Boldness…

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Brent Richardson is a guy I really respect… and today he reminded me of the first church in the book of Acts

Now the book of Acts is my VERY favourite book of the bible because it reminds me of how the church could (and maybe should be)

In the book of Acts, Peter and John were in and out of prison for their faith almost more Charlie Sheen has been arrest just for doing dumb stuff… and the church was saying to them “We need to protect you… we can’t have you guys being lost… you are the head of our church at the moment” but instead of becoming untouchable… instead of hiring armed body guards and armored vehicle do you know what they prayed for?

They prayed for BOLDNESS.

This is what they prayed:

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

You see it was never about them…

The church was never about themselves looking inward… the church was about looking out at the world and shining a light… and they knew some of the world didn’t like the light… they had the scars to prove it.

Do you know what boldness is?

Boldness is about creating opportunities… Do you think your friends would be mad if you said “hey do you mind if I pray for you?” – of course not… they could say “yes, I do mind” and that would be ok… the reality is, they are most likely would say “no… that would be fine”

We have to be open to be led by the promptings of the Holy Spirit… he’s certainly not going to leave you hanging… And in the Bible it says that he convicts… he does all the hard work… all we have to do is step out in faith.

Do you want to do something really uncomfortable?

… lets pray for boldness…

When was the last time you prayed for boldness?

“Lord, consider the threats we will encounter and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

AMEN!

You’re probably better than me…

World Religions by percentage according to CIA...

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It dawned on me recently that because Jesus dies for me… and rose again… and paid a ransom for my sin.

I am no better than anyone else… I’m only saved… not because I’ve done anything… but because of what God has done through his son Jesus.

Yeah… “so what?”, you may ask…

You see every other religion (except Christianity) you have to preform… you have to do a certain amount of tasks, pray a certain amount of times, do certain rituals etc… and the upshot of that is that people in other religions become superior in their thinking… after all – they are doing things that they believe will get  them to heaven… they look down on people, and it can create oppression… in fact we can see that in many countries overseas where Christianity has been pushed away.

Well lets move away from religion you say… but I have bad new the secular world isn’t much different… you have the secularist who also think they are superior looking down at the moralists saying “we’re enlightened… you’re holding on to primitive religion” – and the moralitsts are saying “You are too secular”… both think that they are ruining society…

the gospel is the only faith system that I know that leads you to believe that people who don’t have the same belief system as you will be better than you…

WHAT???

Yes… the gospel says you’re not saved because you’re wise, or influential or good, or because you’re doing good things or doing relious things. You’re saved because Jesus is the way the truth and the life… and no one is saved but by what Jesus has done. You have to admit you’re no better than anyone else… and you are a bottom rung scum of the earth sinner…

In fact, people from other religions may very well be better than you… wiser, kinder, more generous, more disciplined, have more self control, and too be honest more often than not… they are all those things!

Timothy Keller says:

Every other system of thought would lead you to believe that you are better off than the people who don’t believe the right things.

BUT… when you believe the Gospel, you are humbled to the people who don’t believe what you believe… the Gospel HUMBLES you…

What other system does that?

What other belief frees you to just be YOU… You’re not better than anyone else… you are just saved.

Because to God you are just as important as a King or a child or even the most devout person to ever live…

Because of this it makes the Gospel the MOST INCLUSIVE religious system… but it’s more than a religious system… more than a faith system… isn’t it?

Is CRUNK ROCK the perfect music?

Donny ShoutPut shout-out to crunk-magazine

ROCK

What would I have if I took the best of a whole heap of music genres… and merged them?

The attitude of Punk.

The swagger of Rap.

The fun of Dance/electronica.

The groove of Funk.

The guitar licks of 80’s Metal

So what would you get if you combined the lot???

The Answer… I believe… is CRUNK ROCK!

So what does Crunk Rock Sound like?

I’m glad you asked… here’s Family Force 5 with their track ‘Supersonic’

Or their BRAND NEW latest track… “Get on Outta here” with the video put together from fan footage.

Everyone’s a Critic

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Show’s like Masterchef have shown that it’s OK to be criticized… why?

I think it shows the contestant not only what they have done wrong… but how best to grow.

So why don’t we like to be criticized?

Because it hurts?

It’s uncomfortable?

It makes us look at ourselves… and we may not be as good as we would like to be…

To be honest criticism can cut us down, and often it can cripple us… We know it shouldn’t but it does, because often people are criticizing what we have put our own hard work into… our own blood, sweat and tears.

