Freedom Day Celebration

Sandra and I are coming to the end of our autumn/spring period in South Africa, it depends of which side of the equator you live, with a day of national rest hitting  Cape Town.   The traffic filling the roads system as the rain came down we even had a lightning show, winters knocking.     As people begin to enjoy another public holiday in South Africa.   This one is a celebration of 18 years of “Freedom” (2012), when a political system and all it contain ended.    The news and media are full of reports and comments along with interviews and reminders that “we are a young nation”, with facts and figures  such as 60% of all South Africans are below the age of 35 a literally young nation.       Celebrations, brai’s (South African / Zimbabwean slang for a barbecue), family get together, last trips before winter seem to be the order of this Freedom Day, yet freedom still eludes all humanity.    Sometimes it comes but then it’s so fleeting, how can we enter into a freedom way of life and it becomes sustainable never fleeting?     We are told if we do this, spend that, take on a certain products, make change such as…, use this or that, visit here, travel there, go to this event or meeting freedom will follow or so the promise is there but it only comes up empty.     The promise is cut short it seems.    Yet the promise of freedom through another, the Christ of God, is there which is not empty at all, it means a different way of life and more difficult probably it requires a paradigm change a of though, which means my history has to be re arranged my education has to be renewed to enable this liberty and sustaining it.

Through life you meet people or hear of people’s’ lives that touch you deep inside their lives words and actions transforming your thinking and propel you into the future believing, affirmed and ready to tackle what ever mountain that comes your way.   These events have a peculiar resonance, a definite way of lifting each one of us.   I wonder where these people and events are in your story to date?    Not only that, where did you meet these people?  In person, through reading about them or in Hollywood’s remake of their lives, where ever and through who ever I am thankful we can meet these people and events in our lives, where would life be without them?

Let tell of one Hollywood scene, I know a dear friend that gets empowered and transformed to the mountain top in his passion, he really is a passionate type in any case, as he watches the many times he has seen the man lying on a cold stone table in a Hollywood remake of William Wallace’s life, as Wallace comes to the end of his life at this closing scene he cries out with a heart wrenching “Freedom“, a cry that sends your own spirit soaring and longing for FREEDOM.

I recently listened to Mother Teresa in her acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace prize in 1979, outlining her humble privilege of life as she shone with humility “…the joy of spreading peace, loving one another, that the poor are our brothers and sisters… I chose the poverty of the poor people I receive it in the name of the unwanted of our world…in their name I accept the award…understanding that loving the poor and seeing that death is nothing but going home to God…” clearly a woman of great character who had found her own life’s liberty and brought freedom to others passionately outlines her passion for the poor of our world.   One person she helped said that he had lived on the streets in filth all his life but now he would die as and with angels.   LIBERTY.

Martin Luther King Jr in April 1968 a day before he was assassinated made one of his fine and moving speeches in which he declared prophetically of his own future “… I have been to the mountain top…I would like to live a long life-like us all but that does not concern me now…I just want to God’s will…I have seen the promised land, I may not get there with you…I am not fearful of any man for I have seen the glory if the Lord…” he had encountered FREEDOM and felt its LIBERTY clearly that had released him.

Paul captures the same sense of freedom, liberty, when he addresses the Galatian church, I believe we read it and often miss the relevance of what is being spoken, it was penned to produce that same impact as the heart wrenching shout of Freedom from Hollywood in Braveheart, or the moving testimonies of the lives mentioned earlier, who are so free they gave up all to pursue that which was pursuing them.      Paul wrote it so we to would cry FREEDOM while living life.    I wish we could feel the rush of the words transforming as I read it, departing from our heads and the whole person catching this soul moving, spirit rising “…it’s for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free.   Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again to a yoke of slavery…” Do you feel it surge through your fingers, life into you, feel it so strongly, like plugging my fingers into an electric socket I would surely feel it.   FREEDOM!    This Gospel we proclaim the gospel that came to us, and discovered us, this gospel of freedom is not to become religious mantra with patterns and formula, but must bring constant liberty to our lives.

