Category Archives: Bible Study

What my new bride had to put up with

Series:              Advanced Communication
Manual:           Humorously Speaking
Project:            5 – The Humorous Speech
Title:                What my new bride had to put up with

Fellow toastmasters.  I was not always the smooth, suave sophisticate you see before you now (in jandels, shorts and t-shirt).  There were many rough edges my new bride had to polish over.  Here are some of the things my new bride had to put up with.

Appropriately enough, the first topic revolves around food (pat a rather large belly).

I ate fast.  I had learned to while growing up.  The best times were sharing fish ‘n chips with mates.  But when you’ve got guy mates and fish ‘n chips, you learn how to eat quickly in order to get your fair share.  In fact, we invented a way to blow on our hot chips and eat them at the same time.  Here’s how: (demo, loudly sucking in hot chips).

When it came to food habits, instantly there was a clash of expectations.  I expected to eat fast in order to get more.  She expected to eat slow and enjoy the meal.  And, she would leave the best parts until last.  This caused some small amount of difficulty.  I would finish my plate, then assume she was leaving behind the part she didn’t want.  Boy, was I wrong!  Don’t try and steal the food off the plate of your bride.  Not good.  (Mime being stabbed in the hand by a fork.)

I learned that my bride was a great cook, but initially I didn’t realise this.  She would serve up amazing meals, only to have me, if not exactly reject them, then at least merely accept them without comment.  This caused her some concern.  So, we sat down together, and listed the foods that I didn’t like.  It turned out, there were 3 pages of A4, double-sided, that I didn’t like!  Then, she systematically went through the list and prepared meals in new and imaginative ways.  It was then that I discovered something about myself: it wasn’t that I didn’t like those foods; it was that I didn’t like the way my mother used to boil everything to death!

Another thing my bride had to put up with, was a tendency towards uneducated over-enthusiasm.  Let me give you an example.  At our church one week, we had a visiting preacher teach us on Spiritual Warfare prayer.  This is where you pray against the works of the devil.  The preacher encouraged us to be vigorous in our exhortations.  So, being part Maori, I thought it would be cool to mix prayer with a haka.  However, there’s one particular manoeuvre which I hadn’t quite mastered.  This is where you pretend to punch the ground.  (Demo)  Except, I accidently connected.  And broke the knuckle of my little finger.

This made for an interesting explanation at the A&E.  “This looks like a typical break as a result of a punch.  Were you fighting?” – “No, I was praying.”

“Oh.  Remind me not to visit your church.”

The last thing my bride had to put up with was a flair for the dramatic.  An example of this was when we were both interns at our church.  At one point, it was left up to us five interns to prepare and present an entire service.  Things were going swimmingly, until we got to the offering time.  We had decided to dress up as the cast from the Blues Brothers, play the Peter Gunn theme, and with toy guns “demand” the tithe.  After all, “we were on a mission from God.”  Apparently, this was the worse offering that church had ever received.  We were never asked to do that again.  In fact, I’ve just realised, this may be the reason we were never allowed back on stage again.

So, women are from Venus, men are from Mars and vive la difference!

 

What do I have?

Sunday Service

  • 23 April 2017
  • Suzie Holmes
  • What do I have?
  • Spiritual Gifts
Romans 12 1 Corinthians 12 Ephesians 4
Exhortation

Giving

Leadership

Mercy

Prophecy

Service

Teaching

Administration

Apostle

Discernment

Faith

Giving

Healings

Helps

Knowledge

Miracles

Prophecy

Tongues

Tongues Interpretation

Wisdom

Apostle

Evangelism

Pastor

Teacher

Prophet

 

 

Other gifts

  • Martyrdom
  • Celibacy
  • Poverty
Romans 12:6 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Ephesians 4:7 & 16
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

 

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

 

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

Serve with our gifts

  • Don’t be lazy
  • Step out in them
  • Accept the gift and invest in it

Don’t compare

  • Don’t be envious of others gifting
  • Don’t be prideful of your gift
  • Honour each other

Love is the greatest gift

  • Let it be your highest goal
  • Really love people
  • Choose to walk and act in love

Conclusion

  1. God has given each of us gifts
  2. Serve with our gifts
  3. Don’t compare gifts
  4. Love is the greatest gift. Make this your highest goal

Image is of James at a 12 hour prayer meeting this week.

Ref: https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.holmes.904/posts/10211036711025994

 

Unforgiveness

Sunday Service

  • 9 April 17
  • Pastor Al Hall
  • Forgiveness (Easter)

As followers of Christ, we may think we already know about forgiveness, but we need to be experts at it.  We need to practice it, read about it and get better at it.

But what is Unforgiveness?

Luke 23:13-40

  • Pilate was too scared of the crowd to do the right thing and release an innocent man. Instead of demonstrating forgiveness, he released a murderer.
  • The crowd, were unforgiving of a Man who didn’t behave as the conqueror they were expecting.
  • The soldiers were unforgiving of a man under their power, with no recourse to mercy.
  • The religious leaders were unforgiving of a man who challenged them.
  • The thief on the cross was unforgiving of a fellow helpless victim.

Unforgiveness luggage

  • If the other person, who has offended me, never asks for forgiveness, I could be left with the consequence of holding onto the offence.
  • Forgiveness has very little to do with the offender asking for it.
  • Forgiveness has everything to do with my choosing to let go of the offence.
  • Restoring relationship may (or may not) come afterwards. You may need to be guarded in the future.
  • Forgiveness happens when we put the offence at the foot of the cross.

Challenge this Easter week

  • Look out for unforgiveness,
  • In me!

 

Co-dependency and isolationism

This topic comes from session 3 of the “Man to Man” Christian men’s course, by Careforce Lifekeys.   I presented this version to my church men’s breakfast group.

Co-dependency

  1. Did you hear about the codependent who flunked geography?
    He couldn’t distinguish any boundaries.
  2. You know you’re codependent when someone else sneezes and you say, “Excuse me.”
  3. What do you call a codependent person who says “No” to someone and does not feel guilty? –Healthy
  4. You know you’re a codependent when you wake up in the morning and say to your mate, “Good morning, how am I?”
  5. What does a codependent have in common with God?
    They both have a plan for your life.
  6. What is the last thing to happen to a codependent before they die?
    Someone else’s life flashes before their eyes.

Co-dependency and isolationism are two extremes on the spectrum.  Somewhere in-between is a healthy balance of interdependence.

Behaviours of the overly dependent person:

  • Feelings of inferiority or superiority
  • The Active Controller (Manipulator) or Passive Controller
  • Fear of rejection

My story

  • I am the last child of six ==> go with the flow
  • She (my wife) is the first child of three ==> very organised
  • Our marriage had the potential for disaster
    • Role as spiritual head wasn’t happening
    • Child of divorce meant lack of male role model
    • Increasing frustration and isolation
      • Making decisions authoritatively
      • Passive aggressive
    • Resolution
      • Recognize lack
      • Seek out male support
      • On-going process
      • Making decisions collaboratively

Isolationism

A typical male problem:

  • Tendency to focus on “things” rather than “people”
  • Be aggressive
  • Be competitive
  • Finds it more difficult to work on or build relationships during his life
  • Difficult to form new relationships
  • Finds change has a tendency to destroy relationships

My story

  • Has one good friend
  • Has many acquaintances
  • But I choose to fellowship
    • Called to be together in fellowship. Hebrews 10:25
    • As iron sharpens iron. Proverbs 27:17

Characteristics of an unhealthy relationship – top 10 dysfunctional families in the Bible

  1. FIRST FAM: Wifey (Eve) tricked Hubby (Adam) into disobeying God. Then things got really bad when one of their boys (Cain) killed the other one (Abel). Then Cain ran away to avoid prosecution. His was the first picture on a milk carton.
  2. NOAH’S FAM: Noah saved his family from the flood and then got naked and plastered. Evidently, sailing around on a flooded earth in a barge full of animals was a bit stressful. He didn’t appreciate the fact that one of his boys (Ham) mocked him for his naked drunk condition. So Noah cursed his son. There is no record that Ham attended Thanksgiving dinner with the family that year.
  3. ABRAHAM’S FAM: God promised a child to an elderly couple (Abram and Sarah). Abram was not ready to wait on Sarah to get pregnant so he had sex with his maid, Hagar. (With the name “Hagar” she must have been a real cutie.) Hagar got pregnant, had a son (Ishmael) and then made fun of Sarah for not being able to get pregnant. Hagar and Ishmael left because they were no longer welcome in that happy family.
  4. LOT’S FAM: This brainiac tried to give his daughters over to a bunch of homosexual hooligans.
  5. ISAAC’S FAM: Jacob (one of Isaac’s twin boys) swindled Esau (the other twin) out of his birthright by lying to dad with the help of his mother Rebecca. Esau—understandably–then wanted to kill his brother, Jacob. So Jacob ran away to live with his crazy Uncle Laban, who tricked him into marrying his less-than-gorgeous daughter, Leah. Then as a good will gesture, Laban threw in his hot daughter, Rachael, to smooth things over.
  6. JACOB’S FAM: Jacob had 12 boys and decided to buy the youngest one, Joseph, a designer coat. That didn’t sit well with the other brothers. So instead of leaving him out of family football they decided to throw him into a hole and kill him. The older brother, Reuben, was more reasonable and talked them into merely selling him as a slave to a band of Egyptian thugs. They told dad an animal killed him.
  7. KING SAUL: Israel’s first king (Saul) was jealous of the popularity of a shepherd boy (David) and became obsessed with killing him. Saul’s son Jonathon protected his best friend David, choosing his friend over his dad. Dad and son became estranged. That was not a display of family unity.
  8. KING DAVID’S FAM: King David had a fling with his next-door neighbor, got her pregnant and killed her husband to cover it up. The baby died. Then one of his sons (Absalom) betrayed him.
  9. SOLOMON’S FAM: The “smartest” guy in the world had a palace full of wives. (nuff said)
  10. JESUS’ FAM: Jesus’ parents (Mary and Joseph) left their son (Jesus) behind on a road trip to Jerusalem. They somehow missed the fact that the Son of God was no longer with them on the way home. They turned around and went back for him. They found him in the temple and made him get back in the wagon.

