A Command or a Invitation?

I was Preaching on 1 Peter 1 last week, and i was greatly encouraged by 6 words in the passage i was preaching on. The Passage started in 1 Peter 1:3, and started talking about the great hope we have in the Gospel, and how that is meant to encourage us when there seems to be no hope, or very little like in the people Peter was writing too. Who were suffering a great deal for their faith.

In verse 13 the passage takes a change in direction, it is now referring back to the Hope we have in the Gospel of Jesus, and looking forward to how we are to live in light of that hope; it says:

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written:“Be holy, because I am holy.”

Verse 15 sums it up i think, we are to be holy, in all we do, because Jesus was holy.

Now i guess that was always a hard passage to swallow, as well i know me, how unholy i continually am, those words were always heavy words, that left me with a sense that i needed to try harder to be Holy.

But this week i was challenged to think about how they were said, is it a command or is it an invitation to be holy? Is our response to be holy and good for Jesus because of what he has done, or is he inviting us to be part of his holiness by what did, in which we can be counted as holy because Jesus was first, and died to give us his Holiness?

I think it is the later. That Jesus was Holy and died in our place to take our sin and replace it with his holiness, so that now i can stand in holiness knowing that my sin’s are  dealt with and are Gone.

How much better is it as a invitation? i reckon a heap

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Radical Servant-Hood

I am currently at ISCF leadership conference this week, It is a week for the students who are involved in leading the ISCF (lunchtime Christian Groups in their high school) Groups.

The Topic for the week is Discipleship, and today we heard a talk on the idea of Servant hood, then we had a small group after to discuss. It was a great and very challenging talk, thinking about what it means to be a servant, and looking at Jesus as a servant to model our lives on.

the passage was from Mark 10, a stand out was;

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus was so servant minded that he gave his live for those he was serving. in our small group we talked about how servanthood such a counter cultural idea, we are being told from all sides that we are the most important in the world and that everything that we do has to be centred on us. But we looked at the fact that this is the opposite way round to what it should be, servant hood I think is a “Radical” idea, and we talked about radical servanthood which is all about it is about putting us second and other people first, that is what Jesus did, he gave up his life for us to have it.

Radical servanthood i think is as some of the students suggested offering to clean the graffiti off the desks at school, or spending lunch sitting with people who are looking sad and sitting by themselves, radical servanthood is going out of your way to help at home, it is giving up on things that you may give to others.

Radical servant hood is putting other people before you no mater what the cost, and Jesus is a prime example to look to.

A Challenge !!!!

Make Every Effort

I am preaching this week on the topic of “Make Every Effort” and the more i think of it it is turning into a sermon on Sanctification.

The Picture is of Jens Voight, one of my favorite cyclists in the Pro Peloton at the moment, and when i think of him i think of a man who is never afraid of hard work, he is a machine, in fact there is a web site dedicated to his hard man comments, http://www.jensvoigtfacts.com/ he is a serious hard man.

Often we get a bit scared when we talk about doing things in our Christian lives, as we can get stuck in the works frame of mind. But that is not what Sanctification is about, it is about a response to what has already happened through us being justified by faith. and sanctification is a shared work between us and God, we have to work at it, it is  hard work as well.

This article has been a great help in getting em thinking about the topic, still more work to go but a article worth reading. here it is

Make Every Effort.

Romans Talk 1, Big Idea

The Power of the Gospel

Last Sunday, i started preaching through Romans at a small country church 40mins away from here. The Plan is to see how far i get through Romans in the three, 3 week block i have in the rest of the year. And here on my blog i will try to do a very brief summary each week.

We started by looking at the introduction to the book as such, 1:1-17.

What are we Ashamed of? we are all ashamed of things, good things but things that other people will think less of us for liking. But the Question is, “is the Gospel one of those things?

Paul tells us what the Gospel is in his intro,  it was promised, it is about Jesus, the messiah, who was a descendant of David,  and who was appointed in power by the spirit in power in his resurrection, i think that is us more being reminded of his position through his resurrection, as he never lost his position.

Then Paul tells us where the Gospel gains it’s power, and that is through  it’s ability to make a person right with God, something that they are not able to do by themselves. as it says in verse 16, it is the power of God to bring salvation to thoes who believe, and in verse 17, that it is through faith and faith alone.

