Sunday, September 20, 2009


How is your life going at the moment??

Are things great, good, mediocre, bad or terrible???

What sort of questions and issues are you struggling with right now??

Life can throw us lots of tricky questions, things that puzzle and perplex us and tie us up in knots. How do we find answers to these questions? Can we find answers to these questions?

This year, at Spring Celebration, our theme for the Saturday night Youth Event will be Life's Toughest Questions. Here, along with the opportunity for awesome worship with a great band and fun times with your friends as we play some games, you will also have the opportunity to ask a panel some the toughest questions you have thought of. There will be a box at Spring Celebration to drop questions into, there may even be opportunity to ask questions of the panel that night, but to be sure that you get a question in to be answered, respond to this post in the comments section. If we get a lot of questions, we may not be able to answer them all, but we will attempt to do our best. Questions can be about faith, relationships. the Bible, God, life circumstances, what ever you can think of. We may not have the answers yet, we may not have the answers later, but we will do our best to answer your questions.

So, what is the toughest question in your life at the moment??

It would be great to hear from you.



Firstly, apologies for not blogging for such a long time. Things have been pretty busy for quite a while now, and to be honest, blogging hasnt really been a priority for me for a little bit. But things should change soon. Stay tuned for new posts soon.

Also, stay tuned for a post concerning lifes toughest questions and the Spring Clebration Youth Event.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This years Easter Camp is called Reconstruct. During the camp we will explore Jesus' challenge to destroy the temple and his promise of raising it up three days later.

Reconstruct kicks off at 6 P.M. Good Friday night and will be full of action, fun and revelation until 1 P.M. Easter Monday when we head home.
Camp will cost $140.00 if you get your registration form and $50.00 deposit in before the 27/03/2009 and $160.00 if you enter your form after the 27/03/2009. In addition to this we have been able to organise a sliding discount of 20% increments for families sending more than one child (i.e. 2o% for child number 2, 40% for child number 3, 60% for child number 4, etc).
Forms are out this week, see your corps officer (minister) for one, fill it out, get your corps officer to sign it, and get the form and your deposit back to me at DHQ (P.O. Box 342 Ballarat VIC 3353) ASAP!!!
Hope to see you there!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Have you seen the movie Gladiator, it surely has to rate as one of the epic movies of the century so far. After Maximus, played by Russel Crowe, leads his band of gladiators to victory in a huge battle at the colosseum before the emperor, he is asked by the emperor what his name is. At first he replies flatly; “I am gladiator.” After being pressed for a more accurate description of who he his, Maximus replies: “I am Maximus Decimus Meridus, commander of the armies of the north, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next”

Maximus describes himself first by what he did, what his job was, then by who he served then by what he had lost and finally by what he was going to do.

I wonder, how would you define yourself?

Who do you tell people you are?

What in your life defines who you are?

It seems today that many people are facing a crisis of identity. It seems that sometimes we don’t exactly know who we are. You hear of people needing to take time off to find themselves, as if they have misplaced their identity somewhere.

What would happen to you if what you said defined who you are as a person changed or was taken away?

Would you still know who you are?

Have you seen the movie wanted? In Wanted, we are introduced to Wesley. Now, Wesley is a nice enough sort of bloke, he is working as an accounts manager at a large company, and to be honest, he could be a lot happier.

Wesley’s life is far from what he imagined it would be. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best mate, his boss is a tyrant, he suffers from debilitating panic attacks that require constant medication to control and truth be told, there is actually very little anywhere that Wesley really cares about at all.

But one night everything changes.

While picking up a few things from the corner shop, Wesley meets Fox, a member of the Fraternity, a group of elite assassins, working undercover in the world around him. Fox introduces Wesley to Frost, the soft spoken, wise leader of the fraternity, who reveals to Wesley that his father, the man who abandoned he and his mother while he was still a baby, was also a member of the Fraternity.

That is, until he was killed just days previous to their encounter by a rogue assasin. Wesley is recruited into the Fraternity and begins his training in order to find the killer of his father.

