Do it anyway

by on Jul.28, 2007, under Uncategorized

I really like the chorus of the Martina McBride song “Anyway” (I’ve included the whole thing at the end of this post):

God is great
But sometimes life ain’t good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

- Martina McBride, “Anyway” from the album Waking up laughing (RCA Records, 2007)

What kind of life is it when we don’t do anything for fear that it won’t work out “like the way [we] think it should”? Not much of one. This is particularly true of prayer. Some people fall in to the trap of thinking, “I don’t know what God wants me to pray, so I won’t pray anything.” My advice is to pray anyway – and once you start praying, God may well show you what to pray for!

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It’s kind of like a car or a boat: it’s much easier to steer once you’re actually moving. Similarly, it’s easier for God to tell you about his plans if you’re actually in conversation with him in the first place! By all means start out by asking him what to pray for… but even if you don’t get an answer straight away, it’s still cool to keep praying!

On another note, don’t be discouraged because “when I pray / It doesn’t always turn out like [you] think it should.” Sometimes God has other plans. And sometimes his plans are the same as yours, his timing is just different. Consider this story from the book of Daniel. In Daniel 10, Daniel comes to a realisation that a great war is coming. He then begins mourn, fasting and praying. At the end of 3 weeks, he still hasn’t heard anything from God – until an angel appears and says:

‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days… Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future.’

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- Daniel 10:12-14

If Daniel had given up on praying, I reckon he would have missed out. But because he kept praying, the angel won through to pass on God’s message to him. Because he was persistent, even though it seemed that God was ‘silent’, he got the result he was looking for. Because he “did it anyway” he unleashed God’s blessing into his life, and into the life of his nation.

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You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not never come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain’t good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world’s gone crazy
It’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
In a moment they can choose to walk away
Love ‘em anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain’t good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yea – I do it anyway

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yea – sing it anyway

I sing
I dream
I love

- Martina McBride, “Anyway” from the album Waking up laughing (RCA Records, 2007)

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The Blade

by on Jul.27, 2007, under Uncategorized

This week I wanted to share with you some thoughts that are over 100 years old, and yet still inspire me. The following is Teddy Roosevelt’s Speech before the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899. In it he speaks of how we are moulded into a work of art, a tool with a soul.

This is the tale of making a good sword, a really good one like the blademakers to the samurai made them. Damascus steel was folded a thousand times by hand and finished only with a stone – never shaped by other steel. The steel is purified by plunging it again and again into the fire – and not just any fire but the fire produced by bellows that others are pumping continually to get hot enough to melt the imperfect steel. The blade that is beginning to form is allowed to almost cool, and then it is hammered and re-plunged into the fire, over and over, and over again. Each time it comes out it is examined by the Master Craftsman to see if there is any flaw, any imperfection at all.

Each blade is thought to have a spirit of its own and some believe that the metal tells the Blademaster when it is finished, only he knows what this particular blade will be for. Once or twice in the master’s entire career comes the chance to shape metal that has a truly great soul residing in it.

When that happens the Blademaster stops work and goes and purifies himself and then comes back to the work that he will not cease doing until the blade is finished – he will not eat or sleep and will drink water only. He takes up the steel again and listens to its heart and begins again, heat… cool some and hammer, fold and heat… again and again. When the blade has been folded a thousand times or more and it speaks to him that it is done – only then does he rest. For only the soul inside the steel can say when it has been shaped enough. But the blade is still not finished.

A handle needs to be fitted so that the weapon – which now has become a work of art – can be wielded. Before the handle is set onto the blade though, the Blademaster sets his own secret emblem on the handle where it will remain hidden for all time, the handle is then wrapped and the tsuba, the guard that keeps your hand from slipping onto the blade but is more than just that is fitted. The tsuba also balances the blade and communicates the tastes and beliefs of the owner.

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But the blade is still not finished.

For this is a weapon with a soul, one that comes singing out of its scabbard and will not return to it without tasting battle.

The Blademaster now starts to hone the blade but he does not use steel-for to abrade so great a soul against another would diminish both. He does it all by hand, and he uses a stone… a rock.

Carefully he wets the stone and draws the blade across it-one way only, with the grain of the soul… again and again… sometimes for weeks while all other pursuits are abandoned he concentrates all he has on that one edge, making it sharper that any other edge.

