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The PASSION Blog
The PASSION Blog
The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life,
the Bible and ministry. I also share our website and ministry updates.
The churches in Revelation part 1
Posted on December 10, 2019
This week I started reading the Book of Revelation for my morning
devotions. In chapters two and three we see some messages to the
churches. They are the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardis,
Philadelphia and Laodecia.
As we read through these chapters we can get a glimpse of what God
thinks are good about the churches and what needs some work. In other
words the good news and the bad news. Today I want to look at the first
of them – Ephesus. It is found in Revelation 2:1-7.
The good points are in verses 2-3. “I have seen your hard work and your
patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have
examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You
have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me
The bad news is found in verse 4. God says, “You don’t love me or each
other as you did at first!”. In verse 5 He calls them to “Turn back to
me and do the works you did at first”.
In Ephesus we see something that can happen to us as individual
Christians or churches alike. We can get caught up in the work of the
Lord and forget about loving God and loving our neighbour (Mark
While the church in Ephesus did good things like
working for the Lord with patient endurance, not tolerating evil people
and testing the claims of those who claim to be from God, they missed
the boat of the Great Commandment!
For me it is a timely reminder for us all. It
caused me to question my own walk with the Lord. How are you going with
loving God and loving others?
In the next few days I will look at the church in Smyrna.
God’s blessings in the Beatitudes
Posted on December 5, 2019
I was reading through the beatitudes for my devotions this morning. They
are found in. Matthew 5:3-10.
As I was reading through today I realised afresh how God blesses us in
our lives. Here are some of my notes.
1. When we recognise our need for Him – He gives us the Kingdom
2. When we mourn – He gives us comfort
3. When we are humble – He gives us the earth as an inheritance
4. When we hunger and thirst for justice – He gives us satisfaction
5. When we show mercy – He shows us mercy
6. When we are pure at heart – He shows us Himself
7. When we work for peace – He allows us to be His children
8. When we are persecuted – He gives us the Kingdom
One thing I also noticed today was the bookmarks at the beginning and
the end. When we recognise our need for Him or are persecuted, He gives
us the Kingdom.
So many blessings. So much favour. So much comfort.
Be blessed by the Beatitudes today.
Love hurts at first sometimes
Posted on December 1, 2019
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NLT – I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter
to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you
for a little while.  Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt
you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It
was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not
harmed by us in any way.  For the kind of sorrow God wants us to
experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no
regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks
repentance, results in spiritual death.  Just see what this godly
sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear
yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such
zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have
done everything necessary to make things right.
In this passage the Apostle Paul explains why he sent a strong
corrective letter to the Corinthians. And why it was so harsh in its
Although Paul felt sorry at first, he knew he had to speak the truth in
love. This is because he wanted God’s best for the church at Corinth and
for the individual people.
Sometimes we need to be told firmly and honestly. It may hurt at first,
but it really is for our own good.
I have been on the giving end and the receiving end of harsh words. It
pained me to be the messenger and it pained me to be the receiver.
Probably equally for both!
But with God the ultimate goal is not our long term pain, it is
repentance and a life dedicated to God and His Kingdom.
We all need to live in that place of surrender to God. And sometimes we
need to a kick to jolt us back to where we should be living.
As I type I am reminded of two verses from Proverbs and Psalms…
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when
he corrects you.” Proverbs 3:11 NLT
“Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your
instructions.” Psalms 94:12 NLT
Love can hurt at first sometimes, but long term it is worth it.
A key to staying pure
Posted on November 16, 2019
Psalms 119:9-16 - How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your
word. 10 I have tried hard to find You--don't let me wander from Your
commands. 11 I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin
against You. 12 I praise You, O LORD; teach me Your decrees. 13 I have
recited aloud all the regulations You have given us. 14 I have rejoiced
in Your laws as much as in riches. 15 I will study Your commandments and
reflect on Your ways. 16 I will delight in Your decrees and not forget
In the above passage from Psalm 119:9-16 it gives us some clues to
staying pure in a world that tries to contaminate us and shipwreck our
These clues all revolve around God’s Word – the Bible.
1. Obedience – the writer wants to obey God’s commands. This is a great
place to start in staying pure – the desire for obedience.
