Sacred Spaces 531 – Jesus in Buenos Aires

It’s a rainy morning here on the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires.
I wanted to write one of these Sacred Spaces here in this wonderful country.
So here goes, in no particular sequence of thoughts:

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It has to start with the flight. Does anyone else ponder how amazing it is that such a large piece of metal holds us in the sky for that many hours? (Jesus, made some bright sparks in this world! Starting with the Wright brothers…)

When we landed in Rio (our second stop over) and then in Buenos Aires, the Argentines applauded. I liked that! (Apparently, it’s a bit of a cheek thing? Because of some pilots in the past?)
But regardless! It’s no simple feat to land one of those things!!

How often, us humans, take too many things for granted…

NEXT,

Public transport makes for good reading time. I’ve loved it!
I’ve read a lot of my latest read. (Dan Brown – Digital Fortress)

On the trains and underground one can see a lot of people hiding in their headphones…and I thought of the Jars of Clay song called Headphones:

“I don’t have to hear it, if I don’t want to
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you
It’s a heavy world, it’s too much for me to care
If I close my eyes, it’s not there

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see
I want to tell you (It’s a heavy world)
Everything will be okay
You wouldn’t hear it (I don’t want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways…

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on
I don’t wanna be the one who tries to figure it out
I don’t need another reason I should care about you
You don’t want to know my story
You don’t want to own my pain
Living in a heavy, heavy world
And there’s a pop song in my head
I don’t want to have to hear it”

And that’s the one view of it.
BUT also after a long day of work or college, people like to have some “me – time” and hence they hide in those headphones or among the pages of a book.

Lesson: take some time out. Look after yourself a bit. Me time, is not a selfish thing!

NEXT,

I noticed the different species of birds here. One’s I’d never in South Africa. Another reminder of our BIG God. The birds chirp of who He is!

NEXT,

We came prepped with some promo dances and short skits to do in churches and schools… but God had other ideas.
We came to bless others…
He used those others to bless us…

I think a lot of my students were moved in ways they didn’t expect, on this trip! Thank you Jesus!\

ANOTHER THING,

Often one can see, people sitting at the many street corner restaurants. (One of my favourite things: the tables and chairs “spilling” on to the sidewalk where people can meet up.)

People are good at having quality time here with one another.
Something all people need to be reminded of.

Time with people. Best idea! Tell and share stories. Listen. Listen again. Just sit. Be with one another.

ONE MORE THING,

Perhaps, most Christians are “lukewarm?”
They live a lot of their lives with God on the fence.
But on the fence, nothing remarkable happens because you have to spend all your time and energy “balancing” there…

Maybe if Christian people become more HOT in following Jesus. Diving in more. More committed. Then they would see Jesus more often in their lives.
They would see and hear of prayers answered.
They notice the Spirit prompting.
They’d see the movement of God in far more real way.


I really could add more. But trying to keep these short. Thank You Jesus for meeting me everywhere!

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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!

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!