Monday 28 February 2011

Choked by worry

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells an amazing parable about the Sower who graciously sows seeds everywhere. Some of the seed falls near the weeds and never gets to grow properly. This is Jesus' explanation for this sad truth...

"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it." - Matthew 13:22

If we are seeking 'more' of the things that aren't eternal, then we must expect more worry and less peace. Sadly, we must also expect that we will not grow into the people God has created us to be.

God has sown the seed. Now the choice is ours.

Any thoughts on this parable?

Living in Grace,

Saturday 26 February 2011

Pressing on

"Do you see what this means — all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" - Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG)

Have a blessed day.

Living in Grace

Friday 25 February 2011


Driving up to the Midlands to conduct a wedding rehearsal I noticed the hundreds of sunflowers next to the highway. It makes a welcome change from tar and concert! It is impressive to see how these beautiful flowers blossom in an unlikely place. Here are my random thoughts on what sunflowers can teach us about life.

They flower wherever they find themselves.
They are hardy and resilient.
They turn their heads towards the sun.
They make the world a beautiful place.

Perhaps God has called us to be 'sunflowers' today.

1 Peter 2:12 - Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God...

Living in Grace,

Thursday 24 February 2011

Full of Surprises

There is an old saying that states that "Life is full of surprises!"
Is this because we have a certain view on how the world should
work and when things turn out differently then we are left
feeling surprised? Is that it or is it just that life can't be
predicted or plan - it always has curved balls and lots of
Could we say the same for God? Is God full of surprises?
I think God surprises us in so many ways - we just need
to be on the look out for these gifts.

So look out for one of those today! May God bring a
smile to your face.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Chicken or Beef

Chicken or Beef? Well, actually none of those for today - I just wanted to get your attention! How about this option? Stone or Flesh?
Life can sometimes batter us into submission and cause our hearts to grow hard. God understands this, but He wants us to allow His Spirit to keep our hearts alive - pumping with life and love.

"I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them;
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh."
- Ezekiel 11:19

May the Spirit of Christ keep our hearts like 'flesh' and not like stones.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Do you love me?

As I was putting Josh into his car seat this morning he asked me the big question:
"Do you love me daddy?"
Oh man, it was hard to be all macho when he asked this question!
"Of course I love, my boy." I replied.
He was happy with that response and then proceeded to tell me all the people he loves - which even included our crazy Labrador!

So, here's what I was thinking.
There are times in my life, when I want to ask God the same question:
"Do you love me daddy?"
I know that the answer is yes and that I can read about God's love in the Bible (or feel it in my spirit), but what I wouldn't give to hear the words clearly...
"Of course I love you, my boy!"

What are you thinking?

Luke 11:11-13 - “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Living in Grace

Monday 21 February 2011


Have you ever felt misunderstood? You have shared your opinion or believed strongly in something, but others have misunderstood your motives? It hurts hey?

The early Christians were gravely misunderstood. They were accused of being cannibals (because of Holy Communion), incest (they referred to each other as brother and sister) and even atheism (they rejected other gods). All of these are ridiculous when we read them in 2011, but the early believers struggled to be heard and to share their story.

In truth, Jesus had also been misunderstood. He was called many names, including 'the devil' and a drunkard. Thankfully Jesus stayed focused and strong in the midst of these accusations. He proved that Love conquerors all.

May God be with you today, even if your good motives are misunderstood.

Living in Grace,

Sunday 20 February 2011

God loves us

"God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life" - Henri Nouwen

God is more interested in who you are than what you do.

Believe it - it's true.

Living in Grace

Saturday 19 February 2011


“Significance is a normal need, an intrinsic part of living as a personal being, a need which only God himself can fill, and a need which he wants to fill – Significance depends on understanding who I am in Christ.” - Lawrence Crabb

Do we understand who we are in Christ?
Do we know how much God loves us?

We are significance in God's eyes!

"This is my son, whom I love. In him I am well pleased." - Matthew 3:17

Living in Grace,

Friday 18 February 2011


This morning I was driving from Petrol station to Petrol station trying to fill up with petrol. I eventually managed to find one that had unleaded petrol, but I was getting worried for a moment. While I was driving around something made me tilt my head left and look at the petrol gauge from a side view - it definitely looked a lot better. The gauge showed I had a quarter of a tank. However, when I carried on with my experiment and tilted my head 'right' the gauge was in the red. Both were inaccurate - the truth lay somewhere in the middle.

When you are facing a situation, which way are you looking at it? If our perspective is tilted to much to the one side we may panic unnecessarily. However, if our perspective is at the opposite extreme, we may think all is fine, when we need to be preparing for action.

