Friday, December 18, 2015

Video Illustration: Will you notice the true beauty of Christmas?

There is a lot happening at Christmas....
But amongst everything that is happening will you notice the true beauty of Christmas
Lindsey Stirling, a magnificent violinist goes down to the subway, without announcement and dressed to fit in....but plays exceptionally...
and she is not noticed....
Like wise Jesus indicated that not everyone will recognise him (read Matthew 25:31-46)

Free Christmas story videos from Holy Moly - Sparkhouse

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Reflection: Why retirement thinking is no good for God's ministry!!!!

At some point in everyone's personal life thinking of retirement begins to dominate a person's thinking

On a personal level  this is not so bad, it is another season in a person's life...our lifestyles need to adjust to accommodate the changes taking place in our body and mind, and life's circumstances.

However a major problem arises for the church and God's mission when individuals enforce this thinking on the church and congregations.
Because when people start the retirement thinking they tend to:
look at cutting back
look at reducing the risks they take
say the past was enough
begin structuring their life to make it easier and more comfortable
look for life to be more predictable life
reduce spending,
to decrease their workload
or look at ways to achieve the above.

And if we start thinking like this in relation to our congregation such thinking will lead us to make decisions that will lead the congregation towards retirement....
(Now some congregations maybe in a geographical situation where they will die because there is no people around them....but for most this is not what God expects and it is not our calling in life as Christians.

The call of all disciples, ie. every Christian is to be active in making disciples

So what questions and thinking should we have:

Look around the community your congregation is placed within....and ask the following:

  • How might we connect to this community?  (or what will it take for us to connect the people in this community?)
  • What might we have to do?
  • What might it cost us in money, time and energy?
  • How do we show them that are valuable?
  • What equipping and support might we need, to fulfil the mission calling God has placed before us?
  • What changes do we need to make, so we can make disciples of Jesus?
  • How do the people we are called to reach, learn and feel part of community?
  • How is God calling us to serve Him, by serving the community around us with His word and sacrament that helps connect to Jesus, the one who gives life?

You will notice these questions are not about slowing down, but could lead to a redirection in the way yourself and the congregation operates....

Some further reading
Luke 2:25-38...of an example of an older couple being active in their call as Jesus' disciples
Titus 2:1-5 about how older people are to teach others by example.
Psalm 71:18 says Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation,  your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Joshua 24:14-15  hear what Joshua says just before he died

Also read
John Piper's e-book Rethinking retirement  
Resources relating to retirement

Life Group/Small Group Study: A man named Martin part 1: The Man

A Man Named Martin is a fresh and explorative look at an individual who, down through the centuries, has influenced the Christian church significantly.
The details of Luther's life -- his childhood with his parents Hans and Margaret, his university pursuits, his decision to become a monk, his protestation of Catholic practices, his voluminous and erudite scholastic output, his life in hiding, and his roles as husband and father -- are all considered in this study.

A Man Named Martin - Part 1: The Man
The Man viewers encounter a 15th-century religious reformer from Germany who broke ranks with the Catholic Church. This Bible study is the first of a three-part series devoted to Martin Luther -- a monk whose Spirit-inspired grasp of God's justification of sinners through faith in the Savior was the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation.
A Man Named Martin Promo from Lutheran Hour Ministries on Vimeo.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Liturgical Calendar for Outlook 2015/16

The liturgical calendar for Outlook 2015/16 relating to Australia and New Zealand is available from

To use the calendar
First down load the calendar
Then Import the calendar to Outlook (follow your Outlook instructions)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book: 364 of Thanksgiving a devotional journal

Live a life of thankfulness to God every day! This unique devotional--part book, part journal--will teach you what it means to be overwhelmingly thankful. In addition to the 26 uplifting devotions, you'll be encouraged to write down one thing you are grateful for each day of the year. In doing so, you will begin to recognize God's blessings in your life and can flip back to them whenever you need a reminder.

Amazon Reviews

364 Days of thanksgiving Web Site

Book: You can change by Tim Chesterfield

You can change by Tim Chester
It's about heart change, not behaviour change. 
That's the conviction of Tim Chester as he seeks to help everyday Christians "connect the truth about God with our Monday-morning struggles." 
This interactive book, laid out in workbook fashion, is for newer Christians struggling with sin and for more mature Christians who have plateaued in their faith as they seek to find victory over sin.  
With a conviction that sanctification is God's work and the journey to holiness is joyful, Chester guides readers through a "change project"-beginning with the selection of one area of life they would like to modify. 
Each chapter includes a question (e.g., Why would you like to change? What truths do you need to turn to?) to guide readers as they deal with a specific sin or struggle, truths from God's word, and a reflection guide to help readers through their change project.

The book explores

  • What would you like to change?
  • Why would you like to change?
  • How are you going to change?
  • When do you struggle?
  • What truths do you need to turn to?
  • What desires do you need to turn from?
  • What stops you from changing?
  • What strategies will reinforce your faith and repentance?
  • How can we support one another in changing?
  • Are you ready for a lifetime of daily change?

Further details about the book

The Briefing
Amazon reviews
Will Briggs