Monday, September 28, 2009

Let the peace of Christ rule!

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Re-jigged our Planned Giving at the Church recently. People in the church are either giving the same, and many are giving more than before. Praise God.

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About ‘calling’. First there is the ‘effectual call of Christ to become a disciple’. This call is experienced by all that become believers. Secondly, there is the ‘providential call’. People are drawn into acts of service based on what seems to their inbuilt passions, e.g. building, creating, problem solving, etc. Thirdly, there is a ‘charismatic call’. God empowers us with his Holy Spirit and gifts us as he sees fit, and calls us into ministry based on those giftings. – R. Paul Stevens (The Other Six Days), p. 80-81.

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Idea Virus. Twitter and Facebook are one. Susan Boyle is another. It’s an idea/concept that spreads like a virus. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead ought to be an idea virus. Spreading like wild fire through the internet, and through our interpersonal networks.

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‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…’ (Col 3:15)    

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why does it take a funeral to get us together?

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Many times a tragedy or a death in the family brings people together. So does a Wedding. Some will quip, ‘Why does it take a wedding or a funeral to get us together?’

Well, we live busy lives. We have expectations at work. We have the immediate family to look after, and television shows to watch. The wider family gets put on the back burner, til we find the time. The relationships then grow weak and the distance and time becomes more awkward. ‘I can’t possibly ring them now, they’ll think something is up’. ‘It’s been 6 months since I’ve spoken to little Richy’.

I’m putting the challenge out there to unite families together. To make that awkward phone call; to send that email that you’ve procrastinated about; to mention the elephants in the room and get the conversation going.

God’s desire is to see strong, healthy relationships, with Jesus at the centre. God longs to see unity, not fragmentation.

People get ready, there’s a train a comin’. You don’t need no baggage, just get on board…

Friday, September 18, 2009

Embrace Change

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This is a challenge I once heard from Chick Yuill. ‘Embrace change’ was the catch-cry.

A healthy church can try something new, and be ok if it fails. A dysfunctional church can find change too threatening. Or maybe the church is happy with the status quo – with how things are.

Now, if a church is not making new disciples of Jesus Christ, and the church is not reaching the poor and advocating for the injustices in our society, then it needs to ‘embrace change’. By continuing on with the same programs, the same attitudes, the same ‘Church services’ and expecting things to change by themselves is naive. They need to embrace change.

Its hard to change a culture of an organisation. Maybe its harder in a ‘volunteer’ church organisation. In the corporate world you just sack the volatile people, or the people with the wrong attitudes. In the church, we love and accept and grow together. It’s about building community together.

Decisive action does need to be taken to be honouring God with what matters, and if we are not in that place, we need to change. I pray a blessing upon church leaders in that position right now, and ask God to give you wisdom and understanding, endurance and patience (Colossians 1).  

Monday, September 14, 2009

It’s all garbage

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AFL Grand Final. Travelling the World. Watching TV. Saving up money. Eating what’s left in the fridge. It’s all garbage…

The Apostle Paul said, you know all my credentials: being circumcised on the eighth day (something he must have been proud of…), being an Israelite, being of the Tribe of Benjamin, being a devout adherent to God’s laws…. it’s all garbage…

It’s all garbage (he said in Philippians 3:5-8), compared to knowing Christ and being known by him. I throw everything else in the trash. Nothing else matters. Everything else is irrelevant. Everything else in inconsequential.

I want to know Jesus and be known by him. I want to be embraced by him. I don’t want to put anything on a pedestal too high than what it should be, lest I remove God from the most important place in my life.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thoughts on Prophecy

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Speaking prophetically into people's lives can be a God-given amazing experience. There ARE some things to think about:
* Personal prophecy between a man and woman is a no no...
* When people say, 'Thus saith the Lord' or 'This is what God is saying', maybe they just say this out of habit, though some use this language as some sort of authority giver. They are insecure in their own personal spiritual journey, and this extra authority puffs them up. Why not say, 'I believe the Lord might be saying this'. It's a little less arrogant, and it allows people to test the prophetic word.
* Important prophetic words should be backed up by other prophets, or other leaders who are saying the same thing. Don't let a big decision hinge on one prophetic word from a prophet.
* Prophecies must line up with Scripture. A 'rhema' word from God doesn't allow us to contradict the Bible. For instance, God isn't going to say to someone, 'Divorce that Jimmy guy and marry Johnny'.
* Prophecies should be edifying. They should build up the body of Christ. They should encourage believers. We're not living in Old Testament days. We're living in the times of the Spirit of Jesus moving amongst us. Jesus said, 'love your neighbour'. At times he would say, 'repent', and I challenge us to speak that to some with love and support to back up this life change.