Let's seek the balance.

Living in Grace,

Thursday 17 February 2011

Friday thoughts

At the end another hectic week, may these thoughts inspire you to have an awesome weekend.

Psalm 104:5 - He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

"Try not to become a person of success but a person of value." - Albert Einstein

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau

Living in Grace,

P.S. Thank you for the many enquiries about the 'Cycle of Grace' information. I battled to put together a link for the notes from Trevor Hudson, but I managed to source something similar on the Cycle of Grace. Have a look here. (These are not my notes - credit to OK New Forest). I will put my adapted version of the sermon notes onto the blog over the weekend.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Wow moments

Every now and again we have 'wow' moments. These can range from things of nature (sunsets or storms), to words that inspire us, to experiences that change us or even when we suddenly comprehend some incredible truth.

I had a wow moment a few months ago when Trevor Hudson shared with a few ministers a concept called the Cycle of Grace. It is a simple concept, but it is deeply profound. It changed the way I viewed myself and ministry. I am going to be sharing about this on Sunday at our services - I pray it will change lives - it is that powerful! (If you aren't at Wesley and would like to know more, let me know and I can forward you the link).

Look out for a 'wow' moment today. They come when we least expect them, but they are totally worth it!

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Wise words

One of my favourite parts of the book of Proverbs comes from chapter 3. These words speak volumes to me - how do you read them?

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

Any thoughts?

Living in grace,

Monday 14 February 2011

Hate is blind

On this Valentine's day one should be talking and reflecting on Love and I want to follow suite. Remember the old saying, 'love is blind?' Well, I was reading a devotion by Eugene Peterson today and he challenges us to reflect on the fact that love may be blind (in some cases) but not with God. God loves us unconditionally - that is not blindness, that is GRACE. God knows and sees all my faults and sins, but through Jesus Christ, God still chooses to love me. That's a miracle.

However, Peterson argues that it is rather 'hate that is blind!' When I harbour hatred and resentment in my spirit then I am blind to the good in others. When I allow hate to control my emotions then I am blinded to the good I should do.

I find this a challenging thought - what about you?

So, perhaps Love isn't blind after all - especially if we are referring to God's love.

Living in Grace,

Sunday 13 February 2011

Lessons from life

Kim and I have been married for 12 years today and I admit that she does need a medal for putting up with me. I am not an expert in relationships (you will have to ask those who have been married for 40 or 50 years), but these are few handy tips I have learnt along the way. I think these apply to most relationships or friendships, not just romantic relationships.

1. All relationships require a decision to 'love' regardless of how one feels on a particular day.
2. All relationships are inspired by the ability to say "I am sorry!"
3. All relationships work best when seasoned with grace.
4. All relationships should bring out the best in all people involved.
5. All relationships require work.
6. All relationships depend on trust and mutual respect.
7. All relationships need God in them.

What are your thoughts?

Living in Grace,

Saturday 12 February 2011

Prayers for strength

I stumbled across this prayer for strength. May it bless you, if you need it.

O Lord,
In this time of need, strengthen me. You are my strength and my shield; You are my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. I know, Father, that Your eyes go to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts long for You. The body grows weary, but my hope is in You to renew my strength.
I do not fear, for You are with me.
I am not dismayed or overwhelmed, for You are my God. I know You will strengthen me and help me; that You will uphold me with Your righteous hand. Even as the shadows of illness cover me, I feel the comfort of Your strength, Or Lord.
(Dr E.G. Richardson)

Living in Grace

Friday 11 February 2011

Totally Inspired

I was privileged to spend part of my day off at an inspirational breakfast this morning. Lewis Pugh was the guest speaker and what he had to say was totally inspiring. I have not been that challenged and inspired in a long time. I am now going to start reading his book, which I got him to sign today. As he was busy signing the book I told him I was a Pastor and that I appreciated all he did and how he inspires many people. As we finished our brief conversation he reminded my of this quote from missionary William Carey:

“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”

I couldn't agree more! Life is short - God has given us so many things to use for His glory and to bless others. We need to attempt great things for God.

Be inspired this weekend.
Living in Grace

Thursday 10 February 2011

Is God a dragon?

So, is God a dragon?
It fascinates me that people have used imagery to describe God for thousands of years. Sometimes these images are helpful for us and at other times they seem unreal. Obviously every generation and culture has a different way of relating to God, especially if there are other gods to compete with.

When I read the following words in Psalm 18, I immediately thought of a dragon. Tell me, if you think the same. It just goes to show that we must be careful not to read scripture out of it's context...

