Category Archives: God
I love Easter… and I love social media. However this Easter has been the first time I have been disappointed in what I saw Christians doing to both Easter and the use of social media!
This Easter was the first time I saw link after link filled with soft ‘Easter’ related pictures and sayings with phrases saying things similar to “Like if you are saved” or “Write I love Jesus in the comments” … and while this is all good stuff it seems to me that Christians are starting to get lazy in the way we are approaching Easter.
Are we starting to get to the point that we think “Hmmmm it’s Easter, I better say something” and then proceed to find a Easter picture or nice scripture to post and then sit smugly thinking “Well that’s done for another year”?
My point isn’t if we should do this stuff because sometimes there is a time and a place for it… I just wonder if it actually engages people to the true understand and meaning of what Easter actually means.
Are we missing the opportunity to tell people why Easter is so important in every aspect of our lives as Christians?
Revelation 12:11 says “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.”
It seems to me that our testimonies are one of the most important part of our faith… so why are we reducing it to half thought through status updates and cute pictures?
A great example of a testimony working in a powerful way is when the Pharisees were trying to find stuff to put on Jesus so that they could capture him, they asked someone who Jesus had healed.
The Pharisees said to the man “God isn’t getting the Glory for the healing did on you because we know that Jesus is a sinner”
But here is what the man said in reply
“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” – John 9:25
You see they could try and trap the man with words and loopholes… but they couldn’t trap him with what he had experienced.
His testimony was a powerful statement of the power, grace and majesty of Jesus… NO ONE could take that away from him… it was his… his story to tell… his proof.
So lets stop hiding from our faith… because it’s our faith that will prove to the ones we love that Jesus is actually real in our lives.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24
The thing I love about Easter is that it’s ingrained in history… it’s not just some story that we pass on.
The pain of the crucifixion was real too.
Crucifixion was used as early as 330-ish BC and used by Alexander the Great to help spread rumours of fear and dread throughout the ancient lands. Often the stories played more on the minds of his enemies than the armies he commanded.
When the Romans starting using it they decided it was time to perfect the tool. Roman soldiers was known to try and out-do each other and experimented with techniques to try and prolong the agony and intensify the pain. The pain was so great that words like “excruciating” were used to explain it… for the record excruciating derives from the phrase “From the cross”.
The pain of the nails were only part of the agony… the pain of the crucifixion was mainly due to the fact that it was just another way to prolong death by asphyxiation, as the person struggled to breath while laboring under the weight of their own body.
Ancient historians like Josephus called it “the most wretched of deaths”… as the pain and agony of it was then added to the mockery and torment that went with it. Often people would be crucified at eye level so that people could mock and spit and cuss at the people hanging on the cross.
We often see pictures of a clean Jesus hanging on the cross and we think “wow that must have hurt” however that doesn’t even come close to describing what happened… skin was hanging of his body with the beating (as well as 30 lashes) that he had earlier that day… and even that doesn’t come close to describing the weight of all our sin on him… not just what we had done… but what we were still going to do.
That weight is something that makes the cross pale in comparison.
You see we can’t remove our own sin… there is nothing that we can do that even gets us close to wiping the slate clean… there is nothing we can do.
Paul says this :I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
You see it was FOR our sins… for the benefit of our sins… because of our sins.
OUR sins… HIS death… that’s why it’s good news.
Scripture says over and over again that Jesus dies for our sins…
In research done by the Barna group in the USA showed that only 27% of church going school kids had some sort of prayer or devotion at home… this number is REALLY low.
However what’s the most alarming is that if you take out grace at dinner time… the number drops to between 10-12%
So that means that almost 90% of church going school kids never get any kind of devotion…
Now parents in Christian homes tell me that they want their kids to discover a relationship in Christ… so the question has to be asked…
How are they expecting that to happen osmosis?
John Piper writes: “If there is one memory that our children should have of our families and of our church it is this; they should remember God. god was first. God was central”
The Bible tells us to get the Bible message inside our children…
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
Kids need and long to hear from us…
Our Testimonies… Our Experiences… Our personal encounters with God.