2. Staying – next we see the writer declares they do not want to wander
away. They want to stay on track with God.
3. Hidden – the next key is having God’s Word hidden in the heart. This
means to hold it deeply inside or to cherish it.
4. Teach – in verse 11 the writer asks God to teach them His decrees.
There is a deep desire to learn, grow and be taught.
5. Recite – verse 13 then moves on to reciting or speaking out God’s
Word. This helps to hear it differently when the Bible is read out
6. Rejoice – the next key is genuinely rejoicing over God’s Word. The
Bible gives us so much. Our salvation alone is worth infinitely more
7. Study – studying God’s Word is so much more than reading it. The best
investment we will ever make in time spent studying the Bible.
8. Remember – lastly this passage reminds us not to forget God’s Word.
Memorising Scripture is key to staying pure. Jesus quoted Scripture when
tempted by the devil.
There are a number of things we can do in this life to remain pure. Much
of it revolves around digging in to God’s Word – the Bible.
If we love it, commit to reading and studying it, we will be strong in
our faith. This combined with prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit
helps us to remain pure.
What I am for, not
Posted on November 13, 2019
Increasingly I am finding on the internet people are more than happy to
tell you what upsets them or the things they are against.
People seem to want to continually tear things down if it doesn’t line
up with their views.
I made a decision years ago to be a positive voice. I would rather say
what I am for, than what I am against.
So today I thought I would share some of the things I am for.
1. The Bible – I believe the Bible is God’s Word to humanity. I think we
should all read it, meditate on it and put it in to practice.
2. Prayer – I believe prayer changes things and it helps us to connect
to God. I pray because I need to know God and I need His help and
3. Family – I believe God wants me to be a loving husband and father
(and son and brother). After my relationship with Him, I need to put my
4. Fitness – I believe being physically fit and eating well is
important. God has given me this body to live in and serve Him. I need
to look after it.
5. Evangelism – I believe it is vitally important to share our faith in
Christ. Jesus wants us to make disciples who become lifelong followers
6. Serving – I believe we all need to serve God by serving others. We
should use our gifts and resources to make the lives of others better.
This is my list. It is not exhaustive. But rather than run other people
or other things down, I thought I would share some of the things I am
Your unfailing love
Posted on November 12, 2019
Psalm 36:5-9 NLT – Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the
heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your
righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean
depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.  How precious
is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow
of your wings.  You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.  For you are the
fountain of life, the light by which we see.
I read this passage as a part of my devotions this morning. I had to
read it over and over. I love the way it talks about God’s unfailing
love. It gives us a picture of just how deep and wide and vast it is. It
even says that all humanity finds shelter in the shadow of His wings and
He provides for us all out of His abundance. I couldn’t imagine a world
without God. I wouldn’t want to! He truly is the fountain of life and
the light by which we see.
Lord God, thank You for Your unfailing love. It is so precious to me. I
thank You that You provide for our needs out of the abundance and I can
find shelter under Your wings. You truly are the fountain of life and
the light of my life. Amen.
A day is coming
Posted on November 11, 2019
Zechariah 14:9 NLT – And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On
that day there will be one LORD-his name alone will be worshiped.
This verse talks about a day when all false gods that people worship and
all false religions will be no more. There will be no cults, no worldly
charismatic leaders who deceive people and no doubt who the true God is.
It will be a day when only He alone is
worshipped and He will rule and reign over all the earth. As a Jesus
follower I look forward to this day. How about you?
Dear God, I thank You that You are the one true God who reigns supreme.
You are far above all other false gods and worldly leaders. I look
forward to the day when You come in power and glory and You alone are
the one who is worshipped. Amen.
A triple-braided cord
Posted on November 6, 2019
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT says, “Two people are better off than one, for
they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other
can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.
But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be
attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three
are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
I have found over the years it helps to have good people around you.
Having family, friends, workmates who have your back makes a big
difference. As today’s passage says having people around you can help
you to succeed, help you up if you fall down, keep you warm in cold
trying conditions, and even fight with you if needed. It reminds us of
the importance of having good people around us by using the image of a
triple-braided cord being stronger. Three interwoven cords are way
stronger than a single thread.