Galatians 5:1 The Life of Freedom

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

This freedom is a clear central theme of our message, the message of the scriptures and the Kingdom; each of us should grasp this freedom and nail ourselves to it.   We have a message of liberty and freedom.    wherever the message of Christ is uttered, it should be noted that liberty is produced, and freedom is released.

The message of the Christ is to bring freedom to us let us this week discover freedom living and empower others to be free.     FREEDOM consider and look to see how we can participate, enjoy and live with it!

Keeping up image & likeness

I was so moved today reading the ‘Cape Times’, two stories caught my attention, one of a 17-year-old girl who was gang raped,  all of which was caught on a mobile telephone and subsequently went  viral on the internet.  The video shows her being offered R2 (R12.5 to the £; R7.8 to $) to keep silent.   The other was a story from India, New Delhi and Amritsar, it out lined an account of two fathers, one who beat and burned his daughter with cigarettes as she was a girl – she was only 3 months old.   The second story  of a father who strangled his wife as she gave birth to a third daughter, another girl.   The UN states that a girl is 75% more likely to be killed in India than male children, it is reported by the UN  to be the worst country world on its treatment of women and girls.

I am scandalised, what violence on individuals, but more what violence on Gods wisdom in creating women, I don’t know about you, are you stirred by it ?  I am not covering up the atrocities that happen all across the world in other places either, Africa and Europe has its share as well.   I am moved as to how humanity deals with its self.   I am also stirred at the treatment of females worldwide.

Before we switch off thinking this is all happening somewhere else, thinking how dreadful but, is on another shore in another nation, let us consider our actions and perceived realities towards women.    It could be that lives are not taken in our society, but consider how we treat females different to males, surely this  is also needing to change and be addressed.

I am not looking for equality either I am asking for righteousness and justice to be shown in all things about gender.   If we do anything else we will always have a fight, so what do I mean by righteousness on this matter?   It is to discover the eternal view regarding man and women, to find out the foundational view of the Father and be in the same line towards humanity keeping the principles set in the Fathers heart towards humanity.   Let us not get involved with the argument on what is equality, but come back to what God says, then live and change to make our world conform to the view of the eternal Godhead, it really is the only answer.

Our world is on a course of elevating women I believe its time for the church to discover the right view of God in regards to men and women.    Much of our practice came from a fallen condition, patriarchy for instance is not a pattern taken from the Godhead, rather in the Godhead we see each one giving to the other, each one serving and pouring out for each other ‘Perichoresis’.     This is not about male headship or dominance neither is it about feminism, it is time to discover an eternal view and make it happen.

Let me outline a thought for you, we have in Genesis a view breaking in to a  time-space world of the requirement of male and female in the design of God.  it begins with Gods’ statement “…it is not good for man to be alone…”, I wonder what  your view has been regarding that statement?   Perhaps it was something that you were taught in Sunday school of the loneliness of mankind, Adam.  Looking again at the text, to my understanding this was a declaration that humanity did not fully reflect the image and likeness of God, as humanity was alone. This statement highlighted to us that God is never alone; for God is in covenant, therefore to be in the image and likeness of God there cannot be singularity there must always be more than one.

In the process of creation, we see Adam’s partnership in creation with the Father in naming the animals, Adam being the prophet giving word and describing god’s actions, interpreting God’s actions. It is my conviction that Adam did not simply name the animals, e.g. a lion, giraffe, etc., but working with God Adam named the DNA and interpreted God’s creation.

After this partnership God did not bring animals to Adam to see which one was compatible to humanity as a mate, that is a foolish thought in my view, as intimacy can only be found with the same “thing”, more on that to come.  Having “named the animals”, Adam – humanity, is put into a deep sleep.  Humanity/Adam was male and female at this time, and only at that point were they separated.   The reason was so that humanity could reflect the image and likeness of God, there has to be more than one. This thought challenges all individuality and singleness, establishing clearly that the image of God is found in more than one-corporeity.

