Greetings in Jesus’ name.
Last week, I was sitting in my barber’s seat having a conversation with the local barber. Since moving to West Auckland, I have become a regular at this barber shop. The young Fijian brothers who work there are very friendly. Over the past year we have become comfortable talking about our faith among other things and the differences and challenges within our cultural contexts. They both enjoy our conversations I can tell. Even when customers are queuing, awaiting a haircut – with me, they take their time. One reason being, that the younger of the two, has just married a Christian woman. So they have asked questions and where possible I have offered advice which they have appreciated. Jesus often walked in. He would sit on the long black leather seat alongside those awaiting their turn in the chair. His hair was shiny, and combed slickly back. He was very well-presented and had a trendy tanned-brown coat which he would always wear. He wasn’t there for a haircut though. He often walked in just to have a chat with the barbers whom he knew well. This was a regular occurrence and each time I sat in that barber’s chair, in the reflection of the huge mirror in front of me, Jesus would walk in smiling and chatting. I never said anything to Jesus – but we did exchange a smile one day. That day, I was the only customer in the shop and once again Jesus came in. He shared with the Fijian brothers how so much was going on in Henderson. He was concerned. I wanted to join the conversation but chose not to. Jesus went and came back a few minutes later. He left again – and he returned. I wanted to talk to Jesus, but I couldn’t bring myself round to it (strange for someone who enjoys meeting people). After a year and a half seeing Jesus – I couldn’t say anything to Jesus! The young brothers eventually shared with me that Jesus worked in the dairy right next door to them. I should’ve said something to Jesus.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, while Jesus was opening his dairy for business as usual, two teenagers attacked him and he was pronounced dead hours later. The grieving local community has shared of the friendly and funny nature of this young father who loved to meet people. And my friends at the barbershop who knew him well were in a state of numbness as I visit them yesterday.
My brothers and sisters in Christ: Life is short and can be cut even shorter unexpectedly. Health issues, accidents, and senseless acts of violence, can take away the most important people to you - in a single moment. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to say something important to someone e.g. “Nice to meet you; I forgive you; I love you.”
You may never get that opportunity again. What will your last words be?
In memory of Arun Kumar and the Kumar family.
Rev. Gary Mauga
Has Jesus come to your door?
“Jesus came over the other day…”
One day, I was working in my office when there was a knock at the door. It was quite a firm knock. I approached the door wondering why this person had not noticed the door bell. It was most likely to have been someone who had never been here before. I opened the door and there he was: it was Jesus! He looked different. He was older than I expected. He had a balding head and had grayish stubble around his chin. He was medium to fat build and about 6 feet tall. He wore an old singlet exposing his heavily tattooed arms and black tattered jeans. He spoke, and my noticing he had rotting teeth distracted me from what it is he was saying. “I haven’t eaten for days,” he said. “Do you have any food?” he asked. “I’ve been out of jail for two weeks now and I have nothing.” I hesitated to respond and then said to Jesus, “just wait there, I‘ll go and see if there’s anything in the pantry.” I took a plastic bag and filled it with food that would last him about a week. I made sure to include a bottle of water so that I wouldn’t have to invite him in. This welcome (or unwelcome) was a huge contrast to what I had imagined. I believed I would fall at Jesus’ feet and praise him. Truth is, I couldn’t wait to get him out of my way so I could return to my sermon preparation. Jesus thanked me and went on his way. He only made it as far as my “welcome” mat outside the front door. I thought about it once Jesus left that day. I wished he would come back so I could welcome him better. (Matt. 25:35)
Has Jesus come to your door? He or she probably has. However, we walk past him when he is begging for money. We draw the curtains when he comes knocking. We act poor when she asks for money. You see, what we must remember is that “not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do what my Father wants them to do.” It’s not in our saying, it’s in our doing. (Matt. 7:21)
Unless we see Jesus Christ in others, bypassing all discrimination that may distract us, we will never love – we will never “do” what the Father wills: to love one another in our actions.
Rev. Gary Mauga
- a reflection on the concept of living once.
Greetings in Jesus’ name!
A popular saying has been circulating among the youth of today in recent times. YOLO is an acronym for “You Only Live Once.” Such a word has been used by all ages, and mentioned quite regularly on reality television shows such as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” a show that follows the wealthy and dramatic lifestyle of the Kardashian family (well, so I’ve heard).
The term YOLO encourages a “make the most of life” attitude. As you and I know, such an attitude can both be a good thing and bad thing. For example, for many of us, we understand not to take life for granted and to make the most of the opportunities life presents us with. However, there is a fine line between making the most of life, and living so fast that our quality of life becomes a ticking off of bucket lists. If the latter is the case, are we really living? Are we even living at all?
For me, quality living begins when one receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. In John 11:25, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though
they die.” Jesus claims to be life itself. It is then by receiving Jesus Christ that in doing so, our living begins. And, as we have just read, Jesus’ claim to be the resurrection tells us that He, alone, has conquered death (on the Cross). Christ died for us in order that we would be given life.
Have you accepted and received the life that comes in Jesus Christ? Are you alive and living? In Jesus we find life. Jesus continues on that, “Those who live and believe in me will never die (v. 26).”
So, in many a sense, we do only live once – but we need to be sure to make the decision to receive Christ as our life, in order to even begin living.
What are your thoughts?
Rev Gary Mauga
Actions speak louder than words
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
We’ve been taught throughout the years that “actions speak louder than words.” The Christian faith is generally manifested through our “living out” our new identities in Christ. Throughout Scripture, namely the Gospels, Jesus provides examples of what embodying the characteristics of Christian faith may look like. Our response to Jesus’ teachings is one of action. Actions speak louder than words.
However, sometimes we need a break from all the action – all the movement. Psalm 23:2 teaches us that often we need to lie still. “He maketh me down to lie in green pastures” assures us that there times when God intends for us to rest and enjoy simply being in his presence. Doing so, exercises our trust and faith that the world continues to grow in God’s hands – even when we, ourselves are not “working.” Whether it be “doing things” for God, or perhaps taking care of family business, or in our work places and churches – God makes time for us lie still and enjoy his presence. How else will we notice the green pastures if we are too busy “doing and actioning”? Enjoying being still in God does not make you less a Christian, rather it enables you to draw close to our God who loves us and seeks to grow us beyond Christianity itself.
Due for a holiday? Due for a family getaway? Need to lie still?
I do. See you all in two weeks!
Rev. Gary Mauga
Rev. Gary Mauga
Thoughts and comments by our minister, Gary.
This page content © 2016
Rev. Gary Mauga