Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9–10)

September is here and so Harvest will soon be upon us, even though many crops we remember that the Lord has blessed us with have already been gathered in. Such was the case with my honey harvest, which is collected in early August and harvested soon after. Despite the drought, because bees like warm weather, one hive produced a whopping 170lbs! At Harvestime the ancient Israelites were commanded in Leviticus to bring the firstfruits of their crop (or wealth if a merchant)—the very best devoted to the LORD—as a sign of their thankfulness to God and in conjunction with their tithes and offerings, a recognition and sign of their dependence upon Him. Whilst our worship no longer operates in quite the same way under the New Covenant, the principle of firstfruits, and the wisdom of the proverb, is still worthy of our acceptance. Do we bring Him our best (a sign of God’s worth), the first (an act of faith and expression of His priority in our life) or anything at all (an act that worship’s God, or fails to, as the great provider). Bringing our firstfruits in time, giftings, service and monetary gifts is a very important spiritual discipline to cultivate. When we honour the Lord He will in turn honour us. We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.


The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris



Wixing up our Mords

[Jesus] said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,[1] and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’ (Luke 24:46–7)

These words are spoken near the very end of Luke’s Gospel of the Gospel message, yet when many Christians speak of the Gospel it doesn’t mound such like Jesus’ words. Often the Gospel of love is referenced, though those words are never used in Scripture, but rather that God is a loving God whose general love was displayed in the sending of His Son and who pours out His special love to those redeemed through faith in His name; in fact His love being an encouragement to seek Him with the promise that He by no means casts away those who come to Him (Jn 6:37b).

You also often here ‘Gospel’ phrases like, ‘Jesus died for everyone, all you have to do is believe’; or ‘on the cross Jesus paid for the sin of the whole world, do you believe this?,’ or, ‘Jesus loves you and died for you, all you need to do is receive His love’; etc, etc, etc. Yet if He died for all than He His blood cannot be all sufficient, or He must not be all powerful, for He doesn’t follow through and save all those ‘He’s died for.’

I used to speak this way, but I’ve learned to be more discerning with my words because words matter. Words express truth and lead people to a fuller or lesser knowledge of the truth. What Jesus says at the end of Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel. It is a message to repent and ask Christ, on the basis of his work on the Cross, to forgiven your sins, the love of God being an encouragement to believe (vs. Him being an angry or vindictive god). We would more rightly speak of Jesus dying so that all who believe (i.e. the elect) on His name might be saved through repentance and faith (Jn 1:12).

What Christians often confuse here, sometimes through a simple lack of discernment caused by want of discipleship or sometimes a result of misguided teaching, is the universal call of the Gospel message and the limited nature of the atonement.

The Gospel invitation is open to all, it is universal, to be proclaimed to all nations. Countless Bible verses express this such as, “anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) Thus, anyone might be saved if they approach Christ in faith. What a gracious message to undeserving sinners!

Yet, the Bible is also very specific that Jesus death on the cross was specific, particular, limited, especially for those the Father had given Him (Jn 6:37a). Jesus died to save His own! (c.f. Jn 10:3). Ephesians 1 says that he chose to redeem from sin this unworthy elect group “to the praise of His glory,” mentioned three times to emphasis salvations focus is God.

The universal Gospel call is glorious, still more the specific love of God shown to His elect people through faith in Jesus Christ (Ro 8:28–39, the favourite v.28 is often cherry picked out of its wider context). God didn’t have to save anyone, that He chose to do so is utter grace.

So, as Christians, let’s not wix up our mords about the Gospel, it’s far too precious for that. Let’s know it, share it clearly and do so with conviction, just as Jesus at the end of Luke’s Gospel commands us.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Jesus’ Death and Resurrection not only accomplished salvation but they also testify that He is God’s Son and can be trusted. Belief in these historic events is a prerequisite, or bound up in, believing the Gospel.

Gratefulness for the Gospel

Paul opens his letter to the Colossians with a thanksgiving prayer for two things: the Gospel and the believers in Colossae. Often even true Christians can lose their passion or gratefulness for the Gospel, and yet this ought to be the mainstay that undergirds our Christian sense of joy, mission and piety. Can we honestly say with Paul that we continually praise the Lord for His Gospel of grace and His saving work in our life? We should. Paul reminds us of the dire circumstances from which we were saved from and the gratefulness this should produce. In vv. 13-14 he writes, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Sweet redemption! Do you remember your first love? The knowledge of what Christ did for us and how much we continually need Him should bring us to our knees with thanksgiving, great joy and humility, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints of light” (Col 1:12 ESV). One helpful exercise to cultivate such thankfulness and praise for the Gospel is to remember how we were brought to faith in Christ. We often call this our testimony.[1]

So get out a pen and paper, or sit down at your computer, and begin to write out your testimony (we’ll limit this to our conversion experience for in the broadest sense this can apply to ALL that the Lord has done in our life). This will serve to bring God’s incredible grace to mind not only to increase our thanks but also to help refine your knowledge of His work in your life so you can more readily share the Gospel with others.

I share my own condensed testimony with you here, not to boast, but as an example, recognizing our stories will all be as unique as we are but also with a strong commonality as we are all saved by the same Lord:

“I was born and raised in a nominal Christian family. Though my parents were nominal, or cultural Christians, that did not stop me from being influenced in a positive way towards the Gospel. Many folks consider it a privilege to be led to Christ through some type of “Damascus road experience” after having blatantly pursued an outward life of sin, and can pinpoint their conversion to a precise day, hour and second. Certainly such conversions are powerful witnesses and testimonies to God’s grace and work in the world, however, this was not my experience. For me the transition appeared as much more progressive.

In the parable about of the vineyard workers (Matt 20) these ‘Damascus road conversions’ could be considered those hired at 5 o’clock. Responding to God’s providential care at a young age I was a worker called at the 9th hour. Though the attitude of the early workers is portrayed negatively, in practicality it is a blessing to be called early and it is a privilege to know Christ from a young age and have longer to get to know Him. I count it as God’s wonderful grace that I was positioned in a place where I could respond to the Gospel early in life and have the opportunity to share in His work and experience His blessings. In fact, I can never remember not knowing the Lord’s presence in my life and count that all grace (Ps 22:10b). Through the Lord’s love He surrounded me with believers, a Biblical church and solid mentors whom the Holy Spirit used to lead me into a lifesaving relationship with Jesus. In 1995 I publically professed my faith in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and was baptized. During my childhood I was kept from certain outward forms of sin which other youth succumbed to. While not perfect, the Lord kept me close to Him and built me up in the most holy faith and gave me a desire to delight in and follow Him, something which I have done ever since. As I have matured in my faith I have grown in my awareness of my own sin and the sin of this world and the need for a Saviour. This, and the knowledge of grace, continues to produce the fruit of humility as I declare, ‘I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour,’ who working through me, can do immeasurably more than I could ever hope or accomplish, for His glory. Amen.”

May our testimonies increase our grateful praise and humility!

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Upon reflection, if you discover there is no proof that you have ever responded to Christ, hence why v.12 makes little sense to you, would you respond to the Gospel today?