Part of the training Wesley under goes, requires him to understand why he is where he is, and why he is doing what he is doing.

It is during one of his sessions of self-discovery that Wesley reaches his breaking point and cries out: “I don’t know who I am!!!”

It is here that Frost takes Wesley back to his room, and tells him that the room, was in fact, his father’s room. Frost tells Wesley: “Everything in this room, books, weapons, clothes, belonged to him, now they belong to you. Find a connection in this room Wesley. It may be the only way of finding out who you are.”

Wesley felt lost, he didn’t really know who or what he was. Wesley needed to discover who he was. And in order to know the who and what of his existence, it was important for him to find a connection to who his father was.

In the Bible we find another man, Paul, a man who had once hunted down and persecuted Christians until experiencing a radically life changing meeting with Jesus Christ Himself, writes and tells us: “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 New International Version)

Today, we can identify ourselves by so many different titles and labels. Who we are can get so wrapped up in what we wear, how we look or what we do, that when this is taken away from us we can sometimes lose our own sense of identity, we lose who we feel we are.

In this passage of the Bible Paul talks about how there are different gods and lords in heaven and on earth. I want to suggest that these gods and lords might be the things that we use to define who we are, the things that we have decided to let define the purpose of our lives.

The problem is, that false gods and false lords, idols, the identities we create for ourselves, like the identity Maximus the one time general, and now gladiator searching for vengeance, created, can never be relied upon to help us or define us when we need to truly know who we are.

When these false gods and lords, these temporary things that we use to determine our identity and purpose cease to do that, we are left searching for who we are, searching for the real God and the real Lord in whom our real identity and our real purpose for living is found.

In the bible Paul tells us that God is our Father, that everything has come from Him and that He is the purpose of our lives, and that Jesus Christ is our Lord, who makes all things possible, and is the reason we have life.

Just like Wesley needed to find a connection to his father in order to discover who he was, we need to find a connection to God the father to discover who we are. When we find that connection to God the Father we discover who it was that created us and whose image we were created in.

Upon discovering our Creator and that we have been created in His image, we are able to discover the purpose of our creation. If we bear the image of God as a result of our creation, then it stands to reason that our purpose can be found in the image of He who has created us.

We are told in the Bible that God is love. So, if God, our creator, loves us unconditionally, then surely part of our purpose is to love God unconditionally, and also to love others in the same unconditional way that God loves them.

If God, whose very image we are created in, cares passionately about the poor and the marginalised and the oppressed, then surely part of our purpose is to care passionately about those who are poor and marginalised and oppressed. If God wants to see the whole world reconciled not only to Himself, but to each other also, then surely part of our purpose is to make possible reconciliation between not only us and God, but between each other.

In fact, God has already made the reconciliation process between Him and us and others easier.

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection God began the process of reconciling the world to Him and to each other. It is through Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected that we find life, a life in abundance. If God gives us our source and purpose, then it is Jesus who makes it possible for us to live and fulfil our purpose abundantly.

Jesus’ teaching is so counter intuitive to all that the world tells us is logical. Who would ever believe that the best way to find out who we are is to abandon our search for self completely and search for God instead?

And the thing is, that no search for God ever goes unfulfilled. God has promised us that when we search for Him with all of our heart we will be able to find Him. Irrespective of who we are, what we are doing or the circumstances that we find our selves in, God has promised to reveal Himself to us when we look for Him with all of our effort.

When we stop trying to define who and what we are by what we own or do or look like and begin to define ourselves by whose we are and what His purpose is, then we can truly find ourselves and the meaning of our lives.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Ok, so I will admit that this isn't a very Christmassy sort of blog, but it is something that I have been thinking about for a while.

I was watching the news a month or so ago, and while I now can no longer remember the details about the article, I still clearly remember questioning whether or not the person being interviewed was seeking vengeance or justice.

As I thought about that I wondered how many times in my own life had I confused the short term feeling of me getting satisfaction from revenge with a desire to see justice prevail. I have heard other talk about how they want to see justice in a situation and questioned whether this was truly the case, or whether they were just looking for an opportunity to extract their pound of flesh from the person who they feel has wronged them

So, I guess my first question is what is the difference between justice and vengeance?

