Oct 1 2016

Fight: 5 Week Men’s Course – Starts Monday 10th October, Register Today!

In Fight, a five-session men’s study, we will explore and help you to uncover who you really are — a man created with a warrior’s heart in the image of God—and how to stand up and fight for what’s right.

Find the strength to fight the battles you know you need to fight — the ones that determine the state of your heart, the quality of your marriage, and the spiritual health of your family.  The battles that make you dependent on God as the source of your strength. The battles that make you come alive.

Fight - Winning the Battles that Matter Most

Learn how to fight with faith, with prayer, and with the Word of God. Then, when your enemy begins to attack, fight for the righteous cause that God gave you.

-Draw a line in the sand.
-Make your enemy pay.
-Make sure he gets the message.
-Don’t cross a warrior.
-Don’t mess with this man of God.
-Come out fighting.

And don’t show up for this fight unarmed.

Use the weapons God gave you, and you’ll win. Can you feel it? It’s inside you.

It’s time take a stand – it’s time to Fight. It’s time to fight like a man.

Starts Monday 10th October.  Register today.

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Aug 11 2015

Conquer Series: The Battle Plan for Purity – Starts Soon, Register Today!

ironmen course 2015 – Conquer Series

Conquer

Conquer Series starts Wednesday 19th August, 2015. Secure your place today.

68% of men in church view pornography on a regular basis. Is this just sensational rhetoric? Not according to a national survey among churches. This non-denominational 5-week small group study is the first of its kind to show men how to retrain a brain that’s hooked on porn.The Conquer Series is a series on sexual purity that offers men proven principles and practical tools to conquer pornography and other sexual bondage. The Conquer Series is a great starting point for men as they begin their journey towards healing and purity. We want to break away the shame involved with sexual sin and create an environment where you can be educated and speak freely about this subject.

The Conquer Series is for any man who’s ever struggled with sexual sin. It is a great way to gain some valuable information about this topic and decide if this is an area in your life that you need to work at. The Conquer Series is not a “silver bullet” for defeating sexual sin, but it can help show you the pathway to healing and get you involved with other groups.

ted_roberts

A few of the highlights:
– Explore strongholds that keep men in bondage
– Examine the neurochemistry of addiction
– Discover the weapons and strategies of God
– Investigate proven strategies to prevent relapse
– Study practical daily techniques to remain free

For the first time in history, a cinematic teaching series on sexual purity is here to help men get to the root of bondage, while offering proven principles and practical tools to conquer pornography and find freedom. The Conquer Series, unrivaled in its scope and authority, is not about behavior modification, but heart transformation. This life-changing, 5-week discipleship curriculum provides insights from top Christian leaders who lay out biblical strategies, scientific facts and teach men how to use God’s weapons to become conquerors.

The Conquer series will start in Mt Albert, Auckland on Wednesday, 19 August, 2015 – Register today to secure your place.

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Oct 9 2011

Sometimes in the storm, it is hard to see the light…


Casting Crowns – Praise you in the Storm 

Recently through the school holidays we went on a camping holiday for a couple of weeks, it is something my family and I do every year.   The camp grounds are nestled along the side of an estuary and the beach is very tidal.  At high tide there is water as far as the eye can see, at low tide the nearest water is almost a mile away and you could be forgiven if you thought you had woken up in a desert.
 
A couple of years back, we came to the same camp ground after Christmas.  The first week was great, the sun was out, children were enjoying catching up with their friends and everyone was having a good time.  Then one day, we noticed that the wind was starting to pick up.  I remember the night before, I was watching the mouth of the estuary, as the fishermen all moved their vessels into a sheltered bay.  I come from a small fishing village and whenever the fishing boats moved, you knew something big was on its way.  I went to bed that night thinking “not good… not good at all”.  The storm started in the middle of night, heavy rain and winds hammered the tent, showing just how powerful the elements could be.  We couldn’t sleep through it as the winds rushed at the tent, trying to ground it down, mixed in with pelting rain – it was terrible.  By morning the campground was a mess, over half the tents had been swallowed up by the storm.  The winds had simply broken the sides and spines of over 30 tents.  My wife and my children went back home as the storm showed no signs of letting up however, as our heavy canvas tent was already soaked and impossible to pack up, I resolved to remain to ensure its survival.  I put 6 extra guy ropes on each side, then I double pegged the ropes and walked around it every half hour to ensure every peg was hammered in securely.  I also took my mallet in the pouring rain and walked around other peoples tents and helped them, hammering and trying to save their tents.  The storm was relentless and tents that had already received a battering would not take any more and all of a sudden they would just give up and collapse.  Others were blown over, while the pegs kept them nailed to the ground, their poles had been broken and they were no longer able to stand by themselves – many people lost a lot of equipment that year.
  
