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.


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.


lovely

27 September, 2009

From forever the Word existed
And the Word was The God
And God was the Word
He was from forever in relationship/communion with The God

The Word
God
Life
Light
Flesh/Man
Giver of Grace
Gives of Truth
Revealer of God

Lovely One.


blog much?

5 September, 2009

Spring is springing quite well indeed here in Melbourne, Australia and I feel like I’m starting to find my way out of some wintery doldrums. I’ve missed the warmth of the sun and being able to get out and walk and ride my bike away from the cold winds.

I’ve been using my inside-time to some advantage though. Reading [& coffeeing] a lot. I made my way through Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” (NT), in both written form and listening to it the car as I drive about. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m quite looking forward to going back to my NKJV though, it’s like family.

At the moment I’m re-reading though Jim Petersen’s Church Without Walls: Moving Beyond Traditional Boundaries and enjoying his insights while thinking through what it is to be Dad’s Church.


highlights of 2008

29 December, 2008

Here’s my answer to my friend Sarah‘s invitation to do a top 5 list for 2008…

ben & zo’s wedding – it was absolutely a complete joy to see two of my friends marry, and the bonus was that the whole thing was a lot of fun!  Once again (and continually, many blessings upon you both)!


the great trip of ’08 – May this year saw me and 2 friends take off for a trip to Europe and the States.  I’m going to cheat a bit on this one do a top 6 moments of the trip.

  • Revisiting Dublin, Ireland & catching up with friends in Northern Ireland. 


  • Paris – absolutely lovely!


 

  • England, reconnecting with family and friends and getting to revisit some much loved locations.

 

  • New York – a big surprise for me, I wasn’t particularly all that excited about the prospect of visiting NY, but I completely and utterly fell in love with the City and will definitely return, one day.

 


 

  • Seattle – This was special!  I had the privilege of meeting up with some very special friends and it was wonderful.  

Thanks again to Barb & Doug and family  for making room for us, and thanks to Sarah, Caz & Dwayne and family, and Gina for making the trip to Seattle.

 

 

  • Los Angeles – and in particular meeting up with my friend Holly and her family.  Thanks again Holls, for having us stay!  

… and of course Disneyland, a place built for kids that definitely brought the little kid out in me!


turning 40 – which wasn’t any where near as bad as I expected it to be, I’m actually really loving being 40!  Thanks to a bunch of family and friends who helped me celebrate the occasion with a bit of a party.

 


bike riding – I’ve had an absolute blast this year getting out and bike riding in and around Melbourne, and really enjoyed a weekend away with my friends Zo & Rach.  I even bought myself a new bike for my 40th, and it’s been so much fun!



getting to know Jesus – this has been an ongoing relational discovery over many years of course, but I think this year has been particularly exciting as I’ve been more deliberate about getting to know the Way Jesus did life with the people around him, and learning that who I am means more to him than what I do and relaxing in that.  It’s been lovely.

Of course there’s no photo that could accurately depict what this is about, although each of the above ‘highlights’ for me have definitely been blessings from my heavenly Father, and so fit this quite nicely!



 


distinctive?

13 October, 2008

Although it’s been a while since I’ve regularly blogged, I have been posting elsewhere.  So here’s something I wrote not so long ago on what I believe makes followers of Jesus distinctive…

What makes us distinctive?

I have friends who tell me it’s the fact that we’ve acknowledged what Jesus did on the cross so we’re saved and we live our lives accordingly.

But, I watch them, and they’re driven by much of the same compulsive attitudes (success, power, authority, popularity, status) that the rest of the world is. The biggest difference is they’ve channelled those attitudes, desires, whatever into what has become socially acceptable within Christian culture.

Same same… but different.

In this case, the only distinctive thing is the culture in which it’s all lived out. It’s like they’ve justified them all by slapping the word “calling” on them and giving them the appearance of Godliness.

Sure they’re different, they don’t smoke, they don’t swear, they don’t sleep around, they don’t cheat on their partners, and they frown upon those that do. Mind, I know many unsaved people who don’t do any of these things either. But then my unsaved friends don’t read bibles, and turn up to church on Sundays and don’t tithe, maybe that’s it?

I know many unsaved that pray… so that can’t be it, although they wouldn’t put “in the name of Jesus” on the end. 

