Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thank you for waiting.

Jesus is here.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
(John 1:14 the message)

Monday, December 24, 2007

I can remember when I really properly gave my life to God and felt the work of the Holy Spirit.

The lenses of my old life came off and suddenly, it was all I could do not to make a t-shirt to wear every day telling everyone that I loved Jesus and they should too. I wanted to do stuff for God and I wanted to do it right then. So I did. I was 16 and a few friends and I really wanted to start a gathering of teenage christians, just like us to meet up and worship God together. So we did. Before we knew it, we had started an inter-city weekly worship event for teenagers, run by teenagers and although we had no idea what we were doing, we did it! We had no fear. That group is still meeting to this day, reaching over 200 teenagers each week.

In these days, as my worldview widens, I find my faith more reluctant. I know some of the things God is asking me to do, but I have more fear because of what I know about the world now as an adult.

How I long to get back to that adventurous, no holds barred way of living for God. No waiting around. Full obedience to what God is saying. No fussing over whether or not you are good enough to do it, whether you have what it takes to see it through or make it happen. No waiting.
Sometimes it is good to wait. Patience creates a different kind of discipline that we are missing in today's fast and fragile culture. But there is also a much needed discipline in not waiting around when God tells you to do something.

Whatever dreams God has given you or are growing in your spirit, don't wait around wondering if you are good enough to fulfil them. You are. Go for it.

Greater is HE that is WITHIN YOU than he that is in the world.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

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This Sunday we light our fourth symbolic sparkler and remember the meaning of Advent (the visit of Jesus).We wait and we marinate in:
The remembrance of Israel’s yearning for the coming Messiah, to save, forgive and restore them.Our hope for the second coming of Jesus where everything will be restored.The realisation of our own need for Gods grace, through Jesus.
God, stir in our hearts excitement about the visit of your Son.
God, sending Jesus was an act of sheer beauty.
Help us to revel in your beauty and help us to reveal your beauty.
The yearning
The ache deep inside
Fingers in my mouth
Pacing up and down
Dreaming of possibilities
Envy's breeding ground
Staring out the window
Tracing rainbows in the rain
A gnawing in my stomach
The ticking of the clock
Anticipating footsteps
As time goes on and on
The yearning
The ache deep inside
Waiting....waiting...waiting.“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…
It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Seek That Which Is Above,1986

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sometimes I love the way the Message version of the Bible puts stuff... In Psalm 27:4 we find David, yearning to just live in the house of God and contemplate Gods Beauty all day long... In Psalm 34:12 he asks Who out there has a lust for life? Can't wait each day to come upon beauty? Later on in Romans 12:17 we are implored us to "discover beauty in everyone." The Message version loves beauty! I think it is right... God is all about beauty!!

Today I am struck by this thought- that it is our privilege and challenge to sit and contemplate the astonishing beauty of God, to add to the beauty of God all around us and to reveal it in the people we meet.

God, you are beautiful! Expand our vision of beauty. Help us to find it in the curious places of this world. Push us to discover beauty in every one of your precious creations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Beauty in the odd places

With only six days to christmas it can start to seem a bit manic. Traffic is full-on, the malls are packed.

Tension is rising. Despite today beig my first day of my holiday - i think i'm even busier now than i was at work.

Organising trips away, catching up with people, end of year functions, seeing old mates who are in town. Things are pretty busy aye.

Admist all this - where is the beauty of christmas - it certainly isn't on the faces around me. People look heckled and harassed. The pressures of providing that special occasion and making this a time to remember actually seems to burden us.

But as you're out and about - finidng that perfect gift, trying to think of the that special way to bless a neighbour, friend, or local bum.


and look. Look for that tiny child with the innocent eyes.

Smell. The pine and the pastry wafting out of the shops and the lounges

Taste. The mull wine and the hot meals.

come up with your own suggestions of beauty and let me know to look, smell, taste for these too - coz my list is merely a starting point.

I'm off to the mall now to buy a gift for Jo so this will be my (justin) last post!

I like this clip simply because it shows a glimpse of beauty amongst the constant sorrow we here of in iraq.

Give a gift of beauty...

Today- find someone a smooth pebble, an extraordinary postcard, a delicate peice of ribbon- give someone some sweetness for their eyes today!

At Christmas- instead of the box set of West Wing (fabulous as it is) why not paint someone a picture? Make a photo collage? Make a photo Frame? Collect a glass vase full of pebbles? A box full of ribbon!

For Life- Life a life that adds to the beauty of Gods creation. Find community and help a soul find its worth. Tell a new story, sing a different song, of beauty that is life and light, of beauty that lasts.