Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Which Jesus when?

Jesus likens us to sheep and him/God/the Kingdom like a shepherd a couple of times during the gospels.  But as I think of two stories in particular I see two very different illustrations.
"If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?" (Matt 18:12 ESV)
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27, ESV)
So I see the idea of going out and finding the one who is lost.  Searching high and low for the one that went astray and celebrating when it is found.  But there is also the idea that the sheep know the Master, they follow Him, and so if one strays away does it really know Him.  And is there a point where the Master realises that person wasn't really a sheep and so maybe doesn't go searching?

As a Pastor it's something I am struggling with.  I can see that the kingdom is like the 99 sheep, and it's just not complete because someone is missing. So we strive and search for that one person to come to faith.  But, as a Pastor, do I put as much effort into striving after someone who is clearly ignoring the Master's voice and going off on their own.  Is there a point where the Pastor must focus on those who do listen.

I will always be waiting and willing to share with and talk to anyone who is in need, wants guidance or has faith questions... but I don't think I can pursue someone who doesn't want to be found.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

...had to share this Paul Colman video too...

Don't you love how YouTube just leads you from one video to the next...

Saw this one of Paul singing "Fill My Cup" with his daughters and just had to share it.


One Thing!

I was questioning a lot this morning.  I was journaling and processing a lot of stuff and suddenly noticed in the background Paul Colman's song "One Thing" was playing.  I was able to stop and be affirmed by the words of the song.  To mediate that;
"Only one thing doesn't change,
Only one thing stays the same.
All I know at the end of the day is
You love remains, yeah!"
So I thought I'd find a video of the song to share with everyone.  Just know that no matter what goes on in life, what causes you to questions... the one thing I don't question is You! You really love me like You say You do!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Walk Humbly

"You desire big things, but they come in little steps. Walk humbly before Him and you will see his plans unfold"   

Someone wrote me a little note quite a few years back which included that little bit of a quote.  Last night I was praying and (if I am honest) having a time of question God with where I am at.  I finished and looked down and somehow this letter had fallen out of my Bible and was sitting right in front of me.  It was an instant answer to prayer.

I am drawn once again to that idea of walking humbly before Him... I'm not sure how well I've done that recently, but I understand my own attitude is my biggest hindrance most of the time, and possibly has stopped me from getting some of the things I desire in my life.

Giving up again and handing back to God - wish I didn't keep grasping back at control.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Malyon Leadership Article - Gospel-Centred Leadership

Just about every movement, personality and church has embraced this as a description of their ministry. However, the problem of uncritically embracing the latest buzz-word is that often we re-badge everything but just keep doing what we were always doing… all that changes is the buzz-word. So we move from purpose driven… to missional… to gospel-centred… without really changing anything. I guess my goal in this article is to investigate one question: What difference should being truly gospel-centred make to our leadership
This post on the Malyon Leadership Blog, written by Joe Khan, really tackles the idea of actually modelling your life/ministry/leadership around the Gospel, and not just labeling yourself to keep up with the trend.

I have used the term 'Gospel-centred' a lot and I hope that the way I do things reflects that I actually believe my life needs to be 100% Gospel centred.

Go have a look, feel the challenge and take on God's purpose for the Gospel!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

In turn we need to turn back too...

"Adam turned from the Father in the garden Eden; Jesus turned to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane. #identity #inChrist"
~Mark Driscoll

This was on Mark's Twitter feed today - it's a nice simple reminder of the work Jesus has done for us.  Though He knew the pain and suffering to come He did not turn away... even though mankind turned away when everything was perfect.

So now, us as rotten people who turn away can turn back to God - because Jesus never turned away.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Cutting what we give, not what we keep.

It's a sad reflection on the heart and selfish nature of our nation that when cuts need to be made to stop our national deficit we cut the money we give to those who have nothing.  We keep such a huge portion of Australia's GPA for our own use, and give away a minute amount - but one of the biggest cuts the Liberal party has put forward in their costing for their term if elected comes from that already small amount we give away.