Justice can be defined as: The ideal of fairness, esp. with regard to the punishment of wrongdoing or punishment of a person who has wronged someone.*

Revenge is similar, it can be defined as: Any form of personal retaliatory action against an individual, institution, or group for some perceived harm or injustice. *

So you can see how it is easy to get confused between justice and revenge. When we indulge in revenge, we see ourselves as punishing the person who has offended us by causing some kind of perceived harm or injustice, and equalising the score, thus making things fair again.

But one question I have is; when we seek revenge, do we aim only to equalise things again, thus making it 'fair' or do we seek to 'one up' the person who we perceived to have wronged us, thus making our punishment 'un-fair'??!!!

So what do we do, how do we see justice served to all parties involved in a situation, and not seek revenge for perceived insults, harms or damages.

I think the best way to see justice served and not just revenge dealt is to ensure that an impartial third party first determines whether an injustice has in fact occurred and them to apportion the correct punishment that fits the severity of the affore mentioned injustice.

Isaiah 1:17 tells us: "Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." It seems to me that the instructions that follow the command describe what justice should look like. When we are just we stand up for those who are being walked over, who are at a disadvantage and are suffering.

The best judge of a perceived injustice is often someone else. One of the key words in this definition is 'perceived'. What we perceive to be a major injustice, may actually be rather minor when we look at the cold hard facts and remove all of the emotion around the issue. When we take something personally (and lets be honest, there are some things that are almost impossible not to take personally) we naturally want to dispense our own justice or revenge to assuage our hurt or anger at the perceived offense. This then can lead to the person we exact our revenge upon, on the basis of dispensing justice, to feel a perceived injustice and retaliate, seeking vengeance and/or justice on their own behalf. And so the cycle continues and even escalates. When we allow a third party to determine the damage done and the required compensation/punishment required to restore fairness, the personal nature of the situation is removed and hopefully all parties are treated with dignity and respect and the balance of fairness is achieved. In Zechariah 7:9 we are told; "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another." This helps us to remember to ensure that the punishment fits the offense and the we do not oppress the unjust oppressor unfairly and thus become oppressive and unjust ourselves.

Leviticus 19:18 tells us: "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." So the next time you feel as though you have been wronged or offended, ask someone impartial if what has happened to you is fair, and instead of seeking revenge to even the score, allow someone else, maybe even God, to sort it out.

Actually, when I think about it, we have all been unjustly treated...

Except in this instance this injustice has worked in our favour, unjustly requiring an innocent party to take punishment that they did not deserve.

Jesus died for us, He took the punishment that was rightfully ours. God has given us His grace as unjust as it is (not that I am complaining mind you). We don't deserve it, that's why its called grace, and that's why it's amazing!!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How God is better than Santa

The countdown is on, less than a month to go until Christmas. Christmas Carols are being sung, trees and decorations are going up, people are shopping for presents and that large jolly man in a red suit is visiting shopping centres and meeting children in the lead up to the big night when he will come around to deliver toys to all of the good boys and girls. As the song goes, “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” The song also tells us that Santa is“Making a list and checking it twice, he’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.”

I wonder; how often do we confuse God with Santa Claus??

I mean, there are some aspects of God that sort of overlap with our understanding of Santa. For instance, we know that God knows our every move. In Psalm 139 David tells us of God: O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. While Santa may know when we are sleeping or awake, God knows far, far more about us, probably even more than we think we know about ourselves.

And while Santa may know when our behaviour has been good or bad, the psalm tells us that God even knows our thoughts, both the good ones, and the bad ones.

And like Santa God has a list. The bible tells us that the Book of Life contains the names of all of those who believe in and follow Jesus. Revelation tells us of those who choose to follow Jesus: “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.” God knows us, he knows all about us, he even records our names in the book of life when we chose to follow Jesus, but unlike Santa, God keeps no record of our wrongs. Unlike Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, there is no naughty list in heaven. When writing 1 Corinthians Paul spoke of the unconditional nature of love, and how true love keeps no record of wrongs. In Isaiah God tells us of Himself; "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

And so while Santa may be able to tell us what we have done wrong and why we are on the naughty list, God neither keeps a naughty list nor does he remember what we might have done to qualify us for the naughty list.

