Physical & spiritual fitness

One of the things I was just pondering is how most Christians would like to be more active physically and spiritually. They would like to be “fitter” in both areas.

Most people I talk to on my journey would like to get a bit fitter and lose a few kilograms. For some not exercising is a time issue, for others it is due to illness or others it is just about motivation.

In many ways this is like being spiritually fit. Most Christians would like to read their Bible or pray more because they know that it will help them to be spiritually fit too.

One thing I have been blessed with is discipline. I am very disciplined in both fitness areas. I regularly read my Bible and pray and I also have a regular fitness program.

I started my current exercise fitness program in 1985 and my spiritual fitness program in 1989. They are both things that are set patterns in my life.

So what is my advice for people who have not set up disciplined patterns? What would I suggest for people who are doing no exercise and no Bible reading?

My best advice would be to start at five minutes of each per day. Walk for five minutes at a comfortable pace five or six days per week. Then each week add an extra minute until you get to 30 minutes.

The same goes for Bible reading and prayer. Read your Bible for two and a half minutes and then pray for two and a half minutes and add a minute each week until you hit the 30 minute mark in total.

You might think that five minutes of each is not much, but at first it is about establishing a habit of doing it and of developing the discipline. Before long you will be doing ten minutes of each and so on.

Establishing a healthy fitness routine will make a big difference for you both physically and spiritually. It is just about getting started and establishing a routine.

God Bless,

Dave

Giving away better quality Bibles

One of the things I have felt God speaking to me about lately is giving away better quality Bibles to people I know.

In the past I have purchased a number of cheaper $5.00 Bibles to give away.  They were still very good because they contained God’s Words which never returns void.

What I found though was they were very basic and did not have much help for those difficult passages. As a result I have decided to purchase and keep ready some NIV Life Application Study Bibles (LASB).

I have posted about them before and how useful they are. You can find that here under Useful Bible Resources Part 3.

When I give away Bibles it is usually to people who are exploring Jesus or people who are new to following Jesus. My heart is therefore to give them the best start possible for their new journey.

Giving away the LASB means new believers can find lots of help. It gives book introductions, major themes of the books, character introductions, information about Jesus and excellent footnotes on each verse.

For me it means buying only one Bible at a time rather than five money wise, but I know it will make a big difference to those I give them too.

I have found having a good quality Bible and a good tract handy is really helpful when talking to people about your faith. It helps them come to know Jesus and it helps them immediately after.

God Bless,

Dave

A Pastor’s main role

I came across this quote from John Piper today. It is part of the larger sermon on the topic of church and church members in small groups. Here is the quote…

“Christ gives pastors to the church, pastors equip the saints for ministry, and you, the saints, minister to each other; that is, you exhort one another every day and thus become God’s instruments for the preservation of each other’s faith.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this.

When we look at Ephesians 4:11-12 we see that God has given Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to build up the church. Verse 12 tells us that they “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”.

I think we all need to remember that as Christians we are all ministers and all called to care for and minister to each other. The Pastor’s role is to equip us to do that. He can’t do it all.

God Bless,

Dave

Peter preaches Jesus & the crowd responds

I was reading Acts chapter 2 this morning. This is where the Apostle Peter preached his first sermon to the crowd that were in Jerusalem.

I love the way he simply told the story of what had happened. He didn’t dry to make it sound cool or dress it up, he just preached the message. Here is a snippet…

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:22-24)

Peter spoke the truth boldly and in the power of the Holy Spirit and it impacted the audience. What was their response to his preaching of Jesus? Verse 37 tells us… “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

To that question Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (v38-39).

Peter kept the message of salvation simple. He kept it to the story of Jesus and the people responded. In fact thousands of people responded!

Two cool things happened in this story. The first is that 3000 were added to the believers group. Secondly many of these people were from the surrounding regions and were in Jerusalem for Pentecost celebrations and would take the message back to their own region.

Peter preached the truth about Jesus and the crowd responded.

God Bless,

Dave

PS. This is available for free download in MP3 format here

Why tongues of fire at Pentecost?

I was reading Acts 2:1-4 this morning where it talks about the Holy Spirit coming to the new believers at Pentecost with tongues of fire. In the footnotes is asked the question “Why tongues of fire?” I thought I would share the answer it gave…

“Tongues symbolises speech and the communication of the Gospel. Fire symbolises God’s purifying presence, which burns away the undesirable elements of our lives and sets our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others.

On Mt Sanai, God confirmed the validity of the Old Testament law with fire from heaven (Exodus 19:16-18). At Pentecost, God confirmed the validity of the Holy Spirit’s ministry by sending fire.

At Mt Sinai, fire came down in one place; at Pentecost, fire came down on many believers, symbolising God’s presence is available to all who believe in Him.”

Two things really jumped at me in this reading and the footnotes.

