Beauty in a smelly place

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a production called Rumours of Angels.

It was a dance performance based on the Christmas story, held at a local church. I was unaware it was on, in fact it was my first time in this particular church.

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Festive celebrations, arrival of summer,   great food and holidays. And of course it’s celebrating Jesus. Thinking about the nativity scene, what impacts me the most this year, is as the title to this post says.. ‘beauty in a smelly place’. Beauty in the stable.  Beauty found in the place of dirt, animal odour, and darkness. It’s Jesus, the King of kings, the Saviour, God’s Son born not in granduer and luxury, but in the humble surroundings of a barn. It also reminds me of a verse..

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3″

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As I sat watching that production, I was not in a grand theatre. There was no multi-million dollar staging. It was a simple church building. Kids sat on the floor at the dancers feet…  Yet the beauty in those costumes moved me the most.   The juxtaposition of beauty found in the place of  the simple , represented to me the power that exists in God’s beauty. Beauty that transforms, that heals, that displaces.                                     _______________________________

Media      Have you been in a season of mourning? In a place of despair? Do you feel aspects of your life, your dreams, your year has burnt to a pile of ashes?  As Jesus was born in that stable, so He is able to visit you in your place of humility. In your chaos and pain.

 

He Is beauty.  And His beauty is powerful.  Ask Him to come into the places of decay, that He may transform, beautify, and redeem.

And may you have a blessed Christmas!

In honour of Sunday School teachers.

Sunday School teachers. Kid’s church workers. Children’s programme leaders/helpers.  Whatever the lingo, here’s a post to celebrate your work.

I want to honour those of you that are called to minister to children. And to those of you who aren’t, but serve in this role nonetheless.

You turn up week after week, regardless of whether you feel prepared or not. You miss out on countless messages, prophetic words, morning teas, worship and prayer times. You can spend hours of your personal time preparing, or challenged by the lack of time and resources.

Yet, you minister into the very heart of our future nation.  You inspire, teach, train young ones, laying foundations for their lives.

I love how God loves children.  And how children do not have a small god.. they can have intimacy with the Holy Spirit as any of us.  I especially love God’s promise in Isaiah:

I will teach all your children,

and they will enjoy great peace. Isaiah 54:13

That God is even more desiring for children to grow in their relationship with Him, than we are. That we can trust Him in their journey of faith.

That doesn’t mean we dismiss our responsibility of ministering, teaching and training children, but we can trust God with them. That their ups and downs are part of their journey in Him, just as it is for us.

Over the years I have spent time running children’s programmes. I fit in the ‘nonetheless’ category.  There has been a need and I’ve stepped in.

A question I love to ask children when they come into their programme, after spending “worship time” with the adults, is what do they think the Holy Spirit was doing during worship?  Depending on the kids, I often get a stunned look. But it’s a great way for them to start thinking about worship time. About learning to sense the Holy Spirit, where the anointing was? What was happening around them.

Teaching them sensitivity to the presence of God.  To share in their journey of Jesus being revealed in their hearts.

And so, if you are ministering into small lives… I applaud your hard work. I recognise your challenges, and encourage you.  It’s a precious work that you do.

 

 

 

 

 

The burning

Jesus burns in our hearts when He reveals Himself.

A tweet I read this week:        @LouEngle: Draw near to that which causes you to burn inside. It may be a burning bush or a burning book but if you listen you may hear a Voice calling

So have you been burning on the inside? Is He speaking, is He leading you, is He revealing His heart, His purposes? 

Have you stopped to notice that which burns in you…. And how to respond?

Sometimes this is a journey in itself.

This past year He has been stirring something in me. I have this burning. The burning of His heart for His people. I am pained by the isolation in the church across my nation. I see and know many who are struggling in their faithful pursuit of seeing an awakening in this land.  I have seen marriages and ministries wiped out. I see others burnt out, exhausted, lonely, and troubled. We need to learn to support and love.

We need to ‘get our hands dirty’ in loving. Getting involved. Being encouragers (and even more as we see The Day approaching). Looking for opportunities to minister to one another.

I know this burning I feel is Jesus leading me towards this weakness in New Zealand. How it can be addressed is yet unknown. Another denomination is not the answer. I don’t have ‘ empire building credentials’, but I have my God, who desires unity and community far more than I do. God who can take the little I have and feed a multitude.  It’s in the leadings of the Holy Spirit. It’s in the responding to the quiet nudges. It’s starting somewhere.

And so I am burning. Jesus is revealing Himself. His heart.