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when in doubt keep quiet

Nothing nice to say? Don't say anything at all...I’ve been on a journey of ‘returning to basics’ the last while, looking at my faith not as a ‘moment I had’ several years ago, or a promise of some better future but rather as a change of perspective on how I see & live this present life.

When you get stuck on ‘I had an experience’ you become self righteous and a pain in the butt – yet when your focus is on who you are in relationship with rather than what you believe then there is a chance to make a difference in the world.

People are more open to being introduced to someone new than they are to something new. Someone new they can make their own (build their own relationship, forge their own bonds) but when introduced to a ‘what’ it’s parameters are already predefined leaving no room for the new person to make an impact or add value.

Enough rambling, back to the point of ‘basics’… I decided to live my life in a way that considers others and this has opened me to input from various avenues (see how nearly reading Gisele Bundchen’s breastfeeding blog sparked a train of thought), just moments ago I bit my tongue and let a childish comment die unspoken… the reward has been an absolutely great afternoon.

Then when I sat down at my pc after a late lunch (that I actually cooked ^_^) the image below jumped right out at me.

Nature can teach us to be better human beings

"Keep your trap shut Billy!"

It was a comic reminder of the overused yet invaluable saying “If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all”

Allow all of God’s creation to cut through the mad schedule and self indulgent ‘me first’ mindset  of the world we live in… consider these words:

To make a difference to one life is worth a lifetime of effort.

Made me think. Made me smile. Made me share.

I was about to read Gisele Bundchen’s blog

Gisele Bunchen and babyI found myself just about to read Giselle Bundchen’s blog and the area of interest, not any juicy wild party days, but rather her thoughts on breast feeding. When I realised this I stopped and asked myself the age old question… “Why”?

Simply put I have nieces and nephews who are still baby-young, I have pregnant colleagues and a sister who works for Parent24.com – what I want is to be able to add value to any conversations which may touch on newborns and this rather sensitive parenting topic.

So where does Giselle Bundchen come into this? Well I want to add value, to be heard not ignored and being a man with no children of his own disqualifies me from doing either of the aforementioned. Is it possible that referring to someone else’s experiences and a famous someone at that, I will get listened too?

This need to be heard is pivotal to our human experience (sic humanity) and being social creatures we all want to add value to the ‘herd’.

I’ve seen this at my work place where young intelligent talented people deliver subpar performances until they’re sat down and addressed on it one-on-one. Once they’re given personal attention, a place to share where they’re at, measurable deliverables and, finally, responsibility they shine! Is this a reinvention of themselves? No! It’s a revelation of the person who was always there but waiting to be recognized and validated.

In the Matthew 25 street outreach, a part of Face 2 Face Family Church, where we go onto the streets of our town and feed the homeless, share their stories and impart the hope we have in Jesus one of the most powerful things the homeless ever shared with us was this insight into their lives:

“I don’t mind being waved away from your window, but not looking at me robs me of what little humanity I have left. It steals my dignity. It makes me not a person.”

So whether you’re someone with profile and authority or someone sleeping on the streets with very little hope of changing your circumstances one message resounds throughout – “I want to be heard, I want to add value”.

Please let’s be kind to one another, recognize this common need and reach out to those who are the most likely not be heard.

“Love your neighbour as you love yourself” a simple truth, but never more necessary than in the noise of this modern life.

totally overwhelmed – a letter

I received this email from a man I respect deeply for his love of the Lord and his desperation to live in the fullness of the promise this relationship holds.

So is he a perfect example of Christianity? Sure, in the same way David was, he gets things wrong but when he does it breaks his heart… and isn’t this what God wants? Not external penances but broken hearts and repentant spirits?

What he shared is worth reading and meditating on…

Ω

To all my beloved brethren in Christ.

Are we totally overwhelmed by our beloved Christ and His call? Here are a few quotes I found that present some real food for thought. (Read them consecutively as to make one text).

“You must pray with all of your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent effectual, untiring wrestling with God… This kind of prayer; be sure the devil and this world and your own indolent nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame” – William Booth

“Revival is nothing else than a new obedience to God” – Charles Finney

“As long as we are content to live without revival, we will” – Leonard Ravenhill

“Oh, for the closest communion with God, till soul and body, head, face and heart shine with divine brilliancy! But oh, for a holy ignorance of our shining!”

“Live near to God, and so all things will appear to you little in comparison with eternal realities.” – Robert Murray

“If your heart takes mere pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God, and embracing Him, then how are you gonna handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in Heaven if you are not ecstatic about God now!” – Keith Green

“The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him. I will try my utmost to be that man.” – D.L. Moody

God has begun challenging me – how about you. Please read these quotes again and take to heart what they mean.

