Running from God

Quiet Time – 18.10.2016 [Psalm 9]

Today I spent so much of my day running from God.  It started really well actually, had a job interview in the morning that went really well, did my laundry, felt great!  Then the girl I’ve been pursuing cancels on coffee this week (which I was totally looking forward to D=) because she’s sick, which is totally fine!  But… as I was rescheduling with her it seemed more and more like she wasn’t as keen as I was.  Huge bummer because I thought I had moved out of the friendzone.

It hurt.

The rest of the day was mostly a blur, my brain felt groggy and slow and my emotions were everywhere.  I also felt like I was avoiding God not really wanting to talk to Him or hear from Him.

I guess I felt far from Him because I was pushing Him away.

At least until now at the classic time of 2:11am where I just have to talk to God and face Him otherwise I’d probably explode.

Time to uncover and face my insecurities.


I decided to go back to one of the habits I used to have which was Praying through the Psalms and decided to write out some prayers I had in response to some of Psalm 9.

“I will praise You, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praises to Your name, O MOST High.”

-Psalm 9:1-2

  • Father God would You help me to remember Your goodness and character.
  • Help me to praise You with every single bit of my heart not with holding anything for myself.
  • Would I testify to Your goodness to all around me.

I drew a heart on the side of that verse and coloured it in and wrote : “ALL my heart.  NOT SOME.”  I knew that I wanted to hold parts of my heart to myself and not give it over to God in praise.  But that’s not how worship is, God demands ALL of us, not SOME of us, not MOST of us, but ALL of us.  Not even 99%.  I can’t hold even that 1%.

Would God take ALL of me and would I be a living sacrifice giving Him the praise that He deserves.


“Those who know Your name will trust You,
for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.”

-Psalm 9:10

  • I’m sorry that I forgot You were near me God and that I didn’t trust You.  I looked at my own insecurities and fears and tried to deal with them myself.
  • Would You help me to seek You knowing that You are near, knowing that Your Spirit dwells within me.
  • Would You help me to trust You, knowing that I can’t actually deal with these things myself.

This verse hit me hard when I read it out loud.  It was as if God was speaking to me showing me pretty clearly that I had forgotten all about Him today.  But it felt like He was speaking to me so gently at the same time… it wasn’t like He was condemning me or putting me down but instead… reassuring me.  “Trust me for I am WITH YOU” is what I felt He was saying to me.

What an insanely timely comfort.  


You know that feeling of peace inside that comes only after You’ve given everything to God?  Yeah… that’s how I feel now.  I’m still sad, and I’m still not sure what’s up with things but I do know the more important things.  God’s calling me to walk with Him, to remember that He is near and to praise Him.  I don’t know a lot of things in my life, but if I can be walking with God, remembering that He’s near and praising Him I’m sure things will turn out just fine :)

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.”

-Psalm 9:9

Herod and John the Baptist…

Quiet Time – 13.10.2016 [Mark 6:14-29]

Hey homie just read Mark 6:14-29. It’s this super side story about King Herod, his wife and John the Baptist who ends up getting beheaded.


WHO IS JESUS?

“King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known.”

Jesus’ been doing heaps of stuff all over and the rumours are starting to spread and the hottest question of the day is WHO IS JESUS? Some were saying that it was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Some were saying that it’s Elijah. Others said a prophet, just like the prophets of old. It seems that everybody who has seen or heard about Jesus has formed their own opinion about who Jesus is but the truth is that:

NOBODY really knows who Jesus is!

I think this is pretty similar to nowadays. Most people have heard of Jesus and have some conception of who He is regardless of whether it’s actually true or not. I want to make sure I don’t get caught up in different arguments about what Christianity is or isn’t but instead want to help people focus on looking at the person and character of Jesus as shown in His Word. People will then be able to make their own decision about Who Jesus Is for themselves. Praying that the Spirit might work in many people as they see who Jesus says He is and that they might respond in repentance and faith in Him as their LORD.


PEOPLE ARE SINFUL AND MESSED UP

“For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to…”

This story is full of huge amounts of question marks and stuff that makes you sad :( Herod has taken his brother’s wife for himself which is already super messed up in itself. Essentially John the Baptist was telling Herod that it’s totally not okay to marry your brother’s wife and Herodias (Herod’s wife) totally gets offended. She then starts hating him and tries to kill him. It ends up with Herod throwing a birthday party and things start going pear shaped. Herodias’ daughter dances for Herod and he likes it so much that he offers her anything up to half his kingdom. Herodias tells her daughter to ask Herod for John the Baptist’s head.

Herodias uses her daughter to seduce and trick her own husband… It’s just messed up.

