Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Wrath of God

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"If one rejects God's wrath, one must also reject His love, because the denial of either, in effect, destroys the personal character of God."

Here's an interesting theological article on the 'Wrath of God' - Click here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Between Reality and Vision

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What should we call that place between reality and vision. You know what I mean. The vision is... 'We will be here... in 5 years'. Reality of life is, 'We are still struggling with the finances, we haven't as much leadership support as we had hoped, etc, etc.'

We find ourselves strugglin with the inbetween place of reality and vision. What would you call it? That frustrating place? That lonely place? That exciting place? The long journey? The neverending pilgramage?

Maybe I'll write a book on it one day. For me, it's at times a painful journey. Not because things are overly bad in reality, and not necessarily because circumstances are not exciting. But, in your heart is something better. It's like Jesus yearning for a new Jerusalem; a place where he would be Lord of the City.

The fact is, the Kingdom of God is here in our midst. Around us. Surrounding us. Where two or more are gathered in Jesus' name, Jesus is there! The Kingdom is there! The fact is though, that the Kingdom has not come in all its fullness. That's why there's still hurt and pain. That's why people can still be sick, selfish and self-centered.

I'm on that journey, from reality to the vision God has laid on my heart for my church, and for the vision he has laid on my heart for my own life. Though, I'm not there, and I find myself in reality yearning wholeheartedly for the vision to come to pass...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Responding to a Consumerist Society

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When we go to church, how often do we ask ourselves:
* Will they play the music I like this morning?
* Will they be looking after my kids today?
* Gee, I hope I don't have to jump in the kitchen this morning.
* I hope the sermon speaks to me, and that "Johnny Smith" isnt preaching...

Since when is church all about us? I thought of this recently, with the tragic passing of my Aunty at age 51. My family told me they scattered the ashes over the water and read a verse from Corinthians about having new bodies... resurrected bodies. Picturing those ashes swirling in the wind, I thought again about this idea of being 'dead to the world'. The things of this world are irrelevant compared to being a child of God; a follower of Jesus.

So, tell me, when did Jesus preach: Come and follow me and I'll make you comfortable and fill all your wants? Remember what he said, 'lose your life'; forget about it; don't worry about it; its not yours anyway... Give up your own life and follow Jesus.

That's my response and hopefully your response to a consumerist society. It's not about you. It's about Jesus. Jesus will give you life abundantly, I don't dispute that, but life is really about ultimately glorifying God and making God known.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Without Vision the people perish

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The old proverb says that without vision the people perish; or as some say, without vision the people wander aimlessly.
We spent some time with our leadership team today speaking about the vision of our church for next year, and the years to come. Why? Well, without a clear vision, it is so easy to wander aimlessly. It is so easy to merely work and work, and become busy 'doing' lots of things, and the question is whether you are achieving what you should be achieving. A vision keeps you on track. A mission statement highlights what your main purpose is, but a vision gives you an idea of the preferable future for your organisation.

A vision also motivates the troops. Without a dynamic vision, people will wander aimlessly not really understanding their purpose within your organisation. A vision helps people be on the same page, and to be striving for the same goals. A good vision will ignite passion in you to see change and transformation. A good vision will see people signing up to be a part of it.

The challenge is today: Don't let people, organisations, churches, wander aimlessly because there is no vision. Get a hold of the preferred future and communicate the vision to your people.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Decline is never the only answer

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'Decline is never the only answer' is an article from Leadership It mentions that nothing defeats the human spirit like stagnation. You know, that place you find yourself in, where nothing is moving, nothing is changing, nothing seems to be working, so you stop; you stagnate.
What needs to change first, is growth of the spirit inside the leader doing the ministry. That's so true. If the leader has lost the vision, don't expect others to keep the vision very long. When the leader grows in their ability to persevere and be strong, and be passionate, then they will battle against stagnation and decline.

Leaders who have fallen into a pit of despair need to pick themselves up and keep moving. Don't fall into the trap of denial - trying to justify to everyone that nothing is really wrong, that nothing really needs to change. Try not to fall into a place where you lack motivation. See the dream, and live it out. Let following Jesus be an absolute roller coaster, exciting journey! Don't be dismayed when fewer people are signing up. Ask yourself, is it something to do with my leadership, is it about the fervency of our prayers, or is it that the vision does not connect with the people?

Find the article here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update - Palmerston Corps

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Good things are happening in the NT. In both our morning Church service and our Mainly Music outreach service, there was a great feeling about the place. People responded at the mercy seat in the morning, we spoke about the story of Noah at night (the fact that Noah was a righteous man in God's sight, so God showed favour on him).
There was something special about the strength of the relationships this Sunday. People were laughing and chatting, and then moving around the room and laughing and chatting with someone else.
I said to someone, you pretty much know the church has healthy relationships when you can't get out of the hall for lunch, because of all the chatting.

So what is God doing? Mainly music families are learning the well known stories of the Bible (well, well known to us), and they are learning who God is, his nature, about sin, and how it affects their lives. I pray in the near future they choose to follow Jesus.

Leaders in the corps are passionate about outreach, and giving both their time and finances to see God's kingdom be fruitful.

One of our soldiers got an award for 10 years of service in The Salvation Army in the NT. God bless Bronwyn!

There are challenges ahead. Mainly issues of discipleship and leadership development, but they are overcome when we teach and grow and learn what the Bible says for our lives. The Spirit of God is moving, and many more are coming to know Jesus in the days ahead! Bring it on Lord.

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