The only way our tent survived this huge storm, was through vigilant checking and constant reinforcement.  In a day or two the storm finally ran its course and the sun appeared for the first time, it was a glorious relief.  Unfortunately out of an entire campground only a few tents (including ours) survived.  The camp itself had gone through an extreme experience and as a result we became a closer and friendlier community, with the common bond of having survived the storm. 

Not long ago, one of our senior youth ministers spoke to our church and said that everything might be plain sailing at the moment, but be prepared the storms.  I have to admit at the time I thought my life was pretty sweet and I couldn’t see anything going astray… funny how that happens, getting caught off guard and blindsided by things, how life throws you a curveball and it wasn’t through arrogance but just a complete unawareness until it hit – I didn’t notice the fishing boats moving into shelter.

Life is full of these moments some avoidable, some not.  It matters more about how we as men weather these storms, how we behave around our wives and children, how we deal with pain, hurt and loss, than the circumstances of the storm.  And it matters that, through it all your faith is secure in the knowledge that we serve a mighty and powerful God who said he will never leave us
 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 and …For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
and through this you will be able to navigate the storm with His strength rather than your weakness, as it tests your faith.

There is a saying… “It doesn’t matter how hard you hit the ground or how many times you have fallen. What counts the most is how you get up.”

In my circumstances, I am ashamed to say that I have tried to navigate my life’s storms (business crisis, dysfunctional relationships, marriage upheaval, substance abuse etc) on my own.  I was clutching onto whatever I could, not realising that the storm was a strengthening process for my own good.  As I was stretched, I tried to make it my own way but it wasn’t until I was at the end of myself that I finally admitted that I needed help.  I realised that I was broken, beaten and battered.  However I had to go through this to understand my failings and weaknesses, in order to fully rely on the Lord, and to fully praise Him in the storm.
 
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Revelation 21:4

Friend, did the storm catch you off-guard? Had it loosened the ropes, unearthed the pegs that you thought were so secure? Did you find yourself crossing that line that you never thought you would? Is that when weakness first looked upon you as a worthy subject and tried to ply you with vices like drugs, drink, women, pornography, violence… the list is endless.
 
Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. Isaiah 1:22 (NLT)

Or are you well prepared for the storm, with a true foundation and strong and sturdy tent poles.  Are you ready and waiting at the foot of the cross?  That’s where you will find hope and everlasting love, the true brotherhood of men, husbands, fathers and sons – all looking for the Lord to light the path through the storms of life – to enable us to be prepared for His use.
 

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”. Matthew 16:24

Praise You In This Storm – Casting Crowns

I was sure by now
God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

So what do you think, friend? do you praise God in the storm, the one that gives… and takes away?


Jan 31 2010

Sometimes the choices we make, define us…


The Skit Guys – God’s Chisel

I recently went back to my home town where I grew up – a small village up North that sits nestled along the sides of a river.  At one end of village there is an estuary leading to open water and at the other end are bush clad hills.  In the last century they used the river to transport logs and cargo.  At one end of the river, if you know where to look, there is an old overgrown graveyard, planted in the hills, it looks over the river and holds the remains of many of the men that lost their lives on the river or ocean waves.

The river is tidal and had come in and gone out hundreds of times, before I returned that day.  The last time I had been here was when I was about 17, I am now dangerously close to 40.  When I was growing up in the village, my friends and I, used to rule the area.  We were big fish in a very small pond and were into all manner of things, some good and some bad.  In most small towns you have a few things in common, a gas station, a local store, school, takeaways and a Publican.  Not a lot of opportunities for employment, not a lot of opportunities full stop.