What a display of what our sinful nature looks like. Whats more on top of that is that the law that John said over Herod OFFENDED Herodias. John ended up being hated and killed by sinful people who were OFFENDED by what God’s LORDSHIP meant over their lives. They hated hearing the Law that John gave them so they killed him.

This reminds me a lot of Jesus. The King who was so good that people had to find any excuse to hate, mock and kill Him. The fact that there is a King who demands all of our lives offends people. Our sinful nature is selfish and refuses to back down to any King other than ourselves. As we preach the Gospel we need to remember the reality and truth of persecution.

Preaching the Gospel invites persecution and hate.

Let’s keep being bold knowing that as we preach the Gospel the Spirit works in people’s hearts convincing them that He is LORD over their lives.  Let’s keep being bold knowing that many might repent and turn to Jesus in faith.  Let’s keep being bold preaching the Gospel because if we don’t do it, who will?


“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

– 2 Timothy 3:12

The Extraordinarily Ordinary Twelve

Quiet Time – 6.10.2016 [Mark 6:7-13]

Hey homies, today I read Mark 6:7-13.  We see Jesus sending out His Twelve Apostles out to various places to preach that people should repent whilst also casting out demons and healing sick people as they anoint them with oil.

Today was a story of twelve ordinary people used by an Extraordinary God.


The Twelve

“Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”

This verse sort of comes out of no where because all we’ve really seen of the twelve disciples is that they haven’t done much.  They’ve left behind their jobs and follow Jesus around everywhere but we haven’t seen them do anything really that awesome.  That’s the first thing that really struck out to me from this passage.  They’re 12 extraordinarily ordinary dudes.

Jesus is calling, sending and equipping 12 absolutely ordinary dudes.

Jesus’ Instructions

Now as Jesus sends these ordinary dudes to go do hectic stuff He also gives them a set of instructions.  He essentially tells them to travel super light, no bread, no bag, no money, no extra tunic.  Just hop from village to village, find a place to stay and stay there til you leave!  Oh… and if no one welcomes or listens to you shake the dust off your feet as you leave as a testimony against them!  You’re travelling light but travelling far.  What I think Jesus means when He says “shake the dust off your feet when you leave” is about preaching the Gospel and once they’ve done all they can, (i.e When they don’t listen or welcome them) they have freedom to move on and preach the Gospel elsewhere.

Preach the Gospel, get rejected, move on.  God will provide what you need. 

The Result

“They went out and preached that people should repent.  They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

A short and simple conclusion for how this section ends.  It really is pretty interesting how God takes absolutely normal people and uses them to do extraordinary things because honestly before this they’ve done nothing special!  And now they’re preaching repentance, driving out demons, anointing and healing sick people!  Talk about zero to hero!

Twelve normal people did awesome things not because of how awesome they were but because of the awesome God who empowered and sent them out.


Application

My first application point is follows on from most of what I’ve shared already.  I’m just like the twelve disciples.  I’m just plain, regular old Popo, not amazing or wonderful in any way but God’s Spirit dwells within me and He has equipped me with His Word as my guide and tool.  I can now have confidence because my God has called me, sent me and equipped me.  I can have confidence because the ministry that God has put before me does not derive it’s success from how awesome or unawesome I am but instead is grounded in the One who has sent and empowered me.  Be bold Mr Extraordinarily Ordinary Popo!

We are ordinary people used by an extraordinary God.


My second application point goes on from the way Jesus instructed His disciples as they went out.  There are times where similarly I also won’t be welcomed or listened to as I share the message of Jesus and that’s okay.  That’s actually normal.  I need to do all I can and move on.  Of course this is not an excuse to not be patient and faithful with the non Christians I minister to but there is a place where I am freed up to move on and preach the Gospel elsewhere.  I need to be actively praying and trusting God that He will lead me to effective places where He has been working in the hearts of those I talk to about the Gospel.

We will preach the Gospel far and wide.  Not everywhere will welcome and accept us and that’s okay.  Keep moving on and keep preaching the Gospel.


My third application point sort of comes from a round about way of understanding what Jesus says about moving on.  The disciples didn’t bring anything so they needed to rely on the people who took them in.  But the problem that I naturally see is what if EVERY town doesn’t take you in?  Then you’re stuffed!!  Rararara fear, insecurity, I want my control back!  But that’s not what happens, they return back in v30 and they seem totally fine.  That implies that there were enough towns that DID take them in and DID provide for them.  God was clearly taking care of them in that time providing all they needed.  Similarly I need to trust that whatever ministry God gives me, most likely in a full-time vocational capacity He will provide the people who will support me in my Gospel ministry  prayerfully and financially.  This is totally something I’ve been wrestling with recently since I totally feel awkward about asking people to financially support me in ministry.

