Remember 'Remember the Titans'?
Culture change is tough - but it is worth it!!! I was reminded of this as I watched the movie Remember the Titans. A coach dropped into a chaotic situation must bring culture change for the team to survive... but he doesn't just want it to survive he wants it to succeed, and to dominate. In a way we want our ministries to do likewise so what ideas for culture change can we take from Coach Boon?
Thinking about sacrifice
If Jesus is King, what does that mean for what we want to do with out lives? [Image by Chris Bellerophon Dotson on flickr]
Back to the Mission
Reminded again and again about what we are created for. We are created for worship! But because there are some people who do not worship, we have been given a mission... to go and show people they were created to worship! - photo on Flickr by llamatofu
Appeasement verses Satisfaction
Do we look to appease our emotions, troubles, discomforts with earthy things that may provide some release temporarily, or do we look to God who is the source of complete satisfaction? [Image by donald_palansky_photography on flickr]
Prayer = Dependence
Even in the confidence I have in my own abilities - I am learning that I still need to be dependent on God if the outcome is going to be worthwhile for the Kingdom. Prayer is the key consideration in this! ~photo credit: wiedmaier on flickr
Monday, 31 December 2012
Friday, 28 December 2012
How can God be righteous and do so much good to us who are so unrighteous?Go to http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/where-was-god-in-all-the-goodness-of-2012 to see the whole article.
Where was God in 2012?
Where was God when nine million planes landed safely in the United States?
Where was God when the world revolved around the sun so accurately that it achieved the Winter solstice perfectly at 5:12 AM December 21 and headed back toward Spring?
Where was God when the President was not shot at a thousand public appearances?
Where was God when American farms produced ten million bushels of corn, and 2.8 million bushels of soybeans — enough food to sell $100 billions worth to other nations?
Where was God when no terrorist plot brought down a single American building or plane or industry?
Where was God when the sun maintained its heat and its gravitational pull precisely enough that we were not incinerated or frozen?
Where was God when three hundred million Americans drank water in homes and restaurants without getting sick?
Where was God when no new plague swept away a third of our race?
Where was God when Americans drove three trillion accident free miles?
Where was God when over three million healthy babies were born in America?
Last Friday of 2012, and so here are the last verses of our Scripture, they look forward with great blessings and promises. Praise Jesus.
Monday, 24 December 2012
"It is time for the evangelists of unbelief to give up the nonsense that the figure at the heart of Christianity may have never even lived.
There are plenty of good arguments against the world's largest religion, but claiming Jesus never walked the roads of Galilee isn't one of them. To make such a claim is to turn what should be a world heavyweight contest into a lightweight sideshow..."Go and see the entire article here... it's a good read.
Sunday, 23 December 2012
Saturday, 22 December 2012
I think the main idea was that a fruitcake is made up of a whole multitude of different ingredients. Even once joined together you can still see the individual ingredients (well most of them) but it is the unity which forms the cake. I remember by grade 12 we had realised that there were lots of nuts in our high school cake (most of them teachers...) and we use to fight about who got to be the cherry on top.
But today as I made my own fruitcake - for Christmas - I was reminded of Mr Claridge's analogy and after so many years I can see how dBay Baptist is a bit like a fruitcake too (yes even with the nuts :-p)... but not only that the whole church is fruitcake like, because we all work and minister as individuals - people still see single Christians - but it is our unity that holds the Church together. Even more so, God's love and grace, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the very heart of our fruitcake (or possibly that cherry on top for all to see).
Friday, 21 December 2012
I highly doubt today is going to mark the end of the world. But one day Jesus will come back. Revelation gives many images of things that will take place at that time, and there are many interpretations. Yet this paints a picture of a time (which we may well be in right now) that shows much hurt, pain and disaster before Jesus returns to bring peace.
Thursday, 20 December 2012
John Piper: “Obedience does not consist in paying God back and thus turning grace into a trade. Obedience comes from trusting in God for more grace — future grace — and thus magnifying the infinite resources of God’s love and power.”Everywhere I turn at the moment I am being reminded that we need to be asking God for more of him, more of his grace. Again and again I see how little I can do to influence my salvation. Not even obedience measures up. All we can do is respond... respond to God's love and his gift. Our worship is a response, our obedience is a response (and also part of our worship).
