What do you reckon is probably the worst thing in the world to hear, either from a stranger or from friends, family and loved ones? You know how last week I explored the theme of having our happiness rooted in something more real than our material possessions? Well let me use everything I wrote in that blog (and use that as the first of a mini-series of sorts!) and expand on some themes for a bit- let’s just say that in a hypothetical scenario, we’ve found Jesus and we’re full of joy and we’re happy. Because we’re living this life on this planet called Earth surrounded by believers and non-believers alike; this world sometimes can trip us up and we need all the resolve we can muster to survive and so that our eternal happiness is maintained. But let me tell you, there is a four-letter word that can turn our happiness upside down and can flip our world view from point A to point Z. it’s a word that can make or break our relationships, beliefs and inner strength, and it’s a word that though on the surface is bad, is actually good, in my opinion. What happens when our happiness comes crashing down when we’re told (by anyone or even ourselves) to wait (for anything), for whatever reason?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 26 (Life Is Beautiful by The Afters)- Why Waiting is the best thing even when it seems like the worst thing!
What do you all reckon is the one thing that we as humans strive for? The one thing that we long for, the one thing that we wish for at night, or thank God (or whatever deity we believe in) at night; the one thing that we believe is of highest importance in this world? Is it a roof over our heads, food on the table, a steady relationship, regular meal times, a bed to sleep in, friends who challenge us, friends who stick up for us no matter what, recognition, adoration, accolades, approval from any and everyone? Is it all of these things, some or one of these, or none of these?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 25 (The Cutting Edge 1&2, 3&4 by Delirious?)- The Pursuit of Worldly Happiness is futile, but the Pursuit of Eternal Joy is not!
The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with a very complex issue, one that I’d like to share a bit with you now, and hopefully create some healthy discussion. I’ve been wondering lately, and this issue has been more out in the open since the news of Burt Reynolds’ passing; why do some celebrated, popular and well-respected celebrities die young/before their time/not naturally? And by some extension (which could have the same answer/s), why do celebrity couples split up, when they obviously made vows that they meant at the time for ‘til death do us part’? in fact, maybe I’d go so far to ask the question about everyone, not just celebrities. Why do people die young, before their time, and not naturally; and why do seemingly happy couples split up after a long while? Confused as to why I’ve been wrestling with this? Let me explain a bit.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 24 (What If We Were Real by Mandisa)- How would the world look like if we were more real, honest and vulnerable with each other?
And all who thirst will thirst no more
And all who search will find what their souls long for
The world will try, but it can never fill
So leave it all behind, and come to the well
Casting Crowns- The Well from Come To The Well (2011)
Over the past few years of me working in a café, I have picked up a few things that I have noticed from various customers. Sometimes I see parents looking at their phones while their kids run amok, while at other times I am witness to some of the most personal and awkward conversations ever as potential customers argue at the counter before ordering. But another aspect of life within the shopping centre that we are covertly ministering to, that I’d like to touch upon just for a brief while; is that no matter who the person is, no matter what is going on in their day, no matter how the person is feeling; one thing is for certain- and that is that everyone at one point or another buys a bottle of water. This notion has always stayed true for the past few years, but I have been made more aware of the fact over the past week, particularly when, as I was writing up a drinks order list, I realised that every week we buy more water than each of the other drinks that we sell.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 23 (Come to the Well by Casting Crowns)- What satisfies us more- water or Jesus?
Over the past few weeks while Mum has been recovering from her fall and subsequent operation (which I detailed in a blog about suffering a few weeks ago!); I have noticed something that I reckon needs to be briefly talked about. Something that we as a people are prone to fall into the trap of- and it’s the lie that Church can only happen on Sunday, or Church only deserves to occur on Sundays. And that something was highlighted by our church family. Though we haven’t been at church for a while (many years in fact since we’ve regularly gone, since we’ve bought the café!); our church family still felt that we were connected enough to the body enough for them to deliver meals to us during the initial stages of Mum’s healing. The pastor and the pastor’s wife used their initiative, created a website app thing (take them a meal) where people could sign up and put their names to dates, write down dishes, and do tangible things- be the hands and feet of Jesus that way and have fellowship with us. Now not every single person from our church came to visit, or cooked, but I reckon that’s beside the point. What mattered was that in our time of need, we were being thought of, we were being appreciated, and we are being loved, no matter if we had religiously been to church every week, or in our case had ‘backslidden’ and become an irregular member. Though Mum didn’t really have high hopes for our church family in showing us God’s love, we were pleasantly surprised overall at the amount of love we were shown. And this brings me to what I have noticed.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 22 (Crave by for KING & COUNTRY)- Church isn’t a building- it’s the people; so why do we act as if our Christian life is only limited to Sunday mornings, during ‘church’?
