Wednesday, December 04, 2019

This Little Light of Mine

One of the seemingly most crazy things I ever experienced as a new believer in Christ was being in a Church and them singing an old song called "This Little Light of Mine".
Why was it so crazy?
For some reason the Pastor thought it a good idea to encourage everyone as they sung it to jump up on the chairs, to wave their thumb side to side like a candle, and sing it out with passion.
As someone pretty new to whole following Jesus thing it was a pretty strange thing to witness.
I didn't know whether to join in or hide.
Whether to laugh, cry or run screaming from the building...

The upshot of all this supposed craziness is that it left me with an indelible memory.
When scripture or someone else reminds me that God likes us be light to the world, I think back to that moment, I smile to myself, and then I think just how dramatic and impactful my light could be for Him.

As the song goes and the scripture it is based on, Jesus said this very clearly...
"Let your light shine"

You have a light that Christ gives you, and you also have the power to switch it on or off it seems.
Jesus goes on to explain you have light so don't cover it.
Try not to hide it.
He has made you a light for a very special reason I believe...

Sometimes when my wife and I go for evening walks it gets dark before we get home.
Suze is not a fan of walking over terrain that is rough in the dark so to give her what she needs in that moment, I turn on my phone torch mode and light our way home together.

Right now your light could bring comfort to someone who desperately needs it? To someone whose life journey and path has been rough and not kind.
Your light could bring them clarity. Bring them a measure of peace.
Your light could in fact lead them to Jesus!

Sing it with me..."This little light of mine, I'm gonna let is shine!"

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Avoid the Curse of...

Hopefully the title hooked you a little to read this?
Because while there is plenty of modern teaching on offence and how to potentially avoid it, deal with it, I just haven't seen much on how dangerous it can be to you spiritually.

There is an amazing and sobering warning given in scripture that I hope as I share with you today, causes you to avoid becoming offended. And if you are offended, you will be motivated to get rid of it as fast as possible...

King David was a passionate man for the Kingdom.
In fact he is so into it that God even refers to him "as a man after my own heart"!
That is a pretty flattering and lofty endorsement from heaven!

During his reign as King he finds the Ark of the Covenant and desires to bring it Jerusalem.
To give it a home in the spiritual and practical centre of his nation Israel.

As they are bringing it into Jerusalem it is recorded he is so excited and passionate that he removes his kingly robes to be like "any normal fellow" and dances before the Ark with everything he has got.
He doesn't care what anyone thinks.
All that matters is that he honours God as best he can.
As God looked on and honoured his zeal, it is recorded that someone else was also looking on...

16As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
20When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
2 Samuel 6:16, 20-23 NIV

The crazy thing for me is she got offended by his passion for God!
I believe her offence stemmed from her own issues, her own insecurities, the visual conviction that maybe she wasn't on the same spiritual page as her husband?
So she gets offended.
That offence brought a curse.
And she missed out on what God wanted to do in and through her life.

Her story is a sobering warning for us who believe in Christ to not let offence in, to take hold, because if left unchecked, it can curse us spiritually.
It could rob us of the full measure of the Kingdom.

If you are offended today please ask the Holy Spirit to help you and heal you. Ask God to forgive you (which He will!).
And please let it go and move on.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dr John Dancing Machine

I remember one particular Sunday when I was leading a Delirious Song called I Could Sing Unending Songs. It had a fun kind of country feel which is not my normal go-to genre, but it was pumping along and people were really enjoying it.
Dr John seemed to be into it pretty passionately. And I don't know why, but we ended up inviting him onto the stage...

Due to his age and frailty someone thought it wise to place a chair for him to rest upon.
But Dr John wasn't having any of that! As the song kicked back into life, he leaped on top that chair and started dancing.
I started to freak out that in that moment we would witness the demise of this dear man of God. Failing off, breaking his hip, or maybe even worse?
You will be pleased to know nothing bad happened.
And it left an indelible mark on my memories.

You need to understand that Dr John was alive during the London Blitz of World War II.
Even though as the years passed and he seemed to be more frail, his love for Jesus never seemed to waver one little bit.
Every year his pants seemed to be higher and higher up his body. But every year he was just as passionate for God and the Kingdom as ever.
He spoke about it to everyone.
Was encouraging to everyone.
Turned up to every meeting.
Got involved it seemed in every opportunity.
He had a special impact on me as he always and I mean always had a story, a word of encouragement for me!

As I drove home last night from a meeting my mind drifted back to that worship time and his life as I considered what being passionate for the Kingdom looks practically like.
He so aptly portrayed an entire life lived it seemed to me for Christ.
He never lost his passion or what the Bible describes as "zeal".

If you are a believer reading this today I want to implore you to be passionate for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus showed how much zeal He had for it by giving His life for us, rising from the dead to give us victory over death, inviting us to partner with Him.
John 2:17 records Jesus disciples describing him as being full or consumed with zeal for the Kingdom.
Romans 12:11 tells us "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Today throw off your doubts, disappointments and debts!
Get up on your chair on a stage and dance!
Don't worry if it freaks others out...their discomfort at your zeal could be the encouragement they need today?
Get up and be a dancing machine like Dr John!

Something to think about...

PS If you read this, dance and break anything including your hip - sorry! LOL



Monday, November 11, 2019

Measuring Cups

Measuring cups are extremely important to my family!
Right now if you asked me I could tell you exactly where they are in our kitchen, what 4 different types we have, and what graduations of each style.
I feel safe to say that we use them pretty much every day.
From my weekly pancake breakfast I make through to my wife's fantastic baking - measuring cups are a natural part of our family life.

I was thinking about them recently because I remembered something Jesus taught...
"...with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Matthew 7:2 NIV

Everyone of us right now is measuring out all sorts of ingredients into our world.
We are measuring out various amount of grace, love, acceptance, forgiveness on a moment by moment basis every single day.
In fact you are so used to doing so, you portably don't give it too much thought, most of us don't.

But here is what I wanted to encourage you to do this day, this week...
I want you to consider with me what ingredients you would like to offer the world around you. Because with the measure you use, it always comes back to you in some form.
This is not karma or the like, it is a Kingdom principle.
Maybe you are wondering why you aren't experiencing love?
Add a cupfull to those you currently have in your life and see what comes back...
Maybe you are wondering why others don't seem patient with you?
Add a cupfull to people you interact with...
You probably get me point?

My wife bakes great things!
Everything from banana loaf through to amazing cakes.
She knows in the natural she won't be able to create for herself what she is envisioning to create without the right measure of all the ingredients.
It is the same in the spiritual.
You need the right measure for the right result.

So my friend let's get baking together.
Let's pour out the right measure of everything into our world.
And let's live expectant to see what God can cook up with it...

Something to think about...

*Image Copyright Artisanal Kitchen Supply Measuring Cups*

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Where are you little cloud?

I sometimes wonder if we pray with a "I wish God would do _____" type mentality? When I think God wants us to pray big faith-filled mountain-moving type prayers...

In the last few days I have been reflecting on an account in the Bible where Elijah is moved by God to break the draught that ironically he prayed for three and half years earlier. (1 Kings 18)
Elijah sits on a mountain with his head between his knees and prays for what He believes God would like him to believe for. Then asks his servant to check for a sign of clouds, even rain, something to show his prayer had worked. Unfortunately he returns to say he can't see any indication God has answered his prayer, no cloud, not spits of rain, absolutely nothing.

So what does Elijah do at this point?
Does he then complain to God that prayer doesn't work?
Does he contact his closest friends for advice?
Does he give up and say "must have got that wrong" or "can't have been God's will"?

