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The PASSION Blog

The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life, the Bible and ministry. I hope you are blessed by them.


Bring it back Lord
Posted on September 21, 2019


“O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭90:13-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There are times in our walk with the Lord that it seems like things are just not happening. It feels like God is not with us, all our efforts are in vain and we are not seeing Him work in our lives.

If we are honest with ourselves and others, this is true for all of us. We all get in to a spiritual funk at times and we feel like we are just going through the motions.

Today’s passage is a great passage. It is in the form of a prayer. In it it has a number of this we can pray and ask God for.

1. Bring back Your presence – God doesn’t leave us. The Bible tells us this in a number of places. But for some reason at times it seems like He is further away than usual. A good place to start when you feel like this is to pray with David, “O Lord, come back to us”.

2. Bring back the joy – all of us go through times when we lose the joy of the Lord. Our lives become dull and dreary and the joy is gone…or very little remains. Again we can pray, “Saisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we can sing again”.

3. Bring back the good – again there are seasons in our lives where it seems like the good is gone. We may still have many blessings like our faith, our families, our home and provision, but it feels like a lot has been stolen from us. “Replace the evil with good and let us see You work again and Your glory” should echo the cries of our hearts in these times.

4. Bring back Your approval – God’s approval is the ultimate approval in all creation. Knowing that you are loved, forgiven and accepted by God as His child for eternity is the greatest thing we can have. But at times, for whatever reason, we lose sight of His unfailing love and approval. “Lord show us Your approval and bring success” is what we need to ask for.

All of us. Let me say it again, all of us, as Christians go through desert times when it seems like God is far from us. It is in these times that we can pray with the Psalmist the words of Psalm 90:13-17.

We can ask God to bring back His presence, His joy, His goodness, and His approval.

Blessings,
Dave


Read it slowly and break it down
Posted on September 9, 2019

Sometimes to get the most out of Scripture we need to just read it slower and break it down. Take the following passage for example…

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalms‬ ‭103:1-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It would be easy to speed read this passage and gloss over a lot of it. But if we take our time and break it down, there is so much in it.

  1. It starts with praise and blessing God with all our hearts
  2. Never the forget the good things he has done
  3. Forgives all my sins
  4. Heals all my diseases
  5. Redeems me from death
  6. Crowns me with love
  7. Crowns me with tender mercies
  8. Fills my life with good things
  9. Renews my youth

When we take the time to really read Scripture and meditate on it, we find so much more than we do when we speed read.

Why not take some time to pause and reflect on each of the above points today.

Blessings,
Dave


GPS guidance
Posted on September 5th, 2019

As Christians we should let our lives be guided by G.P.S:

G – God’s Word

P – Praying continuously

S – Spirit’s prompting


Two fixes for stress and anxiety
Posted on August 31st, 2019


Two words come to mind when I talk to people who are stressed or suffer from anxiety - give and fix. These two words are key words from 1 Peter 5:7 and 2 Corinthians 4:18.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” ‭

2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” ‭‭

Notice the bolded words? In the first verse it says to give all of our worries to God. Not some, ALL. My philosophy is that if a problem is stressful enough to worry about, it is big enough to give it to God in prayer.

Once we have given our worry or cares to God, we have to focus or fix our gaze on heaven. As the verse says, the things we see now will soon be gone. While our lives in heaven are eternal.

From my experience - worry, stress and anxiety - require me to refocus my thoughts to God and His Kingdom. When I focus too much on this life and it cares, my mind becomes distracted and fear rises up.

So today, let us purpose in our hearts to give our worries to God and fix our hearts and minds on His eternal Kingdom.

Blessings,
Dave


Great words of the Gospel series
Posted on August 24th, 2019

I put a sermons series on my sermons page today. It is titled, "The Great words of the Gospel".

It is a series of sermons on salvation, redemption, reconciliation, regeneration and imputation. You can find them on my sermons page or click on them below.

Blessings,
Dave


Discipleship Bible study booklet
Posted on August 17th, 2019


Each month I receive requests for churches or groups to use our free discipleship booklet for their new Christians.