Imagine if this could be said about you and your relationship with God:

“I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all of the assembled armies of Europe.” – Mary, Queen of Scots

My God is no respecter of persons, what He has done for one man He can do for another, but will we carry our weight to the same degree of the others.

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Sean van der Merwe
Face 2 Face Family Church

it’s time to lift your eyes

Loving eyesMary was dragged half naked and despised before Jesus.

The men who dragged her only had one thing in mind – they wanted to destroy faith in Jesus, to prove Him powerless and a fool.

The only one truly who despised Mary and hated her most at that time was Mary herself. She knew the rules of the world she lived in, she had broken them and she was now going to pay the price that it demanded.

Jesus is not a fool and definitely not powerless and turned the self righteousness of her accusers back on themselves without getting too involved in their charade of righteous indignation… in fact the sand was of more interest to Him than they were.

Yet when it came to Mary Jesus got involved. When Mary finally lifted her eyes she found only love, she found a Jesus who cared. That day Mary came face to face with a Jesus who had waited only for her to lift her head and look in His eyes so he could tell her she was loved by the One who matters most.

Today He is waiting for each of us to reach that point in our lives.

You are who you are, you have done what you have done and, whether you believe it or not, all Jesus is waiting for is that precious moment you choose to lift your eyes to Him.

John 8:2-11

blue print of leader

blue print of a leader image

When asked to share on the topic of calling, over and above a brief testimony of my own call to be a Teacher of the Word, I was drawn to the story of Esther.

Of all the characters in the story it was the enuch, Hegai, who stood out for me as a blue print of what is required of anyone who feels they are called to a leadership role in the church.

Be set apart…

To be a eunuch was to be cut off from the very thing which would define you. Your strength, ability to  reproduce, all was put aside by the swift stroke of a knife.

To be so for the Lord is to take your eyes off what you bring to the ministry. You may be charismatic, eloquent, even have a great education but if you do not rely on the Lord to lead you then all you will be is a charismatic, eloquent and well educated professional religionist.

Israel had plenty of those, the Pharisees, and Jesus called them vipers and white washed graves – untrustworthy, poisonous things and something which would defile anyone who came in contact with them.

Your talents are there to enhance the call upon our life, not become its center piece.

Know Him intimately…

Hegai was the one who knew the wants and the desires of the king more than any other. He was supposed to use that intimate knowledge to impart to the future bride all she would need to know in order to be found acceptable by her king.

In the same way all those called to pastor, teach, prophesy, evangelise or plant ministires all have the same mandate from our King; to prepare His bride to be wholly acceptable to Him.

Leaders, please put the Lord and your relationship with Him ahead of the temptation to focus on the “work of the Lord”.

You can only impart that which you have, the principle of giving forth after your own kind is seen all through out the scriptures, if you are not solely focused on Jesus and desire Him with all you have how will you ever prepare a Bride who is?

To quote John White we are to repent of “our lack of devotion to His person“. If you are not seeing your expression of the church falling more in love with Jesus, ask yourself how in love with Him are you?

Love the bride…

One of the things that jumped off the pages of Esther at me, as I started seeing Hegai as an model of a church leader, was how many times he failed not only the king he knew so intimately but also the potential brides he had been given charge over.

He knew the kings every desire, knew what it was that he wanted in a queen,yet time after time he sent woman after woman in to be with the king without ever preparing them to truly be his queen.  Too weak to stand for what the King finds righteous and holy they choose to let their churches do, say, act and live as they please without providing discipline and good counsel.

How many leaders fail the Lord and the Church because they simply lack the courage to truly lead.

Jesus warns of these pretend leaders who would do nothing but tickle the ears of the people, ulitmately leading them away from the true zoe life, life as God has it, which is available to all who would call on the Lord.

Hegai finally honours his king and fulfills his commission when he finds a love for the bride within himself.

In the same way leader, you have to truly love the bride you have charge over. Its only when your love for the Lord and your love for the church He has you placed in come together that you will truly be able to give your all in preparing ‘the bride’ to be all that her King longs her to be.

Whenever you deal with varying personalities there will be times of conflict, despite this you must have an overarching love for those you lead. If this is not the case you need to have the courage to ask the Lord if you are called to lead the ministry you are in or if you are indeed called to leadership at all.

References & resources:

Esther 2:1-3, 8, 9, 13-17
Ephesians 4:11
2 Timothy 4:2-5
Matthew 12:34-37
Matthew 23:27
Excellence in Leadership, John White