Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Who moved my bread, but left the tea-lights- Part One

Don't you just hate it when you go to your local supermarket to buy some milk, bread and tea bags to find they have moved everything around. A chore that appears fairly easy suddenly becomes really complicated.

It's like going to your Swedish furniture store (think you know which one I mean!) to get what you want; can't find it and end up buying some kitchen gadget, a really practical storage device apparently, and some tea-lights instead. In the end you start looking for something; never really finding it and accept something else as a substitute- ending up with a trolley full of 'stuff', which you neither need or want. Doesn't life feel like that sometimes?

A diversion here, a wrong turn somewhere else and a hold up further down the road and without realising it, Jesus is not fully central anymore in our lives and there's 'stuff' in the trolley. There is real hope, seek advice from trusted mature Christians, put some of the 'stuff' aside to read the Bible and pray to our Lord, redirecting our lives back in the place where Jesus is central again.

Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV), So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Just come as you are

Last night I was listening to a song called, Broken and Beautiful and starts, "there's a businessman, there's a widowed wife..." Great song with a message, "Come as you are."
It reminded me of all those invitations to social events and thinking about the most appropriate clothing, because I wanted to fit in. To hide amongst the crowd, when I really wanted to wear jeans!

My very few experiences as a kid, going to church could be counted on the right hand. They involved getting dressed up in fairly 'stiff' clothing and making sure I looked the part for the occasion in my full 'Sunday best' to fit in.

So where do we go when "your world comes crashing in" or things are just not right? Do we worry about putting on our 'Sunday best' and putting on a front and looking perfect in front of our Lord or do we 'come as we are' bring all of our 'stuff' no matter what it looks like. Someone once said, "nobody knows 'me' better than me and God."

There is an open invitation to a place for the lost, the hurting, the broken, or to anyone- church; things have changed. Don't worry about what to wear because you can 'come as you are' and you will fit in just fine. With this in your heart and mind there is real hope in Psalm 32 (New International Version)

1 Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD "—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.

7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Friday, 17 September 2010

The ice is still clinging on

As this is being written my freezer is defrosting, it's ok I'm doing it on purpose. But there's this massive piece of stubborn ice that is just clinging on. 

I have made several attempts to remove it by using kitchen utensils to even DIY equipment, yet it still will not budge. Unfortunately whether this ice likes it or not it's going to have to let go and 'move on' to better things it's inevitable, the freedom of being water (ok I'm pushing it now :o) ), but it's funny how we cling on to things when we know in our heart something else is so much better for us.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Then the light bulb came on

I went to school, quite sometime ago. It was when BBC made computers. Well I say computers, they were more like big lumps of plastic with steam coming from them. Let me just say I was not the greatest student ever; but I always remember my Chemistry lessons. The teacher always seemed passionate about their subject, he told great stories, which engaged me. One thing he always did at the end of each lesson was to leave things hanging. What I mean, is that he finished the lesson with a question (or statement) that was thought provoking. Trusting that his students would fill in the gaps. Most people had what I call the 'aha' moment, when they really got the learning, just like a light bulb going on.

Shortly I'm going to tell you something that I hope blows your mind like it does mine, every time I think about it. I have been interested in how people learn and develop for many years and subscribe to the principle; "you can trust people to learn, if you create the right environment", assuming they want to of course (this isn't the mind blowing bit :o) ). There are hundreds of books on this subject. All of them explaining various models and some claiming to be the most up-to-date yet. 

Here is the bit that blows my mind,  Jesus used these approaches about 2000 years ago. I am amazed by the stories He tells and just when you really get into it, He leaves things hanging to let people fill in the gaps later and have real life changing experiences. In Mark 8:21 (NIV) Jesus really challenges His Disciples with the line "Do you still not understand?" at the end of his sermon or in Mark 7:15,  "Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean'." Then He ups and leaves. There are so many more examples of Him engaging people with life changing teachings. Can you imagine what it would be like for the crowds who followed our Lord Jesus around and the 'light bulb' moments they had. 

This post is from the ramblings of someone who has had that 'light-bulb' moment. Whose life has changed in so many ways for the better, by following our Lord Jesus. 

Friday, 10 September 2010

Sometimes the words just say it- Mighty to Save

Have been listening to Mighty to Save, lyrics by Hillsong and these lyrics just say it all for me...

"Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations."

So my prayer is that we all receive compassion and ask from our very lips for forgiveness and keep Jesus in our mind and heart as we travel this road.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

He Who Would Valiant Be...

I have had this hymn in my head since church this morning. It reminds me of being in the assembly hall at school and then I read the last paragraph, a promise of hope.

Here is the youtube link to the music

He Who Would Valiant Be

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,

Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound - his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labour night and day to be a pilgrim.

(Original words by John Bunyan and modified by Percy Dearmer... if you know anymore, please just add a comment to this post)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Stopping off and the numbers are changed...

My son and me stopped off at a family pub and restaurant today. You know the type, find a table to sit down at, then deliberate and cogitate on what you are going to eat. Take everyone's order from your group, go to the food counter and then you forget your table number!

Wonder what would happen if it was a busy Sunday afternoon and somebody changed all the numbers on all of the tables in the venue. Guess it would be absolute pandemonium (if you are thinking impossible, they would have another system then go with this anyway :0) ); nobody would know which order went where? How would they decide? By who had waited the longest, who looked the hungriest or maybe they could call the orders out. What would happen if people ordered the same food though? I know, they could give the meal to the people who had offered their feed to someone else first. How would they decide if these people are kind and deserving of it; maybe it's just that they are not that hungry and happy to give their dinner to someone else.

Then someone stands up and says to the staff, "put the food on the table and we will pick the meal we ordered". How many people will choose to get up amongst all that confusion and walk up to the table and receive their food? Some won't want to standout from the crowd; others, maybe happy commenting on how disorganised everything is and how hungry they are; others will have missed what's happening because they 'nipped off for a second'. Some would think it was complicated and believe they would not receive their 'food'.

Thinking about this situation, stepping up to the table, John 6:35-38 (NIV) offers a challenge to anyone stood in chaos and confusion with real hope for anyone who steps out from it.

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

My prayer is that we all have the strength and wisdom to pull us from chaos and I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.