Where you look, is where you will go.

Sunday Service

  • 25 September 2016
  • Jeremy Suisted
  • Where you look, is where you go.  (True in driving; true in life)

The Terminator

  • Pastor Arnie Hall, the 2nd most famous “Arnie”
  • Who are you fixing your eyes on?
  • If you only fix your eyes on yourself, you won’t be able to do life well.

Where is God looking?

  • Genesis 1:4 – God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
  • Genesis 1:31 – God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
  • Proverbs 15:3 – The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
  • Proverbs 5:21 – For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord…

God’s eyes are fixed on us!

  • Michelangelo’s picture shows God straining his attention on us, but Adam is only lazily looking towards God.

Where are we looking?

  • Genesis 2:16-17 – And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; buy you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat form it you will certainly die.”
  • Genesis 3:6 – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
  • Judges 4:1-2 – Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Tim nah; now get her for me as my wife.”
  • The only time Samson prayed to God was after he lost his eyes. He finally looked up, when he could no longer look at himself.

Our eyes don’t stick

  • Numbers 20:10 – He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”
  • Moses was so angry, he took his eyes off the provision of God, and turned it into a power demonstration (hit the rock, instead of speaking to it). This damaged the lesson God was trying to make at the time.

Our example

  • Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
  • Jesus saw the opportunity for the long-term lesson, not the quick fix.
  • John 5:19 – Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

We need to be cross-eyed!

  • Turn your eyes upon Jesus (on the cross). Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his wonder and grace.

How?

  • Talk to God;
  • Look in the mirror – read the Bible;
  • Ask as families – “How were you cross-eyed today?”
  • Confess;
  • Pray continually.

Isaiah 6:3 – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of this glory.”

 

Bi-Weekly Review, 25-Sep-16

Weekly Review

I didn’t write this review last week, because I was busy.  Here is what I was doing.

Attended the Spark One UnConference at Snell’s Beach.  This is a voluntary, free conference without an agenda.  It is sponsored by Spark, by invitation only, with about 70% Spark attendees and 30% “interested partners”.  These are great feedback and networking opportunities.  The agenda is set on the first night by the participants.

I was invited by an atheist to enter into a dialogue about “The relevance of religion in the world today.”  This was a fantastic invitation, too good to pass up.  I let him start and set the terms of engagement.  It was, in his words, “a chance to find hear from the other side, with respect.”

I started by giving two competing definitions of the word “religion”:

  1. Dogmatic adherence to a set of man-made rules in a vain-glorious attempt to earn enough Brownie points to gain a place in a mythical heaven.
  2. A living, vital relationship with my Higher Power, who loves me and wants the best for me.

Obviously, I was attempting to bridge a gap by agreeing with the atheist that the first definition is bad and wrong.  So did Jesus, when he confronted the Pharisees.  Unfortunately, I chose to give two current examples of the first definition:

  1. ISIS
  2. Climate Change

I got a bite on the second example.  This was going to be fun!

Straight away, after my introduction, in which I explained that I had converted to Christianity as an adult, the first question from the audience was, “why did I change?”  Well, thank you for asking me to give my testimony.  So I did.  My 5 minute summary of the paucity of evidence for apes-to-man transition and the amount of faith it requires to believe in it.

The second question from the audience was “How do you know you aren’t (a) god?”  In which I gave my incredulous response, “because I can’t create a new primary colour.”  A minor exchange with huge implications.  We aren’t evolving towards god-head.  I haven’t merely forgotten my exalted place in the universe.  God is God and I am not, and I need Him; He doesn’t need me.

The third question from the audience (which were starting to get predictable) was, “how can you chose to follow such a sadistic god which allows such suffering?”  A variation on “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  My answer was that the reason the child is dying of starvation has nothing to do with the provision of food.  The planet is perfectly capable (and does) provide plenty of food.  The problem is distribution, which is controlled by corrupt Mankind.  We are the reason why the child is dying, not God.

The atheist (and others) tried to bring the conversation back “on track” to what is the relevance?  My response was the second definition (of religion) puts me in place with the rest of creation.  It calls me up to a higher point of view.  It means I’m not the centre of the universe.  It calls me to treat others with the respect they deserve as fellow creature created in the image of God.  Specifically, while I concede that other religions may have variations of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” only Christianity has the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies.”  The reason why reasoned debate is permissible in Western Civilisation is because of the huge debt our culture has to our Christian Heritage.  Hospitals, Universities, Freedom of Religion, the scientific method, are peculiarly allowed within a Christian worldview, because our God is a God of order, not chaos.  If evolution is true:

  1. We are all just rearranged bags of pond scum, with no moral centre;
  2. Rape cannot be morally defined as always wrong;
  3. Why should we expect a random universe to exhibit rational rules?

