Monday, December 24, 2018

There is that moment...

I can remember the day with a lot of detail when both my boys were born. The location, the weather, the sounds and smells, the people involved, the drama...
Then there is that moment when everything changes.
Straight after the birth where everything stops. Where a strange calm settles. Maybe not strange in the sense of weird, but something surreal in nature.

I don't think that Mary ever forgot the day Jesus came into the world.
It had been supernatural and strange. Stressful and stupendous.
And as she sat with Joseph in that stable holding the Son of God in her young arms, I think she had a moment. Maybe even a series of moments.
Scripture tells us that she pondered.
That she treasured it all in her heart.
A peace would have come that was palpable and divine.

This Christmas may it not just be a season, but a moment for you.
As you take time to reflect on Jesus entering the world and setting you up for salvation, may God's peace flood your whole being.
There should be for you and me our moment, where our time of reflection brings a supernatural peace to our souls.

As you read this please know I have been praying this would happen for you!
To all my readers wherever you are around the world...may this Christmas be special for you.
I am blown away that you keep coming back.
That there are so many of you from every corner of the globe.

Merry Christmas from me and my family to you and yours.

Love to you all!

*I will take a break over the holiday season and be back with you in early 2019*

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Will I Be Ready?

It is that time of the year for me and maybe for you, where you feel pretty spent emotionally and physically, and yet you are planning for a new year.

Will I be ready for 2019?
The honest answer is possibly no if I don't prepare for it now in some way.

Keeping on trucking is good sometimes but not good all the time.
We need to measure and adjust our lives depending on the seasonal attributes we each face.
So here is my simple thought advice (that I am working on personally).

Press in to get things working

Often we try to press on when the best thing to do is press in.
I find pressing on easier because of my personality and work ethic.
Jesus advice for us is the opposite at this point. He encourages us to find our rest in Him and take His yoke upon ourselves.

When we rest in Him we find refreshing not just physically but emotionally, spiritually and every other 'ally' word in faith.
Resting is an active thing. It is not some mystique eastern vibe of clearing your mind! It was the opposite. It its stopping all the striving and filling up on spiritual fuel for another day.

The 'His Yoke' part requires some honest reflection.
Am I doing what He wants or what I think He wants?
It is ok to ask yourself and God that question...

Change it up if it not working

If you are tired and life / ministry are not working like they should, maybe it is time to change something.
If Jesus asks you to change everything fine, but I tend to find He asks me to change something.
To change one thing. Sometimes a simple thing.

I am removing a few activities that while good they are not making me be great. I am looking at my routine and seeing where some tweaks can be made.
Sometimes a change can make you feel new without being dramatic.
And just because you always have doesn't mean you always should...

Train myself to get how I would like it working

In the last 10 years I have loved the sport journey that I have roller coasted on.
Not because it has been a roller coaster, but because I have learnt a lot about myself and how life works from that perspective.
When you have a goal, like a race, you train accordingly.
Spiritually it is the very same thing. If you have a goal for 2019, train accordingly.
Wishful thinking will never get you to the finish line.
You need some training in your tank before the race.

Please don't hang in there my friend hoping 2018 will finish and that a calendar change will magically fix whatever you don't like about your life...
Maybe you could do what I am doing and make some changes?
Let's be ready for 2019.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Popularity Contest?

When did the Church become so much of a popularity contest?
If the Church is God's people, why do many see some people as better than other people?
Why do many not want to be committed to one, but rather free to enjoy the best of every Church family?

Now before some of you tell me I sound upset or maybe even bitter, I want to clearly state I don't believe I am.
I am just sitting here pondering the idea that I have raised...
This is not a new idea or concept.
Others have pondered it as well.
I am not a control freak over peoples lives. I do not believe any Pastor owns the people he may have the honour of leading. They are God's great people. We are simply entrusted with doing our very best to lead them...

After nearly 30 years soon of following Jesus with every fibre of my being, and being part of many amazing groups of fellow believers in Christ, I have seen many flavours and fads over the years.
Another great leader I know calls them "winds of doctrine". Blowing people here and there depending on what is bright and shiny, hip and happening, labeled as the new thing or just plain cool.
And just as they have come and gone, many people I have walked with, ministered to and from, even had broken hearts with, have at many times come and gone with those flavours and fads.

When I first started on my faith journey, the 'such and such' were the place to be on a Sunday.
Then that changed when a new worship style appeared.
Then it changed again when a leader failed.
Then it changed once again when someone else got a new building.
Then a new move of God happened (and didn't last).
You get the idea...

So what should it be like I wonder?
Or is this exactly how it is supposed to be?

Here are my two keys for being part of a Church family somewhere/anywhere:

1. Where does God want you?
Apart from the very first Church I went, I have from then and now with my wife, always very seriously prayed and sort God about where we should be. Not praying for the best but where we could be the best fit.
You see I don't see the Church as burger restaurant. Where I can go from McD's to Burger King to Burger Fuel to Better Burger. It is far more spiritual and eternal than a flavour in my mouth and a feeling in my belly.
God has always directed us to we can be fully engaged in whatever family it would be. It has never needed to be perfect, just I hope continuing to move forward.
And just as God's people experienced in the Sinai Dessert, we only move when God moves us.

2. There has to be a mutual relationship
God places people in Church families. In fact scripture tells us He goes out of His way to place the lonely in a caring Church family to become their home.
Let's grab that burger thing again for a moment. When the Church is a burger restaurant we can easily and quickly flick from a fan to disappointed customer. Even leaving a bad review online along the way.
I see the Church as a place for mutual benefit of every single member.
Where you can be served and you can serve.
If you are hurt by life, the Church is there to help facilitate your healing in Christ, in part, so you can once be part of the mutual benefit process.

Then I think of Jesus...
Jesus was popular one day and not the next.
Some days His teaching changed their lives, changed the very direction of life for them. Then the next day it could offend their very soul.
One day they worshipped Him as King and then the next it seems, demanded that He be crucified.
So maybe I shouldn't be surprised by all this?

The questions I have pondered today actually reinforce for me personally my conviction.
That I will always seek God for where I need to be regardless of what is cool.
That I will always seek to serve God over where that place may be, what seems cool or anything else.
God's Church is so very special and it will never be a place for me of consumerism, but a place to bring the hope of God to as many as possible.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Astonished or Fearful?

I find this passage to be rather interesting...
It is like Mark is trying to say there we two types or sorts of people surrounding Jesus ministry at that time.
Disciples and Followers.
That each one had their own summarised responses to who he was and how it made them feel.

Check it out...

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. Mark 10:32 niv

From my experience many followers of Jesus are afraid...
Fearful of what the future holds for them.
Fearful of God and whether He likes them that much.
They want to follow, but something ultimately holds them back from going all out with their faith.
In fact I have seen many followers come and go, because they potentially see faith like a hobby.

Also from my experience, I have seen those who really go after Christ with everything they have, who do consider themselves to be disciples...well, they just seem to see God in everything.
God is always astonishing and powerful and good ink their eyes.
They expect to see God move in miraculous ways.
They have a never ending awe of God.
The reason why that is a reality I believe for them is that they actually try to live like the term 'disciple'. A disciple is someone who doesn't just follow, they immerse their life in their discipleship. They copy their master, taking them at their word enough to live each and every part of it out.

So which one are you?
Fearful or Amazed.
Follower or Disciple.

Something to think about...