New Years: From here we can do ANYTHING!

Deutsch: Mutter Teresa (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); 1...

At the end of the day, God isn’t going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like Mother Teresa?”

A Telecommunications company in New Zealand had recently put into their advertising the phrase ” From here we can do anything”… at first I thought it was a bit arrogant sounding however when I started to put it into context of my Christian life it suddenly looked pretty good.

I believe that God has ALREADY placed a seed in our hearts that leads us to doing what we were originally designed and ultimately destined to do. How do I know this?

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10

So God has ALREADY place a passion, a dream into our lives… and he’s got it all mapped out.

So what is holding us back?

You might be wanting kids… but holding back because you want to pay off more of the house.

You might want to travel the world… but are scared of leaving your own country.

You might want to start a business… but your friends are telling you that the climate isn’t right for it.

And the list goes on… a dream… and the excuse why you’re not pursuing it. All of these things are a good to think about, however if you let them get in the way of what God has planned then you’re playing God in that part of your life.

When I read the Bible I see stories of men and women who changed the world regardless of their circumstances.

A shepherd boy defeating a trained fighter… a farmer building a boat that would save the world from a flood… a young boy who dreamed that he would become in charge of all of Egypt… even in our time there were people who weren’t willing to lie down and let the world pass them by… A old lady sat on a bus and refused to let the prejudices of the time dictate her right as a human… an inventor failed again and again until he invented the light-bulb.

What is holding you back?

Are you using the excuse that it’s just not your time?

That may be right… however are you preparing for when it IS your time?

I’m not sure if it’s really God or just me? Is what you have in your heart something that just won’t go away? Then it’s a good sign that it’s bigger than you…

Andy Stanley wrote in his book ‘The Next Generation Leader’:

“Generally speaking you are probably never going to be more than 80 percent certain. Waiting for greater certainty may cause you to miss an opportunity”

It’s always good to pray that the wind and waves will stop crashing round you, and in fact it says all throughout the Bible that it’s good to pray first, however there is a time when you need to stop praying and step out of the boat with your eyes fixed on Jesus and start walking on the water… something impossible that you were destined to do. Failure to do anything can lead to it being your greatest regrets.  It’s the only way to be true to ourselves, and more importantly, true to God.

In Mark Batterson’s book ‘Soulprint’ he says this:

At the end of the day, God isn’t going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa?” He won’t even ask, “Why weren’t you more like David?” God is going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like you?”

In other words what are the fears holding you back?

Are you sitting waiting for the storm to pass?

Or are you preparing for the adventure that God has already placed on your heart?

With God beside you from here you can do ANYTHING! 

To those on the outside looking in… it may seem arrogant… but what we have is  a Holy confidence… an audaciousness that we know that our God won’t let us down… we may get things wrong… but we can never fail.

What a great way to start the New Year…

 

 

 

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New Years Resolutions: Time to make a change?

RESIPI’ve just sat through adverts for ‘pay to view’ TV companies telling me that if I sign up for a certain period of time they will give me ‘FREE’ channels for a couple of months… So why do they do this?

It’s not because they are generous… they’re doing it because they know that most people won’t change… most people like thing how they are… comfortable. You see we just can’t be bothered calling up to the have free channels cancelled… it’s not like we’ve forgotten… it’s just that life is too busy and cancelling a channel is somewhere further done the ‘to do’ list…

It even gets to a point where we start to justify why we’re not doing it…

However this leads to a problem:

If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you always got”

So going into the new year I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is this: are we happy with the way thing are now?

Some of you may think you are… until you dig a little deeper.

Here’s a list I picked up a few years ago that I find helpful to go through, and is something that I try and do at least once a year… New Years is just a really good reminder to do it again.

Take time to re-evaluate your life in these areas… R.E.S.I.P.

  • Relationally
  • Emotionally
  • Spiritually
  • Intellectally
  • Physically

Is there something that you need to  STOP doing?

Is there something you need to START doing?

Sit back and have a drink and rethink your life… then RESIP… I like the visual image that this gives, a real sense of re-evaluation… a sitting and sipping on what needs to change on your life… I’m just disappointed I can’t find something cool to go with the phrase DECKCHAIR.

Then make things easier for yourself. The chances are that it will be hard work… so don’t make things even harder on yourself.

  1. Don’t choose heaps of things to change… just focus on one or two.
  2. Be honest… What do I MOST need to change in my life?
  3. Make the change… and be RUTHLESS… write notes for yourself on your mirror (or a place where you will see it every day… make it a screen saver it that helps), have someone you’re accountable too (It’s best not to do it alone)

So if you are READY to re-evaluate your life… it may be time to RESIP.

“Do or do not. There is no try” – YODA

 

Atheist tells the Christian story in Parliament.

NZ Green Party co-leaders, Metiria Turei and R...