No he prays again and again until at the seventh attempt in one day his servant once again goes to investigate. And this time he comes back to Elijah with news of a tiny cloud on the horizon.
This seems to lift Elijahs faith and you can read about what happens supernaturally next.

But here is my point for you to think about today...
If James is correct and when he states:
17Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. James 5:17-18 NLT
Then what could happen if we don't give up, if we don't over think things, and keep praying again and again for what we are believing for?

To be honest I wrestle a bit with being equated with Elijah in any way, shape or form. Seriously I know who I am and I don't measure up to my imagination of him.
But scripture tells us we can pray, we can believe, and then we can see.
Jesus promised us that even with a small amount of faith mountains (seemingly impossible things) can move before our very eyes.

So what can you learn from this today?
I want to want to encourage you to avoid analysis paralysis, avoid rationalising faith, and join me praying for our own "I saw a little cloud" moments.

Something to think about...





Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bible Bingo

One day I thought I would do a little experiment.
And when I say one day, I mean a long time ago...
Sitting in front of my Bible I closed my eyes.
I then prepared my expectant heart for God to speak something truly revelatory to me.
With my eyes still firmly fixed shut I began too thumb through the pages, back and forth to make sure it was completely random. Then I when I was ready I lifted my index high, turned it down towards the opens pages of who knows where, and planted it firmly on a spot on a page.
When I opened my eyes I read this...

“Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”  Hosea 1:2 NIV

WHAT?
At first I was a little freaked out.
But as I began to pray about this little experience my freaking out turned to laughter.
Maybe God was teaching me a lesson and helping me to see this is not how to have Him speak from His Word.

I want you to know today that God can and wants to speak directly to you from the Bible.
Scripture tell us that in its entirety it is spiritual food, God inspired, able to change us supernaturally.

Whenever you see mention of the word 'Word' in the New Testament, interestingly it comes from two different greek words. Logos and Rhema.
My very basic definitions of those words are:
Logos : something stated, said, communicated to inform and instruct in general.
Rhema : an utterance even a command, can be directional and defining, potentially prophetic in nature.

Here are some examples of them in action...
“Therefore everyone who hears these LOGOS of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:14 NIV

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the RHEMA Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:72 NIV

It is all God's Word too and for us.
But Rhema is God speaking something to us right now for a very specific reason. It is God's Word going from general to very personal.
So Good!

Can I encourage today to feed everyday on the Logos Word of God?
To read scripture to build yourself up along with growing your understanding.
But while you do that, I also want to encourage you to be ready for the Rhema Word of God?
Where something seems to leap off the pages, capture your imagination, where it looks and feels like God is really highlighting something in particular for you in that moment.
It will be God speaking to you!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Full Monty Bible

One of the tasks I love the most is helping people understand for themselves what is in the Bible and what it can mean to them. 
I absolutely love it!
It comes from a deep conviction that you need the Full Monty of Scripture to help you best follow Jesus. To get direction. To learn God's voice. To navigate life and faith well.

The Apostle Paul one day had a very pivotal moment with a group of people he cared very much for.
It is recorded that as he was about to board a ship for a place called Assos, that he called all Church leaders from Ephesus and gave them one final speech.

Here are a few lines from that speech to consider with me today...

18...You know how I lived the whole time I was with you...
20You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 
24...I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
27For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
Acts 20:18, 20, 24, 27 NIV

Other translations help paint this picture even more clearly...

 I’ve taught you everything I could about God’s eternal plan and I’ve held nothing back.  Acts 20:27 TPT
For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Acts 20:27 ESV

I believe that we each need the whole or full counsel of God.
It will make all the difference to your walk with Christ. It will help you make the very best decisions. Help you discern truth from fiction. Help mature you.
Your theology will not be lopsided sometimes manipulated by popularity or mere ease.

The best platform for this and your personal devotion is via the Scriptures. I can not encourage you enough to read and read and read as often as you can!

Another strategy I use based on that foundation when I want to understand a topic or concept from God's perspective, is to look up every reference to it in Scripture.
Take love or giving or hope or faith, any word and do a word search like this example.
Then take time to read each reference carefully. 
Only then will you have the full counsel of God on that matter.

Go Full Monty on the Bible with me from today and let's each discover the whole counsel of God.

Something to think about...



Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Are you surrounded by morons?

You might be reading this right now and answering yes?
Locky I am indeed surrounded by morons.
Or you might be reading this right now and answering no?
Everyone I surround myself with are awesome.
Or you might be reading this right now and simple thinking less of me for called anyone a moron...

Well beyond getting your attention I want to make a point!
I want to encourage you to do this with you life...
Surround yourself with the people you need not just the people you want.

As someone who considers himself a disciple of Jesus, the very best thing I can do in regards to who I surround myself with is to have the whole gamut of people and their various types.
To be all that God desires for to be I need to have the broadest selection of people interactions available.
I need the morons and the mature. I need the dorky and the dedicated. I need the bright and the dull. I need the supportive and the critic. I need the saint and the sinner.

Take a moment to consider Jesus life pre ministry and during it.
He interacted with a lot of different people. His family, temple leaders, the poor and the rich, the hungry, broken and lost along with the rulers oppressing his nation. Yes he gave valued time to his disciples and those seeking to follow him, but you never see Him restricting his interactions to one group alone.

I honestly feel challenged by this and I hope maybe you do too?
We need to be wise about who we walk with and who we give our best to. Scripture backs that up. But as salt and light I want my flavour and my shine to be before as many as possible, just like Jesus.

I wonder if you are reading this and realising your world only has certain people in it.
People you allow and no one else?
Maybe you avoid some who wind you up the wrong the way?
I would love to invite you to prayerfully consider surrounding yourself with a broader base. To surround yourself with the people you need not just the people you want.
Slowly broaden your world to include others you might not have considered before.
Don't run away from people, conflict and some drama too quickly. God might to use that to mature you or be of help. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Heres a great list to check.
Make sure you have these people in your life...

  • People to love
  • People to serve
  • People to lead
  • People to follow
  • People to friend
  • People to fight with
  • People to challenge you
  • People to give your very life for!

Something to think about...


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Seasonal vs Sustainable

I have been thinking for a while now about the difference between seasonal and sustainable?

Every year we have fashion style changes.
And every decade seems to have a dramatic stylistic change.
Every year I see different heath related trends come and go.
And every few decades what was once considered right appears to be wrong.
I have seen fads, trend, fashions in all areas of life come and go like the wind.

It has been revealed that an author of a Lifestyle/Health/Cooking style book was no longer living like they promoted. They reportedly were loving the fact that people were shocked to see them in public behaving the opposite of how they promoted.
The revelation they had after writing a very successful book was the lifestyle was not practically sustainable. They know that personally and yet still sell their book...
To the negative it seems hypocritical.
To the thinkers out there it proves my point I believe.

Dramatic lifestyle change my be helpful but is it always sustainable?
And for it to be sustainable can it be merely be based on an idea, apparent logic and human effort?

Some years ago I finally thought I had breakthrough on the weight issue in my life. It all seemed to have finally come together.
I was exercising a lot and I mean a lot.
I was enjoying having sport related goals and achieving them.
I looked pretty ok for my age and stage in life.
And then it happened. Injuries. Life stuff. A few personal challenges.
The upshot is that my season came to an end.
It was not sustainable. It bothered me a lot!

What I have learned is to keep coming back to God and looking to see whether what I am doing is seasonal or sustainable.
It helps me process my station in life depending on what it is.

