Saturday, April 26, 2008

Death is to be feared that is if it comes to someone you love

The death of the one we love must be our greatest fear. I woke up early this morning to a lucid dream of my wife having died in a car crash. Some of us have woken up and found this to be a reality. I assume it was evoked by what I witnessed on the highway to Durban yesterday. A car’s tire burst whilst it was in the fast lane. It shot into the middle verge then spun back into the lane, did a 180 degree turn, over the middle verge and into the lane on the other side. Nobody was hurt, it was unbelievable. On leaving the scene the image of the passenger of the vehicle staring out of the window to see if any oncoming traffic was going to collide with her was stuck in my mind. It was this incident that got me dreaming the way I did. We die, so what, unless it is protracted I think the worst about death is not so much our death and what happens to us, it is the fear of loosing one whom we love and having to pick up the pieces. To all those who have lost loved ones recently, my heart and soul are with you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Everyday theatrics

I am in one of those twilight moments in my ministry. The moments where one knows something new is about to dawn but you are not sure what it is going to be. Something strange starts to happen to you - the answers about yourself and God are not sufficient and there is the threat of breaking new ground spiritually. They are not comfortable moments, they normally shatter your impression of self and expose the true person beneath. We hide behind disguises of make believe, hoping others will be as impressed as we are with the image we portray of ourselves. Like all theatricals - the music, stage props and costumes wear thin and eventually date. The show is over and the in-between time is a time of waiting patiently, searching persistently, a looking out for new beginnings that will spark the new script, a script that’s matured and deepened its plot, its themes more poignant, its characters more round…..I look forward to opening night.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sabbath Trout and a Monastry up for sale

Enjoyed my day off yesterday despite the inclement weather, 9 degree chill with snow capped mountain peaks. We went to examine an old Monastery in Nottingham Road that was up for sale – just for fun. Did some fly-fishing in Mavela dam for an hour or two and hooked a couple to my surprise. Then we went to our dancing lessons, just finished our social intermediate course of Latin and Ball Room and we have so enjoyed our Monday evenings. What a day off. I always try and get out and do something different, away from the madding crowds and the pressing ‘to do’ lists that grow roots as if fertilized from above. If it were not for these moments of solitude, rest, and reprieve I would have left the ministry years ago. No joking! They allow me to process my ministry into my life and give me time to breath God’s air for me. I think I understand what Sabbath is sometimes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tear duct communique

Tears are the gateway to our restored life. A matter of 'Befriending our tears' (Trevor Hudson, Touched by Resurrection Love). They are a sign of our surrender to another who can help us. Holding back our tears stops us from allowing others in. Jesus is standing in our midst saying ‘I am the Way, The Truth and The Life’ and we need to allow his Being to touch our being. Not just some teaching to muse over, some truth to ponder, some goal to work toward, but to experience his presence surround us, nurse us and listen to our most intimate of needs and longings.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nooma Rob Bell & Rhythm - An immanent Being

I watched my first Rob Bell 'Nooma' DVD yesterday and I was very impressed with what I saw. A slick, contemporary no bull look at how we perceive God's presence in our lives. I am not that 'in' with all the latest on the Emergent Church movement etc. but I have read Mclaren's book "A generous orthodoxy" and I like what I hear. There is much controversy in those who claim to 'reinvent Christianity' for a new age but to be honest I am not sure the Nooma DVD I saw reinvented anything. The idea that God is with us and that Jesus is the one who helps us live life in tune with the rhythm of God living with us is not 'news' to my ears. It is Christianity packaged differently in media and illustration for a new generation. I believe his Church is the fastest growing Church America has ever experienced?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Contemporary Contextual Studies for your Church

This is good stuff, not the usual bible study. Have a look.
Bible study should be timely. It should stimulate our thoughts about Christian values and how they relate to today's world. The Thoughtful Christian is a Web-based resource center designed to attract and keep participants' attention. Perfect for Sunday school classes, Bible study groups, or individual reflection, the studies encourage class members to share their thoughts and beliefs while wrestling with questions that inform the way we live out our faith in everyday life.
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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Discerning God or taking a SWOT

I was listening to my favourite podcast from pray-as-you-go and the anecdote of Gamaliel's warning in Acts 5 was the topic. In essence he said beware when something new turns up - be careful if its origins are of human decent or of God's. You could land up fighting against God. So often we are faced with a crossroad in the life of the Church. We sit with many an opinion, many a path to follow and we have to discern the way to go. Now, I wonder how often we consider it in these terms or whether we get the sheet of paper out and start weighing up the pro's and con's and if it has more con's we discard it. Our SWOT analysis charts may be helpful, but it could be important to do the exercise "Is it of God? or Is this of human will? " as our first endeavour. Just a thought for an early Sunday morning. (Not preaching this morning, will be at it tonight. Must go and do a trial service for a probationer in Woodlands.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Methodist Art Collection

I was not aware of such a thing?

“Emmaus” by Roy de Maistre

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

God is a weak leader

I was in a meeting yesterday where there was a discussion around the stationing of a minister in a particular church. The argument from one in the meeting was that the possible candidate was not strong enough to deal with the particular church in question. The impression given was that the minister who went to this church should be able to defend, fight off, dissolve, block, prevent, defeat, stop the retired ministers from being disruptive. I was saddened by the discourse that used war language to describe the work of God. Language that politicians use when defending their turf. The ability of a leader depended on how well they could fight! The servant leadership model, the first will be last, mercy ministry, the image of Jesus washing the feet of those he led was not impregnated in the words of this discussion. It left you with the feeling that if you were not strong in human terms you would not be successful in the ministry. Wrong, most of the leaders in our scriptures were people who failed to see any strength in themselves. For this reason they became great leaders.