Thumper…

December 25, 2017

One Unlikely Candidate

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 12:02 am
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It was another hot day. Puffs of dust covered the leather sandals with each step that was taken. Sometimes a scuff rather than a neat step was taken. Sometimes a leap of joy, nearing a run was seen, before a return to a more orderly pace. The young girl was obviously in a hurry. She could feel the dust in her toes through her open toed leather sandals.

As Mary walked, she reflected on the blur of the recent events. She was betrothed to Joseph, who seemed like a nice enough man. He was descended from David and had grown up in Bethlehem, but had found himself in Nazareth where he had been introduced to Mary. She had first met him at the temple where they had both been learning from the historical texts regarding the coming Messiah. They had had lengthy conversations as both of them were convinced that the Messiah wouldn’t come as most were expecting.

Life in Nazareth hadn’t always been easy. Being of Jewish descent in a country under Roman rule made life tough. Persecution was common for her Jewish beliefs. So was rough treatment if you were out walking the streets. Snide comments or being pushed out of the way by Roman soldiers wasn’t unusual – even in the backwater town of Nazareth. Many times Mary had got home after having to pick up her shopping that had been spilt when she was knocked over. It also came with the low standing their family had in the community, sometimes not even having enough money to put food on the table – but yet God had always been faithful. Mary’s heart skipped a beat as she considered the current events and reflected on the goodness of God – “For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant” (Luke 1:48).

It still barley seemed real. The angel Gabriel had come into her house when nobody else was round. His very presence had commanded her attention, and instantly she’d started trembling. She’d heard about the angels visiting the old testament prophets such as Daniel, Lot and even Balaam. When the stories were told, she’d tried to imagine what she would have done if an angel visited her. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect it to happen to her though. The fear and trembling subsided when the angel uttered the words “Do not be afraid”. The words brought a peace with them that she had never felt before. The angel went on – she was highly favoured by God and had been chosen to carry the Saviour of the world. He would bring a Kingdom that would have no end – that surely could refer to none other than the Messiah spoken about in the historical texts.

The very peace that the angel had brought and the calm authority he spoke with, had left her no doubt that the words were true. Nevertheless, Gabriel had said that Elizabeth was also with child, so here she was hurrying along the road to go and see her to put everything beyond doubt. Elizabeth! Who would have thought that was possible. But Gabriel had said with God, all things were possible.

Thinking it through was a little mind blowing. This news had implications not just for the current generation, but for all generations. This would be a Saviour born to reconcile mankind now and for all future generations – “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48) That was a big responsibility she had and now was the appointed time for the Saviour to arrive.

The other problem she had was Joseph. He was a very just and God fearing man, but would he believe her when she told him that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit? It had never happened before. He could easily put her away somewhere, divorce her, or worse still have her stoned. But yet the peace that had arrived with Gabriel assured her that everything would be ok. It was just a trust and assurance that God was with her, that she was highly favoured and that it would all happen just as was said. Another thought crossed her mind – why would God choose somebody who had no experience raising children to bring up the Saviour of the world. What an awesome responsibility. Mary hoped that she wouldn’t muck it up.

A loud shout brought her back to reality with a jolt. She quickly apologised to the man she had accidentally bumped into as she hurried along the road. She had better be careful, she was soon to give birth to the Saviour of the World!

Nearing Elizabeth’s, she could no longer maintain an orderly pace. She broke into a run, eager to see Elizabeth as soon as she could. A quick glance told Mary that Elizabeth was pregnant, but before she could say anything more than a greeting, Elizabeth began to prophesy. If Mary could just believe, everything would happen as the angel had said.

As we reflect on the Christmas story, the life of Mary serves as a reminder that God has something special for each of us to do. He’s not too fussy about our status in life, where we live or what we’ve done in the past. Like Mary though, He just wants us to believe Him and be obedient when He tells us to do something. Luke 1:46-55 gives us an indication of Mary’s heart – she was available, knew God intimately, was willing to pay the cost and be obedient regardless of the cost or potential consequences. Sometimes we only think of ourselves and our own comfort and aren’t willing to risk anything for God. Those thoughts keep us from doing something that may be part of a larger plan. We often don’t realise how our small part fits into the bigger picture and the impact we could potentially have.

