Monday, 31 October 2011

Intense times of struggle.

2 Thessalonians 1:5
All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. You're suffering now, but justice is on the way.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Galatians 5:13-15
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows.

For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

learning to share

Galatians 6
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Learning to be a disciple...

Colossians 3
You died. Now your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Christ is your life. When he appears again, you also will appear with him in heaven's glory.

So put to death anything that belongs to your earthly nature. Get rid of your sexual sins and unclean acts. Don't let your feelings get out of control. Remove from your life all evil longings. Stop always wanting more and more. You might as well be worshiping statues of gods.

God's anger is going to come because of those things.

That's the way you lived at one time in your life.

But now here are the kinds of things you must get rid of. You must put away anger, rage, hate and lies. Let no dirty words come out of your mouths.

Don't lie to each other.

You have gotten rid of your old way of life and its habits.

You have started living a new life. It is being made new so that what you know has the Creator's likeness.

Here there is no Greek or Jew. There is no difference between those who are circumcised and those who are not. There is no rude outsider, or even a Scythian. There is no slave or free person. But Christ is everything. And he is in everything.

You are God's chosen people. You are holy and dearly loved. So put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes. Don't be proud. Be gentle and patient.

Put up with each other. Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.

And over all of those good things put on love. Love holds them all together perfectly as if they were one.

Let the peace that Christ gives rule in your hearts. As parts of one body, you were appointed to live in peace. And be thankful.

Let Christ's word live in you like a rich treasure. Teach and correct each other wisely. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing with thanks in your hearts to God.

Do everything you say or do in the name of the Lord Jesus. Always give thanks to God the Father through Christ.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's Your Kid Not a Gerbil

I love this book idea!

"Do activities rule your family?

Do you have a superkid - or a super-stressed kid?

Does your busyness keep you from leaving the indelible imprint you long to have on your child's life?

Does next week's schedule leave you exhausted at the mere thought of it?

Most kids today can text faster than a woodpecker with ADHD. But do they have the relational skills that will bring with satisfaction and fulfillment in life?"

It's no wonder so many families struggle with the idea of Living Local & investing in their neighbourhoods.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Psalm 23
The Good Shepherd

You, Lord, are my shepherd.

I will never be in need.

You let me rest in fields

of green grass.

You lead me to streams

of peaceful water,

and you refresh my life.

You are true to your name,

and you lead me

along the right paths.

I may walk through valleys

as dark as death,

but I won't be afraid.

You are with me,

and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe.

You treat me to a feast,

while my enemies watch.

You honor me as your guest,

and you fill my cup

until it overflows.

Your kindness and love

will always be with me

each day of my life,

and I will live forever

in your house, LORD.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Enough already

Silence the old voices in your head that bind you up and lock you down in self-centeredness. Listen to the new sound of salvation for people who know they're poor. Let go of your fear of Abba. Let go of your self-loathing. Learn to see things as they are. I love you and that's enough. I am the son of compassion and that's enough. You belong to me and that's enough. (B. Manning)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

October is Clergy Appreciation Month

In some places that means 15 yards for Roughing the Pastor...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Whether you are a teacher or a parent, what will your choice be?

I have come to the frightening conclusion.
I an the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child's
life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis
will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or
de-humanized. (Haim Ginott)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Signposts on the way of humilty. (from Benedict & Wil Derkse)

Fearing God.

Not loving your own will.

Obeying your superiors from the love of God.

Tolerating hard and even unrighteous treatment with courage & patience.

Realizing and recognizing your own mistakes.

To be able to have peace with barren, even poor circumstances, without thinking that you deserve better.

Being grateful to God that our self-satisfaction and conceit have been punctured.

Choosing and weighing our words carefully.

Choosing an attitude of humility even in the smallest details of life.

Philippians 2
Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought:

Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain equal with God.
Instead he gave up everything and became a slave,
when he became
like one of us.
Christ was humble.
He obeyed God
and even died
on a cross.
Then God gave Christ
the highest place
and honored his name
above all others.
So at the name of Jesus
everyone will bow down,
those in heaven, on earth,
and under the earth.
And to the glory
of God the Father
everyone will openly agree,
"Jesus Christ is Lord!"

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A blessed life.

Are you living one?

Why or why not?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar. (H Keller)

Psalm 18 (selected)

I love you, God— you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.

I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.

A hostile world! I call to God,
I cry to God to help me.
From his palace he hears my call;
my cry brings me right into his presence—
a private audience!

Earth wobbles and lurches;
huge mountains shake like leaves,
Quake like aspen leaves
because of his rage.
His nostrils flare, bellowing smoke;
his mouth spits fire.
Tongues of fire dart in and out;
he lowers the sky.
He steps down;
under his feet an abyss opens up.
He's riding a winged creature,
swift on wind-wings.
Now he's wrapped himself
in a trenchcoat of black-cloud darkness.
But his cloud-brightness bursts through,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
Then God thundered out of heaven;
the High God gave a great shout,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
God shoots his arrows—pandemonium!
He hurls his lightnings—a rout!
The secret sources of ocean are exposed,
the hidden depths of earth lie uncovered
The moment you roar in protest,
let loose your hurricane anger.

God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I'm alert to God's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

The good people taste your goodness,
The whole people taste your health,
The true people taste your truth,
The bad ones can't figure you out.
You take the side of the down-and-out,
But the stuck-up you take down a peg.

