Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Matthew 21:28-32 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 9)

Unclear Communication © Images created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 9 mistakes. We started to talk about Communication, which is an important part of Marketing Yourself. You can’t afford to …

10. BE UNCLEAR IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

In Matthew 21 Jesus continues to show His incompetence with Marketing Himself. He begins speaking in riddles that make no real sense. You can’t afford to be unclear in communicating your message when you are seeking to Market yourself.

Jesus gets right off the point and starts talking about a family owned vineyard business. He is not running a vineyard! This is irrelevant to Marketing and only serves to distract the crowd and exasperate the community leaders. 

You can’t afford to be unclear. Big mistake.  

CHRIST FOLLOWER: It seems fairly clear to me what He is trying to communicate to these leaders. He says in Matthew 21:28-31 (NLT), “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” 

MARKETING MANAGER: What has this got to do with anything? Jesus has the attention of important community leaders. They ask Him about His credentials and instead of answering them, He talks in riddles. Jesus goes on to give some obscure meaning and uses it to insult these respected leaders in front of the crowd. This won’t earn Him any points.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This is not an obscure parable, but very clear. In Matthew 21:31-32 Jesus explains His meaning very clearly to these corrupt leaders: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. 

Think about it. What Jesus is saying is that the Vineyard represents 2 kinds of people… 

  • self-righteous religious people and 
  • a whole lot of other people who know they were sinners in the sight of God. 

Like THE FIRST SON who initially disobeyed and then chose to turn around and obey, it is the people who are aware of their disobedience to God and then choose to obey Him who eventually find the way for God to transform their lives. 

John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and the religious leaders rejected the clear message that John the Baptist preached. They were like THE SECOND SON who pretended to be obedient and then ignored their Father. 

MARKETING MANAGER: So He insults them with a war of words. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: No. Jesus isn’t interested in a war of words. He is fighting a war for their souls. He is not insulting them, but allowing them to come to the conclusion that they need to repent and allow God to transform their lives, to obey what God is trying to say to them. Admitting we are sinners and need the Saviour is our only hope for salvation.  

Psalms 95:7-8 (NLT2) says, “Don’t harden your hearts…”

Romans 3:22-25 (NLT2) says, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For EVERYONE has sinned; we ALL fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding His blood….”

MARKETING MANAGER: Telling people they are sinners and need to repent isn’t a good marketing message, especially when it’s directed at people who have all the authority in the community. Look at the next parable. It’s just as obscure and just as insulting and it leads to another mistake Jesus made in marketing Himself. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: It will have to wait. My stop again. Catch up soon.

MARKETING MANAGER: Once again I look forward to sharing with you about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 10)

Pastor Ross.

Matthew 21:23-27 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 8)

You have messages © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 8 mistakes. We were talking about how Jesus wasn’t environmentally friendly. But Jesus also failed in marketing Himself well because at times He would, 

9. REFUSE TO COMMUNICATE 

MARKETING MANAGER: In Matthew 21:23 (NLT) “When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to Him. They demanded, “By what authority are You doing all these things? Who gave You the right?” 

Communication is crucial in marketing yourself. Here is a perfect opportunity for Jesus to communicate well but once again, He misses it. The leaders of the community were interested in what He was doing and wanted to understand what He wanted to accomplish. They had seen the Temple cleared and people who had been blind and lame healed. Now they wanted to know more. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Wait a minute. They had no interest in understanding Him. They were confronting Him. They were self-righteous hypocrites. They treated Christ with contempt. They questioned His authority. They tried to interrogate Him, to trap Him and He refuses to let them (Matthew 21:23-27).

Jesus was praised by the people, He cleansed the temple, He healed people who were blind and lame, and children recognised Him as the Messiah. This only infuriated the leaders. 

They weren’t seeking to understand who Jesus was by asking this question? Far from it. Their own positions of authority were being challenged. They had closed minds and hard hearts. They were looking for an opportunity to get rid of Him because they were threatened and felt humiliated because He showed them up for who they were.

They rudely interrupt His teaching and confront Him by saying “By what authority are You doing all these things? Who gave You the right?” 

They didn’t even wait to listen to what He was teaching. Their unbelief treated Jesus with contempt, not with a desire to understand. Their unbelief immediately questioned His authority. 

MARKETING MANAGER: And that’s all the more reason why He needed to communicate well.  These people are the guardians and administrators of the Temple. Important people wanting to clarify who Jesus was and His message. They asked a simple question. Clear communication would have helped Him greatly, but He refuses to answer. He takes the phone off the hook and plays word games with them.  If you want to market yourself well, you need to be clear in your communication, not silent. 

You have Voicemail © Image by Ross Cochrane

Jesus is given the opportunity to reveal where His power really comes from and instead refuses to share it with people in high places. He refused to get His Name in front of the experts. His answer could have been informative, timely, and valuable to all those around Him who were listening, but once again He misses His opportunity.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You haven’t relayed the full story. Here is what happened. In Matthew 21:24-27 Jesus says, “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replies.  “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” 

MARKETING MANAGER: There, you see. He’s off on a tangent instead of answering their question. Jesus refuses to communicate but instead talks about John the Baptist – some kind of wildcard, so called prophet, a man with long hair dressed in camel’s hair who ate locusts and wild honey, a tea-totaler who preached out in the wilderness. What has John the Baptist got to do with anything?  He is getting off on a tangent instead of answering their question. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: John the Baptist has everything to do with it. John was accepted by the crowd as a prophet and he had pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. In John 1:29-34 (NLT) John the Baptist saw Jesus, and said to the people, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for He existed long before me.’ I did not recognize Him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that He might be revealed to Israel.”

Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon Him. I didn’t know He was the One, but when God sent me to baptize with water, He told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that He is the Chosen One of God.”

