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The Question That Changed My Life

What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?  We all have them: life-changing moments, you know, the ones where the world seems to stand still and you come face to face with something that just about engulfs you. It happened to me in August of 1999. I was having lunch with a friend/mentor of mine at Red Lobster (love their garlic cheese biscuits!) I had been restless for about six months and I knew God was pushing me towards something . . . but I wasn’t sure what. Also, I didn’t want my restlessness to turn into rebellion by me trying to force something, so I began processing with him out loud. And then he asked me this question: “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?” I knew the answer—I didn’t even have to think about it—it literally just flew out of my mouth: “I would plant a church.” He looked at me dead in the eye and said, “Then you are a coward if you don’t!” So literally at that moment I said “yes” to the call I knew God had placed on my life. I didn’t know the answers (still don’t), I didn’t know anything about strategy or structure, didn’t know how technology would play a part of the church, didn’t know how we were going to establish leadership . . . I didn’t know a lot. But, what I did know is that God had placed a dream inside of me to plant a church, and when Dale asked me the question I mentioned earlier it shook me and drove me to take a dive of faith.

God didn’t put us on this planet to screw around.

So. What about you? What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail? If the answer isn’t, “What I am doing right now,” then I would say you need to do some serious praying and rearranging. You see, life is short, our days are numbered, and God didn’t put us on this planet to screw around—but rather to make a differenceby using what he has given us to advance his kingdom and make him famous! Too many of us are held captive by fear—remember, he is the Most High God!!! Never let fear trump the potential God has placed in you! Too many of us are held captive by the unknown—remember, he knows! Of course, a clear call doesn’t always guarantee our idea of success. Some plant, some water, but God is the one who gives increase, and we can trust him with every outcome, whether it looks like success or not. In the meantime, he’s called us to faithfulness. Besides, if we have every answer to every question, then what he is commanding us to do would not require faith on our part—and where would the fun be in that?!

Never let fear trump the potential God has placed in you!

Too many of us are held captive by people who say “it” can’t be done, but if you will look at who is saying that “it,” you will discover that they aren’t actually doing anything except for trying to hold back the people God is letting loose to do ministry. Too many of us are held captive by critics. But if you’ll notice, Jesus was criticized, and, if you haven’t ever experienced some sort of opposition throughout the history of your ministry, it could mean the enemy is pleased with you—not exactly the calling our lives should fulfill! What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail? You’ve got to beg him for revelation on this . . . and when he gives you the Word, you’ve got to act. God doesn’t reveal himself to us so that we can just “consider” it, but rather, so that we will beconsumed by it and obey his voice! By the way, if the thing that you would attempt scares you to death, if you have had sleepless nights thinking about it, if youknow that failure is a sure thing unless he gets involved, then you should probably make a move—soon! (Like, maybe even right now!!!)

He’s waiting on you. Do you need to make a move?

When Dale asked me that question, I told myself, “I’ve got nothing to lose—I am going to give this a shot. I don’t want to waste my life and then look back 20 years from now and begin asking ‘what if’ questions!” (And you don’t want that for yourself either!) What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail? You’re not waiting on him—he’s waiting on you. Do you need to make a move? Share Christ with someone? Plant a church? Change careers? What is it that burns your heart and draw you to desperate dependence on him? What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail? Can you imagine what the world would be like if all of us allowed that question to drive the vision for our lives? So . . . what about it?

Safe Internet For Your Kids

Want Safe Internet For Your Kids?

As a dad I am personally responsible for the protection of my kids. The Internet whilst full of many useful and positive things can also prove to be a great danger to our kids.

We have posted some disturbing statistics and information regarding pornography and dangers of the internet  on Men Of Courage in the past, such as

Just One Click

The Truth About The Sex Trade And Pornography

7  Dangers Of The Internet For Kids

4 Reasons Men Like Porn

And Just to highlight a few:

  • More than 1 in 8 web searches are for erotic content.
  • 79% of youth’s unwanted exposures to Internet porn take place in the home.
  • Before the age of 18, 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.

 

So How Can You Provide Safe Internet For Your Kids?

In the past parental controls like keeping the computer in a public place in the home and software solutions may have been adequate. However now with Tablets, WiFi enabled phones, Ipods, Xbox and many other portable devices you care to name.  Software alone is no longer able to ensure inappropriate content is not shown on our kids devices (short of taking them away).

That is until recently, a WiFi modem now exists which enables you to control the content that will be visible on any WiFi device, this effectively allows you to give age appropriate internet acess to all the members of your family. if you would like to know more about this modem visit www.safelysurfing.com

I have one at home and it has given me piece of mind that my kids are safe online, in my mind it was a small price to pay to protect my kids online.

 

All My Love Devotional By Matt Hunt

 

All My Love Devotional By Matt Hunt

A Journey of individual spiritual renewal Based on the Great Commandment of Mark 12:29-31

God is the centre of life.

The best way to live life is to delightfully practise and regularly celebrate my lifelong obsession for Him with the entirety of myself such that I can’t contain it and have it joyfully, generously and sacrificially overflow into the lives of others.

© CrossLife Publishing 2012 2

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

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Introduction

Our lives regularly go up and down. There is a rhythm in the ‘toing and froing’ between the moments of great joy and wonderment, and the times of grief, loss, confusion, despondency and worry. Every part of our life is impacted by this rhythm: our physical world with the ups and downs of health, dieting and exercise, our understanding as we learn new things and leave behind any irrelevant thoughts of the past, even our emotional world as we seek to find a rested centre whilst dealing with the baggage of past hurts, struggles of current relationships, and the dreams and hopes of our future before they are realised – or not!

Little wonder then that our spiritual lives also feel this merry- go-round experience. Sometimes God seems close, at other times far away. In one sense, all of life is spiritual as God is in the midst of it all; on the other hand, our regular spiritual disciplines of investing in and growing our relationship with Him wax and wane like everything else.

This experience underlines the importance of regular personal spiritual renewal. On occasion these moments of renewal can come unexpected as God ‘turns up unawares’ as it were – walking in the bush or by the sea, in a church service, or whilst listening to a piece of music, or … . At those times we can find our thoughts drifting toward God and sense His renewing touch or encouragement. At other times, a time of spiritual renewal can come in the midst of struggle, or through later reflecting on that struggle asking “Lord, where were you in that ?” (to which His answer is invariably “carrying you!!”). Both these times of spiritual renewal are valuable and helpful to us.

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However, just like physical exercise for our physical shape, formal education or intentional reading for our intellectual shape, or the periods we engage in some form of counseling to help us emotionally, our spiritual lives can do with a regular deliberate and intentional focus and renewal. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8,

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
And his words just echoed what the Lord God said in

Deuteronomy 4:29 centuries before,

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

If you seek God deliberately, you will find Him, so there is value in choosing to seek Him! And this little book is to help you do that: To take you on an intentional time of spiritual renewal. It is a tool to help you put Deuteronomy 4:29 into practice and seek God with all your heart and soul: In fact not just your heart and soul, but your mind and strength and relationships as well, but more on that later.

This book will guide you as you do a ‘check up’ on how your relationship with God is tracking right now. It is unapologetically primed for a journey of Christian spiritual renewal (if you haven’t realized already!) and so is centred on Jesus Christ, and works alongside a Bible in helping you hear from God on his heart for your renewed relationship with Him. It will help you cry out in prayer for the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh and send you boldly out to live and speak for Jesus like hasn’t happened for a while … or perhaps ever. You don’t have to ‘be a Christian’ to read this book and take a deliberate

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journey of spiritual renewal, you’ve just got to be a person who is open to God and recognize He has an interest and place in your life for your benefit.

Although you will read a variety of passages on the Bible from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, your time with God will be centred on one thought from the Lord Jesus that, like what I’ve quoted above, came directly from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament: His answer to the greatest question of all: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus’ reply was clear, perhaps even immediate, “The most important one is this: Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

This passage has been called the Great Commandment. Rightly understood and applied under the Holy Spirit’s direction it can have a profound impact on not just our spiritual life, but our entire life – and beyond that too. It can give us a direction, a focus, even a sense of purpose and meaning in all we do. J Hampton Keathley III, shares this helpful paragraph to underline the significance of this passage and its suitability for a journey of spiritual renewal. Having commented on how the Jewish leaders were preoccupied with treating God’s plan as a series of laws to obey, he writes,

“This preoccupation caused them to miss the very heart, goal, and central theme of the Bible. … Mark 12:28-31 (and its parallel, Matthew 22:34-40) is visionary. It gives us a perspective of life which, as the very heart and goal of Scripture, is like a beacon that guides us in our passage through the dark and treacherous waters of life. Understanding our

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purpose and having goals in accordance with the teaching of this wonderful passage is equivalent to vision. It means the ability to see where we are going. Having vision means having God’s revelation and using it to get God’s perspective on life so we know who we are, why we are here, where we are going, and what we ought to be doing. Without this we are like ships cast about on the sea of uncertainty with the ever changing winds of the ideas of men. We are left restless and unrestrained by our own desires and aspirations, caught in an ocean of despair.”1

The heart, goal and central theme of the Bible is that God is intimately interested in your life and mine. And that we live it the best. He has declared and demonstrated that heart in humanity’s history through the death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus, to deal with our sin and rebellion of putting our ways in our life ahead of His, thus resigning ourselves to life, and death, less than it has to be. And He will initiate this turnaround in our lives should we seek Him, rather than try and make him fit our understanding – the mistake of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and every religious leader of history that has lifted religion above the Lord God.

The book is divided into 36 days of readings, prayers, and reflections. Some include an activity to help you write your own prayer, reflection or action in response to what you’ve read and considered before God on that day. There are six periods of six days as follows,

  1. Love the Lord your God: God is the centre of life
  2. Love the Lord your God with all your heart: The root of

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  1. Love the Lord your God with all your soul: Clearing the way in spiritual renewal
  2. Love the Lord your God with all your mind: Getting our head around spiritual renewal
  3. Love the Lord your God with all your strength: The practice of spiritual renewal
  4. Love your neighbour as yourself: Regular spiritual renewal does not stop at you.

