Friday 31 December 2010

Year in Review

So how has 2010 really been for you? Difficult, memorable, awesome, challenging? If you had to choose a word to describe this year, what word would you choose?
I think I am going to choose... 'Defining!'

There have been some really tough things to deal with in 2010, but we have also been blessed with some wonderful memories. However, there have been a few things that have been 'defining' for me:

1. Writing and publishing NOW
2. Celebrating Easter in our new Church building
3. Enjoying the World Cup soccer with my family
4. Deciding to commit to stay at Wesley until 2013
5. Listening to Trevor Hudson's sessions at our Minister's Seminar
6. Saying sad goodbyes to awesome friends and colleagues at Wesley

Obviously, there are many other events that had impacted my life, but these six I have mentioned have changed me in some way. Amidst the pain and loss, there have been moments of celebration.

I thank God for my wonderful family and great friends. I am blessed to be a child of the King.

May God bless you abundantly in 2011. Thanks for your support in reading these daily thoughts - this blog is nothing without your interaction and encouragement.

Living in Grace,

Thursday 30 December 2010

Optimist or Pessimist?

So what has 2010 been like for you?
This quote gets me thinking - am I a pessimist or optimist?

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." - Bill Vaughan

Despite the difficulties one has to endure during a year I still believe that, with God, things can always get better! The best is yet to be!

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Thought for the Day

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let each new year find you a better person." - Benjamin Franklin

Start saying goodbye to 2010 and let's start preparing to seize every moment of 2011!

Living in God's grace,

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Stand Firm

"If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all."
- Isaiah 7:9

If you are looking for a great place to start 2011 from, I would recommend that you start from your faith. God will get you through every obstacle you face, but we need to stand firm with Him.

“The art of living is more like that of wrestling than of dancing; the main thing is to stand firm and be ready for an unseen attack.” - Marcus Aurelius

Living in Grace,

Monday 27 December 2010

Jesus inspires

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on." - Walter Lippman

I know that we have been focusing a lot on Jesus' arrival into our world, over the past few weeks, but we mustn't separate his birth from his ultimate death (and resurrection). The awe inspiring truth about Jesus was that he left behind a legacy that has been going for almost 2000 years. He is a true leader.

May we seek to understand His truth and then to live it out. If we do this I am convinced that others will follow our lead!

Living in Grace,

Sunday 26 December 2010

The miracle

This is the miracle of Christmas...

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) - Matthew 1:23

God is with us - this is the miracle we must remember throughout our lives.
God is not against us.
God is not above us.
God is not angrily watching us, hoping we fail.
God is not absent from us.


May you know God's presence deep in your inner being this Christmas.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 25 December 2010

Christmas Prayer

May you encounter Christ this Christmas. God bless you and your family during this festive season.

Here is a prayer for you:

"Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus' sake.Amen."
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Living in Grace,
D3LM3, Kim, Declan, Nathan and Joshua

Friday 24 December 2010

What happened to that?

Do you remember that CD you got on Christmas day a few years ago? Or that lovely dress or shirt? What about that book or DVD? Or even that slab of decadent chocolate or box of biscuits?

They are either all gone, wearing out, lost, on the shelf or have been eaten. That's what happens to gifts that we give to one another - they just don't last forever.

This year at Christmas let's remember that God's gift to us (Jesus) will live forever. He will reign from everlasting to everlasting.

So please enjoy giving and receiving gifts this Christmas, but let's not forget to open our hearts to the best gift of them all - Jesus!

"He who has the son has life;
He who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
- 1 John 5:12

Living in Grace

Thursday 23 December 2010

What would it have looked like?

Technology allows us to view images far away in our Universe. I love these various photo's as they remind me of how awesome our God is - powerful, creative and indescribable.

Have you ever wondered what the birth of Jesus looked like from the outskirts of the Universe? Did it look like the image of 'Siding Spring Comet' in the attached picture or perhaps something more dramatic? Surely, the birth of the Messiah had to have made a ripple effect throughout the universe, because His birth certainly changed planet Earth forever!

