Monday, December 6, 2010


Right now there is such a stirring in my heart … and I am hungry.  I want more of God.  There is a place in me that is not satisfied with anything but more of him … everything else … and I mean EVERYTHING else … is temporary and does not satisfy.  As the writer of Ecclesiastes said … it is meaningless … a vapour … a puff of smoke and gone.  But the one thing that remains is God.  He is my constant in a world that’s shifting … my solid ground when I am adrift on an ocean … he is vision when I cannot see … the words when I am speechless … he is my breath … my life … my all.  And I don’t have enough of Him.  There is still too much of me …

I want to walk through this world leaving deposits wherever I go … I don’t want to be a taker … I want to be a giver.  And I am stirring on things that have been in my heart and dormant for many years … I want to walk in his presence and know what it is to be his light in a dark world … that I would shine wherever I walk … that I would leave people with a taste of him that leaves them hungry for more.  I know he wants that.  I am feeling challenged to step higher, believe more and pursue with an attitude of expectation.  How about you?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Have some Fun Giving!

Meet Shaun Groves.  He writes an excellent blog which I have been lurking on (reading and not posting ... - NOT stalking ;) ... ) for the past year or more.  I really like his honesty about life, his heart for God ... his heart for his family and his desire and desire to make a difference in the world.  He has raised a lot of awareness for Compassion.

Anyway Shaun is a musician and has in his heart to make a new record - which costs $$$!  At present he is fundraising to make his new record and I just love his idea.  And ... his heart comes through in terms of he is looking for fun creative ways to give back even as he is asking for support.  LOVE IT ...

So my blog friends ... I wanted to encourage you to be a part of this ... just a little from a lot of us, goes a long way ... and how fun to be the answer to prayers from someone you don't even know ... VERY COOL.

Check it out here and be stirred to give a little and have fun :)



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thought For The Day

Hi.  I am in Romania right now ...  and doing some thinking.  Today I had a chat with a friend in Melbourne and we were discussing the things that we feel God has placed on our hearts ...

I have been reflecting on Korea and thinking how for me, in many ways, it has been nine years of stripping.  Everything I was passionate and fulfilled in - stripped away.  Many times over the years I have wondered why ... why am I in this country (Korea?).  It seems a paradox that God would take us from somewhere where we were feeling fulfilled and used and then strip us ... 

Friday night, I was in a car driving to Brasov for the weekend and had very long talks with a new friend all the way up and back (well ... she mainly talked and I listened) ... and I talked to her about how one of the things that I had learnt during a time of stripping and being in a somewhat dry place, was the importance of being able to dig my own wells.

So how do my friend in Melbourne, reflecting about Korea and driving to Brasov all tie together?

My friend in Melbourne referred to a conference where she was challenged and impacted by a speaker whom I looked up ... and I came across this - you join the rest of the dots!

Moses was the only one among the Israelites with any desert training. Prophets and pioneers always go through things ahead of time on bealf of themselves and the wider company of people.  It was in his own exile that Moses developed his personal inner resources to learn how to live in a hostile environment.  Our personal inner resources before God are then used by Him to develop the corporate inner resources of the company of people traveling with us.

People grumble and complain in the wilderness because they have no desert training, a poor relationship with God, and little trust in leadership.  Moses represents the indwelling Christ in touch with the Holy Spirit.  We must learn to live with and serve the “great I Am.”  (Graham Cooke - Transition Pt 2.)

I am thinking ... how about you?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life Within Life

Meaningless!  Meaningless!
says the Teacher.
Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless!
(Ecclesiastes 1:2)

I used to find Ecclesiastes a bit of downer but I finally get it!  Lately, as I have had time to think, I realised in me is a deep hunger ... a deep yearning for ... something.  When I stop for just a moment, I can see the emptiness - and that emptiness ... that yearning is for God.  Nothing else will fill that place.  I am hungry and I am destitute without intimacy with God.  Everything else is just a hollow shell, because it is God who inhabits, and brings life, purpose and meaning.  The picture I have that relates to this state and this emptiness is from when my father died.  I was with him when he passed and I remember thinking he is no longer there.  His body was a shell and the very essence, the life, the core had gone.  And this is how life is without God for me.  It's all just a shell.

I have been privileged to see and experience wonderful things.  I have travelled beyond my wildest dreams ... seen and done things that people only dream about.  The places, the faces ... the experiences have been incredible and yet, none of it satisfies.  Without God in it, it's all just a lifeless shell.  I can understand why the writer of Ecclesiastes lamented that everything was meaningless.  He had so much ... by world standards ... everything ... and yet he was hungry and unsatisfied.

