Saturday, 30 March 2013

Easter Sunday

Christ is Risen

On Friday, death and anguish

On Saturday, despair.

But they still met together, wondering in their grief. 

Jesus had told them " In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." (John 16:19-20)

On Sunday Jesus appeared to His disciples. Just as He had said, His presence filled them with unspeakable joy.

Because He died and rose again, honouring His Heavenly Father, we have the promise of eternal relationship with God- our Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and His Holy Spirit. 

We have the certainty of God's presence in our lives.

We have hope.

We have eternal life.

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said "I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:3-5)

I pray that this Easter God will fill you with a sense of His presence and a fresh hope for your life as you commit yourself anew to Him.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Flights of fancy, foolishness and faith

On Good Friday many Christians attend church services and partake of communion, the wine and the bread that we eat and drink symbolically, as we identify with Christ’s broken body and shed blood.
Christ’s was an ignominious death on a lonely hill in a country far away, at a time long past. Yet this life and death are now venerated by people throughout the globe.
Foolishness and fear, some would claim. If the skies were to open to myriads of angels singing, would they then believe? If they observed for themselves miraculous events happening, would that be persuasion enough?
There are some who can relate amazing stories. Yet for many, faith is the glimmer of light amongst shadows. God speaks in whispers in the silences.
But among all Gods, He alone is the One who identified with us in our humanity, our brokenness, our shame and suffering. The King left his throne room to walk with the peasants. He laid aside His crown to carry a cross.
I believe. If not, life is a random succession of chemical chances. If so, I am created by a loving heavenly Father. I believe life is purposeful, not random, that after hate and greed and injustice and death have had their time, love and justice and life will prevail.
Friday was not the end of the story. It continued on Sunday and beyond, to Christ’s ascension and the gifting at Pentecost to us of the Holy Spirit. After the cross, came our eternal justification and salvation through Christ, to the glory of God our Father. We are part of God’s eternal story.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Breaking out

This Dracena or Happy Plant began life as a small cutting in a pot in my shade house. Over the years it put down its roots into the earthen floor and made a breakout from the shade into the sunlight, forming such a strong crown of leaves among the towering Jacarandas overhead that it can't be pulled inside and contained again. Sorta symbolic I think :)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


If a good church is one that is filled with overcomers, how do we overcome? Following on from my last two blog entries, prayer and the churches of Revelation, plus the studies I am currently looking at “When God’s people pray”, I cannot overestimate the importance of prayer in both personal life and the life of a healthy church.

Jesus was, and is, jealous for the sanctity of the church. In chapter 11 of Mark’s gospel, we read of Jesus clearing the moneychangers out of the temple. “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Jesus proclaims.

Every new Christian life is birthed in prayer. A conversion may follow many years of intercessory prayer, quite possibly unknown, by someone else. The acceptance of Christ is accompanied by prayers of repentance and faith. Every church service and every ministry project should begin with prayer (and continue with prayer, and be completed with prayer). I firmly believe that there should be the opportunity for personal prayer within every church service. If a person can come to a church with an aching heart and leave without hearing an invitation to have someone come alongside them in prayer, there is a gap to be filled there. As well we need groups of people who will consistently pray for the ministry team and every service.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) reads: "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (“him” in this case refers to Satan). We are overcomers if we know the word of God and apply it to situations of trial, even, in some cases, at the risk of our very lives. In this case our testimony is not our personal story, but our attestation of the gospel. In the same way Psalm 119:11 states “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

In addition to prayer, fasting is mentioned throughout the Bible as practice which honours God and provides spiritual power. Again there are times for personal fasting and times when the whole church may decide to fast, often accompanying prayer.

The final chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians describes a symbolic suit of armour which equips the Christian to fight against evil. We are to equip ourselves with a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, shoes of readiness to spread the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – the word of God. In addition we are to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”(v18) We are to cultivate godly attributes, and keep praying.

A sidenote: during the course of writing this piece, I began to think about praise. Do we overcome by praise? I often sing praise choruses while I am working. It is right to worship and praise God, however, for many years I have believed that the scriptures told us that “God inhabits the praises of His people.” I must admit that I, in error, had an almost formulaic approach to Psalm 22:3 – that songs of praise to God would invoke His presence and have an effect spiritually on those who heard them.
There are some interesting articles on the net which refute this concept for example (if you're having trouble opening the link, try Googling "is god inhabits the praises of his people really biblical" and it will appear in the results).
The NIV version of Psalm 22:3 now reads “You are enthroned as the Holy One, you are the praise of Israel.”
This personally has certainly provided some food for thought regarding the priority of praise for many, both personally and within a church service. Often there is a heavy emphasis during services on worship and preaching.  Maybe we should be training “prayer leaders” in addition to "worship leaders" and "prayer teams" in addition to "music teams"?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Churches of Revelation/ what makes a good church?