MARKETING MANAGER: Well at least John the Baptist is a pretty good Marketing Manager. At least he didn’t to refuse to communicate.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: All the people in the Temple that day were waiting for the Religious leaders to affirm John the Baptist as a prophet and in doing so they would have to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah with authority from heaven. 

MARKETING MANAGER: But Jesus refuses to communicate that He is the One whom John was talking about. This would have made it so much easier.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: These religious leaders also refused to communicate. Instead of acknowledging that Jesus has authority from God, the religious leaders  …  talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, He will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”” They refused to be honest with Jesus. “And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He left them in the dark. Why not simply tell them who He was instead of closing off? When you are marketing yourself, you need to get straight to the point and be willing to answer questions people are asking, … like John the Baptist.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: When Jesus refuses to answer their questions He exposes these leaders and the fact that they have no authority themselves. They could not affirm John’s authority without condemning themselves for their unbelief. I think He communicated very well and this allowed the people to decide for themselves who Jesus was. Jesus gives them ample opportunity to repent.

MARKETING MANAGER: I can’t accept that rudely cutting off communication is a good marketing technique. It looks like he’s trying to hide something. Which leads me to the next marketing mistake that Jesus made. Not only does Jesus refuse to communicate but ….

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This is my stop and we will have to resume our conversation later.

MARKETING MANAGER: Once again I look forward to continuing our conversation on Matthew 21 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 9)

Pastor Ross

Fig Tree Marketing – © Image by Ross Cochrane with Blender 2.8

Matthew 21:19-20 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 7)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 7 mistakes. Now His 8th mistake. If you want to make a big mistake in Marketing Yourself then…

8. DON’T BE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY 

MARKETING MANAGER: In Matthew 21:19 (NLT) it says, when Jesus “noticed a fig tree beside the road, He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.” 

Jesus destroyed the fig tree. Why? It was not bearing fruit so He killed it. Do you know how much those trees are worth? He would be in a lot of trouble with His local council today for doing this if He had been in Australia, especially a Morton Bay Fig, and it would not go down well in the community. You have to be circumspect with your words and with your actions. This is just plain destructive. He didn’t even plant some new trees.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I think He was using the tree as a powerful lesson. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Even if He was using the fig tree as a lesson, what does it say? If you don’t bear fruit, you’ll go to hell? He has got to get some kind of control on His anger. First He overturns the tables of the moneychangers, then He gets the religious community leaders offside. Then He takes it out on the environment. This is no way to market yourself. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This is where you need to realise something about Jesus. The Messiah has absolute power over ALL the physical universe. He alone has the power to judge and to determine fruitfulness and unfruitfulness, life and death, salvation and condemnation. Connection to Christ is a powerful thing. In Matthew 17:20 (NLT) Jesus had already told His disciples, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

MARKETING MANAGER: Now, right there, He almost got it right. That’s a much better slogan, “Mountain Moving Marketing” but not “Mustard Seed Marketing.” “Nothing is impossible Marketing” has a ring to it, but certainly not  “Fig Tree Faith” – Faith that kills fig trees and destroys our environment to make some obscure point about bearing fruit. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You don’t get it. Jesus comes to many people like He came to that fig tree, expecting to find fruit but instead He finds only leaves – a false impression of a spiritual life, no faith, no spiritual authority to do anything for God.

This was true of the money changers and the religious leaders in the Temple. Just leaves! No fruit that could nourish anyone, let alone please God. Just trying to impress others but not God. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Marketing Yourself depends on giving a good impression.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But hopefully not a false impression. The Fig Tree is a good picture of anyone who thinks that making a good impression is better than finding and living out a genuine faith in Christ. 

It’s no use being ritualistic but deceptively empty of any profession of faith. Spirituality that is dependent on ritual rather than relationship with God is false. Nothing but leaves! Christ indicates from His actions and words that false spirituality will eventually bring its own curse. A withered up fig tree is at least more honest than giving a false impression of fruitfulness. 

MARKETING MANAGER: That doesn’t change the fact that Jesus’ actions towards the environment were offensive to the community.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Have you considered that people who are phony, simply giving a good impression on the outside, sanctimonious but not genuine, are offensive to God like the fig tree with leaves but no fruit. Not only barren but hypocritical and false. True faith can accomplish incredible results in a person’s life – mountain moving faith. Empty faith only brings its own curse, a withered life on the inside. 

Leaves but no fruit © Image created by Ross Cochrane with Blender 2.8

Hebrews 11:6 (Message) says, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.”

MARKETING MANAGER: That leads me to the way you communicate and the 9th Marketing mistake made by Jesus.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Sarcastically) I can’t wait to hear but this is my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I am so pleased that you are interested. This will really help you. I will look forward to sharing more of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 8)

Pastor Ross

Barbed Wire Marketing © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8

Matthew 21:10-16 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 6)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 6 mistakes. 

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY. 

6. GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE

and number 7 is …

7. GET THE LEADERS, EXPERTS AND MEDIA OFFSIDE

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He had the perfect opportunity to get the religious big shots and experts of the law on-side with Him. But Jesus didn’t seek to be popular with the thought leaders of His day. Big mistake! Marketing is based on who you know as well as what you know. You’ve got to get your name in front of people who can give you opportunities. 

In Matthew 21:10 it says, “The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as He entered. “Who is this?” they asked.” 

This is when He needed to introduce Himself and to ask the religious and community leaders for assistance in what He was trying to achieve, but He missed it. Barbed wire marketing.