The birth of Jesus changed everything. He gave us hope, that confident expectation of better things to come. Through His subsequent death on the cross, He gave us victory, forgiveness and freedom from sin and condemnation. His Kingdom is available to everyone, thanks to the obedience of one unlikely candidate.

Have a great Christmas!

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November 13, 2017

The Swan Song

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 9:17 pm
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A few months ago I received this awesome biscuit, hand made and hand decorated. The lovely swan biscuit was a gift on my last day at church in Geelong – chosen because it was my “swan song”. For the last couple of years I’d been heading down most weekends and some week days/nights to church there, where the parent church of my Bendigo church is located. It was a great couple of years and I made some great friends – but like with all things, there comes a time to move on.

So I finished up there around the end of August and now I’m enjoying some quiet Sunday’s. I’ve been getting my backyard done (will need to post some photos soon), catching up with friends that I hadn’t really been able to spend much time with the last couple of years and just generally enjoying having Sunday free. It will be interesting to see what happens next. I have a few ideas, but in time, all shall be revealed!

If anybody is looking for some handmade biscuits drop me a comment and I can put you on to Leonie who’s just beginning to build her biscuit baking business. She’s just completed a huge batch of biscuits for me at work, specially hand crafted pigs, which I’m sure will taste just as great as the swan did!

December 26, 2016

The Song Of Mary

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 4:44 pm
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Christmas is a time to reflect on what happened that first Christmas day and the events in the lead up to that first Christmas.

In Luke 1:46-56, Mary comes before God and pours out her heart in praise. To put that into context though, we need to understand a bit about Mary.

Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but was still a virgin. She was then visited by the angel Gabriel, who told her she was highly favoured, the Lord was with her and she was blessed.  By that we can determine that Mary knew her God and that He was pleased with her.

Mary was told that she would conceive and give birth to the saviour of the world, even though she had not known a man. God also gives her a way of confirming it – by saying that Elizabeth was also with child.  As all of us would, the first thing Mary did was take off to see Elizabeth.  It’s here that we pick up Mary’s song.

The Song of Mary

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.  50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.  51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.  53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.  54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” 56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Mary had a few things going against her. Her song alludes that she is from a lowly state, or low standing, or low class in the community.  She would have been looked down upon as she wasn’t married and had no child.  She was from a dodgy little outpost town with nothing more than maybe a pub or church (think of our little Aussie towns where you blink and you’d miss it).  She was also of Jewish descent – not a Roman citizen and the area was controlled by Rome.  But yet, God chooses this most unlikely person to work through.  Why?

There’s a few reasons.

Mary was someone who knew her God, not just knew of Him.

Luke 1:49-52 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He has put down the mighty from their thrones.

Mary knew God’s character: that He was worthy of her trust, was honest, fair, truthful, just, consistent and that He is who He says He is. She knew that He had done mighty things.

Mary was obedient and willing to trust God. “Let it be to me according to your word” – Luke 1:38.  She didn’t protest, reason or make excuses.  She just willingly cooperated and was willing to ignore any opposition that may come her way.  The Father knew that He could trust Mary and Joseph to bring up His son, even though she was inexperienced.

Mary was willing to pay the cost. “All generations will call me blessed” – Luke 1:48.  She gave up her reputation, endured ridicule and scorn and risked potential death by being stoned for adultery.  She was willing to pay the cost for future generations.

The interesting thing about Mary is, that if she had of declined, God would have found somebody else. It was the appointed time for the saviour.  The conditions were right in the world at the time.  Mary had some idea that her part to play was to have a larger influence, by acknowledging that all generations would cause her blessed.  But I don’t think she fully understood how her small part fitted into the bigger picture.  None of us do.  We need to be obedient without delay, because we don’t know the full effects.

God doesn’t take into account your standing or what class you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re looked down upon by others around you or if others have told you that “you could never do that”.  God looks for those who are available, obedient, who know Him and are willing to trust Him and pay the cost.  Be inspired – you can make a difference.  And the time is now!

Have a great Christmas.

 

April 2, 2016

A creative God

Filed under: Church life — pearsey @ 2:59 pm
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Over the Easter weekend, my church in Geelong had a creative arts display. I created a couple of digital photos for the display, before I got a friend to print them out for me. I suggested A3, but whatever came I would be happy with. Imagine my surprise when they were slightly bigger than that… In fact, my two creations turned out bigger than me!

It's bigger than me!

It’s bigger than me!

