Thursday 30 September 2010


Sometimes we honour traditions without realising why we actually remember them. We even refer to things on a daily basis without comprehending their origin. For example, do we even know why the days of the week are called "Monday, Tuesday etc?"

And how about September? Septem actually means 7, but is September the seventh month? No it's not! So why do we mark this month as September (seven), when it is actually the ninth month of the year. Good question? For the answer you will have to click here.

But, the real question for me, is "Is the Church like this in any way?" Are their elements of the way we 'do church' that make no sense to us, but we do them anyway?
What are some of these things?

Matthew 15:3 - Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

Don't get me wrong - there are some traditions that are important and rich in heritage and vital for the life of the Church. But, there are a few that we need to scrutinise.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 28 September 2010

The Cross

We sometimes need to be reminded that the Cross is central to our Faith. If there had been no Cross, there would have been no Resurrection, no Pentecost, no Ascension!

"When the love of God is poured out to us through the cross of Christ, it empowers us to do remarkable things in God's name." - Michael Dubruiel

Colossians 2:15 - And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Prayer thought: "Thank you Jesus for the Cross."

Living in Grace

Picture of Cross from here

Monday 27 September 2010

I must tell Jesus

If you could meet with Jesus today what would you say to him?

Elisha Hoffman, wrote the Hymn 'I must tell Jesus' and his words are intriguing:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear this burden alone.
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own...

Tempted and tried, I need a great Saviour,
One who can help my burdens to bear.
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.

So would you tell Jesus about your deepest longings and sorrows? I believe He would want us to trust Him to draw alongside us in our times of need.

Living in Grace,

Celtic Daily Prayer

Why do we complicate our prayers?
An ancient Celtic Prayer, used mainly in the mornings, begins like this:

"In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

What better way to start our days than to remind ourselves that we worship the Triune God? Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Begin your day with this and may you know God is with you.

Living in Grace,

Friday 24 September 2010


Heritage Day is a moment to be proud and thankful for the many things we have and to acknowledge where we come from. It is true that we can complain about a number of things in our country, but we also have lots to be proud of.

Today I am proudly South Africa, but I am even more proudly Christian. What about you?

Romans 1:16 - "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

Living in Grace,

Thursday 23 September 2010

Burden bearers

This scripture from Galatians 6:2-3 has often challenged me. What does it say to you?

"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important."

Please can you pray for my friend Dion Forster. His 11 year old daughter Courtney is having a Tumor removed from her head this morning. The whole family needs our prayers. You can read part of their story here. This is a small, but practical way, of sharing the burdens of others. Thank you.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Central fact

One of my favourite authors at the moment is Eugene Peterson. He writes with incredible wisdom and depth of insight. A while ago he reflected on the crucifixion with these words:

"The single, overwhelming fact of history is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There is no military battle, no geographical exploration, no scientific discovery, no literary creation, no artistic achievement, no moral heroism that compares with it. It is unique, massive, monumental, unprecedented, and unparalleled... the Cross of Christ is the central fact to which all other facts are subordinate."

What do you think?

Living in Grace,

The right Gift

Choosing the right gift for a 6 year old is tricky, especially when he keeps changing his mind as to what he would like. In the end, we chose what we thought he would love and we will see on Friday how it turns out.

Jesus left us many gifts, but one of the most treasured has to be 'peace.' The irony is that few Christians actually feel at peace in our lives. Maybe we have forgotten to 'open' the gift properly or perhaps it slipped our minds that Jesus had promised us His Peace.

"I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart!" - John 14:27 (NLT)


Living in Grace,

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Day of Gratitude

Today is marked as 'World Gratitude Day' as well as being the 'International Day of Peace.' I am never sure who has the power to call these days into being, but I think that remembering these two today (21 September) is an awesome idea.

So what/who are you Grateful for today? Why not pause for 20 seconds and write your blessings down in a list:


I am sure that you have more than 5, but start with these and see where it goes.

I want to THANK YOU for taking the time to read this blog. I am grateful for your interaction and appreciate that you keep me accountable for what I write. So thanks again.

Colossians 3:16 - "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

As far as PEACE goes, I pray that you will experience the peace of Christ as you embrace everything in your life.

Micah 5:5 - And he will be their peace.

Living in Grace,

Monday 20 September 2010

I dreamt of Silkworms

What does it mean when you dream of Silkworms? Do any of you know? This time last year I wrote a post about our struggles with silkworms, but since then we have gained much wisdom. When all of the moths had died off we put the boxes away for a while and then, very subtly, the boxes and boxes of 'eggs' went to silkworm heaven (it was miraculous, I tell you!)

