Advice to a young Pastor

I was just reading through 1 Timothy chapter 4 again and I came across verse 13. It is where Paul is encouraging Timothy on what to do in the church until he returns to be with him.

Paul says, “Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them”.

This is a good place to start and a timely reminder of what Paul thought was important for this young Pastor to do. Read the Bible to the church, encourage them in their faith and teach them how to live.

With some many things that seem pressing in our churches I think Paul’s advice is spot on. Feeding and encouraging God’s sheep is a great thing to focus on for a young Pastor.

God Bless,

Dave

We want to hear God speak

I was just checking some webstats for this month on my website. It is interesting that the articles and MP3’s that have had the most visits are the ones about hearing and discerning God’s voice.

The top articles and posts are:

The top MP3 is:

I find this interesting that when some people say that people are not interested in God or hearing from Him, many are searching Google and finding my website. They have been viewed or downloaded in the 100’s of times.

It just goes to show that people really do want to hear from God. The harvest field is ripe (John 4:35, Matthew 9:37-38).

God Bless,

Dave

Titus 3 & getting ready for church

As we were getting ready for church today my wife asked if I had a passage of Scripture to read. I opened my Bible and read Titus 3:4-7  out loud to my family. It says…

“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”

It was a nice way to get ready for church. It spoke to us about all Jesus has done for us, our life in the Holy Spirit and our confident hope of eternal life. It was a great way to walk out the door and head to church.

God Bless,

Dave

Brothers and sisters in Christ

I had a very profound experience recently while leading a service in our church. As I stood up the front and looked around at the congregation singing I had a real awareness of everyone there being my brothers and sisters in Christ.

As I looked at various faces I felt God say to me this person is your brother in Christ, this person is your sister in Christ. This person is that persons sister or brother and so on.

Then as I was singing I felt God remind me about the Bible verse John1:12. In the NLT it says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God”.

It was real reminder that everyone there that day who called Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour was my spiritual bother and sister. It was also a nice reminder that will they not only be “related” to me in this life, but for all eternity!

I love the way God reminds us of the great things He has done for us in the midst of us serving Him. He is a great and awesome God!

God Bless,

Dave

Paul’s love for the churches

One of the things that has really come through in my daily Bible readings this year is Paul’s great love for the local church. In a number of his letters he describes his love for the people in the local church and his desire to see it thrive.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11 Paul talks about his previous visit to Thessalonica and how they treated the people like a nursing mother treats her child (v7) and how a good father treats his children (v11). His love especially for the local church really shines through especially in verse 8. In the NLT he says, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too”.

The heart of the matter is that Paul loved the local church so much that he invested his whole life into it. He knew that if people were going to be all they can be for Christ and persevere, then the local church would need to be strong and thrive. Accordingly he spent his life planting churches and sowing into them.

My heart for my town and my region is that each of the local churches would be strong and healthy. Like Paul I am committed to seeing the local churches grow and be strong. My heart is to see people encouraged and built up so they can be all they can be for Christ and really impact this world for God’s Kingdom.

How about you? Do you have a real love for the local church? Do you long to see if grow and thrive so God’s Kingdom can come to your local area? Like Paul, I think it is something worth investing your life into.

God Bless,

Dave

Five life defining verses

I was thinking about Scriptures today that have been life changing or life defining today. I was thinking which verses could be used to give you a hint of who I am. Here is five verses that I came up with.

1. Matthew 6:33 – Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

2. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Never stop praying.

3. Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

4. 2 Corinthians 5:18 – And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

5. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

I found this an interesting exercise as there were a few that were pretty close to making it into the list. What five verses would you use to describe you to others?

Living by the Spirit’s power

In Galatians 5:16-26 there is an interesting passage that is titled, “Living by the Spirit’s power”. In verse 16 Paul sets the scene when he advises us to “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves”.

Paul then goes on to explain in verse 17 that our sinful nature loves to do evil and that is exactly opposite to what the Holy Spirit wants us to do. He reiterates this thought when he adds that the Spirit’s leadings are opposite to the sinful nature and that there is a constant choice we have to make to do what is right.

In verses 19-23 Paul gives us some examples of both the fruit of the sinful nature and the Fruit of the Spirit. This helps us to see clearly that if we follow the sinful nature we will be involved in sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Conversely if we live by the Spirit’s power we will display good fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The thing I like about this passage is Paul makes it very clear which fruit belongs to which nature. This makes it easy to honestly assess how we are going and to see if we are reaping the fruit of our sinful nature or if we are living by the Spirit’s power.

How are you going in your walk with the Lord? Are you walking and living by the Spirit’s power or are you living according to the sinful nature? If you find that you have gotten off track, remember God is always ready to welcome you home, just like He welcomed the Prodigal son home, He ran towards the wayward son and restored Him to the family (Luke 15:11-27).

