Saturday, December 29, 2018

Go find a ladder....

With the annual season for stating resolutions that won’t make it into the second week of January, almost upon us, I thought this post by Seth Godin  had a truthful ring to it. For me anyway!

While it might be fun (or appear expedient, or brave, or heroic) to try to scale a cliff with no tools, it turns out that ladders are a more effective way to level up. 
When it’s time to drive a nail, a hammer is a lot more useful than a rock. Even if you have to invest in obtaining one. 
Often, we spend most of our time throwing ourselves at the wall instead of investing the time to find a useful ladder instead. Perhaps, instead of restating our audacious goals, we can spend more time finding useful tools–insights, skills, trust, attention, access–instead. 
It’s worth the search.

What does your ladder look like?

Friday, December 28, 2018

Wait for the gentle whisper

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was NOT in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was NOT in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was NOT in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

1 Kings 19:11-13

Wait for the gentle whisper.....that’s when you know God has arrived.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A hymn worth the Glory of God the father

It is suggested by Matthew Gordley in New Testament Christological Hymns, that the famous passage about Jesus, God and their relationship was written or adopted as a hymn by the church. Now that is a song worth singing!

6. Though he was in the form of God, 
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. 

 7 But he emptied himself 
by taking the form of a slave 
and by becoming like human beings. 

 When he found himself in the form of a human, 
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, 
even death on a cross. 

 9 Therefore, God highly honored him 
and gave him a name above all names, 

 P10 so that at the name of Jesus everyone 
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow 

 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father.

Phil 2:6-11

Monday, December 17, 2018

What & Who

This was originally posted by Seth Godin on his website. So the thought is not mine but it challenged me as a Pastor & Teacher in the Church to never for felt these thoughts, amongst others, each week.

When the people we serve present themselves, when they offer us their attention and their trust, we need to work to see two things: 

Who they are. What do they fear, what do they believe, what do they need? 

Who they can become. Which doors can we open, how can we support them, what will they leave behind?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas so that.....

“Man’s maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.” ~ Augustine

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

In the Sweet by and by

Today I took delivery of a new old book through Amazon, Great Hymns and their Stories by W J Limmer Sheppard, first published in 1923.

The book fell open at page 123 and the first lines I read were:
In the sweet by and by,
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
I could hardly believe it. This old hymn was the favourite hymn of my grandad, William W Whyte D.S.M.. His enjoyment was even greater when the music was played by the Cairnbulg Walk Band of flutes and drums. I can still remember the smile on his face when one New Years Day the band stopped outside his house to give him a "stonnin beat."

To the uninitiated each New Years Day a flute band lead a few hardy followers around the village of Cairnbulg in the North East of Scotland. They would stop at the houses of people who were ill and played a song of their choice.

Here is the story behind the hymn and its completion from idea to singing in 30 minutes.

"In the village of Elkhorn, in Wisconsin, USA, lived a musician and composer, Mr J P Webster. Of an extremely sensitive nature, he was frequently attacked by fits of melancholy and depression. One of his friends, Mr S F Bennett, who resided in the same village, found that these moods could often be dispelled by giving the musician a new hymn or song which needed music written for it.

On one such occasion, Mr Bennett was sitting writing in his office, when Webster entered and walked to the fire, turning his back upon his friend without a word.

Bennett asked him what was the matter, and only received a curt and indefinite reply to the effect that "it would be all right in the by and by."

Instantly the last three words of Webster's answer flashed the idea of a hymn into Bennett's mind.

"The sweet by and by!" he said; "would not that make a good hymn?"

Webster answered in an uninterested tone that "it might," but Bennett, turning to his desk, wrote down, as fast as his pen could cover the paper, the first three verses and chorus of the world-famous hymn, best known by its title. When finished he handed the manuscript to Webster.

The musician's interest was awakened, his whole aspect changed; turning to the desk, he began, equally rapidly, to compose a melody for the stirring words. He then requested one of two other friends, who had come in, to lend him his violin, on which he played over the new melody.

Once more he turned to the desk and wrote down the harmonies for the four parts of the chorus. Within thirty minutes from the time Mr Bennett wrote the first line, the four friends were singing the hymn as it was afterwards published.

During the singing a fifth friend entered, and, after listening, exclaimed with tears in his eyes, "that hymn is immortal!"

A true prophecy, for the world, will never forget the touching lines and music thus rapidly put together in the little American village over 50 years ago (1868)."

- W J Limmer Sheppard.

There's a land that is fairer than day,
and by faith we can see it afar;
for the Father waits over the way
to prepare us a dwelling place there.

In the sweet by and by,
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
In the sweet by and by,
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
the melodious songs of the blest;
and our spirits shall sorrow no more,
not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above
we will offer our tribute of praise
for the glorious gift of his love
and the blessings that hallow our days.