Pastor’s Pen 2nd June 2019

Shalom. Let Jesus walk with you in your daily routine and listen for the opportunities he presents you with. 

The purpose of man is to worship God… so says the writer of Ecclesiastes. But because all of humanity doesn’t worship him then mission exists. Mission is the act, process and intention of sharing the message of Jesus and ensuring people are offered his salvation.
Jesus came that we might have life and life abundantly,  overflowing with good stuff. This doesn’t mean there won’t be hard times or difficult circumstances… it means we have a hope inside us that allows joy to percolate into our response to any situation or scenario. 
Sometimes that is difficult because you have to keep listening to Jesus to be reminded of this truth but there are many other voices that clamor for our attention and many are negative and can crush us.
As humans we hear the negative things over the positive very easily. I’ve heard that you need 10 positive statements to negate 1 negative one. That means we need a lot of positive feedback in my experience! But when we can tune in the whispers of Holy Spirit we will hear them.
Jesus is so amazingly positive about who we are. Remember God loves us just the way we are. But He refuses to leave us that way,  He wants us to be just like Jesus.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 26th May 2019

Shalom. May you feel the peace and grace of God as he reminds you of your worth in his eyes.
 
Last week I was at a retreat in Hanmer Springs for Baptist Pastors and Leaders. It was a humbling, encouraging and at times challenging retreat. Humble being reminded that God has called me to serve him in a leadership capacity as a Pastor and Regional Mission Leader and humbling to serve in this amazing place, humbling to serve alongside so many amazing and capable people all seeking to build His kingdom… Encouraging that He equips the called before He calls the equipped and encouraging that He hasn’t finished with me yet and is still growing, equipping and releasing me to more… Challenging because whilst I never doubt God, I do doubt myself, and yet God doesn’t doubt me!
I realised at the retreat that my greatest flaw (among many) is that I often feel I’m not good enough for what God has called me to do… this has been balanced by believing that God, however, does. Sound odd? Well, several years ago at an earlier retreat at Hanmer Springs Jesus showed up and spent time with me… too hard to explain it in words, but ever since then I’ve known that God believes in me and has called me regardless of how I feel. But this year I’ve realised that He believes in me more than I do. Bit like Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water then sinking… Jesus said why do you have such little faith? Jesus wasn’t talking about Peters faith in Jesus… that got him out of the boat… but his faith in himself to do what Jesus called him to do… walk on water.
I think many Christians struggle with this one way or another. If I step out will it work, or will I look stupid, or make a big mistake. Will I take risks that could be costly? Well, the truth is you’ll never know unless you go for it. Now this doesn’t mean you should be stupid or ignorant. Due process and careful consideration for big decisions are always a good idea. But be willing to start in little things, say those encouraging words, those prophetic insights Holy Spirit nudges you with if and when he does. Act with love and humility to others at all times and be willing to love extravagantly. I also realise that I have listened more than I should to others who have doubted my call, or my direction, or my viewpoint at times and have allowed them to quench something in me. That’s not their problem, it’s mine!
God’s greatest challenge to me was to believe in me as he does, not arrogantly or in a proud haughty way, thinking I’m somehow better that others, but with grace and humility, realising that I’m a beggar who found bread and it’s my job to lead others to it. So in many ways not a lot has changed, because I’ve always tried to be that, but now it’s also very different. Be interesting to see how it pans out.
Well that’s enough navel gazing, lets get on with changing the world, one life at a time.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 19th May 2019

Shalom. Let God remind you that you are loved and accepted, that He will encourage you to change at his pace and knows the plans He has for you.
I’m currently sitting in a room about to begin the first full day of our Hanmer Springs Retreat. It’s Wednesday and already it’s been encouraging and affirming from the previous nights worship and prayer time. It’s good to take time and draw aside… let Jesus speak to your heart, your mind and spirit… either directly or through others.
I have found Jesus speaks to me more than I realized and am appreciating more to recognize his voice. It’s a funny thing to explain because I can’t really put it into words… yet that is what He wants me to do. Go figure!
I’m reminded of how deeply He cares for each of us and His desire to see us fully engaged and relaxed in our life with Him.
There’s no secret formula or incantation that enables this and it’s a continuous process of discovery,  revelation and perseverance. I would love to spend time with others who are serious about what this might look like for them and am keen to linger with purpose and loiter with intent with you if you’re keen.

