Pastors Pen – 19/7/2020

Shalom. Let God be your provider and trust in his provision; appreciate what He has given already and accept what comes.

Generosity; something we all love being the recipients of, and an attribute that Scripture encourages us to exhibit. Psychologists have proven that the very act of being generous creates benefits for us – we actually get well and feel better about life when we give.

Yet it is also one of those things that can come hard as well.  There has been 

numerous musings on donation fatigue, volunteer overload and generally a feeling that people can’t keep being generous. Yet still we are.

The challenge for the Christian believer is to be generous in an authentic way. We should give not because we must – that simply means that obligation and guilt are often the key motivators – or because we have too – the previous two motivators along with legalism,( strangely enough this can actually lead us to feeling superior to others because we give, and maybe even more than we ‘have’ to).

It is much better to be in an attitude of wanting to give, wanting to be generous and with this as a foundation, it helps liberate us to be cheerful givers. But the why of this position is one that we can need to evaluate. Why should we give and why should we want to give?

This raises the idea of our understanding of where our resources come from, and for Christ followers we should understand that these are a gift from God. Further, we should experience gratitude at the gift of life, salvation and eternity that is ours in relationship with Christ. As Christ has given for us, we want to give back with no coercion, but simple unrestrained appreciation of what we have, causing us to respond to that outrageous expression and outpouring of love we define as the crucifixion.

We give not in the hope that God will give us more back (kind of seeing God as a spiritual bank) though he may choose to. That isn’t giving freely is it?

But it is choosing to give what we believe God would have us give, and actively seeking and asking him how much.

Please note, I’m not talking just about money, I think the more precious resource we can give God is time. Some feel if they give God more money, then they can give Him less time; others view it vice versa. 

There is no formula, there is no secret amount, and it simply takes an open authentic desire to serve, follow, and honour God with all you have, with as much ability as you’ve got, as generously as you can.

I trust this week is an expression of gratitude with your time and abilities as you worship in the reality of your life.

Bless ya

Mike Walker 

Pastor’s Pen – 5 July 2020

Shalom. May you take time to draw away from the busyness that can surround you. 

As I’ve spent longer in ministry I have discovered that I have enjoyed my own company more. I’ve gone from being a mild extrovert to a mild introvert. Times on my own used to worry me but now I enjoy them. I love this thought from John Ortberg…

Life, like Ministry, must be done in a rhythm of engagement and withdrawal. Wise followers of Christ have always understood solitude to be the foundational practice. 
Jesus engaged in it frequently. But what makes it so important? Solitude is the one place where we gain freedom from the forces of society that otherwise relentlessly mould us. It is (in one old phrase) the “furnace of transformation.”

Dallas Willard noted an experiment done with mice a few years ago. A researcher found that when amphetamines are given to a mouse in solitude, it takes a high dosage to kill it. Give it to a group of mice, and they start hopping around and hyping each other up so much that a fraction of the dosage will be lethal—so great is the effect of “the world” on mice. In fact, a mouse given no amphetamines at all, placed in a group on the drug, will get so hyper that in 10 minutes or so it will be dead. “In groups,” Willard noted, “they go off like popcorn.”

You’d think only mice would be so foolish as to hang out with other mice that are so hyped up, so frantically pursuing mindless activity for no discernible purpose that they put their own lives at risk.
Citation: John Ortberg, “Keeping Your Clock Ticking,” Leadership Weekly (8-29-02).

Enjoy your times of quiet.

Bless ya 

Mike Walker