This week, we begin a series on Building a Strong Family. It's been said that a family is a perpetual relay of truth.. a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living, where character traits are sculptured under the watchful eyes of mums and dads and where steel-strong fibres are woven into the fabric of inner morality. A relay race.. not a sprint; it's a marathon. There are no 100-metre dashes on character building. Relay the truth- diligently, consistently. Author Jim Burns lists some important building blocks for building a healthy family.....
Since every family and each person in it is unique, there's no magic, one-size-fits-all parenting plan that's guaranteed to give you a healthy and happy family. And since nobody is perfect in this fallen world, there's no such thing as a perfect family. But there are some basic principles that will help you create a family which each member can grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally - which will help you build the healthy, happy family God wants you to enjoy. Read more..
Have you noticed when there is a disaster in our world, there are those who speak out and talk about the judgement of God? They project all kinds of guilt on people.
We need to be very careful in how we respond to this. What right do we have to say that these floods are God’s judgement? Consider the person killed in a car accident, or a couple unable to have children? Would you consider them the recipients of God’s judgements because something bad has happened to them? Is all human suffering the manifestation of divine judgement? I think we would be better served not to jump to such conclusions, as if we know the full counsel of God on these matters.
Jesus referred to a couple of tragedies (see Luke 13:1-5). Pilate killed some Galileans and mixed their blood with sacrifices. This could be described as being ‘human’ evil. Another tragedy was when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and killed eighteen people. This could be described as being a ‘natural’ tragedy or evil. While Jesus never said why these ‘evils’ happened, He did ask, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them-do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
There can be no doubt from the words of Christ that when human suffering strikes it doesn’t necessarily mean those who are suffering are evil or sinful any more or less than the rest of us. Jesus doesn’t say that these people are ‘under the judgment of God’ either. If he didn’t, why are we so quick to?
We need to remind ourselves that the result of living in a broken fallen world is human suffering and, as God’s word says, we will endure suffering and calamities. Like Job, we can trust in a God whose actions always reflect His eternal perspective and character. It would bode us well to live our lives from this same perspective.
Right now it would be good for us to pray for and help in practical ways those affected by these horrific floods. Can I encourage you to give to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal or to your local church who can assist their sister churches affected by the floods?
This Sunday, we will be holding a special meeting for those interested in impacting young lives through children's ministry. There are some who place small value of this ministry and perceive the work as little more than baby-sitting. For a deeper insight into the far-reaching impact of children's ministries on children, families and the church, please take a moment to check out some of the following articles and clips.
Suffer the Little Children. Most of you are familiar with the music of Bono, the critical acclaim of AMC's Mad Men on TV, and the latest iPhone app. If you are a speaker, you know to litter your talks with allusions to current events and the Beatles finally coming to iTunes.But would I stump you if I mentioned things like The Wonder Pets, Silly Bandz, Leapster and The Fresh Beat Band? If so, I've made my point.
Many leaders who pride themselves on being students of contemporary culture know very little about one of its most important cultural currents for insight and ministry: children's culture.
Years ago my family and I went to a church while on our summer study break - it was a new church, very small, that was meeting in a movie theatre. How can I say this... it was one of the most programming challenged services I've ever attended.
As our church ministries and programs gear up for a new year, as the school holidays wind to a close and families prepare for a fresh start to school with new teachers and grades, our attention should be on God and a renewed focus on His direction and purpose for our lives, as together we make this year different.
What a start to a new year! If you're like me, you've been glued to the TV screen watching the unfolding drama of a relentless, surging tide of floodwaters pitted against fragile lives and property. I've listened in growing frustration as reporters pose superficial 'What was it like?' and 'How did you feel?' type questions. But occasionally, a reporter will ask the right question, a question that slips beneath the stoic acceptance of the overwhelming tragedy these flood victims are experiencing. And then the voice falters and the eyes brim with tears and we hear the real story- the real heartache- the real accounts of human endurance and often, real heroism.
The challenge is that asking the right question isn't always easy or apparent. Asking the right questions requires analysis and a determination to get to the truth that's beneath the surface.
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time for all of us to stop, look up, ask the right questions and get our bearings. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we are and where we should be going. Consider these questions:
What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask of God this year?
What's the most helpful way you can strengthen your church?
What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
In two weeks' time, (January 30) we will be presenting a special series on building strong families. Please plan to be a part of this special event.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the