Pastor’s Pen 1st September 2019

Shalom. May you know the breeze of a cool wind on a hot day and the lingering presence of a beautiful scent as God reminds you he’s around.

Happy Fathers Day!
I’ve had a couple of thoughts swirling around my head the last week or so. One is the nature of our relationship with Jesus and the other our call to be fishers of men…
Jesus beckons us to walk through life with him leading, almost like a dance. While many accept the invitation, they struggle with the reality and often find themselves trying to take the lead instead.
I think that this must look quite funny, like a pair of people trying to dance who can’t quite get the steps right because one of them doesn’t know their place. Having watched this before I can understand how awkward and stilted it can be as well as frustrating for the dancers. But when they sort it out, what glorious fun can be had in the dance and what marvellous delight in watching.

Our life is an act of worship, it is a life song that reaches out and links with others life songs to create a symphony of expressive and effervescent energy to a glorious God, a loving Lord and a serendipitous Saviour. The amazing dynamic must be that it all blends together so well in the heavenlies.
As you begin to sense the rhythm of your life song and fit in to the rhythms of grace Jesus invites you to learn, it will turn into that dance of free, creative, unique and worshipful life with Jesus as his Holy Spirit leads you through each day. Dancing is a discipline and for two dancers to perform well together, they simply must spend time dancing, learning how the other flows and turns and moves. With our life with Christ, time too can never be replaced; we simply must learn to take the time to spend with him.
Jesus regularly drew aside, went up a mountain and spent time with his Father. Why would we need anything different? Where is your mountain? How do you draw aside, even for a few minutes?

Secondly, “I will make you fishers of men”, was the invitation Jesus gave in Matthew 4; and it’s still open today.
Have you ever been fishing? I have, though I wouldn’t define myself as an avid fisherman.
Things I’ve learnt about fishing are:
– You need something to catch the fish with – a net, a rod and or line.
– You need bait or a lure.
– You need to go to where the fish are.
– You need to wait and wait.
– Understand that even if you do all of the above, you still might not catch a fish.
– Have fun whatever happens.

While some of those images don’t translate too happily to evangelism, there are some truths we can look at. In the context Jesus was speaking into, they caught fish by nets. So they weren’t simply fishing for a singular fish; so much of the type of fishing many of us might think about – with a rod and line – loses some of its application.
If you catch with nets, you don’t need bait. But you do need fish, and you need to go where they are – not a lot of point fishing in your bath tub is there? Then you need the right technique / approach and attitude, and then you need patience. You can’t force the fish to be caught; they will swim into the net.

When we share our faith, Jesus invites us into an opportunity of starting a new relationship with someone; because if they express interest, then we need to be ready and willing to share more, further and deeper. Whilst I can’t deny the times when you might tell a complete stranger who you may never meet again, most effective evangelism happens within relationships that are built over time. The fishing analogy breaks down when we consider that Jesus encourages us to befriend each other, because I am not going to befriend a fish I’ve caught, I’m going to gut it and cook it and eat it. But I don’t tend to approach people with the same perspective and I hope you don’t either.
I think people don’t want to be seen as a conquest, to be won or lost in the battle of souls. They want to be treated as a person – who matters, who has an opinion, who thinks, who feels and who is loved.
So who are you sharing with? Who are you praying for? Who would you like to spend eternity with?

It is my hope that you embrace Jesus’ invitation to be a fisher of men and women, girls and boys; and have fun whatever happens, and enjoy the dance before us as we listen to the music of worship and mission.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 25th August 2019

Shalom. Let grace like a river wash over your soul. Let it cleanse you from the silt and stain of this world and allow you to be free to express that grace to the world you live in.
We’ll be painting the kitchen here this month and it helps me remember that new life can be breathed by a refreshing change of perspective and colour.
It also helps me reflect that at times in our lives, in certain areas, God will want us to strip us back to the basics so He can re-model us into relevance for the world we live in. After all we are living, moving beings, indeed scripture tells us – In Him we live and move and have our being. If this is the case then it means we are always changing, because we are responding to different situations every day, and needing to learn and grow to cope with differing situations that life brings our way. I don’t know of (m)any adults (take your pick to leave the m in or remove it) who respond as they did when they were a child! Christ called us to be childlike not childish.
But a deeper challenge as we grow in Christ; is to ensure that, unless you’re already perfect, we don’t respond as we did last year, or 5 years ago. This shows evidence of Christ building our character. Please note that there will still be times when we revert back to bad reactions, but it’s about giving ourselves grace to move, grow and change. Sometimes we can go backwards because we don’t surrender areas to God. I know this is a struggle for me at times.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality has a saying ‘Jesus might be in your heart; but Grandpa is in your bones’.
Maybe that makes you marrow ninded? But it’s evidence that we need to be intentional to desire change and to obey the commandments Jesus gave; to drill them into ourselves enough that they become our default setting. It’s not easy, but it’s where we need to begin.
John 15… .
10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
Obedience allows us to remain at peace and to express love more readily. But it’s more than obedience to the written word, it’s obedience to the whispered word as his Spirit leads and guides you.
I hope and pray this week and beyond that you’re obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as opportunities unfold before you.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 18th August 2019

Shalom. As God speaks may you listen; as he leads may you follow and as he encourages may you submit.

Jesus asks us what we want. This doesn’t mean he’ll simply give it to us, but it will help expose our motivation and help us to assess our attitude.
Often we can determine a course of action and convince ourselves we’re right. However as we give voice to that conviction and express it to others through asking, seeking and receiving feedback, we can begin to realise that we might not have the right approach. We can begin to segue to a better question as we understand that our wants may not always be the best determinant in choosing our life direction…
What does Jesus want? What do you want?
It would be fantastic if the answers to both those questions were exactly the same for you and would give strong evidence of a mature, spirit filled believer walking in the path and calling God has for them. Sometimes, the answers might be the same. But we might try different methods to work those answers out.
When Jesus healed the man in John 5 at the pool of Bethesda, on meeting him later in the temple he said to him… “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
He’d been an invalid for 38 years, yet there were worse things that could happen?!
Ever wondered what those things might be? Go ahead, take the time to make a list…
I began with – a hard heart.
I pray that your week ahead sees you discovering the things that Jesus wants for you only to realise you wanted them too.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 11th August 2019

Shalom. May peace be a companion in the times of trouble and a presence in times of deep distress.

Mission is that bit that Jesus was referring to when He called us to go into the world, to be His witnesses in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. It’s what motivates God to keep seeking out people and drawing them to His kingdom.

Mission is not an option for us as followers of Christ. Is an imperative, a command, a commission; not a suggestion or an afterthought. The challenge lies in defining what mission is. To simply define it as evangelism is too simplistic though by no means wrong, but rather incomplete and lessening. Some have defined mission as bringing God’s kingdom to earth, though I personally struggle with the grandness of such a position and struggle to see how we as humans could summon the fullness of God’s kingdom, but I’m content if we can settle for the term ‘a taste’.

For mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. God is a missionary God. Jurgen Moltmann says, “It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.”

In other words there is church because there is mission, not vice versa, and we can’t decide if we want to engage in mission, but only if we choose to be church. If we do, then mission must flow. Same as choosing to live means we must breathe.The challenge each of us faces is what engagement will mission take in our lives? Remember mission is partnering with God in making Him known. This needs to happen through our deeds and our words.

Remember mission isn’t just what happens ‘overseas’, after all, NZ is overseas to somebody else who’s here to be a missionary. Mission begins at home and finishes when everyone who needs to hear, see or taste has heard, seen and tasted the goodness of God and His message of salvation and His invitation to an eternal and abundant life.

Have an awesome week.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike