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
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.
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
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
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.
Pastors and downtime
15 May 2017
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?
Friends sharpen each other
10 May 2017
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.”
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
I have had a number of friends over the years who
have encouraged me and sharpened me up. None more so than my wife
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
Martha gets a bad wrap
20 April 2017
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?”
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?
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 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.
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
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
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.
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.