Pastor’s Pen 24th February 2019

Shalom. Remember that God is always with you, even when you don’t feel like He is.
God never changes… but it can feel like he does. That’s because we change. As we grow, mature or not, we see the world differently. I can remember going back to my old primary school in Napier as a younger man. I hadn’t been back since I was attending it. It had shrunk. The field was smaller, the classroom tables were smaller and how could you fit, even the teachers had shrunk. Truth is, apart from being a bit older they hadn’t really changed. I had. My perspective was different and because I hadn’t kept in contact with my old school over the time, my altered perspective was obvious. But I hadn’t noticed the same thing about my house. Why? Because I was in contact every day. It’s the same with relationships. I’m not the exact same person my wife married over 30 years ago, nor is she. Similar… ageing has had minimal effect obviously, but my views, knowledge and experience have changed.
With God things are constant, but we understand differently as we learn and grow. In my teens I couldn’t really understand the love a parent has for a child. In my late twenties I did as I had my own children. Then as they’ve grown up to become young men, I’ve realized how a parent’s love changes and grows with them. It’s still the same, but different.
It’s such with God.
How can he let me suffer? Because he knows I can cope, grow stronger and more resilient. He knows it won’t always be hard, or always easy. But He’s always there, and as I look back… I see how my perspective on Him has changed too.

May He bless you to be a blessing.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 17th February 2019

Shalom. It is my prayer that you discover Gods love for you and others in a deeper way today as you reach out to Him.
I heard this comment a while ago… “The problem with Christians is they don’t know what they believe.” 
Perhaps there’s some truth in that and it certainly is good to study and research and get to grips with theology and biblical studies and doctrine, etc… to increase knowledge. I’m for that and I think it’s a good thing, especially if God calls you in that direction. But I think the truer reflection of the statement that better reflects the state of the wider church in the West today is this.. 
“The problem with Christians is they don’t believe what they know.”
If you’ve spent 5 years or more in a good church (like Whiti) and have more or less paid attention to the sermons, attended a small group and engaged your brain and heart, you will have actually picked up a lot of things. The key is whether or not you use them.
In Hebrew, to know something automatically means you do something with it; it is pointless to attain knowledge if it doesn’t translate into application. Christianity cannot be sustained purely on a knowledge, bible study, theological basis. It must ‘flesh itself out’. 
In the beatitudes (Matt 5) Jesus listed a lot of aspects, but all were active, not passive. For it is here that the faith we profess changes us or not. James 2:14-26 is excellent at summarizing this and I finish with verse 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
If we believe something, it should affect how we live our life. 
We say we believe God will provide and we shouldn’t worry (Matt 10), yet we still worry often. We believe we can be content in all situations (2 Cor 12), yet often we aren’t content. We believe we should love and accept people (yet not their sin) (John 13:34), yet we aren’t always loving.
I pray you have a week filled with believing what you know.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 10th February 2019

Shalom. May you realise how powerful it is to gather together as church and to be encouraged, equipped and empowered in your life.
I read this quote a while ago, and I’ve been musing on the issue of why some people find church a lower priority than some other things – like rugby, concerts or movies.
Of course I realise that this quote will apply to none of us!
Chrysostom on skipping church
“Still, such is the wretched disposition of the many, that after so much reading, they do not even know the names of the Books, and are not ashamed nor tremble at entering so carelessly into a place where they may hear God’s word. Yet if a harper, or dancer, or stage-player call at the city, they all run eagerly, and feel obliged to him for the call, and spend the half of an entire day attending to him alone; but when God speaks to us by the prophets and apostles, we yawn, we scratch ourselves, we are drowsy.
“And in summer, the heat seems too great, and we betake ourselves to the marketplace; and again, in winter, the rain and the mire are a hindrance, and we sit at home; yet at the horse races, though there is no roof over them to keep off the wet, the greater number, while heavy rains are falling, and the wind is dashing the water into their faces, stand like madmen, caring not for the cold, and wet, and mud, and length of the way, and nothing keeps them at home, and prevents their going thither.
“But here, where there are roofs over head, and where the warmth is admirable, they hold back instead of running together; and this, too, when the gain is that of their own souls. How is this tolerable, tell me?”
—John Chrysostom, On St. John, Homily LVIII, ca. A.D. 390
Just goes to show that history repeats.
This isn’t a slight on any, but reminds me that Sunday morning doesn’t work for all of us, all the time. This is one reason we have groups meeting in homes which I strongly encourage you to attend, or begin!
Either way, I’ve been thinking about holding a series of evenings where those who want to can get together, perhaps over a shared meal and then discuss something, a topic, a scripture passage… whatever we feel, but essentially challenge ourselves to consider what God may be saying.
If you’re interested get in touch with me.

I hope your week ahead is awesome and full.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike