A passion for pie

Some people dig a fork into the pie but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth. MSG Proverbs 19:24

The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth. ESV

I have read and discarded this verse many times.

I can assure you that if there is pie to be had I AM IN! Lets talk about pie.

1621614705_9d532f2d58I love steak and Guinness pie with chunks of torn beef, chicken and ham pie with creamy sauce, mince pie like your granny used to make, shepherds pie and cottage pie with mashed potato perfectly crisped on top, (who knows the difference?). Oh please don’t forget Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, a delight which fueled my achieving the Four Peaks a few years ago. Pukka Pies with the obligatory mushy peas are another midlands specialty. Scotch pies with their delicious over-sized crust are heavenly and one of many reasons to go visit Scotland this year. To this day pies remain the BEST reason to go to a football match in England. Please somebody invent the Bacon Pie.

….. and now for dessert!

2606707419_53cc00f380Our American cousins get confused when we talk about pies with meat in them… its all about sweetness. Seriously if ever there was a reason for traversing the continental US. You could start with key lime pie in Florida swing by for an Apple Pie in the Big Apple, sidestep and tuck into a Shoofly pie in the burgh, pecan pie from every place imaginable, before getting hot and sweaty with a Mississippi Mud Pie. You’ll find peach pie, mixed berry pie, blueberry pie, plum pie, peanut butter pie, banoffee pie, hot cherry pie, rhubarb pie, a personal favorite apple and raspberry pie and of course pumpkin pie. After that road trip we will be entitled to sing “Who ate all the pies?”

It is unimaginable to me that someone might be sat down, presented with any of these sublime pies, dig their fork in the pie and then fail to taste and enjoy. Right now at the very thought my lips are watering.

If you have read the first post in the Proverb to Prayer series you will remember the challenge to face up to these proverbs to let them speak truth to our lives and to allow them to spark a conversation with God about how he plans on transforming our lives.

Look around you what do you see?

As I write I sit in our kitchen where a few months back I redecorated walls floor and ceiling. I moved a radiator to allow a new sofa and installed a new dishwasher. Yet despite my short lived focus we still have no kickboards under the cupboards and a bare window at one end of the room. Those who know me know I am one of the many men who fail to finish DIY projects.

Rewind a year, what has God said?

Proverbs seriesHow has God spoken through His word or other ways in the last months? What ‘pies’ has God set before you? Have you received and consumed. Have you acted, prayed about and shared this sustenance or did you say that looks nice and leave the word of God intact, untouched?

In what ways has Gods sustenance provided you with faith to act?

Steak & Guinness pie Image: Some rights reserved by yashima

Blueberry pie Image: Some rights reserved by thebittenword.com

Featured Image: Some rights reserved by garryknight

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How is God known?

Another 1

God is known

One day at a time
One week at a time
One coffee at a time
One sorry at a time
One dance at a time
One gift at a time
One laugh at a time
One lunch at a time
One Sabbath at a time
One broken heart at a time
One broken loaf at a time
One glass of wine at a time
One outpouring at a time
 
He said, “look, you look like you’d like to eat”
I said, “a glass of coke and a hotdog, fine”
He said “how ’bout some bread and a glass of wine”
I said “lead me on. lead me on where you’ goin”
Larry Norman
 
Image some rights reserved by Mrs Logic

Almighty, Our multi-coloured God

Almighty God - A day in the mountains

Heather, Micah, Jonny and Harrison

I asked my son Harrison (6) to describe me.  He said I am big, I have big feet, big ears, big hands, a blue shirt, brown hair….. and so on.  Then I pointed out that everything he described was physical, everything could be measured in some way.  I then asked if he could  describe what I was like and the conversation took a different tack.

How do we describe the indescribable?  When we meditate on the names of Christ it is tempting to analyse the names, to break them down into component parts.  The name Almighty literally means ‘ to hold all strength’.  This is not something we can understand, we cannot comprehend the strength of the ocean never mind the One who made it, the One who flung stars into space.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev 1:8

Let me take a different approach.  I can tell you my wife’s name, I can tell you her height, weight, eye colour and age.  But you do not know her.  I can send you her CV (Resume).  You will then know her education and professional accomplishments.  But you do not know her, many others have equivalent CVs.  I can tell you stories about how we met, about her many adventures in childhood, I can tell you about music, books, places she loves, I could show you videos and photos or share things she has written.  All this will help you know about her and you might even FEEL like you know her, but you do not.  Even if I could share every memory I have with you , you still would not know her.  You will not know her until you become part of her story and she part of yours.  Then the journey to knowledge begins. 

We cannot know Jesus by definition, nor by reputation or history.  We might know what Jesus likes and dislikes.  We may know that He is infinite in time, in space, in power and in knowledge.  We might know that he is good, that he is kind, that he is merciful.  But still this is not knowing Jesus.

And for the good news (gospel).  Jesus left behind stories, not definitions.  He inspired people to keep telling the stories.  In these stories the person of Jesus starts to take shape.  We realise we want to know this Jesus, this water walking, storm stopping man who is God.   In the stories and lives of those around us and those who have gone before we find a multi-coloured picture of Jesus not a black and white dictionary definition.

All stories of Jesus, whether written, sung, prayed or lived have one purpose, to point you and I in His direction.  As we seek, we find ourselves invited to become part of His story as He is already part of ours.

