Friday, 17 February 2017

THE LIFE AND DEATH CONSEQUENCES BETWEEN BELIEF AND TRUSTING


some-things-you-trust


This week I had the occasion to speak to three individuals about the difference between Christianity and other religions. While all religions have certain beliefs which generally qualify a person to be an adherent of that religion, Christianity is starkly different. Of course there are some essential beliefs that define Christianity, but simply believing that these things are true is not what qualifies a person as a Christian. The reason is that belief is often confused with faith. And unlike all other religions, which are built on their Creed (set of beliefs), Christianity is a Faith with a Creed, not just a Creed. This distinction is not insignificant. It literally has eternal consequences. The three individuals whom I shared this with this week were each at a point in their life-journey where perhaps for the first time in their lives they could appreciate the gravity of the distinction. You see, each one had recently been confronted with the frailty of their own humanity. One of them had been told by doctors that they had only weeks left to live. The other had an incurable disease. The third had just come out of critical care. Here’s what I told them. 

I WANT TO HELP YOU DIE WELL
After listening a bit to the first person’s story and having them tell me that they only had weeks left, I gently told them, “I want to help you to die well.” 
“Thank you” they replied, “I am a Christian, but I’m not one of those church-going Christians.”
“Many believe what Christianity teaches to be true,” I responded, “but they often confuse their understanding of three key words – belieffaith, and trust.”
I explained that a belief was simply an acknowledgement that something was true. Faith was being persuaded by the reasons that a claim was true and had implications for the believer. Trust was the result of that implication.
“For example,” I said, “one may believe that a plane can fly. You can even have good reasons to have faith that a plane can fly. But trust is boarding the plane to fly!”  
This was, I explained, how Christianity was different from all other religions. While religions have sets of beliefs, common to all of them – except Christianity – is the belief that if a person does enough good they can outweigh the bad and qualify to enter Heaven after they die. Reaching for one of the Legana Passports, which will be used in our KiDS Church over the next three Sundays, I drew the analogy that each time we did something wrong it was like receiving a blemish stamp in our life passport. No matter how many merit stamps we may get in our “life passport”, they could never cancel out the blemish stamps. It was like a convicted murderer being shuttled to the court for sentencing when on the way there a school bus laden with children falls over the edge of the bridge. Somehow, the convicted murderer breaks free from his chains and escapes to dive off the bridge and begin rescuing all twenty-eight school children from drowning. After saving their lives, Police once again secure him into the back of the van and take him to court. The Judge declares that this murderer has been found guilty and should be sentenced to the severest punishment. But the convicted man interrupts and says, “Not so fast your Honour! On the way here this morning I rescued twenty-eight lives, so I think we’re even now – in fact, I think you owe me!” As noble as the man’s actions were in rescuing those doomed children, no fair-minded judge is going to be persuaded by this appeal because when the man violently took the life an innocent human being it was a crime with capital (life-long) consequences. How much more then are we guilty when we sin against an eternal and infinitely good God?
Reaching for the other Legana Passport on my desk I continued.
“Imagine if when we die we stand before God with our blemished life-passport and have Him examine it. We cannot bear to look up into the face of God because our guilt and failure is obvious and undeniable. In that moment we know and accept that as the Judge of the Universe we are about to be sentenced and condemned for eternity” I told them. “But then Jesus comes over to us and offers us His perfectly unblemished Passport and tells us that with this Passport we have unfettered access to the best that Heaven offers. He then offers it to us. What would your response be?” I asked.
“Thank you” they replied.
“Precisely. And this is exactly what Jesus Christ did on the first Easter when He died as our Substitute on the Cross.” 
 “This is why” I went on, “we spell ‘religion’ as D, O, – it’s all about what you do. And it’s why we spell ‘Christianity’ as D, O, N, E, – it’s all been done for us by Christ.”
The question now is, I offered, whether you will move from belief to trust and get on the plane (Jesus)?
I had a colleague tell me that he had a man who had come to him and say that despite attending his church for over three decades he felt that something was missing in his life. The pastor listened to his story and then startled the man with, “I don’t think you’ve ever truly become a Christian – because what you are describing is someone who believes it to be true but has never actually put their trust in Jesus as their Saviour.” The man’s response to this was equally startling. “Thank God then, because if this was true Christianity I don’t want it because all I feel is empty!” The Pastor led the man to put his faith into action and to trust in the Saviour. The difference from that point was also startling! 
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  ¶ And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
Second Corinthians 5:17-18
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 10 February 2017

