Archive for March, 2013

Friday = My Day – absolutely anything goes on this day as i will share something that is on my mind in any shape, way or form:

Being Good Friday i think it’s good for this to have an Easter theme. so i will share another one of those ‘Coffee with Jesus’ cartoons I’ve recently discovered:

Coffee with Jesus: a hand in it

I remember watching Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ for Easter one Sunday at the Vineyard church I was pastoring which my friend Mark Baker had strongly encouraged us to do. It is not a nice movie to watch because it is so incredibly violent. But it is a great movie to watch because it is so incredibly violent. It comes closest to giving us an idea of what this weekend was all about.

I think it is so easy to become so comfortable with the cross. We wear it as a symbol. We speak about it or point to it. But generally with a deep “Aaaaah. Look at that. Thank-you Jesus!” kind of emotion which completely forgets the real physical pain and exhaustion and suffering and absolute brokenness Jesus went through for us. And as the cartoon points out, to some extent also because of us.

But maybe we need to be reminded of a Mel Gibson ‘Passion of the Christ’ type of crucifixion when we start dealing with the concept of forgiveness and the people in our lives that we need to forgive. Because without the violent depiction of what the crucifixion really looked like, Jesus line of “Father forgive them” can seem like quite an easy one for Him to throw out [He was God’s Son after all] but when we catch a glimpse of everything He went through – not only the physical breaking of His body, but the humiliation, the abandonment of the crowds and for a short time all of His friends who He had walked the last three years with, the betrayal by Judas, the denials of Peter and lastly, the turning away of God the Father’s face as He hung on that cross covered with all of our sin, then we can start to realise the full extent of that statement.

That is the Jesus who screamed out forgiveness with one of His last breaths from the cross. That is the same Jesus who calls us to forgive anyone and everyone who has hurt us in any way. It is not an unreasonable ask coming from Him. And He promises that through His Holy Spirit He will give us the strength to do what may seem impossible or unimaginable.

The Truth is that extending forgiveness to others sets us free. From anger and bitterness and jealousy and hate which all end up eating us slowly from the inside out. To hold on to unforgiveness is to invite a slow death.

Is there anyone you are needing to forgive today? [might be someone from ten, twenty years ago] I strongly encourage you to do so, and at the foot of the cross [with the One who understands, and gets it] is a great place to speak and work that out.

[for next Friday’s A Nose for a Horn, click here]

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Thursday = Thirsty – this will be an aspect of spiritual enrichment or challenge – whether it is postings of a Psalmthing blog i am currently scribing or a Gospel of Mark video clip i have been making or else just an aspect of following Jesus in terms of loving God, loving people and being personally involved in some aspect of actively loving the ‘least of these’ I will be looking to encourage or challenge people in their relationship with God and the world.

For this starting one I have chosen one of the most simple yet profound cartoons I think I have ever read:

Good Friday

i think that is a great summing up of the gospel. and certainly enough to meditate on as you head towards Friday and Sunday…

this week i am wanting to be purposeful in slowing down a little and focusing on the last week of Jesus’ life. i started reading the last few chapters of John in the laundry today. and i think tbV and i are going to read some of the last week leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection together. may you be encouraged to do the same in the midst of eggs and meals and services and feasting…

[for next Thursday’s How to Ask or Imagine bigger, click here]

On Wednesdays on this blog i will look to focus on an aspect of relationship from singleness to dating to marriage – i have a huge heart for relationships and seeing people be in a great space of contentment wherever they may be on the continuum – making the most of where you’re at and finding ways of celebrating and thriving or stepping things up a little.

Bruce Collins, legend

My most recent best friend [I have a number of these, best is not a ranking figure as in “better than all the rest” but more a descriptive statement of “this is a really quality mate”] is a guy called Bruce Collins or Barista Bruce as he is known on Twitter [follow him @brskln especially if you are an appreciator of coffee] who I met years and years ago at Baptist Summer camp, but who in recent years has become more and more of a really great friend to me.

Our relationship began on somewhat shaky ground if I remember correctly as the group of youth he had brought to Summer Camp was transgressing in some way and I, in whatever role I had on camp that year, had aligned myself with the camp authorities and so I was cross with him and his troops for something or other and he was trying to defend them and I don’t actually remember a whole lot more about that. But a couple of years later I was on camp again as camp pastor and created a space for any of the youth leaders who were struggling with life or love or God or anything and just wanted to talk about it with someone to come and have a meal with me, and I remember a lot of what happened as I got time to really meet Bruce in some of his pain and struggle and our deeper friendship probably started sometime around there.