Anyway, it was a great time over Easter and here’s a sample of the display.

A snapshot of our display

A snapshot of our display

So why did we have a creative arts display?

Our God is a creative God. By Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. He hand crafted the sun. He fashioned all the birds and animals; from the smallest to the largest. He took great delight in creating so many different landscapes; mountains, seas, forests and deserts to name a few. The undersea coral is a kaleidoscope of colour waving in worship, mountains melt at His presence, while the sea and everything in it roars like thunder. He paints a new sunset and sunrise for us each day. He flung the stars into space, creating planets, solar systems and galaxies. All things were created through Him and for Him… In Him, all things consist.

That creativity so evident in God’s character is hard wired into our DNA by God: Gen 1:27 says So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

All of us have that same creativity within us. When we create, we are reflecting the image of God and projecting that image to the rest of the world. It gives Him great pleasure to see us using the gifts He has given us. We will find that when we are willing to use our gifts for God, to steward them well and put in the hard work and effort, He will give us inspiration. It brings glory to God when we are creative.

One Drop

One Drop

Our creativity can take many forms. It could be in the form of visual arts, such as painting, photography or sculptures, music, dance or drama, gardening or woodwork, through to organisation, maths, decorating, cooking, engineering, lighting and mechanics. Any time you solve a problem, you’re exercising your creativity, anytime you apply the knowledge, ability or skill God has given you, you’re being creative. God desires for us to glorify His name and bring Him honour through the gifts He has given us.

Reaching out

Reaching out

February 16, 2016

Fiji Day 9, Suva

Filed under: Church life,Trips — pearsey @ 11:57 am
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22/11/15 – Suva, Fiji
Church today. Really nice worship, declaring the name of Jesus. Some songs in English, some in possibly Hindi or Fijian. Introduced ourselves & I was the preacher, talked about speaking the name of Jesus over our lives. Had fun, did well, I enjoy it, perhaps more so in countries other than Australia.
Finished off with a bit more worship declaring the name of Jesus again. Service was about 2.5 hrs, we started pretty much on time. Came home, had lunch, then off to church again later for the youth service. Light refreshments after, including home made doughnuts! Thought that was our meal, but then we had another feast! Food everywhere.

January 1, 2016

Pull the Trigger

Pull the Trigger

One of the few movies I watched last year was Kingsman: The Secret Service. In that movie, each recruit was given a puppy which they had to bring through their training with them. Right at the end of Eggsy’s spy training, he is handed a gun and required to shoot the dog. You hear a gun shot ring out as the other remaining spy pulls the trigger. Eggsy though, can’t pull the trigger. He knows what he has to do, but he can’t do it. (By the way, the gun had blanks in it, so no animals were harmed.)

pull the trigger

pull the trigger

I found myself in a similar situation last year. No, I didn’t have to shoot anything! I knew what I had to do, but couldn’t do it. I’d talked to people, I had a word from God, but I wanted more. A few days after that movie though, I found myself doing the things that I needed to do and talking to the people I needed to. The change in my life that I’d been longing for was underway. Old things were being left behind, new things were coming. There was a release, a new freedom that came, a new enthusiasm.

Phil 3:12-14 says:

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

A few things from this verse:

1. Press on to take hold

What is it you need to take hold of? Spiritual – take hold of the spiritual things God has given each one of us. The victory on the cross, the forgiveness, mercy and grace. Take hold of the personal things like prophecies and promises that have been given to you and apply to you.

If it helps, one thing I heard at conference earlier in the year was this: We can have the biggest dreams, goals and plans in the world, we can have the potential to be whoever and whatever we want in God, but if we don’t have self-discipline, we will never achieve those dreams. Self-discipline starts with God: our relationship with Him, prayer and worship. We all know we need to spend more time in prayer and worship. Get up early and pray. Just do it. Pull the trigger. You will be better off for it and reap the rewards.

Romans 6 describes how our sinful nature has been crucified and how we’re either slaves to sin or slaves to God and righteousness. You’ll find that as you focus more on God and the things that you should be doing and are made to do, other things will drop away. Leaving things behind will almost happen automatically.

2. Forget what is behind

There comes a time when sometimes we know it’s time to leave something behind, to stop doing something we’ve always done. It could be something we did for a season and that season has come to end – we need to recognise that.

