Tuesday, 30 June 2009

What's the score at Halftime?

If you were watching the Rugby on Saturday, you would have noticed that the Lions were leading against the Boks at halftime. If you were watching the Brazil - USA Confed Final on Sunday, you would have noticed that the USA were leading 2-0 at halftime. Right? So what impact did this have on the final result? NOTHING!! Both the British Lions and the USA ended up losing the games despite having a good halftime lead.

So, you may be saying 'who cares?' Well, I share this with you in the context of our lives. Today is 'Halftime' for all of us, in a sense. It is the 30th June 2009. We are halfway through 2009. If your life was a akin to a game of sport, what would the score be for you at halftime? Many people have taken massive hits in 09 and have felt the strain of being in the game of life. Some may even feel that they are losing big-time at the halfway mark of this year.

But, as I have already pointed out, the half time score means NOTHING in the context of the whole game. You and I can still come out victorious in this year. We can still turn things around. With Jesus on our side we can push through the complexity of our challenges and we can firmly put our trust in Him. Yes, we will still face a barrage of opposition and it may be tough, but Jesus has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us (Hebews 13:5).

Be encouraged as you journey through the next 6 months of 2009. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 for some more words of hope.

I look forward to enjoying the Victory with you.

Living with the Grace of God as our motivation...


I have just come back from a wonderful weekend in Bryanston. I went up with some good friends to lead a workshop on my book and then to preach on the Sunday. There were so many great moments in the weekend for me (including watching the Rugby and the Soccer), but the overriding one revolved around 'friendship.'

It was so good to see some old friends again and to renew the bonds that were formed many years ago. I always feel that one of the tests of a good friendship is when you meet up again, years later - if the connection is still there, then one knows that that particular friendship has 'lasted the test of time.' That is how I felt this time - it was actually quite emotional to see how God has continued to work in the lives of these wonderful people and that many of them have truly grown in their Faith.

So, to all of my 'old' friends, from all over the world - blessings to you all. Memories will be cherished forever. I look forward to monitoring how Jesus leads you onto awesome things.

To all of my friends that I see more regularly, I pray that we will not take these moments for granted. Thank you all for your friendship. You help shape me into the person God wants me to be.

Proverbs 27:10 - "Do not forsake your friend ..."

Walking the path of Grace with you,

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Benjamin Button

We watched the DVD of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' last night - it is a really good movie, just a little long. There are all sorts of good illustrations for talks/sermons in the movie. These could range from acceptance, life, forgiveness, peer pressure, love, eternity, family and so on.

However, there is a part in the movie which recounts how Cate Blanchett loses her dancing career through an accident. It takes you through a sequence of incidents that all seem to conspire to bring Cate to the wrong place at the wrong time - this is where she gets hit by the Taxi (...if you haven't seen the movie, don't worry she survives the accident)!

Well, this got me thinking again about 'coincidence', 'fate' or the term that I prefer -'Godincidence.' God could have intervened in one of the many things that built up to the accident, but he didn't - why not? If he knew that she was going to be hit by the car, then why didn't he stop it from happening?

To be honest, I don't have the answers to this HUGE question, but upon reflection, Cate's life changes drastically after this accident. The changes that we see in her, in the movie are portrayed as being for the better - she becomes a different person and she ultimately finds love. So, one could argue that if it meant allowing the accident to happen in order to help her find her True Love, then God has my vote. I guess she may have ended up in finding Love, despite the accident, but one will never know.

As a Christian, I will never figure out all the answers to my 'WHY' questions, but I need to get to a point of trusting in God's Providence in my life. If I surrender my entire life to him, then I need to trust in His hand to guide me, even when it doesn't make sense to me. While, I often spend much of my emotional energy asking the 'WHYs' I need to comprehend that I may miss out on an answer to my deeper longings.

Perhaps part of the answer lies in this verse - "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8"28)

Struggling with the WHY...
but still Living in Grace.


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

What were you doing on that day?

Today is the 24th June - cast your minds back to 1995 and can you remember what you were doing in the afternoon of the 24th June? Do you remember? I was watching the World Cup Rugby final with a whole bunch of friends. I remember the feelings of joy and euphoria as Franscois Pienaar lifted the trophy, with Nelson Mandela standing alongside him, also in his No.6 jersey. That day will live long in our memories.

But, what I am challenged by today - the 24th June 2009, is these two questions:
'What is different about my country, 14 years later?'
'What is different about me, 14 years later?'

Without going into too much detail, I would have to say that a simple answer to both questions is this: 'Lots has changed, but plenty has stayed the same!'
In our country, we are still battling racism, sexism, poverty, crime, unemployment, corruption, abuse etc. So, even a change in government and 2 World Cup Rugby wins has brought zero change to the lives of some people. '14 years later' may as well be 'yesterday' for them.

However, all is not doom and gloom. As Christ-followers we remember a significant event that took place around 30AD. There were no medals handed out that day, although there were lots of people in the crowd cheering and shouting. Jesus death on the cross and his subsequent Resurrection left an indellible mark on the world. For those of us who believe, we are changed - we cannot be the same anymore. Sadly, there will be many who will be unmoved through Jesus' sacrifice.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever. This speaks of his faithfulness, his consistency, his security. But, God calls us to renewed daily - changed on an ongoing basis. We are challenged not to remain the same (in some ways) - to made more into the image of Jesus Christ. That's a huge challenge for me. How about you? Are you different 14 years later?!

Only by Grace,

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Grace upon Grace

I thank God for His awesome Word. This morning in my devotion the reading was from John 1:16 and to be honest I wasn't expecting too many surprises from the reading -what a mistake! This time it was from the King James version - "And of His fullness have all received, and grace for grace."

What is so powerful about that phrase 'grace for grace' is that it actually reads 'grace upon grace' in the Greek. So think about it like this - when you next order a toasted sandwich at a resturant, don't be disappointed when the waiter walks past you and brings me my double-deluxe club sandwich with every possible filling inside!
Yes, God's wants to bless us so abundantly with His grace, that He is not satisfied in giving us a tiny sandwich, with a thin slice of cheese on. No way - we get the bread and fillings (GRACE) stacked up so high that our mouths can't even bite into the sandwich - Now that is something worth salivating over, isn't it!

Whatever you are facing today, may you know that our God has already stacked the sandwich of His grace so High that we couldn't consume it all - even if we tried.

May you be blessed with His 'GRACE UPON GRACE.'

Grace upon


Monday, 22 June 2009

Let me help you with that!

I am spending a few precious moments with Joshua this morning - the rest of the family is either at work or at school. So, we were just chilling out when he waddles over to my laptop bag in the corner of the room. In his 15 month-old mind he wants to pick it and move it somewhere, but as much as he tries he just can't pick it up. Admittedly, the bag is heavier than normal as it holds a few books as well as my computer, but even still, Josh has no chance of taking it anywhere. I move over to him and help him to pick it up and then we move it to 'safety' (i.e. away from tiny hands).
Just then, this is what I felt God whisper to me - 'Delme, you are the small child and I am your Heavenly Father. Let me help you with that!' Oh wow, I thought - such a simple thing, but boy do I need reminding of that truth.

Thank you God, for your providence and care. You carry me (and my baggage) when I couldn't even move it if I tried. Your Grace is enough for me.

"The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms" - Deuteronomy 33:27

Swimming in pools of Grace,

Friday, 19 June 2009

One in 4!!??

I have been driving around Mariztburg a bit today and every time I pass by a particular news headline, I cringe. According to 'The Witness' headline, 1 in 4 males in our nation admits to raping someone. What the hell is up with that? One in Four - if that stat is true then we are in big trouble my friends. What kind of depraved people are we, that 25% of us (males) have to force ourselves onto other people just to satisfy our sexual desires (or should I say 'our lust?') Man are we a crazy specie or what?

Oh and by the way - close on 50% of the men admitted that they first raped someone when they were still in their teens. 10% raped before they were even 10 and 20% of the rapist also confirmed that they had HIV. Brilliant!!! So, their sin (the rapists) will be passed onto the next generation with ease, as not only will these men likely rape again, but their 'victims' could also perpetuate the cycle. Lord, we are in a mess - deliver us from evil!

I wonder what God thinks of all of this? Surely God is 'gutted' by these acts of selfishness and injustice. As I was saying yesterday, Jesus must be moved to his 'gut' when he sees this type of stuff going on. How can God still choose to love humanity when we are so messed up. It is hard to get my head around this sometimes.

I guess that's where Grace comes into play. But Grace without a price is 'Cheap Grace' and Jesus didn't die on a Hollywood Cross, with nice soft music playing in the background. Our sin condemned him to a gory death, yet we walk away with Grace...Lord, you are unfathomable and merciful. I don't understand your ways.

