Sacred Spaces 530 – How would you respond?

Sacred Spaces 530 – How would you respond?

I recently read the letter (book) of Philemon. Its Paul writing to this guy, Philemon, pleading to welcome and accept back: Onesimus.
Onesimus had wronged Philemon. But Paul urges Philemon to forgive him.
Then Paul ends the letter with a request that he’d keep aside a guest room for him. Because he plans on visiting Philemon soon. And then the letter ends. That’s it!
Only 25 verses.

Just like that! No verdict. We never know how Philemon responds? The scriptures don’t tell us anything more. The ball is in Philemon’s court. We’re left wondering how he would have responded…

Then another well-known preacher speaks about the Prodigal Son story where the old man goes out to the field and invites the older son to come in and join the party.
Then that passage ends too. What happened? Did the older boy go in and join the party or did he stay out in the field. We’re left wondering there too…

I like this about the scriptures. It reminds me of those “choose your own adventure” books.

What is your ending?
Both these passages are about holding grudges. The thing is; how will you respond?
Has someone wronged you?
Do you need to forgive someone?

The ending is open. You choose how it ends.
Will you be enslaved by unforgiveness and grudge holding

Or will you step into a better ending? A better response…

The choice is yours!

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Sacred Spaces 529 – Friend of God

Yesterday, in Chapel, we sang an old song “I am a friend of God” (by Israel Houghton – 2004)

The simple line of the Chorus:

“I am a friend of God”

Got me thinking… of the profound theology and philosophy of that statement:
If we really lived that out. It would be a healthy and deeper relationship with God. Right?

God is approachable like a good friend.
But yes, He is far more than just a mere human friend.
He is the all powerful God who holds the stars and He holds our scars (Yes, I made that rhyme on purpose. A little bit cheesy, I know. But just go with it.)

If we saw our life and our approach to God as “He is our friend” it would move us into this intimate and beautiful relationship with Him.

He is not a task master!
Or a rule giver!
Or someone who is watching our every move waiting for us to slip up…

AND THEN…

If we look at the “friend” part.

With our human friendships, a lot of us, treat them (and we can see them) not so well.
We disrespect our friends. We let them down more often that not.

True Friendship is a rare thing these days.

But we can (and should strive to) have a true friendship with God.

This little chorus carries a big message. Live it!

Sacred Spaces 528 – Name above all names

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Everything has a name.
Everything is named.

My name is Darrel.
Today is named Wednesday.
This post is known as a blog.

We name all items: coffee cup, table, bicycle, laptop and mobile phone.

We name illness too: bronchitis, pneumonia and depression…
We name our sins too: pornography, gossip and murder…

Philippians 2 reminds us:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

Matt Redman sings about it like this:

“Let all the other names fade away.
Until there’s only You.
Let all the other names fade away.
Jesus, take Your place.”

Isn’t that powerful? Isn’t that beautiful?

All names, are under the name of Jesus.
(It just got me thinking… about the name we utter so carelessly, sometimes)

Not realizing:

In Jesus’ name…

Sacred Spaces 527 – Nahum!

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Scripture is full of little gems.
No matter how old you are, you can still learn new things.
And discover new things too.

Part of tour (with my team from Pneumatix) we spend each day in devotion (as a team) where one of the students will share something.

Recently one of them shared from Nahum 1: 3.

He spoke of being in awe of God.

Reading Nahum 1: 3 should do exactly that!

Think about it? The massive clouds above your head are like mere dust to God’s feet.
That’s how incredible huge and powerful God is.

And this big God pursues both you and I.

Sacred Spaces 526 – The thesis of “like an epic”

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This tab has been open for the longest time.
I have wondered how to pen down this installment of sacred spaces.
I have slowed down on writing these scared spaces as you have no doubt observed.
(I wanted to write when I felt I had something to say.)

Sometimes (often) I ask myself why I believe what I believe…
I step outside of myself (in a sense) and look at my belief in God.
Being a Christian.