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." - John 1:14

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Christmas wreath

One of the first Christmas decorations we hung up this year was our homemade Christmas wreath (all Kim's handiwork to be honest). It sits proudly on the front door and is a welcome sight when one enters our home. It was only today that I did a little research on the origins of the Christmas wreath - this may interest you.

"The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light. Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light." - Origins

May Christ be your light this year. May you know His presence in your life and may the birth of the Messiah change your world.

Living in Grace

Monday 20 December 2010

The danger of Sentimental!

I love Christmas, really I do. I get all sentimental and dreamy - I enjoy the decorations, lights, carols, family time and of course the birth Narratives from the Bible. However, I have come to realise that there can be a danger in being too sentimental.

The hidden danger is found in the middle of the word 'sentimental." If one looks at this word closely we will find the words "I" and "Me." If Christmas only ends up being about how I feel then I have missed the whole meaning of Christmas. Yes, Jesus' birth was for me (and you), but His birth requires me to change my outlook on life - I need to see beyond "Me" and "I" to "You" and others in our world.

But, that's me! What are your thoughts on this?

Living in Grace,

Arise Fest

It is brilliant to see that young people are willing to make a stand for Christ. If you are looking for something amazing to do over the New Years weekend (30 December -1 Jan) you better get to Midmar Dam in the Natal Midlands. Christian bands from all over South Africa are descending on the Arise Fest - it is going to be awesome.
For a full list of the bands check out the program or for more information on the Festival click here. I hope I am not too old to attend:)

"Be the change!" - Mother Teresa

Living in Grace

Sunday 19 December 2010

Be United

At this time of the year it is wonderful to see how Churches seem to put aside their differences and focus on what unites us all. Is it perhaps true that the birth of Christ brings Peace to the believers first and when we are united then the world longs for the Christ-child? It's worth thinking about!

"United we stand; divided we fall” - Aesop

"We find not in the Gospel, that Christ hath anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.” - Roger Williams

Living in Grace,

Saturday 18 December 2010

Christmas gifts

If you haven't chosen Christmas gift's yet, then perhaps you want to have a read of this inspiring quote:

"Christmas Gift Suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."
- Oren Arnold

I love these sentiments. I would add one more though...
"To Christ, my worship!"

Living in Grace,

Friday 17 December 2010

It's Raining again!

We took 3 days to go on a family camping trip and guess what ... It rained and rained! Yes, for most of our time away it rained so much that we thought we were going to need a boat (or Ark) to get home. It seems our 'holiday curse' has come back again - never go away when we are on leave - because it WILL rain!

Besides the rain, it was a great time away, just doing nothing and enjoying quality family time. Creating memories is important and we feel that we were able to do that. We won't forget these 3 days for a long time. I guess a cold and rainy holiday is as close to a 'white winter' Christmas as we will get this year:)

If you are travelling somewhere this festive season please travel safely. You should have perfect weather now, because we won't be going anyway for a while:)

God bless you.

Living in Grace,

Monday 13 December 2010

Carols by Candlelight

What is it about Carols and Candlelight that seems to usher in the 'Christmas spirit?'

Is it a connection with our childhood?
Is it the profound message in the carols?
Is it the presence of candlelight, that reminds us of Christ's light in our times of darkness?

I have found that over the past few years, experiencing Christmas alongside my kids, has helped me to 'enjoy' the blessing of the season. My 'adult' thoughts and attitudes have been challenged by the simplicity of my kid's worship.

What is it about Carols that impacts your life?

Living in Grace,

Saturday 11 December 2010

What's in your name?

We are reminded at Christmas that Jesus' name means 'The Lord saves'(from Joshua) or 'God with us' (Immanuel). These meanings speak powerfully into our lives and offer us hope and encouragement.

But have you ever considered the meaning of your name and whether that speaks about your life? Do you live into your name or do you find there is no connection between the meaning and your life?

My name means, 'someone who comes from the sea.' I can honestly say I love the ocean and I feel more 'myself' when I am there. Does this mean anything - I am not sure?! But worth thinking about though!

Tell me what your name means - I'd love to know your story.