But by the Grace of God...

P.S. Check out the article for yourself -

Have I changed?

Last night I watched South Africa lose the T20 semi-final - it seemed inevitable, I guess. Anyway, I watched until the 'bitter-end' and then casually flicked through the channels until I came to the Soccer. Sounds pretty ordinary, hey? Well, here is the thing - I was a little sad that we lost the cricket, but my attitude was 'well, that's life!' That's when it hit me that my attitude towards the outcome of sporting games is slowly mellowing - at last! Or maybe I am just getting old....no, that can't be it!

I still remember tossing and turning in my sleep the night we lost in the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup cricket. That night I thought I was going to go crazy - I kept re-living that last disastrous run-out, even dreaming that I was playing and that I had made the run and we had won. The days that followed that event left me feeling bleak. The same thing happened after we lost the Super 14 final in the dying seconds - bleakness and disappointment.

In the end - we all realise that Sport is not 'Life' - in may ways, it is a glorious escape from Life and I see no harm in enjoying ourselves through sport. However, for me, it worried me that often I would be more 'gutted' and 'bleak' after a sporting loss than I was about some forms of injustice.

So, in the end, I think that God has been quietly doing a work in me - and I am slowly seeing the 'bigger' picture. So, we lost a cricket game! Life goes on and I managed to lose no sleep - yeah!

Let His Grace change our hearts. The more we allow His grace to pour into our hearts the more He will deal with our sin.
Living in Grace,

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Feel it in your Gut!

We went to a Pastors Fraternal breakfast this morning and my friend George Scriba reminded us of Matthew 9:36 - "When he saw the crowds he was moved with compassion to the depths of his being..." The word in the original language (slagchnistheis)actually speaks about the 'gut' or 'intestine'. So, here we have Jesus moved from his gut because of what he saw. To use our modern language, 'when he was with the people he was gutted by what he saw!'

Why was he so broken by the things he saw in the people? Well, the verse carries on to tell us why - "...for they were bewildered and dejected, like sheep who have no shepherd." I think he was heart-broken because he saw so much potential in these people, but they had lost all sense of hope and meaning in their lives and to be honest, no one else seemed to give a damn!

Nothing has changed has it - there are still people broken and bewildered by life. There are still people in our churches, communities, families and friend-circles who are dejected. Looking around, there are a handful of people who give a damn, but on the whole, they are few and far between.

But, then again do I actually care? I can't point a finger at others if I am not willing to ask myself the same questions. Am I 'gutted' by what I see around me? Or have I just seen too much and now my skin has grown thick and my spirit become blaise. Have I lost the notion that with God's help we can make a difference? Have I forgotten that my God does miracles in His sleep (if He ever sleeps)?

Thanks Lord for the reminder of your compassion for me and my community. Teach me to be 'gutted' in a Holy way! Let me be a vessel that pours out your grace upon others.

Grace - Lived out of God's Gut!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

What's with the competition?

So this is how my morning normally starts - as soon as my two older boys open their eyes, the competing begins:
Who can eat their breakfast first?
Who can get dressed first?
Who can brush their teeth first?
Who has their bags packed first?
Whose turn is it to sit in the middle seat of the car?

Oh my goodness - it sometimes drives me crazy. I want to sit down and explain to them that it doesn't matter who 'wins' these little activities - in fact, I have tried before, but it all feel on deaf ears.

This morning I was wondering where they get this from? Is it my fault? Is it my genes that have turned them into 'competitive machines' - surely not! (Perhaps it is Kim's genes - Oh yes, that is the answer...it is all her fault! Just kidding)

In the end I realise that as parents we will model certain behavioural norms and idiosyncrasies, but the desire to always 'win' is inbuilt into every human being. Where it goes wrong is when it becomes a skewed selfishness - this is when winning at all costs goes up in smoke. Selfishness is a sin, according to Scripture. When my love of others is curtailed by own need to succeed, that's when everyone loses.

It is my role, as their dad, to teach them that it is fine to want to succeed and to do things excellently, but that sometimes 'winning' means putting someone else's needs before your own. As Jesus said: "The first will be last, but the last will be first!"

But, here is my dilemma - how do you teach servanthood to a child? How do explain Jesus washing his disciples feet as an act of love? How do you teach a child to put others first?

Well, I will give it a go and let you know the results in 15 years time!

