Sep 052011
 

 

 

 

 

“There was once a little boy named Mike. When he just was a toddler, he wanted a sand box and his mother said, ‘That’ll be good’, but his father said, ‘There goes the back yard. There’ll be sand all over the place and it will kill the grass.’ The little boy’s mother smiled and said back, ‘The grass will grow back.’

When Mike was 5 he wanted a jungle gym that would enable him to climb into the sky and swings that would take his breath away. His father said, ‘If we put that thing in the back yard, every kid in the neighbourhood will be over here. They’ll run back and forth, back and forth and they’ll kill the grass.’ Mike’s mother smiled and said, ‘The grass will grow back.’

Between breaths as he was blowing up the plastic swimming pool, Mike’s father said, ‘You know what? They’re going to condemn this place and make it into a missile site. You won’t be able to take the garbage out without coming back with mud up to your neck. It’s going to kill the grass.’ And Mike’s mother smiled and said, ‘The grass will grow back.’

When Mike was 12, he volunteered his yard for a campout. When the neighbourhood boys drilled the spikes into the ground and stomped around with their big feet, Mike’s father looked out the window and said, ‘Why don’t I just save myself the trouble and put the grass seed in cereal bowls … I know, I know, the grass will grow back.’

The basketball hoop on the side of the garage drew a bigger crowd than the summer Olympics. The barren spot under the hoop got larger and larger until it encompassed the whole side yard. And just when it looked as though new grass was going to take root, winter came, snow fell, and sled runners beat the grass into the ground. Mike’s father said, ‘Lord, I never asked for much in this life, just a few crummy blades of grass.’ Mike’s mother smiled and said, ‘The grass will grow back.’

… Well the grass this year was beautiful. It rolled out like a carpet, like a green sponge out along the driveway where bicycles once fell, out along the flowerbeds where little boys once dug with tea spoons, but Mike’s father never saw the grass. Instead his eyes were lifted beyond the yard and he said with a catch in his voice, ‘He will come back, he will come back, he will come back, won’t he?’

Reflection Questions:

  1. When it comes to your life, are you focused on ‘things’ other than your relationships? Remember, people are what is most important in life.
  2. What is the ‘grass’ for you?
  3. Could you be missing something that you might regret later? No one on their death bed said, “I wish I spent more time at the office!”
Aug 312011
 

I really do enjoy following the blog of Mark Conner ( http://markconner.typepad.com/ ) and this is a post he shared concerning Forgiveness. May it challenge, encourage and inspire you as it did me.

Corrie ten Boom – the Power of Forgiveness

Corrie Forgiveness is never easy – even when someone apologises and asks for it …

Corrie ten Boom spent spent time in Nazi concentration camps for hiding Jews in her home during the Holocaust. 52 and unmarried, she had lived at home with her elderly father and older sister Betsie. All three of them had been sent to concentration camps when the Nazis discovered they had been hiding the Jewish refugees.

Corrie lost her freedom, her dignity, and her beloved sister and father in few months in those concentration camps. In God’s providence, Corrie was released due to a clerical error, just one week before the other women in Ravensbruck her age were executed.

After the war Corrie was invited to speak all over the world, and she tirelessly traveled the globe, thankful for every opportunity she was given to tell people about Christ. She always marveled at God’s infinite mercy toward sinners like us.

She also knew that everyone who had received God’s mercy had no choice but to show mercy to others; and she knew from her own experience that wasn’t always easy. In her book The Hiding Place she tells the following story:

“It was in a church in Munich that I saw him — a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.

It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever …’

The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947. People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.

And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor; the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

[Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at the concentration camp where we were sent.]

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’

“And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me, of course — how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women? But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me. ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out — ’will you forgive me?’

“And I stood there — I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven — and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking? It could not have been many seconds that he stood there — hand held out — but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

Aug 192011
 

189

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a police officer saw a car puttering along at 26 KPH. He thinks to himself: “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.

Approaching the car, he noticed that there were five old ladies, two in the front seat and three in the back … wide eyed and white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, said to him, “Officer, I don’t understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?” “Ma’am,” the officer replies, “You weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly … Twenty-two kilometers an hour!” … the old woman said a bit proudly. The police officer, trying to contain a chuckle then explained to her that 26 is the highway number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

“But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask … Is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken, and they haven’t made a peep this whole time,” the officer asked. “Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute officer. We just got off Highway 189.”

Jul 042011
 

 

 

 

Here is a bit of a tongue in cheek look at what the perfect church minister should look like.
The Perfect Pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes. He condemns sin roundly, but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 a.m. until midnight, and is also the church cleaner.

The Perfect Pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church. He is 29 years old and has 40 years’ worth of experience. Above all, he is handsome.

The Perfect Pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church. He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.

The Perfect Pastor always has time for church meetings and all of its committees, never missing the meeting of any church organization. And he is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.

The Perfect Pastor is always in the next town over!

Jun 282011
 

 

 

 

 

When I sit with couples who are about to be married I love to have them write down their expectations for marriage and then I love to catch up with them after a year or so and see how those expectations are going. I recently came across a list that a lady put down before even meeting her husband to be and I thought it was excellent and it can fit for any man or woman as they prepare to meet the person they will live with for the rest of their life. Sometimes a man or lady just have the attitude that they are just wanting to meet someone and do not really care what the principles of their soon to be husband or wife are or what they would like to see in their marriage they just want to be married…. a recipe for disaster!