In God we see seasons and the sustainable.
God has set seasons in place but undergirded them with some absolutes.
We have winter, spring, summer and fall (autumn).
We have Gods Word that never changes.
We have 24 hours a day with sunrise and sunset.
We have Gods love that never changes.
Hopefully you see a pattern here?

I would love for you to take some time this week to prayerfully consider what is seasonal and/or sustainable for you...

It something is a season for you, embrace it, but hold it loosely.
It something is sustainable for you, embrace it, and never let it go.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

How did David do it?

I was reminded recently about a story during a particularly difficult time in David's life (that famous Israelite king from the Bible) where things had seemingly gone pretty bad, everyone was against him, and all seemed lost.
What did David do in response?
How did he recover from this life defining moment?
I believe there is something in his story that maybe could be applied to your story, if not today, maybe sometime in the future...

The account goes something like this...
David has a bunch of men including their families moving from place to place, doing what they need to do to survive.
Up until this moment it was like a very adventurous camping trip.
There were strange encounters. There were battles to fight.
And in it all God seemed with them and blessing them.
One day they come home from another of their 'adventures' to find an enemy has raided their temp camping home. This enemy has taken all they own including their wives and children. Then to rub salt in their wounds, they have burned to the ground what that couldn't carry away with them.
It seems that the enemy of David and his men wanted to inflict as much pain as possible. And it worked!

Imagine being David for a moment...
He has lost everything.
The people he is doing his best to lead have lost everything.
The promise of God he has carried for decades now is seemingly even further off than ever.

And then you read what might happen next...
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.
1 Samuel 30:6 NIV

Not a great moment in his leadership journey!
Everything seems lost. The people are upset.
A leadership challenge is being seriously considered.

But David does something truly pivotal to seeing this situation improve!
...But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 NIV

Others translations help explain this a little clearer:
...David strengthened himself with trust in his God MSG
...But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ESV

So how did David do it?
How did he encourage himself in God when in the natural all seemed completely lost and hopeless?
How can you get through whatever it is you are facing, especially if you are like David and like in this particular circumstance, have no human help left to turn to?

Here is what I think David might have done:
1. Reminded himself about God personal promise to him
The day Samuel anointed him as king in front of his family and made declarations of his future kingship. God had promised him he would be a great leader.
2. Reminded himself about how God has rescued him before
David had killed lions and bears as a very young boy to protect the sheep under his care.
Another time he killed at impossible opponent called Goliath.
3. Reminded himself of the relationship he has with God
I am sure he spent time just as he had many times in the past talking with God, being honest with God, being in His presence, resting in the special relationship.

If you read the rest of the story it is truly miraculous!
From this point God sends a prophet, a special encounter and a full restoration.
So today maybe the best thing you and I could do is to encourage ourselves in the Lord.
It is what David did. It is certainly what we should copy to...

Something to think about...


Thursday, September 12, 2019

We need the prophetic!

Someone I know not that closely at all recently sent me a private message via facebook.
What they sent was what many would call a 'prophetic word'. 
Something that they had an 'impression' of, that could be God speaking through them to me...

I won't share all the detail about what they shared but I want you to know it was 100% correct.
They said they woke in the night with a picture of me, a situation, a place. They picture they had was correct.
They went on to say what they thought God would like me hear from Him. The words they shared both challenged and encouraged me at the same time.

I replied after processing quickly what I was reading to let them know they were spot on.
This was not a generated scenario. 
In fact I am not sure how it could have been.
It was prophetic. And I needed the prophetic.

Now take this Simple Thought a whole step further...
We need the prophetic.
You need the prophetic.
Either you receiving or you sharing, we need this valuable ministry in the body of Christ.
I am not talking about being weirdo's, charging around saying whatever nice things comes to mind.
I am talking about the real deal prophetic, all filtered through the heart of God for His people.

Something that struck me along with the accuracy was the humility with which it was shared.
There was not an ounce of 'I know more than you spiritual arrogance' that many are put off by in this valuable ministry. Paul reminds us in 1st Corinthians that love is an important prophetic filter.

My hope in writing this today is simple... 
I would love for you to embrace the real prophetic, to explore it if it is new to you.
If you have the prophetic gift use it for the glory of God and furtherment of the Kingdom.
If you receive a word, prayerfully consider it. Don't miss out on God speaking just because it comes in a form or mode you are not accustomed to.

We need the prophetic!

19Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20Do not scoff at prophecies, 
21but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 
1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The devil is in the detail?

A phrase from my early years growing up that was thrown around many times was this...
"The devil is in the detail"...
To be honest I couldn't understand the thought being conveyed maybe based on my thinking style and personality type. I couldn't see how the detail to anything could be bad, wrong or even attributed to the worst known creation of all time.
Details to me were facts. Facts are what we base truth on.
Truth is what I needed to base my life on.

Now today I look at that phrase differently...

Right now in the world we live, I personally believe the devil is in the details.
What I mean by that is that he is trying to confuse, manipulate, shift truth, values, morals and more.
It is like he has invaded the details of what we used to hold dear.
His goal has been to invade the details, muddy them up, twist them about, and by all accounts he has been somewhat successful at it.
Scripture tells us that the devil is able to masquerade as an angel of light. And because of that 'skill', he seems to me able to slot into the fine points of life if we are not careful.

From my recent observations he is using Marketing 101 against us.
What is that you might well ask?...
It is a technique marketers use where you market your weakness as your strength and then everything else appears also to then be a strength.
An example of this is if you are a chain of coffee shops and the general public think your coffee is less than average, promote yourself as having fully trained barista's with ethically sourced beans.
The rest becomes strengths.

I believe he is using this marketing technique to confuse even 'the elect' sometimes. Convincing many with facts based on fiction.
If you don't check the 'facts', the facts even if untrue become truth too many.

I truly hope you are getting where I am coming from?

So where to from here?
What can you and I possibly do to navigate this strange new world of truth?

My encouragement to you is three-fold:
Ask God for wisdom.
Wisdom is something God truly loves to give. With wisdom you can navigate and discern better the details put in front of you. James 1:5
Ask God for revelation.
Through the Holy Spirit I believe God will reveal to you the real truth. It is not something you will have to work hard at. Let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the truth because He is the Spirit of Truth. John 16:13
Ask God for protection.
God takes great pleasure in looking after the pinnacle of His creation. Pray for protection over your mind and let God hedge you about. Ephesians 6, Job 1:10

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Bridezella

Have you ever seen one of this TV programmes where the bride is a complete nightmare?
Where she is never happy, hugely demanding, unappreciative, and having a meltdown over seemingly everything.
I call this stuff 'train wreck tv'.
These ladies are commonly referred to as Bridezilla's.

If you start watching it sucks you in, like a train wreck you know what is about to happen and you just can't stop watching.
The producers of this material have to keep finding worse and worse examples to keep all the train wreck watchers interested. It really is a shambles where no one wins and the beauty of what is supposed to be divinely special moment in life is invariably tarnished.

My most popular ever Blog post is all about the Bride of Christ.
That is us. The people who make up the Church.
Jesus is coming back for a bride.
He isn't coming back for Bridezilla!

Paul had a major passion for the Bride of Christ.
He took special care to instruct her, lead her and protect her.
His instructions on how to avoid you and me being part of a potential Bridezilla Church are super important. I really felt I should remind us of some of them today to help us from becoming a train wreck others sit back and watch.

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-11 NIV

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10 NIV

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV

Jesus even said this...
"...everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV

The time between your salvation response decision and your promotion to heaven is all about ministry and preparation for eternity. God is working on us as individuals and corporately as the Church body for both ends.