Instead, He causes an uproar in the city and doesn’t even apologise! He’s out of His depth here. He needs these leaders. His popularity has suddenly gone viral but He is socially inept. It’s like thinking it is not necessary to focus on the media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus is definitely not socially inept! He doesn’t relate to  these religious and community leaders because they are spiritually inept

MARKETING MANAGER: He’s all over the news but then He turns against the very leaders of the community who could help Him.You don’t disconnect with the very people who can help you. This could be seen as Trump-like behaviour and Trump was impeached by the people he annoyed. Jesus seemed intent in getting the experts off-side. He had the opportunity to create a network of like-minded people in His own field. 

Look at Matthew 21:15 (NLT). “The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” BUT THE LEADERS WERE INDIGNANT.” 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Exactly! They didn’t get what Jesus was trying to accomplish anymore than you do. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Instead of choosing disciples who never really understood what was going on, He could have connected deeply with the teachers of religious law and got to know them as friends and colleagues. This would have been a great move if He wanted to market Himself properly. Genuine expertise is always drawn to other experts, and in their company you can open up a whole world of new possibilities, but Jesus missed His opportunity to connect. He rejected them.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: He didn’t reject them. They rejected Him. He had just healed people who were blind and lame. Wonderful miracles! Yet they, like you, became one of the Lord’s critics! They were aggravated by His wonderful acts of mercy. 

It seems incredible that anyone could be critical! Jesus had restored the Temple to be a house of prayer, praise, worship and healing but the leading priests preferred money changers and corrupt business deals instead. 

Why would Jesus want to cater to these Religious leaders and experts in the law. They wanted to kill Him?

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! You don’t mess with the Senate. They wanted to kill Him. But they wouldn’t have wanted to kill Him if He had marketed Himself well. Jesus missed His opportunity. He deliberately gets them offside and that was His downfall. He antagonized the experts, and so couldn’t expect that they would want to do anything for Him. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You have completely missed the point. He didn’t want anything from them. Matthew 20:28 (NLT) says “… the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

He came to die for our sins, even for those corrupt leaders who wanted to kill Him and for Marketing Managers like you. 

MARKETING MANAGER: If only I had been there I could have saved Him from having to die at all. I know how to talk and bargain with business people and leaders. If only He had cleared the Temple of these annoying children  who were stirring things up, He could have gotten somewhere. Instead He clears the business people.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: The leading priests and you have missed it, but the children didn’t. A place of worship should be a place where wonderful things are to be done for God and by God. They saw the miracles and shouted “Praise God for the Son of David” (Matthew 21:15 NLT). “Son of David” is a term that referred to Jesus as the Messiah. The harmonies of heaven expressed in the praise of children drown out the discordant indignation of the leading priests.

This would be their last opportunity to trust in Christ but instead they rejected Him and objected to the miracles and praise of children. Jesus calmly protected these children from their unconcealed hatred.In Matthew 21:16 (NLT), “They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You (Lord God) have taught children and infants to give You praise.’” 

Jesus calls for praise that reaches outside of our personal selfishness, position, desires for recognition and authority. Worship that touches the heart of God is worship that recognises Jesus for who He is; His authority and position as the Son of David, Messiah, Son of God, King of kings and Lord of all. The children made the connection. 

In Luke 18:17 (NLT) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

MARKETING MANAGER: I never recommend to people that they work with children or animals. Jesus rides in on a donkey and receives praise from children. He consistently breaks the rules of good marketing practice. Then once He gets the religious experts offside He simply leaves and heads off to Bethany. 

Which brings me to His Eighth Marketing Mistake…  

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Shakes head) It will have to wait til next time. Here’s my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I will look forward to the next conversation we have in WHAT NOT TO DO IN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 7)

Pastor Ross

Marketing Graph © Image by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 1)

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT).

He mixed with the “wrong” people – beggars, and sick people and even prostitutes. Yes, you need to help these people, but you don’t get a good reputation for your business by making them your target group.  

And Jesus was effectively homeless. One time when someone wanted to be His follower, He said “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20 (NLT2). 

He could have started a big medical business but didn’t. Yes, He spoke to and catered for some big crowds but had rather radical ideas. He got leaders in the community off-side with Him. He spoke in obscure riddles and often refused to explain Himself.

Yes, His name is a household word today, Christian or not, but He could be so much more popular today if He had been wiser with His marketing strategy. Jesus made some big mistakes in Marketing. 

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly my point! Jesus has much to teach us about what not to do if you want to Market yourself. He would be crucified in the business world today.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: That’s not funny! Jesus was crucified literally. He died for our sins and…

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, yes. And if He had taken more interest in Marketing Himself He could have avoided all that, and would still be popular today. Let’s face it, He made some big mistakes.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: Mistakes? What mistakes? Jesus doesn’t make mistakes!

MARKETING MANAGER: Well, let’s start with a key mistake. Here’s what NOT TO DO in Marketing yourself.

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Jesus did miracles. That’s got to be His key niche marketing tool to identify Him as exercising the power of God, as the Messiah. But Jesus constantly messed up His opportunities. 

He often did miracles simply because He had compassion on people and asked them not to tell people about what happened. When a little girl was healed (literally raised from the dead) in Luke 8:56 (NLT) “her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened”.

You want to mess up big time in marketing? – Don’t let people know your talents and passions. Don’t let people know about your interests and the creative and unique things you do. 

Jesus instructed several people whom He had healed to “tell no-one what was done to you”. He missed the opportunity for His niche market. He refused to grow His reputation. Marketing the Messiah was obviously something He knew nothing about. 

