Monday, 22 June 2015

Salvation changes everything.

The master theme of the Christian gospel is salvation. Salvation is a picture-word of wide application that expresses the idea of rescue from jeopardy and misery into a state of safety. The gospel proclaims that then God who saved Israel from Egypt, Jonah from the fish's belly, the psalmist from death, and the soldiers from drowning (Exod 15:2; Jon 2:9; Ps 116:6; Acts 27:3), saves all who trust Christ from sin and sin's consequences
As these earthly deliverances were wholly God's work, and not instances of people saving themselves with God's help, so it is with salvation from sin and death... What are believers saved from? From their former position under the wrath of God, the dominion of sin, and the power of death (Rom 1:18; 3:9; 5:21); from their natual condition of being mastered by the world, the fles, and the devil (John 8:23-24; Rom 8:7-8; 1 John 5:19); from the fears that a sinful life engenders... and from the many vicious habits that were part of it...
~J.I Packer - Concise Theology; p146-147
And how are we saved? Only through the work of Jesus on the cross. It's not Jesus helping us to be better people... it's Jesus substituting Himself where we should be... it's Him taking the wrath that we deserve for all those things we're being saved from.

By Jesus paying that price our old lives are replaced, and our new life is bathed in hope and grace. How does that affect your attitude today!?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Prayer = Dependence


In general I am a very capable person. There are not many times I don't feel confident that I can handle the situation I'm presented with.  On a human level that can be a good thing, but it can get in the way of me seeking what it is that God wants me to do.

If I feel I can just do something, even if it appears to me to be a good thing for my ministry - should I just go for it? How do I tell if God actually wants this, or it's just me doing something I think would be good.  In my human capacity I think I've done some things that have really gone well but afterwards I've felt a bit deflated cause I've realised it may not have been the outcome God had wanted, and maybe the whole thing could probably have been done differently.

As part of this spiritual journey I've been on regarding prayer this year, this is one of the things God's helped me address the most. I am to be dependent on Him.  My abilities, and my confidence don't actually matter that much, and have to take a second place behind my dependency of Him to work through me.

Before anything I do now I stop and I pray.  Even if it's something I do every week, and I can do it without thinking... I still stop and I pray - not because I may particularly need God's help to do it, but because I want Him to be working beyond my abilities, and without Him involved whatever I am doing means nothing despite my abilities.

The quote by Francis Chan above has become a constant reminder to me that I only want to do what matters to God. Prayer is the way that I actively pursue that.

Monday, 8 June 2015

The importance of preaching

If flood waters were to sweep away a rich man in his BMW SUV and a homeless man pushing all his belongings in a shopping cart… suddenly they both need the exact same thing don’t they… they need to be pulled from the water and saved. The rich man isn't worried about his heated leather seats… latest smart phone or expensive suit – they’re all ruined, but he only cares about seeing that SES boat coming towards him with a life jacket and a way back to dry land… just as much as the homeless man is only waiting for the same thing.
Have been organising some of my old sermon notes today - this was a tiny excerpt from one of them.  I am reminded again the purpose for which I spend 8-10 hours a week preparing a 30 minute sermon. At times I know my sermon can be like that SES boat going out to rescue someone. It brings the means for salvation.  Every sermon I preach contains the Gospel... the good news that Jesus is here to save us, He's already done all we need and it's our response to Him that saves us.

I'm not big noting myself here, but realising once again the weight of what I do.  If I was doing it in my own strength I'd be running that boat into a tree... I just want to depend on God more, because it is only by the power of His Word that this life saving message is preached to the rich and poor alike.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Paradox of Grace


All at the same time I am ashamed at myself, thankful to God, resigned to my depravity, loved by God, weak, made strong, humbled and lifted up.

Praise Jesus.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

#God2BKing

Many of us are quite comfortable with the notion of Jesus being our Saviour. The idea of Him coming and saving us from our sins is welcome. However, how do we feel about Jesus being our King? Him being the ruler, who’s will is followed… what He says goes!

Many of us want a saviour, yet still want to run our own lives our own way. That’s how the people of Israel were feeling at the beginning of 1 Samuel. They had been rescued many times by God, and the Judges had lead the people well, all the while with God as their King. But the people wanted an earthly king like all the other nations – they wanted to fit in, they felt they were worse off because they weren't running their lives like everyone else.

It was not how God planned it, but He allowed them to do it – in our evening services we’ll take a look over 5 weeks at how the different roles of King seen in 1 Samuel can teach us about ensuring that Jesus is the King in our lives.

Also as part of the series we want to see people from the church posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (ect) using the hashtag #God2BKing – during the week if you find something, do something or see something that exemplifies the idea of God being the King then post about it – and use the hashtag – each week we’ll include some of those social media inputs in the service.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Our reaction to sin

Here's a little insert a young lady from church wrote on Facebook the other day.  I love it.
You can disappoint people and still be good enough. You can make mistakes and still be capable and talented. You can let people down and still be worthwhile and deserving of love. Everyone has disappointed someone they care about. Everyone messes up, lets people down and makes mistakes. Not because we are inadequate or fundamentally inept, but because we are imperfect and fundamentally human. But in God's eyes we are a perfect imperfection.
~Vanessa Jade
Sometimes we just feel worthless when we realise we've messed up - sometimes our reactions to people who do mess up is completely unacceptable because we make them feel worthless.

I love Ness' heart! I love the insight she gives here that we are all humans who all mess up, who initially actually are worthless but because of God's love and Christ's grace we are now a 'perfect imperfection' - someone who is still caught in world that is infected by sin, but has been made perfect and saved from the consequences of that sin. We as Christians need to remember that salvation when we interact with people we are aware are sinning.

Sin doesn't write you off from working on the mission of the church... if it did then none of us would be able to work on the Great Commission. Sin hinders our work yes, but Jesus' grace is greater - and it restores.  Let's remember that we are restorers... not tearers down.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

LIVE IT! - Week 9

Well I preached the final sermon in the LIVE IT series a few weeks back now - but the next day I went on leave... so this blog post has been postponed a little.

I loved how Paul finished up his book with some practical pointer on how this whole message of the Gospel can infiltrate every aspect of our lives.

  • If someone sins - that's not good, but it's not an opportunity to cut them down and kick them out... restore them gently.
  • Look at yourself first - don't let yourself be sucked into sin. Keep away from all the temptations and emotions that lead to sin.
  • Never hesitate to do good - the false teachers say you have to do things to earn salvation, but Paul says your salvation is free, so go do good things.
  • Out of everything... the only thing that really matters is this... you have a new life - so don't go back to the old one.




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