THE ENCOUNTER BLOG

From the keyboard of David Wanstall

 
 
18/10/2017
Since we will experience crises in our lives it is wise for us to do some stress testing - to think about what difficulties we might experience and how they could negatively impact our Christian lives.
28/07/2017
One of the keys to becoming more like Jesus is cultivating thankfulness to God. To build a life permeated by thankfulness, we need to give thanks regularly. But what can we give thanks for?
11/07/2017
When we read the poetry sections in Isaiah, we might be puzzled by the lack of rhyms that are much more prominent in English poetry. Rather than rhymes, hebrew poetry is typically structured around 'parallelisms',
05/07/2017
This year, we are focusing on three words to help us in our Christian lives - WITH, LIKE and FOR.... half way through the year, here is a refresher PLUS a bonus exercise you might like to try
28/06/2017
Last Sunday our church had a fantastic Brunch. It was an important time of togetherness over food. But it was also an opportunity for us to experience the genius of mid sized groups.
22/06/2017
As we read and preach through the book of Isaiah, it might be helpful to keep in mind the following framework:
14/06/2017
This week we are starting a teaching series on the Book of Isaiah. Our hope is that during this series you will gain a deeper appreciation for this amazing book and will recognize ways in which it speaks to us today.
07/06/2017
Aaron Keyes leads a ministry called 10,000 Fathers. He gave a great talk at the 2017 Worship Together Conference and while it was delivered in a worship conference setting it is actually a great teaching about discipleship.
30/05/2017
As we look forward to Pentecost this Sunday and we are asking God to fill us afresh with His Spirit, here is a reminder of 7 points about waiting on God from the recent sermon "The weightiness of waiting":
11/05/2017
You don't hear this phrase of exasperation used as much anymore but maybe you can recall yourself or someone else using it when something silly or frustrating happened....
04/05/2017
God wants us to encounter Him, He wants us to encourage one another, and He wants us to engage with the community around us. But sometimes we can get so caught up in encountering, encouraging, engaging that we forget to enjoy God.
05/04/2017
A few days ago, one of our daily readings was from Psalm 42:5 - Why, my soul, are you downcast?...Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him. It reminded me of some advice from 'Soul Keeping' by John Ortberg about speaking to our souls.
29/03/2017
One of the most widely read books about living the With God Life is "The Practice of the Presence of God". Here are some quotes that might inspire you to read the book.
22/03/2017
Our 'With God' lives can only happen in our actual lives. If we wait until our lives are less hectic, more ordered, less painful, more successful, more simple, more dramatic, less dramatic etc etc - we could be waiting a long time
15/03/2017
One of the most widely read books about living the With God Life is "The Practice of the Presence of God". Here are some quotes that might inspire you to read the book.
08/03/2017
If all it took to help people become like Jesus was attending church services, our country would be full of people who are barely indistinguishable from Jesus!
03/03/2017
Earlier this week, our daily readings (encounterbc.org) included Acts 26:15-27. This reading is part of Paul's testimony before King Agrippa. Many rich reflections come from this short passage.
22/02/2017
This year we are encouraging people to use three simple words to help them in their Christian life - WITH, LIKE, FOR.
31/01/2017
As we start a new year it is always good to refresh and refocus. John 1:1-18 and Luke 10 are a great place to start.
14/12/2016
Mary plays a crucial role in birth of Jesus. Her openness and receptivity to the work of God is remarkable and inspiring
07/12/2016
In our always on, always connected, always moving to the next thing lives, it is easy to lose the art of true resting.
03/12/2016
Worship is central to the Christian life. Understanding how we can progress through worship will help us become better worshippers.
25/11/2016
In the lead up to Christmas I have been reflecting more on the life of Jesus and how he expertly balanced the three relationships - with his Father (Up), with the disicples (In), and with the world around him (Out).
09/11/2016
The second season in the life of this church changed their world. We are aiming to follow their example.
02/11/2016
On our equip Sunday in October we ran training tracks to help us with our Christian lives. Here are some resources from those tracks.
28/10/2016
Chris and Peter are two members of our congregation who have had long journeys with illness. I have asked them to reflect on a number of questions about non-healing and their answers are below.
14/10/2016
Below are some thoughts about how we should respond to the healings that people received in our service last Sunday. The focus of these thoughts is on the healings and the importance of us responding to them in significant ways.
06/10/2016
As we recognise, name and express gratitude for the good things in our lives, we are recognising how God's grace has been active in our lives. (grace is much more than forgiveness although it wonderfully includes it)
16/09/2016
Over the last few weeks I have been regularly reading and reflecting on Revelation Chapters 4 and 5. These chapters provide a glimpse of what it is like in heaven 'at the moment'. They describe worship of God in vivid imagery.
02/09/2016
Have you ever noticed our humans almost always tend to gather together in teams.  It appears to be a deep human trait..... Communities that have purpose outside themselves have a depth and richness that communities without that outward focus usually lack
16/08/2016
I think most Christians understand that is important for Christians to be engaged in mission of some sort. However, it is something we tend to outsource to others - overseas missionaries, visiting evangelists, paid ministers, or church programs.
09/08/2016
I think the church has sometimes defaulted to a classroom mode of developing people through sermons, classes and courses.  In the process we have often settled for the TRANSFER OF INFORMATION and fallen short of the TRANSFORMATION OF LIVES.
26/07/2016
I think we sometimes unconsciously change the phrase 'PERSONAL relationship with God' to INDIVIDUAL relationship with God'. We live in a culture that prizes individuality and autonomy and so 'personal' often unconsciously translates to 'private'.
19/07/2016
I think one of the great hinderances to growth in our Christian walk is BEING BLASÉ - being indifferent in our responses to the ways we encounter God and the ways God speaks to us.
13/07/2016
Over the next few blog posts I will be looking at six questions about our Christian lives that are good for us to think about regularly. Reflecting on them can help provide shape and direction to the three dimensions of our Christian lives.
23/06/2016
In my sermon from Romans 8 titled 'Nothing can separate you from the love of God' I referred to stories from two books. These stories illustrated the two ways we can be convinced of things - information and personal experience.
15/06/2016
Discipleship and Mission can sometimes seem to be difficult and complicated. That is why I am always on the look out for simple and repeatable practices that can be a great help.
01/06/2016
In direct correspondence to the 10 plagues, the books of Exodus and Numbers, record 10 instances where the Israelites put God to the test by not believing what God had said, by being disobedient, and by grumbling and complaining.
29/05/2016
From these verses and the example of Jesus, From the bible we learn that discipleship should happen in the regular events of life. We shouldn’t rely just on services, programs or even training events.
29/04/2016
One category of Psalms, that aren't often referred to are Psalms of Lament. But since our lives are full of downs as well as ups, it is important that we become familiar with these Psalms.
19/04/2016
We think it is important that as Christians we follow the words, works and WAYS of Jesus. When we look at the Gospels, we see a vital part of what Jesus did was have meals with people.
13/04/2016
On our site, we regularly publish blog post and sermons but when you look for a particular topic, they might not be as easy to find. So we are in the process of adding relevant links to the 'Grow' section of our website.
08/04/2016
Christians often talk about having a relationship with God. ... this can sometimes seem a bit confusing and it has the potential to become a 'stock phrase' which we can sometimes struggle to explain.
30/03/2016
Here are some short videos by Alex Absalom. They are full of practical tips to help us be on mission with Jesus in our everyday lives. (We will add more as they are released!)
18/03/2016
I think there is a danger that if we transfer this flattening out to Easter we miss the richness and the depth of these universally significant events. So this Easter try not to treat every day the same.
02/03/2016
In our relationship with God, we are usually either moving closer to Him with greater openness, or moving away from him either slowly through distracted drifting or more quickly through hardening of our hearts
24/02/2016
Last week there was a major scientific announcement that Gravity Waves had been detected for the first time. I find the science fascinating but in this post I want to link it to goodness and joy.
17/02/2016
Effective discipleship or apprenticeship needs both information and imitation... Too often in discipling new Christians we have just relied on conveying information and omitted imitation.
10/02/2016
The gospels record the first disciples going to ask Jesus to explain these parables on a number of occasions. Therefore it is quite natural that we should also have questions about how we should understand the parables.
04/02/2016
The section 11:20-12:14 surrounds the famous 'come to me all you who are weary ...' verses in 11:28-30. This section as a whole can help us understand these verses in a clearer way.
27/01/2016
Looking at Matthew 5-9 to learn from the Words, Works AND Ways of Jesus.
19/01/2016
In this post I would like give an overview of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) as it is authoritative teaching from Jesus about Character.
15/01/2016
The two big themes of the bible are highlighted in both Genesis and Matthew
16/12/2015
One thing that can make it easier to understand these books is to understand who wrote them and when they were written.
20/11/2015
The 'Minor Prophets' are actually the last 12 books of the Old Testament. And the only reason they are called 'minor' is the length of the books when compared with the 'major' prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
14/10/2015
?Temptations to do the wrong thing or NOT do the right thing are common to all of us. They can sometimes be difficult to overcome. In other areas of life, when we have a problem we usually go to an expert for help.
09/10/2015
As we seek to follow Jesus in community with other people, we usually start using words that have biblical and theological significance. Sometimes we think we know what these words mean, but if we were asked to define them we might struggle.
30/09/2015
In the last two posts I have looked at the importance of focusing on the Goodness of God in Creation and Salvation. In this post I want to look at the importance of recounting the particular goodness of God in our personal lives.
24/09/2015
There are parts of creation that we don't experience as good - disasters, sickness, and the sin and evil that occurs between humans. This is where appreciating the second source of God's goodness is vital
16/09/2015
Last Sunday we looked at the importance for our spiritual lives of knowing, understanding, recognizing and appreciating the Goodness of God.
07/09/2015
Memorising verses are valuable for adults as well as children. When was the last time you memorised a bible verse?
23/06/2015
On Sunday we looked at how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. He gave them information about prayer in Luke. The Lord's prayer is the foundation of that information and such a rich resource for us today. However he continually gave them ....
03/06/2015
Many times we can be struck by the need to be more like Christ in our Character or Competency - through reading the bible, a sermon, a converstation or even just observing someone who is like Jesus. But often we take the thought no further.....
29/05/2015
To become more like Jesus in our Character, we have to feed the fruit of the Spirit in our lives but we also have to weed out sin. One of the important things we have to get better at is dealing with temptation - because temptation comes to all of us...
20/05/2015
A number of years ago I was privileged to attend a two week workshop with Dallas Willard. I was recently going through some notes and thought I would share a few of them here: Spiritual Life is the life that integrates us with the Life of God...
13/05/2015
At our church we encourage people to follow the Moravian Daily readings (encounterbc.org). Recently Psalms 62 and 63 have been in the readings. These Psalms describe God as being psalmist's Salvation, Stronghold and Satisfaction. These aren't just ...
08/05/2015
Here are some great blogs from various people connected with 3dm around the world.
29/04/2015
Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Until recently, I didn't think about delighting in God. I loved God, was committed to God, followed God, and had joy in my life. But this verse has inspired me....
15/04/2015
This is an article that was published on The Age's website. It describes his experience of coming across an unlikely group of people who turned out to be followers of Jesus and what happened when they offered to pray for him....
08/04/2015
What sort of person do you want to be when you get to the nursing home? Many of us think about what we want to be or do when we grow up, but one day, if we get old enough we will find ourselves in a nursing home.....
01/04/2015
Many of us have TO DO lists. Some who are more organised will have detailed lists with priorities and due dates. Others will freely move from one task to the next one that comes to mind. However there is something more iimportant than a TO DO list....
24/03/2015
Becoming like Christ involves growth in knowledge of the CONTENT of the Christian Faith, the CHARACTER of Jesus, as well as the COMPETENCIES of Jesus....
17/03/2015
When Jesus is teaching his disicples about not worrying (Matt 6:25-34) he tells them to seek first the Kingdom of God. But how do we do that? I think Col 3:1-4 breaks that down into some clear steps....
11/03/2015
In 1 Peter 3:15 it says 'But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.'...
04/03/2015
The Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 are well known to many - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness .....etc. But what is not often recognized is that in many of the places in the New Testament where positive characteristics ....
24/02/2015
In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus challenges the disciples to give the crowd something to eat. Now giving people things to eat is a normal, everyday activity that most of us can accomplish (with varying degrees of culinary expertise)....
17/02/2015
Recently we have been reflecting on being deliberate in seeking to grow as disciples of Jesus this year. There are three areas we need to grow in: ....
11/02/2015
This excerpt is challenging especiallly for those of us who may be facing great suffering now and I don't want you to experience them as harsh or condeming in any way. The first paragraph holds out the possibility of meeting God in your suffering....
02/02/2015
Dallas pointed out to me once that there is a world of difference between being busy and being hurried. Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do....
28/01/2015
Here is another excerpt from 'Soul Keeping' by John Ortberg: The Soul needs rest. In the Bible, God never gives anyone an easy job....
21/01/2015
As I mentioned earlier, the New Testament book of James uses a fascinating word to describe this condition. It's often translated "double-minded," but the Greek word is dipsuchos - we might think of it as double souled ...
13/01/2015
The formation of the soul is the most important process in the universe. John Keats wrote, "Call this world if you please 'The vale of soul-making.'" in our day, we talk a lot about self-talk. Apparently, that's a really important part of the human...
28/12/2014
John Ortberg was experiencing frustration at work. He went to Dallas Willard for some advice. I think the advice applies to all of us, whether we are pastors or not because all of us are influencing people as Christians - people at church, family, ...
17/12/2014
At Christmas six years ago art historian Gergely Barki reluctantly turned the children's movie "Stuart Little" to appease his bored daughter. Hanging on the wall in one of the scenes he saw a long lost avant-garde painting - Sleeping Lady with Black vase
10/12/2014
Link to an online article
02/12/2014
The next two months are often months of great contrast. December can be unusually busy with projects needing to be finished, school years coming to an end, end of year functions for work, school and a kaleidoscope of other groups, presents to purchase...
24/11/2014
Have you ever been to an end of year concert for a dance school or a days worth of games at a local soccer club? In both places you will see beginners - usually young - running around in circles.
21/11/2014
Here is another quote from John Ortberg's book, Soul Keeping. I am recommending this book for summer reading. We will have several copies available at church. You can also purchase kindle versions from Amazon.
03/11/2014
This is the title of a recent book by John Ortberg. I found it really helpful and would recommend it. It seems we don't speak much about 'soul' these days - we are much more likely to talk about 'self'. I think we need to redress the balance.
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