The Hebrew for the word "meaningless" comes the world "hebel" which means breath.  It can also mean vapour, and figuratively speaking, vanity.  When I read this, it kind of blew me away because I had been thinking of the lifeless shell image.  The Ecclesiastes writer got it exactly.  Everything ... all the gold ... all the glory ... all the girls ... all of it was just a hollow shell without life.  None of it would satisfy because there was no breath.  And all of it, here and gone like a vapour.  How like life this is.  We run from experience to experience - it's here, and whoof!  Gone ... vapourized.  

What is the answer?  Well lately, I have found myself singing an old Vineyard song ... and really it says it all ... you might want to sing it or pray it along with me.

Jesus, be the centre
Be my source
be my light

Jesus, be the centre
Be my hope
Be my sun

Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Jesus, Jesus

Jesus by my vision
Be my path
Be my guide

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taylor Swift and Kanye West - the Showdown!

Picture sourced from

Last weeks MTV VMA awards have left me thinking a lot this week.  I didn't actually watch them, but all over the news headlines in the buildup was speculation on what would happen between between Kanye West and Taylor Swift.  For those of you that don't know, last September as Taylor was receiving the award for best female video, Kanye walked into her spotlight ... into her moment to shine, and said that Beyonce should have received the award.  Wow.  Imagine it.  You are 19 and it's your moment and then someone tries to take that from you.  What would you feel ... how would you feel?  Public opinion was for Taylor and Kanye experienced major backlash in his personal life and his career.  It rocked his world.

Fast forward to this year.  Taylor and Kanye are both presenting songs at the awards.  The media are in a frenzy and most speculation is that Taylor is going to skewer Kanye.  He had acted terribly.  The crowd are rooting for her.  As I read this, I was saddened at the thought that this could happen - that Taylor could skewer him and have the support of public opinion behind her.  Taylor was in a place of power.  What did she do with it?  She started her performance with a video flashback to last year and then she started to sing (and while it wasn't the best vocal, it was one of the most powerful things I have ever heard) ... check it out here and read the lyrics below:

I guess you really did it this time
Left yourself in your warpath
Lost your balance on a tightrope
Lost your mind tryin' to get it back

Wasn't it easier in your lunchbox days?
Always a bigger bed to crawl into
Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything?
And everybody believed in you?

It's all right, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been
You're still an innocent
You're still an innocent

There's some things you can't speak of
But tonight you'll live it all again
You wouldn't be shattered on the floor now
If only you would sing what you know now then

Wasn't it easier in your firefly-catchin' days?
And everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you
Wasn't it beautiful runnin' wild 'til you fell asleep?
Before the monsters caught up to you?

It's all right, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been
You're still an innocent

It's okay, life is a tough crowd
32, and still growin' up now
Who you are is not what you did
You're still an innocent

Time turns flames to embers
You'll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too

Lives change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never to late to
Be brand new

It's all right, just wait and see
Your string of lights are still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been
You're still an innocent

It's okay, life is a tough crowd
32, and still growin' up now
Who you are is not what you did
You're still an innocent

Stunning.  Just stunning.  The maturity of a twenty year old who can take her power and use it to offer forgiveness - to model grace.  There in the place of his failure, in front of the place where he wounded her, the place where he fell from favor - she reaches out powerfully to Kanye and says, "I believe in you.  You can be new.  You can be different.  I believe you are not where you've been and you are not what you did."  Wow.  What a stunning offer of hope and what a fantastic model of the grace we find in Christ.  I believe in you.  Who you are is not where you've been.  Who you are is not what you did.  I make all things new.  I will wash you as white as snow.  Your sins are forgiven.  I remember them no more.  

Huge contrast to Kanye's song where he just seemed to hate on himself more and beat himself up - albeit in a sarcastic manner.  His view?  Runaway from me ... I am nothing (except Kanye is a little more explicit than that).  

I look at Taylor and how as a young twenty year old she handled this, and I look at Kanye - someone who has been in the industry a long time - a 33 year old man.  How is it that they have such different approaches to this situation?  What is in their hearts, in their heads to provoke such different responses?  Kanye continued to self-flagellate and Taylor extends a hand of grace.  And that hand of grace in such a public place is one of the most powerful things I have ever seen.  I am grateful for the reminder of the hands of grace that have been extended to me in my life and I am forever grateful for THE hand of grace continually extended to me.  I am praying that I also have hands that willingly extend grace and forgiveness.  And it starts with us.  Who we are is not what we did.  Who we are is not where we come from.  We all mess up ... start with the grace to forgive yourself.  And so we pray, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us ..."

