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, 31 August 2011

John Piper

The great purpose of life is not to stay alive, but to magnify–whether by life or by death–the One who created us and died for us and lives as Lord of all forever, Jesus Christ.

From The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Romans 1:32

Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practise them.

This passage really struck me. The thing is, most Christians don’t do most of the “big” sins. Infamous cases aside, most Christians aren’t involved in homosexual activity, outright murder, or adultery. But it isn’t enough. Because a whole lot of us turn a complete blind eye to those who do.

For example, many of my friends and work colleges are non-Christian. Lots of them are having pre-marital relationships. I don’t blink an eye, let alone say anything to them. Some of my friends are gay or have family members who are. Again, I don’t typically say anything, because they are my friends and I don’t want to upset any of them. A work colleague is planning to get pregnant out of wedlock, and preferably out of relationship because that way she can raise the baby any way she wants. All I did was point out that being in a married relationship provides a lot more stability for the child, and demonstrates a higher degree of commitment from the male, which isn’t really what she’s interested in anyway.

Basically, I’m approving of all of these behaviours. I may not be the one doing them, but I’m passively encouraging others in them. These are things that they will one day regret, either after they come to Christ or in hell for all eternity. And I’m encouraging them to keep on, just from keeping my mouth shut and not bothering to let them know that the standard they are following is less than God’s best.

As Christians, we need to approve of things that bring ourselves and others closer to Him, and not anything that pulls us or others away.

Monday, 29 August 2011

From The Saint’s Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter

Doubt not but the recompense will be according to your labor. The seed which is buried and dead will bring forth a plentiful harvest. Whatever you do or suffer, everlasting rest will pay for all. There is no relenting of labors or sufferings in heaven. There no one says, "Would I had spared my pains, and prayed less, or been less strict, and done as the rest of my neighbors!" On the contrary, it will be their joy to look back upon their labors and tribulations, and to consider how the mighty power of God brought them through all. We may all say, as Paul, "I reckon that the sufferings" and labors "of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." We labor but for a moment; we shall rest for ever. Who would not put forth all his strength for one hour, when, for that hour's work, he may be a prince while he lives? "God is not unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love." Will not "all our tears be wiped away," and all the sorrow of our duties be then forgotten?
Chapter 7.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

“Biblical” Excuses

I came to Christianity as an adult, and there are a whole lot of disadvantages to that. I have a lot of worldly thinking to overcome. But there are a lot of advantages too. For one thing, I see through (and unfortunately, have little patience with) what I term “Biblical” excuses.

Surely you’ve heard them. They are the excuses for not doing what God has set out in His Word, covered with religious language.

Excuse 1: The Holy Spirit isn’t leading me (to evangelise, to go on a mission trip, to give, etc). If God said it, then you need to do it to the best of your ability, with much prayer and supplication. You STOP if you feel the Holy Spirit telling you to stop. (compare with Acts 16, where Paul goes to preach the Word and is stopped and turned in another direction by the Holy Spirit.) You should not need a special prompting from God to do what He commands.

Excuse 2: I’ll pray about it. This is a delaying tactic. Few actually pray about it, and hope that the other party will forget to ask. If they do, you can come up with excuse 1.

Excuse 3: I know that I should (tithe, care for the orphan, give to the poor, have more children), but God has also commanded us to be good stewards, and if I did that then I might not have enough myself. This assumes that God won’t take care of your needs, that being a good steward means having plenty for yourself, and that God just plain didn’t take into account your situation when He gave that command.

Those are my three least favourite “Biblical” excuses. What are yours?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

From The Family by J.R. Miller

The good we could do in our homes with our tongues if we would use them to the utmost limit of their capacity it is simply impossible to compute. Why should so much power for blessing be wasted? Especially why should we ever pervert these gifts and use our tongues to do evil, to give pain, to scatter seeds of bitterness? It is a sad thing when a child is born dumb, but it were better far to be dumb and never to have the gift of speech at all, than, having it, to employ it in speaking only sharp, unloving or angry words.

