Thursday, 12 November 2015

I can be the best in the world at this...

If you have read some of the business books of late several tell you that you want to focus focus focus on what you could be the best in the world at doing...then do that a lot! Frankly, that makes a ton of sense in the marketplace.

I was out training for my 50th birthday party today (yep I am training for a party coming up on the 21st). You see some guys go to Vegas for their 50th birthday so I want to do the opposite -- run/walk up three of my favourite mountains with some friends and family in one day, Mt Victoria, Mt Albert, and Mt Kaukau. Running group will start at Kingdom Fitness and run Vic to Albert and back. We will then have a break for lunch at our house, then hit Kaukau. Everyone welcome! My kind of party.

Anyway, I was out on a training run today when I realised this fact: I don't have to compete with other humans for my character. Not only that but I'd also go as far as to say it is ONLY God who truly matters when judging my character. After all, it is really Him that I am trying to serve anyway. I serve Him through serving His people but it is not the people I am trying to 'compete with' by serving. I am simply serving. Here are a few pics of my run today:

Therefore, I think I have found what I can be the best in the world at. It is MY relationship with Jesus. You see my relationship with Him is only mine and His. By the sheer exclusivity of this relationship I am the only one capable and responsible for this relationship. Therefore, I can be the best in the world at my relationship with Jesus! That is what I seek. Amen.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The biggest name to drop

Imagine a scene: A rough group of Texans sitting around the campfire after a successful hunting expedition. The BIG stories start. Big John says, "I saw a huge buck today that had a rack that wouldn't even fit in my living room!"

Old Joe pipes up, "That's nothing! I's attacked by a cottonmouth just as I's lining up a 16-point buck in the crosshairs! I had to kill the snake instead of the deer. Slapped his head just as he's striking with ma bar hand then crushed his head with the butt of ma gun." Spit. "Reminded me when I brought Mike Rawlings out here, Anybody else know him he's the Mayor of Dallas? We both saw snakes that size that day but today I actually feared for ma life when that evil thang started after me."

Bubba speaks up this time, "that same thing happened to me when I took the Governor hunting, you guys know Greg Abbott, we were out in the swamp and we had gators and snakes all around us. If'n we didn't have some shotguns and fire we'dve been in a heap of trouble." About this time Lucius Tate picks up the pace and says, "you guys know George W. Bush?" On & on it escalates...

Name dropping.

We've all heard it. Most of us have done it. At heart what is it that drives people to name drop? Merriam-webster says name–dropping is the act of trying to impress someone by saying the names of well-known people that you know or have met.

Who is the most well-known person in history? It is Jesus. Have you ever tried dropping the name of Jesus to try and impress someone? If so, can you comment in this blog? If not, why not try it and comment on what happens.

Jesus says in Luke 12:8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God."

Imagine the same scene: A rough group of Texans sitting around the campfire after a successful hunting expedition. The BIG stories start. As they escalate there is one person around the fire who knows the real King of Kings, one guy there that knows the Creator of all that lies before them and the Maker of not only the animals they killed that day but also the very lives they are leading. This one guy waits until he has the right opportunity to share THE name above all names. He prays as he waits that The Spirit will enable the others to actually hear what He is about to say. Then he pipes up...

The success of whatever this one guy says at this moment has nothing whatsoever to do with the guy himself and everything to do with the person hearing the message. As our Pastor so aptly pointed out the other week at the Sunday service 2 Corinthians 2:16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

Instead of group questions I am going to have you practice acknowledging Jesus in couples so pick a couple topics each and practice acknowledging Jesus before man.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Short play about the Apostles being minor celebrities

No doubt the Apostles were minor celebrities and came to kind of believe their own press if you read Luke 9. Imagine being in their sandals for a moment: Walking around with Jesus for a couple of years. Being one of the chosen few Apostles that God chose but at the same time being totally human with all our frailties of pride, lust, and insecurity. Human. Yet walking around close friends with the Saviour! It had to have been awesome but at the same time it had to have been very tempting to think, "I am all that!"

You can picture the scene: Huge crowds pressing in to try and get just a glimpse of Jesus. Everyone has heard that if you can touch his hem you can be healed. It had to have been like the red carpet on Oscar night only the stars are Jesus who has the power to actually do something for you.

Written over 4 scenes, here are the characters in this short play:
  • Peter
  • A Fisherman
  • John
  • A Woman
  • Judas 
  • A Thief 
  • Jesus
Scene 1 -
Fisherman: Hey you're the one that caught all those fish the other day. Come here I've got a deal for you. I'll give you a 100 Denarii if you can make that happen for me tomorrow.
Peter: That'd be great if it was me that caused the catch. It wasn't me man it was Jesus. He is our Lord.
Fisherman: You can ask him to do it then. Split the $ with him and he'll do it!
Peter: Jesus doesn't want your $! He wants your heart.
Fisherman: My heart? My heart? OK. If I give him my heart will he get me that catch?
Peter: No but He will make you a Fisher of men. Jesus will save you.
Fisherman: Save me from what? I'm fine! OK last chance here do you want the $ or not?
Peter: I actually don't need $
Fisherman: I do! I've got to feed my family by catching fish and selling it. You know what forget about it! I'll see if James or John wants this deal. Hey James! 

