Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Spoiler

WARNING ** The following post contains a spoiler for the movie Sister Act **

I trust that you all know me well enough by now to know that I do not consider myself any more amazing than anyone else. I don't think I need to remind you of my many shortcomings, although you are welcome to go
here to read them.

But... in fairness to the great feats my friends have undertaken to make sure I know this... yes I do know that there are some of you out there that think I am amazing.

Today, two people commented on my amazingness. (I still feel guilty writing a post about how amazing I am). The first was a 'just because'comment from a friend who wanted to be sure I knew how she felt. The second was in appreciation for my calmness in calling an ambulance and relaying information this morning at church when a little baby stopped breathing. The baby is now fine, the breathing difficulties were a reaction to reflux.

So, for the record, I accept your compliments and, though I do not feel worthy, I believe that you feel this way and I thank you. But here's the spoiler - it's not me!

Have you seen the movie Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg?

Remember the shy nun Sister Mary Robert who had the tiniest little voice and Whoopi got her to sing amazingly well? Well, guess what, it wasnt her singing! Wendy Makkena was acting and her songs were sung by Andrea Robinson!

Its a spoiler for me, because that was one of the great themes in the movie, how she was able to find that inner talent/beauty and make it shine. I know that some of you see things in me which you think are great. And I do pray that you will see in me something that inspires. But I have to share with you the spoiler - it's not me!

Paul says in Philippians "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose". Not only does God enable me to do what I do, he even gives me the desire to do it! I could do nothing without Him. Seriously! I might be a good actor, but I would be off beat and off key without His Spirit in me.

If you see any hint of love for the unlovely, if any glimpse of joy through sorrow or stress, if any peacefullness during calamity, if any patience in trying circumstances (you might have to look a bit harder for that one ;), if any kindness to those who are nasty, if there is any goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self control, it's not me!

And I know I said it
last post, but it will remain true for all that's left of this time on earth. It is only through submitting our lives to Jesus, through reading the Bible, prayer and by God's work in us, that any of those things can be real in our life.

So thankyou, I appreciate your applause, but all credit goes to the One behind the scenes that gives Life to the performance.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Start Acting Like It!

I heard a story this morning about a time when a church nearly split over where someone was parking their car. I'm guessing there was a problem of attitudes, both the person insisting they should park their car there, and those inconvenienced by this choice. I know I am a very young and inexperienced pastors wife, but a carpark? really? In many years I might look back and see how naive I was disbelieving that this is any cause for division, but for now, I am absolutely astounded.

And I pray that as I age, and by the grace of God, inconveniences will never cause me to be angry, or to anger others. Ahh, thats not some pot-luck old lady thing is it? I have to start it now. We have some terrific older people in our congregation, many of whom I can say "I want to be like them". But its not an accident they are like that. Selfishness is too ingrained in us to naturally let things slide. It's only God's love that brings about those selfless traits. And its only God's Spirit who can do that in us.

So, I'm sorry for passing judgement on the whole car parking issue, I'll use it to remind me (and you ;) of the need for Love like His.

And if I do, I will be patient. I will be kind. I wont envy. I wont boast. I will not be proud. I wont be rude. I will not be self seeking. I wont be easily angered. I will not keep a record of wrongs. I will rejoice with the truth and I will always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere. (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)

I want to be an old lady like that. And I want to be a woman like that now. I want to be a mother like that, a friend like that, and a wife like that.

I like it how the Message puts it

"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end."
1 Corinthians 13:4-6

I asked Hannah yesterday what she would say to a particular young friend if she asked "What should I do if I want to be a Christian?" Hannahs response - "Start acting like it!"

Of course there began a teachable moment about Christianity being a relationship with God beginning with beleiving in Jesus and choosing to follow Him, but her perception was good - those who follow Jesus should be acting like it. In the sermon on the Mount Jesus said "By their fruit you will know them".

By spending time in the Bible and in prayer, through the work of the Holy Spirit in me, I'm gunna "start acting like it!"

Peace Out.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Return

Do you remember the time Jesus and I went on a date? Now you probably don't, 'cause this particular event happened 15 months ago, but I was reminded of it today in a very special way.

The date I'm referring to was a special occasion when I felt that God was asking me to give some money to a lady who couldnt afford glasses. I really wasnt sure how it would go or what she would think. Most people aren't used to others giving them money out of the blue. It went better than I expected actually, but as is often the case, I did not get to see the final result. And that is OK.

Today, however, 15 months later, after not having seen the lady for about 9 months, I saw her at work. She told me with an excited expression how much easier it was to drive now, and how she could see the computer screen at work. Actually when she saw me walk in, she told me to wait at the desk while she went out to the back office to get them just to show me.

Im not taking any credit for the gift, it was God's idea. And I'm really praying that she doesnt think about ME when she appreciates her new gift of sight. I pray that she'll shake her head and wonder why that crazy follower of Jesus would do something so outrageous. And I pray one day she will wonder why this Jesus would do something so outrageous as to give His life for her. And I pray she will bow the knee to the King of Kings who loved her so much he gave her some glasses to show that He cares.

Do you have a date planned this week? Better check your calendar :)

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Bryce made me a gerbera garden for my birthday. I LOVE gerberas. A friend told me last week they are the smile of the garden and my garden is well and truly smiling. One of the little gerberas wasn't smiling for a week or so though, it was a bit traumatised by the whole planting experience.

Bryce was eager to get the gerberas out of their pots and into the newly prepared holes in the garden bed. The potted plants needed a bit of roughing up around the roots to get them ready for the soil, but he was a little too heavy handed on the first gerbera and it didnt take kindly to having some of its roots broken. It spent its first week in the soil with all of its leaves and its two flowers limp and lying on the ground. It was still alive, but had no strength. We watered them every day and even covered this struggling one to protect it from the sun and it's just starting to look better this week.

Sometimes our replanting in life can leave us feeling weak and unable to stand. It's sometimes like God picks you up out of your little pot where you have been comfortably living, only to rip away your network of roots and leave you seemingly fending for yourself in a hot and dry environment.

But that little gerbera wasnt left to fend for itself. Many times a day we all would go outside to see how it was doing. The kids would water it with their mini watering can "just like daddy's", Bryce and I would water it once a day and make sure it was protected from the afternoon sun. We knew that its life in the pot would be limited, but if it survived in the garden it could go on living and growing for countless seasons.

The little gerbera did have a rough time, but all that breaking of roots has enabled it to start putting out its own roots. The change in environment will, in the end, be for its good, though I'm sure it doesnt feel like that at the moment.

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and have been called according to his purpose."Romans 8:28

You might have had a rough time lately, but know that you have not been left to fend for yourself (even though it might feel like it). You might be weak and unable to stand, but God is caring for you, protecting you and nourishing you so that you can fulfil a greater purpose.

God uses everything that happens in our life to bring about some good. Sometimes we see the fruit of others coming to know Him, sometimes we see the growth in ourselves, sometimes we see others blossom in the relationship and service with Him, other times the growth is under the surface and not for us to see. But God can and does use any situation to grow us, and bring glory to Him.

Whether you have just been replanted, are weathering a dry season or are standing tall, remember to drink deeply of His living water today.

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