You see they want to know that what you believe isn’t just real but life changing.
Here’s the thing if parents don’t start to impress these on our children… you can bet that the enemy of souls will… in a subtle… but very real way.
Our kids are FAR TO VALUABLE to just to hand over to the enemy without a fight!
If you have children under the age of 12… and really would like resources for the home to help give your children EVERY opportunity to discover the amazing adventure God has in store for them. I would recommend Faith box.
For more information click on the link here!
and even better… I would strongly recommend you purchase it!
According to research from the Barna group in the U.S.
60-90% of Church going School kids will not carry their faith with them into young adulthood – they just let it go.
When asked “why?”, by far the largest reason was “hypocrisy”.
You see what they heard at church and what they saw at home wasn’t the same thing.
There was never the God conversations, between their parents… they never saw how the parents faith impacted their lives.
We talk about how important it is for our kids to grow up in a Christian environment yet we’re treating church like a drop of zone for them to get their weekly ‘Jesus dose’ – but we wouldn’t not feed our kids Monday to Saturday and only feed them on Sunday would we?
So why do we do that to ourselves and our relationship with Christ?
Just as importantly why would we do it to our kids and jeopardize them having a lasting relationship with God?
Why would you, a parent do that to your child?
Why wouldn’t you give them the opportunity to discover the amazing adventure Christ has in store for them?
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it
Our kids need and long to hear from us as parents…
OUR testimonies… this is what God has done for me
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15
Are you ready to talk to your kids about your Christian hope?
OUR experiences… This is the adventure God took me on
OUR personal encounters with the living God… God changed me, I once was this and now I’m this.
The bottom line is this… if we want our kids to have the faith that influences the way they live their lives then in our homes we need to be modelling faith through a personal relationship with Christ…
I’m not talking about just putting on some Christian music in your house every now and then
I’m not talking about saying grace before you eat your dinner
I’m not talking about saying prayers before bed.
What I’m talking about is this: how does your faith… and your relationship with Christ impact your life and those around you?
You see it has to do with not just teaching faith… but journeying with your children.
FAITH starts at home… is faith at your home?
Well it’s the start of the new year so I thought I should really starting getting back into my blog-space.
I find the music reviews I do really easy, especially as music basically is dropped on my lap it’s really simple… studios, artists, labels and producers send me new albums to listen to… I listen to them and give my opinion… it’s easy.
But then I have this other world… the world where I think about stuff and try and explain it… for myself if not anyone else.
However I am very thankful for you (the reader) for taking the time to read my stuff…
So where do you start?
For ME it is about thinking and knowing the promises of God… and not just knowing them… standing on them.
Just like Goliath held a whole army captive… so do our fears and failures often hold us captive…
However just like David we need to know and stand on Gods promises.
“David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47
See the battle is the Lords… and the Lord delivers our enemies into our hands.
So all we have to do is BE BOLD and give it to God, so that when we step out we know who has our back!
So what are the Promises of God we should know and believe and LIVE?
“If God is for us who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
“The one who is in you, is greater than he that is in the world” – 1 John 4:4
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13
“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” - Romans 8:28
So why should I learn and remember these verse?
You shouldn’t… you should be LIVING them… and learning them is a good start… pin them up… write them down… however you remember them do it!!
Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness… and what did Jesus do?
He went straight back into the Word of God and used them… not to defend himself but as a sword.
This year… I’m going to stop playing defense…
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Lets look at moving mountains instead of camping at the bottom of them!
Isn’t it funny how it’s often when people are being sarcastic that they finally say the truth… especially when it comes to things against Christians or the Christian life.
You’ll hear things like “Of course God will look after him…” (followed by an eye roll) or “suuuuure God created the Earth” – it’s all things that are made to make us feel bad about what we believe, however the truth is that some of the most intelligent minds argue the facts or intelligent design or evolution. And to be honest I believe in intelligent design because there seems to be more and more evidence being revealled to us all the time, and the more we can see at a micro level the more it seems that there was some sort of thought process that has gone into it… it doesn’t seem to me that it’s all hap-hazzard, but something that was so well thought through… that doesn’t happen by accident.
