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The PASSION Blog

The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life, church life and the Bible. I generally post once or twice a week. I hope you are blessed by these reflections.


Looking like Jesus
24 May 2017


Today’s Our Daily Bread was talking about lookalikes. It says that some people believe we all have someone who looks like us in the world. Then it poses a question to consider. Do we look like Jesus?

Here is a snippet that grabbed my attention…

Who do you look like? As you ponder that question, reflect on 2 Corinthians 3:18, where Paul tells us that we “are being transformed into [the Lord’s] image.” As we seek to honor Jesus with our lives, one of our goals is to take on His image. Of course, this doesn’t mean we have to grow a beard and wear sandals—it means that the Holy Spirit helps us demonstrate Christlike characteristics in how we live. For example, in attitude (humility), in character (loving), and in compassion (coming alongside the down and out), we are to look like Jesus and imitate Him.

My hope is that I will live more like Jesus as every year passes. If someone hasn’t seen me for a while and we catch up, I hope they see the change in my life.

How about you? In what ways are you becoming more like Jesus? What things can you noticed that has changed over the last years? I think that is worth reflecting on today.

God Bless,
Dave


Overcome evil with good
23 May 2017


Overnight we have heard of another terrorist attack that killed many people and injured many more. My heart and prayers goes out to the families of those who died and were injured.

As I have been thinking about this attack, my mind has gone back to a verse in Romans 12. The last verse says, “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good”.

Paul finishes this chapter that talks about being living sacrifices with a plea to not let evil overcome us, but to press on and overcome evil with good deeds. It is a big statement that is hard to live up to.

I remember years ago I was heavily involved in community outreach with our church in Perth. We would go door to door giving away Jesus videos. We were on fire and we wanted to take on the world. Many people were coming to faith in Jesus.

Then along came September 11. It is when I let evil overcome me. I was horrified at the evil people could do to each other. It really knocked me and I found it hard to go out every Saturday.

I knew there was evil in the world, but somehow it brought it home to me. It took me a few months to get back on tract. Romans 12:21 was one of the things that helped me get back on tract. God commands us to conquer evil by doing good.

Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. I think Princess Di used that in one of her famous speeches too.

It can be a sacrifice to have an overcoming attitude. But if we keep moving forward and serving God by serving others, the Bible promises we will reap a harvest at the right time. It tells us this is Galatians 6:9.

Now when I hear of terrible attacks like these, I pray for the ones that are injured and the families of those who have lost soomeone, and I recommit myself to serving God and doing good in the world around me. It is my way of overcoming evil.

Like Jesus, we need to be the light that brings hope and love to the world around us. We need to be Jesus’ hands, feet and heart.

God Bless,
Dave


The apple of His eye
22 May 2017


Dueteronomy 32:10 says, "In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye."

Moses was not only a great leader and prophet who made great speeches to the people, but he was also a song leader.

After preaching three sermons in the preceding chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses changed the form of his message to singing. Sometimes reciting something in a different form makes it easier to remember.

This song gives a brief history of Israel. It reminds the people of their mistakes, warns them to avoid repetition of those mistakes, and offers the hope that comes only in trusting God.

As a result, the Israelites had no excuse for abandoning God. He had shielded them like a kindly shepherd. He had guarded them like a person protects the pupil of his eye.

For the people, God had been the encircling protector, like a mother eagle who protects her young. The Lord alone had led them.

Today, the Lord God alone leads us. Let us remember to trust in him. Let us remember He is our protector and He guards us like the apple of His eye.

God Bless,
Dave


Pastors and downtime
15 May 2017


One of the things I think is important for Pastors to have is downtime. We need time away to relax and enjoy hobbies.

All of us need downtime and time to relax. But I think it is especially important for Pastors as we spend a lot of our weeks with people who are going through things.

For me I have three things I do during each week that help me to relax and take my mind off things. For me this is especially important as I can tend to work too much!

These are my downtime pursuits…

1. Weights – I do weights four times a week, every week. This helps me to keep fit, toned and improving my health.
2. Golf – I usually play golf on Monday by myself. This helps me to get out and enjoy a nice walk while hitting some balls in between strolls.
3. Motorbike – I love to get out and ride my cruiser at least once a week. It gives me a sense of freedom and enjoyment.

All of these things are both relaxing and take a lot of concentration. You don’t want to lift weights, hit a golf ball or ride a motorbike and not concentrate!

Having things I really need to focus on make sure I take my mind off work. As I said I can work too hard so this is important for me.

What sort of things do you do for downtime?

God Bless,
Dave


Friends sharpen each other
10 May 2017


One of my favourite Bible verses is from Proverbs 27:17. In the NLT it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

This is talking about the way we build each other up and encourage each other as friends as we go through life.

As we read the Bible and discuss it, as we pray together, as we meet together in church, we encourage one another to trust God, stay the course of faith, and be the best version of ourselves.

I have had a number of friends over the years who have encouraged me and sharpened me up. None more so than my wife Larissa.

Each day we talk about the things of God, life, family, ministry and our hopes for the future. God is always front and centre. He is entwined in all of our plans and our discussions.

It is in these times that both Larissa and I are encouraged and we sharpen each other. We inspire each other to live more wholeheartedly for God and lay our lives before His throne.

I am so thankful to God for the people He has placed in my life to encourage me and sharpen me up. I am especially thankful for my wife Larissa and the many God centred conversations we have had over the years.

I am also thankful for the conversations that we are yet to have.

Who have you got in your life that sharpens you? Who is in your life that you can sharpen? I think that is worth reflecting on today.