Anyway, the other day one of the kids asked where the boxes where and we were cornered. After gently explaining the truth to the kids we thought all was good, but over the weekend I noticed that the leaves of the Mulberry tree where starting to show. I felt guilty. I suppose that is why I dreamt of Silkworms. I guess I will have to 'grin and bear' it if the boys bring home some worms this year, but please don't be the ones to give them the worms - I beg you:)

Here is some insight on dreams...

“Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you.” - Marsha Norman

Job 4:13 - "Amid disquieting dreams in the night, when deep sleep falls on men..."

May God grant you dreams to inspire you and to change the world.

Living in Grace,

Sunday 19 September 2010

Starting again

The start of a another week can be daunting for many people. For some it is the return to the same routine, for others it is a chance to start afresh. Whatever lies in store for you this week may you be conscious of God's presence with you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 - "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

Try and see the start of a new week as a chance to start afresh with the Lord.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 18 September 2010

Kids Parties

We had Nathan's birthday party today and it was great fun. Thankfully the weather was perfect so the kids played on the water slide all morning. Kids parties are exhausting, but they are a wonderful reminder of how we should embrace life with joy. Kids are so innocent and hold no pretences - it is refreshing to be around them as they respond to Life.

You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again. ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

Despite the innocence of childhood, we still need to do all we can to protect and nurture our younger generations. This quote speaks volumes on this...

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ~Frederick Douglass

Smile like a child and laugh for the fun of it.

Living in Grace,

Friday 17 September 2010

Man's Dislike of God...

If the title got you interested in reading this post then let me explain. These words are from this quote from Horatius Bonar...

"Man's dislike at God's sovereignty arises from his suspicion of God's heart...The more I understand of the character of God, as revealed in Scripture, the more shall I see that He must be sovereign, and the more shall I rejoice from my inmost heart that He is so."

Are there times when we feel suspicious of God's heart or do we believe that God always has our best interests at heart? I am naturally cautious of people's motives, but if I am to surrender to the Christ, as my King, I need to trust in His heart.

Revelation 11:15 - "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

Have a blessed weekend.

Living in Grace,

Thursday 16 September 2010

Timely Reminder

There are times in our lives when we all begin to feel sorry for ourselves. Often we may have just cause for feeling down or concerned. Sometimes the actions of others make us feel even more depressed. However, there are occasions where our emotions are a direct result of our own actions.

Whatever the reason for our state of 'lowliness' we may need a dose of perspective to get us refocused. Often this is called a 'Reality Check!' For me, this came today in the form of the latest statistics on World Hunger. Read the whole article here, but in essence it reminds us that every 3.6 seconds a person dies of hunger. That's 16 people every minute, of which 12 are kids. That is a solid dose of reality. My problems seem a little less severe now!

But, what can I do? How can I help? Perhaps Mother Teresa's comments are a helpful starting point:

"If you can't feed 100 people, then at least 1."

What do you feel?

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 15 September 2010


“Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.” - Thomas Aquinas.

Hebrews 11:1 - "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." (NLT)

May God give you enough faith today to believe in His promises.

Living in Grace,

Praying together

Jesus practised both private prayer (Mark 1:35) and corporate prayer. As a Jew, Jesus would have joined with his community in praying during the day (Acts 3), and that sense of unity would have been powerful.

Personally I feel that in our Western culture we are quite good at doing the 'private' prayer thing, but when it comes to praying together we could do with some practise. Of course praying together doesn't always have to mean 'literally' praying in the same place at the same time. However, it is a sense in which we will all be focused on the same thing, during the course of a day - we are praying in common!

Take the Lord's Prayer for example (Matthew 6), isn't it awesome to know that when we pray it in our Church, that millions of other Christians could be praying it on the same day - that speaks to me of strength and unity.

So, this Saturday (18th September) we are having a Day of Prayer at Wesley. You are invited to join us in praying. You can do this in a number of ways:

1. If you live nearby, pop into the Church anytime between 7am - 6pm. Someone will be there. Just come and pray. You can spend as many minutes/hours as you wish.
2. If you are living far from PMB, please set yourself a reminder and pray with us, even for a minute.
3. If you would love to be there in person, but have other commitments, please also pause and prayer when you can.

Oh yes, and if you don't know what to pray, just start reading the Psalms and see what happens. That's where Jesus started!

Be blessed,

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Deus Vult

During our early morning devotion at 'MacCafe' today, we got onto the topic of 'Deus Vult.' This term means 'God wills it' and, in all kinds of ways, has been in our church lingo for centuries. Interestingly it had it's origins in being a battle cry for the first Crusade, where Christians were convinced that it was God's will to defend Jerusalem from the Muslims.