God Bless,

Dave

What am I building?

The last few weeks as I have been driving around town I have noticed some old railway houses being torn down. There is about 6-7 of them in different states of being demolished. One of them is pictured above which will only be a pile of rubble in the next few days.

As I have driven past these old houses, I have been thinking about how we spend so much of our lives seeking to buy and pay off our own home. Many of us strive for 20-30 years to own our own patch of earth with a house on it. We often get into so much debt to do it and we often do jobs we don’t like to pay them off to experience the “Great Aussie Dream”.

As I drove past these houses the other day I couldn’t help but ask myself the question, “What am I building with my life?” Am I building and focussing all of my energy on something that will one day end in a pile of rubble or am I building something which has an eternal value?

The best way I know to build something eternal is to build into the lives of others. To encourage and support them in their times of need, to tell them about God’s love for them, to teach them the Word of God, to inpsire them to be all they can be for God and to help them to become lifelong followers of Christ. When we do these things in the lives of others we are doing things that will outlast this life and reach eternity.

Let’s purpose in our hearts today to really build into the lives of others. Let’s make a real and lasting difference to those around us. Let’s purpose to build something that will outlast this life and stand in eternity. As the Bible says in Matthew 6:19-21, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth…Store your treasures in heaven”.

God Bless,

Dave


The New Jerusalem through 9 year old eyes

My nine year old daughter Natasha has been reading through the final book of the Bible lately. In Revelation chapter 21 she has been fascinated by how it describes the New Jerusalem – our final destination as Christians.

Below is some of her thoughts that she recorded about her readings.

When Jesus comes back he will be dressed in the best robe you can think of. He will take us up and we will be sorted human by human. Some will go to the place were the devil will be and some will go to the new Jerusalem. Where God will be and we will live among him. The streets will be paved with jewels and gold. On the walls their will be emeralds, rubies, topaz and nine more types.  The gates will be made of pearls with jewels stuck on and we will live for eternity there with God and eternity is a long, long time.

Natasha is only nine but she has a great hope of living in that heavenly city with God for all eternity. How about you?

If you would like to read about the future heavenly city, you can follow this link to Revelation 21:1-27.

God Bless,

Dave

How do we know it is God speaking?

One of the most popular articles on my website is “Does God still speak to us today?” Each month hundreds of people surf in and read this article. Many of these visits are from people who search Google asking that very question.

This raises another question though. How do we know what we hear is actually God speaking? We can wonder if it is God, if is just ourselves or if it is the devil trying to lead us astray. Here is some advice I got from a wiser old Christian many years ago.

1. Is it inline with the Bible? – Does what you are hearing sound like God? Does it resonate with His teaching in the Bible? An example might be a couple who are married. If one is not happy and wants to leave the partner to marry someone else. Then if they think they heard God to tell them to do it, it could be tested against Scripture. We would then know that does it does not line up with the Bible’s teaching on marriage and relationships. From trying to line it up with Scripture you can filter it to see if it is actually God speaking.

2. Walk with God daily – The second thing is to walk closely with God each day. We need to make sure we are taking time out each day to “check in” with God. Take some time to prayerfully read the Bible, have a quite time of prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you in all you do. When we do these things regularly it helps us to get “in tune” with God. The passage in John 10:11-16 says “My sheep know me”. “Knowing Me” is first and then it says…”and they know my voice”. Just like I know my wife’s voice on the phone when she rings without her having to tell me it is her, we can slowly get to know God’s voice over time.

3. God wants what is best for you – When God speaks it usually falls into one of these areas – to comfort, to encourage, to guide, to teach or to correct.  When we hear something we need to filter it and say is this for our long term good. Does what you have heard line up with other things that you have felt God speaking to you in the past? Does it lead you further into God’s will for your life or could it lead you astray? If it does not lead you further into God’s will or you are not sure, it would be wise to seek counsel and not move forward straight away.

4. Have good friends around you – This is one way I filter if it is God speaking to me or not. I share the things I am hearing (or think I am hearing) with them. We pray together and we talk about it. I especially used this when I thought I God was asking me to leave my long term job and move to a smaller country town. It was a big move and I wanted to get it right. So I shared it with those around me I trusted and knew who heard from God. We committed it to prayer and felt a peace that it was the right move. This peace took a while to come so I had to be patient.

These four things are some of the things I do to filter what I am hearing to see if it is from God or not. The further I go on my journey with God, the easier it is to hear from God and discern if it is Him or not. However, I never get overconfident because we are not perfect. That is why it is important to have good people around you praying for you and good habits in place to keep in tune with God.