Let’s trust that God will provide exactly what we need for the ministry He gives us.


“Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”

– Mark 6:7

A Lack of Faith…

Quiet Time – 5.10.2016 [Mark 6:1-6]

Hey homie I just read Mark 6:1-6.  Jesus goes back to His hometown and they don’t respond well to Him, in fact they’re described to have an amazing lack of faith!  It ends up with Jesus not doing many miracles there except heal a few sick people.

The people of Nazareth is another example of how people react to who Jesus is.  They live by sight and doubt who He is because of what they’ve seen.


The People of Nazareth

It’s starts off with Jesus teaching in the synagogue and “many who heard Him were amazed…” but they’re not amazed for what you might think.  They begin asking questions like “Where did this man get these things?” and “What’s this wisdom that has been given Him, that He even does miracles!  Isn’t this the carpenter?  Isn’t this Mary’s Son…”  They’re extremely doubtful of Jesus because they’re remembering who He was when He was growing up and living here before He began His public ministry.  He surely can’t be anything else!

The people of Nazareth have a lack of faith because they’re focusing on what they’ve seen only.  They don’t even consider if what Jesus is saying to them is true, if He is who He says He is.  


Jesus

Jesus sees this and is “amazed at their lack of faith.”  They give Jesus’ Words absolutely no consideration, not even the slightest chance.  They deny who Jesus is by relying on their sight.  They live by sight and not by faith.  Just as C.S Lewis argues, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or LORD.  It seems that the people of Nazareth see Him as both a liar and a lunatic.

They deny who Jesus is as they live by sight and not by faith.


Application

From seeing this I asked myself:

  • How do I deny His character?
  • How do I fail to respond to who Jesus is?
  • How do I live by sight instead of trusting in God’s promises?

How do I deny His character?

I often deny the fact that Jesus is enough in the way I see relationships.  I can sometimes feel that if I had a partner I would be happier, more satisfied or more fulfilled.  This is a straight up lie.   In fact human partners are all deficient, they can never satisfy me the way that I intrinsically need because it’s only found in Jesus.

Jesus is absolutely enough for me. 


How do I fail to respond to who Jesus is?

Jesus is king.  He is LORD above all.  But if someone was to look at how I live would they see that Jesus is Lord over all of my life?  Maybe on the surface they would, “Oh!  You’re involved in ministry and all these great leadership roles!  You must be having Jesus as Lord over all of your life!”  But what about my time at home?  What about all the time I spend procrastinating because I’m too lazy and slothful?

I need to be intentional with the way I spend my time at home, one of the ways for me to do this is cut down on the time I spend watching YouTube and rest in a way that will actually help me look at Jesus.

I want to live in a way that shows to everyone that I live for a King who is not myself.  I live for a Kingdom that is not here.  


How do I live by sight instead of trusting in God’s promises?

I live by faith because I trust in myself, my skills and my gifts as I serve in ministry.  I get the delusion that past ministries have borne much fruit because of how skillful I was, how gifted I was, how much I tried to achieve success through them.  In reality they bear fruit because God is Sovereign and He always works by His Spirit whenever His Word is opened to achieve His purposes.  I try to claim His success as my all and delude myself to thinking that I’m the important gear that makes everything run.  Only God does this.  If it was reliant upon me everything would legitimately fall apart.

One way that I can stay humble and remember to rely upon God’s promises instead of what I can achieve is by staying in prayer.  Prayer is how you can really tell if someone trusts God or not.

Prayer is NOT the preparation for the more important thing.
It IS the more important thing.


“Jesus said to them, “Only in His hometown, among His relatives and in His own house is a prophet without honour.”  He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

– Mark 6:4-6

“Don’t be afraid; just believe…”

Quiet Time – 4.10.2016 [Mark 5:21-43]

Hey homie I just read Mark 5:21-43. It’s where Jesus gets asked by Jairus to heal his daughter who is dying. He goes there but gets ambushed by a crowd and a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years touches His cloak in faith and gets healed. Jesus then continues on to Jairus’ household who’ve said that his daughter is already dead, but Jesus is like lols not really. They laugh at Him and then He proceeds to bring back Jairus’ daughter from death.

It’s really apparent to me from this passage that the nature of faith in Jesus defies the circumstances you see around you.

Jairus

We get introduced to a character called Jairus who is a synagogue ruler who has a little daughter who is dying. He comes to Jesus and earnestly pleads with Him. “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her and she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.”

