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February 2011

Australia Day 2011

Yesterday was Australia Day. I love Australia. I have travelled to 27 countries in my short time on earth and I love different cultures and places ... but there is no place like home. Let's continue to pray for God to pour out His Spirit upon our nation ... that we might be a light to all the nations of the earth. Here are the words from a some written by Geoff Bullock that became kind of a national anthem for the Christian church in our nation many years ago. This is our nation, this is our land This is... Read more →

A Picture of HOPE

During January, our theme at CityLife is Faith, Hope and Love. This weekend our teaching team spoke about hope. Our Associate Pastor, Paul Molyneux, began his message by referring to a well-known painting by George Frederick Watts RA (1817-1904), entitled "Hope." Here is a description of the background of this painting from the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913 ... "This is one of the earliest of the great morality pictures by which Watts earned his fame. Describing these, he said, 'All my pictures in the Tate Gallery are symbolical and for all time. Their symbolism is, however, more suggestive... Read more →

Jesus and Prayer

Here are a few insightful comments from Jesus about prayer ... When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. The world is full of so-called... Read more →

Prime Minister Julia Gillard backs Chaplain Program

Some old but good news ... in August last year, new Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to extend the use of state funds to put staff chaplains in both public and private schools (as it has since 2007) through to 2014. State-funded chaplains now serve 2,700 schools and Gillard wants to add another 1,000. Gillard, a self-professed atheist, pledged faith in the chaplaincy system shortly after taking office. "We think it has been a great success, and wanted to make sure schools around the country were fairly benefiting from it," Gillard told Australian Christian Lobby director Jim Wallace. The... Read more →

Muslims defending Christians ...

Some of you may have heard about the brutal attacks from militant Muslims on Christians in Egypt at a New Year's Eve Mass. Tragically, at least 21 people were left dead at the Saints Church in Alexandria after a car bomb exploded outside. The attack rocked the nation. This kind of religiously motivated terrorism is evil and continues to create fear and havoc across our world. An inspiring story has emerged since this time, with Muslims turning up in droves for a Coptic Christmas Mass, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community. Read the full... Read more →

Life - Comedy or Tragedy?

The ancient Greeks told a story of two philosophers. One used to come out of his front door in the morning and roar with laughter. The world was such a comical place that he couldn't help it. The other came out in the morning and burst into tears. The world was so full of sorrow and tragedy that he couldn't help it. In a sense, both are right. Comedy and tragedy both speak of things being out of order; in one case, simply by being incongruous and therefore funny; in the other case, by things not going the way they... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.9)

Putting it all Together Progress is step by step. One grade at a time. One town at a time. You never just arrive - you must take the journey. It's part of the process and just as important as the destination. Go for consistency - doing well for the long haul. Not just quick bursts of enthusiasm. Growth takes time and continued effort. If we are faithful with what we have (looking after it well), God will give us more. Are you ruling well over the little you have? Are you faithful with what you've got? Looking for more without... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.8)

Season #4 – Autumn (or Fall) Autumn is a time for harvest. This is when the crops are brought in. It is a time for celebration, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. [Of course, different crops are harvested at different seasons throughout the year, but for our purposes we are focusing on Autumn representing harvest time] For some people, autumn is a time for dreading another winter, for watching the trees lose their leaves and feeling a sense of loss, and the passing of time. It can be a time for wishing things might have been different. Autumn can bring... Read more →

Devastating Floods in Queensland

Australia's beautiful state of Queensland is experiencing horrific floods right now, the worst in our history. Over one third of the state is a disaster zone. Lives have been lost and many people are missing. The floods have now hit the city of Brisbane, Australia's third largest city, with many 1000s of people having to evacuate their homes. Please pray - for the residents, the recuse workers, the political leaders and for local church communities. Difficult times such as these always provide an opportunity for followers of Christ to show His love and compassion in practical ways. Also, why not... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.7)

Season #3 - Summer In many ways, most summers are marked by long, hot, tedious days. Many people endure summer but do not enjoy it. It is easy to simply mark time, walking through one long day to the next, seeking relief and relaxing during the holidays. For the farmer, summer is a season for watering the seeds that have been planted and for fertilising. Growth begins to take place. Feedback and evaluation are essential, along with appropriate adjustments. Weeds and pests need attention too. This applies directly to our personal lives. No dream is achieved without a long hot... Read more →

New Year's Resolutions

We are already one week into the new year - 2011. Did you make any new year's resolutions? ABC NEWS ran a story explaining why many people fail to keep their resolutions. The Barna Group recently conducted an extensive research project about Americans and their new year's resolutions. Read the full report here. It explains who makes resolutions, how many keep them, and the kinds of things people resolve to do and change. I think that any type of resolution is a good thing - if it leads to positive change. After all, we reap what we sow and our... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.6)

Spring is a Season to Stop Procrastinating The book of Exodus records the intriguing encounter of Moses with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The entire land was filled with frogs and Pharaoh had had enough. He asked Moses to get rid of the frogs. Moses gave Pharaoh the option for determining the time for the frogs to be gone. Pharaoh replied, “Tomorrow." He was willing to spend one more night with those frogs! Ex.8:8-10. Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.5)

Season #2 - Spring After a long winter, you wonder if things will ever change. The first day of spring is a wonderful time – flowers and colors appear, birds sing, clouds clear, gentle breezes blow and the sun begins to shine. It is a time of refreshing and encouraging renewal. New life emerges. For some, Spring is a time for daydreams, play and an escape from reality. For the farmer, Spring is a time for ploughing and planting. The winter’s plans give impetus to responsibility, motivation and enthusiastic activity. It’s time to get to work to make those God-given... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.4)

After dreaming, the farmer begins to formulate a plan for his work in the soon coming season of spring. Without a plan and goals, dreams remain abstract and we coast along without any sense of progress of achievement. God is the great time manager. He is also a great planner and goal setter. He has a plan, a design and a purpose He is working to accomplish. He established this before the world began. Most people spend more time planning their holidays or a party than they do their life. Plan your year and your use of time wisely. Think... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.3)

Season #1 - Winter In the natural, the winter season is a time of cold, rain and frost. It's a time to be inside keeping warm. It’s wet, cold and windy outside. In many parts of the world, winter is accompanied by snow and ice. We can also go through personal seasons of winter. Everything feels cold and grey. The sun isn't shining and we feel no warmth. God may seem a long ways away. Everything seems barren. Nothing is growing. What do we do in winter? Do we just hibernate and hope for sunnier days? I would like to... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.2)

God has created principles, laws and systems by which the world runs. There are natural laws and spiritual laws. These are not formulas. They are principles that have general application in all cultures, times and situations (always with exceptions). They exist whether we know about them or not or whether we believe them or not. They are very real and they are unbreakable. If we work with them rather than against them, we will know the blessing of God. The Principle of Seasons In nature, God changes the seasons four times each year (about every 3 months) on a recurring... Read more →

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life (Pt.1)

Welcome to 2011! Today I want to start a series of posts on Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life. We are all at different stages of life. However, we can draw strength and hope from the promises of God's Word. Here are two of my favourite statements from the Bible ... Jer.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.” NIV “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it... Read more →