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 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 486– Why I write these SS?

Sacred Spaces 486– Why I write these SS?

11 April 2016

2 Corinthians 4:13 “But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”

I discovered this verse on the weekend.  It struck something in me.  I like it a lot.  It’s a great mandate to live by.  I often wonder – how God uses these words of mine in these Sacred Spaces (The needing to know may illustrate a lack of confidence…)

However, that said, I will always write.  I have a desire to express.  I have desire to teach and encourage.  As the verse above says: “I believe in God, so I speak (write).”

I can’t not share the things I see and hear of God.  It’s part of the purpose of my life.  Many years, I received this simple instruction / calling (if you will): OPEN THEIR EYES!

And that’s what I will always do.
God is.
So I will.

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I have the smallest youth group (about 6 teens) I have ever had in my 15 years of working in the church.
I wonder if God still uses me.
But then I know… from a few sources, these words I write on a weekly basis have encouraged others…

I heard this phrase once:
“Listen to your life”

So true.  God is speaking through many, many things.  Are we noticing?
Are you still encountering God on a weekly / daily basis?
It seems that desire for many, has been lost…

I confess, sometimes I’m unsure of where my life is going.
I’m scared for the next thing.
I am jumble of emotions.

But nonetheless…

God is.
So I will…

Quoted:

“While we were all looking at the same things, we were not all looking for the same things.” Eric Elder

Sacred Spaces 355– At the ATM

Sacred Spaces 355– At the ATM
6 November 2012

(Disclaimer: I may differentiate between different races in this post.  But hear me out, I am not a racist.  This is just me thinking out aloud.)

The other day, while I was waiting to draw some money at the ATM, I noticed how there were about 5 adults before me (middle aged black African) who were each being assisted by the white lady who works for the bank.

As they approached the machine she gladly helped them through the process of drawing money or checking their balances.

This stirred some thoughts in me.  When I grew up, my father took me to the ATM with him and “showed me the ropes” (so to speak), thus as I grew older, I have never seen an AYM as an intimidating thing.  I know the gist of how it works.

This got me thinking about these 5 adults before me.  Probably growing up in the apartheid South Africa where black Africans were shunned upon.  (Still such a shame thinking about that); they were never taught as teens how to use an ATM.  (Among other everyday life skills)

Maybe God is calling me to a “ministry” to help teach simple life skills to others?

I then thought of all the hurdles I would have to “get over” to start up something like this.
(Maybe I am making mountains out of mole hills.)

The biggest hurdle, in my opinion, is the language barrier.  I cannot speak isiZulu.  (I even sucked at Afrikaans in school.)
I could always have a translator.

Then I got to think of my black friends and acquaintances that have made it “big” in the cities of Joburg, Cape Town, Durban and other places.  They speak English so well, yet I am certain they can still speak their mother tongue very well too.  (I may be assuming here.)

(This is not an attack!)  With them being able to speak isiZulu and other African languages very well; have they not seen the help needed from the people of their culture and language?
(And please, no hate mail.  I am just thinking out aloud.)

They should invest in teaching simple life skills to others.

I know it’s not an excuse, I wish I was a good student and could pick up languages.
I could do lots of ministry in my own country in the language of the people who need help.
Then again, maybe I am limiting my God?
And the brain He has given me?
Or am I allowing hurdles to get in the way, instead of focussing on a very real practical trust I can have in God.
Maybe a ministry / service of this type would require a team and dependence of others; which in itself is a good way of doing things.

So I stand at this ATM, waiting my turn.
Asking God to stir things in my heart and I pray that we as Christian people; would be practical in our service to the world around us.

If this convicts you in some way, I am glad.
Yet hear me out, I mention merely one thing that we could help others with.
As a “white African” there is a lot I can do to help my fellow country citizen, either from my own culture or the other cultures in this land of diversity I found myself in.

The thing is, for everyone who reads this: we’re called to action!
What are you doing?  And will you keep challenging me too?

TWITTURGY
 
Are you seriously just sitting on clouds?
Thankfully not!
Practical Jesus
May we follow in your footsteps
Being your hands and feet to the world
Around us

Sacred Spaces 353– A different sort of discovery

Sacred Spaces 353– A different sort of discovery
23 October 2012

I love discovering new things.  I love adventure and travelling.
I think I discovered the massively when I lived overseas.
This year has been interesting for me.
I feel like a junkie “coming down” from an addiction.
(And that is probably a very poor analogy)
Rather, I probably just sound spoilt?

I write these sacred spaces as a sort of conversation between God and I; discussing things of my heart with him.
I share these SS allowing you to see the conversation and maybe be encouraged in your own journey and relationship with God.
I sometimes wonder how all these “other Christians” seem to have it altogether
And if people knew the “things I go through” within …
Gosh, I can feel like a wreck at times!
I am thankful my God is patient with me.
I do often feeling like Jacob wrestling with God.

It’s been 10 months and I have gone anywhere new.
I went for a good hike in the Drakensburg and also for a week holiday in Joburg.  (Can one call Joburg, a holiday destination?  Hmmm)
I probably sound so pretentious.
When many people are not able to say that they have been to 10 different countries.
When most of my country live in “squatter camps” (the slang word for informal settlements)
I think of the book I am reading: Run Baby Run (Nicky Cruz) and how it’s based on reality.  In the States and many other countries too there are teens who deal with such crap each day, living in gangs surrounded by violence and bloodshed and brokenness.

These are the lessons I need to learn: Contentment & appreciation in everyday life.  (I used to be so good at that.)

I discover community: through strangers cheering, friends helping move and new friends at my new church.
I discover new life: soon I will be an uncle. (Now time of posting, I am an uncle.  Woohoo!)
I discover the value of family: For the first time in 11 years I live in a 50km radius of my brother and mother.
I discover faith and hope and discipleship: in my ministry as a youth pastor.


I do love discovering (and walking aimlessly) in new exotic and European cities
I do want to discover the “Northern Lights” for myself.
Those times will come again.

But right now, there are many things around me, that I need to discover.
God, open my eyes and my heart.

TWITTURGY
 
Source of beauty
Source of wonder
Let us never stop
Chasing after You
Discovering
All that you would have us
Discover