"Smoke poured from his nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down;
dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew
soaring on wings of the wind."
- Psalm 18:8-10 (NLT)

What are you thinking? Let me know sometime...

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Penniless preacher

Pray and reflect on these thoughts today:

"Christ is the most unique person in history. No man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless preacher of Nazareth." - H.G.Wells

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Interesting place to begin

When Paul wrote his instructions about worship to Timothy, he started with these words:
"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them." (1 Timothy 2:1)

1. Pray for all people
2. Ask God to help them
3. Intercede for them
4. Give thanks for them

Now there is something practical and inspiring to do. Enjoying praying for others.

Living in Grace,

Monday 7 February 2011

To Fast

Remember the old cassette tapes? I know that they seem a distant memory, but I am sure you can remember them. It was always a pain trying to get to your favourite song on the tape because you had to hit FF (fast forward) and when you had gone to far, it was the turn of the RR (rewind) button!

The thing with a cassette is that your favourite song only sounds good when you press 'play.' It sounds horrendous in FF or RR! I think the same is true of our lives. Many of us are trying to sing our songs in FF or RR and it doesn't sound so good. Living at full speed is alright for a time, because it gets us to a place or a moment, but the trouble is that when we get there (wherever 'there' is), we don't often stop, put our feet up and listen to that song.

Is it time to take our fingers of the FF button and to let God speak to us at normal speed.
Just asking?

Living in Grace,

Sunday 6 February 2011

The power in a song

I find that when I worship God (in song) that I am touched by the music of that song, but often the words speak loudly to my spirit. We sang these words tonight - may they offer you some hope and encouragement.

"Water you turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There is none like you
None like you

Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There is none like you
None like you

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, you are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God."
(Chris Tomlin)

May God allow you to rise out of your ashes today.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 5 February 2011

To live like Jesus

We have been sharing our Church's refined mission and purpose over the past 3 weeks. Tomorrow we reflect on what it means to 'live like Jesus.' The best place to understand how Jesus actually lived is the Gospels. Every page is filled with another example of how Jesus changed our planet just by being himself. His lifestyle challenged and changed people in his day and it still demands a response from us today.

Being a Christ-follower has been reduced to going to Church and being good, but the more I read the gospels, the more I see that we are far off the mark if this is all we focus on. Jesus was radical in the way he presented the truth, compassion, love, hope, forgiveness and grace. If I want to live like Jesus, I feel I need to read more about how he actually lived and not how I think he lived.

Matthew 22:37 - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

To Love. To Learn. To Live Like Jesus.



This week has gone by in a flash. It is almost as if in the blink of an eye 7 days have passed by. I feel that we have these periods in our lives from time to time - we don't seem to be able to make time slow down - things just blur from one day into another. It's alright to have weeks like this, but my worry is that when our lives become like this permanently, we begin to lose a sense of control. Others control our time and decisions and over a long period of time, this can be dangerous.

We need to be avoiding the 'blink week' becoming the 'blink life' by putting a few measures in place:
1. Planned rest
2. Planned refueling - filling our spirits with the Word of God and by prayer.
3. Planned time with family and friends
4. Planned review - take 4 hours a month to reflect on everything that you are doing and evaluated whether you need to 'do' all of these things.

Just a few thoughts - what do you feel?
Please don't let your life just rush by in the 'blink of an eye!'

Living in Grace,

Thursday 3 February 2011

Remember who calms the storms

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. (Luke 8:22-24)

A few of us are going through huge storms at the moment - it may be you too!
Let's hold onto this promise... Jesus is in the 'storm' with us and he will calm the storm. He has done it before and he will do it again.

Hang in there.
Call out to Jesus.
He will listen.
He will calm the storm.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 2 February 2011


"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." - John Homer Miller

Romans 15:5 - "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had..."

Ephesians 4:23 - " be made new in the attitude of your minds."

May God bless you today.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 1 February 2011

The pain of spiritual growth

Spiritual growth can be painfully slow sometimes. Just when we feel we have mastered loving God, we stumble at loving our neighbour. Perhaps we have seen an improvement in our levels of compassion, and then we realise we have slipped up in another area. It all seems rather hard - or is that just me?

"Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth.' - Rick Warren

"Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth." - A.W.Tozer

I believe that we should be able to encourage each other on this journey, always being willing to learn and spur one another on towards the goal. If you have found something to be helpful in your Christian journey, why don't you write it as a 'comment' on this post. Perhaps your words may inspire someone else.

What I have found helpful is having a devotional book and a journal - these two keep me accountable to my private devotions. What about you?

Living in Grace