Monthly Archives: February 2012

So Good…

It was such a great pleasure to drop in to our building today and find some crew there, responding to the words that have been preached.

A little while ago, we had a few Sundays where upon the mention of the pattern established in the book of Acts where people were “saved and baptised“, we had a number of spontaneous baptisms.  It was so awesome to see so many people totally unprepared for it (no towels and spare clothes etc), just get into our comical, little blow up pool and get baptised.  One family was so impacted by that radical display of obedience that they bought us a tank for future baptisms.  So today, there was a few guys there, building up a framework to install the tank and then completing it beautifully with some lovely wooden decking.  While they were doing that, some one else was up in the foyer (in the scorching heat), sanding and repainting the ceiling since the putrid “art-deco” fluros inside water pipes were removed and downlights installed.

It really is amazing to see people responding to the preaching like this!  To be there on a 37 degree Saturday using their skills and talents to enhance the building and to facilitate the future obedience of those wanting to be “saved and baptised“, is truly inspiring!

Also on the recently completed list is the new curtaining around our stage and the restructuring of our sound desk area since all the media equipment was shifted upstairs.  This made the old media booth redundant, so it was removed and the area reconfigured to what we see now.  Again, a HUGE thanks goes out to all involved in these projects…you are amazing!

I am so glad that our building will never get the opportunity to get stuck in a time phase 20-100 years behind the times as we always have people willing to sow their skills and lives into it’s ongoing development.  It is very much appreciated, THANK YOU!

Just had to add one more picture of the guys enjoying themselves once it was all done…

 


The Same Message…Regardless of Who’s Listening.

The Bible would have to be one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented books available today.  I guess that should be no real surprise though when you consider it has been one of  the number one top selling books of all time.  I have so many conversations with people who think they know what the Bible says, but really have absolutely no idea.  There is a misconception that the Bible is simply a rule book for religious people.  A list of holy do’s and don’ts for those “poor unfortunates” who believe in it’s “fables” and “fairy tales“.  And those poor unfortunate believers then use that same book to judge others who don’t.

Unfortunately, this has so little to do with the actual content of the Bible that it’s not even funny.

I don’t see the Bible as a rule book at all.  I see it more as an owners manual.  I have a very nice SSV Holden with a V8 engine, a car that is designed for a certain level of performance and to live up to certain expectations.  For example, I expect that when I use the windscreen wipers to clean the windscreen, water will squirt on the window to enable them to clean it properly.  But I have to refill that water from time to time and to do so requires that I know where to put that water.  I can’t just open the bonnet and put the garden hose into say, the oil cap.  To do so is going to cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.  How do I know where to put that water to get the best out of my windscreen wipers?  By reading the owners manual.  The owners manual was written by the manufacturer to ensure that all owners of their vehicles know how to use them as per their intended design, thereby getting the best out of them.

Well the same can be said of the Bible.  We have bodies and lives, that a manufacturer has given us.  And to help us make certain we are getting the absolute best out of them, He gave us an owners manual that contains all the information we need to ensure that we know exactly how to do so.  Who could possibly know better than the designer and manufacturer how to use anything the best way?  If we want the best results in our Holdens, we read an owners manual written by Holden.  Well if we want the best results with our lives and bodies, we should refer to the manual written by the one who designed them and gave us life.

His name is God and the manual He has given us is called the Bible.  In consultation with that manual and with the writer of that manual, we can be shown how to live this life we have been given to the absolute fullest possible potential, the most rewarding way possible.  No one knows this better than He does…no matter who claims what!

Religion may have put a lot of people off the reading of the Bible and the relating with God with all it’s “You’re not worthy” stuff, but let’s have a quick look at what the Bible says Jesus came to preach:  Ephesians 2: 17-19 says “And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him, we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”  Most religious people would read that as “He preached peace to those who were near, but judgement to those who were far off, for they would surely not have the same access to God the Father that we do”.  But that is clearly not what it says.

Jesus message was one of absolute redemption for all.  It is a totally inclusive message (all of humanity) with a totally exclusive method (Himself).  Jesus is the only possible means to salvation and restored relationship with God the Father.  There is no other way…but fortunately, this way is incredibly simple. All we have to do is “believe and receive“.  Believe in Jesus and what He has done for us and then receive the free gift of life that He has made available to us.  As we walk daily with Him, He will instigate the transformation of us into His own radiant and glorious image.

