Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hug…omaniacs – 8 Steps

A hug is such a strange thing. We feel all weird when we see someone heading towards us with those arms out stretched. Sometimes we bob and weave to avoid it. Sometimes we turn and shoulder the hugger so we can minimize the impact. The strange thing is that people enjoy hugs and I think I have worked out why.

A hug expresses a huge amount to those being hugged. It expresses love, concern, and care. It’s a great way of saying; "Don’t worry". It says "I’m here". It says, "All will be ok!". It says, "You are forgiven". It says, "You are important and special". It says that I have seen you, you are noticed. It says it’s ok to cry. It says a big bold hello and is a far bigger hello than a handshake. It says we are together in this.

Whatever the reason for a hug they always seem good. Afterwards we feel good. We feel like a million dollars. You feel like you had a really good cup of coffee. Yet for some reason we don’t see many people hugging. It’s like hugs are reserved for special occasions or for when the family is around. Without hugs we send a message of…. Well none of the above. There is just nothing. I think the world would be a better place if people got more hugs. There are people out there who are hug…less. It’s sad but true. Imagine a life without a hug. Imagine having a childhood without hugs.
I propose we change the world through hugs!

I propose that everyone deserves a hug!

So here is the big hug challenge. If you are not up to it. Well you better stop reading now. This is going to blow your mind and make you a professional Hug…omaniac.

Step 1 Start small. Hug your pillow, dog and cat. Something to practice on. If you survive without being bitten or scratched go to step 2. If not….still go to step 2.

Step 2 Clean up. Pointless being a hugger if you stink, have bad breath, sweat a lot or are generally repulsive. Have a shower and a shave and get ready for the big time. Now for step 3.

Step 3 Time for humans. Try someone close. A family member, husband, wife, children, mother-in-law.

Step 4 Your family is not getting enough hugs, repeat step 3 a few times. Especially for the children. Don’t take no from teenagers. Give them a hug even if they grunt in offense.

Step 5 Time to try a few people who are a bit more unknown. Keep hugging the family but now extend your hugging to those who are not family. Invite some friends for a braai and then hug them. Maybe when you are next at church. Hug them. Heck if you know their name give them a hug. Why? Well, why the not!

Step 6 By now you think you are a pro hugger but the bad news is you still have a way to go before you get really good at this thing called hugging. Now you need to hug a stranger. Yip, that’s what I said, a stranger. Hug someone who you have met for the first time. Give them a big ‘ol squeeze. I bet they will enjoy it and even if they don’t, so what. They deserve it anyway. Give them another hug for good measure. Try the cashier at the store. Try the person getting in a car next to you. Strangers are just friends you have not met yet. So it’s time you met them with a big hug.

Step 7 There will be a bunch of people you won’t have hugged up to now. Let’s call them the unhuggables. They will be people that for some reason you feel they should not get your hug. Well todays your day to deal with that. Maybe it’s someone who made you Angry. Maybe they did something to you. Maybe they are a different race, religion, culture, age, attitude, dress, gender. Maybe they're Boss or someone you feel is too below you. Whatever the reason it’s time you got over it. Give them a hug. Give the car guard a hug. Hug a beggar. Hug a policeman. Hug the petrol attendant. Hug someone from a different political party. Hug your teacher. Hug the person who you have been avoiding.

Step 8 Now repeat it all over and over until it’s the way you are. Be the best hugger. See if you can hug more than 10 people a day. Set yourself goals. Hug 20 a day. Heck, Hug a 100 people in a day. I dare you!

If you have made it through this you have done well. You have said goodbye to your issues with people and have said hello to a life of a hug..omaniac.


Happy hugging

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shooting Stars!!!!

Michelle and I were out walking at the crack of dawn and saw several shooting stars….or at least that’s Michelle’s story. I explained that they could easily have been space debris re-entering the atmosphere which was much less glamorous and romantic particularly at five in the morning which suited me fine. After some heated debate I retreated from what could have got worse.

This did however get me thinking about what lessons could be learnt from this situation.