Characteristics of a healthy relationship

  • Feel respected
  • Physical and emotional needs nurtured
  • Like and liked
  • Feel appreciated
  • Not afraid to be yourself
  • Can communicate and connect
  • Can affirm and support each other

Finally:

  • Nothing will be “perfect,” but change and growth are always possible.

In the group

  1. How much do you rely on the reflections of others as the source of your identity and self worth?
  2. How does co-dependency affect your relationships with others, e.g. partner, family, friends, work?
  3. Do you have a tendency to control or be controlled?
  4. Do you struggle with seeing how loved, valued and accepted you are by God?

 

Evaluation of a Dysfunctional Family

Now that I am not going forward to the NZ Toastmasters national speech competition, I can share with you this speech which I put forward for consideration.  I won my club competition and came third in my area contest.

Evaluation of a Dysfunctional Family

Introduction

  • My premise is simple: There are no perfect families. In the beginning with Adam and Eve, even though they had a perfect Father, they still managed to go off the rails!
  • Therefore, there is always capacity to grow, and we can all learn from the mistakes of others.
  • So, what lessons have I learned from my family of origin?
  • To evaluate them, I’m going to use a little technical called Commendation, Recommendation & Commendation, or CRC for short. You may have heard of it.
  • I hope to leave you encouraged that no matter your circumstances, it’s possible to turn any situation around.

My Mother – June Noreen Hippolite (nee Gray)

  1. Commendation
    Mum raised 6 children, virtually alone, until when I was 5, when she was left actually alone, by divorce. She was a housewife & homemaker.  She chose to subsume her own desires to make sure her kids were always well fed, adequately clothed and prioritising school.
  2. Recommendation
    In later life, she became very insular (inward focussed) and fearful of going out, almost becoming a shut-in. She needed to continue to engage with the wider community.
  3. Commendation
    As an adult, she completed her School Certificate English, and also took up pottery. She usually demonstrated a desire for more learning.  She usually had at least one book open at all times.

My Father – John Te One Hippolite

  1. Commendation
    Dad had great life experiences. He tried many jobs (more about this later).  He raised his sons with great confidence to deal with any problem.  If you had a problem with one of us, that’s you problem, not mine!
  2. Recommendation
    He should have stuck around for his first marriage. Would have been good if he’d decided to stick around early in his marriage too, instead of always being away, either sheep sharing or labouring, or a soldier in Korea, or a psychiatric nurse, or farming.
  3. Commendation
    He had great passion to challenge The System. He marched with HART against the 1981 Spring Bok tours, until faced up against his 2 police sons.  At that point he resolved to fix the system from within by switching from Black Activist to Social Worker.

My Siblings

  1. Commendation
    They’ve all supported various political parties, either by standing as candidates, or in one case, actually being elected an MP. Collectively, we’ve stood for: Labour, National, Act, The Maori Party, Christian Coalition and Conservatives.  They are each passionate in their beliefs.
  2. Recommendation
    Sometimes it can be hard to get alongside them, as our strong passions colour everything we do, think, feel & say. We need to extend more grace to one another.
  3. Commendation
    All are productive members of society; some might say pillars. Most have got a tertiary qualification; the one that doesn’t is an amazing out-doors-man.