On a different note. Today is also my youngest lads 21st birthday. My goodness time flies doesn’t it? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was dropping him off at school. 

Have an awesome week.

Blessings
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 12th May 2019

Shalom. I trust you are encouraged, challenged and changed today and that it echoes on into your week and it will enrich your worship experience each day.
How are you going with hearing from God? 
At times it can be a struggle because we often aren’t in a place to be able to hear. There can be so much noise, distractions and influences. Often these distractions can take the form of good things. 
Bible studies, home groups, prayer meetings etc… The truth is that none of these are bad and indeed should help us to listen, but sometimes they don’t, often because we allow them to become simply programs that we do because it’s the thing that’s right to do. Also, life gets so busy that we find ourselves running from one thing to the next often
Psalm 46 is a great psalm to remind us of God and has some promises that God keeps, but there is one line many have probably heard before –
10 “Be still, and know that I am God…”
It is here we need to consider that if we haven’t heard from God, have we been still?
Being still helps us pick out the individual noises competing in the background, it can allow us to focus on that one strand we need to discern. God often whispers to us, and to listen to whispering requires our attention, it necessitates a stillness, a calmness, a serenity, a peace, an at ease with ourself, an acceptance of the reality of our situation, even if we may not accept the situation. 
This next week sees me in Hanmer Springs for a Retreat that allows myself and over 100 other Baptist Pastors to be still and know He is God. I appreciate the privilege of opportunities to do this and hope it’s a changing experience for me. 
This Sunday I’m away again but no longer on holiday… I’ll be speaking to the people of Avonhead Baptist church in Christchurch… you might want to pray for them. 😁
I hope you have opportunity to be still this coming week as well.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 5th May 2019

Shalom. May you hear God ever clearer each day and walk His way nearer.

How do we hear from God? It’s good starting with what we know God wants us to do, and actually doing it! But following from that there’s those aspects that beg the question, does God mind?
Should I drink tea, coffee, milo, juice, water etc… should I have one biscuit or two, weetbix, cornflakes, porridge or toast… so it goes on. Is God concerned about these things? I think He is, but I also think he allows us choice and expects us to be wise and sensitive in our use of the freedom He has given us. How can we know we are heading this way?
Romans 12: 1-3.
“Be renewed by the transforming of your mind…”
Are we thinking about God, considering what Jesus would do, being aware of and open to the Holy Spirit in our decision making? When we are then we can ..’ determine what God’s will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.”
(Rom 12:3) God gives us the freedom to determine His will, but He is never contradictory with His word, there are boundaries, there are safe areas, there is revelation and He does speak through varying means, and yes; sometimes we will get it wrong; but His grace means if we do get it wrong, we can still get it right.
Also, we have to want to hear from God. This seems obvious, but I believe people are afraid to get too close; afraid that the Holy Spirit might instruct them to go somewhere or do something that is too challenging, too far out of their comfort zone; so it’s easier to ignore, to quench, to get busy with other things, till they no longer hear from God because they and want to pick choose what they will or won’t do. When this happens they become fearful of God, and sometimes fearful of those who are open to hearing from God.
Yet when we look at this in light of knowing the true nature and character of God revealed through Jesus, we see it for the lie that it is and we can be free to hear the truth God wants us to walk in and the places He’s calling us to go and the deeds He calling us to do. Will this take us out of our comfort zone, will it stretch us – probably a big YES to that. Is it worth it? Definitely!!!
Here’s hoping your week is full of God’s whispers, shouts and conversations with you.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike