Your Mission

Image result for mission impossible tape recorder

image: Scientific American

Pastor Joe brought us a passionate message this week on mission.  He called us not only to identify our mission in life, but to undertake it as well.  He noted that this was a area of life which had very much been on his heart of late, and enacting his personal mission was now a priority.

He noted that the idea of mission is not new to Christianity.  He said the fact that there is a Christianity at all is because Jesus himself had a mission.  Matthew 18:11 tells us, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”  This very point is repeated again in Luke 19:10, as well.

Jesus’ mission was the reason He came to Earth.  We were a lost and dying world, and God so loved us, that He sent His one and only Son to save us (John 3:16).

But it was a mission that would require sacrifice.  Jesus would not take any short cuts in fulfilling His duty.   In Matthew 4: 1-11, we find Jesus being tempted in the desert.  He is offered two direct shortcuts to His mission.  The first was for Him to cast Himself from the Temple-top.  This would truly get people’s attention.  But He refused quoting scripture.  He then is offered the end result of His quest – the souls of all the world.  But at all too high of a price – the worship of Satan.  This too is rebuffed.  The end result is Jesus would have to die to complete his task.

Ephesians 1: 5-7 tells us,

“In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

Jesus not only came to seek and save us, but in His blood adopted us!  It was and is an ultimate act of love.

It is that love in the form of selfless compassion that was at the heart of Jesus’ mission.

Matthew 9: 35 – 38 reads,

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

But the passage continues in by showing us, as that as Jesus’ adopted siblings we too should show the same compassion and sense of mission.

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

This is summed up in what is often called the Great Commission. Matthew 28: 18-20 says,

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We are to do this out of love for God, but also because of our compassion for our fellow humans.  If  we open our eyes we will see the needs (see Colossans 3:12).

Seeing the need is not always the “religious” thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.  Look at Luke 10: 33 and following.  A man is robbed and left for dead.  Yet the “religious” figures of a priest and a Levite ignore the man’s need and distress.

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity [compassion] on him. . . .  “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?  The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

And so should we.  “Your mission if you choose to accept it . . . ” is plain to see.



Seeing the Opportunities

Water, Raindrops, Raining, Wet, Liquid, Splashing

Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay 

Last week at our church’s weekly prayer meeting, Pastor Vince noted that he felt the call for the church to take this week’s Monday meeting to the streets.  Several of us stayed at the church building to offer up prayers of protection and support, while the others went out and prayed for the community, even entering into pubs and fast food establishments to pray for those there.

As with many godly acts it didn’t come easily.  The skies opened and the “street team” faced some of the heaviest downpours we have seen in several months.  But their fire was not dampened, and though wet they saw the opportunity to affect the community and took it.

” . . . As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ (Romans 10:15b).”  The beauty was truly there in the obedience and commitment to make a difference!

This attitude of taking all of the available opportunities to serve God was one that Dianne understood.  It is, I am sure, more than coincidence that my perusal today of her testimony journal* contained this passage:

“i have been very aware that 1 Peter 5: 7 instructs us to cast all our anxieties on him, because we know that he cares for us. I know these trials are disguised opportunities, i just need to look for openings. I have been able to share my faith with my gp and now with the hospice workers i have met. Next week i meet the hospice doctor and another opportunity.  At the same time i continue these weekly postings, and talk with friends via im and give and receive encouragement and prayers. Even housebound, i can touch the outside world thanks to modern technology and hopefully give glory to God. For that i am very grateful. I can still serve Him, even now.”

Let us too, look for the opportunities to serve Him!


*Dianne’s posting 27 April 19

To Serve


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Korea early 80s

We join to serve –

Not to fight and kill – but –

To give, to protect, conserve.


We risk our lives –

So others live –

To learn, to love, to thrive.


We’ve oft seen things, that none should –

With these images we must sleep –

We remember, and for our trials, all to often – weep.


We join to serve –

Not to fight and kill – but –

To give, to protect, conserve.



Caring For Those Who Care: Reflections from the Sermon on the Mount (Part One)

New figures from age uk show “invisible but invaluable army” of the oldest carers saving state billions

image: Mature Times

So you are a carer.  It is a noble undertaking, and one that all too often is a thankless job.  Most of us who are or who have been carers do it as an act of love for the ones we hold dear.  That is in no way to suggest that it is a selfish act.  It is the outgrowth and extension of our love.  For some the motivation is an even broader altruism.  Jesus said that the second greatest commandment of the Law is to Love your neighbour.

Matthew 22:36 reads, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

For those of us who are the people of God, our love and service to Him is upmost.  But Jesus here shows us that we also serve him through the people we serve.

