Leading the next phase!

Moses my servant is dead…” says God. In some ways it would seem a brutal opening; but the writer of the book of Joshua just states the fact.

Joshua was expecting the news, Moses had commissioned him as his successor and also prayed a long prayer of blessing over the nation1, but then Moses had gone mountain walking and had not come back. He had been a ‘super fit’ 120 year old man whose ‘vigour had not abated…’2

Leadership change is often not easy, but moving from the founder to the first successor can be especially Continue reading “Leading the next phase!”

Come Dine With Me

How would you cope with four strangers coming to your home, eating food you have spent hours preparing, only to publicly rate your efforts as a cook? What might you feel as the door bell rings, your first guest has arrived, but the sauce has burned and the lamb needs 30 minutes more than you had allowed for!

I confess to enjoying cooking, most of the time, and over recent years have hosted ‘mens meals’ for a dozen or so neighbours. It’s been an interesting experience getting to know neighbours better and to provide an environment for them to interact. There has been a sense of growing community and the wives and girlfriends have sometimes wondered Continue reading “Come Dine With Me”

Are we there yet?

If you have children, and travel by car, then ‘Are we there yet?’ may well be a very familiar cry. It is not easy to answer when you are maybe 30 minutes into a journey you know is going to take 4 hours. Finding things to keep ‘little people’ occupied and avoid the fractious “she hit me”, “no I didn’t”, “yes you did”, “well he hit me first”, scenario takes creativity, imagination and potentially frequent intervention.

So spare a thought for Moses. He ended up leading, not a family that could be counted on Continue reading “Are we there yet?”

Let the children come to me

If you have taken the challenge to read through the Bible in a year, and started on 1st January, it is possible that you have just finished reading Leviticus. Did you manage to read through all the rules and regulations? What about rules regarding skin diseases or what to do if a mouse falls in a water jug? With that sort of detail it may seem surprising that a Jewish website should say, “Though sometimes viewed as a collection of arcane laws of animal sacrifices and ritual purity, Leviticus is very much valued in Judaism. In fact, traditionally, the first Torah verses that children learn are from Leviticus. We read in the Midrash1, “[When] we start the children with the book of Vayikra2, G d says, ‘Let the pure ones come and involve themselves in the pure [laws], and I will consider it as if they brought a sacrifice before me.’”” 3

Why was Leviticus seen as so important and what can we learn from it? I want to offer just a few thoughts that I hope will Continue reading “Let the children come to me”

Expect trouble – cause trouble, but be a lighthouse!

It seems that there is no end in sight for the current amplified political discord in the USA. Just when one hoped the volume could not get much higher, accusations of ‘wire tapping’ came trumpeting over Twitter. And even in the 140 characters allowed in a tweet, the attack was seemingly against character and not just about actions.

In the UK, controversy over Britexit (is there really such a word?) rumbles on. The future of Europe, without Britain, seems unclear with a wide range of options being floated by Jean-Claud Junckers in a speech at the beginning of March.

So whether you live in the US, the UK or Europe there is a level of turmoil at the start of 2017 which probably could not have been predicted in early 2016. What then, could be (or maybe should be) the principles that influence your Continue reading “Expect trouble – cause trouble, but be a lighthouse!”

A tale of two worlds!

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

How could it have happened? How is it that the foresight of the Simpsons in the year 2000 could have come to pass? The reality however is that Donald Trump is president of the USA, but this is NOT a political blog. What I want to do, is to look beyond the surface of the events that surround us be they global ones or personal ones and ask some questions about how the world works.

The world in which we live seems so confused that Continue reading “A tale of two worlds!”

How should saying that God is like Jesus affect the way I read and understand the bible?

As a Christian, a follower Jesus Christ, I have been amazed at how easily some of my fellow believers seem to understand the Bible as saying things that would mean, at times, that the character of God is almost the exact opposite of the revelation that we find of Jesus in the Gospels. After all, Jesus says, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father…” (John 14:9), so shouldn’t our understanding of the bible and our view of God’s character be congruent?

As a very imperfect disciple (but I hope I am continuing to learn) I have had two very personal Continue reading “How should saying that God is like Jesus affect the way I read and understand the bible?”

What is your God like?

Godfather of Reno Casinos or Father God?

Sometimes a phrase I read or something that someone says jumps out at me, I expect it’s just the same for you. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago. I was reading something posted on the web by an internationally-known Bible teacher and could not believe my eyes.

As with a lot of my recent thinking I asked the question, “what does that say about the character of God?”

What did I read that caused me to be so shocked? Continue reading “What is your God like?”

Throw the bath water but please don’t lose the baby

The title of this blog is particularly relevant for me today because my youngest granddaughter is coming to stay and next week my wife and I will be helping to look after our oldest son’s children. But it’s not literal babies that I have in mind as I write.

I am concerned about the figurative baby at the centre of my faith. The “baby” that is – my understanding of who God is and what He is like.

I recently went to the funeral of a young Christian worker who had died in his mid thirties. After the service someone Continue reading “Throw the bath water but please don’t lose the baby”

Who’s looking at you?

Spiritual beings in a spiritual world?

Have you watched “The Listener” or “The Ghost Whisperer”?

What’s your concept of the spiritual?

What’s behind the seemingly unreasonable anger that we see all around us almost every day?

The book of Job, in the Bible, begins with the curtain being pulled back and a little bit of the spiritual world being exposed. God is presiding over his council meeting and Satan walks in. The question God asks him is a simple one: “Where have you come from?” The answer comes back quickly, “From roaming through the earth and going to and fro in it”. Continue reading “Who’s looking at you?”