Finding joy in ordinary moments

IMG_0626One of my favourite moments of the week is to sit down at the breakfast table to read the Saturday papers with my morning coffee. I’ve done it most weeks of my adult life.

There’s something about the extras that come with the Saturday paper. It’s more than the sport, business and headlines. It’s the culture, the longer articles that you can lose yourself in or the reviews of the latest movie, book or show.

Last Saturday I sat back and soaked it in. Especially took note of this hour of quiet where it’s just the paper, my coffee and me. The family are still in bed. Oh, except for Beanie, our pup. She’s usually racing around outside and from time to time pops in to remind me she’s not far away.

Gee, I enjoyed it.

“Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the burst of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.”1

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“66 Love Letters”, Dr Larry Crabb

0849946409.jpgI’ve always considered the Bible to be a love story. This book helps elucidate the essence of God’s love for us in each of the 66 letters of the Bible.

I loved it.

I took on a challenge to read the entire Bible during Lent just passed. Crabb’s book had been sitting on my shelf for a year or so untouched. It kinda jumped out at me as I dived into the Bible reading challenge.

As I moved quickly through the Word, what became very clear to me was God’s absolute love for us. He is madly in love with His creation, and will do anything to have us choose Him. This culminated in Jesus living, dying on the Cross and being resurrected. So working through Crabb’s love letters was a perfect fit for where my mind was at.

Certainly this is not a commentary nor concordance but doesn’t try to be that. There is definitely room for 66 Love Letters to sit alongside commentaries and such like to provide a different insight into the Word.

Not everyone is going to get it and may find it a poor cousin to more literal interpretations.

I don’t profess to know the Bible well. What this marvellous book has left me with is an insatiable thirst to know the heart of God and to better understand His love story. As Crabb says in his introduction: “We try to reach the heart of God without listening to the Word of God.” God’s revealed His heart to us, in 66 love letters.

I’m not sure how’d this book would go if you weren’t reading through the Bible simultaneously. It took Crabb 3.5 years to write it so he obviously spent a lot of time both studying the Word, other references and seeking God’s wisdom on each book. I particularly enjoyed how Crabb used other influential authors like CS Lewis to add additional insights.

The epilogue at the end will be a useful quick reference guide as it summarises each of the 66 letters into one paragraph.

Highly recommended.

Daily Habits

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I heard a great analogy the other day for why we need to draw close to the Lord every day.


Weeds grow, not through anything we actively do, but through us leaving our garden unattended. They simply sprout and before too long, if untreated, can consume a garden, making it both visually unattractive, but also can kill off the good plants, lawn and flowers, we may have painstakingly planted.

What’s also interesting about weeds is they can develop some very strong root-systems if allowed to grow freely for too long which can be very hard to dislodge.

The effect of not drawing close to Jesus on a daily basis can be similarly destructive to our hearts.

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Intentional Friendship

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We come to the final element of our study on “Walking as Jesus Walked.” It is perhaps the one element that actually surprised me as to its significance. However, once I worked through Dann Spader’s book, it was plainly evident it’s criticality to Jesus’ life and ministry.

This final element is my weakest one in practice, but more significantly, in my desire for it.

“The remarkable thing about Jesus was that relationships were His strategy”1

Jesus was very intentional about building and developing relationships. I’d encourage you to spend some time looking at His commitment to the disciples.  Read more

He Shall Be Exalted!

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So we’re now at the fifth element of the Holy Spirit POWER acronym : Exalting the Father.

According to the “Free Dictionary” on the web, to exalt means:

–       To raise in rank, character, or status; elevate.

–       To glorify, praise, or honour.

–       To increase the effect or intensity of; heighten.

Jesus lived a life glorifying the Father.

“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.’”(John 7:16-18 NIV)

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Feeding our Hunger

A Sydney Jacaranda

We continue our series on “Walking as Jesus Walked”.

What I see from my limited study (at present) of Jesus walk was that He fed on the Word. He was the fulfilment of it. So He needed to know what He was going to fulfil, so He knew the Word.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matt 5:17-18 ESV)

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Do what He says

Brandy-girl, our much loved pooch

Earlier in the week I had one of those challenging conversations with a good friend where we both said things that were hard to hear. We both left the conversation a little in certain about where we stood and also where our friendship stood.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week ruminating on the conversation whilst talking to God about it. Pride has continued to badger me with thoughts such as: “of course you’re right, Ian. He was wrong,” “he’ll never change,” and “just forget the friendship, it’s not worth it.”

Most of the time when such thoughts have hit me I’ve cried out to God to take them and rebuked “pride” to get off my back as he’s been defeated by Jesus. Funny, he’ll disappear for a while but then make his presence known with a similar thought but with a fresh twist.

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Praying like Jesus

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It’s been too long since my last post and for that I apologise.

Let’s quickly re-cap where we are. A few weeks ago I raised the notion of loving and trusting God with our “all” as the Bible repeatedly exhorts.

How do we do that, I asked?

Follow the one who came as our example: Jesus.

Taking instruction from Dann Spader’s excellent workbook: “Walking as Jesus Walked” we identified the 6 elements to intimacy with the Father, which you can find here.

Last time we explored the significance of child-like dependency  and now let’s address prayer.

There is so much we can talk about on the topic of prayer but I wanted to highlight only a couple of aspects in today’s post.

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Living a Dependent Life


I struggle to not be in control. I like order, routine, and degrees of predictability.

Boring, huh?

And I get anxious when things are out of order. Worse still, I get anxious thinking about the possibility of things getting out of order.

Sad, huh!

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Modelling Jesus’ Life

Photo Credit” Moody Publishers

I left it last time with this notion that Jesus came, not just to restore our relationship with the Father, but also to be the example for that relationship.

I’ve mentioned Dann Spader’s book, “Walking as Jesus Walked”, a number of times, so let’s get to its key elements.

Spader has based his message from a close study of Scripture. As one works through each chapter, he lets us examine many of these verses for ourselves, so we become familiar with Jesus as a man, who lives a life solely dependent on the Holy Spirit.

This dependence aspect is critical and I’ll explore that a little further in my next post on the weekend.

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