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 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.

Sacred Spaces 511 – All are welcome!

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A simple and powerful reminder: All are welcome!

Catherine used this image in her sermon on Sunday. It grabbed my attention.

All are welcome!
Jesus came for all of us
He came for the sinners
He came for you and me
Liars
Gossips
Thieves
Self righteous
Hypocrites
Those who get it right (at times)
Those who seem to not get it right
All are welcome!

And the picture reminded me of this controversial POD song:

A real honest song. With intense lyrics to digest. A sample here:

“I am fake, fraud, phony, I’m a known liar
Anorexic, rejected object of your desire
Suicidal thoughts keep one in the chamber
I’m a turned out streetwalking heroin banger
I am a secret cutter, porn lover, the town drunkard
Next door, neighborhood slut, I’m somebody’s mother
Outcasted, arrogant, bastard son
I’m the talk of the town but this story has just begun”

(Rest of the lyrics are here: I am (POD))

* Yes there is a swear word in the song. The Christian haters may pick up their stones and start casting; but have they really read the lyrics with an open heart and understood why it was written? And from who’s perspective:

The outcasts
The whores
The hurting

Their biggest question: Will God accept me?

(That’s from where the song is sung)

And the answer is: YES!

1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us.”

All are welcome!

Backwards Christmas Story (Part 5) – The Answer

Over the next 5 days I will be releasing a post each day… This is the Backwards Christmas Story.  May you enjoy it. Part 5 begins below:

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Backwards Christmas Story Part 5 – The Answer

Sometimes we need to start with the answer.  Jesus.  What question are You the answer for?

THEN

It’s dusty in here.  There is an awful smell.  The journey has been tough.  Both physically and mentally.

The angel said we should call our child: Jesus.

And here He is lying in my arms.  Only a few hours old.  There is peace in His eyes.  If hope was ever so tangible; it’s now in this moment.  I know it.  I feel it.

What child is this?

NOW

I’m exhausted.  I swore I’d make this year different.

But I got caught up in the rat race again.  We put up the tree at the beginning of the month.  We finished our shopping just two days ago. The roast will be ready for later.  Aaagh, we have to do our religious duty in a few minutes.

I need to hurry my hubby and the kids.  We don’t want to have to stand at the service.  Oh my, joy to the world, apparently.  But I am so tired.  ‘Peace be with you’ we habitually pass on… if I only I had some of that. 

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Sacred Spaces 445– Christmas is more than one day

1 December 2014

Welcome to December!
Christmas begins today.
We’re on a journey to the truth. To love come down.

When we read the account of Jesus’ birth in the gospels; it takes about two pages. We only turn over one page. Then done. Finished. And that’s how we seem to treat Christmas time too. As “simple and short” as two pages.

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The wise men followed a star to Jesus. That journey was not just a few hours. But in fact a few days, maybe even weeks.
Think about it; in Herod’s jealousy of another king to reign his kingdom he orders the execution of children up to 2 years old:

Why so? Maybe it was overkill! (Clearly…)
But it tells of and hints to me that the whole birth of Jesus is far more than one page of our modern bibles.

Are you with me?
So perhaps when Herod sent out his horrific decree of the murder of infants; Jesus was already a few months old?

My point is that with Christmas approaching, we need to ready ourselves.
This is a journey we take to understand and discover the beauty and love of Christ.

The wise men followed the star for a while.
The shepherds ‘followed” the good news instruction of the Angels.
So as we put up our Christmas trees and we place a star or angel on top. Let that be a practical reminder of the journey God wants you to take to the Saviour.

Ask yourselves these questions on the journey?

i) Jesus is born into the world. Where in your own your life do you need to allow His birth?
ii) There was no room in the inn for Jesus. He was shoved into the stable. Perhaps we’ve done that (or are doing that) with Jesus. We shove him to a stable. Is He asking for more room in your life; will you let Him in?
iii) There was genuine worship of baby Jesus by the shepherds and wise men. They were so excited about this love come down. What is your reaction to Jesus? How authentic have you been in your worship?

Pack your bags and hearts… its CHRISTmas time!
Regain the wonder! 🙂

Quoted:

“Go tell, it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.”

Sacred Spaces 433– Stop giving general answers about God

 

26 August 2014

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Who is God to you?

 This week’s passage is Matthew 16:13-16

 

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

One of my pet peeves in ministry I guess are the “general answers” we as teachers (in ministry) get.  From Confirmation classes to bible study groups or many other discussions.  People sometimes gives those “nice answers” thinking that’s what we want to hear.

 

Who is God to you?

 

You see often people STAY at the surface level when it comes to talking about God?  They don’t mention their REAL feelings and thoughts.

 Often people give GENERAL answers:

 So tell me about God?  People would often answer:

 

He is loving.  He is kind.

He knows us.  He helps us.

He created the world.

 Yes, yes, yes those are all true.  But they’re general answers.

 

Who is God to you, right now? 

 

We always seem to “follow the crowd” with our answers…RATHER let’s make it personal.  Go below the surface:

 

Today, how do you feel about God?  Tell me what He is exactly to you now, in this moment of your life?

 

I could be honest and say:  Over the last little while, I have been frustrated with God.  I’m not sure of the life calling He has for me?  I feel insecure.  But somehow He speaks of being having confidence in Him.  But I battle with that.  How does what I do matter, really? I have unanswered questions of Him.  I shake my fist at Him.  There are some things of “Christianity” that confuse me and annoy me.  But also somehow He is still a constant.  That moves me.  That keeps me coming back to my God.

 

You see, what I did there?  I made that answer far more personal. 

 That’s what Jesus asked of Peter: who do you say I am?  I’m not concerned what “others” say… right now I want to know WHO I AM TO YOU:

 

How would you answer?

 Quoted:

 “Give me just a second so I can catch my breath

As I fall into the arms of love

My heart is overwhelmed

And I can barely speak”

Jonah 33 (You’re Beautiful)

Sacred Spaces 423– Prayer for Brazil

9 June 2014

World Cup Soccer starts in 3 days! Woohoo! Who else is excited for this?
I wrote a prayer for it:

 

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Dear God
We lift up Brazil to you over the next few weeks as they
Host an incredible sporting event: World Cup 2014
We pray for a unity among the Brazilians and a sense of national pride.
(I remember all too well, that feeling we had, when our country (South Africa) had the privilege of hosting the same event.)
We pray for bridges of reconciliation among the locals of that country that they may truly believe in that logo:
“We are Brazil”

We pray for their economy.
That local business will thrive
And we pray too that… with that extra income in the various hosting cities;
That the powers that be, would use it wisely to alleviate local poverty.

We pray too for the visitors to Brazil.
That they will be kept safe
That they would appreciate the beautiful opportunity of experiencing a different culture
And seeing new things in their life journey.

We pray for the players in the tournament;
That they would play to the best of their ability.
We pray to keep them from any serious injuries.
We pray that they carry a sense of appreciation for their skills
And their health and physical ability
To play the beautiful game of football.

God, we pray against the evil that lurks behind the publicity of the World Cup
The young girls (as young as 14) who are prostituted out.
We pray for the authorities to catch anyone involved in the sick perversions
Of child sex slavery
And prostitution.
We pray you make the police alert to these dangers that lurk just around the corners (sometimes literally)

We pray for any loneliness and brokenness behind the spotlights
Of the event
That you would send people to help comfort those in need
And who long to be “seen.”

So thank you God for all that you do in the world.
We are excited to celebrate the unity that such an event brings.
Let us celebrate diversity
Let us cross racial and culture barriers
Let reconciliation and peace reign
Let us sing songs of freedom and love

In Jesus name, I pray
Amen