Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

I Not Like Growing In Patience

One of the qualities of love is patience. And this is probably, above all, the one I lack. I prize efficency. I get things done, get them done reasonably well, and get them done FAST. I have little patience with the slow, the less bright than me, or above all, the just plain inefficient.

God however, is interested in my character. And if it's patience that Sam needs, well then, it is patience that Sam will have to develop. And there's nothing like developing patience to make me feel like chucking a temper tantrum.

This process has been going for a while, and I DON'T LIKE IT. Here are some of the details:

- Continuous struggles with health. I have very little energy, especially in winter.
- A horrible housemate who was also my shepherd
- A hippie housemate
- An incredibly bad teamleader

Even in the positive realm I have to deal more with patience. I spend a lot of time helping Maryam with her studies and writing, and even though I love helping her with things, it does still call for patience.

I apologised to Ale and Helen (two of the people currently in my room) about our team-leader, saying that it was my fault because God was trying to teach me patience. Ale and I are praying for each other to grow in patience and grace - she is MUCH more patient than I am, but our teamleader stretches even her.

One day I will be patient. Hopefully before I get married, so my poor husband won't suffer (so much, at least).

Monday, 28 June 2010

Thoughts From my Quiet Time

What you said has happened, as you now see..." (from Jeremiah 32:24)

It is so easy for us to rest on the assumption that we need to "get ahead" in this world. That we need to make a dollar and save hard and take care of ourselves first and then our families and friends and then those who can help us, and lastly (if we have anything left over) we can give to those who can't give back, like the poor, the homeless, the orphaned.

This is NOT God's way! His way is to give to those who cannot give back. His way is to go after the Kingdom first and worry about having 'enough' later (if at all). If we fail to do so it is because we do not fully trust in God's promises.

And yet nothing is more sure, as this verse points out. What God said HAS happened, and WILL happened. "His Word my hope secures" as the song says.

Thank You LORD!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Hate Filled and Intolerant

It has finally happened! I am officially bagged by the hippies of the world. Or at least a soon-to-be-ex housemate.

Apparently I spent my time listening to hate-filled and intolerant CDs (read, Christian presuppositionaly appologetics), and only someone hate-filled and intolerant would do such a thing.

Said person didn't bother to speak to me about it. They went to Kallie, and worried her until she thought I was watching DVDs on how to be a terrorist. I told her all about these awesome CDs, and pointed out that we actually say some of the same stuff on a regular basis. That's because we are hate-filled, and intolerant.

Okay, so what exactly was it that made us (especially me) hate-filled and intolerant?

We believe that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and that NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH HIM.

We believe that there are fundamental logical flaws in all non-Christian worldviews.

We believe that you can be "so open-minded your brains have fallen out".

We believe that we you say or believe that there is no such thing as an absolute, we have the right to point out that that can't be absolutely true. (Think about it.)

When you are a Christian, it means that Jesus has become Lord of your life, and that means that you won't always be liked. Which doesn't exactly thrill anyone. I mean, we all like to be liked. But the important thing is not what other people think of you, it is what God thinks of you.

I serve an intolerant God. He doesn't tolerate competition. He doesn't tolerate sin. He's just intolerant. And guess what? That's the way it is! He's God, not us. He is not made in our image, in the image we want Him to be. That's not God. God is holy and righteous, and, when it is necessary, intolerant.

So I'm wearing my badge with pride. I am hate-filled and intolerant. Because I serve a God who is even more intolerant than I am.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Comment for Kids

For those of you who haven't noticed, I really like kids. I want to have not only my 'own' (read bio) kids, but plan to adopt internationally.

While children wait for a "forever family" they are usually housed in orphanages, which, depending on the area, can lack very basic and necessary things, such as toys, medical things, and in some areas even food can be in very short supply.

And for those of you who haven't heard, a adopting mother is having a comment-fest on her blog. For every comment made this week, she will donate $1 to An Orphan's Wish, which helps orphanages in China.

Another reader has pitched in and is matching the pledge.