On December 24th each year billions of children go to bed and lie awake for hours in anticipation of the arrival of the large jolly man in the red suit, Santa, who brings with him a red sack transported by 9 reindeer, one of which has an extraordinarily shiny nose. This red sack hopefully contains the toys that were on a list that was sent to Santa many weeks, even months before. The receipt of these presents is conditional on the quality and quantity of good things you have done over the past 12 months outweighing the quantity and lack of quality of the bad things you have done in the same 12 months. Lucky for us God is far more gracious.

The gifts we receive from God have very little to do with the quality or quantity of our good or bad deeds. In fact, irrespective of whether we even choose to acknowledge God’s existence he gives us gifts. Each and everyone of us have received the gift of life, we have the sun, and moon and the stars to look at, we receive the gift of the warmth of the sun and the refreshing of the rain, even if that one seems to be doled out a little unevenly at times. And before any of us were born God delivered His ultimate gift to a couple of young teenagers in a stable in a backwater of the Roman Empire and trusted them to nurture and care for it until it was ready to be shared with the entire world. Indeed, each Christmas we remember the arrival of the gift that is Jesus, the baby who grew into the man who would die in order for us to be restored into a right relationship with God. We received this gift long before we were even capable of distinguishing right from wrong, with God’s full knowledge that some of us will choose wrong. When we choose to follow Jesus we receive the gift of eternal life, a life spent in relationship with God. This gift surpasses anything that might be stuffed into a stocking hung by any chimney in the world with care.

So yes, God and Santa are similar. Not everyone believes in them, they both have lists, they both give presents and they both know what we are up to, but God surpasses Santa in every way. So this year, as you put up you tree, as you visit the large jolly man in the red suit and as you search for the perfect gifts to give your loved ones, may you remember that God loves you, that He has some amazing gifts to give you and that His love is not conditional on your goodness, but on His.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One Night Stands With Jesus

I tend to talk a lot of rubbish at times> Those who know me well would understand that at times I put my brain into neutral and just let whatever come into my head flow out my mouth.

I was almost having one of those moments yesterday. Although I was thinking about what I was saying, I was just going with the flow of the conversation when I may possibly have coined a new phrase. I was talking with a friend about evangelism and the different ways that people communicate the gospel to others. I was saying how important it is that we help people to be discipled and become disciples after they have made the initial choice to follow Jesus as their saviour.

As we talked about the pro's and con's of various evangelistic strategies, we started talking about how Christianity is meant to be a relationship with God and how the first commitment for some people in their relationship with God is about as far as things go. It was here I likened it to a one night stand.

I'm sure you know what a one night stand is, even if you have never had one, you may know someone who has or have at least seen it on T.V. One night stands are brief (usually lasting only one night - hence the name), are emotional but at the same time not exactly intimate, and rarely ever lead to a significant relationship. Like real life one night stands, after a one night stand with Jesus, there is the possibility that you may catch something that will change your life, but maybe you can see someone about that.

Our lives shouldn't just be a series of one night stands with Jesus, where we hook up with him at some big event when our emotions are running high, but then forget all about Him the next day. I think God wants to be closer to us than that. I think God desires to know us intimately ( Check out Psalm 139) and to spend quality time with us, even when we aren't in an emotionally hyped state, perhaps especially when we aren't in an emotionally hyped state. Have a look at Genesis 3, we can see here that God, is walking in the Garden of Eden, searching for Adam and Eve, wanting to spend time with them. God desires to be in relationship with us, not an emotional, yet un-intimate (possibly another new word) relationship, but the kind of relationship that grows closer and more intimate as you travel through life together, through the good times and the bad times.

What sort of relationship do you have with Jesus, is it emotional, physical, intimate, consistent or a combination of all of the above?