A whisperer took me to an encounter of the heart.

Good Monday Morning to this week 25/2017

God allows understanding when we are ready, but you cannot rush readiness.
M. A. Renner

And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a gentle whisper a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out, and stood in the entering of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice to him, and said, what do you here, Elijah? A still small voice, a sound of gentle stillness, we’re not even sure if the sound was articulate or not, nor is it said that the Lord was now present, but the action of the prophet shows that he knew the time was come for him to present himself before Jehovah. Or as in Job 4:16; It stood still, though it passed by me, it did not immediately disappear and vanish, but made a stand, as having some business with me, and designing to address me. But I could not discern the form there exactly and distinctly, so as to know what or who it was. An image was before my eyes, my eyes could not be deceived. I am thoroughly satisfied there was an image which showed itself to me visibly. There was silence.  In Hebrew it says; Silence, a voice, I The spirit stood motionless; all other persons and things about me were entirely silent; and I also kept in my voice and breath as much as I could, that I might distinctly hear what I perceived the spirit was about to speak to me. It stood still indeed, but I knew not its form; the appearance vanished from before my eyes, but I heard a voice.

When God whispers he seeks to communicate to speak with us. He personally and lovingly disciplines us and helps us learn from the past for the future. He displays the power of God’s love over all the storms. In whispering God free grace and encounters are transmitted in moments of silence and encounters. There is a sense of stillness and gentleness, a realization of our human condition or weakness needed for the interaction between God and us, or as Job put it; “It stood still indeed, but I knew not its form; the appearance vanished from before my eyes, but I heard a voice.”

Wishing you the right timing, the waiting, maybe a prayerful waiting as you anticipate His voice putting aside your time, as you become ready to hear.

Philemon

Guardians at the gates of the reformation

Good Monday Morning to this week 24/2017

Taking my two friends from Togo on a discovery ride to the Jura mountains in the Bernese Jura in Switzerland we went from lakes to mountains, through many forests and pastures and reached the remote Bellelay early Thursday afternoon. According to the legend, Siginand of Moutier-Grandval got lost while hunting wild boar at the beginning of the twelfth century in the year 1136.  After spending three days in the woods, waiting at a creek he named the area “belle laie”, laie is a female wild boar. He then made a vow that if he be saved or find his way out he would found a monastery. Historical documents confirm the founding of the Abbey of Bellelay in the year 1142. The abbey was inhabited by choristers and the Premonstratensian Order (a roman catholic religious Order) that had come from the Lac de Joux. They set themselves the goal of transforming swampland to fertile land according to the rules of St. Norbert their founder. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the abbey played an important role, blessed with wealth, they made noble use of their fortune. The part of the building, which was called “hostelries”, had the dimensions of the largest hotel of that time. The numerous travelers, who were accommodated there, would never be charged for their stay. Further, daily bread was distributed to everyone at the door to the Abbey. One speaks of the distribution of a thousand talents in a single year. The Abbey also took in orphans and cared for the children. In order to “earn their living”, the different communities had to create and operate small industrial activities such as printing, farming, cheese-making, running schools, bookbinding, astronomical observatories and retreat centers. I think there is a lot we can learn here. But now back to 2017! Alan Scott held an excellent sermon at our conference about going to the other side. Jesus went outside of his mission zone and took his disciples on journey to new territory, the uncomfortable, unpredictable and the uncertain. Now the interesting thing about Jesus or the mentioned Order is, they believed that every side was His or their side! They knew fame, crowds yet they went to the other side to reform all parts of society. When God rewrites the story of cities He chooses the foolish things to shame the wise, the weak to things to shame the strong. Most reformers were first rejected before they brought restructuring and reformation to their community and people. It’s not just a story in our history no it can lead to the unfolding of our destiny. “Your story may be one of much rejection, but God has written mercy into your story and reformation always follows mercy.” A. Scott.
This week can bring forth next steps with faith and grace to heal and reclaim!
Philemon

