Thursday, 25 February 2010

Ronny Heyboer

Ronny Heyboer is a missionary who, with his wife and kids, has given his life to church planting, and the care and education of orphans among the Dayaks of Borneo. I had the privilege of meeting him on one of his trips to the UK 6 years ago and hung off his every word!

Below is the testimony of how he came to Jesus.

Take heart from this if you are praying for an unbelieving spouse, or have lost that same spouse in tragic circumstances. Be encouraged if you have wondered whether you can invite people to your midweek house group, or whether God can give you the words to speak into a culture and a people that knows nothing of the ways of the living God, whether they are your own peers or not...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Do You Really Love Him?

If I'm honest, I don't really understand why a notorious false prophet like Baalam can be inspired to speak by the Spirit of God.

The great Oswald Chambers may be on to something of the answer when he says...

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.

Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love Him? Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to Him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of His redemption, while neglecting all the things you could be doing for Him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things— things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to Him. Have you ever created what Mary of Bethany created in the heart of the Lord Jesus? "She has done a good work for Me."

There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. ". . . but perfect love casts out fear . . ." once we are surrendered to God ( 1 John 4:18 ). We should quit asking ourselves, "Am I of any use?" and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.

Perhaps we too easily make the mistake of thinking that true spirituality lies in power and authority. Jesus says it's found in humility and love for him and his Father.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Many A True Word Spoken in Jest.

In the not too distant past, a good friend of mine goaded some of the students in our church to write limericks about me. Here is the un-airbrushed take on what they came up with... ;-)

There once was a man called Walker,
We found him an incredible talker,
He cycled and ran,
He taught and he swam,
And ended washed up in Majorca.

There once was an elder named Walker,
Who was a bit of a porker,
He really loved cheese,
But never said please,
Just asked for a knife and a

There once was a teacher of French,
Who rather admired Judi Dench,
He bought her some cheese,
She fell to her knees,
Unable to cope with the stench!

In the beginning God created,
A man seemingly never deflated,
So learnèd a nerd,
With many a word,
Impossible whenever debated.

There once was an affable dude,
Where once he is caught in the mood,
He will open his mouth,
And loud noises come out,
So the Lord in his wisdom made food!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Rock Solid Parable

Altars in the Old Testament had to be constructed from naturally occurring, uncut stone. It was a work of craftsmanship unlike any we get to see today.

Dry stone walling is probably the closest equivalent we have to this all but lost skill, where rocks and stones of contrary shapes and sizes are all skilfully placed together by a master builder.

Something like this, perhaps...

What holds this wall together is not some synthetic artificial foreign agent like cement, but the wisdom of the craftsman who knows exactly the right kind of stone needed and where to put that stone so that it perfectly contributes to the form and stability of the whole.

Modern red brick constructions can be built in a matter of hours, but dry stone constructions are a much longer, and with it painstaking, proposition. In the same way, the rhythms and ways of Man are not like the rhythms and ways of the Living God.

Man, in the lust of his eyes, throws out all things that do not conform to his agenda. Red bricks are his philosophy. Whether he be World Leader or Everyday Joe; in building the empire to his own glory, man seeks (by force if necessary):
  • a flattened and passive uniformity, (one size of brick), so that he can build rapidly.
  • controls to coerce his subjects and that enable him to feel the ascendancy of his power (use of cement).
  • freedom from the physical and natural limitations that surround him (all redbrick walls look essentially the same wherever you find them).
As an aside: I don't believe this is the kind of "rule" God had in mind when he gave the world to Adam and Eve.

God however, in their wisdom, take active pleasure in patiently collecting all kinds of rocks and stones, no matter how crazily they're shaped, no matter where they have been strewn, and incorporating these beautifully, meaningfully and justly into their purpose. They do so without any kind of coercion or rape of identity and dignity and without divorcing them from the context in which they find themselves.

When it comes to building spiritual spaces (altar / temple / house), then in the eyes of these Divine Craftsmen, there's no such thing as a useless rock. There are simply those rocks that have been called into sync with the divine purpose and those that refuse to be.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The People of the Cross

Get this!

Not only was the altar in the tabernacle cross-shaped, but the whole camp was too, with the priests and the Tabernacle at the centre:

Their whole outlook was shaped by the cross, and those who held fast to the realities that these things symbolised were commended for it!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Making Sense of the Old Testament Sacrifices

I've just finished working through the sacrifices that Moses gives to the people in the first half of Leviticus. I found the video below helpful in drawing all the sacrifices and their symbolism together.

WARNING: You'll notice that it was put together by the Mormons. Mormonism is a cult (see here). Do NOT become one. (To avoid any misunderstanding/misrepresentation: whilst I believe in fairness and showing compassion to all persons, I have no time for the strange belief that all ideas are created equal.)

Whilst I shudder at the mention of the name Joseph Smith and would personally want to say that Jesus, and not just some random angel taught Adam and Eve about the nature of sacrifice, I nevertheless find much helpful stuff in this video. Watch it with discernment and enjoy how much it points you to Christ. (It's not what you might have expected).

It's interesting that the altar was raised up from the earth, and Exodus 20:26 tells us that they were not allowed to build steps up to it, lest they exposed themselves. Which leads me to the not unfair conclusion that the altar was set in the middle of a cross shaped mound (see right).

In other words, the Israelites who were true Israelites, (i.e. put their faith in Christ) understood well the reality to which the Holy Spirit of prophecy was pointing them.


By the way, this post, from Glen Scrivener, on God as haggler, is one of the best things I've read lately. Go jump into the "strange world" of the Bible. :-)