On 15 March 2019, our beautiful city of Ōtautahi, Christchurch, was rocked once more, but this time, by man-made terror. There’s more than enough news coverage to tell the story – I’m not repeating it. But what can we do with the aftermath of fear, confusion, grief and despair?
‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore,
we will not fear…’
We aren’t powerless; and we aren’t without hope.
There are things we can do; and there’s everything that God can do.
Here are a few tips that might help you, or someone you know, bring light in the darkness.
Don’t focus on the violence or the terrorists.
It only adds weight to what they have done; fuel for the fire of evil. Focussing on the actions and the perpetrators only results in more fear, grief or hatred. These things produce nothing good, only mo...
I was sad to hear a big blow up in the news recently regarding a Christian rugby star saying gays are going to hell. The truth is, gays do go to hell, and so do straight people. Tall people, short people; good people, bad people; white people, black people. That’s why Jesus chose to sacrifice His life – because we ALL needed saving from hell, destruction, the consequences of a fallen, sinful state. God so loved gay, straight, good, bad, rich, poor people, that He made a way that we can all come to know His grace that saves us from the bondage and corruption of this fallen world. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking one people group is going to hell, when another one isn’t; or, that one people group is good enough to earn eternal life, when others aren’t. We’re all in trouble if we have to stand before a perfect, all knowing judge!...
At our church, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day enthusiastically. Today in our Father’s Day service we encouraged our Dad’s and gave them gifts and thanked them for all they do for our families.
Sometimes you hear people resent such times because they have had a bad experience with Dad’s or know people who have. I can understand that. You can’t really celebrate a person who may have left you or mistreated you.
But there’s more to it than that and sometimes we need reminding that we’re designed for community. That means that we don’t just belong to a nuclear family (2 parents and 2.4 children). We belong to a community of people where there are many sons, daughters, mums, dads, and grandparents. We need community and community needs us. Together, diverse but united, we support each other, work together, and spur one anot...
Apparently, cats can see using one sixth the amount of light needed by humans to see.
This would explain why our family cat has been stood on or kicked – accidentally – at night-time on more than one occasion. She enthrones herself in the most dangerous of locations – e.g. the middle of our stairwell – and expects that we can see her at night time just as she can see us. But we can’t – we’re designed for daytime vision, not night time. Sorry cat - move over!
We were made for living in the light and resting during the dark.
But sometimes God will lead us through dark times in our lives and at such times, we can’t rely upon the vision of our natural eyes. Dark times and difficult circumstances, when we face confusion and despair, are when our ability to see clearly, our view of life, and our hope for the future can be greatly impaired. It’s t...
YOU are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, an ambassador of heaven, an agent of change, a powerhouse of transformation, the beloved of God, the one called and sent into the world to preach the good news, heal the sick, cast out unclean spirits and disciple nations!
We have immense power to transform the world and defeat the works of the enemy. In Christ, it is UNLMITED. In Christ, you CAN do all things. Not because of you, but because of the authority you’re given in Jesus’ name and the power you’re given in His Spirit (Eph’ 3:20).
But, do you believe it?
If you don’t believe it, you won’t use what you’ve been given. And that’s when the enemy wins.
That’s why one of the key strategies of the kingdom of darkness is, intimidation:
‘To make timid or fearful; especially, to compel or deter by threats.’
If I prayed and asked God to do something, can I rightfully claim that He isn’t good, or isn’t able or it's not His will if He doesn’t do it when I ask? If I asked you to do something for me this week and you didn’t do it, would that automatically mean you aren’t a good person, or you’re weak and useless, or that you just don't want to?
How often do we make judgements about God based upon our expectations of what is right, or reasonable or needed?
Many Christian’s in affluent nations struggle with the conflict between the truth of God’s love and the reality of their seemingly unanswered prayers. I think it often has a lot to do with the conditioning we’re raised with in our ‘consumer focussed’ society. We expect that when we place an order, we should receive the goods the way we want, when we want and with the least amount of cost and effort....
I’ve conducted a number of funerals as a Pastor. Occasionally I must bite my tongue (so to speak) when I hear people comfort themselves in saying the deceased has ‘gone to a better place’. Maybe. But why would they think that if the deceased didn’t believe in God or have any faith commitment?
Why now should there suddenly be a ‘better place’ and the deceased have rights to it?
In a sense, a funeral should give us a moment to confirm convictions with crystal clarity. We should know what we believe, why we believe and be confident in what happens next. But so often, people don’t want to put much thought into this. They want to skim over the ‘what happens next’ question and head straight to the comfort of ‘a better place’ for those who want it.
Some people ridicule Christians for their faith because they think it’s just ‘blind faith’. But it’s not. I...
Only minutes after I posted the previous blog about Kate’s deteriorating situation, Kate died - New Year’s Eve, 31 December, 2016.
I spent that night with Kate, praying for her to be raised from the dead. Others joined for a time and over the days following, many continued to pray that Kate would be raised from the dead. It seemed so obvious: Kate’s faith deserved such an amazing testimony; it would be such a mighty way to share the gospel of her Saviour Jesus, to the glory of God; and it was inconceivable that Kate’s faithful husband Paul could be left on his own to raise 4 young children… Something great was about to happen.
But 6 days later, Kate had not risen from the dead and I had to conduct her funeral.
Although the funeral was a powerful testimony to Kate’s faith, life and ministry, we were left with some significant questions abou...