Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Love at first sight #part 2

'Awww look at him, he's dead to the world.' A statement recently expressed by someone meeting little Elijah George, who was fast asleep at the time. It reminded me of what the apostle Paul declares in the book of Philippians: 'But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ' (ch3 v7).

I desperately want that for this little guy too - that he might one day count everything else as dispensable because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ as his Lord.

I've already been praying that God will use him and send him to the deepest, darkest places (either in London or anywhere else in the world!) and that his fullest confidence and security will only come from God.

I was reading a brief account of Moses in the book of Hebrews this morning that says: 'He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward' (11 v26).

Little Elijah doesn't realise it yet, but he has entered into a world that is both wonderful and challenging - a place that will pull him from left to right, tempt him and fight for his affections at any given opportunity. He'll be introduced to stuff that will try and reward him with fleeting highs and security through things like sex, money or success. But to know fullness of joy and peace he will need to give everything over to Jesus.

The world says take, consume, indulge and upgrade. Jesus says lay it all aside for my name and watch how full and satisfied your heart feels.

His only concerns at the moment revolve around boobs and nappies, but before he knows it there will be some more significant decisions to choose and paths to select.

Please Lord, raise up my little boy to fearfully know and worship you. Please give him a heart for the most broken and lost people and please give him Heavenly wisdom and judgement from an early age. Help him to be brave and courageous in the battle. In the name of Jesus, AMEN!

Dead to this world indeed. I don't think the midwife knew how solid her theology was in uttering those words!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Love at first sight #part1

Well, that was a pretty overwhelming couple of days. I'm not really sure where to start - there are just too many things that I want to praise God for.

At 12.30am on Saturday 22nd, our little boy, Elijah George Bream, entered the world. So I thought it'd be interesting to write a little something from three different perspectives over the next few days.

The first perspective is my wife's...

There's something that must be totally amazing about carrying a child inside you and then holding that same person in your arms after birth.

But then there's the labour; a fairly sizeable hurdle in between both those stages.

Words really cannot fully describe it.

I knew my wife had a firm faith in God prior to this weekend's action, but when you see someone on all fours bellowing out to God to help her and reciting scripture from memory, you know that person has been doing some preparation in the build-up.

Having prayed into particular scriptures and memorised verses that she knew would help her in that time of need, it was awe-inspiring to witness God stand up to those promises - especially through the gritted teeth and bleary eyes of prayer in those last couple of hours. With all the tension and anguish heavily etched across her face, she certainly needed a Saviour who would stand firm for her.

And He did.

Verses like:
'For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.' (2 Tim 1v7) 
'There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...' (1 John 4 v18)
'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' (Joshua 1 v9)

When your wife falls pregnant, it's very easy to feel smug and macho - like you're 'The Man'! When you're totally helpless and pretty much just a spectator in that delivery room 9 months later, you soon realise that you're not quite the alpha male you thought you were!! So it was awesome to see my wife very vocally telling her God how much she needed HIM.

He was so constant and gracious through the whole rollercoaster. And the little man He created in the first place made her soon worship Him in a way she never has done before.

No other rock could or would do such a thing.

She (and we!) could not have gotten through that period without the grace of God that was all over the situation and His timings and guidance were about as perfect as the little guy he gave us at the end.

There's a new kinda love in our household now - and we're thanking God for every little bit of it!!!

Friday, 14 September 2012

A hundred years from now

It must have been a bit strange for my folks. This afternoon we showed them the bedroom that we have recently finished decorating for their soon-to-be-arriving grandchild. Twenty-four hours prior to this they were scattering the ashes of my grandparent's in the same churchyard that my great-great-grandparents were buried in nearly a hundred years ago.

Talk about life flashing before your eyes!

As I was considering this, I was reminded of the lyrics 'Age to age He stands/ And time is in His hands/ Beginning and the end.'

One reason this came to mind was because on the gravestone of my ancestors there were some words that I find very significant. I don't know much (if anything) about these people, but their gravestone reads: 'The Lord is my strength, in whom I will trust.'

Now, this could either be a phrase that was common to most gravestones back then. Or it could mean that these people believed in God and did actually put their hope in His unfailing love during the time that they were alive.

I'd like to hope that some of the generations that walked before me in my family will be in Heaven, but with very little knowledge to go by, I've never really known much about them. So it's fair to say I'm pretty chuffed about this little discovery!

I sometimes wonder whether future generations of my family will stumble across this blog when I'm long gone. I hope it gives a good account of what I believe in (and HOPEFULLY encourages them to explore the claims and miracles of Jesus for themselves!!), but to be honest, the words on that gravestone will do just fine as well.

All strength, energy, joy, passion, creativity, laughter and desire is from the Lord and He really is the only one to put trust in - a century later that truth would still appear to be evident.

There's a new generation fast approaching our household who I plan to spend the rest of my life trying to explain these truths to as well.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

How could life ever be boring?

I find this quite an exciting question to ask myself from time to time - it's worth investigating yourself, if you have a moment.

A couple of days back, my lead pastor shared some updates about some forthcoming developments within the life of our church. New buildings, new projects, new leaders, new parts of the city reached, new challenge.

A few days before that, the midwife informed my wife that our baby is ready to come out whenever it wants now. There's a V.I.P who God has been creating over the last eight and a half months, and He's about to introduce us to him/her. A new life, new responsibility, new job title, a new form of joy, a new challenge.

These two areas of my life are filling much of my thinking time at the moment and whether I like it or not, they are going to force me well and truly out of my comfort zone over the coming weeks and months.

For sometime now, I have been praying for an adventure. Previously that would probably have involved travelling to a far-flung destination with a backpack and a very vague itinerary. The 'adventure' continues, but a lot closer to home at the moment. Reading through parenting pamphlets and documents detailing new church vision, I can only thank God for what He's doing in my life.

Whether it's being part of a church that is soon to be multi-venue, or being part of a family that is soon to grow by 50%, it's all incredibly exciting!!! His grace over these two situations is totally and utterly incomprehensible.

Whatever your circumstances, the plans and purposes that God has earmarked for your life are staggering. He didn't intend for you to simply fall in line and trudge through your 9-5; flutter from fleeting experience to fleeting experience; pursue empty relationships or consume as much 'stuff' as you possibly can manage.

There's a very well known verse in the Bible which I always take great encouragement and direction from:
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' (Jeremiah 29 verse 11)

Sometimes the big challenges/milestones come along in life. Other times there's continued routine, consistency and focus required. Either way, acknowledge that there is a God who is forever looking to grow and develop your character through the circumstances, challenges and people around you.

Remembering this, how could life ever be boring!?!