Wednesday, 31 March 2010

God of the underdog

Psalm 12:5
Into the hovels of the poor,
Into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks:
"I've had enough; I'm on my way
To heal the ache in the heart of the wretched."

James 1:27
, 2:14-17
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Social justice begins in the womb...

Tim Tebow and his mom.

Psalm 139:13-16
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Hang in the battle...

Psalm 118:5-16
Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God's now at my side and I'm not afraid;
who would dare lay a hand on me?
God's my strong champion;
I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in celebrities.
Hemmed in by barbarians,
in God's name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Hemmed in and with no way out,
in God's name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
in God's name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
when God grabbed and held me.
God's my strength, he's also my song,
and now he's my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
in the camp of the saved?
"The hand of God has turned the tide!
The hand of God is raised in victory!
The hand of God has turned the tide!"

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Climb the stairs...

Step by step.

Remember the 12 Steps are NOT multiple choice.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

What's changing for you?

What's changing in you?

What are you working at changing?

Friday, 26 March 2010

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

Isaiah 40:28-31
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

busyness, loopholes & drive-bys

Marshall Goldsmith has written about the "Good Samaritan" research done by J. M. Darley and C. D. Batson at Princeton in 1973.

"In this widely referenced study, a group of theology students was told that they were to go across campus to deliver a sermon on the topic of the Good Samaritan. As part of the research, some of these students were told that they were late and needed to hurry up. Along their route across campus, Darley and Batson had hired an actor to play the role of a victim who was coughing and suffering.

Ninety percent of the "late" students in Princeton Theology Seminary ignored the needs of the suffering person in their haste to get across campus. As the study reports, 'Indeed, on several occasions, a seminary student going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as he hurried on his way!'"

How often do you drive hurriedly out of your own neighborhood, past the needs & the people that God has placed you among, to go & do 'church work'?

Luke 10:25-37
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?"

He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?"

He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself."

"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?"

Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I'll pay you on my way back.'

"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?"

"The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, "Go and do the same."

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

i want to be famous

No pain & suffering for me...

No sirree...

Put my name in lights...

Get me a limo...

I'm ready for all the trappings of fame & success...

Lights, camera, ACTION!!

Had it not been for the war, I would not value peace.
Had it not been for pain, I would not know the healing power of love.
Had it not been for hatred, I would never have learned to forgive.
Had it not been for imprisonment, I would not value freedom.
Had it not been for living in want, I would not value everything I have.
Had it not been for fear, I would not value peace. Kim Phuc

It was a tragedy to lose the best days of your life, but you learned a lot. You had time to think - to stand away from yourself, to look at yourself from a distance, to see the contradictions in yourself. Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

There is always a cost involved to be a world changer... are you prepared to pay it?

We all want to make a difference.
We all want to live the dream.

Quite often though, if not always, God's dream for us isn't quite the script we'd write for ourselves.

Even William Wallace lost his life & that was after losing his wife & many others close to him.

But what if we weren't meant to be on the battlefield?

What if the world we're meant to change isn't quite as romantic as we'd like?

What if God wants us to get involved in our neighborhood?

Tending to some snotty noses?

What if He has us cleaning some toilets instead?

Are you prepared for those dirty jobs from God?!

Monday, 22 March 2010

What is God's dream for your neighborhood?

Start with rediscovering your local neighborhood.

Walk around.


Can you find who else is wondering what God is up to?

Eat with them.

Look for God's fingerprints.

Find out what he's up to & join him there.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

it's not all about me after all...

General William Booth sent a one-word telegram.

The key to the greatest life on this planet.


We have to focus our life on others.

I do not know what your destiny will be. You will only be fully fulfilled when you serve others. Albert Schweitzer

What can I do.
How can I serve.
What can I do for YOU.

Our old way: The more I get the more I got.

The Jesus Way: The more I give the more I got. And the more you got for eternity.