So that is the power of the Gospel, to bring people into a right relationship with God through Jesus death on the cross where our sins were dealt with, and it was done by grace, that is free to those who are totally undeserving.

Is that something you are ashamed of?

Romans 1(NIV)

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[d] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[f]

 

 

Tool Box Kids Talk

I did the Kids Talk at Church on Sunday, and i was thinking about our church and how in a way we are like a tool box, or God’s tool box.
You see we all have different gifts, or different tallents if you will… it says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 that:
“4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5 There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6 and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.”

The point is that as it says, there are different ways to serve the Lord, often people say that i dont have a place that i can help with, but at one level we need to think outside the normal toolbox as such. i did pull out the normal tools from my tool box, a hammer, a ruler, a spanner, etc. and this very relevant to our church as we are curently building a new church and lots of people are doing a great help and a great ministry in serving the rest of us by doing a lot of building work, and to them it is a great ministry as hopefully this new building will help our church grow and introduce new people to Jesus.

But i also pulled out some kitchen stuff, as we have so many people who serve us all by morning tea, or by taking a meal to someone who is sick or whatever. then i pulled out the calculator and the stapler, as we also have people using their gifts behind the scenes as such, doing all the paper work, the paying the bills, and a whole range of other things…

Are you getting the picture, we all have different gifts and we all use them in service of God and of each other some are more public than others but without some, some of our ministries would struggle.

The last thing i pulled out of my tool box was my bible, now it is clear that in church’s that there are people who’s gift is being able to explain the bible clearly and to be able to teach from it, weather up front from the pulpit, or in Sunday school classes on in bible study groups throughout the week. 

I think the danger though is thinking of the bible like we think of the other tools of gifts, like i don’t cook because i understand from past experience that it is not really my gift or my talent. know i know that there are people who think about the bible or the gospel in those terms, i know people think well i am not the best person for that, other people will be better able to explain the Gospel to this person than i would, so they don’t try. We all have the words of truth, and it is our irresponsibility to speak them, it is not just to be left to a few but it is our responsibility.

1 Peter 4:10-11 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

Garden Time

So i think our garden is doing ok at the moment, so i thought i would take some photographic proof………..

That is Toby showing of all he helped with, cauliflower to the left and Broccoli to the right and Pack Choi further down.

Coriander, then the chili’s (which have been our best performing plant) then peppers and then Strawberries

one of the chili’s going into pasta for dinner, yumo

Our passion fruit plant, which is growing nicely, but is yet to bear any fruit 😦

Finally some blackberries, which have been quite nice, not many have made it inside, always get eaten of the plant….

Things i found …

Things i found when thinking about Romans, or places i get sidetracked to…………

Pinned Image

A picture began circulating in November. It should be “The Picture of the Year,” or perhaps, “Picture of the Decade.” It won’t be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the U.S. paper which published it, you probably would never have seen it. The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb. Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb. During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger. Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, “Hand of Hope.” The text explaining the picture begins, “The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother’s uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.” Little Samuel’s mother said they “wept for days” when they saw the picture. She said, “The photo reminds us pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person” Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful. Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome…incredible….and hey, pass it on! The world needs to see this one!

(http://pinterest.com/pin/99149629265861166)

I read this and thought it was amazing, it does indeed show that they are indeed little people in there, i was as i read reminded of Psalm 139, obviously because of verse 13, but also because of the rest of the psalm as well, but more about how we think about God, he knows all, he has searched us, know our thoughts, and our words, we try to hide but we can not hide as God is everywhere and over everything. Now i think at one level this should scare us, as well what Romans 1-3 kind of points out is the darkness of our hearts, as Romans 3:10-12 says;

10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”

And yet we see here David inviting God in verses 23-24, to search him, know his heart, test him. because i guess David knows God’s great love, and was comforted by it. Kind of the same comfort we get a few verses on in Romans when we are told that we all have sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God, but that regardless we have been justified (made right with God) freely by his grace, and through Grace. How is that for a sidetrack, i can’t even remember how i got here, well i saw the article, read psalm 139 and then it reminded my of Romans. But the psalm is powerful in it’s own right, and i guess it challenges us and confronts us, but also it should lead us to live for God, we see at the end David asking God for help he asks God to lead him in the way everlasting.

Love a good sidetrack

Psalm 139 (New International Version)

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand —
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

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