Friday, February 28, 2014

Positive Confessions

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.  Luke 10:27

This week, I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend when they suddenly confessed to me that they weren’t good at small talk.  I, in turn, confessed that I can do the small talk thing even though I find it boring at times.  I went on to say that I would much rather talk about what God had been doing in people’s lives as I reckon that is way more interesting than sport or weather.

Then I asked my friend to tell me something good God had done in their life the past week.  My friend thought for a moment and then came up with, what I call ‘a positive confession’ of three great God encounters and revelations.  This positive confession really warmed my heart and I felt greatly encouraged.   

Thinking about it, I very rarely hear anyone talk about the sermon or even mention Jesus after church on Sundays.   It seems logical to me, that if we truly love God with all that is within us, He would be lead position in our thoughts and the main topic of our conversations.  

I’d like to challenge us all to start talking about God more before or after church.   If you know me personally, please feel free to ask me what God has done in my life the past week.  And don’t be surprised if I ask you a similar question.    If we truly want to be followers of Jesus, lovers of God and filled with the Holy Spirit, then I believe we need to keep our God at the forefront of our minds and overflowing out of our mouths.  

What do you think?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Abuse and Misuse

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

Recently, I was in a group conversation when the topic of the internet was raised and suddenly the word ‘abuse’ was mentioned in relation to Facebook.  I listened with interest as I have a Facebook account which I use it to keep in touch with friends all over the world, and the church has a Facebook account which is used for updates, encouragement and evangelism.

According to the Oxford dictionary, ‘abuse’ is the abnormal use of something; to use something for a bad effect or purpose; misuse.   

Yes, there will always be some who will abuse any internet program, but when you think about it logically, we don’t stop driving our cars just because some people abuse cars.  Misuse of prescription medicines also happens, but that doesn’t stop us using these drugs which are recommended to us by doctors. 

Misuse happens in churches which hold onto tradition for the sake of tradition or seek change for the sake of change.   It also happens when some or all of the gifts of God have been overlooked, neglected or rejected.  But no one would dare suggest that these churches lock their doors and throw away the keys.

To my way of thinking, God’s gifts range from spiritual gifts which edify the church to life saving medicines to social media. I believe we need to find out the proper uses of God’s gifts, so we can use them for his glory.  And I also believe, when we glorify God, it brings great joy to his heart.

What do you think?   Do you agree or disagree?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Encountering Jesus

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”  Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  Luke 5:4-6

Jesus had been preaching in Simon’s fishing boat.  I reckon Simon was feeling tired and discouraged after being out fishing all night and not catching a single fish.   

I am sure Jesus knew this when he asked Simon to lower the nets into the water.  The culture and etiquette of the time dictated Simon do as he was asked even though it made no sense at all to him.  Obviously Simon didn’t expect anything to happen, so image his surprise when his simple and illogical action resulted in a net breaking catch of fish. 

In the end, Simon had to call the other fishermen to help him haul in the huge catch!  

I honestly believe, when you have a real encounter with Jesus, he breaks off your preconceptions and gives you more than you ever asked or expected.   And those blessings he gives you will then overflow to all those who surround you.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Running the Race That Lies Before Us

As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. Hebrews 12:1-2

This past week, on the news, quite a number of commentators have been talking about the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia.  Because the games haven’t actually started yet, most commentary has been about anything but sport.  The topics have ranged from human rights to terrorism to the colours of the various teams uniforms.

However, the Olympians who are competing in these games have been training for years for this moment in time.  Their focus has been on being faster, stronger and better than before.  These athletes clearly have their eyes fixed on the highest prize possible, a gold medal.

The Apostle Paul said we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to rid ourselves of the things that hinder us.   Things that hinder are like weights around our ankles that stop us running as fast as we can.  These weights can be guilt, unforgiveness, jealousy or any one of a number of things that take our eyes off Jesus.   

I believe the best way to get rid of these hindrances is to know who you are and in whose team you are competing.  You need to know in your heart of hearts that you are a beloved child of God and you have every right to be in this race.  You also need to remember your position in this team has been bought with the precious blood of Christ.  And if you fall, the grace of God along with the power of the Holy Spirit will pick you up and help you get back on your feet.   

We do all this because the prize for which we are striving is a deep and eternal friendship with the creator of the universe and the saviour of the world, and I am sure we all agree that this prize is worth more than any gold medal or any other earthly award.