Pastor’s Pen 1st July 2018

Shalom and welcome to this part of Gods kingdom we call Whitianga Baptist. I know God will meet you in the desire you have to see Him. If there is little desire, it is likely you will see little of God and if there is much desire, it is more likely you will see much of God.
Herein lies one of the challenges often faced in the Christian journey. We all want to know, see and experience God and his power in our life. But we often want it on our terms and we expect God to perform miracles so we may believe a little better.
In other words, we put God on a performance based system, and if he performs we’ll go along and believe, if He doesn’t we might walk away. Of course, God allows us the ability to do this, but that does not mean he will comply with our expectations. Often the opposite; why?
Because this approach, even though it looks God focused, is actually all about us! God may be gracious in our early walk with him and indulge us to increase our faith, but eventually He will expect us to grow up. This doesn’t mean miracles will stop or God won’t show up in power, it simply means the focus isn’t on us – it’s on Him. We surrender to His touch; His work; His way. We become God focused and our desire is to see Him glorified.
When we worry less about our reputation and more about Gods, then we begin to change our emphasis and outlook in life. We see ourselves being transformed by the renewing of our mind and this is definitely one of the greatest miracles that can happen. The truth is that we come to a point where counseling, study and even prayer can only take us so far and we need a supernatural move of God to break whatever is holding us back from all God has for us. I had such a time when I was down in Hanmer Springs a few years ago  and , I believe it is something that God has continued to encourage me to be more open with as I learn to be more open to him.
So whatever you find in the week ahead, may you find opportunities and moments for God to touch you in a powerful life altering way.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 24th June 2018

Shalom. May you know the full meaning of this greeting as a reality in your life.
I reread the following from an article by Gordon MacDonald from several years ago and found myself saying … YES.
…“Richard Foster: “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”
What does it mean to be a deep Christ-follower today when unlimited options, noisy distractions, and a million versions of truth swamp the soul? How is it possible to be a deep person while being swept up in a 50-60 hour work week (if you’re working), community and school events, shopping, networking, laundering, family-building … oh, and staying on top of things at church too? Is deep even thinkable for anyone living outside of a monastery? I’m just asking.
Of course we can’t even attempt to answer these questions until we explore what deep means. Here’s my working definition: Deep people are those whose lives are organized around Jesus, his character, his call to a serving life, and his death on the cross for their sins. The abilities (or giftedness) of deep people may be quite diverse, but each has the power to influence others to follow Jesus, grow in Christ-likeness, and live a life of faithful service. They love the world, mix well with people, but are wary of spiritual entrapments. They are known for their wisdom, their compassion for others, and their perseverance in hard times…
Apparently most of the hours of Jesus’ public ministry were invested in a small number of men and women who, under his mentorship, morphed into deep people and set in motion a movement that continues to this day. No question about it: this mentoring activity was Jesus at his best, his sweet spot. So, in what capacity did he do it? Like many do it today? Form a circle and fill in the blanks of a Bible study booklet? Hold a series of evening meetings and show videos of inspirational speakers? I don’t think so, though these can help lead us into it…
Jesus cultivated deep people in the traditional way of the rabbis. So how did rabbis go about reshaping peoples’ lives?…”
Often by having their eye on the future more than the past…
The rest of the article is well worth the read… http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2011/spring/goingdeep.html?start=1
It gives me pause to reflect that this might be one of the keys to really seeing the church go to the places God desires it to.
I hope you discover greater depth in your life over the following weeks and months.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike


Pastor’s Pen 17th June 2018

Shalom. God will bless you to be a blessing, love you to be loving, encouraging you to be encouraging and believe in you to believe in others. Please accept his invitation to grow in this.
According to the internet there are 206 bones in the adult human body (depending on the method of counting) and children have about 300 – 350, but they fuse together as we age. (So we do get more inflexible as we age!) Each hand has 27 bones and each foot has 26, for a total (assuming you gave two hands and feet with all fingers and toes) of 106 bones.
I find this interesting that over half of the bones in our body are found in the places that take us somewhere and help us best in doing things.
Our skeletal structure provides the support for our body to function, allowing a frame for muscles and tendons to work. We’d look funny without a skeleton; we’d just be a blob of flesh and organs oozing around in a sack of skin.
Anyway, if we are the body of Christ, then I find it interesting that of our ‘bones; ’over half should be focused on going and doing, sending and being Christ to others, helping, reaching out, touching, admonishing, guiding, smoothing, and walking with them , it encourages me to remember that my efforts and time should be focused on to the things, places and opportunities Christ has for me.
Also interesting to me is about 1/7 of our bones are part of our thoracic cage that protects our lungs and heart, the seat of our life. This encourages to remember to keep the Sabbath holy, that 1 day in 7 to remind myself where the true seat of life is – my and your highest calling – communion with God – is something that deserves even demands time and needs to be protected from the other demands life can bring along.
Lastly, I’m aware that our bony, hard areas are covered with a warm, slightly yielding cover. So that our hard laws, our framework of rules, conducts and regulations should always be tempered and shielded with grace and mercy.
May you allow your body to function as it was designed and your spirit to grow towards the light.

 

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 10th June 2018

Shalom. May we all know the will Christ has for us as his people and discern together his direction to take.
This has been a full few weeks for me and I realized that this weekend marks Rebecca and my first anniversary at Whitianga Baptist. It’s a privilege to be called to lead any church and we love this one and to be living in such an amazing location is a bonus. Rebecca and I have enjoyed this place and look forward to the years to come.
Yesterday saw me, along with Lochy, travel back from Hamilton. Just prior to leaving I took Lochy to the river… one of his favorite things to do. This helps make the drive easier for him. Upon arriving home we stopped at the beach… another of his favorite things to do.
I was struck by the similarities and the differences between them.
They’re both places of water and he can run and sniff, swim and play. But whilst similar the water is very different. I remember he wouldn’t go in for his first few weeks here.
The sea is salty, it flows differently and it attacks you with waves. But once you get used to it… you can surf!
This is like life… things seem to stay the same for a long time then change happens and we wonder what hit us. Then we get used to the new normal and after a while things seem to stay the same.
Change is one thing we can guarantee will happen,  it’s how we respond that determines our success. We can long for what was or, like Lochy, get used to it then run straight into it.
I hope the year ahead is even more fun than the one just gone.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike