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Andrew 12:00-7:00pm

The Word For Today

Confessions of a secret sinner 1



'There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.' Luke 12:2 NKJV

Inspirational speaker Julie Ann Barnhill writes: 'I tend to be a stealthy sinner - a cloistered screw-up. Most of my life I've managed to fly under the radar... to keep 99.9 per cent of such things hidden. As someone who attended church and appeared to manage a happy family, I avoided glaring attention to the shadow-side of my life - but at great cost. Lying about my spending led to financial problems in my marriage. Covetousness robbed me of friendships and contentment. The teenage anger that sent me reeling in fits of self-mutilation, exploded years later in outbursts of abusive anger towards my children. And when alcohol beckoned during periods of loneliness and depression, I heeded its call. Maybe you're thinking, "So, you've told us a few secrets from your life - they don't compare to mine." Seeing who has the most horrifying secret isn't the point; we need to embrace the truth that we aren't alone in our secret places... Confession for confession's sake easily turns into tabloid moments like daytime talk shows. It's not enough to spill the beans. Genuine confession leads to radical forgiveness that's only available through Christ. It covers whatever we've done, no matter how bad it is. Jesus knows our secrets and they can never stop him from loving us. They can, however, create a barrier between us and the shame-free life he desires for us. We confess our sins so we can find redemption, rescue and eternal life. We share our secret places with trusted friends so we might know the reality of divine healing through flesh-and-blood relationships with those we love.'

Soulfood: Ecc 1-3, John 10:1-10, Ps 81, Prov 30:11-14

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Nurture your children



'Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.' Ephesians 6:4 KJV

We keep being shocked by stories of children around the world killing teachers and other children in school, and then turning the gun on themselves. Two boys, aged 12 and 13, beat a man to death outside a convenience store just for the pleasure of watching him die. Another boy shot a man sitting in a car at a stop sign. When asked why, he replied, 'Because he looked at me.'

What is causing this? Easy access to guns? Hours spent watching violent videos? Those may be factors. But after extensive research, scientists are concluding that violent behaviour is often related to early childhood abuse and neglect. When a baby spends three days or more in dirty nappies, or when children are burned, beaten or ignored, their blood is filled with stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline among others. These hormones bombard and affect the brains of those children. So for the rest of their lives they will not think and feel what others do. They actually lose the capacity to empathise with those who suffer. The same research has concluded that babies and young children are incredibly vulnerable between birth and three years of age. If their families don't protect them, love and care for them, society will pay a terrible price for it in years to come.

The Bible uses the word 'nurture'. It means to love, protect, encourage, compliment and try to bring out the best in your child.

Soulfood: Rom 15-16, John 9:24-41, Ps 50, Prov 30:7-10

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Why go to church



'Christ loved the church.' Ephesians 5:25 NIV

The story's told of a mother, who woke her son one Sunday morning and said, 'Get up - you're late for church!' He replied, 'I don't want to go. I've no friends there, the music's awful, and the sermons are boring!' The woman replied, 'You've got to go - you're the pastor!' Seriously, why should you go to church? Because 'Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish' (Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV).

Pastor and President Emeritus of Taylor University Dr Jay Kesler gives us five reasons for going to church: (1) It's the only organisation that still deals with issues like salvation, death, judgment, grace, purpose, Heaven and hell. (2) It adds value and dignity to human life. We live in a secular culture that contributes to our sense of inner worthlessness. The church counteracts this negative message by preaching God's love and acceptance. (3) It provides a moral and spiritual compass. Society has revised, resisted, and rejected absolutes, embracing relativism, but the church stands on the timeless bedrock of God's Word. (4) It's where you find compassion, healing, and community. There - we're all on par. There - God's Spirit is working to knit us together as believers, guaranteeing us all 'access... to the Father' (Ephesians 2:18 ESV). (5) Unlike other institutions, it has motivated the most lasting, unselfish, essential, courageous endeavours on earth. Things like missions, schools, hospitals, food pantries, rehab centres and orphanages.

Why go to church? Because Jesus loves the church - and so should you.

Soulfood: Rom 12-14, John 9:13-23, Ps 8, Prov 30:5-6

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