All we can do is glorify God's name, through our words, actions and obedience - like Piper says, that then magnifies his name and the 'infinite resources' of his love.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Took a gaggle of the youth from dBay Baptist to the beach today (yes I believe the official name for a group of teenagers should be a 'gaggle' :-p). It was a good day at the beach, but even a better day for just hanging out in a casual way and building relationship. I think just spending time with each other (it doesn't have to be in super serious study of the Bible all the time) is really important.
And did I miss being in my office all day??? Not too much to be honest :-)
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
I believe the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God.
~Don Millar - Blue Like Jazz
Friday, 14 December 2012
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Neither self-denial (a repudiation of our sins) nor self-affirmation (an appreciation of God's gifts) is a dead end of self-absorption. On the contrary, both are means to self-sacrifice. Self-understanding should lead to self-giving.The community of the cross is essentially a community of self-giving love, expressed in the worship of God... and the service of others... It is to this that the cross consistently and insistently calls us.~John Stott - The Cross of Christ p330
Just as Stott says, when self-denial and self-affirmation are aligned as a means to self-sacrifice not self-absorption then the focus remains, and in fact, highlights God's grace. In looking at our own actions in a humble and selfless manner we are actually referring back to Jesus just as we should be. Christmas and the end of the year is a usual time of reflection. When you do so, make sure you allow your reflections to bring glory to God,.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Monday, 10 December 2012
"Few of us have had or will have the luxury of escaping the 'worship wars'. The 'wars' are usually waged over forms and styles, not overt the essence of what worship is. But leading your people into the essence is all-important. So I want to call you to put your focus and energies in the most fruitful place for the glory of God. Focus on the essence not the form."
~John Piper - Brothers We are not Professionals
Saturday, 8 December 2012
We see the choirs here in Australia, but here's a video from Baby Watoto - the orphanage that provides for kids who are two young to go into the villages. Watch the video and remember each of these kids has come from complete poverty, lost one or both parents to AIDS or war. Watch and have your heart warmed as these kids are being given life!
Friday, 7 December 2012
All Scripture points to Jesus - some much more obviously than others - this is one of my favourites.
Thursday, 6 December 2012
What is sad is how bad a role model a lot of these people are. Teens are just doing what is natural to their social development, but it is the adults (or even teens these days) who are in the spotlight who let the whole thing down.
For Christians I think there's an even greater element. How can we expect someone who does not have a Gospel base to be a proper example of life for our Christian teens? It doesn't matter how much charity work they do, how many African kids they adopt, money they give away, people they house or feed... or if they don't drink, swear or fight - they still don't live a life aligned with the Gospel. Jesus gave us the Gospel as a foundational truth for the entirety of our lives. It's not an option, or a perspective, it is the truth. There really can only be one truth (think about it, if there's more than one truth, then some part of each can not really be true... because if they differ then they cannot both be true), and the Gospel is that truth.
As a youth pastor I find the biggest weight on me is to be a proper example of a Gospel filled life. After a year I do see young people looking to me - and I don't feel special, or authoritative or especially gifted and skilled... I feel scared. But then I realise that more than being a perfect example of a Gospel follower - I am a perfect example of God's grace. I still stuff up, but because of the Gospel God's grace is sufficient.
If you are a Christian who interacts with young people - make sure you're willing to be an example (no matter your age) of God's grace. Don't show young people what you can do on your own... show them what you can only do and be because of God. Young people need examples like that to take the place of these famous people who simply can't be that example, because they don't understand that grace.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
In the poem called The Innkeeper, I tried to imagine what might have happened when the soldiers came. And what Jesus might have said if he showed up 30 years later to talk to the innkeeper about it. It’s fiction. But its aim is truth and hope and joy.It is a powerful poem.
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Monday, 3 December 2012
Saturday, 1 December 2012
All the drivers started on 'wet tires' (tires with a grooved tread to displace the water), but within a few laps the tires had done their job, moving the water to the side an a distinct dry line appeared. The rest of the track was still wet but one narrow (barley a car width wide) path had dried out because of the cars all following the same path.
