Not much of a fun game?

February 28, 2007

Are you feeling like God’s gone for a walk in the park and left you waiting and hanging around? Have you been looking around to see where He’s gone, searching in shop windows, asking around if anyone’s spotted Him? God plays hide and seek with us sometimes to build our faith. If He seems to take a step away and hide, it is to encourage us to take another step towards him, so it’s all about building our faith muscles and believing the truth we know rather than believing what the circumstances tell us.

Keep going if you feel you’ve lost sight of God because He hasn’t left you… He may well just be carrying you at the moment because you need supporting, meaning you’re unable to see him!

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Recycled T-shirts?

February 27, 2007

Thinking about simplicity in Lent made me realise that being simple doesn’t mean we have to parade as eco-warriors wearing recycled t-shirts.  

Instead it’s about realising that if want to prevent people having involuntary poverty that maybe we could embrace some forms of voulntary poverty, such as paying more for our coffee or bananas to ensure someone receives a fair wage for them.

Every day of our lives we have been lied to; the world has given us a formula for happiness saying: money+sex+power= happiness.  We’re told that if we want to be loved and fit in then we must fight our own way and not submit to anyone.  The formula God has given is that poverty+chastity+obedience=happiness.

How many times have you bought something because you wanted to keep up with fashion rather than because you needed it?  We’ve muddled our wants and needs, meaning we buy too many shoes, we replace our hi-fi’s because we don’t want our old model even though it works perfectly fine.

Not eco warriors, but people who choose God’s formula for happiness, not the world’s.

We are in the world but choose to not be of it!

Is Jesus alive?

February 26, 2007

This weekend i was at a training conference during which there was an outreach service on Saturday night. 

If anyone present at the event had doubts about the existence of a force greater than us, then they would’ve found their mind doing somersaults over all that happened.  Person after person came forward to tell how after being prayed for that night they had been freed of physical illness.

One testimony which stood out for me was the lady who turned up, and in her own words, said she told the friends she came with that she had ‘no faith’ that anything would happen.  She had arrived with a partially blind eye, two hearing aids which had been needed for 15-20yrs due to perforated ear drums, and also problems with a pain in her hip.

Half way through the evening this lady went to the front of the church holding her hearing aids high in the air, proclaiming that she could now here.  When someone stood behind her and whispered she could hear every word!!  Her eye was improved and the pain from her hip gone!

Prayer is powerful.  Prayer is mysterious.  Jesus is alive and His power is available to you today!

Let down gently?

February 23, 2007

How many times have you been hurt or felt let down?

I’ve put my trust in human beings but obviously when i do, i take a risk.  Many times i’ve shared aspects of my life, made myself vulnerable and opened up.  Opening oneself to another is essentially taking the risk to open a door to getting hurt. 

People often say it’s better to have loved and lost than not loved at all.  I think of the friendships i’ve had over the years where i’ve felt damaged or mistreated, but i’m glad i took the risk to get close to those friends even if in some cases i was knocked along the way.

Life is a learning curve and i believe we can receive God’s love in a special and different way when in a place of vulnerability and hurt – when we’ve felt in despair we can let Him minister to our pain rather than being bitter, and in so doing be drawn deeper into His heart.

Friendships are amazing, even when hurt occurs, because there’s something beautiful about two beings, two of God’s creation taking a risk, and trying to imitate the bond of love between the ‘persons’ of the Trinity.

God doesn’t give up on us and is always there for us no matter what we feel about Him.  He won’t let us down, He doesn’t want to hurt us, but Love us to the fullness of Love that we are capable of receiving. 

We need a balance in life between the VIP’s (Very Inspiring People) and the VDPs (Very Draining People) so that we may both give and receive from others, and in doing so draw each other closer to Christ.

Simply Living

February 22, 2007

Yesterday evening i lay on my bed for a cat nap and realised i was surrounded by mess: clothes i couldn’t fit in the wardrobe, an old computer monitor i’d not yet thrown away, and on the top of the wardrobe were 2 of my hoarding boxes – you know the type, ones where you store things ‘just incase’ they are useful one day, yet you haven’t ventured inside for months or even years!

Every so often i need a lifestyle inventory, just like i have a regular service for my car.  I have to look at what i have and don’t use, and do some throwing out.  None of my ‘stuff’ will travel with me to the next life, only my relationship with God.