1 Just cos it looks like a star does not mean it is one.
How often in life we see people as famous stars and we want to be the same. Yet behind the glamour and bright shining lights there is debris. Often we hear of drugs, broken families and a life that is far from Gods plan which eventually comes out and the star falls. You can’t fake it as a star forever. Eventually the lights dim and people see what is really going on. Who are the stars in your life?  Remember that they are no perfect and have much to live up to. Give them a break and more importantly pray for them that God works in their lives. If you are a star, maybe you need to be more real with yourself and those watching. God has gifted you with talents for a purpose. Use the talents for his purpose and at the same time get your life back in order with what is actually important.

2 What amazing creation.
It is amazing how creation is so massive that we have barely understood it. As soon as we discover something we also realise there is more hidden behind it. Behind every star is another star and so it continues. God Is not limited by our understanding of what he can or cannot do. He works within and beyond our understanding. He placed the stars to glorify his name and for us to know that he exists.

3 The moon is but a reflection.
The moon as good looking as it is, is just a reflection of true light. The moon is a dead rock. The Sun is alive and full of fire. Look for what you follow in your life to see if it’s the real deal or just a reflection of what is real. In your own life you can reflect God o you can be filled by him to overflowing. Rather than following reflections follow the true light and son of God Jesus.

4 There is always darkness before light dawns.
Sometimes life gets very dark and it seems like the darkness swallows us up and takes everything from us. The good news is that light will prevail. Jesus the Son will rise and the darkness will be no more. When in the darkness we hope for the light. We wait for the red light on the horizon that shows that dawn is near, when we can bask in the warmth he provides. Don’t give up. Hold on. He’s coming.

5 Your whole body needs work.
We are mind, body and soul. All three should be exercised accordingly. Walking and similar fitness routines exercise the body. Reading and studying is a great way to exercise the mind. Worshipping, Praying, Hearing and listening to God exercises the soul. We should focus on all three in some way to get our lives right. Being close to God however is the most important.

6 You need to spend quality time with Family.
You should set time to be with you family as a goal. Spend time with your wife, husband and children. Not just watching TV. Spend some quality time talking, cuddling, eating and playing games. In the busy lives we have we can easily forget the importance of that. Oh, and don’t forget to let them win the argument sometimes.

God Bless. Have a wonderful day.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Life sux without purpose

Picture the scene, a family dinner. Dad shouts for the children to be quiet and tells them how stupid they are. Demands someone bring him a drink and food. The children run riot. Dad screams at Mom to sort out the children. A huge argument ensues. Mom gets mad and tells him to get out. Later they divorce. This all happens on Sunday night after church. A great reflection of Christianity.

The Boss at work is know as a tyrant. He orders people around. Pays poor salaries. Fires anyone who shows the potential to take his position. He Dominates, manipulates and controls. He shows no empathy for anyone. Its work to the bone but on weekends he's at church singing worship songs and listening to a sermon. What a contrast of characters. Would Jesus be proud to call you his Son?

What about the regular Personal assistant in the office. She takes hour long lunch breaks when in should be 30 minutes. Arrives late, Leaves early. Uses company equipment for personal use, heck she even takes some stuff home. Sugar, tea, coffee, some of the water bottles from the boardroom fridge nothing big so it should be ok. She refuses to help anyone. She worries about herself and how much money she can score in any way possible. The people at work see all this. What do they think when she says she is a Christian?

I have been thinking a lot about how we handle everything in life. What are our motives and what drives us. We often get stressed out because we are probably doing things our way. We get stressed out because we have no control of what happens and we want it to be our way. We want to be in control. We sometimes use prayer as a means to achieve our objectives forgetting that we need to align our lives with Jesus and his objectives. Our prayers are often a wish list of things we want and we expect God to deliver because we said so. Much like spoilt children talking to Rich Daddy. This is not exactly correct. Sure we can ask God for things but he will in the end give us what is right and good for us and for his kingdom and not just anything we ask. If God thinks you need to work on your selfishness why would he give you more stuff to be selfish with. He would probably trust you with more if you were not selfish and that means not being selfish in your heart and not just in action. Faking the end result because of wrong motives just shows once again that the motives are wrong and you need more work before you before God can make you what he wants you to be.

I guess in this year we should be asking what's the point then? Why am I here and what should I be doing? If work sux for me should I run or is there more? If Family is a pain should I run or Is there more? I would like to throw some thoughts at that and it all revolves around Mission. What is your purpose and mission in life?

