Reflection on Luke 18:9-14




“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”


Jesus tells a parable to confront some people who who are confident in their own righteousness.

In the parable, a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stands up to pray about himself. He thanks God that he is better than others, including the tax collector.

The tax collector stands at a distance and prays, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

It is the tax collector and not the Pharisee, Jesus concludes, who is justified before God. Everyone who boasts will be pulled down, but those who humble themselves will be lifted up.


Pride is an insidious, creeping disease that poisons the spirit, creeping in at every unguarded weak point.

Even christians can become self-righteous and proud. It is ironic that our walk with Christ starts with a recognition that we are not good until God calls us good; that we are so lost in sin that we need a Saviour.

It is so easy, as we gain confidence in God’s grace, to think that we are somehow better than the people who have yet to find salvation.

Like the Pharisee in the parable, we look down on evil-doers and forget that is what we once were.


Lord, who am I in this story? Please identify pride or self-righteousness in my heart, and grant me grace to truly repent. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18




I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith


Paul believes the time is close to his departure from this life. He has fought the good fight and kept the faith. Now he looks forward to receiving the crown of righteousness that is waiting for him- not just for Paul but for all who await the coming of the Lord.

At his first court hearing, there was nobody with him, but the Lord gave him strength so that he was delivered from the lion’s mouth. Paul knows that the Lord will rescue him from every evil attack and bring him safely into the heavenly kingdom.


As he approached the end of his life, Paul could honestly say that he had fought the fight, finished the race and kept the faith.

My calling his not the same as Paul’s. We are all running our own race.

The key is to be faithful in the stewardship of the life God has called us to,.

There may be times when I feel like I have failed or pulled up short on what I should have done. There may be times when I feel like I have done the best I possibly could to honour God,. And there are the times when my life is so ordinary that God seems to be right out of the picture.

In all of these times I must determine to stay the course and remain faithful to Christ.


Lord Jesus, help me to always seek you. No matter what comes my way, may the name of Christ be praised in my life. Amen.

Reflection on Joel 2:23-32




“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


The Lord tells Israel to be glad for He will bring the rain they need. There will be showers of abundance, and the grain and wine will overflow.

God will repay what the locusts have taken- the great army of destruction. Then there will be plenty to eat, and they will praise the name of the Lord for the wonders He has worked.

Then, God promises, He will pour out His Spirit on all people. Sons and daughters will prophesy, old men will dream dreams, and young men will see visions. There will be wonders in the heavens above and on the earth below. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.


We live in the age that Joel prophesied about- the era when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all God’s people. In the Old Testament the Spirit was available only to those whom God had called and anointed- prophets, priests and kings. But in the New Covenant, everyone who calls on the name of Jesus for salvation is filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter calls us a “royal priesthood” so all who are in Christ have the Holy Spirit.

We can all dream dreams, see visions and prophesy. The Spirit of prophecy is in us. Many do not, but I think the blockage is in them, not in God. We need to still our hearts and minds and learn to hear the still small voice of God and to discern the visions and dreams He gives us.


I believe your promise Lord. Ever since I asked Jesus into my life your Holy Spirit has been in me. Help me to hear your voice and activate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 18:1-8



“Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?”


Jesus tells His disciples a parable to illustrate that they should always pray and never give up.

He tells about a corrupt judge who didn’t care about other people or God. A widow keeps coming to him to plead for justice.

For some time the judge refuses her, but he grows tired of her persistent requests and in the end he gives in to her, just to get her off his back.

If an unjust judge is like that, how much more will God answer the prayers of those who call out to Him day and night? He will see that they get justice.


We live in a world where everything is instant. Waiting is something we find hard to do. At times a four minute microwave meal seems too slow.

When we pray and our prayers seem to go unanswered, we should not give up. God answers faithful persistence. But His answers come in His time not ours.

Jesus here tells us to pray and keep on praying, believing that God is working on answers to out prayers.


Lord please help me in the battle of prayer to keep on trusting that you will answer. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5




Preach the word of God. Be prepared whether the time is favourable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.


Paul encourages Timothy to hold on to what he has been taught. He has been taught the Scriptures from childhood. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching and correction so that God’s people are equipped for every good work.

We need to proclaim God’s word whether is is favourable or not. A time is coming (I suspect that time has always been with us) when people will not listen to sound teaching, but will look for teachers to tell them what they want to hear, rejecting the truth for myths.


Scripture is the bread of life. As Paul tells Timothy, it is inspired by God.. It teaches us and equips us for every good work.

Too many christians are unfamiliar with the Bible. Very few ever read it right through. Too many fail to spend time in the word each day.

Like someone who only ever eats potato chips, we ignore a full diet and wonder why we lack stamina. The biggest reason that the church is losing ground in many Western countries these days is that many christians neglect the word of God. Instead we settle for the latest fad teaching that sounds good but carries little power.

