HOPE LEADS TO HOLINESS

HOPE LEADS TO HOLINESS

Have you ever been in a social setting where you have stuck out like a sore thumb? Perhaps you have felt like every eye in the room is on you for turning up under-dressed for the occasion. Some people enjoy the spotlight and crave attention. But for most of us most of the time, we’d rather not stand out but simply be normal like everyone else.

The call of Christianity is to standout. To be different. Not by wearing the wrong clothes to a function, but by displaying godly character traits. The sermon below considered what should motivate a Christian to pursue holy living.

DAVE MIERS SERMON ON 1 PETER 1:13-2:3 (right click to download etc)

Here is the outline:

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5 YOUNG CREW SHARE THEIR TESTIMONY // #MYJESUSSTORY #SOULIESYOUTH

MY JESUS' STORY

Sharing your testimony is a powerful way of communicating the good news of Jesus. The following are 4 ‘MY JESUS’ STORY’ videos we shot for our recent SOULIES SUMMERCAMP. You can read about why we call them MY JESUS’ STORY here. It’s always encouraging hearing different people share their story and then see lots of others connect with what they’ve shared.

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#SNIPPETY // AUSSIES BEST (OR WORST) AT GAMBLING + RUSSELL BRAND ON DRUG ADDICTION + PREACHING ADVICE + MORE!

#SNIPPETY

It’s been a while since the last #SNIPPETY post! But we’re back and I’m hoping to post some snippets of other online content at least once a week. But not making any promises!

Who gambles the most? (see the info graphic)

Australians gamble (and lose) more than anyone else on a per-person basis, according to H2 Gambling Capital (H2GC), a British consultancy. The biggest chunk of this is spent on video poker machines…

Jesus At The Bottom of The Ocean

This statue reminds me that Jesus came down into the pressurized abyss of our lives, that he moved towards the deepest, darkest, neediest places. I don’t know the unique make up of your story, sin, and mess, but whatever is down there know that Jesus’ passion is to deal with your abyss. He came to know you and love you in the deep dark sea of your struggle.

Russell Brand: my life without drugs

Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

Sermons over 30 minutes? Rookie preacher, you’d better have a good reason!

Either way, you don’t know as much as you think you know. Therefore to preach long sermons will tend to take your sermon into the land of the ‘hobby-horse’. When we’re drawing on a limited pool of knowledge (whether exegetical or practical), we tend to default into speaking about the things that we feel most familiar with and passionate about. Now that’s all fine and good for us, but it may have nothing to do with the text or with the people you’re preaching to! That’s called a ‘hobby-horse’.

A gay person and me

Let’s be friends so we can talk about this stuff.

Comments welcome…

BREAD & CIRCUSES // #ESCAPETOREALITY

BREAD & CIRCUSES

Movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality. The goal of this 4-part series is to consider how to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

Part 2 of #EscapeToReality

PANEM ET CIRCENSES

That’s Latin. I’m not pretending to know Latin, but I do know Wikipedia. And according to wiki Panem et circenses is a phrase that means ‘Bread and Circuses’.

It comes from Juvenal, a Roman satirist and poet writing around A.D. 100.

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses (Juvenal)

Juvenal is lamenting the decline of what Roman citizens found valuable. People were no longer concerned about politics and civil service and doing good things. The Empire was in decline as citizens would willingly forego their rights as citizens. All they cared about were bread and circuses.

The free wheat and the impressive entertainment distracted them from reality. They were happy enough, even though they were more or less were living as slaves!

THE HUNGER GAMES

What’s the name of the nation in Suzanne Collins’ best selling trilogy The Hunger Games? Panem. Yep, derived from Panem et circenses.

Hunger Games is all about Bread and Circuses.

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#HASHTAGRESOLUTIONS PART 3 // LIVING FOR JESUS

LIVING FOR JESUS

Jonathan Edwards had a list of 70 Resolutions. My attention span hasn’t ever allowed me to actually read them all, but from what I can tell they are rock solid. In 2014 I have a list of FOURTEEN HASHTAGS. My hope is that these #HashtagResolutions will give me some focus in different areas throughout 2014.

This is PART 3 of 4 summarising my #HashtagResolutions.

January 2014 is almost over so I figured it was time to finish this series. However, by this stage most of you have forgotten about your New Years Resolutions! If I had a 15th Hashtag Resolution, it would be #DontForgetYourResolutions. To achieve that goal, I have printed out my original 14 hashtags on an A4 sheet of people and placed it in the middle of my desk underneath the clear plastic desk cover thingy. It means I see them every day.

The next 3 hashtags are all about living for Jesus.

#KeepTrustingJesus

If you receive an SMS or email from me, you’d regularly see this as my way of signing off. It’s my way of reminding you of the good news of Jesus, but it’s also to remind me. In the history of Israel throughout the Old Testament, God’s people repeatedly forgot the God who had made them, loved them and rescued them. Unfortunately a failure to continue trusting in Jesus has continued to happen this side of the New Testament. I’ve written before of the danger of assuming the gospel in Christian culture and therefore the need to remain in Christ. I need to keep trusting in Jesus and what to keep that at the forefront of my resolutions. Perhaps you haven’t even trusted in Jesus before? Thanks for being willing to read this far! If you’re interested, here is a short message about the reason why we need to trust in Jesus.

