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, 29 June 2011

Socialising vs Fellowshipping

Over exam period, my life group has had a lot of dinners rather than small group discussions. I didn't go to them. I have some severe food requirements that make eating out not exactly the easiest thing in the world, but mostly I just didn't see the point. Because it wasn' fellowship. It was socialising. And to be perfectly honest, if I want to socialise, I have all of my secular friends to do that with.

That got me thinking. What exactly is the difference between fellowship and socialising?

Socialising is getting together with friends. It's catching up with them, on their news. It's fun. It often involves food.

Fellowship is much, much more. It involves building yourself and others up in God. Strengthening the weak. Building bonds of friendship that can change the world for the glory of God.

Fellowship isn't easy - that's why we so often settle for socialising. But the church is not a social club. It's the Kingdom of God, which is on the march, and forcibly advancing. And as Christ's soldiers, we need to see fellowship as a training opportunity to help us to do God's work as we carry the Good News to all the ends of the earth.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Distant Poor vs the Present Poor

I care a lot about the poor, especially those in other, less fortunate countries. It breaks my heart to think about children dying because they don't have enough food or clean water, or of diseases that we have completely eradicated in the Western world.

But I tend to ignore the plight of those who are a little closer to home.

Like the homeless people in the city, begging so they can buy food and shelter.

These people I am less likely to have compassion for. After all, we live in a fortunate country. One where there is plenty of food, usually jobs available, clean water comes from every tap. Medical assistance is available, and often for free. Sure, it may not be easy for them, but still.

Yet they too are made in God’s image. And perhaps it’s harder to love those who are around us (actually, often it is). We don’t have to see (or smell) those cute children from far-off lands on their days where they are decidedly less than cute. But the homeless here... well, they’re right here.

Compassion is needed no less for those here, in spite of the fact that we live in a country that is fortunate. They need our love and the actions that spring from that love just as much as those who are far away from us.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Mosques and Churches

One of my work colleagues is Egyptian, a Coptic Christian. She spoke to me on Thursday about some things that she heard on the (Arabic) news.

“They are complaining that Australia is terrible and won’t let them build mosques. Huh! They should talk! How many churches have they bombed in Egypt? They want equality, they say. But their equality works only one way.”

(If you don’t know much about the bombing of churches and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Voice of the Martyrs is a good place to start.)

Why this inequality? Why are Muslims so happy to claim that they should have mosques here while so determined to destroy churches in their own countries?

It’s because for a Muslim, a mosque represents the fact that you now “own” that country or territory, spiritually speaking. The more mosques, the stronger your ownership is, and the stronger it is felt. As my colleague pointed out, in Egypt there are three mosques to one side of a city block. Their ownership is high there. In Australia, not so much.

But that is also the reason for the churches. A church is a sign of Christ’s ownership of the land. (Which of course He does anyway, even without the church there.) And they hate it. Because Muslims hate the Biblical Christ.

Remember to pray for the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and other Christians in Muslim dominated lands. And likewise, pray that those who are lost in Islam will find the true way to God, Christ crucified and risen for His children.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Why We Have Money

God doesn’t make us rich so we can indulge ourselves and spoil our children, or so we can insulate ourselves from needing God’s provision. God gives us abundant material blessing so that we can give it away, and give it generously. And strategically--what could be more strategic than getting the gospel to people who haven't heard it?- Randy Alcorn

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Luke 3:11

And he (John the Baptist) answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Being part of the kingdom of God is a practical thing, with practical implications. We who have more than we need (and indeed, more than we need right now) are to share with those who don’t have enough.

Yet how few of us really do so! I am considered by most people to be “overly generous” because I sponsor “so many” children. But I look around my house and see only plenty. I have so much – far more clothes than two tunics! Far more food than I need for the day! I have mountains of books, of CDs, of tons of little things to make my life “easier”. And all the while a child dies of hunger (often without hearing the gospel) every three seconds. Lord, forgive my shallowness!

When Christ’s body truly rises up and acts as His hand and His feet, then we will change the world. We don’t want to, which is why we don’t. But we must, in order that his name is glorified throughout all the earth.

Lord, have mercy on our superficial, worldly-stuffed souls.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Knee Team

Are you joining the Knee Team over at A Place Called Simplicity?

I am!