Drivers then came in and put their normal tires on, and when they headed back out it was very important for them to keep on that dry line. Their slick tires couldn't handle any wet track and the slightest deviation from the best path round the circuit meant instant loss of traction, a slow lap time and for some a hard hit into a concrete wall.
28 cars on the track and only 1 line. Only a few could get it right, it lead to a very mixed up top 10, some of the best drivers in Australia missed the line and were slow.
It got me thinking, we've all heard the Christian life called the narrow path - Jesus himself defined it as such. And when we look at life as a whole maybe those the world sees as the 'best', the most professional, gifted and able don't actually find the narrow path. For us as Christians we should be looking for others on the narrow path for guidance, and example - not just those who have earnt their fame away from the path.
Also just like the slightest deviation caused the V8 drivers this morning to wreck their lap times, so does any sin cause us drastic deviation from the narrow path. Thankfully God's grace is sufficient but we need to be aware of the exact path we need to follow when we're following Jesus.
Friday, 30 November 2012
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered too long."
What an incredible prayer! I came across this on Tuesday and have committed to praying it each morning for the rest of the week (at least). I feel God has used it to open my eyes even further to His love for me. His love is so great that He earnestly desires for me to love Him. We know this because it was His love that caused Jesus to come and die on the cross for us—opening the way for us to be free and have a relationship with Him. But there is nothing we can do, apart from Jesus, to make ourselves right with Him. Even as Christians we still need to ask God to continually draw us to him, because our sinful nature continues to drive us away.
Psalms 4:7-8 says; “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new win abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” So no matter how good the world looks, how much better off people seem to be in their worldly ways, we know that even when their material wealth abounds, and ours may not, that God fills our hearts with a joy (from his love) that is of such greater worth! It is that peace with God that makes everything else pale in comparison. And Romans 5:1 tells us that this peace only comes through Jesus Christ.
I think Tozer had come to a realisation of this peace when he knew he needed God’s help to continually want more and more of him. Our human lives still wear us down, but God will help us if we continue to ask it of him. The more we know of His love, the more we will desire it. Tozer was brutally honest and humble in his understanding of himself, and that drove him to depend on God all the more. I am trying to get to a point when I can be that honest about myself before God—it is a tough process of giving up much of myself. But I have felt the example of Tozer has guided me in the right direction.
I hope it may do the same for you.
Monday, 26 November 2012
Friday, 23 November 2012
What Scriptures have you read this morning. Share them so we can get a good dose of it today.
Thursday, 22 November 2012
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Monday, 19 November 2012
That seems strange to us here in the western world, but the whole idea is to raise awareness to the fact that the majority of the world do not have access to the same kind of facilities we take for granted.
One World Vision Facebook post I saw today said this;
Diarrhoeal diseases are the second most common cause of death among young children in developing countries, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
That's just shocking, the fact that something so easily combated is such a gigantic killer. The fact that 2.5 billion people do not have access to safe and sanitary toilets is just silly, when a lot of those people do have access to social media like Facebook. Where is our focus?
There is more we can all do to help fight poverty... but this has to be one of the easiest things we can fix worldwide!
Read this article on The Resurgence this morning. I think it ties in nicely with both the preaching series and the Bible studies I am doing with the young adults. Don't get a wishy-washy, soft view of who Jesus is. Understand who he is and what he said... don't try and smooth it over to make it easier. Jesus is who he is, and we can't change that.
The article refers to C.S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where a reference to Aslan states he is not safe, but he is good. That's a great understanding of who Jesus is too.
Jesus didn't say that if we wanted to follow him, we needed to take up our mattress, but rather take up our cross! If you are going to follow Jesus:
- You are going to upset some people (Matthew 10:34-36).
- He will bring out changes in you (Luke 19:1-10).
- We cannot meet him and stay the same! He is going to challenge you to look straight ahead and not behind, no matter how good or bad it may have been (Luke 9:62).
- You are going to have to lay some things aside (Mark 1:18).
