Posted in Faith & Church, Inspirational & Observations from Life

You are not a Christian…but…

This came up twice, so I thought I’d write about it.
I challenged the church last night – if asked about their faith this week /
Or in their own devotional time:

TO NOT REFER TO THEMSELVES as CHRISTIANS.

But rather… as a CHILD OF GOD.

Because maybe we have become too familiar with the title, Christian.

As God’s child.

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Think about the Father’s love for you.
How the Father thinks good thoughts about you.
How the Father pursues you.
How the Father protects you.
How the Father provides for you.
The Father gentle hands that hold you.

“Who the son sets free
Oh, is free indeed
I’m a child of God, yes I am.
In my Father’s house
There is a place for me
I’m a child of God, yes I am.”

And I quite like this Third day song too:

(Dig the lyrics and Mac Powell’s voice is so cool!)

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life, People

Watch your words

Yesterday, I heard a mother say this about her son:

“He never does things right.”

At the time, I wish I was braver and called her out on that.

This morning, I was just thinking about it again.

Please, EVERYONE, watch the words you say!

They can hurt and break down people.

“Sticks and stones will break your bones
And your silly words, will hurt like hell.”

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life, Travel & Explore

The Adventure in the wind and rain (Cornwall Coastal Path)

A week ago, I got back from a magical trip on the Cornwall Coast.
Only 4 days (this time around) – but I will be back.
A lot more to explore.

These are just some of memories and thoughts from that experience:

Living in Milton Keynes I am probably the further-est from the sea by at least 2 hours in every direction…

Having lived close to sea in South Africa, I really enjoy the wide open space of the ocean. The soul stirring invite of the sea.

So on arrival to Perranporth, my soul felt so giddy!

How beautiful is the view from this parking lot?

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These lyrics by Counting Crows came to mind “They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot” (Big Yellow Taxi)

We had to fetch my cousin’s car from this little town.
Next stop was Portreath:

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My cousin (Jess) and I went straight to the water to dip our feet in.
I was so thankful to see such open spaces and see the sea again.
There is just something about the Ocean.

It just draws me to our Creator God.
Swimming in it often feels like a “sort of baptism”
And there is just the whole play factor… being at the beach.

We met the rest of our party (who had been hiking for the day) and then we headed to The Portreath Arms for a delicious meal and meeting some of the locals.

I love moments like that. Sitting in a pub in the middle of a small town. Where time seems to stand still. A beer, a good pub meal, a great ambience… dig it!

The next day, my two cousins and I set our for our 18km hike.

From Portreath to Phillack (near Hayle)

(I remember before heading off to Cornwall to do just two days of the Cornwall Coastal Path) someone had said to me that the weather forecast looked quite rainy…
I replied: We’re going on an adventure. If it rains, then it will be a wet adventure, but an adventure nonetheless.

I remember having a conversation with my aunt: She said that in South Africa, there is the glorious Transkei coast. And it really is breathtaking! A jagged and wild coastline…
But right here in the UK, right there in Cornwall… the coastline is magnificent! It too is wild and jagged.
And absolutely breathtaking!
Cornwall has some sheer cliffs right on the coastline.
And then it has some wide open sandy beaches. (I was reminded of Noordhoek beach in the Western Cape)

I got this shot:

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I figured it would make a good advert for VW Kombis. (Volkswagen) Don’t you agree?

As I walked by the van I noticed a guy sitting inside – he looked to be writing something. What a pensive picture!

On that Friday, we had to walk through some strong winds and some rain that came pelting down from an angle.

On the whole, it was just so amazing to have the ocean accompanying us on the right side. The sheer cliffs. We saw some seals beached in a little cove below. The varied flora. The gradient of the hike was relatively consistent so it was quite easy.

I just couldn’t quite believe, how beautiful it all was!

England, I have discovered has various landscapes.
From beautiful countryside, mountains in the Lakes and Peak districts, stunning green rolling hills, and now the coastline of Cornwall that I was experiencing for the first time.

The self-catering cottage we arrived at was amazing and so homey.
The next day, we had a slow start. The weather outside was pretty dreary, but a certain charm to it. Warm and comfy in a cottage, with the grey and rainy weather outside… felt like a place where good stories are written.

The ladies and myself, (me, being the thorn among the roses – One guy, five ladies.) got to watch the semi final. (ENG vs NZ.) Was so good to see how well ENG played well!

So our Saturday adventure started later and started with a train trip:

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There was a picturesque short train ride along the coast. It felt like the right thing to do. To train into St Ives.

St Ives was just so quaint and wonderful. It felt so European!
I loved the cobbled streets, the older buildings – the buildings also seemed to lean against each other.

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I definitely want to come back here again!
I have this thing I do when I visit places is to send postcards to some people.
But all the postcards I saw at the stores where of St Ives in the sunshine.

But that was not my experience of it, this time. So to keep things authentic:
I chose not to get postcards.

While we ate lunch, it was good to see how the tide came into the bay:

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After a short visit to the lovely St Ives we did the 15km coastal walk back.
The weather improved. No more rain.

So it was perfect!

Again, stunning coastline:

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And they said England is not beautiful… ?
(“They” refers to the bitter ones who go on about the weather.)

Come rain, or clouds, or wind, or sunshine, or vast blue skies…
Every scenery has a certain charm to it.
“What you look for, you will find.”

On the way back to the cottage, my cousin, got this photo of me:

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I am so thankful for the little adventures I get to experience!

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life, People

Nice Try… (musings on the RWC19)

Some musings of South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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South Africans in SA:
My news feed has been flooded with celebratory posts of SA winning the Rugby.
There are definitely moving stories about players in that team.
It’s been great to see footage of the rainbow nation enjoying the winning in shopping malls, and bars and other places.
It’s good to see the unity among the different races and cultures.
Madiba was onto something in 1995.
God can use sport. To unite people.
(And that’s true of every nation – not just South Africa!)

It’s been so cool to see groups like #Imstaying
Taglines such as #strongertogether

But once the euphoria of this weekend’s win is over…
That’s when the hard work begins.

It’s been 25 years in the “New South Africa”

There is still a lot of work to be done.

Monday comes with frustrations
Bad administration
Racist struggles
EFF and ANC issues
Corruption.
Financial inequality
Crime

It’s all still there…

The hard work is not over!
Let #strongertogether and #Imstaying not just be buzzwords and Facebook groups.

May it be part of your philosophy too…

Saffas in the UK:
Been cool to see the saffas in London and other pockets all over this amazing country celebrating the win! Fantastic!

It’s a massive feat! Our team wasn’t looking convincing throughout the tournament.
So, yeah we do have bragging rights in the work place – tomorrow.

Be kind though. No one lines a boastful winner! πŸ˜‰

Our hearts may often be “home” but actually the UK is now our home too.
We have both feet and our lives here too.

And remember this land is also a land of diverse culture. One needs to just walk down a street in London or even small towns around this island.. and hear the various accents…

Truth is, it’s a good game.
It’s a good win!
But it really is just a game!

There is a lot of work to be done, everywhere.
Each country has it strengths and weaknesses!

Let’s be part of it’s strength!

Psalm 24: 1
The earth is the Lord’s and everything it it.

I really like that! πŸ™‚

As a believer, I belong to Another.

Hmm, I really didn’t know how to end this blog…?

Let’s be spirited and kind people wherever we are.
I am thankful for my 35 years of SA heritage.
But I am thankful for many opportunities and safety and travel and life here.

Let me be share goodness and kindness in any field, I may found myself.
Not just as a pastor in a church…

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life, Music, People

Are Christians now Kanye West fans?

Here are my 2 cents, because 50 Cent is taken already… (see what I did there?)

A few days ago, Kanye West released an album called: Jesus is King.
He is a Christian now?

So there are a few different responses to this:

THE CYNIC
Maybe he just wanted to new writing material. So he delved into Christianity.
A few have thought that…
Sadly, a lot of Westernised Christianity has become more about trend than relationship!

THE CHEESY CHRISTIAN FAN
If you have never liked Hip Hop music before and now all of sudden you do because some of the song titles are now Christian… or the artist them self has become a Christian, then, oh my… that’s so lame and fickle! πŸ˜‰

Disclaimer: I haven’t listened to any of his new album yet. I’ll wait to “the hype” has died down. Then I will quietly give it a listen.

THE ONE WHO INTERCEDES
We can be cynical!
We can be hype followers!
We can be cheesy!

I saw this clip and thought it summed up the Kanye West news pretty well:

I liked what Greg said. Let’s pray for him.
That’s the best response!

We all have an area of influence.
Let’s acknowledge that.
What good can we bring in our area that we have been allotted?