From chapter 7, “The Home Life”.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Acts 9

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” (verse 15)

God really does work in some mysterious ways. One such is the choosing of someone who no one would expect to carry out an important mission for him. Paul is the most obvious example, being a persecutor of the early church, but in God’s plan, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Luther is another – a man who frightened in a thunderstorm, begged ‘St Anne’ to save him. But in God’s plan, he was the founder of the Reformation. George Mueller was a gambling reprobate, but in God’s plan he was to care for thousands upon thousands of orphans by faith.

There are so many people in the world who are publically opposed to Christianity. They seem impossible to our human minds to come to faith in Christ. But this is not impossible for God – and this is precisely the type of thing He delights to do, for it demonstrates how the foolishness of God is far above the wisdom of the world.

What is our part in all this? To pray that those who are lost to come to Him. To restore those who have, just as Ananias and Barnabas did to Paul. And to help each of them find their role in the extension of God’s kingdom.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Voddie Baucham

"There has perhaps never been a better time to see and proclaim the supremacy of Christ, particularly in the area of truth. It is against the backdrop of this culture that calls evil “good” and good “evil”—where sin is celebrated and righteousness is mocked—that the Christ of Truth shines most brilliantly."

From his chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

John 21

Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (verse 32)

Peter has just been told that eventually he will be crucifies for the Lord’s sake. I can’t imagine he’s thrilled with the news. In fact, he asks what is going to happen to the apostle John, probably wanting to know that he isn’t alone amongst the apostles in getting a pretty terrible death.

Jesus’s reply is not to worry about what would happen to John. It wasn’t Peter’s business. It wasn’t even John’s business! It was Jesus’s business. All Peter needed to do was concentrate on following Jesus for each step of his life.

Most of us get caught up in what other people are doing. Sometimes we’re concerned for them; other times we just want to make sure we’re not getting the worst deal, or that we aren’t the worst Christian, etc. But the fact is, other people are not our business. And if we’re looking at htem we aren’t looking at Him, the author and perfector of our faith.

I need to concentrate on following Him for myself, doing all He wants me to do, and not bother with what other people are doing, whether good or bad. They are not my business. My business is to follow Him, my saviour and my God.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

From The Family by J.R. Miller

But the true idea of a home is that it is a place for growth. It is a place for the parents themselves to grow – to grow into beauty of character, to grow in refinement, in knowledge, in strength, in wisdom, in patience, gentleness, kindliness, and all the Christian graces and virtues. It is a place for children to grow – to grow into physical vigor and health and to be trained in all that shall make them true and noble men and women. That is, just as the artist’s studio is built and furnished for the definite purpose of preparing and sending out forms of beauty, so is a true home set up and all its life ordered for the definite purpose of training, building up and sending our human lives fashioned into symmetry, filled with lofty impulses and aspirations, governed by principles of rectitude and honor and fitted to enter upon the duties and struggles of life with wisdom and strength.

From chapter 4, “The Parent’s Part”.

Monday, 22 August 2011

John 20

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (verse 21)

Jesus was sent to redeem mankind from its sins. We are sent to tell the world of that redemption. What’s more, we are sent in much the same way:
- Leaving comfort and family
- Experiencing sorrows and hardships
- Facing unbelief amongst those you came to minister to
- Doing things ‘beneath your dignity’
- Experiencing true joy along the way

Christianity is a missionary religion. The point is not staying in our little holy huddle (as many other religions, such as Judaism, do) not forcing others to convert via the sword (as Islam is famous for) or even to add Jesus to all the other ‘gods’ that a people group already worship (like Hinduism and most “New Age” religions). No! The point is that we go out and preach the Word, and God will use it to transform the hearts of some of its hearers so that they will turn to God and make Jesus the Lord over all their life. Christianity is not a hereditary religion – you aren’t a Christian because your parents are (though good parents will do all they can to nurture their children in the faith). Christianity is a religion that seeks to save the lost. And it is for that purpose that we are sent.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