Sometimes we use this slogan as a sign of resignation - "It is God's will that this should happen." (We usually do this when we can't explain 'why' something happened & so we pin it onto the Will of God.)

Or sometimes people will proclaim after horrific events such as September 11 or Genocide in Rwanda or flooding in Pakistan, that these are part of 'God's Will!" Wow, I struggle with that. I understand what the comment is saying, but I still struggle with it.

I think we would be better off to use it in the context that James mentions it. Read his words...

"Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." - James 4:13-15

If I have surrendered my life to Christ, then I can safely say that I surrendered to His Will and purpose. This is when I am happy to say, 'Deus Vult.'
That's me - what about you?

Living in Grace,

Monday 13 September 2010

God is God

Musician's have a way of speaking the words we battle to express. In one of his songs, Steve Curtis Chapman writes these powerful thoughts:

"God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He's painting
God is God and I am man (woman)
So I'll never understand it all
For only God is God.

And the sky begins to thunder
And I'm filled with awe and wonder
'Til the only burning question that remains
Is who am I?

Can I form a single mountain
Take the stars in hand and count them
Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me
He is first and last before all that has been
Beyond all that will pass...

...So let us worship before the throne
Of the One who is worthy of worship alone."

May we rest in the truth that 'God is God'.

Living in Grace,

Sunday 12 September 2010

Pray Continually

This morning we wrestled in Church! No, it's not what you are thinking - we weren't doing any WWF style wrestling. We wrestled with Paul's comments in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - "Pray continuously" (or pray without ceasing)

One of the ways we can begin to do this is to allow our lives to be 'interrupted' by a call to pray! If Jesus centred his life around his times of Prayer, then we would do well to try and follow his example. So how then?

This is my suggestion: Set your alarm on your phone or watch to go off 3 times in the day (you choose when) and when you hear it go off take this as a call to prayer. Try and stop for a minute and pray something. If you don't know what to pray start with the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6).

I dare you. See what happens.

By the way, thanks for keeping me company on this adventure of daily blogging. Today is my 500th post. Your accountability keeps me going. Be Blessed.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 11 September 2010

We are too easily pleased

C.S.Lewis was a genius. I love his work. Take this quote as an example...

"Indeed if we consider the unblushing promise of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Please don't settle for mud pies this week, especially when you can have the whole Feast!

Living in Grace,

Thursday 9 September 2010

Why I will NOT burn a Quran on 11 September!

An American pastor Terry Jones is adamant that his 'International Quran burning day' on Saturday 11th September, is going ahead. This is even after many Christians have pleaded with him not to go ahead and the US Government has warned him not to burn the Quran.

As a Christ-follower I can't find any biblical mandate for his actions. In fact, I keep reflecting on Jesus words, 'Love your neighbour as you love yourself' (Matthew 22:39). There is another scripture that I think that Terry should heed before he burns the Quran...

Mark 12:33 - "To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Terry's desire to make his own 'burnt offering' may be done out of a desire to please God, but I think Jesus is clear what He would prefer.

James says the same thing (James 2:8) - If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

If he wants to do something right, perhaps he should be talking to and embracing his Muslim 'enemies' (as he calls them) and showing them the Incarnational love of Jesus. He would have more chance of revealing the Gospel to them this way, than by making them so angry that they won't want to hear about Terry's 'Jesus.' (By the way, I think the God I know may be a little different to Terry's picture of Jesus).

Just in case you happen to be reading this blog post, Terry, you should read about the history of book burning to see how unsuccessful it has been in the past. There was also a comment made by a Christian playwright, Heinrich Heine, who wrote:

"Where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn human beings."

Makes you think, doesn't it!

So, sorry to disappoint you Terry, but I will not join you in burning a Quran on Saturday. However, I will pray for you, for your church and for the Muslim community. That I promise you!

Anyway, that's my few thoughts on this. How do you all feel?

Living in Grace,

Are you satisfied?

Are you satisfied with your Prayer life? To be honest, I haven't been satisfied for a while now. I sense there is 'more' and I want some of that 'more', whatever it is.
So a few weeks ago I stumbled across an inspiring book by Scot McKnight entitled: 'Praying with the Church: Following Jesus daily, hourly, today!'

I think this book may just change my prayer life! I am going to be sharing a few thoughts on Prayer on Sunday morning (at Wesley) - so watch this space.

"Most Christians are not happy with their prayer life - they either don't pray often enough or well enough." - Scot McKnight

"Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me." - Psalm 55:1-2

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 8 September 2010

What do you dream?

