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Elusive peace

Like a candle flame
Flickering small in our darkness
Uncreated light
Shines through infant eyes
(Graham Kendrick)

Above the floodwaters is God’s throne from which his power flows, from which he rules the world. God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace. (Psalm 29:10-11 – The Message)

God offers us so many wonderful things, including hope, joy, and peace.

God can provide you with the unwavering quiet strength that comes from his peace.

I love the way God’s power in the Psalm is matched with the words of the song; God’s power being made known through a small flame, flickering in darkness. And God’s eternal power and wisdom, this ‘uncreated light’, shining through infant eyes.

God gives his people peace.

In what ways do you experience the peace of God? Where do you most need to experience his peace at the moment?

Finding rest at Christmas (and beyond)

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41, 42 NIVUK)

Christmas can feel like a busy time; shopping, parties, deadlines, and the marathon of church events.

It is easy to get lost in the busyness of Christmas, and to miss the things that are really important.

Whilst some of the busyness is inevitable, some can spring from a mixture of emotions and motives: avoiding a sense of loneliness; pride; guilt.

We see this happen in the book of Luke, when Jesus goes to eat in the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha spends her time running around cooking, serving dinner, and cleaning, which are very good things, but are busy things. Meanwhile, Mary sits in the company of Jesus. When Martha asks Jesus to tell her to work too, He tells her that, “Mary has chosen what is better.”

How might advent provide an opportunity to realign ourselves, looking to Jesus not only as the baby born in the manger, but the one who brings true rest, and calls us to enjoy relationship with him?

These posts are, in part, inspired by a Christmas Devotional available as a reading plan with You Version.

How are you going to enjoy some awesome today?

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

“…the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.” Luke 2:13-14 (The Message)

“How do you experience awe? What things cause you to become speechless when you see them?”

For me it’s often aspects of creation that leave me awe-inspired, and in particular, mountains, and seeing the world from above. So the photo I took yesterday of misty mountains taken from the air above Cyprus, reminds me of the awe I felt as I looked down on this scene.

I wonder how we’d respond to the awesome singing of the angels as they awaited and announced the birth of the God-man, come to bring an awesome peace to all men and women “with whom he is pleased”.

My reading this morning suggests that this Christmas, we “make an attempt to regain those awe-inspiring moments with God… Don’t let your relationship with him be ordinary, but rather make it extraordinary”.

Today I’m going to look for things that create a sense of awe and thankfulness, and try to remember to praise God for it.

Will you come back and tell me how you enjoyed awesome today?

What and how do you plan to celebrate this Christmas season?

Joy to the world!

I wonder what and how you plan to celebrate this Christmas season. Here’s some things and ways we’ll be celebrating.

Family

We’ll be celebrating with wider family, enjoying family traditions, and just generally slowing down. Just being together at this special time is more important than gifts. Our family has grown in the last year, too, and it will  be Reuben’s first Christmas.

Life

There’s a special significance to ‘life’ at Christmas, as we consider the new life that Jesus was born to herald in. In a very practical way we have experienced the joy of new life this year in Reuben. Do you have specific highlights of enjoying (new) life this year?

Goodness and gratitude

God has been so generous to us, and I’m mindful of  millions around the world who have much less, and those for whom this is not a time of peace and goodwill. I want to think about this a bit more, and consider how advent can be a time of celebrating God’s generosity, and pondering how to live a life of generosity to others.

Faithfulness and beginnings

Lots has happened in the last 12-18 months, with a number of new beginnings such as moving house, changing job, and getting involved in starting a new church in our area. God has been good and shown his faithfulness in so many different ways. As we look back with thankfulness, we can look ahead with confidence and excitement.

 ”Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:10 (The Message)

How about you?

Some recent tech history

Considering trends, opportunities and timing:

By 1990, the CDROM market was four years from its peak and five from its crash, but it was nearly too late to get anything out of it. Microsoft was launching Windows 3.0 bringing Apple’s innovations to everyone with a computer, MacroMind, Broderbund, the encyclopedia publishers and a whole hardware and software vendor ecosystem had already played out.

By 1998, when Page and Brin changed the name of their web search concept from BackRub to Google, DoubleClick had gone already public, Amazon dominated books online and was moving into other retail areas, and the open source Apache web server market share was too strong for Microsoft to overcome. There was more room for newcomers than the CDROM market had at a comparable point in its trajectory, but, again, certain corners of the market had already been locked down.

If you get the timing wrong on ubiquitous connectivity and information physicality then you may be entering at a moment when whoever is going to win has already won, or, perhaps worse, when everyone who wants to play is forced to watch from the bench.

From: Responsive media: the race to make information more physical. The Guardian.

Powerful story telling, or cynical marketing?

Take a few minutes to watch this video (7:18) shown at Apple’s recent World Wide Developer Conference.

Though it may cause the more cynical amongst us to wince, it can’t be denied that this video demonstrates some pretty powerful story telling. Here are some questions to ponder; I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.

  1. How well do you think this video is pitched at the primary audience, and also to any secondary audiences?
  2. What creative devices are used to take the viewer on a journey?
  3. Is there one individual story you connect most with? Why?
  4. Overall how effective would you say this video is?

Undivided 2012

Today (5 April) sees the start of the IFES Europe student evangelism conference in Gyor, Hungary.

I’m planning to trial Storify as a means of documenting the event based on what is being discussed and shared online. I’m not at the event myself, but I hope the storify stream below will help give a flavour of what is happening and how people are responding. I see potential in using storify as a means to document other IFES events as they happen around the world. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Google’s self-driving car.

A well-produced video from Google, demonstrating their self-driving car.

Against:

  •  I enjoy driving.

For:

  • Has the potential to make the roads much safer and more efficient, increasing the capacity of existing road networks (especially by reducing the number of ‘middle-lane hogs’ on motorways).
  • There could be fewer, and more centralised car parks. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can instruct the car to park itself.
  • Could radically change the idea of ‘car ownership’, with the ability to rent/hire a vehicle on a per-trip basis. Massive environmental benefits.

How would you feel about having/using a car like this? Add a comment below.

Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

I’m currently reading one of Seth Godin‘s books on leadership: Tribes. In the chapter I was reading today, Godin makes an interesting observation of the key differences between a thermometer and a thermostat, and how those same kinds of differences might be observed in human nature.

Mike Torres writes a nice summary of this observation, so I’ll point you to him rather than try and rephrase something he’s already done so well.

In summary:

  • Thermometers like to criticize once a direction is chosen. They’re always first to notice when something is wrong, but can’t take the necessary steps to fix it. They’re the armchair quarterbacks of the world and are great at telling you what you already know. The thermometer has an ability to lead only in so much as hindsight is 20/20. They can’t plan or adapt to changes.
  • Thermostats take the temperature of the room first and then put a plan in place to adapt. They’re the leaders and the visionaries, and the people you rely on to stay calm in a crisis and lead you to the next level. Thermostats are able to work past criticism and negativity and push forward even when the odds are against them. Thermostats exhibit self-control and stability.

 

I wonder what you make of this analogy. Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Are you a thermometer, or a thermostat?