Sunday 20th February 2011

February 20, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 20th February 2011

Welcome everyone!

This past Tuesday we had our first Order of Donkeys’ meeting.  This is the name we have given to the Leadership Team at CMM, reminding us of that old, old story, and our single most important task is to humbly carry Jesus into this city.

We realize that in order for us to faithfully carry Jesus in this city our most important task is to safeguard and grow our relationship with  Jesus through prayer and reflection on the Scriptures, together.  We have therefore not only committed to hold each other accountable to prayer and devotion, but also agreed to meet at CMM on a Sunday morning at 9am before the service to pray together.  This actually may be the most important decision the Order of Donkey’s ever makes!  This is open to everyone!!  How good it would be if we could all gather for prayer practice at 9am before the service.

Wednesday Church is alive and nourishing.  Remember none of us can survive longer than three days without water.  Wednesday Church promises living-water to inspire, challenge and comfort.  Once again how awe-some it would be if all us met midweek to worship God and grow as a  Christ-centered Community.  See you there, Alan.

Saved from Fear

February 20, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Saved from Fear

Our lives are ruled by fear. If you live South Africa, the high walls are symbolic of the fear of what lives outside. Jobs we deplore that have good benefits are symbolic of our fear of not having security.

Yet, when we look beyond the walls of our homes, and embrace our neighbours and strangers, something beautiful happens. When we quit high paying occupations to pursue financially risky activities that bring us to life, something beautiful happens. We love those around us, and we love who we become.

And so, if we want to be saved, and we want to be loved, why are we slaves of our fears?

Following Jesus is not Safe

February 15, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Following Jesus is not Safe

Following Jesus is not Safe

Persecution follows faith. Those proclaiming otherwise are lying. In fact, Jesus readily admits following him is unsafe. So what then is the value of following Jesus if you know it is not safe?

Sunday 13th February 2011

February 13, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 13th February 2011

Welcome everyone!  On Thursday evening, as I sat down to write this letter I heard the State of the Nation 21 Gun Salute.  I felt the buildings around my office slightly shudder.  I heard the  military band and imagined the military accompaniment.

Why is it that we use machines of death to celebrate the state of a nation?  These instruments of destruction point to a nation’s shame not glory.  Have our imaginations become so stunted that we are unable to express our nationhood with signs and symbols of life and unity?  Symbols that remind us that we are part of a larger world, that we are called to care for, instead of threaten.

There is one country in the world that we can learn from in this regard.  On December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer, of Costa Rica, abolished the military of Costa Rica after victory in the civil war in that year.  In a ceremony in the Cuartel Bellavista, Figueres broke a wall with a mallet, symbolizing the end of Costa Rica’s military spirit. In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution.

The budget previously dedicated to the military now is dedicated to security, education and culture; the country maintains Police Guard forces. The museum Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, was placed in the Cuartel Bellavista as a symbol of commitment to culture. In 1986, President Oscar Arias Sánchez declared December 1 as the Día de la Abolición del Ejército (Military abolition day) with Law #8115.

Thank you God for inspiring and faithful examples.  Lord help us as a nation, to follow.  Alan

Just a Thought No. 5

February 12, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Just a Thought No. 5

Blessed are the Poor

An indisputable fact of life is our experiences dictate our perceptions. And while most wish for wealth, health and prosperity, is there a risk that we’re missing the world the poor, ill and suffering are seeing?

Blessed are the poor is absurd at surface level, but is it really absurd when we burrow deeper? – Motheo

Sunday 6th February 2011

February 7, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 6th February 2011

Welcome everyone!

Last week I wrote about having recently met a few people whose lives were scarred with suffering yet there was no hint of bitterness or blame.  They took responsibility to live their life fully and freely.  They were not victims—they were survivors.

Their courageous example is in stark contrast to the many moments when we play the victim even in the absence of real suffering.   The attraction of this victim mentality is that it releases us from full responsibility for our living.  It helps to convince us (or is the result of having convinced us) that we don’t have a choice, which in turn convinces us that we don’t have to do anything because there is “nothing” we can do.  When we play the victim we are never wrong—everyone else is—everyone else is to blame.  In fact, victims are    passionate about finding out the faults of others and exposing them—it helps turn the spotlight away from our own inadequacies.

Another characteristic of this victim mentality is the great ease with which we take offence.  I read the other day the following quote from a certain radio personality, “Remember you TAKE offence, nobody gives it to you”.   To take offence is therefore more a reflection of our inner insecurity than any particular trait of the other.

Lord heal us from being a victim!  Alan

The Hebrew Liberation Out of Egypt

February 7, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on The Hebrew Liberation Out of Egypt

If you have not seen Just a Thought No. 3 yet, it’s well worth watching before you watch this one for some additional – albeit unnecessary – context.

Watching the Egyptian revolution unfold has been captivating. And I use the word ‘captivating’ as responsibly as one can with such heavy matters.

How is it in a time where people thought most sophisticated governments were too secure to be threatened can an entire nation rise up this unexpectedly and at this rapid rate?

Unrelated, but equally captivating, is where this domino piece falls into what looks like 2011’s 1989.

To make an even older connection, what (if anything) do Egyptian people of today have in common with the Hebrews who were freed from this very land some 3000? I’d venture the connection, and Alan’s interpretation, may surprise you. -Motheo

Repent

February 3, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Repent

Repent is a very uncomfortable word. More so than the word, it is a very uncomfortable act. Why uncomfortable? Well, in the context it is often used in, especially biblical terms, it seems to presuppose that we want to change, where often we may not. It also has an undercurrent of ‘having to change’ even if we don’t want to.

Would it surprise you to learn that repentance is a far more hopeful term than it is an uncomfortable one?

Sunday 30th January 2011

January 29, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 30th January 2011

I was reminded this week again about how painfully difficult life is for some people.  That through no fault of their own they have suffered at the hands of others – be it sexual abuse when they were a child, or beatings by a father who would otherwise never speak to them, or the death of an intimate     partner, for the third time – “Whoever I love dies!”  At times, suffering seems to stalk some disproportionately more than others and it makes one want to yell at God and say, “Are you blind, or do you simply not care?”

This depth of pain is such that one does not “get over” it—ever!  One may be able to live with it in less debilitating ways and by time, work and grace may even live with it in life-giving ways—but it is always there living with us.

There is something very humbling about being in the presence of one who has suffered so much.  Perhaps because their lives have been taken beyond the trivial forever, never to return.  They literally do life at deeper depths.

What further moved me was that none of these people sounded like a victim.  Their language was free of bitterness and blame.  They had such a sense of ownership and responsibility to live life fully and freely.  Their life—though scarred—was still their life and they were determined to live it.

Thank you Lord for inspiring people!

Grace, Alan

The Salvation Equation

January 27, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on The Salvation Equation

Aha! We’re already on episode 2 of our ‘Not a Sermon… Just a Thought’ video series. This one speaks to the ‘Salvation Equation’, perhaps one of the strongest themes in all religions, not just Christianity. What does it take to be ‘saved’? People agonise over this question all day, individually, in church, and in community.

Grace + Faith = Salvation

We’ve come to believe grace and faith are the key components in the salvation equation. Would it perturb you to learn that the predominant teachings of faith are not what Jesus taught. Or, to take an even stronger position, they’re not even what Jesus expects? That’s what we tackle in this episode. I hope you find it engaging, and we would love to hear your thoughts on it.