This flower this day, it stopped me in my tracks. I hit the breaks in my car just to pull over and draw closer. This bright flower, it was growing right there in the hardened road, its roots tucked deep beneath the unforgiving pitch, its frail leaves stretching bravely above, its golden petals curling courageously, extravagantly, unabashed reaching toward the sun.
When do we lose it? The childhood urge within to clamber up the nearest tree and drink in all that lovely life-breathing green, feeling the intoxicating exhilaration of being off the ground, alive in our senses and closer, higher, nearer to Heaven somehow. When do we lose this life-embracing child’s heart? The joyful, joy-filled, unselfconscious giggling glee of an all-in, wholehearted existence?
Questions, Answers and the Stories in Between
This man, this day, he thought he had the answers: easy. He was an expert in answers. But he was about to learn: God is in the questions.
Drawing in the Dust
When God formed the first human beings into humanity He knelt down into the grit of things and let the cool clay clump between his fingers and cake on His palms. When He created humankind, He got grit under His fingernails and dust around His wrists. His hands got dirty.
We live our questions, but God always answers with His... Where are you?
The Adventure Hots Up on the Homeward Stretch…
Hello Friends, How are you? I hope you’ve had a moment to trail along with us a little over the last week now that we’re walking with Jesus as our guide. This week we’ll start heading towards Jerusalem in time for the first Palm Sunday. And to be honest, our journey will not be without some conflict... Continue Reading →
How to Walk on Water in a Storm
We learn fear. Life teaches it to us blow by blow. Sometimes by a trauma, sometimes by the slow drip of disappointment corroding courage, usurping hope. We tried. And failed. We got bitten. And bled. We got knocked down. And lived there.
Sometimes life can feel like a storm. And sometimes like a drowning. Like a flailing about without much to hang onto. Like a slow death by silence, soundlessly sinking in the waves of life.
The thing is, underneath it all, so often we’re not sure. Not sure who we are, not sure that we’re valuable, not sure where to place our feet in all this whirling world. Who am I? What on earth and I here for? What does it all mean?
Power. It undoes us. And like a drug, once hooked we crave for more. Whether it is the power of knowledge, of social status, of influence or of wealth, once we have it, we feel naked without it. So our fist grips tighter around it, and our reach extends wider for more, more, more, more.
Freedom. It’s always been complicated for the human race. Sometimes I wonder if we even know what it truly is. We make our choices freely and then our choices make us, building our existence around us. Choice by choice.
It's easy for a word to go unnoticed on a page, overlooked in a sentence or brushed by in a paragraph. But this word is one we cannot overlook. It’s startling. Striking. Like cold water splashed on a face. Not because the word itself is confronting, but because of He who says it.
Being lied to cuts like glass, and we’ve all felt the gash. It comes with being human- losing faith in human words. Trustworthiness is now an earned attribute, not an assumed one. And even those who earn it often fail us, falling into the temptation to let words smooth over the rough edges of life: “I’m fine”, “You look great” “It’s going to be alright, I promise”...
Freedom and Choice
So we have eight year olds smashing the faces of twelve year olds here, girls no taller than my shoulder posturing gangster hostility, here on this earth where people formed from dust forget their breath and treat each other like dirt. And this one little girl who fires up like a Don, she cocks her hip and shakes her head and waves her finger and taunts the other children with violent glares and hostile words… and she is eight.
There was a silence when we began. The quiet rise and fall of lungs filling with air, the whispered hush of a breath drawn in and a breath exhaled. But before this silence, there was something else...
Welcome Friend. Whether you just stumbled in here or were invited by a friend, you are most welcome. Kick your shoes off, make yourself a cup of tea, and make yourself at home.
In taking Mary home as his wife, Joseph was effectively taking on responsibility for her pregnancy, appearing to have broken the laws of betrothal. In sheltering her and the child she carried, Joseph took on Mary’s shame, making it his own...
What if God is outside of our field of vision? And what if He is calling us to join Him there? In a reality larger than our human plans laid down...
