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Too old?

I’ve questioned lately if I’m too old for what I do.

After a full on youth weekend all I’ve wanted to do is sleep, but then I’ve wondered if it was because I spent the previous weekend in hospital, may I also add a huge thanks to Johnsonville Corps for everything you did for me!!

So is there a too old?

I often hear that you’re never too young to be in ministry, that God can use you no matter what, but what about the other end of the spectrum?

I was reminded last weekend that Moses was 40 when he left Egypt and 80 when God called him to return and save the Hebrew people. Jesus didn’t start his ministry until he was 30, and that only lasted 3 years!

In fact, there is a lot of rather “mature” people mentioned in the Bible that served God in remarkable ways. So my message to you today, if you are a young ‘un just starting out in ministry, or if you’ve been doing it a little while, or if you’ re up there in the “mature” category like me, get alongside someone at the other end of the spectrum.

We all keep learning, and the best way to do that is to find someone to grow with.

Everything is Spiritual

I have spent a bit of time lately trying to better understand the context of the bible passages I read. I have become very aware that Jesus was not a middle class western white guy in the 21st century and neither were the writers of New Testament scripture. They were Hebrew and were steeped in Jewish history and culture. So if I’m going to truly follow Christ, understand scripture and follow Christ I need to try and come to grips with what those first century middle eastern people understood when they heard Jesus, Paul or John speak; what did they understand when they read the letters Peter, John Peter etc wrote? I need then to learn what the true application is for me at my time and place in history.

Due to the nature of my current appointment I spend a good portion of time driving around the central north Island and have the occasional flight to Wellington. In an effort to make the most of this time I listen to podcasts by selected speakers as a part of my growth in this area; I was going to say spiritual growth HOWEVER one of the things I have learnt is that apparently in the Hebrew language there is no such word as spiritual. If you asked someone in Biblical times “how is your spiritual life”? you would just get a blank stare because to label part of life spiritual is to assume that part of life isn’t, and this is a concept that is absolutely foreign to the scriptures and absolutely foreign the world view of Jesus. It also implies there are places God is and places God isn’t which is absurd.

The assumption of scripture is that you and I are spiritual beings that inhabit a physical body, NOT a physical being that has the choice to be spiritual.

We human beings occupy a totally unique place in the universe; we are created in the image of God and because of this every aspect of our lives are spiritual. How we handle our money, our relationships, sexuality, forgiveness, reconciliation, business, school, work, recreation, everything we do, we do as spiritual beings.
I have found that when I view life like this it becomes so much richer, The bible makes more sense and God makes more sense.

Side note: There is also no word for retirement.

Iron that Sharpens

I have this friend. This friend is the kind of friend that everyone should have. He’s a good friend. I’ll find myself multiple times a day thinking “Dang, I love that dude. What a friend.” For example, this last Tuesday gone, I had another chance to see the amazing qualities of this friend of mine on show;

I got the text that his team needed a fill in for five-a-side football and I’m always down for a game! Throughout the game (in which we narrowly lost, 13-2…) I noticed a frustrating trend. One guy from our team refused to sub off. I don’t know about you but if everyone else is subbing off with one another and one dude doesn’t, I’m not going to be a very happy chap. I spent the last fifteen minutes of the game on the side line because of this, not a place I enjoy being. I jumped on my phone, looking visually frustrated and ready to go home. However, as per usual, the actions of one friend caught my eye.

This friend without hesitation jumped in at goal keeper for the entire second half to allow someone else to play outfield. This is a big deal! If you’re used to playing football in the outfield and you’re suddenly restricted to the keeper’s area for an entire half, I wouldn’t blame you for being annoyed. However, not once did my friend complain. Not once did he let it affect his attitude. Not once did he refrain from encouraging the team. Not once was he selfish in thinking or being.

My point is that I continue to learn from this friend of mine. He consistently refreshes my mind to believe again how the love of Jesus is being shown through us. My friend was born a sinner like me, yet he chooses every day to act more and more like Jesus, much harder said than done.

I encourage you all to find a friend like this. To relate to, to grow with, to learn from, and to respect. I have a favourite proverb that has served as one of the themes of my faith this year, which goes;

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17).
 I encourage us all to be iron that sharpens!

Bless ya,

Niven

Plunge into the Promise

‘HE PLUNGED INTO THE PROMISE AND CAME UP STRONG…’

Two and a bit years ago I changed from reading the NIV version to the MSG version of the bible and it’s been great. I’ve found that’s added new insight and understanding to my knowledge and experience of the gospel.

Well this morning I was reading Romans 4 and it’s a cracker! Check it out. I particularly liked Romans 4:19-25 (I highlighted in red some really cool parts) which says:

Romans 4:19-25The Message (MSG)

19-25 Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously sceptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

Too often we focus on why something can’t happen or our own limitations rather than focus on the one who CAN and WILL make something happen! God makes good on His promises and we need to jump in trust that he will follow through on His directions and commitments to us.

Hope you find that just as encouraging as I did today.

Blessings,

Ben