I truly hope that you have had an encounter with this very personal Jesus and are walking with Him daily and experiencing this wonderful transformation. There is no more rewarding way to live….This is the BEST!

 


Remembering A Legend And A Gentleman…

Just over four years ago, I was asked by one of my uncles to travel to Adelaide to spend some time with one of my cousins.

Mark had been unwell for some time in an encounter with Jack The Dancer and Uncle Graham was thinking a little longer term than just this Earthly life. He wanted to know that Mark’s eternity was in safe hands.

I flew to Adelaide for a day with my mate Dave Williams and we spent the most part of it at Flinders with Mark and also had some great time with his beloved sister Annette.  Precious times indeed.  We chewed the fat for a bit, talked about old Planet Square gigs and good times, Morgan trips and all the usual banter with many questions like “Beer?“.  Unfortunately, the hospital policy didn’t enable us to partake of such an invitation, yet the invitations continued to flow.

After a while, I asked Mark how his cancer was going and he informed me that he knew this was a round he was going to lose, but he was doing his best to keep everyone else’s spirits up about it all.  I asked him if he had given much thought to what came next, and if he was OK to talk about it.  His face lit up and he said that he would love to talk about it.  From there, we got straight to the point as he brought up issues like Heaven and Hell and asked what I thought.  I gave him a very quick run through the good news as explained in the first few chapters of the book of Romans.  Basically none of us qualify on our own and none of us can achieve or earn eternity with God, but God has chosen to give it out freely as a gift to any and all, who accept the free gift of salvation through the provision of His Son Jesus Christ.  We did a ten minute comparison of religion v’s relationship…talked about how religion wants us to try harder and be good enough and sin less and all that, but how relationship is more about us walking with Jesus and letting Him affect and shape our lives through daily encounters, conversations and impartations.

There came a point in the discussion where Mark’s whole face changed…there was faith in his eyes…and he told me that although he hadn’t been a very good “God botherer” going to church all the time and doing all the right things, he did know and trust in the person of Jesus Christ.  We talked about that as the only Biblical distinction and qualifying factor and that as long he had a personal relationship with Jesus, Mark’s observation of religion was really not at all important.  I asked him if he was willing to put his trust for the future in Jesus’ hands and thereby have a certainty about his eternity and he said he absolutely was.

Mark also expressed his frustration that no one had ever showed him this gospel (good news) truth so clearly before.  Although brought up in a number of churches, he had been left thinking it was about religious performance and that he was simply not good enough.  He thanked me for taking the time to visit and to present the truth of scripture to him and told me to please make sure every one else got to hear the truth like that so they too could accept the free gift available to them through Jesus Christ.

Annette and Dave rejoined us after that conversation and Dave commented on the totally different atmosphere in the room when he returned…he said it was like a different room and a different person.  Although Mark was facing physical death, spiritual life had entered the room!

Sadly Mark did leave project Earth a couple of weeks later, but here is what his sister Annette recently shared about that time:

When my precious brother took his last breath four years ago today, we were shattered and grief stricken. This was the worse moment of my whole life. We sat together, still arm in arm, crying and trying to absorb the reality of what had just happened. After about 20 minutes I rang the bell and the night nurse came into the room. We went outside into the courtyard under the full grown english plain trees and sat waiting for our family to arrive. It was a very hot, still, balmy night around 1.30am. As we sat waiting, I looked up into the tops of the trees. The moonlight was twinkling and dancing on the leaves and I saw a wind swirling around and around in the tree tops. It was so beautiful and to my surprise, I felt a calm peace and serene joy come over me. I sensed that the wind was a free spirit that had just been released, sawing high, ecstatic with such happiness that he’d never know before. Free from the pain and horror, he was now serenely happy and in a perfect state of being and knowing, that he had never experienced on earth before. He was on his way to that eternal perfect place we can only imagine and hope for. My precious brother was on his way home.

Mark is sadly missed by so many, but we very much look forward to seeing him again soon and being greeted by a smiling face, pointing at the person next to him and saying something like “What the hell took you so long? Beer?” There goes my hero…but keep it cold, I’ll be there soon!


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