Looking into a Mirror …

It has always fascinated me as to how things like music or movies can often parallel prophetic things that are being shared or proclaimed in the church. For example, when the "renewal", or Toronto Blessing, was in focus and things were being prophesied about eruptions of the power of God that would effect whole cities, I was fascinated that Hollywood released two films almost simultaneously about Volcanoes.

Remember Dante’s Peak with Pierce Brosnan and Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones? Think about it, two movies on a similar topic produced and released at almost the same time .. and there hasn’t been another of that kind released since. Again, at about the time people like Rick Joyner and others were prophesying parallels between the arrogant attitudes of those who built the Titanic and the American financial system, the movie Titanic was released and was proclaimed the biggest movie of all time, having run massively over-budget.

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When Things in Your Life Seem Almost too Much to Handle …

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and  empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes."

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite passions – good things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled.  "I’m glad you asked," he said. "It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers."

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A Prayer .. written by Sir Francis Drake

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves;
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little;
When we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life, we ceased to dream of eternity;And in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery;
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope and love.

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Take Nothing for the Journey: A Fresh Look at Church Health

This is a powerful article that was recently published on the Next Wave eZine and written by
‘I have always been fascinated by these wagon wheels with their wide rims, strong wooden spokes, and big hubs. These wheels help me understand the importance of a life lived from the centre. When I move along the rim, I can reach one spoke after the other, but when I stay at the hub, I am in touch with all the spokes at once.’

Henri Nouwen, Here and Now (1994).

Wagon WheelChristopher Alexander is an architect who advocates building in process and not from a plan. He argues that this is the ancient way, and that the modern and mechanistic approach demonstrates our lack of spirituality. Alexander is not a believer.

Alexander relates that one of the fundamental problems in architecture arises when the building is going up and the designer must make simple choices. For example, should this column be 5" or 6" in diameter? He talked about how the designer’s own ego could get in the way of constructing the right building. The question he would finally ask is: "which choice is a greater gift to God?" He continued,

"You can build a building that everyone says is wonderful.. a success.. but does that make it wonderful or a success? No… You can build a building that no one says is wonderful or a success.. but can it be wonderful and a success…? Yes..” 1

When we reduce truth to formulas or success to size, we are far along the road of idolatry and the worship of technique.2 We have sold out to the evil Empire, and forgotten that we are strangers and aliens here. Leonard Cohen opines …

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