If only I had been one of His disciples, I could have saved Him.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: You really don’t get it, do you? You couldn’t save Him. He came to save you. Miracles were not Jesus’ key niche marketing tool. Unfortunately, sometimes His miracles interfered with proclaiming the good news that you can be forgiven of your sins and born again spiritually.  Once, when He healed a man with leprosy, Jesus told Him not to tell others. In Mark 1:40-45 (NLT2) it says “But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and He couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to Him.” Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this conversation later. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Good. I am so pleased you want to continue our conversation. I will look forward to Part 2 of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF

Pastor Ross

16 AMAZING WAYS IN WHICH JOSEPH’S LIFE MIRRORS THE LIFE OF CHRIST 

JOSEPH JESUS
Joseph’s birth involved the  miraculous intervention of God.  Rachel was barren  (Genesis 30:22-24).  Jesus birth involved the miraculous intervention of God. Mary was a  virgin (Matthew 1:18). 
Joseph had humble beginnings as a  Shepherd and servant of his  brothers (Genesis 37:2).   Jesus had humble beginnings as a  Carpenter’s son and servant of all. Philippians 2:6-11 (NLT) says, “…  He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being …”  
Joseph was a Shepherd  (Genesis 37:2).   Jesus was the Great Shepherd. In  John 10:11-14 (NLT) Jesus says, “I  am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for  the sheep … I am the good  shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me”. 
Joseph was loved by his father  (Genesis 37:3).  Jesus was loved by His Father in  heaven. At Jesus Baptism Matthew 3:17 (NLT2) says “And a voice  from heaven said, “This is My  dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.” 
Joseph was given a coat of many  colours which set him apart for  leadership. It was ripped from him and used to deceive his father  (Genesis 37:23).  Jesus garment was ripped from him before his crucifixion and soldiers gambled for it. John 19:23-24  (NLT2) “When the soldiers had  crucified Jesus, they divided His  clothes among the four of them. They also took His robe, but it  was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart,  let’s throw dice for it.” 
Joseph was ridiculed when he  shared his dream of rulership over  his brothers (Genesis 37:8).  Jesus was ridiculed when He  revealed to others that He was the Messiah. When the religious  leaders put Him on trial in  Matthew 26:63-65 (NLT2) it says,  “Then the high priest said to  Him, “I demand in the name of  the living God—tell us if you are  the Messiah, the Son of God.”  Jesus replied, “You have said it.  And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and  coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his  clothing to show his horror and  said, “Blasphemy! Why do we  need other witnesses? You have  all heard His blasphemy.”     At the crucifixion of Jesus, Matthew 27:37 (NLT) says “A sign was  fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge  against Him. It read: “This is  Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  
Joseph was sent by his father to his lost brothers to see how they were going but they rejected him and  hated him without cause  (Genesis 37:4).  Jesus was sent by His Heavenly  Father to His lost brothers and  sisters to save them but they  rejected Him and hated Him  without cause (John 15:25).  John 1:10-12 (NLT2) says, “He  (Jesus) came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His  own people, and even they  rejected Him. But to all who  believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become  children of God.” 
Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill  Him (Genesis 37:18)  The religious leaders conspired to  kill Jesus (Matthew 26:3, 4) 
Joseph was betrayed and sold for  20 pieces of silver to slave traders.  Judah instigated this  (Genesis 37:28)   Jesus was betrayed by Judas to the  religious leaders for 30 pieces of  silver. Matthew 26:14-15 (NLT2)  says, “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the  leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray  Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.”  
Joseph went on to be a saviour of  families during a time of famine.  Jesus went on to be the Saviour of  the World during spiritual famine.  
His brothers intended harm on  Joseph but God used it to save  many. When Joseph assumed  leadership in Egypt, he confronts  and forgives his brothers.  Genesis 50:18-21 (NLT2) says, “You intended to harm me, but God  intended it all for good. He  brought me to this position so I  could save the lives of many  people.”    God turned cursing to blessing at  the Cross when Jesus died for our  sins. In Acts 5:30-32 (NLT2) Peter  and the Apostles speak to the  religious leaders and the crowd.  “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you  killed Him by hanging Him on a  cross. Then God put Him in the  place of honor at His right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would  repent of their sins and be  forgiven.”  Romans 8:28 (NLT2)  says, “And we know that God  causes everything to work  together for the good of those  who love God and are called  according to His purpose for  them.”   
Joseph was in a prison between  two criminals. Joseph foretold the  deliverance of one of the criminals with him and the death of the  other. (Genesis 40)   Jesus was on the cross between  two criminals. Jesus foretold the  deliverance of one of the criminals with Him. Luke 23:42-43 (NLT2)  says that one criminal said to Him “Jesus, remember me when you  come into your Kingdom.” And  Jesus replied, “I assure you,  today you will be with Me in  paradise.”  
Joseph was tempted but did not sin (Genesis 39:7)   Jesus was tempted but did not sin (Matthew 4:1). Hebrews 4:14-16  says that Jesus “… understands  our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet  he did not sin. So let us come  boldly to the throne of our  gracious God. There we will  receive His mercy, and we will  find grace to help us when we  need it most.” 
Joseph suffered but was finally  exalted to a leadership position  (Genesis 41:41)  Jesus suffered but was finally  exalted. Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT2)  says, “You must have the same  attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though He was God, He did not  think of equality with God as  something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a  slave and was born as a human  being. When He appeared in  human form, He humbled  Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a  cross. Therefore, God elevated  Him to the place of highest  honor and gave Him the name  above all other names, that at  the name of Jesus every knee  should bow, in heaven and on  earth and under the earth, and  every tongue confess that Jesus  Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  
Joseph reconciled his brothers to  himself  (Genesis 45:1-15)  Jesus reconciles sinners to Himself. Colossians 1:19-20 (NLT) says, “For God in all His fullness was  pleased to live in Christ, and  through Him God reconciled  everything to Himself. He made  peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of  Christ’s blood on the cross.” 
Joseph forgave His brothers  (Genesis 45:1-15)  Jesus brings forgiveness. In  Acts 13:38 Paul preaches to a  Jewish audience. He says,  “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for  your sins.” 