Firstly let's look at family. Is your mission to be married and be selfish and obtain as much as you can from the family life, from your spouse and your children or, is family about getting your spouse and children to reflect God. This means your role is to help the others in family find God, Grow in God and reflect God with the aim of ultimately being missional themselves. If your family is not where it should be the question remains about what part you have played in either helping or hindering the family from growing to the goal of reflecting God. What will you do each any every day to help your family members be messengers of Jesus and his Love.

What about church.... Same thing, is church there to support your selfish agenda? Do you leach of church, get happy on worship and great sermons but contribute zero to the people who attend. Is this Gods purpose for you in a community of believers to sit back and absorb without giving back to what is happening in the Church, Community and Home Cell. I think God has gifted you in some way. Use these gifts to further the kingdom.

What about work.... For some people it's a power trip. For others a money making machine. Maybe you hate work? I don't know what goes on at your work but have to ask the question....What's your purpose there? Is it to sit through the drudgery or is it to shine the light. To reach out to others and show them Jesus. this is done through what you say, What you do and in some cases requires you to step out and maybe offer to help someone. Pray for someone. Feed Someone. Comfort Someone. Not work.....Pure Joy. Being the light in the work place. If your are a person that brings Anger, Grumpiness, Stress, corruption.....your are not bringing the fruits of the spirit to your work place. Maybe it's time to try and lets God be more and you be less.

Anyway......So there's a new years resolution for you. Be missional and change where you are.
Be real. Don't fake it. Be the original you the way you are designed to be.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Healed by a stranger

The dust was killing me. I had travelled for days to get here. It was not the easiest travel since I could not walk. I had to rely on others to get me from A to B. My family had been very supportive. This was my last chance. This place was my final hope of healing. I had heard of a doctor of sorts that would be able to heal me. I had heard the stories from so many people of how he had healed others. I assumed he was some kind of magician although all the magicians I had heard of were not able to do what I had heard he had done. Trust me, I had tried them all. Magic potions, spells, chants…..It was all pointless. None of It had worked. I had paid, I had slaved, I had done everything and it had got me nowhere. All the gods I had tried were useless.

As I was being carried into Jerusalem there was a huge amount of commotion. Crowds were following people going up the hill. It looked like the romans were going to crucify a few people. I wondered what they had done to deserve that. They were probably murderers, thieves, rapists or something of the like. They deserved the death sentence. I felt no pity for them at all even though I knew they were going to suffer the most painful death anyone could suffer.

As we waited for the procession to go past so we could continue I saw the one prisoner go past. He was bleeding profusely from the back where he had obviously been whipped. There was very little skin left on his back. His face was beaten black and blue to the extent that I was surprised he could see where he was going with the swollen eyes from all the punches the romans had obviously given him. He had a weird crown of thorns on his head. I had never seen that before in any crucifixion. As I watched he stumbled and fell. The beam he was carrying smacked him from behind onto the unyielding ground. He barely moved from what must have been exceptionally painful. After some prodding and pushing the roman grabbed a guy from the crowd and made him carry the beam.

The guy with the crown slowly drew to his feet. Other than some groans of pain he said nothing. He stood slowly and with some pushing from the romans began to move forward. As he began to move he looked over at me. I froze. There was something in his eyes. He bore deep into my soul and I could tell he knew everything about me. Through the blood he smiled at me, if ever a man could in the pain he was facing as if to say that this was for me. Then he was shoved forward by the roman soldier. Before I could say otherwise the guys carrying me began to follow up the hill. They wanted to see what was going to happen. I must confess I was drawn for some reason to what was going on.

I watched them crucify him.

I watched him die.

I cried my eyes out.

Something about that man had been more than anyone had known. I cried even more when I found out that he was the man I had come to see. He was my last hope to ever walk again. He was dead and my hope was gone. I would never be healed.