I'm thinking ... maybe you are too.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Walking in the Footsteps of the Saints

Did they tell you stories 
'bout the saints of old? 
Stories about their faith? 
They say stories like that make a boy grow bold 
Stories like that make a man walk straight

(Rich Mullins - Boy like Me, Man Like You)

Having recently been wandering around in some great churches in England, I have been thinking about the saints of old and the crypts that many of those churches have.  The beautiful thing of wandering around crypts is that you are walking around on graves of those who went before ... those who have passed on.  They are part of the foundations and the path upon which you walk ... Stop, pause for a moment and think on that.  The saints of old ... stories about their faith ... Stop, and think and be encouraged.  

Hebrews 12
 1Therefore, 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. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The Message puts it beautifully ...
1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. 

Be encouraged that although you stumble and fall ... you have a great cloud of witnesses cheering you on ... cheering for you to run your race and to finish strong ... walking in the crypts and seeing the graves in the churches reminded me of the saints who have gone before.  Much of what we have is because of the legacy they laid down.  Those who have gone before us are not just the saints of old ... think of the legacies of faith in the people God brought into your life.  Friends ... family ... those who have been running their race and running it strong ... be encouraged by their walks.  You will find that they have the same thing in common as the great cloud of witnesses ... you will find it in Hebrews 12 vs 2 ... Let us fix our eyes on Jesus ...

Another beautiful thing about the old cathedrals is the architecture is designed to lift the eyes ... 

The Psalmist had a bit to say about that in the opening of Psalm 121 when he said, "I will lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?".  The point is not the hills ... the point is "I will LIFT MY EYES ..."  or as Hebrews clearly lays out for us ... fix our eyes on Jesus.

Dwell on the rest of that Psalm (a Psalm of ascents) for a moment ...

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—

 where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD, 

 the Maker of heaven and earth.

 3 He will not let your foot slip— 

 he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel 

       will neither slumber nor sleep.

 5 The LORD watches over you— 

 the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

 6 the sun will not harm you by day, 

    nor the moon by night.

 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— 

       he will watch over your life;
 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going 

       both now and forevermore.

We all stumble and fall and get muddy ... but when you do ... know two things from the cathedrals ... you have those who went before you ... also people who got muddy ... who fell ... who failed ... but pick yourself up!  Lift your eyes ... take courage from the journeys of those who have gone before ... and finish strong.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Be. Still.

"Be still and know that I am God"
Ps 46:10

The Message puts this scripture another way.  "Step out of the traffic!  Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything".

Most of us are familiar with this scripture.  But sometimes, we skim over without taking time to dig down deep and really know what it is talking about.  Lets break it down and have a look.  

Still  - comes from the Hebrew word Raphah.  This word means:-
to sink, relax, sink down, let drop; sink, relax, abate; relax, withdraw;  to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain, forsake, let go; to be quiet.

Wow.  There is so much in this one word.  When I read the word "sink", I think of a load off, just sinking down and breathing out a long sigh, "aahhh" - the weight is off and I can stop.  

The idea of abate and withdraw is also a strong one.  This coming school year, I am on Sabbatical.  This means I have a year away from work, (I will be continuing with my Masters study).  So right now, I resonate strongly with those words abate and withdraw.  I know for sure that this is a big part of what Sabbatical is about for me personally.  I can't even describe how insane my life has been.  This past year particularly so.  Between working, studying and chairing our Dongdaewon campaign, I have reached the end of myself. I have nothing in me to give right now and I am running on empty.  My tanks have not been this low for about 12 and a half years - when I finished my ministry internship.  To have a year out of the madness is a gift, and not one I intend to squander.  It is almost a detoxifying process for me.  

I have been caught up of the mad roundabout of life ... spinning faster and faster.  The roundabout has been a blur, the music is frenzied, there is a whine in the engine and smoke is billowing.   And I, am empty.  Completely empty.  Right now, I don't even know how to draw close to God.  He has never left,   but I have never stopped and that busy-ness is seriously damaging to relationships, including our one with God.  

This year is a time to be still ... a time to recharge and meet with my God.  When I reach the end of my Sabbatical and look back, above all else, I want to be able to say that I was still and that I KNOW my God.  I have a lot of thoughts sparking this morning on all of this, and I will be posting them here as i pick them apart over the days to come.

For now ... I am just going to sink and go "aaaahhhh".

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Add One to the Faith Hall of Fame

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. 

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
(Hebrews 11)

The heroes in Hebrews 11 weren't heroes because of their achievements.  They were heroes because of their faith.  Today there is a new hero in the faith hall of fame.  Last night my beloved friend Claire went home to be with the one who loves us so much more than we ever could know.  I have introduced Claire to you before on the blog.  She was diagnosed several years ago with terminal liver cancer and God worked a miracle.  Her story is here.  

Not too long ago, I had an email to say her markers were up and they were concerned the cancer was back.  Her liver was fine but they discovered she had adrenal cancer.  Things weren't going too well.  Several weeks ago, I awoke with an overwhelming sense that I needed to go home and see Claire, that she would not be around at Christmas (when I would next be home), so I took some personal leave and flew home.  We had a great visit - several visits.  I did not tell my friend I came home for her, as she was clinging to life and believing for healing.  I had a strong sense that her time was short. 

Claire to me, is one of the heroes of faith that Hebrews talks about.  She saw the promise, she believed for healing.  She knew God could heal, she chose to believe he would heal and she clung to him ... as the storms raged, she turned her face towards his ... as the waves shook, the ground trembled and more bad reports came ... she clung to her loved family, and she clung to Jesus.  Claire saw the promise from afar, and died without having attained it.

Our last conversation was full of God ... full of love and full of grace.  I could see that she wanted so desperately to live but my sense was God was calling her home.  This past week as I would think of her and pray for her, I had a picture of two trapezes - the point where they come together and the trapeze artist moves from one trapeze to the next.  However in my minds eye, I could see Claire with a hand on each trapeze ... clinging to life, her loved family ... and the other trapeze calling her away from them, to let go and go with God.  I cannot imagine her journey.  I cannot imagine what it is to be 39 years old with a husband you love, boys you love, a life that you love, and have to let that go.  It seems premature, but maybe a month ago, I was comforted with the scripture in Phil 1:6 "being confident of this,  that he who began a good work in you will see it through to completion in Christ Jesus".  I felt that God was saying that when Claire's race was finished, his work would be complete.  It is not premature.  Her journey was complete.  God's work in her was complete.  

The thing with death is that it is a lonely journey.  In Claire's case, she had huge support from her church and family ... but still in the end ... this transition is one that only each of us can walk.  Our friends and family cannot make that walk with us until it is their time.  As I meditated on that, I was thinking how it is not a journey we make alone.  We have a saviour who walked that road.  I thought of Gesthemane and how Jesus faced that journey ... he didn't want to go there either.  He knew the difficulty of making that transition and has walked it. I thought of my friend and prayed that God would show her the way, walk beside her, ease her pain and help her to make the transition.  I prayed that if God would not heal her, that he would ease her suffering and take her home.  And God has.  And I am sad.

That is the difficulty for those who are left behind.  We grieve and we mourn and we have a huge hole.  Please pray for Richard and James, Tom and Sam, along with their extended family and friends as they are left grieving the loss of their dear one.

I want to close with Claire's own words:
As I lay sick in my bed for months I simply reached out to God himself and He touched me. I sought the healer rather than the healing. I learnt to live in His presence and He comforted me. I knew joy in the midst of turmoil, peace that passes understanding and His love being poured out over my life ... God walked with me hand in hand. I communed with Him and entered into the ‘holy of holies’. When God walks with you, you have no fear. Even though I looked death in the face it had no sting, as the bible says. I had no fear of dying because I knew where I was going and who I was going to be with, if I was to die. Whether God healed me or not I would win. 

Claire ... You won.  You ran an amazing race.  I thank you for the good times, for the love, for the joy of being with you on the mountaintops and the privilege of walking a tiny part of the way with you in the valleys.  Run free my friend and enjoy being able to sit at his feet and gaze upon his face.  He has you.  We will miss you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I See You

There is a line in Avatar that gripped me when I heard it and has stayed with me since.

"I see you".

Selah.  Pause and think about that for a moment in terms of us and God.  Imagine him looking at you.  Speaking your name.  LOOKING at you.  When he sees you, he sees you.  Think about it like this:
I ... SEE you ...

I ... see you ...

I see ... YOU!

I bet you on the last one, if you paused to think, you also squirmed and immediately thought of all your short comings and failures.  When God looks at you and I, he SEES us.  All of us.  That is all that he created us to be.  The "what is now", and the "what is to come".  That which we are, and that which we are yet to attain.  He does not look at us and see what we have achieved and haven't achieved.  He does look at us and identify us by our "doings".  He looks at us and sees our "being" - that which he created us to be - in all it's fulness.

