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Word For You Today

Pioneers and settlers



'...we will go on now to other things.' Hebrews 6:3 TLB

The world needs all kinds of people to work. Pioneers - those who move things forward; and settlers - those who keep things going. Pioneers bring initiative and ideas; settlers bring stability and order.Henry Ford said, 'I'm looking for people with an infinite capacity for not knowing what can't be done.' In 1920, Robert Millikan, Physics Nobel Prize winner, said, 'There is no likelihood that man will ever tap the power of the atom.' In 1943, Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, said, 'I think there is a world market for no more than five computers.' Wow! Rather than being concerned about what our most gifted people will come up with next, our greatest fear should be that they won't be given the chance to do it. We mustn't allow our policies and procedures to stifle God-given vision! The Bible's full of non-conformists like Deborah, Elijah, Esther and Paul who challenged the established order, refused to settle for less than God's best, and left us an example to follow. Want to encourage our pioneers? Give them a longer tether; they need space to soar. Put them in charge of something they can really 'own.' Listen to their ideas and give them time to grow. Leave them to explore their ideas and allow them to blossom.Settlers are so important, but without pioneers the world would go no further. So what now? So, are you a pioneer or a settler? Whichever you are, know that you need each other. Pioneers, find a settler to help make your dreams a reality. Settlers, find a pioneer to be inspired by.

Soulfood: 2 Kings 4:42-44, Mark 6:30-44

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Be interruptable



'...Laying his hands on each one, he healed them.' Luke 4:40 NIV

When someone interrupts your task at hand for the sake of conversation, how do you react? Jesus spent more time with people than doing 'tasks'. Though he'd only three and a half years to train twelve men to change the world, he spent most of his time meeting needs and helping people amid the unbearable pressure to perform. This is the model he left us. At the end of one of his busiest days it's recorded that, 'At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them' (Luke 4:40 NIV).What's ministry all about? People or production? Obviously much of our paperwork and production is aimed at helping people. But often there's precious little time or energy left for the people because we're exhausted accomplishing all those tasks! Whether we like to admit it or not, our busy schedules often preoccupy us and create a barrier between us and the opportunity to truly connect with people.Henry Nouwen writes, 'A few years ago I met an old professor at the University of Notre Dame. Looking back on his long life of teaching, he said with a funny twinkle in his eyes: "I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work."' So what now? Today, if someone 'interrupts' a task you're doing, stop what you're doing and chat. They'll feel valued and you'll feel great. Be interruptable.

Soulfood: Deut 14-17, Matt 6:1-18, Ps 37: 32-40, Prov 12:4-6

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Stop Make a difference



'...He passed by on the other side.' Luke 10:31 NKJ

The UNICEF NZ website quotes the following: 'For millions of children around the world, there's no such thing as a childhood. War, work or grinding poverty mean that far too many are denied their basic right to be children'. Although the trends are decreasing (praise God!), still millions of children live under horrific circumstances. Many are trapped in slavery and child prostitution. Many millions of children each year die, most from preventable diseases. Many children under 15 are living with HIV/AIDS, and millions have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Even here in New Zealand, many children require warmer housing, safer communities, good food and better opportunities to succeed.'Are you trying to make me feel guilty?' No! But blessing brings responsibility! In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus didn't condemn the priest and the Levite for being blessed or busy. No, it was because they 'passed by on the other side' (Luke 10:31 NKJ), to avoid a wounded man who needed their help.Understand this: when you have all you need God expects you to show gratitude! When you have more than you need, he expects you to show compassion! '...freely you have received, freely give' (Matthew 10:8 NKJ). So what now? Come on; open your eyes, your heart and your wallet. Don't stand before God one day trying in vain to explain why you left so much of what he gave you uninvested in the thing he cares about most - a hurting world. Don't pass by - stop and make a difference!

Soulfood: Deut 11-13, Matt 5:38-48, Ps 37: 25-31, Prov 12:1-3

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When the grace lifts



'My grace is sufficient for you...' 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJ

When God has 'graced' you, you can handle just about any situation! Listen to Paul: 'Three times I called upon the Lord...begged that it might depart from me; but he said to me, "My grace (My favour and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for my strength and power...show themselves most effective in [your] weakness"...So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)' (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 AMP).There's something you should understand: when the grace lifts, it's God's way of getting you to recognise that things are changing, that it's time to consult him on your next move. Pay attention! Why? Because when the grace lifts we tend to become 'ungracious' toward others, and risk tearing down valuable relationships we've spent time building. Don't let that happen. We're not talking about having a bad day in which you're irritable and impatient. We all have those. No, we're talking about reaching the place where your attitudes and actions consistently hurt others, not helping. So what now? Has the grace you've experienced lifted? Has a season or relationship ended? Are you now hurting the situation more than helping? Ask God for fresh direction. Search his Word for wisdom as to your future. When the grace lifts - it's time to say, 'Lord, what do you have in mind for me now?'