I mean if the thought of intelligent design sounds crazy… you might want to look at the other option.
People like Richard Dawkins are asking you to believe is that we evolved from a turnip… In his own words from his book The Greatest Show on Earth he says “It is the plain truth that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips”
So let me get this right, we get laughed at for believing that fruit and veges were created… but Richard Dawkins would like you to believe that we’re cousins, before admitting that there could be a chance that God created it, let alone the Earth he’s standing on. It only seems to make the Bible seems even more relevant when in 1 Corninthians 1:27
“Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful”
You see, others will have you try to believe that it’s all about OUR intellect… OUR wisdom… OUR power… however we hardly have enough power, intellect or wisdom to keep our society clean or free of crime… maybe… just maybe we’re not as smart as we think we are… I mean the last time I looked, we still hadn’t been able to create the simplist oranism, the start of a creation.
I went down to get milk from our local gas station, it’s a the place where I always go to get my petrol, so I knew the guy behind the counter pretty well, a
Indian who is now a New Zealand resident… and he looked at me and asked me something that I didn’t expect.
He asked me “Tell me about Christmas?”
Now to be honest I was a little bit confused, I mean we were coming up to Christmas… it’s only a few days away, surely he had to know something about the holiday by now…
So I stumbled out the words “What exactly do you mean by that?”
And he went on to tell me about how he was confused… when he was growing up he had met some Americans who went to Church and prayed… then went home and had a party with the family.
I knew what he was talking about as it was something simliar in my world… maybe not as simplistic however I knew what he was getting at.
“BUT…” he said
I thought “hold on here we go…”
“I’m confused, because everyone these days just wants to party and get drunk… so tell me… what does Christmas mean?”
AT this point I would love to tell you that I came up with the perfect discription of how Christ was born to be the saviour of all mankind… but I didn’t… I froze… I mean seriously where do you start?
All these things went wizzing through my mind at the same time… so I just picked the first one that came to my mind, and blurted out something to do with God coming down to be one of us so that he could make a way for us to be closer to him…
I wasn’t proud of it, and it wasn’t pretty… but I did it.
I went away thinking… why was that so hard?
I could tell you 50 reasons how God changed my life, I can tell you why I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and I can tell you why you need to make a descision to follow Christ and be born again… but that wasn’t the question.
The question was “Tell me what Christmas is about?”
Christmas is one of the most important points in the Christian calendar, its when God came down to be with us… 2nd only to Easter, when he died to take our place…so shouldn’t we know the story as more than just “little baby Jesus?”
Are you ready to answer the question “Tell me about Christmas?”
Because your answer might be just what someone is needing to here…because Christmas is so much more than presents, and lights and family and decorations and wanting to be with the ones you miss…
Christmas is about God loving us so much that he gave his one and only son, to come down from his place of Glory and come live among us so that he could suffer for our sin, and take the punishment for our sin… so that we could be closer to him.
SO tell me… what is Christmas about?
To say I love Christmas is an understatement…
I LOVE CHRISTMAS…
I even start playing the Christmas Carols a month out… I love it. There are some REALLY cool Christmas carols, but one of my favourites lyrically is ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’ a song originally written in the 1700′s – I think it’s the simplicity of the words and the fact that the more you look into what they mean the more they reveal.
One of the verses particularly stands out for me:
Mild he lays his glory by
Born that man no more shall die
Born to raise the sons of Earth
Born to give them second birth…
Did you pick that up?
Among the story of a baby born into the world in one of the most unlikely places… there is a future.
But not the future of this baby… a future for us.
Here lies this baby… growing up… to die for us.
