Two what smile today

A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder.. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: ‘Stop! Acts 2:38!’ 
(Repent and be Baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ , so that your sins may be forgiven.) 

The burglar stopped in his tracks.

The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: ‘Why did you just stand there?

All the old lady did was yell a scripture at you.’ 

’Scripture?’ replied the burglar.. ‘She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!’ 

How safe is your FUTURE?

 Not a welcome question in the times we live in.  With people concerned about work, finance, health and many other things.   So how safe is your future?

Perhaps safety and future are strange bed fellows yet they do fit, security can be found in little really work, relationship, finance, security seems to be the incorrect term to use, I think safety is more apt today.   If my future is safe, I will take risk or chose to walk trusting God.

So how safe is your future?  The Psalmist I see often asked himself questions of future and questions of safety he would often cry out, then somewhere in his cry he would find the answer.  “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path” he said in Psalm 119:105 that the power of these words, certain words that is, bring safety.   Words that are the nature of the speaker, light that illuminates, God begins with “Let there be light” (his condition – see earlier blog) and here the writer still encounters this same pulsation, crafted, uttered words that cause pathways to be seen.   Words that do not breakdown but build up, words that raise up the pathway, the safe footed ways in front of each of us.

These safe words have the ability to direct, to show you where you are going, they are certain words not throw away comments but “your words”.  For safety sake, I better make sure I am hearing “…your…” words, making sure I can distinguish “…your…” words Lord.   So many say that, this and that are your words, but can I hear them form the source of light?   I recently sat in a gathering where it was declared strongly that the main event, the focus of all Gods working was this ………… and yet no mention of Christ or the filling up of all things in Christ was mentioned.   It really was the produce, or the in teaching for now, they were not “…your…” words, not safety bringing words but simply fashionable words, gathering people around the fashionable point.  Not light that illuminates and brings safety but so-called light that only builds our own events.

Make us able to distinguish true words in so much noise ”…your…” words safety words, perhaps that is why there is the lack of a safe future, we are not sure how to distinguish good words, successful words from safety words.

Safety is YOUR words in YOUR people so that YOUR community will ensure that YOUR words and will be done!

These words not only inform us of the Fathers will but also shows us how to follow the right and avoid the wrong ways, safety pathways, safe futures.

Ancient lamps were filled with oil to illuminate, their shapes changed with the potter and fashion and what was practical for purpose, we as the people of God change our shape, and it really does not matter,  it’s the light that illuminates and that matters rather than the changing shape, safety is not in the changing shape but in the words that illuminate.

Safety words bring a safe future “Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my mediation.   I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts” (119:98-100) it is mentioned three times, these illuminating words make us “wiser” and gives us “more insight” and “more understanding”.   This is not the boast of a ‘smarty’ a superior human, but it is some one who has discovered safety in this word “…your…” words.   If we learn what God says you will know things that will amaze the people around you.

Wisdom wiser than mine enemies!

If you want this kind of wisdom we are going to have to switch off the TV, stop getting distracted give ourselves in response to a Father that loves us, pick up his spoken word and listen to the spirit as we turn to the book.   I can discover the wisdom that delivers me from my enemies as I hear the word.

Wisdom wiser than my teachers

Human wisdom can only take you so far but those who know how to take in the words of the Father and the Son will truly take in wisdom.   The reason for this wisdom is simple, a disposition learned of “your testimonies are my meditations” this learning is not by chance or  a wow experience, but by turning and considering, the way I ponder and what I mediate upon, all that I fill my mind and heart with.

Wisdom wiser than age

I have stuff to say that is older than me!    There is always much to learn from those who are older than us however age by itself does not equal wisdom there is such a thing as “old fools” who started as “young fools” and just got old.   Wisdom comes from years of obeying the words of the Father.  The “understanding” mentioned here means the ability to penetrate with insight into difficult issues.   You know how to tackle life and its hard edges as you have seen God at work in the word and in his illumination.

Again the reason this is possible is simply “I keep your precepts” wisdom does not come by osmosis or magic, simply superior wisdom comes by doing what the word says.

So lets read, and obey so we might find a safe future.

