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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The patience of God - Abraham & Ishmael

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Question from www.twitter.com/oavina  - Any recommendation on the bible about having the patience to wait for God's answer? I have read about Abraham and Ischmael...

Looking at Genesis 16, Sarai (soon to be Sarah) is the one that gets impatient with the fact that Abraham and her are yet to conceive any children. So the story goes, that Abram (soon to be Abraham) sleeps with Hagar and she falls pregnant to Ishmael. It is clear that God did not approve of the lack of patience on the part of both Sarah and Abraham.

People have told me over the years to not run ahead of God. I’m not known for my amazing patience... God has an ‘ultimate will’ for every believer, and quite often we’re keen to run ahead of it, and do things our own way. Sure, God will still be in our lives and bless us, but how exciting and more rewarding would life be, if we always had the patience to be right where God wants us.

There’s a verse in Isaiah that I think of when I’m praying for more people to become followers of Jesus. It says (60:22) – ‘The least of you shall become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly’. The point is not so much what I’m praying about, but the fact that in God’s timing it will happen; if you trust God his will, will be fulfilled at the right time.

God bless.

www.twitter.com/petebrookshaw

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Visionary's Heartache

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The Visionary's Heartache.

It’s the pain of an unrealised dream.
It’s reality, when reality isn’t what you envisaged it to be.
It’s the crying at night, when the vision is burning in your heart.
It’s the potential you sense, but the potential that is yet to be seen.
It’s the faith you have for the salvation of many, with the voice that says, ‘it may not happen’

But...

What if the pain subsides and the dream begins to unfold?
What if reality begins to express itself in all that you envisioned it?
What if the crying at night is followed by an inexpressible joy?
What if the potential you sense, becomes more than potential?
What if the faith you have for the salvation of many is no longer a naive dream?

You finally step back and take your hands off the wheel and let God drive the success. A revelation hits you that it is not your dream anyway; it is the Lord’s. Any realisation of a Kingdom dream is then dependent, not upon you insomuch as upon the presence of the Holy Spirit and the grace of the Lord Jesus.

A visionary’s heartache may never subside, but what an exciting adventure to release the control of the wheel and lean upon God for the eventual fulfilment of that vision...

~Pete.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Call of Peter to Discipleship

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Spoke to a Pastor recently, who found it interesting that I would go to any efforts to help someone find a bed (because they couldn't afford to buy one). What happened to full salvation? Salvationists are known to be very busy during the week practically helping people. I know personally, I find it very, very hard to spend all week working on a sermon for Sunday, then come out of the office to join the church on Sunday, and then head back to the office to prepare another sermon for next week. My theology has to be refined by practical engagement with the mission of God.
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Self-Denial Appeal this Sunday. Give generously.

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Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of praise. Days later he is crucified. Talk about a change of heart. We pray for the opposite: People that were once crucifying Jesus by the way they live, now give Jesus shouts of praise.
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‘One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the Word of God...’ (Luke 5:1). How great would it be, if people crowded around to hear the Word of God. Will you be the one to speak it? Will people listen to what the Lord wants to say, through you?

In this story in Luke 5:1-11, Jesus asks Simon and his companions to go out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch. An overwhelming catch of fish occurs. Read this:

“At the miracle Simon’s self-assertiveness crumbles. Luke cunningly no longer calls him ‘Simon’, but ‘Simon Peter’, adding the Christian title ‘Peter’ as he crumbles completely before the one who confronts him. He repents and believes: ‘He fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man”’. It is thus, as a believer, conscious of his own weakness and need before the person of Jesus that Peter is made a disciple”.
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Question – Should Euthanasia be legalised? If not, then what reasons do you give to someone who says yes?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Week of God Opportunities

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Well it's another Monday morning and as I wipe the sleep from my eyes I'm thinking one thing...
This is another week of God opportunities:
* An opportunity to seek after the purposes of God
* An opportunity to develop cohesive teamwork
* An opportunity to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to move in our lives
* An oppotunity to seek and to save that which is lost
* An opportunity to throw down our nets, leave everything else and follow Jesus.

Lord we pray for favour this week, as we chat with people, as we network, as we evangelise, as we care, as we honour you with our lives. We believe for powerful moments of ministry along with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Lord, would you heal the sick, raise the dead and deliver those oppressed by the enemy. In Jesus' name. Amen!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Self Denial Appeal 2010

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The Salvation Army Self Denial Appeal 2010 is coming up very soon. For the Australia Southern Territory, the altar Sunday is March 28th. Will you be ready with a sacrificial offering?

