Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daily Journal Wednesday 31st March 2010

Don't Neglect the Word!

S - So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables..." Acts 6:2

O - The number of disciples were increasing greatly and the demand on the apostles were increasing. When people complained that their needs we're being adequately met, the twelve apostles, instead of just reacting and trying to stretch themselves further took a moment to consider priorities. "Would doing more in serving people by waiting tables cause us to neglect the ministry of the word of God?" they wondered. "Then this would not be right."

A - I would guess that many, many pastors would be lamenting a scripture like this. Today so many have neglected the word of God and preparing diligently in their preaching and teaching of it because of the many demands of 'running' a church. Whether it's a pastors unwillingness to ask gifted administrators, the high expectations that churches can have on their pastor to do everything, or the pastor's inner need to be needed, the end result is the tragic same - the ministry of word of God is neglected.

Today, our associate pastor is in Africa and there are many pastoral needs for me to attend. There are administrative tasks needing to be done. I have responsibilities for mentoring and meeting with leaders. Yet this weekend I will give two of the most significant messages I will be asked to give. "The Death the Leads to Life" on Good Friday and "Alive!" on Easter Sunday. I am thankful for the preparation I have already put into these messages and am thankful that tomorrow is completely devoted to these two messages. I must take these words seriously. Never neglect the ministry of the word. Never allow good things to stop me from the very best.

P - Father, thank-you for revealing yourself through your word. Help me to not neglect it, to always be well prepared and studied. As I diligently prepare in the midst of a busy week, speak to your people through your word and change lives I pray. Amen.

Daily Reading - Acts 6

Monday, March 29, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 30th of March 2010

The Good News

S - "The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead - whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." Acts 5:30-32

O - Peter and the apostles stood before the High Priest and proclaimed the good news. God, the one God, who down through the ages men and women have worshipped and followed, raised Jesus from the dead. The tomb that was full is now empty! The religious leaders had killed him by hanging his on a cross by God raised him. From the lowest depths of humility though, God raised him to the highest place - the right hand of God, a place of power and authority. Now the risen Christ is able to bring forgiven through his death and resurrection to those who come to him in repentance. Those who do know that this is true. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and confirms it. We know it's true. It's undeniable.

A - What was true in the message Peter and the apostles proclaimed is true today. Good news is found in Jesus Christ. He died so that we can be forgiven. As we turn around, repent and believe, God forgives us, Jesus has paid the price we deserved. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives. He confirms that what we believed by faith is true. This Easter, I will proclaim this good news at our church. I will pray that as Jesus is lifted up, as the good news is proclaimed that many come to believe.

P - Father, thank you for this good news! Help me proclaim it with boldness. Holy Spirit move and convict people to respond. Jesus be exalted. Amen.

Daily Reading - Acts 5

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daily Journal for Monday 29th of March 2010

Signs and Wonders

S - Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. Acts 4:30

O - The believers were praying together after Peter and John had been released from their arrest. They prayed not timid prayers for safety, that no-one would get hurt, but rather they prayed for boldness to speak God's word. Then they ask that God would stretch out his hand and heal and perform signs and wonders. They asked God, not a traveling miracle man. They asked God so that people would know see and come to know God. They asked that this be done in and through the name of Jesus.

- Jesus heals! God today still responds to the prayers of his people. There are sick people and people who are filled with doubt. I want to be like those first believers. I will pray for God to move powerfully in my life, in our church and in our city so that many are convinced that Jesus is alive and changing lives. I will pray that as a result people will hear and be saved, that the news of God's power and might would cause a ripple effect through our city.

- Almighty God, this Easter time, stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus, Amen.

Daily Reading - Acts 4

Friday, March 26, 2010

Daily Journal for Saturday 27th of March 2010

The Best Decision Ever

What is the best decision you could ever make?

S - Peter replied, "Repent and baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

O - Peter had shared with crowd that Jesus Christ, who they had put to death, was actually both Lord and Messiah. They responded and understood the implications. "What shall we do?" was their question. The answer was clear and simple. Repent - change your mind - turn around. Be baptised - the sign to show that they had repented and put their faith in Jesus was baptism. The out working of faith in Christ and repentance is forgiveness of sin, being born again, becoming a new creation. The Holy Spirit fills us as we believe! This is a gift from God!

A - Today, the same is true, everyone who understands who Jesus is, that he actually came and lived and died and rose again, and puts their faith in him, should be baptised. Their turning from their sin and having faith in Jesus leads to new life, forgiveness and being fill with the Spirit. Have you done this? This easily be the best decision you could ever make! This Easter go to a local Christian church with an open heart. Seek to know more about Jesus.

