Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'd Like To Help, If Only...

Bo was a pillar of society. An outstanding member of the community. He was a gentleman, a savvy businessman and highly respected by all. His employees were paid well above the award and he arranged health insurance as a bonus to their salary.

He was not only blessed in business, but He was blessed in life. He married later in life than his friends, but she was worth waiting for. Everyone had heard of her beauty, not just on the outside, but on the inside. She had such a love for God and a compassion for others, and the way she looked after her mother in law was amazing. Her first husband had died some time before and instead of going back to her own country she stayed with her husbands mother to care for her. Bo met her through the charity arm of his business. She had moved into town with her mother in law but didn't have any means of providing for them. 

Bo's colleagues thought it unnecessary for him to give so much to charity. "In order to get ahead," they said, "you have to make every dollar count. Your diary should be full of meetings with influential people, any spare time should be spent on negotiating a new deal on prime stock, and getting more out of your employees." But Bo took time to look after his employees and the needy in his community. When he visited each of his businesses it was obvious how much he was loved and respected. And Bo set aside a large portion of his profits to help the poor. His method of setting aside money to give came from the Bible. 

In Leviticus 19:9-10 God set a standard for His people:
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God."
Can you see the picture of the workers in the field leaving stalks of barley behind so that those less fortunate could have enough to eat? God instructed his people to leave a margin intentionally so that there was opportunity to help the poor and the refugees. 

Bo didn't just help out when he had spare time, he set aside time in his week and said no to other appointments. He didn't just give what was in his pocket as he passed the poor man begging in the street. He didn't just donate at Christmas or when there was a natural disaster. He made sure he wasn't so busy that he couldn't fit in a coffee with the friend who was going through a hard time. And he certainly made sure that he didn't have every dollar spent before it came in, so that he had plenty to give when it came to looking after the poor and the refugees in his community.

And it made all the difference; in Bo's life, in his community, and for everyone who would hear his story from then on.
We can make the same difference today. If we consciously set aside a portion of our time and money to be used for God instead of over committing ourselves, we get to join God where He is working in our world. We get to care for the poor and the refugee just like He wants us to. We get to bring the light of Christ into our community. We have the privilege to join with the great cloud of witnesses, the heroes of the faith, who were used by God as part of his-story.

Why not add more margin in your life this month. Watch for opportunities that God will bring along to encourage his people and reach out to others through you. 

And, if you like, read the real story of Boaz and Ruth - the grandparents of King David in Ruth 1:1-4:22 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Josh: What's that Mum?
Me: My skin is peeling from the sunburn.
Josh: Oh, I saw a snake do that once.

There is a difference between shedding skin due to sunburn and shedding skin like a snake!- but to my son, it seemed quite similar. We know that one is due to harm and the other is due to growth. One is local and painful and the other is whole and natural.

At the start of the year a lot of our New Years Resolutions are about shedding. Some of these might include shedding some weight, getting rid of clutter in our house, cutting back on spending, or pulling back from harmful habits. Our resolutions are often painful as we attempt to give up things we enjoy or are comfortable with, but most of these drills have only a local, limited effect and don't end up achieving the goal that we set in the first place. That sort of pain is not bad, but there is a better way to lose what we don't want around. Would you like me to show you? When the Bible talks about making changes in our lives, it is never by our own strength. The Bible always points us to God first, and when we seek Him, He works within us.

James 4:7-8 says "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you."

Hebrews 12:2 tells us "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

God does desire us to outgrow what we have been comfortable in, but he doesn't usually rip it from us. He works in us so that those things no longer fit us anymore.
He changes out hearts so that we love Him more than other things which used to compete for our affection.
He changes our minds so that we think about Him more than things which used to capture our attention.
He changes our motives so that we serve Him more than pursuits which used to command our allegiance.

And He tells us to love Him with our whole being. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind/strength." (Matthew 22:37 and Deut 6:5). As we look to Him for our life, breath and strength He grows us from the inside so that the total and natural process of shedding the old and putting on the new can occur.