Other readers have similar posts, and a few are giving lump sums.

Hop on over to this post on Ni Hao Y'all and comment away!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Lopsided Vessel

Most people are aware of the passages in the Bible that talk about God being the potter while we are the clay he shapes into vessels that suit His purposes. I've been thinking a bit about this recently.

How exactly would a vase, or any other vessel, look if it didn't want one bit of itself worked on, and kept on jerking itself out of the potter's hands? Pretty silly, really. It'd be all beautiful in most sections, but one section would be... well, a blob of clay. And if the clay were sentient, we'd think it was pretty stupid (to be completely honest) for not letting that one area be worked on.

Except WE are the clay. And we are sentient, and yes, we are pretty stupid (at least some of the time). Seriously, how often do we keep one little area of our lives out of the reach of God. We think he will be happy with 90%. I mean, come on, it's 90%. That's a High Distinction! That's awesome, and way more awesome than those slacker Christians who are only giving about 20% of their lives, or even worse, those atheists who aren't giving a single bit at all!

But God wants 100%. Everything. And in some ways, the vessel with just a little bit out looks sillier than the one that is barely shaped at all. And a life that is Godly in all but one area is more likely to be held up to ridicule by the world than the life that seems just a little better than that lived by most.

We all have different areas of our lives that WE JUST DON'T WANT GOD TO TOUCH. I know I do. But we have to self-consciously and consistently offer them to Him. And when we get tempted to take them back, we have to re-offer them, again and again and again.

Until we are fashioned into the vessels that He wants us to be.

Monday, 21 June 2010

From If

If there be any reserve in my giving to Him so loved that He gave His dearest for me; if there be a secret "but" in my prayer, "Anything but that, Lord," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I become entangled in any "inordinate affection"; if things or places or people hold me back from obedience to my Lord, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

From If by Amy Carmichael. (pg 42)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

More From Forgotten God

"You are most likely familiar witht he "fruit passage" in Galatians 5, which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patiences, kindness, goodness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." You may even have the list memorised. But look over those traits right now and ask yourself if you possess each to a supernatural degree. Do you exhibit more kindness and faithfulness than the Mormons you know? Do you have more self-control than your Muslim friends? More peace than Buddhists? More joy than atheists? If GOD truly lives in you, shouldn't you expect to be different from everyone else?"

From pg 146 of Forgotten God by Francis Chan.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

From Forgotten God

I think a lot of us need to forget about God's will for my life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit's leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today's decisions.

It's easy to use the phrase "God's will for my life" as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It's less demanding to think about God's will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It's safer to commit to following someday instead of this day.

[Emphasis in the original]
From pg 120 of Forgotten God by Francis Chan.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

10 Easy Ways of Making A Difference

After my two recent posts, I thought I'd share some of the relatively easy ways we can make a difference in the world. I'm not saying here that easy differences are great, or that we shouldn't be making hard differences, but it is better to do something than to do nothing.

1. PRAY. The "easiest" and yet the most neglected. Even if you can help in no other way you can take the issue to God, and He will answer!

2. Share the Gospel. This is Jesus' command, and it makes a difference in so many ways. First of all, you are offering someone eternal life! As if that isn't going to make a difference! Secondly, that person, should they accept Christ, is now a fellow labourer in the Kingdom of God. You have just doubled the potential difference you can make!

These two are both free, easy, and not necessarily time-consuming. Perhaps that is why we don't do them. They also show that the work is not ours, it is God's. Another reason why we don't do them, I suspect.

3. Declutter your life (and closet). It amazes me how many people have clothes that do not fit them, books they never intend to read, DVDs they watched once and didn't like, and other bits and pieces that are collecting dust. GO THROUGH YOUR STUFF AND GET RID OF SOME OF IT! Not only is it easier not having 50 million things you don't need (because you can find the things you do need), but by donating them to the Salvation Army, or Red Cross, etc, you are making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than yourself.

Again, that one is free (and can actually save you money, especially if you are paying for storage), and doesn't take that long.