Each day contains five parts:

One big idea to focus on.  One Old Testament passage and one New Testament passage to see the big idea.  Two questions on each passage to consider the big idea.  A short comment to reflect on the big idea.  One action to practise the big idea in prayer, written reflection or ‘something to do’.

You will

reflection (unless it involves ‘something to do’ later in the week!). You can do it alone, or with someone else like a spouse, your kids or parents, a friend you trust or a small group. However you do it, this 20-30 minutes may be the best investment in your spiritual life for the next month and perhaps beyond that. Make it happen. Remember if you seek Him you will find Him!

Pray with me:

Lord, as we consider the Great Commandment, may You bring a deeper appreciation of its wonder, its effectiveness and its overwhelming significance for our lives. As you lead me by Your

need roughly 20-30 minutes to do the reading and

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Holy Spirit, let my walk with You be renewed from the depth of my heart, to the deep places of my soul, around the rigour of my mind, and through the exertion and energy of all my strength; so that I cannot contain this deepening, joyful and delightful love for You and it overflows in serving and giving into the lives of my neighbour (all other people!) with great gladness and pleasure.

Lord Jesus, may your commandment come to be not a burden to be carried, or a law to be obeyed, but a life to be lived out. A full life, lived not begrudgingly but generously. Not timidly, but boldly. A life lived, not alone, but lived with You and with Your people. A life lived, not for me, but for You.

A life lived, not half-heartedly, but with all my love.

Now that really is a personal spiritual renewal!

Matt Hunt

Lead Pastor
CrossLife – a baptist church Gold Coast, Australia

https://www.facebook.com/CrossLifeChurch2012

Like wat you read?

give them a call or pop them an email info@crosslife.org.au or call on (07)55733644.

A nominal cost of $10 to cover costs of postage and Printing

Seven Ways To Destroy Your Marriage

 

Want to absolutely destroy your marriage? Here are seven ways that always work.

1. Refuse to communicate

Talk about the person and not to them because doing so will be awkward. This will ensure destruction, and the silent treatment is really an amazing weapon when it comes to refusing to communicate. (Don’t worry about the fact that five-year-olds do it… just own it!)

 2. Refuse to listen

Interrupting my spouse during conflict to immediately correct them and then trying my best to make a stronger point always helps tear a relationship to pieces.

3. Always assume the absolute worst about your spouse

As soon as I hear (or even think) something negative about my spouse, it is absolutely essential to carry that thought to its fullest illogical conclusion. Don’t ever ask for an explanation or clarification as more open communication will only lead to a stronger marriage.

4. Make sure the goal is to win the argument rather than actually settle the dispute. 

If you realize you are wrong about something, you must allow pride to dominate your thoughts. This will unleash a barrage of accusations that actually have nothing to do with what the original argument or discussion was about in the first place. Win at all costs, even if it means saying things that hurt and wound deeply.

5. You must view your spouse as your enemy, not your friend

 If you want a great marriage, you cannot see your spouse and you as being on the same team. You must view everything as some sort of game and make it a goal to compete with them and not actually complete them.

6. Focus as much as possible on their inadequacies and shortcomings

You’ve got to talk about how much they are “not meeting your needs” and how they need to “step up and do better” more often. By all means do not take a good look at yourself and what you could do to improve the marriage. Everything must be blamed on them and you’ve got to see yourself as flawless and perfect.

7. Do not have fun together Heck no!

You need your set of friends and your spouse needs their set. Don’t have mutual friends. Don’t have date nights. Don’t do anything fun as a family. Also, make sure that when you are out on a date as a couple you spend as much time on your phone as possible because communication with your spouse will do nothing except make your marriage stronger.

This post originally appeared on PerryNoble.com

Lamb Chops Or Fruit Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb Chop Or Fruit Salad

Antony Crowe

Genesis 4

(ESV)

Cain and Abel

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”  And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.  In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel an

d his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”  And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.  And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the

earth.”  Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.  Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”  Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should a

ttack him.  Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

 

As I read this passage several things jump out at me, however there is one point that I would like to focus on.

 

Lamb or Fruit Salad?

 

Why was Abel’s Lamb chop better than Cain’s Fruit Salad?

Both men gave offerings, both men gave what was appropriate to their vocation and gifts: Cain a sheep guy and Abel a farmer.  Yet why did God have no regard for Cain’s offering?

 

Perhaps a clue is in what c

omes next in the passage; Cain responds with ANGER which leads to MURDER of his own brother, then to top it off a lie to God’s face.  Cain’s offering of a FRUIT SALAD was not displeasing to God, it was his heart. Cain was meeting religious requirements not offering a true act of worship given in love.

 

So then I ask my self and perhaps you may like to as well, “What kind of heart am I bringing my gifts to God with?”  Is it a religious act,or a loving response to a father who loves and cares so much he sacrificed his own Son?

 

Lamb Or Fruit Salad?

 

Religious Acts Of Duty Or A Loving Response?

 

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