Launching Out Into The Deep


launching-out-into-the-deep


One of the stipulated conditions for being allowed to marry Kim, as I was to later discover, was that I had to learn how to sail. So serious was this stipulation, that my father-inlaw paid for me to do a sailing course at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Club. Upon completion of the course, I was duly entrusted with the family yacht. Fortunately, we lived right near Williamstown, Melbourne, which meant that mooring and regularly sailing the yacht was relatively practicable. But, alas, my entire sailing experience was confined to Port Phillip Bay. Other experienced sailors would talk with excitement about “sailing green” (through rough ocean) and negotiating ten to fifteen metre waves! I was content to limit my sailing to a very light shade of blue!  I do, however, have the utmost respect for sailors who venture out into the untamed green waters of the world and return as conquerors. But not all do. Going out into the deep has its rewards, but it also has its risks.
And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
Luke 5:4
“Launching out into the deep” in life involves combatting weariness, overcoming past failures, dealing with unresolved hurts, and trying to forget some possible bad memories. It can be done – but needs some mighty awkward hurdles to be negotiated first! When Jesus told Peter to launch out into the deep after he and his co-workers had toiled all night and caught nothing, Peter also had to get over his previous negative experiences.
And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
Luke 5:5
where-fishing-boats
crab-fishermen-bering-straitSailing vessels are always safe when secured in a harbour. But sailing vessels were never intended to remain within the safety of a harbour. Your life is like a ship and your journey through life is like navigating seas and oceans. Certain fishing boats, such as the Crab fishermen of the Bering Strait, up near Alaska, have to venture way out into some of the roughest seas on the planet. This Crab season only lasts a few weeks. Each season, several of these fishermen die. For those Crab fishermen who survive and make it back at the end of the season, the financial rewards are significant. They can earn up to a year’s wages in just a few weeks. 
Crab_Fishing_boat_Bering_Sea_AlaskaFishing on the Bering Sea is one of the most hazardous professions on the planet. Days spent lugging around heavy equipment amid giant swells and icy blasts of sea-soaked air — it’s not for the faint of heart. The isolation of those remote waters, the winter months shrouded in darkness and prone to stormy skies, the high winds and ice-covered decks — all stack the deck for hypothermia, drowning and other life-threatening accidents. Despite the danger, there’s still a good bit of money to be made as a fisherman on the Bering Sea — provided you’re willing to pay your dues and work your way up.
Discovery Channel
Millions of dollars are made by these Crab fishers in just one season. But it is only possible if they launch out into the deep. 
And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.
Luke 5:6
Spiritually the same principle seems to apply. The more we are prepared to step out of our comfort zone, obey Christ, and venture deep, the greater the reward. In just over a week, we as a church will be doing just this. Many of us have been planning, building, organising, training, investing, into this Journey campaign. One of our KiDS Church workers has spent the last three weeks building the material which will resemble the inside of a jumbo jet. This has also involved painting and shaping the various boxes now dressed up as pieces of luggage, for the luggage of life game the children will be playing. All of this effort for what will effectively be for less than sixty minutes of usage. Then it will be taken down and disposed of forever. This is launching deep. It is in this deep where we hope to catch the kind of young fish that Jesus spoke about.
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Mark 1:17
This kind of deep fishing involves leg-work and knee-work. Some of us can do the leg-work, some of can do the knee-work. When a church launches out into the deep there is always a lot of leg-work to be done (advertising, catering, volunteer-coordination, multi-media presentations to produce, VIPs to be invited, décor to be updated, music to be learned/practised/rehearsed, leaflets to be delivered, sets to be made, curriculums to be written, social-media to be updated, and so on), and there is an even greater amount of knee-work to be done (prayer for appropriate weather, prayer for visitors to turn up and for God to open their hearts, prayer for the volunteers to be refreshed and ready, prayer for the musicians and singers to be prepared and able to perform with confidence, prayer for the children invited to join in, prayer for the children’s workers to well-preprared and able to hold the attention of the assembled children, prayer for our sound-team and media team to work in harmony, prayer for those involved in the catering to be well organised and in good health, and prayer for the preacher to have God’s anointing).  
Some of us may feel like we’ve already toiled all night and caught nothing. Even the thought of launching out into the deep is frightening. But in order for us to reach the precious catch which Christ summons us to fish for, we have to set sail and head for deep waters. On Sunday February 19th at Legana, you may feel as if you are out of your depth, but as these Bering Strait Crab-fishermen constantly remind themselves, it’s only for a season and the rewards are extraordinary. But as any of these Crab fishermen will tell you, it’s not a one man job – we all need to help each other out. If you can’t do some of the leg-work which needs doing, then we need you on your knees helping out with the knee-work. On Sunday February 19th, let’s all give 100% and truly make it a One Hundred Percent Sunday 
Deeply yours,
Ps. Andrew