I struggled constantly under the rule of a man that also struggled with the bottle and his internal demons.  This man is my father and I yearned for his love and approval, but instead received his violence, bitterness and jealously over my mother’s love for me.  It finally got to a point where I could no longer endure the abrupt change in emotions that each day brought.  It was time to move on, the tide was about to change, and as the sea once again drained itself away from the shores of the village, so did I.

I moved to a bigger city and got a job and few years went by.  I got married to a wonderful Christian woman who through time taught me how to love.  She has not stopped believing and seeing the best in me, even if at times I found that the most difficult to bear, as I knew my heart.  Over time God spoke to my heart, at first it wasn’t easy to trust a Father, it wasn’t easy to be a son.  However, God’s timing like everything about Him is perfect.  He knew exactly the right time to show me His love and His acceptance.  It seemed like the most logical thing in the world to do, and so I gave my life to Christ.  As I did that, I finally stopped running, and started to accept that I now have a heavenly father that loves me so much.  I was filled with a river of love that to put it quite simply is at times overwhelming.  I stood against the recycling of my natural father’s life and made a decision to live my life for a greater cause where I serve only Christ.  Has it been easy? No – but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  Now because of Christ I am becoming a better man, husband and father.  Most of all I am now a son of the most High, who is dearly loved, by a God who wants to know about me, who counts the hairs on my head – “Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it and the very hairs on your head are all numbered, so don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows”. Matthew 10:29 – 31(NLT), and keeps my tears in a bottle – “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book”. Psalm 58:6 (NLT)  Even more than that, he made it possible through His son Jesus Christ, that I, a sinner, can be saved.  It is truly a mystery to me that My Lord would come to this earth, leave His heavenly throne and all His majesty and glory.  Be violently nailed to a cross and left to hang and to die of a broken heart.  He did all this for my salvation, even when it was my sin that put Him there in the first place.  I am eternally thankful that he did, for I am His and He is mine.

And here I was, some 20 years on, looking over the river, watching it glide along, remembering the same sounds and smells of my youth.  I decided to go for a run; I parked my car at the beginning of the village and began to run from one end to the other.  As I started, many memories came flooding back, some good but mostly bad.  Then as I began to warm up, the blood pumping through my veins, I started to hear it, it startled me a first as it was totally unexpected.  It was the voice of the enemy, coming through as the voice of my father, reminding me that I will never be anything, tearing away at my confidence.  I heard loud shouting and the vivid memories of explosive violence, which I knew only too well.

And as the sweat started to drip down my face and sting my eyes, as the tiredness started to grab hold of my legs, I literally felt like I was running with the devil.  I felt attacked by my past so many memories, so long ago.  But as I reached the halfway point, I noticed that things started to ease, the voices were not so intimidating, not so loud, not filled with the same rage they started with.  As I ran past the old Store, I realised to my surprise that no one even recognised me.  That time had in fact moved on, this wasn’t my home anymore, my spirit no longer lived here.  I have a love and freedom now that world cannot understand.

And then I looked at that river I remembered what Jesus said… “If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within.” John 7:38 -39 (NLT) ...I am His and He is mine, I declare that I have been bought at a high price, by the blood of my Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ, I am part of the river of living water.

I returned to my car, and decided to take one more drive through the village before I head back down south.  In my pride I thought I would be recognised, in my shame I was glad I wasn’t.  Its funny how we think we leave an impact on a place, like a wake behind a vessel, but when we do go back we are hardly recognised. The Psalmist said it best – “Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.  The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here. But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!” Psalm 103:15 -18 (NLT). So as I left this village, this place where my old nature lived, to return to my wife and children, I noticed the river boats like myself have slowly started to move, to change direction, to follow new currents at the changing of the tides.

What about you friend? Have you faced up to the voices of your past, to receive your future, that only He can give… or are you still running with the enemy?