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.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

God has created us to give S.E.R.V.I.C.E. in our neighborhoods...

Spiritual Formation
International Missions
Extended Compassion

If we are to better the future we must disturb the present. Catherine Booth

What part are playing in changing your neighborhood?
What part are you playing in changing the world?
It is happening so get involved.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Ever been Jobbed?!

Job 8:20-22
"There's no way that God will reject a good person,
and there is no way he'll help a bad one.
God will let you laugh again;
you'll raise the roof with shouts of joy,
With your enemies thoroughly discredited,
their house of cards collapsed."

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Walk this way

Psalm 119:1-8
You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You're blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That's right—you don't go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I'd never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I'm going to do what you tell me to do;
don't ever walk off and leave me.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

it has turned into a theatre of the absurd...

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It's written,

I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God's ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness."

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Big Ten...

I am.
I forgive.

I care.
I won't.

I must.

I believe.
I need.

I will.
I submit.

I can.
(Jack Hanes)

Monday, 15 March 2010

all hat no cattle

The Bible does not say:
When you get healed, love;

When you grow up, love;
when you feel loving, love,

When you get it together and have dealt with all your 
mother/father/husband/children wounds, 

then you are able to love.

It does say:

1 John 3:17-20
If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I know what I know...

“To live you must choose; to love you must encounter; to grow you must suffer.” Victor Frankl

Ephesians 4:1-3

To Be Mature
In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

From a law religion to a love relation.
From intimidation to intimacy.
From condemnation to affirmation.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Why not be a saint?

Lord deliver me from my pride. Help me to take responsibility for my own attitudes. Let me extend to others the grace and mercy You extend to me. Help me to take the beam out of my own eye before I condemn the speck in another's eye.

Friday, 12 March 2010

dances with wolves

Shaun Ellis doesn't just dance with them, he eats with them too!

We all find ourselves in scary situations. Who do you ultimately trust? Who you gonna call on?!

1 Peter 2:21-25
This is the kind of life you've been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.

He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.
They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you're named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

slow down you move too fast...


Are you so hyperactive and busy for God that you forget to be about God?

Patience is the companion of wisdom. Augustine

Psalm 46:10
"Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything."

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce back

James 5:13-20
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. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

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.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

This'll keep us up at night..

Revelation 5
I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One Seated on the Throne. It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals. I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, "Is there anyone who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?"

There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it.

I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, "Don't weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David's Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals."

So I looked, and there, surrounded by Throne, Animals, and Elders, was a Lamb, slaughtered but standing tall. Seven horns he had, and seven eyes, the Seven Spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came to the One Seated on the Throne and took the scroll from his right hand. The moment he took the scroll, the Four Animals and Twenty-four Elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb. Each had a harp and each had a bowl, a gold bowl filled with incense, the prayers of God's holy people. And they sang a new song:

Worthy! Take the scroll, open its seals.
Slain! Paying in blood, you bought men and women,
Bought them back from all over the earth,
Bought them back for God.
Then you made them a Kingdom, Priests for our God,
Priest-kings to rule over the earth.

I looked again. I heard a company of Angels around the Throne, the Animals, and the Elders—ten thousand times ten thousand their number, thousand after thousand after thousand in full song:

The slain Lamb is worthy!
Take the power, the wealth, the wisdom, the strength!
Take the honor, the glory, the blessing!
Then I heard every creature in Heaven and earth, in underworld and sea, join in, all voices in all places, singing:

To the One on the Throne! To the Lamb!
The blessing, the honor, the glory, the strength,
For age after age after age.
The Four Animals called out, "Oh, Yes!" The Elders fell to their knees and worshiped.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Is it a vision?

Revelation 1:9-10,17-19
I, John, with you all the way in the trial and the Kingdom and the passion of patience in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of God's Word, the witness of Jesus. It was Sunday and I was in the Spirit, praying. I heard a loud voice behind me, trumpet-clear and piercing: "Write what you see into a book. Send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea." I turned and saw the voice...