Saturday, 4 February 2017

All You Ever Needed To Know About Windows

all-you-need-to-know-about-windows
I would like us to take a moment to celebrate windows. These versatile building products possess all the attributes of greatness and genius. They are simple – glass and a frame. But they can also be intricate – tiny coloured pieces of glass and artistically shaped lead. They can be small. They can be massive. They can be found in a palace and in a hut. They let things in and keep things out. Their view can cheer a soul or strike terror in a soldier. They can be functional or they can also be stunningly beautiful. Windows done well are perfectly humble. And for all these reasons I think we not only need to take a moment to celebrate windows, but to also learn from them.
¶ “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.
Matthew 6:22 THE MESSAGE
windows-make-grand-views
Even though windows can be dressed up with drapes, curtains, blinds or shutters, they are not there to draw attention to themselves. They serve to reveal. They make it possible to see without battling the elements of wind, rain, or glare. Windows can help let light in and thus brighten up a room. Windows facing toward the sun invite its warmth in. They reveal, they brighten, they warm, and they do it all gladly.
From the outside of a home, windows tell a passerby what kind of home this is. The passerby may see a family sitting around a dinner table enjoying a meal, each other, and their guests’ company. The passerby may look in and notice the décor and see that the occupant has an eye for colour. They may also attempt to look in and fail and thus conclude that the occupant values their privacy. 
window-the_church
The Church is meant to be like a window. Windows have longed formed an integral and symbolic component of church building architecture. Our new church building, due for completion some time in June, will have some bold windows facing out to our community. This too is intentionally symbolic. 
In our Western Culture, we are living in a privacy-obsessed world. Life hasn’t always been this privatised. For most of human history for most human cultures, there has been a strong sense of community, togetherness, mutuality, and a higher degree of appropriate transparency. Because of this strong cultural undertow, it is often challenging for people who are now coming to Christ and being introduced to the church family to appreciate that God wants to do something in us not just in me. In fact, the Apostle Paul told the Ephesians (a church made up of Jews and Gentiles) that by God bringing them together into one church family, that He was showing the world that His Son is more important to His children than their ethnicity, language, skin-colour, or heritage.
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 3:8-10
window-stained-glassIn other words, the local church is meant to be a window. As a window, the community where God has called the church to assemble can look in. When people look through the church as a window they will see the unsearchable riches of Christ deposited in people just like them! When they look at the church in their community they will see the thing they crave more than anything else (unconditional love, forgiveness, wholesome friendships, helpful instruction, grace to go on) evident in the lives of people just like them!
From inside the church looking out, the church as a window helps the believer to see the world more clearly. What was previously obscured by the elements of life, and now filtered out by the Christ-supplied window, enables the believer to see people as we’ve never seen them before. It enables to see the demands for what is abhorrent as a deep ache in the souls of those who seeking what they have not found.
Each Sunday, we webcast our service Live on the internet. It’s like watching our service on TV, only better, because you can watch it anywhere in the world on a smart-phone, tablet computer, smart-TV, or computer. This is an expression of our desire to be a window through which the world may look in. This is why it is important for all believers to gather together each Sunday and declare to the world that celebrating Christ in His House is more important to us than sport, business, or me-time. And when our service together is dismissed and the weekly webcast stops, our windows are still open for the world to look in – but not through one larger than normal window, but through the individual windows we each serve as for Christ when we go our way into our worlds.
So three cheers for the window and three cheers for Christ who has gifted us to be His window for a lost world to gaze through and behold His grace in people just like them. In this way, we are a window of hope to a person who feels there is none.
window-glass-floor