Our hard work can be dismissed in just moments 

Not all criticism is good so we need to be discerning…

Was it given in love?

Was it from someone you are willing to let speak into your life?

Do you remember in the book ‘The Horse and his Boy’ by C.S. Lewis when two horses where racing back to Archenland to warn the king of their enemies who were arriving unexpected?

The story says that they were running fast… but not as fast as they could go.

Until… a Lion jumped out of the thicket and chased after them… all of a sudden the horse found out they could run a lot faster. Later, we learn the lion was Aslan himself, scaring the horses to run at their true speed as they needed to go faster because of the pursuing army.

C.S. Lewis is showing us a great picture for how criticism can be of benefit.

What if criticism is our Lord in disguise?

Pastor Dave Dorr says

“We might fancy ourselves as very loving people indeed, patient and forbearing — until we get criticized. Then we justify our lack of love (keeping a record of wrongs), by their lack of love (“don’t they know a Christian is supposed to be loving?”).

When Aslan chased Bree (one of the Narnian horses), Bree found he wasn’t as noble as he supposed. And this was all the better. For Bree learned that his estimation of himself was not who he was and his happiness didn’t depend on his estimation of himself.”

 

 

 

Album Review: Hillsong ‘God is Able’

God is Able

After listening to the latest album from Aussie Mega church Hillsong I found myself thinking… is this album suffering from split personality syndrome?

Now it’s not a bad thing… all the sounds that you would expect from a Hillsong album are there… great production, great musicianship and great songwriting… the problem is that half the album sounds like the sister band Hillsong United.

I’m not sure if Hillsong is having a midlife crisis… and trying to sound younger… but I was left thinking… I’ve heard it all before.

It’s obvious that Hillsong has got into a habit of writing songs for conference type environments, with big chorus… lots of space in their sound filled with Edge like guitar with delay, reverb and anything else to fill the sound without getting  too full on.

That is until it gets to the track ‘The Difference’ – which has the drive and dirt of a United album, and to be honest feels a bit odd in the middle of an Album that is not quiet Hillsong but hasn’t dared to go far enough to become a United album.

There are some stand out tracks on this album, ‘Rise’, ‘The lost are found’ and the title track ‘God is able’ are my favorites, but I  can’t say that I was left thinking Wow… I have to listen to that straight away.

In saying that I really like the start of  ‘Cry of the broken’… it was a great moment that made me want to listen as it introduced some new sounds…

As an album this is a pretty solid album… probably better produced than the last U2… however it’s been done.

As a worship album… there will always be the fans who will buy every album, as individual songs there are a few to bring to the table for church services, but if I was to be honest I have heard better this year (as individual songs)…

So where does it leave me?

This is a conference album… and the songs will certainly mean more to people who have sung these with a group of thousands… that’s just reality… it’s not a bad album by any stretch… but what I would like to see for the next Hillsong and United albums is two differnt bands… with two different styles. At the moment they are too alike… and a waste of my album buying money.

7/10

 

Heart exercise… a new way to a healthier heart

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An unfit man went to the Doctor… he was seriously over weight and this was causing him all sorts of problem… but mostly heart problems…

His Doctor said to him “You need to start to exercise and this will make your heart stronger and make you healthier”

“I can’t exercise” the man protested “I get out of breath really quickly and I sweat a lot, I need you to fix my heart so that I can exercise and run and play with the normal ‘fit’ people”

“I can operate on your heart” the Doctor replied “but that won’t change anything… you need to exercise to make your heart stronger and put in some hard work and this will make you stronger, your heart stronger and it will be easier to go through life without too many things affecting you”

“I can’t exercise it’s too hard” replied the man… and he left.

Awww…. that’s a sad story.

But here’s the kicker… We do that ALL the time.

We want to be more patient, so God puts people into our lives that annoy the heck out of us… why? Because people who annoy us the most are the people who help us deal with our own issues the most.

Have you ever wanted to be a better sales person? The best way to do that is to try and sell to people who are really hard to sell too… after that everything is easier.

Have you wanted to be more people focused… then you’ll end up being surrounded by people “dropping in”… but they will do it when you are wanted to get your own stuff done…

You see to have a better heart… you have to exercise, and often you need to exercise the areas in your life that are your weakness.

It’s great to know your strengths… but that doesn’t mean you don’t exercise to boost the areas you lack…

It will hurt…

You will get frustrated…

But you will get stronger.

 

(the story was adapted from Andy Stanley’s “It Came From within”)