Give thanks to the Lord

Psalm 136:1-9 NLT – Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. [2] Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. [3] Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever. [4] Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever. [5] Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever. [6] Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters. His faithful love endures forever. [7] Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights- His faithful love endures forever. [8] the sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever. [9] and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.

Giving thanks to the Lord is a great foundation for our lives as Jesus followers. If we think about the above passage and reflect on our lives with God, we have so much to be thankful for. These are some of my things I thank God for…

  1. My salvation
  2. My family
  3. This world He created for us
  4. The hope we have in Christ
  5. Food in the fridge
  6. Clean water to drink
  7. A safe place to live
  8. People who love me
  9. My church
  10. A job that I can work at
  11. A mission in the world
  12. The ability to exercise
  13. Being healed of Rheumatoid Arthritis

These are just some of the things. My blog post would keep going all day!

How about you? What are you thankful for? I think it is worth reflecting on today.

Remember: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Blessings,

Dave

A great time to grow as a Christian


I became a Christian and found peace with God back in 1989. It was the best thing I have ever done. It changed the course of my life forever and my eternal destiny.

One thing I was reflecting on today is that it is especially a great time to be a Christian. Especially if you are keen to grow and keep growing in your faith.

When I came to Christ I had a Bible and various books to read and learn from. I also spoke to people who were more mature than me. As I was not really a big reader or very social, this was not as good as it could have been.

Nowdays, we have the internet with podcasts, blogs, apps, online Bibles, online dictionaries and commentaries, streaming church services, online Christian radio and online Bible colleges, as well as the things I had when I came to Christ.

Today I think there is no excuse to not be growing in our faith. With so many great resources that we can take advantage of it is a great time to be a growing disciple of Christ.

As I type I think about new Christians I know who are growing far quicker than I did all those years ago. What took me five years to learn seems to happen in a year or two. This makes me so happy!

With all the resources we have for growth today, I can’t wait to see what is available in 5-10 years time. It is truly a great time to grow as a Christian!

Blessings,

Dave

Out on the bike


This is a picture from my ride this morning. Not on my cruiser this time, it is from my pedal powered version!

One of my my hobbies is fitness. I do weights and cycling. Sometimes I ride the exercise bike and sometimes it is out on my old faithful mountain bike. Today, the cooler morning and a light breeze made me want to hit the trails.

This old mountain bike has been riden since 1993. Every time I think about upgrading I look at my old bike and decide to stick with it a bit longer. It has served me well.

During my ride this morning I paused to take this picture. As I paused I thought of Psalm 65:8 NIV. It says, “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy”.

It was a nice moment with God. Remembering all He has done for us. I also got to enjoy His creation while getting some exercise too.

How about you?  Have you got any hobbies that allow you to mix fitness with your love of God and His creation?

Blessings,

Dave

10 reasons I love the Bible


I was doing my devotions this morning and I was thanking God for the Bible. As I prayed I was thinking of reasons why I love the Bible. Here are 10…

  1. It teaches me about God.
  2. It reveals who I am without God.
  3. It shows me God’s plan for salvation.
  4. It shows I am wonderfully made by God.
  5. It tells me how to relate to God.
  6. It tells me how to relate to others.
  7. It shows that I was created for a reason.
  8. It gives us a mission in this life to share Jesus.
  9. It keeps my mind busy meditating on it’s truths.
  10. It give me peace knowing I am right with God.

There are so many more reasons, but these are some of the simple reasons I thanked God for this morning. How about you? What would you say?

Blessings,

Dave

Mark a straight path

Proverbs 4:25-27 NLT – Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. [26] Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. [27] Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

In a world that is constantly throwing things at us that can easily sidetrack us, it is important to set a straight path for your feet. Setting a straight path for the Christian means to keep focused on God and His Kingdom.

We do this by…

1. Setting our hearts and minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2).

2. Keeping God’s Word hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).

3. Focusing on the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

4. Running the race set before us by God (Hebrews 12:1).

6. Praying continuously for ourselves and our fellow Christians (Ephesians 6:18).

7. Regularly meeting together with other Christians for encouragement (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Marking a straight path and keeping focused takes time and effort, but the reward is a strong and mature faith that makes a real and lasting difference in this world.

Blessings,

Dave

Deep roots

Several years ago I took a group of teens through my discipleship booklet. In the first lesson I quoted Colossians 2:6-7 and used it as a foundation for our studies.

I explained to them the importance of building a firm foundation for our lives in Christ. I am excited to say the message and the discipleship booklet studies we did really sunk in and deep roots were formed.

If you would like to use the free booklet you can find it here – https://passionaustralia.org/DiscipleshipBooklet.pdf.

