21 Jul 2014

a poverty-stricken spiritual life?

Spiritually poor?

This week I read:
Years ago I was consulting with a congregation about their future. In a large gathering of members, a question was raised, “what would you most like your congregation to do for you?”
Much to everyone’s surprise, the answer from one person was, “teach me to pray.
This older adult said she had been baptized, married, saw her own children baptized…held her husband’s memorial service in the church; yet in all those years and experiences, no one ever taught her to pray.....
The inheritance that belongs to every Christian is frequently left unclaimed. So many of us live a poverty-stricken spiritual life. (Reuben Job)

The cheque that was never drawn.
The gift that was never fully opened.
The meal that’s left only hastily eaten in portions.
The words we fail to hear.
The wholeness we miss….

It happens.

Joyless Christainity.
Cold orthodoxy.
Self-righteous convictions.

It shows up  perhaps --
Aversion to spiritual conversations.
Excuses from commitment.
Escape from community

Someone wisely said, ‘we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday!’(and I suggest we do it in church too!)

It is easy to forget what it’s all about.
Life gets busy, We get hurt. Things get too much (pink dot, library books, wars and rumours of wars..)

In my soon-to-be-released book, Shed Those Leaves, I probe this.
It traces back to a Self that is basically far too alive still – where we continue to run on an operating system called performance, strife and competition. Naturally, the spiritual life becomes one more piece of work; and who needs more work?

Kinda like this?

The Word declares,

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, 
and takes us to high places of blessing in him..
he had us in mind, had settle don us as the focus of his love, 
to be made whole and holy  by his love.”
~ Ephesians 1 (the Message)

There is here a different plane to live from where we find ourselves blessed.
There is a different person to become where we find ourselves becoming whole and holy.

And it takes this:
“live by the Spirit” “led by the Spirit”“live by the Spirit”
“keep in step with the Spirit” ~ Galatians 5 (NIV)

So this week soul friends, how about we confess ~

blessed are the poor in spirit” {Matthew 5v3}

– and wait -- for Mighty Grace to swoop down and fasten us to the right winds that blow. Not to be tossed, thirsty and tired; but to be trussed and trusting as we live led and walk our baby steps each day.

15 Jul 2014

something new: a blog hop, and my 4 answers to writing.

Martha whom I got to know on a facebook Writing group asked to introduce me on her blog as part of a Blog Hop!(if it were hip too...then, a hip blog hop...haha!). I said yes because -

i didn't want to say No to Martha! (I can say 'No').

it's really nice to have more people read my blog and find something they need.

reading other blogs have often been so life-giving for me. As a juggling stay-home-and-work mom; the internet is a useful source for this extrovert to feel connected with other adult humans; especially when they write honest, good, God-ward stuff.

What about you? Well with this Blog Hop my dear friend, you get to hop around a few blogs today just by clicking on the links! Perhaps you may find something just meet for your soul. I can pray so.

But first, remembering we met in a writing group and blogs are about writing; Martha asked me to answer 4 questions. So here goes -

1. What are you working on?
This is actually quite hard to talk about as I always have a few things buzzing around inside my lil head...and it all depends on what resources I come across and how much time I have. I am hugely relieved (though still nervous) about my recent book which launches in August, Shed Those Leaves - really an important message I want to share. It's about how we are so irreparably self-reliant that Grace is truly an alien idea to us. So it gets to the heart of the Good News. I am excited about the message and praying for it to have a good impact.

2. How does your work differ from those in your genre? 
The best response I get from my work is that I am raw and honest. For me, ideas are real and show up in life. Perhaps this is why even though I write non-fiction; I get into the material a lot and it's fun that way for the readers.

3. Why do you write what you do?
I do write a range of things - many stay in my folders. Mainly writing is something I need to do. It clarifies my thoughts and so helps me be a better communicator. I also preach and teach and train; and I always script for them. As for material; I write to seek meaning, connections, and a sense of hope. So whether it is on parenting, thoughts on what I read, a special features or reviewing a book; I am seeking to understand, and to help others find a way to see life that gives hope.

4. How does your writing process work?
I try to write a few times each week but I don't push myself to complete material unless there is a deadline! There is a lot of pre-writing when things are knocking around inside the head and heart though...but I found that often I write best when I respond to a surge of energy and ideas that seem to come forth from somewhere deep within. When I miss those moments; the writing tends to feel flat.

Now let me introduce you to 3 very different writers:

lives in USA, is a trained nurse and married 45 years to Ron, a pastor.
Her exciting blog mission is to :
help women understand themselves as daughters and not orphans
give women tools to mentor
encourage women to have cross-generational friendships for mutual benefit.

Now, who says "wohoo" to that?! I do!!

Next up, is "an ordinary girl striving to live everyday as God's big "show and tell" and
 simply trusting nothing about my past, present or future will be wasted in His capable and loving hands. Blooming where I'm planted and dancing on the dash!

We can all identify with that....
and I enjoy her energetic, honest, provocative writings.

and of course, a fellow Singaporean ~ who was so closed to death, she now blogs at Alive & Kicking!
to celebrate faith, creativity and life!.
She is News Editor and you can check her favourite Scripture and songs on her blog.


Well, here we are, heeding the Voice and putting ours out there.
Let's hear yours too! Share with us in the comments!

13 Jul 2014

God is real

I had several Jesus moments these few days.

It didn't come because I was at some conference.
It didn't happen because I was all set out to change the world.
It didn't come about as a result of any specific plans.

But Jesus came near to the broken, hurting, confused and I happened to be there.

As I  listen to their words tumbling out or their tears streaming down, I begin to feel Jesus' heart for them. I speak softly, "let us sit here with Jesus", "let us wait for God to show us"....

To the broken-hearted gal, Jesus dug a large hole and said, "toss all that you clutch in there".
To the confused man who saw everyone around him prospering while he seems to stagnate; who wonders why all of his giving is not returning, Jesus reminds him of true treasure and that He has noticed his giving as surely as he sees that old widow's two copper coins.
To me, the "what do I do now" lost child in a world of needs such as the epileptic lady trying to sell me stuff I don't need, I heard Jesus say, "pray for her".

Often, the Spirit also brings to mind stories from the Scripture and words of truth and promise that helped me to relate and share with them.....

An old song comes to mind, one I taught my youths (did they laugh at the tune at first!) which they grew to love --

There are some things
I may not know
There are some places
I can't go
But I am sure, of this one thing
My God is real
for I can feel him deep within
My God is real, real in my soul

My God is real
for he has washed and made me whole
His love for me
is like pure gold
My God is real for I can feel Him in my soul

So soul, Jesus is near. Maybe sit and listen?

Perhaps you will see something. Or feel the Spirit's wind blow and remember to breathe, to slow, to hold the tongue, offer a hand, open your heart....