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Advent - Hope

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Advent the time in the church calendar when we begin to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.Our theme for this week is Hope. Hope can be a bit of a nebulous thing – we hope in some abstract way that life will get better. I wonder what it is you are hoping for? Maybe with a new Government you hope that life will be better for you and your family. But hope in a Christian sense is based on the belief that God can and does step into our ...

November 28, 2023

Christ the King

This coming Sunday marks the official end of the church calendar year. The next Sunday will be the beginning of Advent, the start of the church year and the period of time when we prepare for the coming of the Christ, born as a baby in Bethlehem.  But back to this Sunday which is known as Christ the King Sunday.This Sunday as we finish the church year, we are reminded that Jesus is the King, We’re not really into kings much today especially here in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We like to be our ...

November 22, 2023

Learning to Lament

When we look around our world it is easy to see events that seem so terrible that we often are unsure how to express the way we feel.  And when we add in our own personal crisis’s sometimes, we struggle to find ways to put into words just how we feel. What language do we use? What words would help? Who do we express our frustrations and anger about it all to?The Psalms in the Bible have some particular ways of expressing such things. Called Psalms of Lament they became the community’s l...

November 15, 2023

We need each other

I have spent the last week in bed with Covid. Finally, after 4 years the dreaded bug caught up with me. Isolating at home and feeling terrible while you do it is not the best way to pass the time. Fortunately for our house we are part of a caring church community who have dropped off delicious meals and treats and made an effort to care for our wellbeing. It has reminded me how much we need each other and how easy it can be to take it for granted. Not everyone is so fortunate, there hundreds of ...

November 7, 2023

What defines your life?

I wonder what it is that defines your life. Maybe a desire for justice? Maybe concern for the vulnerable? Maybe a desire to be wealthy? Maybe wanting to have fame and fortune?  All of us have something that defines who we are, and which others see in us. A man of his word, someone light fingered, a dirty old man are all expressions used by others to define someone. So, when others look at you, what would they use to define you?Joseph is one of the few characters in the Old Testament whose c...

October 31, 2023

Who wants to change?

Jim Rohn said, ‘For things to change, you have to change.’  And Henry Ford said, ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. And yet so many of us resist change. We like things the way they are, and we like ourselves the way we are. Often, we will only change when no other option is available.Despite our resistance to change all of us need to be transformed and renewed. None of us is perfect and it is our flaws that need to be faced up...

October 24, 2023

Have you forgiven me?

Forgiveness is a difficult thing. Sometimes even when we have been forgiven, we wonder if the other person really has forgiven us for what we did? There’s nothing worse than having someone remind us of our failures.There's a story I once heard about a priest in the Philippines. A woman in his church told him she used to hear Jesus speak to her through visions.  The priest called her in to talk with her.  The priest was a bit sceptical about her claims so he said to her, “The next t...

October 16, 2023

Reconciliation

ReconciliationWe often talk about forgiveness as if it were an end in itself when it is one step on the road to reconciliation. A dictionary states: reconciliation is the renewal of friendship after disagreement or enmity. It is closely linked to the Jewish concept of shalom – when everything is in harmony. It is often messy and hard work.Joseph shows us how we can work toward reconciliation with others, even those who wished us harm. And the story of Jesus is a reminder that he came to reconc...

October 10, 2023

Are we there yet?

Ever heard or uttered those words dreaded by parents everywhere. Are we there yet? It’s the sound of a person who is so over the trip you are taking. Are we there yet? It’s the cry of those who have been waiting and waiting to arrive at the destination. Are we there yet?Many of us struggle with the concept of waiting.We live in an instant society  that says we can have anything and everything now especially if you have the right amount of money. No longer do we have to wait for the righ...

October 3, 2023

A voters prayer

As we head towards the election the following prayer was used in church last Sunday.Prayer for our Political leaders Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you today seeking your guidance in the whole area of politics. We acknowledge that you are the ultimate authority, and we recognize the significance of leaders who govern our nations and communities. Lord, we pray for our political leaders, both elected officials and those aspiring to serve in public office. Grant them wisdom, integri...

September 26, 2023

Power and privilege

What would you do if you won lotto?  When the big draw was won recently here in Paraparaumu conversation centred around the question of ‘who had won?’ Followed quickly by ‘I wonder what they will do with the money?’ Will they buy a new house, a boat, go on a world trip, splash out on friends and family?Wealth and often the newfound power that comes with it can have the effect of changing people. Some will use it to get what they want.  Others may use it to serve the community a...

September 19, 2023

Who are you?

Someone once wrote a book titled ‘Who are when no one is watching?’ Is our behaviour guided by something deep within us or is it dependant on the circumstances we are in or people we find ourselves with? A bit like a child who knows not to swear at home but happily swears at school or with their friends.Many of us are good when there are others making sure we obey the rules, but would we be as good if we knew that our actions would go unknown and unpunished. Are we good in the way we treat o...

