August Interlude…

Day Three:

First let me correct a mistake in yesterday’s post, Day Two of my August Interlude. The photograph of Point Addis was in fact Point Roadknight.

Here’s Point Addis…

…also taken during my travels on Day Two.

Now for day three.. morning has broken at Torquay…

I revisited Point Roadknight on my way to Lorne.

On the track…

A different perspective…

The lighthouse at Split Point, Aireys Inlet…

Looking to Lorne for lunch…

Looking back…from the track to the pier.

Traveling the Great Ocean Road once again brought back many fond memories of family times, and with the memories tears of joy.

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More to Life…continued

The More to Life series mentioned in my post, https://brucestaley.com/2016/01/19/more-to-life/, has begun!

Last week by way of introduction it was Discovery Bible Study Reloaded and we examined Matthew 7: 24-29, the parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders.

Lots of laughter when someone  recalled a children’s song of long ago and got the group to join in.

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This week was the first study, Life, in the series.

John 10:10
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

No singing this time but lots of excitement. Names were quickly entered on our Pray4five cards. And more excitement for me when my young friend, Praveen, from India, agreed to lead the group next week.

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Podcasts of the weekly sermons are available at http://www.churchone2one.org

Not only reloaded but reinvented into a Discovery Discipleship Movement. We shall what see what God has in store.

A Work in Progress..

In the Epilogue to his excellent book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Rob Bell draws our attention to the Apostle Paul’s thoughts in Philippians 1:6,

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”,

and highlights the powerful progression in the words ‘began’, ‘good work’ (a work in progress) and ‘completion’.

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All of this is God’s initiative, bringing to completion that which he has begun.

When we look at creation, there was God in the beginning. He is bringing it to completion.

When we look at God’s salvation plan, there was God, in Christ, working it out, working it through to completion at the Cross, and God placed his seal of approval on the finished work by raising Christ from the dead.

IMAGINE, the same power that God used to raise Christ from dead is at work in you NOW, bringing to completion that which he begun in you when received Christ.

Ephesians 1:19-20 puts it this way,

“…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Imagine…a work in progress… being brought to completion.

He will do it!

Jude 1:24-25
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

Apprehension…

Some time ago I completed a daily reading series by Charles Swindoll, Come Before Winter…

While each reading was thought-provoking one reading in particular held my attention.

Apprehension…

One explanation of apprehension by Dictionary.com describes it this way, anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil.

Further reading of Dictionary.com includes the following synonyms, alarm, worry, uneasiness and suspicion, all implying an unsettled and uneasy state of mind, and again apprehension is an active state of fear, usually of some danger or misfortune.

This undefined uneasiness or feeling of uncertainty, misgiving or mistrust has the potential to cripple or immobilise, to hold us back.

“What frustration is to yesterday, apprehension is to tomorrow.”

…Swindoll

The admission by the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:22,
“And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.”,
has an air of apprehension against the backdrop of long term opposition faced by Paul across the course of his missionary journeys and the haze of an uncertain future.

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It’s apprehension that tightens the heart muscles, tugs on the reins, even generating the temptation to turn and run.

While openly acknowledging its presence Paul stood firm, refusing to run, emphatically declaring in Acts 20:24,
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

The bonds of apprehension are strong until DETERMINATION breaks their hold and we refuse to run but instead break free and move forward.

Further evidence of the character of Paul’s determination can be found in Philippians 3:7-15 where he finishes with these resounding words,
” I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In the face of apprehension resolve to…

Bromeliads…

A little while ago my brother, Noel, gave me a bromeliad. The plant was already flowering with a large and interesting pink bloom.

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The bromeliad has now been blooming for months. Noel explained that the plant would produce pups that could be cut off with a sharp knife and re-planted. If you look closely you will see a pup at the base of the plant on the right hand side.

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In fact this is the third pup. I have already cut off two pups and re-potted them. The removal of the first two pups seemed to give the third an extra lease of life. I am looking forward to removing it and putting it into another pot.

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My experience with the bromeliad, which had been given to me, reminded me of the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13.

Although the bromeliad will have produced a further three plants it reminded me of what God wants to do many times over across the nations. We need to be about the business of sowing the Good News of Jesus so that God can produce the harvest.