- He will impact every area of your life (Romans 12:1), and you cannot pick and choose your areas of surrender when you are abiding in him.
- You are going to hear his voice clearly and accurately (John 10:4).
- You are going to experience abundant life, and your life will not be wasted (John 10:10).
- You are going to have to stop messing around—literally (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). In fact, following Jesus may make your dating life seem quite “boring” to others.
- You are going to have to surrender your wallet (Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 16:10-13).
- It is going to take a willingness to change the way you think (Romans 12:1-2).
- It is going to move your heart to care about and reach out to people that he deeply cares for (Matthew 28:18-20). I cannot say I am a follower of Christ and be unconcerned with the things that concern him.
Friday, 16 November 2012
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
What do you do that shows it? Shows it to him, to yourself and to others?
I'd love to see some practical ideas - especially for the benefit of young people who are still trying to figure it all out.
Monday, 12 November 2012
Hopefully this week's reading started to rebuild your ideas and hopes. The ideas of love and faithfulness in these two chapters should encourage you all the more after studying chapter 5 last week.
Here's the week 6 video, and I'll post the chapter 7 video on Wednesday as it's a good challenge to be sent out with after we do the study tomorrow night.
In so many cases the church in the West is just a hapless social club - if we're honest can we really say we are impacting and changing the local community around us? I think every church may on a small scale - certain groups or ministries within a local church do a good job, but on the whole we could be having such a bigger impact.
This song "Asleep in the Light" has the most challenging lyrics of any song I think I've ever listened too. The truth about the church Keith Green saw around him (and in some cases it is still very true today) sinks to the core of who I am, and wanting to make sure that I am never like that.
It really has made me think, what is the true impact the church is having right at this time in Australia?
It's not legalism, or works based salvation; it is a clear indicator of someone who has put their full faith in the one who saved them and proclaims him as Lord.
I used the following Keith Green clip to do the reading and intro the sermon. Love it!
Friday, 9 November 2012
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
I'm happy to say I was, and found the entire experience quite affirming. I couldn't deny God's call on my life, so felt that the whole process must affirm that (who are the Baptists to tell God what to do eh?), yet to actually go through and find that was just one more level of seeing the call God has placed on my life.
How then should we pray regarding physical illness? Certainly it is right to ask God for healing, for Jesus tells us to pray. "Deliver us from evil" (Matt 6:13), and the apostle John writes to Gaius, "I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health:" (3 John 2). Moreover, Jesus frequently healed all who were brought to him, and he never sent people away, telling them it would be good for them to remain ill for a longer time! In addition to this, whenever we take any kind of medicine or seek medical help for an illness, by those actions we admit that we think it to be God's will that we seek to be well. If we thought that God wanted us to continue in our illness, we would never seek medical means for healing! So when we pray it seems right that our first assumption, unless we have specific reason to think otherwise, should be that God would be pleased to heal the person we are praying for - as far as we can tell from Scripture, this is God's revealed will...
How then should we pray Certainly it is right to ask God for healing, and we should go to him with the simple request that he give physical healing in time of need. James warns us that simple unbelief can lead to prayerlessness and failure to receive answers from God: "You do not have, because you do not ask" (James 4:2). But when we pray for healing we should remember that we must pray for God to be glorified in the situation, whether he chooses to heal or not. And we also ought to pray out of the same compassion of heart that Jesus felt for those whom he healed. When we pray this way, God will sometimes - and perhaps often - gran answers to our prayers.The thing I like about this quote is that when we are praying that God be glorified we are acknowledging that even if someone's physical body fails God's glory is much greater... his gift of forgiveness is enough, and our physical well being is an added blessing.Wayne Grudem "Systematic Theology" p 10066-1067
Monday, 5 November 2012
Remember it's not about legalism, and having to do something for our salvation. Instead it's about understanding the crazy love God has for us, and what he did so we can relate to him, because then our response should be with our own crazy love; leaving no room for luke-warmness.
Saturday, 3 November 2012
Initially I think both the youth and some of the parents felt a little uncomfortable when left to come up with what they'd do on their own. Actually some of the parents kind of tried to lay down some structure, yet once we were able to move past that I think we had a good and comfortable time together - and it didn't feel forced.