"...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose." Philippians 2:12-13

How refreshing is that! As we open ourselves to His work in us, and commit ourselves to time in prayer and in His Word, He works in us to give us the desire and the ability to live as He knows is best for us. That is so freeing. No more new year resolutions but may it be a new way of living:
            Submitting to God,
            Fixing our eyes on Jesus,
            Loving God with all of our being
and watching how He changes us as he works from the inside out.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Bears and Bees (Re-Post)

This post from 2009 is the most visited page at, I thought I'd share it with you again :)

Do you think if I stop blogging, wierd stuff will stop happening to me?

You know, like the
kamakazi parrot, the exploding possum and the historic vapour rub?

Well, today, for your entertainment and edification, I'll share about someone else's weird happenings!

I've been talking to a few bloggy friends about being drenched with joy and what it is that keeps us from experiencing the joy we have in Christ. Sometimes we miss the connection because of time constraints and busyness of life, sometimes there are cracks in our life like worry, discontentment, and selfishness where the joy seeps out. And sometimes we just arent thirsty enough to want to get to the source.

It is my prayer that through these random ravings God might whet your thirst for Him again. And, true to form, He has provided some thirsty critters to illustrate the point.

An extremely lovely lady I met recently shared this story with me today. The family had been out all day Sunday and upon returning were informed by their daughter that there was a bee in the bathroom. On closer investigation, they found a swarm of around 200 bees had somehow made their way into the bathroom through the small space in the window track. Fortunately for this family, most of the swarm was contained in the bath and had, alas, perished.

(It does seem like there is a dead animal theme going on here but I assure you I had nothing to do with it!)

On another more 'lively' note, we have been having crazy weather lately: cyclones in the North and heat-waves in the South. This little Koala was so thirsty it ventured onto someones porch looking for some water. Apparently the people put out the water for the Koala to drink and he hopped right in! Although I'm not sure who actually took the photo, Nine MSN published this as a news story.


The bees and the Koala realised their need for water so desperately that they put everything else aside in order to get that life giving refreshment. They left their usual habitat and safe surroundings to pursue a higher calling. The bees didnt make it, but our Koala friend is indeed drenched, and loving it!

Maybe our lives are so busy and full of other things that we dont realise how dry we really are, and how much we really do need the life giving water God provides. I dont want to wait for a heat wave to realise this, I'm diving in.

How 'bout you? Thirsty?

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Star Gazing

My husband loves to stargaze and over Christmas he enjoyed showing the family his new monocular (a cross between a telescope and binoculars) and the different planets and constellations that could be found. It was especially exciting that Jupiter was close (relatively speaking ;), and visible early in the evening.
They were all very excited, but when I looked into the scope all I could see was a bright blurry circle in the sky. I moved away pretty quickly as I figured I just couldn’t see what they could see, or maybe my eyes were a bit too shortsighted to see correctly. Bryce gently sat me back down and explained that if I let my eyes adjust, it would come in to focus and I could see clearly what they had been talking about.
He was right!!
And he showed me that the longer I looked at Jupiter, the more I would be able to see of its colours and surrounding moons. It was amazing.
The best time he picked to stargaze was when the moon had waned and wasn’t so full and bright. He said that the shadows on the moon actually give more definition and so you are able to see more contrast when it is not in full sunlight. And the darkness of the night sky enables more colour to be seen when looking at Jupiter.
Do you ever find that when others try to explain things about God to you that it’s kind of unclear and so you politely excuse yourself and let them do their thing? You think, “Well, they really love all that stuff, but I mustn’t be that way inclined.” Or maybe you get the general gist of what’s going on, but don’t really see what’s so special about it? Like it doesn’t really connect with you personally?
Well if you don’t mind me saying, you need to sit back down and pay attention J. If you haven’t really ‘got’ what I’ve been talking about, or what your friends have told you about God, just sit a bit longer. Do you want to be able to see what we see? Do you want to experience what we experience? Do you want to get to know the One who made Jupiter and created the Earth and Moon?
Next time you get a chance to hear someone talk about God,                    concentrate a bit harder.
Next time you open a Bible, read for a bit longer.
Next time you pray to God, listen a bit longer for what He might be saying to you.
Don’t give up when life gets hard, or when God seems further away. He hasn’t moved. Sometimes the shadows of life let you see other aspects of Him more clearly. Don’t give up when God seems out of focus, there may just be other things in your life which are a bit too bright which need to take a back seat so you can focus on Him.
So take a seat, relax, let your eyes adjust and see the wonder of what has been there for you all this time.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Gift

