Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Introvert or Extrovert

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? Come on, you can't be undecided - you will be one or the other! If you need a definition of these terms before you make up your mind then go to this link.

Many Extroverts struggle to spend time alone - they need to be in the company of people. Most Introverts delight in time away from the crowds - they come alive when left alone. Andrew Bonar argues that we can grow in grace by spending time alone, in quiet reflection. Read his thoughts and see how you feel about it:

"In order to grow in grace, we must spend a great deal of time in quiet solitude. Contact with others in society is not what causes the soul to grow most vigorously. In fact, one quiet hour of prayer will often yield greater results than many days spent in the company of others. It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest and the air is most pure."

Do you find this to be true? Is this perhaps why Jesus spent so much time alone with his father in prayer?

What do you need to do in order to make "an hour of quiet prayer" possible?

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Most people don't like risk. It scares us. It makes us anxious when we move out of our comfort zones. However, the greatest irony in the area of risk and faith is this:
  • When we risk something for God, our faith comes alive!
I seen this so often in my own life, as well as in the lives of others. Faith can become boring if we just go through the motions and get into a rut. Then faith moves dangerously into the territory of 'religion.' When I read the Gospels, and even the book of Acts, I constantly see 'RISK' - it is a complex thing, but being a Christ-follower involves risk.

"We risk for him to the degree that we know we are loved by him." - Brennan Manning

May you risk something for Jesus today.

Living in Grace

Monday, 29 July 2013

Alpha 2013

We launched our 2013 Alpha Course last nght and we had such an amazing time - it was a real blessing to be part of this great ministry. If you have never experienced a Alpha course then sign up at your local Church next time they run it - you won't regret it.

The content of the course gives you a wonderful chance to ask questions about life, faith and anything else. The intention of Alpha is not to 'convert' you to a particular denomination, but rather to get people speaking about Christianity. The thing that this course does well is allow space for people to speak about faith, in a relaxed environment. Sharing in a meal is the perfect way to put people at ease and to converse. These are things that we can't always do in a 'usual' church service and that's perhaps why many folk love Alpha.

Perhaps the most debate with Alpha comes later in the course, during the sessions on the Holy Spirt. Although this is hardly controversial - it just gets people to speak about the most neglected person of the Trinity (the Spirit) in a focussed way. In my opinion, we need to understand the person and work of the Spirit more and more - afterall it is the role of the Spirit to change our lives, to bring life and to guide us into all truth.

Anyway, just wanted to give you a little update on the course - God bless you this week.
Know that God loves you and that He has your back!

 “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” - C.S. Lewis

Living in Grace

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Bear Gryllis on Christianity

Bear Gryllis is known for his television series, Man versus Wild (Born Survivor) and has written a number of books, detailing his hectic adventure stories (Mud, Sweat and Tears is a great read by the way). What some people don't know is that he is also a committed Christian and is often used as a spokesperson for the Alpha Course.

This is what he has to say about his faith:

"This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being. Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak."

May Christ be an empowering presence in your life today and always.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Reflect and be inspired

Why don't you take a few minutes to reflect on these words and be inspired. Saint Teresa of Avila knew a lot about life, hope, suffering and love. May God bless you as you read these words.

To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that.

 For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.

 Pain is never permanent.

May you find God in your situation today. Be still and understand that God is only a prayer away.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Every year I teach a few classes on the Crusades, at the Seminary. And every time I share about that dark period in the history of Christianity, I feel more bleak and horrified. That 200 year period reveals the dark-side of our human nature and how easy it is for people to call themselves 'Christians', yet live such godless lives. It kind of forces me to take a deep look at myself and to see if there is anything 'dark' or 'hidden' in my own motives and life. For we all fall short of the glory of God...

Of course, not all of the crusaders were barbaric and ungodly - there were many who sincerely wanted to see Jerusalem won for the Christian community, and they weren't prepared to kill for that ideal. Sadly, they seemed to be a minority voice, calling out among numerous princes, knights, popes and lords, all seeking their own agenda.

I am not sure whether I am comfortable with the first part of this next quote. The second part is good and true, but the first part is contentious. What do you think?
"The triumphs of the Crusades were the triumphs of faith. But faith without wisdom is a dangerous thing."Sir Steven Runciman
Let me know what's on your mind. God bless.
Living in Grace

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A King is born!

It is not often in my lifetime that I have been able to say, "a king is born!" And so it has come to pass that in our time a future king has been born - one who may rule over the British Royal family and all those who love the notion of Royalty. It is incredible to see how the world has been swept up in the birth of this little guy and it is going to be tough for him to live in the public eye all the time. I do pray that he is shielded from the expectations of millions and is allowed to be a child for a while.

By the way, any bets that the new king will be called something traditional or weird? I bet he won't be called "Delme" - any takers?

Of course, as Christians we know that this is not the first time a King has been born. Jesus was born to much less fan-fare yet has gone on to change the world. His life has inspired millions to live to a different drumbeat and to follow the way of Love. And it is true (I believe) that even the new baby, son of William and Kate, will one bow his knee to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Here is my closing thought:
No king can truly rule with justice, mercy and integrity, unless he is willing to submit to the ultimate King - Jesus.

Living in Grace

Monday, 22 July 2013

Am I rich towards God?

Reading from Luke 12:21 this morning I got stuck at the last part of the verse...

"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God."

How can I be rich towards God? What does this mean?
Well, in a way, I guess it means giving my best to God. Am I generous in what I give to God (this would include every aspect of my life), or does God have to settle for the scraps? It's a tough thing to comprehend.

So, here is the million dollar question - "What does it mean for you to be rich towards God?"

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 21 July 2013

When suffering and joy collide

Today was one of those days when we experienced both joy and sadness. It was little Blair's baptism and so as much as we celebrated the moment as a family, we were also very sad that Barry was not present with us. It has been 9 months since his death and emotions are still very raw for all of us, yet in the coming together of family we sensed God's hand upon us. Although it is not always easy to sense, remember that God is present in both joy and suffering.

  • "Sorrow enlarges the capacity of the heart for Joy" - Richard Mahew
  • "I believe that suffering and pain can either be a prison or a prism." - Tim Hansel
May God's hand bless and guide you.

Living in Grace

Friday, 19 July 2013

Where are you looking?

If you are looking for bad news, you will find it. It seems that we are very good at taking note of all the pain and suffering in the world, but we never linger with Good news. It is as if we have become conditioned to let good news melt away and so then our plight becomes:
" will gaze upon the bad news. End of story!"

If this is our 'lot' in life, then it is little wonder that people become disillusioned with God.But this is not the message of Jesus. He comes to give us life in all it's fullness and to savour the sweetness of God's grace and love. So, perhaps we are looking in the wrong direction?

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” - Abraham Lincoln

Living in Grace

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Madiba quotes

Yes, it is appropriate today to remember Nelson Mandela and the impact of his life. Not only is 95 years of age an impressive milestone, but his legacy will live on beyond his earthly years. Here are a few of his quotes to celebrate his life:

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."

"A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it's lowest."

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." 

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

May Madiba's life remind us all that God has given all of us "ONE" Life and we can all make a difference. Remember that with God, we can do all things.


Living in Grace

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

God sees and hears...

Have you ever wondered if God actually hears our prayers? Many of us easily slip into a cycle of doubt, questioning whether God could be bothered with our lives and our cries for help. The story of Hezekiah teaches us an amazing truth - not only does God hear our prayers, but he also sees the tears we cry.

“I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.” – Isaiah 38:5

It is my prayer that this verse encourages you today. May you continue to lift your prayers to the Father and may you know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Even if your prayers are for someone else, keep praying - God is listening.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 14 July 2013

God forgives

In sharing on Isaiah 38 today, I loved the image that Isaiah presents to his hearers of a God who puts our sins behind his back. This conjures up the picture of a gracious God engaging with me, consciously holding his hands behind his back. God does this, so our sins can't come between us and him any longer.

  • “You have put my sins behind your back!” – Isaiah 38:17

As God loves me, so He wins me over to his side - he does this by offering me the gift of forgiveness. As Frederick Robertson says, “We win by tenderness. We conquer by forgiveness.”

May God's love win you over today.
Why not share a little of this with others.

Living in Grace

Friday, 12 July 2013

Be planted in the right area

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7, 8 NIV)

We often have a choice as to where we "plant" ourselves. It could be in fertile areas and places that are good for us or we may choose places that look good but end up being a bad place. Where are you choosing to put down roots? Does the stream of God's grace run underneath your roots?

Choose well.

Living in grace

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Speed up, there is a Zebra crossing ahead!

As I was driving home this evening, I drove passed the Liberty Mall and noticed a scary thing. It seemed that as all of the motorists in front of me, saw the Zebra crossing (with the patient guy standing at the side of road), they simply sped up. The poor guy was about to step in the road, but he realised that he would have been toast, so thankfully stepped back onto the pavement.

So, as I got to the crossing and slowed down for him to cross, he looked at me as if I had just saved his life - yet, all I had done was obey the traffic law. Wow, we are so bad at obeying these laws in South Africa!

I share this with you, not because I am a good person, but rather to remind us that sometimes God asks me to slow down, but I 'speed up' instead. Speeding up, when I should be slowing down, is not only dangerous for me, but it could harm others too.

Are you approaching a Zebra crossing in your life?
If you are, then be aware of your speed.

God bless you.

Living in grace

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Opening our eyes

Recently we had a few days holiday at the coast - it was wonderful to have the break (and 'YES' it did rain again!) Anyway, one of the awesome things we got to do was to snorkel in some little rock pools. My observation with snorkeling is that you have no clue how beautiful the ocean is, until you put you head under the water. As soon as you push your head under the water a whole new world opens up before your eyes. It is amazing to see all the fish and creatures under water.

It can be the same with God, faith and the Scriptures. We have no clue how awesome and inspiring our Faith can be, until we push ourselves to go deeper. It is only when we go below the surface that our eyes are opened to a whole new world.

Psalm 119:18 - "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."

May you and I be willing to go deeper with God today.

Living in Grace

Monday, 8 July 2013

Tune in to Wisdom

Reading Proverbs in the words of Eugene Peterson is really quite unique. His own take on these words of Solomon help to make them come alive. See what you think of this:

Good friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That's right—if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5 MSG)

Ever thought of tuning your ears to wisdom? Or "setting your heart" on understanding?
These words make me want to try at least!
What about you?

Be blessed friends.
Living in Grace

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Where do you go to find wisdom?

We all go somewhere or to someone to help us make decisions and to find "wisdom." I often turn to the age old wisdom of Solomon. He was not perfect by any means but he knew God. Read these words today and see what you think.

These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David's son, Israel's king— Written down so we'll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it's going; A manual for living, for learning what's right and just and fair; To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality. There's something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn— Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women. (Proverbs 1:1-6 MSG)

So, where do you go to find wisdom?
Why not try Solomon some time? Better yet, why not try Jesus!

Living in grace