If you want to do the works of God in this world, you need the word of God.


Lord, please help me to establish a time for your word and for prayer in my daily schedule so that I can be equipped for the work you have for me to do. Amen.

Apostolic- Belonging and Sending


One of the results of being in a truly apostolic church is that the New Testament experience of community is being restored. One of the main anointings of an apostle is that of fathering; an establishment of authority based in relationships rather than legalism, position or denominationalism.

As denominations slowly (or in some cases, rapidly) crumble, the growth of true apostolic networks is becoming more real and more important. In the “good old days” when someone moved away, whether to go into some kind of ministry or just for employment or family reasons, they could be released knowing that the denominational covering would look after them.

Because of the deep relationships being developed within congregations that have discovered apostolic grace, it is vital that people enter into the community of faith correctly and that they leave correctly. If this is ignored there will be a tearing of relationships, a breaking of hearts, and a rupture of community.

There are four words that help describe the dynamic of apostolic community, none of them popular in our self-centred individualistic culture.


In order to enter into the Kingdom of God, and hence into community, we have to surrender everything to Christ. In some ways this is a life-long process; as we grow closer to the Lord we discover more and more parts of our lives that have to be handed over or surrendered to Christ. The Bible calls this process sanctification.

Sins have to be repented of and stopped. Relationships have to be healed. And the thousand and one idols we carry in our hearts that we secretly depend on to give us strength have to be handed over to Him.

People who have an attitude that they are OK with God on their terms rather than His terms will never fit into the community of faith. That’s not because you have to be perfect to be acceptable. No, not at all! It’s quite the opposite really; the people who fit most into the rag-tag army that is the church are those who recognise that they will never in this life be perfect or good enough, except by the grace of God.

Surrender to God is a process of constantly letting go until the only thing we cling to is Christ.



In Ephesians 5:21 Paul exhorts us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

The soul infected with the virus of rebellion or self-empowerment will shrink from these words. But those whose hearts are alive with the concept of community will embrace it.

The apostolic revelation is that everyone needs to be a spiritual son (or daughter) to a spiritual father (not a gender-specific term).  I’ve written at length about this, as have many others, so I won’t labour the point here.

Community happens when we submit our own personal preferences and desires to the direction of the community. We willingly allow others to speak into our hearts for encouragement and correction with the desire that together we grow closer to Christ.

To submit means that we allow our hearts to be knitted with others. It means we give up our own rights to self-determination, but we gain the love, support and grace of a true body of Christ.

Again this is a gradual process as we take baby steps of trust.



Somewhere along the path of surrender and submission we discover that we belong. This is my community, these are my people.

Belonging is a two way street. In a sense the congregation “owns” me, but equally I “own” the congregation.

Our hearts have become united in the love of Christ.

Our focus no longer is on what I get out of church, but on the mission and ministry of us, the people of God.

One of the ways you know that you belong is that other places, conferences and events no longer hold the same appeal as they might have once. Margaret and I rarely go to other churches when we are away because we know that no matter how good the church, no matter how great their community is, it’s not where we belong. That’s not a judgement that other places are inferior; we just do not belong there so our experience is not what we expect.

One of the dangers of “belonging” is that we can become a closed community that implicitly excludes the outsider. The true community of faith is constantly reaching out and inviting others to join in and journey to belonging.



The word apostle comes from the Greek word apostello which means to send. Apostles are people who have been sent on a mission and have the grace to send others on their behalf. This flows from their fathering anointing.

When a person has been in an apostolic faith community, the time may come when it is right for them to leave. It is important that the community then exercises its apostolic grace to send them.

We have seen that people often decide to go somewhere without reference to what the community, pastors or group leaders think. They determine “This is what I am doing,” and off they go.

Two things happen when this occurs.

  1. The person or family leaving struggle either in their work or ministry, or else in finding  a church where they belong. The problem is that they have left without being sent and have gone without a blessing that might have helped them to flourish. Rather than being under authority, they leave on their own authority.
  2. The faith community is hurt, and continues to experience hurt,  because a part of the fabric of the community has been ripped away. It goes through a grief process because it has not had the chance to let go properly. Because an apostolic community is a “sending” community its identity is violated when members leave without being sent.

What is the difference between leaving and being sent? The heart of community is submission one to another, that is of open hearts. If someone is a part of a community, the issues need to be discussed openly in the community, before the decision is made. Pastors and cell leaders should be aware of and invited into the decision. This could be as simple as asking a cell group to pray with a family as they consider a job offer that would take them away; but it must have the option of the group saying “We think this is a bad direction.”

Being sent means that we give the community a chance to pray and to bless us as we go. That simple step means that we go with blessing and favour and have God’s grace with us rather than having to go in our own strength.


Surrender, submit, belong, sent. These four words are the cornerstones on which apostolic community is built.