Posted in Church, Faith, Inspirational, Uncategorized

A sort of hide and seek…

So arriving here in Somerset West, I am looking for a new church community (spiritual home) to be part of.

There is a sort of joy and freedom in that search.

It feels like I am playing a sort of spiritual hide and seek with God.
(Of course the search, will be more exciting and fulfilling when Catherine is here – that way we found our “home” together.)
One that “fits” us both.

In the meantime, the church hopping is fun.
It’s nice to sit in a church and not be committed to it.
(Don’t stress, I am still committed to God, behind all these churches. Or at the foundation of them, I hope.)

Among the huge fancy auditoriums,
the loud music,
the “pretty” stage lights
the loud preaching
the crowds
the trendy, the hype…

the quieter
the noisier
the conservative
the liberal

God is there. And we can seek Him, hear from Him and connect with Him.

This morning I heard some great quotes and stories from/about CS Lewis, John Wesley and God’s word itself.

In this sort of hide and seek… I am reminded of this verse:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Each day, whether in church, or just in communion with God in the quiet of your home, we can learn, we can be challenged and we can be encouraged. From this morning’s message I got:

“Good works come from the LOVE you have already received. The response to His love.”

“We are pilgrims making our way home…”

So that’s another rambling from me…
(Thanks for popping in… if you did)

Posted in Church, Faith, Inspirational, People

Is there an Afrikaans equivalent of CS Lewis? (The limitations of language)

I’ve been thinking about the limitations of language recently.

Sometimes words can get in the way.
And sometimes they are just not enough.

As an English speaking person i have had the privilege of growing up / being enlightened profoundly by the works of CS Lewis.

In the UK, i even visited his grave and the famous Eagle and Child in Oxford.

I know God doesn’t haven’t favourites.. but still i think CS Lewis would be near the top of that list. (Although the man himself would be mad at me suggesting that. Oops!)

But his books have connected me incredibly to God.
His quotes have made their way into many a sermon for years.

Last year in Secunda, i wanted to do a series with my youth on Chronicles of Narnia.
Those teens were clueless!
They didn’t know who he was.
But i also; that being Afrikaans… that would never have been children reading for them.

(Most people discover Narnia when they are kids)

Then i wondered are their any prolific Afrikaans writers?
Maybe, i don’t know…

But then i thought in terms of the African languages we have in South Africa.

Is there profound wisdom hiding in languages we don’t know?

Posted in Faith, Inspirational, My Writings

There is just something…

…About You

Through the questions
Through the doubt
Through the politics
Through the rituals
Through the hurt

Your mystery remains
Your love never fails
Your mercy invites
Your touch changes me
Your reality opens my world

There is a tugging
There is a depth
There is a well
There is peace
There is just something…

About You

Posted in Church, Faith, Film

“Jesus is coming to town” ;)

I came across this “advert” recently:

revival-hmmm

The poster / advert disturbed me a bit.

Sometimes Christianity seems like a market place.  And Jesus is the product.

The text on the white background is fine.  We all need some encouragement and impartation (is this a new Christian word? 😉 haha!)

But the text on the grey background, starting with Revival! didn’t really sit well with me.  (But this is just my opinion, my two cents)

  • It seems like a marketing slogan.  it seems like all of the work of Jesus, the “outpouring of the Spirit” rests on these two individuals.
  • And it seems like South Africa needs to wait…Jesus isn’t going to do anything until the event….9 – 11 February is only when the revival starts.
  • And… can one really put a date on Revival?  In the Christian sense of the word?

 

Ironically, this little post, is a form of advertising of this event anyway… ha!

Posted in Church, Faith, Inspirational, People

Prayer for election day:

Dear Jesus
Our land is hurting.
It needs a “plaster”
That plaster is You
Jesus our Saviour

We pray for a smooth election day with no violence.
We pray for the right leaders and parties to be elected.

We pray for peace and hope
We pray against unemployment and despair and brokenness

We put our faith in God first and foremost.
Not in a system
Not in a political party
Not in a religion
But in You

God, you changed the minds and hearts of many leaders before.
The scriptures show us that.

Do the same here and now in 2016.
Let our leaders not be swayed and led by corruption, greed, self-gain, power or any other selfish motives.

May they be led by You.
By love
By healing
By the desire to help people

God you are real.
Move among all the people of South Africa.

May we ourselves as individuals
Bring love and positive change and a helping hand to those around us.

