Monday, November 29, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 30th of November 2010

Sharing in Christ's Glory

S - He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:14

O - God called the Thessalonians and he called me. He called me through the gospel, the good news, the good news which calls for a response. It gives me great comfort and assurance that God called me rather than me calling myself. God called me and he doesn't make mistakes. I did not save myself, God did. I am secure.

The reason that God called me here in this verse is 'that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.' God saved me to share in Jesus Christ's glory. Ultimately there is no other glory but his, but I get to be a part of that as Christ lives and works in me.

A - I will have confidence in my salvation today! God called me. He saved me. I cannot be snatched out of his hand. Because of this I will be bolder, stronger, standing firm in faith.

Today I also will be aware of the mystery that is why God saved me - to share in the glory of Christ. I will be more aware of this today. I will find out more about how I share in his glory. I will rejoice in bringing glory to God.

P - Father, thank-you for saving me. I will seek to live for the purpose for which you saved me by bringing glory to your son. Amen

Daily Reading - 2 Thessalonians 2-3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Church Meeting Tonight!

Daily Journal for Wednesday 24th of November 2010

No Grumbling or Arguing!

S – “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Philippians 2:14

O – Paul knows that we are prone to grumble. We get in our heads an idea of how things should unfold, how God will help, how the ministry challenges will be met. And when they do not unfold how we thought, when God doesn’t intervene on time, and when our challenges aren’t met – we grumble. “Do you see what I’ve been doing!” “It’s not fair!” “Don’t you care!” Underlying all of these responses is a much deeper problem. I am revealing by my grumbling that that I am not really trusting God to do be faithful to his promises in his timing. I am showing that I think I know better, that I know the big picture when I don’t, that I am wiser than God.

Paul also says, “Do everything without… arguing.” There are many issues where people have a difference of opinion. Some want things done one way, others insist that it is done another. Who is right? On most occasions both are right. It’s just opinions. To spend a great deal of time arguing over opinions when our clear and agreed upon urgency is clear and undeniable seems silly. Paul would have us spending a great deal of our time practically worshipping, loving, serving, preaching,  teaching, equipping, praying and sharing the gospel far and wide. Arguing takes time and energy. It often is one ego against another. It often stops us from focusing on what God would have us do.

So don’t grumble and don’t argue.

A – Instead of grumbling and arguing I need to pray and dialogue.

If pray to God when I am feeling like grumbling I am letting him know my fears, my needs, my expectations, not to try to convince or control God but to give to him and trust the outcomes to him. When I pray I am trusting that our sovereign God is in control. This is far better that grumbling.

If through dialogue with others, I share my thoughts on an issue not to get my way but to express my own feelings and to listen to others thoughts and their ideas, then the final outcome will be much better that when I just shared my own thoughts to get my way. Two are better than one (Eccles 4:9a). Especially when the other people in the discussion are followers of Jesus who are seeking to hear and discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) said, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

Today I will take my grumbling to God in prayer and give them to him, trusting him to do what he wants not what I want. I will also steer clear of people who only want me to listen to their opinion and who discard the thoughts of others. I will seek to listen intently to others to come to a wise decision rather than arguing.

P – Thank-you Father, you speak through your Word to me. Help me to put into practice the truth you have shown me today. Amen.  

Daily Readings Philippians 2-3

Monday, November 22, 2010

Belonging Together

I love golf. Well, I really like it at least. I wish I was better at it. But I know that in order to get better at it I will really need to do a few key things. I will need to upgrade my old set of clubs and I’ll need to play more regularly. Both of these cost money. A new set of clubs and a year-long membership at the local golf club will set me back quite a lot of money. So I guess I’ll just remain an ordinary golfer who likes golf but can’t really pay, I mean play.

God wanted me to be part of his family. So much so that he paid my entry fee. Jesus died so that I could be forgiven, be united with him and live the life he created me to live – life to the full. As a teenager at Boronia Baptist Church I responded to God’s invitation and became part of the family of God. My membership was free even though it cost God greatly. Through Christ I belonged to a family, the family of God.
Paul wrote in Romans 12:5 “…So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  When I become part of God’s family, I not only belong to God through faith in Christ, I actually belong to other believers.

In this new family my belonging is ‘in Christ’ and in Christ I am unified with other believers no matter how different we may appear! We are many. There are hundreds of Baptist Churches in Victoria, and they are all vastly different, but in Christ we are one body. We are many here at Wodonga, old and young, farmers and business people, early risers and night owls, New South Welsh people and Victorians but in Christ we are all one body.

We have a great church building, but that is not what unites us. We have many really good programs, but they aren’t what unite us. We live in an amazing part of Victoria but even this is not what unites us. We are one in Christ.

