November 13, 2017
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 50:31 (Living Bible)
We’ve all had a time of waiting. Truth is, many of us long for something. There's something in our lives, that we can't get by our own wit, by our own schemes, by our own finances, by our own endurance. It seems as if only God can grant it.
Then, why does God make us wait? If God can do things immediately, and He can, why do we have to wait? Scripture points to at least one answer. Because of what happens inside of us, when we wait. Because waiting is one, of God's greatest tools for growth.
Waiting renews our strength, it refines our character and focuses our purpose.
When we’re waiting it often helps to wait on God, to wait with others and to remember that God waits for us.
May God be close to you and you close to God in your times of waiting.
November 5, 2017
We’ve all experienced it! Temptation. Paul, when he was writing to the church in Rome said it this way … “What I don't understand about myself, is I decide one way, but end up acting another way, doing the things I absolutely despise … A power within me, keeps sabotaging my best intentions. I obviously need help, and I don't have what it takes.” (Romans 7:14 ff)
Temptation is a human problem. In the Lord’s prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught, He prays … “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. It’s like Jesus is saying –
God … help us not to go there, in the first place, but when it happens, please help us out.
Scriptures gives us some clues about how to respond in a “season of temptation”. Today we’ll explore how we might anticipate temptation and then act responsibly, ask God for help, find support and avoid tempting situations.
October 29, 2017
I'm looking forward to Sunday because Mark Landrum from Jews For Jesus will be our guest.
Each year, we try to touch base with the ministry and mission of Jews for Jesus. We occasionally host their activities here in our building.
Mark is going to help us think about "The Gospel in the Autumn Feasts of Israel".
In particular he will be sharing about:
the gospel in the the Feast of Trumpets - (Rosh Hashanah)
The gospel in the Day of Atonement - (Yom Kippur)
The gospel in the Feast of Tabernacles - (Sukkot)
Understanding the Jewish celebration customs in Biblical times, is significant for our understanding of the context of so much of the New Covenant. It will also help us understand more about key holidays our Jewish friends observe.
October 24, 2017
"Children are a gift from the Lord." Psalm 127:3
We may not think of parenting as a season of life, but it is. If we’ve got kids, they’re not going to remain kids forever, and most likely we won’t have them “with us”, forever. One day we’re strapping them into their car seat, and it only seems like the next day that they’re asking for the car keys!
Even if we’re not parents, there are going to be children involved with our lives, at different times; nephews and nieces and neighbours kids.
We naturally want to be good parents and long to be part of loving and effective families and communities. The Bible gives us some important clues about parenting and relating to kids. And perhaps it’s not surprising that what kids need is also what we need and God, “our Father in heaven” gives to us. Rick Warren summarises kids needs (and ours) for - compassion, counsel, correction, confidence, celebration, challenges, and consistency.
May God equip you as you parent your kids, or relate to the kids in your community.
October 15, 2017
Grace the most authentic of Christian words.
It facilitates the best of attitudes e.g. gracious and grateful.
It is a unique Christian contribution and is the life transforming power of God, which reaches into people’s lives and brings them new possibility.
This coming Sunday Rev Keith Garner will be talking about how grace is applied to our lives.
He will be speaking from Matthew 20 but will clearly be making reference to the cornerstone of our understanding God’s grace “For by grace you have been saved by faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
October 8, 2017
The writer of Ecclesiastes says - "Sometimes something useless happens on earth. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people." (Ecclesiastes 8:14) We don’t always get what we think we deserve in life.
Life is full of losses. And it's sobering when we realise that nothing around us is permanent. We will go through times of tragedy and seasons of grief and loss. We can lose our finances, our job, our health, our relationships, and one thing that is inevitable for all of us; people we love will die.
The Bible gives us some clues about how we might approach a season of loss. They include:
releasing our grief to God
letting others help us
refusing to be bitter
remembering what’s important, and
relying on God
May God hold you in your times of loss.
October 2, 2017
Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul said - "I came to you in weakness - timid and trembling" (1 Corinthians 2:3). Even Paul, apparently, had times of self-doubt. It’s a season of life, which we will all face at one time, or another.
Later on, Paul tells Timothy how he faces such times - "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)
We can listen to our doubts, try to ignore or contradict our doubts or respond to our doubts in a faithful and helpful way. Paul identifies some of our doubts and tells us how we can respond -
we are influential > set an example
we are inadequate > depend on God
we are invaluable > use God’s gifts
we are incomplete > grow
September 24, 2017
In the beginning God says - "It's not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18)
All of us will face seasons of loneliness.
In 2 Timothy 4, we have the last words the Apostle Paul ever wrote.
The last book, the last chapter, the last words.
He's dying, in prison, in Rome.
He's about to be executed by Nero, the Caesar.
All of his friends have left him.
He's struggling with loneliness.
Paul’s story reveals 4 common causes of loneliness -
Paul faces this season in his life by -
utilising his time,
minimising his hurt,
recognising God’s presence, and
emphasising other’s needs.
May God help us to do the same.
September 17, 2017
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says - "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."
Growing in our faith doesn’t happen in isolation, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We exercise faith, we put it into practise and we grow in our faith, all as part of the lives we live each day. Ecclesiastes reminds us that we experience our lives, and we practice our faith, in seasons.
It’s true of the natural world that growth depends on seasonal changes. And the same is true in our lives that we have to go through various seasons in order to mature and grow. Those seasons are beyond our control, they’re sometimes confusing, and they include both good and bad times. We sometimes experience them like times of “planting” and “harvesting”. Looking back on our lives, each season seems to have had its purpose.
Each season of life is, in God’s purpose, an opportunity to learn, focus, enjoy and help others. May God bless you in this season of your life.
September 10, 2017
“The One who sent Me stays with Me. He doesn’t abandon Me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing Him. When He put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.” John 8:29-30
“How shall we worship?” - it’s a misleading question. Because worship is more than certain religious behaviours and practices. It’s more than singing. It’s more than being at church. It’s more than a ‘spiritual’ feeling. It’s more than a compartment of our lives. Worship isn’t situational, it’s relational. Worship isn’t a way to act, it’s a way to be.
Worship is our life. And just as it was true for Jesus, it’s true for us that we can have a great joy in living lives of worship, lives that are ‘pleasing’ to God.