home

17 February, 2007

I’m not long home from Cornerstone.  Tonight was our first night there for 2007 and it was full of wonder!  I really enjoyed seeing everyone again.  There was even one guy that came in tonight that I hadn’t seen for a good 10 years, and I have to admit that while I remembered him, I didn’t remember his name, yet he walked up and greeted me by name, with a very wide smile and filled me in on the last 10 years of his life.  Made me smile.

It was a great night.  We had a meal together (thanks to KJ for providing last mintue foodage when we discovered the uneatableness of the prearranged meal), we played Uno, we sang songs from the Jukebox, and everyone came together to sing happy birthday to a very cute 2 year old and then enjoyed birthday cake.

I love this place.  I love the community of people that Father has brought together there.  They’re such a group of odd-bods, so diverse and yet they come to Cornerstone and look out for one-another and have created a community of people that genuinely care for each other.  They’re just lovely!!!!!

Once again tonight I was reminded of how much I love the people of Dandenong.  How much Dad loves the people of Dandenong, and how much I really want to be there. 

I have no doubt, that sometime this year, I’ll be moving back to Dandenong, moving home…

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remembrance & hope

23 December, 2006

Yesterday morning I finished reading Deuteronomy. It’s actually one of my favourites of the Books of Moses. I love the way it recounts all that God has done for the Israelites. From the call of Abraham and God entering into covenant relationship with him, to the 70 Syrians going into Egypt, their 400 years of servitude, God hearing their cry and raising up Moses to lead them out, then His leading them through the wilderness, the giving of His statutes and laws, their rebellion, His provision and protection, and then finally looking forward to them entering the promised land.

It’s all about reminding the Israelites of everything God has done for them in the past, so that they will rely and stay true to him in the future. They can place all their hope in Him. He has loved them, He does love them, He will love them. They are His, called to be exclusively about His business – Holy.

He even tells them, in a song, about their future rebellion, He sets before them what appears to be the entire future of the Israelites and their interaction with God and others. Yet, in the end, they can hope in Him being true to His promise of being their God.

Lovely.

Remember & Hope.

I suspect there’s something in there for us all.

Ok, off to brekky to spend time with Joshua…


how?

7 November, 2006

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ‘But I tell you: Love your enemies bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (emphasis mine)

How’s that for words of life! How awesome! How radical! Loving our enemies? Loving people who actively work against us? Love them, to have their best interest at heart, to want the best for them. To bless those who curse us? Do good for those who hate us? Pray for those who make life hard for us!?! It’s the complete antithesis of our instinctual self-preservation! What? Put them ahead of ourselves?

How? You’re kidding right?? That’s a pretty huge ask! I mean, if I give them an inch they’ll take a mile! It’ll surely end in tears (mine!). It’ll all go pear shaped! Nup. I have to protect myself. I have to stay away from them.

But, what if someone taught me a better way? A better way. The Way… love. The Truth… all have sinned, and while we were still sinners, He died for us. The Life… life abundant. Not held captive by anything… anything.We’re all broken. We all need love. We all want to be signifcant. We all want to matter. The great majority of people have no clue how much they are loved. They don’t get that they don’t have to put others down in order to feel okay about themselves. They don’t know how to love others without feeling diminished by it… how sad is that!? Surely it’s the antithesis of life…?

Imagine spending all your days trying to prove yourself, comparing yourself with others, competing and downgrading…? They aren’t really our enemies, they’re their own worst enemies. They’ll never achieve what they want. They’ll always be someone else in their way, or doing better, or happier, or richer, or more popular, or even more content. They don’t like themselves. They’re so insecure.

How can our response be anything but love? How can we not want them to know the truth? To set them free from this incredible lie!? How can we not pray for them? How can we not want to bless them? To do good for them? To love them! How can we not want the best for them? To bless their proverbial socks off!!! To show them a better Way!!

The Way

The Truth

The Life

How wonderful…!

Isn’t He…. ?!


context

19 October, 2006

There’s a lady that’s a regular at one of the places that I go to in the mornings for brekky. We’d been nodding and smiling at each other for a month before I went and sat down with her and we started talking. Now we catch up most mornings. It’s really nice. Yesterday we discovered that we know a lot of the same people.

She grew up one street from my parent’s, and her husband lived in the same street. gve-frameWhen she was 15, my grandparents gave her a lift to and from a wedding. It was really nice hearing her talk about two people that I really loved. She said she remembers that my grandfather always wore a hat and had a great sense of humour, and my Nan had a great laugh. I remember these things too, although I would’ve said that Nan had a bizarre laugh (maybe she was just being polite).

The wedding that they went to was that of my grandparent’s, best friend’s daughter. She said she’d lost contact with them along the way and I was able to fill her in on where they’re at – the dad, “Harry” died 2 weeks ago. We talked about a lot of the families that live in my parent’s street. Most of whom have moved on, but there are a few still there. We also talked about how she came out here from England when she was 10, and I heard her story, where she’s from and how they came to live in Dandenong. She’s still in contact with a family that used to live in my street, I remember playing with their son before they moved away. I was around 7 at the time. We talked for over an hour about our mutual friends, and while there’s 26 years between us, these memories helped us connect more closely as friends. I also really enjoyed remembering people and places from my past and connecting them with my present, and how much has changed in me over the years.

I think I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been making my way through the New Testament once again, and just like yesterday’s conversation, it’s reminding me that I’m a part of a bigger story. A story that has been in progress for centuries, since the beginning of time (and beyond). It’s reminding me that Yahweh has been about the same business all this time. He’s been calling out to His children and inviting them into relationship with Himself. As I read through the Gospels and now Acts, it been wonderful to watch how Jesus corrected people’s assumptions about his Father and invited people into loving, and meaningful relationship. I also love how he called them, and then sent them, telling them to do the same things, and how he made it clear that that’s what His Kingdom is all about. Freely receiving and freely giving. Such beauty, such grace, such love!

I’m also seeing once again that this isn’t about ‘doing’ but about living. He didn’t come so that we would just obey him (although of course that’s a part of it), but he came so that we may have life, and be his friends. So that who we are as his friends is lived out in the midst of not only those who know Him, but those who don’t. That we be about the same stuff that he is, that we, for want of a better term, ‘buy into’ the same story. Not because we feel compelled to, but because it’s a natural response to the love and grace that he pours into our lives.

In this respect we can neither be ‘inward-looking’ (aware mostly of our Christian families) or ‘outward’, but rather constantly aware of those around us and looking for opportunities to bless whoever it is that comes our way, whether they be brother, sister, friend, stranger or even our enemy. The story, the thing that we’re a part of, that has been going on all these years, the thing that we commit ourselves to when we become disciples of Jesus, as it has been for centuries, is to pour out the blessings and love that have been poured into us, upon any and all that our Father places before us.

This is the context into which the Christian enters.

This is our story.

This is our heritage.

This is what it is to be a friend of God.

This is what it is to be “a co-operative friend of Jesus” (as Dallas Willard so eloquently puts it).