Archives For Culture

Community to Destiny

Ben —  February 22, 2017 — Leave a comment

At times we may find ourselves living individually, relying on our own efforts and seeking the coveted self-made status. But God’s word has a different message on our destiny and purpose on this earth. His word reminds us that we can only become all that He has created us to become, in the context of engraving our life in a biblical community of people called the local Church.

We see this powerful message during the establishment of the local Church [Acts 9:17], where Jesus humbles Paul and makes him reliant on the community around him. It is only then that Paul’s destiny begins to come into fruition. There is lasting change and real transformation in Paul’s life, and he emerges a new man whose destiny and potential are released because of the community around him.

From scripture we learn that the Christian walk is a collaboration, where community is the custodian of our destiny. We as followers of Christ are meant to be in fellowship with one another, sharing life together intimately and not on the superficial level.

As you meditate on God’s word this week, I’d like to share some truths regarding the importance of community. May these reminders encourage you to take the next step into intimately sharing your life with your local church.

  • Jesus ministered in community
  • Your potential is found in community
  • Community is the context for destiny
  • Destiny is a shared commodity; you never have full ownership over it, you are a part owner
  • Your potential is a collaboration
  • Fruit grows in family

Honour in the House

Ben —  November 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

 

Ever noticed how many of us Australians seem more likely to treat our leaders with disrespect and even contempt rather than respect and honour? It’s something to do with our heritage and our tendency to try to bring everyone down onto the same level as ourselves.

But if we’re not careful, this attitude can actually erode many areas of our lives. Sure, we’ve all seen plenty of examples of poor behaviour by leaders, but that shouldn’t stop us giving honour to good leaders. Good leadership deserves to receive honour, especially in the household of faith.

Gal 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

In both the Old and the New Testaments we are given clear patterns of church structure to follow. In the New Testament, the church is often likened to a family. A true family is not just made up of brothers and sisters (children) – it has a Father and Mother who look after the children and manage the household together. So it is in the church – leaders are appointed to help care for and manage the flock.One of the best ways we can help leaders do their job is to cooperate with them and to help build unity amongst the church members.

In the New Testament we are described as brothers and sisters, but it also speaks of Pastors (shepherds), overseers, elders, leaders, deacons and ‘Fathers and Mothers in the faith’. These are all people with a certain level of spiritual maturity whose faith and behaviour have stood the test of time, and who have earned positions of responsibility and authority.

1 Thess 5:12 Dear brothers and sisters, honour those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.

We need to appreciate and honour those in ministry – they work hard to look after us! We expect so much from them. Most are volunteers (i.e. unpaid); and some have made major lifestyle and financial sacrifices to serve in the church. They give their time and energy to make sure the household continues to run well, and to help it move ahead into the future; to care for people, pray for them and their many needs. They may have even put some of their own views or preferences aside in order to flow with the church leadership and help build unity amongst the church family.

Do you honour those in leadership over you? Do you pray for them and their families? Do you look for things you might be able to help them in order to make their job a little easier, or to help free them up so they have more time to do the most important things they should really be doing?

Honour is sadly lacking in today’s society, yet it brings rewards. The only time Jesus was restricted in His ability to perform miracles was in His own hometown, where he had been well known since childhood and people found it hard to honour Him as the Messiah. Does the lack of a sense of honour contribute to the fact that we don’t see too many major miracles in this country?

It’s often those who are in leadership over us who speak into our lives in ways that can bring great benefits and even major life transformations. Let’s build a strong culture of ‘Honour where honour is due’ at Lifeplace.

Household of Faith

Ben —  October 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

 

Knowledge and revelation are only valuable when we actually do something with them – when we put them into action. We are not meant to blend in, compromise our theology, or back off from what God is calling us to do. We need to remind ourselves that we exist primarily for Jesus and His mission – not for ourselves or the world. For the church to reach the coming generations we all have a unique part to play, but it may mean we need to surrender some of our own likes and dislikes regarding how our church should be run. Remember that God has put you in this church for a purpose.

1 Cor 12:18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

In Acts chapter two we see the birth of the New Testament church – a pattern for us to follow.

Acts 2:46,7 (NLT)  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity –  47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

The church in Acts chapter 2 was:

Spirit-filled. As they were all worshiping in one accord together, God’s Spirit suddenly came upon them. They understood that their first call was to prayer, worship and consecration.

A church that valued the Word. They realised the scriptures are not simply a collection of wise sayings or a book of tips and suggestions on how to make life better. We need to understand that they are the final authority on everything. They don’t just contain truth – they are fundamental truth. It’s our responsibility to live out the Word daily.

