Saturday, 31 December 2011


Jesus didn't leave us the church and from the church we derive the Eucharist; rather, for him, Jesus left us the Eucharist and from the Eucharist we derive the church.

The church is in service of the Eucharist, not vice versa. Heaven will be a banquet table. The Eucharist already is that table.
Ron Rolheiser

Friday, 30 December 2011

Something to think about...

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. (M Gandhi)

Matthew 25:31-46
The Sheep and the Goats

31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

41-43"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

44"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

45"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'

46"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Get out of the box...

Christian living appears as strange and shocking -

You mean you really have to be kind to people, to be patient, to forgive people, to put their interests ahead of your own?

You mean you really can live without being greedy and snatching at power and using other people as objects in your quest for pleasure or prestige?

Most of the world has no idea you can live like that.
(NT Wright)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Crappy holidays

The holidays can be a painful time - perhaps it's a first Christmas without a loved one, or the memories of family dysfunctions on full display from years past.

Whatever the case remember that, 'He is the Father who gives tender love.'

May the God of all comfort be with you this season.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Lord, you have seen what is in my heart.
You know all about me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know what I'm thinking even though you are far away.
You know when I go out to work and when I come back home.
You know exactly how I live.
Lord, even before I speak a word,
you know all about it.
You are all around me. You are behind me and in front of me.
You hold me in your power.
I'm amazed at how well you know me.
It's more than I can understand.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Grieving

When a person is born we rejoice, and when they’re married we jubilate, but when they die we try to pretend nothing has happened. (M. Mead)

He who conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

It takes a long time to grow a good friend.

Give thanks for those who have stuck with you through thick and thin.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Saturday, 17 December 2011

This Christmas

Give empathy.

Give more of what matters this season.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Life smarts

When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?
Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame?
Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car?
Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement?
Of course not.
What will matter then will be people.
If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?
(M. Lucado)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A friend never gets in your way except when you are on the way down.

When we honestly ask ourselves which people in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. (H. Nouwen)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. (F. Beuchner)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Isaiah 1:13-17
"Quit your worship charades.
I can't stand your trivial religious games:

Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—

meetings, meetings, meetings—I can't stand one more!

Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!

You've worn me out!

I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.

When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I'll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,

I'll not be listening.

And do you know why? Because you've been tearing

people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.

Go home and wash up.

Clean up your act.

Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings

so I don't have to look at them any longer.

Say no to wrong.

Learn to do good.

Work for justice.

Help the down-and-out.

Stand up for the homeless.

Go to bat for the defenseless."

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you can not possibly imagine it.

Psalm 46
God is our place of safety. He gives us strength.
He is always there to help us in times of trouble.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Nouwen then we need an Advent reminder...

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, ‘Come Lord Jesus!’ Amen.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Life With James

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.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Jesus is coming...

Luke 2
In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. He was sent to a virgin. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel greeted her and said, "The Lord has given you special favor. He is with you."

Mary was very upset because of his words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. He will rule forever over his people, who came from Jacob's family. His kingdom will never end."

"How can this happen?" Mary asked the angel. "I am a virgin."

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is old. And even she is going to have a child. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. Nothing is impossible with God."

"I serve the Lord," Mary answered. "May it happen to me just as you said it would." Then the angel left her.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Materialism 101

We socialize kids to be materialistic. If you care about wealth and luxury, your kids will care about wealth and luxury.

The more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to be materialistic.

Materialistic tweeners and teenagers are more anxious and less happy and have poorer self-esteem.

When we are feeling unfulfilled in some way, we'll often seek to quell that need through shopping. Materialism is a terrible coping strategy.

Are you actually encouraging your kids to care more about things than other people and experiences?

Monday, 5 December 2011

What do you think about?

Friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

James 4:7
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. 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.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Consumerism 101

Shopping is happiness.

Just listen to that little voice in your head.

You can buy happiness; just don’t pay retail for it.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Caught in a pinch?

Psalm 57
Be good to me, God—and now! I've run to you for dear life.
I'm hiding out under your wings
until the hurricane blows over.
I call out to High God,
the God who holds me together.
He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
he humiliates those who kick me around.
God delivers generous love,
he makes good on his word.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The 5 R's


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kick it!