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Shards of Pain © by Ross Cochrane using GetPaint.net

Matthew 20:18-19 – FACING THE FUTURE

The nausea became too much and I found myself looking into a bowl for several times that day. I thought it must be some gastric bug, but it wasn’t. I admit that my prayerlife was focused on myself that day. “Lord, please heal my body! 

The pain started last Saturday, slowly at first and then it cut deep into my lower stomach in an arc with surging intense bursts (and I had been looking forward to a restful weekend).  

No position in bed on Saturday night would give enough opportunity for sleep and by Sunday I was feeling miserable. No Church, even though my son was preaching. I decided to email my boss and let her know I would not be coming in on Monday. 

By Monday with no respite from the pain I was wondering what was going on; a hernia perhaps, a blockage of some sort and my mind even entertained bowel cancer (as you do)?  

My wife drove me to my doctor, Dr. James. After some painful prodding and questioning, he said, I suppose you expected me to give you a script for chemist shop drugs that will give you relief while I spend another day running some tests. But instead, I am sending you to the emergency department at the Seventh Day Adventist hospital with a suspected Appendicitis attack. They will do the tests much more quickly. I am sure it is to do with your appendix.” My day had changed yet again. We went straight to the hospital.  

From the moment I entered triage, I was treated with such respect and care, starting with Tony, the triage nurse and so many others. They encouraged me to ask my questions. From the ward’s person, to the trainee doctor, Kevin, to nursing staff and the surgeon, Dr. Barto, everyone was so understanding and explained each step. Through all this, my wife, Julie, was there to support me.  

The tests were fairly clear. “You will have the operation to take out your offending appendix at around 7 pm”, said the surgeon, Dr. Barto.  

 

The emotional and mental pain begins for Jesus as He turns towards Jerusalem, knowing exactly what He will go through. He gathers His disciples. He describes what will happen. Unlike me, no care and respect is given. He will be betrayed, condemned, mocked, flogged and crucified with no-one to support Him.  

What anguish must have accompanied this disclosure to His closest friends, but even they seem to show Him no understanding. Instead, they vie for authority in the coming Kingdom with no inkling of comprehension of the concept of servanthood.  

 

There was a space at 4 pm and I was wheeled through the corridors to the operating theatre, and for me, the next thing I remember is waking up in the post-op area and wheeled back to a beautiful room on the 9th floor where I felt euphoric from the anaesthetic and the comforting presence of God and my wife.

 

The offending appendix, I discovered, had been gangrenous. I am grateful to God that when I was helpless, there were those who treated me with care and respect and excellence. I woke the next day to the soft rays of a sunrise through my window.  

2018-05-02 06.24.48 

I received care and healing and respect. Jesus received contempt and abuse and disdain. I cannot imagine the torment of inflicted pain that would crush my spirit and body to the point of death. He died, surrounded by the severity of hardened soldiers instead of trusted friends to support Him. They spoke of places of authority at His right and left hand but in the end, they ran away.  

He told them He would rise on the 3rd day. How simple that sounds but in rising again He would wrench the very hatred from a world of sinful opposition and give each mocking face an opportunity to find their way to God through Him. He gave respect where there was none, love where there was only derisive laughter.  

He woke, not like me, from a drug-induced euphoria on a hospital bed, but from the dungeons of death and a stone slab, with a startling rush of breath into His lungs, victory clasped like a scepter in His hand.  

The gangrenous sin seeping its poison in the world with its blackened tendrils of death was cut away and thrown into the void, the offending stench replaced with a sweet-smelling incense to those who put their trust in Christ. 

A gangrenous appendix operation fades into insignificance as I take hold of You, my risen Saviour and grasp just a glimpse of what it must have meant for You to share this disclosure to Your disciples. All I can do is be committed to You who knows the path ahead, even through the valley of death, and enjoy the life you have gifted.  

Pastor Ross 

Denarii © Created by Ross Cochrane with Blender Cycles

Matthew 20:1-16 – WHEN GOD IS UNFAIR – Jesus and the Fair Workers Tribunal – Part 2

Matthew 20:1 says, “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for His vineyard...”

Tribunal Chairperson – Now, we understand you are the Landowner of the Kingdom of Heaven Vineyards.

Jesus – Yes. The Landowner, creator and employer. 

Tribunal Chairperson – Your name for the record?

Jesus  Joshua Davidson, known as Jesus to most.

Tribunal Chairperson – And why do you call Your vineyard the Kingdom of heaven?

Jesus  It is called a Kingdom because it is the sphere where I exercise absolute authority as owner and employer. It is called Heaven because it is a place of fruitfulnesslife and perfection. Once workers come to My Vineyard they live on the property and under My authority. They find their ultimate calling and destiny. 

Tribunal Chairperson – We understand that this morning you hired some workers?

Jesus  Yes, I searched for them, found them and invited them to serve Me in My Vineyard. Without being hired, these day laborers would not have the resources they need to liveThey would be destitute and starve. I am their provider.

Tribunal Chairperson – We are here because a question has been asked by Peter, James and John, who are also Your employees, about fairness. You must realize that Employees have to be paid at least their minimum pay rates and entitlements. What exactly is the enterprise agreement or other registered agreement that Your workers are under?

Jesus – I have made a covenant agreement with all those who serve at the Vineyard. It is called Grace. I bypass normal agreements by giving a gift to every one of the same value. I simply say to My workers, “If you serve Me, you will not receive what is fair, but what I decide to give to you which will be right.”  

Tribunal Chairperson – I thought as much. Your employees have been underpaid, and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. We, therefore, are calling upon You to pay your workers what is fair. We understand that sometimes underpayments happen accidentally because of computer or human errorthe wrong number of hours paidpenalty rates not appliedother entitlements not paid, such as leave or allowancesbut You have deliberately underpaid Your workers. At the end of the day, we are here to audit only one pay period over a 12 hour day. We understand you employed others workers at different times of the day.

