Sunday, 27 April 2008

Who is Jesus?

I was asked the other night by my friend Thomas, whose in charge of the SA's ((deep)) concept, to having something prepared for the event of the same name at the end of the month. He asked me to be able to answer a question on who I think Jesus is.

So yeah, no pressure or anything!

Its certainly got me thinking; here's a few brainstormed bullet points I've come up with....

- Jesus is my best friend; he's celebrated with me in the good times, heck he's been responsible for the good times, and he's been there with me in the bad times. Even when I needed my space, he was there.

- He's my tag-team partner; always watching my back, reminind me of important things that I need to do. I remember someone was using my kitchen once to make dinner and, just before I left them to it, Jesus tapped me on the shoulder and went......."Um Dan, you've still got last week's left-over chips sitting in the oven!" AAHHHH!! And what a state they were! So, as quick as a cat, I ran in, chucked them in the bin, ran out again and acted like nothing happened. Smooth. And thats only one example as how he's watching me!

- He's the instant messenger buddy that's always online. He's never busy, he's never away, he's never out to lunch - you know, lol - and he's definintely never offline. He may not always have instant answers to your prayers; sometimes you could be doing all the talking and he's silent. But that's ok; he still hears you. Always.

- He'll hopefully be my boss one day too - for those of you who've read this weeks issue of the Salvationist, it says in one of the pages about how "Bandsman Daniel Wray....has had God reveal to him to be an officer". Amen. Who could want a better boss? Who could give better perks, better appraisals, better tasks? Who could give a better one-to-one?

- He's my dad. He gives me advice, he tells me when I've gone wrong, he doesn't just lend me his shoulder to cry on but he gives me it. And half the time, I don't even deserve it.

- He's my light in the darkness; he even said so himself and his own best friend John wrote it down (Jn 8:12). He said "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life". Whenever things are dull and uncertain, he shows the way by one flick of a switch.

- He's my estate/letting agent. He provided me with a roof over my head when I got to Glasgow two years ago. Its a wee flat in Parkhead but its great. I love it. Its all I need. Is it a chic magnet? Hmmm, somehow I doubt it. But I don't need an Imagine or Supernova Heights-type mansion; my friend Jesus will provide me with "mansions of Glory and endless delight" once I get to "sing with the glittering crown on my brow" (SASB 357, v.4)

I'm sure I could say more but I'd be here all day. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing when talking about Jesus - but there's a four-legged furball that needs some attending to!...

dw :)

Saturday, 26 April 2008

26/4/08

1 Cor 1:12 - "...One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
Acts 19:32b - "Most of the people did not even know why they were there."

We're priviliedged in church to have so many methods of worship. We're fortunate to have activities ranging from:

  • youth clubs - luncheon clubs
  • home league gatherings - youth fellowships
  • bible studies - band practices
  • singing groups - outreach programmes

Now they're important ways of uniting people together who share common interests and the social element to that is fantastic because of how it nurtures fellowship; but, from time to time, its common to take our eyes of the main purpose and that can effect how we approach respective activities and view others.

You might be a keen musician and the instrument you practice and the music you rehearse can only progress your skills, make you a better one than you yourself can imagine but, in the context of church and your Christian journey, are you sure its Christ you're worshippin - who blessed us with these gifts and activities - or are you worshipping the instrument you're playing?

Outreach programs - football, youth clubs etc; they're fantastic because they can open so many doors, but is your conduct on the field or pitch, in the dressing room, at your refreshment table afterwards a mirroring of who you're professing to follow in your church?

Diversity's a wonderful blessing and it would be seriously boring without it! But as you grow, if you don't know it already, the music has more to it than playing or singing; the gatherings have more to them than numbers; and how you act and respond to these different ways will become apparent to others.

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one" (John 17:22). My prayer is that we unite as one, along with our backgrounds and interests, in our worship of Christ. And that its shown through us - for it could change somebody else.

dw :)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Staircase

(Okay, its after midnight on a Sunday going into Monday morning, so I'll see what I can come up with here....)

Stories of any kind have a lot of ups and downs, don't they? You can use a number of metaphors to illustrate them: rollercoasters, yo-yo's, ladders, even thermometers.

When I was in high school, the building for our music department had this staircase that went from the ground floor up about twenty feet to the first floor, into this big massive room which was mainly used for classes but also concerts and recitals. The staircase had seen its own share of stories and dramas, such as the teachers telling naughty students to stand outside or they took them out to give them a telling off.

