Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Shine a Light of Slavery Day

Tomorrow - February 27th is 'Shine a Light of Slavery' Day.

The 27th is significant because there are currently 27 million people held in slavery today. What a horrible statistic!
"Awareness isn't everything, but without it, slavery will never end"
~Kristian Stanfill - Worship Leader, Passion City Church, Atlanta GA
That's what tomorrow is all about.  As a part of the END IT Movement I ask you to join me (and Kristian, and Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, and so many many others) in writing a red X on your hand.  As people inevitably ask why you have a red X on your hand you can then tell people the fact on slavery and that you are In It To End It!!!

Go to http://enditmovement.com and learn the facts... then tomorrow become an advocate.  Become part of the community by posting a photo to Instagram using #enditmovement and have a look at how many others want this generation to see the end of slavery... to see 27 million freed!




DWYL - Chapter Three

"If we desire that there be no boasting except in the cross, then we must live near the cross - indeed we must live on the cross. This is shocking. But this is what Galatians 6:14 says: "Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Boasting in the cross happens when you are on the cross.  Is that not what Paul says? "The world has been crucified to me, and I [have been crucified] to the world." The world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. Why? Because I have been crucified. We learn to boast in the cross and exult in the cross when were are on the cross. And until our selves are crucified there, our boast will be in ourselves."
~ John Piper - Don't Waste Your Life, p55

It is shocking! But sometimes we consider shocking things so often we become desensitized to them. As Christians do we end up taking this for granted, and we then end up not listening to Jesus when He says;
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Luke 9:23
There's an important word in there that is forgotten when we become desensitized to the shockingness of putting ourselves on the cross... that word is daily.

Each day we need to lay down our lives... practically hang it on a cross and crucify it... allowing the resurrected life of Jesus to be our resurrection and guide our day.

That is shocking, but it is the only way not to live a wasted life.

[Listen to the Chapter Three sermon here]

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Being encouraged... and inspiring others!

I love the Winter Olympics, actually I enjoy regular Olympics too, but there is something special about seeing all the different sports in the Winter Games. When else do we sit and watch skiing, bobsleigh, curling, figure skating or ice hockey?

In regards to our Aussie athletes there seems to be a real ‘handing on of the baton’ as our first generation of really successful Winter athletes compete alongside a crop of young and first time competitors. Many of these young people are only in the sport because they were inspired by the success of the older Aussie athletes. These younger athletes have many years ahead of them to compete, and some have already found success—it gives a real positive outlook for the future of our Australian Winter Olympic team.

Hebrews 12:1 says
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run the race with endurance...” 
 Just like our Aussie Winter Olympic success encouraged young people to commit to the rigors of training and development (so they could achieve the same success), the witness of the faith of people who go before us encourages us to press on following God’s will so we can achieve the same success in bringing glory to His name.

Today think about who your heroes of faith are, who drives you to follow God till the very end? And then think about whether or not you are communicating your faith to younger people in such a way that it will inspire them to seek God’s will, follow Christ and spend their entire life glorifying His Name.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Tweet of the Week

YOU are . Lets be the generation that says NO MORE SLAVERY. Together we can END IT.



This week my Twitter feed has been filled with tweets and retweets for the End It Movement.  27 Million people are still caught in slavery in our world today. What a horrible, horrible statistic!

End It is all about awareness. If more people are aware, more people will be disgusted... this is something we can't ignore, and we need to find ways to stop it.

Follow @enditmovement on Twitter and see what amazing work is being done world wide to put slavery to death!

I am in it to end it!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

DWYL - Chapter Two

'The Beauty of Christ, My Joy': That's the title of this chapter and every Christian will acknowledge they know the truth of the statement - many of us have sung about it since Sunday School.  But where in our lives is that truth encapsulated??? Why are we depressed? Why are we stressed? Why do we give up? Why do we complain? How is the beauty of Christ being our joy reflected in ANY of that?

[Please don't think I am minimalising the seriousness of mental illness, but even so there is nothing completely helpless in this world]

It's one of those things we just acknowledge but don't apply... or we don't truly find that joy and we just say we do so we fit in.  Maybe the first step to finding Christ as your joy is to actually confess that at the moment He is not.

Last chapter we looked at a single passion to live by, but did you know God has a single passion which He lives by as well.  God lives to bring glory to God.  That sounds a little self centred - until you understand the nature of God.  God's nature is for Him to be totally true - which means He must do what is best, He must acknowledge what is best - and God's nature is also completely holy - which means He is set apart from everything else, because He is perfect, He is the best!