Currently we are reading John for bible study and as i was reading through Chapter 1, this concept gripped me.  It's an overarching theme all through Chapter 1.  In brief, lets see it in action ...

Start with Jesus ... John Ch 1:1-5 (very old Carman song runs in my head each time I say John 1 ... bad 80s thing ... you had to be there ... ).  So we SEE Jesus.  Who is he?

  • the Word
  • with God
  • was in the beginning
  • God
  • Creator
  • Life
  • Light
  • Overcomer

We are introduced to John the Baptist.  He SEES Jesus. 

  • witness to the light (and was so from in the womb when he recognised Jesus)
  • the revealer ... in vs 11 he saw Jesus ..."this is he ..."
  • sees Jesus as the lamb of God
  • sees God see Jesus ...  picture that as the voice from heaven speaks ... "this is my son in whom I am pleased ..."  God is speaking to Jesus.  Hello ... I SEE you ...
In vs 40 we see Andrew running off to Peter saying he has found the Messiah.  In other words, Andrew met Jesus and SAW him.

In vs 42, Jesus meets Simon and sees him.  All of him ... in the rough!  He looks at Simon and gives him a new name - Peter.  Names in Jewish culture were very important.  Your name said who you were.  Simon Bar Jona means "He who hears with a heart to obey as a son
of the Spirit".  Simon means "to hear".  The place they believe Jesus taught this message is in a location of huge Bedrock which has a lot of little rocks around.  It is a place where the locals used to worship the god 'Pan' (god of the shepherds) & the god Baal (god of fertility).  Simon had to have spiritual hearing to have caught what Christ was saying.  Are you hearing it?

Christ (the Rock) is the huge bedrock and 
Cephas or Peter (rock) is the portion of rock which comes from the bedrock. Jesus sees Peter ... the rock.  Was he that yet?  No ... but as Jesus looked at him, he saw all of him - that he was then and that which he would become - the rock hewn out of the bedrock.  "Hello Peter. I see YOU".

In vs 47, Jesus meets Nathanael.  His response to Nathanael is, "Ah.  Here is an Israelite in whom there is nothing false."  Nathanael is transparent to Jesus.  "Hello Nathanel. I SEE you."

It's not just John 1 either.  It's all through the Bible.  Abraham and God talk.  Abraham sees his barrenness.  God sees him - the father of many.  God meets Gideon.  "Hello mighty warrior".  Gideon is looking around saying, "er not me.  Nope.  I am from a weak family ... and I am the least of them".  But God is saying, "I see you".  Keep reading ... its everywhere!

So where does that leave us this morning?  God sees us.  He sees you.  He sees me.  He SEES us.  In full 3-d living color.  All of us ... width, breadth and depth.  He sees that which we are and that which we have not yet attained.  It is no different to him.  It is us.  The us he created us to be.  We however, look in the mirror and see a hazy, blemished, cracked image.  The we that we are not.  Listen to that!  The image is false.  The cracks and blemishes are in the mirror not us.  People, we need to change the mirror.  We need to hold him before us and look at reflection in the mirror of Christ.  I think you will find it a vastly different image to the one you are looking at right now.  

Some of you are squirming.  It's uncomfortable to be looking at a clear reflection when we don't like ourselves isn't it.  Look at yourself.  Stand and look.  God says of you and I,  "we are fearfully and wonderfully made - in his image no less".  (Ps 139).  Can you stand and look at yourself , see yourself as God does ... one of his art-pieces and then declare, "your work is wonderful?".  You may have some difficulty.  2 years ago, I felt God speak to me and tell me that I had been looking in a cracked mirror for too long and my self perception was skewed.  I felt led to ask some Godly friends who I trust, to act as mirrors for me.  I asked them to take time with God to pray for me and see me, then to write down who they saw me to be ... good and bad!  They had to describe me. My friends looked at me with godly eyes, and said, "I see you".  I sat and journalled before reading these, and asked God to tell me how he saw me.  I wrote down what i felt he said, whether I agreed or not and then sat back to look at it in the context of all the mirrors I had.   I  looked for the common threads.  It wasn't comfortable, but it was a very healing thing to do.  

Today, as you contemplate yourself and God, know he looks at you and sees you.  Allow that to transform your heart.  Allow yourself to see as He sees.  Allow yourself to BE.