Monday, December 24, 2007

From Plasterer to Prime Minister

Its Christmas Eve, and Ive 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...

Somehow, us moving to Bundy comes up a lot in conversations - chatting to parents of preschoolers, people waiting in line, customer service operators on the phone. Whenever the topic of 'next year' comes up, i always have 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 today...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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Friday, December 21, 2007


With the recent monsoon rains experienced throughout Queensland, we have seen a lot of flooding and swelling of rivers in and around Bundaberg. I was sitting by the river just out of town and noticed many clumps of water lillies jutting out of the fast flowing, murky water. It didnt interest me much until about half an hour later when i realised that these clumps were slowly moving down the river. They were not anchored to the ground, straining to keep their heads above water. They were actually floating and slowly but surely making their way downstream, to be re-planted again somewhere else. I thought that was quite an exciting mission for the little water lillies, having been used to quiet river-side inlets and suddenly thrust into raging waters, to be re-planted downstream where the river deposited them.

And then I noticed that some of the clumps were doing better than others. One little clump I noticed could barely be seen, it was mostly submerged, with just a few leaves above the surface. It would still complete its mission but I imagine it would be a bit worse for wear at the other end. The most succesful clump was a large mass of lillies in the middle of the river. Because there were many lillies sticking together, the buoyancy created lifted them all right out of the water and they were floating effortlessly.

We all have an exciting mission like those little water lillies. God doesnt just want us to stay in our quiet little lives, or our comfortable friendship groups, our successful ministries or even our secure financial situations. When the Spirit moves, He wants us to "let go and let God" and, relying totally on him, be replanted where he wants us. You might feel a tad scared at that prospect, in fact, if its happening to you, you might feel submerged, maybe like you are sinking, but he has a plan, and he knows exactly where he is taking you.

There might be some others you need to pick up on the way, a new colony to start or join, or some new ground to strengthen your roots. If you are willing to go on this journey, there are a couple of things you can do.

Make sure you are growing and have your roots firmly "abiding in the vine" (John 15).
Join together with others for mutual prayer and support (Hebrews 10:24)
And trust God to lead you to where he is working. (Jeremiah 29:11)

In this first month at Bundy I have occasionally felt a tad submerged and thats ok. All I have to do is rely on Him, and with all that praying you guys are doing, Ill be sure to find my place in this new colony, just where He wants me. And Ill be excitedly on the lookout for any seedlings along the way :)

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If anyone remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit." John 15:5

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Have you ever had someone drop in unexpectedly at the worst possible moment?

I had a call from a friends husband who was worried as he was out of town on business and could not get hold of his wife. I bravely volunteered to go around to their house to check, but was stopped in my tracks when I discovered the car in the driveway, the lights on, the door open, but no-one answering my calls. By this stage I was getting concerned myself so went to find a braver neighbour to accompany me. We exchanged introductions and i explained my predicament. He kindly escorted me inside the house and waited in the living room while I checked the rest of the house.

One by one i check the childrens bedrooms and they are all fast asleep and finally I find my friend in the back room watching a DVD with her brother, with the volume up loud so unable to hear the home and mobile phones ringing throughout the evening. Relieved to find her, I turned and walked back to the living room, muttering something about how much trouble she is in and she follows me out (in her pajamas) and is shocked to find a stranger in her living room, standing amongst the remnants of dirty clothes, a stray nappy, piles of dishes, toys and gear from a camping trip they had returned from the day before. She is utterly embarrased and after introducing my friend to her neighbour, I politley escorted him out, thanking him for his help and apologising for the false alarm.

The state of my friends house was the most embarrasing part for her. She had been a bit lax after coming back from camping and was in no rush to put things away or get the house in order because her husband was to be away for the week. Then suddenly, when she was least expecting it, there was a visitor standing in the midst of her mess and she had no time to make anything right!

She reminded me that someone else, much more important, is going to arrive in a similar way...

One day soon, Jesus is coming back. Actually, it could be tonight. It could be in the next 15 mintues! The day He returns will come "like a theif in the night" (I Thess 5:2) and he comes not to steal but to reveal. When he comes, we will be seen for who we really are. People will be separated like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matt 245:31-32) And to everyone on earth, he will be seen for who he really is. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (Phil 2:10-12).

But for those of us who already call him Lord, what will he find when he arrives at our place? Will he find us in the midst of yelling at our children? Or snapping at our husband? Or gossipping about a friend? Or cheating on our tax? Or telling a half truth to a workmate? Or being proud? Or self seeking? Or angry? Or resentful? Or worrying?

Christmas is a time to remember and celebrate the time when God entered history and came to earth as a man - Jesus. Let it also be a reminder that he is coming back any day now. So get ready. Give your heart a spring clean and get rid of the junk that has accumulated, especially over this busy time. Put the important things in their right place and may you be found in faithful service to your Lord when he returns.

Then you may hear those precious words - "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt 25: 21,23)

Want to know some home decor tips for your heart? Read 1 Cor 13 about what love is, Gal 5:22 about the fruit of the spirit and Phil 4:8-9 about your mind.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Rats!

Greetings from Sunny Townsville! We are on holidays yet I still feel the need to convey a little story I heard... approximately 2710kms from here, yet just a few days ago....A family were eagerly awaiting for Grandma to arrive for the traditional decorating of the Christmas tree. Grandma was due to arrive as expected and Dad was sent to retrieve the Christmas tree from the garage. Surprisingly, the Christmas tree was not all they found in the box. Somewhere between Qld and Vic, a large rat had stowed away with the Christmas decorations and had since passed on. There wasn't that much of the visitor left, but he did leave a covering of hair over the Christmas tree.

Well that brings us to the rather foul smelling dilemma this family faced. There was no time to buy a new Christmas tree, or even adequately disinfect the current one so the tree was taken outside for a quick hose-down. The kids were slightly amused and shocked at this development, and the parents were understandably embarrassed, but Grandma was coming, what else could they do?

So with a mountain of fake spray-on snow and some lovely tinsel and pink and silver baubles, the tree was decorated and looked like it had come straight from the department store. The saving grace in this particular situation is that Grandma has no sense of smell, so while the room smelt a tad 'musty' and even though the kids were dry-reaching while decorating the tree, Grandma was happily enjoying the Christmas celebrations.

My friend who was brave enough to share this story with me, had an interesting thought about how this Christmas tree relates to us. No matter how nicely we present ourselves, we all have a sin nature which is ever present and ever intruding into the rest of our lives. "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good but i cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18). But Romans 8 goes on to explain that we are set free from this nature through forgiveness found in Jesus. When we trust in Jesus, our sin is removed "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:12) and God "remembers it no more" (Is 43:25). Never. Ever!

God doesn't just cover up our sin, like the fake snow slightly covered the smell of the dead rat, it is totally taken away from us. We still have that sin nature, that tendency to go our own way, but as Christians we are now "controlled by the Spirit" (Rom 8:9) and "being renewed day by day"(2 Cor 4:16). When we become Christians, when we choose to follow Jesus, we are given a new nature. In Psalm 51, David prays "purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (NLT) and then says "create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)

God hasn't deoderised your sin, he has destroyed it! You have a new life, a new spirit, a new nature and a new start. And he will daily, hourly, moment by moment give you forgiveness and strength to live this new life.

Start this Christmas with a new tree... come to Him, confess your sin, accept the new life he offers and then live in connection with Him, with the Spirit he has placed in you.
Want More? Read Romans 8 and Psalm 51!

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