Saturday, 28 February 2015

LIVE IT! - Evening Sermon Series

We've started a preaching series through the book of Galatians here at dBay Baptist in our 5.30pm Service.

Right from the outset, it's abundantly clear why the Apostle Paul has written this letter to the Galatian churches. He is quick to announce his absolute astonishment that they have so quickly turned to a different Gospel.

You see these churches which Paul himself had planted were being influenced by false teachers who were bringing confusion to that original, pure, Gospel that had saved them.  Paul’s call to the Galatians was to recognise the true Gospel, and to live it… not to be swayed by anything else.

Jesus’ love, His gracious actions on the cross and His salvation through faith defines the entirety of the 'good news' which saves us. Still today, we have to be so careful to realise that Jesus is the completeness of God’s revelation, that His salvation plan is perfect, and faith in Him and His Gospel is all we need to be saved. So many things can sway us. So many things are subtle, yet still so dangerous.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Just useless

Somehow that's how I find myself left feeling... just useless. If I am honest it's something I must confess I feel a fair bit of the time.

I'm so glad that's not the end of it though... because the fact of the matter is I am pretty much useless if left to my own devices. That's why I need someone else.

That's why we all need someone else.

I was feeling a bit of a write off the other morning, my previous day hadn't gone to plan, I'd been very selfish when I'd meant to be proactive and servant-hearted.  I knew this day was to be spent looking at the Bible and meditating on God's Word, both for personal reflection and preparation for this week's sermon. But I felt useless, how could I have a horrid day like the one before and then expect to get up the next day and be all pastoral and Godly?

In making my breaky I just turned on a live stream of Christian music on my phone... I have no control over what songs play, but these were the first words I heard.
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart
 Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
I had to stop... I had to bow... and as I listened and prayed through the rest of the song I did find my rest.
Where sin runs deep
Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You 
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay
I am so thankful that though I am so dependent on someone else to keep things together, Jesus is more than capable of being my hope and stay.  If you feel like you're not coping, or just not doing a good job, turn once again to your one defense, you're righteousness and cry out to God; "How I need You!"

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The beauty of waiting.

In September last year I found out that I was a Type 2 Diabetic. It was an answer to why I had been feeling so lethargic and out of sorts for such a long time - but it meant a whole shift in my outlook towards life as well.  To be honest I had already made some huge changes in my diet and health, and had lost a lot of weight - which was why I was wondering why I had suddenly become so easily tired and wasted - so my post-diagnosis lifestyle didn't have to change too much.

What did change though was my mindset. My attitude towards food and exercise changed. Food became a source of proper energy but also a cause of illness if it was treated wrong, exercise became a necessity.

I had a check up yesterday and for the last three months my average blood sugar level has been 5.8.  All my other levels have normalised as well, and though yes I am on some medication at the moment I feel that choices I have made are what have made the difference.

My choice has been to try and cut refined sugar from my diet as much as possible - however as a little reward for the good results I treated myself to a Krispy Kreme donut.  Now I can't remember the last time I ate a donut, let alone those magical Krispy Kreme ones, and as I bit into that caramel glazed goodness my mind forced me to slow down, to really enjoy it - and I must say that I did... it was fantastic!

It made me reflect that as a generation these days in Australia we live in a pleasure expecting, no waiting society.  'Special treats' are a thing of the past, anything we could possibly want is accessible to us right now - even if we can't pay for it we can simply put it on credit or take out an instant personal loan.  The idea of waiting, or anticipating, or working towards is being lost on our generation today.

I can remember when the only way you could get a Krispy Kreme donut in Queensland was if you or a friend was flying back from the Sydney Airport.  Where I worked there was an expectation that if you did a trip to Sydney you would bring back a box of Krispy Kremes to share - I can remember waiting in anticipation for people to come in knowing they would be bringing with them these amazing treats.  These days we have stores in a few places with a full range of Krispy Kremes, but you can also get a fix at any 7Eleven store all over the state.  The special-ness had worn off, that was until in my changed mindset I had not even thought to have a donut for months and months.  As I was driving to the coast yesterday afternoon I saw a store location and thought "I will have a special treat" - and can I say that I don't think I have enjoyed a donut more!

