Friday, December 25, 2009


Well, snow is a beautiful thing. It really is. My son is now calling himself, 'snow boy' and is demonstrating his new persona by being in the snow as much as possible... what does he like so much?
it's cold. it's white. it's fun. it's packable (makes snowballs), snowmen, you can stomp and destroy ice, you can skate and tobaggan (both of those are fun yet to come)... in short, it's really super cool.
There are things about it that I like - it's pure.. it's like a beautiful pure covering over the dark, dreary winter... it's bright and clean and lovely. It reminds me of the song 'whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow, Lord wash me and I will be whiter than snow.' I'm praying that my own life will be blanketed by Jesus - a covering of purity and cleanliness that makes me brighter and fun. Plus, with Jesus you don't have to shovel! ;-)
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

what love.

I received an email today from Surrender wishing me a holy christmas by reminding me of the realities of Jesus' birth as a refugee in poverty. I also wrote an article a few weeks ago for JAC (journal of aggressive Christianity) about the reality of Mary being poor, young and a women... God's recipe it would seem for world changing events is through unlikely characters.
As we all seem to eventual succumb to the force of 'normal' gravity - it sometimes takes some deep reflection to resolve again to live like Jesus. A hero of mine recently held my newborn son, looked deeply at him and sighed as she commented, 'to think, that Jesus came just like this. Incredible.' Incredibly foolish some would argue. But, who can really understand the mind of God - so rich in love that He 'emptied' himself of power and glory to embrace humanity and reveal His message of Good News up close and personal. What love. Oh come, oh come, Immanuel. Christ in me, the hope of Glory. I'm reflecting deeply this Christmas season on the refugee child, the emptied one, the humble King, Jesus - and then, I'm hoping to be more like Him. Here's wishing you a normal defying Christmas as you do the same.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Connecting Forward Highlights 09

A glimpse of a great weekend of celebration in the Australian Southern Territory. A great coming together of the end and the beginning with the Tribute to General Burrows and the launch of many new officers who can only pray and hope to live so fully dedicated to God for the salvation of the world! Go God!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Barbie in a Burka

So, an interesting news commentary on the release of Barbie in a Burka.
Comments are even more intriguing as people suggest an accompanying Ken with a bag of stones or G.I. Joe with his head cut off etc... seems it's a controversal move by the toy maker giant Mattel.
That said, I'm sure there is money to be made which is how those decisions are driven - not by moral conclusions.
I wonder what it says. Of course, I've seen some pretty scary looking Barbie's practically undressed and looking like they belong in the sex industry not in a little girls closet... I wonder what is worse?
Last time I spoke to a Muslim extremist young women she suggested that her Burka was freeing for her and her friends... she didn't have to worry about being judged and gawked at because of how she looked. Another Islamic women likens the Burka to a jail sentence... I've just this week spoken to a woman who worked in prostitution for years and considered it liberating and I've met countless others whose lives have paid a steep price for that women's so called freedom.
So what does it say?
It at least says that we live in a very complex world. It at least says, that to navigate it will require copious amounts of wisdom and grace. It at least says that the Muslim world is a commercial market that the west is courting at the same time it's declared 'war'. It at least says that women everywhere are still women and little girls everywhere need to learn what the value and worth and dignity of a woman is. I wish it would say that every woman was made in the very image of God and is beautiful not just because of what's on the outside - whether it's a cover-up or a half-naked display but because of their intrinsic worth - because of what they are on the inside. Oh how I wish every girl knew that... if only there was a market for that kind of message!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

World religions and justice

I was a part of The Salvation Army presenters at the world parliament of religions held in Melbourne this past week.
It was an interesting experience - and one that was full of controversy. I thought all of that was over with the Sexpo stall... but it seems that the dialogue among other faith groups has some Christians worried.
The tension of course is that the dialogue is a crack of liberalism opening us up to potential doctrinal compromise and that we may stray from our evangelical beliefs and Jesus centric gospel. On the other hand, to be present at places where people are already searching for truth is a tradition that goes back to the apostle Paul as he made his way through religious gatherings of pagan worship and dialogued with them about who Jesus really is.
this tradition is deeply embeded into the christian faith - to speak with people openly about the person of Jesus and our experience of His transforming power is not only an opportunity but an obligation.
What was really interesting was the session that I was able to do on Human Trafficking (Stop The Traffik), shared with the Catholics, was jammed packed. Standing room and over-flowing with people, all kinds of different people from different lands, faiths and backgrounds... wanting to know how they can help stop human trafficking.
This leads me to a truth that I'm discovering more and more... justice is the great vehicle of unity... our faith is made clear by our works... our worship is made true by our journey into God's heart for justice.. and that message (which Jesus always proclaimed) is as popular today as ever before. People may not be hungry for dry doctrine and semantics... but they are hungry for justice.
At the end of the presentation, a person came up to me and said 'thank God for the Salvos, the people who can finally bring some practical reality to religion!'. Hmmm. that's something to think about.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Love: the greatest revelation

Today was the finale of our local inner city corps plant Christmas family camp. It was incredible. We had dreamed of doing an extravagant display of God's love for the weekend - and we did. It was evident by some of the comments... one little boy on returning answered his dad who asked, 'how was it?" with this: 'it was paradise!'. Wow.
But he may be on to something... what is paradise? Jesus suggested that heaven was here - in us - right now... that if we love (as He does) we can actually taste heaven on earth. And that's what we were banqueting on this weekend... heaven. Paradise came through sacrificial love in so many ways - kindness, giving, serving, singing, planning, swimming, eating.... a feast of earthly stuff laced with eternity. Good times.
This morning (at the beach) we contemplated the essentials of the Christmas story - camping out on why God would choose to come to earth as a defenseless, innocent, unarmed baby... we had the help of my own son (only 7 weeks old) as a demostration of just how helpless Jesus had made himself... WHY would he do that? He could have come with fire, an earthquake, a dragon, a pirate... anything would seem to be easier, better, more practical than a helpless little babe? Or would it?
The real question is what was he trying to say? Jesus said it best when he grew into a man... "the son of man has not come to condemn the world but that through him the world might be saved.... for God so LOVED the world." You see, if he was trying to reveal his power or his strength or his majesty - he would have come another way. But he was trying instead, to display the greatest revelation of Himself to us - LOVE. And this weekend, for me, was another demonstration of the incarnation of God's love in His people. Heaven on earth. So our little friend was right on the money, it was paradise.