ANZAC Day: “Lest we forget..”

Today is ANZAC day in Australia. It’s the day we set aside to honour the Australian war veterans and acknowledge their contribution to Australia, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a day where Australians celebrate their identity as Australian citizens—what it means to be a part of the country. The ideas of mateship, sacrifice, courage and everything that the ANZAC soldiers have stood for. In many ways it’s a more important day to Australians than Australia Day (our national holiday) because it was on April 25th 1915 that many people believe Australia really found its identity as a nation rather than looking to England for that identity.

On this day where we think about our citizenship here on earth, it’s a good reminder that we also have a citizenship in heaven. As Paul says in Phil 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this heavenly citizenship mean? When you accepted Jesus as your Lord, you no longer find your identity only in your culture, but even more so in Jesus. So, in the same way that our Australian citizenship is reflected in the values we have and the way we live, our heavenly citizenship and identity should be reflected in the values we have and the way we live for the Lord.

What does that look like? Well, Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow. He is the example that God sent to show us how to live our lives—the way he related to others and therefore the way he wants us to relate to others, the way he modelled how he wants us to treat others, the way he was all about his Father and his Father’s agenda in every situation rather than his own agenda, and how that should show up in our lives too.

Think about how he used every encounter he had to draw people closer to his Father. How he was constantly in prayer asking the Father to use him in the lives of people around him. How he constantly spent time with those who needed God, not just with those who already knew God.

Jesus was ALL about his Father’s agenda here on earth. Everything he did and every encounter he had with people he had that uppermost in his mind. Can you say the same? As you go about your daily life, are you ALL about God’s agenda?

What do we mean when we say this?

As you interact with people—whether it be one of your friends at a BBQ, or your neighbour as you mow the lawn, or even at the checkout at your local grocery store—be aware that God has a plan for that person. He has put you into that person’s life right at that moment for a reason. You are part of God’s plan to draw that person closer to him. It may be just to give them a smile and say thank you, but it may be to start a conversation that will lead to them joining God’s family.

So today on ANZAC day, remember that we are no longer just citizens of our countries, but as Paul says, “…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Easter Sunday: “This is the day that changed the world”

Blond hair… blue eyes and a smile that lit up the school yard.

The day I met the young woman… who is now my wife and mother of our three children… changed my life.

But as much as I say meeting her changed MY life… I admit… that day had little impact on the whole world.

However there is one day that changed the world like no other… one event when history changed in an instant.

That was the first Easter when Jesus rose from the dead… appearing to hundreds of people over the next several weeks.

On this day Jesus proved He is who He said He is…
on this day… God did what He said He would do.

Jesus died for us and was buried… but God raised Him from the dead on Easter Sunday… the day that changed the world.

And that means today… you and I can know Him personally.

He’s changed my life… what about yours?

Good Friday: “Jesus paid the price – we keep the change”

A special thing we do on family holidays is “ice-cream o’clock” … it’s a time each afternoon when we grab an ice-cream from the local store.

It doesn’t matter what’s happened throughout the day… “ice-cream” o’clock is a time when all is forgiven and we enjoy each other’s company.

It’s a significant cost buying all those ice-creams and my daughter loves to see if there is any change she can keep…

But relationships are worth the cost.

Do you realise that Jesus Christ has bought you something special?

He paid for it in full… and it’s sweeter than any ice-cream.

By giving His life on the cross He has bought you forgiveness and restored your relationship with God… Jesus paid the price… we keep the change!

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in life… God loves you and can change you when you place your trust in Him.

That’s when you can experience life with God… and that’s a change worth keeping!

How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—Christmas celebrations that ignore Jesus miss the whole point

I love Christmas time. In fact, for me, Christmas would have to be the highlight of my year. I love the anticipation leading up to Christmas. I love spending time with loved ones. I love catching up with people I haven’t seen or spoken to all year. I love the carols and get togethers. I love the food and festivities. I love the spirit of generosity you see among people. I love that on Christmas day shops are closed. I love the break in normal routine. I love that the world seems to pause for a short while. I love the warm Aussie summer days. I love the late night conversations and early morning surprises. I love the joy. I love the excitement. I love the fact that Christmas its all about Christ … Jesus Christ!

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How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—God so loved the world that he… what about you?

If I were to pick one verse out of the Bible that expresses the message God was communicating through sending Jesus into our world at Christmas, it would be John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” That verse really challenges me about reaching out to people with the message of Jesus Christ this Christmas.

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How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—When we receive a gift, we want to show and tell others about it

“WITH THE FESTIVE SEASON JUST AROUND THE CORNER, LET THE BUDGETING BEGIN!” I saw this quote somewhere, written in bold letters. True enough, this is the period of the year when people all over the world are spending a lot of time to find the perfect Christmas gifts for their loved ones. It made me recall a moment as a child when my mother gave me a CD cassette player. I immediately clasped my mum with tremendous affection and expressed how grateful I was to receive that gift. I hastily tried it out, my face beaming with delight!! Next thing, I transformed into a deliriously elated kid dancing and singing all over the house! Out of uncontainable delight, I even hurriedly brought the CD cassette player outside our house to share my amusement with my cousins and friends. I also brought it to school, parks, the school gym and every place I went to! That memory contains a fundamental truth about our nature as human beings: when we receive a gift, we love to share it with others!

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How Christmas motivates us to live as witnesses for Jesus—Time with extended family is an opportunity to share about Christ

When I have spent Christmas with family or friends who don’t know the Lord, sometimes I have been too pushy, and sometimes I have held back too much. But the reality is that any time that you are with extended family members who do not yet know the Lord is a great opportunity for meaningful spiritual discussions, but Christmas is even better than other times, because Christmas is about Jesus!

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10 Common misconceptions about Christianity and Christians: #10 Christianity is a cop-out for people who need help or don’t want to take responsibility for their own lives

“Christianity is a crutch.” This statement is something that you would hear used by atheists, the most famous of which in modern times is Richard Dawkins.  He said such things as, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence.” In other words, Christians don’t want to think for themselves, so we just explain creation and other things that we don’t understand as of divine origin. Dawkins insults the intelligence of every Christian and completely discounts the possibility of God or there being something in the world that cannot be explained by “science.”

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