Our 'here and now' generation is becoming expectant, demanding, unthankful and desensitised. And because of that I think we're missing out on the enjoyment of waiting, or really earning something, or even just ungrateful for things that should just be a treat.

I know it was just a silly donut, but it made me think that we should take stock of our lives, what are our needs? What can we do without? What can we enjoy more in smaller doses or as a special treat? What do we need to wait for, or work towards earning?  If you can't afford it now, don't just go get a loan, set a goal and work towards it - I can assure you that you will enjoy it more when you finally get it.  Same with the things we don't always need - if we gorge ourself on pleasure all the time then we lose the ability to enjoy it at all.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Shine a Light on Slavery

This Friday is the annual END IT Shine a Light of Slavery Day.  On the 27th Feb shine a light on the fact there are still 27 million slaves in our world and that's not ok.  Read up on the facts at and then put a red X on your hand on Friday.  When people ask what the X is for you can tell them all about it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Big enough.

How big is big enough? It's probably different for everyone, but this Sunday we start looking at the book of Galatians at dBay Baptist, and my first sermon has a bit of this feel.  The benefits of believing the Gospel of Christ are so huge... I pray for all the people in my church that they get a glance at the idea that God is big enough!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Be My Escape

Loving this song from Relient K at the moment.  It's not a new song, and I feel the original (though sounding awesome) can cause us to loose the meaning of some of the words with its upbeat and fast tempo.

This acoustic version really let's it hit home though... I love these words.

"And I’ve been housing all this doubt and insecurity
and I’ve been locked inside that house all the while You hold the key
And I’ve been dying to get out and that might be the death of me
And even though, there’s no way in knowing where to go,
promise I’m going because
I gotta get outta here I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake
I gotta get outta here And I’m begging You, I’m begging You, I’m begging You to be my escape."

"I’m giving up on doing this alone now
Cause I’ve failed and I’m ready to be shown how
He’s told me the way and I’m trying to get there
And this life sentence that I’m serving I admit that I’m every bit deserving
 But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair"

"I am a hostage to my own humanity
Self detained and forced to live in this mess I’ve made
And all I’m asking is for You to do what You can with me
But I can’t ask You to give what You already gave"

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Writing Out Your Prayers

As I continue down this road of discovery in prayer I am trying new things, and finding new experiences to enhance my prayer life.

This week while reading Bill Hybel's "To Busy Not To Pray" I pondered his idea of writing our your prayers... actually writing down a conversation you have with God. It sounds like a good idea, but I found it very difficult to do, and actually failed at incorporating it into my prayer time. It just felt too stilted for me.

However, the next day, instead of writing out my prayer I simply sat for a while and wrote out a list of things to pray for. How many times do we sit down to pray and about a minute in get stuck on what to talk to God about next?  I know that's one of the struggles I had, and sitting and writing out prayers hadn't helped, but as I sat and started with my family I realised that if I wrote down each name of each person in my family I could think of things to write next to each name that I could commit to prayer.  Then I wrote a title "Church" and sit was easy to put down those with big health issues that we knew about... but again it was easy to list the name of every young adult and every youth and I could think of things straight away to write down for each person.  Then I went wider than my youth and young adults and was writing down names of all different types of people in my church and each time I could list 3 things I could commit to pray for.

Then I wrote the title "Me" - and again I could succinctly list many things I need prayer for.  Then I made a title "Thankfulness" and though I slowed a little, I considered many things in my life I am thankful for God for (in hindsight maybe starting with Thankfulness is a better idea).

After this I bowed my head and prayed through this entire page of notes I had just made (starting with Thankfulness) - and by the end I was worshipping God for His greatness and the contentment I was feeling from handing so much to Him.

Praise came easy after such a thought out process of coming to God in prayer.  Though writing my prayers out didn't quite work for me, this process of listing names totally revolutionised my prayer time.

If your prayer times are dry, try something new - something completely different... if the first thing doesn't work don't give up, because God wants you to connect to Him in prayer and so you will find a way to do it effectively.
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