Grappling, Wrestling & Letting Go!

“In my experience, self-hatred is the dominant malaise crippling Christians and stifling their growth in the Holy Spirit.”
Brennan Manning

“Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”
N.T. Wright

“In Christ, for the first time, we see that in God himself there exists–within his inseparable unity–the distinction between the Father who gives and the Gift which is given (the Son), but only in the unity of the Holy Spirit.”
Hans Urs von Balthasar

“The Spirit of God breathes inspiration, while the carnal mind breeds vanity.”
Fred C. White

“I once faced a temptation that was so persistent and so overwhelming that I literally believed my whole world would go dark if I refused to give in to it,” he said. “All I could do was scream to the Holy Spirit to keep me from it.”
Wesley Hill

“Surprisingly, the Christian faith today is perceived as disconnected from the supernatural world – a dimension that the vast majority of outsiders believe can be accessed and influenced.”
David Kinnaman

“The average man has no central core of moral assurance, no spring within his breast, no inner strength to place him above the need for repeated psychological shots to give him the courage to go on living. He has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life from his environment, unable to live a day apart from the stimulation which society affords him.”
A.W. Tozer

“The touchstone of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is the answer to our Lord’s question: “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” Our Lord makes human destiny depend on that one thing, Who men say He is, because the revelation of Who Jesus is is only given by the Holy Spirit.”
Oswald Chambers,

“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“It is easy to use the phrase ‘God’s will for my life’ as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. … My hope is that instead of searching for ‘God’s will for my life’ each of us would learn to seek hard after ‘the Spirit’s leading in my life today.’ May we learn to pray for an open and willing heart, to surrender to the Spirit’s leading with that friend, child, spouse, circumstance, or decision in our lives right now.”
Francis Chan

ABIDE

ABIDE

What does God want us to do with our lives? The answer is this…

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:1-2).

That means the old way has to go…

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).

So what does that mean for you and me today?

Spiritual transformation is so clearly demonstrated in the words of Jesus in John 15 (KJV). Jesus uses the word abide 9 times in 6 verses. The above question can be answered with one word and that word is abide.

A New Year’s Prayer …

Dear Father

God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.
We praise You for Your unequalled greatness.
Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.
Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more.
To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.
To teach others to love by loving them.
Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.
So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.
That we could share Love with others.
Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise,
in the chirping of sparrows in our gardens,
in the stories of our grandparents, and the fantasies of our children.
Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs,
so that we may know You better and better.
We rejoice in the world You loved into being.
Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day.
We pray for South America and may we in 2013 deepen our partnerships with others to share your message of hope.
Forgive us for falling short this past year.
We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the
unknown new year knowing You will go with us.
We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what’s ahead,
depending on You to help us do exactly what You want..
I say it again, we rejoice!
In Jesus name,

Amen

Beyond the Tinsel

It’s that time of year when the tinsel and sparkling lights come out and lets be honest it brightens up a time of year with low levels of light! May you have time this Christmas to stop and be reminded that following Christ touches beyond the edges of our lives. Its nothing to do with transforming the fringes. Its purpose is not simply to add some extra qualities to our lives. It has to do with the very core of our existence. Our inner life is not a quiet inner sanctuary that remains segregated from the more central and mundane aspects of our lives. Following Christ is transformative. It challenges us at the very centre of our being and seeks to permeate every facet of our existence.

 

Killing Time

Killing Time

How do I kill time? Let me count the ways.
By worrying about things over which I have
no control.
Like the past. Like the future.
By harbouring resentment and anger over
hurts real or imagined.
By disdaining the ordinary, or rather,
what I so mindlessly call ordinary.
By concern over what’s in it for me.
rather than what’s in me for it.
By failing to appreciate what is
because of might-have-beens,
should-have-beens,
could-have beens.
These are some of the ways I kill time.
Jesus didn’t kill time.
He gave life to it. His own.

Can you be too incarnational?

You can never be too incarnational, for properly understood that’s akin to asking whether you can be too Christ like. Towards the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus prays “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

In others words, Jesus calls us to move within this world without being of this world, to engage with our culture and his teachings simultaneously, without distancing ourselves from either. If Jesus is truly our axis mundi, the centre of our world and our way, then we will live like him and challenge our culture from within.

But often that’s not what we find. Frequently what happens instead is we find Christians either isolating themselves or capitulating to the culture. Both ways lead to blunted witness. A worse option is even more common, that of being “of the world but not in the world,” whereby Christian compromise with culture and gloss it over with layers of ‘churchianity’ that effectively cuts of further cultural engagement.

Go on, be missional, relational and intentional today!

Lord, I Give Up

Lord, I give up
All my own plans and purposes,
All my own desires and hopes
And accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all,
Utterly to Thee
To be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.
Use me as Thou wilt,
Send me where Thou wilt,
Work out Thy whole will in my life
At any cost,
Now and forever.

Betty Scott Stam (Martyred in the 1930s)

 

Claire Departing for Concepción

Concepción in Paraguay

Settled on the banks of the Rio Paraguay, the city of Concepción which has a population of roughly 50,000 inhabitants is completely unheard of by most.

Concepción is the city God has placed on Claire’s heart. The photo taken at the City Airport in Belfast on 18th July is a reminder that we are all called to participate in God’s mission. Share with Claire and pray. Claire is no stranger to Paraguay as she has already served for 14 years with the Anglican Church. Pray for Claire as she returns and keep up to date with prayer updates from SAMS.

Paraguay Overview

Location

Paraguay is a landlocked country located in the center of South America.

Borders

Paraguay borders Bolivia and Brazil on the north, Brazil to the east, Argentina to the south, and Bolivia and Argentina to the west. It has a total land area of 157,048 square miles. It is sometimes referred to as the “Heart of America”, owing to its central location in the continent.

Terrain

Paraguay is divided naturally by the river Paraguay. To the west of the river is the flat deposit of the Gran Chaco, a vast plain which extends from Paraguay into Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil. This whole region is characterized by grasslands, swamps, and sparse bush coverage. The eastern area consists mainly of plains with rainforest-like vegetation and is drained by the tributaries of the Paraguay and Paraná rivers.

Climate

Paraguay has a subtropical climate. In Asunción average temperatures range between 17°C in July and 30°C in January. In the Gran Chaco temperatures exceed 45°C on hot days. In Concepción the climate is usually between Asunción and the Gran Chaco. Generally the main rainy season lasts from December to March.

History

Paraguay declared its independence from Spain in 1811.

Population

6.5 millionCapital: AsunciónArea: 157,048 sq miles (406,752 sq km)Major languages: Spanish & Guarani

1 8 9 10 11 12 13