I was talking with a couple who have been a part of our church community for just over a year. They had noticed that the church was different to anything they had been a part of. “We’ve been in community groups, volunteer organisations, sporting clubs for my whole life, but this is different,” they said. What they were identifying was that people genuinely cared for them. They had received cards in the mail. People stopped to talk to them and showed interest in them. They were beginning to really experience God’s love and they felt like they belonged. This is priceless. This is the church.

I love the church. God has gathered us together, different, but united. Do you celebrate this? Instead of sitting back and complaining from the sidelines, decide to become wholeheartedly committed to those who in Christ you are one with. Instead of lurking in the shadows why not become a member? Make a decision to worship regularly and consistently. Use your gifts for their good. Give to support the mission you all share. Love deeply those who you are one with in Christ.

When other people see this they’ll notice and want to belong too!

Monday, October 25, 2010

"All Things"

S - 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. Romans 8:28

O - God's purpose is not my comfort or a life without challenge and struggle. God's purpose is for me to conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus. So, the struggles I face, the disappointments, even the complete flops in life are all circumstances not wasted on me. Instead they are events that God is able to use to shape and refine me to more like Jesus. What I might see as deeply disappointing, God can and does use for good. "In all things" means just that!

A - Instead of being disappointed when things go wrong, complaining when struggles persist, or focusing on the overwhelming circumstances I face, I will seek to acknowledge that this is opportunity for God to work on my image and make me more like Christ-like.

As I look back in my own journey, most of the conforming has taken place in the midst of the most difficult times. Today, I will seek to see my obstacles as opportunities, my problems as possibilities and my God as one who can change me whatever I face.

P - Thank you God for calling me and drawing me to you. I am one who loves you. Work for the good in my life today. Help me to see it. Amen.

Daily Reading - Romans 8

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Key Leaders Retreat

Our Key Leaders spent the weekend at Valley Homestead just outside Ovens. We spent from Friday night until Saturday afternoon together for our fifth annual retreat.

This year the main focus was engaging with the results of a recent Natural Church Development Survey that our church had completed. We shared openly and honestly about the strengths and weaknesses, sought to hear what God might be saying about some of the important things to focus on in the coming year, and we prayed together for our church.

Even though it was the Grand final replay we all found the time very worthwhile. Now we are looking forward to sharing more widely our reflections with the wider church and engaging others in the discussions.

Build your church Lord!

Daily Journal for Tuesday 5th of October 2010

An Important Message! Spread it!

S - But the word of God continued to increase and spread. Acts 12:24

O - James was put to death, Peter was in prison awaiting death, Herod was on the rampage, the spread of the gospel looked in grave danger. The church were praying earnestly, Peter was led by an angel out of the prison, Herod had the guards executed and he himself was struck down by an angel of the Lord and worms ate him. So much in such a short chapter of the Bible and at the end of this chapter one verse gives us the broader view of what is happening - But the word of God continued to increase and spread.

Nothing could stop the work God was doing. God was bringing about his purposes no matter how bleak it looked. His followers were courageous and obedient and even in the midst of the most difficult times God used their circumstances to enable his word to continue to increase and spread.

A - Today it seems that our culture is so caught up in themselves. There is so much wealth, so much food, various entertainment options, and so many opportunities to engage in pleasurable experiences. To share the gospel in this environment is a challenge. Intellects scoff, atheists mock, busy people ignore but the church must not hold back from finding ever opportunity we can to proclaim the good news today. We may face criticism. We may even face great resistance but God wants his message told.

How can I show the prayer, courage and obedience of the early church today? In my family, neighbourhood and city help me be a person who is part of spreading God's word.

P - Father , help me to have the courage to put myself in dangerous places, to boldly share your good news where I am today. Amen.

Daily Reading - Acts 12

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Few Days in Lorne

Last week I travelled to Lorne and spent from Monday evening until Thursday morning working on the beginnings of the Church-wide series that will begin in the first week or so of February 2011. The Sunday messages will be on the same topics as the material people study in their small groups.

This last year the Church-wide series was called "Thrive - Living the Life God Created You To Live!" and the year before our series was called "Living Church." The series is a great way to begin the year and to encourage people to join a small group for the series. Often 50 - 70 people sign up and join small groups for the first time during the series.

The leadership agreed to give me a week away to work on the series and were keen to see that I had adequate time for uninterrupted preparation. I looked for an opportunity where I might be able to get a few days clear and when I found one I took as many books as I thought I might need and I headed for the coast!

Usually I have tried to write both the messages and the studies but this year is going to be different! If I can get the main messages planned in the next few weeks another person in the church who is gifted and passionate about small group materials is happy to write the studies. This will mean that my wife will have plenty of time for proof-reading and double checking and our office staff will be able to produce the guides in their final form without huge pressure. The worship and creative arts team will also have lots of advance notice and planning time so that each service is packed with great creative elements as well as really appropriate music.