All in one hour.  Choice.

 

Weekly Review, 11-Sep-16

Weekly Review

  1. I just gave a 4 minute speech at Manukau City Baptist Church, “Why I am going to Africa.” Well received.  I may post up the PowerPoint later.
  2. Practiced my speech at Toastmasters first, yesterday afternoon. Got good feedback from Kingsley that a) my jokes weren’t funny and b) my story was geographically dispersed and needed to not make the audience do mental jumps.  Improved my speech.
  3. I was Contest Chair for the Area H6 Humorous Speech contest yesterday morning. They give you a script to use, so it wasn’t rocket science, but I needed to improve on getting the relevant forms out to contestants.  Nearly came a cropper because of it.  Tina Brockway really saved my butt, by volunteering to dash home and photocopy forms for me, despite being really crook.  What a trooper.
  4. Finally managed to get my Azure DEV VM to:
    1. Read from my Azure SQL VM;
    2. Publish to my Azure Web App Service; and
    3. Check-in code to my VSTS repository. Have now got a functional end-to-end development environment.  All for the cost of my (free) weekly subscription benefit (NZ$230 per month).
  5. Speaking of which, sorted out my team’s MSDN licensing on Friday. Now, all Developers have MSDN Enterprise, and all Testers have MSDN Professional, so that we call all share the same Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) code base.
  6. Cycled out to Ghana Consulate in Glenfield on Friday afternoon to get a visa for my passport.
  7. Leading Man-to-Man course on Thursday night, covering Conflict Resolution. Another great sharing session.  This is not something we would normally do in our daily lives, but is so precious and useful.  The guys are very encouraging about the value they are receiving from this course.
  8. Had a belated Father’s Day dinner at home on Wednesday night. Fiona, Tane, Jess, Hamish & Aimée were all in attendance.  It was a delicious roast meal, but I most enjoyed the belly laughs.  It was the best Father’s Day ever.
  9. Cycled out to Auckland Travel Clinic on Tuesday to get vaccination shots for Yellow Fever and Hep A. Also bought anti-Malarial tablets.  Not cheap to go private.

 

Great 8, Part 2: Elijah

Sunday Service

  • 11 September 2016
  • Pastor Al Hall
  • Real People, Real Life Series
  • Great 8, Part 2: Elijah
  • 1 Kings 18

Things I hadn’t noticed before

  • Ahab accepted Elijah’s challenge to test Baal vs Jehovah, because it sounded interesting. (This may be a paraphrase, but it is interesting to speculate why Ahab would have accepted this challenge.)
  • Elijah gave the prophets 9 hours to try.

Character Traits of Elijah

  • Confrontational
  • Brave
  • Bold
  • Obedient
  • On to it!
  • Great faith

Legend of Faith

  • Raised a boy from the dead
  • Announced a drought
  • Miraculous food provision
  • Proposed a “test”
  • Announced rain
  • Pronounced Ahab’s doom
  • Changed a nation
  • Carried up into heaven

James 5:17-18

  • Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!
  • Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

A man with a nature like ours

  • God provided for Elijah
  • God met with Elijah
  • God ministered to Elijah
  • God gave Elijah a task
  • God gave Elijah a companion (Elisha)
  • God gave Elijah perspective

What we learn

  • We are never alone
  • God meets us when we are weak
  • God meets our human limitations
  • We need God’s perspective
  • We need Godly companions
  • God overcomes our insecurities!

