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 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!