P - Thank Father, for sending your Son. I pray that many people make the best decision ever this Easter - to respond in faith to him. Amen.

Daily Reading - Acts 2

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Daily Journal Wednesday 24th of March 2010

The Influence of a Crowd

S - From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar." John 19:12

O - The crowd can be very influential. The crowd gathers, someone yells, others join in and before long the momentum begins and the shouting turns to violence and the violence turns to death. Their arguments were aimed at causing fear in Pilate. "You are no friend of Caesar" was a threat that if he didn't do what they wanted he would be defying Caesar by saying that Jesus was King and they only acknowledged Caesar. Pilate, an influential figure is swayed by the crowd. Pilate, who is worried and concerned about who Jesus really is, disengages from his questions and concerns, buries his enquiry, and follows the crowd!

Recently the Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne saw 2,500 people give Richard Dawkins a heros welcome as they listened intently to him talk claiming that those have faith in God are stupid...


Last Friday in Oakleigh, more than 2,000 protesters stood by and cheered as a protest about a cancelled race turned into a riot. Windows were smashed, cars damaged and people taking pictures punched, all to the cheers and excitement of a crowd hungry for action.

A - Today there are crowds of people who claim to know the important and unimportant things in life. Some shout loudly to me about needing more, about looking better, about becoming stronger. Others look at me with disdain if I don't agree with a moral position the hold or if I don't accept their behaviour. The big question is who am I following? The crowds aren't always right. In fact they are most often wrong.

Jesus said, "Come follow me." He didn't try to whip us up into a frenzy. He didn't try to stir up an irrational response. In fact the call is to leave the crowd, to obey whatever the cost, to trust whatever the circumstances, to share whatever the response. He calls us to follow even when no-one else follows.

Today I will be more aware of the crowd and their cry. Today I will ensure that I don't blindly follow. Today I will think more about how and what practical steps I am taking to follow Jesus' call.

- Father, help me follow you with my mind, my intellect, my will, my heart, my spirit. With all I am.

Daily Reading - John 19

Monday, March 22, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 23rd of March 2010

Jesus is the Truth

S - Jesus answered, "You say that I am king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. John 18:37

O - Jesus came to testify to the truth. The truth is that Jesus is king. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14":6). The very one Pilate was questioning, the very one who he would reluctantly hand over to be crucified, was the one, the only one who could save him! Jesus is the truth. In him is life. Those who believe in him are on the side of truth and are saved. (I notice here too a truth from Sunday's message. In this passage Jesus turns an ordinary conversation into a spiritual one).

A - Because Jesus is the truth, I must remember that it is not about rules, getting people to do this or that program, or anything else, but rather, to help people come to know Jesus. The desire and passion I must have, our church must have, is to know Jesus and make him known. To help them Thrive! in Christ. This week in conversations I have with people who don't know Jesus I will pray that I will have opportunities to help people understand more about him.

P - Thank-you God, for making it so clear and so simple. Jesus is the truth. Amen!

Daily Reading - John 18

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daily Journal for Friday 19th of March 2010

Love and Obedience

S - "If you love me, keep my commands." John 14:15

O - Jesus makes it clear that if we love him, we will do what he commands us to do! Like faith in God, which leads to action, love for God is seen in our obedience to his commands. If we understand who God is then we will know that even though his commands might be tough, seem unfair to us, or feel too difficult for us, God knows what he doing. He loves us and knows what is best for us.

- A simple question to ask myself today is, "Am I obeying God?" My answer will say a great deal about my love for God. Are there areas I need to confess, ask for his forgiveness and turn away from? Are there behaviours and attitudes I know that God wants me to change? I must respond and do them. This is how I show how much I love God.

P - When I think of your love for me, your grace, mercy and forgiveness, how could I but love you? How could I but obey you, follow you and do what you command. Amen.

Daily Reading - John 14

Daily Journal Thursday 18th of March 2010

What to do with power

S - Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. John 13:3

O - Jesus knew, he understood and grasped that God had put 'all things,' everything, all authority, all control, under his own power. So what did he do? He washed the disciples feet. He showed them that he would use the power he had been given for the benefit of others. He would be crucified, and rise again and down through the ages whoever believes in him is forgiven, set free and given eternal life. What a way to use power!

A - In meetings, in family discussions, at crucial times in people's lives I can become aware that for what ever reason I have become the person in the room with the most power. Whether it is because of the trust others have for me, the experience I may have had, or the position I hold, the words I say next I know will hold great power. They may change the minds of people in the meeting, they may affect the way our family moves, they may be acted on by a person seeking wisdom in a difficult relationship. How should I act then?