Some churches use it for their welcome pack for new Christians, some use it train their team to disciple others and some use it for their youth group Bible studies.

It is a great feeling to get the emails. It is great to know something you originally wrote for your own kids is being used around the world to bless others in their faith.

One question I am often asked is “Why do I give it away for free?”. The answer is I want to bless people and make an impact for God’s Kingdom, more than I want money.

The other things people say about the booklet is they love how simple it is, that it covers the main things they want people to know and how it has Bible memory verses.

If you would like to download the booklet you can find it here. If you have the chance, I would appreciate if you could share this post on social media. That would be a great help.

Blessings,
Dave


Encourage and live well
Posted on August 11th, 2019


Titus 2:6-7 NLT – In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. [7] And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

In these two verses there are a couple of good principles we can all put into practice.

1. Encourage the younger generation

The first is that Paul wants the older people in the church to encourage and teach the younger ones. Paul saw this as a very important thing. In general older people who have followed Christ for a time have learned valuable lessons they can pass on. As devoted followers of Christ we need to pass our lessons of following Christ on to the next generation, so more people will hear about Christ and follow Him.

2. Live well

The second is the importance of living well. This is vital as a life lived well backs up our claims and teaching as Christ followers. If we claim to be following Christ and live like the rest of the world, we are not only deceiving ourselves, but we are not letting our light shine in a positive way for Christ. Paul wants us reflect Christ in everything we do. Not just some things, every thing!

So today let us make sure to encourage the younger generation and live in a way that honours God. We never know who might need encouragement or who is watching. Let us let our lights shine today.

Blessings,
Dave


Helping out
Posted on August 5th, 2019

One of the things I love about being involved with ministry is helping out others. I like helping people both inside and outside of church and also in my workplace.

One thing in particular I like is being able to do is help people with church roles they are unable to do. We had an example on the weekend where someone could not do communion at the last minute.

I was able to pray, look at this website, and see if there was anything suitable for communion. I recently led communion in Bruce Rock and talked about the anguish Jesus felt while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This fit in with the service and because I had done it recently, it was still fresh in my mind. And as it often does, it fit in with the songs and theme of the service.

Serving God is a great joy for me. Especially when I can step up and help others in church. It is such a blessing to be able to do this when I am needed.

How about you? In what ways do you like to help others in the church, the community or the workplace? I think that is worth reflecting on today.

Blessings,
Dave


Enjoying lay preaching again
Posted on July 23, 2019


One of the things I have been able to do in the last three months is return to lay preaching. It was something I did for years before becoming a Pastor.

Preaching as a Pastor is different to preaching as a lay preacher. You know the church, the people, and what God is trying to do. And you have a lot of others things in your mind about the day to day running of the church.

Going back to be a lay preacher has been refreshing. You prayerfully prepare your message over a few weeks, give it a run through, turn up on the day and preach. Then you might talk with people and/or pray for them and you are done.

Now don’t get me wrong I loved my time being Pastor of my last church. It is something I will treasure as a highlight of my working life. But returning to lay preaching has been enjoyable.

The only negative is that you can’t do a series of messages that have a theme or work your way through a book of the Bible. This is because you generally are only at a church every two months or so.

So far I have done three messages at two churches. Maybe in time that will expand to more in our region?

Blessings,
Dave


A simple prayer of blessing
Posted on July 20, 2019

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’
Numbers 6:24‭-‬26 NLT

These words are the Priestly blessing from the Old Testament. God told Aaron and his sons that when they pray that over people, that He will do it. It was a promise of God.

Today when someone asks me to pray for them I often pray this prayer as a part of the prayer. Or I might exchange the word "you" for their name. Like this...

‘May the Lord bless and protect {name}. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give {name} peace.’

It is a simple thing, but people often appreciate it. It is how God told the Old Testament priests to pray for the people, so I think it is a good way for us today.

Blessings,
Dave


Alive and active
Posted on July 2, 2019


I have been asked to preach in a few weeks on a particular passage from Ephesians. It is a passage that I spoke on a few years ago at my previous church.

The easiest thing to do would be to use my previous sermon and preach that again. But in reading the sermon and reading the passage again, different sections jumped out at me this time. This is not the first time this has happened to me.