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking, planning and dreaming about 'Ministry' and 'Church', I realise that often our hopes and dreams are hampered by what I want to refer to as "the human element." I know that this is a huge paradox, because ministry is always in relation to people and Church can never be effective without community. So the very thing that makes both ministry and church work, can be the very thing that hinders effectiveness.

If you could dream one thing for your Christian community, what would it be? Here are a few random starters...

That people were more committed?
That Churches would work together?
That people were less self-absorbed?
That people loved each other more?
That Churches had more resources?
That Christians actually read the Bible and lived out it's message?

Please don't stop dreaming! But also try and live out your dream and see how this changes the lives of others. Come on, just do it! I dare you...

John 13:15 - I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Living in Grace,

P.S. Remember that you can record your 'Life Dreams' at for FREE

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Good advice

If ever you are looking for good advice, read this:

1 Chronicles 22:19 - "Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God."

If our whole being is focused on 'seeking' God and wrestling with what pleases God, then we are heading in the right direction. Well, at least I think so.

"Look and you will find it - whatever is unsought will go undetected." - Sophocles

Read this too - Matthew 6:33

Have a blessed day.
Living in Grace,

Whatever it Takes?!

There are some people who are willing to do 'Whatever it takes' to get their message across or to make a difference. Take Lewis Pugh as an example - he is known as the 'human polar bear' and he is willing to swim in the most extreme conditions and places to get his message across. The photo shows him swimming in the Antarctic. Earlier this year he swam in a glacial lake near Mount Everest. He does this to remind us that our natural environment is delicate and is being destroyed by humanity. He is crazy, but I admire him. He inspires me to do whatever it takes!

So what about you? Are you willing to do whatever it takes in these areas:
1. Our relationships with other people
2. Our relationships in the Church
3. Our relationship with Christ
4. In our ministries
5. With our gifts and talents
6. In our homes and schools
7. In our places of employment

Remember that Jesus was willing to do 'whatever it takes' to deal with our sin. It ended up with him crucified on a wooden cross at Calvary. His willingness to do this changed our lives.

So what about you? Are you willing?

Living in Grace,

Sunday 5 September 2010

What is in common!

I have been up in Jo'Burg over the weekend leading a worshop and then preaching 4 times on
Sunday (I have had good company in Stu Nixon + Ross Ashton). We have had the privilege of
ministering in 2 Churches in the area and what has struck me is the many commonalities in
worship between our home church (Wesley) and our 2 host churches. In fact, we have so much
more in common than we first realised. Wouldn't it be great if Christians all over the
world could rather focus on what unites us, instead of what divides us.
What do you think?

"...that they may be encouraged and united in love!" - Colossians 2:2

Living in grace,

Saturday 4 September 2010

Wisdom from the Psalms

May these words offer you hope:
"Let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
Let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
That all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord;
You surround them with your shield of love."

Live in the shadow of His grace,

Friday 3 September 2010

Kids comments on trees

My kids continue to surprise me! I am blown away by how incredible their little minds work. This morning, as we were driving to school, they made these 2 comments out of the blue:

"The trees are resting, daddy!" (I found out that this referred to the trees that have no leaves on them. They are resting now, because soon they will have leaves growing!)


"God left some leaves on the trees, so we could breathe." (The trees that haven't lost their leaves this winter were made that way by God - in order that we would have enough oxygen to breathe!)

You have got to smile at that! These kids are geniuses - they must take after their dad!

Luke 18:16 - "But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Make sure you smile today when you hug a tree.

Living in Grace,

Thursday 2 September 2010

Hug a Tree today

In case you have been ignoring the news (due to the teachers strike) you may have not heard that we are in Arbor Week. Yes, it's the time of the year when we remember the importance of trees, plants and flowers.

As children of God, we have an important mandate to care for our environment. I believe God will keep us accountable for the way we treated each other (as human beings) and for the way we have treated His creation. So, if you haven't had a chance do something creative and memorable this Arbor Week try and do something today. Worst case, just hug a tree and thank God for His creation. I am sure your neighbours won't think you are too crazy.

Genesis 1:11-12 - "Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good."

Ezekiel 47:12 - "Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."

Have an awesome weekend.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 1 September 2010


Spring is here! The season of LIFE and new beginnings. May you be blessed today and may God's Spirit bring you to LIFE. May all the 'buds' of promise and potential flower and bloom in your Spiritual life and may your journey with Jesus be paved with smell of joy.

"Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil."
- Joel 2:23-24

Living in Grace,