Unhealthy relationships, artificiality, pretence, pride, false concepts of God, negative thoughts, disappointment – disappointment in yourself, others and God, the things that you think God didn’t do, unrealistic expectations placed on you by yourself, family, friends, work etc. All these need to be left behind, forgotten.

Forget the old ways of doing things and what something “used” to be like. Church may have been great 10 years ago when x was the pastor and this was happening and that was happening. Work was excellent when y was the manager, but now… We learn what we can from the past, but then we forget about it and instead use the opportunity to do something fresh, new and better.

What changes do you need to bring? Don’t hold onto things too tightly. Sometimes we have to push through tough times. Other times we need to know when it’s time to give things up. Know the seasons.

Perhaps you know what it is that you have to leave behind or do, but can’t pull the trigger. Use the new year as a motivation – pull the trigger and do what it is that you know God wants you to do.

3. Reach, Strive towards

These are action words. There are things we can do in the natural that will help.

Start applying for new jobs if that’s what you need/want. Talk to others who may be able to help you in whatever area you are trying to move into. Find out if there are courses in what you want to do that will help you. Read some relevant books. Learn something new. Take up a new challenge. Practise that musical instrument, take the singing lessons. Get up early. You’ve got nothing to lose.

In many ways this is similar to forgetting what is behind. Most times we know what we need to do, we just don’t do it. Again, pull the trigger. Just do it.

I’ve been in situations before when I couldn’t pull the trigger. Don’t be that person. Do what you know you need to!

What lies ahead? What will I take hold of? A conversation with a friend last year reminded me of and confirmed to me, my love of planning, strategising, working as a team and then bringing those plans and strategies into reality. I love challenging people to become better, to try new things, to achieve their dreams – big or small. Hopefully I get to do more of that this year.

And to finish with a quote from a paper cup at a well known fast food restaurant: It’s fun to explore new things. Give it a go! Make the changes you need to.

It's fun to explore new things

It’s fun to explore new things

December 27, 2015

The star and the search: How will you respond?

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 4:00 pm
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Christmas time is a time to reflect on the Christmas story and the characters that we read and hear about so much at this time of the year.

In Matthew 2:1-12 we read about Herod and the wise men from the east.  The wise men, or magi, had been keeping an eye on the sky and noticed a new star appear. They decided to follow the star, heading to Jerusalem in search of the one who had been born King of the Jews (2:2).  Even at this early stage, the wise men recognised Jesus as King of the Jews and were seeking Him to worship Him.

Imagine the wise men, deciding to seek Jesus.  Whatever they were doing at that stage in their lives, they abandoned, they left behind families, possibly wives and children, jobs, livelihoods and property in their search for the King.  There was no earthly guarantee they would make it to their destination – it was a long and dangerous journey across country that was known for robbers and hardships.  How many of us could, or would, take time out of our regular lives and undertake a journey of this nature?

After the wise men made it to Jerusalem, they paid a visit to Herod, enquiring after the King Jesus.  Why would they go and see Herod when the star would have led them directly to Bethlehem?  Perhaps it would be natural to assume that a new king would come from the current line of kings, which at this stage was Herod.

Sadly though, Herod was only interested in this new king because Jesus was a threat to his rule.  He was well known as a brutal, ruthless and insecure king, a point he highlighted when he ordered the slaughter of all young boys under the age of 2, hoping that Jesus would be killed as part of this group.

The chief priests and scribes, the ones who knew the scriptures like the back of their hands, were able to point the wise men to where Jesus had been born, but yet they didn’t care to go and look for Him, to find the one who was to one day lead them.

Despite the discouragement from Herod and the chief priests, the wise men continued their search.  The star led them to Jesus, and when they found Him, they presented their gifts and offerings and bowed down to worship Him.

If we’re genuinely seeking Jesus, God will provide a sign as we seek Him, it will involve a journey with a cost and discouragement, but we are guaranteed to find Him: Jeremiah 29:13 says “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart”.

When we look for Jesus, we will find Him, when we truly find Him, we will worship Him and give Him all we have.

How will you respond this Christmas?  Will you be like Herod who responded with hatred and fear?  Will you be like the chief priests and scribes who responded with indifference?  Or will you be like the wise men, who went seeking Jesus, overcame discouragement and responded with worship and adoration, bringing their gifts as an offering?