My prayer is that the end result will be lots of people using their many and varied gifts to help lots of people grow in their faith in Christ and love for God.

While I was there I took the chance to go on a few runs and to have a cafe latte at the restaurant at the Lorne Pier. I stopped and took these photos. It was very quiet there and there had been a lot of rain recently.

Although the time in Lorne was short and I felt like I was only really just getting into it when it was time to go home, I am really thankful for the times spent getting started. I will look for another opportunity in the weeks ahead to work more on what I have begun.

So look out for a life changing series in February 2011!

See you! Jonathan

PS If you are every in Lorne a great thing to do is to buy fish n chips from the Salty Dog Fish n Chips shop and eat them on the beach. Unbeatable!

Daily Journal for Wednesday 8th of September 2010

A Time Will Come

S - "I tell you for certain that the time will come, and it is already here, when all the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen to it will live!" John 5:25 NCV

O - Jesus tell us something that he says is true for certain. Those who are dead when they hear the voice of Jesus live! Those who are spiritually dead, who are dead in their sin, hear the good news and respond to Jesus' voice, they cross over from death to life. Jesus is also saying that a time will come when all the dead, everyone who has died will hear the voice of Jesus. People wonder about what lies beyond the grave and here is something that Jesus says we can be sure of. You will hear the voice of Jesus. Those have known him and put their faith in him will receive eternal life. Those who have rejected the Son and rejected God's love during their life will remain in a state of rejection for ever.

A - Today, respond to the voice of Jesus! In him is life, eternal life. As you hear his voice respond! And know that nothing can separate you from his love, not even death.

- Thank you Father for sending your Son. You love is so clearly shown to me in sending him to take my sin and shame upon himself so I can be forgiven and have life. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for caring about my lost state and for sending you Son to save me. I will hear you voice as I have today, forever. Amen.

Daily Reading - John 5

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 24th of August 2010

Qualifications of a Disciple of Jesus

S - "You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you live you father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life." Luke 14:26

O - Jesus says words that are very difficult to hear. "You cannot be my disciple unless...", "You cannot come with me unless..." Here we can wonder, is this the same Jesus who said, "If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and rest."?

Jesus says that putting him second, third, or anywhere but first in our lives disqualifies us from being his disciples. This can make us feel like we've got prove ourselves by being better, being stronger, working harder, but notice what Jesus says... "unless you love me more than." It's not just about priorities, it's about having a deep love for Jesus. Unless I love him more than the people I love the most, my father and mother, my wife, my children, my brother and sister I can't be his disciple. This demands that I not only say he is Lord, but I love him as Lord more than even my own life. In order to genuinely love him I need to have adequate time worshipping him, praying with him, reading his words to me in the Bible, serving him, enjoying him.

This call from Christ is to not work harder, do more things, get busier. No it's much harder than that. I and called to reflect on God's love for me, live in it and ensure that I live my life with him first in everything. Then my parents, my family, my dearly loved friends will experience my love as it should be, flowing from God's love.

A - I need to continue to fan into flame my love for Jesus. I need to spend more time expressing my love in worship, prayer and in quiet reflection. I want to spend more time lost in wonder and worship, enjoying Jesus. This week instead of jogging a message playing on my ipod I will listen to my new Hillsong CD and respond with joy to God's love. I will also spend half a day on a hill in Wodonga, unhurriedly communicating in prayer and enjoying God's presence.

P - Father, thank-you for sending Jesus. Help me as I seek to continually love him first, even more than myself. Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 14

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daily Journal for Thursday 12th of August 2010

Growing Wiser and Stronger

S - Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people. Luke 2:52 CEV

O - Each day that unfolded in Jesus, the twelve year old's life, became a another day to either choose to do the right thing or to not. He chose to do the wise thing. As he acted wisely, he grew strong. And as he grew strong God was pleased with him. And the people were also pleased with him. They were delighted in his knowledge, they were amazed at the answers he gave. Soon they would realise that he was the light of the world.

A - Jesus lived in such a way that he became wise. Jesus lived in such a way that he grew strong. How can I grow in wisdom today? How can I grow in strength today? Feeding my mind and taking care of my body is so important to pleasing God and people. If I am unwise I will not be able to help people and lead them well. If I am unhealthy I will not have the energy needed to serve well, the endure in the race, and to finish well.

Growing wise involves reading, understanding and living out God's Word in my own life first. It involves listening to and learning from others. It requires that I read widely and reflect often. Being wise requires the self-discipline to change what I know is wrong and start doing what is wise instead. It means praying for wisdom from the one true God who knows everything.

