Pastor’s Pen 30th September 2018

Shalom. May God be present in all circumstance and attitudes and may His will be done and not our own. Christmas is less than a 100 days away, isn’t the year going fast!

In John 17, Jesus prayer was that we be one that the world may know He is real.
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
This echoed his earlier comment in John 13 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This love is a verb; it is defined and witnessed by our action and deed. It begs a response of tangible perception; it challenges us to do something to address their needs. If we love others, then we actually get involved and spend time together. It doesn’t mean we believe that they are perfect, but we see past their imperfections and love them anyway. This helps us be a little more perfect and when we are able to do this, to flesh this out, people see past us and see Jesus in us.
These are the good deeds that have been prepared in advance for each of us, done out of gratitude and thanks to Jesus for what He’s done.
How well are we displaying this?
Every hurtful comment made, every judgemental attitude, every negative response, every time we ignore a need when we feel the Holy Spirit prompting us, we deny this commandment, we thwart this prayer; that Jesus gave.
The more we do this, the colder and harder we become and the more we stop God’s freedom flowing in our life.
This doesn’t mean we’ll always get it right, after all we’re human. However if we’re consistently getting it wrong then it would seem to me that we have business to do with God.
But the more we listen to those promptings, the easier it becomes and the warmer and more sensitive we become and easier it is to discern the Spirits voice and God’s true freedom flow in our lives.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 23rd September 2018

Shalom. Spring has sprung… May you enjoy the changing of the season and may it remind you that life has them too.

Have you ever felt that God was more present in your life at certain times and seems more distant in others? The issue isn’t God going anywhere, but rather us. Just as the earth orbits the sun and experiences changes in season, so too can it be for us. Summer makes us aware of the joy of long warm nights, fun days at the beach and the joie de vivre; Autumn heralds the beginning of the loss of warmth and darkness lasting longer with the wilting of vitality as trees shed their leaves; Winter reminds us that death happens, that the world can be hostile and cold and force us inside to huddle around fires seeking comfort and warmth; whilst Spring points us to resurrection as new life blossoms and blooms all around, temperatures becoming more pleasant leading into summer.

Just as we change our wardrobe in response to the conditions around us (it takes a hardy soul to wear a t shirt, shorts and jandals to the ski field, just as it’s stupid to wear a full ski suit to the beach in the middle of summer) we need to respond to the differing seasons of life in our relationship with God. As hard times come our way, it should cause us to draw closer to him, but sadly it causes some to withdraw. Often this is because they blame God for whatever they’re facing, and in some ways I totally get that; after all, God is God and the buck stops with him. But ultimately this view stems out of a false understanding of God and how he relates to us and where we fit in the scheme of things.
Some view God as a dispenser of blessing and all that is light and fluffy, and that he is our personal happiness factory. Seeking to make life comfortable and easy as his blessings wash us…
2 Cor 11 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Some have a theology that if anything is going wrong then it’s because you made a mistake and now God is punishing you…
Read the book of Job.

Some think that God is a mighty Smiter who wants to smite everyone with his massive smiting stick, so just watch out….
John 3 16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Some reckon if God is all love then it doesn’t matter what I do because he’ll forgive me anyway …
Romans 6 1Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

So often we’re simply wrong, but this belief we have determines how we relate to God, and until we get serious in our pursuit of understanding Scripture, relying on the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit and engaging authentically in community, we will never truly see our full potential in Christ bear fruit.

It is my prayer that you continue to grow in whatever season you’re in and bear the fruit of his character in your life regardless of your situation and circumstance.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 16th September 2018

Shalom. May you find that God will supply all your need, assess all your wants and grant all your desires, when you are seeking His heart and purpose.
God is a God of mission. Some say the mother of Theology is Missiology, and I would agree with this largely. To ‘study God’, which is the ideal of Theology; one should understand the essential characteristics of God’s heart and character. Through Scripture we get massive insight into this, but especially through the life and ministry of Jesus as recorded in the gospels and still revealed through the ministry and guidance of the Holy Spirit. One thing to grasp is that God is involved in this world; he’s not distant and remote, watching from a distance. He is vitally connected to each person whether they know it or not. The very act of Jesus coming reveals the mission heart of God, because “… God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 New Living Translation (NLT)
So if we fail to grasp this aspect of God, then we will fail to understand the dynamic aspect of the Holy Spirit interacting with us as He seeks to grow us up and strengthen our faith, so that we may go and be ambassadors for Christ. The Holy Spirit desires for us to engage in the mission of God and His work in our life is to see that come about. He desires us to reflect Christ to the world which involves seeing us free to be the person we were created to be. Then our response is to help others do the same, because the reason God finds us, calls us and then waits for us to respond, is when we do; He journeys with us and places us in His family, the church, where we have a place to belong and a part to play with gifts to offer and works to complete.
For us at Whiti Baptist part of our vision as a church family is to help people journey with Jesus…together.
This sense of journeying with our Lord Jesus Christ is something I  desire for everyone individually and together. For this to be effective it means we need to spend time together; time on a Sunday, during the week as we go about our daily lives and / or in a small group where we can have fellowship, prayer, worship and searching His word together as we hear from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ through scripture, song and /or the Holy Spirit.
I hope and pray that this week finds you with time and opportunity to spend with others in encouraging, growing and connecting to further your depth and relationship with each other and Jesus Christ.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 9th September 2018

Shalom. Allow Jesus to show you the things you need to let go of, the things to hold on to and the ability to do so.
There are many things competing for our attention and many of them are good, but because we only have a limited amount of time we learn the importance of priorities and the place for boundaries and limits.
There are also things which can be good for us but only in limited quantities,  like dark chocolate or a red wine. St Augustine is credited with the saying.
“Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”
This strikes at the heart if this issue… It’s the choices we make and the discipline we bring to bear that truly determine our choices.
They now say it takes about 90 days to truly cement in a new habit. I am feeling challenged about what I want to cement into my life over the next three months that is positive and beneficial.
Prayer is one and exercise another.
Let’s see how it goes.
I hope and pray that you have a great week ahead and take up opportunities to grow and develop your walk with Jesus.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike