Testing. One Two! One Two!

29 December, 2011

It’s been a little while since I’ve visited this blog, let alone written anything. I think one of my resolutions for 2012 will be to write a little more frequently. But then again, I don’t really make, much less keep, resolutions, so who can know if there’ll be any follow through at all?

So, the end of 2011 already, and I for one will be very glad to kick it to the curb. It’s been a tough year, a sad year, and I’m looking forward to starting afresh with 2012.

I may even be more deliberate about re-engaging in the whole ‘Church’ discussion again. Maybe.

For now though, it’s enough to say that I’m thinking about starting to blog again.

God with us

16 June, 2010

I’m reading through Ezekiel and am up to chapter 34. You know, the one where God tells off the shepherds off Israel for looking out for themselves and then tells off the flock for doing the same.

Anyhoo, His remedy to this is the promise that one day, He himself will shepherd his people. He will search them out, He will establish them and He will personally provide for them. How? Via his servant David. Jesus himself takes up this theme when he calls himself The Good Shepherd (Jn 10).

Now, I’ve read this passage many times. But today, here’s what took hold of my heart and made me smile…

Ez 34:24
“And I the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.”

A prince among them. With us. As one of us. Now that, right there, the Lovely Word, is beauty.

the hiding place

5 April, 2010

I’m probably the only follower of Jesus over the age of 40 who’s not read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I only just finished listening to the audio version of the book, and am moved beyond comprehension by this amazing story of God’s grace in the midst of the horror of the Holocaust .

This autobiographical account is one of the best audio books I’ve ever heard.  The story so well told by Corrie ten Boom and narrated so faithfully by Bernadette Dunne, tells the story of a family of well loved Christian watchmakers who refused to turn their back on the suffering around them, but relied on God to lead them at ever turn, in order to save as many people as possible.

I listened to the book in my car as I’ve been driving around for the last week, and at times I admit, I had to turn it off before arriving at my destination, so powerful was the story that my emotions often got the better of me.  Corrie relates their experiences so well, that I genuinely felt invited into the situation, the family, their associates, those they cared for, and those they suffered alongside of, each making my heart sing, laugh and cry as their faith in their God led them on to stand up to the evil around them.

I cannot speak highly enough of this book.  A definite “must read” (or hear), for every Christian, if not for the story itself, and the amazing expression of faith, but also for a first hand account of man’s inhumanity to man and just how low we really can go. It’s a poignant reminder that  while it seems a million years away from where we are now, the Holocaust really wasn’t that long ago, and people just like you and me, were on both sides of this war, people very much loved by our God, ordinary people who turned on one another.  The Nazi reign is clearly one of humanities darkest hours.

I pray we never again see a time like this, but if we should, I also pray that there are faithful servants like the Ten Booms, out there serving their Lord with all they have.  I pray I may be as faithful as they.

In the interests of honesty in blogging.  I was provided with a free copy of this audiobook from christianaudio.com as a part of their reviewers program.  I was under no obligation at all to provide a positive review.

burned out by religion?

27 February, 2010

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

– Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Isn’t that just beautiful? The answer to our weariness is to turn away from all the religious requirements placed on us, and to walk with Jesus. To let him show us how to really rest. To let him show us how to do life. Let him teach us “the unforced rhythms of grace”… what an incredible turn of phrase!

I can hear the love in his voice. He’d only just been lamenting the response of towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum for their response to the things Jesus had done in their presence. But, he knew where they were coming from! He understood their predicament. They were steeped in religion. Steeped in the law. They were so intent on doing their utmost to please God by adhering to all the requirement of their religion, that they completely missed God, himself, in their midst. And Jesus’ answer? He stops to pray for them, and then invites them into a life of rest. With him. In short, he loves them. Oh the great pleasure he must’ve felt in taking the burdon of religion off of them!!

Of course, they didn’t all ‘get it’. Some did, but most didn’t. Understandable of course, I mean, they didn’t get that Jesus was God, their Creator, living life with them inviting them into a better way of doing life. He’d come to save them from their burdensome life of trying to please him… and yet, for some reason, we remain attracted to religios observance and performance.

I suspect it’s primarily about our sence of right and wrong. For, while we know that we’re “saved by grace”, we still, deep down insist upon our own unworthiness and attempt to correct this injustice by doing our utmost to behave in all ways worthy.

Unfortunately, moden Christianity provides us with a plethora of ways in which we can [and must] do this. Attendance, service, tithing, worship, mission, Bible reading, studying, conferences, witnessing, meetings to organise meetings, social programs, and even prayer are all carefully scheduled into our days, weeks, months and years. All the time with us insisting, to a world that knows better, that “it’s not religion but relationship“, and… we believe it.

And Jesus says…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

the inciting incident

13 February, 2010

It’s been a long time since I blogged, mainly because it’s been a long time since I last felt that I’ve been able to put my heart into words.

Today however I feel that I can. Earlier this morning I was listening to a recent God Journey Podcast in which Wayne & Brad were talking with their friend Chris DuPré entitled First Love.

Chris was telling his story, and was saying how he found himself in the midst of a group of people that were “…talking about Jesus again.“. He didn’t mean in the sense that we discuss theories about Jesus, and the things he said and did when he was here on earth, but in the sense of knowing him.

Oh my, how this caught my heart!

When did we stop talking about Jesus? When did we replace this with programs and systems and meetings and theories and principles and theologies and organisations and denominations and institutions and movements and spotlights and… self?

It tires me.
It wears me out.
It makes me sad.

Where I really want to be, is in the midst of a those who are once again talking about the real Jesus. The real Truth. The real Light. The real Way.

Jesus, the lovely One.

For a long time now I’ve had in my heart a desire to blog along the lines of “In Search of Dad’s Church“, but I kept putting it off, kept pushing it aside. Knowing that some will be [willfully] offended, and knowing my total lack of desire to enter into that conversation with them. I’m so tired of it. So very tired.

However, today, and for as long as it needs to be, this will be the theme of my blog. I am now, and have been for a long time, in search of Dad’s Church.

In search of people who are once again, talking about Jesus.

as the ruin falls

20 January, 2010

CS Lewis is one of my favourite Authors, and this is my favourite poem…

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love—a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek—
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

~C.S.Lewis, Poems, “As the Ruin Falls” (1st pub. 1964)

the flabby body of Christ

23 November, 2009

Today I read an article on Wayne Jacobsen’s Blog and totally loved it. So rather than post my own thoughts today, I thought I’d share his post, which is in fact a post of another’s post.

It’s entitled The Flabby Body of Christ: Why is church so dull? A psychotherapist diagnoses the Sunday ritual. By Stephen W. Simpson and if you’re interested or even a little curious, you can find it here.

If you have a read, let me know what you think!