From The Family by J.R. Miller

Two little stories of Elizabeth of Hungary illustrate this point and show the reward which such service brings. Her kindness to the sick and the poor was unbounded. Once she brought a leprous child to her palace and laid it in her own bed, because there was no other place to lay it. Her husband heard of it and came in some displeasure and drew down the cover of the bed to see if the object concealed there was really as loathsome as he had heard. And lo! Instead of the festering and leprous body he saw the Saviour, radiant with glory, and turned away awe stricken and yet glad. That was what Jesus said: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me.” The ministries rendered to the poor, the suffering, the tempted, the sorrowing, are wrought as to Christ himself.

Another of these legends of Elizabeth tells that once she was bearing her cloak full of loaves to the poor whom she daily fed. Her husband met her, and being amazed at the size of the load she bore looked to see what it was, and found only flowers. The loaves were as light as they were fragrant to the noble woman who carried them for the love she bore her Lord. So always the duties we perform out of love for him and his suffering ones become easy and pleasant as we take them up. Heaven’s benediction rests ever on the home of her who lives to do good.

From chapter 3, “The Wife’s Part”.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Converted in their 20’s

I’m kind of prone to feeling sorry for myself. Which I know is really silly, because I have a LOT to be thankful for. I don’t need to worry about going hungry, about having clean water or about being able to see a doctor. I’m reasonably well educated, and I have a job I mostly enjoy that pays more than I need to live on. And what’s more, God has redeemed me. So I have really no right to be sorry for myself. And what’s even dumber, is that I feel sorry for myself over the dumbest things.

One of the things I’ve been feeling sorry for myself a lot recently is my “late” conversion. I was saved a little over 5 years ago, shortly before my 22nd birthday. That means that I have had nearly 22 years of serious sinful behaviours, habits and thoughts to overcome. There are a lot of things that Christian kids know that they should not do, which I not only was allowed to do, but which I was actively encouraged by my parents and other people who were responsible for me, to do. I am envious at times of those who were saved younger, before they had a chance to do many of the things that I have done. And occasionally I use this in my mind as an excuse as to why I can’t do as much for God. After all, there are a whole lot of other, less sullied people around who God could use.

But recently in my reading I’ve noticed quite a few people who were saved at around the same age as me – the twenties, when you’ve had plenty of time to make mistakes but usually haven’t settled down with a life partner or really seriously started your life’s work. And these people did some serious work in God’s kingdom. People like…
- John Calvin (born again age 22/23)
- John Newton (born again aged 21/22)
- William Wilberforce (born again aged 26)

There have been many saints who have done great things for God’s kingdom, who were saved in their 20s. They served God as they were able where they were, and in doing so, transformed the world. They were saved at just the right moment, so that they could do the work that God had in mind for them.

Just as I was.

Friday, 19 August 2011

George Cokayn

Sin is deceitful, and will harden all those that indulge it. The more tender any man is to his lust, the more will he be hardened by it. There is a native hardness in every man's heart; and though it may be softened by gospel means, yet if those means be afterwards neglected, the heart will fall to its native hardness again: as it is with the wax and the clay. Therefore, how much doth it behove us to keep close to God, in the use of all gospel-means, whereby our hearts being once softened, may be always kept so; which is best done by repeating the use of those means which were at first blessed for the softening of them.
From his introduction to The Acceptable Sacrifice by John Bunyan.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

John 17

And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (verse 3).

What we all want is to go to heaven. And while it is true that there is no sickness, no pain, and everlasting joy there, that should not be the reason for wanting to go to heaven. Neither should a fear of hell. While all of the these things are true, and will motivate us all to some degree, there is really one main reason why we should want eternal life in heaven. And that is because that is where God is.

Eternal life is meaningless without God, just as this life is meaningless without God. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Without God there is no point, not even in heaven with its happiness, heath and painlessness.