Before you talk, listen.
Before you act, think.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
(E. Hemingway)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Whatcha doin'?

Have respect for God and obey his commandments.
That's what everyone should do.
God will judge everything people do.
That includes everything they try to hide.
He'll judge everything, whether it's good or evil.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Getting tutored by troubles.

Psalm 119:71-72
My troubles turned out all for the best—
they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
than striking it rich in a gold mine.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

You might have a vindictive attitude if you say...

When life gives you lemons, squeeze them in people's eyes.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Psalm 121
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won't let you stumble,
your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel's
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God's your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Advent Conspiracy

I read part of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's intro from Jamie Arpin-Ricci's book, The Cost Of Community in our Sunday service to prepare us for the beginning of Advent next Sunday:

In Canada, the day after Christmas is Boxing Day. I’ve read that it’s the largest retail spending day of the year up there (akin to America’s Black Friday, which follows our Thanksgiving feast). Inheritors of the largest economy to ever exist on earth, we North Americans celebrate our holidays on both sides of the border with great demonstrations of abundance—and we come down from our consumption by . . . shopping. If there is any single temptation that North Americans share, it’s the persistent call of One More Thing.

But for Christians, the day after Christmas is a day to remember Stephen the Martyr. Our great celebration of Jesus coming to dwell among us is followed by a solemn reminder of what Jesus actually said about following him—that it leads to a cross in this world. Incarnation is good news not because it offers us a way out of the mess of this world, but because it shows us what God’s love looks like here and now. Jesus’ birth is followed by his death and resurrection, just as the birth of the church is followed by the witness of those who are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel. And so the good news spreads.

When we pay attention to the peculiar memory of the church, we hear the echoes of a quiet revolution—the gentle insistence that the way things are is not the way things have to be. Another world is possible; indeed, another world has already begun. We can be part of it now, but it costs nothing less than everything.

That Jesus took on human flesh and moved into the neighborhood means we have seen the way of love lived out. We know what it looks like. In first-century Palestine, it meant that Jesus went to Golgotha. It looked like Stephen praying for his enemies while they threw the stones that would kill him.

But what does it look like to live God’s love in our world today?

What if you’re not a wandering preacher from Galilee, living under Roman occupation?

What if your greatest temptation is the alluring call of One More Thing on the day after you’ve eaten ham and opened presents?


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Slow Your Breath Down

Lives lived frantically are more intensely forgotten than lives lived slowly.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Hang in the battle.

1 Peter 4:19
So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams...

Acts 14:21-22
After proclaiming the Message in Derbe and establishing a strong core of disciples, they retraced their steps to Lystra, then Iconium, and then Antioch, putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn't be easy:

"Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times."

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sometimes Life Is Easy; Sometimes It’s REALLY HARD.

Acts 18
Totally exasperated, Paul had finally had it with them and gave it up as a bad job. "Have it your way, then," he said. "You've made your bed; now lie in it. From now on I'm spending my time with the other nations."

He walked out and went to the home of Titius Justus, a God-fearing man who lived right next to the Jews' meeting place. But Paul's efforts with the Jews weren't a total loss, for Crispus, the meeting-place president, put his trust in the Master. His entire family believed with him.

In the course of listening to Paul, a great many Corinthians believed and were baptized. One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream:

"Keep it up, and don't let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I'm with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city."

That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Pillow fight?

Ephesians 6
God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials.

And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared.

You're up against far more than you can handle on your own.

Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.

Pray hard and long.

Pray for your brothers and sisters.

Keep your eyes open.

Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Who's the boss

Colossians 1
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Leadership 101 from Penn State

You can't be a part-time man of principle. (John Amaechi)

Psalm 68:5-6

Our God, from your sacred home

you take care of orphans

and protect widows.

You find families

for those who are lonely.

You set prisoners free

and let them prosper, but all who rebel will live

in a scorching desert.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Monday, 14 November 2011

Boney M.

God grabbed me. God's Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun.

He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

I said, "Master God, only you know that."

He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: 'Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!'"

God, the Master, told the dry bones, "Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life. I'll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You'll come alive and you'll realize that I am God!"

Sunday, 13 November 2011


What Wouldn't Jesus Do?

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desire. (Susan Anthony)