Teach Your Children

Sue‘s Views
As I walked through the Warehouse the other day ….. I was astounded by the size and variety of ‘Easter eggs’! Now don’t get me wrong ….. I have nothing against chocolate! What does upset me is the deliberate effort to get our attention off of the most crucial and pivotal event in history. We get around it by saying eggs and rabbits are symbols of new life. I don’t think our children are getting that message! We need to teach them more than ever before about the sacrifice Jesus made when He died that agonising and humiliating death on a cross to pay the price for our sins ….. and rose again on the third day so we could have eternal life. Have your egg hunts ….. but take some time this weekend to tell them the wonderful story of what really happened to change history!

Weather Forecast

Sue’s Views
When you look at this picture ….. is it getting stormy or is it clearing up? Do you tend to see the glass half empty …..or half full? So much depends on our  outlook. Yesterday we nearly stayed home because the forecast was for rain ….. but we decided to go for a walk (raincoat in tow) ….. and not a drop of rain. How is your forecast? Is it mainly fine apart from a few showers ….. or mainly thunderstorms with the possibility of fine periods? We can’t change the weather ….. but we can change our attitude!

First World Problems

My first experience of the third world was a result of my own first world problem… “Mum, I need an ipod”. That's what I told her when I was 15. She was horrified. She grew up in a time when there was barely enough to eat, and the thought of her daughter living in a world where an iPod was a “need” made her realise I needed a wake-up call! Luckily, our church was planning a short-term mission trip to Honduras that summer, so she signed the two of us up! We spent a week staying at a ranch, eating local food, mixing concrete to help build latrines and lay floors, bringing medical and hygiene supplies and school supplies for the kids, and spending time with the kids in their school. It was so eye-opening. I saw a lot of real physical need. I can't say I changed much after I came back from that trip, not that year anyway… but it planted a seed in my mind that began to grow. When I got to university, I came back to Christ after many years of wandering. One of my first thoughts was, “I want to go back to the developing places of the world”. I wanted to leave the comfort and ease of western society and be challenged by the daily physical struggle of those in the third world… and I wanted to help somehow. Maybe I could be a teacher, or help in an orphanage?
I felt a call to study Chinese. I didn't know why. The puzzle pieces just didn't seem to be coming together. I wanted to help someone, somewhere… but who? How? Where? After some fasting and praying I started to come across material about the persecuted church in China… poverty, suffering, struggle, but God was doing miracles and the Chistians were alive with joy and faith! A fire was lit in me… that's what I wanted! I wasn't going there to help… I was going to learn. How was their faith so alive and full of power? Why didn't we have stories like that in the West? Was it their poverty? Was it their political climate?

In the dictionary, a first world problem is defined as “a relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world)”. I guess most of us would agree that a problem like “my coffee isn't hot enough” or “my kitchen isn't the colour I want it to be”, when compared with those living in less than $1 a day, are not “real problems”. But what about us as Christians living in this prosperous developed world? What if the first world church has a lot more spiritual “first world problems” than we realise? How did we end up with things like apathy, complacency, materialism, desire for comfort and security, fear and worry, low levels of faith, self-sufficiency, with all of our “Christianity”? When we read of movements of the work of the Holy Spirit today in places like Africa and Asia, we have to stop and wonder… why aren't we seeing that here? 

Then I had a thought… where did Jesus struggle the most when He was walking the earth? Where did He perform the least amount of miracles… and why?

