Thursday, January 31, 2008

I sat with some friends at work the other day having lunch.

In that situation, I don’t know if you are the same as me, but I look around the table and see what others are eating.
One was eating sandwiches (that was me).
One was eating tuna from a can.
Another had a selection of fruits that would make you proud of their lunch choice.

And with any lunch time gathering...there is discussion.
Today stemmed around crazy or strange things that we have done in the past. Things like jobs where we have worn crazy costumes. Crazy situations we have found ourselves in.
On the first of January published an article on crazy stuff that happened in 2007 from around the world. Some of which included…

In an unusual living arrangement, a German man left his dead mother seated in her favourite armchair at their shared home for two years after her death of natural causes at age 92.
Yet not everything that smelled like a corpse was really dead in 2007.
In the German town of Kaiserslautern, police broke into a darkened flat expecting to find a corpse after neighbours complained of a nasty smell seeping out into the hallway.
But instead they found a tenant with very smelly feet asleep in bed next to a pile of extremely foul-smelling laundry.

Unusual diets made headlines in 2007 – such as: "No more crispy duck at Beijing toilets". Food stalls attached to Beijing's public toilets were banned ahead of the Olympics after complaints over toilets with poor sanitation.
Also in China, 66-year-old Jiang Musheng said 40 years of swallowing live tree frogs and rats helped him avoid intestinal pain and made him strong.
British artist Mark McGowan ate a meal of meatballs made from a dead corgi dog in a protest against animal cruelty. He said the corgi, which died from natural causes, tasted terrible.

A German bus driver threw a 20-year-old off because he said she was too sexy for his bus. "He opened the door and shouted 'Your cleavage is distracting me every time I look into my mirror and I can't concentrate on the traffic'," the woman said.

Isn’t this what makes life just that little bit more interesting?

Personally I think God likes things that are strange.
Take the stories of what Jesus did at times. Like the time he made mud and stuck it in someone’s eyes to heal them.
What about Jonah getting swallowed by a whale and then getting spat out again?
What about the way God has brought salvation into the world?

If God wanted some strange definition of normal, I think he would have made us all the same. Nothing would surprise us.
In fact I think we would be boring and life would be boring.

I am grateful that Gods plans are way more cool and exciting than mine.
That he loves variety and the strange.
Just to make things that little bit more interesting.

Something to think about...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Personally I think that a lot of what Jesus said on this earth was meant to be provocative and create a response.
At the very least it should cause us to think.Cause us to look a little deeper than the words and find out what God is really wanting to say to us.

Take something like what he said in the book of Luke...
“...anyone who does not carry his cross and
follow me cannot be my disciple.”

This week I was looking at this again and some thoughts hit me that I thought I should share with you…
So many times I focus on the negative.I look at the word cross and then think of death and sacrifice. It reminds me sometimes of what I need to lose and what I need to put aside.
In a sense that is right, but I have also realized this week that Jesus was saying so much more!

Jesus when he went to the cross took upon himself all the sin of mankind.
It was all the sin committed already, at the time, and sin for all mankind in the future. In fact it was so bad God ctually couldn’t look at his son for a moment in time.
Jesus paid the full price.

I also think when Jesus says to ‘carry our cross’ he is also referring to our struggles, those things we think make us weak. He isn’t saying to wait until thinks are feeling great before you pick up and walk. He simply wants you to get going…
That cross you pick up represents your sin and struggles being redeemed by God.

Many people say that they need help in certain areas before they can do something for God. But I can’t find anyone in history who has done anything amazing for God where they didn’t have personal issues they were working through.
William Wilberforce had health problems.
Martin Luther struggled with his faith.
The Apostle Paul said that he had a ‘thorn in his flesh’, that he had asked God to take away.
And Paul’s apprentice Timothy, seemed to struggle with stomach problems.
They never let their weaknesses dictate who they would be in God.
The took them up with their cross and went for it anyway.

If you don’t do the same, those struggles will hold you to one place.
They will be like a ball and chain attached to your ankle.

So this week, pick up your cross...and choose to go for what God has for you, no matter how weak or scared you feel.God promises to come through for you if you will.
In fact he even says that his strength is perfected in our weakness.

Something to think about...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I have just been on a fantastic holiday with my family!
We had several weeks back down where I originally come from in Invercargill.
It was the first time in 7 years that the whole family had gotten together, so was a very special time for us.

My uncle was one of the family who met us at Invercargill airport on Christmas Eve.
He hasn’t changed much.
And true to form he wore his favourite sweatshirt. A thinning grey sweatshirt with Les Mesirables on the front.
He got it some 20 years a go while in the UK when he saw the stage show.
So here he is wearing that same old shirt.We joked about it.
He even wore again especially for me when he saw us off at the airport 2 weeks later.

Beyond the fact I am talking about an old sweatshirt...there is more meaning to it for me.
Les Mesirables is my favourite stage show!
I have seen it twice now and would watch it again!!!
I love the story, the story of how God can do something amazing in your life if you let him.
Stories like that inspire me!

I also watched a dvd called Amazing Grace over the break.
Again it is a story about what God did through one man in England many years ago. How even though he faced mounting health problems William Wilberforce was instrumental in removing the slave trade, plus many other social reforms to benefit the everyday people.

In fact I love any movie or story where someone has an amazing effect on other peoples lives. Movies like Forrest Gump, Mr Hollands Opus...the list goes on...
They wind my up big time!
They remind me that God can use anyone who is wanting to be used.
They remind me that my circumstances don’t have to be a restriction.
They remind me that I can do something special in this world!

Can I encourage you to start 2008 encouraged?
If you feel like it is just another year, that it is more of the same, then grab something to watch that will inspire you to believe for more.
Watch a great show or movie.
Grab a book about someone that God has used.

It could be just what you need right now?