Pastor Andrew.

Friday, 27 January 2017

The Body Parts Of A Prophet

body-parts-of-a-prophet
¶ Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Luke 24:44
The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament are generally categorised into History, Law, Poetry and Prophets. This is the genius of God. He has chosen to communicate His Word to all mankind through a story with sub-stories, art, decrees, narratives, and biographies. He has also chosen to do so largely through prophets. Some of these people were formerly princes, or shepherds, or farmers, or priests. Some of them were so odd they struck fear into entire towns and villages whenever they entered. Others were so ordinary they were laughed to scorn when they dared prophesy to Kings of nations. There was something peculiar about these instruments of God and we are now going to dissect one of them to see what was going on.
So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
First Samuel 12:18
¶ Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Amos 7:14-15
Jeremiah Sermon SeriesFor those of you who have been tracking with me through our Jeremiah series, I have attempted to show that Jeremiah was not cold-hearted, boney-finger pointing, party-pooper, but a deeply compassionate, caring, and sensitive young man who was given a job by God which he didn’t want. He became known as the prophet who wept. Through the series we have seen how he grew into a prophetic statesman who wanted God’s people to return to God instead of rebelling against God. Yet, no matter how well meaning a prophet was, people still recoiled at the prophet’s message. 
¶ “For my people are foolish;
they know me not;
they are stupid children;
they have no understanding.
They are ‘wise’—in doing evil!
But how to do good they know not.”
JEREMIAH 4:22
ears-of-a-prophet
This week I had an interesting coffee with someone who died. Let me explain. Several months ago he experienced intolerable pain and was taken to hospital in the dead of night. As he got to Emergency Department, he passed out. The medical staff realised that he hadn’t just fainted, he had had a cardiac arrest. Despite their best efforts, the E.C.G. showed a flat-line for the twenty minutes they worked on him. Then an African doctor came into the room and took the dead man’s right foot. In less than a minute a feint pulse suddenly appeared on the ECG screen and the cardiologist ordered that he be taken immediately to ICU to be put on their specialised equipment. In all, doctors say that he was clinically dead for forty-five minutes before he was revived. During this time, and the subsequent recovery time afterwards, he met with the Lord in a way that he struggled to explain to me. “It was more real than you are across this table from me now” he said. “The Lord spoke to me,” he went on, “but not with words.” “I heard Him, but not in the same way I am hearing you now.” 
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
JESUS, Matthew 11:15
Prophets learned to use their spiritual ears. When Jesus said, “let him hear” it might sound like He was asking for permission on that person’s behalf, but the beauty of the Greek language, in which the New Testament is written, is that each verb tells us far more than can be translated into English. ἀκουέτω (akou-ettoe) is the Greek verb translated let him hear. It is what translators refer to as an imperative  – a command, in the sense of a parent saying to one of their two squabbling children – Let him go!  This is why more modern translations put an exclamation mark into the translation, such as the New English Translation (NET Bible)-
The one who has ears had better listen!
JESUS, Matthew 11:15
Prophets used these kinds of ears which Christ referred to. Some people argue that if God speaks He will have no trouble being heard and understood. If this is indeed the case, the New Testament would have had no need to repeat this imperative “Listen!” thirteen times (Matt. 11:1513:913:43Mark 4:9Lk. 8:814:35Rev. 2:71117293:61322). Just as in any relationship, it’s possible (and common) for you to listen to someone without hearing what they are saying. Prophets learned to listen, hear and heed (advanced listening) what God was saying to them.

