Dig That Funk

You know, when you can’t quite put your finger on it but you just don’t seem your usual self. A few weeks ago you were flying and now you feel grounded. Nothing has really happened yet it kind of feels like something big has actually happened.

Here’s something you need to remember. We’ve all been there. We are either before pain, in pain or after pain.

It may not come naturally but at times like these this is what we have to do…

Take a hold of the Word of the God and get digging.

Grab on to the verses of truth that can become your guide through seemingly weird and wonderful days.

Remind yourself how Jesus told us that ‘He would never leave us or forsake us’.

Pin those words up so you see them every day.

Speak those verses over you and your household every day and take that small step of faith.

God has given us everything we need to navigate all the different avenues life may take us down. We just have to remember. It probably won’t be with angelic voices that we hear from God, I doubt it will be through writing on the wall or a prophet turning up at your door. From experience it comes from His word, full of all its power, light, wisdom and truth. Sometimes comforting, other times challenging, yet all the time it is what we need.

Go dig the funk.

Let the word of God be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’. In faith let God lead you and allow God to handle whatever it is.

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Say Something Worth Hearing

Heard a comment the other day about how some politicians when they sit through a 20 minute interview their aim is to just make sure that they answer the questions without really saying anything. I think we could agree that on most occasions they are doing that really well.

Political commentators would argue that that is why people like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson do so well. They have nothing to lose and are therefore more willing to say something that people will actually listen to. Even if what they say isn’t necessarily right and maybe the majority don’t always agree with them.

As Christians I think we are guilty of falling into the category of being people who speak without really saying anything. We avoid conversations so we don’t get caught into giving a comment that might polarise opinion. We keep ourselves in the safe zone when it comes to dialogue and we go through life loving Jesus but hoping no one really finds out.

I’m not advocating that we just say anything. That’s silly. We have to be measured in how we speak. We have to be truthful when we speak. We have to treat our words with care. What we must never be though is just bland. Jesus was never bland. When He spoke people listened. It provoked. It challenged. It created conversation. He spoke truth. He showed grace.

Jesus said something worth hearing. We must do the same.

Next time you find yourself in a conversation that calls for an opinion, why not give it. Not with a pointed finger in the face. I’m not meaning an ‘I told you so’ opinion but rather a well thought out point that lines up with the word of God. Do it well. Speak from your heart, from your beliefs and to be honest, worry less about what others may think.

Say something worth hearing. The alternative isn’t worth the effort.

What You Do With What You Have Been Given

Sometimes it’s all too easy to fuss about everything that I want and in so doing, miss out on the fact that I already have so much more than most. I think that just makes me selfish. I don’t want to be that. The challenge for me and the family I lead is to make sure I steward well all that I already have.

If my heart is always leaning towards having more, then I am selfish.
If my actions are about protecting what I already have, then I am selfish.
If I speak with a sense of entitlement for things, then I am in danger of becoming selfish.
Let’s be honest…it’s easily done.

What will I do with what I have got is perhaps the wrong way of thinking. If its about what I’ve got, I will probably feel like I haven’t GOT enough and I deserve to get more. However, if I just shift my thinking slightly and ask myself the question what will I do with what I have been given, then things have a chance to change.

In 1 Timothy 6:17-18 Paul writes the following words…
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

This is the reminder. It’s not about money or wealth and certainly not about trusting in those things for my security. They can NEVER do that, however much of them I get. Instead, it’s about trusting God, putting my hope in Him, after all He provided me with all the stuff I have and He wants me to enjoy it all too. I just need to hold them loosely so I can be GENEROUS and WILLING TO SHARE.

What do you think? What are the challenges that you face right now that make it difficult to truly trust in God for your total well-being – including your money?

Who Have You Been Hanging Out With?

It is said that you become like the people you hang around with, so I think it’s fair to ask the question – who have you been hanging around with? I have had similar conversations with all 3 of my girls about how if, for instance, they hang around with the gossips, that people will think they are a gossip. It certainly reminds us all that we must take care in respect to the power of our associations.

Obviously, it doesn’t just work against you. The power of the right association can make a huge difference. It’s not always what you know but who you know. In Acts 4, we see that the disciples were noted for having ‘BEEN’ with Jesus, it was a distinguishing mark, something the authorities couldn’t really do anything about. It was less about what they knew, and more about who they knew.

Being with Jesus gave them an advantage that education didn’t. Their boldness and courage did not come from knowledge based in natural sources but from FAITH in a God who had given them all they needed when they received the Holy Spirit. In otherwords…it didn’t matter to them what they had been told to do, when it came to the things of God, their response was that we MUST do those things, whatever the price.

Praying for the same. How about you?

Don’t Be Flip

Sometimes we can start to take stuff forgranted. Things like..we will always have a job, we will always have our health, we will live forever, our partners know that we love them. Problem with taking things forgranted…it can catch up on us, then SUDDENLY those very same things become BIG problems.

