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Are you honest with God, or yourself?

January 26, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my future, what God’s plans for me are, what He wants from me and what might be ahead for me. It’s been a challenging time, as God has asked more and more of me, and to surrender more and more control to Him. One thing that has really struck me in this whole process is the simple truth that we need to be honest with ourselves before we can be honest with God, and before we ever dare ask for His will over our own.

Be honest. When was the last time that you prayed for “God’s will to be done” and there wasn’t at least some small part of you holding back. It may even have been a tiny teeny part, but I think often praying for God’s will is dumbed down so we do it almost automatically, because we think we should, and because it’s the ‘right thing’ and ‘Christian thing’ to do.

But to ask God’s will be done is a major thing to do. It’s a huge risk. Read more…

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What does your heart beat to?

January 21, 2011

I’m here to talk about the rhythms of life today. But to that, you need to listen to this.

It’s the sound of a human heartbeat.

Quite compelling isn’t it? It isn’t actually a long video, but to me it seems like it went on for a long time. It’s a sound which levels us, which makes us all equal. It makes you think about what’s really important.
The reason for that is that our whole lives are dependent on our heartbeat. Without it, we wouldn’t be alive, when it stops, we die. Its that simple. It has a healthy, optimum rate it needs to be at as well, when it’s too fast – or too slow – then its not so healthy, and can end up causing health problems. If we push it too much then it will give up under stress. If we have bad diet it clogs up the arteries around it and stops it working.

At it’s core though, it’s a rhthym.

It’s regular, it’s steady, it’s not random.

It’s a regular pattern, at the core of very life itself.

Our entire physical life force comes through it  and how we live our lives can, paradoxically, impact this rhythm. Read more…

God likes you

January 16, 2011

God said something to me today, and it really stuck with me. I was being prayed for, and I really felt Him say simply this

“I like you”

Have you ever felt like you know God loves you, you might even believe he loves you completely and unconditionally, and have accepted it. But there is something nagging at you, that He loves everyone, and He only loves you because He loves everyone so he kind of ‘has to’.

Almost like you feel God is stuck with you. He is love, He loves us all, so of course He loves you. Read more…

Shift happens

January 11, 2011

One thing I like to do on the blog is to find and share resources that have helped and challenged me, and which will provoke questions in our minds and get us thinking. There’s a video which is a constant challenge to me, it’s been around for a while now and is constantly updated, called ‘Shift Happens’. You may have seen it before, but nevertheless I would recommend it, its probably one of the most challenging short films out there right now, and leaves us with lots of questions.

I’m going to leave you all to watch it, but as it goes on just ask yourself the following…

– What can it teach us?

– What questions does it raise?

– How can we answer those questions?

– What does it mean for our way of life?

– Is there another way for us to live – a different rhythm, a different story to tell?

New year, new rhythm

January 6, 2011

Today I returned to work proper after the Christmas/New Year holidays (two days last week don’t really count…) and I have to admit, it was difficult to suddenly get back into the whole rhythm of things again. But one thing I found myself thinking, and even saying, was about it ‘taking a while to get back into the old rhythm again’.

Then I suddenly realised something. That the rhythm of my life as I had been living it at work wasn’t normal. It wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t necessary. I didn’t have to live that way. Read more…

Epiphany: God with us, for all of us

January 2, 2011

Epiphany is one of those Christian festivals that often gets ignored, forgotten or just swept under the carpet. It comes just after Christmas, which we all know has a tendency to take up not just Christmas day itself, but an entire month. Most of us are still recovering from the Christmas/New Year period and suddenly epiphany is upon us, almost before we’ve realised it.

Epiphany began as a celebration of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, what is sometimes called the theophany of Jesus Christ. Theophany is a term used in several different religions but it essentially means the appearance of a divine being to man, or a representation of God through man. So in the Christian context we see this when Jesus is born as the divine Son of God, essentially God and man in the same person, 100% human and 100% God, fully God and fully human.

Alongside Jesus’ suffering on Good Friday, this understanding of epiphany highlights more clearly that Jesus isn’t a distant figure, who floats five inches above the ground and doesn’t relate to us, but that He is a real human being, with the same experiences and temptations we have.

If God is fully man, then by definition He has to experience all the temptations, feelings emotions, dilemmas, frustrations and basic human experiences that we go through at one point or another, and therefore knows from first hand experience what it really means to be human.

As we reflect on this, it allows us to connect with Jesus in a much deeper way, as when things are difficult, when there are problems, when we just want to give up, we have a God who can come to us and say with total honesty, ‘I know how you feel’.

This is a God who isn’t distant, but who is right there with us in those moments, in the times he feels most distant, and has been there before HImself. A God who wants interaction with us, who wants relationship, and who even in our darkest moments can relate to how we’re feeling and thinking and is right beside us.

Another historic understanding of epiphany was the remembrance of the visit of the wise men – three wise men from the east, not kings as they are often mistakenly called. The important thing to reflect on here is that these men were not Jews, they were what were known as ‘Gentiles’. Many thought the Messiah had come only for the Jews, but in including this story the writers of the Bible are sending out a message, that right from the beginning, the message of Jesus wasn’t just for Jews, but for all people everywhere.

What they are really saying though is that it’s not about meeting a set of criteria, obeying a set of rules, or being a special kind of person. It states quite clear that the invitation of God through Jesus is available to all.

Epiphany says that the message of Jesus is for all of us, that no matter who we are, whatever our background, no matter what we do or say, that we are unconditionally loved, welcomed and accepted into God’s kingdom.

This epiphany, let us celebrate the God who became incarnate, who became one with us and shared fully in our human experience. And let us remember that no matter who we are, what we’ve done or whatever our background, that the message and love of Jesus is for all people and for all time.

Denial or hope?

December 23, 2010

We often live in a fantasy world. The world of advertising and media all around us feed us this idea of what life could and should be life, if only we had this product or that amount of money, or if we held a certain status – especially at this time of year. We all know of course that this is never going to happen to us, that we’ll never be rich, famous, or even have the real happiness that we always see in the movies.

Well we do don’t we? Read more…

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