Sunday 28 December 2008

Afterglow or Hang-over?

So Christmas has come and gone. All that build up and stress has now given way to a few brief moments of rest and family time. If I am honest, I am enjoying living in the 'afterglow' of Christmas. For me, it seems as in the few days after Christmas I have felt closer to God that the weeks before the 25th. I know that this sounds weird, but it could have lots to do with the preparation of many Christmas services. In ministry, our role is guide people to a place of being ready for the 'moment' of Christ's birth and to feel the effect of it on our lives. In doing so, people in ministry often miss out on the own encounter with the Messiah - sad, but true! Thankfully, Jesus is not only accessible up to the 25 December, but that we can bask in His Peace and Spirit, 365 days in the year. That is what I intend to do this week. By the way, there are many people that feel quite 'hung-over' after Christmas -this is in more ways than one. Prof. E.Ernst from the University of Exeter says that when you are hung-over you body tells you 'I have had enough; don't abuse me anymore!' Wow, that's a interesting comment. Many non-drinking Christians feel 'hung-over' after Christmas for the very reason of pushing their bodies to the limit - all in the name preparing for the 25th. So here is the question - are you living in the afterglow of Christmas or are you feeling 'hung-over?'
Ask God to speak to you, no matter how you are feeling.
Live in His grace,

Monday 22 December 2008

In the End!

In the End! These 3 words could mean a whole lot of different things, but today they speak to me of God pulling through for us "In the End!" We go through difficulties and we worry about the future, but if we wait on the Lord, all things will work out "in the end!" As we reflect on the Biblical accounts of Jesus birth and life, we see that there were moments when things look omninous, but "in the end" God turned the potential danger into something that was remarkable. Think about Mary and Joseph desperately seeking a place to stay in Bethlehem - things looked bleak as they struggled to find accomodation. However, 'in the end' despite giving birth in a stable, Mary and Joseph were able to watch over the arrival of Jesus. Even when Herod tried to destroy Jesus, the family was able to escape to Egypt and 'in the end' all turned out fine. Fast-forward to the Crucifixion - Jesus dies on the cross and many of his disciples think that the story has now finished. However, 'in the end' God has the final say and Jesus is raised from the dead! This is the God we worship at Christmas time. A God who works things out 'in the end!' Believe that he has our best interests at heart. He loves us and he will work out his purposes.
Be Blessed this Christmas.
Living in Grace,

Wednesday 17 December 2008

And He will be their 'PEACE'

I am busy getting some thoughts together for the service on Sunday and have just re-read Micah 5:5 - "And he will be their peace." I am sure that at this time of the year all of us are feeling a little 'flustered', 'tired' and some-what 'worn out!' A lot of our present state has to do with the general demands of Life, whilst we are also guilty of adding to our own mess. I know that saying 'NO' is not as easy as it should be! Anyway, before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied that He would be their peace. What is noticeable, for me, is that Micah doesn't use the words, 'he will bring us peace', but rather points out that JESUS WILL BE OUR PEACE. Could this imply that when we embrace Christ, we say hello to an endless supply of PEACE? This PEACE is not altering or dependent on circumstances, but is just there - as constant as Jesus is in our lives! So here's the worrying thing for me - when I don't feel 'at peace', what has happened to Jesus? Is it true that He has not gone anywhere, but that I have simply taken my eyes off Him and am trying to go it alone? Mmmh, makes me think that my lack of peace (at times) has more to do with my choices than it has to do with God withdrawing his PEACE. Jesus wouldn't withdraw himself from me (and therefore His Peace), but I may choose to go 'SOLO' and then Christ patiently waits for me to come to my senses. What do you think?
Live in His GRACE & PEACE.

Friday 12 December 2008

Rest Needed!

We have just come back from a few days away and it was great to have a 'break' from ministry - I am sure that some of you know what I mean. It was good to feel normal again and to be on the beach 'incognito'. What has really surprised me is how tired I was (and still am) - just generally tired! Coming back from leave is also a huge crash-land back into reality! There is still so much 'stuff' needing to be sorted out. Sorry, this is not meant to be a 'feel sorry for me' post, but it has got me thinking about Jesus and how people demanded his time 24/7. He knew how to find the space and time to pray, to reflect, to recharge his batteries. However, there were times when he went away and left the disciples to take care of the ministry, but they weren't able to handle it. Remember how they couldn't heal the one child properly and the father was getting upset and he told Jesus that they weren't able to help him? This makes me think about how often when ministers go on leave, we entrust things to good people, but sometimes the 'congregation' complains that it isn't "the minister", therefore it isn't good enough. I wish Jesus had told some of the demanding crowds to "Get a Life!" - cos then it would give us an excuse to point out that verse to any person who complains about ministers being on leave.
Boy, am I in a grumpy mood today!? Please excuse me - i guess, today is one of those days that I am battling to 'live in grace.'
Be Blessed, D3LM3

Thursday 4 December 2008


Well today I am another year older (and wiser I hope!)When you get to my age one doesn't stress too much about the hype and excitement of birthday gifts, but it is fantastic to be wished by family and friends. I do love birthdays and birthday cake! In exactly 3 weeks time, the Christian Church will mark the birth of Jesus Christ. We know that the 25th December is not exactly the day Jesus was born, but the real issue lies in that He entered our world with the purpose of redeeming us. I know that for my family, we will focus on the true meaning of Christ's birth - I am sure that you will do the same. As for my birthday, well, I plan to reflect on the year that has been and the year that looms ahead. I will ask the Lord to keep me focussed on pursuing His purpose for my life and not in being distracted by my own desires. Just as Jesus was born with a Godly Purpose and Mission, we all need to embrace the fact that we were born with a unique purpose and mandate. May you discover your destiny. In the meantime, Live in Grace,
Be Blessed,

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Who stole my Church?

Just busy reading a great book, by Gordon MacDonald, entitled "Who stole my Church?" It deals with the issues of change that congregations go through and how often people who have been members of a church for a long time, feel that the younger generation literally steal the church from underneath them. It raises many interesting questions - a must read for any church going through issues of transition and change. Just a comment about the whole issue of Churches embracing change - I want to point out that the 'Church' is not ours to begin with. It is God's Church - we are His bride. Often we become so possessive about 'my' church and we go all out to defend our viewpoint or our ideas, that we forget what is important for God and His Church. Most of what we argue about in Church is not really about Kingdom matters - in my humble opinion. Yes, I can speak passionately about what music should be sung and which instruments we should use (or not use) and whether we must also pray in a particular way or sing after the offering, of whether we can't have Church in the Hall (because it doesn't feel like a Church) etc. However, is this truly about the Kingdom of God and seeing the lost and broken finding Jesus? I think not! Church can easily become my little 'castle' and you dare not mess with my Kingdom. Oh Lord, forgive us for making an idol of the Church and everything in it. Let me worship you in Spirit and in Truth.
Living in Grace,