Changing Your Perspective

Hi everyone. Rob here.

I wonder how your self-talk’s been this last week? What have you been telling yourself? I ask this because of the enormous power our self-talk wields over our lives. It has more power than facts, more influence than mentors and more impact on our souls than nearly every spiritual activity you can think of. Think of two people about to abseil down a cliff face. One says, “The rope’s got me, I trust my instructor and I can do this” compared to someone saying, “This is scary, what if disaster happens, I can’t do this.” Who is going to succeed in abseiling down the cliff face? Easy choice isn’t it? Two people can face the exact same challenge and will have two very different experiences because of self-talk.

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The challenge of faith is to have such a relationship with God that we are telling ourselves what he has already told us. We hear what he thinks about the challenges we face, decisions we need to make and so on and repeat what he says to ourselves. Our self-talk becomes God talking to us and our hearts and minds responding to that. We may want to say, “I am really busy.” But if we pause and ask God, “how do you see my life right now,” we may hear, “You’re not busy but you do have some priorities mixed up.” That can become a beautiful dialogue with God that creates change and a new freedom of heart that saying, “I am busy” can never create.

I have been needing to practice this because for the last few months I’ve been working in a supermarket. I was hoping my search for part-time work would lead to something more intellectually fulfilling, and, let’s face it, high paying and ego stimulating. In reality this work is great because I can leave it behind when I get home, there’s flexibility and cheaper groceries! But reality and self-talk don’t often match. My ego, to my surprise and horror, put up a fight and there were days when I just wanted out. During this time God’s Spirit has kept nudging me to lay my ego down and embrace the situation. I have been doing that and will need to keep doing that. My ‘self-talk’ has changed from “this situation sucks” to “do your job, play your part and let Spirit work.” It is infinitely more freeing and joyful.

It’s a reminder to be grateful for now. God has you where you are right now for a reason. That reason may be to learn some tough lessons. It may be to mature and grow character. It may be to experience something great or to give the best of who you are into a place that really needs it. “God, what have you got for here” is a good starting point for changing our self-talk. Because, let’s face it, the problem with self-talk is that it’s about self, right? We don’t have the best perspective on our life. That privilege belongs to God; our life-giver and source of meaning, purpose and unconditional love. It’s his perspective I want, his words of love I want and his Spirit to show me the steps I must take in order to follow Jesus in this world.

May your perspective be changed this week as the eyes of your heart are opened by God. May your self-talk be filled with the words of his grace, love and hope and may you know joy in the journey in Jesus’ name.

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Kingdom Partners

Hi everyone. Rob here again.

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. It also marked 10 years since the devastating Christchurch earthquakes that impacted our whole country to some degree. On a personal level, it was also 10 years since I flew out to Hawaii for my first Wild at Heart Bootcamp that kickstarted a decade of personal growth, great travel experiences and learning to embrace a wholehearted approach to life and faith. There were successes and failures, wins and losses, celebrations and griefs and now, a decade on, I want more. I want more faith, more growth, more intimacy and more of God in me, through me and around me. I’m still hungry and thirsty. But there’s a problem. To get to the more I also have to want less. Less cynicism, less ‘battle fatigue’, less self-relief measures, less ego and less distraction. I want more but do I want less? At a heart level the answer is yes. Now it’s a case of matching will to action, which, in a sense, is what this last decade has been all about.

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Matching will to action is where faith often gets confused. We’ve fallen into two lies. One is that it’s all up to us and the other is that it’s all up to God. This is ironic because we love to say that God has a relationship with us. Well, relationships are two-sided and so is our relationship with God. Of course, God is the senior partner in the relationship. Our action is always a response to his action, his love and his act of coming for his in Jesus. Our actions, if they are to be in any way Christlike, arise from God’s other initiative of sending his Spirit to dwell in us. But faith is only useful if it’s lived out. Faith and action are always partners. If I don’t respond to God’s initiatives then where is my faith?

Now, God’s invitations are not just to behave well or do good works or feel good about myself. They are invitations to partner with God in his redemptive activity in the world. It is to align myself with the coming of the kingdom of God. It is to always stand with God’s will and God’s rule and God’s love. It is to oppose the forces of the world, the flesh and the devil. It is internal action and external action. The internal action is to pray, set my mind and heart towards God and surrender my whole being to him and his kingdom. Externally it is to show love, kindness and grace to others. It is to stand with justice, hope and mercy. Our internal posture is to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ so that externally we can show the fruit of the Spirit, that, in turn, point towards the love and kingdom of God.

For me, right now, it’s the internal posture that needs help. I don’t need to over-complicate matters here. It’s a simple fact of not spending enough quality time with my Maker. I’m essentially speed-dating the Lover of my Soul and that never works. I’m also noticing that I’m feeling short of quality time in my other relationships as well. That tells me I need a new rhythm, new priorities and perhaps, a new way of connecting with God. But this blog isn’t about those details. It’s about the fact that we need to take our actions seriously and not just rely on the fact that we still ‘believe in God.’ What does that even mean without living for God as well? The invitation is for our internal and external to be in alignment with God’s love and God’s kingdom. Faith without action is dead James tells us. He’s right and that truth applies always.

May your faith and deeds align with God’s Spirit this week. Grace and peace.

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Beauty in Ashes

Hi everyone. Rob here.

Tomorrow is the start of Lent – the 6 weeks or so of preparing ourselves for the cross and resurrection of Jesus our Messiah. It’s a day known as Ash Wednesday. It’s a day to reflect on our mortality, our humanity and our need for God. The sprinkling of ashes is to remind us that we came from dust and to dust we will return. I encourage you to research Lent a bit more. Getting to know our church traditions that are centuries old has been a source of spiritual encouragement for me.

All this emphasis on our mortality, on repentance, on giving things up can seem depressing, sombre at best. Isn’t the Christian message about new life, resurrection and eternity? I mean, ashes for goodness sake! Shall we dress in sackcloth as well? Flagellate ourselves and eat locusts? Is this the image of being a Christian that we want to present to the world. Doesn’t it seem unhelpful and unhopeful?

And yet, if the goal is to present ourselves as shiny happy people to the world we have missed the point that Jesus himself seemed to make; that we are a fallen, fragile people desperately in need of the rescue that God offers us through Jesus. From dust we came and to dust we will return. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. Those are the two messages of Ash Wednesday, and indeed, of all of Lent. Face reality and get ready for the rescue. You’re not saving yourself. You’re not making yourself eternal. You are not God but God is calling to you through the eternity set in your heart. But here’s the paradox; you get to the eternity by coming to grips with your mortality. We get to God by embracing our humanity. We get to the rescue by repenting; to resurrection by dying.

So here’s our opportunity to get rid of our delusions of grandeur, our god-complexes, whatever it is that says to the world, look at me. Anything that says you are the centre of all things has to go. It may be your pride and it may also be your shame. You may say ‘I am great’ or you may say ‘I am no good’ or you may say both several times in one day but both those statements are about you and get in the way of embracing your humanity right now. True humanity embraces our need for God; our need to worship him, draw life from him, be led by him, fathered and mothered and brothered and sistered and friended and loved by him; and it all begins with, ‘from dust we came and to dust we will return.’

The prodigal son came to his senses in the pig sty; Moses encountered God cut off from his people in the desert; the angel visited Daniel in exile in Babylon; Jacob dreamt of his ladder with his head on a rock in the wilderness. God meets us when we are ready and we are ready when we’re weak and vulnerable and we can’t be weak and vulnerable when we’re trying to be replacements for God instead of children of God. 

The ash you will soon place or have placed on yourself is a symbol of something very powerful. You are from dust and to dust you will return. You are not God but you gladly receive the gifts of God; forgiveness, mercy, grace, life and love. We say no to pride and no to shame and no to a me-centred existence. We enter into Lent embracing our human vulnerability rejoicing in a God who chose to join us there. Is there any greater validation of our humanity than the humanity of Jesus? Is there any greater validation of our mortality than the fact that the Son of God also stopped breathing. We are all mortal and God meets us there.

It means we carry a hope for those we’ve lost and we acknowledge that mortality means loss and grief and pain. We’ve all lost someone. We will lose many but we don’t lose Jesus who also wept at the tomb of a friend. Receive your ashes, embrace your mortality, confess your need for your God and repent for the kingdom of God is near.

Grace and peace everyone.

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Attention and Engagement

Hi everyone. Rob here.

Kiley and I were chatting this morning about the amazing opportunity our 14 year old son has this year to go on a 5 week course, full of adventure and discovery, on an island renowned for its rugged beauty. Our hope was that our son would be two things: attentive and engaged. From there fun will flow, character will develop and the experience will be rich food for his soul. Be attentive and be engaged seem like good words for me right now and for most people I would think. They sound easy but we are very distracted creatures. In my own strength I struggle to be attentive and engaged, especially in our information and entertainment soaked world. I need God’s help to pay attention and be engaged, especially because HE is the one I want to be attentive to and engaged with the most.

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Jesus, I notice, was attentive to his Father, his followers, his community and his own heart. He was very engaged with life, with his mission and the people presented to him. He had perspective and wisdom that flowed from this attentiveness and engagement. He was focused but there was still a joy and a lightness to him that was attractive, especially to the poor and the oppressed. This observation reminds me that it’s the life of Jesus that I want. Christ in me is my hope of glory. He lives in me and his life is accessible. I can live my life how he would live it if he were me. But it’s the Spirit who helps us do that. It’s the Spirit who helps us pay attention to the life of Jesus in us. It’s the Spirit who then helps us engage with life as Jesus would.

So trying to do life while ignoring the Spirit seems like a really bad idea. But, like you probably, I seem to be able to do that quite often. I know when I’m ignoring the Spirit because I am, you guessed it, inattentive and unengaged. Just ask my wife! She knows when I’m living out of Christ in me because I have more energy, more focus and more love. When I’m weighed down by own thoughts, my own ego, then I tend to withdraw and shut down. What do you do? What are your warning signs? And what do you do when the warning signs appear?

For me, I have learnt that the warning signs don’t just mean spending more time with God. Sometimes it does, but often it means practicing being attentive and engaged. It’s a short prayer of surrender and asking for the Spirit’s help, and then just getting on with it. As I do what I want to be I start to become someone who lives how I and God want me to live. Kiley prefers it too! But if your weakness is too much action, blundering in without thought, being too busy and hyperactive then you probably do need to withdraw with God for silence and solitude. We often need to do the opposite of what we default to in order to reset the system. If you default to stepping away then practice stepping in and stepping up. If you default to busyness and control, then step down and step away. Walk with God. He will nudge you in the right direction.

Yesterday I had a very early shift, so by late in the afternoon I was almost asleep on the couch. A neighbour came over who is showing signs of becoming more open to us and to God. Instead of withdrawing and letting Kiley deal with it, under the guise of tiredness and self-care, I stepped in, gave him attention and engaged as best I could. The reward was simply feeling better about myself and being a better human. That, after all, is why Jesus came. He wants us to be better humans and he can teach us how. We just need to pay attention and engage.

Grace and peace.

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At The Crossroads

Hi everyone. Rob here.

I love these words of God found in Jeremiah 6:16,

‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.

He was speaking to a nation that had lost its way. Its path of paganism and compromise with surrounding empires had not been a good one. It now stood facing conquest and exile. God asked them to take a different stance than the self-destructive one they were on. There was a choice and God had already prepared a path for them if only they were prepared to ask.

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I find myself at a crossroads personally. I know that my mission field is the church itself, but I have no idea what form that should take. It is a place of uncertainty and confusion. God makes order out of chaos and so I trust that God will sort me out. But in the meantime there is a path to walk down. It is the ancient path of trust. God doesn’t give us a map. He gives us Jesus and the Spirit and we are to follow Jesus on the path in the power of his Spirit.

Remember that his path led him to a Roman cross. The journey is not without heartache and loss. It is not without suffering and pain. But it is the only journey that leads to resurrection and new life. So, at the crossroads I find myself in I’m not looking for the easiest path or the most exciting one. I’m looking for Jesus himself and I’ll seek to follow whatever path he takes.

He has already led me on one heck of a journey. But the ancient path is not one of returning to old ways or habits. It is always to follow the one who led Israel through the desert and turned fishermen into apostles. It is always a path that leads to transformation, that helps the kingdom to come and God’s will to be done. The path I follow Jesus on will lead to death – dying to fear, selfishness, pride and shame. It will also lead to disruption and disorientation most likely. But it will be a path that bears fruit and is filled with love. It will involve a rising to that love and a coming alive to God.

Experience tells me that this ancient path of trust is the only one without a dead end. Jesus is the path of life and the path to life. So, while I stand at the crossroads and appear a bit dazed and confused about where it’s all going or where to next, the reality is that Jesus will show me soon where to go. I just have to keep the eyes of my heart open. Easier said than done of course but Jesus has this way of taking our truest desire and being able to make a way with it. We may veer off at times but Jesus keeps bringing us back by reminding us that our deepest desire is for the life that only he can offer.

May you walk the ancient path of trust in 2021. To be honest you really have no other choice. I’m struggling to think of a year filled with more uncertainty than this one. But there’s also hope and the ancient path is filled with hope and peace and joy. May you follow Jesus well.

Grace and peace.

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God Comes Through

Hi everyone. Rob here.

Have you ever noticed that it rains the hardest at the edge of the storm, just before it passes? The hill is steepest just before the summit. You all know the cliché, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” Those sayings seem very true right now. The infection rate and death rate of Covid-19 is higher than ever just as the hope brought by working vaccines comes to us. In America there was chaos as violent mobs descended upon Capitol Hill just days before the inauguration of a new administration. Democracy was assaulted just before a demonstration of democracy in action. The darkness of the cross was soon followed by the reality of resurrection. In other words, there is always hope and it’s closer than you think.

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This is why in Romans 5:1-5, Paul puts hope as the final step in a longer process:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Hope doesn’t happen without character. Why is that? I think it’s because hope is a conscious choice to agree with the eternal purposes of God. That doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from constantly aligning yourself with faith and trust in the goodness of God. It means resisting the temptation to make agreements with despair and hopelessness and cynicism. Cynicism is easy. There are 101 reasons to be cynical on any given day but God is the only reason to have hope and that is enough reason for me.

When you are aligned with God through faith and trust you learn to see how God comes through for us every time. I was speaking at a camp recently and while I was in that beautiful spot I took the opportunity to do some star gazing. As I was doing so many of my failures and bad decisions came to mind. Instantly God was there saying, “and I saved you every time didn’t I?” I had to agree. He had. By that I don’t mean that he saved me from the consequences of those decisions but, instead, he kept calling me back to himself and making a way forward for me. He was always the source of hope in every trial and every setback. The key, of course, is to keep presenting ourselves to him, to die to our own agenda and to let him work in and around us so that his will may be done.

So as we reach this stage of the pandemic, as all around us seems to be in chaos, know that God makes order out of chaos. He redeems and restores what was stolen and what was lost. He makes all things new when the old just doesn’t work anymore. He loves us with an everlasting love when relationships seem fragile and fickle. He is the God of life even when the powers of death scream at their loudest. And keep your eyes open. There is hope and it might be just around the corner.

Grace and peace everyone.

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Ultimate Allegiance

Hi everyone. Happy New Year. Rob here.

2021 arrived with the hope that it would herald a new beginning after the turbulence and upheaval that 2020 brought us. Then we had the storming of the Capitol building in Washington D.C, another impeachment, a continued rise in Covid cases and deaths and new strains that make the virus even more contagious than before. It takes more than a change of date for change to come. The world is and will remain a place where the battle for light over darkness, love over hate, peace over war, faith over fear and freedom over oppression is constantly played out. Every day we are asked to take a stand and choose our side. The kingdom of God asks for our allegiance and commitment to align ourselves with Jesus’ prayer:

Your kingdom come, your will be done.

On earth as in heaven.

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If our ultimate allegiance is to God, his kingdom and his will then we need to be careful about who and what we commit to. The storming of the Capitol was a disturbing event carried out by people who believed that their actions demonstrated loyalty to the President, the flag and maybe even God. But when God came to earth he never stormed the capital; he rode in on a donkey’s colt. He didn’t lead a mob but he was condemned by one. He didn’t threaten figures of authority; he surrendered to them. He didn’t commit acts of violence but he was killed by one. When he rose from the dead he showed that he always wielded ultimate power but he used his power to conquer death, not to conquer earthly kingdoms. When we commit allegiance to God, his kingdom and his will then we need to realise that we are committing ourselves to God’s way of wielding power. That is, our power is to be given away for the sake of others. This is so that God’s power can be used in us for God’s purposes.