Growing in strength involves resting as well as working. It means getting enough sleep so that I am not tired throughout the day. It means exercising regularly (everyday for 30 minutes!) so that my heart is strong and my energy levels are high. It means eating well, fruit and vegetables. Less bad fats and more of the good type. It means finding life-giving hobbies and activities other than work so that I laugh often and am full of joy!

P - God, I want to please you, I really do! I want to feel your smile, your delight. Help me to grow in wisdom and strength so that you and all those who know me are pleased with my progress! Thanks for Jesus' incredible example of growth and strength. His continually trust and dependence on you is what I long to emulate. Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 2

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Daily Journal for Wednesday 4th of August 2010

Love the One You're With

S - "That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. They are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together. Mark 10:7-9

O - A child grows and becomes an adult. They leave their father and mother who have nurtured, loved and cared for them as best as they could. They become like one person with their wife or husband. Instead of being on their own they are now 'one.' They are united physically through sexual union and they are united emotionally to mutually love, care and support each other and they are united by God who has put them together. They are like one person, a union, a single identity. This is a joyful thing! It's very good when I am loving and serving and bringing out the best in my wife. To do this continually and genuinely I need more than my own resources. I need to look to the one who joined us together, to God, for the strength and commitment to keep loving even when it's hard.

To then look lustfully at another woman, to be comforted emotionally and physically by another woman, to be loved intimately by another than my wife would cause a break in the oneness, the unity, the togetherness with the one God has joined me together with. It would cause incredible pain, great loss and much sadness.

A - I am married! God has given me one wife to love, to be one with, to enjoy and journey with through life. She is one with me, I am one with her. Today I want to give, say, and show my deep love to her. I her to know my love and commitment to her by the way I express it and value her. This is good and is God's will for me in marriage.

P - Father, as you have demonstrated your love for me in sending your Son, I want to demonstrate my love for you by loving the woman you have joined me together with. May you be glorified by the way I love my wife. Amen.

Daily Reading Mark 10

Monday, August 2, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 3rd of August 2010

How To Be Truly Great

S -  "After Jesus sat down and told the twelve disciples to gather around him, he said, "If you want the place of honour, you must become a slave and serve others!" Mark 9:35

O - To people who want to be first Jesus says become a slave and serve others. To be honoured, honour people. The disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus says the greatest one is the one who serves others. Today is no different to then. Society is so so self-focused, self-obsessed, self-absorbed and ego driven. Even in Christian community people can seek positions of authority or power for any reason but to serve.

A - I want to be great in God's eyes. I really do want to have a place of honour in God's kingdom. The passage clearly say that I must serve others, become a slave, value, love, connect, care and seek to really honour others. Why? Because people matter to God. Jesus is my clearest example here. He said that he came not to be serve but to serve and indeed he did.

This week I am going to serve someone and tell no-one what I have done. I'm going to also thank three people who have really helped me by serving and helping me. I'll send them a note or an email.

P - Father, I want to be truly great in your eyes. Help me to value greatly those who you love. Help me serve others not myself. Help me do today what you have shown me through Jesus' example. Amen

Daily Reading Mark 9

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 20th of July 2010

I Can Only Imagine!

S - "When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like angels in heaven."  Matthew 22:30

- There is a new reality awaiting us, a time that we who are alive have not yet experienced. It's a different place. A new amazingly different reality. Jesus is giving us information about this new reality.

We won't be married or getting married in heaven. These verses don't tell us why this is the case but Jesus was rebuking the Sadducees for getting hung up on it and neither should I. I'll no doubt be lost in wonder and praise of God and I will love my wife as much as I love everyone. It won't be that I'll love her less, I'll love everyone more.

Jesus also says we'll be like the angels in heaven. The Bible speaks of angels as being so striking that when people come face to face with them they are terrified. But it doesn't seem to be a horrible fear, rather a fear of awe, a fear that this being is so incredible, so overwhelming that I am afraid. People tried to worship angels, thinking that they were God, but the angels refused to let them and encouraged people to worship God.

C. S. Lewis wrote...

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, culture, arts, civilization – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

What a mystery awaits me! 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds." I can only imagine!

A - Today I will seek to view people as those who are not ordinary. The way I treat people should not be on how I see them today but on what God might do in them as a result of faith in Christ, or who they might become through rejecting God (a horror of nightmare proportions). How I treat people today will either help them to grow towards either destination. 

I too must live with the end in mind. I must remember that I am but a stranger passing through. This world is not my home! There is an incredible reality waiting ahead that I can only imagine. An incredible eternity awaits me. This is encouraging to remember especially when times get tough. 

