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…

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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 509 – The gospel of change and leadership

Over the weekend I had the honour of being the host at a local Global Leadership Summit (GLS)

– I am often weary about mega church events, where Jesus seems like a product, however…
– I am concerned about this idea that western world (even Western Christianity) thinks it has the only solution to the problems in developing countries, however…

I did think this. Being a conference aimed at empowering business and church leaders…. truth is:

“Good leadership brings about great change.”

So maybe there is a lot of potential in “marrying leadership and Christianity together.”

Because at the core of the Christian faith, the ways of Jesus… are radically, are life change… are impactful! Scripture has some verses that speak of leadership:

Psalm 78:72
“So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.”

Philippians 2:3
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

I then thought about this.
It’s great to see the incredible things of change happening in the States, or in India, or somewhere else in Africa. But what about where I am?

That may be something you wonder…
Change is not a distant thing. it’s not only something happening elsewhere.
It can be happening here. On yours and my doorstep.

We each have an area of influence.

– It could be your office space.
– It could be your family.
– It could be your classroom.
– It could be your business (staff, customers and suppliers).
– It could be your friendship circle.
– It could be across your street. I saw this title of a sermon earlier today: “How do you imagine love crossing your street in your context and locality?”

That’s where the change can occur. Right there. Right where you are.

And then no matter the size of the change:

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As the adage goes: “Be the change you want to see.”

One last thought – The SECOND HALF OF YOUR LIFE:

One of the speakers from the conference mentioned something about “the second half of your life.”

I liked that phrase. It doesn’t have to be bound by time / years.
If you feel like your life has been a mess or you are desperate for change or a sort of revival in your life – make it happen. The second half of your life is waiting.

When it comes to a relationship with God. Perhaps the ‘first half’, you didn’t want God. Second half… delve into His mystery.

When it comes to a life of mistakes or shame. That’s the (was) ‘first half’… it can stop! ENTER the second half of your life: leave that behind, turn over a new leaf.

When it comes to an addiction. That too or could be stopped. A new life awaits…

Make it happen! And having God, makes that far more easier. (Because we really aren’t self made…)

Sacred Spaces 488 – Faith

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Catherine said to me recently that Christianity / relationship with God is not an intellectual thing or an emotional thing.  It’s a FAITH thing.

That conversation has not left me over the last few days.
Sometimes following God goes past our intellect and emotions.
Both those are not a good enough foundation.

Because sometimes we may not “feel it”
Or maybe we just “don’t get it”

And that’s okay… because we move from those and start with FAITH.

God says it well in Isaiah 55: “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Yes, sometimes in following God – we need our ‘heart in it’ (our emotions) – we can’t just be “dry and unexcited” about what God is doing and who He is.

And yes, we need to use our intelligence in discerning and learning in our journey with God.

But emotions have an end.
Intellect too, has an end.

But faith… it cannot be put in a box.

Sacred Spaces 485 – Pieces and Pictures

Before we begin… check this rad POST from one of the members of Switchfoot.  I love that band.  So much depth.  You see it in their lyrics.  Check out the blog Tim wrote called: Meet me here at the edge of earth

As if I were a well know photographer, i’d share these pics with some written prose. Hoping to inspire.  In fact, this would be as if you were “peering into my portfolio”

YOU MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS:

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“You make beautiful things, out of us” Gungor

I discovered recently that the Cosmos flowers are alien plants in South Africa.  They orginated from Mexico.

“It is also widespread over the high eastern plains of South Africa, where it was introduced via contaminated horse-feed imported from Argentina during the Anglo-Boer War.” [darn boers, darn horses! hehe ;)]

(Journal Entry) – i cycle past an array of these flowers daily.  They come out this time of the year as summer draws to an end and we welcome Autumn.  These flowers are really pretty.  But they are “aliens” to our land.  But is there is something we learn from that?  Even from the ugliness of the world – beauty can be taken or found.  These flowers don’t belong here.  But we’ll take the beauty.  I then thought of the pollution of Secunda (and Jo-burg). Have you seen the sunsets displayed in those two places?  Breathtaking!  God, can take the “mess” and make beautiful things.  Daily, He paints a beautiful picture at dusk.  My wife and I furthered the discussion last week – ‘even a murderer can give up his seat for an elderly person catching the same bus’. food for thought…

OH THE COLOURS:

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When seeing this picture I thought of this EP – FALL by Jon Foreman. (Fall, being Autumn)

I’m sure one could delve into those few songs and find great lyrics.  If the cover is anything to go by:

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Fall, fills us with anticipation.