So as we start 2021 we are invited, once again, to give ourselves, our egos, our agendas, our hopes and our dreams over to God, his kingdom and his will in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s power in us helps us to give away our power so that we can be trusted with his.

God is love and he will never use his power for any purpose that sits outside of his love. His power is surrendered to his love and his love is the ultimate expression of his power. He created in power out of love. He powerfully saves us because of love. He conquered death because of love and the cross is now a symbol of power because of love. It is a symbol that reminds us that ultimate power paid the ultimate price because of ultimate love.

The American President has been working very hard to hold on to political power and found a number of loyal foot soldiers to help him achieve that goal. The fact that he has failed is good news. It provides the opportunity for everyone to rethink their relationship with power. Power can only be trusted to those who are able to give it away. If you need power you can’t be trusted with it. If you don’t or can’t use power in order to serve others you can’t be trusted with it. Only the love of God working in us and through us can make us capable of wielding power wisely. How are you using your power? Does the love of God need to bring transformation there? May it be so.

May 2021 be a year in which you act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Grace and peace.

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A Profound Humility

Seasons greetings everyone. Rob here.

This Christmas let’s not pretend that all is well in the world. Let’s not pretend that we don’t have our own sufferings to contend with. Let’s not pretend that we have all the answers about God and life and faith. But let us also not pretend that Christmas is all about the kids or the meal or the presents, or even about family and charity and caring for each other. I love all those things about Christmas but the big message of Christmas is that the kingdom of God has invaded our world and that God’s reversal of evil and all its effects has begun, is sure and is certain. The kingdom has come and the kingdom is coming and we have a special role to play in it.

But to enter into that special role we need to follow the path that Jesus followed. Motivated by a deep joy, the joy set before him, Jesus embraced a profound humility, an unsettling vulnerability, and a mission of sacrificial love in order to restore our humanity and our connection with the God of life. Jesus came at Christmas because God so loved the world and every person in it, including you and me and every person on this planet. And he wants us to receive that love, be filled with that love and let that love flow out into his creation. We love because he first loved us.

This has not been an easy year and difficulties continue for many, but I know that my family can say that we have loved each other. I know that you have loved others too. And we must continue to grow in loving each other. That’s the message of this season. Love come down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine. That love led the Word to become flesh, to humble himself, to become poor, to become a servant, to die on a cross, for you and me and all of creation. Now death has been conquered, sin has lost its power, and the devil’s claims have been revoked, and you and I have been restored as sons and daughters of the living God, heirs of the kingdom, bearers of good news and of divine love, hope, joy and peace. We are agents of God’s reversal in this world.

Enjoy Christmas and all its joys, but most of all enjoy the love of God and love others well.

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Courage and Joy

Hi everyone. Rob here.

Last night our family gathered around the TV and watched the movie, Wonder. It tells the story of a 10 year old boy named Auggie who has Treacher Collins Syndrome. After multiple surgeries he has a resulting facial deformity. For the first time he starts attending school and the movie tells his story and the story of all those impacted by his condition. By the end of the movie we see that his dignified courage has won him the school’s most prestigious award. From his point of view he was “just trying to get through 5th grade.” His voiceover reflects that,

once in their life everyone deserves a standing ovation.

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That line reminded me once again that life requires us to have courage. We know that it takes courage to love. To open your heart to love is to risk pain and grief and heartbreak. And yet people keep on loving. It takes courage to have faith. Faith is, by definition, a leap into something that can’t be absolutely proven. It takes courage to start a business, become a parent, pursue study, buy a house, drive a car and so much more. Courage is a necessary starting block to build any kind of life worth living. When people display courage, especially courage spent on behalf of others, they do indeed deserve a standing ovation.

