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“Now then, now then, I have a nice letter from a young man named Colin in Coleraine and it says: ‘Dear God, please could you fix it for me to…'”
Methinks it’s a good thing God is not like Jim’ll Fix It. I doubt I would be able to move for “God fixed it for me” badges.

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Vision

The following four sentences constitute the most treasured quotation I have found on my limited sojourns in Christian (or any other) literature:

“Vision can only really be born out of sharing God’s heart for a particular situation. Vision comes from being put in the picture to the point where your heart aches for something to be done about it. Developing a real burden for that situation makes you cry out to God and drives you to prayer. Deep and committed, heartfelt prayer leads to the discovery of God’s will and purpose – then it’s time to act.”

Thank you Dave Cave for this insight inspired by your reflections on Nehemiah Chapter 1 and published in the corresponding Crossway Bible Guide.

Something’s been bothering me for ages, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Or maybe I just avoided it because I thought it was a stupid question. But now, with help from an honest and wonderful friend (not the kind you can have hundreds of on farcebook – no offence to all you wonderful friends on facebook, of course!), it’s staring me in the face and refusing to politely disappear so I can go on my merry way (as I do, you know). And this disconcerting dilemma is … Continue Reading »

My mind and eyes have been returning frequently over the last couple of weeks to some things Jesus said during his last night with his disciples before being crucified. John tells us more than the other gospel writers about this important “things you should know before I die” conversation. One part of it has resonated with me in particular and it has this phrase like a heartbeat running through it: “remain in me”… “remain in me”… Continue Reading »

… or am I just doing my job?

Two verses less than a chapter apart in John’s gospel have got me thinking a bit about why and how I use my gifts/abilities (for want of more self-effacing terms) in my work.

The thought has occurred to me before that when I “serve” others , particularly in the context of work, my mixed motives include high doses of “self-‘s”, chief among which are probably self-esteem (from the approval of others) and self-gratification (from the enjoyment of wrestling with a challenging problem). I doubt my motives will ever by anything other than mixed, but I wonder if serving others should feature a little more prominently in that mix?

As usual it’s tempting to leave it there and go off and feel guilty  for a while (and make a few other Christians feel guilty for good measure) about not doing everything out of a pure desire to serve others, but that’s not a very satisfactory, effective or maybe even Jesus-like result. Continue Reading »

Conspiracy Theory

The world outside and within me have an uncanny knack of conspiring against my best intentions; at least that’s my excuse (or rather one of a vast arsenal) and I’m sticking to it. The current deployment of this excuse is in relation to two seemingly innocuous commands: “Be still!” and “Wait patiently!” In fact “command” seems like to harsh or serious a label for them, perhaps they should be filed under “good advice” or “helpful suggestions”.

But the impact of ignoring these imperatives has been graciously pointed out to me by an unexpected ally. Continue Reading »

I recently stumbled upon the following line whilst pottering among some Psalms:

“Within your temple O God we meditate on your unfailing love.” (Psalm 48 v9)

It doesn’t appear to be an especially remarkable line for a Psalm, not like ” Within your temple we play poker on a Friday” would. But before I could potter on two thoughts jumped out and grabbed me. The first assailing thought was that this is such a beautifully simple description of what the church gathers together to do. (And if we fail to do this when we get together, how much poorer are we for the oversight?)

The second thought which assaulted me was that the Psalmist was writing about this heart of worship without ever seeing the extent of God’s love revealed in Jesus. Continue Reading »

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