God, the Father, the Son and Spirit brought about that which reflected them. There is so much we could say on this but this is not the time.

The Hebrew thought on this, taken from the text in Genesis, is that God did not take a side or a rib, but within the clay and the ruach there were already two faces present, one representing male and the other representing female.   God recreated them bringing the 2 faces to face one another.    It is from this idea we also read in the Old Testament the description of Moses, Abraham and others, of their quality of relationship with God being known as a ‘face-to-face’ relationship. Humanity is a picture of God and man having the capacity to be in a face-to-face relationship and the gift of marriage is also model of this ‘face-to-face’ relationship. I don’t know about you but I love this Hebrew picture, it paints for me the quality of relationship I have with God and reminds me that the gift of my marriage is to display this.

Now coming back to the thought above… ‘you can only be intimate with the same stuff’, can you see why Adam could not have found a relationship with animals, they were not of the same stuff.  God took that which was clay and breath and from this took the triumph of female.     Paul in the book of Ephesians talks about the picture of the bride and bridegroom, the Christ and the Church being displayed in marriage. Firstly this face-to-face relationship and secondly that Adam and Eve were the same stuff, here we have the exciting discovery that you and I having been born from above have an intimacy with God, because we are all the same stuff as God. How do I know I am the same stuff as God?    It is his desire to be intimate with me.     What a salvation!

Another thought, in Genesis 1 we have a clear pattern laid out for us, the male and female are called to display the image and likeness of God, not to establish superiority or subservient views.  The account is far more about ruling together, filling together, enlarging and advancing the ultimate intention of God together.  I would suggest that this account is an eternal view breaking in on this time-space world.   Following this through in history, we read Paul’s statement in Galatians  “…neither Jew or Gentile, male or female master or slave…” Is Paul taking his lead from the kingdom that is breaking in upon us?  Taking his lead from the eternal realm, displaying and speaking forth what it is like in the true economy and kingdom of God.  I fully understand that patriarchy, dominance and subservience has been displayed through many of the pictures in the Old Testament but this does not mean that this is what the kingdom should be like or how eternity functions.  I would suggest that Genesis 1 with a constant flow together of male and female is how we need to operate and Paul’s statement only affirms Gods creating order, there is neither, the eternal order, the invading Kingdom of God order.    Please hear me, in our fallen world clearly there are functional differences but we have to learn to be herald righteous and just and uphold Gods eternal kingdom.

If our world constantly break down and remove women to such a low-level, causing them to live dominated, it is time for the church of God to show the righteousness of God and display a different way.   In Ephesians Paul’s tells us that man should love his wife to display the Christ and the bridegroom. Has not the bridegroom lifted up the bride and seated the bride on the throne, therefore let me suggest that man’s way should be to lift woman higher than themselves for is this not what the love of Christ has done for us, and is this not true headship.  Unfortunately as men we so quickly become dominating and press women down. Men I ask that we become the liberators of women in these days.   This is not a post-modern or a modern way of thinking but it is a rediscovery of the eternal value maleness and femaleness in the image and likeness of God.

Just as Christ serves the church we better serve one another so that the bride may truly be lifted up. Is it not amazing that all across the world, in virtually every culture women are subservient, beaten; young female children are treated with a lack of value.    It is time for the eternal people of God to speak out rather than allowing perceived realities to continue to imprison. My appeal is that we become male and female, and advance the kingdom of God together, just as God would have us to do.

There is so much more to come revelation, biblically and theologically that we are discovering in these days regarding male and female.    Let us reflect righteously the view of eternity, for this is the Kingdom of God that is breaking in upon us, as we taste more and more of the order of God.

With the Fathers empowerment we will and should bring to an end stories such as we began with throughout our world, Politicians speak out, the church do not stay silent.    Wars are fought on treasures in the ground, boundaries of nations but silence regarding such atrocities as we began this article with continue. Really its violence to the image and likeness of God let us highly regard one another and be what God intending firstly n the church family then in our world.

