Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It always amazes me how complicated we make our faith!
I come to that conclusion each time I read or hear about someone younger than me sharing their thoughts on God...

Someone I know who is a missionary in Russia sent me an email and this is how part of it went...
An eight year old boy named Nikita came to one of our team’s interpreters and had said...

“I would like to become a God’s son”. The interpreter then prayed with him and after that Nikita had said to her: “Now I am a God’s son and I’m going to go and tell the whole camp”.
The interpreter had then told him that this might not be a wise thing for him to do as the other kids might tease him. Nikita had been quiet for a
second and had then said: “Then I will go tell all foreigners that I am now a God’s son”. The
following day he went and told every team member of how he was now God’s son. Two days later he returned with his brother and said to the
interpreter, “My brother would also like to become a God’s son”. They then prayed together, and Nikita along with his brother ran off to play with the other children, jumping, rejoicing and kicking up their heals.

The Bible says we are supposed to have
something called ‘childlike faith’.
It is this idea that as we get older, God wants us to think younger.
It is truly a strange paradox.

As we grow up, we all strive to think older.
We want to grow up as quick as possible and be big people, doing whatever are hearts desire.

While you were growing up I bet you did crazy things like ‘dress ups’ or role
playing some adult pursuit.
For me it was riding my bike around the
garden arresting people committing
driving offences...I was truly on the set of ‘Chips’. (A tv programme some of us grew up with)

Our faith will make more sense if we think like a kid.
Where we question what doesn’t make sense
instead of just accepting someone else’s opinion.
Where we want to experience stuff not just read about other peoples experiences.
Where we don’t complicate how God feels about us by our human experiences.

Kids get it!
And God wants you to get it as well…
Kids trust so easily
And God wants you to trust him just the same...

Just take onboard what God says as he says it.
If he says he loves simply means he loves.
If you are confused or scared...go to him with that, and see what he says.

And hey...enjoy being a ‘kid’!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This week someone stole a dead body!

A family in Christchurch lost a husband and father to an early death.
While he lay in state at a local marae, some family from up north came in and stole away his body…
Now it has turned ugly!
The grieving family are left without someone to say goodbye too.
The extended family are ready to defend their ’right’ to the body because of the family connection.
The courts are involved.
The police are involved...well sort of.

When I first heard the story I was angry to be honest.
My initial reaction was to be resentful towards the extended family because they robbed his current family.
Then I had a chance to think and look at why not just what happened...

Most of it comes down to belief and perception.
The extended family talk about things like the need to be buried with his
father, to be buried near where his umbilical cord was buried…
It is a picture of life being more than the what exists breathing now.

It is about something after life. A connection to something else beyond this natural world.
While I might not agree with these beliefs, at least they consider life to be more than the here and now.

In an email from preacher J John I read this story recently...
The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky told the story of the time he was arrested by the czar and sentenced to die.
The czar liked to play cruel psychological tricks on the people who rebelled against him by blindfolding them and standing them in front of a firing squad. The blindfolded people would hear the gunshots go off, but would feel nothing. Then they would slowly realise that the guns were loaded with blanks.Dostoevsky went through this experience himself. He said that going through the thought process of believing he was really going to die had a transforming effect on him. He talked about waking up that morning with full assurance that this would be his last day of life. He ate his last meal and savoured every bite. Every breath of air he took was precious to him. Every face he saw, he studied with full intensity. Suddenly, every experience was etched in his mind.

As they marched him into the courtyard, he felt the heat of the sun and appreciated its warmth like never before. Everything around him seemed to have a magical quality to it. He was seeing the world in a way he had never seen it before.
He was fully alive!
When he realised that he had not been shot and that he was not going to die that day, everything about his life changed. He became thankful for everything about his life. He became grateful to people he had previously despised. It was this experience that persuaded him to become a novelist and write about life in a way that before would have never been known to him.