I must leverage my power for the benefit of others. When I am the most powerful person in the room I must leverage my power in a way that serves the good of those in the room, in the church, in the family. This is what Jesus did. I must follow his incredible example.

P - Father, today, help me be like Jesus. Whenever I am given authority or power, help me to use it for the benefit of others, just like Jesus did, washing his disciples' feet. Just like Jesus did, dying on a cross.

Daily reading - John 13

My thoughts in today's reflections are shaped and influenced by Andy Stanley's Leadership Podcast for March "The Most Powerful Person in the Room" - it's free from itunes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trusting in God Whatever the Circumstances

Many people are facing trouble. If you are not now you can be sure that someday you will be facing it. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble. So the question is not "will I face trouble?" rather it's "how will I face trouble?" Will I flounder or flourish when trouble comes? Will I dive or thrive?

God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Judah who were trusting in themselves. They thought that because of the Davidic covenant and because of the Temple, that God would protect them. They began to worship idols and disobeyed God. So these words come as a strong warning and a challenge to us as we face trouble.

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who trust in mortals, who depend on flesh for their strength and whose hearts turn away from the Lord. They will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. Jeremiah 17:5-6 (TNIV)

Here is a picture of a person who is trusting in themselves. They are depending on their own strength and in doing so they turn their hearts away from the Lord. This can happen in difficult circumstances when people pray. Instead of trusting in the God who is trustworthy, people begin to trust in outcomes rather than God and what can happen is that if God doesn't answer their prayer the way they trusted he would they get angry or upset with God. 

"God I trust in you, no matter what" is how the prayer begins, but then as trouble hits the prayer changes subtly to "God is trust that you will heal me." Now there is nothing wrong in asking for healing or for a miracle but when we trust in that instead of God, we can be in danger of trusting in outcomes rather than trusting in the God who can be trusted regardless of the outcome. God may sovereignly choose not to heal me but instead to draw me closer to him through the suffering. If so he knows what he's doing and we should keep trusting him whatever the circumstances and however he chooses to answer our prayer.

So pray to God, ask for healing, ask for a miracle, but always pray trusting in God, and that he knows best, and is trustworthy whether he answers us how we want him to or not.

We have a God who can be trusted!

Daily Journal Wednesday 17th of March 2010

Jesus - High and Lifted Up

S - "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32

O - Jesus faced the most horrible death. Crucifixion was a long, painful and humiliating death. For an observer it would have seemed completely obvious - Jesus wasn't who he said he was. But nothing could be further from the truth. What appeared as a victory for evil, what seemed to be Satan's greatest blow, was actually his crushing downfall.

Jesus' death made life possible. His dying meant that I could live. I could live forgiven because Jesus took my place, paid my price, died my dead. I could live forever because death was defeated by Jesus, he died but he rose, I too will rise, I will live forever. I could live victorious because Jesus overcame the power of Satan, he won, and I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.

When the Son was lifted up - all people, old, young, rich, poor, black, white red and yellow were able to be saved. What an incredible event.

A - As Easter approaches, I am looking forward to proclaim this truth. I will diligently prepare these services and pray that many come to know Jesus personally and are saved through the forgiveness, eternal life and victory that he offers them. Help me share this life changing news with others so that they can know and love Jesus too.

- Jesus, thank-you for dying for me. You are now high and lifted up forever. Draw people to yourself as I live and proclaim the great news of who you are what you have done. Amen

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 16th of March 2010

The Cost of Following Jesus

"If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temples and our nation." John 11:48

O - After many had witnessed Jesus' miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, many Jews put their faith in him. This was enough to get the Pharisees and the Chief Priests together. They didn't doubt that the miracle had happened, they just hated seeing their power slip away as people believed in Jesus. They felt their temple and nation were under threat. Even though the power of Jesus was undeniable losing their power was unthinkable.

A - Many people don't believe because they don't want to lose their power. Many people know that if they acknowledge who Jesus is and his power it will affect their lives. Many people realise that, if Jesus is Lord then the only response would be to worship him, to place him first, to do what he wants and not what I want. And so, even though they see the evidence, they refuse to believe not because its not believable but because it would cost them. They would lose their power to be Lord of their lives.

Pastors can be tempted to seek more power than they should. My role is helping people to love and follow Jesus. That means that the more people grow in their love for Jesus, the less they should become dependent on me. This good and healthy. My job is to keep giving glory to Jesus and people follow him, not me or my church. I want to always remember this. My measure of success should never be how much people like me, but how much they love Jesus.

- Thank-you Father for sending Jesus. Thank-you Holy Spirit for reminding me constantly of your guiding presence. Help me to live today for your glory God. May I continually bring you glory and help others surrender their power and control to you. Amen.