Blessings,
Dave

Jesus healed the blind

Matthew 9:27-30 NLT – After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” [28] They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” [29] Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” [30] Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

In today’s reading there are a number of miracles. We see that Jesus had just raised a young girl from the dead. Then two blind men started following Him after He left the house. They wanted healing for their blindness. 

In this miracle there are a number of things happening.

1. The men followed Jesus because they had heard of His miracle healing power.

2. Jesus didn’t heal them straight away. It said they followed Him shouting and even followed Him into the house where He was staying. I wonder if He was testing their faith?

3. Jesus asked if they really truly believed He could heal them.

4. The blind men responded in absolute faith.

5. Jesus then touched them and their eyes were opened.

In tis instance Jesus responded and healed the blind men because of their absolute faith He could do it. They had faith and they determinely followed Jesus until their miracles came.

Determined unshakable faith that God can do anything is what it took on this ocassion. This is a good lesson for us today if we are looking for God to heal us.

Are you waiting for a miracle from God? Have unshakable faith and keep following Jesus. 

Blessings,

Dave

Preaching focuses for me

I have been thinking about some keys to preaching lately. Especially preaching to your audience and context. 

In my most recent church the congregation was a wide range of ages and most were mature Christians, but they did not have a Pastor for four years before I came. So I kept that in mind when preparing my sermons.

Here are some keys I tried to focus on.

1. Biblical – 95% of my messages were based on Bible passages. I aimed to do an introduction, read a passage, share 3-5 points from the text with cross references, summarise the main points and close in prayer. 

2. Brief – I found that 20 minutes was about right in my context. By the time I did the things above and prayed, most sermons were 20 minutes or 2000 words for me. Any longer than that I found that some people started to lose focus.

3. Powerpoint – I always used Powerpoint with the title of the message, the passage, the key points and verses and then the closing summary points. This seemed to help people with their notes and remembering.

4. Series – Preaching in a series or working your way through a Bible book was another key. Generally I would focus on one chapter a week. People knew if I did James 1 one week, then the next it would be James 2.

5. Website – One thing I did each week was to include the sermon text and audio on the church’s website. As I wrote full transcript the congregation could listen to or read the sermon again or catch up if they were away.

6. Fun – I tried to make the sermons fun. Sometimes I told a clean joke beforehand. Sometimes I threw out treats if people could remember my first point or a key fact. This got everyone involved.

7. Practical – my final key was to make it practical. Application points that we could reflect on and put into practice were key. I wanted to give people things that would help them follow Jesus in the church and in the community.

8. Communication – the heart of preaching is communicating. So sermons need to be sent by the preacher and received by the listeners. You can preach the best sermon in the world, but if the people are not getting something to take home, then you have missed the mark.

Preaching for me is a real blessing. It is hard work in the prayer-peration, but it is so good to be able to share God’s eternal Word with people and see their lives change.

Blessings,

Dave

What I try to do as a Pastor

I was talking with someone at church yesterday about the main roles I try to do as a Pastor. It was an interesting conversation. Today I thought I would share my thoughts here.

1. Preach and Teach – in a small country church this is a big focus. Each week I try to share from God’s Word and encourage and equip the church for the works of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). Most people in country towns are busy during the week, so Sunday is very important.

2. Shepherd the flock – overseeing the church with the help of the Elders is another key focus. Leading the church in the direction God wants it to go and taking care of the people are the two main areas for me. Having a strong leadership team of people who pray, know the Word and love people is vital.

3. Build relationships – my third area of focus is building relationships. For me this happend on Sundays and also during the week. I simply work my way through a list of church members and made sure I connect with them regularly. I try to make sure I check in with each member at least once every three months away from church to talk, pray and encourage them from the Word.

4. Pray – my heart for our church members is that God would bless them. So I commit to pray for them all by name from the church list. A couple of times a week I spend an hour praying for the members and their families. This includes general prayer and things prompted by God.

There are lots of other things you do as a Pastor, but these feel like the right things for me to do in my context of a small country town.

Blessings,

Dave

Tired of doing good?

If I am honest doing good can be tiring. I look back on my last position as Pastor and I wonder how I did all the things I did!

The truth is though we are called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit when we do a role like Pastor of a church. And often the gaps we have in our skills or energy are filled in by God.

One key I found to not grow weary in doing good is to start the day with God. It is so easy to do all the things on your to do list, without checking in with God first. It is just so vital to be with God first, before starting His work.

As I type I think of the example of Jesus. A number of times we read in Scripture that Jesus went off to a solitary place to be with His Father. He checked in and only did what He saw the Father doing.

Today I would encourage you to check in with God before you start your work. Spend some time in prayer and in the Word, before you go to work or church.

For me, checking in with God first brings the heavenly energy and heavenly insight I need to do His work. We need this to reap the promised harvest.

Blessings,
Dave