Leadership – discovering again its SERVANT nature.

There are so many Leadership styles along with books urging us to discover style would be the best to lead making your mark amongst people and society.    We some times get confused how we who are followers of Christ should reflect the Christ in our work.    Jesus said in John 1:18 (NASB) “…came to explain the Father.” he has invited us to continue what he started, explaining the Father.    I have repeatedly stated and asked the challenging question of my self “do I  explain the Father” as I live my life, do we explain him.

My interaction with people, my work ethic, my conduct, character, the way I live life, are people gaining an explanation?     You and I have to admit we will through word and deed explain something of to others, I wonder what.     I wonder how I conduct myself in a supermarket line, the way I drive the car, my conduct towards those older, younger, or of any difference to me, what do I explain?   Do people walking away from me depart with an explanation of God or is it something else?

We have been called through our own temperament, they way we are cut our character and life not be like the leadership style in our own way but one that explains what God if like.   Leadership is clearly to be rediscover, is in urgent need to be seen as a SERVANT style, one that pours out for others, one that is more interested in establishing an inheritance for the next generation that building for our selves, that serves the society around giving away to build and establish through a servant leadership.   Let us rediscover in world govern by business, getting more and more, amassing wealth, gaining control a servant leadership that flows from being a son of God rather than endorsing an orphan spirit of protection of me and mine, working to make secure my provision rather than trusting the Father and being a Servant Leader.    the people of God would be different in itself if we could driver our delve storm celebrities to servant ministries and taking that model to our world.    Sometime we are so caught on making a mark we have forgotten the desired Christ like style to do so and fall to become “Christian X-factor” leaders rather than poured out Servant Leaders, Christ will triumph and we will become the Servant Bride- a Challenge to be different but explaining God!

‘Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.’

J. Donald Walters

‘You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.’

Anthony J D’Angelo

‘Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.’

St. Augustine

‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.’

Winston Churchill

‘But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.’

Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”( Matt 20:27, 28)

Jesus the Christ

Good read to consider further – Leadership, Greatness & Servanthood Phillip Greenslade

9 things that will come to pass.

I came across this recently thought-provoking list.   It’s a list of 9 things that will pass away in our lifetime, what will your world be like If these pass?   Start thinking and realizing the effect on our life style

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come…

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long-term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

Thought of Giving Up?

The woman who would not give up

 Society all around us is in so much flux, our world is at a pace of change from one day to the next we wonder what will come next.    I come across many who just want to find rest and make a fundamental adjustment to bring peace.    Others who have had enough so to speak, they have tried and tried again but things have worked, what ever the ‘thing is for their life.

We live in a world that constantly speeds things up, instant, immediate delivery, drive thru’s not only for food but for banks, waiting for many has become an alien pastime.     Farming and waiting for a harvest is so far removed from many of us today, this is one factor in us losing the art of cultivation, to get a harvest, our harvest today is determined by the fields of fresh food in our supermarkets rather than watching the green shoots raising, waiting for the produce to grow and mature to bring about harvest time.   Being distant from the soil disconnects us from some of life’s schooling, being patient and persistent for example.    Perhaps a modern parable, rather than one of the soil is this one, I am writing this while in Cape Town with its ‘fast speed’ broadband computer connection, that is as it is sold by Telekom, the government telephone service.    The advertised ‘fast speed’, FAST SPEED!    It is 384 kbps; about half the speed of the old dial-up-network, that old buzzing hissing noise connection, where Virgin/UK are advertising 20 MB speeds.   You can purchase an even FASTER speed of 1 Mbps but its at double the cost for the line!   I give up downloading or uploading as its so slow, I give up waiting and persisting, it takes so long, even some necessary downloads i delay until I get to a faster environment.

We struggle to wait and be patient, wanting things NOW, we don’t wait and persevere so easily, we want to see things advancing or we determine it is not working.

