You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

A review of Genesis reveals a number of foundational biblical truths.

KEY TRUTHS OF GENESIS

  • God created and sustains the universe by his mighty power
  • God created all things out of love us and  for His glory
  • Mankind is uniquely created in the image of God to enjoy fellowship with him
  • Marriage is ordained by God
  • The Devil, temptation and sin are deadly enemies
  • Man’s rebellion/the fall, sin, sickness and death brought suffering to the whole of creation
  • Paradise was lost and is to be restored in Christ
  • Click on play button below or right click HERE to download

    Click on play button below or right click HERE to download

    I have always had a soft spot for King David. Growing up as a little boy with the same name brought an extra colour to the stories of his life. I always loved reading about him up to his betrayal and murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s wife.

    After David’s deception had been laid bare through the prophet Nathan, David and Bathsheba were having another son, Solomon. Just after Solomon is born Nathan the prophet arrives. I can imagine David may have been a little nervous.

    Adultery and murder, not exactly a great foundation for a marriage of blessing. Perhaps that was what was going though David’s mind as Nathan the prophet entered. But as always God’s goodness travels to those who don’t deserve it, revealing that God’s heart to forgive and love is bigger than our mistakes.

    Nathan’s message from God was to tell David and Bathsheba’s that their son was loved by him. For God the past was gone, he had forgiven David and Bathsheba, so it didn’t come into his thinking as he now sought to bless them. I can almost hear Nathan as he says, “The Lord says you should call him Jedediah because your son is ‘Loved by God.’” I wonder what their reaction was. We don’t know, except they didn’t give Solomon the name ‘Jedediah’. They chose to push away God’s grace.

    Instead of accepting God’s Grace I believe David held on to the disappointment and shame of the past. His unwillingness to accept God’s grace plunged him into a place of dryness with God. The ensuing paralysis hamstrung him for the rest of his life; paralyzing him as a father, king and son of God. It almost cost him his kingdom, family and ultimately his life.

    We all sin and make mistakes. We all need God’s mercy but we also need God’s grace. God’s mercy means we don’t get what we deserve for our failures, while his Grace gives us what we can never earn or deserve; his favour. The last one who wants us to experience and move in God’s grace is Satan. He will remind us, whisper to us and keep us locked to the shame of past failures.

    Satan knows he’s defeated, he can’t thwart the mercy that comes through the forgiveness won for us by Jesus, but he can keep us from accepting God’s Grace by keeping us locked into the pain and shame and unforgiveness of the past. How does he do this? He’ll get us to focus on our failure, what we aren’t, what we have lost, what someone has done to us, what has been taken from us. When we focus on these things our hands are full and we can’t pick up the gift of Grace and with that Grace the power and purpose that comes through the Holy Spirit.

    This week we will be sending out letters to past and present members of CBtB. It is an invitation to consider past failures and where they have generated shame, bitterness and unforgiveness. It will be an invitation to take the past to God, culminating in corporate service of restoration on February 21st.

    I believe God had a lot more for David after the mistakes he made with Bathsheba. He had the grace of Jedediah for him but David didn’t accept it, his hands and heart were full of shame and failure and he couldn’t pick up the gift of restoration. If there is something that holds you back from God’s grace perhaps it’s time to say, “Father I accept your Jedediah, forgive me for my sin, a accept your Grace.”

    Blessings,

    Dave.

    Some verses to meditate on.

    You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

    But Jesus said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 10:9

    David, the man after God’s own heart knew the power of mercy. His own life was mercifully spared following his adulterous and murderous relationship with Bathsheba. God choose not only to give David mercy, but followed it with Grace. But it was a Grace that David and Bathsheba didn’t accept. The results were disastrous not only for David but he family and the whole nation. The Father holds out to us both Mercy and Grace. David robbed himself from the restoration of Grace. What are you holding onto that is robbing you of the best?

    Click on play button below or right click HERE to download

    I survived…

    The pier to pub. I competed successfully (success for me was defined by not drowning) in the 30th pier to pub last Saturday.

    It was a great experience. Its amazing the things that go through your mind as the race progresses. I was excited as we lined up to go. I was a little panicked as the announcer said, “Orange caps, 1 minutes to go!” and I was still 150 meters from the start line. I was questioning my sanity at 900m when someone grabbed me by the ankle and pulled me back. I was relieved when my feet hit the sand and very grateful when one of the stewards undid the zip on my wetsuit after I’d crossed the line. I was inspired as I watched the thousands of others who were having a go and ecstatic when I got my time and….reluctant when I got up Monday morning to start training again.

    All in all the swim reminded me of the Christian life. The colour and complexities, the joys, the perseverance, the unexpected events and the inspiration of journeying with others in something that is bigger than me.

    One thing I was reminded of was the Power and Encouragement of the crowd. In the pier to pub I was swimming with 4370 others, yet I only knew two of them. The feel of the event would have been a lot different if there had been just me and my two friends. The thousands of others, though unknown to me encouraged me, reminding me I was part of something big than myself, yet I never would have been there accept for the invitation of one other.

    It was his personal encouragement, accountability and enthusiasm that encouraged me have a go. Though in the end it was up to me the influence of his friendship help to enable me to take my place in the thousands.

    You can’t “know” everyone in church but you can know a few and know them well so you can inspire and build each other up. The writer of Hebrews says, “Do you see what this means—this crowd of pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in (Hebrews 10;24 Message Version).

    I like the way Eugene Peterson, who wrote the message bible puts this often quoted verse. “No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sin.” Just today, I have again been reminded that its the connections I choose to make with a few others that have enabled me to take my place in the “Crowd of pioneers.”

    Both the crowd and the few have a unique place and contribution to our faith. Without the one’s and two’s we won’t take- or certainly sustain- our places in God’s crowd. Yet when I am with the crowd I am reminded and motivated that there is something bigger than me which is richer because I have found my place in it. The crowd being able to step into opportunities only a “crowd” of believers can achieve.

    As a church We are currently seeking God’s vision and direction for the future, you have a place in it. Without you we won’t be the same, we won’t be the crowd we could be…but to take you place in the crowd your need to find your few. The two or three to inspire and be inspired, to encourage and be encouraged, to pray with and to pray for.

    Blessings this week as your Swim in only event that really counts, the Kingdom of God.

    Dave.

    “Where does God live? Isaiah 57:17 says its is in two places; Hi and Holy and also lowly and contrite. often its the times we feel completely powerless that we turn to God. Is it only when we are in desperate need that we discover the power of God, or is there another way we can see the transforming power of God at work in us?”

    Click on play button below or right click HERE to download

    Everywhere we look we see the amazing design and purpose of God. From the smallest of cells to the enormity of the universe. But amazingly despite the power and purpose God has placed in all of creation God has also given us an ability to delay his purpose, with our ability to choose. By choosing to say no or yes to God we determine whether we live an external “form” of Christianity or an internal “Transforming” relationship with the one who created us.

    Click on play button below or right click HERE to download

    Download Hint

    To download the sermon, right click and choose 'save link as' or 'save target as' depending on your browser.