As it is in the natural, so it is with God. We must not take God forgranted.

Matthew 7:6 ‘”Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.” The Message

Watch yourselves.
Watch the attitude towards God.
Yes, He will always be there.
Yes, He will never leave us.
Yes, His mercies are new every morning.

But…DON”T BE FLIP about these things. Don’t show inappropriate levity towards things that demand much greater respect. Our Christian walk is not to be dealt with flippantly.
Give them the correct honour that they deserve.
Remember to give God His rightful place in our life.
Honour, relevance, respect. It’s about lifestyle. It’s about consistency. It’s about integrity.
It’s not about living so close to the edge that we only look silly and misrepresent who God is and all that He has done in our lives.

Take time each day to honour your Father who heaven.
Spend time with Him, deliberately.
Don’t be FLIP with Him, just expecting that such a way is okay.

[Just my thoughts….what do you think?]

Getting on the Guest List

You don’t always need a commentary to understand what the Bible is saying. Sometimes you just need to read it. Psalm 15 is one of those times…just read it & then live it out.

The Message version puts it so well…
‘God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do you get on the guest list?’

How?
1. Walk straight
2. Act right
3. Tell the truth
4. Don’t hurt your friend
5. Don’t blame your neighbour
6. Despise the despicable
7. Keep your word even when it costs you
8. Make an honest living
9. Never take a bribe

Simple, eh? Or maybe the hardest things.
Not sure what my score would be…thankfully I have the Holy Spirit to help me. To change me.

How about you?

Living an Unfashionable Lifestyle

Been a while since I posted but I was listening to Pastor Brian Houston the other day talking about this and it was a challenging reminder…

Jesus was the cornerstone that the builders rejected. He was unfashionable. He still is and he calls us to live an unfashionable lifestyle for him.

I don’t mean in what you wear or how you have your hair. No need to never wash, wear sandals and live like a hermit. Fashions come and go. Jesus is!! He calls us to demonstrate our walk with him by displaying some unfashionable lifestyle characteristics, things which are not about what you ‘do’, not about ‘image’ or about ‘fame’ or ‘recognition’.

They are about ‘who you are’ and ‘how you live life’, unfashionable stones that make a way for you to live a ‘significant’ life, one that impacts beyond yourself.

HumbleSacrificeHard WorkDevotionDisciplineLoyaltyHoliness

If you were to give yourself an honest assessment of how your life measures up how would you score?
Are you striving for prominence while missing out on becoming significant for God?

It’s a challenge but definitely one worth taking up…what do you think?

Emergency Change Required

[Beware reading this post: this is one of those posts that may seriously confront you. It did me and I wrote it].

Every day we all do things.
We live life, make decisions, interact with people, use our time, complete tasks, think, chill, the list is endless.

What have you done today?

Everything you do leaves a mark.
It makes a difference. Even though you may not see it physically – every action creates a reaction. Your being somewhere, doing something, meeting someone, not meeting someone, your readiness to take a hold of opportunities or ignore them or just not even see them – they ALL leave a mark.

The apostle Paul said it like this ‘For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.’ What’s your smell like? How do people remember you?

Influence is an incredibly subtle thing.
We do it all the time without realising.
The danger with that is it may not always be the influence we imagine ourselves having.

Pastor John recently spoke about ‘repainting the landscape of Christianity in the region’. Incredible way to illustrate the potential we have. The INFLUENCE we can have as Xcel Church. Everything we do then is a part of that painting. Both as a Church but also as an individual. Our potential influence is wrapped up inside EVERYTHING we do.

Everyday you paint a picture of who you are…
Your actions.
Your lack of actions.
Your reactions.
Your words.
Your lifestyle choices.

Each one describes you. Each one shows who you really are to the world around you. Each one shows what is important to you and how you are living life at any given moment. And every day many of us tell the world and in so doing, lose our right to influence to our full potential.

How…well, forget the normal people interactions you have and just checkout your FACEBOOK & TWITTER profiles. We paint a picture that we would never have painted years ago. Full of mixed messages, negativity, lifestyle habits, choices, just plain weird stuff. They all paint a picture of you and it’s not always a great picture.

To be influential you have to be deliberate. You have to think about what you are doing and the impact that it could have. I want to do great things for God and I’m sure you do to but if we cannot manage our own lives well, why do we think God should entrust others to us as well. This is dangerous stuff to write but we are being challenged now to RISE TO THE OCCASION.

‘Everything is permissible but not everything is good for me’ [1 Cor 6:12]. It might be legal but how does it make you look? How does it make God look? What difference might it make to someone who then comes into church and sees you?

Where do you need an emergency change?
Where do you need a lifestyle x-ray to take place?
Where do you need to build some consistency into your life to increase your potenial to INFLUENCE people and be the ‘life-giving’ fragrance of God in their lives?

Interesting. Don’t hesitate.