I’m riddled with so many questions so often.
I’m accompanied with obscure doubt and confusion.

Sometimes faith in God seems almost primitive!
It seems quite bizarre.
The commands of scripture seem so threatening and uninviting.
The ways of the church are far behind.

I don’t know how to put exactly how I feel in words.
I have expressed already how it all seems like a market place. Jesus the product. Church the market place. The pastor, the tactful salesman…

Then we have heard about the many contradictions and the confusion found in the scriptures.
What if this was all made up?

These are the thoughts that I am sure a lot of people have had already…

But in all it’s obscurity the bible is to brilliantly put together to have been made up by an individual or a group of individuals.
Then it comes to countless lives that have been changed for the better from the message of the bible. The God behind those words.

Millions of folk who gather on Sundays and other days… who are convinced that God is who He says He is.

Then I think of all the epic tales that we have come to like.
Frodo on his journey in the Lord of the Rings.
The four kids in Narnia.
Harry Potter and his friends.

These epics inspire us. We want to know what happens. We always believe good will triumph over evil. Light breaks through the darkness.

And just like an epic – requires some faith. So does following God.
We demands to “see then we will believe”…

but the invitation is actually: believe then you will see.

I once heard this analogy. Believe in God is liking tuning into a Song that only some want to listen to.
We can continue to live in a mere three dimensional (3D) world or we can open our minds and hearts to many more dimensions. We can tune into a Song… that is actually so sweet, we don’t want it to end…

So these are my thoughts today… on Independence Day…

Sacred Spaces 525 – … For this day…

I noted this morning in church when a member was asked to pray for the offering… the gentleman started the prayer with “thank You Lord for this day.”

Now there is nothing wrong with that at all. But in my years in ministry (in the church or out) I’ve noted that people (myself included) when asked to pray out loud: in a service, at a meeting, on a camp or elsewhere…

We pray out that almost automated start: “thank you for this day”

(Am i the only one who has noted that?)

Now there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, i thought past the ‘automation’ of it…

And realised… what a great way. To always start a prayer. To start our every day…

Because each day is a gift. How we take that for granted so often…

This day.
This day that finds you reading this post (perhaps) is a gift.  Are you thankful for it? The very breath we breathe is a gift. All of what we experience daily is a gift. The people in our lives, our work, our victories and challenges, our meals. All of it.

Maybe we need to pause. And say thank You again.

Start off. Carry on in. End off with gratitude.

Thank you dear God for this day. Amen!

Sacred Spaces 524 – ministry on the road

Its been awhile since i blogged here. But I’m back. 

So over the last three weeks i have been on tour with some students from Pneumatix (the college where i work.)

We’ve been across three provinces in the towns of Ficksburg, Despatch and now Calirzdorp.

I’ve learnt a few things along the way and want to share some thoughts with you:

(I’ve included pics of our team in action to give you an idea of what we do. )

1. From small towns comes the biggest hospitality.

2. There are little “gems” all over the world.

3. Sometimes a sermon (a preach) won’t bring someone to God… but then perhaps performing arts could help…

4. People like to be entertained. (That’s why theatre all over the world is packed.) The productions we put on… carry a message that we hope would inspire / challenge and encourage our viewers.

5. I have a new found respect for performers who need to remember their lines and / or remember their dance moves.

6. There is a lot of despair all over South Africa. Sadly but understandably.

7. When we as a touring team come to a town we don’t  “minister to” people but rather “minister with” – that struck me a lot.

8. We also can ask of every town “what can i learn from you” instead of always coming in with a “messiah complex” and demanding that you can teach and have the answers…

9. We as a visiting team may be the catalyst / may light some fireworks in the lives of those who come to our shows but the main work is done by the pastors and youth pastors of every town or community we visit. Those people deserve the true applaud and prayer. We may awaken some lives. But the helping with continued growth comes from the local churches.

10. Tour involves ministry to the team too. There have been 18 personalities i have had to learn with, encourage, motivate and monitor their wellbeing.

Thank you for reading my observations.