Archive for September, 2015

7023400-nick-vujicic-quotesNick Vujicic was born without any limbs. As a boy he spent many nights praying for limbs. He would go to sleep crying. He went to school and found that being accepted by other kids hard to come by. He hid behind shrubbery or in empty classrooms to avoid being hurt of mocked.

But Nick Vujicic found Jesus. He discovered that God loved him despite his physical setbacks. This is what he said: My name is Nick Vujicic and I am thankful to have been born 30 years ago with no arms and no legs. I won’t pretend my life is easy, but through the love of my parents, loved ones, and faith in God, I have overcome my adversity and my life is now filled with joy and purpose.

Nick now runs an organisation called Life Without Limbs and is a popular motivational speaker around the world. He is married with two children.

This is something that Nick said in his book, “Life Without Limits”: Often we feel life is unfair. Hard times and tough circumstances can trigger self-doubt and despair. I understand that well. But the Bible says, “consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of any kinds” That is a lesson I struggled many years to learn. I eventually figured it out, and through my experiences I can help you see that most of the hardships we face provide us with opportunities to discover who we are meant to be and what we can share of our gifts to benefit others.

I have just concluded a series on Sunday mornings called, “Facing Giants”, and this morning I talked about self-pity.  Self-pity feeds into the idea of being a victim; that everything goes wrong for me and that life’s not fair. It leads to blaming other people, your upbringing, your circumstances and even the environment.

Instead of being a victim, Jesus shows it’s possible to be a victor, and that’s what has influenced Nic Vujicic.

In Romans chapter 8, the apostle Paul says:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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bigDon’t get mad – get even! That’s been a well quoted mantra for a very long time. But is it the best option available to us?

In his latest book, “The Big Picture: Building Blocks of a Christian Worldview”Brian Harris, Principal of Vose Seminary in Perth talks about three options in dealing with our apparent need for revenge. I talked about it this morning in the latest of a series I am preaching on at Maida Vale Baptist Church – “Facing Giants”. My topic this morning was revenge.

The first option is presented by a man called Lamech. Genesis 4:17 and 18 gives a quick summary of the descendants of Adam’s son Cain. Four generations on from Cain, we are introduced to Lamech.

Lamech had two wives and he said this to them in verse 21 of Genesis 4: “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

Lamech had been injured and in return he killed the person who hurt him, and claimed his right to avenge that hurt 77 times.

The second picture is in Exodus 21 where instructions are given about personal injury.  The law it would seem, was to overcome the problems associated with Lamech’s approach. Verse 24 says: But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Now that was helpful, because it showed that indiscriminate murder of people who injured you wasn’t appropriate, and it introduced a process of thinking that still exists in law today regarding compensation and just forms of punishment. That was the law that the world lived by for thousands of years.

Then Jesus came, and he introduced a third picture. And that picture was of grace and forgiveness. In the Matthew 5 we read these words:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ they certainly had heard that, because that was the standard by which society had learned to live.  But then he went on: But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

And a bit later on Peter comes to Jesus – he’s obviously been thinking about the issue a bit and says: “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” He’s got the message that forgiveness is something he needs to take seriously. To forgive someone seven times was radical Christianity for Peter. This was counter-cultural.

But surprisingly, Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. In that statement Jesus showed that the precedent set by Lamech was completely overturned. The law had partially dealt with the Lamech problem, but Jesus came to complete the picture. No longer is revenge to the 77th degree appropriate.  No longer is simply an eye for an eye appropriate. The new law under Jesus is forgiveness to the 77th degree.

It’s Spring and two places you’ve got to visit in Perth are Araluen Botanic Park

Araluen…. and Kings Park ….

Kings