Archive for

February, 2012


The time is now

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Image credit: Anthony Dodd, reused under CC license

Don’t just long for the coming of the Kingdom.
Of course, this is something to long for, but it is secure. Focusing on it stops you from seeing what you are called to do here and now.

Don’t just model your actions on the early church.
Again, looking at the history of the early church is greatly inspiring, as it shows people of great courage and determination; on top of which it was led by people who knew Jesus first-hand. But it also happened in very specific circumstances, with different tools available to leaders, and in a time of persecution. The circumstances today are different: we have social media, certain values have made their ways into our culture, and it is good to keep that in mind.

Don’t put off your actions, don’t root them only in aims and objectives.
This doesn’t mean that you should do everything on a whim, or that planning is inherently bad. It means that, in chasing objectives only, you risk losing your identity. Don’t justify your behaviour first by what might come of it in the future: be uncompromising about what you do now. Don’t let busyness be an excuse.

The time is now.
Look at what is happening around you now, and at how it is happening first, to see what you can do now.

Lesson from The Shawshank Redemption

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The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest films made.


Image: Donald Tetto, reused under CC license

What makes it special is that we’re not looking at the story of Dufresne. That story, itself, is incidental – what matters is the way the lives of those around him are affected, culminating with Red’s change of attitude towards the parole board.

Here’s what Dufresne is:

1. Relentless and determined, even when everything goes against him
2. Caring and selfless 
3. Constant – no matter what hardships come his way, he’s not getting angry or changing identities.

That’s what allows him to effect such a profound change in those he meets. And it’s those changes that are important.

The question is:

Whose life are you changing? And how?

Go for it!


With great power comes great responsibility.

The converse is just as true and far more challenging. The Bible is full of such encouragements:

Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

God equips those He calls.

Do not be afraid. Do not consider, for even one second, that you don’t have the skills necessary to your calling. Because you’d find it’s true – you don’t. But with reliance on God, you will put skills which aren’t yours to use.

Knowledge is key

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Image credit: D.B. Gaston, modified and reused under CC license

In the beginning, it was easy. One command – do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Then sin crept in, and suddenly things became more complicated. We started to have a law written on our hearts, and yet transgressing it.

Cain’s sin is exactly that – he knows that he shouldn’t have killed his brother, and therefore tries to hide it; and that’s what gets him exiled. That he knew he had done wrong.

Then the Law came. But without knowledge of the Law, it is nothing. Let us remember that we all have the knowledge of the law that’s written in our hearts, and not try and twist the written Law.

Yet, a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. Recognising the Devil’s temptation (Matthew 4) as Biblical truth would have made devout people yield to temptation. The difference was – Jesus’s knowledge was perfect. He could know right from wrong – easily, too, and instantaneously.

We can’t know the fullness of the Law and have it in our mind constantly. That’s the difference.

But after the Law, Jesus came. And there is a difference between knowing an object, and knowing someone. We can know Jesus, and through knowing him and following him, we can follow the Law too.

Biblical knowledge is important, but it must not supplant personal relationship.

Otherwise, the scholar’s pride comes knocking at the door.

How do you get this across in your Bible studies?