G'day From Steve

G’day from Steve,

December 20th, 2010|

Jesus the refugee

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:13-18

Within weeks of his birth Jesus Christ was an asylum seeker. His father and mother ‘on the run’ from corrupt authorities who eventually would send in soldiers to kill every baby boy born in the region of Bethlehem in the past two years. Imagine the pain and sorrow.. the mourning of thousands of mothers who lost their little boys because of the Godless, heartless leaders of the day. We fantasise the Christmas story but those days were desperate and violent.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

December 13th, 2010|

Nothing is sound.

Hebrews 13:8 ” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”.

Life is an unpredictable journey of faith in a world that has lost its way. There are no guarantees and nothing is sound. It can all be gone tomorrow. There are times when the rains fall from the sky bringing blessing or […]

G’day from Steve,

December 6th, 2010|

The end of a Season

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

This past week has been one of many mixed emotions. A final farewell to the Heritage Tour team… the inevitable unloading of vehicles and clean up….a trip to the doctor to get diagnosed with asthma and pneumonia and the heartbreaking news of crop destroying rains across many parts of NSW and Victoria. A bumper crop season suddenly wiped out in a few days. As we arrived home there was a great sense of accomplishment and the end of a great season of evangelism. But we know many farming friends who were only weeks away from harvesting their crops and now face yet another tough season ahead. When everything falls apart in life…. keep your faith in the Lord. Keep your eyes fixed on His providence rather than on the circumstances that surround. At the end of every day all we really have is that blessed assurance of God’s great love for us through Christ.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

November 30th, 2010|

Honouring the past to inspire the future.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put your trust in man”. Psalm 118:8

The first Church I ever sang in was the Kangaroo Ground Presbyterian Church in the very small town of Kangaroo Ground in Victoria. I was 13 years old and me and some friends had been taking guitar lessons with a local school teacher, Gordon Mullen. He faithfully took time every Tuesday afternoon to teach us disinterested kids a few chords on our nylon string guitars. We formed a band… well sort of… called Freedom. Me and my mate Geoff Bentley and four girls who all had strong opinions on what we should wear. Purple flared pants and sickly yellow silk shirts for us guys and yellow mini skirts and big white boots for the girls. Our first ever performance was at this church. It was not all that good….. But I remember it well.

I recently visited the historic church and stood where I would have played my guitar on that Sunday morning in 1973. If I had known back then that the Lord would take my humble songs and music and build a worldwide ministry from them it would have been overwhelming… yet He has. And I desire more than anything that He gets all the glory and credit for it. The truth is…. I still can’t read music and have no idea what chords I’m playing most of the time. I failed music in High School and was told by my first vocal lessons instructor I did not have the voice to pursue a career in singing. He was right!!! But that never stops God from doing amazing things in your life.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

November 22nd, 2010|

The simple message of Jesus

I love these words that Jesus spoke. Words that we must apply to our very lives if we truly want to, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4 : 18-19

I simply want to say “thank you” to so many people who have helped make the Heritage National Tour of Australia the amazing venture that it has been. First of all the team.. who have all given so much to make every concert, every church service, school visit, prison visit etc an event where people could encounter more of Christ’s love. It has been an amazing time on the road for the past few months.. living out some of the simple commands Jesus gave to His disciples and followers.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

November 15th, 2010|

Singing when you are sick.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit”, says the Lord .Zech. 4:6

After a solid week of fever, headaches, congestion and fatigue I must confess  to you I have not been all that empowered to get up before audiences and sing my heart out for the cause of the Gospel. I am very grateful to people who have attended the Heritage concerts in Gawler, Murray Bridge, Loxton, Naracoorte, Warrnambool and Warrandyte for tolerating the bluesy, croaky strained vocal tones of Steve Grace this past week. Thank you. I have woken every morning with no voice at all and slept through the nights with fevers and aches… yet in a miraculous way I have had a voice to sing with every night. If it were not for a very capable and dedicated team allowing me the extra rest each day I don’t think I could have made it. So thanks to all of you for your help.