September 12, 2023

It's tempting

There is a great psychology experiment done with young children in which the child is placed in a room with a lolly on a plate. They are also told that if they wait a few minutes and don’t eat the lolly  that when the host comes back, they can have two lollies. Click here to watchThe videos of these children as they grapple with the temptation to eat the lolly now or wait is fascinating to watch. Some scoff it immediately, others are tempted to taste which invariably leads to ea...

September 5, 2023

I have a dream

The 28 August marked 60 years since Martin Luther King Jr gave his now famous ‘I have a dream’ speech.  In that speech King shared his vision of a country where black children and white children could play together as equals and in harmony. Set against the racial prejudice of his time the speech is a powerful invitation to dream of something that seemed impossible.  It’s true that his dream has yet to be completely realised, much has changed but there is still more to be done. Ki...

August 29, 2023

Favourites

Cadbury’s have for many years run an advertising campaign around the idea of having a favourite chocolate. So much so that they sell a box of Cadbury’s Favourites – with something for everyone. Occasionally debates will arise as to which one is the best. Some love the Turkish Delights while others consider them revolting.  Now having a favourite chocolate is not normally a matter of great consequence but having a favourite child or person can lead to all sorts of disputes and broken r...

August 22, 2023

What dreams do you have?

I wonder how many of you have watched the Football World Cup being held here in NZ. I suspect this world cup will be remembered by many as the cup where things didn’t go the way people expected. Teams who were easily expected to make the semi-finals or even the finals have been knocked out of the tournament. It’s quite emotional seeing the looks on the players faces when they realise their dream has now come to an end – much earlier than they expected.  I wonder if you have ever had y...

August 15, 2023

Weary

Have you ever set out on a tramp or hike and discovered part way through that you are just too tired to get to the end? Your body feels worn out and you can’t really go any further. Or maybe you are just feeling ground down by the pressures of life, paying the mortgage, feeding your family, loving your partner, and it all just feels too much. This worn-down, unable to go on, feeling is called weariness and it seems to dig down into our souls.Emma Stokes our speaker this coming Sunday writes, ...

August 8, 2023

Role-models

Today is the 5th anniversary of my dad’s death. My dad was a man deeply committed to following Jesus and it showed in the way he cared for others.  He opened our home to strangers, oddballs, and those he felt needed someone to love them. Some of them took advantage of him, at times even stealing from our house. But his response was simple – everything I have belongs to God, and he knows our needs, it will be okay. I wasn’t quite so sure at times.He was also a man of great patience, wi...

August 1, 2023

The right thing to do

I quite enjoy Dr Who, the British BBC show that has hung around for just on 60 years. And one thing I really like is the Dr’s speeches – the monologues set into each series that help to define what is going on. In one show the Dr says the following“Winning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not trying to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone, or because I hate someone, or because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun. God knows it’s not becaus...

July 25, 2023

Blind spot

Recently I was backing my car out of a carpark in our local mall when I realised that another car had started to turn into the space behind me. Fortunately, I was able to brake and avoid hitting them. Even though I had checked my mirrors and looked to check for other cars, this car was somehow in a blind spot for me. Perhaps you have had the same situation. Sometimes that blind spot is not about seeing outside of ourselves but recognising that we have an internal blind spot. We fail to see how o...

July 18, 2023

Can you see?

Someone gave me the following words by Elizabeth Barrett BrowningEarth’s crammed with heaven,And every common bush afire with God;But only he (she) who seesTakes off his (her) shoes,The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.Sometimes it is hard to see the hand of God in our world, not because God isn’t present, but because God appears in ways we least expect. Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen the generosity of God expressed through people who have gone out of their way to help o...

July 11, 2023

Who needs a nose?

A few years ago, I had to have nasal surgery and one of the things I discovered afterwards was a renewed sense of smell. For the first time in years, I could smell things I hadn’t even realised I wasn’t smelling. I must confess that it was pretty handy when our kids were in nappies not being able to smell. But I also discovered something else after my surgery. I realised that food now had a taste. I don’t know why but for me not being able to smell meant I was also unable to taste.  S...

July 4, 2023

Check that Facebook post.

This week one of our rugby referees has faced a torrent of abuse via Facebook for his actions refereeing the super rugby final. Refs will always have those who disagree with their decisions but why is it that so many feel free to use social media to denigrate and abuse those they disagree with. Sadly, the church and Christians have not been exempt from using social media in this way. When the early Christian leaders wrote these words, Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another (Gal 5:15), Don...

June 27, 2023

One another

During Covid we were encouraged by the then Prime minister to be kind to one another. We were being asked to consider others in the way we lived our lives, to think about how we treated others. The implication was that in a time of crisis being kind to each other would make it easier for us all to get along and get through what we were facing.The writers of the New Testament gave the early church a group of one another sayings like, ‘Love one another’ and ‘Encourage one another.’  T...

June 20, 2023

Sometimes life sucks

This week the news reminded us just how quickly life can be turned upside down, often when we least expect it. The report of a bus crash in which 10 people died travelling home from a wedding was a sobering reminder how fragile life is. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of those killed and those who were injured in the crash.  I suspect that many of us have come to expect that for us life should be good, that sickness and tragedy happen to someone else. It’s what happens in po...

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