 

Weekly Review

  1. My son has finally returned home. Very happy to see him.  His engagement was announced at church this morning.  Very proud of him. Jess is looking radiant.  Very happy for the both of them.
  2. Blokes’ church at Manukau City Baptist Church. Took my Hyosung GT650 (cherry red) to park in the foyer, along with a Rolls Royce, rally car, Oldsmobile & other interesting vehicles.  Re-performed our “Eye of the Lion” song and dance on stage with Gary Clark, Clark Hyland, James Corbett and Gary Jamieson.  That was fun, although we forgot the third verse.  Also, wearing the moustache was a mistake.  My health is not the best at the moment.  I am coughing quite a bit.  So the singing was patchy.  But it was still exciting to perform.  Apparently the sound was better this time.
  3. Claire Barber (Chief Digital Officer) presented her Platforms Roadshow. This is the launch of our new Business Unit, Spark Platforms.  Quite exciting.  We’ve achieved a lot recently.  Morgan Freeman’s voice (if not the man himself) presented a top 15 achievements video.  Claire spoke of our new focus.  A thoroughly invigorating hour and a half of my time.  This is not sarcasm.  I really am a Company Man.  Loyal to the Brand, because the Brand has been good to me and my family.
  4. Successful deployment of Service Pack 23 to the My Spark Digital platform, delivering Voice capability to our Product Provisioning Tracker (in advance of the actual ability from Salesforce). A sterling effort from my team, as always.  Sent a congratulatory email to the team.
  5. Men’s group on Thursday night, dealing with the subject of Anger. Using it appropriately.  Recognizing its power and how it’s perceived as threatening.  Some interesting chatter during discussion time about what “pushes our buttons”.  Some politics were discussed.  Have to agree to disagree on some aspects.  For example, I often hear the complaint that in NZ, under National, the “rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer.”  I challenge that assertion.  Because it is impossible for somebody who is already on zero, to go backwards, especially in our cradle-to-the-grave social welfare society.  So that statement is really about jealousy of the rich.

Bloke’s Church

Sunday Service

  • 4 September 2016
  • Pastor Al Hall
  • Father’s Day = Blokes Church

Lessons from Samson’s life

  • Repeated mistakes in his life
  • Slippery slope he started down, and didn’t turn from
  • But God could still use him

Temptations for Samson (and us guys)

  1. Pride
  2. Love and pleasure
  3. Thoughtlessness

Samson didn’t have strong friends to tell him when to stick his head in.  He was the bloke who screwed around, screwed up, had a failed marriage, and returned home to Mum and Dad, ending up in a cave.

We can’t afford to isolate ourselves.  We need to invite God into it and invite others, then get on with being who we would prefer to be.

 

Mission: Possible

Sunday Service

  • 28 August 2016
  • Suz Holmes
  • Discipleship part 2

The original “Mission: Possible”

  • Ephesians 1:9-10
    • He made known to us the mystery of this will according to this good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ
    • To be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heave and on earth under Christ
  • Ephesians 3:1-6
    • For this reason, I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles –
    • Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you,
    • That is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.
    • In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
    • Which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirt to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
    • This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
  • Romans 3:22-25
    • This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
    • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
    • God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrated his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished
  • Luke 9:1-6
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Luke 24:49
  • Acts 1:8
  • Acts 4:29-31

Thank you to creative people in our church:

  • Sara Barrett
  • Vinesh Kumaran
  • Linda Palmer
  • Abby Spence
  • Maycee Hooks
  • Mark Dawson

Discipleship stand:

  1. Baptism
  2. Connection
  3. Fruit of the Spirit
  4. How God sees me
  5. Serving
  6. Telling others
  7. Bible
  8. Forgiveness
  9. Holy Sprit
  10. Prayer
  11. Spiritual Gifts
  12. The defeated deceiver

 


This week:

  • A nice, quiet week, as I had nothing to rehearse for all week.
  • The big news was my son, Tane Ratapu Hippolite’s public announcement of his engagement to Jess McBain. A lovely girl, and I couldn’t be happier. He actually proposed last week. She had said yes, and he had communicated this to us (his parents), but I had to wait for him to make it public before I could communicate it here.
  • I damaged my right eye. I was weed-eating when a stone flicked up. Note to self: must use goggles from now on. It made for some uncomfortable conversations, because people were put off by my red eye, so I took to wearing my sunglasses this week.
  • Ann Cowan visited. She was up with her daughter Abby, checking out AUT. Fiona met them at the airport, took them into town, and stayed overnight at a Marram house.
  • My sister Joy visited. I met her at the airport, brought her home, then took her out to Toastmasters. She did very well at the Table Topics impromptu 1 minute speech. She stayed the night, then will fly out tonight to her big overseas holiday.
  • Driving lessons with Hamish continuing.
  • Men’s group on the subject of “Emotions.” An excellent introduction to the topic. I can’t say any of us broke down in tears, but we are learning a new vocabulary in order to be able to better process and communicate our feelings. From there, it follows that we will make better decisions about right actions to take.

 

Setting the record straight.