1. God is acting the same as He always has by using fire and bringing confirmation.

2. The Spirit is available to all people who have faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. We don’t have to live this life without God’s presence and we don’t have to minister in our own strength.

This is great news!

God Bless,

Dave

The Bible was written by men wasn’t it?

One of the questions I often get from people about the Bible is “The Bible was written by men wasn’t it?” Often they then follow up with the statement “men (mankind) are corrupt aren’t they?”

The answer to both of these questions are yes.

However we must look at the lives of the people who wrote most parts of the Bible. They were deeply spiritual people who genuinely walked with God and served Him.

People like Moses who spent 40 days on a mountain top with God. David who was described by God as a man after God’s own heart. Luke who was a physician and wanted to write an orderly account of what took place. The Apostle Paul who spent his life planting churches.

These people and the many others are not ordinary people. They weren’t perfect for all of their lives, but they were people who served God faithfully and wrote the things down that God wanted recorded.

If we were to compare them to people who have lived in the last few hundred years they would be like John Wesley, Billy Graham or Mother Theresa. Quality people who lived their lives for God and His Kingdom.

So yes the Bible was written by men. But they were not ordinary corrupt people. They were people who chased hard after God, loved Him with all of their hearts and spent their lives serving Him.

God prompted them to record what He wanted recorded. Just like He prompts people everyday to make a difference in this world today.

God Bless,

Dave

Why do I love reading the Bible?

I was thinking about my Bible reading this morning and I came up with this thought…

I love reading the Bible because I learn so much
What I learn changes my thinking
When my thinking changes, my heart changes too
When my heart changes, I see a difference in the way I live
When I see the change in the way I live…
It inspires me to read the Bible more
This is why I love reading the Bible so much!

The death of Jesus

I was reading about the death of Jesus from Matthew 27:45-56 this morning. It is interesting how four amazing things took place when Jesus gave up His Spirit (Matthew 27:50).

1. The whole earth went dark from noon until 3.00pm (v45)

2. The veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom (v51)

3. There was an earthquake (v51)

4. Graves broke open and many holy people were raised to life (v52)

Anyone who was there would have been amazed and in awe. No wonder the Roman Centurion exclaimed “Surely he was the Son of God!” (v54).

Two of these things really amaze me. The tearing of the veil to God’s presence and how it was torn from top to bottom. In other words it was torn by God Himself!

The second is that many holy people were raised to life and made their way to the Holy City. Imagine seeing people you knew had died walking around alive!

The death of Jesus was truly an amazing event. It would have to be one of the most amazing events of all time.

God Bless,

Dave

How does the Bible describe prayer?

I was looking up my Bible software this morning to see how the Bible described prayer. Here are some of the examples and the verses.

If you are on my website (not via RSS feed) you can hover over the references to see the verses pop up on the screen.

1. Calling on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26, 12:8, Zephaniah 3:9)

2. Calling to God (Psalm 4:1,3, 17:6)

3. Seeking God’s face (Psalm 27:8, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

4. Seeking the Lord (Psalm 34:4, Isaiah 55:6)

5. Crying out to God (Psalm 3:4, 66:1)

6. Lifting up the soul to God (Psalm 25:1, 86:4)

7. Lifting one’s hands up to God (Psalm 28:2, 141:2

8. Approaching God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16)

9. Drawing near to God (Hebrews 10:22)

I really like how the above verses describe prayer. It is more than bringing a list to God. It is about bringing ourselves, calling to Him and really seeking Him with all of who we are.

God Bless,

Dave

Jesus and Barabbas

I was reading Matthew 27 again this morning. This time I noticed something interesting in the section that talks about Barabbas being released and Jesus being sentenced to death.

The thing I found interesting is that the Chief Priests knew that Pilate would not condemn Jesus to death for Blasphemy (saying He was God in this case). Blasphemy was a Jewish charge that meant nothing to Roman authority.

So the chief priests made other claims about Jesus causing an uprising, tearing down the Temple, saying He was King and not paying taxes to Caesar. They did this to convince Pilate that Jesus was a threat to Rome.

Another interesting thing is the person who was released was actually guilty of the crimes Jesus was accused of. Barabbas was arrested and charged with insurrection and causing an uprising” (Mark 15:7).

In this story of Jesus and Barabbas we see the true meaning of substitution. Barabbas was sentenced to death and Jesus was exchanged for him. He went free and Jesus was crucified on the cross.

This is what it is like for us today. We were guilty of our personal sins, but Jesus stepped in and took our punishment. He died on the cross in our place. He took our punishment that we deserved.

I never thought I had a lot in common with Barabbas, but it seems I have. Jesus was substitute for both of us. We were both sinners and Jesus took both of our deserved punishments. The same goes for you too!

God Bless,

Dave