God Bless,
Dave


My week as a part time Pastor
3 May 2017


One of the questions I often get asked is, “What do you do during the week as a Pastor”. Some people who don’t got to church think I only work on Sundays, so they are surprised at what I do during the week.

Each week varies, but a typical week looks a bit like this. Bear in mind I am paid for 2.5 days a week including Sunday.

Tuesday

On Tuesdays I have two main tasks. I go to our local school and teach Scripture to a grade 3-4 class. After that I also lead an over 12s Bible study at church based on the previous weeks sermon.

Both of these require preparation of the studies beforehand, so that is my whole day for Tuesday.

Wednesday

This is my day where I typically prepare my sermons. As I write my sermons out fully it takes me a whole day to prayerfully research and write my sermons. This also includes the PowerPoint presentation for the Sunday service.

If it is a week when I am not rostered to preach I will catch up on paperwork that needs doing, write for our newsletter or do website updates.

Thursday

On Thursdays I start my day with a KYB Bible study group at church. As this is from a book I don’t have to do any preparation. I am just there as a participant and to enjoy the fellowship.

After that I generally pray through the church list of members and then visit the next person on my list which is at their home or in hospital if they are not well.

In the afternoon I might have a game of golf with some of the men from church which is relational, fellowship and fun.

Sunday

Sunday is church. So I worship, preach and have fellowship. Occasionally I might have a church lunch or lunch with someone from church too. Then I put the sermon and audio on our website.

Generally I get Monday, Friday and Saturday off. This only varies if I have specific events on or training.

Technically I work 3.5 days and get paid for 2.5, but that is ok for me. I love what I do and I am very priledged to be able to do it. And most of our members volunteer up to a day a week in service of the church.

So there you have it. That is my week as a part time Pastor.

God Bless,
Dave


What’s missing at church?
26 April 2017


Years ago we did a simple pamphlet for our local neighbourhood to encourage people to come to church. On one side it said this…

C H _ _ C H

What’s missing? U R

On the other side it had our church contact details and invited people to come along on Sunday. And guess what, some new people came to church!

One family were new to the area and were looking for a church and our pamphlet landed in their letterbox. Others said they had been thinking about going to church and it gave them a laugh.

It was a simple pamphlet that cost nearly nothing, but it worked. Sometimes simple ideas do work.

God Bless,
Dave


Martha gets a bad wrap
20 April 2017


Often when we think of Martha and her sister Mary we often think of Martha in a bad light.

When Jesus comes over to see them, Mary sits with Jesus and Martha is rushing around getting things done. She complains to Jesus and asks Him to tell Mary to help.

But today I noticed that Martha gives a very good response to Jesus’ question when they are talking about Lazarus dying and being raised.

In John 11:25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

In verse 27  Martha says, “Yes, Lord,” “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”

Martha’s response is brilliant. It is very similar to Peter’s response when Jesus asks, “Whom do you say I am?” Peter says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16).

Martha gets a bad wrap sometimes. Perhaps we should remember her response to Jesus about who He was?

God Bless,
Dave


The A.S.K. principle of prayer
6 April 2017

I was just preparing a Bible study for our teens at church tomorrow based on my last sermon. One thing I included was the A.S.K. principle of prayer I use.

When I pray, I am conscious of asking for what I need for our family and for us to do His will. I use the A.S.K. principle.

A – Acknowledge that God is sovereign and He can do all things

S – Seek His will in all situations and what He wants

K – Keep on praying and keeping it before the throne.

I know this seems like a simple principle, but it puts God in His rightful place – sovereign and all powerful, and me in my place – totally dependent on Him.

I thought I would share it on my blog as it may help some people out in the blogosphere too.

God Bless,
Dave 


God ties it all together
27 March 2017

I have lost track of the times recently where God’s fingerprints have been obvious in our church services. Generally we do not plan the services together, we just all pray about our sections and ask God as to what He wants.

It might be the songs tying in with the message perfectly or someone sharing a communion message that ties in with the songs. Or one of a number of other things.

Yesterday someone in our church spoke on communion that tied in perfectly with my sermon last week. And the Bible reading they chose was actually the one I was preaching on and read as a part of my sermon. The cool thing was they were not there last week! And the songs tied in too!

For us it is just another confirmation that God is in our church services. It gives us a real encouragement that even though we seek Him alone for our songs, communion message or sermon, that He hears and ties things all together.

I know we shouldn’t be surprised by this, but it is nice when He brings it all together in the way He wants.

God Bless,
Dave


When it is one bad thing after another
18 March 2017

Sometimes life throws bad stuff at us that seems never ending. It seems like we take one step forward and two steps back. You have times where you wonder if it will ever end.

When suffering seems to be your daily portion, we can find comfort and hope from the Lord. Having faith in God and His help is the only thing that has got me through prolonged periods of pain, loss and suffering. 

Two things that have especially helped are two verses – Psalm 34:18 and Romans 8:28.

Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

I have had many times where I have been broken hearted and my spirit felt crushed. Knowing God is close helped.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Knowing that no matter what happens to us in this life, that God works them out to be good in the long run helps too. 

When everything seems against you, know that God can make things turn out good. Knowing that God can recycle my pain to help others has given me comfort in the middle of the storm.

Today, I would encourage you to look to God and draw on His presence and strength. Ask Him to be with you and help you through. 

I did this many years ago when I wasn’t even sure if God existed. He came through and got me through the storm. He has come through many times since too. I don’t know where I would be without Him.

God Bless,
Dave



More blog posts

To view my older posts you can visit my other blog here. This contains an archive back to 2006 and has posts on a variety of topics from a faith and life perspective.

 

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