Lessons from Mum

  1. Divorce sucks. Speaking as a child of divorce, I can honestly say, it’s better to have a dysfunctional parent around, than not.  Therefore I resolved that the word “Divorce” was simply not an option.  It was never to be spoken, in jest or in the heat of argument, in my own marriage.
  2. Mother sowed the thought that education is a personal and societal virtue. Therefore I got a degree, and I resolved that my children would be strongly encouraged to take advantage of tertiary study, if they so desired.
  3. I resolved that community engagement (whether as a board member of a health trust, neighbourhood group, home education network, Toastmasters or church board) is something which I have modelled to my kids.

Lessons from Dad

  1. Even though Dad was a man’s man, he never had any problem expressing his feelings to me. Therefore I resolved to always tell my kids how much I loved them.
  2. Dad modelling political activism. Therefore I resolved to always stand up for what I believed in, and engage politically whenever possible.
  3. I resolved that I would not be away from my wife for longer than 2 weeks. Otherwise, where possible, one of us would travel to be with the other.

Lessons from my Siblings

  1. My siblings are part of the reason why I stayed on the straight and narrow. Two of my brothers were police.  One of my sisters is a lawyer.  I was scared of breaking the law.  Therefore I resolved to raise my children as law abiding citizens.
  2. My siblings can be hard to relate to. Therefore I resolved to teach my children to respect differences, while staying true to your own core values.
  3. The accomplishments of my siblings make me feel proud. Therefore I resolved to be a man my children would look up to, too.

Conclusion

  • It should come as no surprise: You are the sum of your parts: biology and conditioning; both nature & nurture.
  • Being raised as a Hippolite has its challenges. Not every family is so political or educationally driven or just plain busy!
  • But the rewards so far have been great. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson (who said it before Steven Covey):
    • Sow a thought and you reap an action;
    • Sow an act and you reap a habit;
    • Sow a habit and you reap a character;
    • Sow a character and you reap a destiny.

 

Respectable Sins, Part 3

Sunday Service

  • 26 March 17
  • Pastor Al Hall
  • Respectable Sins?
  • Part 3, Anger

Matthew 21:12-13

  1. Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves.
  2. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘”My house will be called a house of prayer,” but you are making it “a den of robbers.”’

Thoughts:

  • No one else causes us to be angry.
  • It may be our pride, our selfishness, our hurts or our desire to control.

1 Peter 2:18-20

  1. You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you – not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.
  2. For God is pleased when, conscious of this will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.
  3. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

Ephesians 4:26-27

  1. ‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
  2. And do not give the devil a foothold

Ephesians 4:30-31

  1. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  2. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

James 1:19-20

  1. Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
  2. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Thoughts:

  • God always provides the “Instead”
  • Instead of anger.

Instead of anger

  • Recognise when we get angry.
  • Identify my sin in that.
  • Choose how I think, act & react.

 


 

James’s Thoughts

What about “righteous anger”?

  • Arnie did briefly mention this, but seemed to imply we are so sinful, we are incapable of separating selfish anger from righteous anger.
  • I disagree.
  • I get that Arnie may be focussed on physical anger, which is almost always wrong (except in self-defence situations, in my opinion).
  • However, there are injustices that we should get angry over.  The murder of babies, for example, is an injustice we should get angry enough about, in order to mobilise to put an end to this barbaric practice.  Just as the ancient Philistines would sacrifice their babies on the alter of Molech, our “modern” Western Civilisation is sacrificing our babies on the alter of personal convenience.  This should not be.  It ought not to be.  My opponents will choose to read into my example given above, an implied permission to do violence against those I disagree with.  Let me be explicit: the pre-meditated taking of a life to save a life is not justified.  Just because I disagree with you, doesn’t mean I hate you.  That is a liberal lie. I can simultaneously hate the sin (in myself and others) and love the sinner (all of us).

Respectable Sins, Part 2

Sunday Service

  • 19 March 17
  • Pastor Suzie Holmes
  • Respectable Sins?
  • Part 2: Impatience, Irritability & Frustration

Last week:

  • Pastor Al Hall
  • Part 1: Worry

Romans 3:23-25

  • For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight.
  • He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.
  • People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

Romans 5:6

  • Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of this wonderful grace? Of course not!  Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

Our Problem – Defined

Matthew 5:21-22

  • You have heard that our ancestors were told, “You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.”  But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!
  • If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

Our Remedy – Part 1

Galatians 5:16-17

  • So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
  • Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Part 2

Romans 13:8

  • Pay all your debts except the debt of love for others.

Colossians 3:14

  • And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

2 Part Remedy

  1. Ask Holy Spirit every day to work on you and help you.
  2. Act out love.

Persevere & be committed