Pastor’s Pen 1st December 2019

Shalom. May you know the blessings of God in the natural and the supernatural as you seek to walk in his way, truth and life.
What does it mean to live a ‘Beatitude life’ as opposed to keeping the 10 commandments?
It’s not about keeping the law or obeying the codes and regulations of religion; Paul kept the law, the whole law, and nothing but the law every day of his life until he found Jesus. After that, he didn’t always eat kosher because he preferred to eat with friends— most of whom, by the end of Paul’s life, were Gentiles. The rich young man who comes before Jesus also admits he has kept the whole law since his youth. And the Pharisees, we might imagine, had a good track record when it came to obeying the law, since law-abiding was their great zeal. Many of us today might boast that we honor one God, don’t use God’s holy name irreverently, go to church on Sunday, do right by our parents, haven’t killed anyone (except possibly in time of war), have been faithful to our spouses, don’t lie or steal (does the IRD count?), and don’t give more than a few discreet glances toward the buff or blonde neighbor—or the neighbor’s breathtaking BMW.
The problem with the Ten Commandments, of course, is that they are a baseline. Taken literally and not broadly, quite a number of us might check these off and feel quite satisfied with ourselves at the end of the day. When Jesus suggests a wider approach—if, in your heart, you hate the neighbor who blocks your driveway, you have as good as killed him, and if you lust after the babe on TV, you have committed adultery with her—we find that there are fewer takers. A higher standard is not something most of us are looking for. Being “good” in a world full of options is hard enough.
The Beatitudes, in an indirect way, also accuse the guilty. But the accusation is aimed at a different group of guilty. These folks aren’t guilty of doing something—rather, they are guilty of not doing something. And the approach is not the heavy handed “thou shalt not” but the encouraging “blessed are you,” directly addressing those who suffer because of what the guilty group has failed to do.
That guilty group, it must be said, more nearly resembles us than the other does. The Beatitudes incriminate the apparently righteous. But they also give us a rich promise, because when these things happen, and they often do; Then we can know that God WILL… not might, or could, or get around to when he has the time, but he will, and his WILL, is a blessing.
I pray this week you will experience the presence and comfort and promise of God that will leave contentment in your spirit.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 24th November 2019

Shalom. Remember that God will never forget you… nor will he leave you. 

This week has seen me ‘over the hill’ again in the wider Waikato. Every time I drive home I’m reminded of how beautiful it is here in Mercury Bay. I’m naturally drawn to creation as a pathway to reconnect with God and really appreciate our beaches and natural resources. God seems easier to hear than when I’m in the city although I do love the parks and walkways you find around Hamilton and the other towns through our region. 

In the hustle and bustle of life we can sometimes forget to pause and spend time alone with God… this you can do even with others around you (but it’s harder)… which was something you could often see Jesus do. Some people find this easy to do… especially if you are an introvert… but it takes intention to spend time with Jesus.

You must learn to linger with intent and loiter with purpose. 

If you’re interested in learning more… catch up with me.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 17th November 2019

Shalom. What is truly important?
He aha te mea nui o te ao.
He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Take the second half of the Great Commandment –
Love your neighbour as yourself.
Sounds simple – I just love everyone.
But how do I live that out, what should our response be to issues of oppression, violence, injustice. Is ‘loving’ them enough? Or should love compel me to want to help make their situation better? To get involved, my hands getting dirty?
How far do I go with my neighbour? What about overseas kids whose faces greet me daily on T.V, those who have suffered in Syria, Iraq, Myanmar or a hundred other places? We can’t help them all… no. But we can help some. So we do what we can with what we have, and encourage others to do the same. This is the vision behind World Vision, Tear fund, International Needs and a 100 other mission organizations.
Then there’s that add on – as yourself. How well do we love ourselves? Do we appreciate God made us, do we look after ourselves, do we respect our bodies, and do we guard them on behalf of the one who died for us?
So, a simple statement catapults into issues of global and intimate cause. And they matter. Why?
Because if God matters at all; He matters most…It makes me think further on those lines and consider… If it matters to God, it matters to me. (Or at least it should)
So what matters to God? – people – how does he engage with people? – through Jesus. Jesus asks us to get involved too.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike

Pastor’s Pen 10th November 2019

Shalom. Remember life is an adventure, a journey…
I wrote this down the other day to remind me of this.
One life,
Lived once,
Lived well,
With eternity in mind,
For an audience of one.
There are many things that compete for our focus in life and at times we need to give them due attention, but we should never lose the bigger picture. We can live forever, but only when we respond to the call of Christ to follow Him (Matt 16:24). This call results in a relationship with the Creator of the Universe and puts us in touch with eternity. I’m reminded that I am just one man, while there are many things I can see that need to be done I am aware that I haven’t been asked to do them all.
In “Velvet Elvis” by Rob bell, he came to a realization that “Your job is the relentless pursuit of who God has made you to be. And anything else is sin and you need to repent of it.” (page 114)
How do we pursue that person God made us to be?
Remember God loves you just the way you are. But he refuses to leave you that way; He wants you to be just like Jesus. So may you know the depth of love Jesus has for you, the faith He puts in you and the hope He holds for you…
1 Corinthians 13 encourages me by reminding me of three constants in my journey with God: Faith, Hope and Love.
Though they may at times be battered, crushed and bruised during this journey, they cannot die within us unless we choose to let them. Why, because these are three of the powers behind Christ’s resurrection and constantly pull our hearts towards eternity and the promise that lies there beyond death in this world.
Further I’m encouraged that these three aren’t fixed constants, but are always changing and growing and shrinking and growing and changing in response to my own journey with Jesus. Why, because they are alive!
I’m also aware that death can take many forms. There is the obvious, when our body dies. There are more subtle forms that death can take; dreams can die, joy can wither, confidence can shrivel. The best cure is a healthy dose of Faith, Hope and Love in Christ. He can resurrect dreams, strengthen joy and renew confidence.
May you grow in these three this week and always remember that the greatest is love.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike