Sacred Space 538 – See the signs

Yesterday, I was looking for a particular petrol station to put some fuel in.
So as I was driving through a local town, I was looking out for the familiar logo / sign of the garage, I usually use: Caltex.

However, in the distance, I noticed another well know petrol station, Shell:

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(This is of another station somewhere else in South Africa)

But the point of this post is that once I saw that familiar Shell – I knew what is was about. That got me thinking about familiar signs in our faith journey.

For two centuries, the Cross has served as that familiar sign for many people.
The cross has remind people of Jesus.
His sacrificial death for us.
His grace towards us.

People have worn it around their necks.
People have hung that cross in their cars.

BUT the flip side of familiarity is that the sign becomes just another sign.
Seeing the cross is not as impactful anymore…

Then, perhaps we need to find a new sign. Something that draws us in. Invites us to lively relationship with a very real Saviour.

I think of how recently, I’ve regained an interest in church steeples in the various towns I have driven through. Those steeples (sometimes from very old church buildings) remind me of God being everywhere.

As Third Day once sang it: “My God, You are everywhere.”

What signs do you have to point you to the Saviour?

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Sacred Spaces 532 – The community of saints (I still believe)

Wow, it’s been almost three months since I’ve last written a Sacred Space.
(Good to be back.)

So I work for a great Christian Student Training Centre called PNEUMATIX

We are really blessed to have such a diverse range of students. This week, each student go to share their story.

How they got here?
A bit about their childhood.
Their journey with God.
Their struggles.
Their strengths.

But I thought about this verse:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)

The whole “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” part got me thinking:

How in times, we have other saints who will carry us.
My wife and I joke about how “cynical” I am when it comes to God and the church. (Maybe in ministry, I’ve seen a sort of commercialism of faith that has messed me up…)

Any my journey back … is to regain the wonder and child like faith.

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But I need to just celebrate and thank God for the students who inspire me.
Their unashamed faith.
Their joy and trust.

It’s so inspiring!

So maybe this just to celebrate the faith of these students.
Their love for God invites others in.
Even us adults, when we could feel weary.

And then, to celebrate, the fact that God would use a person like me.
He’d still whisper ideas and revelations to me.

That. Now that is so gracious!

Humbled.

 

Sacred Spaces 525 – … For this day…

I noted this morning in church when a member was asked to pray for the offering… the gentleman started the prayer with “thank You Lord for this day.”

Now there is nothing wrong with that at all. But in my years in ministry (in the church or out) I’ve noted that people (myself included) when asked to pray out loud: in a service, at a meeting, on a camp or elsewhere…

We pray out that almost automated start: “thank you for this day”

(Am i the only one who has noted that?)

Now there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, i thought past the ‘automation’ of it…

And realised… what a great way. To always start a prayer. To start our every day…

Because each day is a gift. How we take that for granted so often…

This day.
This day that finds you reading this post (perhaps) is a gift.  Are you thankful for it? The very breath we breathe is a gift. All of what we experience daily is a gift. The people in our lives, our work, our victories and challenges, our meals. All of it.

Maybe we need to pause. And say thank You again.

Start off. Carry on in. End off with gratitude.

Thank you dear God for this day. Amen!

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”

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(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:

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(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!

Please vote for Sacred Spaces

I have entered my Sacred Spaces into the SA Blog Awards in the  ‘Best Religious or Spirituality Blog’ category.

(Voting Period is:  28th November 2016 until 31st December 2016)

I would love you to vote for me.  How to do so:

  1. Click on the “VOTE” image when you visit my site:  https://sacredspaces2004.wordpress.com/
  2. Or click on this image below:

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WHY HAVE I ENTERED:

1) I always pray and hope God could use my words to inspire and encourage another on this God following journey of ours. I believe the exposure will bring more people to my blog and who knows… be encouraged by one of the SS posts…

2) I love writing. I believe I have a gift with it… And I believe God has a future for me in that. So again the exposure will be helpful in opening doors for me…

Thanks again for your support!

Sacred Spaces 499 – A Quiet Life

There is something so appealing about this verse from 1 Thessalonians 4: 11

“…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you”

There are too many people,  too many Christians who are in other people’s business.  We’re too nosy.  Too annoying.  Too loud.

Perhaps God is calling you to a simple quiet life.  How does that sound?

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I was sent this little piece this morning.  I like it:

“A farmer discovered that he had lost his watch in the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him. After searching high and low among the hay for a long while, he gave up and enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside the barn. He promised them that the person who found it would be rewarded. Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up looking for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance. The farmer looked at him and thought, “Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere enough.” So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand! The farmer was both happy and surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed. The boy replied, “I did nothing but sat on the ground and listened. In the silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”

Have a quiet and observant week!  Why not sit for awhile and just listen…