Perhaps we should step back a little and ask ourselves what the church is. Is it a denomination, or a building or a community of people? The church, in its broadest form,is what the Bible calls the “Bride of Christ” and as such is the people as a whole who have committed themselves to Him. Yet the Bible also refers to specific groups of people in particular places, so we can talk about the church in Corinth or the church in Athens. Today we might talk about the church in Palm Springs or the church in Bridgeman Downs, which is where I worship. Again, it is not the building, but the group of people that meet in that place.

So what makes a good church? Numbers of people? The programs they devise? The worship songs they sing? The facilities they build?

In the final book of the Bible, the apostle John is given a series of revelations, hence the name of the book, Revelation. In the second and third chapters of this book, John receives a series of words from God addressed to the major churches of that time. Perhaps what God had to say to these churches is something that can teach us today regarding His will for His people, the church.

What people often remember about these two chapters are a couple of main criticisms that God outlines regarding his people. We will come to these, but it’s interesting to note that in most cases here, God begins his address to each church with praise. He then points out some areas for concern. What a wonderful example for us all that is.

Have you ever received a word of encouragement and genuine appreciation for something that you attempted? Isn’t it uplifting? And have you ever felt the sting of criticism and harsh judgement? Isn’t it disheartening, and sadly in the case of some people, enough to turn them away from fellowship? God’s way is to point out the good, to warn against the wrong, and to emphasise the promise. Let’s have a look at what He pointed out to some of His churches:

Ephesus:  the church was commended for their good deeds, hard work and perseverance. They endured hardship for the gospel and had no tolerance for false doctrine. They did not grow tired of doing God’s will.
However, God pointed out that they had forgotten their first love. Who should that be? The first commandment given to mankind was “You shall have no other gods but me.” (Exodus 20:3). This was a church that was doing a lot of good things, but maybe they needed to focus of who they were doing them for, or why they were doing them. Do you know some busy churches today? Are you personally too busy to spend time in God’s presence in prayer and study and contemplation? If so, you’re heading for spiritual burnout. We all need to come to the well of Christ and drink deeply of His grace before we can effectively wash the feet of the world.

Smyrna: there is the sense that God’s heart was very close to this church, which was not chided for anything. God reminds them that He knows their suffering, affliction, poverty, imprisonment and persecution, some even to the point of death. He sees their faithfulness.
If you are not aware of the persecuted church in this world, one only has to visit the websites of a Christian advocacy group such as the Barnabas Fund to realise that in some countries today it is very costly and dangerous to profess a Christian faith. Yet in the face of persecution the church is growing. I’ve seen footage of the underground church in a communist country where the congregation met from dawn till night every day to hear the word preached, joyful that they could learn, because they had no Bible. How different to some congregations in the western world where there is concern that a forty-five minute sermon is too lengthy, or where a church building without air-conditioning is unthinkable. We have so much privilege that we take for granted. God reminds us all in this passage that we are rich beyond measure simply because we have Him.

Pergamum: the church here had kept the faith in the face of persecution, in a city of much wickedness. However it seemed that some false doctrine and practices had crept into the faith. There is reference to the Old Testament personage of Balaam, who in the book of Numbers encourages king Balak to ensnare the Israelites by offering them forbidden food and forbidden sexual favours from prostitutes. The teaching of the Nicolatans is also mentioned. Their teaching appears to have varied widely from what had been established as the gospel from the time of Christ and recorded by the writers of the New Testament epistles.
In the same way in our own time we are confronted by a plethora of New Age philosophies and false teachings regarding spirituality, many of which deny the deity of Christ and attest that there are many ways to God. It’s important that Christians know their Bible and “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

Thyatira: The church in Thyatira was praised for its good work, love, faith and perseverance on an ever increasing scale. Once again though, the church community had been infiltrated by a false spirit, in this case Jezebel. Either through a person by that name or, as some writers claim, a “Jezebel”spirit, some were being led into immorality and the eating of sacrificial food, similar to the charges laid against the church at Pergamum above. Here too there is reference to the Old Testament story of the wicked Jezebel who, as the wife of king Ahab, incited the worship of false gods, persecuted the prophets and committed murder.
Whether or not the root cause of problems is a particular evil spirit or not, Christian communities today still face the dilemma of false doctrine and false prophets opposing the work of Christ. The warning to the church at Thyatira is also a wider call to holiness.

