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?
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