What does it mean?

peters-pentecost-sermon

Amazed and perplexed they asked ‘What does this mean?’. You see, in Jerusalem that day there were Jews representing many nations and languages and yet each one heard the proclamation of the Holy Spirit in their own language. They were bewildered because the disciples of Jesus could speak in their own vernacular – and they made perfect sense! How strange to hear something so clearly and yet not understand.

Have you ever found yourself looking at what God is doing and wondering: ‘What does this mean?’ I have!

Continue reading

Helpful Patterns!

101 5pm church update header

The beginning of the year is a helpful time to do a personal stocktake!

Let me try and explain. I suspect, that most of us would find that there is some kind of ‘pattern’ to our week – get up, breakfast, personal devotion, school/uni/work/home duties/appointments…, lunch, afternoon activities, dinner, and then whatever evening things we commit too, before falling into bed – ready to do it all over again!

Of course, this ‘routine’ will vary from person to person and from day to day. The point: we often construct our days and weeks according to ‘patterns’ which, frankly, help us stay sane.

Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(Psalm 100)

Have you ever had one of those ‘flat days’ – you know those days when you just feel blar? (a technical term!!). A day when the idea of ‘worship’ or ‘praise’ seems so removed from your mental space – I have them often.

Continue reading

Who is wise among you?

101 5pm church update header

Who is wise among you?

Be careful how you answer – because there are two different kinds of ‘wisdom’. On the one hand there is heavenly wisdom and on the other there is worldly wisdom.

A wise person, should probably examine themselves before they give an answer.Of course a Christian would want to say they were a ‘heavenly wise’ person. Indeed. Would others consider you to be?

James in his letter shows us the difference between these two kinds of wisdom – and helpfully suggests that the way to determine a heavenly wise person is to effectively ask those around them!

Continue reading

Side by Side – Part 3 (of 3)

The first two posts in this series have offered two observations coming out of 1 Timothy 5:1-16 which may help a church family to further consider what it means to honour and care for those who are most vulnerable.

In the first post, we observed that the widow of 1 Tim 5 was akin to the ‘vulnerable’ today.

In the second post, we observed that when caring for a person in need – everyone is different and everyone can play a part. Five pointers were offered in how to do that.

In this last post, I would like to recommend a good book that works hard to offer principled and practical suggestions for getting alongside a person whom we are trying to love.

Side by Side – Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward T. Welch (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015).

41kPDt690WL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Side by Side by Edward Welch is a quick and helpful read, written by a Christian counselor who has practiced and written in the fields of depression, fear and addiction for decades.

The aim of the book is to identify skills that Christians can learn and then use in caring for others. His basic idea is that those who help best are the ones who both need help and give help.

Continue reading

Side by Side – Part 1 (of 3)

101 5pm church update header

In 1 Timothy 5:1-16 the Apostle Paul offers advise to Timothy (and those in the church that he leads) for honouring others – ‘Give honour to those widows who are really in need’ (5:3).

As he explains this advise, Paul is quite helpful in offering some suggestion in how to treat each widow differently given their particular situation – to the widow with children or grandchildren allow her family to care; to the godly widow who is alone offer her help; to the widow who has no interest in the things of God, exercise care if you help; to the faithful widow who is over sixty put her on the care list, but to the widow under sixty do not. All very specific!

Why?

The driving principle here  is that the church of Jesus should be a help to those who are in most need (5:16) and if there are others like family members who should bear that responsibility, then allow them to do as such.

I take it that there are limited resources and that the wisdom here is to give priority to those who are most at risk- and at that time, it would have been the widow.

In this and the next post, I want to make two observations that may be helpful for our church family. Then in a third post a want to recommend a helpful book.

Continue reading

The Shepherd and the Sheep

101 5pm church update header

Friends I want to try and put into words a tension I feel and that I know many Pastors experience as they ‘shepherd’ those in their care.

And in doing so I hope to correct what I think is a faulty expectation about the role of the Shepherd in caring for the flock.

Then I would like to ask for your prayers – both for me and our church family.

Continue reading