Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Our focus for this year... and the next!

As 2014 ends I've spent some time reflecting back on all the different things that have gone on throughout the year. We had a reflection service last Sunday night, and I displayed some images from some of the major news events of the year.  Some were good, some were weird, and some were downright horrific.

Then someone read this Bible verse as part of the service.
Jesus replied:" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:'Love your neighbor as yourself. ' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
~Matthew 22:37-40
In the middle of all the chaos this world throws up, I see here a very clear and simple focal point for us as believers.  This focal point of loving God with your all heart, soul and mind is a firm foundation through good times and bad.  It will get you through even the worst of times and help you remain pure in easy and good times.  And then loving the neighbour as yourself will make sure your interaction with the world is always pure as well - in its purity it is then helpful, kind, compassionate, safe, courageous and glorifying to God.

Some of the horrific things that have happened this year have caused people to zealously hold to that first commandment (that they'll proclaim their love for their God for all to see), but the second commandment has taken a hit.  I've been disturbed by some Christians responses to people groups, cultures, even religions, after extremists have shot down planes, blown things up or taken people hostage.

I think we would all do well to realise that loving God with all our heart, soul and mind means that we will love our neighbour as ourselves... you can't actually focus on one while you neglect the other. It just doesn't work.
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
~2 Corinthians 5:14-18
Because of Jesus, because He's shown us such an amazing amount of love, and a grace we simply do not deserve, we can't look at other people the same way anymore.  We have to look at them through the grace filled glasses that Jesus has washed us with, by His very own blood. We no longer regard anyone merely from a worldly point of view, so where the world condemns we must offer peace and forgiveness (because when we were to be condemned, we were offered peace and forgiveness).  Yes there is still a thing as justice, but it is not ours to dish out.  Does that mean Christians might get the raw end of the deal? Does that mean we may be persecuted, terrorised, even killed? Yep; actually it does.

That's a scary proposition, but when my focus is to simply love God with all my heart, soul and mind then I know that whatever the proposition is, I can handle it, and in the same breath I will be able to love my neighbour as I do myself.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Share Eternity

This Christmas we at Deception Bay Baptist want to share the story of Jesus with everyone. In that light we want to equip our people with tools that help them share this story with their friends and family.

YesHeIs is a fantastic app that you can have with you at all times, on your smart phone, that gives you access to videos and pictures that are valuable assets when you want to share your faith.

You can either use the app on your phone as part of a discussion you have with other people, or connect the app to your social media and share videos and pictures online. Here’s a little more on how it works.

So we encourage you to Share Eternity this Christmas – and we hope that YesHeIs helps.
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