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.