Soulfood: Deut 8-10, Matt 5:27-37, Ps 37:16-24, Prov 11:30-31

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Filling big shoes



'Direct my footsteps according to your Word...' Psalm 119:133 NIV

Have you ever seen a small child trying to walk in adult shoes? It's funny to watch. It's also significant: some day those tiny feet will grow up and fill those big shoes - or bigger ones.Do you feel like you're trying to fill some big shoes today; like you need to grow up fast because you've no option? Life doesn't wait until we're as mature as we'd like to be before handing us greater tests of faith. Most of our training is 'on the job' and, like a little one trying to fill big shoes, at first we do it badly, then awkwardly, but never stumble-free.Another thing about filling big shoes: it makes us more understanding toward others trying to walk in them too. 'How could you do such a thing?' is a question we don't tend to ask, because we already know the answer from personal experience. Ever see a parent holding the hand of a child trying to walk in shoes that are too big, beaming with pride and delight simply because they attempted it, steadying them up, encouraging them to keep going, picking them up when they trip and bump their head? That's what our God does with us! So what now? The only thing that can stop you from growing into those big shoes - is the fear of putting your feet into them! The grace comes with the assignment. Grace is immediate, but growth takes time. Don't be discouraged: 'He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion' (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Soulfood: Deut 5-7, Matt 5:13-26, Ps 37: 8-15, Prov 11:27-29

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Accept Jesus' offer 100



'...It was heard that he was in the house.' Mark 2:1 NKJ

When Christ enters your life: (1) He'll rearrange things! Your well-ordered existence will probably get turned upside down. When you meet Jesus you'll never be the same again. When he showed up at this house in Capernaum 'it was heard.' As a result, the house packed out with people. Four men carrying a paralysed friend, hoping Christ would heal him, had to break up the roof and lower him to the feet of Jesus. Miracles can cause upheaval.(2) You'll get two kinds of reaction! The religious crowd will be threatened. When Jesus claimed to have power to heal, and to forgive sins, the Pharisees said, '"Who can forgive sins but God alone"' (Mark 2:7 NKJ)? The danger of religion is that often we love the rules more than the individuals we are called to serve. So expect some flack, and don't back down! Whatever it takes to get to Jesus, do it; he won't disappoint you. He makes this standing offer, '...the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out' (John 6:37 NKJ).(3) All get what they come for! Those who come to mock, criticise or defend their religious viewpoint leave more lost than ever, and more convinced that they're right. But those who come for help, get it. Listen: 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled' (Matthew 5:6 NKJ). So what now? Christ asks you to humbly acknowledge your need of him, and the faith to reach for and accept, 100%, what he offers you.

Soulfood: Deut 3-4, Matt 5:1-12, Ps 37:1-7, Prov 11:24-26

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Compost



'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die.' Psalm 1:3 NCV

God describes his kids like this: 'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die' (Psalm 1:3 NCV). When God looks at your life he doesn't see some withered old tree that is so dry it has no potential to produce anything good. No way! He sees something magnificent that is constantly producing the fruit that comes from a life that is rooted in him.

In the Bible it talks about us having the fruit of God...not apples and oranges, but: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control' (see Galatians 5:22-23).

Every day you meet different people. Some of them are easygoing and fun to be around; others really test you - they take a huge bite out of your patience or chew into your self-control. So when that fruit has been eaten, how do you grow more? Get your roots in God's steaming compost! It's a sticky mixture made of: a daily dose of his Word; a good regular chat with him; and a heart that daily thanks him for how patient and kind he is with you. All this helps grow more fruit so that when you come in contact with someone who needs your patience you find that your branches are loaded with the stuff.

So what now? Roll up your trousers and squidge your feet into God's compost today. Produce wonderful fruit!

Soulfood: Gen 6:9 - 8:4, Matt 24:37-51

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