I want to invite you to join me treasuring this preparation time before we are all called up to that big wedding feast. Let's treasure each other, our bond and relationship. Let's treasure the moments together and look for ways to bless one another.
We are called to be His bride not a bridezilla.

Something to think about...




Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The world is about to end...

That is what many of us believed back in the late 1980's!
Yip, last century when I was really young, many of us were convinced that armageddon was just around the corner. The USA or USSR in a moment of trigger happy apprehension about their enemy was about to pull the trigger on their nukes.

When I watched a recent episode of 'The Goldbergs' they portrayed what many of us were worried about. All around the world we watched in horror a movie called "The Day After".
It showed our possible and very near future.
Nuclear war destroying us and the world around us.

My reaction was to freak a little.
When the first Iraq war was added to the mix my anxiety rose.
I even wrote songs about it in the vain hope they would salve me and maybe change the world?

This week I heard that a study has been released reporting this teenagers are now more anxious, stressed, depressed than ever in recent modern history. Even more than during the nuclear proliferation of the 80's and even more than the great depression of the 20's.
At the same time many have said of this generation that they are the most enlightened, educated and intelligent. With the all the 'woke sensibilities' of today people are struggling even more.

Personally I don't think the world is about it end at all!
Yes we have issues and problems and dramas, but the earth is still spinning on its axis and you still have breath in your lungs.

Even back when Jesus was walking the earth people were very very concerned about the world and especially their place and part in it.
If you read through Matthew 24 you see it clearly and then what Jesus recommended...

6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

So what is Jesus advice if you worried about the world ending?

  • Stand firm in your faith and hope in Christ (v13)
  • Be wise, develop your spiritual understanding (v15)
  • Have a prayer life (v20)
  • Hold onto wisdom it will help you (v25)
  • Take note of his Words because they will not fail (v35)
  • Keep watch (v42)
  • Be ready (v44)
  • Stay faithful (v45)

Please don't think that is a just big list you have to wrestle with.
You have a "blessed assurance" the old hymn goes, if you keep Jesus first and trust in Him alone.

We have hope and are not hopeless.
Grab a hold of that for yourself. And maybe find someone else who needs to hear these words and share them with them...

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Put a stake in it!

Maybe this could be what you need to hear today?
I would like to encourage you to put a stake in it!

What I mean is this...
That if you have a past you are not proud of or happy about, a season of life you want to move past, something that just hasn't been working for you...put a stake in the ground today. Thrust a spiritual marker post in the dirt and create a demarcation from the old and move step into the new.
The moment you do this in faith and add the most important component, Jesus Christ, you can become what scripture promises - you can become a new creation, the old is gone, the new can come.

I truly hope this isn't coming across as to simplistic?
It is just that many struggle to let some key things, moments, hurts etc go...
I am not saying to walk away from a difficult season to simply escape. We have to be careful not to run away from a 'work' God might be doing in us.
My 'simple thought' is that if right now your history is not helping but hindering you, make that history history!
Find your identity in Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you with words and opportunities.
And keep that stake in your rearview mirror...

Peter had to put a stake in the ground and move past being a denier of Christ to a preacher of the Gospel. Maybe becoming Jesus most vocal defender?
Paul had to put a stake in the ground and move from destroying the Church to being key to building the Church.
What will a stake in the ground do for you and who you are destined to become?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What are you waiting for?

Paul is pretty famous in the Bible! But the beginning of his faith journey was pretty dramatic and not at all that smooth and comfortable.
After meeting Jesus supernaturally on a back road, where he actually ended up blind, he finds himself not long after in the home of very godly man.
Check out one of the things this man says to Paul...

And now what are you waiting for? 
Get up, be baptised and wash your sins away, 
calling on his name.’ Acts 22:16 NIV

As I was thinking about what to share with you this week, that phrase was in my spirit.
What are you waiting for?
So right now I wonder what you might be waiting for?

I have noticed many don't have a major issue with being part of a faith based family like a Church or a youth group.
In our christian culture you can many times find it to be a safe place, a place to enjoy, to find meaningful social engagement, even find some entertainment.
As part of this group many then identify as being a follower of Jesus.
Again many don't fuss too much over this "christian thing" during the other 6 days of the week, but come Sunday, if life and opportunities don't attract them elsewhere - they will be back into a Church.

Paul didn't just meet Jesus.
His life was totally transformed by Jesus.
And he wanted nothing else but to be part of Gods big plan!
The last thing he wanted was a safe place, he wanted to respond!

When Ananias uttered those words to Paul he didn't hesitate.
In fact for the rest of his life he continued to repsond.
He spent his days in glorious adventure with God.
God didn't seem to need to remind him to stop waiting and get up...cause he was already gone in a very good way!

So again today - what are you waiting for?
Get up my friend and enter into the Kingdom with everything you have. Don't wait.
People may not write about you like Luke did of Paul, but your life can have a lasting eternal impact if you stop waiting, get moving, believing, acting in faith.
I believe in you and God believes in you even more than that!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

5 words that WILL change your life!

Not so long ago, someone who professed to being passionate about Jesus, told that God had told them to get revenge on another believer for hurting them.
In fact they had a set number of days they believed God told them to seek this revenge.
When I as gently as I could reminded them that scripture (Hebrews 10:30) tells us to leave any revenge up to God, I was shot down as not knowing what I am talking about...

The reality of that situation and many others like it, was humility, grace and five small and yet infinitely powerful words could have saved us all so much grief.
Relationships could have been saved.
Good could have come from the bad.
With grace would have come growth.
Instead all we got was the worst that people can dish out to each other.

We live in a world it seems many times to me where we feel some need to defend ourselves. To make sure we are safe with being on the offence at best, getting defensive as the secondary strategy.
Maybe because we recognise there are it seems so many issues bigger than us, protecting ones self seems to many to be a priority.

The Kingdom of God shows another supernatural way.
Today I want to give you 5 words that WILL change your life!
They only work if you use them to the best of your ability and without over thinking, over analysing everything. They work because God honours them! And what God honours works!

The first of the five...
"I'm sorry"

For some reason I am discovering people are finding this harder and harder to say. They think those two words are a sign of weakness as opposed to strength.

We tend to fish for reasons for why not to say them instead of the opposite.
"I shouldn't have to because they started it"
"It wasn't my fault"
"They don't understand what I am going through"
"You don't know what it is like living with my spouse"
"People need to show me more grace"

I am always sorry. Why?
I recognise that I not as amazing and perfect and infallible as I might hope. Everyday I need to say sorry to someone at some point.

The second of the five...
"Please forgive me"

23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

Have a think about this for a moment with me...
They other person has the problem with me and yet I am seeking forgiveness...
Why is Jesus asking us to do the opposite of what makes human sense?
Because you show strength when you make the first move, even if it not your fault, others don't understand, they started it etc.
You get be to Jesus in that moment to bring healing to all involved.

Grace like forgiveness is a living thing. Everyday. In every way.
Living to the point where it should be the first thing we think of, not the last.
Maybe you could put those 5 words into practice this week?
Maybe make them a habit?
It will change your life!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Own it

During my stint of a few years at boarding school it was common practice to make application for leave to go to things like appointments, extra activities, sports practices and the like.
The process was that at lunchtime you completed a form and then after school you looked on a special board to see if your application got accepted.
Lots of my fellow students would lie and put fake details down just so they could try and meet a girl in the local park. Invariably they would get caught. Get in trouble. Found it harder to get leave later.

In the course of time I too wanted to meet a young lady in the local park.
Instead of making up a story and risk getting caught out, I thought why not just be honest, stipulate on the form what I was really going to do, and see what happens. The worst they could say was no.
To my surprise when I checked the leave board later in the day my leave was accepted.