Some voluntary poverty or simplicity on my part could not only clear my life but also indirectly, in time, prevent someone elsewhere in the world enduring involuntary poverty.

Simplicity is about freedom.  Today’s world tells us our needs are our wants, and things have got muddled.  In getting back to basics we’ll be less cluttered, less stressed and more free!

p.s. Up tomorrow: boldness in heartache!

Are you in the right seat?

February 21, 2007

How many times have you looked down on someone or thought of yourself as better than another?  No?  Perhaps it’s just me!

If i completed a marathon run for charity or led worship at a service then i might pat myself on the back and say ‘well done!’.  Yes, those things may be good, but in the church community the preaher is no better than the worship leader, the worship leader no better than those in charge of the sound system, and they no better than those who clean the church or those who welcome people into the building.

All have two things in common: 1) they are children of God, 2) Have a unique purpose in the Body of Christ. 

If everyone wanted to be a preacher and was gifted at that then there’d be no one to listen to the sermons.  If everyone said welcoming was  a lesser role, then people might never enter the church to hear the song lyrics they needed to hear, because they didn’t feel at ease and welcomed enough to come in. 

How do you view yourself?  We are called to seee ourselves as God does: beautiful, called, and gifted.  But we are equal, no one better than the other, for God loves us equally… we just need to be faithful to the call He has placed on our life.

Goal!

February 20, 2007

Yesterday i spoke to a teenager who has done more than many adults: met the Queen of England, presidents, prime ministers, sung with the musical greats, been ambassador for a global charity, and more besides.

Without a faith such early success could lead to a sense ‘what next?’ about life.  I got to the point where i’d done most of what i’d wanted to and stuff i’d not even dreamed of; i reached the end of the rainbow without greater ambition, but to be in that place so early in years smelt of selfishness.

When i got bored of doing that which God had ordained for my life i got a metaphorically slap on the cheek – my motivation had become ‘what can i get out of life for me?’.

If you lack vision or lack a goal or challenge this day then make LOVE your goal -it’s something which can always be improved on (patience, kindness, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs….).

Sleeping for God

February 19, 2007

Sleep deprivation: a medical term which many could attribute to themselves.

I’ve been challenged lately to consider that getting a good night’s sleep is part of the package of being holy.  When we sleep well we are more alert, more able to pray, more ready to serve God. 

I’m reminded of that age old thing that when a believer says they’re struggling with prayer, the response should be: ‘Have you slept well, eaten well and played well?’.

So many components are needed to make us whole, and sleep is one of them.  If sleep wasn’t important to us, then why do many of us covet a lie-in?

Try to arrange your life so you can get more sleep on some days so you can be more able to serve God – it’s all to build His Kingdom.

p.s. If you already get ample sleep then try the option of ‘playing’ well i.e. doing that which gives you life and joy!

I’ve been on an epic journey of late, battling spiritual blizzards, shooting arrows of faith at mountains which block my path…

It’s been a hard trek, and would’ve been easy to give up during the course of the adventure.  However when you have treasure you’re fighting to get to, it keeps you going, even when things seem impossible – the treasure acts as an incentive to continue, giving you a boost of energy.

Maybe your treasure is your children, your spouse, your friends, your family, or some promises God has made to you personally, or the promise of eternal life itself?

We all have dragons to slay along the way, and they may be around for sometime in the form of challenges at work, or difficulties with a family member or with someone’s health.  Whatever the dragon you have to slay, you need the hope of a treasure, something keeping you going.  Obviously you first need to identify the dragon you’re trying to slay.

Whatever dragon there is in your life, know that in Christ you have the victory over it.

People without vision perish, those without hope give up!

Pressure to Perform

February 13, 2007

When someone says my performance at something has to be good at a particular time i can fall to pieces. 

It’s just like when a child has been practising music for months, but when the moment of examination comes, the pressure to be the best in a 20 minute slot can result in a less than perfect standard.

Another example might be when you’re told that your work is being analysed or critiqued on a particular day – all attempts at the job can become strained because of the realisation of the need to do ones best.

There was a TV programme recently about pushy parents who dish out emotional abuse if their child doesn’t succeed in an area.  How sad it is that a child’s worth is only seen in their ability to achieve rather than simply because they are one of God’s creation.

Have mercy on us Lord for seeing our worth as based on what we do.  Remind us that You love us and those in our lives not because of what we do but because of who we are: children of the King!