“Born that man no more shall die…”
Let that sink in for a while… he died for you…
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
1 Peter 1:3-4
You see Christmas is more than the story of when a baby was born into the world… this is a story of a rescue, God laying aside his Gloryand putting himself in the place where we should have been… taking the punishment of death for the sins that we did… the punishment that WE deserved.
God was giving us a second chance…
Hark the Herald angels sing.
Christmas seems to be getting crazier every year… more things to do… more things to buy… more sales… more tinsel… more… more… more.
And if you’re a Christian like me you hear the same stories over and over again… and while these stories are often well intended or even true after a while they start to sound a bit stale… and that’s sometimes hard to focus on what the real meaning of Christmas is.
For me it’s about one word that translated in English means three words:
Emmanuel: God with us!
Think about it GOD… the creator of the universe and everything in it… someone who is so HUGE that it’s often easier for people to intellectualise him away… to say “I can’t even think of how that would work… therefore it can’t be true” than to think of the vastness of a God who really wants to spend time with you… and that’s part of the irony isn’t it?
A God who doesn’t need us… but wants us, while we desperately and totally need God and yet we don’t really want him most of the time.
God WITH: he wasn’t just God who studied us from afar like some ant farm experiment… he was WITH us.. he came and lived with us… not as a King… not as a person of stature… but one of us… the ordinary… the plain… the broken… and he suffered and he died in a way that none of us would never be able to understand… one commentator calls it the most vicious way any person could invent to kill someone else.
And yet knowing this God came down… to be WITH us… knowing that we’ll reject him.
God with US: You and me… Jesus came to die for us… and he dies on the cross knowing our past sins… and our future sins… and yet he went and died for us anyway… because there was no other way for us to have our sins removed
We can earn our way to heaven… we can’t beg our way to heaven… we can’t even evangelize our way to heaven…
The only way is through Jesus…
Emmanuel… God With US…
When we look at Christmas through the lens of that one word… EMMANUEL… it changes everything.
Why aren’t we telling our kids this all the time… Why aren’t we passing this on?
Don’t we want our kids to experience God’s grace?
Isn’t this the Good News we want them to hear… that there is hope in this world… that there is something to live for in this world… and it’s far bigger than you and it’s far bigger than me… and that’s GREAT… that’s the way it should be… because anything that would be in our control we would stuff up so monumentally that it would never work…
And yes it will be hard – but if life were easy… then we wouldn’t need to rely on God would we?
Emmanuel: God with US… and he’s still with us… so why do you only remind yourself of that at Christmas?
The word awesome is a bit of a funny word isn’t it?…
Awesome… it’s like “I have some awe… but that’s all”… yet we use it to mean “Wow… that’s more than amazing”
An even funnier word is ‘Awful’… it’s obviously a bad word… yet it would seem it should be a much happier word… “I’m full of AWE”
Either way… I like the word AWESOME… it may seem at times to be over used… but I genuinely like it as a word… there is nothing better than hearing someone say to you “You’re awesome”… and it feels just as good telling someone “You’re pretty awesome”…
It warms up your heart… it’s one of those ‘Awwwwww moment’ words
Yet why do we think of ourselves less than Awesome?
You see not only are you made in God’s image… but you were saved from Sin, even when you weren’t worth saving.
Do you see that?
God really likes you… he thinks that you’re awesome enough to save you, even when you had turned away from him… even when you didn’t want to know him…
And he did what only he could do… you couldn’t save yourself… but God loved you so much that he sent his only son to die in your place.
You see you matter to God… anyone would be happy to take a hit for someone who was good… but for Jesus to DIE for us in our wretched state only shows how much you mean to God.
God thinks that you’re pretty awesome.
So why do we hide away in our own self pity… or knock ourselves down?
The rest of the world tries to knock us down… so why should we?
“let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:6 (The Message)
God loves you so much… and not in a cliche sticky sweet way… but God actually likes you… he really likes you!!
He thinks… You’re AWESOME.
I wish you could know that for yourself…
not because of what you’ve done…
or look like…
but because you are God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10)… God doesn’t make junk.