This was a practice I used for nearly a year.
Every time I was just honest.
And every time I got my leave accepted.
It used to drive the other guys crazy because they were always getting turned down.
Eventually I asked the Boarding Manager why I was always given leave. His answer was "you are the only one who told the truth so I accepted your applications".

Lately I have had some interactions with people that have left me a little cold. Some people have lied to my face recently.
While the truth would be potentially difficult for either of us, it would have been so much better.

Scripture tells us that the very first occurrence of sin happened as a result of a lie.
The devil acting a serpent said to Eve, "Did God really say..." and "you will certainly not die" in reference to tempting her with fruit from a tree in the Garden of Eden.
The lie hurt everyone involved. Nothing good came from it.

Lying is a short term reaction that actually restricts you later.
Many people from childhood learn that lying can potentially get you out of a fix. But it doesn't most of the time. It robs you of relationship. It restricts you going forward.
I have noticed that we use lying as a protection mechanism. But yet again it only restricts us further.
Truth is the only thing that will set us free!

Check out this simple and yet 'true' statements from Scripture for a moment...

Proverbs 12:22 niv
The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Colossians 3:9 niv
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.

My heart for you is that you are able to enter into everything that God has for you. Lying won't help your cause.
Please be brave and honest and then you will more and more free!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Bring It

Where ever you go.
Where ever you end up.
It is never an accident!
And God has designed it to bring His blessing.

Jeremiah 29:7 says...
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. NIV

You are pretty amazing in Christ!
You have the divine opportunity to make somewhere far better than the way you found it. Even it feels kind of like a place of exile to you, God is with you, and wants you to begin to pray for its transformation.

God isn't asking you to publish its faults on Social Media in a vain hope to bring change.
God isn't asking you to do all you can to escape your current locale.
What God wants to do today is encourage you to pray for His blessing, His mercy, His grace, His goodness to be poured so much into it and onto it, that it actually begins to prosper.
Your prayer today will begin a course of chain reactions that sees heaven move and transformation begin.
Super exciting isn't it when you think about it?
Amazing that God is waiting potentially on you before He moves...

So right now, are you happy in the place you are?
Does it appear to be prospering?
Your marriage, your job, even your Church might not be all you hoped and dreamed it could be...
Your task right now my friend is to just pray.
Please know that prayer will make all the difference!

Something to think about...

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Looking for your feedback/advice...

Hi everyone!
Before I mention what feedback / advice I am looking for, please know I am super honoured to have you visit and check out my 'Simple Thoughts'.
I am constantly staggered by how many of you are from countries I could only dream of being able to visit.

Recently I looked and discovered this blog began very humbly and without much of a plan over 14 years ago. In that time we have produced over 700 'Simple Thoughts' just like what you have seen each week.
I have been seriously thinking about the future of this blog and wondering whether I could make it even better for you? Could and should I leap into the world of video blogging along with this traditional model? Or do I continue with the status quo?

So here is what I would truly love to have from you...I would like your feedback...
Either by leaving a comment below or by sending me an email to locky@taupoelim.nz.

  • If I started a video blog would you check it out? Maybe prefer it?
  • Do you like my current format or want something different?
  • Would you consider supporting my work via Patreon or similar system?

I will sign off now and wait for your response.
Thanks for sharing the joining with me.

Much love to you all!
Locky

Saturday, July 20, 2019

#FaithPix (20 July 2019)


So here is the deal...
Let's post 1 positive and encouraging faith based picture and/or Bible Verse each day for 5 days.
Let’s spread the 'good news' around a digital world…

Share your #FaithPix along with me and let's see what God does with it...
July 16th - July 20th 2019.

Something to not just think about but do...

*Please don't share stuff to condemn or purposely upset others. Let's share what will build others up. Let's share what will bring someone else hope. Let's share about who we really believe God to be*

Friday, July 19, 2019

#FaithPix (19 July 2019)



So here is the deal...
Let's post 1 positive and encouraging faith based picture and/or Bible Verse each day for 5 days.
Let’s spread the 'good news' around a digital world…

Share your #FaithPix along with me and let's see what God does with it...
July 16th - July 20th 2019.

Something to not just think about but do...

*Please don't share stuff to condemn or purposely upset others. Let's share what will build others up. Let's share what will bring someone else hope. Let's share about who we really believe God to be*

Thursday, July 18, 2019

#FaithPix (18 July 2019)


So here is the deal...
Let's post 1 positive and encouraging faith based picture and/or Bible Verse each day for 5 days.
Let’s spread the 'good news' around a digital world…

Share your #FaithPix along with me and let's see what God does with it...
July 16th - July 20th 2019.

Something to not just think about but do...

*Please don't share stuff to condemn or purposely upset others. Let's share what will build others up. Let's share what will bring someone else hope. Let's share about who we really believe God to be*

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

#FaithPix (17 July 2019)


So here is the deal...
Let's post 1 positive and encouraging faith based picture and/or Bible Verse each day for 5 days.
Let’s spread the 'good news' around a digital world…

Share your #FaithPix along with me and let's see what God does with it...
July 16th - July 20th 2019.

Something to not just think about but do...

*Please don't share stuff to condemn or purposely upset others. Let's share what will build others up. Let's share what will bring someone else hope. Let's share about who we really believe God to be*

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

#FaithPix (16 July 2019)


So here is the deal...
Let's post 1 positive and encouraging faith based picture and/or Bible Verse each day for 5 days.
Let’s spread the 'good news' around a digital world…

Share your #FaithPix along with me and let's see what God does with it...
July 16th - July 20th 2019.

Something to not just think about but do...

*Please don't share stuff to condemn or purposely upset others. Let's share what will build others up. Let's share what will bring someone else hope. Let's share about who we really believe God to be*

#FaithPix


In the vain of wanting to change things up a little this week with my Blog, plus do something that might help others...I am launching #FaithPix.
Even if it only helps one person in their moment of needing some hope, that is ok with me!

Right now my digital world is either filled with advertisements for many things I either don't want or can't afford.
It is filled with people hating others over their political leanings.
It is filled with people sharing how offended they are.
Let's change that a little for 5 days!

So here is the deal...
Let's post 1 positive and encouraging faith based picture and/or Bible Verse each day for 5 days.
Let’s spread the 'good news' around a digital world…

Share your #FaithPix along with me and let's see what God does with it...
July 16th - July 20th 2019.

Something to not just think about but do...

*Please don't share stuff to condemn or purposely upset others. Let's share what will build others up. Let's share what will bring someone else hope. Let's share about who we really believe God to be*


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Trying to Breath?

Have you ever had that sensation where you were out of breath?
If you have you will know it is not the most pleasant!

I remember having croup as a young kid, waking up in a panic struggling to breath, finding it nearly impossible to call out to my mum for help.
I remember getting 'winded' playing sport, lying on the ground struggling to get another breath of air in. Like my body had forgotten how to breath on its own.
In the last few years I learned I have the occasional sleep apnea, where I stopped breathing properly, walking up panicked gasping for air.

I have been thinking today about this for a very specific and different reason.
As someone doing all I can to follow Jesus, I need to breath.
And I am not just talking about the natural breath we take for granted that will naturally flow in and out. I am referring to the very Spirit of God in my life.

God's Word speaks clearly that the Spirit of God is like a wind.
Both the Old and New Testaments speak in those terms with the ruwach and pneuma to describe the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit is to your walk with Christ like the very air your breath. Without air your struggle to survive and I would say it is the same with the Spirit of God. It is hard to follow Jesus, impossible to see His power in and through us, without the abiding breath of God.
Just as God breathed life into Adam on the day he first came alive, God wants to breath upon you by His Spirit so that you in turn come alive.