Lord, I pray that I will always have good people around me. I thank You
for the good people who are now in my life. I pray that You will help us
to help each other and as we follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Great hope and holding firm
Posted on November 1, 2019
Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT – All these people died still believing what God
had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw
it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were
foreigners and nomads here on earth.  Obviously people who say such
things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  If
they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone
back.  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly
homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he
has prepared a city for them.
In Hebrews 11 it lists some of the heroes of faith. It talks about
people like Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Abel, Moses, Jacob and Joseph and the
amazing faith they showed.
In verses 13-16 it gives us two tips that helped them to be heroes of
1. Firstly, they had a great hope. They were looking forward to all the
things God had promised. They believed what God said was yes and amen.
2. Secondly, they held firm to end. Even though they felt nomads and
foreigners in this world, they held firm. We know this because it says
they died still believing.
All of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11 did amazing things. If you
haven’t read it in a while, I would encourage you to re-read it slowly
and take it all in.
Two things that helped them was their great hope and decision to hold
firm until the end.
Because of their commitment, we are reading about them thousdands of
S.T.A.R.T. your prayer times again
Posted on October 29, 2019
Prayer is so vital in the Christian life following Jesus. It helps us to
know Him and spend time with Him. It also gives us our strength and
wisdom to live this life.
Over the years I have spoken to a lot of Christians who struggle to have
a regular prayer time. Life just seems to get in the way and squeezes it
One thing I have learned over the years is to have a routine in place. I
use an acrostic to help – S.T.A.R.T.
Set – set a regular time for prayer. I have to do mine first thing in
the morning. Otherwise the day gets away from me. I find doing it first
thing sets my day up with my heart and mind on God.
Take – take your time. Don’t rush it like another item on your to do
list. Take time to stop and be with God. I read the Bible, pray through
my prayer list, listen to God and just sit with Him. Some days it is
15-20 minutes, some days an hour.
Allow – allow God to speak to you. Prayer is a two way thing. God might
prompt you to look at a verse, ask you to do something or ask you to
pray for someone. I just ask if there is anything He wants to say and I
Repeat – repeat the process every day. Get into a habit and keep aiming
to spend this focused time each day. Find your time of the day and
repeat, repeat, repeat! I find the people with the most vibrant faith
are the ones who have this time every day.
Try – try again. If you have tried before and not got a regular pattern
for prayer, try again. It is ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Like any habit,
prayer takes a while to get a rhythm. Ask God to help too!
Prayer is a wonderful thing. It helps us to spend time alone with God (TAWG)
and gives us our strength for daily living. It changes our lives as we
spend time with God and it changes the lives of those around us as we
pray for them.
If you have been struggling with prayer. S.T.A.R.T. again!
ALL and the Great Commission
Posted on October 27, 2019
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT – Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have
been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and
make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples
to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am
with you always, even to the end of the age.”
When we look at the Great Commission we see there are five “ALLs” in
1. ALL authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus
2. The great commission to go and make disciples of ALL nations
3. Baptise the new disciples in the name of ALL of God – Father, Son
and Holy Spirit
4. We are to teach new disciples ALL the commands Jesus gave us
5. Jesus promises to be with us ALL-ways
I like the way the Great Commission has bookends. Jesus starts by
telling us He has ALL authority and He finishes with He will be with us
In between that He tells us what we need to do – go to ALL nations to
make disciples, baptize them and teach them ALL of what Jesus commanded.
For me seeing the five ALLs helps me to remember what I need to do as
a Christian and it keeps the Great Commission in the forefront of my
Two more useful links
Posted on October 22, 2109
I have added two more links to my links page today. They are for Oikos
Australia and The Bible Project.
Both of these websites are ones have great resources that can
help you grow in your faith and/or living in community.
You can find them above or on my links page here.
Posted on October 14, 2019
Online preaching or podcast sermons is something I have been thinking a lot
about over the last six months. I have found that I have had way less desire to
speak in church than I do preparing podcasts for my website. There are a few
reasons for this.
1. More relaxed
Preparing and delivering a sermon for a church audience is quite stressful.