The anchor of the soul

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil! Hebrews 6.19

Good Monday Morning to this week 23/2017

This whole weekend has been filled with great inputs and speeches and music at our annual conference here in Bern. Yesterday evening, we were reminded, encouraged, called in a beautiful way to cultivate our “inner garden” and to meet and encounter our creator, our father, our Lord, our savior and King there. Many of us attach the experience of joy to what is happening in our outer world rather than allowing joy to flow through us. When we attach our joy or any feelings, such as love, but also fulfillment to outer events we become dependent on what is happening outside of us in determining how we feel on a particular day. And the truth of the matter is, when we do this the good feelings of joy, fulfillment, wonder and harmony will be fleeting, as conditions of life change moment to moment. Safety and security also fall into this principle, for as our outer world changes one day you feel safe, and the next day you do not. One day you might feel secure in your job, and then the economy changes and your job security might now be at risk. You might start to feel as if you are riding a rollercoaster of emotions.
Back to the verse…. which hope we have as an anchor of the soul. A beautiful image, and metaphor introduced for a moment only to set forth the security of the soul, though tossed by the waves of trouble. An anchor is outside the ship; and that which steadies us cannot be a part of ourselves, must be something external to us, on which our fluttering and mutable emotions can repose and be still. I like both images, the inner quiet place, the garden, and the imagery of the anchor. Suppose that hope here means, not the emotion but the object on which it is fixed. Or another way of looking at it, ‘a hope set before us,’ or ‘laying hold upon it.’ So that here, at all events, the hope is something external to ourselves which is proposed to us, and which we can grasp. The ship’s crew will trust to it. An anchor is steadfast is ‘firm,’ is one that will not break, but is strong in its own substance, made of good tough iron, so that there is no fear of the breaking, whatever strain may be put upon it.  On the contrary, the anchor is of no use unless it be fastened. All the faithfulness of the divine nature, and all the grandeur of the promises which Christ gives and is, are nothing to us unless we attach ourselves to them, attach then on our ship, in our inner garden our soul, then as sailors do, send out the anchor ahead of us. Spiritual life is a lot like gardening. We cultivate the garden of our heart, planting seeds and watering each plant so that they can grow beautifully and can blossom. I think this is where the anchoring comes in, this is where our soul and inner garden is attached to the creator, to his Hope, which results in the feeding the plants and letting them grow in abundance and letting them flourish.

If I were to twitter this whole message ….  let me give it a try!

#Attach the anchor of His hope with your inner garden and meet your creator for sure and remain steadfast this week!

Stay blessed! Philemon

A cracked pot

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand. II Corinthians 4:7 + Isaiah 64:8

Good Monday Morning to this week 22/2017

The vessel, to be defined as a holder, jar, or something that contains. Then we read the word earthen, a substance made of clay, brittle, and easily broken. Yet as with the clay, there is a procedure in place. Clay is rolled, cut, stretched, pressed flat to create slabs. These slabs can be cut into shapes, joined together, or altered to form. The process of making a pot is the searching, centering, opening, shaping, restoring, transforming, repairing, returning. In shaping a pot, the potter puts one hand on the inside of the pot and one hand on the outside, squeezing the clay in-between, moving from the bottom to the top. The clay is stretched, thinned, and directed between the potter’s hands. Yes, we are made perfect, yet as life goes on it seems as if we get cracks or need repair. Here a nice story about that.

A Water Bearer in the middle East had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and one half pots of water in his master’s house. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the Water Bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The Water Bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

So if you feel like a cracked pot this week, don’t be afraid of your flaws,  remember that in God’s great economy, nothing goes to waste, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength!

Have a blessed week!
Philemon

Depend on it!

“Depend on it. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. He is too wise a God to frustrate His purposes for lack of funds, and He can just as easily supply them ahead of time as afterwards, and He much prefers doing so.”
James Hudson Taylor

You’re gonna be okay!

Bielersee2705_13_Fotor

I know it’s all you’ve got to just, be strong
And it’s a fight just to keep it together, together
I know you think, that you are too far gone
But hope is never lost
Hope is never lost

[Pre-Chorus]
Hold on, don’t let go
Hold on, don’t let go

[Chorus]
Just take, one step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be ok

[Verse 2]
I know your heart is heavy from those nights
Just remember that you’re a fighter, a fighter
You never know just what tomorrow holds
And you’re stronger than you know
Stronger than you know

[Pre-Chorus]
Hold on, don’t let go
Hold on, don’t let go

[Chorus]
Just take, one step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
One step, closer
Put one foot in front of the other
You’ll, get through this
Just follow the light in the darkness
You’re gonna be ok

[Outro]
And when the night, is closing in
Don’t give up, and don’t give in
This won’t last, it’s not the end, it’s not the end
You’re gonna be ok
When the night, is closing in
Don’t give up, and don’t give in
This won’t last, it’s not the end, it’s not the end
You’re gonna be ok

Brian + Jenn Johnson
After all these Years

Stepping Stones or Faith

Good Monday morning to you all

As you might have seen on my Facebook timeline, this week I’ve been wrestling deep and heavy theological issues. The question also reflecting in the next joke is, is something I often ask myself in my daily walk of life or walk of faith. How do faith and stepping stones fit on the same scale, or are they more like a seesaw, “a long board that children play on. The board is balanced on a central point so that when a children sit on each end they can make the board go up and down, or if they do it right they can even balance in the middle!