Can I encourage you this week to ask the breath of God to fill you each and every moment of each and every day?
Ask Him in the morning before you rise.
Ask Him in the evening before you retire.
You don't have to continue to struggle to breath any longer!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Opinionators

All around the world we have 'opinionators'.
They are maybe a precursor to the fictional terminators of the movie franchise fame?
Without robot and AI enhanced skills, they show the same dogged determination to attack what they are programmed to attack.

The most important thing to an opinionator is their opinion.
And you better watch out if your opinion doesn't match their opinion!
Their strategy for dealing with an opinion or philosophical position different to them is simple...
Don't like someones idea. Attack.
Don't agree with someones faith. Attack.
Can't relate to someone else's values. Attack.

Everyone can have an opinion.
But having an opinion doesn’t make you any more right about an issue or a subject.
Opinions are not always fact.
Opinions can change at any time if something else convinces it otherwise.

Listen, opinions and the dealing with them is as old as humanity itself.
Every generation has had issues pertaining to differences of opinion.
I don't want to focus on it today, but the dam that held the extreme reactions at bay for a number of generations has been removed. Manners, respect, decorum are nearly extinct in many quarters, so the flood has arrived.
So what can you and I do to operate the best in a world of rampant opinionators?

Jesus asked his friend, his disciples a strange question one day.
"Who do people say I am?"
Essentially he was eliciting a response to all the opinions swelling around about Him at the time for a very pointed reason.
One by one they fire off their answers back to Jesus.
"Some say John the Baptist".
"Others say Elijah". 
"And still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets".
If you have read this before, did you notice they all referred to Jesus as a dead guy?
They said He was like any number of dead people. Weird!
It is just my opinion, but I can't help wonder whether they knew something was special about Jesus but didn't want to acknowledge it fully? All they felt comfortable doing was forming opinions on Him based on the history they understand around a bunch of dead guys.

Jesus then does something truly important and key to this issue. He turns to Peter, looks him right in the eye and directs His question on a truly personal level.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter is being most pointedly asked by Jesus to say who he thinks Jesus is. To forget about the opinionators and their biased thoughts on who He is.

Today I want to encourage you to put some blinkers on as it were to the world of raging and swirling opinions. They have become a polluted ocean. A cesspit of anger. Devoid of hope.
If you want to know Jesus, want to understand the Kingdom, get connected to the source of it all.
What you think and understand on a personal level is what God is most interested in.
Build your own relationship with God.
Do you own research.
Go back to the source of life and I believe you grow far beyond opinion.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Please sow only in the way you want to reap.

I can certainly vouch for scripture and the principles we are encouraged to espouse there-in.
Give it long enough and you begin to see them play out in our personal lives, private lives, corporate and Church lives.

You have probably heard this saying...
You reap what you sow.
Online dictionaries explain it simply like this:
You eventually have to face up to the consequences of your actions.

Galatians 6:7 NIV says "...a man reaps what he sows."
Other translations help show just how simple this principle actually is.
"For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest." TPT
"Whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap." AMP

Some years before becoming the Pastor I am today, I worked for a business that was made up of many agencies. Essentially we had the 'rights' to sell and support various brands of engineering equipment from many reputable overseas businesses.
After many years of faithfully serving the owners I learned just how they came to have this business. My boss used to work as the General Manager of a very similar enterprise. He essentially set us his new business by stealing the agencies away for himself. That in turn attracted some of the staff he used to manage and there you have it - a ready made business for himself.

That point of telling this is not to have a go at my old employer but to show the true power of scripture. He ultimately reaped the harvest he sowed many years before.
Not long after I left the company one by one he lost these prized agencies to others.
I understand this caused upset and disappointment. He would have felt ripped off.
In light of what I began with, I believe scripture proved itself in the course of time.

I guess this simple thought is both an encouragement and reminder.
First that God's Word is exactly as it promises. It is sharper than any two edged sword. It gets into lives and situations. It always comes true because the creator of it backs it up.
Secondly it is a warning to consider how we build, how we deal with others, how we act in this world. As a follower of Christ I am looking for a harvest of righteousness so I need to sow that very thing to get it.

When I see others sowing in a way that is not righteous to get what they want, it makes me honestly very nervous for them.
Sowing discord will eventually reap you discord.
Sowing in jealousy will eventually reap you a jealousy harvest.
Trying to build your life, your business, your ministry or your Church in a way that is not right will eventually reap a pretty uncomfortable harvest. It might take a while but eventually we each reap was what sown in the past.

Check out what it says next in Galatians for a moment...
"...the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in." Galatians 6:8-9 AMP

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Maybe the answer is "better"?

I probably watch too many clips on youtube...
Even last night I did an audit of all the clips saved in my watch list and realised it needed a cull.
One thing I have noticed is that people on that platform and elsewhere are pretty passionate and sometimes outright angry about many things.
I not against said passion. It just seems most simply want to destroy.
Destroy what they don't like. Take it down. Take it out.
And in that destruction they hope things will be better...

So I have been thinking lately about what is the best approach to improving things in our world.
Should we go thermo nuclear on every issue or is there a better way, a better approach?

I ultimately believe Jesus came not to merely destroy, but to make things better.
In fact Jesus is famously recorded as saying “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17niv). Jesus didn't come to destroy anything except the devils work in peoples lives. He came to continue making things better.
His goal of helping people be right with God was not about destroying everything.
He did all that He did to make things right, to makes things better.

If you are anything like me you want the world to be a better place than it is.
But to make it better, don't set about to destroy it.
Ask God today what you could do right now to influence the world...
Ask Him for ideas on how you can make your sphere better just by you being in it...
Ask Him what being salt and light practically means right now for you...

Nehemiah heard about the walls of Jerusalem being broken down and prayed for months.
God put it on his heart to make things better. To build a wall even though he had no experience in wall building.
The desire to make things better outweighed his skills and resources and yet history tells us his desire and action created a better place for God's people.

Can I encourage you to approach things a little different?
Instead of saying someone you know is terrible or bad, ask God how you might help them to be better?
Instead of criticising everything around, like the government, even the Church, ask God to show you how you could make things better. What could you offer to do? What could you give? In what way could you serve?

Nehemiah made things better brick by brick. One life involved at a time.
You can change the world for the better.
Let God show you how this week.

Something to think about...

Monday, June 10, 2019

Feeling better by comparison?

I bet you have compared yourself to someone else at some stage.
We all have...
It probably elicited some sort of an emotional response. Either it made you feel better or worse depending on the person/situation you compared yourself to.

Some years ago I heard a testimony which kind of pricked my attention, not because it was great, but because it disturbed me greatly. I wish now I handled it better afterwards, where I spoke to the person involved, but I didn't and that is on me!
Anyway, they said they used to get down on life when they compared themselves to others seemingly more successful than them. Their "revelation" was to compare themselves with those not doing as well, and that apparently made them feel better. The scary thing was that they thought that was a valid and godly approach...

Now I am a Pastor.
Honestly we as Pastors can be the very worst at this!
Not with the people we minister to or the like, but how we measure success in our ministry, in our leadership, in our Churches.
Even after leading our Church for 10 years I am still stupidly comparing myself. Why?
Because probably deep down I am looking for validation, encouragement and a sense of value from all these years of service.
The problem is for guys like me, it always appears that everyone else is doing a better job because our Church is still considered very small when 'compared' to the average Church. When 'compared' to those we are encouraged to learn from and their successful building of super large and influential faith families, I seem to be coming up woe-fully short.
To be further honest, on a bad day, it is positively soul destroying - please note the mixed language...
There is nothing positive about. It can bring me to a very low point very quickly.

