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Living a Transparent Life

I was blessed to speak in Palmerston North this month on living transparently. It’s something I feel strongly about, how can we truly claim to worship a holy God if we live our lives in the shadows? And if we are living our life in the shadows, what good does hiding do? After all, God sees everything anyway!

Are you the same person at church on a Sunday that you are at school or work on a Monday?

If someone introduced you to a new person, would they be able to truly describe you, or just what they think they know?

Are you living your faith with Integrity? And what does that mean anyway?

According to Dictionary.com, integrity is a noun that means adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

I like to live my life based on God’s moral compass, I try to avoid things that will cause me physical and mental harm, though while pizza may hurt my body; it makes my brain happy! I want to be someone people know they can trust; that I won’t say or do anything that may intentionally do them harm; but above all, I want to be known as honest. This means I am living a transparent life, I don’t hide in the shadows, I am who I appear to be, loud, to the point, no corners cut!

Sometimes this doesn’t work well for me, but I’d rather have a target on my back because I won’t give up my kingdom values, than fold to the will of others who would guide me in the wrong direction.

So I guess today I want to know where does your compass point.

Are you hiding something that should be taken care of, and if so, who can you go to for help?

I’m praying as you read this you’ll be open to God pointing changes out that need to be made, and that he’ll be your first stop in becoming transparent, don’t forget, your youth leader, corps officer and even me, are all available if you need to talk.

God has big plans, what do you need to do to be ready?

Never Leave Us or Forsake Us

In all my 42 years as a follower of Jesus and in 26.5 years of officership I have heard many prayers offered up to God; and as I think about it, perhaps the most common request I have heard made is that God would be with us. And it’s a great sentiment; think about it, the creator of all that is, the lover and rescuer of our souls, our redeemer, our present and future hope, present with us, now, right where we are. And with Christmas fast approaching (less than 15 weeks) we will often be reminded again that He, Jesus, is called Emmanuel, God with us.

And here is my question; why do we so often ask God to be with us when He has promised repeatedly in scripture NEVER to leave us or forsake us? Why do we pray for something we already have? What’s the point in that? It would appear that God does not know how to be absent from us just as He is incapable of not loving us or violating His own word.

Related to this is an experience I had recently at the THRIVE conference at Silverstream. We were being led in some wonderful worship that included the beautiful song “Wairua Tapu/Holy Spirit, welcome”. As we were singing I had an incredible sense of God saying “Thank you Rob, I was already here, YOU are welcome”.

There is nowhere we can go that God isn’t already so rather than pray for something that is already a reality maybe I’m better acknowledging and being grateful for His presence, finding out what He is doing, and joining in.

Love Your Neighbour

It is election time again…and I don’t know how others are finding it but I’m finding it really difficult to choose who to vote for. On one hand I want a party that has some really good policies on tackling poverty and the housing crisis. On the other hand I want a party that gives the country a strong economy so that we can pay for our health care, education and everything else we want. So two days out from the election I’m still undecided as to who to vote for because none of the parties have all the policies I want, so I’m weighing up which of the policies I don’t want I can live with best.

When I was younger I didn’t really take much interest in politics, and to be honest I don’t really take that much notice now, until it is thrust in my face through things like election campaigning or when I hit something in the system that is just not right, like the number of children we have living in poverty.

I know as a nation that we look to the government to fix all the problems (or if they don’t fix them then to at least pay for someone to fix them) but I am beginning to wonder where personal responsibility lays in all of this. Yes I know that there are lots of amazing agencies, groups and individuals who are doing incredible work with few resources to tackle some of our biggest issues.

At Kids Camp recently we were reminded about Jesus command in Luke 10:27 we read the greatest commandment Jesus gave us which was to “Love your neighbour as yourself”
If I see my neighbour in need and do nothing about it, how am I showing them love? If I see my neighbour in need and expect someone else to help them, how am I showing them love? I realise that this is a simplistic view of things, but maybe if more individuals did something to help their neighbour in need, as well as the government doing all it can, and people taking responsibility for their choices, you know we might just lick some of the problems we face in society.

Creator and Creation

Recently I’ve been obsessed with camping and outdoorsy Youtube videos. This one dude, Joe Robinet (check ‘em out) in particular goes on weekly adventures in the ultimate backyard, with minimal tools, dehydrated food, and a keen attitude. I can’t help but think as I’m watching these videos ‘…Man, I’d love to be out camping right now!’ These thoughts however are quickly followed by a seemingly never-ending trail of excuses;

“I’ve got uni work to do”, “I can’t afford the tools and equipment he has”, “If only I knew where to go”.

The bottom line is, you can make an excuse for anything. That sounds like a classic gym cliché that a personal trainer would use but it is no less true. In the context of my life I have been thinking about why I have been so eager to be outdoors. Put simply, I’m stuck in the body of a city boy who rolls up his jeans and drinks cappuccinos. In my heart though, I know I want to be outdoors, becoming more and more intimate with my Creator and His creation. The reason we were created was to forever give thanks back to our Creator.
 “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalms 9:1)

I’m not one for much singing and ‘worship music’ was never really my way of praising God. Although I am now beginning to appreciate the beautiful imagery found in music about God, it is the imagery that reminds me why I worship God. His great power and majesty. For many of us, we can become obsessed with the city. The fast-paced, no-time-to-talk environment can inject itself into our everyday lives. As a reminder, both to whoever is reading this but to myself too; When you’re walking down the busy streets at full pace or brought to a holt in a traffic jam, remember to look up. Take a moment of silence to appreciate who God created you to be, for he is the ultimate Artist.

“You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” (Nehemiah 9:6)