Jairus believes and trusts in the rumours he’s heard about the Man who has healed so many before.

Woman

As they travel on their way to Jairus’ home it has this sandwiched section about this woman who has been bleeding for 12 years. She’s suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors, spent ALL she’s had but instead of getting better, she’s gotten worse! This is the picture of someone who’s hit rock bottom who has no where else to turn. “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” Just like Jairus she trusts in the rumours she’s heard about the Man who has healed so many before.

She pleads by faith because she has nothing else to hold onto and no one else to turn to.

Jesus

Jesus instantly realises that power has gone out of Him and asks a pretty silly question considering the circumstances.

“Who touched my clothes?”

“Jesus buddy, there’s a billion people crowding around you and you’re asking who touched your clothes?” is probably what His disciples are thinking. What they don’t realise is that Jesus is infinitely powerful and aware of every single bit of His power. The woman falls at His feet trembling with fear and tells Him the whole truth.

She’s realised that with one touch this Man has done more for her than anyone in her 12 years. Jesus’ power is huge and goes beyond our circumstances.

Daughter

Men then come from Jairus’ house and say that his daughter is already dead, don’t bother the Teacher anymore, it’s too late… But…. Jesus IGNORES them and says to Jairus these absolutely incredible words into this situation. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” If there’s ever a time to be afraid and panic for Jairus it’s now. He’s just missed his little daughters last few hours of life to find some dude who could heal her but it’s too late now. No one comes back from the dead. They keep going to Jairus’ house welcomed to much wailing and crying. Jesus says “The child is not dead but asleep.” to which everyone laughs at Him. Truly no one comes back from the dead. But surely enough Jesus goes to visit Jairus’ daughter and absolutely defying all logic and circumstance raises her from the dead.

“Talitha Koum!” – “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”

Jesus’ power defies our circumstances and situations. He calls us to respond to who He is in faith. Trusting that He can do what we can’t even imagine.

Application

– I’m actually meant to relate to Jairus. We have to continually and earnestly plead with God. We’ve heard and seen God’s power and we need to rely on it day by day.

– I’m actually meant to relate to the woman in the crowd. In my sin I was at rock bottom and had no where else to turn to and no one else to turn to. Jesus called me to rely upon who He is completely for my salvation. You only plead when you have nothing else to offer. However that reliance upon Jesus continues NOW. Right now I need to keep living by faith knowing and trusting that God can do more in a single touch than I or anyone else could ever do.

Don’t be afraid; just believe. Jesus absolutely defies what my circumstances say around me. I can’t live by sight, I have to live by faith. In fact my circumstances will actually contradict what Jesus has promised for us.

One of the things I struggle to see past my circumstances with right now is with my work. RICE desires to fundraise support for me so I can work for them in a full time capacity for their Gospel ministry. However I am prone to look at my circumstances and point out all the flaws and difficulties of raising enough support for me. I’m not properly trusting God to provide what I need. Jesus promises that I’ll have exactly what I need but I doubt that promise because of my circumstances.

Jesus WILL provide for me what I need. That sometimes might not look like what I expect but whatever does happen it’s going to be perfect for me in that situation! Faith is trusting in God’s promises despite your circumstances seemingly contradicting them. Pray that I might live by faith and not by sight!


“While Jesus was still speaking; some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

– Mark 5:35-36

Psalm 2 | Poetry

The people of the world, they gather and plot
Against the King of their world and they plan to revolt
But little do they see, the freedom that they so desperately seek
Is not found in the rebellious, but instead in the meek

And so begins their dark downward spiral, as they mischievously scoff
And the God of this world prepares His frightening wrath
He says “I have installed my King on Zion, on My holy hill”
And you can enjoy your rebellion, but you’ll one day be still

As I send My Son Jesus, my Anointed One
He’s coming to judge and there’s no where to run
Regardless of how you treat Him, He’s already the King
So stop for a second and start listening

You people of earth, be warned and be wise
Serve the Lord with fear and stop believing your lies
For believing in Jesus will free you from your sin
Blessed are all who take refuge in Him

Psalm 1 Prayer

Father let me not be led by the world,
But instead fix my eyes upon You.
Let me delight in Your law,
Let me meditate upon Your scriptures day and night.

And as I do God,
I pray that Your love would overflow from me.
That as I am sustained by You,
Your love would overflow out of my hands,
Into this broken world that needs You so desperately.

May I be like the tree planted by the streams of living water,
Focusing on You, being sustained entirely by You.
And as Your Spirit sanctifies me and conforms me to the image of Jesus,
Would you let me trust in the righteousness that is found in Jesus alone.

Amen.

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