Browse Month: January 2014

Monday Musings 27/01/14

Nelson and DonToday’s “musing” is a follow-up to last week.

Ironically, the statue of Nelson Mandela situated at the Union Building in Pretoria, made headline news on CTV in Canada last week.

In case you missed it, here is the link.  Enjoy the amusing read and make sure you watch the report embedded in the article.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/tiny-rabbit-must-be-removed-from-ear-of-giant-nelson-mandela-statue-s-africa-government-1.1650467

Until next Monday…

Don

www.reinventingthechurch.com

Monday Musings – 20/01/14

unnamedLong Walk to Freedom…

The life of Nelson Mandela is intriguing at the best of times.  To live where he lived and walk where he walked, takes on a whole new dimension.

It has been three weeks since MJ and I arrived in Pretoria.  Almost daily, as we drive to different parts of the city, “Nelson Mandela Drive” becomes the main artery that takes us to our destinations.  On the way to church yesterday, we crossed Madiba Street, the enduring and endearing term of respect used to describe the South African hero.

Friday night was date night.  I took MJ to see “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, followed by some incredible Thai food!  I must confess I found it hard to get an appetite at first as I kept playing the scenes of the movie over in my mind.  How could the supremacy of one minority people group,  be so suppressing over another majority group?  How can anyone as a human being tolerate hatred between races just because of the color of one’s skin?

As I looked around the area where the restaurant was, I saw the beauty of color blindness and my appetite began to return.  Color blindness painted with a peace orchestrated, democracy driven brush, allows blacks and whites to eat in the same restaurants and shop in the same malls. Thank God the back of apartheid has been broken.  Thank God that a man who spent twenty-seven years of his life in prison chose to forgive his captors.  Thank God that peace, not war, brought together a nation that was confused, broken and embittered.

The dismantling of apartheid sounds like Jesus doesn’t it?  He took upon himself the sins of the world.  His body was bruised, pierced, and sacrificed so that the back of sin could be broken.  Red and yellow, black and white, all stand as equals before God.  God does not see the colour of the skin; He sees the broken heart wrapped within the skin, a heart that has been imprisoned by the poison of sin.  And then, God sends His only Son Jesus so that every nation of the world has an opportunity to bow their knee before Him and accept the forgiveness that His love provides.  The long walk to freedom has nothing to do with colour, it has everything to do with forgiveness!!

On Saturday, we went to the Union Building, the seat of parliament here in Pretoria, where just a few weeks before, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to view the body of their beloved “Madiba”.  To some, the ginormous (Don’s new word for a mix of gigantic and enormous) statue of Nelson Mandela on the steps leading up to the Union Building, might feel more like King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.  To me, it is a reminder of how huge the gift of forgiveness and peace is to the world, and the role that harmony plays in a nation.  How much better off the world would be if we could learn to live together in harmony!Nelson and Don

Until next Monday…

Don

www.reinventingthechurch.com

 

Monday Musings – special Tuesday edition 14/01/14

peaceful sleepPeaceful Sleep…

We have a product here in Africa called “Peaceful Sleep”.  It comes in two forms, a spray can that you apply to your skin or a plug in that you place in an electrical outlet.  The product is designed to keep those pesky, annoying, malaria carrying mosquitoes from buzzing around your head at night, supposedly giving you a “peaceful sleep”.

Sometimes it is not the mosquitoes that keep one awake.  The cares of your own life, the concerns you have for others, the coffee that you drank later than you should have, have a way of contributing to sleepless hours in the night.  For me, sleep patterns are never consistent.  Sometimes I lay awake for what seems like endless minutes.  Other times I fall asleep right away and sleep through the entire night.

The night before last, I slept through the night, last night; I awakened at 4 a.m. only to move from side to side. At first, I prayed for some friends and situations that I had committed to praying for.  Then I began to think of some of the worries of life and began to feel that strangle hold around the neck feeling.  So, at 5 a.m., I decided to get up and start my day by reading the devotional from “Our Daily Bread”.  Ironically, today’s reading is called “Sweet Rest”.

Here are a few excerpts.  “Try as we might – tossing, turning, fluffing the pillow, pounding the pillow – sometimes we just can’t fall asleep…It is then that the example of David in Psalm 4 can help…’Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still’…The Lord desires to help us set aside our worries about finding solutions to our problems and place our trust in Him to work things out.  He can ‘put gladness’ in our hearts, so that we might ‘lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone. O Lord, make us dwell in safety’.”

I am a morning person.  When I go to bed, I am already looking forward to setting my feet on the floor in the morning.  It is the sleepless hours in the night that I do not enjoy.  However, I am learning to use those hours to pray, meditate and trust the promises of God’s Word.  Tonight, may be a sleepless night, but tomorrow night I may sleep like a baby.  Either way, God will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him!

It is now 6 a.m. and time to put the coffee pot on, start my day, and send out this blog.  Who knows, there may be someone in another part of the world who can’t fall asleep and will read my “musings” only to fall into a “peaceful sleep”.

Until next Monday…

Don

www.reinventingthechurch.com

 

 

Monday Musings 06/01/14

right-handDo not stay silent…

It seems so surreal to think that MJ and I have been on this mission’s journey for five and a half years.

In 2008, when we transitioned in obedience from the church of our dreams, my wife asked God for two things – that He would provide our financial needs and that He would not stay silent through His Word.  From the early days of the journey, not one of God`s promises has failed.

It seems like yesterday that I found myself sitting on a balcony in Mombasa, Kenya, overlooking the Indian Ocean with Bible in hand, and reading Isaiah 43:18 & 19:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

My tattered Bible that has traveled around the world with me has a date marked beside those two verses.  After showing MJ what I had read on the balcony, two days later we went to preach at the Mombasa Pentecostal church.  Upon our arrival at the church on October 10, 2008 (the date marked in my Bible), we look up to a large banner at the front of the church that read “A Year of new beginnings” with the theme verse Isaiah 43:18 & 19.  You talk about writing on the wall.  We look into each other’s eyes and with a chuckle in our voices said, “I guess God is confirming our move to Africa”.

Yesterday, we attended Cornerstone Assembly here in Pretoria, South Africa.  The theme verse for the first Sunday of 2014 was, you guessed it, Isaiah 43:18 & 19.  MJ and I, five and a half years after the initial promise, once again looked into each other’s eyes with that same teenager type excitement, and said “I guess God is confirming our move to South Africa”.

Another hallmark verse that has been a part of my life since my early thirties has been Isaiah 41:13 & 14.  Fourteen years after my brother and I had lost our beloved parents in a car accident, I revisited the scene where the horrific tragedy had taken place.  It was about 10 p.m. at night when I pulled my car to the side of the road.  The words from Isaiah came to me like a piercing light in the midst of deep darkness:

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid…”

I will never forget turning on the interior light of my car, looking at my right hand, closing it and feeling the hand of God in mine.  Countless times since, I have felt the strong, fatherly hand of God holding my right hand.

MJ and I arrived in Pretoria on December 31, 2013.  After unloading our luggage at our temporary home, we got into a car that has been provided until we get our own, and went to do some groceries.  The previous driver had set the radio to a local Christian station.  As I turned the car on, the radio host read the verse of the day, you guessed it, Isaiah 41:13 & 14.

What a way to close out 2013 and begin 2014!  I guess what I am telling you today is to trust the promises of God’s Word.  His Word is truth, His promises are trustworthy, and they never fail!

Until next Monday…

Don

www.reinventingthechurch.com


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