You know, we have eternal life now. It isn’t just a future thing. It is now too. We are to know God through Christ now, not just in heaven. We are to glorify Him on earth as in heaven. For once we know Him we have eternal life.

Am I living in such a way as would demonstrate this to a lost and dying world? Do I make it sufficiently clear to those around me that I love Christ above all else? Do they see that I know God? Or do I just look like a slightly sanitised version of themselves?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

John Piper on David Brainerd

Who can describe the value of one soul transferred from the kingdom of darkness, and from the weeping and gnashing of teeth, to the kingdom of God’s dear Son! If we live twenty-nine years or if we live ninety-nine years, would not any hardships be worth the saving of one person from the eternal torments of hell for the everlasting enjoyment of the glory of God?
Pg 158 of The Hidden Smile of God

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

John 14

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me… Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (verses 1, 27.)

It is so tempting to look with our earthly eyes and see all the problems, all the difficulties. It is so easy to worry, to be afraid. But we are not to be. We are to believe (the NIV translates it as trust) in God, to believe in Jesus. This belief, this trust, excludes worry, it excludes fear. It makes all things right, not because our circumstances change, but because our hearts do.

I worry a lot. I stress out not only over things that have no eternal importance but also things that have no earthly importance, like whether or not everything from my to-do list is done. This is so far from godliness that it appals me.

God will give us everything we need in order to spend and eternity with Him. There is no need for concern – He has everything sorted out. There is no need to be afraid; not of the little things like keeping things clean, nor of the big things like martyrdom. He holds all things in His hands, and does all for our good. We just need to trust Him, believe Him, and then put our faith into action and follow Him.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Voddie Baucham

“All things were created through him and for him.” The ultimate purpose of all things is to bring Christ glory and honor, and that he might have the supremacy in all things. So who am I? The crown and glory of the creation of God. Why am I here? To bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why I exist. That is why you exist. That is why he breathed into us the very breath of life. He is to have supremacy and preeminence in all things. He is to have supremacy and preeminence in your life, supremacy and preeminence in the church, supremacy and preeminence over death and hell and the grave— supremacy and preeminence over all. And because of this, the reason for my existence goes far beyond consumption and enjoyment.

From his chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

Saturday, 13 August 2011

John 10

“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (verse 16)

Jesus has His people all over the world – even in the unreached people groups. They are His sheep, and He will gather them, for when they hear His voice they will come to Him and join His flock.

As His hands and feet it is our job, our commission, to go into all the areas of the world and proclaim Christ. They cannot respond to His voice until they hear Him through the words of a preacher or evangelist. And until the church sends its people out they will not have this opportunity.

The fulfilment of the Great Commission is within our reach. We have the technology to go anywhere in the world, usually quite quickly – within days! In the past such trips would take months or even years! What we lack now is the will. We need to humble ourselves and pray that we would be submitted to God’s will – that we would be willing to sacrifice in order that the Great Commission would be fulfilled.

LORD, transform us that we might be used of You for this purpose!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Mark Driscoll

If we truly believe the gospel of Jesus, then we should yearn for everyone to hear its truthfulness and see its helpfulness in the most effective manner possible. Therefore, every Christian leader, Christian church, and Christian person must ask themselves if they are doing all that they can to “win more of them . . . for the sake of the gospel.”

From his chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Luke 23

“Let Him save Himself.” “Save Yourself” “Save Yourself and us.” (From verses 35, 36, and 39).

As the people around mocked Jesus, they taunted Him to save Himself. As He said in the garden of Gethsemane, if He so wished He could call upon legions of angels, but then the Scriptures would not be fulfilled. He could not save both Himself and us. He could not save both Himself and us. He could only save one. He chose us.

We, Jesus’s followers, need to follow in His footsteps. We need to lay down our lives for others. For we cannot live a life of self and save them. Like Jesus, we must choose. And to the extent we choose to die, we choose for others to live.

Dying to self is not easy; I suppose dying rarely is. I struggled against it every day, making progress at times, then going backward. But steps are made, and inch by inch I creed towards death. And it is by dying that we truly live.