Aug 30 2009

Sometimes when Father’s Day comes round…

For some “Father’s Day” means scar’s and ugly memories which have yet to be fully expunged from hearts or at best forgiven, so that we can move on and be free.  For others, maybe it gives pleasant memories of fun filled times with a loving father.  Or perhaps it is an empty hole because they have never known a father either through death or because their father absconded and was never truly known.

Now we find ourselves in the same position as our fathers had been in relation to us.  In a place where we are charged with the responsibility to “give” to our children in the way, we have been or would have loved to have been able to receive from our Dad’s.

What do you want to leave as a memory for your children versus what are your memories of your father?

When I recall my father, though he died over 37 years ago, I am reminded that I had so little time with him to learn and to understand what motivated him in life, what caused him to live the life he did and hold onto his faith.

If you consider this fact, that you do not know the day of your death, as my father did not.  What memory do you want to leave your children, what drove and motivated you to be the man you are now?

For man also knoweth not his time: Ecclesiastes 9:12a (KJV)

I only had 15 years to obtain some of those threads to my Dad’s life.  However, I have come to realise that even though they are small in number, there have been enough threads for me to grasp the essentials of what he would have desired to pass on to me, so that I could pass them on to my children.

What threads have you left for your children?

Raising boys in my fathers time was within a totally different framework from where I stand today, bringing up my sons.  Technology, the environment, society has all altered beyond recognition.  However, the message that a good father has to pass on, is still the same – as the core truths of life are timeless and ageless.

So what message or advice did my Dad’s life pass on to me that is still as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

1.            A good name is worth more than all the riches of this world.    For the day of a man’s death is more important than the day of his birth? So said King Solomon more than 2,000 years ago. What you are at the day of your death defines what you have become through the way you lived your life.  This will also in turn define where you spend eternity.

2.            Honesty is always the best policy!    You never need to look over your shoulder if you act honestly in all of your endeavours.

3.            Treat others as you want to be treated yourself!

4.            Love your family with all your heart even when it hurts! As our saviour Jesus Christ loved us even to death on a cruel Roman cross.

5.            Love your wife as Christ loves his Church. Love sacrificially with all of your might: this will be the glue that bonds your family together and demonstrates to your children what it means to have a great marriage.

6.            Pursue virtue with all your heart in all you do. This will protect you from falling into evil ways and destroying all that you love the most – your wife, children, your close friends and family.
 
7.            To love is to serve.  In serving our lives as men are made full and complete.  Christ was a servant and the very expression of love.  He did not live a life in reckless pursuit of his own personal schemes, He lived to serve!

One thing is certain in life – we will all die – but in that there is another truth – that whilst we will all die – not all of us will truly ‘LIVE!’

Solomon reminds us very clearly that we cannot control death, distress, defiance, and deception.  If we can accept this and then simply entrust everything to God – then we will not be ruled by misery or anxiety!  We can well note that anxiety is the scourge of the 21st century man!  However our solution is not found in the bottle but in God’s wisdom!

With this in mind we can certainly live in the full knowledge that this life can be exceptionally hard and difficult at times – yet it is also without doubt abundant and fulfilling, when you commit all to Christ.

In considering these statements I am further reminded that as I have pursued God’s way myself, I have grown up to understand more fully the above list of things my Dad has passed on to me.  I am clearly reminded that my Heavenly Father – having said He would be a ‘Father to the Fatherless’ has done exactly this through a variety of methods and means, some which have hurt a lot and others that have been encouraging.

Regardless of my personal experience of a father and fathering I am reminded on this coming Father’s Day that our ultimate example is in fact from our Heavenly Father.  That He has placed on each of us a huge weight of responsibility that as a father we ought also to sacrifice ourselves in the same way that He did, to enable our children to find God’s way which leads to eternal life!

So let’s remember our children this Fathers Day and perform some small action for example a special ‘Dad note’ that will bless and show them that they are a high priority in our lives.  They are also children for whom Christ died just as we are and what is important to Christ, our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit our teacher and guide through this life, is of equal paramount importance to us – their earthly Dad!

God Bless all you Dad’s!           Go on – just do it and be it!