Email Update 10 – 1 May 2020 :: On the Countdown

Kia Ora
I hope that level 3 has seen you well this week.  The sunny weather has been such an encouraging reminder to me of the goodness of our God and that even in these unusual days the sun still gets up, it still shines, and it still brings us warmth and light!!
A few things that I want to share with you today:
Tahi:  A big thanks for all your prayers for John and Elaine McLardy (missionaries from Hope). They will get to Auckland this Sunday for 14-day isolation and then home to Chch after that.  It has been a miracle for this couple to get to this point and we look forward to welcoming them back to Hornby in due time and hearing how God has provided for them.
Rua:  Our firewood mission is a dedicated, hardworking and prayerful group of men and women who will now start delivering the wood to those in our community who are in need.  It is given with no strings attached except a request to pray for them as it’s delivered.  It’s a beautiful outworking of the gospel and we are proud and behind this mission all the way!!
Toru:  COVID-19 Update – As a church, we’re going to continue following the Governments recommendations and so during level 3 we will continue to only have church online and will not have any groups meeting.  We’re currently working on a framework for when level 2 does come about and will keep you updated as we’re able.
THIS WEEK we have got our 9 am (Hornby), 10 am (West Melton), 11 am (West Melton) and 6 pm (Evening) services all happening from our website or our YouTube channel.  We’d love you to come and be part of the service and drop us a comment or reach out during these times.  It is COMMUNION this weekend at all our morning services – so come to your living room with some bread (or something) and some juice (or similar) and we’ll break bread together.
Well – that’s about it from me – keep on reading to hear from Den and I look forward to connecting with you all on Sunday morning via our online service.
God bless you all!!
Ka taea e ahau nga mea katoa i roto i a te Karaiti e whakakaha nei i ahau. 
Philippians 4:13 –  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Oh, My Heart!
Peter’s denial of Jesus was something he wanted to put in the past.  We don’t know for sure but Peter’s weeping at the realization of what he’d done in denying Jesus (Lk 22:62) may have gone on for same number of days Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.  My guess is that Peter’s trauma was as much the sifting process as the actual denial.  In John 21, we find Jesus greeting the guys on the beach with a BBQed all stoked up, ready for the fish they had just caught.  If I was Peter, I’d be living with a sense of relief.  Those three days are three days I’d rather forget about.  They are behind me Jesus has accepted me back and I can move on.  But what if Jesus is not thinking the same way.  What if Jesus as human as he is, needs to know Peter’s heart?  Jesus begins by asking, Peter do you love me with unconditional love (agapeo) more than these guys here (15)?  Peter responds, “Yes, Lord, you know I like (Phileo) you.”  Phileo is the word used for friendship.  The kiss Judas betrayed Jesus with was a phileoa mark of friendship.  For all we know it might have been a hug or a high five.   Jesus wanted to know Peter’s heart; he was asking for more than friendship.  Jesus asked the same question again, and Peter responded the same way, and when the question came a third time, Peter was distressed (17).  At least Peter answered honestly, “I’m fond of you.  You are my friend.”  Peter had gone through so much, was this callous?  Maybe, but Jesus had to know.  At least this third time, Jesus meets Peter at the level of his honesty, “Do you love me as a friend” (17).  Is it possible that Jesus would risk the high stakes of hurting his friend, to know his friend’s heart?  If yes, does this means Jesus will also venture into areas of high risk to know what is in our hearts?  It raises the question of Jesus risking our own sense of wellbeing to discover what he does not know?  I can hear you asking, “isn’t Jesus God?  If Jesus is 100% man and 100% God; he cannot not be God as much as I cannot not be human.  So, if that is the case, surely as God he knows our hearts?  Doesn’t God possess this attribute omniscience –all knowing-ness?  So, why did David request:
 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Ps 139:23-24)
I suspect God has given to us hearts that are our own, hidden from his view, and even more hidden from ourselves.  Our own, because that is part of the gift of free will.  It is the testing of hearts that reveals what lies deep within them.  I wish it wasn’t this way.  Often trials, discomfort, and pressure reveal what is hidden in our hearts.  Is it possible that the agony Jesus put Peter through to know his heart, was an act of kindness, to save Peter from further circumstantial testing?  For us, isn’t it better that we also hear the voice of God than …?  Then why is the state of our hearts so important to God?  I can only think because he loves us and wants to make us better people.  He wants to free us from the shackles that sin has placed deep within.

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