Zachary James Smith recorded this letter to himself aged 17.
Zac stepped into eternity and went to be with Jesus at 3.05 pm on 16th May 2010.
It has renewed poignancy today as yet another friend is facing a difficult battle with cancer.
I don't like cancer!
Billy, don't waste a minute!
"Break your heart for people around you."
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Zachary James Smith recorded this letter to himself aged 17.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
This past Sunday we continued our series Plan B - What do we do when God doesn't show up the way we expected him too.
My subject this week Waiting.....
- There is an undeniable relationship between crisis and hope.
- We love the idea of following Jesus until it disrupts our plans and dream.
- God would never make it in the travel industry because he is always leading his best clients into the wilderness.
- The good that God aimed to do through the wilderness testing was to make the people intensely, deeply, and lastingly conscious of their total dependence on God for everything.
- GOD CAN SPREAD A TABLE IN THE WILDERNESS?
- God can sometimes withold his gifts but he won't withold his presence.
- The Father turned his back on Jesus His son so he would never have to turn his back on you.
- God will allow suffering, pain, and crisis in order to detach hope from other things and attach it to himself.
- You’ve got to stop looking at your shattered dreams and your unmet expectations as something God is doing to you. He’s not doing something to you. But he might be doing something through you. He might be doing something in you.
- Hope does not come only from believing God’s power, but also from accepting and trusting his timing.
- We want his comfort. But often we don’t want his calendar.
- Spiritual transformation doesn’t take place when we get what we want. It takes place while we’re waiting.
- Waiting for the Lord is when we pause to pray before we act.
- You are being transformed from the image of God into the likeness of God and nothing can frustrate the transcendent Gods’ plan and purpose in this.
This Sunday was also special as 944 people attended our services. Our biggest ever outside of Christmas & Easter.
Friday, January 20, 2012
There has been a bit of Internet space devoted to the video produced by Jefferson Bethke - Why I hate religion but love Jesus. It has even spawned some spoofs about hating religion & JESUS.
But the two words for me sum up the difference: HAVE & WANT.
HAVE TO for me sums up religion.
I have to attend church.
I have to read my bible.
I have to pray.
I have to give money.
I have to serve in my church.
I have to tell other people about Jesus.
I have to ......
However when I encounter this glorious Gospel and it takes root in my heart I HAVE to gets replaced with I WANT TO.
I want to attend church.
I want to read my bible.
I want to pray.
I want to give money.
I want to serve in my church.
I want to tell other people about Jesus.
I want to ......
We can end up doing the same thing but the motivation is different because our heart is different.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
What would you do if you knew 100% that God was with you?
The answer to this question is very often answered with great, risky & challenging goals. With feats of great courage.
Put yourself for one moment in the shoes of Joseph:
Separated from parents
Disowned by family
Many miles from home
No expectation of good behaviour
No accountability partner
No pastor or priest
No answer to prayer
and No strings attached sex on the table.
What is the choice?
What would you do if you 100% that God was with you?
Now in the moment the answer to that question changes shape.
Our answer now defines more about who we are becoming in God than what we doing for Him.
With no one watching, no one to call you out, run like crazy towards integrity.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8 v 38 -39
God's love and me.
What follows is a list of things that can stop, change or restrict God's love for us.
We continually try to fill in the blanks.
But God has only one word on his lips at this point.
We need to remember we are talking about God's love for us not our love for him.
Our love wavers, His love stand strong.
Our love cools with time, His love burns with an eternal passion.
Our love is easily distracted, His love pursues relentlessly.
Maybe one day we will let Him have the last word.
Monday, January 16, 2012
This week Mark looked at the life of Joseph. Here are some takeaways from his message:
- If anyone in the Bible knows about Plan B is is Joseph.
- God is most powerfully present even when he feels apparently absent!
- When things are going crazy we often think, why has God abandoned us? The truth is that is when he is most powerfully present.
- The process of becoming the person God wants you to be rarely goes from success to success to success.
- Joseph may have been stripped of his coat but he was not stripped of his identity in God.
- Joseph may have been abandoned by his family but he was not abandoned by God.
- God is more interested in who you are becoming than where you are going
- Joseph with no pastor, priest, church or life group chooses integrity when faced with the offer of adultery even when God seemed absent in his life.
- In prison THE LORD WAS WITH Joseph. God is with us in every situation!
- Joseph learned to look for God in the circumstances he found himself in. And amazingly he found Him.
- We all have to choose if we put our faith in what God does or who God is.
- Put your trust in GOD's identity rather than HIS activity.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
This past Sunday I had the great privilege of launching a brand new series at MKCC - Plan B. We have based it on the book by Pete Wilson - Plan B - What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you though he would?
Whilst preparing I came across this quote by C H Spurgeon:
"Faith is not frownless. Maturity is not painless. It is the presence of Jesus and not the absence of happiness that designates the situation and provides our hope."
Spurgeon's observation sits much more comfortably with my understanding of scripture and my experience that what is taught in many churches.
Trouble is somehow associated with some sort of lack on my behalf and if only I was a better Christian I wouldn't have the trouble. If only I read my Bible more the trouble would go away. If only I prayed more the trouble would go away. If only I had more faith the trouble would go away.
My problem with all this is that it makes it all about me and what I have to do rather than what Christ has already done.
Sometimes my faith has the frown of concern and even disbelief.
Sometimes I feel like opting out of this transforming process of sanctification where I am supposed to be becoming more like Jesus inch by painful inch.
But then I am reminded that no matter how weak my faith is or how painful my growth in the middle of this deal I get JESUS.
"..be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Heb 13 v 5
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 6:17 pm
Monday, January 09, 2012
"Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of Him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If the holiness and awful power and majesty of God were present in this even, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there also. And, this means that we are not safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in to and recreate the human heart because it is where he seems most helpless that He is most strong and just where we least expect Him that he comes most fully." - Fredrich Beuchner in Secrets in the Dark
SIMPLY MIND BLOWING!
HT Pete Wilson
Sunday, January 01, 2012
And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. (1 Samuel 22:2 ESV)
It always amazes me who God is willing to use. Here we read the beginnings of David's kingdom.
Promised great things by God David finds himself a long way from the palace hiding out in a cave.
So who is going to form part of David's core team to build his kingdom. Surely some great strategist, mighty worriers, strong commanders or rich benefactors.
No God sends David gets troubled, bitter, defeated & broke people.
We live in an age that seems to want to build "dream" teams from football to even church.
We want only the best on our team. On our leadership teams we want the best of the best.
Being the best doesn't exclude you but God seems to love taking waifs and strays who have little hope and doing something unbelievable with them.
So this year don't focus on your talent focus on the greatness of your God
Some of these unlikely characters became known as David's MIGHTY MEN.
With God our past, present or other peoples labels for us do not define our future. God does!