Let's all remember to pray for each other regularly.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- Galatians 6:2

Friday, 10 June 2011

What Are You Preparing For?

I often surprise people. One of the ways is that I don't have my wedding planned out. I don't really have a dress planned. I don't know whether I want a church wedding or a garden wedding. All I know is that I don't want lots of people and I do want to be able to eat the food.

This surprises people because there are few things I want more than to get married (and have kids). Yet I don't have any wedding dreams.

You see, I don't want to have a wedding. I want to be married.

So many people prepare for their wedding. They plan out every extravagant detail - the dress, the food, the guest list, the flowers, the bridesmaid's dresses... there are so many details that they have planned. And then the honeymoon! Where to go? How long?

But they haven't worked out who will take out the trash.

The thing is, so many marriages run into issues because they haven't prepared for their marriage. They have no idea of their roles, what they other person wants and expects, or even where their marriage is headed. And so, too often, it's headed for the rocks.

I don't care about a day. It's one day. Sure, it'll be nice if it's beautiful and memorable and I can tell the children about it (in a good way) for years to come. But the important thing is the years after it.

That's what I'm preparing for.

(And I'm still unattatched, in case you all are thinking otherwise! Just pondering.)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

God Helps Those

Supposedly the best known Bible verse in America is “God helps those who help themselves.” Which is funny. Because that verse isn’t in the Bible. That theory isn’t even in the Bible.

God does not help those who help themselves. God helps those who can’t help themselves.

God helps the widow, the orphan, the refugee.

Just goes to show how different our ways are from God’s ways.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Born A B***h

At my work, I get to meet a fair few gay people. They've all settled down and had families (duh, otherwise I wouldn't be looking after their kids). As a result I sometimes get asked why the "typical" Christian position is that homos*xuality is not acceptable to God, and why if God created everyone (another frequent phrase is "born that way") that it is still not okay.

My repsonse is that I was born a b***h, that doesn't make it ok in God's sight. And it doesn't mean that I can't change through the power of His spirit.

I was indeed born a b***h. People actually don't realise how nice I am to them when I could so easily rip them to shreds. But that isn't what God wants from me. And so, by His grace, I strive to do better.

We are all born sinful. Each and every one of us. That is why we need a saviour - and what a mighty one we have in Jesus!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Do You Have Ears To Hear?

…when Jesus said to Peter, “Come,” He didn’t say, “Peter come.” He said, “Come.” All 12 of the disciples could have come, but only Peter did. The man who has ears to hear is the man who will step out. Eleven men had a story, while only one man had a testimony. Eleven men had a doctrine about the power of God, and one man had an experience with it. We must choose to step out of the boat in this hour. I believe that God is looking for a company of people to step out of the boat. Will you be that person? Will we be that people?

Adam LiVecchi in So You Want to Change the World. Pg 81.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Healing Prosperity Gospel

I've spent most of my life being sick, getting sick, or recovering from being sick. I sometimes say that I have had seven near death experiences... and then I made it out of the birth canal. (That's true. And I have had more than a few more since.) I am one of those people who never has any sick leave, who rocks up to work looking like they need a month or two off, and who generally is not well.

I no longer go up the front when people ask for people to be prayed for for healing.

It's not that I don't believe God can heal me. It's that I don't want to hear the comments. I've heard some good ones.

From being told the story of everyone anyone's ever met who had "allergies" who was prayed for and was healed ("so I'll pray for you and then you can eat meat"... except I'm a vegetarian by choice), to being told that "God will heal the hole in your lungs when you have enough faith", to "You should be praying for your pwn healing and not getting us to do it for you", to "I read this book and we should be able to heal everybody because Jesus healed everybody," I really have heard them all.

The thing is, God does not always choose to heal. He wants what is best for us. And sometimes, what is best is not physical health. We have taken what the world has deemed to be good and just Christianised it.

Health is a blessing. No one who's been sick would deny that. But God's ways are not our ways. His ways are higher.

Anything less than that is nothing short of a prosperity gospel, which insists that because God loves us we need to be healthy, wealthy and wise, and that anything less proves we are not Christians / in sin / in the wrong church / etc. It's just not true. God's ways are different. They are higher.

And we follow Him in sickness and trial just as much as in health and prosperity. Because we love the Giver and not the gifts. Because He is our God, and nothing else matters.