Some people wonder why we should give any of our GPA away to people outside Australia, but I just think that's being generous, caring and a good steward of wealth. No one can argue we do it bad here in Australia, you can't argue that when you compare our lifestyle to those we have been previously giving this money too.  Yes I know there are issues of corruptness with how some of the money is used, but that is a call to make sure we help the people who need it... not to simply stop giving.

As an Australian I am concerned for those in the rest of the world who live in poverty. I give lots of my personal money away to those people, but I feel our nation is not using its wealth in a generous and caring way.

If you feel the same then follow this link to the Baptist World Aid's website and sign a letter being sent to our probably new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Australian Election 2013

I am confused.

I am frustrated.

I am at a point if I am wondering how much I really care, because I am not sure of what change if any will really happen and if my vote really matters.

However watching these videos has helped settle my mind a little.  From a Christian standpoint it answered a few questions I had.  These are the two major addresses specifically to Christians that were part of the ACL's live candidates panel webcast, which was streamed earlier this week.

I post them so maybe they can help you if you're feeling like me at the moment, and I post both videos out of a desire to remain candid and unbiased here online.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's address to Christians at the Make it Count 2013 Election Panel webcast from Australian Christian Lobby on Vimeo.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's 3 minute video address to Christians from Australian Christian Lobby on Vimeo.

Monday, 2 September 2013

This is still an issue... will it ever be resolved?

Here's a blog I posted on the 20th Sept 2007.  Yet with another election looming it is still one of the key political play points.  But as a church have we done anything about it?

Sheep or Goat?
Matthew 25:43 "I was a stranger and you did not invite me in..."How do you think Jesus feels about the hundreds of strangers in our land who are locked up in Detention Centres?
"...I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."Where does that leave us who ignore those same people? We mightn't be able to get them out of Detention Centres, but that doesn't leave us off the hook does it????

Looking like a Christian.

Preached Ephesians 4:17-32 last night as part of our New Identity series.  God calls us, expects us and wants us to live different lives when we find our identity in Christ. He calls us to draw a line in the sand and choose to live a different life.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. (Ephesians 4:17-19, ESV)
Paul shows us that living with our old, 'original', identity is totally worthless and useless.  He shows us the life of the person who isn't in Christ is defined by the natural state the find themselves in away from God. Their minds are darkened, their thinking futile.  They have hard hearts which causes them not to want to know the truth. All of this causes their conscious to loose its sensitivity to sin.  People who find their identity away from Christ lose their ability to feel guilt about what they do wrong. Initially they may feel the pang of guilt, but as they continue to ignore it that pang get's less and less.  Guilt is actually a part of us which God created so that we might realise our wrong and know Him and His grace. So as those IN CHRIST we have to draw that line in the sand because we can see how futile and worthless any other life is.

But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24, ESV)
When you become a Christian there is a fundamental change which takes place... a new life begins... a whole new identity is formed and created which we find ourselves in - losing our old identity.  But in many ways it isn't an instant transformation... salvation wise yes, we are instantly affected, saved by grace... but in terms of our nature, our ability to live like Jesus... there is no instant answer where we become perfect in a moment. It would be nice, but that's not how it works.  Paul uses the word 'taught' over and over again in this part of the passage. We have 'heard' about Jesus, been taught according to 'Jesus' truths', shown how our old identity is worthless and the worth of living IN CHRIST.

With that in mind we must acknowledge the importance of placing ourselves in an environment where we can continue to be taught... to see what Christ has done for us, to experience the Holy Spirit in our lives and to be part of something that shows us what the renewing of our mind is all about.  Because the fact is that all believer's minds change when they become Christians - the Holy Spirit renews the mind, we think differently.  We need to experience this, be trained in it and exercise it.


So what does one who identifies as IN CHRIST look like?
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:25-32, ESV)
So Christians tell the truth, control their anger, work hard and don't steal, encourage others and are kind and compassionate.  Paul very plainly and simply outlines what the nature of one who has this new identity looks like.  It's not a means to salvation, we don't have to do it to be saved... but it is a result of finding our identity in Christ, because Christ first treated us in the same way!
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