Mark 6:1-6
The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
1 He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary* and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence* at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Verse 3 is so interesting… rephrased, “isn't this that carpenter's son? This is the kid that we grew up with in our neighbourhood! Look, we know all his brothers and sisters!” Today, we could almost rephrase it, like “Oh yeah, Jesus, He's the guy I grew up with in Sunday School when I was a kid, we celebrate Christmas and Easter, he's the guy whose principles founded our nation… we're a Christian country! … I know all about that Jesus guy…”.  Familiarity. Maybe it was that same familiarity that bred contempt in those from his own hometown… maybe that contempt is why they took offense at him… and were stuck in unbelief. Are we “hometown” pals with Jesus? 
It's probably a complex issue, and something that can't be over-simplified. Perhaps many of us have become like the third set of seeds in the parable of the sower that were growing, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful (Matt. 13:22). But how much do we think about the fact that we, in our “Christian nation”, might be so familiar with Jesus and so quick to assume we know him by association, because, well, we're a “Christian nation”… that we are like those who are actually stuck in unbelief? Is our Church routine, our religious principles, and our comfortable enjoyment of the blessings we believe God gave us, actually lulling us into an unbelieving familiarity with the Saviour of the world? The Jesus who requires absolute obedience and wants every part of our life? Are our first world spiritual problems more serious than we thought?
In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”. Isn't that scary? Isn't it… a wake up call?
Most people will acknowledge that Jesus was a wonderful teacher. Most people like the principles he taught about love, mercy, servitude, and humility. But Jesus said, “if you love me, you will obey my commands”. It has taken me a long time to realise that, in fact, I have a lot of unbelief and disobedience in my heart! I actually wasn't doing things like forgiving (Matthew 6:15), taking my thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), being content with much or with little (Phil. 4:12), confessing our sins to one another (Jam. 5:16), believing that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me (Eph. 1:19-20), fearing God instead of fearing man (Matt. 10:28), denying myself and taking up my cross daily (Matt. 16:24-25), doing nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves (Phil 2:3), and believing that “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Let's cast off our over-familiarity with the Saviour of the World, and come to him believing that he is who he says he is, and that we need him and his power every day of our lives! Not just His principles, with “a form of Godliness but denying it's power” (2 Tim. 3:5)… but with full belief, faith and obedience. Only then will we see him move in power like he promised!

Change of Season

Sue’s Views
Seasonal changes are taking place. Darker mornings ….. shorter days ….. an extra layer of clothing. There is nothing we can do to postpone winter! But we can make the most of the lovely autumn days. Stunning colours of the dying leaves ….. hearing them crunch under your feet ….. the crispness of the air and the welcome warmth of the sun ….. all make this one of my favourite seasons. Happy Monday everyone!

Come To Me

Sue’s Views
If you look at the bloodline of Jesus ….. you will be surprised who is in there. The genealogies mostly only mention men ….. but there are a few exceptions. Three women are mentioned by name and they were all women of ‘ill repute’. Tamar acted as a prostitute in order to get pregnant ….. Rahab made her living as a prostitute ….. and Ruth was a foreigner. But God chose these women to be part of his plan because they all had great faith. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past or where you come from. God will never give up on you! He sees what you can become. He says ‘Come to me’!


Sue’s Views
This is Jabari and today he turns 4! His name means ‘fearless’! One of the enemy’s greatest tactics is fear! Fear cripples us and prevents us from accomplishing God’s purpose. The first generation of Israelites didn’t enter the Promised Land because they were afraid of the giants in the land. They saw themselves as grasshoppers in comparison ….. and so that’s what they became. They settled for a life of wandering in the wilderness. The next generation had a different mindset. They trusted God to fight their battles. As they went forward ….. they saw God do amazing things to destroy their enemies. They came to realise that the God they served was so much greater than the fear. Fearlessness in not the absence of fear ….. but the presence of faith in a God who cannot lose! Happy Birthday oh fearless one! May God always be your Captain as you experience life together! Lots of love from Pa & Nana 🥰🎉🎂

Promised Land

Sue’s Views

Have you ever thought ‘If only I was in a different environment ….. things would be better’? If I lived in a nicer house ….. had a better job ….. had married someone else? Circumstances do make a difference ….. but the truth is ….. they don’t change who we are on the inside. As someone once said ….. ‘Wherever you go ….. there you are!’ The Israelites finally reached the Promised Land. A land flowing with milk and honey! Surely now they would be content. Surely now there would be no more complaining. Surely now they would live in peace and harmony. But ….. alas ….. they brought along the old nature of self centredness and pride. Many times in the Old Testament it says ‘They did what was right in their own eyes’. A recipe for disaster! 

Soar Like Eagles

I want to share two stories, about two different eagles…

There was once an eagle that had been flying for a long distance and was very tired. Afraid of predators if he landed to rest on the land somewhere, he spotted a large ice floe slowly moving down a river and decided to rest upon it for a while. He thought to himself, “I won't stay long on this ice as it's quite cold, but just long enough to restore my energy”. The longer he stayed, the tireder he realised he was. Eventually, he noticed a large waterfall up ahead. He thought to himself, “no problem, I will wait until the ice floe is about to fall off the waterfall and I will lift my wings as it does and continue flying”. He settled down to wait for the approaching waterfall, and just as the ice floe reached it the eagle attempted to stretch out his wings to fly. But as he did, he realised that his whole body had become numb from the cold ice floe, and he could barely move! He panicked, but it was too late… he plunged over the edge of the waterfall together with the ice floe, and was lost”.