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.  John 17:26

This post is part of a series on the Names of Christ  – the most recent posts in the series are found here

Worthy of the call – Solzhenitsyn August 1914

Worthy of the Call

“But Sukhomlinov had become Chief of the General Staff, and with the ignorant rashness that looked so much like decisiveness had ‘reconciled’ the rival plans: Russia would attack on both fronts at once! ……… (his successor) had gone so far as to give the French a firm understanding that Russia would move against Germany as well as Austria………How long would France remember Russia’s sacrifice, her blood tribute? Knowing all this, you must still show yourself worthy of your calling”*

*from August 1914 (Red Wheel) – A very short but insightful review of the book can be read here

This excerpt from the first of Solzhenitsyn’s Red Wheel series shares the thoughts of Colonel Vorotyntsev as he travels from Army General HQ to the field HQs and beyond to the front line to visit with the commanders in the field. He takes it upon himself to speak with the field commanders directly, taking personal responsibility for the success of the campaign in Prussia.

Vorotyntsev knowing all the errors of judgement made at Army GHQ, can see first-hand the failed communication network which ensures the Russian Army have no idea where their individual battalions are never mind where the Germans might be.  In the midst of total confusion and conflicting egotistical officers Vorotyntsev knows one thing to be true. He must still show himself worthy of his calling.

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”    Ephesians 4:1

I am a firm believer that every action we take can only be a response to the actions of God.  God is the initiator.  God is source.  The earth and everything in it was not only created at his word but is also held together by the imperishable Word of God.

That being said I am also a believer that our actions count!  What we do affects the world around us.  We are urged by Paul to live up to the calling we have received.

Paul urges the church ‘to walk’, to act, to move forward in this world.  Our calling is a heavenly one.  A heavenly calling is a calling that comes from heaven.  It is also a calling towards heaven, but it is a calling that is received and responded to on earth.  God has not called us to wait for heaven, he has called us to walk towards heaven in a manner worthy of the call.

For another blog post approaching Ephesians 4:1 from a different perspective try Unhinged

Big Habits

“…. habits are not guaranteed for life. They can be neglected until they wither away. Every time my schedule changes (which is several times a year) I have to reassert my good habits into the new timetable.” (from outWORD, a blog that you really should visit)

Having just been through a change in schedules this thought is very real to me.  Some habits have been easy to port across into a new schedule others not so.

  1. Basic fitness – I was playing football 2 or 3 times a week, now cycling 12 miles 4 times a week
  2. Writing – I was writing 2 or 3 hours during lunchtime each week – Now not so much (this is first post in 2 months )
  3. Reading, prayer and contemplation – Was spending 2-3 hours a week early mornings + walk & bus time each way to work – now struggling to find any real amount of time.

What are the habits that you consider important to you?

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thess 5:17

Here are 3 important ones.

  1. express joy
  2. pray and don’t stop
  3. be thankful and show it

Pull up a chair and join the conversation

CREATION

Words have a prime place in the history of Gods actions in this world.  In the beginning God the Father, spoke the Word in God the Son as God the Holy Spirit hovered over the emptiness.  (John 1:1-3Genesis 1:1-3) A wonderful picture of the three persons of God in harmony, relationship and corporate action, implementing the divine plan of creation.

INCARNATION

In the time of Jesus’ birth we are again at a beginning, God becoming man.  In Luke 1:35 we find Mary is told that God the Spirit would come upon her, in the power of the Most High God and Jesus, the Son of God would be born. Three persons of God in action again as the God procession arrives to the time and place-ness of Incarnation.

SALVATION

Jesus, the Son of God stands waist deep (I imagine) in the Jordan, the voice of God the Father speaks out ‘This is my beloved Son, in Him I am well pleased’ and the Spirit of God descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove. (Matthew 3:16-17) God, Three Persons, the will of God expressed again in history. Salvation

I often pause on the question why at this point did God the Father express his pleasure with Jesus. He firstly expressed His love for his Son which we understand as being the nature of the relationship since before the creation of space and time. Why now express pleasure.

I reflect on the significance of Baptism. Baptism; an outward expression of an inward reality communicates death to self and new life free from the power of sin. Here we have Jesus, sinless being baptised without sin. Why? Jesus baptism expresses his willingness to stand with sinful man. To stand on behalf of others sin. To die because of the sins of others. The Father is pleased as the Son lives up to the call. (Eph 4:1) Stop and consider the contrast. When Christ died the Father turned his back.

INVITATION

Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Follow me. (Matt 4:18-20) The great mystery of Gods will is that he has invited us to participate in it. We are not merely objects of Gods affection nor are we the subjects creating, choosing and driving the will of God in history but we are respondents. We are invited to follow, an action that is active but yet not proactive. It is entirely responsive. One cannot follow and choose the direction. One cannot follow without a subject creating or choosing a path ahead of us. We are invited to participate in the great procession of God, in the dance of the Trinity in place and Time, in the heavenward calling of Gods family. It is a great privilege to be invited.

CONVERSATION

Here my train of thought arrives back to the start. Words. Have you ever found yourself in the presence of a group of people but excluded from the conversation? For whatever reason. Have you ever had the experience of being excluded from the conversation and then someone notices you, opens the conversation, moves the chairs back and creates a space for you and includes you in the conversation. You have something to say, you have ears to listen, you are part of the group now, part of the conversation. Words are significant.

Ezekiel 3:4,10 is one of many examples of God involving man in the conversation, “listen to the words I speak to you….. go speak to them” We are called to be prophets and teachers, we are called to pray without ceasing. God chose men to write down his words, to take the good news across nations, to plead with him for the lives of friends and indeed whole cities.

Prayer. Jesus draws us into the conversation through prayer. Daily we are to speak with God, to pour out, to ask, to bless, to praise, to worship, the conversation has many colours.

In the will of God all things have been created, God himself has become a man and has become the way for all men to be saved. God has invited us to follow, to participate in His will, starting in time and space with a heavenly and eternal destination. God then has paused the conversation created a space and said “Come now, pull up a chair and join the conversation”