Despite my lack of strength and voice, many have made decisions for Christ this past week. Genuine decisions to put Jesus first and trust Him with their lives. This makes me even more amazed that God will use us even when we are not well. I refuse to cancel a concert and give up, knowing that there are people in every town desperate to hear the good news. God does not need our might and power, He simply needs people willing to allow the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives… even when they are sick.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

November 8th, 2010|

The spirit of scattering

There is one who scatters.. yet increases more. And there is one who with holds more than is right, but this leads to poverty. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25

The one thing that has amazed me with every town we have visited on the Heritage tour has been the hospitality and welcome we have received in every region. The thoughtfulness of the local churches and people who have been praying for the concert and believing for miracles to happen. That amazes me!! We have been so blessed by the Lord through His people everywhere. Although our time in a town is usually one or two days we thank the Lord for the relationships and many expressions of giving we experience. Generosity is infectious. Once you have been given much you simply want to pass on that same spirit.

Sometimes you can hold on to stuff for way too long instead of giving it away and it ends up being worthless to anyone… just like a rusty old car in a field that could have been made useful to someone in its day.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

October 31st, 2010|

Adapting to your environment

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

You meet some interesting characters out in the desert regions of Australia. Not all of them are people. I met this shingleback lizard at Eucla the other day. Like a creature from a pre historic age.. his hissing threats and gapping jaws caught me by surprise. Some how this short legged, stumpy tailed, slow moving, blue tongued lizard with a mean bite has survived for thousands of years and adapted to some of the harshest climate conditions on earth.

God has created us all to adapt to where we are. To reflect His radiance and glory wherever we are. “Christ in us.. the hope of glory!”. The apostle Paul knew the importance of adapting to the environment, of using the right words before the people he was reaching, whether in prison or in places of political and religious power, he did his best to win as many people to faith as possible. Presentation is everything. Don’t be an irrelevant, out of touch, ignorant ambassador for Jesus Christ. Don’t play church. Be real and be relevant. Share in the wonderful blessings God has for you in taking the gospel to your generation and culture.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

October 25th, 2010|

The Gospel of Grace

As far as the east is from the west, so far as he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103.12

The unconditional love of God is an amazing attribute we need in our lives. To be able to live with His forgiving and empowering love for people every day. Choosing to never recall the sins others have done towards you, knowing that is what Christ has done for you. There is some stuff you will never fully understand this side of eternity… so best to leave it in the hands of God’s grace and get on with things that really do matter. When God forgives… He forgets. He will allow us to work through the consequences of our decisions but He is all about restoration, not condemnation. He is a God of redemption and salvation and Jesus is the greatest example in all history of that very truth. Even as He hung on a criminal’s cross He was asking the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do”.

Forgiveness is sweet and brings about freedom while to choose not to forgive cripples your soul and imprisons you in bitterness. God’s way is to give way and allow His purposes to be fulfilled in your life. I love that. The Gospel is a message of Grace and forgiveness in a broken and dying world. Let us be the people who live out that Grace every day.

[…]

G’day from Steve,

October 17th, 2010|

Honouring the Past

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deut 7:9

In 1975 the world changed forever for the indigenous people’s of Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Labour government of the day lead by Gough Whitlam abandoned our south Pacific neighbours by giving the fledgling nation its independence. Over night PNG was taken over by corruption, greed and foreign control… it was no longer under our security and the alliance that had seen many victories together in the past. PNG has never fully recovered from our rejection and today is still in great need of a proper education system, medical care and law enforcement. It is a poverty stricken nation in many ways.

In that same era the church missions that were established in the early 1900’s throughout the vast outback regions of Australia were told by the government to hand over control of the tribal missions and towns to the government. Many of these early church missions had been places of refuge for Aboriginal people who were being hunted down and killed by settlers and land owners. It was a shameful episode in the pages of our history. I am convinced there would be no Aboriginal people existing today if it were not for the mercy and brave actions of many church missionaries from those days.

[…]