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During this process the soul of the sword tells the maker to whom it belongs, and the Blademaster gives the masterpiece he has created to that and only that person. Never anything so crass as for a fee to be paid – the gift of the blade is the most precious thing that can be given to a warrior… a person who is both a soldier and philosopher in one.

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The house that the warrior belongs to will bless the Blademaster with all that it has for the gift of the honor of housing so great a blade… and when the warrior dies or grows old, the sword goes back to the Master who made it and no one else.

We see now as through a glass…darkly… but then we will see face to face.

I rest in the thought that you have the opportunity to become a great blade for the Master, only you can say when you have been shaped enough and have reached the point where you feel you are finished. God will use you there, make no mistake about that. You can still be polished and made pretty and useful but the shaping will be over.

Make your own analogies – I have made mine.

No one ever said this life thing was easy. You have the opportunity to be of great value to the Master if you let him shape you. And, as the house that receives the blade is greatly honored and blessed, so too will you bless the house you come to.

I end with my favorite quote, from one of my favorite people;

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.

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- Teddy Roosevelt, Speech before the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899

The Bible assures us that we are ‘an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work’ (2 Timothy 2:21). Unlike Teddy Roosevelt, however, I believe that only God can know when we are fully shaped. Do you trust him to know that? Even if the shaping might hurt in the meantime?

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Grey matters

by on Jul.24, 2007, under Uncategorized

I just read an article on boundless.org about discernment in grey areas of our lives. I found it to be full of useful insights. From the article:

Does Scripture address R-Rated movies? Music styles? Not directly. But God has provided principles in his Word to help us discern how to live, what to choose, and what to reject. We need principles from Scripture to inform how our practice of living.

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So here are five principles for growing in discernment that have implications for our daily lives:

  • Imitate God
  • Distrust your heart
  • Think biblically
  • Involve others
  • Decide to worship

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(Read the full article for more details.)

What kind of ‘grey’ issues have you come across? How did you go about resolving them? Do you think that the suggestions in the article (Imitate God, Distrust your heart etc.) are useful? Can you think of a circumstance in which you would apply them?

If you have answers to any of these questions (or perhaps some questions of your own) leave us a comment – we’d love to have your input!

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Vessels (Part 2)

by on Jul.24, 2007, under Uncategorized

This week we continue last week’s post on vessels. If you didn’t read it, read it now – we’ll wait :-) You can find it here.

Clean Vessel
Over time, a vessel of honour would start to get dirty, and would develop a thick film of scum on the inside, leading to the water tasting foul. Or perhaps the lip or handle would wear away through constant use. In this case the owner, rather than throwing it out and getting another one, would take it back to the potter. The potter would then go through the following process: first he would empty it; he would use stiff brushes to break up the layer of scum; he would fix the lip; and finally, he would return it to the fire of the kiln.

I believe that we, too, can become jaded. Perhaps, through long use, we are feeling worn. Maybe our lips are no longer the accurate espousers of God’s Word that they once were. Possibly the taint of sarcasm pervades everything we say, leaving a foul taste in the mouths of those who would otherwise quench their thirst with gusto. And God’s response is the same as the potter’s: he empties us of all the things that have gone bad; he cleans out the filth, sometimes through (painful) scouring; he fixes our lip(s); he returns us to the fire of the kiln.

If you feel like this is you, be encouraged. The Potter is too careful with his work to simply let it go to waste. He will not suffer it to remain a source of bitterness. And after he has restored you, you may well go on to do even better things than before. Consider, for example, Isaiah 66:20, “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels.” (NIV)

Vessel of Dishonour
You might remember that there were 3 vessels on the stand outside the front door of the Judean house? The third vessel, after the vessel of honour and the drinking vessel to go with it, is the vessl of dishonour. Essentially, this was the Judean garbage can.

Sometimes, when making a vessel, the potter would notice some flaw, some inconsistency that meant it was sub-standard. He would then put this in his yard for sale as a vessel of dishonour. Once purchased, this vessel would sit on the stand by the doorway until full, at which time it would be thrown away and another purchased instead.

Paul makes it clear, in writing to Timothy, that men and women have a choice about whether to be a vessel of honour or a vessel of dishonour.

In a large house there are articles [skeuos] not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument [skeuos] for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

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- 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV) (emphasis added)

Broken Vessel
Sometimes a vessel comes out of the kiln cracked. You or I would probably throw such a thing away and start again, but that is not the Potter’s way. Instead, when the day’s work was done, he would head out into the fields to collect mosquitoes, bloated on the blood of bulls and goats. He would then take them back and grind them up, before mixing them with dry clay powder. Together, the blood and the powder would form a type of glue, which the potter would then lovingly work into the cracks, before re-firing in the kiln. He would do this again and again, until the vessel is complete.