But, isn’t that still just behaviour modification or even ‘sin management’ (as Dallas Willard so eloquently puts it)? 

Isn’t the thing that actually makes us distinctive not that we talk and walk with people just like us, and exert self-control in some areas of our lives, or even that our lives have been modified so that we fit within acceptable standards of behaviour with the Christian culture, but rather that we’re becoming more and more aware of how much we’re loved by our Creator and that that love is transforming us on the inside into his image. So that, all that other stuff no longer matters to us? 

We don’t need power, control, authority over others, success etc to make us feel ok or even acceptable to those around us. We no longer need to perform for the masses, conform to their expectations or even place expectations of behavioural standards on others. I mean, isn’t that what Jesus came to set us free from? Not only sin and it’s grasp on our lives, but along with that (for surely it’s all connected?), free to live unencumbered by all the stress of conformity to those around us and their expectations? Religious or otherwise?

Free to be the beloved of God.
Free to live for others instead of self.
Free to promote others ahead of ourselves.
Free to allow them to ruin our reputations before men.
Free to go where religion can’t take us, to befriend the drug addict, 
the homeless, 
the poor, 
the widow, 
the wretched, 
the neglected, 
the smelly, 
the stinky, 
the dirty, 
the naked, 
the homosexual, 
the blasphemer, 
the sex addict, 
the foul mouthed youth, 
the drunkard, 
the single parent, 
the angry teenager, 
the ugly, 
the despicable, 
the desperate,
the lonely, 
the murderer, 
the enemy of our nation, 
and those that act in all the other ways we find offensive, because, really, we’ve encountered the love and forgiveness of Jesus and we get that just like us, these are just hurting, broken people, responding to the fact that they ‘feel’ unloved and unimportant.

But we know that’s not true. They are loved more deeply and more honestly then anything they can imagine, and what really matters is that the people around us begin to get how loved they are by their heavenly Father. That they (and we?) no longer have to lash out at others to protect or exalt themsevles. They are loved due to the mere fact that they ‘are’ the beloved of God, His creation, His kids and Jesus died for them as much as he died for us… He loves them, and if we don’t, then John tells us we don’t know God.

And I believe our distinctiveness is found in the fact that we wont isolate or reject the ‘unlovely’, we wont shun those who disagree with us, we wont judge the broken, because we know that they already feel wretched and dirty, it’s grace they don’t understand, and we have that by the bucket-load!!! We get ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ because He has met us in the midst of our junk, and poured His love into our hearts.

That’s what markes a believer as distinctive to me. Not just the ‘card carrying christians’ who show up every time the church doors are open and have exchanged ambition in the ‘world’ for ambition in the church, because ‘that’s what you’re supposed to do’… but those who are the people of God because the Spirit of Jesus lives in them.

I reckon that is our distinctiveness, and no amount of separateness “from the world” is ever going to work that in us. The only thing that will is if we get what God did in the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and allow that to transform us into his image. 

From the inside out… not the other way around.


partnership

19 August, 2007

Each individual will make a matchless discovery. He will be able to cease from constantly scrutinizing the other person, judging him, condemning him, putting him in his particular place where he can gain ascendancy over him and thus doing violence to him as a person. Now he can allow the brother to exist as a completely free person, as God made him to be. His view expands and, to his amazement, for the first time he sees, shining within his brethren, the richness of God’s creative glory. God did not make this person as I would have made him. He did not give him to me as a brother for me to dominate and control, but in order that I might find within him the Creator. Now the other person, in the freedom with which he was created, becomes the occasion of joy, whereas before he was only a nuisance and an affliction.

God does not will that I should fashion the other person according to the image that seems good to me, that is, in my own image; rather in his very freedom from me God made this person in His image. I can never know beforehand how God’s image should appear in others. That image always manifests a completely new and unique form that comes solely form God’s free and sovereign creation. To me the sight may seem strange, even ungodly. But God creates every man in the likeness of His Son, the Crucified. After all, even that image certainly looked strange and ungodly to me before I grasped it.

Strong and weak, wise and foolish, gifted or ungifted, pious or impious, the diverse individuals in the community are no longer incentives for talking and judging and condemning, and thus excuses for self-justification. They are rather cause for rejoicing in one another and serving one another.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book Life Together