The List:

I want someone who…

- loves God with his whole heart.

- wants to talk to me everyday, 30 times a day if that’s what I need that day.

- can’t wait to see me again

- is always thinking about me

- surprises me, in good ways from the little to the big

- plans dates for me

- follows through on what he says he’s going to do

- is consistent in his actions and behavior

- doesn’t disappear

- reassures me of his feelings for me with his actions and words

- wants the whole world to know how he feels about me, isn’t afraid to show it or say it

- puts me first, after God.

- is not afraid of my sensitivities, scars and wounds but wants to be a part of healing them

- always makes time for me no matter what else is going on.

- pursues me

What about you? What are you looking for in a spouse. Nobody is perfect, for sure, but I honestly believe it’s a good idea to set the bar high. Create a list today, why don’t you? And if your married why not create a list of your expectations for your marriage moving forward….. it is never to late!

Jun 142011
 

 

 

 

I’m not sure my 9 year old daughter is ready for every story the Bible has to offer but there are a number of people who go out of their way to make much of the bible relate to kids. Here is a completely fun post by Lindsey Whitney who shares one way we could adapt one particular Bible story for kids. Enjoy!

Kid-ifying wild Bible stories. By Lindsey Whitney

There was once a mean king, Eglon was his name
He lived in Moab, and great was his fame

He was quite pudgy, so pudgy in fact
He could eat a whole cow and call it a snack!

The Israelite people said “Let’s get rid of this king
He’s simply too mean, but how to do such a thing?”

They prayed to the Lord, and God sent to the land
A great warrior named Ehud, a sword in his hand

The thing about Ehud, it was a little bit strange
He fought left-handed, it gave him more range

Ehud went to the palace, he and the king had a meeting
Ehud brought a gift, and of course there was eating

A secret message I have, Ehud said at the throne
“Quiet!” said the king, and all left them alone

The king rose from his seat to be able to hear
Ehud reached for his sword as the king drew near

A tricky move, a left-hand stab
The sword sunk so deep it was beyond Ehud’s grab

The fat closed in around the handle
The king was caught off guard by that left-handed angle

The king fell over dead, now what to do?
Ehud thought, “I’ll trick his servants into thinking he’s going poo”

Ehud slipped out the back, with the servants outside waiting
What’s that king doing? The wait was exasperating.

They waited so long they were ashamed for the king
The servants came in — “What a frightful thing!”

The king was found dead, and Ehud was coming back
This time with an army and talking smack

The Lord defeated Moab, Israel won that day
And those bewildered servants didn’t know what to say.

Question:
What’s another Bible story we might have to kid-ify?

For more great stuff from Lindsey Whitney, check out her blog, -  http://www.growingkidsministry.com/

May 312011
 

 

 

 

Last year I attended a conference that included a guest speaker from an organisation called TOMS, his name is Blake Mycoskie. TOMS is committed to putting shoes on children who live life without shoes. It was an inspiring talk and challenged me to respond so I went and bought myself a pair of TOMS that look like this:

 

 

 

I am not one to just go to a conference, hear someone speak and then go and buy their book or whatever they are involved in but in this case I was so challenged and I saw such a positive impact through buying a pair of shoes.

Below is some information about TOMS, a poem video that challenges about helping those in need and also the website for Toms. I would love you to contact me if you end up buying a pair of TOMS shoes.

In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:

•A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.

•Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.

•Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.

With every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.

As of September 2010, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world.

WEBSITE for Toms: www.toms.com

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

May 102011
 

 

 

 

Here are a few thoughts about how we see our mother …

THE IMAGES OF MOTHER

At 4 years old we say: “My Mummy can do anything!”
At 8 years old: “My Mum knows a lot! A whole lot!”
At 12 years old: “My Mother doesn’t really know quite everything.”
At 14 years old: “Naturally, Mother doesn’t know that, either.”
At 16 years old: “Mother? She’s hopelessly old-fashioned.”
At 18 years old: “That old woman? She’s way out of date!”
At 25 years old: “Well, she might know a little bit about it.”
At 35 years old: “Before we decide, let’s get Mum’s opinion.”
At 45 years old: “Wonder what Mum would have thought about it?”
At 65 years old: “I wish I could talk it over with Mum.”

May 042011
 

Images-18
Generation expert, Tim Elmore, believes that those who work with young people today need to pay attention to the way we relate if we are to correct some of the damage that has been done with this generation. After working with thousands of parents over the years, Tim has spotted eight damaging parenting styles that dads and mums can fall into without even knowing it. Some are unique to this generation while others have existed for years.

1. Helicopter Parents – they hover too close.

2. Karaoke Parents – they try hard to be cool.

3. Dry-Cleaner Parents – they drop their kids off for others to raise.

4. Volcano Parents – erupt over minor issues.

5. Dropout Parents – let their kids down.

6. Bullied Parents – can’t stand up to their kids.

7. Groupie Parents – treat their children like rock stars.

8. Commando Parents – let rules trump relationship.

(From iGeneration iY- Our Last Chance to Save Their Future)

www.savetheirfuturenow.com is a worth checking out for further insights from Tim Elmore

Apr 082011
 

I hope to post a reflection on the significance of Easter in the coming weeks but if you are looking for a place to attend an Easter service please feel free to come along to Kilsyth South Baptist Church. Details below.