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Holiness drives us out to Mission

Has anyone here ever sculpted anything? Started off with a block of something and made it into something else? You may have heard of the quote falsely attributed to Michelangelo, who apparently said about his statue of David, that he started with a block of marble, and just chipped away anything that didn’t look like David. It’s that simple! You just chip away anything that doesn’t look the way that you wanted it to look.
You may remember a while ago, Liesl got me to bring in something that I had made – Picture of wooden sculpture - a Salvation Army Shield carved from Huon Pine on a disc of Huon Pine. Made by Ben ClaptonHere’s the finished product. This part here, it was once a square piece of huon pine. Then I decided what I wanted to make, and I just removed anything that didn’t look like what I wanted. With that in mind, I want you to watch this video. Continue reading Holiness drives us out to Mission

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The Gift of Grace

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, The Gift of Grace, was given at The Salvation Army Devonport on Sunday 21 September, 2014. The Reading was Matthew 20:1-16

Have you ever received a gift, but it wasn’t what you were expecting? I’d like to tell you about a guy who was going to college in America. His father had told him that on his graduation, he would get the same present as his brothers – a new car. Now, this wasn’t just any car, but it was the top of the range, Porsche 911

A 2014 Porsche 911 GT3
A 2014 Porsche 911 GT3

, with all the trimmings. It was this that kept him going through college. He pushed through every class, he studied hard every night and passed his exams, and eventually came to graduation. He got up on stage, got his paper, and after the ceremony, his dad came over to him and handed him a present. He opened up the present, hoping to see the keys to his new car, but instead, what he found was a bible.

He was furious. He said to his dad, “I’ve spent four years working as hard as I can, to get the grades to let me pass, and all you give me at the end of it is this stupid book!” He marched off home, and threw the book in the corner of his room, never even opening it. He never talked to his father again.

Years later, one of his brothers called him to tell him that his father had died. He’d moved many times since, but he still had that bible. He opened it up, and found a letter, tucked inside. The letter said, “I am, and always will be, proud of you, my son. Your car is waiting for you at the dealership, all you need to do is pick it up.” Continue reading The Gift of Grace

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As we forgive those who sin against us

This topic suggestion, Why is it so hard to forgive?, is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

Father, forgive us, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend, But I forgive you (Image from Flickr by bija1agape. Quote from Naj on Flickr)

A line that so many Christians will know so well, coming from the Lord’s Prayer. As with many aspects of Christianity, it can often be much harder to live this out than it is to say. As such, we often hold onto sin long after it has occurred.

For example, I held onto a sin against me for many years. After being bullied in year 11 and 12, I refused to go near the school for a couple of years. While the school itself had done nothing wrong – in fact it did everything it could to help me through the period – I held onto that sin, I held it against the school. Continue reading As we forgive those who sin against us

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What war is worth fighting?

This topic suggestion, What war is worth fighting?, is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

It may surprise you to know that I’m a bit of a pacifist. No-where near as strong a pacifist as my mum, but a pacifist none the less. I have participated in an Anti-war riot in Perth, against the War in Iraq, back in 2003. It seems so long ago now. I truly believe that there is no reason why we should be involved in any militaristic, war-like involvement in any country. I may be a bit idealistic in that belief, thinking that countries could truly benefit by exploring the issues through diplomacy.

However, there is one war worth fighting. A song that we sometimes sing in the salvos sums it up – I’ll stand for Christ

For we go not to fight ‘gainst the sinner, but sin,
the lost and the outcast to love;
And to offer the grace that transforms from within,
As we urge them His mercy to prove.

The war against sin, the war to save souls. As much as my mum hates the language (and I can understand this), it sums up so brilliantly the war that I believe is worth fighting.

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The servant who wouldn’t forgive

On Sunday, my officer preached on a passage from Matthew. It was the passage where Peter asks how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. While the sermon was on forgiveness, there was one insight that really got me thinking in a way I hadn’t thought about it before.
When the master, having already forgiven the servant around 150,000 years wages of debt, found out about the servant not forgiving another servant three months wages, he was furious and threw the man in jail until he could pay back his debt. Jesus says that this is how people who don’t forgive will be treated by God.
It was just a passing reference, but the way my officer explained this made a light click on in my brain. When we have been forgiven and we don’t then forgive we are like the servant. in the same way, if we are a Christian, but decide not to give up our old ways, we are just like the servant who did not forgive.
It’s tempting to live a life of sin, knowing that Jesus will forgive, but this passage seems to say that if you know about salvation but do nothing about it, you are just as bad as someone who never knew. Often is is 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that is used to say that we should keep our lives blameless until Christ returns. However, that seems to be based upon a misinterpretation. Instead, I believe it should be this passage – which some may say holds more weight due to coming from the words of Jesus – should be our encouragement to live loving and blameless lives.

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