The Greens co-leaders

In NZ we have a forum in Parliament where the opposition parties are able to state their ground, and the reason they are there, also to talk about the future for them, they call it the address in reply debate… as it’s in reply to the Governments first governmental speech.

The Green party leader Dr. Russell Norman, a renown atheist stood up and told the Christian story… in this case a lot better than some Christians I have heard. His speech was inspiring… motivating… stirring… however at the end I thought to myself, isn’t it all a bit idealist?

The speech was laced with all the feel good points you would expect from a good socialist soapbox… equality… fairness… end of poverty… and all these things are good, in fact these things are VERY good. So why was I left feeling like something was missing?

In New Zealand we recently had a National election (for those of my reader from overseas) and because I think everyone’s vote should be counted I researched heavily the policies of all political parties I though interested me. Reading through the two main policies I realised that these were based on the knowledge of what they could actually follow through on… or in other words if they got elected based on these policies could they deliver.

What I found interesting is that when I got to parties like The Greens I found that they were not policies but a glorified wish list… The Greens for instance in New Zealand had struggled past the 10% mark… and because of this they could list all the things that they would LIKE to do but didn’t have to deliver… so the list of ‘policies’ they had were to be used to barter for legislation with the bigger parties in Parliament and the Government itself.

The Greens did really well in the elections and got 14% which is a HUGE lift.

So why was I still feel like something is missing?

Well the ideals that Russell talked about are wonderful and grand and motivating… however he’s missed one really important point.

The reason this rag tag group of people were able to scare Governments and change the world wasn’t because they wanted what was right and fought for social justice… it was because they believed in a Holy God who as in Paul wrote in Ephesians “is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” – the frightening thing is Russell is basing his ideals on a God he refuses to believe in…

So let me ask you this… Who has got his back?

The Jews and then the other Nations who came under God, were backed by the creator of the Universe…

It doesn’t matter how much policy you put on things… if you don’t know God… then there is no God to create the miracles of Christmas. Many Christians can talk to you about the hundreds of times when God came through when no one expected it would… a lump of money arrives unexpectedly and is the exact amounted needed to fix your car… food delivered to your door, just as you finish the last loaf of bread… it’s happened to some of these people so many times now, they will swear to you that’s just can’t be a coincidence.

To finish I have to say that I like having the idealists in Parliament… they’re great. I just which they were part of the Government… not the main act… but a supporting role.

Why you ask?

Well the Government are usually very black and white in the way they see things often and a bit of colour to policy could be a really good thing… it’s a pity in New Zealand these groups are in opposition.

To hear the full speech see the video below:

 

Christmas: Still talkin’ about it…

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzscdhe was renowned for the phrase “God is dead” however if he paid any attention to the  very start of the Christmas story he may have had to rethink his teaching.

   He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”….

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God.

Luke 29-35 (The Message)

Now every Christmas I look over the Christmas story and it really is amazing at how much you rediscover… This Christmas this part was a real re-discovery.

The angel spoke to Mary… a kids (by our standards) and told her, that she will have a son and he will be GREAT… and he will be called Gods son, and he will NEVER be forgotten… now that’s HUGE claim for someone to make… but the angel did, and if you look around he’s right.

Jesus was born in a tiny city I mean this is a real hick town… to the point where a guy in John 1:46 once said:

Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?

I mean this was a pretty small not well off place, Mary was a teenage girl, who wasn’t married… just these points alone would suggets that everything was against the angels prophecy coming true, and the fact that his message could even get out of such a small place is amazing in itself.

Now we can look around the world and the millions of Christians are celebrating this day… and even more remarkable millions of people acknowledge or have even heard that Jesus is the son of God… not all believe it and that’s OK… that’s up to God to work through, but isn’t it remarkable that from the most unlikely places, our savour was born just as was predicted.

But as the angel said at the end of his discussion with Mary:

“For Nothing is impossible with God”

Luke 1:37 (NLT)

And what about our friend Friedrich Nietzsche?

Nietzsche: God is Dead…

God: Nietzsche is dead.

I think we ALL know who is right here… don’t we???

 

Christmas: Good News. New Chapters…

News

Good News

So an Angel appeared to the shepherds (in radiance The Bible says) and said “Don’t be Afraid” … 

OK, for a start… it’s an Angel (not something you see every day) and the dude is glowing in radiance, and you want us NOT to be afraid???

But here is the thing… they said they were coming with “Good News”… and not just Good News for one bunch of people… but the Bible says “Good News of GREAT JOY for Everyone”

FOR EVERYONE

This was God signalling the start to the 2nd Chapter of the Good News Story… The first part of the story was God showing his loyalty and his father heart for his chosen people, however all through the first part of the story there is this amazing ribbon of Grace that shows God reaching out and saving other people… from Prostitutes to Kings… God already welcomed everyone into his family… but we missed the hints.