Mother Teresa on several occasions said that when she helped the ill, homeless, or orphaned she was helping Christ in disguise (Matthew 25: 35-40).  This attitude is one to be applauded.

But being a carer is not always easy.  It can be emotionally draining to see one you care for declining.  It is tiring as rest and sleep patterns can be impacted.  I have personally had moments in which I felt a failure because I couldn’t see that I was making a difference.  The pain and fatigue of my wife is beyond my control.  God needed to reassure me on this point.  It is my “job” to care.  It is He who has the situation in hand.

This message came to me in a random posting on Facebook.  I was feeling helpless, as mentioned above.  Then someone posted Jeremiah 29:11,

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”

All my despair was not in His plan.  I needed to trust Him.  It lifted me to see this.

I then came upon the Sermon on the Mount and looked at it with different eyes.  Okay, theologically the applications that I am going to draw are not “primary” meanings, but I put them forward for carers to ponder when the caring is starting to tire you or becoming a bit much.

I will focus today on only two verses from Matthew 5,

³“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus had told His squabbling disciples that the one who would be greatest was the one who made himself the least.  Phrased in another way He also said that the first shall be last, and the last first.  The servant is the true leader or master.  This humility of spirit has its own rewards! “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

For carers humility of spirit is natural.  We lay down our “self” or at least selfishness to aid and prioritise someone else.  When you think this (I know it seldom comes to this because we love) is “thankless,” God’s own word tells us that it is recognised! Not only recognised, but rewarded: “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

The following verse is also an encouragement.  ⁴”Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Look at the Facebook example above.  When we find sorrow at the declining or loss of a loved one, God is on hand.  “They will be comforted.”  I was by a single verse posted randomly, but it showed God did indeed have a plan.  He comforted me in my grief.  Mourning is natural when we are suffering loss.  It need not be just the loss of life, it may be of time, intimacy, or of routines we have become accustomed.  God honours the grief.  He honours the caring we do. He cares for the carers.

I will return to this theme and work my way through the rest of the Beatitudes and how they can encourage us carers.  Till then let’s remember we are loved and that our caring is appreciated by those we love, and by Him who loves us.  

He cares for the carers.


Renewing Covenant


Pastor Emmanuel Kokonyo from Nairobi, Kenya brought our message this week.  His theme was on renewal and covenant drawn from Nehemiah 10: 28 and following.

The passage begins with the gathering of the people, priests, and Levites to rededicate themselves to the service of God.  But why “rededication?”  The answer simply is sin.  The people of Israel had begun as a people of promise first with Abraham, and then in an earlier renewal after the exodus.  Yet, the people had again drifted from their side of the covenant, and had experienced exile.

The response to sin is repentance, and it is in this spirit of repentance they in verse 29 bind themselves with a “curse” and an “oath” to return to the “Law of God given through Moses.”

This action of repentance began with dedication.  Our passage, Brother Kokonyo noted, breaks down into areas of dedication.  The first of these is dedication to the Word.  The word of God addresses all of the areas of life.   It addresses morals, doubt, faith, and examples of those who have exercised these traits.   The Pastor called us to consider our own dedication to the Word.  Do we make it the point of reference?

The next area is fear.  This is not a negative type of fear, but rather a reverent awe.  It is interesting that verse 29 mentions curse.  This is an acknowledgement that relationship with God is one of awe.  In relationship we have blessing.  In comparison all else is curse.

Commitment is the third area of dedication.  This the people, priests, and Levites made clear promises.  These included a dedication to purity.  Verses 30 and 31 say, “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons. When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.”  They were to not fall into the abuses of God’s Law as practiced by the world, or to put themselves into contact with it.

The final area dedication made by the Israelites was to provide for the maintenance of God’s House the Temple.  They promised to provide for the physical upkeep of the Temple, but also of those who served there.  How could the sacrifices of faith be made if there was no firewood to offer it up with?  The people promised never to let down the service of God.

Shall we be a people so dedicated?




Treasure That You Bear

...where he took further care of him – Slide 25

source: Free Bible Images

The Treasure That You Bear


“What things precious do you carry?

What treasures do you bear?”

The Jericho bound merchant,

His beast laden with his wears.


Trouble was before him,

More than he could sustain,

His earthly goods were taken –

Leaving only pain.


Along came the “righteous,”

Their “duties” too – to bear,

The “burdens” that they carried,

Eclipsed their human cares. 


Along came a traveller,

Coming from abroad,

He bore with him a conscience,

And his pity opened broad.


The merchant was cradled,

Pulled to the Samaritan’s breast,

And to an inn was taken,

To receive some healing rest.


What is it that you have there?

What treasures do you bring?