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This is God’s method, also, for dealing with brokenness. Instead of the blood of bulls and goats, however, he uses the saving blood of Jesus to restore us to wholeness. He works that blood into every corner of our lives, until we are complete.

Vessel of Wrath
Sometimes, however, the vessel will not accept the blood. In such a case, the potter is left with no option but to throw it away – he has invested all that he can in making and then restoring that vessel, but there comes a point where he must say, “Enough!”

I can leave you with no better challenge than the one Eugene Peterson gives in his translation of 2 Timothy 2:21 (the passage we started with):

Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.

- 2 Timothy 2:21 (Message)


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The Way, the Whole Way and nothing but the Way!

by on Jul.21, 2007, under Uncategorized

Recently I was having a discussion with some friends (over a bowl of icecream and chocolate topping – the only way to discuss!) about whether Jesus is the only way to be saved. And if so, what happens to those who never hear about him and therefore never have opportunity to choose him? For example, when a child dies in infancy, before reaching a point of understanding Jesus’ message, do they go to heaven? Or what happens to someone who grows up in a Muslim nation, where they are not able to hear the gospel?

The Bible is fairly clear on the first question – Jesus is the only way to achieve salvation. Consider Jesus’ own words :

‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

- John 14:6

Similarly Peter says that:

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

- Acts 4:12

Let me be clear: Christianity is not just one religion among many, all offering different (equally valid) ways of approaching God. Jesus was quite insistent that he was and is the only way of entering relationship with the Father. He is the only doorway into eternal life. This is not a popular stance in the world today, everyone’s ‘truth’ is equally valid, and noone can claim exclusivity in the area of truth without attracting the ire of all around them. Unpopular or not, though, I believe that we as Christians are called to speak and defend this truth.

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The second question, however, is a little trickier. The Bible appears to be silent on the issue, and so we cannot say with any great certainty one way or another. There is no promise, for example, that babies will automatically go to heaven. There is certainly no promise that adults who don’t hear about Christ will automatically qualify for heaven.

Some might cite Paul’s letter to the Romans on this issue:

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets, through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

- Romans 2:12-16

Their argument in doing so would be to suggest that even someone who hasn’t heard of Jesus will be judged on the basis of being a “law for themselves” (14) who “have the requirements of the law written on their hearts” (15) – and will be found guilty even in the sight of their own consciences. The problem with this is that this passage is that knowledge of the law, in my view, is not actually comparable to knowledge of Jesus. That is to say, the argument that “Ignorance of the law is no defence in court and so therefore ignorance of Jesus is no defence in his ultimate court” doesn’t really stand.

Here’s what I do know: God is characterised by his love, his mercy and his justice. I personally believe that, on the day of judgment, Jesus will consider each and every person according to their life and circumstances. In the same way that earthly judges are able to exercise discretion in sentencing, much more will the Judge of all the earth be able to judge “based on truth” (Rom 2:2).

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I do not know what measure or method (if any) he might use in doing this.

I do trust him to do what is right.

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Fishers of Men

by on Jul.20, 2007, under Uncategorized

18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19″Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20At once they left their nets and followed him.

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21Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

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“I will make you fishers of men.” When I was in Sunday School as a child, we used to sing a song based on these words of Jesus, complete with actions:

I will make you fishers of men,
Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men,
If you follow Me.

If you follow Me,
If you follow Me,
I will make you fishers of men,
If you follow Me.

You can imagine the kind of actions: lean back and then ‘cast’, before ‘reeling in’ the ‘fish’ and repeating all over again. That’s how fishing works – you keep tossing out the line and (if you’re lucky) you catch some fish.

Whilst often done in small groups, the angler’s craft is essentially a solitary one. You vs. the fish, your skill against their wiles, with the bait on the line (no pun). Perhaps you might ask a mate to share in the glory at the end by holding the net to finally land it. Nevertheless, it goes down as ‘your’ fish, particularly if it is a big one.

