Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Jesus said "blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".

I seem to be facing a fair amount of it lately, however, we learn not to complain but soldier on. Recently I had ventured out to help a young man addicted to drugs (in this case it was crack). I shared my testimony with him and the testimony of others that I had stored on my laptop. The meeting went well. I felt a connection with him. He wanted to go to a rehab centre and thus that is always a great outcome. The willingness to give up drugs or alcohol and turn your life around. Its hard to help people who do not want help.

As I left the young man's home I felt elated. I truly felt God's Spirit near (or in me, whichever it may be), I saw many signs of God even thanking me for my efforts. Yes God can thank His servants. Especially when we are so insecure that we need such encouragement (I fall into that category).

I was so much in joy I went to a local national park. I wanted to be in the wilderness to pray. Just as Jesus used to do when seeking God. I parked the car and ventured off enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature. I walked up a large hill and found a quiet spot. I must have prayed for about thirty minutes, read a little of the bible and then decided to go back home.

When I came back down the hill I found every window of my car smashed and glass everywhere. Drivers side , passenger, front/back, even the rear window was broken. Of course the laptop was gone. I immediately started giving thanks. Yes thanks. We are taught to give thanks in all circumstances. Not just when the going is good (its easy to give thanks then!) but also when the going is bad. God is good ALL THE TIME. That means he is good when your father dies, He is good when your child dies, he is good when your car is broken into. He hasn't turned bad at these times. Life comes with many blows, those that learn to roll with them are less effected by them. This was one of those moments to roll.

Obviously I knew this wasn't from God. God wasn't wishing me well for my work with the addict (two hours earlier) by kicking in all my car windows and stealing my laptop. No someone else was...In fact as a Pastor and missionary the attack was so blatantly obvious of being from the enemy (yes sorry the devil exists for those that didn't know - as CS Lewis once wrote "The devils greatest victory over man was making man believe he didnt exist"). For me having an answer to the break in actually softened the blow. Rather than cursing or feeling self pity I gave thanks to God for his comfort. The comfort of his words - "Blessed are the persecuted because of righteousness".

I had been doing God's work and we had a victory. A soul had believed the good news. In retaliation I had things of little consequence (compared to a human being) attacked. Things that rust and rot (as cars do) and therefore my heart isnt with them. Earthly things that Jesus tells us not to store up on earth. Yes I can use them to do God's will, but I certainly don't love my car or laptop. Why would I? Its a car. It will never love me back. It doesn't even know I exist.

When we put life into perspective we can see God always. Even in the bad times. When we praise him during such times, its then we understand how wonderful He is. Christ never promised an easy road. But he did promise to be with us till the end of it.

By the way the car got fixed and a new laptop was purchased. The lesson was learnt. Dont store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves things in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. My treasure was in heaven, a young man had been saved. Isn't that far more valuable (and fulfilling) than a car?? I promise you - he is to God.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Deeds

I haven't made many entries lately in my blog. Does that mean that God is not working in my life? Far from it. God never stops working in our lives. Often our eyes close to His presence though. At such times we simply need to refocus to see God at work again. Street Chaplains is one of those ministries where you can always see God at work. The need is great and so God can use those who are willing to do good.

Sadly I often come across zealous and legalistic advocates who proudly proclaim"YOU ARE SAVED BY FAITH NOT BY WORKS". They quote such as if it is the only  sentence in the entire Bible. Yet such zeal seems to accompany the disease of lethargy when it comes to lending a hand to someone in need. The thinking being 'well if that's the case I don't need to do any good deeds then'.  That style of thinking never sits well with me. Often the word 'good' is slipped in before the word 'works'. However you wont find that expression anywhere in the Bible. Why? Because God actually likes us to do good to others. And the more good we do, the merrier.

It is better to give than receive; I experience the closeness and blessing of God when I do good to others. Such work doesn't save my soul, agreed, however; it certainly warms my soul to do such.

Imagine Mother Teresa without good deeds or Florence Nightingale repeatedly announcing that good work done for others does not save you. Both women didn't have anytime for such academic rhetoric. They were far too busy helping the people who needed them and thankfully so is Jesus Christ. I really enjoy helping other people. I thank God I am enabled to do such (Eph 2:10).

The other night we helped a slightly inebriated man from England find his misplaced car. He had parked it at a backpackers. In Perth city there must be 50 backpackers. The man didn't have a clue which one. We guided him towards one particular backpacker my fellow Chaplain had chosen out of the 50. As we walked, the man opened up to me and shared about his father who had died of liver disease (Alcohol induced). I responded with my own father's similar fate. I then gently tried to tell him my testimony of being freed from alcohol by God. The seed was planted and so I smiled inwardly.

When we arrived at the backpackers his lost car was sitting in the car park. He was AMAZED and so were we. All three knew it was God. How else could we have been guided to the exact backpackers out of so many? I asked the man if he would allow us to pray for him. He agreed. SO there we were, three grown men, one a bricklayer from Leeds, tattooed and powerfully built with two Street Chaplains praying in a semi hug at 2am in the morning. After the prayer he was elated and thanked us excitedly. His eyes were all aglow and he had sobered up considerebly. The walk and prayer had helped.

You wont hear such stories on the 6 o'clock news. Nor even read about them in the morning paper. Bad news sells papers. Good news and Good deeds don't seem to be so important. Thankfully God is still very interested in those willing to do good . When you do them spontaneously for others, God is intimately involved.