My starting place with sermons is always prayer and asking God what He wants me to share. As a result of this certain words or ideas usually stand out over others. These make their way in to the final sermon.

Because I will be preaching at a different church to the one I Pastored, they have different needs and God might want to say something different to them. So I always try to be open to both the passage and the Holy Spirit.

As Pastors and preachers we need to remember the Word is God is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s Word never changes. It is eternal. But the focus that God wants us to bring to a particular church on a particular day may change due to where the church is at.

This is why I love preaching. It is always fresh and new each time and God always has something to say from His eternal Word to us.

Blessings,
Dave


Lost and found
Posted on June 11, 2019


Jeremiah 29:13 says, "If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me." This verse was written to the people of God in a time of exile and captivity. They were in a foreign land, under foreign rule. But God spoke to them of a time of blessing and restoration.

It is in the same chapter as the well known verse that is on bookmarks, t-shirts, cups and Bible covers. Verse 11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Even in the midst of captivity, God was speaking to the people about blessings and restoration. A time when things would be better. A key to times being better was in today's verse - finding God as a result of seeking Him with all of their hearts.

For us today, that promise of God stills rings true. He still will be found if we search and seek for Him with all of our hearts. Just like in Luke 15 with the stories of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son, God is still in the lost and found business.

If you feel lost and alone, or you feel like you are in a foreign land under foreign rule, I would encourage you to come back to God today. Prayerfully seek Him with all of your heart. Tell Him how you feel. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to be with you. He will come and He will be found.

Just like the people of God in the Old Testament who wandered away from God, you can come back today.

Prayer

Dear God, I feel lost and alone. I feel like I have gone my own way and not included You like I once did. Today I seek You with all of my heart. I pray today that I will find You and You will find me. I want to walk with You again. Jesus I thank You that You died on the cross for my sin. I ask You to be my Lord and Saviour again. I commit my life to You afresh. Please restore me today. In Jesus' name, Amen.


God is always working in you
Posted on May 29, 2019


Philippians 2:13 NLT – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

I love the fact that God is always working in me to give me the desire to do what pleases Him. From the moment I came to Christ nearly 30 years I can see a big change in my life. I am not the person I used to be.

Part of this is because I committed to follow Jesus wholeheartedly I committed to read the Bible everyday, pray everyday and looks for ways to serve Him everyday. But an even bigger part is God working in me to bring about the change He wants and needs in me.

My heart has changed. My desires have changed. My goals have changed. My dreams have changed. What was all about me, is now all about Jesus and His Kingdom. And I am hoping that these changes bring glory to Jesus.

How about you? What changes have you seen in your life? How has God been working in you? I think this is worth reflecting on today.

Blessings,
Dave


Remember His mighty deeds
Posted on May 27, 2019


Psalms 77:11‭-‬12 NLT says, “But then I recall all you have done, O Lord ; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.”

One thing I try to do in my walk with the Lord is to remember the wonderful things He has done in my life, in my family and in our churches.

Remembering the great things the Lord has done encourages us to celebrate the victories He has won. It also encourages us that God comes through when we are going through hard times now.

Here are a few things to remember…

1. When God brought healing when you were unwell.

2. When God brought provision when you did not have much money.

3. When God opened a door of opportunity when all doors seemed closed.

4. When God protected you when it seemed like trouble was pressing in from all sides.

5. When God sustained you when you thought you couldn’t take another step.

6. When God brought strength at the loss of a loved one.

7. When God sent Jesus in to the world and purchased your salvation

8. When God used you to meet someone elses needs.

There are so many wonderful deeds God has done in all of our lives. He is always at work. He is always moving. He is always there.

Let us remember His mighty wonderful deeds today.

Blessings,
Dave


Jesus teaches about humility and a funny story
Posted on May 15, 2019    

Part of my Bible reading plan today touched on a section from Luke that Jesus taught the people about humility. It reminded me of something that happend to me a number of years ago. It says…

Luke 14:8-11 NLT – “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? [9] The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! [10] “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. [11] For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

As I read this today I was reminded of a funny story that happened to a friend and I a few years back.