Living in Grace,

Friday 10 December 2010


December is prime-time for advertising. Shops and stores try to announce their 'special deals' in order to get more customers. More customers = bigger sales = happy bosses = good prospects for the new year.

Shouldn't we also be using December as a time to 'advertise' the birth of Jesus. People are more open to the things of God at this time of the year. People are more willing to contemplate Christ at Christmas, even if it's just for a fleeting moment. In fact, that's all we needed for our lives to be changed - a fleeting moment.

How about praying that God's name is honoured through this season of 'adverts' and economics. Pray that the Spirit of Christ would impact your community.

This is how the angel's 'advertised' the birth of Jesus - it was effective too!:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
- Luke 2:14-16

Living in Grace,

A life that is changed!

How has Christ changed your life?
Are you thinking about the answer carefully? Can you think about specific ways in which your life is different?

John Wesley believed that when we surrender our entire lives to Christ that things become radically different. Read this quote:

"When a person becomes a Christian, they become industrious, trustworthy and prosperous. Now, if that person, when they get all they can and save all they can, does not give all they can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that person!" - John Wesley

Wow, that seems harsh, but perhaps he has a point.

Pray about it and let me know your thoughts - have a blessed day.

Living in Grace,

Thursday 9 December 2010

Specific Love

In our journey and preparation for Christmas we encounter many aspects of Christ's love. These words inspired me today. May they impact your day too.

"God's love for the world is far more than an indefinable idea or a generalized affection. God's love has become specific. It is directed towards individuals. Stand before the manger, and you will discover that God's love is not just for the world as a mass, but for every individual in the world. FOR ME. FOR YOU." - C. Welton Gaddy

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 8 December 2010


I arrived at the Church gate this afternoon and I pushed the remote to get in. Nothing happened! I tried again and still nothing happened. I was just about to get out and see why the stupid gate wasn't working when I realised I was using the wrong remote (I was using my house remote!) Boy, did I feel stupid. (Those of you who have done the same thing are still laughing with me, right?)

Here's my thoughts on this:
1. I have too many 'things' in my life. I need to simplify. Christmas can be a time for clutter and things. How do I simply? I am not 100% sure, but for starters, I guess I need to get a bigger perspective on things.

I remember how we stressed as new parents about having a doctor, gynaecologist, paediatrician, nurse and support staff for the delivery of our boys - all in a private hospital! Compare this with Jesus being born in a stinky stable, with no 'support staff' - it was just Joseph and Mary and a few animals, yet God made a plan!

2. I must be tired (or blond) trying to open a gate with a wrong remote. Truth is, sometimes we try and connect with God on our terms. We use 'our way' (remote) and when it doesn't work we keep pushing harder. All along, God waits for us to stop pushing and then he says, "Use the right remote!"

Isaiah 55:8 - “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD."

Have a blessed day and remember to simplify and use the right remote.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Daily Resurrection

Do you ever feel as if you have blown it? You know what is expected of you, but you just can't live it out? If you can relate to this, then we belong to the same club!

The mystery of God's grace is a gift for people like us. Grace points back to the Resurrection - when all seemed hopeless God broke through. Night-time gives way to a brilliant sunrise.

"Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day again departs, and the night comes on." - Clement of Rome

When darkness falls remember there will be a resurrection!

Living in Grace,

Content of prayers

There are many times where our prayers focus solely on our needs and struggles. While there is nothing wrong with praying for ourselves (in fact, we are encouraged to bring everything to God in our times of prayer), there is a danger that we miss out on God's voice during our prayers.

These two quotes have challenged my thinking on prayer today.

"Prayer involves transformed passions. In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after him: to desire the things he desires, to love the things he loves, to will the things he wills." - Richard Foster

"Whether we think of or speak of God, whether we act or suffer for him, all is prayer when we have no other object than his love, and the desire of pleasing him." -John Wesley

Any thoughts?

