Friday, 23 December 2011

My Father Loves me

My Father in Heaven Loves me ... in essence thats the message of Christmas for me.

He loves me so much that in spite of the stuff I get wrong and of the many things I do that sadden his heart, his executive action in coming himself, can sort out my and of course, everyone else's wrong doing.
From "The Nativity"

We often recite the words of John 3:16 - reminding ourselves that God loves the world but I wonder if Christmas with all of its joyful celebration impacts us as it should? For me Christmas's significance is that God chose vulnerability, poverty, humility ... as the signs of his coming. A Stable, a poor family with no influence (why else would their son be born in a stable?), a baby not an awesome fighter ready for battle. Love in action.

More importantly God chose me (and you) to receive the greatest blessing of all - the offer of new life, a new way, a new beginning - with him rather than without him. A life that as one writer says - is the "With God life", a life which is a life alive both physically and spiritually - With God! (watch this if you want to explore more). This is the God that we can celebrate at Christmas.

So enjoy Christmas if thats possible for you but hold in your heart the fact that God loves you that much, he holds nothing back in restoring you to himself and wants each of us to walk more closely with him in the year to come.

Our Father in Heaven loves us ...

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A Calling from God

Recently a friend in San Francisco sent me a blog from the US which looks at "baby boomers" (those born between 1945 and 1965) answering God's call to be pastors (priests, ministers ...). I guess because I was born in the middle of that generation and have re-trained as a Pastor after a career in engineering.

The point is that some of that generation are seeking to serve God by becoming church leaders, in a very real way giving up one way of life in their middle years to take up a calling which means offering everything to God and relying on him.

As I have reflected on the Christmas story this month, several callings from God stand out :-
Zechariah, in the temple
Mary when Gabriel gives her the news
Joseph when he is brought up to speed

And there are different reactions - disbelief from Zechariah, acceptance from Mary and belief from Joseph. Zechariah's disbelief in God's plan or calling for him caused him to be struck dumb, Mary's acceptance could have cost her dearly  - a marriage, her reputation and possibly her life, Josephs would have damaged his reputation and meant accepting a son who was not his.

God's plan and calling for each of us can be costly just as it was for these folks. The key is knowing and trusting that we are following God's will for our lives, it is his calling that really matters and to accept this means faith, trust, acceptance and for many, acting upon it.

Following Christ does not of course mean we are all called to give up our careers and become church leaders, it does mean that we are called to seek God, and regularly look for what he wants for us and what might be in the way of our relationship with him growing deeper.

I am sure that there is some of each of the three reactions above in each of us, this Christmas may God's calling on your life become more clear to you so that you can follow it whatever it means.