We went to a National Athletics meet at our local stadium in Perth. All the top Australian athletes were there and a number from overseas. We went because we loved to watch the top athletes compete.

Anyway, the grandstand was pretty full except for one area. Part of it was roped off and some of it was open. My friend and I said, “Wow, these are great seats with a great view. Why don’t we sit here?”

As time went on people were walking past us and saying hello and nodding at us. At first we thought everyone was being really friendly, but then we realised they must think we are VIPs.

I had an Olympic Games tshirt on and my friend had a similar sporting top on. And becuase we both exercised a lot, we both looked fit. People must have thought we were athletes who were invited as VIPs!

Eventually someone came up to us and asked to see our accreditation. Which surprisingly we did not have. We were then asked to move to the more “common” seats.

For us it was a bit of a laugh, but the people in charge were upset and felt a little bit embarrassed that they did not check our accreditation earlier.

I haven’t thought about this story for a long time, but today’s reading reminded me. Without knowing we took the seats that were in the place of honour and we were asked to move. So I can relate to this story. It wasn’t quite at a wedding feast, but it was an important event.

It has taught me to always look at where I am going to sit and make sure I chose the humble seats, not the best seats. It is much nicer to be upgraded, than downgraded!

Blessings,
Dave

 
Making the Lord your shelter
Posted on May 8, 2019    

Psalm 91:9-16 NLT says, “If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, [10] no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. [11] For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. [12] They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. [13] You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! [14] The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. [15] When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. [16] I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Here is a great passage for encouragement today. It talks about making the Lord your shelter. There is so much in these verses, but two great promises jump out at me today.

1. If we make the Lord our shelter no evil will conquer us. It promises that angels will protect us wherever we go. It goes on to say He will protect those who trust in His name.

2. If we make the Lord our shelter He promises to rescue us when we call on Him. And His Word says He will honour us, reward us with a long life and give us salvation.

These words really encourage me. It is great to know the Lord God, promises to always look out for us. He is our King and our protector.

Blessings,
Dave

Putting God F.I.R.S.T.
Posted on May 3, 2019


I was talking with someone the other day about how important it is to put God first in our lives. As we talked I shared with them a part of one of my previous sermons. I thought I would share it today…

Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”

There are two things contained in this verse.

  1. Seek God’s Kingdom above all else
  2. Live righteously or live right.

This doesn’t need much explanation. It is pretty straight forward. It simply means to put God first place in our lives. A have a helpful acrostic about putting God FIRST.

F – Finances – Are you putting God first in your finances? Does He get the first portion or the leftovers? Are you living generously?

I – Interests – What are you most passionate about? What do you dwell on most of the time?

R – Relationships – Is God first in your relationships? Is He your most important relationship?

S – Schedule – Where does God fit into your schedule? Is He first or squeezed in somewhere? Is He left out?

T – Troubles – Where do you look to or lean on when troubles come your way? Is He your anchor in the storm?

Blessings,
Dave


Love for a church and the people
Posted on April 30, 2019


Three out of the last four weeks I have been to the church I was Pastor of for just under two years. It had been the best part of a year since I had been there before that.

It is amazing how once you have Pastored a church how much love you retain for the church and the people who call the church home. You really do hold the people in your heart.

I can remember when I started at the church how much I prayed, “God help me to love and care for the people who call this church home. I pray that You will love them through me too”. It was on my heart and on my lips every day.

Looking back that was a big prayer to pray and I probably didn’t fully understand it when I prayed, but it was one that I feel God was very happy to answer. And He didn’t hold back!

This week I am preaching at the church. I am really looking forward to it. Although I am not Pastor, I want God’s best for the church that stills holds a big place in my heart. I am hoping to bless them all this week.

Early next week I will share the text, audio and PowerPoint on here.

Blessings,
Dave


Bi-vocational Pastors
Posted on April 25, 2019


One group of Pastors I really respect are Bi-vocational Pastors. Over the years I have known quite a few Pastors who work in a secular job during the week and Pastor their churches for little or no financial reward.

One of my heroes was a Pastor who worked four days a week for a furniture company for many years, so his church could purchase a building for them to hold services in. The money which would have paid him, paid for the church.