After three days of hiding in the room and crying myself to bed I was woken by a man standing in front of me. At first I was confused who he was. He looked me in the eyes and then I knew it was him. I could never forget those eyes and that smile. He said to me “My name is Jesus, You were looking for me and now you have found me”. “You are now healed”. “Stand up and walk”. He took my hand to help me up and as he did I could feel my legs. I could wiggle my toes. I had not done that in all my life. I started to stand up. My legs held my weight. I took a step forward and could not contain the elation in me. I screamed in pure joy and ran to the side of the room and then ran back. I knew this man. He was the Messiah. He was my Lord and King.

Jesus is risen. As we celebrate Easter and the days ahead remember that Jesus is risen, he is real and is a miracle working God. He wants to interrupt your life and heal you from everything. As you draw close to Jesus and look into his eyes. He will smile at you and change your life. You can make that choice today to meet with him. Close your eyes and picture him smiling at you. What does he say to you?


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Talking to Demons

I was up in the hills of the Drakensberg enjoying another Christian youth camp. I had enjoyed them all and seen many young people meet Jesus. This particular camp had been stranger than most. We had spent significantly more time in prayer and looking to God. We had seen more young people showing more interest in being closer to God. We had quiet times and the camp and had allowed the young people to go off and pray and come back with what God had been telling them. More than before God had spoken. He had met the thirteen year olds and touched their lives. He had spoken directly with them in ways that had blown my mind. God had shown that he was real and that he was alive and well and wanting to be a friend of those who wanted. God had spoken because the faith of a young person is strong and alive. God honours that faith and touched lives.

That night the leadership were all relaxing and having discussion about God, the camp and how things were going. We were amazed at what had happened and prayed and thanked God. Things were disrupted however by a young man, one of the leaders of the camp. The young man jumped up and began to speak foul language. Cursing everyone and in a voice that was not his own. Before we could understand what was happening he had run out the building towards the river screaming that he was going to drown the man. It had very clearly dawned on us that we were experiencing a demon manifesting. Most of us had heard the stories, read the book, watched some movies. This however was very different. This was real and in our faces. We ran after the guy to help him. We saw him dive in the cold waters of the Drakensberg to drown himself.

A few of us dived in and with great effort managed to rescue him from under the water. We dragged him up to the building in a stupor and sat him down with towels to dry him. He seemed normal. We began to pray for him and then he changed. He became the demon again. His voice was different, His language was different, and his actions were different. He threatened us and taunted us. The demon was in control of him and we were out of our depth. We prayed harder, we called on Jesus and we rebuked the demon. Nothing worked. The demon said he had the right to stay. We knew no different. We were young and impressionable. We eventually got to talk to the man. He confessed that not only had he been molested as a child but he had also molested children himself at a school. He was unrepentant and did not want to let go. We knew why the demon remained and was in control.

The next day the camp was over and the young man left. I have never seen him since. I still wonder who is in control of his life? Had he dealt with his past? Had he laid it all before Jesus or was he holding back? That experience woke me up. I realised that demons are real. That the fight we have is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. (eph 6) I also realised that if demons exist and are real I needed to be very sure about my relationship with Jesus. we needed to lay everything before him so that he would be in control our our lives. Have you truly laid it all before Jesus or are you holding something back? Jesus wants your all and not just the pieces you think are nice. He wants you warts and all. Thats what repentane is about. Lay it before him, all of it, and let him turn you into what he wants you to be.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Free Gift

Once upon a time there was a man who had everything in the world. There was nothing that he did not have. This man decided one day that he would give away some of his wealth. At first he thought it would be a select few. He then decided he would rather give it away to everyone who needed it.

He spent many years planning his great free gift give away. He got the names of everyone who lived with their delivery address which he placed in a large book. He began to wrap gifts for each person individually. He wrapped each gift the same in red wrapping with a big ribbon on top. He made sure that each would change the person’s life in a dramatic way. The big day came for his deliveries. He summonsed his team of helpers who would be responsible for delivery he gift. Trucks were loaded an off the gifts went to their destined addresses.

The wealthy man sat at home waiting in anticipation for those who would receive his gift. He was hoping that they would love the gift. He knew that it would change their lives forever.

A messenger arrived with the good news. The gift delivery was going well. Many people had received the gift with joy and appreciation. Some had opened the gift immediately and their lives had been changed for good forever.  The wealthy man began to receive phone call of thanks and built friendships with those who called who had appreciated the gift.

There was some news that worried the man.