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Yet this isn’t an altogether accurate representation of the image Jesus was trying to convey. In referring to his apostles as fishers of men, he was not trying to tell them that he was going to equip them with rod and reel and send them out to bring in converts. You see, fishermen of the day used nets. Consider the following story:

1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

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- Luke 5:1-7

Jesus’ model for evangelism is one of teamwork. You may only be one of several people around the edge of the net, but unless you do your part there will be no ‘catch’. You may never have a fish you can call ‘yours’, but if you fish where Jesus tells you to and in the way he tells you (i.e. in partnership with others) then you can expect to see your nets and boats so full that you will need to bring in help!

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The Elephant

by on Jul.17, 2007, under Uncategorized

It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the elephant,
    (Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the elephant
    And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the elephant
    Is nothing but a wall!”

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The Second, feeling of the tusk,
    Cried “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an elephant
    Is very like a spear!”

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The Third approached the animal,
    And, happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the elephant
    Is very like a snake!”

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The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
    And felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is mighty plan,” quoth he;
“‘Tis clear enough the elephant
    Is very like a tree.”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles mos;
    Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant
    Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the elephant
    Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long
Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was plainly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars
    The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
And prate about an elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

- John Godfrey Saxe

When it comes to God, we are all blind, and he is even bigger than your average elephant. So be very careful about the image of God that you profess and believe, as chances are you don’t have the full picture.

In fact only one man in all of history – Jesus – has ever understood God in his entirety. He is like a man with sight coming and telling the blind men all about the elephant, and walking them around him until their understanding was more complete. Not fully complete, certainly, but a much bigger picture. If we want to know God, we can only do so through Jesus.

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Life Saving

by on Jul.10, 2007, under Uncategorized

Here’s a modern day parable from Charles Swindoll:

On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station. Actually, the station was merely a hut with only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea. With little thought for themselves, they would go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost. Many, many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station. By and by, it became a famous place.

Some of those who had been saved as well as others along the seacoast wanted to become associated with this little station. They were willing to give their time and energy and money in support of its objectives. New boats were purchased. New crews were trained. The station that was once obscure and crude and virtually insignificant began to grow.

Some of its members were unhappy that the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped. They felt a more comfortable place should be provided. Therefore emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture. Rough, hand-made equipment was discarded, and sophisticated, classy systems were installed. The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture, systems and appointments.

By its completion, the lifesaving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives began to shift. It was now used as sort of a clubhouse, an attractive building for public gatherings. Saving lives and feeding the hungry and strenthening the fearful and calming the disturbed rarely occurred by now.

Fewer members were now interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do the work. The original goal of the station wasn’t altogether forgotten, however. The lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club’s decorations. In fact, there was a liturgical lifeboat preservers in the “Room of Sweet Memories” with soft, indirect lighting, which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel.

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About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty. Some were terribly sick and lonely. Others were black and they were “different” from the majority of the club members. The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered. A special committee saw to it that a shower house was immediately built “outside” and “away from” the club so victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up “before” coming inside the club.

At the next meeting there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members. Most of the people wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities altogether and place all involvements with shipwreck victims somewhere else. “It’s too unpleasant,” they said. “It’s a hindrance to our social life. It’s opening the doors to folks who are not ‘our kind’.”

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Well, as you would expect, some still insisted upon saving lives, that this was their primary objective. Their only reason for existence was ministering to “anyone” needing help regardless of their club’s beauty or size or decorations. Well, they were voted down and they were told if they still wanted to be involved in saving lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast! And so they did.

As years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes. It evolved into just another club. And yet another lifesaving station was begun. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that coats today, you’ll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives.

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Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, you understand, but now most of the victims are not saved. Every day they perish at sea, and so few seem to care… so very few.

- Charles Swindoll, Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotation (Thomas Nelson, 1998) pp. 89-91

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Like water in the desert

by on Jul.06, 2007, under Uncategorized

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he said “‘Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.'” (Matt 10:39)?

Legend has it that a man was lost in the desert, just dying for a drink of water. He stumbled upon an old shack – a ramshackled, windowless, roofless, weatherbeaten old shack. He looked about this place and found a little shade from the heat of the desert sun. As he glanced around he saw a pump about fifteen feet away – an old, rusty water pump. He stumbled over to it, grabbed the handle and began to pump up and down, up and down. Nothing came out.

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Disappointed, he staggered back. He noticed off to the side an old jug. He looked at it, wiped away the dirt and dust, and read a message that said, “You have to prime the pump with all the water in this jug, my friend. P.S.: Be sure you fill the jug again before you leave.”