There is also a lot of time and effort that goes in to it too. Preparing a
sermon for podcast is a lot more relaxed and as there is no timeframe, you can
take your time and get it just right. And if it doesn’t sound quite right the
first time, you can re-record it and go again. This makes a lot more relaxed.
2. More fruit
Another reason is when I preach in our local small country church context is
there is only usually 20-40 people present. While this is a good thing to do and
people are encouraged, a podcast sermon reaches way more people. A simple
podcast sermon might reach hundreds of people in the first month and it
continues to encourage people over the years.
3. More people
Over the years I have met a lot of Christians who do not attend church any
more. For one reason or another they just don’t go. These people often still
love the Lord and want to grow in their faith. As a result they search the
internet for sermons, podcasts and other resources. They listen to sermons, read
blogs and interact via social media. They might not attend church in person, but
they are connected to the Body of Christ – the global church.
This is why I am shifting my focus over to online podcast sermons. It seems like
the next progression for me in my journey. I may still preach in church
occasionally, but it will be much less than in the past.
If you are interested you can find my sermons here
and the audio here.
You can subscribe to our podcast here.
A simple testimony idea
Posted on October 11, 2019
When sharing your faith, a testimony can bring the Bible to life. I have found
that people love hearing stories of how God has changed your life.
When I share about my testimony I touch on three main areas. These three things
really help me to structure my story and how Jesus’ story impacted and changed
1. My life before Christ
I share things like how I felt, my illness, what sort of things I was in to, my
upbringing and the sense of emptiness I had inside. These things set the scene.
2. My conversion
I then share how I came to Jesus. I talk about how I was feeling in the year
before coming to Jesus, the people who helped me and the story of Jesus coming
to die on the cross for me.
3. How my life has changed
In this final section I share how knowing Jesus personally has changed my whole
life and outlook. I talk about the love, acceptance, hope, joy and purpose I now
A simple testimony really can bring the Bible and your faith to life. It doesn’t
have to be long and in-depth to make a lasting impact on those listening.
The Book of James sermon series
Posted on October 7, 2019
I have added a series of sermon I did at my last church from the Book of
James. It is a series of seven messages I did at my last church. It was titled,
"James - faith and action". You can find them on our
sermons page or below.
New MP3s for download
Posted on October 4, 2019
We added five new MP3s for listening or downloading. One is sermon length and
the rest are short devotional thoughts. You can find them on our
audio page or below.
Bring it back Lord
Posted on September 21, 2019
“O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants!
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the
end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace
the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our
children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make
our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!” Psalms 90:13-17
There are times in our walk with the Lord that it seems like things are just not
happening. It feels like God is not with us, all our efforts are in vain and we
are not seeing Him work in our lives.
If we are honest with ourselves and others, this is true for all of us. We all
get in to a spiritual funk at times and we feel like we are just going through
Today’s passage is a great passage. It is in the form of a prayer. In it it has
a number of this we can pray and ask God for.
1. Bring back Your presence – God doesn’t leave us. The Bible tells us this in a
number of places. But for some reason at times it seems like He is further away
than usual. A good place to start when you feel like this is to pray with David,
“O Lord, come back to us”.
2. Bring back the joy – all of us go through times when we lose the joy of the
Lord. Our lives become dull and dreary and the joy is gone…or very little
remains. Again we can pray, “Saisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so
we can sing again”.
3. Bring back the good – again there are seasons in our lives where it seems
like the good is gone. We may still have many blessings like our faith, our
families, our home and provision, but it feels like a lot has been stolen from
us. “Replace the evil with good and let us see You work again and Your glory”
should echo the cries of our hearts in these times.
4. Bring back Your approval – God’s approval is the ultimate approval in all
creation. Knowing that you are loved, forgiven and accepted by God as His child
for eternity is the greatest thing we can have. But at times, for whatever
reason, we lose sight of His unfailing love and approval. “Lord show us Your
approval and bring success” is what we need to ask for.
All of us. Let me say it again, all of us, as Christians go through desert times
when it seems like God is far from us. It is in these times that we can pray
with the Psalmist the words of Psalm 90:13-17.
We can ask God to bring back His presence, His joy, His goodness, and His
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