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