How was your Christmas? I thoroughly enjoyed time and gift giving with family, getting to sing out loud in the supermarket as the carols were playing, and reading a great book by Beth Moore called 90 Days with the One and Only – Jesus. It was perfect timing as we celebrate our Saviours birth.
I had been reflecting on the fact that the way we celebrate Christmas is just a shadow of its true meaning when I heard one person refer to the season as ‘Giftmas’, and sadly this is true for most people. Sometimes Christ does not even feature in our conversations, our motivations or even our thoughts.
But there are some aspects of how most of us celebrate Christmas that help draw our thoughts back to The One and Only meaning of Christmas.
How do you prepare for Christmas? I love giving gifts and enjoy each aspect of the process – planning the gift, purchasing the gift, preparing the gift, placing the gift, presenting the gift and seeing the person’s response. And in our process I see glimpses of God’s process as he purposed to give us the greatest gift ever.
I have a Christmas App on my iPhone which helps me keep track of who I would like to buy for, what present I will buy (including pictures, store and price) and whether it is bought, wrapped and given. I like wrapping but am happy to employ the services of a charity to wrap my gifts more beautifully and with a lovely bow and tag. I love to have the gifts placed under the tree and at just the right time I excitedly deliver them to the intended recipients. Although my gift giving is not dependent on their response, I do love seeing them open the present I have carefully chosen for them.  
Before creation of the world you were chosen to receive a gift (Eph 1:4). God knew that mankind would sin and would not be able to enjoy eternity with Him unless He intervened and so at just the right time, God sent His Son Jesus to be born, to live, and to die so that we might live eternally with Him. (Rom 5:6)
It was at a great price that this gift was given for you. God Himself came to earth in human form. And the greatest ransom in all of history was paid when God the Father had to look away from God the Son as He died on the cross. But that price paid the way for freedom. Jesus rose from the dead, defeated the enemy and death, and now this precious gift is available to all who will accept it.
God’s gift didn’t come to us in a way we would have imagined. People were expecting a king, a warrior, a deliverer. But God chose to bring his gift carried by a teenager, wrapped in rags, lying in a manger, surrounded by shepherds and animals. For those who looked closely, they also saw Him heralded by angels and overshadowed by a star.
Jesus was placed for all to see, but only some truly followed. His message was for all to hear, but only some truly listened. His sacrifice was enough for all to be saved, but only some will truly accept. God’s gift to you has been planned, purchased, prepared, placed, and presented. The only thing that might be left unfinished is your personal response to what He has done for you. How will you respond this Christmas? How will you respond this year?
The gift is there waiting. It has been lovingly and painstakingly prepared just for you.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

From Plasterer to Prime Minister (Re-post)

It was Christmas Eve 2007, and I had just finished showing Santa to his milk and apple Hannah left out for him, oh, not to mention the carrots, oats and water for the reindeer. But before I hit the sack myself (haha, like that pun?), I have a little something to share...

