Thursday, October 19, 2006

Where am I in the scene?

As the scripture about the children being brought to Jesus and the disciples rebuking those who had brought them was being read in church on Sunday I suddenly had a very vivid scene of this in my mind - almost like a page from a children's Bible Story book.

I am looking at the scene and there is this insistent question that keeps being asked of me "Which one are you?" I look at each part of the scene and I wonder:-

Am I one of those who are bringing "little children" to Christ to be prayed for and His hand placed on them?

Am I one of those "little children" who are brought to Christ by others to be prayed for and His hand placed on me?

Am I one of those "disciples" who rank people and categorize and rebuke those who love and nurture and want the "little children" to be blessed and know the hand of Christ on their life?

Am I the voice and hands of Jesus praying and touching the lives of "little children"?

Or am I one of the crowd who stands by and does nothing as the "little children" and those who love them and care for them are being held back from having the opportunity to get up close with Christ?

It is a question that I will ponder on for a long time.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Women who inspire me

I was fortunate to go to a Women's Conference through work. Two speakers in particular inspired me and I have thought a lot this week about what they said.

The first was Celia Lashlie. Every time I have either read an article about her or heard her on radio or TV I have been impressed with what she has had to say. One of the reasons I respect her is because she is not afraid to say what she thinks. She spoke of her concern for this country - for what she sees as the lack of moral courage and lack of leadership.

She is passionate about improving the lot of women in NZ prisons and tackling the reasons why so many of these women are in prison. When the women were asked what was the hardest part about being released from prison they said going to the supermarket - they could see the condemnation on people's faces. All they ask for is a smile - for them it is incredibly powerful and reassuring.

She then went on to talk about her latest project where she spent time in high schools talking with adolescent boys trying to define what makes a good man. She shared many insights - one in particular explained why one of my boys was often up late finishing assignments . The boys told her that the reason they don't do homework until the night before it is due in is because the school might burn down before then and then they would've done all that work for nothing! Male logic - I will never understand it!

Although she calls herself a feminist she never in any way put men down. In fact she issued a warning to the women not to dishonour men and manhood in the pursuit of equality. She had much more to say, and much more to tell women on how the male mind works.

She spoke for nearly 2 hours without notes - and yet she had everyone engrossed. One woman at work was so inspired by her that she has applied to become a child mentor.

The other woman who really inspired me was Susan Devoy. She too spoke without notes and held everyone's attention. I liked her for her honesty - for her willingness to talk about the tough times as well as the good times. She spoke about having to start over again when her husband's business was bankrupted through someone stealing money from it - of moving her boys from a Decile 10 school in Remuera to a large intermediate in Tauranga.
I was really surprised when she admitted how insecure she felt because she had no formal qualifications - and yet she had been so successful in her squash career.

She spoke of the huge support she had from her parents as her sporting career took off and of the incredible woman who mentored her as she learnt the ropes in a new job. She spoke candidly too, of some of the nasty comments made to her by other women!

I came away with the feeling that for these two women life would never be mediocre and whatever they did would be done with 100% effort and 100% passion. They are just ordinary women and yet they are prepared to take risks, to not stick to the safe road all the time.

It made me think about what I am passionate about and my level of committment versus my need for security and safety.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Unforgettable sermons #1

I wonder if there is anyone else who, like me, have heard sermons that stick in your mind forever.

Mostly they are because God used them to impact my Christian walk in an unforgettable way.

I remember two from my teens - one because for the first time it helped me understand that forgiveness of sin does not always mean that you don't have to face the consequences of sin. i.e. if you are in jail for stealing and ask for forgiveness for that sin, if doesn't mean you get let off the rest of your jail sentence - you still have to face the consequences.

The other I remember for not so good reasons - a guest speaker who preached that unconfessed sin put your salvation in doubt. ( Now, on reflection, I suspect he was working up to an altar call that no one could refuse to respond to.) What I remember most is my father having the courage to stand up against a very popular "man of the times" and refute that claim backing it up with scripture.

It is not that every sermon does not impact me in some way, just that some stand out as defining moments for me.