Sardis: the church at Sardis receives sharp warnings. There’s very little in the way of commendation here. God says “I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1). God goes on to say that their deeds are incomplete. Further references to some who had not spoiled their clothes and a call to repentance suggest that this seemingly vibrant church was all outward appearance and no substance. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Churches and individuals may impress others, but God knows how each of us is on the inside. Again we are called to holiness and dependency on Him.

Philadelphia: this church is praised for its work and endurance. Under pressure they upheld the name of Jesus. God warns them of trials that are coming but promises them His presence. In the same way we know today that the world is changing rapidly. Those of us Christians who at present enjoy freedom of worship are not guaranteed that this will always be so. Trials of many kinds beset us in this life, but as this chapter demonstrates, patient endurance until the end will result in a wonderful eternity with Christ.

Laodicea: Again, God says that “I know your deeds.” Most of these churches were busily doing something. But the church at Laodicea was described as lukewarm and self-sufficient. They appear to have been a wealthy church, but had forgotten the true riches we are freely offered- God’s presence and anointing.
Living in a relatively affluent and stable country such as Australia, it’s often hard to engage others in interest in Christianity. There are many people who would say that they believe in God, but do not attend church or read the Bible or pray. God is a fairly nebulous presence, often until a crisis happens.
God wants people who are on fire for Him. He wants to be first in our lives. We can become bogged down in pursuing other things- success, money, other relationships and our spiritual life can be neglected. When we put God first, all other areas of our lives fall into their right perspective.

As we look at God’s word to these seven churches, we see that God is closely watching us. Like any loving Father, He’s interested in relationship with us and cares about what we do. Over and again, He says “I know your deeds.” May they be work that is for His glory. Far more than our works, he knows our hearts and minds and purpose behind all that we do. He knows the “whys” and may the “whys’ be because of our love and gratitude for all He has first done for us.

It’s obvious throughout these letters that Satan is well and truly at work within churches, to attack and infiltrate and divide from within. We all have a responsibility to promote godly congregations through prayer, bible study, giving and behaving in a manner consistent with scripture. Question doctrine and practice in your church with the pastoral team if you are concerned about anything, but don’t gossip or criticise.

God ends every letter to these churches on a note of optimism. The same phrase “to him who overcomes” is used in each case, followed by a promise. A good church, according to God, is filled with overcomers. They have struggled, some have gone astray and been warned to repent but in the end have persevered and held on to God and overcome the lies of Satan and his temptations to sin in this life.

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life.”

“He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.”

“To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it.”

“To him who overcomes and does my will to the end I will give authority over the nations. I will also give him the morning star.”

“He who overcomes will be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father.”

“He who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.”

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne.”

(the promises to the churches in Revelation chapters 2-3, abridged.)

What wonderful promises.

What makes a good church? We do, if we love God and serve Him, know and believe His word, and persevere and overcome.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Some quotes that inspire me

"It is a serious thing," says Lewis, "to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whome we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously -- no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner -- no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment."
--C. S. Lewis, From The Weight of Glory. 

"If I were trying to read, much less anwer all the attacks made on me, this shop might well be closed for any other business. I do the best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing it to the end. It the end brings me out all right, what is said against me will not amount to anything. If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference." Abraham Lincoln. (a framed copy of this was given to Winston Churchill as a 70th birthday gift by FD Roosevelt)

"I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depression. I know the borders of despair and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone. But hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their despondency. So I believe that the darkest and most dreadful experience of a child of God will help him to be a fisher of men if he will but follow Christ."
Charles Spurgeon  2200 Quotations from the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon

“When you wonder why you are being severely tested, remember that the reason does not lie so much with you but with those to whom God will make you useful.  You are being led along a rough road.  You are being tested and instructed in order to help those whom you will find in some of the earth’s dark regions.”
Charles Spurgeon.

"A Christian is the last person who should feel impelled to prove herself right.A true Christian is one who knows her need to be made right. And an attitude of belligerence or scorn at anything cuts directly across the deepest meaning of Calvary. Christians whose lives are working are those who have relaxed in the self-effort department. Those who have seen at last that in themselves is no good thing. But who have also seen that with those selves eternally linked with the life of Christ the human personality potential is glorious." Eugenia Price "Woman to Woman".

"Pain is pain and sorrow is sorrow. It hurts. It limits. It works devastation deep within personality. It circumscribes in a thousand different ways. There is nothing good about it. But the gifts God can give with it are the richest the human spirit can know." Margaret Clarksen.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Viktor Frankl.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Spiritual Disciplines 2 : Prayer

Please note that my thoughts on spiritual disciplines are not necessarily in order of priority, otherwise prayer would probably have been on top of the list. Prayer is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life. It underpins everything else that we do. Prayer is practised and encouraged throughout the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.