Jesus  Yes, I am continually looking for those who want to serve Me in the Vineyard. Many people are just waiting for the opportunity and are grateful that I have found them.

Tribunal Chairperson – You chose those who were just standing around?

Jesus  Yes. But it‘s not that these workers want to do nothing. They aren’t lazy. They are waiting for the opportunity to work and searching for MeThose who serve Me have realized that their lives were going nowhere and now they have meaning. They serve Me because they are willing to find their destiny in life. 

Deuteronomy 4:29 says  you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find Him.”

Jeremiah 29:13 says If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. … says the Lord.

Tribunal Chairperson  That’s all well and good, but You kept on hiring people all through the day. We are here to ensure You pay Your workers what they deserve and apparently, this did not happen.

Jesus  My workers deserve nothing from my hand, yet I have given them all the same gift, which represents life and what they can never earn, work for or deserve. Am I to understand that You don’t wish Me to pay those who serve me at all? 

Tribunal Chairperson  Of course not. We are here to ensure that those You do hire are paid what they deserve.

Jesus – You do not realize what you are asking. To pay them what they deserve would only lead to their destruction?

Tribunal Chairperson  Are you saying that your employees don’t deserve to be paid at all?

Jesus  That’s correct. I don’t need to employ them. I have found them in the marketplace of the world and invited them to come to Me and serve Me. They came willingly, knowing that whatever I gave them would be more than they deserve. 

Tribunal Chairperson – I believe some workers came to work for you at 5 in the afternoon and yet you still hired them with just one hour left in the day?

Jesus  Yes. I am always looking for those who will come under my authority. If you had come I would have asked you also “Why haven’t you been working today? Now is the appointed time. There is no need to waste your life waiting for someone else. I am the only One who has come to give people purpose and lifeAnd it is never too late in this life to give your life to Me.

Tribunal Chairperson – Now, let me understand this. You called the last workers first in order to be paidThey had only worked for an hour. How much did you pay them?

Jesus  Yes. The last shall be first. I gave each one a denarius.

Tribunal Chairperson – I see. A full days wage. Very generous. And how much did you pay your employees who worked for the full day?

Jesus – I gave each of them a denarius also.

Tribunal Chairperson – And there’s the problem. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. Some people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid those who worked all day in the scorching heat. Surely You see that there is discrepancy. You have been unfair with Your wages, especially to those who worked for a whole day.

Jesus  No. I agreed with those I hired first, based on my covenant of grace to give them a denarius. This was not based on the number of hours they worked but upon what I desired to give them. They agreed to serve me for a denarius. Those who came later served me for what I considered to be right.

Tribunal Chairperson – It is our contention that You need to backpay your employees who worked for 12 hours by paying them 12 denarii each. And then penalty ratesovertimeallowances, and any other entitlements. That would be fair.

Jesus  You do not know what you are asking. The denarius symbolizes eternal life. I cannot give more than eternal life. To give them what is fair would lead to their destruction. 

Tribunal Chairperson – I contend that You are being unfair.

Jesus  Yes, I am. I am offering My grace to those who trust in Me and that is entirely unfair. It is undeserved. I am here to ask You to come and serve Me also and then you will see personally that my gift of eternal life is unfair.

Today your life will be required of you and you must decide to accept what is fair from My hand which will mean you will be eternally lost or accept my denarius, that which represents that which is totally unfair and undeserved and speaks of absolute grace and eternal life

The wages of sin is death but the free gift I offer to you is eternal life. I will not require any back payments since you have been judged already by your sin, and your words, deeds and thoughts.  

Tribunal Chairperson – Are you mad? We are here to judge you! Do you think you can sit here and judge us? 

Jesus  No, your hearts have done that already. The hour is near. I came to do the work of God among you and give instruction and guide You in life and faith. You are the last of those who I have been searching for all day. I am here to give your life meaning, purpose and destiny. Will you serve Me in My Vineyard rather than try to judge Me for the grace of unfairness. Believe Me, you do not want Me to be fair. Fairness will lead you to hell. Follow Me and have the gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pastor Ross

Old Shed

Down to the barn in the old rusty ute

Image © by Ross Cochrane

AN AUSSIE OUTBACK NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 KJV)

G’day! (Hi)

It’s great to have you mob (crowd) here today. Being an Aussie (Australian) I thought you might like to hear my Aussie Outback version of a Night before Christmas.

You’ll hear a bit of Aussie Lingo here this arvo (Australian language here this afternoon).

So let’s get a bushmen’s barbie going here (outback barbecue), with a Billy boiling on the campfire (Can for making tea) 

You’ll hear a bit of Aussie Lingo (Australian language).  

I want to tell you a story around the campfire about the Nativity. Imagine what it would have been like if Jesus was born in outback Australia.  

Jesus, of course, was born in Bethlehem, not in the Never-Never (Outback Australia) 

So our story is a bit of a furphy (a made up story) but only concerning the place, not the actual events. The events are all dinki-di from the Bible (The real story of these events are found in the Bible and are all true). 

I won’t earbash you no more (I won’t talk a lot), so lets shakealeg (Let’s get on with it).  

Down to the barn in the old rusty ute

Old Australian Barn © By Ross Cochrane

AN AUSSIE OUTBACK NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

© by Ross Cochrane

‘Twas the night before Christmas; There wasn’t a sound.

Not a possum was stirring in Bethlehem’s town.

The inn keeper’s table had tucker and beer.

