Friday, 28 September 2012

New DB Youth Advert

Friday morning focus

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ever think you never get anything good?

"If we are legitimate children of Almighty God, we have a pretty ridiculous upside. Grow up into His greatness and love." ~ Louie Giglio

We've got the good deal - no matter how you look at it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Check your fuel.

A car might have a new engine, great body work, smart looking interior... but with no fuel in the tank, no one's going to expect it to get very far.  It's the fuel that allows it to reach its destination. If we want to get ahead in life, we need to spend less time on our outward appearance.  We need to be more concerned with what's going on inside, making sure the tank of our lives is constantly topped up with the right fuel.  Just like if you fill a car up with rotten fuel it isn't going to run right (or at all), filling our lives with the wrong thing will also cause us pain. Many times we find ourselves in rotten situations and wonder how we got there - sometimes things are just unfair, but other times what we put in leads us to trouble.

Life often doesn't turn out as we think it will, so how do we keep going through disappointment and confusion?

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1 ESV

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:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

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

Healthy Habits

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?

Kid's Ministry is Important.

Recently I was asked to provide the number of people who are under 18, not connected with our church, yet would come in contact with one of our ministries each week. Amidst the business of the week I quickly tallied up the numbers in each of our groups and replied back ‘approximately 200’. Then I stopped and looked at that number… 200!... that couldn’t possibly be right, it appeared way too high.

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.

Cannot escape this song, or it's lyrics at the moment - God is speaking and I am being blown away.

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

Friday morning focus

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:1-7 ESV)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Using Technology for Ministry and Mission

I just watched a live stream of the Passion 2013 Link Night.  There was praise music, prayer, Louie Giglio preached and there was even a Skype chat between him and another preacher.  All this took place in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA.  Yet I could sit and be involved while I wrote my Bible study for tonight's group in my office in Deception Bay.

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

Crazy Love - Chapter Two

Here's the online video for chapter 2 of Crazy Love. It might be good to watch this one before you read the chapter just to give you some insight into how it's going to go.  Though if you've been reading the chapter through the week just stop for a bit now and watch this video.

Support or Employment?

What role does a congregation have in the calling of a pastor?

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

Just Stop and Think

Here's a 15 minute video that changed my week. We showed it in church this morning and I hope it impacted the congregation.  It's not earth shatteringly new information, but it is earth shattering when you stop to think what it means for our lives.

Well at least it was for me.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday morning focus.

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
 (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 ESV)

Do you think about what you are doing before you approach God in prayer?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Is it right to go and see a One Direction concert?

...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

Responding to the magnificence of God

"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

Crazy Love - Chapter One

Since we used the Chapter 1 video for the intro study, today I'm posting the "Awe Factor of God" video we're told to go and watch during the chapter.

If you haven't read the chapter yet, do so, then watch this video when Francis mentions it.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sunday Afternoon

What was the main point of your pastor's sermon this morning?

What were his key points? Can you even remember the passage he spoke from?

As someone you preaches regularly now, I often wonder just what people are taking in, and if they are even listening at all when I preach.  I think we need to recognise a call from God to preach his Word.  So if you're listening to a preacher, remember he has felt a significant Word from God about the passage he's talking about (well at least I would hope he had). If even a few hours later you can't remember the key points, main theme or even the passage, then have you done him and God a dishonour by not hearing the Word and taking it to heart?

Sunday Morning

Well it's about 20 minutes before the start of the service here in Deception Bay, I've been preparing the sermon for this evening's service and it's had me thinking about worship.  I'm preaching on Exodus 25-27 about all the instructions God gives for the tabernacle, the place where he will dwell and where the Israelites will worship.

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

Friday morning focus.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
(Romans 6:1-19 ESV)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Crazy Love - Preface Study

Here's the chapter 1 video for our Crazy Love study. We used this as a bit of an introduction to the book, and I'm now posting this to give you guys an idea of how each week I'll post the video before our Tuesday night Connect Group.

If you weren't there last night check out the video and meditate on some of the ideas.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

How can we be too busy for God...

...when God meets us where we are?

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

What will happen, what do we do about it?

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?
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