Please don’t forget that your life is more than just the here and now!
You were created to live forever…
Let that flavor who you are and how you live your life today...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I have got a gate at home that has driven me nuts until recently!
It never seemed to work that well. Either it was stuck open or stuck closed.
It was so hard to move as it stuck to the concrete path
underneath, that we never wanted to use it.
It was hardly what you would call functional…

Then someone came round and changed the hinges and now it is free moving. It works perfectly, so much so that you end up taking it for granted.

The other night a large group of guys went bowling.
Down the end of the alleys is a large white wall where they
project images on. Things like sports or the perennial favourite at places like videos.
Now if you have seen any music video clips lately, you would see that quite a lot of them are pretty big on showing people dancing around ‘bumping and grinding’.
So here we are a bunch of guys trying to be good little
Christian’s being inflicted with all that flesh as we tried to bowl.
Some even tried to blame the video’s on their poor bowling…

So why am sharing those two things?

Well it got me thinking about a little phrase I have heard a lot over the years…
That the eyes are the gateway to your soul” (Luke11:34)

Jesus one day was talking to his disciples and he mentioned things like lamps and eyes and how important they are.
The whole idea that our eyes are a gateway into our life.
That they are like my gate at home.
That they can be taken for granted when they work.
That they control what we let into our lives.
That they can show others what is really in our soul, or what is really in my backyard...

Can I encourage you this week to think about what you let your eyes see? To think about whether what you see will help you or cause you pain?

Hebrews 12:2 says
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I bought xbox game on trademe the other day.

You probably will know that feeling of winning the auction and then the excited anticipation of waiting for your goods to arrive...
My excitement was higher than normal because I thought I had got such a fantastic deal!

So the other night when it arrived I got right into it as fast as I could.
Chucked the game on...
Looked at the manual...
And found the manual was so incomplete that I was at a lose to know how certain parts of the game worked.
I will learn over time, but it will have to be by lots of trial and error...

Which got me thinking...
Do we as people have the same issues?
Are you living your life by an incomplete user guide or do you have the whole thing?
Well the good news is that you do have access to one.
It is the Bible.

Now it won't tell you what colour socks to put on the morning, but it does give you what you need to make rights choices in life.
If you read it and let it into your life, over time you will have a knowledge base that will never let you down.

Read Esther and you will see that if you do what is right, not matter what the risk….that God will come through for you!
Read Ruth and you will see God’s heart for people, even if they don’t ‘naturally’ belong.
...the examples are endless.

In a song that David wrote, he says that he has hidden the word of God in his heart so that he might not sin.
David let the word of God into his life. He let it guide him as much as possible. He recognized the power it had to help him make right choices. And it can do the same for you if you let it!

In the immortal and paraphrased words of Dory from the movie Nemo…
“Just keep reading, just keep reading…”

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A bus said sorry to me recently…

No I haven’t lost the plot completely!
But while I was driving down the motorway towards the city, a bus drove by the other way with that sorry word emblazoned on the front. You know, those little signs above the front widescreen which normally tell you where the bus is heading…

I had a little chuckle to myself.
I mean, why did they need that phrase on the bus as it drove at 100km down the road. Did they think people would be standing along the side of the motorway waiting to flag a passing bus down?

Later that day it started to rain real heavy…
As I drove down a busy road, a car turned in front of me and I got a little upset at them for supposedly cutting me off.
But then I realised I had left my indicator going, so they thought I was going to turn. I in fact was in the wrong.

Then that little word came out my mouth…Sorry!

I actually wished they could have heard me.
I wanted them to know I made a mistake, and that I felt bad about it. They probably continued on muttering under their breath about me being an idiot or worse!

And doesn’t it make you want to spit tacks when someone scratches your car in carpark. It is worse when they don’t leave a note or is like that are not sorry that they did it.

That simple word sorry is very powerful!
When someone offends you, hurts you...just their coming and saying sorry seems to make a difference.
You can probably thinks of times when you just wished someone said it to you...

The Bible talks about us dealing with stuff together.
That we should sort things out with people who have hurts us.
That we should confess our sins to one another… that God can refresh us!

So this week, if you make a mistake...say sorry!
Give it a go...