Daily Reading - John 11

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Daily Journal Wednesday 10th of March 2010

Crossing Over

S - "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

O - Faith comes through hearing and reading Jesus' words and through believing in God the Father. This faith leads to eternal life! This faith leads to not being judged! This life is mine now the moment I have faith. I have already crossed over!

A - Today I will remember that I have eternal life, will not be judged, and am now living - really living! I have crossed over already from death to life.

P - Thank you God for sending Jesus. Thank you that he paid the price - took my penalty. Thank you for eternal life. I live today, life to the full, by faith! Amen.

Daily Reading - John 5

Monday, March 8, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 9th of March 2010

It's Personal!

S - They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man is really the Saviour of the world." John 4:42

O - The Samaritans heard the woman's testimony so they went to Jesus, urged him to stay, listened to what he said, and somewhere along the way, it became personal. It changed from being a testimony they had heard, to a person they now knew.

A - I want to share my testimony with as many people as I can. I need to remember though that sharing what Jesus has done for me is just the beginning to God making it personal. As God reveals himself to people personally and they respond then people are not just listening to a powerful story but they are getting to know the Saviour behind the story.

I need to pray for people who have heard about Jesus, that they come to know him personally.

P - Father, I thank you for the people I know who have heard about you. I pray this morning specifically that they would take the next step and come to know you personally. Reveal yourself to them powerfully. Change their hearts and lives. Amen

Daily Reading - John 4:42

Daily Journal for Monday 8th of March 2010


S - "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them." John 3:36

O - What we do with Christ is crucial. It's the difference between life and death. If we believe in him, putting our trust and faith in him we have eternal life. If we reject the Son, not believing in him, turning away from him, we will not only not see life, eternal life, but God's wrath, his anger, his judgement remains, and continues to remain on us.

- Faith and trust in Jesus Christ, his life, death, resurrection, his reigning as Lord, his being God, are to be where my trust and faith are firmly placed. I want to grow stronger and deeper in my relationship with Jesus, each and every day.

- Thank you Father, for sending your Son, Jesus. Thank you for life to the full, found only in Him. Amen.

Daily Reading - John 3

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Daily Journal for Wednesday 3rd of March 2010

Jesus is praying for me!

S - "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32

O - Satan had asked to sift the disciples. Satan wants to destroy. He can think of nothing more delightful that destroying disciples of Jesus. But Jesus prays for his disciples. He prayed for Simon-Peter. He pray specifically that his faith would not fail. Under temptation, under opposition, under difficult, challenging circumstances, we are most in danger of failing in our faith. Satan is wanting us to fail. Jesus is praying that we will not. If we do fail, (and we pray that we don't) if we do in moments of doubt and pressure fail in our faith, Jesus points to us that we can return, we can repent, we can turn back. And when we do we will have a ministry of strengthening others in their faith. Peter did this. He failed under the enormous fear and experience of the trail and crucifixion of   Jesus. But Jesus restored him and he definitely did strengthen the brothers, becoming the leading figure in the early church.

A - God wants me to have a faith that is strong. Satan wants me to fail. Jesus is praying for me that I may not fail. Today I will pray in agreement with Christ, that I would be strengthened in my faith.

P - Father I pray that whatever challenges, temptations, conflicts, I face in the future, that I would remain strong in my faith, hope and love for you, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Daily Reading - Luke 22

Monday, March 1, 2010

Daily Journal Tuesday 2nd March 2010

I Am Indestructible!

S - "Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life." Luke 21:17-19

- Jesus was warning that tough times were up ahead. His followers would be persecuted, even family members would betray them and some will even be killed. To sum up all that lay ahead, Jesus says, "Everyone will hate you because of me." But the encouragement for them (and for us) is "not a hair of your head will perish."   This can't be true literally speaking because many died in the fall of Jerusalem and many Christians have died down the ages, not just hair perishing but their whole body being stoned, burn or drowned. What did Jesus mean?

What he meant was of great encouragement to those who love Jesus and are even facing death. Jesus said that "not one hair on your head will perish" and "Stand firm, you will win life." Spiritual life and eternal life cannot be taken away from by persecution and death. Though people kill us, we will have heavenly bodies, not a hair out of place, that will never corrupt, that will never die. One condition - stand firm!

A - I am indestructible! ...if I stand firm in Christ. Today, I will remember that nothing can stop me from having eternal life. Jesus has given it to me and nothing can take it away. I will also have boldness in my sharing, knowing fear of my own life is a misplaced fear!

P - As I prepare for my weekend message - "Trust God Whatever the Circumstances," help me to remember that trusting you leads to life eternal - whatever the circumstances. Thank-you Father.

Daily Reading - Luke 21