He Stole My Bible again…

I am not sure how you read your scriptures and what you draw from the arranged letters that are offered to us.    A number of years ago I was presented with a new translation of the scriptures every year, it was a planned and purposeful exchange, so i would change the way i read and listened to what I read.  It took me a few years to realize what was going on, I was a little slow, rather funny really, every year the question came “What bible are you reading?” I offered my translation and by the end of our conversation, in those first days of each new year my old bible walked out of the room and  a new translation was let in return.   Excuse me I said but my notations are in that bible, the reply was “Yes” my comment was  “Hmmm” and his “that’s exactly why I am taking it”.   But it instructed me to read from different a different vantage point the same word, it brought the scriptures alive again as I saw the different angles of the diamond of this book.   It was a challenging lesson initially, then every first of the year meeting I learned to present my old 1-year-old bible and open my hand for the new one to be exchanged.

One of the lessons of reading the Scripture is to grasp the fuller story, the panoramic view of Gods dealings with his people, some times we get so caught up with this and that little thing, and  we have not understood the over all panorama of Gods working, cause and purpose.   I long for more people to catch what God is doing from a distance rather than getting into the minutiae, when we don’t understand the wide aims of his purpose.   For instance You can look at the book of Joshua and see all the in’s and outs – all good stuff walls falling, inheritance gaining, conquering armies, trust and obedience, establishing a people etc.   But one thing that encourages me in the narrative is simple when we get across from the deliverance from Egypt the victory of transferring from supply upon supply, that is food, water, clothes never wearing out etc., to a place, as we enter the promise and realize there is still unfinished business!    The book is the story of unfinished business, the settlement in the land is the account of unfinished business. We often wish it was not so, why did God not do it all?     Perhaps its the issue of God making us partners with him in everything, he has done his bit, now we have to take hold of the unfinished business and bring it to pass “earth becoming like heaven, his likeness and image in you and me.   That’s another blog.

Unfinished business.    Each new episode of life, each new year each new day is the account of unfinished business.

So you wake up each day with unfinished business, not procrastination on yesterday’s stuff but today is the continuation of completing the purpose, the set course that God has for humanity and creation, your story and mine is the story of unfinished business until a generation comes to see Christ filling all things.    The small reading of Scripture can so easily introduce to us a narrative of me and the immediate, yet we are about a course of direction the Father has begun and we are involved in unfinished business.   I wonder what your unfinished business looks like?

Lets’ Keep Moving Hitting the Mark

You cannot get away from Paul’s encouragement to have one goal in mind and heart as we travel through our Christian journey, the goal to become more and more like Christ untilhe fills all things’ or until he has the pre-eminence in our lives in book of Philippians he says we are to ‘press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’   It was with this in mind that we set out every year to so call Hit the Mark, to get entwined with unfinished business of the cause of God.

As ever Now in our journey we take steps forward, to grow from strength to strength, glory-to-glory, faith-to-faith and favour-to-favour, it is not the time to settle back and simply enjoy the inheritance we already have.     There is Unfinished business here.

The children of Israel had to be ready at all times to up stakes and move on whenever the cloud or the pillar moved, they moved, sometimes they stayed a month in one place other times a day, they had to be ready and willing at all times to be obedient to the call of the Lord.   As soon as they heard the trumpet sound they were to up camp and move on.    I wonder how they felt about the trumpet sound, did they wait eagerly to hear it knowing that they would be moving closer to Gods purpose for them, or did they dread the sound knowing that once again it would mean uprooting and change.     They journeyed and crossed into the inference which was full of unfinished business.

The trumpet of the Lord is certainly sounding across His church in these days calling us to wake up and step into the fullness of our calling.    It is calling us to move on and not simply camp around our experiences of the past whether good or bad, it is calling us to press on and embrace the revelation that is being birthed in this day.     Unfinished business prevents us from stopping around anything that is not the full cause of Christ.   People say this and that is the main event, the thing God is doing, this is the structure and pattern, it’s that theology and practice, it’s this experience and encounter, yet the main event has always been one thing God’s cause “Christ filling all things” and all is unfinished business until that happens.