What if your calling put you at odds with your whole world? What if God's will in you seemed like a kick in the face of all you had been told, raised in and led to believe? If you knew His call would leave you alienated and alone, estranged from your community, friends and even your family, would you still say yes? Yes to God?
If you run your finger across the a sawn-off tree stump, tracing the circular path of its rings, it will tell you a story. Each line has a tale to tell, a story-line revealing years of droughts, the story of rains, the story of bushfires, the story of years of abundance and years of lack. It will tell you how old it is, how long it has stood in place, and what each year was like. A stump is old and full of years, full of story. A long old story traced in rings...
From before all time began His grace was there waiting for us, because the cross was there waiting for Him. Waiting for the Creator of the Universe to die for the creatures He created....
It’s strange how loss can leave you so emptied out on the inside and so disconnected from the outside. The outside world right there, just above your skin. Like all that’s left is a brittle shell. Echoing. Distant.
The senses. They all collapse into this stormy sea of grief and the waves crash and roar and drown out all sound, drench out all touch, saturate all presence but the ever present dark. The presence of the hole. The gaping wound in reality where He once dwelt....
Empires, Kingdoms and Truth on Trial
Who is the true King of this world? Who is it you want? As King?
There were two gardens. Two gardens in this long tread of time. And God walked in them both. So did frail humanity, humanity forged in the image of God forgetting themselves and forsaking God. This is the story of the first garden, but only part of the story of the second.
This one brave heart. The one who wasn't wondering what others might think. She had thrown all caution (and all cultural propriety) to the wind and thrown herself at Jesus feet.
Our lives are all part a story, folded into time, a longer story, a larger story. A story stretching from the beginning of time and reaching through to the end of it. The story of God’s long walk with human beings. The long story of His grace journeying to find us.
The story we human beings miss, miss-shape and misunderstand, most of the days of our lives.
We say ‘sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you’, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break our hearts. Slowly. Eroding our God-breathed-Imago Dei with the slow drip of rejection and the corrosive power of false narratives labelling us less; names short on grace, names short on hope, names that fall short of the name God breathed into us from the genesis of our existence.
Sometimes our brokenness is easy to see, like a broken leg, or an open wound, but broken hearts are less visible to the eye, unless of course that eye is God’s...
Jesus didn’t come to earth to entertain us with stories. He didn’t come to ensure that we had the theological story straight, He didn’t come to correct our doctrines. He didn’t come to answers all our questions.
He came to be the question, 'where are you?'
He came to be the Word, a seed planted deep into soil.
He came to be the seed, sewn into our lives and hearts producing new life.
He came to be our hope, restoring our breath when we have lost ourselves to the mud.
And He came to be the revolution, birthing a Kingdom come.
Why was Jesus sleeping? Who can sleep in a thunderstorm? Who can be anything but thrown about by a raging of emotion? Who is this that just doesn’t seem to feel it when the world is falling apart? Who?
'This well is deep', the one to quench the thirst of cells, but not deep enough though to quench the thirst of a soul. Thirst has no boundaries, social or cultural. We all thirst. Our cells thirst for the water that floods them, restores them, renews their life. And our souls thirst too for a deeper water, hydration in a deeper place, from a deeper source, a spring deeper than deep space, vaster than a universe of light.
Day 27 Calling 'So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.' Luke 5:11 Found in Luke 5:1-11 Matthew 4:18-22 and Matthew 9:9-13 The thing is, underneath it all, so often we’re not sure. Not sure who we are, not sure that we’re valuable, not sure where to place our feet... Continue Reading →
God has all the power Satan tempted Jesus with and more. He could dominate, He could take the world by force as Satan offered it. But He doesn't. Instead of coming with an army to control us, He came as a vulnerable human being to woo us, to walk with us, to win us. With love.
The greatest weapon used against us is ourselves, and the greatest weapon we have in our defence is...
He didn’t come to be with us in our ducks-in-a-row existence. He didn't come to be with us in our comfortable and convenient answers. He didn't come to be with us in our neat and tidy church buildings. He didn't come to be with us in our lives on the 'right' side of town. He didn't come to be with us in our righteousness and wealth. He came into our poverty, our want, our pain, our fear, our brokenness. Our need.