Sacred Spaces 544 – Freedom and my Football Analogy

In South Africa, today we celebrate Freedom Day!
It’s a day that we as a nation celebrate the first non-racial elections of 27 April 1994. More info HERE

So being the thinker that I am. I thought of one of the scriptures about Freedom that comes to mind. Galatians 5: 1


We are offered this freedom. We are given it. But so often… we revert to our old ways… because enslaved by the yoke of slavery…

Firstly, when last have you thanked God for your freedom?
Secondly, how does your life reflect one that is living free? (Sadly, we can look out at others and even ourselves… and we look like a miserable lot.)
You have been set free!
Thirdly, in what areas of your life… to you keep slipping back into “slavery”?



There is this common misconception a lot of people have about Christianity:
“I don’t want to be a Christian, because it’s full of rules.”

Now let’s focus on football. What are some of the rules?

i) Only 11 players per team on the field.
ii) No off-sides!
iii) No picking up the ball.
iv) No running out of the lines.

These rules don’t take away from the game do they?
Next question:

Does Hazard (or Messi, Salah, Erikson, Ronaldo – you can use any name here) think this when they step on that field: “Oh dear, I have to concentrate on all these rules to play this game properly?”

No they don’t! They’re probably are so thrilled to play the game that they love so much. Football is not about the rules for them. It’s about playing the game!

And same with following God?

I don’t do it because of the rules.
The rules don’t define me.
My relationship with God is what it’s about.
In learning from Jesus.
Trying to reflect His nature as His child…
You know what happens…?
I end up living in the rules anyway.

But my focus is not the rules.
It’s God Himself.

So as a follower of Christ – I am free. I live in that freedom! I’m not bound by crippling rules. In fact, some of the rules… turn out pretty good…

Think about football again…

ALL players would dislike it if one could just pick up the ball and throw it in the goals.
One team of 11 would hate playing against a team of 22.
Etc etc…

The rules add to the quality of the game. Maybe that’s a way of seeing some of the “rules of Christianity” ? How do they give life?

Happy Freedom Day!


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 528 – Name above all names

series graphic - names of god 720_0.jpg

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 522 – Same old, same old – familiar verses…

I chuckled to myself recently; realizing that so often with these Sacred Spaces, I use the “same old same old” scriptures and that even my themes (topics) seem to be recurring…

I write about the likes of:
– creation
– the nearness of God
– the practical “ness” of the gospel
– not treating Christianity like a market place

and I use:

– Psalm 46: 10
– Acts 17: 28
– Romans 1: 20
– Psalm 118: 24
– John 15

So, I wondered about that.

Maybe there is comfort in the familiarity?
Maybe it’s the simple truth, that God doesn’t change?
Maybe the topics that I cover, are the basics… and people long to go back to basics? Because maybe following Jesus has got so cluttered lately?
Maybe it’s because creation is still the “loudest” (and quietest) sermon?

I’d like to think it’s one of those.

BUT ALSO… I know that I have not yet arrived…IMG_20170122_090603_837.jpg
I still have lots to discover in my faith journey.

And there are still incredible verses (treasures – How is that for Christianeze?) to be found in God’s word.
When last have you and I delved into His word?

(definition of delve: “reach inside a receptacle and search for something.”)


So what do you think about this whole same old same old thing?

Sacred Spaces 521 – A little bit of LENT

We are a school (college) of 51 students. ONLY one of knew what  lent / ash Wednesday  was about.

I was shocked!

But i am aware that all these students come from very different  Christian upbringings.

And it was suggested to me too that  perhaps in some of the Afrikaans churches LENT is not a big thing…

Regardless, this afternoon i had an awesome moment. 8 students and i sat in a circle  under the shade of a tree in a quieter part of campus… we had a little Ash Wednesday  service.

There was something authentic about that gathering… like a glimpse of heaven touching earth.

My simple  prayer: God, stir something in the depths of us all as we approach Easter with conviction.

The church calendar has a profound candence to it.

I believe when a believer follows these little “cairns” in the calendar that  they begin to tune into a deeper rhythm of what  God is doing…

There is longetivity  of belief in those who listen to the seasons that God has put in place…

“Rend your heart, not your garments” Joel 2:13

Sacred Spaces 515 – Twenty Sixteen

Hi all, this is my last Sacred Space post for 2016.  (And from this side of South Africa too)

If I had to choose my favourite song of 2016; it would have to be The Window by THRICE

“All that I’ve known’s within the walls of this room where there’s a window
Roughly boarded up
It’s true the gaps are patched but even through the tiny cracks, I feel a wind blow
I see a light of strangest hue

And there’s nothing I can say
There’s no way I can prove
That there’s a place
Beyond this room
But still, there’s something in the way
The light comes shining through
And in the way
The curtains move”


(Click on the image it will take you to the song too)

I preached on this scripture on the weekend:

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.  The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.  Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution
he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.  Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.  The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. (Isaiah 35)

(It’s teeming with descriptive words that invite you in)  May the encouragement and motivation you need for your relationship with God be found in these verses.

Your story is not done!  Keep keeping on! 🙂

I’ve enjoying capturing life via Instagram.  380 posts ago was my first picture of 2016:


(I think the traveling theme of the photo is fitting for our move down to the Cape.)

A new (ish) band for you to check out is The Vocal Few – I think this beautiful song for “those who don’t like Christmas music” is brilliant.  Check it out.  it will move you:

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to The Sanctuary Centre .  This is their slogan:

“join us on the journey to where world and worship meet”

They’re doing great things in their corner of the world. (And beyond) I love what they wrote about Christmas this year:

It’s been a good innings in Secunda but I am very excited for the new job at Pneumatix in Somerset West. The job is going to be great. It’s going to challenge me. Yet I have a very good feeling we will thrive down there. A new era is dawning…

But, if I had to state the most exciting thing for me, about next year; is to be able to go to church with my wife, not as a “staff member” – but to just be. To sit in the background. Unknown, unnoticed. Sounds like bliss! For the first time in 16 years, I won’t be working for the year. The new season sounds so exciting!

Have a blessed and thoughtful Christmas!

See you in the new year!

Sacred Spaces 501 – Before Breakfast…

Sometimes I just go with a thought.  I’ve been thinking about that line from Alice in Wonderland:


“…impossible things…before breakfast”

I’ve been trying my best to have more quiet times at the start of my day.  And I am beginning to see a bit of the difference it makes…

I sit with God.  Simply.  Read my devotional.  Read some scripture.  Sometimes I “chew” on the scripture; other times I just read through it.  Perhaps I’d listen to an inspirational song.  Or maybe I will sit in silence.  Sometimes I will just in the rays of the sunshine. Offer some thoughts.  Or say a prayer.  Maybe I’ll write some thoughts down.  Maybe I’ll highlight some verses.  I’ll even see my eating breakfast and sipping on my coffee as hanging out with God.

I’m not perfect.  I definitely don’t have it altogether.  Having a quiet time in the morning is not like a magical wand that makes all my issues and problems go away.  And that’s okay.

I just feel like it’s a good start to the day.  A good place from where my thoughts can begin…

Filled with gratitude, perspective and love.  And it turns out that sometimes I feel like I have done six impossible things before breakfast…