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”

the-window

(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:

first-insta-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:

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“…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…

 

 

Sacred Spaces – A floating axe head & no sound

I came across this verse from Alive to God this morning.  And I have to share it:

Capture

From 2 Kings 6.  An unusual encounter.  A great story.  Axe heads don’t float.  But with God, all sorts of things are possible.  Perhaps you are facing a seemingly impossible situation.  Take heart.  God can make axe heads float…

So in your situation – I’m trusting He will come through for you…

On the weekend, I watched some episodes of Suits – Season 5  (study break ;).  Some of the episodes came with “subtitles” – and from that I noted something interesting:

They are there for those views who are deaf.  So in the show when there are the music bits… the subtitles describe the type of music playing:

(upbeat music)
(tense music)
(soulful music)

(I was surprised with some of the descriptions that the series came up with…)

But it got me thinking with gratitude. I am glad I can hear.
I thought further.
There are two types of deaf people. Those born deaf, or those who become deaf because of an accident or something?

I just wondered how life for both of those people must be? Those who could hear in the past. Is there a particular song or sound they’d give anything to hear again?

Those who have never known “music” – wow! Imagine that?

So, this week. Count the blessing of your hearing…

I then came across this piece from Instagram. A different angle to sound and silence:

Screenshot_2016-05-21-00-09-27.png

Sound is a valuable thing.  But “noise” can be too much!

Psalm 4: 4 “Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”

Sacred Spaces 491– God’s not dead!


Sacred Spaces 491– God’s not dead!
16 May 2016

I watched the MOVIE recently. I was impressed. (Yes, slow on the uptake. It took two years for me to finally to watch it. I am usually very wary of Christian movies. The acting is often terrible.)

This movie was genuinely different. The acting was very good! The filming was excellent. And the script, the plot was best! I was really moved and reminded by it. Like adding another layer of concrete to my faith foundation.

Some thoughts from the movie.

People should be free to choose. It’s our free choice to choose God or not.
In the movie – the lecturer insists on dictating a “choice” upon his students. That should never be allowed.
I’m amazed at how “violent” some religions can be. There is a scene where a father hits his daughter because she has chosen to follow the Jesus faith. Seriously, did he just hit his own daughter?

In some countries, the Christian faith cannot be mentioned. How crazy is that?!
A guy in the movie broke up with his girlfriend because she had cancer. Seriously, how selfish was his decision?

I believe: selfishness is a cancer of our world today.

Then in the end, the Newsboys take to stage and rock out to the song: God’s not dead!

Good song. I like the words in the chorus:

“God’s not dead. He’s surely alive. Living on the inside. Roaring like a lion.”

I like that. Lion.
I guess, because I am from Africa.
And also because lion reminds me of Aslan.
And Aslan – CS Lewis – need I say more?

Watch the movie. If undecided see the trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRnbUm48R7c

Quoted:
“My God’s not dead. He’s surely alive. He’s living on the inside. Roaring like a lion” Newsboys

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.