I'm all up for doing more of that... I just hope people don't think I'm being slack for not planning huge 'events' - I just think fellowship happens better naturally.
Friday, 2 November 2012
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
In the dream there was lots of interaction with hotel staff, and what the dream showed me in an incredibly vivid way was the general response to a life that is committed to serving Jesus and upholding his moral standard. I didn't preach in the dream (in many dreams I do...), but the hotel staff naturally gravitated their time and energy to me. I befriended many of them (while enjoying my holiday with my friends and staying completely engaged with them as well), and I woke from the dream feeling a real sense of understanding the simple witness we have as living lives worthy of the Gospel.
I don't weigh too heavy on the 'meanings' of my dreams (last night I dreamt about an end of the world disaster and we were just trying to stay alive for another hour), but this 'holiday' dream left me feeling very secure in the grace of Jesus, and reminded me of the simple truth of living well.
How have you gone today on following Jesus in your actions. Everyday life should still be seen as service to Christ, because when you do you'll find people are inherently attracted to your way of life.
Monday, 29 October 2012
Sunday, 28 October 2012
I found it a much easier way to handle my sermon notes. I decided to not even use the pulpit, but just rest the Tab on my Bible. Reading the notes was easier, and I could enlarge the print quite a bit more (8 pages of notes is nothing on the Tab but would have been a handful if printed out) so finding my place again after looking up to engage the congregation was much easier.
I had been contemplating the different issues of transitioning to a tablet while preaching, but all in all I think it was a really positive experience. Do any other pastors have any insights into using tablets to preach?
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Monday, 22 October 2012
Before group tomorrow night, I hope you've read both chapters, but watch this video on chapter 3 so the image of God's desire for intimacy is fresh in your minds.
People think Pastors just sit in their office, write sermons, drink coffee, counsel people and plan events. But there is so much more than that. I realised over my holidays that while I am working I am constantly thinking about 'church things'. I mean all the time, every part of the day and night, even on my days off. My mind constantly works through conversations I've had, or need to have, devotions that will be done, sermon ideas, or just random things and how they could be used as illustrations for devotions or sermons.
On my first day of holidays I realised I had nothing to do for the next two weeks, and my mind relaxed - I didn't start considering things coming up in a few weeks time, I didn't see some amazing thing of nature and immediately start thinking how I could use that to share the Gospel with someone. My mind had a break, and I was able to see these things and think about their affect on me personally.
I now have a much greater appreciation of how my mind has been working as I work as a pastor. I will be more conscious to give myself a break, but if you are not a pastor, then spare a thought for your pastor and understand the stress the calling puts on every aspect of their life - even recognition of this helps I think.
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
My heart aches for these kids - I have such a passion for the work Watoto do. To think each of these children have lost one or both parents to AIDS or war, yet still sing to Jesus that they "are not forgotten" is incredible.
Jesus saves, and these kids remind me more of that than almost any other thing.
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
It was an amazing experience to watch this live earlier in the year. Realising how many people were worshiping God world wide at the same time, via the amazing technology of live streaming, gave the feeling of the entire Church worshiping its God at the same time. The phrase "How Great is our God" trended world wide on Twitter during this session of the Passion Conference 2012. It was incredible, unifying and glorifying to God. I still get shivers on my spine when I watch this video.
Friday, 28 September 2012
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Life often doesn't turn out as we think it will, so how do we keep going through disappointment and confusion?
Making sure the fuel we fill our life with is full of faith is essential to leading a life according to God's purpose. If we are living according to God's purpose then we will not find ourselves in self-induced trouble.
After going through a list of great examples of faith, the writer of Hebrews sums up our position like this:
Jesus is the founder, the very foundation, of our faith; but he is also it's perfecter. There is nothing greater than Jesus, no 'extra knowledge'; no purer fuel. Fill yourself up with faith in Jesus, and see how your life runs.
Monday, 24 September 2012
I like the story of the little boy who fell out of bed. When his Mom asked him what happened, he answered, "I don't know. I guess I stayed too close to where I got in."
