Rain…and more rain

There has been lots and lots of rain recently. Minor flooding has occured around the area – I even heard that Warrigal Road was closed for a good part of Sunday because of the flash flooding.

This afternoon on the train I was looking out the window at all the rain that was pouring down and commented to a man sitting opposite to me that there was so much of it! He then replied something to the effect that whilst there was lots of rain, we did need it.

And that reminded me of something I read briefly on the MatthiasMedia website under the ‘Couldn’t Help But Notice’ column. A sometimes cynical and slightly sarcastic column, but at other times quite insightful.

This little ‘notice’ I read concerned the drought that Queensland was experiencing during the winter. It made the comment that drought was a curse that God put on the land when the people had forgotten them.

What an interesting thought. Maybe we can share that with our friends the next time we think about the drought…or the ‘timely’ rain.

Angels wish…

Every now and then a song comes along which really makes me reflect deeply. This is one such song…

Angels Wish (Steven Curtis Chapman, from All Things New LP)

Was God smiling

When He spoke the words

That made the world

And did he cry about the flood

And what does God’s voice sound like

When He sings, when He’s angry

These are just a few things

That the angels have on me

Chorus:

Well, I can’t fly

At least not yet

I’ve got no halo on my head

And I can’t even start to picture Heaven’s beauty

But I’ve been shown the Savior’s love

The grace of God has raised me up

To show me things the angels long to look into

And I know things

The angels only wish they knew

I have seen the dark and desperate place

Where sin will take you

I’ve felt loneliness and shame

And I have watched the blinding light of grace

Come breaking through with a sweetness

Only tasted by the forgiven and redeemed

(repeat chorus)

And someday I’ll sit down with my angel friends

Up in Heaven

They’ll tell me about creation

And I’ll tell them a story of grace

(repeat chorus)

MD Walkman

I recently had to purchase a new Minidisc walkman because my last one was not recording anymore. I had previously purchased an extended warranty on my old walkman and it still had six months remaining. So off to put it into service I went…and a few weeks later I got a cheque in the mail with a little note saying that because the recording function was too difficult to fix, they just refunded me the full price of the walkman! Praise God!

Anyway…I purchased another MD Walkman – the MZ-N10 Net MD – for about half the original marked price: that is, $440 (with extended warranty) as opposed to new price of $900! So I got a better Minidisc player for about 2/3rds the price I originally paid :) Praise God again!

Ok…but here is where I’ve recently been challenged. See, the MD player is great for uploading music or talks to listen to whilst on travels. But I’ve noticed lately that it really cuts me off from the world – especially on the train where I usually have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to evanglise. The other day I was wearing my ‘Jesus Loves You!’ tie…and overheard some comments made about it by the people sitting next to me on the train. I was listening to some music and also reading a book at the same time, which made it rather awkward if I was to pull off the headphones and start chatting (plus they were speaking in what I think was Hindi).

So yeah, do I continue the slightly anti-social listening to the walkman (which I’m entitled to do), or do I prefer to not listen to them and find more/better opportunities to share the Gospel (which I’m suppose to do)?

I think the answer should be obvious.

Bleh…

Woke up this morning feeling not so good. Headache, dizzyness, congested nasal passages – not pretty.

Oh how I long for the resurrected body!

Rest

On the 7th day of creation God rested. It wasn’t as if he needed to – it was to remind man that we shall work 6 days and have a day of rest. The purpose of this rest isn’t purely for relaxation, but a time to come to God in prayer and through His Word, that we might find rejuvenation.

When Christ came to earth, He opened up a greater Sabbath rest for us in Heaven – an eternal rest which awaits us.

For now, I must find more time to rest. It’s been a bad habit of mine to be constantly busy and not find time to rest – and not just rest physically, but also as a time of coming to His word and also to kneel my life in prayer. I often forget that my job is not to please God with my busyness, but to simply come to Him daily, on my knees, in humble prayer and adoration.

You know…when you put it like that, it’s just so simple :)

Big Bands…and Jesus-Fish-Bling!

It was Big Band theme on Australian Idol tonight. What a very fun show to sit through! To think that a few years ago I would have not enjoyed sitting through Jazz music… ahh how Nora Ephron movies can change my view of a whole genre of music :P

But anyway – the other day a co-worker commented on my ‘Jesus-Fish-Bling’. He was speaking in reference to my little blue wrist band with the Jesus fish across it. I told him briefly about how this fish symbol is synonymous with Christianity because in the early days of the church, under heavy persecution, Christians would reveal themselves privately to each other by drawing in the dirt one half of the fish…the other, if also a believer, would draw the other half thus completing the ‘Jesus Fish’.

Now, I had originally bought this little wrist band as a way of letting people in the know that I was a Christian. But also to possibly have this wrist band as a conversation starter.

But when I was asked, I found, yet again, that my work got in the way of sharing or having any deep and meaningful conversation. Whilst seeding is important, what is of greater importance is actually sharing the Gospel message.

It will be a struggle to keep this need, this urgency, in the forefront of my mind – especially next week when I continue my long stints in front of the computer doing the work I’m getting paid to do. Therein lies the challenge for Christians in the workforce – to be salt and light, and to share the Gospel message in their lives and through their work.

Easy Gospel conversations…

Ever had those people who call you up at night wanting to help you save money on {insert product} and give you great rates at the same time?

These calls can be easily annoying, but here’s an interesting way to turn them around. When they call up and ask if you want to save money, ask them if they are willing to spend as much time listening to you about the Gospel!

So…you either have them politely decline your offer, or you have a 5 minute Gospel conversation! Brilliant!

Healed! Amen?!

Was at Shte1’s place last night looking a brochure for the ‘healing rooms’ which are coming to Brisbane. Reading through the statement of faith I both smiled and cringed.

Though I do not doubt that God continues to heal people in this day and age of their ailments, I can’t help but wonder where people are putting their faith when they expect healing to come through ‘faithful prayer’. It just sounds so set up for a fall – like a story I read in Philip Yancey’s Where is God when it hurts? where a community came to pray for a pastor’s sick child. Nightly there would be large visitors and church members praying for the healing of the child…but when the child passed away the community was devastated – why didn’t God answer our prayers?

Why does the “prosperity” gospel – be it material or health – for lack of a better word, prosper? Is it because we are afraid that our faith is actually a hard one… that it calls us to die to ourselves and yeild to a God who calls us to live the life that His Son did?

I can’t help but ask – if I believe in healing…and don’t get healed…is there something wrong with my faith?

What am I?

As I look into the stars

I’m pondering how far away they are

How You hold them in Your hands

And still You know this man…

You know my inner most being, oh

Even better than I know, than I know myself

What a beautiful God, what a beautiful God

And what am I, that I might be called Your child?

What am I, what am I

That You might know me, my King?

What am I, what am I, what am I?

As I look off into the distance

Watching the sun roll on by

Beautiful colors all around me, oh

Painted all over the sky

The same hands that created all of this

They created you and I

What a beautiful God, what a beautiful God

And what am I, that I might be called Your child?

What am I, what am I,

That You might know me, my King?

What am I, what am I,

That You might die, that I might live?

What am I, what am I, what am I, what am I

What am I

What am I

What am I

What am I

What am I

– Shawn McDonald, Beautiful

What makes a good sermon?

It’s a tough question to answer. I remember once stating to a work colleague that the sermon I heard that previous Sunday was “not that good…” to which she replied, “Oooh…that’s a bit judgemental!”

But what is the dividing line between ‘judgemental’ and ‘discerning’? Just because someone is in the pulpit it doesn’t mean that the words they are speaking are perfect (even if it is Philip Jensen!). Speaking of which, Philip Jensen, in a talk given a few years back, did state that we should all be personally discerning as to what is being said from the preacher. The closest thing to perfect we have in our Church’s today is God’s word – though if we can speak Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic then there would indeed be perfection amongst us.

So back to discernment – it is something which is very necessary, despite appearances of ‘judgementalness’. God’s word should be the focal point and the challenge to our lives on Sunday mornings… not solely the words of the preacher – even if that preacher is myself ;)