- Father help me to live with the end in mind and live and treat people with honour as I live as stranger awaiting this future you have for me. Thanks for this hope I have in you. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 22

Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 13th of July 2010

Get Out of the Boat!

S - "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. Matthew 14:29 TNIV

O - Yes! The Bible says Peter actually got out of the boat and walked on water! People don't normally do this type of thing. A miracle is occurring here. Water which is liquid holds up the weight of a person. For Peter to have actually got down out of the boat, would have taken great courage and, even more significantly, faith. There were many more who stayed in boat, yet Peter didn't. He experienced what was previously impossible. He walked on water. Interestingly Jesus in the next verses says to Peter, "You of little faith!" Peter had faith to get out of the boat but he took his eyes off Jesus. Faith comes from trusting and obeying Jesus even in the storm.

A - What steps is Jesus calling me to take right now? They may seem impossible. They may seem completely out of the ordinary. Today, I want to say, "Yes" to steps of faith, no matter how stormy it might be around me.

P - Father, there are many challenges I face at the moment. I need to keep looking to you with faith in the midst of this time of transition with new appointments, new programs, and new opportunities help me keep my eyes on you. Amen

Daily Reading - Matthew 14

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daily Journal for Friday 9th of July 2010

Give My Life To You?

S - Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

O - To give your life away is dangerous! To give my turst to a stranger is very foolish. To put my life in the hands of a control freak or an abuser would be crazy. In fact to put my total unreserved trust in anyone is unwise. Except for one. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." He claimed that he is all that we need to be nourished and satified. He said, "I am the living water."He claimed to quench our spiritual thirst. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life." He claimed that by trusting in him we would live forever. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Jesus is God.

I am right not to unreservedly trust my life to anyone - but Jesus is the exception. In fact the very opposite is true. I must lose my life - give mine completely to him to live. If I don't I will lose my life.

A - I know that Jesus is trustworthy. I need to urge others to entrust to Jesus what we would never trust completely to anyone else. My longing is that people would give him their lives completely. That they would acknowledge him as Lord, Master and Saviour. He alone is worthy. He is creator. He can be trusted. In him and him alone is fulness of life.

P - Father, thank-you for sending Jesus. I have unreservedly put my trust in you Lord. Help me to continue to do that everyday in all I do. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Farewell to Gayle and Warren Hill

On Monday 21st of June we invited the church to come together and express our thanks to God for Galye's ministry at Wodonga Baptist Church for the last 10 years.

After a welcome and opening prayer Pastor Jonathan Stark invited anyone who would like to share any thoughts or reflections to do so. Over the next hour many people shared about the way in which Galye had been used by God to touch many lives in our church. One shared of his marriage being strengthened through Gayle's preaching, a letter was read sent from Marg and John Docking in Uganda, and a number shared how Gayle's encouragement had helped them take a step up in their own ministry. Those who were on staff shared of the encouragement she was to serve on team with.

The Rev Dr Graeme and Maria Smith attended and Graeme reflected on the times from when Galye first came on to the staff and the way she has flourished since that time.

Senior Pastor Jonathan Stark shared about the great blessing Gayle and been to the church and the staff. He spoke about Gayle's many gifts and strengths and shared how he was sure that God will continue to use her greatly in the future.

Through all of this sharing Warren too was thanked and acknowledged as a strong support for Gayle in her ministry. Many acknowledged Warren's great work as a deacon, on the building committee and as a leader prayer ministry. His quiet strength was emphasised throughout the night.

Gayle and Warren responded with a speech thanking everyone. Warren expressed how much he loves to see Gayle doing what she loves and really felt that his ministry was to support her. Gayle said that they weren't sure what the future will hold but felt sure that God was leading them to Melbourne.

The church then presented Gayle and Warren with a gift which they had played a part in choosing. It was an antique unit that they will place in their home in Melbourne.

 People came forward and laid hands on Gayle and Warren and together we thanked God for their ministry among us, prayed for God's blessing on all that they do in the future and we committed them into God care.

After this time of sharing and praying we enjoyed a big supper together which everyone who was able bringing a plate. It was a wonderful night.

Thanks to all who came and made this a special night for our church family. Gayle and Warren have been dearly loved and will be greatly missed!

Daily Journal for Wednesday 7th of July 2010

Under Authority

S - But the centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Matthew 8:8

O - The centurion had come to Jesus and told him that his servant was paralyzed at home and suffering great pain. When Jesus said, "I will come and heal him," the man objected saying that he was not worthy. He was a leader, a man who was under authority, and who had people who were under his authority. He knew what it was like to just say the word and it would be done. He was saying here to Jesus, "I know that you have authority over sickness. I know that all you need to do it say the word and my servant will be healed." It's no wonder that Jesus' response to this man was so overwhelming, "I have not found such faith with anyone in all of Israel."