Here we go! ….. (three theologians of our time)

Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann and Paul Tillich are taking a break together, fishing on Lake Geneva. They are having a lovely time, enjoying the water and chatting idly. It’s hot and they are getting thirsty. So Barth stands up, steps out of the boat, and walks across the water to the shore, where he gets some drinks and then returns to the boat. But the drinks don’t last long. So Barth says to Tillich: “Your turn, Paul.”Tillich gets up, steps out of the boat, walks across the water, and fetches some more drinks. It is really hot now, and the drinks are soon finished. Bultmann is beginning to sweat profusely, so finally Barth tells him: “Come on, Rudolf, it’s your turn now.” With a slight tremor in his knees, Bultmann gets up, steps out of the boat—and sinks like a stone. Fortunately, he manages to swim to the surface; he drags himself back into the boat and sulks at the far end. Tillich turns to Barth and says: “Do you think we should have told him where the stepping stones are?” Barth looks at him in astonishment and replies: “What stones?”

…. Or as we say in the Vineyard, it’s a radical balance! Since we base our praxis on the King and His kingdom, committed to seen the demonstration of God’s kingdom we can agree with both … it needed the stones for him who only had faith, it needed the faith for him who only saw the stepping stones! Or a step further, yes often there are many stepping stones there, we put them there to help others on their walk of faith, and while we put them there we put them there in faith, believing they will be used and many will walk on them. Other times, far lesser there are times there are none – and we do walk by faith and do not sink! Then in the social work I tend to be on the other end picking up people who have slipped off the stones there to help them to reach the shore.
Wishing you faith and a smooth walk of faith this week – with or without the stepping stones!
Philemon

A matter of the heart

Monday Morning 25/2016

Spiritual calcification of the heart
In the natural, calcification is the process in which calcium builds up in body tissue where there normally isn’t any calcium. Over time, the buildup can harden and disrupt your body’s normal processes. Calcium is transported through the bloodstream, so calcification can occur in almost any part of the body.

I’ve been wondering if we could undergo that spiritually as well. We’re doing everything right, our hearts are pumping in full swing and the blood (ministry) is going to all the places of the body. So the whole process is good, very good actually, but over the time ,tiny deposits of the good calcium can cause problems to organs or affect blood vessels.

Our walk with God is always a matter of the heart

wishing you a good week!
Philemon

King Achim

Monday 50/2016

Good Monday Morning

I had an extraordinary chance to meet the King of Achim on the evening the president elect: Nana Akufo-Addo was announced as winner of the elections in Ghana. Yes, the king Achim of an eastern region received us at his home. We talked about his passion to change the country through education and ecological issues and further had the pleasure of meeting his wife. The joy was then immense when the announcement of the winning of his favourite candidate and party NPP was announced after many many hard years of passionate political activity. All us three visiting were impressed, he didn’t sit on his throne but in his lounge, further all my “worries” of visiting the king unannounced in my simple shorts and shirt instead of suit and tie, vanished. I like the analogy – let’s look at our King and His Kingdom again this morning. Our King is described so well in the Beatitudes. Our God sends in the meek, the mourners those who are hungry and thirsty for God’s justice, the peacemakers and so on. As we are serious about being under God’s reign, then our faith will influence all realms of society. Jesus the King has in mind to have the rulers of the world reconciled, to bring God’s wise order as we live in “God’s new World” and wait for the final act of God. We as Church do stand in contrast to the world seeming to run out of control. The king I visited demonstrated that well, his kingdom is at times very insignificant and yet he acts and speaks in authority and does not tire to bring change to this country in all the means and influence he has.  NT Wright wrote so well – I quote; “we are working with God to draw heaven to earth as we partner with Gods renewal of all things”! Our life, our connectedness to our King and the Church does really matter! I wish you a great week as you “draw heaven to earth” in your daily life, ministry and work.

Philemon