Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
These Lyrics are a reflection of the gift of creation and beauty God has given us. All I can do when I am over whelmed by that beauty is praise my Lord and saviour.
We flew over Alaska; we saw the frozen mountains pierce the clouds. It was beautiful.
We felt the waves of New Zealand; the water shimmered beneath a moonlight shroud. It was beautiful.
Close to home in an ordinary room we felt You there.
It's my favorite memory.
You're so beautiful. The spring in Appalachia, with flowers swaying above the fields of green. It was beautiful.
Driving in New England, the road littered with bright October leaves. It was beautiful.
Close to home in an ordinary room we felt You there. It's my favorite memory. You're so beautiful to me.
Thanks for the songs, these seven friends and eight good years. It is You that made them sweet, it was beautiful.
Pictures looking back, just snapshots of the past cannot compare, to feeling what we felt, through anything that came, that You were there.
A thousand smiling faces, backlit and bouncing to the beat. It was beautiful.
As many soaring voices, forever changed by Your mercy. It was beautiful.
Far away from all the lights and noise we felt You there. It's my favorite memory. You're so beautiful to me.
Thanks for the songs, these seven friends and eight good years. It is You that made them sweet. You're so beautiful to me.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were the seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet , and with two they were flying. And the were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty:
The whole earth is full of his glory”
The earth is the LORD’s. and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.
The earth is Gods, It was created to give glory to him and in a sense, it is filled with the glory of God, it is filled with his weight, his significant. Everything that has been created has been created to bring Glory to God, our LORD and saviour. All that has been made gives praise to God.
In Revelations we see another glimpse of this.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. At one I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashed of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass clear as crystal.
In the centre, around the throne were four living creatures, and they were covering with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God almighty
Who was, and is and is to come.”
This passage seems pretty confusing, I’m not even going to go into talking about the meaning behind the seven spirits of God etc, etc, probably because I would get it wrong. So I’m going to keep it simple before I end up looking stupid. The first part of this scripture talks about the indescribable beauty of God, and his wonderful power and glory. When prophets have written about God it always seems to turn into mish mash of words because what they have seen is so amazing and astounding, they cannot put the words together to explain what they see. Glimpses of heaven are like this, I know in my personal life, I have had these moments, moments of breathtaking beauty, some of them I have tried to take photos of or written down to try and carry a glimpse of that moment of heaven around with me always.
The most memorable occasion of this was in Russia. I was attempting to try and sing songs in Russian, and trying to learn the Cyrillic at the same time, and for the first couple of days in Russia it was really hard, the first glimpse of God I got was when I was singing Russian songs, and I realised that there were about three or four different groups of people from all corners of the world, for me that was a glimpse of heaven, I started to realise what is was going to be like, all the saints singing in unity in heaven, this added another level to praise and worship
Another moment on this trip was when me and Andre met up early in the morning and ended up having a praise and worship time together, this was just another amazing time. I can’t describe the unity, the presence of the spirit or the the realization of total communion and fellowship with one another.
Again from Russia, on the second trip, we arrived back at our base camp in Irkutsk, had dinner, and then went home. We were then invited for desert at Pavels place (I know I’ve spelt this wrong, I apologise) The table was laid out with food and it was just an amazing blessing of a time we spent together. They then told us that we were the first foreigners they had had in their house. It was a real blessing to share those moments with them, and be generously blessed by them through the food and the fellowship we shared with them.
Another Time I personally remember seeing the beauty of God in the everyday was when me and my good friend Andrew Purini on a trip up at riversdale in the Wairapa went out to see the sunrise, it was just amazing, I guess the other amazing moment was a women who was up there as well with her son came up to me and Andrew P and we got talking, found out she was a Christian and we prayed together and she prophesied over us. It was a really special God moment. We had just breathed in an amazing sight, a wonderful sunrise, which was just so special and amazing.
Many times, particularly in Pentecostal churches, we go up at the front of God, seeking a special touch from God, we get zapped, we see things differently for a while then things sometimes fizzle out. But we should seek out the abiding presence of God. God is with us in the everyday moments. As it says in the bible “The whole earth is filled with his glory”. Gods glory pervades All Creation.