“I bear a thing as precious, as any that I can –

The thing that I carry,  It is my fellow man.”





FOWC with Fandango Prompt: “Carry”

The Taylor (Tailor)


Artwork: Ludwig Johann Passini

This is an adaptation of a poem I wrote some years ago to honour a really inspirational man I had known as a teenager.  Brother Dominic was a truly humble man with a heart for God.  In this rendering of the poem, I have used the name Mattheus rather than the original Dominic, as I have recently used that name Dominic in a short fiction piece.  This is not to diminish the debt I owe to the example of Dominic in my own spiritual development.

Dom Mattheus is his name,

T’is twenty years since first he came,

To live his life by the Rule,

A threaded needle as his tool.


Repairing habits, sewing seams,

With lines as strait as any machine,

Each stitch an act of divine devotion,

By a humble man who sought no promotion.


To pray and stitch, was his daily task,

The chance to serve was all he asked,

Small tasks unnoticed, seen by few,

But by Him above, it is He who knew.




What’s in It for Me?

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I read Pastor Matthew Winters’ post today on the “returns” or rewards of ministry.  It made me reflect on my early days of preaching in a small rural church in western Tennessee.  For my “labours,” I (and my family) received lunch on Sunday, $100 a week, and from time to time what was “in season” from the farms of members of the congregation.  This might have been a shopping bag full of sweet corn, or a few jars of freshly made pickles, jam, or preserves.  It was not the pathway to worldly riches, but it helped make ends meet, and it was a time of fellowship and service.  I have to say honestly that it was hard, but I was nevertheless happy.

I really do understand Paul’s words, “Woe onto me if I preach not the gospel.” I am in a vocation.  It is a calling from God. This does not mean I am in and of myself anything special.  I am “neither a prophet, not the son of a prophet.”  What I am, however, is open to God’s lead in my life.

Each person in Christ’s body is given a calling. Romans 12: 6 and following reads,

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Pastor Matthew rightly said in his blog, that the rewards of such efforts may not be seen “this side of the Jordan.” But, God knows our hearts, and our faithfulness.  Ministry (and I use the term in its true sense of “service”) is but a small measure in which we can show our thankfulness of what God has done for us.  Don’t get this wrong, Christians do not work to become “saved,” we work because we a saved.  How cool is that? The reward was not for our effort, but was a gift of His grace.

Golden taps my bathroom has none, but what I do have, I freely share (apologies for the paraphrase).  What have you been called to do?




God: The Long Game

The life of Moses is the ultimate example of  “the long game” at work.  This prophet of God was destined to lead the people of Israel, and his life’s journey, while not straight forward prepared him for the task of his destiny.

Moses’ preparation began at birth.  He was born to a Hebrew family in captivity in Egypt.  Not only born a slave, he was conceived at a time when the Pharaoh was suspicious of the Jews.  He therefore ordered such newborns, as Moses, to be thrown into the Nile.  His birth mother was not prepared to obey such a law, and plotted to keep her son alive.  But as he grew it became obvious that her plan to hide hum would not work.  She then in an incredibly clever way obeyed the edict.  She threw her son in the river, after placing him in a basket, and tarring it first.

Moses was then safe to float with the current, and God’s hand became plain when he drifted into Pharaoh’s own courts.  This “gift of the Nile,” was found and adopted by the king’s own daughter.  Moses would spend the next forty years being raised and educated in the royal household.  Where better to prepare one for leadership?

But Moses’ skill set was still incomplete. Therefore, his life takes another turn, this “prince of Egypt” defends a fellow Hebrew and in so doing kills an Egyptian.  His subsequent escape into the wilderness leads him to his second vocation – as a shepherd.  Now this slave turned prince learns to survive in the desert.  To care for flocks, and to be a husband (a very different kind of leadership).

It is while tending sheep, an additional 40 years on, that God calls him to his ultimate role.  He will take the skills of a ruler, and of a shepherd, and lead God’s people to a promised land.

God played the long game.  He took an infant in a basket, and with challenge and nurture formed him into a man of God.  But not only a man of faith, but a man of purpose.  He was equipped with the knowledge of war and of command.  He was tempered with the skills of survival and of service.  He was made ready to blossom, and to make others blossom.

Eighty years, to be made ready to do yet another forty of service.  We will probably not be molded by God for anywhere near that time.  But, that does not mean we will meet our potential over night either.  We sometimes get frustrated when our “breaks” seem to take so long to materialise. We often want things to happen right now.  We seek opportunities that we may not be quite ready for.  So today, let us remember Moses, and God’s long game.  He will use us in His own time.  But remember this, every moment, every triumph (and defeat) along the way is there to make us ready for when He calls.