A - The greatest faith found in all of Israel came from one who asked Jesus and recognised his authority. "Just say the word" was the request of a man with great faith. For those who I pray for today all that it would take is one word from Jesus and healing can take place. For the problems that burden our souls one word from Jesus and they can be changed. For the hard hearts of those we love who resist God's love, one word, just one and their hearts can melt. I believe it. Jesus has authority over all things.

- Jesus, heal the sick that I know today. One word can do it Lord. Jesus for the deep longings of my heart, that you would revive your church, touch the lives of those in this region, just one word Lord. Awesome sovereign Lord Jesus, stiller of the storm, raiser of the dead, feeder of the thousands, your will be done! Amen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 6th of July 2010

The Golden Rule

S - So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

O - What simple yet profound words. Whatever I would wish that people would do for me, I should do for them. Treat people how you want to be treated. This appears easy and straight-forward. Everyone wants to be loved, valued and respected. I should do this to others.

The greater challenge is to do the things I know I would want others to do to me if I didn't know what I do know now! Two areas come to mind immediately. Firstly, now that I know Jesus is Lord, that he died and rose again, and that fulness of life is found only in him, if I didn't know that, I would want people to let me know. But some people would not want me to because they don't want to know. Or maybe it's just that they don't know. Because I have never met someone who has come to know Jesus who is not incredibly grateful to the person who let them know what they initially didn't want to know.

Secondly, I would also want people to speak the truth to me in love. Yet when I see something and want to share that with someone to help them, it can be painful and people sometimes don't want to face the very things that they 'need to know to grow.' These people would not want me to do to them what I would want them to do for me, because I would want people to tell me the hard things even if it hurt. Yet when people do learn and grow I have rarely found anyone who regretted getting healthier, just like a smoker never resents the fact that they gave up.

A - Do I really want to do to others the things that I would wish they would do unto me? If I do I will share with others about Jesus. If I want to do this I will speak the truth and seek to help people grow to be more like Jesus. If I really want to be more than just treating people 'nicely' I will do what I really believe is for their best. Sure they can say, "No thanks!" or "Back off!" but as long as I have genuinely tried, then I am living the golden rule. It's a harder rule than first expected!

P - Father, the Golden Rule is much harder than I realised. I'm going to need your help and your Holy Spirit's empowerment to really do for others what I wish others would do for me. Help!! Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 7

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Church Extensions Opening!

Sunday 13th of July was a great day of celebration for our church family. We thanked God for the completion of our extensions to the church that have been completed without a cent owing on the $416,000 project.

Special guests, Bill Tilley, Member for Benambra and Rev. Grant Stewart, Regional Minister for the Baptist Union of Victoria, attended the opening with Grant sharing some reflections before Bill opened the extensions by cutting the ribbon.

This project has been the fifth in a series of building projects on the Melrose Drive site since 1987, the first of which was a manse which is now being used as the administration office. The core of the existing church building was erected in 1990, followed by the south hall, the north extension and some side rooms.

In 2006 our congregation agreed to extend again, mainly to accommodate the growing children's ministry and to more broadly meet the need of church growth. The cost were estimated to be $498,000. Yet with the use of many people from within the congregation, largely volunteers the project came in well under budget.

Special thanks was expressed during the morning service to the Building Committee, the workers and volunteers, to Allen Cummins and Graham Brewer who gave of themselves so generously throughout the project, and to all who contributed financially.

We can only say that through these last four years God has supplied all our needs. We have continued to generously give to mission throughout this time in Malawi and Uganda and God has seen our faithfulness.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Daily Journal for Wednesday 30th of June 2010


- The twenty-four elders and four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!" Revelation 19:4 (TNIV)

- The heavenly beings and angels, fell down and worshipped God. The vision that John sees points to the absolute majesty of God. If we could just glimpse this, just see this for a moment, we too would uncontrollably fall and worship. Hallelujah is derived from two words and means "Praise the Lord." Amen means firm, surely, trustworthy. The cries are saying, "This is definitely and surely true - praise be to the Lord!"

A - God is to be praised. If were just to get a glimpse I would fall down and worship. But I have read and understood that Jesus has come to earth, God in the flesh. As I have trusted and believed, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit has filled me. I know for certain that God is my Lord and is to be praised. Therefore, today, though I have not seen God on his throne in all his majesty, I will worship him with all that I am knowing that he has saved me, lives in me by his Spirit and that one day I will fall before him in eternity.

I also am reminded that I am made in his image. God has made me a little lower than the angels, and crowned me with glory and honour. I too will one day be given a new heavenly body.  Today I will treat people with honour and value knowing that each is made in God's image and one day, through faith in Christ, they might be a being that in their eternal heavenly form I would be tempted to worship, such will be their splendour.

