30 October, 2007

Reformation Day

 October 31st is a public holiday in Germany. Reformation Day is set aside to remember the religious revolution that Martin Luther and others like him fought so hard for.

The Reformation made it possible for ordinary men, women and children in Germany to have a personal living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It allowed them to read the scriptures themselves in their own language. It did away with the idea of "buying" salvation and forgiveness. It did away with the idea that a priest must always mediate between a "normal" person and God. We are delighted that Germany still sets aside a public holiday to remember this.

But today, less than 2% of the German population is reported to have a living, meaningful relationship with Christ. What a tragedy. What a mission field.

Please remember all those Christians who are light in Germany today. Pray for strength and grace and boldness for them.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5.14

Oh, and why am I writing this on the 30th and not on the day itself?... Well, I`m also being reformed (see 2 previous posts).  Tomorrow is a holiday!

The pot and the kettle

This is England. No, they`re not playing cricket. It`s bowls. A traditional English passtime. It`s most popular amongst those more senior in years. They have a little more time to pass!

The game has a slow, relaxing pace. It is social and festive. Which brings me back to the blog below. Time out. Easier said than done.

I first got the idea for the blog below on a Saturday. A free Saturday as opposed to a busy Church Saturday. I told my husband about it. He laughed and quoted the old English saying "Isn`t that the pot calling the kettle black?". He meant, of course, that it was typical of me to be thinking of work when I was supposed to be relaxing. So I waited a couple of days to write it.

Now, after yet another full week and a day or so of being "grounded" for doing too much, the Sabbath subject continues. Even when there is free time, it isn`t always easy to know what to do with it. Especially when a couple or family are all trying to relax at the same time in the same space!

So lately I`ve thought a lot about the Jewish "Sabbath" context. 3 things stand out. Firstly, it is a regular, planned time. It has an element of tradition. The traditional aspects of the time bring the family together. Secondly, tradition can help expectation. So that everyone expects to play their part, eat their part and spend time together. Thirdly, it also leaves room for the individual to rest with God and rest from work.

So if a Sabbath is part of God`s plan for our health, we have to learn to plan it a bit too. To make a few healthy traditions. To prepare so that we can relax. Not always so easy, but amazingly rewarding. We`re on a learning curve with time off... and reaping the benefits! Try it sometime.

Exodus 20.8-10 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

22 October, 2007

Enduring urgent times

A stop sign can be totally frustrating. Especially when you are in a hurry. So much to do. Time is tight. They can often feel like they are holding us back. Focused on our destination, we just want to keep going. But a stop sign is a life saver. 

We live in urgent times, aware of the Bigger Picture. Aware of God`s greater plan; one that endures through time and generations. That`s humbling and exciting to be part of. Urgency can be a great motivator.

If we are heavily active in Church life, it can be especially easy to feel a healthy responsibility to be fruitful and busy. To keep going. There is just so much to do. It`s like being on a treadmill and never sensing a good time to get off. It doesn`t slow down. We learn to develop stamina. To endure.

But to maintain stamina we need to learn to trust the Bigger Picture to God. To realise that as important as each one of us is, God is able to keep His greater plan on track. Even if we take a little break. In fact, God feels so strongly about this that He included a Sabbath rest in the Ten Commandments. He has designed us to give ourselves fully to work and equally fully to rest. In the right proportions...and regularly. 

So next time you feel too guilty or too pressured to take a day off, open your Bible. Read Exodus 20. Devoting a day a week to rest, time with God and to refuel your tanks, ranks high on God`s list of priorities. You see, He truly does have The Bigger Picture in perspective. He knows you need to endure. He understands the urgency. And this is His solution. This is one of the huge secrets to enduring stamina and enduring urgency.

A stop sign might be frustrating, but it`s what keeps the traffic in order. It allows the traffic to keep flowing. And yes, they truly do save lives.

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God." Exodus 20.8

19 October, 2007

The Bigger Picture endures

Not only is God`s Bigger Picture of things much larger than our own. It also endures. Through times, seasons and generations. I love that about God. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the "here and now" of life. We think in terms of our lifetime or even just a portion of our lifetime. But what God speaks and puts in motion is for a more enduring season. He thinks in terms of generations. He has an eternal perspective.

This shot is the road in which the Jesus-Haus stands. It was taken a couple of weeks ago on the day Germany celebrated the reunification of East and West Germany. At the end of the road you see the Moravian Church. In the foreground the flag of Saxony, the region we live in. This is Herrnhut 2007.

It is the same street where nazi banners hung over 60 years ago. They renamed it Adolf Hitler Strasse. Then the Russians torched two thirds of the town. The communist regime began. The street became August-Bebel-Strasse. Instead of Nazi propaganda, communist propaganda was posted in the street. Now, in this time of treasured freedom, a sign hangs on a building that was a hospital during the nazi and communist time. That same building was originally built as a warehouse for a tradesman called Abraham Dürninger. The profits of the trade helped finance the sending out of missionaries around the world.

The sign that hangs on this building says "Christliches Zentrum Herrnhut e.V. Jesus Haus".

The same building. The same street. Enduring times, seasons, regimes, wars and treasured freedom. It reminds me of God`s long term perspective. So many things change over time, but God`s word remains forever. It has an unchanging quality. Through all generations.

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40.8

16 October, 2007

Who colours your dreams?

Every generation of Christians inherits from those who have gone before. Truth. Understanding. Church culture. And so much more. Somethings we like to build on. Others we`d rather change. We also inherit a dream. Something greater that we carry within us. Are you aware of that?

People, situations & events all influence how we see that dream. How we dream that dream. How we bring our part of the dream into reality and how we pass it on to others. Being a Christian isn`t just about you. It`s about you and Jesus and your part in a much bigger picture.

