Friday, February 14, 2020

Have you got 13 spare minutes?

If you do, please take those spare minutes and check out a short message I shared recently.
Click on the graphic for something to listen to...

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What's your motivation?

Some movies impact me not because of their amazing story lines, life changing message, or calls for a better world. Sometimes they have simply entertained me and the lines from some of the dialogue have stuck with me.
In our home it is not uncommon to quote movies lines as part of our conversations, and mostly just for the fun.
But sometimes they point to something else.
And sometimes they get me thinking like one did again recently...

In the corny Star Trek inspired movie called Galaxy Quest, the Captain is about to be pulverised by some sort of a rock monster on a strange planet.
Via an intercom link to his orbiting ship, a super unhelpful crew member asks "what is its motivation?"
It is a corny joke that my wife and I quote from the movie many times. You can catch a glimpse of it here.

It is a question I felt I should ask each of us today...thankfully without the need of a rock monster threatening to pulverise us!
"What's your motivation?"

Can I suggest that a lot of frustration in life, in ministry, can simply be avoided by being motivated by the right thing?

If you are motivated by honour, glory, attention or some other pathological need, you are going to come unstuck.
If you are motivated to do what you do to atone for your past, earn favour, prove yourself, again you will come crashing down at some stage.

Here is some great advice for you today from scripture!
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Colossians 3:17 NIV
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23 NIV

I learned a long time ago that doing anything in the Kingdom of God for any other motivation leads to disappointment - every single time!
Doing anything that I do, knowing I am doing for my King, is motivating, sustaining and right.
I can keep on keeping on when I am motivated to did it first and foremost for Him.

So what's your motivation for what you currently do?

Something to think about...

Friday, February 07, 2020

Two Mountains

I don't know if we do this more than another time in history or whether it is just easier now?
People love to share their "considered" opinions on whatever they are involved in or what they see.
Reviews on meals, accommodation, movies, books, businesses, relationships, sports teams and even Churches.

I have been thinking about this recently...
Wondering whether just because we can, should we?
Wondering if we have to be maybe more "considered" about what we critique?

There is this account in scripture from many years ago where God's people stood purposefully before 2 mountains.
From one they read out all the blessings from God.
On another the read all the curses.
There was a very real and distinct differences between the 2 mountains and experiences.
From one there were blessings.
From the other there were curses.
And you do not need to be bright or a theologian to work out what was better...

Back to today...

I think we have maybe got our 2 mountains a bit confused.
It is like our culture has brought through a bunch of powerful excavators and flattened the mountains to create a level playing field. Where people freely bless and curse seemingly within one breath at times.

I have lost track of the number of times I have seen this recently...
Couples in a marriage facing challenges speaking the very worst about each other to each other. Getting friends and family to join their side. Cursing what on one hand they say they want better.
Employees sometimes face challenging situations and relationships in a work place. Their default strategy it seems is to curse their boss, workmate, even the very place they are employed.
Christians are sometimes really good at this...unfortunately!
They visit another Church for whatever reason and then curse it because it doesn't have this or that, doesn't match their expectations, offends something in them.
And yes, I have even regularly heard people curse the Church they are in, in some vain hope that cursing it, might motivate something cosmically to change it to the way they want it to be.

Sorry to be so heavy in these comments but I have a goal for you and me today!
I want us to seperate our comments back to potentially 2 mountains.
Maybe something is wrong and needing attention.
But maybe also we are adding fuel to the problem fire by speaking a curse over it.

If you want your marriage to be better - bless it and not curse it.
If you want your job to be better - bless it and not curse it.
If you want your Church to be better - bless it and not curse it.

Which of the two mountains is God asking you to stand on today?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

What's the deal with all this right hand, left hand stuff?

What is the deal with all this right hand, left hand stuff?
Because for many years I have read the following and wondered many things...

29If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30 NIV

For many years I have looked and relooked at this passage!
All this gouging and cutting really bother me...

Jesus has just told people that adultery is bad. To avoid it.
He sets the bar higher than the culture allowed naturally by explaining that even thinking about having sex with another women other than your wife was not cool. 
Our culture is the same now. In general you hear that is "ok to look but not touch". Sometimes I have heard people say that "God created sexy bodies so enjoy the view..."

But is the answer to literally pluck your eye out or cut off an appendage?
Maybe what I read this morning might help you as it seems to have helped possibly explain it to me?

Jesus refers to appendages again in a slightly different context...
You need to understand that both chapters are actually all part of one recorded conversation.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3 NIV

Again here we have reference to 'hands'.
Thankfully not about chopping them off, but reference none the less.

It got me thinking. 
I think in the context of Matthew 6:3, Jesus is talking not about literal hands but those close to us. To not share with our friends etc what we do in regards to our generosity like a public service annoucement.
Maybe Jesus is saying to be careful especially about having lustful thoughts about those close to us?
Maybe Jesus is saying that it is better to severe relationships with people we are tempted by?
To cut them off! Not just cut your hand off...

The challenge you might discover after reading this is that the Holy Spirit reminds you of a relationship that is not appropriate for you and that maybe you need to cut it off?
If He is doing that, it is not to tell you off, it is actually for your protection.
It doesn't make you bad, it actually shows His love for you. 

I hope this helps someone as it has helped me?

Something to think about...

Friday, January 24, 2020

Get ready for a 'heads up' from God!

