Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Great Irony

What if brokenness was a blessing? 

 We don’t like things to be broken.  We don’t like when our cars are broken, our dishes are broken, and our homes broken into.  Even more severe is a broken heart.

Brokenness in most cases is seen as entirely unpleasant and decidedly “not good”.   This is true.  We don’t like brokenness and to be honest, in most cases, neither does God. He is the Restorer, the Mender, the Fixer.  

The irony is that only things that are broken can actually be restored, mended, and fixed.  That is why in God’s economy He makes one allowance: the brokenness of His Son. 

Consider three things that were broken on the night of Jesus' crucifixion: 1) His body, 2) The curtain of the temple, 3) The curse of sin! 
 Mark 15:29-39 (NLT)
29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.
30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself!
32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.
34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.
36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”
37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.
38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” 
 God knows that without the death of His Son Jesus Christ, the chasm that separates him from his beloved people would remain.  God knows that without the brokenness of His Son, the curtain in the temple that literally served as a physical barrier between God and man would never be eliminated.  God knows that without the brokenness of His Son, the curse of sin could not be broken nor the hard heart  softened. 

 So in his great love and ancient wisdom, God broke. . .so that we might be healed.

 Galatians 3:13 (NLT)
When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

Wholeness and true shalom is the goal.  Brokenness is the passage through which He, and likewise we, must travel to reach that goal.

 Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
How ironic.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cyclone Pam Slams Vanuatu

Cyclone Pam is the topic of many conversations over here in New Zealand.  The Category 5 storm has ravaged Vanuatu this weekend and now is headed toward NZ, though has lessened in strength and may only provide us with some heavy wind and rain over the next two days.

We have many Nazarenes and personal friends in Vanuatu who were hit directly by the storm.  Peter and Jenny Isaac, from Papua New Guinea, are missionaries serving there, as well as David and Sylvia Potter, from the USA.  My friend Vanessa, local to Vanuatu, now lives back in her home land after years residing here in New Zealand.  We have just received reports that though there is mass devastation, they are all safe and are looking for ways to support others.

Please see the link below for current udpates on the effects of Cyclone Pam on our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu.

Click below:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Rock Solid Reloaded

Rock Solid has begun for a new school term and the kids are as cool as ever!

 The past two weeks we have launched "Rock Solid Reloaded", a chance to introduce the old and new alike to who we are as a youth outreach and expose them to a new way of thinking about life.

Last week we enjoyed a night at one of Whangarei's favourites, Whangaumu Bay (AKA "Wellington's Bay"). This week we journeyed back to Kamo Intermediate for human "Hungry Hungry Hippos" and loads of silliness.

It is hard to imagine life without these precious teens in my life, so for the next four months I am soaking up as much time as I can with them, investing time and energy, all powered by the love of Jesus.