At the moment I’ve been involved in a churchwide study series entitled “When God’s People Pray” by Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York City. This is the second time I’ve actually been through the course of study as we also studied the series in a former church, so it’s been great to revisit the concepts and hear some of the testimonies again. I thoroughly recommend the series and the first study is available to view on Youtube.

Prayer is basically talking to God. It’s communion with Him by taking time out to share fellowship with Him. It’s not just coming to God with a list of needs and wants and then ignoring Him otherwise. In the same way that we like to spend time with our family and friends getting to know them in a deep and intimate way, so prayer is fellowship time with God.

Some Christians that I know are so much in fellowship with God that their thoughts throughout their day are directed to Him. They also offer frequent short  prayers for the situations they are in and the people who they encounter. Yet this does not negate the need for a time spent alone in prayer when we focus on God and in stillness and quietness talk to Him alone. When we read the gospels we see that Jesus spent much time taking Himself away to pray to His Father. If the Son of God needed to do that, we certainly need to follow His example.

It’s necessary to approach God in prayer with an attitude of respect for who He is. He is our Heavenly Father who loves us, and he is also our King whom we obey and serve. He is the almighty Creator of the universe, the One with authority over all principalities and powers. He directs us. We do not direct Him.

An important part of our prayer life should then be worship. I make it a practise to begin prayer with acknowledging God for who He is- God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to whom all glory and honour is due. I thank Him for all He has done for us on the cross. It’s only through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that we can approach God directly in prayer. We who are unholy can approach the throne of grace because of  Jesus. We are sanctified through Him. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp just what an awesome privilege and gift that is.

In the same way that we are interested in every aspect of our children’s lives, both good and bad, so God loves to listen to us as we pray about our lives. We can approach Him with thanks for all the blessings that he provides. He loves to be consulted about our decisions and plans. We can bring our problems and worries to Him. He understands our hurts and pain more than the wisest earthly counsellor. There is often a peace that passes all understanding that is given to those who talk things over with God in prayer.

When we struggle with sin, Satan will try to make it difficult for us to pray. We may experience distractions or sleepiness or wandering thoughts. Pray anyway. Keep coming back to God in prayer. Confess your sins to God and ask Him to give you the Holy Spirit as guide and counsellor in your daily walk. Open your Bible and read a favourite passage or psalm aloud as a prayer. Say the Lord’s prayer. God wants us in an attitude of obedience and availability to Him. Recognise that there are sins which will mar the fellowship with God and prevent you from moving into the full life that He has promised and pray through them. Ask for help to overcome them. Ask a friend to pray for you or post a prayer request on an internet prayer site so others can pray for you. Be genuine in prayer. God knows anyway. He just wants to hear it from you.

When we pray, it’s not just about self. Intercessory prayer is a vital part of our ministry as Christians. We can pray for other Christians, our unsaved friends and family, our workmates, neighbours, church, nation and world.  There is no shortage of people and situations to pray for. God will put a burden on your heart for who or what he wants you to direct your intercessory prayers. There are many wonderful testimonies of God’s answering the fervent, constant prayers of faithful intercessors.

I pray that for all who have stopped by to read here, that you will be encouraged to pray to God and seek His will for your life. My He bless you as you pray.

Some bible verses regarding prayer:

The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 6 verses 9-13

 “Our Father in heaven
hallowed be your name
your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
(New International Version. )

(The King James Version adds “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen” to the end of verse 13.)

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father."  John 14:13

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14”

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:7

 “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

Revelation tells us that our prayers are treasured by God, that they are received as a precious offering to Him:
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8.

Did you know that if you are a Christian there is a verse in the bible where Jesus directly prays for you? John records prayers that Jesus prays for himself, for his disciples and then for
“those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are on. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” John 17:20-24

Gospel / How do I become a Christian?

(This post is reprinted quarterly)

The Gospel

In the beginning, God, (God the Father, Jesus Christ his only Son and the Holy Spirit), created the heavens and the earth and everything in it, including the first man, Adam and the first woman, Eve. God created humans to live in relationship with Him, but gave them free will to either obey Him or be disobedient. Satan, the devil, whom the Bible identifies as a fallen angel, tempted Eve to sin by disobeying God and she in turn tempted Adam to also disobey God. For their disobedience Adam and Eve were cast away from God’s presence and the wonderful life God had created for them and through them all their descendents were destined to be born sinful.

