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!

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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.

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!

Use what you have!

February 7, 2007

I used to think i have nothing special to share with the world – many people have had the same experiences of me, or have the same qualifications.

Does what i have have any significance to others, or is it merely for my own spiritual growth?  It’s not til i begin conversing with people or listening to others that i realise that i have a unique take on things precisely because of my combination of gifts and skills.

How many times have people said something simple you already knew but it cut to the heart?  How many of us get fed up with hearing stories of how God has moved in someone’s life? Not me.

Today’s Challenge: Are you passing on what God has given you?  Everyone has something to give.  As much as i dislike the phrase, i’d encourage you to ‘share your story’. Let others be impacted by God’s grace, mercy and love at work in your life.

You are what you eat!

January 31, 2007

As i sat munching on a dried fig yesterday i found myself transported back to the time of Jesus in my mind, the times when fig trees were used in His illustrations.  I began wondering what Jesus ate besides fish and figs?

I love chocolate and pastries but for two weeks now i’ve been eating healthy.  At first i was a nightmare to be around… irritable Maria Syndrome was the diagnosis i gave myself.  In fact, it was my body reacting to withdrawing from addictive foods… all the ‘e’ colourings and preservatives and gunk.

People often say a mediterranean diet is the best, but for those of us living in the west it’s really not all that practical.  We know that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, yet we continue to abuse them in so many ways: we fill our minds with that which does not build up our souls, we fill our stomachs with addictive unhealthy foods, we fail to exercise to keep our bodies in tip top shape for the Lord.

It’s so easy to say, ‘i must be fit and healthy’, but quite another thing to bring it into reality.  Food has a hold over us – it affects our mood, and so many areas of life. 

God wants a marvellous life for you, one full of joy and energy but believe it or not, the food you eat could be getting you down.  I’m not suggesting that you suddenly try to transform your diet altogether (that’s not easy at all) but start small and reap the harvest – both white flour and white sugar are addictive… start by cutting those out and see your energy levels grow.

I want you to be the best you can be for God because food could be holding you back from claiming the life on earth God intended for you.  God give you strength and courage.

Who you doing it for?

January 30, 2007

When you do something who is it for?  Is it the people who’ll see you doing it?  Or the people you’ll tell?  Your family?  Your friends?  Yourself?

We are called to do everything for God but it’s easier said than done.

In the past my motivation for action tended to be: ‘will this look good on my C.V.?’.  Having such an attitude meant that i missed out on alot.  I may’ve passed by helping someone out if it can’t be written on my C.V..  In this i can vere towards hiding my sin, and my failings and weakness in false actions.

Like the apostle Paul i must boast in my weakness, not in the qualifications and seeming achievements.

Are you more likely to help someone if your church members are around to see how you respond?  It’s a challenge to us all.

Write the vision down!

January 27, 2007

I woke up this morning with the verse from Habbakuk in mind, it’s the one about writing the vision down on stone tablets.

As i live in the 21st century i’m not going to go out and find some stone slabs, and a suitable implement to carve out a vision, however realising that it takes effort to erase something after you ‘carve it in stone’ was a useful thing to reflect on.

Can i ask you to do something today?  Would you do me the favour of getting some paper and a pen (not a pencil!!), and writing down the things you’re passionate about and would like from life. 

It might seem odd that some stranger from the UK should be asking you to do this, but i think it’s a really important thing to do.  So often when we make decisions in life we can ‘um’ and ‘er’, not knowing what God calls us too.  Equally we can sell ourselves short, allowing human limitations to restrict what God can do in us.

You might write something like this to begin with: ‘I would like to preach with signs and wonders following’.  Even if it seems an impossible dream, not least because you may have a fear of preaching, write it down anyway.  Or you might write ‘I want to bring relief to the emotional pain orphans in a home experience’, or ‘I want to live somewhere where i can have an outdoor life’.

Next you may say: ‘but these are just my dreams, they’re not what God wants for me’.  I would say: ‘write them down anyway regardless of whether they seem realistic!’.  God will hone the dream over the years – we’re imperfect human beings so will receive His vision for us imperfectly, but if we don’t write it down in the first place then He has nothing to work with.

Our God is a God of the impossible and is not limited by our weaknesses and inabilities – He works in spite of them.  Please write the vision down, then give it to God.  He has planted desires in your heart to act as a signpost to His will.  Ask Him to lessen your desire for anything that is not of Him, and to strengthen passion for the aspects of the vision which are of Him.

p.s. Thank you for the many birthday blessings yesterday.

Confuser for God

January 25, 2007

Have you ever been in a situation you have desperately wanted to resolve or get out of?

It’s those dark moments where there seems to be no hope, no way forward, no solution, only bleakness.

I’ve been challenged of late to praise God in spite of the circumstances, to sing praise to Him no matter what i’m feeling, even if everything around appears to be crumbling. 

The Devil gets confused when we praise God in the middle of despair, because his great achievement would be to get us to spiral down into greater pain.

Through praise our situation will be made smaller and God will be given a door through which He can enter to bring healing.

The Unexpected!

January 19, 2007

Last night something was said to me which i wasn’t expecting and wasn’t prepared for. 

Many times a word has been spoken to me and at the time it has seemed hard to digest, but on reflection it has proved be a life changing word, causing me to think about things in a fresh way.

A friend of mine who is wise in spiritual matters once very gently told me that my greatest gift and indeed my greatest weakness was ambition.  At the time i was cut to the heart and slightly perturbed.  Now looking back it was one of the most significant and important things that could’ve been said to me.   It made me see my need to test my motivation for every action. 

I have come to realise that every gift we have can be used for God’s glory or for the opposite of that – we have a  choice.   Praise God for our brothers and sisters who out of Love for us and a desire for what is best raise issues which may challenge us and cause us to grow in holiness.

Matt Redman was in the office yesterday promoting his new album.  For those of you who don’t know his work, he is an anointed worship guy in the UK whose songs are widely sung in churches around the world.

He arrived at my workplace clutching a coffee cup from a local coffee house – all important to wake him up for early morning interviews after a night with a 4 month old baby (who is the cutest baby boy!).  The most inspiring thing for me was hearing that this man who is a household name when it comes to worship music was actually before now a timid man who never dreamed of being able to jump around a stage praising God in view of others.

In a beautiful tale he shared how his wife, Beth, an outgoing woman, had helped him along with the Holy Spirit to be bolder.  Being open about his weakness was a powerful thing and revealed a humility in spite of his Christian ‘fame’.  Even now Matt says he can’t read music, yet his work can be heard being sung internationally.

I was reminded that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies those he calls.  I used to be terrified of speaking but now i speak for a living.  Our God is an awesome God!