So what did he do?

He started a new chapter… 

And it started with a baby… in a manger… in a dark shed.

And this chapter is still open… the Ribbon of grace is still threaded through this chapter.

God sent his one and only son to Earth to die… for us…

die for me…

die for you… so that when we die… it’s not forever, but we are assured to be able to live forever… if we choose to accept the gift.

This is  the very heart of the Gospel message… and Gospel just means ‘Good News’

And do you know what?

The Angels were right…  when they said  “Good News of GREAT JOY for Everyone”

“Good News of great joy FOR EVERYONE

This is something to Celebrate… in a world were there are no certainties… isn’t it great to know that IF YOU CHOOSE you are able to have the assurance of eternal news.

Good News?

GREAT NEWS!

Christmas: ‘Emmanuel… God with us’

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift.

Gift of Life...

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,[b]
which means ‘God is with us.’          Matthew 1:23

The heart of the Christmas story… ‘God with us’ so what does that look like???

I was reminded of this Bible verse when I was watching the Sport on the News of all things. I was watching the news and Emma (my wife) was trying to talk to me. I couldn’t tell you what she said to me… but I’m sure I nodded or said “hmmm” in agreement to what she had said.

No one else can think of a time they did something similar surely??? (yeah right!)

It’s kind of what we’re like with Jesus (and not just at Christmas either)

What??? How do you figure.

Well at Christmas time we were given this gift… Jesus… Emmanuel… ‘God with us’

But have we treated him like I treated my wife during the news? Do we even know he’s in the room?

There is no better gift to have been given, a way in which to be saved… and Christmas is a real reminder of this, however it’s time for us to start to pay attention to the gift that’s in the room… this gift that has been placed under this massive Christmas tree we call ‘life’.

Friends and family members are dying, and there seems to be rhyme or reason to what we see… however… what if it’s a reminder for us to ‘seize the day’ and this awesome gift we have been given…

It could be as simple this year of the knowledge that you will never be alone again…

Open this gift… it’s as simple as just saying “God be with me…” 

Life After David Crowder Band…

English: I am the originator of this photo. I ...

David Crowder

On January 10 2012 the world will receive the last David Crowder Band album ‘Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]).

This is sad news in the world of Christian music as DC*B have been on the cutting edge of making Christian music more accessible, they have made Christian Indie music cool again… they have pushed boundaries/styles/looks and feels of what is seen as ‘worship’ in a largely cookie cutter world of Christian conferences.

This is a band that with every new release you were excited because  you didn’t know what you were in for… it was “a musical journey” (to quote Larry Mullen Jr. from the U2 ‘Rattle and Hum‘ Rockumentary)

So when the final DC*B album curtain finally falls who will be left standing in the huge gap left?

From where I sit the David Crowder Band Empire has been split into two parts… a USA part and a UK part.

Ironically both bands are collectives.

Waving the USA flag is  the new darlings of the USA christian music scene  Denver based ‘Gungor’ led by Michael Gungor. Gungor have discovered a quirky style that continues to push boundaries, especially with their latest release ‘Ghosts Upon the Earth’ which is more like a complete piece… rather than an album of songs, more like DC*B’s ‘A Collision’ in it’s  approach… however unlike DC*B, Gungors album  ‘Ghosts…’ doesn’t really have that many ‘radio friendly tunes on it, in fact it’s quite dark in parts with lyrics like “I found you naked/I found you lying there in blood…/I clothed your body/I washed the blood and earth from your hair“. This is a groundbreaking album, but needs to be taken in it’s entirety. It needs to be noted that like DC*B you never know what is coming next and with albums like 2010 album ‘Beautiful Things’ there to show the bands creativity you can never count these guys out.

And in the Green corner heralding from Bangor Ireland is Rend Collective Experiment.

Now these guys are the joker to Gungor’s deep brooding… These guys are willing to be like King David in the Old Testament and get a little bit ‘undignified’… with their up coming album ‘Homemade Worship’  (released 10 January – yes the same day as DC*B’s last hoorah)  – If you haven’t heard of these guys before you may have seen their ‘How Great is our God’ played only on iPhones.

Rend are more of a whole Worship experience with themes of redemption, devotion and celebration, making them quickly grabbed by conference heavy weights Francis Chan and Shane Claibourne, and a US tour with Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. The thing I love about these guys is that there isn’t any guessing where their focus is… and that is firmly on GOD.

Their music is honest and true and if you are a fan of groups like Mumford & Sons Snow Patrol and Arcade Fire then this is an album you want to soak in.

So there you have it… what has David Crowder Band done for Christian worship… it’s left it in great hands with Gungor (USA) and Rend Collective Experiment holding the UK… the world is musically a better place.