You see, Christians were made to be part of a bigger dream. God`s dream. A dream for generations and the nations. The world takes dreams and makes them serve the individual. God gives dreams that serve Him and His plan for the nations.

No matter how personal your dream, no matter how big or small it is, let Jesus colour it. Because if you are following Jesus, your dream is part of something greater. Let Him take those desires and colour them for His purposes. You might have to revise your dream a little. You may have to take another look at the blueprint. But when He has finished with it you will understand. God uses each one of us to display His greatness, in the little and the big things of life. In the momentous and the seemingly insignificant.

It`s just a case of allowing Him. Of co-operating. So who`s colouring your dreams? Is it the world, or is it Him?

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3.20-21

10 October, 2007


I`ve been thinking a lot about the generations lately. About being part of history and how we make history. Every day. In the little and the bigger things that we do.

There is always a bigger picture than the one we see daily. Others have gone before us. We have inherited from them. Some good things, some bad, usually a mixture of both. 

We are also leaving an inheritance behind us. But I don´t just want to think about leaving something behind when I am gone. I`m passionate about passing our inheritance on while we are still living too. I don´t mean all our worldly goods! I mean this wonderful life in Jesus. 

As Christians we make up the Church. The Church is continually developing. But the foundations remain the same. Jesus endures throughout time. The Church, His bride is also destined to endure. Just as I have inherited from those who have walked with God before me, so I want those who follow me to inherit. 

We are a living timeline. Just thinking about that inspires me. Our life is not our own. It is not just about me in the here and now. I am a part of history. And so are you.

"...to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3.21

09 October, 2007

Staun Mal is launched!

Today is the day! Staun Mal, a daily time of pure worship is launched in the Jesus-Haus. It sounds so simple doesn`t it? No notices, no long petitions, no agenda. Nothing to interrupt a time of giving ourselves over to worship our Saviour.

Tuesday to Saturday, every week, worshippers and watchmen will be simply surrendering to Jesus in worship. It`s a joy, but also a discipline. To continue to worship for this time, lifting His name high over our region and nation. No one will preach, no one will be allowed to interrupt the flow of adoration.

For the Jesus-Haus project it`s one of the first phases in building up the prayer and worship altar here. Guests and visitors to the Jesus-Haus as well as others in the region are all welcome to join us in this hour of adoration.

And if you`re too far away to pop over to East Germany for an hour, why not take time yourself and spend an hour simply adoring Him? Wherever you are, whoever you are, He is waiting for You. He loves it when we simply come and give Him the love of our heart. 

08 October, 2007

Soul Stairs

Is our soul good or bad? Sometimes we get confused. Jesus saved our souls. He restores our souls. They are made to worship Him. To be intimate with Him. They are living and active; they feel, think and respond. But not always in a good way. That`s the problem.
When we become a Christian, a transformation begins. Our earthly soul has to undergo a spiritual process. To learn to make the right choices and responses to God, to others and to events. To live that abundant, free life that Jesus won on the cross for us. Giving our lives to Jesus is the beginning of a journey. 
Like climbing stairs. One step at a time. 

One choice at a time, we are transformed. We learn to stop living under fears, shame and the past. We allow the power and life of God`s truth to change the way we think and respond. We learn to walk in the freedom Christ has won, to live as a new creation.  

You see, Jesus didn´t just die to "save" our souls. It`s not just about going to Heaven. He also rose again so that our souls could be "converted". To transform the way we live and have our being. So that our soul can truly live in freedom. It was for freedom that Christ died and rose again; to truly set us free.  

King David put it like this: "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19.7

As we open our heart up to the Truth of His Word, we learn to understand and walk in the freedom Christ has won for us. We learn His principles for responding and reacting to others and situations. We learn to live "in the Spirit". 

Why not open your Bible now. Let Him touch you with His Word, respond to Him  and put some soul stairs behind you today? 


We all have times when we`re thirsting for more. Or we`re just feeling dry and worn out. Sometimes our soul gets tired. 

It can be easy to feel under pressure to always be happy and fruitful. To have it all. Or to bounce back quickly after a disappointment or loss. 

It`s certainly not good for us to wallow. But sometimes we do need time to work things out. Time for our roots to take up water again. For the depths of our soul to be refreshed. For our heart to believe again and our spirit to be revived.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name`s sake."

If your soul is dry, thirsty or aching, respond to your shepherd today. Find a place of rest and allow Him to speak to your heart, to your soul. Let the kisses of His Word revive you and restore you. That`s something that He loves to do.

04 October, 2007

When less is more

God speaks to Christians today. If you are listening, you can hear His voice. Sometimes He is telling us something for us alone. Sometimes it is for sharing. It`s not always easy to know whether we should share what we hear with others.

A good thing to do is to ask God first. A second thing is to check that what you think you have heard agrees with God`s word. He is always true and faithful. He won`t speak anything that does not agree with His promises and teaching.

One of the most important things that I have learnt is that "less is more". People often feel under pressure to share extended words from God, or to interpret them. But we are just vessels. Channels for the message. You don`t need to be the interpreter. You just need to learn to be a pure channel.

It isn`t more spiritual to interpret the message as well. It doesn`t make you a better Christian and it doesn`t mean you are more gifted or mature either. In fact, often those who stay closest to the heart of God speak very simply and profoundly. I think they`ve  learned the "less is more" tactic too.

Simply speak what you hear. Nothing more, nothing less. Let God interpret it into the hearts of others. The more we get out of the way and keep our own understanding out of the message, the purer it will be.

"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."  2 Cor 4.7