Trusting in His grace and guidance.
Grace to you,

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Covered by His Love

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:18-19

When the Apostle Paul speaks about the grace of God in Ephesians 3 he uses the word 'polupoikilos' - which actually means 'many coloured.' In the context of what he wrote in verse 18-19, he uses an amazing image to speak about God's love. God's grace and love is 'many coloured' in that there is not one situation in our lives, where his love won't be able to match it. If we go through sorrow, his love is able to cover us; if we go through times of joy, then his love is able to match that. Light or dark, sunshine or rain, wind or hail, summer or winter - God's love is adequate!

As you embrace this new day as a gift from God, may you be able to grasp how WIDE, LONG, HIGH and DEEP his love for us actually is. May we all be blessed through God's 'many-coloured' grace.

Walk boldly in God's Grace,

Friday, 12 June 2009

3 Things

Apparently F.R.Malty used to say that Jesus had promised his Disciples just three things in life - "that they would be absurdly happy, completely fearless, and in constant trouble." I love that quote - it somehow speaks of the risky adventure of being a 'Christ-follower.'
However, as I look at the 3 things that Jesus may have promised His disciples, I am not sure which one of those I feel I have today.
Absurdly Happy? Well, more at peace, to be honest - just a general sense of God is in control.
Completely Fearless? Not 100% of the time - fears raise their heads at various times, but I know that God has given me the victory - just need to let this knowledge become part of my daily existence.
Constant Trouble? Can't say yes to that. Sure, I sometimes irritate congregation members with a few new ideas, but can't say I have been in trouble lately.
So where does that leave me today? Mmmmmh - think I will pursue 'completely fearless' and see what Surprises God has in store for me.

Live out of His eternal resevoir of Grace,

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A different view on things...

In reading a William Barclay commentary on Ephesians I came across these words - "To suffer for Christ is NOT a penalty; it is our glory, for it is to share in the sufferings of Christ himself and an opportunity to demonstrate the reality of our loyalty to him."
Wow, these are indeed challenging thoughts for us. It seems as if these words were written for another time and place, yet they can be relevant for us now. It is not as if suffering doesn't happen in our modern times, it is more that we have brought into the false notion that somehow suffering would bypass us. I am not entirely sure where this thinking comes from, but modern Christians (and especially us in the Western-type Church)need to re-assess what it means to 'pick up our crosses and to follow Jesus.'
Apparently when some of King Arthurs knights used to come to the Round Table, they used to come asking for 'dangers to face and dragons to conquer.' As believers we will face many dangers and dragons - thankfully we have a God who has helped us to overcome and who has given us the Ultimate Victory.
May you have enough of the Spirit of God today to realise that you can conquer dragons. Jesus is with you.
Rest in His grace.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Christ working in partnership with us...

I am busy preparing for a whole lot of messages and I came across this old poem from Teresa of Avila...
"Christ has no body now on earth but yours;
yours are the only hands with which He can work,
yours are the only feet with which He can go about the world,
yours are the only eyes through which His compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.
Christ has no body now on earth, but yours."

So as you and I continue our daily tasks, let's be challenged to ask ourselves whether we are being his hands, feet, eyes and body?

Prayer: Spirit of God fill me so that I can work in partnership with you. There are so many people who need your love and mercy. Teach me to rely on the power of your Spirit. Be glorified in my life, today.

Grace to you,

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Soli Deo Gloria

Soli Deo Gloria - Perhaps you have heard this phrase before. I know that I had heard it, but couldn't really remember what it truly meant - that was until this past week. In looking at the account in Acts 3, where Peter and John healed the crippled man at the Beautiful Gate, the response of the man speaks about 'Giving Glory to God Alone!' He was obviously so blown away by this miracle that he went around 'Walking, leaping and Praising God.' He wanted to give God the glory for what had just taken place.

The composers Johann Sebastian Bach and George Handel used to pen the initials SDG on their completed manuscripts - Soli Deo Gloria (Gratia). Their immediate reaction, after completing their awesome compositions was to give God the glory. We can all learn from their humility. It is tempting to live our lives for the applause of the people, but in the end the only applause we need seek is from God. His opinion is the one that counts.

So, if GOd chooses to use you in a powerful way this week, remember to think of SDG - Soli Deo Gloria - Glory to God Alone. May you be blessed.

Live from the centre of Grace,

Saturday, 6 June 2009


We played a soccer match this afternoon - it was great fun. A bunch of guys from Wesley joined forces to play against the new student ministers from the Seminary. The final score ... 3-0 to Wesley... I can hear the cheers even as I write the score. Yes, indeed victory is sweet. It was also great to have many friends and family coming along to support the 'beautiful game.' All in all - it was a great success. Just another reminder to embrace life and to thank God for every moment.
Live because of His Grace,

Every moment counts!

We are reeling from the news that our good friend has just lost his mom in tragic circumstances. Our prayers and thoughts have been with them in the past 12 hours. We are at a loss for words - what can one say at a time such as this? We cling to Jesus - we remind ourselves of his compassion, his mercy and his familiarity with mourning. Lord, in your mercy - hear our prayers!
Jesus wept as his good friend Lazarus died (John 11:35) and Jesus continues to weep with all who mourn. We do have a hope in that Jesus proclaimed that we would have victory over death - we would live with him for eternity. This knowledge gets us by, for now at least. We plead for the Spirit of God to bring courage, peace and healing to our friends.
But now I must get off my seat and decide what to do with 'TODAY' - it is a gift from God. I may not get another. Lord, help me to make every second count. Let me love without fear and live without restraint.
Living this moment in Grace,

Thursday, 4 June 2009

God's Will

Yesterday we took some of the gap year students from the Church (Lifesong) on a day's reflection. They have been spending the first 5 months of this year serving God in various ways and they will soon be contemplating their next step in God's plan for their lives. This got me thinking again about the 'will of God' and how we need to base our decisions around His Will. Now this is not an easy task, as we really have to grapple with the concept of what His will truly is.

I am not going to try and unpack an age-old dilemma, but I do want to share two quotes with you. Perhaps these will help us all to have a clear image of this complex term 'God's Will.'

Gary Kieswetter - "The will of God is found in his Word. When his Word unfolds, his will is made known to us. The more we do his will, the more we want to remain in his Word."

George MacDonald - "I find that doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about his plans."

Without going into too much argument, I feel that a starting point in understanding God's will for my life is found in the verses from John 13:34-35 -
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Be Blessed my friends and stay connected to the Source of all LOVE.
Living in His grace,

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


Kim and I went to watch 'Slumdog Millionaire' yesterday and it was a great movie. Having spent a month travelling through India and staying in Mumbai itself, we had many memories come flooding back. This was not a 'Hollywood' representation of the poverty of the Indian slums and the poor castes - it is exactly like that. Things that we would consider 'scary' are just part of their everyday lives. Having just done the 5 day 'Beans and rice' challenge, I was moved by seeing the poverty of millions of people - this time on the Big screen. Life is a daily struggle for survival - every meal is eeked out and there are certainly never any guarentees! Seeing children as young as my boys left to their own devices - trying to find food and shelter - wow, it is a reality check.
It sheds new understanding on Jesus' whole focus of identifying with the poor. It also opens my eyes to Jesus' comments about how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God - the fact that it is probably easier to thred a camel through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom (you know that verse?!) The truth is "I am part of the 'rich' people He is referring too!" Yes, I am. I am so blessed and so I now need to live with a greater sense of responsibility - God has put me in this country, into my community, into my family for a reason. Lord, help me to honour this trust and to live a life worthy of the Kingdom.

Struggling to live out of this place of Grace,

Monday, 1 June 2009


Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and many of us heard again how God poured His Spirit upon the disciples (Acts 2)- I guess it is a major understatement to say that 'they were never the same again!'
In fact, the world has not been the same since and we are again the beneficiaries of God's foresight and grace. I chose to focus on the Greek word 'Paraclete' in the sermon yesterday (as did Mike in the evening) and it was good to remind myself of the character of our God. He is our comforter, our counsellor, our advocate and 'the one who stands alongside us.' If this is not Good News for us, then we are hard to please.
What an awesome concept - The God of the Universe chooses to 'dwell in us' and at the same time to lead and guide us. If we have such incredible power at our disposal, why do we keep trying to go it alone? Why do we ignore our 'paraclete' and listen to the voices of those who don't always have our best interests at heart? The answer - I just don't know why? Maybe it's because we are stubborn or proud or just plain ignorant? Thankfully our Lord is patient with us.

Anyway, for me, Pentecost has been a timely reminder that the Holy Spirit can renew and restore my weary spirit and He can bring hope to my hopelessness. That is Power worth talking about.

May you rest in the presence of the 'Paraclete'.
May your hope be renewed.
May your weary soul be restored.

Living in the presence of His Spirit and Grace,