Our move to Bundy 5 years ago came up a lot in conversations at the time - chatting to parents of preschoolers, people waiting in line and customer service operators on the phone. Whenever the topic of 'next year' came up, I always had to say we are moving, and they always seem to ask why. Now I'm not sure if it is because 'pastor' is an uncommon job description, or whether I mumble...but this day...for the second time...the conversation went something like this...

insurance lady: so why are you moving to Bundaberg?
me: my husband is going to be a pastor at a church there.
lady: oh wow, he must be a specialist in what he does
me: umm, i guess so, he just finished studying...
lady: {uncomfortable pause} oh, dear, I'm so silly, you'll never guess what i thought you said...
me: {here it comes again} no, its alright, what was it?
lady: i thought you said he was a plasterer, that he was going to plaster a church.
both: {laughing}
lady: well i guess he is a specialist in more ways than one!
One other humorous conversation, on the other end of the scale went something like this...

Hannah (5): we are moving to Bundaberg
lady: is your daddy going to do something special there?
Hannah: yes but i cant remember what
lady: is he going to be a minister?
Hannah: oh yes...the prime minister!
Somewhere between plasterer and prime minister, Bryce is going to serve the people of Bundaberg, but this story reminded me of another man who made a similar journey (ok its not similar, its a far stretch but stay with me :) ).

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Born a peasant in a barn,
living as a carpenter,
speaking like a prophet,
dying like a criminal,
rising from the dead as King of All.
A man but also God.

Oh I really hope he has your attention tomorrow. Please don't just get wrapped up {ooh theres that pun again :) } in family and food and fun. Think about the baby who was king, the carpenter who formed the earth, the man who died to take the penalty for your sin and the risen Lord who has conquered death so we can spend eternity with Him.

Please remember that we open presents tomorrow to celebrate the gift that God gave to us. We share with our family and those who have no family tomorrow because God freely included us in His family at no cost to us. We go to church tomorrow not just because its the done thing, but because it was the most important thing ever done in all of history.

"Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

Read Luke Chapter 2 today!

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who's Side Are You On?

With the State of Origin games and school athletics carnivals there has been a lot of talk about sporting teams and people everywhere are becoming passionate about their team. They talk about it, wear clothes representing it, have signs on their cars, paint their faces and sing crazy songs. Most people are very proud of the colours they wear and cheer on their team and defend them at any opportunity.

I came under a bit of heat recently when I wore a red shirt to a sports carnival. The problem was that I am actually in the yellow team, but didn't have a yellow shirt ;). The yellow team wasn't happy that I had absconded due to fashion, and the red team weren't happy because I wasn't wholeheartedly supporting them. I think they were a little offended that I was wearing their colour and not a true supporter at heart! Even though I prefer red, and red was winning, I was quickly reminded "You can't 'prefer' a side, you are either a supporter or not!" You don't support a team while they are popular or support them while it makes you liked. A true supporter will still be a proud supporter in the midst of opposition and attack from rivals. (I think they like the banter!)

People are often known and remembered by what they are passionate about. And even more so when they pass that passion on to others. Leaving a legacy is living by our convictions, not our preferences.

Preferences are subject to change: changes with mood, with peer pressure, with what 'works for me' at the time, what makes me feel good and what makes me happy. Convictions remain the same and provide an anchor for feelings, emotions, and decisions even in the toughest of times.

Being a follower of Jesus is not about preferences. You won't last very long on the journey if you are committed to having your own needs for happiness fulfilled. If you pray when you need something, serve when you're saluted, give when you are shown gratitude, obey when it suits you and love when it feels good you are sitting out, missing out and selling out.

Being a follower of Jesus is a life changing, eternity altering, exciting adventure but it is not for the casual supporter. You are welcome to be a casual supporter with a season ticket to Sunday services, but that's not even a glimpse of the camaraderie, conviction and calling of the true adventure of a life with Christ. I am wearing my colours proud. I will be a graciously outspoken follower of Christ.

I will not dis' your decision but I'll excitedly tell you how Good it us to be on This side. I will unashamedly invite you to join us. And I will pray my heart out that you do.

Who's side are you on?

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