Friday, 31 December 2010

Is it in our nature to change?

So often we expect the worst of our children because we know that they have so much of us in them.

Philippians 2
Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Some people lift you up...

While others drag you down.

Who are you listening to?

Philippians 2
If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!

Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Enjoy the journey


Learn to let go....

Philippians 1
Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don't expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose.

As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

And don't forget to eat...

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Mother Teresa

I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Don't duck

Hang in there & talk about important issues & how you deal with them.

If your faith doesn't impact your everyday life, maybe it's not faith after all?

1 Peter 3:15-18
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath. It's better to suffer for doing good, if that's what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Recycle Love

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
Mother Theresa

Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. "What a huge harvest!" he said to his disciples. "How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!"

Saturday, 25 December 2010

God's love is so faithful...

Merry Christmas to all!!

We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

Friday, 24 December 2010

the humbling

Luke 2:1-20
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

Philippians 2:5-8
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Pastoral Invisibility.

Way too often pastors are considered invisible in the neighborhood they live.

They'll say things like,

"I'm too busy teaching my congregants how to be engaged in their own community to do it myself."

They'll say,

"If our church closed (meaning if the building disappeared) would anyone notice?"

A much better line of questioning is,

'If you moved your house to another neighbourhood,

Would anyone in your current neighbourhood notice?
Would anyone care?
Would you be missed?

Maybe it's not pastoral ministry that you're actually practicing.

Perhaps it's better termed,

PASTORAL INVISIBILITY.

Jesus was present in his neighbourhood.

Immanuel, "God with us,"

... He was not running off to a meeting, or to a building,

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Retribution at Christmas?

Punishment comes one way or another?

True Grit comes from living in community & the forgiveness needed to make it possible...

Matthew 18:21-35
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"

Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

"The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

"The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

"The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!'

"The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

"The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that's exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Don't be a blockhead...

Love all.

Take care of those in need.


Go beyond your comfort zone.

There is no spiritual unity, and no lasting victory, without love. Love is a passion for oneness. (F. Frangipane)

Matthew 18:10
Watch that you don't treat a single one of these childlike believers arrogantly. You realize, don't you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Enter the story...

People want to experience the divine, the sacred, the holy. They are dying for want of grace, wonder, mystery, and not for want of by-laws, committees, and sign-up lists. Tony Robinson

Matthew 2

1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod's kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, "Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him."

3-4When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"

5-6They told him, "Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

It's you, Bethlehem, in Judah's land,
no longer bringing up the rear.
From you will come the leader
who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel."

7-8Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, "Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I'll join you at once in your worship."

9-10Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

11They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

12In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

13After the scholars were gone, God's angel showed up again in Joseph's dream and commanded, "Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him."

14-15Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod's death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: "I called my son out of Egypt."

Sunday, 19 December 2010

What do you do when you don't get your own way?

Swallow hard & go with "Plan Be."

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Does what you spend on someone determine how you feel about them?

It's always better to receive than to give...

The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and less wasteful. Wendell Berry

Friday, 17 December 2010

How can the pain in your life be your friend?

We have to remember that we look for solitude in order to grow there in love for God and in love for others. We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them: we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them the most good. Thomas Merton

Colossians 1:24-25
I want you to know how glad I am that it's me sitting here in this jail and not you. There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church's part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

What should Christ followers be seeking in their neighbourhoods?

Joy, safety, blessing, peace, prosperity.

Bless and lift up your neighbourhood– make it glad you are there, not eager that you move somewhere else.

Matthew 5:13-16
"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

WARNING! You've now been exposed to the Advent Virus!


Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

A loss of interest in judging other people. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others. A loss of interest in conflict. A loss... of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature. Frequent attacks of smiling.

An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen. An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

WORSHIP FULLY.
SPEND LESS.
GIVE MORE.
LOVE ALL.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Give Relational Gifts:

What is the point of frivolous gifts?

How many sweaters do you really need in your closet?

How many ties does a person need hanging on the rack?

