Monthly Archives: March 2012
A couple of weekends ago I went to one of the very few weekends that my wife and I have together every year… and both Emma I are really blessed to have family who allow us do this one thing every year.
Now it’s not a romantic getaway in a house over looking the sea… and it’s not even time getting spa treatments… It is however one of the most important times of our year, and if at all possible we wouldn’t miss it.
It’s our CM (Creative Ministries) retreat.
This is the time when all our creative types… from musicians, to artists, to song leaders and songwriters within our church go and refocus… a time to add to the creative way we do corporate worship in church. Where we as a creative group can go and really seek God. Specifically it is a great start to the year and sets the tone (no pun intended) for the rest of the year.
This year, God was there in a real tangible way and some people were able to ‘do business’ with him in areas that were left un-dealt with.
God touched me in a real way… but there wasn’t a sense of ‘doing business’ it was a real feeling his presence type thing.
After a time of ministry I went to my room to finish a book I was one chapter off finishing (The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson) a great book on prayer (Oh the irony)… I had almost finished when two of my close friends came in to check I was ok (as I dashed off in a bit of a hurry to finish my book…)
I said “I was fine” and really didn’t think there was anything more to say… and then they both asked if they could pray for me.
I said “yes” of course… if there any time that God can touch your life I found it’s best to take it with BOTH hands… anyway.
Jo started praying and she said somethings that God had placed on her heart… and they were accurate and they were full of truth and love and in that moment… I was broken… I started to cry and God started to deal with some stuff in parts of my life that I had just left to sort out themselves.
It was a new chapter… a clean page.
So far this year, one of the memorable moments is what I have been calling ‘The Great Ambush of 2012′… if I hadn’t of rushed away and spent time by myself I wonder if I would have had that moment… I just don’t know.
What I do know is this…
- I have close friends who are honest enough to come to me to check I’m OK…
- I have close friends who are humble enough to ask if they can pray for me and to seek God for me…
- I have friends who are brave enough to say what God has place on their hearts…
- And I have friends who are willing to ambush me… because they don’t want me to miss out on what God had in store for my life.
- New Years: From here we can do ANYTHING! (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
- Book 2 of 2012: “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson (jjsanders.wordpress.com)
- We need a new normal (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: The Circle Maker (iowaministrynetwork.wordpress.com)
Something I look forward to every year is the new Passion CD recorded live at the Passion 2012 conference in Atlanta, GA.
One of the reason I love the Passion albums is the rawness of them… they capture in a real way the feeling of a generation, and the songs are often new and fresh and White Flag was no different, and really for Passion to survive it really has to change as every new year a new bred of Freshmen are brought into the University life… and Passion has to be fluid in that movement while at the same time loosing the message of Jesus Christ that has been with us for generations.
White Flag from the very first song places the stake firmly in the ground with Kristian Stanfill shouting
“I’m not ashamed of the one who saved my soul, from the rooftops… SING!”
And it’s powerful… it’s rocking… and it’s passionate.
After the initial strong start this album takes a bit of a detour to the other Passion albums… it’s starts to slow down, the first couple of songs are focused on Jesus giving his life for us and how we need to come to a place of total surrender to him… and the quietness comes to a point where Christy Nockles sings “How I love you, Love you Jesus”… It’s a bit usual for an album to head down that track so soon… but this doesn’t feel out of place on this album… it almost seems like the album is taking us to another place… and building us into the worship. It’s as much of a mind set change than anything else to, and it seems righht to praise God after singing of what he has done.
David Crowder Band leave the Passion scene (in this form anyway) with a track called ’All This Glory’ it’s a more upbeat number and breaks the album up nicely before it starts to slow down again…
This becomes a bit of a theme through the album… this is most certainly the most quiet and laid back of all the Passion Albums with songs like Chris Tomlin’s ‘Yahweh’ setting the tone… but there seems to be a real push and pull… just when you get used to the pace of the album you are thrown a faster song like ‘The Only One’ to snap you out of the quietness to remind you who you are worshiping before toning it down and pulling it back in a more reflective mood once again.
If you like the Passion CD’s then this is a great one to add to your collection…
However if you are a first time listener… and like worship music, that is light and more reflective that builds nicely, then you will love the CD (once you pass the first track, which may be more raucous than you are used to) .
What this album does do well is give us words to use to help us proclaim our thanks for what God has done through his son Jesus.
Is it time for YOU to surrender?
I have nothing against Christian schooling… in fact 4 of my 5 kids started off in Christian schooling and like many Christians we wanted to give our Children a Christian education… and like many other Christians we used the excuse that our local schools weren’t up to scratch.
It soon dawned on me… as Christians the Bible says that we are “In the world but not of it…”, it says we were “sent out like lambs among wolves” – so here is the thing – why are we spending our time away from the world and not in it, and spending our times being lambs in a flock?
In New Zealand we are have Christian schools, were Christians get preferential options to be a part of that school while non-Christians have to be on a waiting list.
Isn’t this the opposite of what Christians are to be?
We have Non-Christians who want their kids to be given a Christian education… and we’re telling them no.
We have schools within our community that are struggling… and as Christians we are choosing to walk away from them. Wouldn’t it be great if the Christians had the kids IN their community… their kids in their local community schools… the parents on the boards of the schools.
As I said I understand the idea of giving your kids a good schooling… and I understand the idea of giving your children a CHRISTIAN schooling… but what if a true Christian schooling is actually in our community in our local schools and learning what it is to live as a Christian in a world that doesn’t see them as ‘normal’.
I myself have been apart of the Christian school system, and I loved it… however I know people who were part of the same system that have drifted so far away from God and the church that I have to wonder… what is the point of the Christian school?
We can’t teach our kids to live as leaders and role models within our communities if we aren’t part of those very communities that we are telling them to lead… because all that happens is that we find that our kids are out of touch of what people in the ‘real world’ are struggling with.
We can’t be a part of the change in our communities because we are choosing to stay away from them, we don’t mingle with them we don’t have contact with them and we wonder why we can’t reach them.
Our God sent his son to Earth to live as one of us… among us… he spent his time with those who needed him most.
How can we to change our world… if we aren’t in the world?
Someone asked me why I did my prayer time so early in the morning, and I answered them “Because the first thing I want in my mind was God stuff…”
At the time is was more about first fruits, which is giving things to God first… however the more I think about it and the more I dwell about it the more I realise that it is only part of the reason.
For me it all started when I was looking to find time to spend reading the Bible and just meditating on Gods word, but I was always to busy at night, so I decided to bite the bullet and get up early in the morning… I was really eager at first and started getting up as early as 4:30… but I kept falling asleep… so I pegged it back a bit more (now 6:00 am) – but it’s great as long as I set my alarm it’s just me and God… there is very little chance of me being asked out for dinner, or have someone just ‘pop in’ – but just as important and anything it sets the tone for the day.
I wonder if part of the reason people don’t have a close relationship with God… is because they don’t have God as part of their rhythm of life. It’s so much easier to go out to the movies or to have coffee with someone than spend time with God.
Putting God in a regular part of your life… rather than just on Sunday.
The number of slaves today is higher than at any point in history, and it inspired worship leader, songwriter and author Matt Redman and LZ7 to highlight and raise awareness for the anti-human trafficking movement. So as any good songwriter would do they wrote a song…. and that song is Twenty Seven Million.
Matt Redman said:
“Society is waking up to the fact there are twenty seven million slaves on the earth today. They are the voiceless, but we could be their voice. Please buy the single at iTunes. If we all move as one on this, together we could make some big noise about this important issue.”
Have a listen to this song… and then download it.