Christ-centered. We must never forget that only through Jesus do we have the answers the world needs. Only He can set us free from the problem of sin and death. Only through His death on the cross can we receive eternal life. We need to constantly remind ourselves of what His death and resurrection mean for us.

United. They understood that in the midst of great diversity, their greatest need was to be working together in strong bonds of unity – in one accord. We too come from many different backgrounds, but the more we can get along and work together, the more freely and powerfully God’s spirit will be able to move in our church.

Relational. They spent time together – not just on the Sabbath, but also during the week in each other’s homes. They got involved with one another’s lives, helping each other out and even sharing around their goods and possessions.

A worshipping church. They knew the power of coming together to give God their thanks, praise and worship.

Generous. They were willing to help meet the financial and material needs of the church and its members. There was a strong sense of community.

A functioning church. They were prepared to get involved with the practical work of helping out wherever there was a need.

An evangelistic church. They spread the word and brought people along.

Just like the early church, we can’t do the job on our own. We need the Holy Spirit to be moving and working amongst us. Only He can save a person’s soul. We need to develop a culture where we all value praying and seeking Him.

Starbucks and church

Ben —  March 23, 2009 — Leave a comment

I lived in Portland for 3 years. It is in the Pacific Northwest… aka Starbucks land! Starbucks started just 3 hours away in Seattle. Pike Place in Seattle is actually where the very first Starbucks store opened. There are over 200 Starbucks in Portland alone! Crazy.

I guess because it can be so cold and rainy, people like to sit indoors drinking coffee. I love all my Portland friends who are reading this, but I love the Australian sun!

Anyhow, I came across this little video on YouTube. As well as being funny, I thought it was very insightful to how we can make visitors feel sometimes at church!


When I think about launching a new church in Brisbane, this video speaks to one of my passions: doing church in a way that connects to the culture and people of the city. What do you think? How can we do church in a way that reaches the unchurched?

In Australian culture, we so often like to pull people down. Sometimes it is called Tall Poppy Syndrome, other times it may just be our sense of humour. Either way, we would do much better by the people around us to build people up, not cut people down.

Sure, it’s easy to find fault in others. It may also seem funny to point out those faults. But a true friend finds the good in those around them.

Here’s a good thought: Bring out the best in people.

“A true friend prods you to personal growth, stretches you to your full potential. And more amazing of all, he celebrates your successes as if they were his own.” Richard Exley

The 2nd great commandment was to love one another. More important than any other spiritual practice, than career, gifting, or anything else was to love one another.

Romans 14:19 puts it this way, “Therfore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” When you consider that the word edify means to build up it captures the heart of good friendships.

Look for ways to help friends achieve in life – don’t pull people down. Remember: a best friend is one who brings out the best in you.

In life, understanding friendships is very important. Here are a few interesting statistics that show why:

Having friends helps you live longer.
In one study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.  Source: anapsid.org

Friendship is good medicine.
Dr. Dean Ornish, a pioneer in reversing heart disease, notes that no other factor in medicine – ”not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery – has a greater effect on how often we get sick than the healing power of love.”  Source: capecodonline.com

Friends are good for your heart and soul.
People with a strong social network are more likely to survive a major illness such as a heart attack or cancer. Human companionship can also help reduce the effects of stress on the body, protect against illness, and help us heal when we do get sick. They’re also less susceptible to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis. Source: capecodonline.com

Smoking, obesity and loneliness
The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight.  Source: anapsid.org

The Carnegie Technological Institute
The Carnegie Technological Institute has stated that 90% of all people who fail in their life’s vocation fail because they cannot get along with people.

Check out our new series on friendship at www.lifeplace.com.au

Friendship at Lifeplace

Friendship at Lifeplace

Young Australians say image is number 1

Ben —  December 10, 2008 — 1 Comment

A recent survey by Mission Australia surveyed 45,000 young people. It found the number one concern for people up to 24 years of age is body image. More than their future, health, finances, or friends, their own image was their biggest dilemma.

Many people think that this is simply because of media, TV, magazines, and the influence it has on people today. However, the true cause of insecurity goes way back to Adam and Eve.

In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced an image problem. They tried to hide themselves with fig leaves. The reason for this is simple. Our image is tied to our identity.

Ever since then, people have been trying to replace their true identity (who I am) with surface image (how I look). But fig leaves didn’t help then, and they don’t help now.

The true solution for people today is not just more positive thinking or body improvements, though this may help. The answer is people need to discover their God given identity.

What’s your identity in? As you go about your day today, remember it is God that holds your true identity! At least in my case, I am glad it is that and not my looks :)

Brisbane is a city filled with young people. 98% of them don’t have a church. Can’t wait to be a part of something new that causes that percentage to change.