eyes-of-a-prophet
When God called Moses to be a Prophet and the Deliverer of Israel out of Egypt, He used a burning bush to get his attention. Moses saw something odd. Prophets tend to seethings differently to most of us. 
(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.)
First Samuel 9:9
Prophets saw people and often wept.
¶  Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Jeremiah 9:1
How easy it is for us to look at people but never actually see them? God opened the eyes of the prophets to see what they were already looking at and then to begin to see with their spiritual eyes. The prophets themselves foretold of the coming New Covenant when this would become increasingly common when the Holy Spirit was poured out onto believers.
¶  “And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
Joel 2:28-29
heart-of-a-prophet
The heart of a prophet was full of love for God. In First John we are told that it is simply impossible to love God without loving people. The prophet who closes our Old Testament, Malachi, sounds like he is angry and perhaps cold-hearted. But nothing could be further from the truth. Angry? Yes. When a heart is full of love it is more prone to anger – because that heart’s expectations of the ones they love are higher. Malachi was angry that the people had neglected God and His House (Mal. 1). Malachi was angry that the people of God had compromised marriage (a picture of our relationship with God for the world to observe, Mal. 2). Malachi was angry that the people had begun to treat their religion as routine and worthy of their left-over time/talent/treasure, and as such, he charged with robbing from God because He deserved their first, their best, not their spare-change (Mal. 3). And Malachi was angry because fathers no longer cared enough for their children to ensure that they were taught the ways of God, and as such, the land was now full of fatherless delinquents who carried out violence in the streets (Mal. 4). But Malachi’s anger was caused by his heart being full of love for God and people. He cared. Just as a parent who cares for their child and thus does all they can to guide them, correct them, and discipline them, so Malachi sought to guide, correct, and even bring a disciplining rebuke to those who had grown complacent, routinised, and half-hearted in their devotion to God.
Christ has called His Church, you and me, to a prophetic voice to our generation. In this light, we each and all would do well to develop the ears, eyes and heart of a prophet by drawing nearer to God with open ears, open eyes, and an open heart. Time prevents me from exploring the other body parts of a prophet, but I do hope that as come together as the Church we will be an increasingly complete prophetic body to a world that seems to be becoming increasingly delinquent and violent just as it was in Malachi’s day.
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
Malachi 4:2
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 20 January 2017

