Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Day 07 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Process Like David"

You can be reading this and thinking that maybe you wish you had someone to vent to?
Someone who would listen.
Someone who wouldn't just tell you to just "suck it up", "harden up" or swallow a "concrete pill".
Someone you could feel safe to share your heart and not be judged afterwards.
And someone who once you have become oh so vulnerable, who would keep whatever was said super private!

I have some news for you!
There is someone like that is available right now for you and me.
It isn't an online counsellor, a facebook friend, a politician, or even a pastor!

I want to encourage you today in your potential lockdown world, a world filled maybe with questions and uncertainty of the future, to copy someone else.
I want to strongly encourage you to do what David did.
To share your heart privately, openly and honestly.
God is not concerned about the words and how eloquent they are.
God is more interested and keen to hear from your heart of hearts.

And as you pour out your heart like David, can I encourage you to take it up just one more level and before say "amen", follow his example some more, and add some faith to it all.

The pattern demonstrated to us in Psalm 13 is just that:
Pour out your heart...
And then pour out with heart with faith added...

I am believing with you today that it will make a very real difference to you.

Something to think about...

Special thanks to LifeChurch.tv for use of the 
YouVersion Bible App. Scripture Copyright 
New International Version

Day 06 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Whose Report?"

As someone living in the modern world, you are very much like me I would think...
We are both surrounded by report after report on what this virus means for us now and the future.
Even this mornings reports I read from all sources, with different political leanings and aspirations, different faith perspectives, varied so much that I turned them all off.

As I pondered this.
As I wondered why we can't have "the truth".
A phrase popped into my head (think it was the Holy Spirit to be honest) "whose report will you believe?"
I felt like saying straight back..."whose report should I believe because they are all over the place!"
And that my friend is the point!

A great example of this in scripture is when the 12 spies famously went to check out the promised land on behalf of Joshua and all the Israelite nation.
Even though the 12 saw exactly the same thing. Experienced the same thing. Even tasted the same thing...2 reports that were polar opposites emerged from that mission.

People have a weakness not often acknowledged I believe.
We filter what we see through our own lens of life.
We take facts and apply a filter to try and understand what we are seeing, feeling, experiencing.
If we are not careful we can allow others to apply their filter to our filter, and as you can guess, the truth is potentially even further obscured.

I read just this morning the story of a young man that Smith Wigglesworth (famous evangelist from last century) was mentoring during WWII.
One day this young man arrived for their time together with a newspaper under his arm and Mr Wigglesworth wouldn't let him into the house, declaring that it was full of lies.
Apparently at the time the papers were saying the war was going badly and hope was minimal for success. But Smith firmly believed a different report that there would indeed be victory.

I think you probably get where I am going with all this?
Whose report will you believe today?

I am not encouraging you to become a conspiracy junky.
Nor am I encouraging ing you to hide in a hole until this blows over.
What I want to encourage us to do today is to consider what we want to believe in this time and season.
As for me, I am praying for God to continue to speak clearly, to give me wisdom, to help me see past 'media factsheets' to Kingdom truths and realities.
I want a report from heaven over any other report!
Maybe you could do the same with me today?

Something to think about...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Day 05 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Power of a Song"

They say that music has the power to move someone.
To affect their emotions. To shift their mood.
To change their life.
Now add to that power, power from Heaven...
...what difference could a song, the right song, make in your life right now?

Over the last few days every time I listen to, even sing along with certain songs, my countenance changes.
My mood changes.
I feel stronger.
God feels closer.
And I feel like I can tackle whatever is coming my way...

Here are some of my favourites right now!

Graves into Gardens - Elevation Worship

Faithful Now - Vertical Worship

Can I encourage you today to pick a song?
Pick a special song that connects you with your Father in Heaven.
And let it shift you...

Something to think about...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 04 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Withdraw"

I woke up far too early today and after a while of just lying there thought I would listen to the radio.
Every moment of talk and comment was filled with Corona virus talk, seasoned fully with fear to flavour it up. It didn’t help me at all!

As I was spending time eating my breakfast, thinking and praying, I was reminded about what Jesus would do when the world around him brought pain and or drama.
He would withdraw.
Scripture tells us that Jesus would often withdraw to "lonely places" (no one else around to distract him, no tasks to do), with nothing else except time with His Father in Heaven...

It is also recorded that when the news of his cousins death was reported to him, that it very much effected him.
His cousin is pretty famous in the gospel narrative.
John the Baptist as we call him.
This is a the cousin who jumped in his mother’s womb at the news of Mary, Jesus mother being pregnant.
This is the cousin who he grew up and saw Him at extended family gatherings.
This is the cousin who baptisted Jesus and then witnessed the Holy Spirit coming upon him, the voice of God speaking over his life.
This is the cousin who heard all the amazing reports of what Jesus was doing, that He was who he had been preaching about...
I really do believe that they would have had a pretty close bond.
And when John died, Jesus couldn’t just carry on like nothing had happened.
He needed His Father in that moment...

