Pastor’s Pen 28th April 2019

Shalom. I trust your Easter weekend was good and Anzac went well.
I’ve been thinking about the question of ‘How do I hear the voice of God?’ a very good question to ask and consider. While there are many different ways to grow in our appreciation, understanding and awareness of Gods voice speaking to us, it’s often good to go back to some of the basics, to make sure you’re tuned into the right frequency, because often that’s the problem; we’re not on the same wavelength. In the Waikato, Life FM broadcasts on 94.6 FM, if I want to listen to it and I often do when I’m there, then my radio needs to be tuned to that frequency. If I insist on tuning it to 99.3, I’ll hear ‘The Breeze’; perfectly okay to listen to most of the time, but if I want to hear LifeFM, I’ve got to tune in. It’s no different with God, there’s heaps of things that strive for your attention, many conflicting voices competing for our attention, telling us what to do, where to go, what to watch, how to behave, who to trust etc…
How do I hear God in the midst of this? How do I hear his whisper in the howling wind? A good place to start is by considering what you already know He wants you to do…
Regularly take time to be with God. Talk to Him (we call it prayer).
Any relationship needs time and time spent together. If you’re feeling that God isn’t close, then I can guarantee you’re the one who needs to move closer – not Him! A good way to spend time thinking about and of and through and with God is by reading scripture.
Are you willing and able to share what God has done in your life?
Matt 28:18-20 is a famous verse known as the great commission; in it Jesus says we should go into all the world making disciples… and remember He’ll be with us always…
If we’re not sharing our faith, teaching others through our words and deeds of who Jesus is and what He has done, then that might be why we don’t feel He’s there or we’re able to hear Him. Are you genuinely seeking to do this (I don’t mean doing it just because it’s the right thing to do, but because you actually want to)?
If you are growing in these areas then you will begin to discern His will.
This takes a lifetime, but begins with the first step. Hope you enjoy your walk with Jesus.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 21st April 2019

Shalom. Allow God to be God, this means accepting mystery and wonder, mercy and grace.
If you’ve been around church and read the bible as long as I have, you may find much of the gospel story can lose its mystery, wonder, mercy and grace because we live with it and it’s becomes normalised, we become familiar with the stories, familiar with the miracles.
Thing is, those stories and miracles aren’t meant to be confined to history, they’re meant to show us that the gospel, the good news that God sent His son to restore us to relationship with God, is still relevant today and so are those miracles.
I’ve been enjoying reading the gospels lately and trying to do it as though it’s the first time I’ve ever done so. To imagine and to recapture that sense of amazement on first discovering that Jesus turned water into wine, that he healed a blind man, a cripple by a pool, a bleeding woman, a leper, feeding 5000 or setting a demoniac free.
I’ve been enjoying trying to imagine how much their lives would have been impacted, changed and redirected.
The blind man could now work, the cripple wouldn’t have to be totally dependent on others to get him around, that woman with the bleeding issue, those lepers… wow… they could take part in society, they were ‘people’ again.
Their miracle wasn’t just a physical one, it was emotional, it was spiritual and it fundamentally changed how they were identified and treated.
I love the story of the Leper in Matthew 8 and how Jesus reached out and touched him.
Did he have to do that?
Many who were healed weren’t touched; in fact Jesus wasn’t even there when the Roman Centurion servant was healed and that was straight after this incident with the Leper.
Why did Jesus touch him?
Maybe this was a person who for years had been denied touch because of his illness, maybe he had a family, kids he’d been unable to hug, a wife he couldn’t embrace, a house he couldn’t inhabit, he was basically dead to them.
Perhaps he’d not known a gentle touch for years.
Then Jesus touched him!
WOW!!
He was healed, but I think on more levels than just the physical.
What do you think?
I pray this week the miraculous doesn’t become familiar.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 14th April 2019

Shalom. Allow the truth of Easter to inform the reality of your today.
We are rapidly heading into the Easter weekend and this Sunday sees us celebrating Palm Sunday. Stop and think about that… we celebrate Easter… we celebrate the anniversary of Jesus death… his torture and execution at the hands of a colonial oppressor, the Roman Empire. We celebrate the betrayal of our Lord at the hands of one of his own disciples. 
Celebrate? That’s a bit strange isn’t it? 
Well, not really… because we know that’s not the end of the story… in fact we know the story is still being written.
… This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3 NLT

The true message of Easter is that faith, hope and love will never run out, will never die… because it is embodied by and in Jesus. He is now resurrected and seated at the right hand of God the Father. 
His story becomes our history and helps write our future. 
I hope that you will enjoy the coming Passion week. If you’re involved in Day Camp, I pray you enjoy your time.

Blessings
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 7th April 2019

Shalom. I trust you are changed by your time here today as you seek to respond 
to God and His presence amongst us.
Worship is something both intensely private but profoundly communal. It’s a funny mix of tensions but that is true of our whole life isn’t it? 
Because the reality is that events happen to, in, with and around me or you, yet we can have totally different reactions to the same thing. Sometimes that is determined by whether we are a spectator or a participant. As a spectator I can appreciate or empathize with someone, but won’t ‘know’ what it’s like unless it becomes an act of imagination. As a participant, I can appreciate what it means for me and identify on a deeper level with other participants, because we can understand 
what it is really like. It’s true that no one can say ‘I know just what you’re going through…”, because they aren’t you going through it; though if they’ve been through something similar they’re able to connect better.
That’s part of the reason Jesus came as a man. I find it easier to ‘connect’ with Jesus knowing that he comprehends what it’s like to be human. Yet, there is still that God aspect, that perfection that Christ challenges me to emulate, with the help of the Holy Spirit, as I follow Him. 
Heb 10:14 says… he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. So apparently I’m perfect, and there’s a high probability you are too. Also, we’re being made holy. How do I know I’m being made holy? When I can meet with others, respond well and contribute to an atmosphere and attitude of holiness, when I can allow you to rub shoulders with me and not get irritated, when I can not only put up with others differing ways, but welcome the diversity and encourage Christ to be in you. How can you be holy? By doing the same. 
Jesus invites us to… Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt 11:29-30 The Message)
When I’m at ease in my skin and at peace with you being in yours and Christ is in charge then holiness will start to flow.
Have a great week and be a little bit holier.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike