In Our Community a year on…

English: Christchurch City (New Zealand) from ...

Christchurch, New Zealand

Those who follow this blog regularly would know that I live in Christchurch New Zealand… and on Wednesday we commemorated a year on from  the earthquake on 22 February that changed the way we live in Christchurch forever.

My church HPCC took it as an opportunity to get into our community and to see what how everyone was feeling… and a year on we found that some people are still really upset and uneasy about living in Christchurch… the constant living with the unknown…

“When will another earthquake hit?”

“Will it be big?”

and the list goes on…

As a church we were concerned for our community that we are apart of… so we went knocking on doors to find out how people are. The whole door knocking thing was pretty awesome… when the door was answered we would introduce ourselves to the house owner as from the local church down the road… what happened after that was amazing…

Some people asked “what do you want? What are you trying to sell me?” or “what is your sales pitch?” – they saw us as coming to their door as “selling Jesus” to them – the awesome thing was being able to tell them that we were actually interested in how they are feeling… is there anything that we ‘as a church’ can do to help them as a person in the community that we really want to see develop.

Some people gave the short “yeah I’m good” answer… and even if you tried to dig you were given the impression that it just wasn’t going to happen…

And then there were the people with their quake stories… they wanted to be heard. Some were still hurting… it was wonderful to be able to get beside these people, some needed physical help, like one elderly couple who needed some gardening done or help with some practical stuff… or the person who had just had an operation, and was bed ridden who we were able to come into her home and make her a cup of tea.

It was great to chat with these people… and if the ‘God’ question came up we would talk about it… and if the person was struggling we were able to ask if the would mind if we prayed for them.

But every house we prayed that God would bless the home and bless the conversations…

The thing I loved about going door to door checking everyone was still doing ok… (on all levels) – is it was a continued part of who we are as a church in our community… it’s a relationship.

We were able to work with some local business… work with our local schools and come up with ways to really build on where we are in our community and the partnership is awesome.

Where we are at community means relationships… it means building on those relationships. Through this we have been able to see people coming to Christ because of it – and that is awesome… however through this relationship I have a sense that we will see many… many more.

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Never to late to be the person you want to be…

Looking up from a hole...

Life’s a funny thing, and something that it seems to me quite regularly is challenge me… not just a ponder… not just a “oh I wish…” but a “whoa!” moment.

It happened to me today.

Someone I know has a website (now I’m keeping it vague on purpose to protect them) – but one of her followers had asked her why she settles for “fake love” and told her that she “shouldn’t settle for that” to which she replied “it’s kind of too late for that now; my reputation will get only the wrong kind of people ‘fighting for me’.” – now this made me really sad… and it got me thinking “Is this all love has become?” a place for us to use each other for a quick fix of what we call “love” only to find that we are stuck with a ‘bad reputation’ that we are hating because we want to be better than that… but to scared to leave that behind because we have built up protection to help cope with that… I mean leaving that would mean potentially loosing friends.

And that is a really tough question and it’s something that more and more people are dealing with… they hate who they have become, but they’ve been living it so long they have started to believe it… they’ve started to live in this world for so long that it feels like it’s impossible to get out.

And to be honest none of it was a big surprise to me… HOWEVER… this is what challenged me…

IMAGINE if she wasn’t the only one in the group thinking this?

IMAGINE if others were thinking the same thing?

You see what would happen is that people would stop pushing each other down into a world that they are trying to get out of… and they would have created a group of people that work as a support group… people who understand… people who have been there with you.

In the Bible it says this:

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

You see if you are in a hole that seems impossible to get out of… then you might need help outside yourself. Anything that is keeping you down, isn’t where you are meant to be, you were actually created for much more than that… even if your friends aren’t willing to change, you can.

God wants to give you LIFE… and a satisfying life.

The founders of AA knew this and it’s reflected in their 12 step program in steps 2 and 3:

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

When I read that I think of God our creator… he wants you to be the person he designed you to be even more than you want to change… you see he wants to see you excel in ALL areas.
He wants to see you on the adventure that he has planned for you.

You can try and change… but ONLY God can give you a LIFE CHANGING turnaround.

It never says it will be easy… in fact it say “there will be trouble” – however I would much rather be in God order “trouble” than be stuck in a life outside of what was planned for me.

Without a Doubt?

Doubt

I recently revisited the book ‘Blue Like Jazz’ by Donald Miller. Blue Like Jazz was an important book for me in my Christian journey because it was the first book that I had read by a Christian who expressed doubt in their faith. I had read hundred of books by Christian authors who seemed to have it all together… and I became disillusioned. Why? because it didn’t explain what I was feeling… I certainly didn’t feel like I was secure in my faith all the time… I sometimes doubted if God even existed… did this make me a bad Christian.

What I discovered was ‘no I’m not a bad Christian’…

You see even the disciples doubted… Peter nearly drowned with Jesus right in front of him while he was walking on water… “I can’t believe I’m walking on water…”

C.S. Lewis said it like this:

“If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt. If doubt is eventually justified, we were believing what clearly was not worth believing. But if doubt is  answered, our faith has grown stronger. It knows God more certainly and it can enjoy God more deeply.”

We are always gonna have doubts… it’s not wrong. However like Blue Like Jazz I hope that you keep the Bible in the middle of those doubts… because The Bible hasn’t changed for 1000’s of years… and the God who inspired the words in that book hasn’t changed EVER.

Explore… and it may just mean you discover your faith even deeper… or even Walk on Water?

Breathe in, Breathe out (or rest)

Day 46 - BreatheI recently got diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, this means that every night I stop breathing, and my body has to wake me to get me to have another breath. What does this mean? It means that I don’t go into a deep enough sleep and so even after a long sleep I still wake up tired.

So what is the cure?

I have to sleep with a mask over my nose, with constant air being pushed through a machine that gives continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This  CPAP machine generates the required air pressure to keep my airways open during sleep. This means when I wake up in the morning I wake up refreshed because my body has had enough oxygen for my body to feel refreshed.

It actually got me thinking about my spiritual life.

Because we are ‘only human’ it seems we can’t rest completely in Christ and what he wants for our life because ‘the world’ wakes us up from our sleep. We walk around wondering why we are feeling so tired with our life… the problem is that we haven’t had a chance to rest or we think we’ve rested however what we need is a breath.

Just as my CPAP machine gives me a constant air pressure that gives me enough oxygen to fully rest… we also need the  same in our prayer life. When we rest on the words that Jesus gave and mediate on those words it’s like we give oxygen to our spiritual life… and that creeps into our normal life.

How deep is your rest?

How is your oxygen levels?

What is the positive air pressure levels in your life… is it just good words… or is it something deeper?

 

Why we don’t pray

Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century pop...

Prayer

Our Church (Hornby Presbyterian Community Church or HPCC) has just finished 21 days of prayer, however I was talking to my friend Mel who made the comment “there isn’t that many younger people at the prayer meetings” – and she’s right, there is certainly more ‘older’ folk… so why is that?

Could it be the fact that we’re to comfortable? – are we just so comfortable just so blessed that we don’t feel the need to pray?

If you talk to some older people you will discover that prayer was the thing that got them through lots of hard times… but that’s just the thing isn’t it? They have something to pray for.

Is it because we don’t know HOW to pray? Maybe we’re just so out of practice that we have forgotten what words to say and so when we do pray our prayers are vague and shallow…

I wonder if part of the reason we are not very good at praying is because we’re not really good at reading the Bible. Pastor Mark Batterson once said “You don’t read the Bible… You pray the Bible”.

You see the really BIG miracles in the Bible were from people standing on the PROMISES of God. When Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still so he could finish his battle… it was because he believed that the promise of God. God had said he would always be with his chosen nation. I’m not sure Joshua knew exactly what he was asking for… however I believe he knew the immensity of the prayer.

I wonder if our prayers are so boring because we’re not willing to let God be God. We’re scared to pray a BIG prayer just in case God doesn’t do something.

But do you know what? I believe the main reason prayers go unanswered… is because they are not asked.

All through the Bible we are told… “Pray first…” but it seems that we have put prayer as our last resort… and for some it’s not even an after thought.

If you want miracles… you need to stand on the promises of God and trust that God will fulfill those promises.

 

 

Introducing the Father of Lies

I first saw this video posted by underground rap label ‘Humble Beast ‘ and LOVED it.

Inspired by the verse John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” this fun video takes the verse and puts it to song… from the Devils point of view.

In the words of Satan.