Yet throughout history there have been men and women who sought after God. Humanity became so depraved that God destroyed the earth with a global flood, but saved Noah and his family. Through Abraham God established the nation of Israel, who would be God’s favoured people. Moses, Abraham’s descendent, led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and received the Ten Commandments and many laws of conduct. Because of the sinful nature of man, these laws were not kept, and a system of animal sacrifices was instituted to make atonement for the sins of the people. However, the people both individually and as a nation continued in a cycle of falling away from God and returning to Him.

During the history of the nation of Israel there were prophets who foretold that a Saviour would be born, to save humanity from its sinfulness. Their prophecies were fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Jesus is the only Son of God. He was sent to this earth and lived amongst us as a human, without losing His divine nature. In all things Jesus honoured and obeyed His Father, God. During His ministry on earth, Jesus performed many miracles and taught us regarding God’s nature and way of living. He was tempted by Satan but was without sin. He travelled with a group of disciples who were the foundation of the church – God’s people on earth.

In the same way that animals had been sacrificed to make atonement for man’s sin, it was the purpose of God to send Jesus to earth to become a total sacrifice, once and for all time, for fallen humanity. As was His destiny, Jesus was arrested, tried for heresy and crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem called Calvary. At the time of Christ’s death the curtain in the Jewish temple was torn apart, symbolising that the old system of God only being able to be approached by certain people and in certain places, was finished.

Now all could come into right relationship with God through the shed blood of Jesus, by committing their lives to Him in repentance and faith.

The Bible tells us that Jesus descended into hell and has total dominion over Satan and evil. On the third day Christ rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples and many others on earth. He gave his disciples the “great commission” to go into all nations and preach the gospel. Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, God sent the Holy Spirit to the earth at Pentecost (ten days after Jesus’ ascension). The Holy Spirit is not only alive in the world, but indwells in those who have committed themselves wholly to God and gives such attributes as comfort, counsel, power and discernment. God's temple is now not a building, but the people in whom His spirit dwells. In the same way the church is not a building but the body of Christian believers on earth.

The Bible tells of spiritual battles between good and evil in both earthly and heavenly realms. It includes indications of great tribulation yet to come. We are told that Christ will return to this earth, the second coming, when He will defeat the evil forces raging in the world and will judge the living and the dead.

We who have committed our lives to Christ still struggle in our humanity with temptation to sin, and must choose daily to live in obedience to His will. We grow in our faith through prayer, study and reflection of God’s word, the Bible; and by meeting regularly in fellowship with other Christians.

How do I become a Christian?

The Bible tells us that there is only one way to relationship with God and that is through Jesus Christ:

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
“Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. (John 14:5-6)

To become a Christian, you need to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to honour God and for the forgiveness of sin and that He rose again and ascended to His Father God.

You also need to admit or confess that you are a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness through Christ.

You then need to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Just as a wedding ceremony begins a marriage, so a prayer of confession and faith can begin, but is just the beginning, of a relationship with God. An ongoing relationship includes learning about God through Bible study; baptism, conversations with God through prayer, and encouragement through Christian fellowship in a caring church.
The following is a prayer which could be used to begin this relationship. You may wish to pray it alone, personally, or you may wish to discuss your decision with a Christian friend or pastor first to fully understand:

Dear Heavenly Father God,
I come before You acknowledging You as the only one God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank You for revealing Yourself to me. Thank You, Father God, for sending Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, honouring You and making a way for sinful people to come back into relationship with You. I acknowledge that I am a sinner. Please forgive my sin and cleanse me I pray. I receive Jesus Christ into my life to be my Lord and Saviour for the rest of my days. May You give me strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to live my life as a Christian. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen

May God bless you with an ever-increasing knowledge of His wonderful presence and endless love as you continue to seek and serve Him.

A Couple of Evening Poems


Leaves are sweeping the darkening sky
Cicadas call incessantly to the day
Overhead the lonely curlews cry
A distant siren sounds and dies away
You read beside the lamp beside our bed
I drink hot tea and ponder words to write
At last the child has dropped his touseled head
And leaves and sky have melted into night

Solitary Gull

Why do you fly, lone traveller,
Skimming the surface of the dark water
When all have left and flown to nest and home?
Yet you and I
Driven by an unbridled longing
Find freedom still to roam.
Swiftly the silent night descends
A chill wind whispers
That the sun’s last rays have touched our wanderings
Too late, too late
You will fly before me,
Out-soar me and be gone
But I will remember you, forever flying
Over a deep and rolling ocean
Into a vast and starry night.