But out in the stable, Mary’s baby was near;

 

If it happened in outback Australia today

On a homestead up North, and so far away

With Goannas and Emus and red dirt and dust

Where cars and machin’ry are covered in rust

Where crocodiles snap and deadly snakes hiss

I’ve got a feeling it might look like this…

 

On a hot Christmas Eve, we’d be safe in our beds,

While dreams of pavlova dance round in our heads;

Mum in her nightie, and dad in his shorts,

Would have just settled down to watch TV sports,

 

As the Kangaroos gather out on the plain

And a Kookaburra laughs in the gum tree again

The red dog stops barking. The sky’s pink and blue

We can hear distant sounds of a didgeridoo

 

Then up in the night’s sky a star shines so bright;

Loud voices of praise wake us up with a fright.

We run to the screen door, peek cautiously out,

Sneek onto the deck, to find what it’s about.

 

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,

But a whole host of angels declaring good news.

And one of them standing above a gum tree,

Said the Saviour was born and told us where He would be.

 

Now, I’m telling the truth. It’s all dinki-di.

Those heavenly angels filled up the sky.

One looked at us kids, his wings were like flames,

And he spoke to us all and called out our names.

Now, Davo, Now Bazza, Now, Kylie and Shane!

On Maggie! On Shazza! On, Stevo and Wayne!

Go to the kitchen, grab a quick drink,

Scoot down to the barn and see what you think!’

 

So down to the barn in the old rusty ute

With hearts full of wonder,  all of us scoot,

We park by a gum tree and jump to the ground,

Then in through the window, we all look around.

 

There were drovers and shearers, a man with a beard.

And his wife had a baby whom the workmen revered;

They wore singlets and shorts, because of the heat.

They took off their hats and bowed at His feet

 

The baby awoke and His eyes simply Shone!

Born of a virgin, God’s only Son!

Three Swagmen arrived from far east of the station

They’d been searching all day for the King of Salvation

 

A swag full of prezzies they flung from their backs,

And with everyone looking they undid their packs.

They spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,

And presented their goodies and gifts. There were three…

 

One brought gold nuggets, a gift for a king

And one brought Him Frankincense, a strange gift to bring

And then there was Myrrh from the last one to come,

When he saw us he winked and he held up his thumb;

 

Then the angels appeared clear out of the blue;

Flung out their wings and prepared to shoot through.

They bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates –

‘Merry Christmas to all, and good-on-ya, mates!’

Highway in the desert 2

Outback Australia

AUSSIE OUTBACK CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

 

HEAVEN – God’s Station and Homestead 

I want to take a moment now with my interpreter to spruke on about God’s Station and Homestead in the sky for a while before we say Hooroo. (I want to talk about heaven before we go).  

Heaven is not just a place way out beyond the black stump (Heaven is not a place which is far away).  

Heaven is not bullamanka (Heaven is not an Imaginary place somewhere beyond the back of Bourke). 

It’s God’s Homestead and station for us (It’s God’s home for us) 

It’s God’s Chrissie gift (It’s God’s Christmas present) 

So let me ask you 2 questions 

First of all – Are you sure that when you carkit that you are going to go and live in God’s Homestead? (Are you sure that when you pass away, when you die, you will be with God in heaven?) Tick this over! (Think about this for a moment) 

Secondly – If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you onto My station?” what would you say? (If God asked Why should I let you into My Heaven, what would you say?) 

Gardening!

Hard Yakka

AUSSIE BATTLER – Hard Yakka won’t cut it 

You might say, “Well, I’ve been an Aussie Battler all my life (I’ve been a hard trier or struggler all my life). I’ve done some hard yakka (I’ve worked hard). I lived a pretty good life. That should count for something.” 

The Bible says, “Getting on to God’s station (into heaven) is a gift, not something you do hard yakka for (heaven is a gift. It is not earned or deserved. No amount of personal effort, good works or religious deeds can earn a place in heaven) 

It’s no use having tickets on yourself (It’s not something you can boast or brag about). It doesn’t depend on you. It is a gift.  

We don’t have to pay a brass razoo for it. (We don’t have to pay anything for it. It’s a gift... ..And you are absolutely right – Romans 6:23 in the Bible says the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Ephesians 2:8,9 says For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast) 

Hey! Don’t get carried away. You’re just the interpreter, remember? 

(Sorry. But tell me WHY is it that no one can earn their way to Heaven?) 

 

SIN – Making a big Blue with God 

Because . . . All of us cobbers have made a serious blue when it comes to obeying God. And so the wheels fell off. (All of us have sinned, got it wrong, missed the mark with God, and that’s where it all went wrong in terms of our relationship with God).  

Were all like a mob of sheep that have strayed into the back paddock (Because of our sin, we are all far away from God). 

Crickey! (This is serious!) We’ve got Buckley’s of getting ourselves out of the spot where in. (There is no way we can save ourselves- No chance at all. There’s just no way to get to heaven because we’ve blown it, big time). It’s not a matter of saying “She’ll be right, mate” because we are not right with God. (We can’t ignore it. We are not right with God). 

However, in spite of us making a big blue with God (in spite of our sins and mistakes) God wasn’t up a gumtree about this (God wasn’t in a quandary about what must be done.) 

 

GOD – True Blue 

God doesn’t get Aggro at us, only with our sin (He doesn’t get Aggressive or angry at us, only our rebellious ways). 

God wants to give us a fair crack of the whip! (God wants to give us a Fair go!) He is loving, but He is also just. 

God is true-blue and fair-dinkum about judging our sin (God is Pure and honest and keeps His promises about judging our sin) 

But He is also ridgy-didge about loving us (God genuinely loves us. Jeremiah 31;3 says “I have loved you with an everlasting love”) 

God was keen as mustard to find a way to save us and Jesus was just what the doctor ordered. (God was Enthusiastic about saving us and solved our problem for us by sending Jesus.) 

one-way3

CHRIST – God’s Chrissie gift 

Without Jesus, we’ve got Buckleys (Without Christ we have no hope, no chance of being saved). 