Stand…

The previous two posts addressed the first two words in the title of Watchman Nee’s book, Sit, Walk, Stand, refering firstly to Ephesians 2:5-6, God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus, and then Ephesians 5:1-2, Follow God’s example, therefore as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

This post addresses Stand, the third and final word in the title.

Can you recall where you were on September 11, 2001?

I had just started a management training workshop for a group of employees in the boardroom of the Blacktown, NSW, IGA Distribution Centre. Another employee, looking a little dishevelled and apologetic for being late, came through the door. He explained that he had been up since early morning watching the television coverage of the coordinated terrorist attacks on the USA in New York and Washington DC finishing with a plea to turn on the television in the boardroom. We were dumbstruck by enormity of the events unfolding before our eyes on the television screen.

Almost sixty years earlier the American people had been profoundly shocked by the surprise military attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbour, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The base was attacked by two waves of Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes accounting for over 350 aircraft launched from six aircraft carriers damaging all eight battleships in the harbour with four being sunk.

Just two months later on 19 February 1942 the first and the largest single attack mounted by a foreign power against Australia occurred when over 240 Japanese aircraft bombed ships in Darwin’s harbour and the town’s two airfields. The town was only lightly defended and heavy losses were inflicted by the Japanese with little cost.

In Ephesians 6:11-15, the Apostle Paul draws on a military analogy of his day to exhort believers, people who have chosen the way of the Christian message:

    • Put on the whole armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes,
    • …put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, and again
    •  Stand firm then,…

Paul from his own personal experience does not want us to underestimate the strength of our opposition nor to be caught off guard and he has in mind the preparedness of the Roman soldier, who is fully trained and equipped to withstand the assault of the enemy, when he exhorts us to stand firm.

Picture: Justin Poole

By the very nature of the sacrifice of Jesus and our acceptance of His work upon the cross we can take hold of our position in Christ – God has seated us on His right side with Christ.

Walk in love each day in gratitude for all that God has done in Christ.

Finally, stand firm in your faith.


Sit…

Sit, Walk, Stand, is an inspiring look at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus written by the saintly Chinese pastor, Watchman Nee.

This is the first of three posts that briefly examine each of the words in the title to Watchman Nee’s book.

Matt’s Seat

Near the south-east corner of the Swan Pool on Lake Wendouree you will find a park bench with an inscription, “Matt’s Seat” In loving memory of Matt Jamieson, 22.12.66 – 02.03.05, Always in our hearts…Erin, Jai, Flynn.

Today is the seventh anniversary of Matt’s death following his long battle with cancer. Matt was 38 years old. A husband and father to two boys Matt had a passion for the lake and its surrounds. He was instrumental in establishing the Lake Foundation and after some investigation discovered that a master plan for the development of the lake had already been prepared by the Ballarat City Council but was laying dormant. Funds generated by Lake Blitz, an initiative of the Foundation, enabled Council working with the Committee for Ballarat, sponsors, the Ballarat Tourism Association and the Foundation to implement the master plan.

Matt’s wife, Erin, continues to work tirelessly for the Foundation helping to realise Matt’s dream. Since the start of the Foundation in 1994 there has been numerous improvements to the Lake and its surrounds and while there

is still more work to be done to realise more aspects of the master plan I’m sure Matt would be pleased with the progress to date.

More information about Matt and the Foundation can be found at http://www.thecourier.com.au/news/local/news/general/matt-battling-to-see-his-dream/366802.aspx and http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lakes-parks-recreation/lakes/lake-wendouree/lake-foundation-.aspx

Can I encourage you to take a few moments out of your day and sit on Matt’s Seat and like him dream.

Saint Luke in chapter 10 of his gospel records a wonderful little cameo of Jesus and his disciples visiting the home Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary. While Martha was distracted by all the preparations that needed to be made it was Mary who chose to sit at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said. What a privilege to sit at the feet of Jesus and be taught by him.

Today’s follower of Jesus has a greater privilege.

The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:6, And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Imagine, seated with Christ in the heavenly realms! God has done that for us to, “show us the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).

As I said take a few moments out of your day, sit at the lake and imagine the possibilities, the amazing benefits, the incomparable riches of God’s grace that are yours in Christ Jesus.

What difference will this knowledge make to your day?

Matt dreamed of the possibilities for the Lake and now several years down the track remarkable changes have taken place.

Picture: Justin Poole