(Journal Entry) – I am thankful for my ability to see beauty in the smallest of things.  To live with gratitude.  to live with eyes wide open.  To see and notice things around me. ‘I want to live deep and suck all the marrow of life’ Henry David Thoreau.  I use the word “ability” because I believe it is.  we can note that some people around us – live in this constant doom and gloom.  ‘where all the colours add to grey’  one of the awesome things about autumn is the fallen leaves.  have you ever seen a car drive by and all the leaves jump up as if showing a “Mexican wave” to the driver.  when last have you and I picked up leaves and just thrown them in the air?  or when I cycle, I get to ride through those leaves.

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“My soul is alive and so are you.” P.O.D

(Journal Entry) I captured this picture in Ladysmith.  My friend and I went for a drive.  He and I were also looking for geocaches and whilst out in the remote surrounding areas, he showed me the farm he grew up on.  And I looked around, i felt so alive within my being. South Africa (for how heartsore it makes many of us) – she does display an incredible beauty.  in the middle of the blue sky of this pic is a scratched white patch.  I dig that.  How instagram makes us “better photographers” (yeah right!)  – thank you God for these beautiful moments.   I realised I didn’t add any scripture references to any of these entries.  Is that okay?  I believe it is.  God speaks… even beyond the bible…

I needed a place to share this GOOD BLOG about the BOMBING IN PAKISTAN – maybe you would like to read it?

An honest interview with the church (Question 1 – What is with the singing in church?)

Week one’s post is here

(Sacred Spaces 482)

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The Interviewer:              I’ve always wondered about the absurdity of a whole bunch of people; literally millions, all over the world at around 9am or 10am on a Sunday morning – who are all facing a certain direction (the screen upon a wall) and singing songs to an unseen God.  What’s with the singing in church?

The Church:                        Would you agree with me that MUSIC is one of the biggest ‘languages’ all over the world that transcends all races and cultures?  Why does any artist make music?  From recording an album, getting a record deal, and doing years of live shows.  (We can say, to get paid.  Yes, that’s a part of it, for sure.)  But I think for most artists; it’s about expression.  They love creating!  They love putting chords and lyrics together and then sharing it with the world.  You can’t keep a musician quiet.  Same as: Rembrandt.  Do you think he asked permission to paint?  No way!  He had a desire to express himself on a canvas.  And that’s what he did.

Same with the whole singing in church.  In the world of music, there is an entire industry labelled WORSHIP music.  (And yes, the industry side of it – can get in the way.)  But there are still loads of genuinely heart-felt songs to God that have been written.  Those musicians cannot be quiet.  They want to express their love and affection for God through singing.  So they write, they record, they share.  And then those songs are often sung all over the world.

And I totally believe in a “collective consciousness” with people all around the world.  And even in your own town and in your own church.  And so there is something so beautiful about singing heart felt lyrics together with the person next to you.  And more importantly to God.

We also experience that “community and connection” at live gigs too.  I can recall many experiences watching bands live and feeling so connected and in touch with the people around me.

 

The Interviewer:              Okay, I like that.  The idea of solidarity is a great thing.  However, that leads me to my next concern.  Is not a lot of the singing in church, quite predictable?

 

The Church:                        Yes, yes, yes.  I totally agree with you on that.  And to be honest, I am not a fan of that either.  I do wish, we’d have more “power failures” or something that would perhaps bring some more authenticity to a church gathering.  People are lazy.  They rely too much on the “words on the screen.”  Where, I am certain, a lot of them actually have better words to offer from their hearts.

 Also, the whole predictable structure of a song irks me too.  Why do all songs have to have the same structure:  “verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, bridge, soft chorus, loud chorus?”

Grrr!  I too, wish, that predictability would leave the church more often.

Perhaps, at a gathering, you only sing a chorus of a song and then move to the next one.

If the data person, gets the words wrong; why glare at them?  Shouldn’t some of the songs we sing so often be known to you?  “Displayed words” can sometimes distract from the emotion that we should worship God with.

See you next week for question two: “Why is it important to meet each Sunday?”

Mister God, this is Anna

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I really like how a book find it’s way into my life.
This one lay on the desk of our church receptionist.
I picked it up. The brown pages, the brief and honest synopsis invited me to read it:

This little girl, Anna has such a simple and yet very profound outlook on faith and God. Here are some things she says:

“Anna had bypassed all the non-essentials and distilled centuries of learning into one sentence:
‘And God said love me, love them, and love it, and don’t forget to love yourself.’
The whole business of adults going to church filled Anna with suspicion… As for going to church to meet Mister God, that was preposterous. After all, if Mister God wasn’t everywhere, he wasn’t anywhere…the whole thing was transparently simple. You went to church to get the message when you were very little. Once you had got it, you went out and did something about it.”

Brilliant hey?

“But Mister God is different. You see, Fynn, people can only love outside and can only kiss outside, but Mister God can love you right inside, and Mister God can kiss you right inside, so it’s different. Mister God ain’t like us; we are a little bit like Mister God, but not much yet.”

These faith statements are awesome. Right to the point. And so seemingly obvious.

(Taken from page 48,49 & 60, 61)

What do you think?