Encourage and live well

Titus 2:6-7 NLT – In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. [7] And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

In these two verses there are a couple of good principles we can all put into practice.

1. Encourage the younger generation

The first is that Paul wants the older people in the church to encourage and teach the younger ones. Paul saw this as a very important thing. In general older people who have followed Christ for a time have learned valuable lessons they can pass on. As devoted followers of Christ we need to pass our lessons of following Christ on to the next generation, so more people will hear about Christ and follow Him.

2. Live well

The second is the importance of living well. This is vital as a life lived well backs up our claims and teaching as Christ followers. If we claim to be following Christ and live like the rest of the world, we are not only deceiving ourselves, but we are not letting our light shine in a positive way for Christ. Paul wants us reflect Christ in everything we do. Not just some things, every thing!

So today let us make sure to encourage the younger generation and live in a way that honours God. We never know who might need encouragement or who is watching. Let us let our lights shine today.

Blessings,
Dave

Helping out

One of the things I love about being involved with ministry is helping out others. I like helping people both inside and outside of church and also in my workplace.

One thing in particular I like is being able to do is help people with church roles they are unable to do. We had an example on the weekend where someone could not do communion at the last minute.

I was able to pray, look at this website, and see if there was anything suitable for communion. I recently led communion in Bruce Rock and talked about the anguish Jesus felt while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This fit in with the service and because I had done it recently, it was still fresh in my mind. And as it often does, it fit in with the songs and theme of the service.

Serving God is a great joy for me. Especially when I can step up and help others in church. It is such a blessing to be able to do this when I am needed.

How about you? In what ways do you like to help others in the church, the community or the workplace? I think that is worth reflecting on today.

Blessings,
Dave

Enjoying lay preaching again

One of the things I have been able to do in the last three months is return to lay preaching. It was something I did for years before becoming a Pastor.

Preaching as a Pastor is different to preaching as a lay preacher. You know the church, the people, and what God is trying to do. And you have a lot of others things in your mind about the day to day running of the church.

Going back to be a lay preacher has been refreshing. You prayerfully prepare your message over a few weeks, give it a run through, turn up on the day and preach. Then you might talk with people and/or prayer for them and you are done.

Now don’t get me wrong I loved my time being Pastor of my last church. It is something I will treasure as a highlight of my working life. But returning to lay preaching has been enjoyable.

The only negative is that you can’t do a series of messages that have a theme or work your way through a book of the Bible. This is because you generally are only at a church every two months or so.

So far I have done three messages at two churches. Maybe in time that will expand to more in our region?

Blessings,
Dave

A simple prayer of blessing

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’
Numbers 6:24‭-‬26 NLT

These words are the Priestly blessing from the Old Testament. God told Aaron and his sons that when they pray that over people, that He will do it. It was a promise of God.

Today when someone asks me to pray for them I often pray this prayer as a part of the prayer. Or I might exchange the word “you” for their name. Like this…

‘May the Lord bless and protect {name}. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give {name} peace.’

It is a simple thing, but people often appreciate it. It is how God told the Old Testament priests to pray for the people, so I think it is a good way for us today.

Blessings,

Dave

 

 

Alive and active

I have been asked to preach in a few weeks on a particular passage from Ephesians. It is a passage that I spoke on a few years ago at my previous church.

The easiest thing to do would be to use my previous sermon and preach that again. But in reading the sermon and reading the passage again, different sections jumped out at me this time. This is not the first time this has happend to me.

My starting place with sermons is always prayer and asking God what He wants me to share. As a result of this certain words or ideas usually stand out over others. These make their way in to the final sermon.

Because I will be preaching at a different church to the one I Pastored, they have different needs and God might want to say something different to them. So I always try to be open to both the passage and the Holy Spirit.

As Pastors and preachers we need to remember the Word is God is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s Word never changes. It is eternal. But the focus that God wants us to bring to a particular church on a particular day may change due to where the church is at.

This is why I love preaching. It is always fresh and new each time and God always has something to say from His eternal Word to us.

Blessings,
Dave

Lost and found

lost and found image

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.” This verse was written to the people of God in a time of exile and captivity. They were in a foreign land, under foreign rule. But God spoke to them of a time of blessing and restoration.

It is in the same chapter as the well known verse that is on bookmarks, t-shirts, cups and Bible covers. Verse 11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even in the midst of captivity, God was speaking to the people about blessings and restoration. A time when things would be better. A key to times being better was in today’s verse – finding God as a result of seeking Him with all of their hearts.

For us today, that promise of God stills rings true. He still will be found if we search and seek for Him with all of our hearts. Just like in Luke 15 with the stories of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son, God is still in the lost and found business.

If you feel lost and alone, or you feel like you are in a foreign land under foreign rule, I would encourage you to come back to God today. Prayerfully seek Him with all of your heart. Tell Him how you feel. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to be with you. He will come and He will be found.

Just like the people of God in the Old Testament who wandered away from God, you can come back today.

Prayer

Dear God, I feel lost and alone. I feel like I have gone my own way and not included You like I once did. Today I seek You with all of my heart. I pray today that I will find You and You will find me. I want to walk with You again. Jesus I thank You that You died on the cross for my sin. I ask You to be my Lord and Saviour again. I commit my life to You afresh. Please restore me today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God is always working in you

Philippians 2:13 NLT – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

I love the fact that God is always working in me to give me the desire to do what pleases Him. From the moment I came to Christ nearly 30 years I can see a big change in my life. I am not the person I used to be.

Part of this is because I committed to follow Jesus wholeheartedly I committed to read the Bible everyday, pray everyday and looks for ways to serve Him everyday. But an even bigger part is God working in me to bring about the change He wants and needs in me.

My heart has changed. My desires have changed. My goals have changed. My dreams have changed. What was all about me, is now all about Jesus and His Kingdom. And I am hoping that these changes bring glory to Jesus.

How about you? What changes have you seen in your life? How has God been working in you? I think this is worth reflecting on today.

Blessings,
Dave