Easy to do the same with our faith. It's tempting just to stay where we got in and never move.
Pick a time in the not-too-distant past. A year or two ago. Now ask yourself a few questions. How does your prayer life today compare with then? How about your giving? Have both the amount and the joy increased? What about your church loyalty? Can you tell you've grown? And Bible study? Are you learning to learn?...
There they are. Four habits worth having. Isn't it good to know that some habits are good for you? Make them a part of your day and grow. Don't make the mistake of the little boy. Don't stay too close to where you got in. It's risky resting on the edge.Max Lucado "Let the Journey Begin" p27
Good practical advice there. How's your survey of where you were a few years ago?
So I revisited my tally; thought about each group; and realised that yes, 200 is a valid idea of how many people under 18 come in contact with our church each week. The biggest contributor to this is R.E in D’Bay State School, with 4-6 classes of 25-30 students each week. Then we can add in KidsHope, youth group, boy’s club, kid’s club and kid’s time who all have a number of ‘youth’ who aren’t already connected to our church and suddenly a number like 200 is a reality. It really opened my eyes to what a huge target area of ministry we have in evangelism when it comes to children and teenagers. However all these ministries are struggling to get the help and leadership they need to run effectively.
It amazes me the connection we have with young people in our community, even though it doesn't appear to be a main focus in the way we do things. Most people in the church would not be involved in children's or youth ministry, yet our impact is still great. But I wonder if it is sustainable without more help. With no leaders next year some of those ministries will have to either change or close down entirely. I'm praying for more to step up - since it's apparent God has been working with the young people in Deception Bay.
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Jesus Son of God - Chris Tomlin
You came down, from heaven's throne
This earth You formed, was not Your home
A love like this, the world had never known
A crown of thorns, to mock your name
Forgiveness fell upon Your face
A love like this, the world had never known
On the altar of our praise let there be no higher name
Jesus Son of God
You laid down Your perfect life, You are the sacrifice
Jesus Son of God
You are Jesus Son of God
You took our sin You bore our shame
You rose to life You defeated the grave
A love like this, the world has never known
You took our sin You bore our shame
You rose to life You defeated the grave
A love like this, the world has never known
On the altar of our praise let there be no higher name
Jesus Son of God Y
ou laid down Your perfect life You are the sacrifice
Jesus Son of God
You are Jesus Son of God
Be lifted higher than all You've overcome
Your name be louder than any other song
There is no power that can come against Your love
The cross was enough
The cross was enough
Friday, 21 September 2012
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Technology is incredible! Let's not take it for granted! Even these studies we are going through with the dBay youth and young adults rely heavily on technology. We watch DVD segments each week, there are videos on youtube to watch for each chapter, and even in writing the book Francis Chan directs you to webpages and videos.
I think I'm being slightly overwhelmed at how good some people use technology in their ministries. Are we a bit afraid to in our day-to-day local ministries? I sometimes wonder if we are. We may not have the resources 268Generation or Francis Chan have, but I'm beginning to have a think about how we could possibly use it better, even here in dBay.
Monday, 17 September 2012
Is a pastor simply applying for a job, and offered employment by the congregation, in turn then working for the congregation as they see fit? Or when a pastor recognises a call to a congregation must there also be some level of call on the congregation as well to say that they see the pastor as God-lead to come and lead, look after and shepherd them? If that's the case then should the congregation allow the pastor to work as he feels led by God (having already recognised God's call), and the money they pay him is not then employment, but support?
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Well at least it was for me.
Friday, 14 September 2012
Do you think about what you are doing before you approach God in prayer?
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
...the good news (if you're a fan) is that this boy band phenomenon of 2012 is rumoured to be returning to Australia for extra concerts later this year.
But before you grab your parent's credit card and head online to buy tickets, it's a good time to stop and ask yourself the question: is it right to go to the One Direction concert?
This article is a great look at how Christians should respond or at least consider the youth culture around them. I hope all my youth can look at the world this way, read the article then practically consider these things with every decision they have to make.