Some people had taken the gift and told their friends and displayed it at home to elevate themselves in their society. They had however not opened the gift. They had missed out.

Other people had taken the gift and hidden it making sure no one knew where it was.

Still others opened the gift and were disappointed that it was not what they wanted. They had thrown it away in their rubbish bins.

A further group had mocked those who received the gift. They wanted no part of it and began to remove the gift from others and to steal it.

There was another group of men who ran a company though it was a good marketing idea and began to hand out their own gifts. They often managing to replace those that the wealthy man had sent.

A messenger came in the door with some disturbing news. One of his helpers had been injured delivery gifts. Someone had set their dogs on him and he had been badly hurt. More news came of another helper that had been beaten to death when he had done the delivery. More and more sad news followed of helpers being beaten and often killed while doing deliveries. The wealthy man got angry with those who had rejected hi gift and even more so with those that had hurt or killed his helpers. He began to record the names of those who had rejected his gift and rejected his helpers and put these in another large book. He was going to get his revenge as soon as all the deliveries had been completed he would send his army of helpers to take revenge.

Jesus is the free gift. We have a chance to accept him now or reject him. A time will come when we will no longer have a chance and God will exact his revenge on those who have rejected his gift, rejected him and called out his wrath. Some of us have become Christians by name only to satisfy our friends and community yet we have never spoken to God and built a relationship with him.

I encourage you. Do not reject God. He wants to hear you and speak to you. Talk to him now just like you would a friend. He will reply.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Roses for Valentine’s Day

I was nervous, as I put on my school uniform I realised that today might be the day that I had been hoping for since Christmas. Today was going to be the day I got my first rose. He had promised he would give me a rose. I had butterflies in my stomach as I picked up my satchel with my school books in and ran down the stairs and out the front door. My Dad drove slowly through the traffic. It felt like it was going to take forever to get to school.

With a kiss on the forehead my Dad said goodbye and left me at school. I stood where he had left me watching people getting out their cars I noticed the sea of red that came with them.  There were roses, lots of them, beautiful full blown red roses. I hoped I was going to get one. I saw teddy bears of various shapes and forms. I saw cards of many sizes. It was finally here, Valentine’s day and I was going to be special to someone today.

I got to my class and saw other girls shriek when they found something special in their Desk. The usual questions followed “who was the secret admirer, who had left the rose for his love?” a boy in the background secretly watching would normally smile and blush when he was noticed. He would deny it of course, but everyone knew.

I lifted the lid on my desk slowly peeking inside to see if there was anything. Nothing, I lifted the lid and felt my heart sink. Maybe he needed more time. I made sure I stayed away from my classroom as much as possible to give him time to do something, anything. Whenever I came to look there was nothing. I waited in the passageways hoping he would come to me and reveal himself. Still no-one came and nothing was revealed. I was beginning to be disappointed. Was I not worth it? Did he not love me? He had promised and I knew that he would keep his promise.

I stood waiting for my Mom to fetch me outside the school. As I stood and watched I saw a sea of red leaving the school as people returned home. My heart sank further and further the longer I stood waiting. It was not long before I was standing alone. A tear was forming in my eye. I was sad and heart broken. The tear ran down my face and then fell off towards the ground and landed with a splat. As it landed the water began to disappear into the dirt. That was when I saw it.

It was a red rose. The biggest I had ever seen. It was on a rose bush in front of me. I was sure there had not been one there before. I walked towards it and stopped. Another rose popped open in front of my eyes and then another and another. The bush slowly turned red with roses as one by one the buds came to life. I smiled as the strong smell of the roses filled the air. He had given me many roses and he loved me more than I could imagine. I started humming “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tell me so”.

As Valentine’s Day approaches don’t forget the greatest lover of them all. For God so loved the world, he gave his son Jesus for each and every one of us. This is by far the greatest gift anyone can give. Regardless of how you feel about yourself or how you think others think of you. Know that Jesus loved you enough to die for you on the cross. Stop for a moment and consider the pain, humility, suffering, torture, ridicule that He bore on that day. Then consider the joy, happiness, elation and sense of completion when he rose from the grave. Here is Jesus, the rose of Sharon for you on Valentine’s Day.