On the other hand, it had some happier moments, such as students walking out of their music exam glad it was over, walking up the stairs to audition for school shows or waiting to be let into the classroom by the teacher, amidst the queue of your class, while messing about with your mates. My personal favourite was giving a Christmas card to a girl a bit younger than me and I'll never forget the smile on her face and apparent gratitiude; it beat anything Santa could bring.

Recently I've been doing a lot more exercise by jogging and swimming. My flat doesn't have a lift in it - its got three flights of stairs and I'm on the third floor. So you can imagine how I feel climbing up three flights after doing my Rocky Balboa-style run for half an hour! Man, its a killer. And whatsmore, heading up and down the stairs in my exercise gear - old t-shirt and shorts - can feel slightly daunting when your neighbours are on the other side of the stairs. I mean, who wants to be in a closed stairway in your shorts when someone you hardly know from Adam is walking by you??

It would be a cliché to say that life is like a staircase; it wouldn't be wrong but I think 'life' is too general a term. That's just me personally commenting. In my eyes, I would say faith is definitely like a staircase. Think about it:
  • ok, so there's the ups and downs side to it but thats not all...
  • people walk by you regardless of what direction they're going - essentially people come and go as they head either way
  • you'll be put in awkward, sometimes even embarrassing, positions that may make some sort of an impact but all you can do is walk on from it
  • you'll have some good and bad memories but the bad thoughts will make you stronger and the good thoughts will be like pictures in your photo album. Treasured.
  • whichever end you come away from the staircase, you get there by the grace of God. In one piece and just the way He planned it.

And, as I head to my bed, that's how I reckon faith resembles a staircase. Or vice-versa, I dunno lol; too tired to think.

Blessings :) dw

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Acts 16:23-27 - Eleven fifty-nine

'After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" '


At 11:59, I was in pain. Surrounded by darkness, in the corner of a dark room. Not knowing what was happening.

At 11:59, my tears were streaming. I couldn't stop crying, I needed someone to hear my cry.

At 11:59, my house was no longer the home it had been. Everything fell apart.

At 11:59, the drunkard lies on the streets with only a bottle to keep him company.

At 11:59, the victim takes some more abuse. Every word or action cuts like a knife.

At 11:59, believers with no sense of direction are lost in the maze. Their map is lying somewhere a few yards back.

And at 11:59, Paul and Silas were put in jail; feet in stocks; bound with chains; guarded like criminals.

But....

At midnight, my pain was healed and the blinding sun shone through my window.

At midnight, my tears were wiped. My voice was heard. My soul was stilled.

At midnight, the house I called home is once again a happy place, a welcoming place, a safe place.

At midnight, the drunkard is taken in; he's given a hug, a warm cup of soup and a comfy bed.

At midnight, the victim is not a victim anymore. The victim is free at last.

At midnight, the maze walls are torn down; the way becomes clear, more so than it ever did.

And at midnight, Paul and Silas were singing, were praying, were witnessing - and, once the ground shook, the prison doors opened and their chains were LOOSENED!

GOD FREED THEM FROM DANGER!!

It was His touch that healed the hurting; His presence that saved the lost; His ears that heard the crying - and His grace that sets me FREE!

Hallelujah!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Psalm 105 - "Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done."

I've been confronted a lot lately with the term 'giving thanks'.

A few weeks back, I heard the song "Give thanks witha a grateful heart..." sung three times in the one weekend - once on the Saturday night (at Govan) and twice on the Sunday (at Parkhead), morning and evening.

Just the other wee, a Christian friend of mine referred to Psalm 105, which begins with the lines, "Give thanks to the Lord..." and, unless I'm imagining things, I've heard thankfulness being sung about ot mentioned a few other times in the past month or so.

This took me back about six years ago to Music School back home, when the then-Divisional Youth Officer said to me "Don't ever hesitate to say 'thank you' to someone, regardless of how often or how much it is".

Nine times out of ten, I try making a point of expressing my gratitude and appreciation to people if I feel they've been a help or benefit to me. Bit its only lately I've come to the full realisation of thanking the One who made it all woth while to begin with.

I don't know if you're familiar with the 'Teaspoon prayer' method (thank you... - sorry... - please...), which I know has been taught a lot to younger kids down through the years; but, believe it or not, it actually is the simplest and a very effective application if you're stuck with talking to God. The first part, being the "Thank you...", I guess helps us not forget to be thankful, especially when we have a great God who keeps giving and giving again.

Iwant him to know how grateful and thankful I am for having Him in my life. In my relationship with God, I also want to grow with him and I want to know Him better. Better today than I did yesterday and hopefully even better tomorrow.

"Thank you for saving me, what can I say?
You are my everything, I will sing your praise...

Great is the Lord....for you know the truth has set us free,
You set your hope in me"