This example has always stayed with me. It has always inspired me. In my last role for my church I was paid a few days a week by the church. But over time this became tight for the church and very tight for us as a family.

As I said in a recent post about Elder based church leadership, country churches in our region have ageing populations and declining incomes. I think this will lead to more churches being led by Elders and/or Bi-vocational Pastors.

This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Now that I have a part-time job at our local hospital, being a Bi-vocational Pastor might be an option for us as a family. It would be a way for us to use our gifts and bless a church, and require little or no finances from the church.

It is something that will require a lot of prayer and discussion. And as with all things with God and His Kingdom, time will tell if this is something God wants for us!

Blessings,
Dave


Peace with God this Easter
Posted on April 20, 2019

Easter is a great time to stop and think about life – where we are at and where we are going.

Thirty years ago at Easter I explored the true meaning of Easter. I went to church with some friends and heard about Christ.

Over the coming months I explored the claims of the Bible and learned what the Easter message was all about.

I learned that at Easter Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sin on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday He rose to life.

Jesus conquered sin and death and He offered me a new life in Him as a result. In July of 1989 I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour.

I found true and lasting peace with God. That day changed my life forever.

If you would like to find peace with God, you can visit this page on my website – Peace with God.

Easter Blessings,
Dave


Elders based church leadership
Posted on April 11, 2019


Since moving from the city to the country 12 years ago I have noticed a big change in our churches. Many are moving from having a Pastor to Elders based church leadership. When we moved to the WA Wheatbelt most of the four larger churches in our region had Pastors. Over time this has gone from full time Pastors, to part-time Pastors, to no Pastor at all.

Some of this has been because of declining finances and ageing church population. At other times it has been because some Pastors do not want to work in country towns. On the surface not having a Pastor on staff can be seen as a bad thing. But I have seen having a group of mature Elders as the church leaders work really well.

Generally most of the churches in our region have people in the church who have had some Bible training, have attended church for a long time, have a deep relationship with the Lord and are considered by all to have good character. These people are great as Elders. They pray, seek and discern God’s will and lead the church well.

The church that I was Pastor for two years has gone back to an Elders based leadership team. Some preach, some lead service, and they all do pastoral care. It works well. The church I attend at the moment will not have a Pastor soon and they will have to decide which direction they go in. I am happy if they chose a new Pastor or lead with Elders.

If we think about Elders based church leadership for a moment, the first thing we see is it is Biblical. The Apostle Paul set Elders in place of the churches he planted. That way when he moved on to another area he has people in place to look after the church.

In my last church I looked at the role of Elders right throughout the Bible. Right throughout the Bible the Elders have led the people, made decisions for the direction of the group, sought God in prayer and overseen their flock. This is true in both the Old Testament and the New.

So from my perspective Elders based church leadership makes sense in our regional context. With declining finances and ageing populations and Pastors not wanting to work in smaller regional towns it might just be the way forward.

Blessings,
Dave


When we pray
Posted on April 5, 2019


I read this quote today and thought I would share it…

When we pray, remember:

The love of God that wants the best for us.
The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
The power of God that can accomplish it.

William Barclay, Prodigals and Those Who Love.


Don’t forget
Posted on April 5, 2019


Hebrews 13:16 NLT – And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God

I like how this verse says, “Don’t forget to do good and share with those in need” .

By saying “don’t forget” it implies we can forget. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives and lose sight of those around us.

Let us purpose in our hearts to not forget today!

Blessings,
Dave


Alive in Christ
Posted on April 3, 2019


Colossians 2:13-15 NLT – You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. [14] He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. [15] In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

In this passage there are seven truths about our relationship to God in Christ…

  1. We were dead in our sin
  2. We still had he sin nature we were born with
  3. We are now alive in Christ
  4. Jesus took our sins on the cross
  5. We are forgiven and set free
  6. We have no further charges for sin against us
  7. The spiritual rulers and authorities of this world have no power over us.

In the lead up to Easter, I am so thankful for what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are free from sin, set free and alive in Christ.

Blessings,
Dave


For archived posts you can read our Daily Reflections booklet.


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