Go check out the article.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
"I sometimes struggle with how to properly respond to God's magnitude in a world bent on ignoring or merely tolerating Him. But know this: God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him."
Francis Chan, Crazy Love, p28
Monday, 10 September 2012
If you haven't read the chapter yet, do so, then watch this video when Francis mentions it.
Sunday, 9 September 2012
What were his key points? Can you even remember the passage he spoke from?
In thinking about how it affects us today I have been dwelling a lot on the way we worship. Our focus on services seems ok - God set forth quite an orderly worship schedule - yet it was to be done in an environment of every day obedience. The tabernacle and the law cannot be separated.
How do we link these ideas of obedience and worship in our services today?
Friday, 7 September 2012
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
If you weren't there last night check out the video and meditate on some of the ideas.
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
This idea really struck me this morning while I was using a rowing machine at the gym (note the self indulgent little promo that yes, I went to the gym this morning :-p). I was working away on this machine with my iPod playing music into my ears. A song came on which had amazingly relevant and worshipful words and I found myself interacting with God, even while I did my workout. I wasn't planning on that, but God came and met me. I just had to be aware of it enough to respond.
I don't know how many times I've heard people say that they're too busy for a devotion time, or to read the Bible. It always annoys me because I see reading God's Word as the priority - cut other things (even work or study) before you cut that. But this morning just highlighted to me how musicians have composed the Word of God into music, and I was able to have a quiet time while rowing at 33 strokes a minute. It may be in the car, or even on the job site - but I don't think we really have any excuse to say we haven't spent some time with God today. Because God has been trying to spend that time with us all day (it doesn't have to be music, God uses so many different ways to get out attention), we may just not have been in tune enough to be aware of it
Monday, 3 September 2012
You are in your car driving home. Thoughts wander to the game you want to see or meal you want to eat, when suddenly a sound unlike any you've ever heard fills the air. The sound is high above you. A trumpet? A choir? A choir of trumpets? You don't know, but you want to know. So you pull over, get out of your car, and look up. As you do, you see you aren't the only curious one. The roadside has become a parking lot. Car doors are open, and people are staring at the sky. Shoppers are racing out of the grocery store. The Little League baseball game across the street has come to a halt. Players and parents are searching the clouds.
And what they see, and what you see, has never before been seen.
As if the sky were a curtain, the drapes of the atmosphere part. A brilliant light spills onto the earth. There are no shadows. None. From whence came the light begins to tumble a river of color - spiking crystals of every hue ever seen and a million more never seen. Riding on the flow is an endless fleet of angels. They pass through the curtains one myriad at a time, until they occupy every square inch of the sky. North. South. East. West. Thousands of silvery wings rise and fall in unison, and over the sound of the trumpets, you can hear the cherubim and seraphim chanting, "Holy, holy, holy."
The final flank of angels is followed by twenty-four silver-bearded elders and a multitude of souls who join the angels in worship. Presently the movement stops and the trumpets are silent, leaving only the triumphant triplet: "Holy, holy, holy." Between each word is a pause. With each word , a profound reverence. You hear you voice join in the chorus. You don't know why you say the words, but you know you must.
Suddenly, the heavens are quiet. All is quiet. The angels turn, you turn, the entire world turns - and there he is. Jesus. Through waves of light you see the silhouetted figure of Christ the King. He is atop a great stallion, and the stallion is atop a billowing cloud. He opens his mouth, and you are surrounded by his declaration: "I am the Alpha and the Omega."
The angels bow their heads. The elders remove their crowns. And before you is a figure so consuming that you know, instantly you know: Nothing else matters. Forget stock markets and school reports. Sales meetings and football games. Nothing is newsworthy. All that mattered, matters no more, for Christ has come...
Max Lucado, "When Christ Comes", p xv, xvi
Lucado paints a lovely picture on what the return of Jesus may look like. If nothing else is going to matter at that point, what does that say about our priorities now?
Friday, 31 August 2012
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
I read Francis Chan's Crazy Love at the beginning of the year. I really enjoyed the book and was challenged by its content. Recently I've seen the immense amount of online content Chan created to accompany the book as well as another 'study' guide and DVD. I'm hoping by using all of these tools I can create a study on the book tailored for where we are in Deception Bay right now.
