I love thinking about Jesus. Because His name is inextricably linked with infinite, creative power, even my thoughts about Him hold potential to change my heart. Indeed, the epic hymn Be Thy My Vision exclaims,
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night…
So, settling down with the Bible in hand and regularly spending time soaking in Jesus’ gospel stories – His words, actions, thoughts, prayers – is the best thing you’ll ever do.
He Could Not Be Hidden
But there’s one moment in the life of Jesus that has always left me particularly confused. (more…)
The Urgent Call to “Go”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matt 5:10-13
I have been in love with Jesus just over fourteen years. I still vividly remember the day that I finally stopped running from God, repented of my sin and received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Everything changed in an instant. The Holy Spirit flooded my soul with the most glorious love, joy, peace and ecstasy. Words are utterly inadequate to describe what took place then and the loving Presence which continues to follow and fill my life to this day. I will say I knew that heaven and hell were real, that death had lost its sting, that I would spend eternity with my heavenly Father and that, well, EVERYONE needed to know about the reality of this crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ. So I started getting out there in the sea of humanity, going after the lost, opening my mouth and telling people about Jesus. The rest has been salty, bewildering and exciting history! (more…)
Your Spiritual Spring Clean
“I will agree with something Godly, righteous and true, nod my head, allow my heart to rise, even say ‘amen!’ out loud and then…do nothing.”
Last week I encouraged you to go away, get alone with God and begin a conversation with Him about how you might begin to convert thoughts and ideas from this series into practical steps towards actually changing your lifestyle. I suggested you share your thoughts with someone you can trust so that these blogs might catalyse lasting change in your life with ramifications rippling into eternity.
Did you do actually that?
Living urgently, alertly and appropriately replete in the 21st Century has been the focus of this blog series so far. Thomas, Andy and Joshua have kindly helped us to honestly consider our Christian lifestyles, provoked by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and to what extent we’re living with urgency or lethargy, with alertness or sleepiness and with souls well-fed or deficient in even basic, Bible nutrition.
A Complete Waste of Time
Psalm 29 pictures the holy voice of Yahweh as being like a thundering force of such powerful glory that it breaks Cedars of Lebanon, strips vast forests back to their bone and provokes adoring worship in all the earth.
His speaking voice is like a cloud of stone-softening exhale as Kings and Presidents plot, as ethne balk and as nations conspire in vain.
But, to those who *know Him*, John 10 describes His voice as a Shepherd’s call into closer proximity, something more akin to a calling-by-name through gentle, Galilean accents of parental knowing. Indeed, Father God is always speaking like the perfect trailing sentence – always present & always continuous.
The communication of His heart to yours will, at times, be subtle and even mistakable; in other moments, it will be so flooring that nothing & no-one could lead you to conclude that He hadn’t and isn’t speaking.
Occasionally, His voice will sovereignly crush the persistent traffic in your mind; more often, it will emerge like the warmth of sunshine on your face as you determine to silence it first.
Kissing a Lifestyle of Convenience Goodbye
I’ll be up front – I am writing this at the worst possible time for my family and me. Rachel and I are in the throes of moving from Thailand to Vietnam. Not only are there the logistical challenges of visas, accommodation, flights, ‘yard sales’ (to borrow a term from our American friends) and endless packing, there’s also the emotional upheaval of goodbye meals with friends and colleagues, daily ‘lasts’ of what have been routine activities for the past five years, and a variety of emotions that range between excitement, sentiment and a growing realisation that we have little idea of what we are heading into.
We had our final packing day on Tuesday, and then we officially leave Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Thursday. In fact, since this is scheduled to go live on the second Friday in April, you’re most likely reading it on our very first day as official residents of Hanoi. Oh, and add a three and one-year-old into the mix, and you will be rightly wondering if spending time writing this is the wisest use of my time… and you’d be in good company with my long-suffering wife. (Editor’s note: thank you, Rachel!).