Showing posts from February, 2018

The God of Running, Talents and Passions

Over the past couple of months I have developed a passion for running. 
I am not terribly good at it and I doubt I will take it very far, but something about training hard over the past couple of months has spiked an enthusiasm in me that I cannot really explain. It is during my time running on the road when I am able to clear my mind from stress and think about all the things God has been doing in my life.

Yesterday I completed my first full marathon.  It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but it felt good to complete something that I had worked so long and hard to accomplish.

Some of you might be wondering why someone would run for hours, putting themselves through extreme pain just to receive a T-shirt and a medal.

I don't blame you. I used to wonder the same.

Not everyone is passionate about the same thing. Not everyone has the same talents or skills. But I believe that God blesses everyone with talents, skills and passions that they can then use to glori…

Thursdays in Black

At Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary, we are encouraged to support the Thursdays in Black campaign. Every Thursday, most of the seminarians and staff wear black in silent protest against the culture of rape and violence (primarily against women) which is prevalent in our world today.

The movement began in Argentina in the 1970's when women would gather together and wear black armbands in honour of their daughters and sisters who were disappearing in numbers.

The campaign has recently renewed its vigour with the aim of "standing in solidarity with women who have died at the hands of their partners while signifying a desire to make a difference in the world."

My concern with movements such as this is that they can quickly become a habit and the significance of such a protest is lost when it merely becomes a meaningless routine. We get comfortable in the routine of it where in reality, it should be making us uncomfortable.

One of my seminarian friends recently made the comm…

Repaint! Repaint!

Jock, the painter, would often thin his paint so that it would go further. So when the Church decided to do some maintenance, Jock was able to put in the most affordable quote, and got the job. As always, he thinned his paint way down with turpentine.
One day while he was up on the scaffolding -- the job almost finished -- he heard a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened.
The downpour washed the thinned paint off the church walls and knocked Jock off his scaffold.
Jock knew this was a warning from God, so he got on his knees and cried: “Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?”
And from the thunder, a mighty voice: “REPAINT! REPAINT! AND THIN NO MORE!”

How often do we have a similar approach to God's love for us? Our faith is so thin that it is not able to withstand the storms that come.
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" -1 John 3:1a (NIV) "Jesus also used this illustration…

Your Kingdom Come

In my previous post, I mentioned that in order for us to live a fulfilling life, we need to align ourselves with God's purpose for the world.

This brings us to the question: "What is God's purpose for the world?"

I believe that God's purpose is revealed in the words and works of Jesus Christ.

Many of us have grown up to believe that Jesus was born and lived on Earth so that our sins could be forgiven and we could go to heaven when our worldly bodies die.

However, while forgiveness and hope for life after death is important, the Gospels focus less on these 2 purposes than we might imagine.
Jesus did not come to earth on an evacuation mission to get us into heaven, but to bring God's kingdom to earth. - Brian Mclaren
Mclaren notes that our "evacuation theology" would require a very different prayer from the one that Jesus gave us. He claims that if forgiveness and going to heaven were Jesus' main purposes for us then the Lord's Prayer should h…

Playing Second Fiddle

I'm sure we have all come across the phrase of playing second fiddle. According to the dictionary, it means to "have a subordinate role to someone or something; be treated as less important than someone or something."

Image Source: Larisa Birta
I found the origin of this phrase fascinating. In an orchestra, the string players (particularly the 2nd violinists) are said to often feel insignificant to the other musicians. The main reason for this is because there are so many violinists and because their parts are often duplicated by other instruments.

As a result of this, it is common for 2nd violinists to develop a laxness in both their practice schedules and their performances.

On the other hand, 1st trumpeters and 1st oboists tend to be the most dedicated members in an orchestra because their contribution is considered very noticeable and important.

Human beings were created to be intentional, purposeful beings. If a person cannot find a sense of purpose in what they do, …

Pre-Game Routine

Most serious sports stars have a very particular pre-game routine.

Some routines may seem like silly superstitions: Wayne Rooney eats coco pops, Neil Mckenzie taped his cricket bat to the ceiling, John Terry used the same shin pads for 10 years, Lebron James throws chalk in the air.

Other routines are more intentional: Going to bed early the night before an event, doing a proper warm-up/stretching routine, running a favourite play/move, etc.

After months of training and preparation, these pre-game routines ensure that athletes are fully prepared to focus on the important task before them.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail"
- Benjamin Franklin What if we considered our pre-churchroutine?

How often do we stay up late on Saturday, sleep in on Sunday, scavenge frantically to find our bible, rush to church, and let our minds wander during the service?

Then we wonder why it feels like we haven't had a true worship encounter, often blaming the minister's mes…

Child-like or Childish?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:1-3 (NIV) I have loved using this verse to suit my own agenda in the past. 
As a teenager, I was often getting myself into trouble for foolish reasons. When my elders informed me that I was acting childish I would pull this verse out of my arsenal, declaring that Jesus asked his followers to act like little children, therefore I had every right to be childish if I felt like it.
However, this was a childish response. I have since learnt that this was not Jesus' intention with this statement.

Jesus instructed his followers to be child-like, not childish.

Small children have to rely on their parents for many things - guidance, advice, sustenance, etc.

But as we grow old…

The Song Inside

One of my favourite movies of all time is August Rush.

The premise of the movie is as follows: A Boy is separated from his parents and orphaned from birth. The boy grows up with no access to music in a strict orphanage. However, the boy feels like there is some type of song deep within his soul that still connects him to his parents. He decides to "follow the music" inside of him. He runs away from the orphanage and can't help but express his song in whatever way he can. Eventually, his song is heard by others and becomes so popular that it is played in front of thousands of people. The boy's parents happen to hear the boy's song and are drawn towards him, eventually reuniting the whole family in the typical Hollywood happily ever after ending.

It is a powerful movie about music, love and never giving up.

Maybe it is just the musician in me, but I believe that - just as the boy in the movie had a song inside of him that drew him to find his paren…

Joyful Encounters

God's grace is evident in so many various aspects of our lives. One area where I see this is in the opportunity that we are given to enjoy life, even amidst the busyness and frustrations that we face every day.

Life gets messy. We often find ourselves in situations where we are constantly being aggravated - by work, school, friends, family, even sometimes by the church.

Whatever the situation, if we spend our days frustratingly having to do things that we don't take pleasure in, we can easily feel down-heartened and it can easily feel like we are living without purpose.
"There is nothing better for a person than he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This is God's gift to man." - Ecclesiastes 2:24 (ESV) One of God's many gifts to us is our ability to find happiness and enjoyment even during the busy, demanding periods of our lives.

I have met a number of people who live out this value in their lives on a daily basis. Even during their most bo…