Jesus even said this one day...
"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Mark 6:31 NIV

And as the writer of Song of Solomon simply says...
"Come away, my beloved..." Song of Solomon 8:14 NIV

Maybe this moment you are facing is affecting you a little stronger than you would like?
Maybe it is causing anxiety, even fear to bubble up for you?

Can I suggest today and any other moment of any other day, that you 'come away with Him'?
Just get away for a moment to breath.
Take a moment to be in His presence.
Pour our heart and then listen to His voice in return.
Ask him to refill you with His Spirit and to pour peace on your soul.

I believe He will meet you in a special way when you do.
That choice to come away with him will be for you exactly what you needed!

Something to think about...

[ For a Video Version of this Simple Thought click here ]

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Day 03 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Necessity & Opportunity"

Since the lockdown a lot has obviously changed for all of us journeying through it.
Our lifestyles have certainly changed to reflect our new reality.
For me personally as a Pastor, I have quickly needed to adapt to a 'new normal' of leading a Church.
It is not business as usual.
My routines have had change to reflect this.
My methods as well.

I have discovered as I actually predicated earlier in the week, that this is an amazing time to learn some new things, develop new skills etc.
Just yesterday I recorded a video message. That meant learning how to setup audio recording, camera placement, lighting on a ridiculous budget and grabbing anything we have lying around. I still have a lot to learn but also the learning has been fantastic for me.

Necessity has forced this change into my life, but maybe free time could be an opportunity for yours?

Jesus said something that reflects my simple thought today...
 “Every scholar of the Scriptures, who is instructed in the ways of heaven’s kingdom realm, is like a wealthy home owner with his house filled with treasures both new and old. And he knows how and when to bring them out to show others.” Matthew 13:52 TPT

For a someone like you and me following Jesus I think that means we have things we have learned over time plus things to learn right now. It is the old and new.
And right now you can add to your storehouse with the new.

Everything from studying God's word through to new practical skills are on offer right now to you and me. This is an amazing opportunity to build into our storehouse.
Read a book you have been putting off.
Take time to develop your relationship with God.
Learn to bake a cake (sorry that ones for me)
Study and develop a new skill that you have been wanting to try.
The opportunities right now are more endless than limited!

I want you to know that this will be very good for you.
It will not only occupy you and give you something to look forward to but it will be 3 key things:
Good for your mind
Good for your soul
Good for your spirit

Something to think about...

Friday, March 27, 2020

Day 02 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Thing Change"

Today is Friday and that would normally mean for me doing all the final preparations for Sunday and the Services we host each week.
As I sit at my desk I am reminded that this Sunday and how I approach it, have fundamentially changed.
I won't get to preach my message to people face to face.
I won't get to chat over a cup of coffee.
Many things about today and then Sunday have changed, but some key things haven't.
God is not bothered in the slightest.
And the Kingdom of God will continue to advance...

I am reminded that when the Church first officially sprung into life on the day of Pentecost a 'new normal' occurred.
For them that day and forward they now received the Holy Spirit.
1000's were being saved.
Lives were being changed dramatically by God.
The Church was growing. It was on fire.

And then things changed again...

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. Acts 11:19-21 NIV

The Church needing to discover new normals is actually God's normal.
For your prayer and mine over many years of "God build your Kingdom!" to come true, God uses moments even like the one we are in now, to see the Kingdom advance.

Can I invite you prayerfully today to discover what your 'new normal' is? Remembering that the foundations of our faith will always remain. To love God and to love people.

The delivery is allowed to change.
I for one have been praying for many years that it would change.
We simply all need to fix our eyes on Jesus, press in, charge on prayerfully, and be part of the next move of God that will grow the Kingdom even further.

Something to think about...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Day 01 : Covid-19 Lockdown in Taupo : "Quote"

Our tiny nation of New Zealand is now officially closed.
Closed boarders. Closed businesses. Even closed Churches.
As we journey through this home based adventure I felt to share something simple every day.
So here we go with my Day 01 simple thought...

I am sitting here thinking about how I feel in this moment.
In my mind there are a number of unknowns even though we have planned as best we can with the 48 hours pre lockdown provided us.

Think of this moment maybe a little like following Jesus for the first time.
You haver some idea what it means but also not a lot of an idea.
Does that stop you?
No. You step out in faith following Him not knowing exactly where it will take you next.
You just know it is the right thing to do.

Right now being in the first day, first stage of a nationwide lockdown, I have some idea but not a complete understanding of what may come.
Does that stop me?
No. I am now stepping out in faith on some level in the governments plan, but more importantly I stepping out in faith with Jesus.
I just know it is the right thing to do.