- Father, Hallelujah! Praise be to you the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Amen and Amen!

Daily Reading - Revelation 19-20  

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

In a world where so many are no longer looking upward to God for their identity, so many are looking horizontally for their image. To be "cool", "sexy" and "glamorous" in other people’s eyes has become the answer for so many who are trying to understand who they really are. How can we help those who are not interested in looking up to even begin to desire to find their true identity in Christ?

Mark Sayers argues that the answer is for those who follow Christ to actually live vertically, finding our identity in who we are in Christ. Sayers urges us to pursue radical holiness not by retreating from the world but by pursuing your true self and show those who we engage with what it means to be truly human.

I found this book really engaging. There’s so much timely wisdom here! I felt challenged and inspired to actually live a life of radical holiness. He has inspired a new resolve in my life to do this intentionally. The way Mark writes is warm and engaging. He includes great content about the culture and the way the world is shaped by it.

I would recommend this book to you to read. It’s a biblical message told to a contemporary culture that is desperately needed to be heard by Christians today. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Daily Journal Tuesday 1st of June 2010

Unbusy and Greatly Encouraged

S - May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2-3

O - God's desire is that I should be changed because of saving faith. The changes he wants to make should result in good deeds and words (sharing the gospel and speaking kindly). Paul's prayer here is that they would be encouraged and strengthened by Jesus himself and by God's loves and grace and that this would be seen in their good works and speech.

A - So often we are so busy in "good deeds and words" that we leave so little time in our lives for prayer and for reading God's Word so that his love and grace encourage and strengthen us. We can become hollow people, madly rushing and running to do good and yet with little time to ponder why. I need to be a man of prayer, a pastor who prays, one who really knows God and is encouraged and strengthened by Him. Then I will encourage and strengthen others as I work and speak. I need to actually schedule time to read, pray and study so that I am strengthened for deeds and word. Simply making it a priority and putting it in my diary is what is needed. This is a wiser approach than madly trying to meet every need and fix every problem and then see if there is time left over for God to encourage and strengthen me.

P - Father, thank-you for all that you have done for me and our church. Thank-you that you are a God who wants to encourage and strengthen me. I will make time to receive this from you. Amen.

Daily Reading 2 Thessalonians 2-3

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Couple of Days with Dr. Grant and Kathy Mullen

A Transforming Conference!

On Sunday Dr. Grant and Kathy Mullen arrived from ministering in the Blue Mountains. They spoke at our Sunday evening service and then five times on Monday and gave a final talk before heading off to Bendigo on Tuesday.

The message that Grant brought us was that God want to transform us. We are either in recovery or denial! Why would we need to be in recovery if we are Christians already? Though we are saved through faith in Christ and our spirit is completely transformed, and our bodies though unchanged are going to one day be renewed, our personality is still the same as it was before only we are now saved. In our personality we have all the past experiences and hurts and unforgiveness that remains. The attacks of Satan, our past wounds and chemical imbalances are all major factors that keep us from living in the reality of what Christ has done.

When we take these issues seriously instead of denying them or pretending that they are not there we resign ourselves to living a life that is now victorious.

We had a great turn out of people and many people bought resources.

We pray that this will continue to help us all growing in our love and knowledge of Jesus!

Go to for more information.

Daily Journal for Friday 28th of May 2010

Thriving Each Day in Christ

- So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6

O - Paul would have nothing to do with a kind of "Bar Code" faith (as Dallas Willard has described) where at the check-out we receive the "beep" of salvation and are placed in a bag to sit and wait until Christ returns. Salvation is not the end, it's just the beginning of a journey of transformation. Just as we received Christ, CONTINUE to live your lives in him, rooted and built up, strengthened in the faith. Growing is a crucial part of what it means to follow Christ.

A - How am I growing today? How deep and firm are my roots? Is my faith being strengthened? I want to be the best example possible of a growing christian for all who might see. Yesterday was a day for rest. I rested from morning till night after two very busy weeks. For me growing stronger in Christ meant yesterday, slowing down, resting, reading, and taking it easy. It was just what I needed. I was refreshed by watching a Harry Connick Jr DVD and trying to play Jazz songs on the piano. I finished reading "The Vertical Self" (Mark Sayer) and went for a jog. This was very satisfying and extremely good for me in my growth towards maturity!

- Father, thank-you that even resting is part of your plan for me to live a life of thanksgiving. Help me continue to grow each and every day in my life with you. Amen.

Daily Reading Colossians 2-3    

Monday, May 17, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 18th of May 2010

Seeking Restoration

S - Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

O - Paul encourages the believers in Corinth to strive for "full restoration". In other translations it says "aim for perfection" (NRSV) or "put things in order" (NIV) or "be made complete." He is encouraging them to be more that saved. He's calling them to be restored. Paul desire is that they be made perfect in Christ. That they become in fact what they are declared in Christ by faith. He wants them to not believe one thing and act a different way.