So let us fly towards death, to run and greet it. Our Saviour has paid its penalty, we get only its rewards. He has made the way, we need only to walk in it. And when our kernels of wheat fall to ground and die, then, and only then, will we produce much fruit.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Voddie Baucham

While many in the poorest nations of the world talk about the number of children with which they can be blessed, we talk about the number of children we can afford. We have houses that are larger than they’ve ever had and families that are smaller than they’ve ever had. Our attitude toward children is “a boy for me and a girl for you, and praise the Lord we’re finally through.” Why? Because they get in the way of our consumption and our enjoyment. They cost too much. That’s the fruit of postmodernism and secular humanism.

From his chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

Luke 21

“This will be your opportunity to bear witness.” (verse 13)

As a young believer, I was terrified about being ridiculed or even worse for my faith. I used to imagine being arrested and being beaten, and it scared me terribly. I consoled myself, not with the fact that Christ would be with me in any trial, but that such things were unlikely to happen in Australia.

Now, as a (slightly) more mature believer, I am preparing to go to a country were such things are far more likely, where children are abducted daily, where there are multitudes of orphans and many, many adults struggling with the effects of AIDS. It is a country where several people (including Christians) have expressed concern for my safety (even for short visits).

And that will be a country where the light of Christ shall shine brightly! It will be my opportunity to witness to those around me – in Australia as well as Uganda – that Christ is Lord, and that He is good, and is with us, even in the midst of trials and tribulation.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

John Piper

This sense of age and near¬ness to the final river crossing colors how I think about the generation of my children (ages eleven to thirty-four). I don’t feel like fighting with them. I feel like pleading: Don’t waste your life on experiments. There are proven paths. They are marked out in the Word of God. They are understandable. They are precious. They are hard. And they are joy¬ful. Search the Scriptures for these paths. When you find them, step on them with humble faith and courage. Set your face like flint toward the cross and the empty tomb—your cross and your empty tomb. Then, for the joy set before you, may a lifetime of sacrifices in the paths of love seem to you as a light and momentary affliction.

From his chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World (Free online book!)

Saturday, 6 August 2011

God’s Missionary Quotes

Do we never, as missionaries, hear the question “What is the harm of it?” asked about reading certain books, following certain pursuits, taking our recreation in certain ways?

We have been hard at the language, and need change of thought and rest of brain. “What is the harm of the latest novel, even if it happens to be rather unprofitable?” And we (who have not time to read one out of a thousand of the real books that have been written) spend a precious hour by deliberate choice over something not worthwhile, and when our immediate world interrupts us, breaking in upon us with some call, do we find that we come back to it with quite undistracted gladness? Or do we feel that we have, as it were, to try to come back from somewhere and pull ourselves together and gird up the loins of our mind, before we are ready to throw ourselves heart and soul into the think of the fight again?

From God’s Missionary, by Amy Carmichael.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Our Kingdom

We have a kingdom, but we need to claim it. As psalm 2 states, all we need to do is ask and He will give us the nations as our inheritance. We just have to ask. John Knox, as a galley slave, asked of God the nation of Scotland. He obtained it, and was instrumental in not only bringing many in that nation to Christ, but also set about declaring the rule of Christ over that nation, giving the theological basis for declaring Christ alone as head of all things (especially His church), and created a nation that would have the highest per capita quota of overseas missionaries out of all nations. (Not sure how the measure that, but it’s an interesting factoid nonetheless.)

What might we do if we asked it of God?

Jesus has given us a work that we can only complete in His power. But it is a great work, a wonderful work, to establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. He has assigned His kingdom and his kingdom work to each of us. And if a galley slave can so transform a nation as John Know did Scotland, what could we do, with our freedom, our technology, our money? We have the same God as Know, and the same commission (though different in its sphere as God has chosen for each of us).

Let us ask of God for the nations!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Disturb us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

attributed - sir francis drake -1577