And there are a LOT of reasons why I love this guy, but one that comes to the fore is that Bruce has thick skin. In the best of ways. He has invited me and allowed me and even encouraged me to watch his life and feel the freedom to speak openly and honestly to him if I see something that is out of line. [and I have done the same with him – I hope I’ve told him that…] And I have done so on a bunch of occasions [and to his great credit he has taken it well every time] and sometimes he has agreed with me and other times he hasn’t. I imagine sometimes I hurt him with the things I said [who ever likes it when someone tells them they’re doing something wrong? I know i don’t!] but he has always listened and then gone back and looked at his life. If he has felt like he needed to change he has done so and often in dramatic ways. And on occasions when he has not, he has come back to me and let me know that he has heard me, but at the moment he doesn’t think it’s a problem.

He has literally lived out one of my favourite friendship verses in the Bible found in Proverbs 27 verse 6 which says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

You see I believe Bruce knows that I love him. And so he knows that if I say something to him that might hurt as he hears it, that I have said it to him because I care about him and think it is something that he needs to hear. And so he is able to trust a ‘wound’ from me. There might be other friends of his who have cheered him on, even when he has been wrong in something. An enemy multiplies kisses.

I have often told my closest friends, ‘I may not be an easy friend, but I am a good friend.’ And I hope that is true. Because if you invite me to speak Truth into your life and help you to become a better person [and believe me I extend that invitation back to the nth degree] then I will do that and hopefully I will get ‘Truth in Love’ right more than I get it wrong.

What about you? Do you have someone like this? Someones? I have a few of them and I value them so much because they help me become a better person. They will jump in if my attitude is out of line. They will question my motivation if it looks like I am doing something for the wrong reasons. They will ask the tough questions. And I LOVE that. I desperately need that in my life. Because I have blind spots. I have areas where I may not be able to see the bigger picture. In my relationship with God or my wife, life on the sports field or in improv, how I spend my time and what I say or write…

So not fat friends per say, but people who Love you and have thick skin and invite you to Love them back well…

I would love to hear a story or two about someone in your life who does this for you…

[for next Wednesday’s look at The Man in the Mirror, click here]

On Tuesdays i want to take a look at some topic making local or international news and give my commentary or share my thoughts or reaction to it and hopefully get some dialogue going with my readers. I am not hugely into politics so this may not be the most in-depth political commentary the world has ever seen and is more likely to look at something with a different take or spin. Let’s see how it goes:

Ooh, this is it. Found this gem on Yahoo News…

Arianna Hill and the fixed cheeseburger!

Nothing like a feel good story. Except it really shouldn’t be a feel-good story. It should just be business as usual. A customer had an issue with their meal and the staff at the restaurant sorted it out and satisfied the customer. That’s normal, right?

But the key player in the story, Arianna Hill, is a seven-year old girl with autism and so that changes it up a little. And I guess what makes the normal seem extraordinary is because the expectation is that this won’t be treated as normal. Because different often gets stared at or mocked or pushed to the side… and so what should have been a normal response to a request, does become a special thing because the treatment given was kind and respectful.

220, 000 likes and 10, 000 comments later, this story is obviously something that has attracted the world’s attention… and I think that is because we are hungry for good news. We are wanting the underdog to succeed. We are sick and tired of all the bad news and brokenness and violence and chaos that fills our daily news bulletins, newspapers and news sites. We want to see good happen. [which you can witness by clicking here if you missed the link before]

I think for the most part I might use this day to try and find a source of good news and share that, unless something else strikes me strongly, because we all have our fair share of good news…

And I would love it if in the comments section you share some of the good news stories that have come across your screen this last week – what has given you cause to celebrate and nod your head and cheer quietly [or loudly] to yourself? Let’s be sharing those stories.

[for next Tuesday’s Pope on a Rope, click here]

Every week I want to try start Monday off with something to make someone smile. I know it would be a case of purest optimism to try and find something that makes everyone laugh, but if I can help someone’s Monday begin [or middle or end now that we’re working across multiple time zones] with some humour then all the better… Either something that has made me laugh or smile [i rarely shoot milk through my nose] in the last week or else something from my archives of humour…

To kick off the idea of Monday being Funday, I could not think of a better cartoon than my favourite Gary Larsen ‘The Far Side’ cartoon [if the words ‘Gary Larsen’ and ‘The Far Side’ mean nothing to you then you should go and hang out with Uncle Google immediately and put that right!] to get the ball rolling!

I think my humour tends towards random or somewhat-outside-of-the-box with influences such as Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, The Mighty Boosh, Fawlty Towers, Black Books, Flight of the Conchords, Napoleon Dynamite, Buttersafe and of course Dmitri Martin, Pearls Before Swine and the master Jack Handey to name eleven, but Larsen on his good days [and there were many] stands tall among them…

The Far Side by Gary Larsen

[for next Monday’s Trust Fall smiles click here]