Galatians 6:4-5 says this...
4Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5for each one should carry their own load. (niv)

The idea is that you should only gauge your life, ministry or even success simply on whether you have done your very best to honour God in it. You can only carry your own burden. You can't carry someone else's or measure yourself well with someone else's.

2 Corinthians 10:12 pushes this point further...
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. (niv)

Paul I think is saying to not even dare to do it. It is unwise. Doesn't achieve much benefit either way.

Then I think he sobers us up further with this comment...
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:26 niv

If you compare up you feel stink.
If you compare down you act kind of stink.

All you and I can do is ask ourselves the honest questions...
Are we doing everything we can to honour God with what we are attempting for the Kingdom?
Are we looking first and foremost to Him to validate us?
I find this really hard and a challenge personally.

Something to think about...

Friday, June 07, 2019

This was me but is not me anymore!

Have you had anyone ever throw your past back in your face?
That nasty moment when someone tries to run you down based on who you used to be?

There were plenty of people around Jesus who had a 'past':
- Mary Magdalene used to be a prostitute
- Matthew used to be a tax collector (traditionally ripped people off)
- Thomas became known one day as 'Doubting Thomas'.
Just to name a few...

I wonder if sometimes people attacked them with their past mistakes?
Trying to be-little them because they failed, misstepped, missed the mark expected by others and probably even by themselves?
I have been disturbed sometimes to hear people describe others they know by their past and leave it at that - I think in some way as to make themselves feel better, because they weren't a prostitute or a swindler or a doubter.

Paul helped sum up his life to Timothy in a letter he once wrote him...
1 Timothy 1:12-16 niv
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

It is like he is saying "I was a plonker, maybe even the worst one ever, but I thank God He saved me. I am not that person anymore."

I care and I don't care about your past!
I totally get that you and I have one. Maybe even one we are not proud of?
What I most care about is who you are now in Christ and who you will become going forward on your journey of faith!

Don't worry when someone tries to throw your past in your face.
If you know that is just your past, then ignore them.
They are just bitter and in desperate need of the love and grace of God right now themselves. They are probably venting their heart burning frustration with their own struggles.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 niv
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Paul's advice to you and me is to remember that we are actually being transformed. Maybe not always in the way or pace we like, but being altered on the altar of His grace none-the-less.

Ignore your haters. They are just haters.
Focus on Christ and what He has done and is doing in your life!
That was me but it is not me anymore!

Something to think about...



Sunday, June 02, 2019

We still love Tacos

This fun and thought provoking sign appeared in one of my social medias feeds this last week.
It certainly got me thinking! As you might have expected, I related it back to a relationship with God...


I think most of us like the idea of God being able to meet our needs and wants. Like God giving us a new car when we want one, a better house, a great parking space.
I have also discovered that many people are nervous about God getting too much into their personal life and space. Sometimes out of fear, sometime out of a low faith quotient, and sometimes because they want to keep Him away from certain areas.

What I would love you to discover with me today is that God wants the very best for you!
He is really good at fixing broken people with broken lives. Just look at His disciples and followers and you see a measure even in those examples. From deniers, to protestutes, to the impulsive and arrogant. Exposure to the love of God through Jesus Christ can and will change you if you let it!

I want a God who can alter me, change me, heal me, make me better!

Psalm 147:3 says that God "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
God wants to alter you on the altar and help you discover who you were designed to be all along.
The devil robs, kills and destroys, but God bring life!

If you need some "fixing" more advice will be nice but not exactly what you might need?
How about being brave with me and God and coming to the altar of grace again today.
Pour out your heart to Him. Ask for your healing. See what God can do...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Decision Navigation

I was thinking this morning about the day ahead and the share number of potential decisions that will need to be made.
In the course of my normal weekly routine, I actually make hundreds of them.
Some are easy, others not so.
Some don't have major consequences if I get them wrong, while others have major consequences if I do get them wrong.
People each and every day ask me to help guide their decision navigation. In those moments I truly hope I help them and not hinder them.

So how do you decision navigate during your day?
Is there a strategy that works best?
Is experience working for us every time?
Do I delay some choices paralysed by analysing the potential cost of getting it wrong?

Before I do my best to give a simple answer, trust me when I say I am not always super confident in my decision navigation. What I can honestly say is that I do my very best.
Faith is the hallmark of every believer, meaning faith in Christ is tied to my decision navigation. If I think God wants me to do such and such, I don't need to feel 100% about it, faith in God is my anchor.

My approach has been refined over the years...

  • Most days I pray and ask God to help me to get it right.
  • Then I ask the Holy Spirit multiple times a day to guide my choices, through my conscience, words or any other means He might want to use.
  • Then I back myself. And when I say that I maybe aren't backing myself in the traditional sense of having all confidence in myself. It is more than not based on confidence in Him.
God promises each of us that He will never leave or forsake us.
The Holy Spirit was sent to earth after Jesus ascension to be the ultimate counsellor. I believe a key role He has in each of our lives is to purposefully help us make the best choices.

Can I encourage you today to simply pray?
Ask as many times as you like and feel the need, for the Holy Spirit to lead you in your decision navigation.
It should bring your more success than not.
It should bring you a measure of peace.
It should help you to enter into everything the God has for you today.

Something to think about...

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The reality of fantasy...

Why am I not surprised that a whole bunch of loyal viewers to Game of Thrones are venting their displeasure? I seem to recall maybe similar feelings when Lost closed out its many seasons of entertaining my wife and I. In the end I felt like I was lost...

While these stories draw us in, many times they leave us wanting.
Maybe that is the reality of fantasy?

Fantasy is such a powerful thing.
It can take you to places in your soul. Maybe give you a perceived relief for a time.
I can't help but wonder whether our desire for fantasy is a mixture of escapism and a drug of choice for many of us?

While I haven't watched GOT, I do sympathise with those wrestling in their disappointment.
Your fantasy world has ended and now what?
Maybe you fantasy turned into a nightmare? Judging by the venting on social media that might very well be the case? 

Some people accuse people like me of living in a fantasy world.
That following Jesus is like believing in a tooth fairy or similar?
I would rather have others perception of fantasy over a TV show any day!
Following Jesus has changed my life for the better in many ways.
A TV show can only distract me for a moment.

Something to think about...



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Have I made it?

One of the challenges I face as someone with a role of communicating what I hope are the truths of life and faith, is that I don't want to come across negatively.
It is easy to pick holes in things.
Easy to see the negative in situations and people.
So before I fire off a thought that might be confronting, let's start with something encouraging...

I am teaching a series in our Church right now called Alter Altar.
It is based around a conviction I carry.

"God loves you and accepts you just the way you are.
But He also loves you far too much to leave you just the way you are!"

I also believe that until you go to spend eternity with Christ (after you die), that there is always something for you to do on this earth and a work that God wants to do in you.
Your life journey is about a mixture of knowing God for yourself, being made more and more in His image, and seeing your life help bring something of heaven to earth.

Jesus shares a story one day that has many powerful meanings for us.
It is about two men.
One a religious person who apparently in his own eyes is "all good".
The other is a man who in his own eyes and those probably around him, is known as a man with "issues".
Mr "Got-it-all-together" reveals a lack of having it all together and a desperate need of God's grace when he says "Thank you God that I am not like that sinner over there" referring to our 2nd character.
It truly frightens me that there is a possibility that we could become this man or a version of him.
That we could think we have reached a place in life and faith where we better than others.
I have seen and experienced people like this.
There are very difficulty to lead in the life of a Church Family!
Check out what our 2nd guys says for a moment...