"Don't fear: I am First, I am Last, I'm Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death's doors, they open and lock Hell's gates. Now write down everything you see: things that are, things about to be. The Seven Stars you saw in my right hand and the seven-branched gold menorah—do you want to know what's behind them? The Seven Stars are the Angels of the seven churches; the menorah's seven branches are the seven churches."

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Whispers are stronger than shouts

1 Kings 19:9-14
Then the word of came to him: "So Elijah, what are you doing here?"

"I've been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies," said Elijah. "The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I'm the only one left, and now they're trying to kill me."

Then he was told, "Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God will pass by."

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, "So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?" Elijah said it again, "I've been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I'm the only one left, and now they're trying to kill me."

Then God spoke to Elijah. He will do the same for you...

Saturday, 6 March 2010

What's does it look like on the other side...

God's New Testament “Gamble”:

"What if I tell them who they are? What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgment or rejection?

What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I love them right now, no matter what they‛ve done, as much as I love my only Son? That there‛s nothing they can do to make my love go away?

What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don‛t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they‛ve let me down, made promises that they don‛t keep?

What if I tell them they are righteous, with my righteousness, right now?

What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff and jumpy around me?

What if I tell them I‛m crazy about them? What if I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I‛d receive them with tears and a party?

What if I tell them that if I am their Savior, they‛re going to heaven no matter what—it‛s a done deal? What if I tell them they have a new nature— saints, not saved sinners who should now ‘buck up and be better if they were any kind of Christians, after all He‛s done for you!‛

What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I‛ve put my love, power, and nature inside of them, at their disposal?

What if I tell them that they don‛t have to put on a mask? That it is OK to be who they are at this moment, with all their junk. That they don‛t need to pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don‛t, how much Bible they read or don‛t?

What if they knew they don‛t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get too good, the other shoe‛s gonna drop?

What if they knew I will never, ever use the word “punish” in relation to them?

What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never “get back at them?”

What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren‛t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me?

What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn‛t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them?

What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I never hurt theirs? What if I tell them I like Eric Clapton‛s music too?

What if I tell them I never really liked the Christmas handbell deal with the white gloves?

What if I tell them they can open their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven?

What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor?

What if I tell them it isn‛t about their self-effort, but about allowing me to live my life through them?”

(Adapted from TrueFaced: Trust God and Others With Who You Really Are, Experience Edition, copyright 2004 Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch)

Friday, 5 March 2010

No peeking, get down to business...

Matthew 6:5-15
"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part."

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Please let me out!

Feeling hemmed in?

There is a way out. Talk to God about it.

Psalm 42:1-2, 11
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


With everything I could do and everywhere I could go, how can I know what’s what?

Just do something.
Give it a try.

Walk It.
Talk It.
Preach It.
Teach It.
Pray It.
Say It.
Live It.
Give It.
Share It.
Wear It.
Shout It.
Sing It.
Proclaim It.
... for Jesus. And in His strength.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

chess as life

Does it really matter whether you are a Pawn or a King?

We waste way too much of life trying to be something that we're not, doing things we weren't made to do, that were created for others with different gifts. And all the while the life God meant for us speeds by...

Just be yourself & really get into the game.

Ephesians 2:8-10
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Walk on

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for one second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

And I know it aches, how your heart it breaks
You can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home, hard to know what it is if you've never had one
Home, I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the hurt is

And I know it aches and your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you feel
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
It's only time
All that you bear
No more than a feeling on my mind
All that you see
All that you wear
All that you sense
All that you scheme
All you dress up
All that you've seen
All you create
And all that you wreck
All that you hate

Jesus came & died & was raised to life to offer us a new start where we can leave the regretful shame behind & set out fresh. Love is the only thing that needs to stay in our suitcase as we walk on. Stiff arm the urge to quit.

Get clear, get free & get going...

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."