“What’s your story?”

[“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”
Isaiah 60:19]

“So messed up.” We become so frustrated at times wondering how we manage to mess up royal-ly. Most times unawares, the F-word manages to burst out of the same mouth that receives the Holy Body and Holy Blood of Christ. Yet you and me is who He came for. Despite the hide and seek games we play with our merciful God, he wants us to know that we were meant for bigger (hearts), better (words), softer (thoughts towards ourselves) and deeper (commitment to the eternal).

The good news for the teeth-gritting, frustrated, f-word spitting, dissatisfied ones is that God knows better and He will show us better out of His everlasting love for us.

The dim lights of the weekend that blur rather than better our vision can be left behind. We can trade illusory charm of the distant, romantic moonlight for the warmth and beauty of the blazing campfire before us – God will be your light. No darkness; the true light that gives better than Ultra HD clarity to our misused/abused lives.

There is hope. There’s a new beat to dance to. A new music to swing to, as we hand over our lives to the redeemer.

Let your life story be a redemption story. May your transformed life reflect the everlasting beauty of God’s light.It starts by saying, “Today, I choose to give my life, as it is, into the hands of the Saviour- the one who will even die for me that I may live.”
Amen.

What’s your story?

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Bae

If you find yourself bowing down to pressure

I used to think bae was the short for babe. My wife enlightened me, like a sage : Babe, it stands for Before Anyone Else. And I felt like a babe (a child!). Feigning ignorance, I asked: “Does that make me your bae?” She didn’t find that funny!

Besides the fact that it prevents the elders from figuring out that the person next you in the photo hash-tagged #bae is actually more than a friend, I feel it is a privilege it is to be someone’s bae!

Continue reading “Bae”

What every pastor can learn from Kevin De Bruyne

What every pastor can learn from Kevin De Bruyne

Just in case you are not into football, Kevin De Bruyne is a prolific midfielder who belongs to Manchester City football club in the English premier league. His contributions to the team have been pivotal for their currently unbeaten streak of games this season (2017-18), as of January 9, 2018.

If one were to watch De Bruyne play, there are many parallels that can be drawn to pastoral ministry. A few things all clergy can learn from De Bruyne’s game: Continue reading “What every pastor can learn from Kevin De Bruyne”

Verses for the new year

Happy new year!

Are you happy enough?

Now I needed strength to enter the new year because of the feeling that I hadn’t enough strength to sustain the youth ministry I am in. Looks like I may be here in this city for one more year, ensuring a transition in the ministry from one Youth Chaplain to the next.

Encouragement came through the Word of God – the Word that creates and sustains. I hope this encourages you too!

Three verses came to my rescue at a time the feeling of inadequacy to lead a youth ministry gripped me, at the end of 2017 :

2 Samuel 23:10

but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.

This appeared as I was reading Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson, a book that has found its way into my heart, family life, ministry, sessions and sermons! The verse emphasized the perseverance of Eleazar at a time his troops seemed to be losing the battle. He fought on…

… till his hands froze to the sword …

Hang on in there, Mathews, the verse seemed to say to me.

Isaiah 11:1

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

A verse read at every Christmas carol service, yet overlooked, as most don’t listen to the lesson readings in between the melodious carols.

A stump is what is left after a tree is chopped down. It bears no hope for fruit bearing or growth. It’s a sign of destruction and hopelessness. Yet Isaiah, driven my the prophetic vision conveys the imagination of the God he serves :

There is hope even for a stump.

God will enable life to emerge even from that which is dead and hopeless.

That’s enough for me and the ministry I am given. It’s not me who is leading it, but the Lord God, the creator and sustainer of life. Not only will a shoot come out of the stump, but also will the root bear fruit!

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

This passage lit up again while I went through a sermon I had prepared in October. It reinforced the above two verses. Together with these, I entered the new year with great hope and I wish you do too.

I was wondering how to sustain the momentum and growth of this ministry I am in. Sure it’s what I have always wanted to do! Now it needs further growth, more impact and expansion. And I don’t exactly know how, although I have made plans for the year. You could say, I am blind and can’t see the way forward.

But this verse, yet again from Isaiah, reminded me to hold the hand of the one I serve and just walk along, to places that I never knew. That’s super exciting. And he will shed light amidst darkness and make rough places smooth.

That’s enough. All I need for a new year is here. Now all that we might need is coming back and reading these verses every day.

I hope these verses encourage you. Let it brighten up your heart and fill your limbs and joints with strength. May the Word of God spur your will to be the blessing to this world you are meant to be.

Walking through a mall

I’m walking through a mall.

I’m feeling uncomfortable. This is not how it used to be. But this is what it has come to. I can’t wish this feeling away.

Everything looks great, fabulous and opulent. Adept at creating desire, the strings of my heart are tugged at by the colourful, classy, seductive whatchamacallits in display, all available to me if I’m ready to shell out money.

I want many things.

They don’t need me. But they tell me I’m yours. Enchantress!

I don’t go to malls often. The one near us is small and I’ve got used to it. At the moment I’m hanging around a much larger mall in another city. I’m feeling sick. Sick, because I want everything and about all of it, I really can do without. It’s not that I can’t afford, but the drooling deep inside, despite an outer composure is what makes me feel sick – of myself.

“I want this”,

“I’ll look good in that”,

“I could use this”,

“That is what I had in mind.”

.

There’s something to appeal to every single craving of mine.

I walk, uncomfortable and avoiding, like an alcoholic passing by a bar.

I know deep down I want everything, although it may be of no use to me. I feel weak. I feel bad. I feel thirsty and desirous. It’s futile. It’s…

The mall is a monster.