Scene 2 -
Girl: Hey John! I saw that girl get healed the other day. I’ll give you anything you want if you can heal me too
John: Jesus actually healed that girl you saw and He can heal you too
Girl: I’ve seen you guys heal as well in his name so how about it? Look at what you are up for here (body display)
John: (to himself) Jesus says if I look at her in lust that I’ve committed adultery with her in my heart.
Girl:I’m offering you my WHOLE self if you even agree to try and heal me!
John: I can’t
Girl: Why not?
John: We are both coming from wrong motives here
Girl: I just want to be healed. What else should my motive be?
John: Seek first His Kingdom and all things will be added to you. Repent of your sin and ask Jesus for forgiveness first then He may heal you.
Girl: May heal me? You mean if I do everything you say and repent in my heart then fight my way through the crowd to ask Jesus for forgiveness He still may not heal me?
John: If it is His will you will be healed
Girl: If it’s not His will you mean I have done all that for nothing?
John: That is a choice only you can make
Girl: Hmmm. How do I start again? Repentance?

All the Apostles had to be seen as minor celebs. Just like today’s celebs have to have bodyguards because people stalk them and want things from them and I am sure the same happened to the Apostles.

Scene 3 -
Thief: Hey Judas I know you have all the $ now give it up or I know where you live!
Judas: I don’t have the $ on me. It’s in another place.
Thief: Take me there right now
Judas: I can’t right now. I’m working!
Thief: Take me there right now or I’ll take your head
Judas: OK.OK. Let me tell the boss I’m leaving so there is no commotion. Make sense?
Thief: I will give you two mins
Judas: Jesus, I need to go for my break
Jesus: Judas don’t worry about that thief he won’t bother you anymore
Judas: Sorry. Thief. OK thanks. That’s freaky. Where is he? He’s gone! (Looks over at Jesus who nods knowingly)

Picture the scene back at the campfire with only the Apostles. Jesus is off by himself praying.

Scene 4 -
Peter: Hey John, I saw that woman coming onto you Man that must’ve been tough
John: Did you see how fine she was? I’ve had hundreds of women throwing themselves at me lately. They all want something.
Peter: I know what you mean! Me too! And I’ve had offers of $ and everything else.
Judas: You guys don’t know the half of it I have had threats on my life if I didn’t open up the money bag to these thieves!
Peter: Does that make you the greatest among us Judas? I don’t think so
John: Which one is the greatest then? Which one of us? I think it’s me. I’m the one scoring all the ladies.
Peter: Who has healed the most in Jesus name? Me!

Guys here is where Jesus in His usual style and wisdom, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”


1.     What if that were you and you were one of the Apostles with all that temptation and responsibility? How would you make sure you kept in His will and obeying Jesus?

2.    Again, stretch your mind and put yourself in the position of an Apostle. What kinds of things do you think you would’ve seen and heard? Are there things you could do and things you couldn’t do for yourself or others? What your boundaries?

3.    He says we are part of His Kingdom and are sent out into the world with His message of healing and salvation. We actually are just like the Apostles! What are you going to do with that?

Monday, 30 March 2015

I'm not a thornbush

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers."

I've often thought that once a brier always a brier but I've come to a different conclusion. He also states in Luke 6:46-48, "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built."

Therefore, I now see that we all have the capability and opportunity to bear good fruit as long as we 'put into practice' the thing that will give us a strong foundation. 

What is that practice?

I love His Word as all the big answers to the big questions are there in black and white. Jesus says in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Does this actually mean that I can become a fig tree bearing awesome fruit even though I was once a brier? Yes it does my brother and this also means that we can 'train' to be more Christ-like and actually start producing good fruit in our lives once we practice remaining in Him.

Good news!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

There's no app for suffering

Today's youth culture has a saying you may have heard, "there's an app for that".

What they are really saying is that there is a digital solution for most issues one may come up against.

This is urban myth as there is no app to remedy people actually struggling with real issues in life. Things like unemployment, low self-esteem, body images issues, sadness and/or loneliness, or just struggling to trust God. These are all things that no 'app' can solve or even assist with. I'm talking about the gut-level feelings that's these issues cause not the high-level stuff. At this point apps are just distractions from the real world problem with which one is struggling. They don't provide answers to any of these issues. 

For real world problems humans always need real world solutions. 

People contact generally helps when sought after in the right manner with humility. Let me explain: Let's call the one who seeks contact the 'sufferer' and the one sought out the 'saviour'. Firstly, if the sufferer were to seek someone else's friendship and companionship for the sole purpose of what one could receive from that person then that is a recipe for burnout as the saviour simply cannot live up to the expectation of solving the problem for the sufferer. Conversely, if the sufferer were to seek the saviour out of an attitude of self-confidence and false humility seeking to assist the saviour somehow whilst in their heart they know it is actually themself who is suffering and needs the people contact. This would be seen by the saviour as fake and not a genuine approach to friendship. This is why the right manner of approach from the sufferer is crucial and to an appropriate saviour.  Let's look now at who might be an appropriate saviour. One could start with immediate family: parents, children, siblings, cousins. These people have blood relationship to the sufferer and therefore have a built-in ability and desire to help the sufferer. After family, current friends and then old established friends that one may have even lost touch with also have deep investment in the sufferer. I'd encourage the sufferer to reach out for people contact but be careful who is seen as a saviour, especially if female sufferer reaching out to male saviour. One has to remember that boys generally have a one-track mind and some will use this opportunity to take advantage. 

There's also another saying in life: nothing is sure in life but death and taxes. Whilst that does sound true I have found a couple of sureties/guarantees in life that I will share with the sufferer. One is that God never fails you and the other is that His Word, the Bible, always helps. 

In fact, I would go as far as to say that there is only one Person and one app that really matters at this point and that is Jesus, the Saviour (capital S) and the Bible app one is choosing to use. Of course you can just as easily pick up the paper version of the Bible :-)

 From one sufferer to another I hope this helps.