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:13-14 niv

Can I encourage to open your heart today to the Spirit of God and allow Him to help us ascertain your own heart? Are you more man 1 or man 2?

Paul said he is a man being poured out for Christ.
Jesus said for us to take up our cross daily.
I approach this whole idea as though I need to stay on the altar.
To allow God the opportunity to finish the work He began in me.
He calls "good work", so no matter the pain, no matter any questions, the results will be good.
It is like in a sense for me that we need to stay humble and hungry and honest.

Can I encourager you to get back on the altar today?
Because God aint finished with you yet!

Something to think about...


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I got wronged...now what?

My family and I recently treated ourselves to some takeaway burgers and fries from a major New Zealand franchise chain with a more premium market approach.
In fact for the last 10 years of living in Taupo they have been our burger of choice.

To save standing around after ordering in-store I used their online system.
Paid. Then travelled a reasonable distance there and back home.
It was only when I came home I discovered the order had a small mistake. Something of lesser value replaced something I ordered. A bit disappointing, but not enough to be incensed about. The earth was still going to spin on its axis and the sun was still going to come up the next day.

Even though I knew they were busy I thought a simple to call the manager was in order, only to let them know about the issue so they could avoid it in the future maybe? Honestly I wasn't going for free stuff to alleviate my potential "pain, suffering and offence".
As expected I got an answerphone, so preceded to leave a simple message about the fault.

Sometime later after not receiving a reply I emailed their head office just to let them know.
They said they would followup.
Another few weeks past and I haven't heard anything, so send another message to head office.
You are smart, you already know where this is going! It was just a cycle of silly...

2 months later I get a call from a 'manager'.
He seems real genuine and wants to make things right by sending me some meal vouchers.
I thank him profusely and reaffirm I was not gunning for that as the response but certainly appreciated the gesture.

With excitement I let my family know we should be having something nice for dinner this week.
The vouchers would be appreciated by us all.
Yesterday they arrive in the mail. And when I opened it, salivating as I pondered my evenings burger choice, I discovered it was vouchers for some fries.
2 months of messages, emails and calls for some fries.

Honestly I am laughing.

As I have had 24 hours to think on this little journey, I have come to realise we face moments like this throughout our live. And when we do, we face response choices.
Do I defend my honour? Or should I just ignore it and move on?
Should I exact a price from those who have wronged me? Wouldn't that be right to teach them a lesson?

As a Christian this is a palpable dilemma for me.
I think I oscillate between two schools of thought that I will try and summarise from scriptures that we are taught regularly.

The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Deuteronomy 28:13 niv

Based on this I should defend my honour and act like someone who is not a tail.
My life is not a butt end, but my position is the top end.
I am child of the King so I am someone and deserve to be treated with respect.

...Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 1 Corinthians 6:7 niv

Jesus also amazingly taught that we should turn the other cheek.
That being wronged and responding with grace undeserved is His way of doing things.

I think I am looking to encourage you to consider this with me...
When we are wronged to first prayerfully consider your approach.
Should I defend myself or relent?
Should I in whatever case, right a perception of being wronged or let it slide?
We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide our conscience and the resulting response.

As for me and my house...I am looking forward to some fries.
Time to move on and live my life!

Something to think about...


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Even if God doesn't, I still will...

It has been something I have been thinking about during my times of prayer and reflection this week...
Even if God doesn't, I still will...
Sometimes it feels more like a question than a statement.
Sometimes it feels more like what I want to believe.

In my over quarter century of trying my best to do what I believe He wants me to do, I have certainly faced a few moments of question.
What if moments.
Where I wonder how I will be and will react if God doesn't do what I hope He will do?
Sometimes it has been the timing of something.
I truly hoped and prayed for an answer to come by a certain time, and that time has passed without my prayer being answered like I hoped?

Maybe you can relate?

Dena Martin Joseph phrased it like this...
Even if He doesn’t…
Even if He doesn’t save my marriage.
Even if He doesn’t heal my child.
Even if He doesn’t provide me with a new job.
Even if He doesn’t save me from bankruptcy court.
Even if He doesn’t give me a relationship with my estranged father.
Even if He doesn’t rescue my spouse from addiction.

Whatever your "even if He doesn’t" might be - I want to encourage you to hold on to what you already have as you look to your future with a measure of hope in Him.

17Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 esv

That is a big point for me!
Salvation...
If God only gives me salvation am I ok with that?
Scripture and God's character clearly show He wants to and does do far more that for us, because He is our Father and we are his children.
But I want to be ok with God and what He does.
I want to have truly in my heart "even if God doesn't, I still will..."
I still will follow, I will still trust, I will not give up in the hope I have in Him...even if what I am looking for personally doesn't happen now, later or even ever!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego famously replied to a king determined to be honoured above God...

17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
Daniel 3:17-18 niv

I am praying for myself.
And I am praying for you...
That even if God doesn't ________, we will still trust Him!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Am I at the centre?

I have been thinking today this one thing...
Am I at the centre of God's will, His plan right now for my life?

At the same time I felt drawn to consider what my measurements are? To consider also just who am I am comparing my journey and current station with?
Wondering what is really happening in my heart and what is my conscience that God has given and ordained, saying to me?

I am a pastor as my 'job'. It is an amazing opportunity and something I dreamed of for a long time before it came to be.
At the same time I have spent too many moments questioning whether it is 'working', am I doing it 'right', am I at centre of God's will for my life and 'ministry'?
Those questions came thick and fast when I am not being as successful as I hoped and expected.
You see, you and I in our western faith circle equate obvious success and blessing with being right with God. If we are doing well it is all because we are right with God, being lead well by His Spirit.

As I pondered this today again, I couldn't help but think of the extremes of this thinking...
On one hand I see leaders like me but far more successful and influential. They have Churches that don't seem to stop growing each week. They are blessed with the best of many things.
On the other I see all around the world others being tortured and even murdered for their faith in Christ.
To which you have to ask, "who is at the centre of God's will?"
And if you are honest and basing it on His Word and His will, His historic model and way of doing things...you will probably conclude both are at the centre?

The Bible narrative is amazing and diverse, even to what being in the centre of God's will actually looks like...
There were Prophets who knew God well, yet had to live in very trying times.
There were others who went through dramatic seasons of high and lows, where ministry moments were spectacular, but then faced very dark nights of the soul following.
Others waited decades to see what God had promised.
Others never saw everything God revealed would happen.
If you want to read with me where I am coming from, take some time to check our these passages from Hebrews.

My only suggestion for you and me is too simple for many!
They want a prophet to tell them. Or a pastor.
They want their circumstances to indicate their being right in God.
Others want experiences in the Spirit to indicate the same.
All of those are fine, but are not all together accurate in the sense of the God's big picture.

I have learned that you have to be honest with yourself and God...
There is no other way!
Through prayer and petition.
Through service.
Through seeking Him on your own and with a faith family.
Through genuine care of others.
That is the path the centre.

When you know, you will know a true measure of peace.
There is no more questioning at a level that robs you of His peace because you are being blown backwards and forwards. Comparison to others faith journey should either encourage you or cause you to have compassion, not send into an emotional tail spin.

Today may this help you if you are wrestling with where you are at...
May God lead you and bring you comfort whatever the place you face.
Keep looking to Jesus and you will always be at the centre of all God has for you.
His face is shining on you no matter what my friend!

Something to think about...