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
    without revealing his plan
    to his servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7 NIV

I want you to know something that I firmly believe...
God wants to speak to you and show you things about your life, your future direction, others and their lives, even before it happens.
Jesus said that "God has given us ears so we can hear Him!"

I want to encourage you have a healthy expectation that God will speak to you about what you need to hear, before you need to do the biggest things in your life.
He wants to speak prophetically to us all and not just the so called "Special People".

I can give you many examples in my life and ministry of how this has worked out.
God spoke clearly to me on a train one day that I was about to change direction and serve Him in a full-time capacity. And it happened exactly as He said.
God has spoken to me about different situations and given me ideas/advice on how I should proceed. And it went way better than I could have ever imagined.
He has warned me about certain people and situations.
He has encouraged who I should contact and what I should say.
It is exciting and liberating!

Please take some time to pray this week.
Ask the Holy Spirit to speak in anyway you need to hear.
And let God lead you to exactly where He knows is best for you to be...

Something to think about...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Journey Trust vs Stationary Trust

As I was just flicking through my Facebook feed the other day, looking for who knows what and why, this Scripture appeared on a video someone shared.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 20:7 NIV

It caught my attention not because of who was in the video and the message they were trying to convey, but by the fact it mentions chariots and horses...

I believe there is an important reason why the Psalmist mentions these two things.
They could have mentioned trusting in homes and hotels.
They could have used food and clothing references.
Instead they referred to two different methods of transportation.
Two different ways someone can travel well on a journey.

When it comes to trusting God, the trust that scripture seems to indicate to me might be the best has nothing to do with being stationary and all to do with moving.
We are called to walk by faith and not by sight.
We are encouraged to take steps of faith.
God wants us moving forward in faith not waiting in a corner for something mystical and magical to happen.

If you are praying to merely survive?
Praying to maybe make just through another day?
And getting frustrated because it appears maybe God isn't answering that prayer, maybe that is the point?

God promises to look after your "today", the moments and needs you currently have.
While He is looking after the "basics" He asks us to put one faith foot in front of the other and keep on going.
To keep reaching out. To keep ministering to others. To keep serving one keep on moving forward doing the work of the ministry.

Don't just take my word for it.
Why not give it a try today and tomorrow and the next day?
Let me know if it makes a difference in your life...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Can I Do It Again?

As I trudged along a familiar off road run course last night I started to think "can I do it again"?
You see I have fought the weight and health fight before.
Climbed a pretty huge mountain.
Achieved some amazing things.
The view from the top was pretty amazing!

And now after some years of injury and health challenges I am feeling like I am at the bottom of an even bigger mountain. I am wondering if I can even do it again? Do I have what it takes? Should I even bother because I am older now and I know the price I need to pay...

I can't help but think the battle I am facing in my mind is what many believers face as the navigate life sometimes!
We have mountain top moments in faith that are truly awesome and then seem to find ourselves back in another valley. We wonder whether we can make that climb again? Wonder if we have what it takes? Should we even try because we have "been there and done that"?

Maybe think of it like this for a moment...

Can you call someone a mountaineer because they climbed one mountain?
They are given that title because they know it is so worth it to climb again and again.
It would seem ridiculous to them to not keep climbing.
Can you call someone an adventurer if they only go once in a lifetime?
Can you call someone a generous person if they only do it once?
You probably get where I am going...

It is not the "once-lers" who live life as who they can be in Christ.
It is those who have climbed, fallen, attempted, failed, gone again and succeeded, and built in themselves a belief that anything is worth the goal. That God is with them and He will help them no matter what comes their way.

Have you fallen recently?
Have you wondered if you can climb again because you are now feeling valley bound?
Have you potentially raised a white flag of surrender and given up on the dream?

Just as the Psalmist says...
God is with us in the valley.
God is wanting to light the way forward and back up.
And God is preparing another mountaintop moment you.
It is waiting. God is ready.
Let's climb again together trusting God will help us there...

Something to think about...

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Language Barrier?

Some time ago I got to travel a long way from New Zealand to two amazing locations: Russia and Japan.

As I travelled to Russia I looked through a Travel Phrase Book in the 24 hours+ it took to get there, interspersed with movies and sleeping. Needless to say I was pretty unprepared.
As I travelled to Japan I carried a Travel Phrase Book that I bought at the airport just before I boarded my flight. As we came into land I discovered I was sitting next to an Japanese English teacher. Needless to say I wasted my opportunity and was pretty unprepared.

On both those trips I couldn't tell you what people were saying to me. I could only guess.
There was opportunity to learn and I was to be honest, too lazy to take those opportunities up.
While entertaining at times it probably made things harder for me than they needed to be.

I have been thinking about this today in regards to our faith and following Jesus. Do we make thinks harder for ourselves by not understanding the language?
I am not talking about "christianese" which is the jargon / language we use in religious circles. I am talking about the language of heaven. How God speaks to us. What His voice sounds like.

I want to encourage you today to not make the mistake other believers do...
Travelling through life hoping to understand God speaking, listening for the Holy Spirit and His promptings and leadings, wrestling with this as they don't understand the language.
As simple as it might sound you already have a Travel Phrase Book available. It is His Word, the scriptures as found in a great modern translation of the Bible.

Just start somewhere and slowly work your way through the Bible every day.
Maybe use a great reading plan?
Find a translation that works for you?
And let your vocabulary grow over time and at a pace that is sustainable. You will break through any language barrier!

Something to think about...

PS If you want help with a Bible Translation or Reading Plan I would be honoured to help you. Simply email me by clicking here.