Friday, September 26, 2008

Portraits of the Past

A friend of mine, Paul, came into the office a while ago and just chatted about a few things that's happening at the moment. We then went on to look at some of my videos and photos I had on my computer from my previous church – and it was so awesome to see the memories of back then and reminisce. The thought that came to me was that I AM BLESSED! Blessed to have had God in my life and blessed that I am able to serve Him in full-time ministry!

As I was looking at the videos, I thought to myself..."man, we don't celebrate enough". By this I mean, that in churches we sometimes get so focussed on what still needs to be done, that we forget to be thankful for what God has done, as well as celebrate the people who have served alongside you faithfully. I was just again reminded that people are precious to God, and that the local church is made up of the people – and hence we need to give thanks for them daily & CELEBRATE!

I'm taking some of my leaders tomorrow to celebrate – THEY are the ones that need to be encouraged – 'cause they have been a huge support and encouragement to me – and they make it a whole lot of fun to serve as well!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reflections on the Durban Beachfront

As I was going through some of my stuff on my computer I found a pondering that I had of 3 years ago…It was incredible how it applicable it was after my retreat day yesterday!

(From 30 August 2005)

As I was sitting back and reflecting on another crazy day, I found myself thinking about ministering in the context I am in. I was thinking of the past, reflecting on the present and looking towards the future…where is God taking me?

This is a question all of us ask from time to time. What is God's will, plan and purpose for my life? It was then that I thought about how God had been working in my life and the people he had placed across my path, and a all of a sudden it struck me how blessed I was to have such great friends and family and people who support me – a true gift. I look at nature and stand in awe! That our dad has taken care of every little detail in our lives so that we can enjoy his blessings and wonderful creation – He is in control.

The words of Psalm145:4-7 started mulling in my mind

Psalm 145:4-7
"What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next; they will proclaim your mighty acts. They will speak of your glory and majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. People will speak of your mighty deeds, and I will proclaim your greatness. They will tell about all your goodness and sing about your kindness."

I have come to realize over the last while that one needs to take rest and appreciate what God has given us and just simply enjoy hanging out with God and marvel at His works. You see we get caught up with so much "stuff" in our lives that we often forget to enjoy God's wonderful blessings. We forget to say thank you and rush from one place to the next…and all for what? This again comes back to the crux of living a life of deep appreciation and humility in front of our Saviour. It takes coming to the Father saying "I am not all I claim to be" and getting to a place where we can change our focus to giving God all the glory and honour. The same is true with our gifts…we often rely so on our gifting that we forget God in the process (ironically – the One who has given us the gift in the first place), but coming back to God with that humble heart day by day shows us that we are dependant on His love and grace.

Why Humility? Well, we read in 2 Corinthian12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in weakness". You see the interesting thing of Humility is that when we humble ourselves, we surrender "self", and allow more of God. In so doing we exalt God and we give Him the glory and not ourselves. A good example is that of Gideon when God told Gideon to fight the Midianites. Gideon rallied up an army of 30,000 soldiers, but what did God do? he told Gideon he had too many soldiers. That day 20,000 men went home, and Gideon was left with 10,000 men. But God had other plans…still the army was too big, and eventually God narrowed the army down to only 300 men and the outcome was that the Midianites were defeated. The army did not defeat the Midianites by their own strength, but they defeated the Midianites by God's strength.

What can be learned from this? Humbling ourselves and becoming weak - giving back to God what he has given us - makes us dependant on Him more, and less on ourselves. When we are weak we tend to rely on God's strength rather than our own and if God does not "show" we certainly will 'drown' so to speak.

Therefore we must constantly remind ourselves of God's promise - that His grace is sufficient for us and that it is not about us, but all about Him. All glory, honour and praise to Him who has given us yet another day to enjoy his marvelous creation and to be able to share it together. Therefore, we might not always be sure of where God is leading us, but through coming to God simply saying "here I am, use me with all my scars and bruises…I am here for Your glory" brings a rich simplicity back into our walk, and helps us to rely on God's love as we journey through life's hills and valleys. The challenge for us is to go back and humble ourselves and appreciate the little things that God has blessed us with and to walk like we have never walked before with our Dad – totally reliant on Him!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Family Feuds, Fun & Friendship

Families are incredibly interesting, yet complicated things. I often wonder how so many people from the same family can be so very different, and at the best of times even 'get on' with one another.

This past week I've been in Jo'burg to do my first wedding (not my own...), but the interesting thing was what happened before and after the wedding itself. Now for a little bit of extra brother and I have not seen each other since my graduation (which was in May 2007), which makes it nearly one and a half years since we last saw each other. My brother and my relationship has had its ups and downs, but a miracle happened on Monday...My mom, brother and I had lunch together before I flew back home! WHAT A HUGE BLESSING!!!

This may not sound exciting to many, but for me it has almost been a turning point. I really love my brother, but we are very different, and I had almost lost hope at ever having a relationship with him, but what is amazing is that we were able to sit around a meal and chat about all sorts of stuff. Family,! It was as if the past did not happen – it was just my mom, my brother and I and not a care in the world! We've been chatting too over the last few days, and I have just again been reminded that we must NEVER give up praying for one another! My relationship with my brother hasn't been great over the last 6 – 7 years, but we've made a start, and I thank God daily for the privilege it has been to reconnect with my brother!

So please NEVER stop praying for family members, never stop forgiving, and ALWAYS seek to restore relationships! It may still be a while for it to be what it should, but it feels like I've found something I've lost – and man....what a great feeling it is to have found it!

Let's continue to give thanks for God's 'little' blessings he gives us each day!

Clinton & Lizelle's Wedding

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Coffee Shops, Comfort Food & Good Excercise

As those closest to me will know…I love coffee shops, and particular Mugg & Bean…free internet, bottomless coffee friendly staff, good music playing in my ears (obviously from a laptop) and the aroma of freshly baked muffins and a whole lot of random people who are going about their daily business…all with their unique stories – it makes one feel rather at "home".

It's quite weird how a few of life's little pleasures can conjure up such a lot of emotions and feelings…and this only from a coffee shop. This feeling of 'home' is actually quite interesting, because I don't even like Johannesburg…I mean…who like to struggle to breathe (I have huge sinus issues here)…wake up at the crack of dawn (5:45 this morning) to leave for work (6:15am this morning – although I was taking my mom to work) to sit in traffic…to drop my mom off and to travel another about 4km (which subsequently takes 20 minutes) to the gym…and then…alas…my little place of refuge…yes…Mugg & Bean!

Why is it that I feel this way? I suppose it's familiar, it's warm and inviting…I feel relaxed…if feel creative! But most importantly I think it reminds me of home (Hillcrest).

As I am pondering this I'm made aware of the fact that as it's written in 1 Peter 2:11 that we are "temporary residents and foreigners" in this world and keep away from worldly desires that wage war against our souls…you see I am not at home at the moment…I'm sitting in Jo'burg, but I "feel" at home… My feelings often tend to drive what is truth and not the other way around. This can so easily happen to us in the world - we get so attached to the things of this world and forget that it is ALL in fact temporary…this is NOT our home. I look at my own life and I see that I can get so caught up with the things of this world that I often loose perspective on what REALLY is important. I think the same is true of the Church – often we are so 'comfortable' in where we are in our walk or church community, that we forget what we are commissioned to do!

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

There are still a whole lot of people that don't know Jesus – the one that is in fact NOT temporary…

As Mugg & Bean have been my "home away from home", let's not forget that this world that we live in is not our real home and that even the church communities that we belong to is NOT home, but a "home away from home" and that we have a job to do that will have an eternal impact on others…so as the book of Hebrews puts it…

Hebrews 12:1

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.


Let's keep our focus and throw off all the things that distract us (even the comfortable stuff) so we can do what God has called us to do!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Nosebleeds and Airports

It is that time again – flying all over the country...once again. This time I'm heading for Jo'burg! I'm sitting in the Spur with...a nose try to have breakfast while your nose is bleeding (trust me – it's NOT fun) reminded me of the days when i was a 'litee" and i did not want to eat beatroot because everything turned the colour red on the plate...well...fortunately i stopped the blood from landing on my plate, but i had to run for the toilets to counter this bloody nose...(no pun intended). It was rather i was in the men's toilet (and my nose just didn't want to stop) – i had the vision of actually going up to a lady and asking for a tampon – do you know that they say it will stop a nosebleed in no time!?! Ha ha – i know – you're laughing now, but it's the truth...fortunately it stopped in the nick of time – but just imagine how funny that would have been in an airport terminal!

So here i am – stomach full of bacon, eggs, mushrooms and pork sausages – enjoying the simple pleasures of life topped of with 2 cups of coffee at 7:38am. God has been so faithful, and i am so privileged to be a part of His story and to be called a child of God! Last night i had to lead Praise and Worship, and God's presence i felt so strongly – it still baffles me that i can have a living relationship with our heavenly father! WOW!!!! I am not sure what all the stuff is that God has planned for the future, but if we put our confidence and trust in Him – what can go wrong?


"Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, mediating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do! V6: For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction"


I want to be that tree near the river! An awesome reminder that we serve the ONE and ONLY LIVING God and we need to keep drawing close to him – He is Holy, Righteous, Faithful to the end, Saviour, Healer, Redeemer & BEST Friend!