In the 2009 Salvation Army yearbook, there are some stats for Self-Denial Contributions (2007-2008).
Here are some of the Self-Denial Contributions 07'-08':
* Australia Eastern -      £ 296,015
* Australia Southern -    £ 375,334
* Canada & Bermuda - £ 974,530
* United Kingdom -     £ 1,517,704
* USA Central -          £ 1,953,748
* USA Eastern -          £ 1,898,918
* USA Southern -        £ 2,197,840
* USA Western -        £ 1,391,226

Kenya gave £ 31,541 in Self-Denial and then received £ 470,658
PNG & the Philippines both received about £ 300,000 for Self-Denial

Why not increase our Self-Denial Appeal efforts in 2010?

I have a personal goal in mind, and am really unsure how I will reach it, though I believe in faith that God will allow us to give what we have been praying for. What about you? Are you going to give generously?

Also, did you know that when you ask for a TAX Deductible receipt, the money is then held up, because of the beuracratic red tape that only allows money to be distributed according to government regulations on TAX deduction. A non TAX deductible receipts allows The Salvation Army to use the funds for either evangelism, supporting local Salvation Army Officers, programs, food, shelter, etc.

I challenge Salvationists to give without wanting anything back. That is: self-denial.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Separation of Church and State – Some issues to consider

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The debate between Church and State rears its head occasionally. Should the Church, or religion have any part to play in the affairs of the State? Should politics ever be informed by the religious community, whether Christian, Islamic, Jewish, etc.?

Some bashful political Christians will say, ‘I keep my faith private.’ Their argument goes along the lines that therefore their policy decisions and choices will be irrelevant to their Christian beliefs.

Lets break this down a little. Is it possible to have a real, authentic Christian faith, and not let all of your life, decisions and choices be fundamentally based upon that belief? Jesus speaks about giving up your own life and following him. Jesus did not speak of faith as simply a personal belief system, that helps you at home when you’re feeling depressed. No. The birth of Christianity in essence was about others, and about serving others, and sharing the gospel of Jesus to the whosoever. It was an outward, exciting faith, that was meant to impact and transform both individuals, but also organisation structures and institutions. Therefore, if someone is really expressing their Christian faith authentically and passionately, I cannot see how a Christian Politician could separate his/her faith from his/her policy decisions.

The next question then is, should a religious person be in politics to start with? While I understand a little of the diversity of religious/secular views in society, I believe it is impossible to separate anybody’s worldview from their business decision making. Whether we are religious, an environmentalist, a humanist, a gay activist, a closet gambler, our decision making is so often underpinned by our fundamental belief system. Politicians are forever making policy decisions about controversial bills, from marriage to abortion, to religious freedom, to the rights of working mothers, etc. The policy decisions made will come out of that politician’s belief system. So, should we separate Church from State, and not allow Christians to be politicians? The fact is, every politician will have their own worldview that informs their decisions. Should we stop an environmentalist from being a politician because someone believes they focus too much on global warming? Should we allow an outspoken Atheist to be a politician? We vote them in, knowing full well their personal belief system will affect their political career.

There is so much more to write, but it’s after midnight, and time to say goodnight. I’m sure some of us have comment to make… :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

There is always HOPE

1 comment:
Don't get frustrated that someone hasn't done a particular chore/ministry if you've never taught or empowered that person to do the chore/ministry in the first place!
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There is always HOPE. Even when the chips are down and the walls are caving in. Whether the food in on the table or not, whether the bills are paid or not, whether there is health or sickness; there is always hope. That is my philosophy on hope. Through Jesus, there is always an opportunity for change and transformation. I do not believe that there is one individual on this planet that we merely need to 'do the journey' knowing they will never change. I have a soldier of our church who works with individuals with mental illnesses. She says that even with brain injuries, people have the ability to engage and connect with something, even if it's just a 'wave' hello. Maybe I take it to the extreme, but I would rather sit in the camp that says, 'People can have HOPE' rather than the camp that is defeatist and says, 'We don't believe this person will ever change'.
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Justice:
1. God heart breaks when there is injustice
2. The people of God have a responsibility to work for justice in our day to day lives.
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Holiness is not an optional extra for 'committed' Christians, but rather something all believers should act upon.
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http://www.isalvos.com/
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www.twitter.com/petebrookshaw
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The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want for... Wait, is that a new plasma on special?

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