The second story is like this…

A farmer once found a young eagle that had been injured. Since the farmer kept chickens, he decided to take the eagle home with him and nurse it back to health in the chicken coup. The eagle healed and the man decided to keep it as a pet. Every day he would come out with the chicken feed and call the chickens and the eagle out to their meal. The eagle would hear the man coming and try to race the chickens to their food! He had grown very big and ate a lot. One day, a hunter came along and noticed the eagle being kept in the chicken coup with the chickens, living as if it were one of them. Having used eagles to help him hunt game before, he said to the farmer, “do you mind if I buy this eagle off you? I'd like to use it for hunting!” The farmer agreed and the hunter took it to his home in the neighbouring village, and gave it space to fly around. But the next day when the farmer came out with the chicken feed for his chickens again, the eagle heard the feeding call from his new home and came flying over to fight the chickens for their chicken food again! Realising that the eagle still thought it was a chicken, the hunter decided to take the eagle up to the top of a high mountain. As soon as the eagle saw the great expanse of the sky, and was away from the distractions of the chicken coup, it immediately took flight, soaring the winds and the heights, and it became an expert hunter.

What can we learn from these two eagles?

The second eagle doesn’t know who he really is, and what he’s really capable of. His environment has created habits in his behaviour and thinking that have caused him to think that he’s a chicken, and the biggest highlight of his day is to just get the most chicken food. It takes someone to come in and tell him that, no, he was meant for much more than this, and take him to the heights of where eagles are really meant to be. As soon as he’s there, the temptation of the chicken food and the coup disappears, as he realises how good it is to live how he was meant to live.

The first eagle is already flying. He knows who he is, but he is tired and wants to rest. Instead of making the effort to fly to higher heights where the wind could carry him, he decides to rest on a cold ice floe. It gives temporary relief from his tiredness, but lulls him into a false sense of security. Assuming he is free to come and go from the ice floe at any time, he stays there, thinking it will have no effect on him. But the longer he stays, the more numb he becomes, without realising it. And then, when a critical moment comes, it is too late to find out that the ice floe has disabled him, and he cannot escape.

I wonder if any of us feel like either of these two eagles. Perhaps we haven’t fully realised who we are in Christ, and we are stuck just pecking chicken food from the ground, not realising the power that is within us, and the heights that await us. Or perhaps we realise we might be more like the second eagle. We are tired, or perhaps we have become distracted, and we want to rest on a false security… finances, our own abilities, our possessions, our reputation, our comfortable routine, our earthly relationships, entertainment, our culture… Perhaps these things are starting to disable us, our convictions, our dependence on Christ as the only true source of hope and safety.

Perhaps we need to run to him today and say “take me back to the heights again, may I not find rest and hope in anything but you”. Or perhaps we need to ask him to take us to the heights for the first time, and give us a revelation of who we are in him, and what we were meant for.

Who are we as Eagles? Or in other words, who are we now that we are in Christ? Here are some things we can reflect on, to remind us of who we are in Him… (watch the video below)


Sue’s Views
When Joshua led the people across the Jordan River and into Canaan’s Land ….. they had many battles to fight in order to possess the land. The first was at Jericho ….. a well fortified city. God gave Joshua His strategy which was to march around the city for six days in silence ….. and then on the seventh day ….. to march around it seven times blowing rams horns. When they did this ….. the walls of the city crumbled and fell down. Joshua was then able to take the city ….. but not to take any of the loot. It belonged to God! One man couldn’t resist taking some clothes and money ….. and caused them to lose the next battle. We can never assume that because we had a victory one way ….. it will work the same way again. It must be done God’s way. When we disobey Him ….. we are on our own!

The Rock

Sue’s Views
Some of the best hymns have been written in the darkest or most difficult times. Songs like ‘Amazing Grace’ ….. and ‘It is well with my soul’ ….. were born out of times of tragedy and loss. One I love is ‘Ascribe Greatness to our God, the Rock.’ It was written by Moses at the end of his life. His very difficult life had taught Him that God was faithful, just and always did what was right. To Moses ….. God was the Rock that held him and gave him strength. If you are going through a season where it feels like you are hanging on by your fingernails ….. let go! Because God ….. the Rock ….. has got you!