Give something that matters...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Self-preservation is not a goal of Christ followers or their organizations…

Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away. Elbert Hubbard

Given the contents of the New Testament, one might expect local congregations of Christians to be entirely devoted to the spiritual formation of those in attendance. What we actually find in most cases is constant distraction from this as the central task: By the demands of the organization; and by the requirements of our 'faith and practice'—our traditions. Often there is the recognition that what we wind up 'having to do' is not what we really feel it should all be about. Dallas Willard

Matthew 28

Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Questions?

I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That’s how it often is. God’s voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell. Nicholas Sparks

Isaiah 30
Cry for help and you'll find it's grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he'll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he'll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road. Walk down this road." You'll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You'll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, "Good riddance!"

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Are you absorbing the pessimism of others?

Many Christians have so little God-functioning in their lives that no one will ever walk up to them and say, “What is it about you? Tell me, how did you take that situation so well?"

Romans 5
We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Joy cannot be contained or hoarded. It must be shared...

Everyone has something to give.

Who needs your presence today?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Beware synthetic joy...

Matthew 6
What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I saw him and through his disguise



The idea that there's a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it. Actually, maybe even far-fetched to start with, but the idea that that same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty is genius, and brings me to my knees, literally. To me, as a poet, I am just in awe of that. It makes some sort of poetic sense. It's the thing that makes me a believer, though it didn't dawn on me for many years. Bono

Matthew 2:9-12
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

It takes guts to love people.



Show up.

Your goal is not to fix others.

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

...It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."

So let God work his will in you... Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?

...Friends, don't complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know.

Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with...

My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Nobody wants a Christmas worth forgetting.

Restore the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption.

Be there for others.

Romans 15:1-2
Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?"

Sunday, 5 December 2010

shop 'til you drop

Christmas can [still] change the world.

Nothing great is ever done without sacrifice.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Arrive. Bring grace. Plan on staying a while...

Wrestle for God's blessing in your neighbourhood.

Jeremiah 29
Put in gardens and eat what grows in the city. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you'll thrive in that place and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for your neighbourhood's welfare.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Sometimes another Bible study isn't what God wants for us...

Live the Advent-ure!

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.

Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

Take some time today & walk your neighbourhood. What do you notice?

Live out your faith in the neighbourhood and FOR the neighbourhood.

Give your presence every day.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

It will be interesting to see how God works this out.

There are 'jaws of death' & there are 'jaws of life'. Whatever you're facing, trust God.

Psalm 27:3

When besieged,
I'm calm as a baby.
When all hell breaks loose,
I'm collected and cool.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

You make a difference by being present in your neighbourhood. A BIG DIFFERENCE.



Generous people generate things. And, consequently, their worlds are more varied, surprising, colorful, fruitful. They're richer. More abounds with them, and yet they have greater thirst and deeper capacity to take it all in. The world delights the generous but seldom overwhelms them. Mark Buchanan

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Getting Ready For Christmas Day



From early in November to the last week on December
I got money no matter … me down
Well the music made me merry by the solid temporary
I know Santa Claus is coming to town
In the days I work my day job
In the nights I work my night
But all comes down to waking on last day
Getting ready ready for Christmas day

I got a nephew in Iraq
It’s his third time back
But we’re pretending .. again
With the luck of a beginner
He’ll be eating turkey dinner

Somewhere .. in Pakistan

Getting ready oh we’re getting ready
For the power and the glory and the story
Of Christmas day

If I could tell my mum and dad
That the things that we never had
Didn’t matter we were always ok
Getting ready ready for Christmas day

Getting ready oh we’re getting ready
For the power and the glory and the story
Of Christmas day

Luke 2:3-20
Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Worship Fully: the antidote to self-absorption

Go all in, right there in your neighbourhood...

Romans 12
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.


If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.


Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.


Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."


Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Somebody has to say it.

Jeremiah 7:1-3
The Message from God to Jeremiah: "Stand in the gate of God's Temple and preach this Message.

