CNL Voice // Blog
This is a place for engagement and embedding of the things we are learning in our journey together as a community.
As a church, we value the different voices and gifting’s of our members and see this space as one way we can have them expressed and heard. It is a vehicle of ongoing conversation in everyday life as we seek to extend the kingdom in hearts, habitat and to humanity.
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Dec 10 - 16 // Advent in Habitats
The final week of Advent in the countdown to Christmas. In the pressure and stress to get everything done before the holidays, take some time to sit and quietly reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and what this means for you and the people around you.
Dec 3 - 9 // Advent for Humanity
An active preparation of our hearts and desires to celebrate the coming of God among people on earth. Through Advent we take the opportunity to slow ourselves down, to take time to remember the incredible story of God coming to earth as a human, and reflect on our own response to that event.
Dec 1 - 2 // Advent a waiting place
Advent is the four-Sunday period before Christmas Day. It marks the start of a new Christian Year and is traditionally used by the Western Church worldwide to reflect on the coming of Christ. Waiting through Advent is far from passive. Our waiting is a discipline.
Every moment of everyday is a learning opportunity. Every situation you experience will teach you something. My mama always use to say ‘life is a great teacher’. Now that I’m old and wise I consider that some kind of conspiracy! Mama isn’t a Christian, but God uses her to teach me a lot of things. My train of thought goes like this; we know that God is life, and without God there is no life. So really, if you live on planet earth and consider yourself apart of the human race God is a great teacher!
Everyone hears the Holy Spirit in a different way, this is Gods amazing creativity. Unfortunately it is human nature to want what someone else has. We often look at others and think, I wish I could hear God like they do. While enduring our own humanness, we need to be able to trust God that he has created us each with an aspect of his personality that can only be expressed through us. However you hear God is a blessing and shows a part of who he is.
Growing up in a family of 4 kids and mum and dad meal times were a massive part of our family culture. Daily we would sit around a table and eat together, this act of dinner times became such a habit that as a child I cannot recall sitting in front of the TV eating or for that instance eating anywhere else in our home.
They had seen, they had tasted, and they knew it was GOOD. And they desperately sought their bothers and sisters to find salvation.
Its impossible for the whole Bible to be completely covered in Sunday preaching sessions, and since the church began, there have been eras of various beliefs, and in my life time I have observed changes too. We definitely have a changing culture within the church. So how do we know what is really the truth about who God is and what He asks of us etc.? Humbly, prayerfully read His message to us, all of it.
This scripture begins with the Disciples praying, fasting and worshiping. Drawing near and acknowledging God in their midst and his outpouring in their lives. In this atmosphere the Spirit speaks and directs them. And it is by the Spirit that they have the authority to accomplish all he has directed.
Here was a group of people that had been touched by the Holy Spirit and they just had to share their joy with others despite the opposition, but they felt they could only talk to the Jews. These people having been scattered probably hadn’t heard of Peters experience with Cornelius, how God was interested in saving all people, so they spoke to the Jews only.
We can read this passage and assume the message is clear and that it was Jewish law and Religious barriers, however the same kind of barriers are real and still happening today. Barriers built on racism, religion or social grounds, age, sex or even cultural barriers.
The civil war in Syria has been going for over 5 years. They have confirmed over 250,000 deaths and more than half of those are civilians. They also believe that the number could easily be double due to the number of unaccountable deaths, deaths of people who can not be found because of server bombing.
The whenua (land) wasn't just an economic resource. It told their stories. Held the bones of their tipuna (ancestors) and provided ora (life). Maori understand that their place, their home, their land is their turangawaewae - their place to stand. Knowing where they come from, and how they are connected to that whenua gives them a rock to stand on and a place to operate from.
What did God see in Saul that was pivotal to the development of the church? Saul was a passionate man dedicated to pursue the truth he believed. He was a Jew but also a citizen of Rome which afforded him many privileges. He had the capability and the capacity to move among different groups of people - Jews and gentiles. He became the bridge (a structure carrying a road, path, railway, etc. across a river, road, or other obstacle) that facilitated the expansion of the church.
In our passage today we see Philip (who we last met as one of the men assigned to sorting out the food distribution for the widows in Jerusalem) now being forced out of Jerusalem by persecution to Samaria, where he is part of a move of God. The verse that struck me was vs 4: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went”
I often find myself in my day to day life, especially in my workplace being faced with situations where I can choose to take a stand for what I know is morally right or save face and keep my mouth shut. Taking a stand for righteousness could cost me an opportunity to advance my career or simply lose me respect among my peers. I’d love to say that I always stand up for what I know is God’s truth but often fear gets the best of me and I seek to preserve my own reputation by saying nothing or pretending I didn’t hear what was said.
For me obeying God has always seemed like a struggle and battle as I am always confronted with my inability to measure up to what i feel God expects but as I have reflected on this passage and what obedience to God is this side of the cross things have changed. I feel as though I am starting to truly understand what freedom is... what God expects has been meet by Jesus, obedience is a witness to this. May this become real in our hearts.
When you are face to face hand in hand with someone it becomes impossible to ignore them.
I believe it’s as simple as that. Like the early church, I have my eyes on Jesus... but the disciples walked hand in hand with Jesus. Through the separation there is relationship but the distance allows you to look away and fear to enter.
I think this is a strong reminder to us all to keep Jesus at the centre of our lives. Money is not a safe place for our trust. It's tough, but striking that balance between being a 'good steward' of what God gives us, and not putting our trust in it above our trust in Him, is well worth striving for. And it's worth remembering that he doesn't bless us so we can have 'wealth and luxury' (Proverbs 21:20) for ourselves: He blesses us so we can bless others.