PRESSING ON

PRESSING ON
Mount-Oakleigh-bushwalkPlease don’t tell her, but when I was able to go bush-walking with Kim, I was able to experience what Christ commanded His first disciples to do, and what the first disciples would then go on to describe as they exhorted others to follow Christ as well. When Christ told His disciples, “Come! Follow Me!” He was telling His disciples, that Christianity was never merely going to be an event – like joining a church, filling out a ‘Decision Card’, or merely ticking a Question Box on a Census Form! Rather, following Christ was going to require, walking, tracking, listening, serving, watching, learning, and keeping up.  After Christ ascended victorious back to His Father and Glory, the Disciples would describe Christianity as “a walk”. And if you have embarked on this walk, you will have come to know that this spiritual walk with Christ involves twists and turns, ascents and descents, obstacles, and adverse weather. But most commonly, walking with Christ involves overcoming the temptation to stand still – or worse still, to keep going while looking back.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4
A few years ago I had a momentous birthday. It was a time of reflection for me. I realised that in many ways I had stopped growing. I knew that unless I took deliberate steps to stretch myself out of my comfort-zone, I might never be willing or able to do so as I got older. I set a goal to earn a particular academic award. This involved me undertaking some formal classes in learning Biblical Greek. On December 10th, 2016, after three years of study, I completed my tenth Biblical Greek Exam (5 exams for Greek Level 1, and another 5 for Greek Level 2). Trying to fit this study into a life that was already too busy, was extremely difficult. The temptation to quit was constantly overwhelming. But I knew that this was a season that would pass, and that I needed to press on.
¶ Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
Ephesians 4:17
When I have been bushwalking with Kim, I had to press on. It was emotionally, physically, and emotionally and physically draining (and did I mention that it was emotionally and physically?) draining. These walks, and my Greek studies, were metaphors of our life following Christ. There a times of ease, times of learning, times of difficulty, and times of challenges. In our spiritual development, there should be no quitting. Like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim, we too must press on. This means, that if we are following Christ, we are not now who we once were – nor are we who we will be if keep following Christ. The Christian walk changes us. But as we clock up a few miles, it’s too easy to slow down or lose the passion for the journey. The seasoned apostle Paul wrote toward the end of his life, that he too had to press on
¶ Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:1214
Two verses before this startling example of what it means to follow Christ over a long time, the Apostle gives us a glimpse of the motive and goal for doing so. And I wonder, if we, and I mean those of us who have been following Christ for decades, can begin realign our walk with Christ to this motive and goal as well? 
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Philippians 3:8-10

Pressing On Looks Like
I’m not an expert at pressing on, but from the little experience that I have had in recent times with this necessary trait of Christian maturity, I can advise those starting out in their walk with Christ that it will look something like this:
  • Despite the best of intentions to practice the core daily disciplines of following Christ through His Word, quiet prayer, reflection and witness, there will be days when this doesn’t happen. (See Proverbs 24:16)
  • There will be days when you won’t want to practice these disciplines. (2Cor. 5:7)
  • Tiredness will seek to be your master and excuse you from the essentials of following Christ (daily Bible reading, Sunday church attendance). (See Gal. 6:92Thess. 3:13Heb. 12:3
  • Doing the Christian disciplines out of a sense of duty.
  • And, having to intentionally remind ourselves that the One we follow is the Ultimate Example of what it means to press on.  
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  ¶ Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Hebrews 12:2-3
Thus, pressing on with Christ doesn’t happen when we feel like it – otherwise it might never happen. In fact, if we always felt like practising the spiritual disciplines in being a follower of Christ, the Scriptures would have no need to exhort us to press on. Just as with a bushwalk where you’ve been trudging up hill and over dale, through rivers and swamp, around boulders and over fallen trees, for hours on end, and daylight is running out yet the camp site is still hours away, you must press on. In life it’s the same thing. Challenges come, distraction lure us away, weariness entices us to stay in bed, the work we’ve brought home persuades us to make it our priority rather than being in church that Sunday, are all the obstacles on our path to walking with Christ. Christian maturity can only grow when we press on. “Consider Him” wrote the writer to the Hebrew Christians who, after three decades of telling their Jewish brothers and sisters that Jesus was the Messiah and that His death had brought an end to the Old Covenant, were now having doubts themselves whether this indeed true. Press on! The Hebrews Author tells them, although he used one word to say it: “Endure!” (Heb. 12:3
Our walk with Christ transforms us as we press on. It shapes us into people who are more like the One we follow and love. It transforms us. The more we press on with Christ the more concerned we become for others (1John 4:11-12) and ironically, the more we are enabled to care for them. If you have stalled in your walk with Christ and have become spiritually stagnant, then it’s time to get back up and press on. May we each press on to know Christ more richly and thereby, be enabled to make Him known more sweetly.

Pastor  Andrew