Each generation have their own journey to walk, their own milestones to reach, and we are so aware of the continuity of the body of Christ knowing that the achievements of each generation build on the last and prepare the way for the next.   I remember once being told that God had no grandchildren, meaning that each generation will have their own encounter and task to fulfill in the great scheme of things.      It is our joy to be in the position to build on what we have received whilst knowing that we will advance a greater unfolding of what we had received – faith-to-faith.

We recognize that the children of Israel had certain milestones in their journey, and likewise we know that the Lord has given us certain milestones that we must reach towards in our journey together.   These are marks for us to hit, things for us to reach towards together and see achieved in our day and generation.

You and I have unfinished business and the grace and supply of god is there as we make his cause our unfinished business!    As you move further and further into this year may you truly finish unfinished business for this is the draw of God s work.  Complete that which is in our day to finish.

2012 – I am the New Year

I came across the following while considering the two gift of God to us in Creation – TIME & PLACE they are a few words to consider at the commencement of 2012…
I am unused, unspotted without blemish
I stretch before you three hundred and sixty-five days long.   I will present each day in its turn, a new leaf in the Book of Life, for you to place upon it your imprint
It remains for you to make me what you will: if you write with firm, steady strokes, my pages will be a joy to look upon when the next New Year comes. If pen falters, if uncertainty, doubt or sin mar pages, it will become a day to remember with pain
I am the New Year  During each Hour of three-hundered-sixty-five days, I will give you sixty minutes that have never known the use of man, pure, I present them; it remains for you to fill them with sixty jewelled seconds of love, hope, endeavour, patience and trust in God
I am the new Year; I am here but once past, I can never be recalled

Things no one told me

2012 will be my 28th year of serving the people of God, when I was 28 years old I was asked to consider leaving the building industry, laying brick and mortar down, to give my focus into building a dwelling through people’s lives.   It has been an amazing adventure to date and it is not over yet.  Myself, Sandra and our family have served in so many ways.  I was once told ”try everything” to discover the grace on your life, which we did with eager abandonment.   Serving in different capacities of influence and leadership, being administrators, running children’s ministry to 1000’s, leading outreach teams across the UK from cities and towns, serving in a mission environment, teaching, preaching, imparting,  painting, digging trenches, carrying bags, repairing cars, caring for and loving the ministers of God,  leading congregations, envisioning people, being known as prophets and laying our lives down as apostolic servants of the body.  The list is quite endless when we think of it.

In our journey we have been schooled by some wonderful men and women, been imparted to, impacted by and had understanding laid down in us over the years, some things we learned no one could have taught us or prepared us for.   Here are some of these lessons we hope will empower and advance you in your journey.

People told me about loving God and loving people, but they did not teach me how to love. That came through experience, joys and often challenge.

I had not fully understood how complicated the lives of people were, I learned the need to engage with people in the long journey as well as immediate situations with constant love

I was surprised at how judgmental and cruel Christian people could be.  I was not warned or perhaps I did not listen at the time.

It would have been helpful to have more insight into problem solving, and crisis management.

I thank God for my business training, as not much attention or training was given to financial management.

Although we began more than 20 years ago we heard much about family integrity, we still have many that did not listen as within families of leadership much pain is left to one-side, I recall some saying, “You just go out and serve the church. God will take care of your family.” Many families fractured through it.

There is no way anyone can prepare you for the loneliness of leadership.  The importance of friendship with colleagues should have been reinforced.  We have to help each other, aloneness is a necessary skill to learn and occupy.   To understand aloneness is empowerment but loneliness is a killer.

Another problem that is on ongoing for us all to learn on the hoof was that the church was God’s church … not mine. I was an under-shepherd.   We all subscribe to the notion that the church is His church, but the practicality of that comes into focus when we deal with vision, competitiveness, pressure to conform etc.

I had to learn how to be myself and build on my own strengths.  People, ministry and peer-pressure can make us conform and be as the USA would say “cookie-cutter” copies.

Loving and caring is not for the faint of heart.  Probably, if I had been told everything, I would not have completed the course, perhaps not even begun, but discovering my love for God and for His people enabled me to continue the course. I am so glad no one told me everything, and I am so glad I am pursuing.