January 1, 2015

Let us now go

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 9:20 pm
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Christmas has just been and it’s always a good time to reflect on the first Christmas day. Although it’s a few days late, here are my thoughts on Christmas this year.

Luke 2:8-17
It was night time. Out in the paddock there were some shepherds. Their job was to watch the sheep. No doubt they were just doing what they always did – watching those sheep. You could imagine that at that point, it was just another night. Maybe it was cold and dewy, with not much happening where they were. Maybe the usual stillness was broken by faint noise from nearby Bethlehem as people from all over gathered together, enjoying their time catching up with each other because of the census. Perhaps the light of the moon was providing just enough light for some silhouetted sheep outlines. However their night was going, whatever was or wasn’t happening, something else was about to happen that would change their lives. “Behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them”.
Their night was changed when they were visited by an angel, then a multitude of angels. The darkness was gone. Dazzling light, the glory of the Lord, shone around the place. The peaceful night they were having was rudely interrupted and they were greatly afraid.

The angel said not to be afraid before delivering the message. Angels must be big scary things, because that’s a common thing the angel has to say when he visits people.
The message for the shepherds was that a Saviour had been born that day, a Saviour who would be their King. If they were to go and see, they would find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manager.

After the angels gave the message, they departed. They didn’t tell the shepherds to go and visit the baby Jesus – they just said if you go, this is what you will find. The shepherds said to one another “let us now go”. It doesn’t sound like they needed much convincing. They just decided to go and visit the baby. They went there quickly.

They left everything behind. Their sheep, livelihoods and potentially their jobs. They took a risk and responded to God. They trusted God and found it just as the angel had said.

When we hear the Christmas story, are we quick to go and come to Jesus? Do we respond quickly when we hear from Him? Is our response one of seeking Jesus, or is it one of ambivalence, an “I’ll go when I’m ready” type of response. The shepherds responded: “let us now go”.

August 7, 2011

Ben’s Church

Filed under: Church life,Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 4:54 pm
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Continuing my 12 months ago series…
Twelve months ago I was in Uganda and had just got back from a week on Bugala Island, Kalangala District, Uganda. Bugala island is one of the Ssese islands on Lake Victoria. Great island, great place to visit. But I’ve already posted a fair few photos of that, so now on to the real reason why I was in Uganda!

This weekend (12 months ago) I preached at Ben’s church. I actually forget the name of his church, so we’ll just call it Ben’s church. Normal services in Uganda are in Ugandan, most of the time though any speaking is translated into english (which sometimes you can almost understand…). The worship however is just loud and all in Ugandan. For something different, we decided to teach them a couple of songs in english. Got Mike on the guitar, Shirley and I up there doing the actions (Ugandans love to dance, so we picked a couple with actions) and off we went. They actually picked it up fairly quickly, so that was good, although I doubt they ever sung the songs again… I got them to get the drums out – they are great drummers, but apparently since electrical instruments have come along, they have laid the drums aside. That’s a bit disappointing, because drums add so much to a church service (of course being a drummer I would say that). For something else that was different, we also did communion during the service. They don’t have communion in church in Uganda, not because they don’t believe, but mostly because they can’t afford the communion elements. I think they all enjoyed it which was good.
After all that, we got down to the preaching. Esau was my interpreter for the day so I had a bit of fun with him while I was preaching. At the end we had a ministry time where we prayed for everyone and between us had a word from God for everybody. That was pretty cool, we bounced off each other, confirmed what each other was getting and flowed in the spirit. People’s lives were touched by God and that is the most important thing. As ones who are called to minister to people, all we can ask for is that God will move in their lives and bring about change and passion for Him.
Had a heap of fun at Ben’s church, had the customary sodas after church that they blessed us with, then we headed off home. Here’s a few shots at Ben’s church. Next week we headed off to the Murchison National Park so stay tuned for those stories and some of those photos.


For some other photos from Ben’s church, check out this post.

July 21, 2011

It is finished

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 4:57 pm

For those of you who don’t know, the past 3 years I’ve been studying a diploma of ministry. As well as attending classes four weekends a year, you have to do assignments and spend time with your coach in between times. While I’ve still got 2 weekends to go this year, I can report that I have finished all my class work for this year! That means I am about 6 months ahead and also means no more homework! Yay! So back at the end of June, (yes I know, this post is a little late), I had the pleasure of posting the last two assignments – so over 100 pages and $8.65 to post (yikes).

All done!

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