4. Sponsor a Child. Yes, I have been known to make fun of people who do this. Sponsoring a child does not make you a great person. It is not expensive, difficult, or time-consuming, and in the West we hardly notice that $43 a month out of what we earn. But it does make a difference in the life of one child. And in spite of my making fun, I do it too.

5. Volunteer your time. There are tons of charities in desperate need of someone who will do some work for them. From op-shops to crisis pregnancy centres to telephone help-lines, there is something out there that you could do. Think about it, and do something.

6. Write a Letter. There are people being persecuted for their faith all over the world. There are others who are being persecuted because of their ethnicity, their relatives, their education, and a whole host of other things. You can write these people letters or petition governments (theirs or yours) in order to get them released. Voice of the Martyrs has a Prisioner Alert, and they even translate letters for you. Amnesty International is another option (with the added bonus that you can send emails - free!) but you need to be wise here - they have campaigns for unbiblical practices.

7. Use Your Talents. Good at crafting? Sell some items and donate to charity. A muso? Hold a benefit concert with some friends. Think about what you are good at and do it for someone else's benefit. Something I do is knit hats using wool I've managed to aquire over the years (presents, buying very cheaply, and once my dad got a box of wool for $5 at an auction) and donate them to the homeless. If you knit, check out Knit 4 Charity to see what you can do to make a difference for others.

8. Give a Gift That Keeps on Giving. This is a great one for the people you want to give small gifts to at Christmas. If you're like me, your Christmas list is about 50 people. Yes, I am serious. Obviously, if I get them all big presents I'll go broke, and if I get them all small presents they mostly won't like them. So I give people chocolates / handmade soap and a present from Gospel for Asia. I know lots of other organisations have similar programs, and most of these run through the year.

9. Click and Play. There are groups that have games that you can play and they donate rice to the hungry, or links that you can click that also donates food. You click, and sponsors donate money / food because you've seen their adds.

10. Donate Money. Yes, it's obvious. Give a charity your hard earned cash. Most charities can distribute things that are needed quite efficiently. My favourites include Take Away Hunger (which provides 100 meals for $6) and Bible League.

"If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"James 2:16

From Forgotten God

Churchgoers all across the nation say that the Holy Spirit has entered them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them?
[Emphasis in the original]
Pgs 32-33 of Forgotten God by Francis Chan.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Are You Serious?

This has really been on my mind since Care Group last week. The lesson was on Purpose, and quite frankly, it was dreadful. Afterwards, Kallie and I made fun of the girl who gave the lesson, which was mean of us, and we shouldn't have done it, but our points (which we only made in our mean form to each other and to Stephen) were all valid ones.

Ignoring her Biblical inaccuracies, and the general focus on the merits of herself, the main problem with her lesson was the complete absence of fruit in this area of her life.

She talked a lot about how she wanted to rescue lots of children out of poverty, and how she cries when she sees poor children on TV, etc etc. Now, that is a noble thing to want. I want that. She then said how she was willing to give up everything (her money, her time, her career) in order to achieve this purpose.

And she hasn't done a single thing.

She doesn't have a job, and she's not studying. She lives on money her parents send from overseas. She spends a whole lot of her time shopping. So much so that she bragged how it was so nice to be able to catch up with some non-Christians who visit our group and talk to them (not about God mind) for 4 HOURS on a weekday. She's considered someone getting their camera stolen to be a charity case (I ripped her over that one). She lives a nice, cushy, upper-middle-class life of ease and lack of work. She doesn't volunteer for groups who make a difference; her impact is limited to sponsering a child, which, quite frankly, lots of my non-Christian friends do.

We made fun of her because she isn't serious. Not really. Sure, she's idealistic and wants to "Make a Difference" but not if it REALLY means having to give up something.

So my question is, are you serious? Do you sacrifice to meet the goals that God has for you? Do you actually give - of your time and your money and your emotions - to the church, to the lost, to the needy? When you make comments about wanting to do different things to glorify God, will unbelievers who hear you take you seriously, or will you be a joke to them?