Check out the video, I think its a great book to study in home groups and could be used in most contexts.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
So what's the Spiritual equivalent? Churches? Home groups? Personal devotions? I'm not sure any of those completely portray the motivation a gym represents. Churches should, but it's too easy to slip into a routine laziness every Sunday, turn up, sit down, sing, 'listen', have a cuppa, go home. Home groups are great, but again it's very easy to miss a few weeks, not do the readings during the week and not really take home anything of substance for the week ahead apart from a Tim Tam and coffee you had for supper. I heard somewhere last week that a recent survey states 80% of Australian Christians don't have a regular quiet time.
I'm wondering what the answer is. For me I do find it in my personal devotion times - I have a very systematic way of working through passages and marking/highlighting different parts of the passage with different colours according to how it is speaking to me. I find this approach works to not only devotionaly encourage my faith but also stimulate my mind and spirit in teaching, correcting, trust and faithfulness.
So how do we as pastors, leaders, or teachers facilitate a motivating spiritual workout in Church and Home Group which will at least encourage people to do their own spiritual workouts. People don't have the motivation of money spent, and personal devotions don't have the motivation of going somewhere away from home. What's the balance, and what's the added element to motivate our congregations to want greater Spiritual strength and knowledge?
Monday, 20 August 2012
If you've been somewhere, or have some ideas comment here and let me know.
Friday, 17 August 2012
As a Pastor I'm finding that people just seem to nod their heads at what I'm saying during a sermon or Bible study, they just accept what I'm talking about - usually I think out of a general notion of good manners, knowing they need to know the Bible so just sitting and listening to what someone employed to tell hem what they need to know. At times I am sure people listen and agree out of a respect they have for my studies and the relationship I've developed with them as a pastor. Even so - I still wish that instead of sitting and nodding, they would be reading and studying themselves. Discovering the truths themselves and having them confirmed, challenged and encouraged when they come to hear a sermon of study.
Again a bit of a different idea this week, but the Bible isn't all about uplifting and emotional hype. It is full of nitty gritty life applications. This one is a great one for churches. Sometimes one or two people in the church (or a small group in larger churches) 'put themselves first'... this is obviously not what Jesus had planned for his church or its mission. It's a huge hindrance and John here equates it with being 'evil' and not really knowing or even having seen God at all.
Let's make sure that a) our own motives are clear whenever it comes to Church business and b) we ensure our leaders are both humble and respected by the entire congregation.
Thursday, 16 August 2012
I love passages in the Bible that start with 'therefore' (or 'οὖν' for those Greek Geeks out there). It is always a reminder to go back and see what is causing the action we're now being asked to do. In this case it is the majesty of Christ, and his worthiness as the Son of God and Great High Priest which compels us to undertake this next bit of advice the writer is going to give.
And since that is the point where all Christianity starts (acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Saviour) then this passage is a great place to look at the very essence of what Christian and Church life should look like. Let's 'draw near' to Jesus - we have the chance to have an intimate relationship with God, that's something of great worth that we should never take for granted. Then we must hold 'unswervingly' to the faith we now proclaim, it's like we have this goal now that God has promised us through faith and we must head towards it - directly and in a straight line, never deviating no matter the cost or pain. I love that idea, just steadfastly doing life by the faith I profess, but only doing it because I know God who has promised that my life is safe in him is completely faithful, so no matter the pain or trials I go through I know God has my life safely in his hands and serving him is better even than my own body staying safe and unhurt.
Then comes the critical role that we all have as a church, to 'spur one another on toward love and good deeds'. As a congregation, and even as the world-wide church, our focus to each other must be encouraging each of us to hold unswervingly to that faith. It may mean discipline, teaching, rebuking, empowering, training or realigning, but the underlying motive of all those things must be to spur the other person on for their faith.
So that is the a great place to start when considering how we do Christian life together, and how we run our churches. It's also a great place to start to see the motive of preachers and teachers, understanding their motive is to spur you on, not cut you down.
Hopefully you can see this in your own Church, and emphasise it in your own life.