Courage, however, isn’t inherent in us. Ever since Adam and Eve refused to take a stand against the serpent we have had a default setting that looks for the path of least resistance. So, how do we learn to take a stand against the things that come against God’s life in us and for us? That is, we don’t just resist obvious acts of evil, but insidious habits like apathy, lethargy, cynicism and despair. A life like that can only come from Christ in us. It’s the courage of Christ that we seek because that is truly human courage.

Jesus’ courage came from being sent from God, filled with the love of God to do God’s good work in the world. We see this in Hebrews 12:1-2,

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I wonder how often we think of joy and courage together in the same sentence? It does make sense. It’s the glimpses of joy that we get from God that persuades us that life is fully found in God and, therefore, I will act courageously in order to pursue that life. If we go back to the movie we see that Auggie glimpsed the joy of friendship, showed courage in opening himself to friendship, endured the pain of betrayal in friendship, but, having glimpsed the joy, pursued friendship again. Courage requires a higher cause, a hopeful future and the pursuit of joy.

Which all causes me to ask myself, “how is my joy?” How is yours? Is there a higher cause that you’ve given yourself to? I think of top athletes, elite artisans and even hard-working politicians who have given themselves to a greater cause. I think of entrepreneurs, inventors, poets, artists, stay-at-home parents, peacemakers and preachers who have found their joy in a higher cause and courageously pursued it. Is that you? Is that me?

My answer is…sometimes? Sometimes I find joy in my writing, my speaking, my actions. But then, there are days like today where every word is hard-won and joy is elusive. And so, I turn to Christ. I want his courage but I also want his joy. It came from a life in God. It came from the Spirit in him and the love spoken over him. I remind myself that what’s true for Jesus is true for me.

Christ in me, I give myself to you. I ask for your courage. I ask for your joy. I love you. Amen.

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Waiting

Happy Advent everyone. Rob here.

The season of Advent is a season of waiting. We’re all waiting for something it seems: a vaccine, racial justice, political change, a job, love, a miracle, you name it. What are you waiting for? What the first Christmas tells us is that God often responds to the question of our waiting with the most unexpected responses.

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1st century Israel was a small province of the mighty Roman Empire. Herod the Great acted as if he was the true King of Israel but, in fact, was a Roman vassal with only a veneer of legitimacy. Jerusalem was a hotbed of political intrigue as various factions and personalities vied for influence with the increasingly unpredictable and paranoid king. It could be expected that the Messiah in this setting would be a militarily powerful, charismatic and glorious figure with obvious mark of divine blessing around him. God decided on a young virgin, an obscure province, a very humble birth and a baby. God’s answer to a nation entranced by power and influence was to come humbly into his world and offer an invitation to a kingdom that operates outside the usual power structures.

Like many I have been slightly obsessed with the American Presidential Election and the subsequent shenanigans by a power hungry ruler who hates to lose. The media and our own need for drama ensures that we’re drawn into the intrigue and in-fighting. Meanwhile God is inviting us to turn our eyes and heart away from the noise and look for his mustard seeds of new life that are hidden from the cameras and media gaze.

The answers to our waiting aren’t found by looking at the headlines. They’re found by being attentive to God even as we go about our lives. Mary wasn’t doing anything extraordinary when the angel came to her. The shepherds were doing their job when the angels came to them. Zechariah was going about his priestly business when his angel appeared. The key wasn’t what they were doing. It was in their ‘yes’ when they were told what to do. If we live our lives with an attitude of saying yes to God then the waiting isn’t filled with angst: it’s filled with expectancy and hopeful anticipation. When we keep giving God our ‘yes’ we stop worrying about God answering our prayers. We know they’re being answered even as we live and breathe and have our being.

I’m reminding myself of this as I wait to hear back from a job interview, as I wait for more inspiration to strike for my latest book, as I wait for a new year to begin and new plans to emerge. We’re all waiting for something but we are not to stop living while we wait. We are to give our lives to God , living in hopeful expectancy that he’ll show up in unexpected ways and to say yes when he does.

Waiting creates longing and longing can paralyse us if we’re not careful. Let’s be vigilant this Advent. Let’s “wake up and slow down” as an old vicar once said a few advents ago. Another way to put it is, “let’s come alive to God and pay attention to him.” And let’s do it with ‘YES’ already on our lips.

Grace and peace.

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