We even do strange things, in reading the Scriptures, because we can read the book of Acts in one weekend, we think it all happened in 48 hours.   We treat our Christian walk in the same way, thinking it all happens in a weekend, but from Paul’s encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road to his standing before King Agrippa, it was a 20-year period.    We see every miracle, healing breakthrough in terms of immediate rather than reality, and we expect it all over and done with in a weekend.    By the way, this is not an appeal not to see the immediate work of God but one that adds to us as we have to learn the cultivating and preserving journey of our faith as well.   As we learn to see the immediate and the long-term, it gives sense to our daily lives, i hope.

Through out the scriptures we are introduced to people who stayed in, persisted when nothing was happening to the natural eye.   Introduced time and time again to a quality of living that is patient, persistent, consistent, staying in.

Two women for you to consider, just don’t switch off on me now, consider these to be shadows of the bride of Christ, the church and outlining attitudes that we find in the church.    The first being Mary the mother of Jesus who having had been delivered the earth shattering news of the plan for her life, in giving birth to Jesus having said “be it unto me” learned to cultivate the promise, she held it in her heart, quietly with drew and cultivated the word until it become a living promise in the arrival of her son.  Until the word arrived at a place where it could sustain life in itself, interesting thought, how many times have we left the word go before it had life enough to stand by its self, when it still needed our cultivation?     She shows us the attitude of how to cultivate all that God speaks to us.   There will be the gift of time delivered to us, so that we can cultivate the promise of God, to work with the words to bring it to pass, maturing it first in the inner life before we see it fully.    She knew its reality on the inside but it did take a while, 9 months, before it hit the seen realm.   The evidences of the promise had a challenged effect on her relationships and as her physical body changed shape to align with the promises, we are to stay in hold on too, being persistent as we change to bring about the promise, that more often for us all takes time.

The next woman who would not give up reading Luke 18:1-8, It’s the parable of the Woman Who Would Not Give Up. She was unrelenting in her pursuit of an answer to her plea.    This parable is a standard Jewish “how much more” (qal vahomer) argument: if an unjust judge who cared not for widows can dispense justice, how much more will the righteous judge of all the earth. Who was known as the defender of widows and orphans?      It was in a day when it was difficult for widows to get justice because they lacked the means for bribing the officers who would get the judge to act.   But this widow would not quit until the judge had given her what she was supposed to get.      You and I are to adopt the same attitude of faith.     More than that the church of God requires the same attitude of faith.    In recent years I have heard people use the phrase of “failed revival theology” a sadness from not seeing what we thought, or we thought by now the Kingdom of God would have arrived and transformed our worlds.    It is necessary for us again to take up this woman’s attitude to persist a little while longer.

I don’t know about you but I long for the church to be known as a people of faith who will not give up but press through, I want to be known as a man of faith who will not give up.   What i see must be big enough; my message must be big enough to keep me persistent.   I must add that God is not unwilling at all but I would focus this on us and our attitude not the Fathers willingness.

Jesus asks his disciples, “When I come, will I find faith in the earth?” As you meditate on this verse consider this:

“Will I find faith?” Jesus asked His disciples, “When I come…will I find faith?” When we have asked for something over and over, and there is no answer, we are tempted to give up, to give in to unbelief. Jesus, knowing the weakness of His disciples both then and now, taught this parable about faith through unrelenting, persevering prayer. A widow who would not give up she persisted, she would not give up. With that in mind, lay hold of what you have seen and the big message Christ brought.

“When I come…” We don’t know when Jesus will come or how he will return with the culmination of every promise made, but when He comes I want to have faith in my heart. By His grace, I will have faith.

‘Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth?’ (v. 8). This implies that faith is often strengthened by waiting on God and persistence in prayer, even if we do not receive immediate answers. Job had faith to recognise the goodness of God even when, humanly speaking, all seemed lost (Job 23:8–10).

Persist, persevere, staying in, keeping faith, are all necessary attitudes for our journey how are you’re doing? Given up doing good, don’t let go of promises learn to stay in and hold your heart, keep the faith and watch it grow.