"Say, 'Listen, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship God. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel's God, has this to say to you:

"'Clean up your act—the way you live, the things you do—so I can make my home with you in this place. Don't for a minute believe the lies being spoken here—"This is God's Temple, God's Temple, God's Temple!" Total nonsense! Only if you clean up your act (the way you live, the things you do), only if you do a total spring cleaning on the way you live and treat your neighbors, only if you quit exploiting the street people and orphans and widows, no longer taking advantage of innocent people on this very site and no longer destroying your souls by using this Temple as a front for other gods—only then will I move into your neighborhood. Only then will this country I gave your ancestors be my permanent home, my Temple.

Let's get actually moving into our neighbourhood, instead of constantly driving out of it.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The happiest people of all have good relationships with others. Other people matter.

It all comes down to this: whose flesh are you touching and why? Whose flesh are you recoiling from and why? Whose flesh are you burning and why? Daniel Berrigan

John 13:1-17
Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"

Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."

Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet—ever!"

Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."

"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"

Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.") After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Living in thanks.

Live simply
Love generously
Care deeply
Speak kindly
Leave the rest to God!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How 'bout you?

I am a failure at prayer. I would rather show someone my checkbook stubs than talk about my prayer life. I would rather confess that I am a rotten godmother, that I struggle with my weight, that I fear I am overly fond of Bombay Sapphire gin martinis than confess that I am a prayer-weakling.

To say I love God but I do not pray much is like saying I love life but I do not breathe much. The only way I have found to survive my shame is to come at the problem from both sides, exploring two distinct possibilities: 1) that prayer is more than my idea of prayer and 2) that some of what I actually do in my life may constitute genuine prayer.
Barbara Brown Taylor

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

God's Advent Conspiracy...

Slow down, take some time to get a renewed vision of what God really undertook with the birth of Jesus.

Why not take this journey with some of your neighbours leading up to Christmas?

Ephesians 1:11-12

It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Bear...

Galatians 6:2-5
... one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Be a good neighbour, help each other out. Life can be very gnarly & bite you when you least expect it...

To become a disciple means a decisive and irrevocable turning to both God AND neighbour. David Bosch

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Have some fun this festive season!

...so the annual problem for kids of our nations is finding a good way to spend it. All set! Let's do this thing! LIKE MAYBE...

Turning our beds into dual toboggans and sliding down the ski jump tower. Building a snowman the size of colossal or giving a Yeti a shower. Staging a snowball fight with giant catapults and snow angles that really fly. Rocking a Christmas Carol, wrapping a giant present or just shoveling the drive!

Well, that can't all be fun. As you can see, there is a whole lot of stuff to do before school starts next year. So stick with us 'cause we're gonna spread some Christmas cheer! Stick with us 'cause all of us are gonna spread some Christmas cheer!!

Pious 3:16
Thou shalt not have any fun, nor shalt thou smile in all thy days.

WORSHIP FULLY.
SPEND LESS.
GIVE MORE.
LOVE ALL!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Revenge is sour.

Your ego is bruised, your pride is hurt, and now you are mad as hell! You have just been humiliated, and you don't like feeling foolish.

What are you going to do next?

Some will plot for years to avenge their hurt.

Don't become a prisoner of hate. Choose a different path.

War will end when they love their children more than they hate us. Golda Meir

Allow your forgiveness instinct to kick in.

Luke 6:35-42
"I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

He quoted a proverb: "'Can a blind man guide a blind man?' Wouldn't they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn't lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.

"It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Friday, 19 November 2010

If happiness is what you're after, don't look for it.

Matthew 6:25-34
"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Brokenness is more than the tough circumstances of our life

The great weakness in the North American church at large, and certainly in my life, is our refusal to accept our brokenness. We hide it, evade it, gloss over it.

We grab for the cosmetic kit and put on our virtuous face to make ourselves admirable to the public. Thus, we present to others a self that is spiritually together, superficially happy, and lacquered with a sense of self-deprecating humor that passes for humility.

The irony is that while I do not want anyone to know that I am judgmental, lazy, vulnerable, screwed up, and afraid, for fear of losing face, the face that I fear losing is the mask of the impostor, not my own!
Brennan Manning

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

God calling you to serve? Get an accredited ministry degree online. Apply for free.


That headline was on a pastor's blog - something is very wrong with that idea.

Forget about fake credentials.

