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.
September 3, 2017
“Therefore I urge you, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies, as living sacrifices, wholly and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1
Worship isn’t limited to singing. Worship isn’t limited to the time we’re in church each week. How we live our lives is an act of worship. When It comes to our worship, the question isn’t “how was church” (the music, the message, the people or the parking), but “how was my worship” (did something come alive in me, that makes me want to know God in a more intimate way?)
We can enhance our “spiritual act of worship” as we focus less on ourselves (quieten ourselves, look to God’s word and the Spirit’s nourishment in our lives) and prioritise God (rejoice and marvel at the things of God).
August 27, 2017
None of all life’s challenging assignments is greater than parenting. Nothing else comes close to demanding the energy required for this role. It’s not an accident that we call its beginning “labour”! No matter what we expect in the beginning, we soon realise our theories were wrong.
As parents, God asks us to:
(1) prepare our kids for life;
(2) protect our kids in life’s storms;
(3) play with our kids for fun; and
(4) point our kids to God.
The problem is, about the time we’ve got it figured out, they’re gone. Parenting doesn’t last that long. The truth is we only have a brief window of opportunity. May God bless all our dads today.
August 20, 2017
If worship is an “all of life” experience, then how do we worship when we’re feeling wounded;
because every one of us gets wounded in life. Not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually and relationally. In fact, those can be the deeper wounds.
Often, we don’t remember the physical bumps, bruises and scars we got growing up but we surely remember the put-downs. We remember what was said to us by teachers, friends, even our parents. Things like - “you’re not going to amount to anything …, or you’re no good …” Those wounds stick with us.
Whatever the wound - emotional, relational or spiritual and whatever it’s source - a person or a circumstance, worship is the antidote.
In worship we can grieve and still honour God. We can ask God for strength and wisdom and join with others for support. And we can persist. Our “keeping on keeping on” is an act of worship.
August 13, 2017
“Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6-7
Have you ever had one of those days when just nothing goes right? It seemed like every single thing in your life that day just goes wrong and you think - “I’m just going back to bed!”
When we do, when we feel overwhelmed, when we’re stressed out, when we’re at the end of the rope, then we’ve got two alternatives. Worry or worship. We’re going to do one or the other.
The antidote to panic is prayer and praise. God’s antidote to worry and anxiety is worship.
Worship which …
asks for God’s help,
believes in God’s purposeful presence,
confesses our inadequacy,
depends on God,
gives thanks to God, and
finds God blessing our circumstances.
August 6, 2017
“Yet a time is coming, and has now come, when the true worshipers, will worship the Father, in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers, the Father seeks.”
John 4:23 (New International Version)
Everyone worships something or someone.
We worship what we consider valuable. And it becomes obvious what’s valuable to us by how we live our lives.
Jesus tells His followers how we’re to worship God; how we’re to “declare God’s worth”; how worshiping brings us in line with God’s purposes for us.
We’re to worship with thankfulness.
We’re to worship “in spirit” (from the depth of our being), and “in truth” (with honesty and sincerity).
Our worship brings God’s presence into all our life experiences and circumstances.
July 30, 2017
“In Christ, we who are many form one Body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Romans 12:5 (New International Version)
“…let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:10 (New International Version)
Jesus describes his followers as disciples, as ambassadors, and as members.
Following Jesus is more than just believing in Him, it’s belonging.
Believing without belonging makes us spiritual orphans!
To truly realise what it means to follow Jesus, we need to be part of a church family.
The church is the body of Christ.
A member is valuable when they’re connected to the body. So, if we truly want to realise the power of Jesus in our lives, we need to be connected to a church family.
Many see the church as a building or an event, but more than that, it’s a family in relationship with God. There’s a significant difference between attending a church service and being a member of a church family. Ephesians 2:19 tells us that as believers in Christ, we’re part of God’s family, with an obligation to meet as a church family in relationship with God.
July 23, 2017
“We are Christ's ambassadors.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
An ambassador is someone sent on a radical kind of mission.
They’re sent to build relationships - political, economic, goodwill, cultural, and spiritual.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that as Christians, we’re Christ’s ambassadors. If we’re going to follow Jesus, be “all in” for Jesus, we need to understand what it means to be an ambassador