We trust You.
In Jesus name we pray
Amen

Posted in Faith, Inspirational, Nature

Why sitting in your garden is good for your faith…

So I submitted at article to Relevant Magazine a few months back.  They didn’t publish it.  (Perhaps, I’m not American.  Hehe!  Or maybe they just have loads of submissions to go through.) —> however I don’t want this piece to just sit (unshared) in my archives.  So here is a little something I wrote:

IMG_4362 (Medium)

Why sitting in a garden is good for your faith

Let me start off with a confession.  Even though I am a pastor – I do struggle to sit and just read scripture.  (I guess working for the church, sometimes the Bible seems like a “textbook”.)  But I have discovered that sitting in the garden has been super helpful in my relationship with God.  This is how and why:

1) I realized we share this planet.

As I sit, with a cup of coffee, I just look around in our garden.  It’s teeming with life.  There are various species of birds eating the seeds I scattered on the ground earlier that day.  There are little sparrows, cooing doves, Red Bishops, Crested Barbets and I see some Swallows darting above too.  (Perhaps, some of these species don’t inhabit other countries.  But each country has birds unique to that environment.)  I feel a gentle breeze blow across the garden.  I notice the setting sun.

I am overwhelmed that we share this planet with these little creatures.  Seriously, what are birds to us?  We don’t really need them, do we?  I wonder, what was God thinking?

I’d like to believe He wanted us to enjoy our time on this planet.  And so He placed “little reminders” of Himself on earth.  He placed beautiful things all over.  From incredible majestic mountain ranges, fresh snow falling, the vast and wild ocean to the colourful birds chirping in our gardens.

 

2) Encourages me to be still.

I am so good at filling my life.  I make it way too busy.  Whether it’s church work, doing hobbies, watching series or films.  Doing exercise or playing soccer.  My life gets full!  I find sitting in the garden, either alone or with my wife is so therapeutic.  So relaxing.  Reminds me of that great scripture in Psalm 46: 10:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

We all need that stillness in our lives.  How about sitting in your garden or a local park?

 

3) Growth in the garden shows me that life is a process.

From winter, through to spring and now into summer – I have observed the changes in the garden.  In the colder months, the ground was barren.  The grass was brown and dry.  Almost looking lifeless.  Flowers hid themselves from the harsh cold.  But as the warmth of spring and summer came… the flowers started to bloom.  The grass turned into a luscious green.  One could feel the joy in the garden.

Seeing all of these changes over a few months reminded me that life is a process.  We all have to go through “growing pains” – we all need to experience different seasons in our lives.  Some are “cold” and difficult.  Others are full of life.  But as I noticed in the garden: there is growth.

Likewise in our lives.  Growth does come.  Trust in the process.  God is the ultimate Gardener in our lives.

 

4) These words fall from my lips: “Creator God, You fascinate me.”

Have you realized this yet.  “Every single day the sunset is different from the days before and the days to come.”  What’s with that?  How do you explain it?  And if we look directly above, clouds never seem to form the same shapes either.  They’re always different.  Unique.

It’s as if God is painting a new skyline for us, every single day.  The response needs to be praise.

“Wow, God, you are amazing!”

When, I see the beauty and wonder in the garden around me, and the sky above, I am drawn into a deeper place with Jesus.  His hands that welcome me are the hands that have created this stunning world!  Amen!

 

5) “So that no person is without excuse…”

We read in Romans 1: 20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have clearly been seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

That’s one of my all-time favourite and convicting verses.  Creation in a sermon.  Creation points us to the Creator.  God made, this beautiful world.  Let’s embrace it and draw closer to the Father’s heart.  And as Coldplay aptly sang:  “See the stars, see how they shine for you.”

Posted in Faith, Inspirational

How does it end? It’s up to you…

I’ve heard some great faith teachings along the way. But being human, I forget some of them along the way. BUT, I once heard this preach on Luke 15. The prodigal son… It has always stayed with me, since I heard it. Most of you would be familiar with the message. I’ll quote the last part of the scripture here:

“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” Luke 15

How does it? Well, the writer of the gospel… leaves that choice to us, the reader.

Does the older son go in to the party?  It doesn’t actually say.
We as the reader… get to decide.
Because, perhaps in some stages of our life, we are the “older brother”
There is an invitation to come inside. To join the party.

What will you do?

===

Posted in Faith, Inspirational, People

A wine glass and dance moves (awesome wedding)

image

Weddings are always a fun occasion.
Had an awesome time last night celebrating with Joe and Mel Taylor.

The three speeches were so heartfelt.
The sermon spot on.
It’s not “love is” but rather “love becomes” I like that.

It was so cool to catch up with people from my East London past. ↑

Some folk I hadn’t seen in 8 years.
Again always so thankful for all the inspiring and encouraging people I have met along the way.

Then the DJ put on the music…
How can one not enjoying dancing?

Dance to your own beat 😉

Life and it’s memorable moments.
Raise your glass! 🙂

Posted in Church, Faith, Humour, Inspirational

The day I appeared in the newspaper

Last week, I had to honour of making an appearance in the local newspaper, The Bulletin here in Secunda.