He popped the cork out of the jug and sure enough, it was almost full of water! Suddenly, he was faced with a decision. If he drank the water, he could live. Ah, but if he poured all the water in the old rusty pump, maybe it would yield fresh, cool water from down deep in the well, all the water he wanted.

He studied the possibility of both option. What should he do, pour it into the old and take a chance on fresh, cool water or drink what was in the old jug and ignore its message? Should he waste all the water on the hopes of those flimsy instructions written, no telling how long ago?

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Reluctantly he poured all the water into the pump. Then he grabbed the handle and began to pump, squeak, squeak, squeak. Still nothing came out! Squeak, squeak, squeak. A little bit began to dribble out, then a small stream, and finally it gushed! To his relief fresh, cool water poured out of the rusty pump. Eagerly, he filled the jug and drank from it. He filled it another time and once again drank its refreshing contents.

Then he filled the jug for the next traveler. He filled it to the top, popped the cork back on, and added this little not: “Believe me, it really works. You have to give it all away before you can get anything back.”

- Charles R. Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity (quoted in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes [Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1998] p. 197)

What are you hanging on to? Do you have a death-grip on a particular possession, idea, relationship, job or position? Are you reluctant to give stuff over to God because you are afraid you will be left without? Perhaps you are in a relationship with someone, and you feel insecure when they spend time with other people. Or maybe you have a plan for your life and are unwilling to accept anything that doesn’t fit in.

Let me tell you, unless you are willing to give those things and those relationships over to God, you will ultimately lose them. If you do entrust them to his care, however, he will multiply them amazingly! By trying to hold on to what we have, we risk everything. But if we surrender all in accordance with God’s instruction and will, we will receive all that we ever need… and more!

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The Waiting Game

by on Jul.05, 2007, under Uncategorized

I went out on a shoto the other day, as I sometimes do on Tuesdays. This time I went down to Warumbul, a place in the Royal National Park that I was totally unaware of until I went there with Katrie and Rachel. (Rachel had been there before and showed us the way.)

So I’m down at Warumbul with my camera, trying to get a few nice shots of the pier, when an improbably extroverted seagull lands himself in the middle of my shot.

Naturally I click off a couple of frames – he might be just what I need to liven things up a bit. With a bit of luck, I might get a couple of really good ones when he takes off again, seeing as how I’m already set up for the shot and all. So long as I sit here with my finger on the shutter release, and keep my eye on him.

Must be nice being a bird, having nothing to prevent you sitting around checking out the world around you? Doing what you want to do, going where you want to go?

I wish you’d hurry up and take off, though – can’t wait all day, you know, and I’m starting to burn in this sun…

What’re you looking at?

I’m starting to get bored now, maybe I should just go. But I don’t want to admit to being out-waited by a bird. [Stubborn mode on]. Especially since I’ve invested all this time (a good 10 minutes by now, at least!) waiting for my avian subject to weary of his circumstances. No doubt as soon as I start to pack up my camera, he will fly off.

Here comes a boat, perhaps that will scare him off.

Nope, no such luck. Maybe I could throw a rock…

I kinda feel like the women Jesus describes, waiting for their master to come home. The ones with the lamps. Yawning, bleary-eyed, and yet hopeful of their lord’s return at any moment. When he eventually does come, only half of them are actually ready – the others have to go and refill their lamps, and so miss out on the master’s blessing.

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Paul expresses the same idea (about waiting, not about standing on one leg), but using different imagery. He compares the Christian’s life to a race. You see, in a race, it doesn’t matter how fast you go in the middle, it’s the end that counts. Paul encourages us to run the race hard to the end, and not to be discouraged in the middle.

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Bet Paul never had to sit out in the hot sun waiting for a recalcitrant, chronologically challenged winged rodent.



There’s a series of ads on TV at the moment – one with a pianist giving a recital, one with a golfer, probably a couple of others that I can’t remember or haven’t seen. The tag line runs something like “It takes more than a single recital/shot to be an expert pianist/golfer – it takes every single note/shot you’ve played.” Paul would’ve been right with those guys, I’m sure.

Here we go – at last!

OK, so perhaps I’ll have to take a few more before mustering up the “perfect shot”, but I am happy with the results :-)

(For the record, I waited just over 45 mins altogether!)

Why not leave a comment? Perhaps you’re waiting on God for something, and you want encouragement in that. Or perhaps you can share a time when God made you wait, but it paid off in the end.

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