#RiskForTheKingdom

You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit in life! I’m resolved to take risks for the kingdom in 2014 as a follower of Jesus and minister of the gospel. What might that look like? Only God knows. But as well as the big decisions of life, it’s also the little risks I want to take each day to live for Jesus, represent Jesus and make his name known. I don’t want to waste my life! I’ve resolved this before, I will resolve it again! One of the things that urges me to keep taking risks for the kingdom is seeing my persecuted brothers and sisters standing firm in the midst of hostility.

#LoveIsNotOptional

Trusting Jesus and living for Jesus should lead to loving like Jesus. I want to love my wife and children like Jesus loves them. I want to love my church family like Jesus loves them. And I want to love this world like Jesus loves the world. This includes those who are spiritually poor and also those who are physically poor. As I read passages such as 1 John 3:16-18 I am convinced that LOVE IS NOT OPTIONAL.

What ways are you resolving to live for Jesus in 2014?
Feel free to share any of your goals in the comments.

#SELFIES // #ESCAPETOREALITY

Selfies

Movies, entertainment, celebrity culture, video games, digital media and social networks are often used to escape from reality. The goal of this 4-part series is to consider how to escape to the reality that comes in knowing Jesus.

Part 1 of #EscapeToReality

#YOU + #SELFIE

In 2006 Time Magazine declared “You.” to be the ‘Person of the Year’. This annual award that normally belongs to World Leaders and other notable figures was given to YOU… “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”

It’s easy to think that I am at the centre of the universe when Time Magazine and a whole swag of advertising strategies tell me that I am.

Fast forward to 2013. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… SELFIE. A word that has its roots firmly planted in Australian slang; a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

This makes sense. 7 years of being told that “You” are at the centre of the universe + a rapidly increasing number of camera-enabled smart phones + universal access to social media platforms = #SELFIE

When your school photos are made available or a collection of photos from an event you attended are uploaded to Facebook, who is the first person you look for? Yep, me too.

How do you think about self in a #selfie world? How are we supposed to think about our identity? WHO ARE YOU?

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// CELEBRATION LUNCH WITH ALEX

// CELEBRATION LUNCH WITH ALEX

Alex Kwanten has been an intern at St Faiths Narrabeen during 2013. Today we reviewed, prayed, ate and celebrated a great year of personal growth.

Alex has served faithfully, diligently and effectively in our kids, youth, primary school, high school and music programs.

He has grown in his understanding of God's word and the good news of Christ Jesus.

We've enjoyed having Alex spend lots of time with our family and sharing life together.

Alex plays a mean guitar. I look forward to seeing him flourish as he begins a degree at the Australian Institute of Music.

Go well bro!

#KeepTrustingJesus

See more Instagram pics.

#HASHTAGRESOLUTIONS PART 2 // MORE GOOD STUFF

hashtag-resolutions-2

Jonathan Edwards had a list of 70 Resolutions. My attention span hasn’t ever allowed me to actually read them all, but from what I can tell they are rock solid. In 2014 I have a list of FOURTEEN HASHTAGS. My hope is that these #HashtagResolutions will give me some focus in different areas throughout 2014.

This is PART 2 of 4 summarising my #HashtagResolutions.

The next 4 hashtags on the list all express a desire for more good stuff.

#ChewMoreGum

This is a positive to replace a negative. The negative? Eating at random times (like Muesli at midnight). The positive? Not eating at random times. Does this mean I will skip meals and chew gum instead? No. Just that I won’t eat extra for the sake of eating. Instead I’ll eat Extra. This one is going well so far. However, I’ve run out of gum. So let’s see how we go later tonight!

#SurfMoreWaves

I turned my back on a professional bodyboarding career when I turned 30 and took up surfing instead. This is my ride. To be honest, I’m not very good at surfing. But my surfer swagger carrying the board to the beach is impressive. #SurfMoreWaves is about surfing more waves, but also a more healthy lifestyle. I work hard and need to be deliberate in taking time out each day for exercise. I’ve managed to do some exercise everyday so far this year. 8 days down. 357 to go.

#FinishMoreProjects

This is also related to the #NoMultiTasking hashtag. I’m an ideas man. That’s cool. But what is uncool is the number of projects I begin and leave unfinished. If it was a bad idea and took a little bit of time to realise, I guess it’s okay to abandon. But my goal this year is finish more of what I start. Stay tuned for progress!

#FlyMoreKites

This is our $10 Lightning McQueen kite flying in action. This particular kite has been on some amazing adventures. I accidentally let go of it on Narrabeen Beach a few weeks ago and it went over a tall block of units before landing on the roof of a shop. Luckily a (much younger, fitter and risk-taking) friend was at a nearby bus stop and climbed the roof to retrieve McQueen. #FlyMoreKites is less about the kite and more about being deliberate in spending time with my family.

Have you got good things you want more of in 2014?
Feel free to share any of your goals in the comments.