Living in Grace,

Monday 6 December 2010

On every little piece

Ignatius was a devout believer in Jesus. Sadly, in 111 A.D. he was sentenced to death for his faith. He was eaten alive by wild animals in the Colosseum. Just before he was condemned to death, he said these amazing words:

"My dear Jesus, my Saviour, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece." - Ignatius

How awesome is that? I am sure that when they buried him, Jesus' name wasn't literally on every piece of Ignatius' heart, but his testimony has certainly echoed through nineteen hundred years of history. He lived out his faith with conviction!

How about us?

Living in Grace,

Sunday 5 December 2010

Ripple Effect

At our combined Advent service this evening we heard about the 'ripple effect' Jesus has made in our world. It is hard to fathom that the birth of one child can impact humanity in such a profound way - Jesus' incarnation has rippled throughout our planet and we still feel it today. Are you ready to be touched by the birth of Jesus?

"Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy. We cannot prepare for an observance. We must prepare for an experience." - Handel Brown

I want to thank everyone for taking part in the fun competition for the 5 books. The competiton was very close in the end, but the winner of the 5 signed books is:
Liz Brokensha - Well done Liz.

In the spirit of fun I have decided to give 3 books to the person who came second - Well done Quin Bache.

Thanks everyone.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 4 December 2010

3 weeks to go...

In three weeks time we will be at the end of another Christmas day. My hope is that Christmas will be more than just a 'feeling' we experience a few days a year. Imagine if love, peace and goodwill could be on the top of our agenda's every day of the year? Our communities would be amazing!

Think of these thoughts today:

"It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand." - Mother Teresa

"Were earth a thousand times as fair
Beset with gold and jewels rare
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle,
Lord, for Thee."
-Martin Luther

I want to thank you all for the birthday wishes - for both Kim and I. It has been a blessed weekend so far. Please bear with me as I count up the 'subscriptions' to see who the winner of the 5 books is. It got pretty close in the end. Will let you all know soon.

Living in Grace,

Friday 3 December 2010

Besides yourself

Under times of great emotional stress people use the phrase, "I was beside myself!" Now, at first glance this seems such a weird thing to say. How can we physically be "next to" ourselves? In truth, we can't! However, there are times when we are so stressed that it feels as if our soul and body are in two separate places.

This is where the phrase originates - ancient Greeks believed that under intense pressure a persons soul left their body and settled 'besides' themselves. Check this out if you don't believe me.

So this Advent season let's try not to be 'besides ourselves' - let us rather remember that God walks with us and that God will give us the strength we need to enjoy this festive season. I'd rather have God besides me, than my 'soul' leaving my body:)
But that's just me!

Living in Grace

Thursday 2 December 2010

Advent Prayer

We are only weeks away from Christmas and the hype is evident to all. How are you preparing for the Christmas season? Are you expecting anything from Christ this year? Are you wanting to give something special this Christmas?

I have been enjoying reading John van de Laar's advent posts in preparation for Jesus' birth. I also stumbled across a little book by Hilary McDowell called "On the way to Bethlehem." Her reflections are quite inspiring. Here is one of her prayers - may it offer us some insight into the spirit of Advent.

"Lord, please gift me with the right amount of wonder for anticipation; a healthy degree of trepidation to know I travel in the hands of a living God who can touch my yesterdays as much as my tomorrows. Lord make me expectant, make me new. Amen."

Living in Grace,

P.S. Thanks for the effort people are making to sign up friends/family to the blog. The race for the prize is still tight, but we will see at 12pm on the 3 December who takes the prize. If you can't sign people up don't stress:)

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Christmas Lights

We put up our Christmas tree last night and the kids had a blast. It is brilliant to re-live the mystery of Christmas through the eyes of a child. It reminded me of when Jesus said:

Mark 10:15 - "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

When we had finished putting the decorations on the tree, we turned the tree lights on and switched the house lights off. As we sat and looked at the tree, we told the boys the real reason for Christmas and they 'got it.'

May Christ be real to us throughout this December, so that when we celebrate Christmas day we will be in awe of the miracle of Jesus.

Living in grace,

Remember you only have until midnight on the 3 December to sign up your family and friends to the blog. There are a few front-runners so far (to win the 5 signed books), but there is still time to surge into the lead:)