So if God is the best, and in His truth He has to point to the best, then logically, and naturally, He must point everyone to Himself.  It's not about ego, or arrogance, but it is about truth and wanting the best for everyone... it is just that the best He wants for everyone simply happens to be Himself.
With these discoveries I now felt free to affirm God's purpose for my life revealed ion the Bible. I didn't have to be afraid that I must choose between what is right and what is inevitable - between pursuing his glory and pursuing my joy. I was free to experience the single passion for God's supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples. I was rescued from the wasted life. Now life could have an ultimate meaning - the same meaning God's life has: enjoying and displaying his greatness.
~John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, p37
Humans inevitably pursue their own happiness. That's our natural progression - to be happy.  For so many, they cannot align seeking their own happiness and glorifying God... what makes them happy could never bring God glory.  Many Christians fight with this as well, for some it means a wasted life - 60 years sitting in a church but constantly seeking your own happiness and having no Gospel effect.  For others it leads to complaining, stress and depression as they cannot find happiness on their own, knowing God can provide but still trying to do it themselves.

But what Piper is saying in this chapter, and the truth that is revealed in the Bible is that you can be happy pursuing God's glory.  Think about it... the reason God glorifies Himself is because He knows He is the best thing that could ever happen to us.  If God knows that - then we can experience it.  Through Jesus, our relationship with God is the BEST THING THAT CAN EVER HAPPEN TO US! We need to stop looking for more, because 'more' just disappoints. Spend your time contemplating that the beauty of what Jesus has done will bring you ultimate joy, and you won't be able to help but glorify God.

Whatever you do today, before you do it... remember the beauty of Christ - and what He has done for you - then do whatever you have to do, but do it to glorify God... and you will find your happiness and your passion to glorify God will become one and the same.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Judging and Rebuking

"Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” ~Luke 17:3-4, ESV

Where do you sit on the "don't judge" and the "if your brother sins, rebuke him" line?

So many times I hear that as Christians we aren't to judge, but bringing a sin to light and 'rebuking' would have to have some kind of judgement in it.  I think the key is the attitude.  As soon as there is repentance, forgive! It seems to me Christians are called to lovingly judge one another at times, not on our own moral code (which is subjective) but an objective act of sinning. The lovingness comes about through the way we rebuke and the impending act of forgiveness that comes from a Christian response to being rebuked.

Skit Guys - On Valentines Day.

True Love.

It's not about romance - not the romance the media smashes us with day in and day out anyway. Men need to step up, with Christ-like sacrificial love.  BUT! Women you need to let go of the Hollywood, chick-flick aspiration of perfection and notice the guy who is willing to sacrificially love, but may not have all the trimmings your 'list' contains.

Real romance is intimately seen when people sacrificially love each other.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Tweet of the Week

You have not been sprinkled with forgiveness. You have not been spattered with grace. You have been immersed in it.


Love it... when you are sprinkled, or spattered, you only feel a slight effect on a portion of yourself... but when you are immersed you are completely surrounded and you cannot escape it.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

DWYL - Chapter One

Week one of our new preaching series is done. As an addition to the sermon and study we do on each chapter I thought I would also write a blog post with some of my own personal reflections each week. If you're following through the series with us, this might just give an extra insight into my head each week.

You can listen to the chapter one sermon here.

For me the big point of reflection from chapter one comes with this quote.
There is an Answer with a capital A. To miss it would mean a wasted life. To find it would mean having a unifying Answer to all my questions
~John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, p17
The majority of people living today believe they govern their own life.  That their experience outweighs their existence... and because their experience may differ from someone else's then no one has the right to tell them what the answer to their life is (i.e no one can tell me what to do; no one has any authority over my life except me).

How wrong they are, no matter how much they want to believe it.  Because God exists outside of human experience. God created everything we experience, He was around before we experienced anything, and if we were to die tomorrow His creation would remain even after we are gone from it.  With that in mind, there must be an answer when seeking a meaningful life that comes from the One who created that life in the first place.

Finding that Answer will answer every other question about your life - because the Answer will impact everything. But not finding it will mean no matter how much you accomplish, your life will be a failure and a waste.
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Jesus is the Answer! It's as simple and as objective as that.  You need to find your single passion in Jesus or everything will be a waste. It takes people time to come to that understanding though. Some people need logic and reason to understand how Jesus can exist/be God/redeem/rule - others need emotional connection and experience.

I pray whatever you need, that you will at least be open to seeing, and that God provides.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Evening Preaching Series - Don't Waste Your Life

“God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives”

Our latest preaching series for the evening service will delve us into John Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life”. As a part of this series the Youth and Young Adults Bible study group will be reading the book together and our Tuesday night studies will coincide with the chapters read and sermons preached on Sunday nights.

This is a great opportunity for all to really immerse themselves in a study and know that others around you are joining, encouraging and traveling with you.

John Piper was the long time pastor for vision and preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis until his retirement last year. He has written many books and is a driving force behind the Desiring God organisation and website.

Don’t Waste Your Life is a book that encourages the reader to not be caught in a life that will count for nothing. Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure and perhaps trying to avoid sin. This book will challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God you singular passion.

Please join us each Sunday evening from Feb 9 and we travel through this book and the many lessons it has for us.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Tweet of the week

Some of the great Christian leaders post some absolute pearls on their Twitter feeds.  This morning Tim Keller made me stop in my tracks.

It's not the quality of my faith but the object of my faith that holds me up.
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