Social media only portrays the news and trends and a perspective from the outside…

Let’s ACTUALLY pray for Kanye West.
God sees the heart.

If his Christianity is real, he may just be entering a difficult stage in his life, with people poking at him, criticising him, waiting for him to fall or fail (how inhuman humans can be?)

What do you think?

Posted in Faith & Church, Inspirational & Observations from Life

The church and giving…

I had to chuckle to myself last night during the notices at church.
We seemed to be asking the people (congregation) for a lot of things:

Bring in things for our Harvest collection.
Bring in things for our Christmas shoe box collection.
Bring in your tithe… (How many sermons have people heard on that?)

September / October is going to be an expensive month for people!!

This got me thinking:

THOUGHT 1:

Sometimes there is this criticism by the people saying “the church is always asking for money.”

Well, yes! That is the case?

But look at your church… seeing what they’re doing with it?

If your pastor was getting a fancier car or an airline or something shady like that… then yes, get worked up about that!

However, if your church are ACTIVE in the local community, pouring out their resources to help others.
Bring light and love and kindness and care to a world that needs it.

Then celebrate with them.
And understand… a lot of those ministries need your money.

THOUGHT 2:

Maybe another way to look at GIVING is… that it’s not the “church is asking again” but rather it is part of YOUR LIFESTYLE…
Part of who you are!

It’s not just around Autumn (Harvest) and Christmas time…
But you give every month. Because you’have build it into your being. The way you live.

We don’t give out of religious duty (that 10% tithe)

BUT INSTEAD

We give, because it’s what we always do.

We give our money. Because we want to help others.
We give our time.
We give our skills.
We give our produce.
We count our blessings. And realise, we have so much!

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We live the Leviticus 23: 22 way:
β€œβ€˜When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”

And we live this, every month!

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life

The Solution in your Hands

I see you there with that device in your hand.
With a look on your face, suggesting you don’t understand.
Your 57th share to your story.
But your life still feels boring.

You thought all of this would make you feel better.
But you’re still feeling like you’re just don’t get it.
Those adults ask you: what is the biggest issue among young people today?
And your most common reply: social media has led them astray.

Intriguingly, you know what is the remedy.
Yet, you still flirt with the enemy.
Not letting it go,
The solution is with you, didn’t you know?

No one else will stop this addiction.
Longing for likes and unnecessary attention.
What a catch 22.
The problem and the solution is with you.

Comparison is the thief of joy.
And yet you let it; continue to destroy…
Stop living online.
And step outside.

See them face to face.
Discover love, joy, beauty and grace.
Not from an online source.
Let it go, before the remorse.

Its in your hand.
Time to make a stand.
Do you own a phone?
Or does the phone owe you?

The world is yours, you could spread your wings
But you choose to settle for mediocre things
Allowing in the darkness of your mind
When light is inviting you, to find

Labels are for canned goods
Not for bad neighbourhoods
You are not your circumstances
So stop missing chances…

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life

Silent September

For the month of September, I decided to remain silent as best as possible… from social media. At the end of August, I sensed God whispering these two words to me: Silent September.

So I obeyed. No Instagram and no WordPress!
The break was refreshing. But…
It’s funny and ANNOYING… how I spent more time on Facebook… sigh! (Choose your poison…)
Also an Youtube presence. But to be fair, that’s only when I’m having a meal. I watch clips during.

However, I did capture some pictures that I wanted to share.
(Okay, #GooglePhotos edited these 2 a bit.) But I just like them:

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Autumn is a great time here. One can feel the crisp coolness in the air, hear the crunch of the fallen leaves beneath your feet and then see the incredible colours of sunset – all of that adding to the charm of the season.

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I then liked capturing a part of this school. Swanbourne House. A few miles outside of Milton Keynes. I had the privilege of doing a chapel service there. I was awed by how the morning sun fell upon the wall and how the reddish creeper climbed it.
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Here are some other pics last month that I took… that I’d like to share with you:

Autumnal sunsets are stunning!

Delicate.

I like the light and shadows and busyness of this one.

Creativity needs to be shared. Ideas breed ideas.

I have always liked tables that are jotted outside coffee shops. Here, the morning sun invites the customers to stay…

This, in real life (photo doesn’t do justice) depicted a lot of life going on. Situated outside the Google Offices. What a great little green pocket with running water. A place to take a breather!

A meeting of seasons.