Most of us are so disengaged from ourselves & our neighbourhoods—stressed, depressed, overworked, and so on—that we fail to see signs of life, signs of God's presence.

Want to get into ministry?!


Try walking across the street.

Rake a neighbours leaves. Shovel their walk.

Say, "Hi."

Invite a neighbour over.

Take some freshly baked cookies to the family that just moved in.

Go canvassing door to door for a local charity. (or a political party!)...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Go walking in your neighbourhood...

If you breathe regularly then you can do this.

"A lack of energy often results from inactivity, not age." Mayo Clinic

What signs have you seen lately of God’s grace in your neighbourhood?

1 John 4:20-21
If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Finding God in the Midst of Life

People seem willing to look all over the place for treasure. They will spend hours launching prayers into the heavens. They will travel halfway around the world to visit a monastery in India or to take part in a mission trip to Belize.

The last place most people look is right under their feet, in the every day activities, accidents, and encounters of their lives.

What possible spiritual significance could a trip to the grocery store have? How could something as common as a toothache be a door to greater life?

No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it.

The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are. Barbara Brown Taylor

Where is your altar in this world?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

What is Sunday for?

Growing up I loved Sundays. We'd usually have a great breakfast of bacon & eggs. I'd watch NFL (or other sports) with my step dad & then later in the afternoon play football or baseball with my friends.

It was always a great way to prepare for heading back to school. (And in later years for back to work).

Hanging out in my neighbourhood with friends was pretty sweet.

I gotta be honest, going to a 'Worship Service' hasn't always evoked the same thoughts & feelings as the Sundays I just wrote about.

Quite often the experience of 'going to church' is like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking us out of our neighborhoods into a foreign environment where we conspire to figure out clever ways to trick our friends who we left behind in our neighbourhood to come to.

Maybe its just me...

Saturday, 13 November 2010

is it outreach week?

I guess Lassie didn't know it was 'outreach week' at her church. Otherwise she would have helped.

Forget the stupid idea of 'outreach week'.

Learn to love your neighbour.

Get off the couch.

Get active in your neighbourhood.

“The great wisdom traditions of the world all recognize that the main impediment to living a life of meaning is being self-absorbed.” Barbara Brown Taylor

"When the shadow of Jesus' cross darkens our space, when pain and suffering intrude our secure, well-regulated lives are blown apart, when tragedy makes its unwelcome appearance and we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own heartache, when courage flies out the window and the world around us suddenly seems dark and menacing, self-pity is the first, normal unavoidable, and probably right reaction; and we only exhaust ourselves further if we attempt to suppress it.

Human experience has taught me that there is no effective way to fight self-pity. Sure, we can spiritualize heartbreak, camouflage our emotions and tap dance into religiosity. But such bravado is a denial of our humanity, and furthermore it does not work. we are not spiritual robots but sensitive persons...however there comes a time when self-pity becomes malignant, seducing us into self-destructive behavioral patters of withdrawal, isolation, drinking, druggin' and so forth. We simply ask for the grace to set a time limit on our self-pity.


What does lie within my power is paying attention to the faithfulness of Jesus. That's what I am asked to do; pay attention to Jesus throughout my journey, remembering his kindness." Brennan Manning

Friday, 12 November 2010

What are you holding on tight to?

Luke 18:18-30
One day one of the local officials asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?"

Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don't you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother."

He said, "I've kept them all for as long as I can remember."

When Jesus heard that, he said, "Then there's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me."

This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.

Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God's kingdom? I'd say it's easier to thread a camel through a needle's eye than get a rich person into God's kingdom."

"Then who has any chance at all?" the others asked.

"No chance at all," Jesus said, "if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."

Peter tried to regain some initiative: "We left everything we owned and followed you, didn't we?"

"Yes," said Jesus, "and you won't regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!"

Thursday, 11 November 2010

True courage

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Rope for the climb...

Ephesians 3:20-21
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

as the deer

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Where do you go to meet with God?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Live your faith. Share your life with the neighbourhood.

What if we all had as a neighbourhood goal: NOBODY LIVES UNLOVED.

What would that ask of us?

Are you prepared to act?