Friday, 13 June 2014

Time with the Father

Oh how my boys love to copy what their Dad is doing.  Whether they like it or not, they try everything in their power to be miniature (or not so miniature anymore) versions of him.  Exasperatingly, they copy the way he burps; the way he keeps a tea towel over his shoulder and of course, they take on his love for the outdoors and adventures.

They love him, so they do what he does.

But if they never spent any time with him, they wouldn't know what to copy.  They wouldn't know that every now and then he loves to get on the floor and wrestle until it hurts.  They wouldn't know that he likes to iron or that he enjoys serving other people.  They wouldn't know that he can't resist trying new foods, even if he has no idea what he is eating (And they wouldn't know that I have no sympathy for him in the aftermath).

In the Bible, Jesus says he only does what he sees his father doing.  How would he know what his father is doing unless he spends time with him?  The very reason he spoke to the people he spoke to, healed the people he healed, rescued the victims of injustices and called to follow him the people he called was because he spent time with his father, searching to see what he was doing.

Likewise, in order to live our Jesus-following lives to the full, we need to spend time with our father seeking out his heart.  A legalistic, clock-watched half hour of reading the bible and praying through a dry prayer list doesn't quite fit the description.  Father God is calling us to actually be with him.  He wants us to know his heart.  He wants to talk with us and love us.  He wants us to pray for his kingdom to come on earth like in heaven. He wants to lead us and show us the next steps.  

He wants us to do what we see him doing.  

And then, we do it too!  

No complicated formulas for success, just spending time with our father in heaven and saying yes when he calls us.  There's never been a more exciting adventure!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Mealtime Diamonds

Our mealtime conversations are becoming renowned for their randomness.  One day this week we were discussing liquidising goats testicles.  The next day we worked out an emergency plan for if someone chopped off your (obviously, not in my case) penis - including detailed descriptions of blood loss and jokes about barbecued sausages (whilst I was eating a sausage).  The following evening, we created new words to Frozen's 'Let It Go' song.  And you do not want to hear them, I promise.

Today, we discussed 'what would you do?' scenarios.  And here's the one that took me aback.

What would you do if you were one of Jesus's disciples when there were 5,000 people to feed and then a boy came forward with just five loaves and two fish?  

Laugh?  Cry?  Feel angry at the boy?  Invent McDonalds sharpish before a riot breaks out?

This is Max's answer:

I'd ask Jesus 'What are you going to do with that?'

You know, for all the funny talk about farts and pee, our kids sometimes come out with bombs of wisdom and this is one of them.

When we are overwhelmed with finance difficulties, busy-ness, parenting exhaustion and demands of life all we need to do is offer ourselves to Jesus and leave the rest to him.  

That little boy gave all he had.  Did he know Jesus was going to turn it into enough food for thousands?  I doubt it.  Did he have faith that Jesus was going to use it in the best way?  Yep.

So, we give all we have into the hands of the One who can multiply beyond our wildest imagination and we ask Jesus 'What are you going to do with that?'  

Our role is faith and obedience.  

His role is multiplying to meet not only our needs but the needs of people we don't even know about yet.

Can we offer ourselves and wait for Jesus to show us what he's going to do with us?  

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Sometimes when you are a passionate person (me?  never....) you forget that there are other issues in the world that need attention.  For example, the fact that the dinner needs cooking or the toilet needs cleaning (again) but you are busy sobbing over a video about a child trapped in slavery.  Dinner and toilets can wait at that moment.

I know how these things work and I know that when I've spoken too much about something, people's eyes start to glaze over as they realise I'm going on about it yet again.  In fact, I feel the same when Toby witters about the camera he's saving up for or the latest tune he can play on his ukulele.  He never shuts up about it.  I 'umm' and 'ahh' in the right places and let him say his piece.

Last week, someone spoke these words to me: "There is more to God's kingdom than human trafficking." 

I know that. 

I know that there are many injustices in our world.  I know that war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, poverty, bullying and other evil things happen.   They make me weep too.  Sometimes I can't get through a news programme dry-eyed.  I know that God's kingdom needs to come in every area of our lives.

But try saying those words to the father whose precious daughter has been taken and sold into prostitution twenty or more times each night so that she can pay back an imaginary debt which will never ever be paid. 

Would that father not go to every single possible length to free his daughter?  Would his life carry on as normal or would it be totally and utterly wrecked?  Would he feel as though his very heart had been ripped to shreds every night as he wonders just who is raping his beautiful daughter at that precise moment?

And although I am not that father, I feel the same.  I am ruined for anything other than making whatever difference I can to free these captives.  My whole body shakes with the injustice of it. 

And so, I'm sorry if I'm a bore, but this isn't a camera or a ukulele.  I can't be quiet and whilst I know there are other horrific, life-wrecking things out there too, this is the one which has gripped onto my heart and squeezed it until there are no tears left to cry.

And so I won't shut up.  Because this is the kingdom of God, and I'm allowed to shout about it:

"Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet....
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?

 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.
‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
 and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."
Isaiah 58