This is surely a struggle. David courageously slew Goliath yet was tripped up by woman in a bath on a roof-top. This is hard work but everyday, God want us to strive, to work hard, to wrestle at being holy!

The interesting thing is that we are not trying to become something that we are not. We are seeking to become who we truly are. We were made in the image of God. Through Christ we have been declared forgiven and righteous. The call now is to become who we really are.

A - Today, I should not be surprised at how every little decision is a choice to be restored or be further and further away from who God made me to be. Though I fail time and time again, I must never give up! Today my choices, my actions, my struggles, are worth facing! If I am able to with the Spirit's help strive to be fully restored the God of love and peace will dwell with me.

P - Father, thank-you for saving me, through faith in Jesus. Help me to live today toward becoming the person you made me to be, fully restored through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen。

Daily Reading - 2 Corinthians 13 - Galatians 1

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daily Journal Thursday 13th of May 2010

Hidden Treasure

S - "But we have this treasure on jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

O - Treasure was hidden inside old worthless looking jars of clay, in the jars that people would least expect to find it. Paul is saying that we are nothing special, we are ordinary, we face suffering, we do not look that impressive at all. But that just makes it clear to everyone that the treasure, the gospel, is from God not us. The power of the gospel is God at work, transforming lives, and this is not something we can claim as our doing. One look at us and you'll know this is true!

A - I am a person who make mistakes so often on the road to seeking to be holy. I get tired, upset, often feel overwhelmed and sometimes it feels like God could have chosen someone with far greater gifts and skills for the work he has called me to. This just reminds me that this is exactly the point. I'm not the one that matters most. It's in how much I realise who I am (a jar of clay) and who God is (the life-giver) that I will be most effective. I will pray, depend, cry out, ask for help more and more if I understand that I can't do anything without the power of the gospel.

P - Father, in my tiredness, busyness, feelings like there is more to do than I can possibly do, I come to you. Help me to pull aside and depend on you more. Help me to be guided and led by you each and every day. Help me slow down and allow your gospel to work through me in power. Thanks Father. Amen.

Daily Reading - 1 Corinthians 2-4

Monday, May 3, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 4th May 2010

What we tolerate we become!

S - Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new batch - as you really are. For Christ our passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 (TNIV)

O - Sin, when left, when tolerated, when allowed to remain, can affect the whole person. A person who is holy becomes unholy when they boast, are sexually immoral, or when they slander. To think that sin does not matter is a grave error. It does! Like a little bit of yeast - it affects the whole batch. The same is true with sin.

The circumstances that Paul is addressing at Corinth are to do with sinful and immoral people who claim to be Christians but live a completely different way. Paul says, "Don't even eat with them" (v.11), and "expel them from among you" (v.13). Why? Because they can spoil the whole batch. They can affect the whole church.

A - What we tolerate we become. If I tolerate gossip I become a gossip. If I tolerate slander I become a slanderer. What our church tolerates we become. We must with firmness seek to address situations where people who claim to know Jesus act consistently in an unrepentantly sinful manner.

I must model in my own life an eagerness to confess my sin and turn from it. I must model this in my leadership too so that our church leaders and our church refuse tolerate what we don't want to become.

P - Father, I pray that you would help us as a church to be willing to address sin and as a result become the church you have in Christ declared us to be - your bride, pure and without blemish.

Daily Reading - 1 Corinthians 4-5

Monday, April 19, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 20th of April 2010

Hearing from Angels

S - "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, "Don't be afraid Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you." Acts 27:23-24

O - An angel spoke to Paul. It might have been in a dream, a vision or just plain straight out appeared. The angel was from God and spoke clear, strong words of assurance, "Don't be afraid Paul." The angel knew Paul's name, knew his situation, knew Caesar's name, knew that the lives of the people on the boat were in danger.

A - God knows us. He knows me and my situation, the dangers I face, the things that concern me. What an encouragement this must have been to Paul. That God would reassure him by sending an angel must have given him great confidence. Sometimes God has sent people who have encouraged me with a word from God. Sometimes a letter, a book, a point a preacher has made, God has used to encourage me. Sometimes I have read a verse and had a strong impression that I have known was God speaking. It encourages me to know that God knows and when he feels necessary he can speak directly to me. Most of the time I just need to do what he's already told me to do in his word, the Bible.

P - Father, today I am reminded how you speak and guide. Speak Lord to me today. Let me hear and respond to your promptings and to obey your word each and everyday. Amen.

Daily Reading - Acts 27