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Funny thing, the lady who cleans our church, told me when she saw my picture, she thought I had died (thankfully not yet) – apparently people appear in the paper when they have passed on…

Honoured:

– I’m not a resident of Secunda, (well, I’m not from here, originally) and it’s humbling to get a piece written about me.

– I’ve read some of the other “human interest” stories – and they’re amazing.

But, be that as it may… I hope God would use my story in some way…

The day, the paper was printed I got two calls about recycling.  I also got a massive thank you from the Sizithande Recycle Centre – so that’s helped our relationship/connection too.

I wasn’t entirely sure what the focus was of the article was;

  1. i) If geocaching, were a religion – it got good exposure…
  2. ii) The church I worked for – got mentioned – who knows that bring some exposure for them

iii) The recycling project – I started has done so well.  And that definitely got exposure… One of my expressions as a follower of God is to care for His world.

(I don’t know how someone can say that love God and life He gives and yet destroy / and not care for His world.  Litter irks me immensely!)

Funniest, the day that I appeared in the paper – as I cycled to the shop later…  I kept wondering if people were thinking and pointing at me “Isn’t that the guy from the paper?”

Thankfully not! 😉

So Creator God, thank you for the opportunity.

(I’m sure there is a book called: 101 things to do before you die… being in a newspaper… may be done of them.  Check.)

Over and out…

Posted in Faith, Inspirational

Numbers 7

The bible can be a difficult book.  But if you sit with it.  If you ask God to reveal things to you. Truth is, He will.  I sat with these 89 verses.  And this is what i discovered about Numbers 7.

The whole passage can be found here

But the part that grabbed my attention was:

“13 His offering consisted of a silver platter weighing 3 1⁄4 pounds and a silver basin weighing 1 3⁄4 pounds[b] (as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel). These were both filled with grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil. 14 He also brought a gold container weighing four ounces,[c] which was filled with incense. 15 He brought a young bull, a ram, and a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering,16 and a male goat for a sin offering. 17 For a peace offering he brought two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five one-year-old male lambs.”

That part, those EXACT words are repeated 12 times in the passage.  I wondered about that.  I would have just wrote it simply as in the author (writer’s) summary from verse 84:

“84 So this was the dedication offering brought by the leaders of Israel at the time the altar was anointed: twelve silver platters, twelve silver basins, and twelve gold incense containers. 85 Each silver platter weighed 3 1⁄4 pounds, and each silver basin weighed 1 3⁄4 pounds. The total weight of the silver was 60 pounds[d] (as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel). 86 Each of the twelve gold containers that was filled with incense weighed four ounces (as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel). The total weight of the gold was three pounds.[e]87 Twelve young bulls, twelve rams, and twelve one-year-old male lambs were donated for the burnt offerings, along with their prescribed grain offerings. Twelve male goats were brought for the sin offerings.88 Twenty-four bulls, sixty rams, sixty male goats, and sixty one-year-old male lambs were donated for the peace offerings. This was the dedication offering for the altar after it was anointed.”

But no… that’s not the case… the same offering, same specs, same weights is rewritten and mentioned 12 times in one passage.  What is with that?  What can we learn from this? After sitting with the passage.  Praying about.  Letting the Spirit lead my thoughts I came up with this.  Take it or leave it:

  1. Maybe the repetition is there to help the readers and the leaders of each tribe (back, at the time of writing) to remember the instructions clearly.  In repetition comes remembering?
  2. Maybe there is something in going through all 12 exact offerings related to our lives.  You may feel you are in the “fifth offering” of your life?  Don’t despair.  Keep on keeping on.  You need to get through the other seven.  Maybe God wants to say… you need to do “the same things” for now.  Keep at it.  Don’t lose heart.
  3. God’s instruction is for everyone.  12 represents completeness.  “Everyone has instruction from God” – God connects with all.  Thing is, will you listen?
  4. What do the offerings themselves teach us about our worship today?  We need an aspect of “sin offering” to our worship.  In other words, we need to repent.  say sorry to our Maker.  Then the peace offering is interesting too.  Are you peace with others?  Jesus mentioned that too.  “Go and be reconciled to your brother (sister) before you offer your gift at the altar.”  Also, can we be at “peace with God” ?  Because sometimes we may arrive at places where He is with “warring hearts.”  Make amends with Him.  relent to His grace.
  5. The burnt offering part – the aroma of the offering on the altar was to be a pleasing one to God.  How is our worship?  Does God see the posture of our heart and think:  “yes, this person is for me.  I see their dedication and love”

So those are my thoughts on Numbers 7.  What do you think?