Well there's some thoughts on prophecy. Pray for someone today. Ask God to give you a word of encouragement for someone. God bless you.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Palmerston: 20 mins out from Darwin

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Palmerston – The place to be (That’s the catch-cry of the local Council). 11.4% of the population are indigenous. Much of the population is under 20. Australian Army personnel work close by. The local shops are the place to have coffee and see people you know. Palmerston markets are on every Friday night (Click here).

The culture is different here. Things happen 10 mins from now, not straight away. The Palm branches and the humidity helps you feel like you’re on holidays all year round. There’s no water restrictions. The NT News is good for a laugh, but doesn’t hold much credibility in providing in-depth journalism. Some Aborigines sleep behind the local cinema – God bless them. Rents are high. Fruit and Veg go off in three days. There’s a housing shortage (isn’t there in all of Australia?). People need affordable accommodation. People come here for holidays, and pack up home and end up living here. Many families have family members back in other parts of Australia.

We love Palmerston. Will you pray for this city of 27,000 people? Just shoot up a pray right now… Thank you Lord for this city… Let people come to know Jesus!

What city are you ‘being Jesus’ in? What lives are you transforming through the work of God’s Spirit? How is God using you?

The Salvation of the World. Bring it on.

Friday, September 4, 2009

God Gave…

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Our Church has been speaking recently on giving; hence the blogs on the same topic!

God asks us to be generous, with our giving and with our lives. To help people in need, and enjoy helping them in the process.

Think about creation. “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” What a creation. He then finally created male and female, and what did he do? He gave us the whole earth, to bless it, and subdue it, and rule over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. God gave to us.

After the fall, we were separated from God, and Abraham (and OT people) were connected to God by faith and righteousness. Then God GAVE us Jesus. John 3:16, a classic verse… ”For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son, that whosoever believes in him, will not die, but have eternal life.” God gave us the ultimate gift in Jesus. Not that Jesus is just some sort of present that we consume. But he is the promised Messiah, the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords, a Saviour, a redeemer, a healer and a judge. God GAVE.

If God gives to us, my only response is to say, ‘How can I give to God and how can I give to others?’

This Father’s Day, think about it. Our Heavenly Father is worth some time. Our Father in Heaven is worth some focus, and thanks and prayer.

Thanks God for showing us how to give!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good Stewards

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How important it is for us to be good stewards of what we have. My mum used to say to me, ‘Finish the food on your plate, there’s people starving in Africa’. Maybe there was some way of transporting this food to a needy place in the third world… I knew there wasn’t, but the thought was clear. Don’t waste your food. Don’t eat too much. Don’t cook too much and have too much on the plate so that it then gets wasted. Be a good steward of your food.

My parents would challenge me to bank some money. ‘Put away some money every week… It’ll add up you know’ What they were really saying was, don’t waste your money. Put some aside. Don’t overspend. Always have some money on the side to spare. Be a good steward of your money.

In today’s affluent Western Society, is good to hear that challenge about being good stewards. The world says to us:

* Buy, Buy, Buy

* Eat, Consume, Take

The Word of God says:

* Give, Give, Give

* Use your money wisely, give to the poor and needy

A fair enough challenge in such a ‘rich’ part of the world.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mountains and Journeys

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I read the book of Phillipians this morning. Good discipline! Highlights for me were about being merciful. Also, Paul talks about running the race. Persevering to win the prize.

"We can't always be on the mountaintop", my lovely, jab-me-in-the-side wife said to me recently. You know, I love the high. I love the success, or the win, or the progress. What Jo was nicely saying to me was, you won't always be at that place. There will be times of coming down the mountain, just like Moses after receiving the Ten Commandments, and just like Peter, James and John following the transfiguration of Jesus. Ministry can be great at times. At other times, lets face it, it can be plain monotonous. Even after so little years, I have learnt, to 'Celebrate the wins'. To enjoy those times together, where God is so evident, and people's lives are radically transformed. The problem is, not many have said to me, 'Appreciate the journey'. Or maybe they have, and I haven't heard it.

It's that idea of the pilgrim journey. Everyday, honouring God. Everyday, doing your best for Jesus. Everyday, relying on him. I'm not suggesting we wander around with no purpose, and just take life as it comes. I'm rather suggesting we acknowledge the journey as where God wants us, and enjoy it along the way. There will be times we will be up the mountain, and the person gets saved, and the finances come, and the baby arrives, and the soldier gets enrolled and the local officer steps it up a notch. But as we look forward to those mountain top experiences, I'm asking God to help me with persevering through the journey. The next mountain is not too far away! Hallelujah!

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