God lobbed in on the earth as an ankle biter, born of the virgin Mary (God became a child, born of a virgin). And that’s Christmas, right?  

But there’s more to it than that. 

He was a normal bloke except that He lived a perfect life and died for us mob in order to pay a very exe price for us making a blue (He was a normal person who lived a perfect life and died on a Cross and paid an expensive price for our sins)  

And He died to purchase a station and homestead for us in Heaven (He died to purchase a place we can call home in heaven).  

That’s His Chrissie present! (That’s His Christmas gift to you). 

Jesus died for us and now being mates with God is a goer (Jesus enables friendship with God to be a reality).

The thing about Jesus is that He will never bail you up (Jesus will never force you to accept His gift of eternal life).

You have the choice to give it a burl or knockback Christ’s offer. (You have a choice to believe in Christ or refuse what He is offering you).

 

Boomerangs, Mirrors and Glass Houses

FAITH – Avergoyamug 

But you would be a dipstick if you didn’t at least consider faith this arvo (It would be foolish not to at least consider having faith in Christ this afternoon). 

Faith is like a boomerang. It will turn your life around and bring you back to God. It’s like Chucking a Uey (It’s like making a U-turn back towards God) 

So take a Captain Cook and give it a Burl (So have a look for yourself and give it a try). 

Faith puts us in a good Possie for a homestead in heaven. (Faith puts us in an advantageous position to receive eternal life). 

You may think what I am saying is a bit iffy (Perhaps you’re a bit doubtful, questioning what I am saying).  

But what I am trying to say is avagoyermug (What I am trying to say is “take the risk of faith and give it a try – the Bible says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” Acts 16:31). 

So let’s have a chinwag with God (Let’s talk to God. Let’s pray) 

IN THE QUIET MOMENTS WHEN ARGUMENTS NO LONGER MATTER

Prayer © by Ross Cochrane.

SINNERS PRAYER – Chin Wag with God 

If this has made sense to you (the Strine and this message about why Jesus came) then this is a great opportunity at Christmas time to pray this prayer.  

“Dear God, thank you for loving me and sending your Son to die on the Cross for my sins. I know I’m a sinner, and I cannot save myself, so I ask for Your forgiveness.
Lord Jesus, I want to trust You as my Saviour and follow You as Lord, from this day forward.  Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” 

 If you have decided to give faith in Christ a go, then Bewdie, Grouse, ripper (If you respond to Christ then Very good, well done, unreal, great, fantastic). Don’t forget to tell me about it. 

So all that’s left to say is hooroo and have Micky-Mouse Christmas and Good on ya mates! (So goodbye and have an excellent Christmas and God’s richest blessings on you, my friends). 

flower-from-rockMatthew 19:13-15 – WHY SEEK GOD’S BLESSING IN THE DIFFICULTIES OF LIFE?

“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him.

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And He placed His hands on their heads and blessed them before He left” (Matthew 19:13-15 NLT).

These parents were intent on having Jesus bless their children. They lived in difficult times. Why do we seek God’s blessing for our children? Does it make a difference? Will they be protected from life’s challenges? Will they avoid the pitfalls we encountered? What difference will it make? Will it change them or change us and our attitudes?

  1. A BLESSING SEEKS GOD’S HIGHEST INTENTIONS

Luke 2:27-35 (NLT) speaks about the day when Jesus Himself, as a baby, was blessed by Simeon. “That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there.

He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”  

Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to be dedicated to God at the Temple where this blessing was made. In the light of these prophetic words of blessing concerning Jesus, is it surprising then that parents devoted to Jesus will always seek to bring their children to Him? They too seek God’s highest intentions for their children.

This blessing does not mean Jesus will by-pass the difficulties of life. Blessings don’t always mean that life will be easy. The blessing Simeon gave made it clear that Jesus’ life would have challenges, more than any of us will face. Many would oppose Jesus and Mary would end up having her heart broken.

I would rather go through life with Christ’s blessing than without it, so that I can face the difficulties and opposition I may encounter with His help. I need His strength and victory in my life.

  1. JESUS RECEIVES THOSE LIKE CHILDREN

Jesus receives children on one hand, and then Jesus rejects both the religious leaders and a rich man. The disciples were confused. In their minds, Jesus receives those whom He should reject, and He rejects those He should receive. He receives the humble and rejects the arrogant and proud.

Humility was not highly regarded as a virtue in those times, nor is it in ours.  Neither are women children given any real respect in many parts of our world. Human slavery is still a reality in our world. Christianity declares humility a virtue and not a weakness and has given women and children value. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to Christ.

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) instructs parents about raising children. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

  1. JESUS LOVES ALL WHO COME TO HIM

It is interesting to note that Jesus rebukes those who disregard or disrespect children (Matthew 19:14-15), even His own disciples. Previously He refutes those who disrespect the marriage relationship, even the religious and governing authorities in Jewish society. He has not changed His views.

If Jesus blessed little children then we also can pray for them with hope and expectation that they too will one day follow Him and find His strength for life’s challenges.

Jesus loves all those who come to Him, of any age. He rebuked His own disciples when they tried to decide who should and should not come to Him.

John 1:12-13 (NLT) says, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”

These verses speak of being open to Jesus, so let’s not seek to read infant Baptism into its meaning. Jesus uses the blessing as a symbol of being open to Christ and coming to Him in submission and trust for your life and for the future. It isn’t dependent on how capable you are or how much you lack. It depends on Him and He is willing to receive us and to give us His blessing.

The invitation of Matthew 19:13-15 is for us all to come to Him as dependent children, admitting that we need His blessing to be all He has intended for us to be as we face life’s challenges.

Pastor Ross