ministries.
Trust me that it all works out fine we will all work it out together...

Dear friends, find a balance in between working hard or getting working.
You already probably know which end of the spectrum you are sitting?
Just be honest with yourself, let God help you, enjoy your life in Christ!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This verse... #2

This verse got me thinking this morning...

15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
2 Chronicles 7:15-16 niv

I firmly believe that the accounts in the Old Testament are a type and shadow of what is to come for us today. And these few verses are no exception! In fact they should encourage you today my friend...

Solomon built an impressive temple (what we might call a church building these days) and after its completion and dedication, God made the statement you now have read.

Today God refers to our very bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
You are now the impressive place that God wants to pay attention too!
In fact without you having to make it happen, God actually is passionately paying attention to you.
He is right now looking at you.
He is listening to your words from your mouth and the cries of your heart.
And He plans to do this same thing forever!

Whatever you doing and whatever you are facing, your Father in heaven is ready for you right now.
Can I encourage to make the most of this amazing opportunity for yourself and those you come into contact with?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

This verse... #1

This verse got me thinking this morning...

When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, 
but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
1 Corinthians 15:37 niv

I wonder whether sometimes we don't get a harvest because we don't realise what the right seed is for it? We want the end result and miss the process to get us successfully there?

Paul was using a natural illustration to illustrate a spiritual principle.
You don't sow the tree, you sow the seed that will turn into a tree.
In fact your sowing is maybe a small part to a big result.
You can water the ground the seed for your tree is in, but God grows it out of your sight.

One of my kids recently has been having some fun with his own little garden. He planted some potatoes recently and was getting frustrated just watering them. At one stage he wanted to dig them up to see if anything was happening under the soil.
Now after a few short weeks he sees what only God could see after it has come to the surface.

As you begin your year, maybe you have a harvest in mind you would like from it?
Maybe you would like a relationship or maybe your current relationship to go better?
Maybe you would love to see God move in your life more and in the family of faith He has placed your in?
That is all really good! You probably just need to know what seed to sow now for that to happen...

Can I encourage you seek God by praying and asking Him what seed you need to sow?

Whatever it is, do it in faith.
Trust that when you do and even though the process maybe hidden from view for a time, it will indeed produce a harvest.

Remember my friend that you don't plant what you will finish up with but what it will take to get to what you want...

Something to think about...