Suddenly, God, you floodlight my life;
I'm blazing with glory, God's glory!
I smash the bands of marauders,
I vault the highest fences.

What a God! His road
stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.

Is there any god like God?
Are we not at bedrock?
Is not this the God who armed me,
then aimed me in the right direction?
Now I run like a deer;
I'm king of the mountain.
He shows me how to fight;
I can bend a bronze bow!
You protect me with salvation-armor;
you hold me up with a firm hand,
caress me with your gentle ways.
You cleared the ground under me
so my footing was firm.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Have you given God power-of-attorney over your life?

Sometimes life can feel like it's too much to bear...

Psalm 23:4
Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.

Monday, 17 October 2011

...When he is absent, all is hard. (T. A Kempis)

I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Dedicated to special friends,

In his book, Intense Moments With The Savior Ken Gire writes the dedication to a friend of his named Jon Stine,

Who has shouldered the yoke of suffering
with strength and dignity.
Who has known pain few of us will ever understand,
let alone experience.
His life has both inspired me and shamed me.
In the quiet and uncomplaining way
he has borne his pain,
he has shown me how to suffer.
And in showing me how to suffer,
he has shown me how to live.
It is a privilege to know him
and an honor to be known as his friend.

May we all have a Jon Stine to help teach us how to struggle well with life.

Luke 9
"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I'm leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn't, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God."

Friday, 14 October 2011

mine is heavier than yours...?

It’s a kind of scale, I finally reasoned. Every person alive fits somewhere onto a scale of suffering that ranges from little to much.

And it’s true. Wherever we happen to be on that scale-that is, however much suffering we have to endure-there are always those below us who suffer less, and those above who suffer more. The problem is we usually like to compare ourselves only with those who suffer less. That way we can pity ourselves and pretend we’re at the top of the scale. But when we face reality and stand beside those who suffer more, our purple-heart medals don’t shine so brightly. Joni Erickson Tada

Romans 5
We have been made right with God because of our faith. Now we have peace with him because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus we have received God's grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God's glory.

And that's not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never let us down. God has poured his love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

It's impossible to be who you're not, so why not just be who you are?

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

It's your Job to live your own life. Not Steve's life, as rich as it was...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

They Help Each Other Spiritually

Θεος is happy when we do that.

You need not walk alone.

Philippians 1
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

It's not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

Monday, 10 October 2011

What are you looking for?

Seems like the name of most current church conferences...are you a conference junkie?

I became more desperate to follow Christ than to pastor a church, so I began to preach from my own broken life as I taught the Scriptures. I had learned to do church but had forgotten how to do Christ. (Mark Pickerel)

Everybody loved the story of Nelson Mandela after he got out of prison.

Maybe it's time to get off the conference carousel...

Colossians 3
That means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

God is not impressed with the pulchritudinous

1 Samuel 16
But God told Samuel, "Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart."

What are you doing to exercise your heart and develop your character?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

God is more interested in the worker than the work

Jesus please give me the faith to understand what you've done for me, to find my greatness in serving, and to follow you with the eyes of my heart.

Colossians 3
So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Borrowed Hope

Companioning: the art of bringing comfort to another by becoming familiar with her story (experiences and needs). To companion the grieving person, therefore, is to break bread literally or figuratively, as well as listen to the story of the other. Of course this may well involve tears and sorrow and tends to involve a give and take of story: I tell you my story and you tell me yours. It is a sharing in a deep and profound way.
  1. Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.
  2. Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.
  3. Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.
  4. Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.
  5. Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles.
  6. Companioning is about walking alongside;it is not about leading or being led.
  7. Companioning means discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it does not mean filling up every moment with words.
  8. Companioning the bereaved is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.
  9. Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.
  10. Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.
  11. Companioning is about curiosity; it is not about expertise. (Alan Wolfelt)

The truth of faith is not articulated in offering reasons for suffering, but rather in drawing alongside those who suffer, standing with them, and standing up for them. This is pastoral care at its most luminous. (Pete Rollins)

Mourn with those who mourn.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Painful Grace of Flight...

The sky where we live is no place to lose our wings...

Isaiah 40
He gives strength to those who are tired.
He gives power to those who are weak.
Even young people become worn out and get tired.
Even the best of them trip and fall.
But those who trust in the Lord
will receive new strength.
They will fly as high as eagles.
They will run and not get tired.
They will walk and not grow weak.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Remember who is in the boat with you...

The experiences of grief have been compared to enduring a fierce storm at sea. The waves are peaked and close together. Eventually the sea becomes calmer, but occasionally the storm regroups, strengthening without any warning. For several hours, days, or weeks, you may not feel grief; then suddenly you meet someone, or see something, or hear something and grief resumes. It seems as if you are taking one step forward and two back. (anon)

Matthew 8:23-27
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Life is goodbye - life is hello.

I don't know why you say goodbye.

Much love from your bro'.

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Decision fatigue

It is said that grief can make it difficult to identify feelings and cloud thoughts, even making it hard to make simple decisions.

Been there, done that.

Should I post this one or not?

"Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. Serving me is easy, and my load is light." Jesus of Nazareth

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Hang in the battle.

Philippians 1:6
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

If you don't learn how to accept surprises...

You start attacking anybody else who is not like you. If you don’t know how to deal with exceptions, surprise and spontaneity by the time you’re my age, you become a predictable series of responses of paranoia, blame and defensiveness. (Richard Rohr)

Hebrews 12
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.