Lets ask a couple of questions
Who created the world?
What did he say about it?
That it was Good
Who created Humanity?
What Did he say about it?
That it was very Good
So why do we miss these moments, what is so wrong with us that we miss the beauty and splendor in all things.
Lewis, paraphrased by John Piper in his work the “Dangerous duty of delight” states: “‘We are far too easily pleased.’ Almost all of Christs Commands are motivated by ‘the unblushing promises of reward.’ Based on ‘the staggering nature of rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our LORD finds our desires not too strong, but too weak”
In his sermon, “Beauty” Erwin McManas discussed this idea, he talks about his journey of discovery when it came to top quality coffee. When he came to the U.S. from El Salvador he would buy coffee and discover that it was too strong for his tastes. He had to train himself to accept good quality coffee, instead of the coffee which he used to drink. He also told the story of how he got a job at a steak house, he was used to eating well done steak, he asked for well done steak and was told that the restaurant did not do well done, he argued a while with the chef, who was disgusted that he would want well done steak. The chef then told him that he would make him a medium rare steak and if he didn’t enjoy it, he would cook him a well done steak. He ate the steak, and rejoiced in the occasion. The chef then said to him that he reserved the worst steak for those who ordered well done, and the best for those who ordered medium rare. He said that Erwin's taste buds had learned to accept the worst steaks rather than the best. Erwin again had to retrain himself.
As humanity we have done this as well, our desires are too week, we end up taking second best, taking phony cons rather than accepting the real deal in life. Rather than accepting the beauty and the glorious gifts that God has to offer us, we take second best.
Finally what ever is true. Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is love, whatever is admirable – if anything is praiseworthy – think about such things
- If I want to grow in the awareness of God all the times this is a really good guide in refocusing, training our taste buds too the good and the beautiful and praiseworthy.
Anyway, so what point am I trying to make, I guess that God is in everything, the sacred and the secular, creation and in hardship. God is in all these moments. We need to seek him out. Gods beauty is there to be discovered. We should embrace the beauty in all the times of life, and live life to the full.
In these occasions, when we see glimpses of heaven, we not only drink in Gods presence, but we come to realise that there is something bigger and better, there is more to life.
If you want to know more about this subject here are a few resources that can help you.
John Piper “The Dangerous Duty of Delight” – this is from a reformed perspective, its nice a short and pretty easy to read (saying a lot when it comes to Piper)
John Piper “Desiring God” – the unabridged version of “Dangerous Duty of Delight” – More difficult to read!
C.S Lewis “Surprised by Joy”
C.S Lewis “The Weight of Glory”
Erwin McManus “Beauty” – this is a podcast that you can pick up from http://www.mosaic.org/ –
Bob Sjogren and Gerald – “Cat and Dog Theology: Rethinking our relationship with our Master: Living Passionately for the Glory of God” – Again from a reformed position, one of the most life-changing books you will ever read on Christian theology and where our focus in our Christian faith should be. A must read!
Rob Bell – Breath – Part of his Nooma series
Rob Bell “Velvet Elvis” particularly “Tassels”
While they were eating, Jesus took the Bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, “drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink anew with you in my Fathers Kingdom.”
God, we acknowledge that you are in everything, the good times and the bad times, the stunning and the mundane, creation and in pain. We thank you that you sent your only son to earth to reveal your glory to all humanity. We thank you that you came us to show us that way, and to give us a way to come into relationship with you again. Lord you used our brutality, our evil and violence in the form of the death of your son on the cross to do the most beautiful thing ever, show your love, glory and grace. In that moment where there seemed to be absolute despair, there was never-ending hope.
We are astounded by your love, that was shown by your sons brutal death on the cross, what a display of your glory, what a display of your love! We thank you Lord.
Monday, July 02, 2007
This Video was made to support charities helping out in the genocide in Darfur. If you want to learn more about Darfur and the humanitarian efforts going on there go to www.savedarfur.org. We must stop the genocide. The world promised after the Rwandan genocide it would happen again. Well it is and something needs to be done