In their own way, all three look so pensive…

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life

Thank you Soul Survivor

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I keep thinking about Mike Pilavachi and his team after this last week (week C) of Soul Survivor. After the event is done. People have gone home. Tents taken down, all the last admin sorted… they sit with a glass of wine at home. And can declare: “It is done.” and take a satisfactory sigh.

And even better still to hear God say to them: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

For 26 or 27 years (since 1993) every summer, Soul Survivor has reached many people. (Young people, young adults and adults.)

This past week, I got to experience Soul Survivor for the first and last time.
I was moved. I was thankful, how an event like SS has reached so many.

Here are some of my ramblings:

In the “tent of the meeting” (there is some scriptural about that term) – God really moved. It was incredible to feel a tangible hope and presence of His spirit hovering over and through the people.

(For non Christians, I get that that may be a weird paragraph to read. But hey.)

It was good to see so many young people engage and go forward for prayer.

Jesus, really is a solution. A saviour.
The world is broken in many ways.
In the words of Blink 182 “earth is dying, help me Jesus”

It needs fixing.
Jesus can do that.
Listen to His words and teachings and ways. I promise if you lived as He suggested… you would see a world of difference…


As Mike said, perhaps the cynics would say, “well out of all the people… who came up… how many are still Christian a few weeks or months later?”

Yes, some will fall away.
But as Mike said, how he has met many people over the years who have said to him that they gave their lives to Jesus at Soul Survivor. Count the victories, not the losses. πŸ˜‰

What sort of person are you? The one that sees the glass half full or half empty?


During some of the evening sessions, after all the noise and singing… Mike would encourage us… to listen in silence. What is God saying?
I liked that. Well done SS team!
God speaks in the silence too. Not just all the hype!


I realised… too that with all the hype.
A lot of young people make a response out of their emotions.
But duh?
Humans are emotional.
We make decisions out of emotions. Is that always a bad thing?

Our hearts are stirred.
Our hearts are moved.
That’s being human.


With that in mind. My challenge to “festival junkies.”
Find God in the ordinary life.
Festivals are “mountain top experiences.” but I promise God is all in the valleys.
He is everywhere.
Psalm 24: 1 The earth is the Lords and everything in it.
Open your eyes to that truth and possibility.


Back to the festival.
The one night Rend Collective Experiment led worship.
It was so joyful!

I LOVED IT.
(Yes, i HAD TO CAPITALISE THAT)

Because we NEED MORE JOY.

During that night of praise and joy…
There was still ministry time
People could respond and be prayed for.
But as they were prayed for the band rocked on.
It was a great jam session! Full of joy!

Made me think:
Christians… not everything has to be sooooo gloomy and heavy!!!!

Meet Jesus in the joy.

Nehemiah 8: 10 The joy of the Lord is my strength.


To the Soul Survivor team,
Thanks for all your service over the 26 years.
God has touched many lives through that festival.
A very well done event!
Coolest coffee shops
and entertainment.
Good singing.
Good teaching.

Rest well now,

God will continue the work through the other festivals around.

Again, May you hear His words “Well done good and faithful servants.”

Posted in Inspirational & Observations from Life

The fireworks in 2019

I like to pay attention and notice certain things in my life. 2019 has been a year of fireworks.

Berlin

At the start of 2019 – New Year’s Eve, my friend Bob and I were on a third story balcony with some newly acquired German friends welcoming the new year in. We watched the fireworks of Berlin city grace the city’s skyline. Remarkable! For about 40 minutes the colours pierced the night time sky.
One could scan the interior horizon… About 180 degrees… and drink it the incredible view. A magical display of fireworks. We, all just stood their taking in the breath taking sight. Hardly any words exchanged.

Mauritius
Fast Forward to Flic en Flac in June.
Chane’, my bro and I with Emily and Seth sitting on the beach watching the little fireworks we bought from a local supermarket.
Nothing too spectacular. But the wonder and joy of the kids was quite contagious.
And we were in friggen Mauritius. Amazing!

Soul Survivor 2019

Then on the last night of Soul Survivor 2019. As a sort of send off… and thank you and farewell… the last night… we were treated to a 15 minute display of fireworks…

I remember standing with my leaders and youth. Words remained quiet.
We just took in the view.
Something so amazing about fireworks.

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And of course there is a song fitting for it:

Thank you Jimmy Eat World – Just watch the fireworks.