Hands up how many of you have had a family member or close friend pass away suddenly or had a terminal illness or a freak accident, within your lifetime? Is that everybody? I mean, is that everybody in the whole wide world? Yep, I think I can see every single hand raised… But I mean seriously, death is something that we know is happening (though we may not know when!); and that we know for certain is around the corner, whether we like it or not. The saying goes that ‘two things are certain- death and taxes’; and society is right on that front. Because no one knows the day or the hour that each one of us leaves this earth. It may be in 80 or 90 years, or it could be, shudder to think…tomorrow. And for me personally, I have seen the effects of loved ones, friends and acquaintances, people that I know, or knew of, dying; and boy, it ain’t pretty.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 21 (All Things New by Steven Curtis Chapman)- Why death can be just around the corner, and why we need to live life as if every day is our last day on earth!
Over the past few Flashback Fridays posts, I’ve noticed a pattern of late- not by choice though. Most of the topics I’ve explored are heavy topics. Topics that, when push come to shove, society probably doesn’t want to talk about, and would choose not to if given the chance. The albums I have tied the topics to, while in my opinion are inspiring and influential to my life, have somewhat been overall mellow, and though it has not been my intention, sometimes I wonder when it will be that I delve into a ‘fun, bubbly, cheerful album’, regardless of what is happening in my life at the present moment. That’s not to say these past 20-odd albums that I have dived deep into since Australia Day this year (of which you can see the list here!) aren’t inspiring or life-changing, because they are, as evidenced by the high detail and vulnerability in my previous Flashback Fridays posts; but to say that I’ve only been impacted by deep, meaningful, introspective albums, is way, way off the mark.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 20 (Various pop albums)- Why inspirational pop songs can change the world, and why we all need to hear them…now!
Have you seen the movie Sliding Doors? You know, the one starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah in the late 90’s? If you haven’t, let me give you guys a refresher (although you can always read the detailed plot on Wikpedia!). There’s a woman, and she makes a decision to board a train. After a few minutes of plot, the film ‘rewinds’ back to the point where she is about the board the train, and then she misses the train. The basic premise of the movie, is that we are shown two ‘lives’ of the woman, and we are glimpsed into how very different the outcome can be had different choices were made. Now while I won’t get into detail about nature v nurture, and whether the person you are right now is a product of your genes or your choices or your environment you live in or what you believe, or a combination of any one of what I mentioned; what I will say is this. While Sliding Doors does teach us, that yes certain choices have different ramifications; I believe that even if you make certain choices which are dumb, silly, stupid, or insane; you can still turn around and make better ones. There is a choice to change for the better. There are life changing choices and there are choices we make every day without even thinking (what to eat, what to say or not say in front of friends etc)- and one such choice was confronted to me last week, with its decision maybe having far reaching ramifications for the future.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 19 (All In by Matthew West, and King Of Fools by Delirious?)- Is it about time we go all in, and walk before the King of Fools? And are we really history makers?
I don’t know if it’s accurate, or if it’s just cause it’s very recent in my memory, but I think that the past two weeks have probably been the most challenging and eventful in my recent memory. Not that my life right now is horrible, no not by any means. It’s just that there have been some circumstances and ‘hardship’ if you could call it that, that have been perhaps somewhat overwhelming, that has made me challenge the concept of why there is suffering in this world, and why God ‘allows’ us to feel hurt and pain. This notion is much debated amongst believers and non-believers alike, and before I get to the crux of what I want to say, and tell you all about what I have learnt over the past few weeks about suffering (which is still ongoing, as this topic can never be fully grasped or grappled with, until we meet Jesus!), and also before I delve into great detail about what made the past two weeks ‘the hardest ever’; let me break down a bit to you about what I reckon society thinks about suffering (and this is just my opinion, you guys can disagree if you want to.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 18 (Beauty Will Rise, and The Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman)- Does beauty really rise from the ashes? And is every and any situation the beginning of the beginning of this glorious unfolding?
Over the past month, as I am interacting with several customers and people that I know through the café, over the period of Ramadan; I have noticed a few things. One- that people have different viewpoints of what the word ‘fasting’ actually means. And two, even if they do know and live it out for the duration of the time they’re ‘supposed to’ i.e. sunrise til sundown, afterwards, some people act like they aren’t changed. Like they’re still the same, like they haven’t even undergone this intense spiritual exercise and deep reflection, like it’s supposed to be. Tell me, why is that? Why do people think that they should act a certain way because it’s cool, or because it’s what they’ve been told, but in the end not knowing the implications and ramifications of what they are doing?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 17 (Restart by Newsboys)- How to spot the fakers and how to know how to be real!