You maybe like me today, wondering a little how this will all pan out?
The equation for life before and life now as a follower of Jesus is actually exactly the same.
It is all about faith. It is all about trust. It is all about Jesus.

Someone shared a great Corrie ten Boom quote today...
"If you look at the world you'll be distressed.
If you like within you'll be depressed.
But if you look at Christ, you'll be at rest."

Something to think about...

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Simple Thought (Virus Edition)

Sorry that I don't have a more creative title, but being clever is not the agenda of my post today.
Right now your world doesn't need more clever and creative marketing, what yours and my world needs right now is more deep and profound.

You might be asking why?
Why this virus? Why the panic? Why toilet paper?
Why God?

Right now and as I type this I can honestly say I don't have many "why" questions.
My questions are all based around "what"?

"What" is the Church going to look like and function like in this season?
"What" can I do personally to minister to my world?

My "what" is based on the "what" I know about God.
1. He is not surprised by any of these events.
2. He is in control.
3. God has always had a plan for the salvation of people across this amazing world He has made.

Personally and as the Church, we need to discover quickly the "what" is for this season.
Seasoned with grace, filled with compassion, the Church I believe is poised to have an impact that was maybe thought to be limited to the big Church. 
This is a season for the whole Church worldwide to rise. To minister to everyone and anyone well.

I want to encourage you to join me today praying for the Holy Spirit to show us all what our "what" should be.
Get ready my friend! 
We are about to be used by God to a while new level...

Something to think about...

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

What floats your boat?

When someone asks you "what floats your boat?" they are asking about what makes you happy?
Instinctively I think we focus on simple quick things like a great coffee, a favourite meal, a favourite form of entertainment, or time with someone who is special to us.

As I thought about that question today, I began to think that while those things can bring joy for a moment, do they really bring the buoyancy we need to live our lives well?
Coffee lasts a moment and later in the day you crave another.
A favourite meal is ingested and the taste fades into our memories.
They are not by definition powerful enough to give our lives they hope we all crave.
And in that I think is the wrestle and answer we all look for...

I believe the hope floats!
What we place our hope in is what we hope will float the boat we travel through life on.
What you put you hope in is what you want to carry you forward.
Hope is in fact our buoyancy!

Now as I thought about it some more while looking at the battles raging online, I saw this theme play out again and again. People are placing their hope in things to help guide their lives that I am personally concerned will only leave them disappointed and even one day feeling very hopeless.

I hear people passionately encouraging others to embrace a sexual identity. That only then will you feel right as a person. That sex in itself is the answer to finding hope and direction.
Others are pushing hard to have people discover a political system as their saviour. That if we could finally embrace together the "perfect one", all our prayers will be answered, our collective hopes for the world will be finally realised.
And other groups tell us from the mountain tops that the "right religion" is the best way to navigate the seas of life.

Here is my simple thought, simple answer, simple encouragement for you today based on some great verses from scripture...

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

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 NIV

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!
Romans 15:13 TPT

Please consider doing this today my friend?
Make God himself to be your hope. Place your life in His hands.
Put your hope in the One who can truly float your boat!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

I know a man...

I know a man...
A man who lead a group of people to purchase a plot of land on the outskirts of a city area surrounded by farm-lets and small holdings of animals.
This man had a vision to build a Church of 1000 people and to him, this was the next step to seeing the vision become a reality.
At the time most large Churches peeked at 200-300 and imploded if they got close to 1,000.
I wonder if those outside this small group of faithful believers wondered if it would ever work? Maybe some questioned the wisdom of this purchase? Maybe others sniggered and waited for the failure that they were sure would follow in due course.

I visited this place I guess in its early days when they had a shell of a building to meet in.
I remember two things distinctly from that visit:
1. We got lost because it was in the country
2. The building was not finished
But that man had a vision...

Many many years later that same man saw something in me and invited me to join his staff.
By now the vision has essentially been fulfilled. The buildings were built. The targets have been reached. The goal had been achieved.
They were no longer in the country as the town had turned into a city, and now they were right in the middle of it, on a main road, exposed to the world in a dramatic way.
One day that same man sat us all down to talk about how that dream was fulfilled and how God had caused him to dream now even bigger for the future.

For over a decade now I have been serving in another part of New Zealand but have always looked to see what God was doing with the vision he gave that man.
Now they have campuses all across the city. They reach 1000's upon 1000's instead of the original 1,000. The Church seems to be thriving, growing, impacting!

I know a man...he had a vision.
God gave it to him. Others joined him on the journey.
And now God is glorified but something being built impacting generations...

Be encouraged. Dream, dream and dream some more.
Let's be people who partner with the dreamers in faith.
And let's see what God can do with a God shaped dream!

Something to think about...