Tag Archives: God

Keeping The Phone Off The Hook With God

I was recently listening to a sermon by an American Pastor on the topic of prayer. 2 things struck me particularly.

First, prayer for the Christian should be a bit like leaving your phone off the hook.

The Apostle Paul encourages us to “pray continually”. I don’t think he means that you never do anything else, that you never talk to others, or never have silent reflection! I think he means that we have a constantly open channel of communication. I believe God wants us to face everything in life knowing that he is walking right beside us.

When something worries you, don’t just mutter to yourself… speak (under your breath if you have to) to your heavenly Father, who knows exactly what you’re facing, and exactly what you’re thinking about!

When you hear of someone’s challenges, bring it to God immediately; don’t wait until you have time to get on your knees!

Second, prayer enables us to carry to God the contemplations of our whole heart, not just the “proper and right” things. This includes our yearnings, frustrations, distresses, guilt, even our anger.

Do not think that God’s ears are too sensitive to hear what your really think! He knows it anyway, and if he wants you to tone it down he can prompt you. But truly, he wants you to pour out your heart to him.

So what are your deepest desires? The things that you long for in your quiet moments? Share them with him.

What are your deepest fears? The things that you would count as the worst outcomes imaginable? Share them with him.

I guess the punch line is: prayer is the place we do business with God. No prayer, no relationship. Stilted prayer, stilted relationship. Open and honest prayer, deepening reality of relationship.

Of course in his sovereignty and through his word he prompts us, encourages us and leads us. And yet so much of what he is seeking from us is a heartfelt, humble response to him. And this is why he wants us to pray. Continually and comprehensively.

Why don’t you try leaving the phone off the hook with God this week? And let him listen to what you really think!

The Curious Connection Between Blessing And Struggle

Welcome to St Augustine’s! It is terrific to be able to get together under the word of God each week. My prayer is that God will give us each strength and wisdom, as well as challenge us gently, conforming us to the likeness of his Son Jesus.

What will 2018 bring for you and your family? Are you praying for God’s blessing?

Each year brings its share of ups and downs, and as John Warner taught 2 weeks ago from Ecclesiastes 3, this is because of the sovereignty of God over all our “times”, our comings and goings. And so as we face 2018, are we asking him to help us?

We use the term “bless” or “blessing” quite a bit in the church, and it is a wonderful term that describes the goodness God shares with his creation in the circumstances of life. I’m prompted yet again to ask God to bless us this year.

However, blessing does not mean easy. I was reminded this week that when God is busy at work in his church, it usually involves pruning. When we apply ourselves to the plants in our gardens, both the hose and the secateurs are required! And so perhaps there are pains we must experience if we are to allow God to be at work in us…

Perhaps there will be personal struggles, health struggles, relational struggles, belief struggles or integrity struggles. Far from being indicators of the absence of God from our lives, they will remind us that for God to work good out of the complex circumstances of our lives, sometimes he needs to get our attention.

The humdrum of day-to-day survival tends to blinker us, even blind us. But pain and struggle actually drive us to our knees in humble prayer. They challenge us to let go of things in our lives that we hold to more dearly than we hold to God. And they challenge us to believe in the infinite power and goodness of the One who created us and has redeemed us, including us in his Kingdom.

So once again I say let’s pray. Let’s ask God for his blessing, knowing that this will probably mean we need to pray our way through the circumstance of the year ahead. We will have things we need to repent of… Lord, show us! We will have things we need to rethink… Lord, show us! Let’s invite God to oversee the agendas, plans and aspirations of our lives in 2018!

The Trinity: Why Stick With A Bewildering Doctrine?

Welcome to this morning’s service at St Augustine’s. We are delighted to have you with us.

Today is Trinity Sunday. The Trinity is definitely one of the more tricky Christian doctrines, and so this is one of the more complex pew sheets for the year!

  • Not three Gods, but one God: Father, Son and Spirit.
  • Not one God who changes from Father to Son to Spirit depending on what he’s doing. Rather, God who is Father in relationship with Son in relationship with Spirit in relationship with Father.
  • Not one God with three different heads that pop up at different times. Instead, the Triune God.

Is this supposed to make sense? And how do we make Christian belief simple and easy to communicate to a desperately needy world if we insist on doctrine that seems to contradict itself?

Interestingly, the Trinity is not explored or even mentioned in the Bible. What we do find though are these sorts of things:

  • From today’s OT reading, Deut 6:4, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (“oneness’ is a key concept).
  • Psalm 24:10… who would the King of Glory be, entering Jerusalem to defeat God’s enemies? Yahweh Almighty himself! (yet it is Jesus who comes).
  • Jesus is described as God in numerous ways (e.g. “The word became flesh”, “The exact representation of God’s being”, “The Lord of Life”, “The [visible] image of the invisible God”.
  • Jesus refers to God as The Father, and himself as The Son, and talks about himself as having come from the Father’s side (John 17:5). And he promises to send the Spirit once the Son has gone… so in some way God is relational, even though there is only one God.

Yes this is complex. But why do we want God to be simple? What makes me want to explain everything about him, or draw a diagram to depict him?

God wants us to seek him. And he has made himself seekable in the pages of Scripture. But the Bible’s picture of God describes a glorious, unapproachable, incomprehensible, eternal being, who is the source of all life and wisdom. Put simply, I am merely a created being, and my wisdom is therefore limited. The doctrine of the Trinity is the best attempt by theologians to explain how God describes himself in the Bible. And in fact all the doctrine can do is show us what we can and cannot say about God.

So rather than leading us to speculation or cynicism, may the doctrine of the Trinity lead us to humility and worship!