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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Think on these things" by Geoff Thompson

“Think on these things”

This is the message I brought to the Parkrose Village Congregation on 15/10/17.

Phillipians 4
“8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

That is the KJV, we had the Living Bible read to us earlier.

I chose this passage and topic because apart from it being the recommended passage for this week in the lectionary, it reminds me of the occasional letters and notes I would get from my late Aunty Alma.
She was my mum’s sister and a keen reader,teacher and author.
When I was a child, and probably due to the influence of my English grandmother, I used to receive as a Christmas present the Rupert Bear Annual.
Does anyone here know Rupert?
Beautiful books that had a longer version of each story below the beautiful illustrations,
but if you were lazy
 you could just read the shorter rhyming version as a caption beneath each illustration.
See sample here.

Rupert has his origins in England.
I used to love these books and the family tradition continued for some time until “we grew out of childish things”.
One year when I was an adult,
 and a reasonably new Christian,
I received a Rupert Annual in the mail from my Aunty Alma who lived in Victoria.
In the front she had written the verse we have today.
“8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I was very much into a steep and fast learning curve about Christianity at the time,
into some of what I thought was more important theology.
I was into the
Theology and gifts of the Holy Spirit,
The second coming of Jesus,
Healing prayer,
Learning how Jesus can heal our sub conscious,
How to deal with the devil and cast out demons if required,
Which Baptism was right,
What must I do to be saved?
Creation verses Evolution.

Now these things were and are important,

but I thought to myself that here was Aunty Alma getting all poetical and profound again and I thought I want more “meat” than something as cute as that passage.

Besides she was Anglican and I was Church of Christ.

What would she know?

Not a good attitude was it?

Now as a more mature Christian,
 and knowing the battles she had in life,
emotionally and spiritually,
 her note to me is more relevant and now I appreciate why she sent it and why she packaged it with Rupert Bear.  

Rupert Bear books were something I remember as  wonderful as a child.

His world had much drama and conflict but always ending with a positive outcome.

Idyllic scenes of an imaginary English countryside.

Wonderful uplifting stories with very appealing characters much as the young ones today have things like Peppa Pig and their various cartoon characters.

“whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report”

Rupert certainly ticked those boxes for me back then.

The Bible teaches us to become as a little child and how the faith of a child keeps it simple and full of trust and belief.

A popular saying we have in our country and elsewhere is “take time to smell the roses”.

That is really a spin off from this passage also.

“Think on these things”

which means not only thinking,
but appreciating,

looking at our world in the way God did when we read these words in Genesis.

“So God made man like his Maker.
Like God did God make man;
Man and maid did he make them.
28 And God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; you are masters of the fish and birds and all the animals. 29 And look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I’ve given all the grass and plants to the animals and birds for their food.” 31 Then God looked over all that he had made, and it was excellent in every way. This ended the sixth day.[j]”
We do need to slow ourselves down from the pace of modern life and to in effect count our blessings.

We do need to stop and think of the wonder of God’s creation and what He has provided for us.

When we stop and do this we are doing ourselves and those around us a real big favour.

We can be relieved of much of our stress and anxiety if we follow the instructions in todays passage.

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

We have been rejoicing and giving thanks through our music,

We have prayed together as a Church,

As we have come to worship Jesus at the Lord’s table
 we have examined ourselves
 and repented of bad attitudes and un forgiveness. 

We have been gathered in Jesus name and He has been and is here with us.

Have you been aware of Him?

Don’t worry if you haven’t.

It can take a lifetime of growing as a Christian to know His presence sometimes.

We are not exempt from growing as a Christian even though we might be getting on in years.

He has been here whether we have felt Him or not.---

If we think on the positive things,

look for all the reminders around us of God’s absolute power,

His creation

 and love

 our faith can only be strengthened.

We can better face whatever comes our way.
Back in the 1960’s the Bachelors had a hit record called “I Believe”

Many others recorded it also.
I love the lyrics although it is not a Christian song but it points us in the direction of the creator who is our Lord.
Here is how it goes.

“I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way
I believe, I believe

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word (that someone is Jesus)
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe"

By practicing the essence of our Bible reading today, we can in effect help prevent ourselves from being led astray.

It is easy to be seduced by the goodies,

the world,

the secular world,

 has to offer.

We need to be on our guard when temptation comes our way.

So some practical things we can do to make today’s message real in our lives.

 Ask ourselves when we

watch TV,

 read a book,

look at the internet,

talk on the phone,

 if Jesus was with us and watching over our shoulder would we feel good in His presence or would we think He would not approve of this.

We might feel shame!

Would Jesus see what we are  doing is




of good report,


Think on these things!

Remember that while this message today points us in the right direction,

if we fail,

 then we have our Lord Jesus,

who is always there to pick us up.

We just go to Him!

We are now going to sing our closing Hymn.

All things Bright and Beautiful.

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