08 October 2011

THOUGHT - Fresh revelation

I've been moving old articles I originally posted elsewhere to 'All about Jesus'. One of these caught my eye recently, and I feel I should republish part of it and comment on it. Would you find a continual flow of fresh revelation useful? Read on.

Woven fabrics on sale
A word from the heart - Back in April 2004 I wrote...
He wants us to know that he's very, very close to us. Rachael shared that his presence is woven into the fabric of our being. 
What a wonderful thought! If he is woven into us like that, then of course we are all woven together into one piece, held together by his strong threads. He holds us all together in love. 
This seems to be related to the idea that we are all parts of one body with the Messiah as the head. But in this new form, the idea seemed fresh and very powerful, we are indeed one.

This was just a simple word from the Father's heart, conveyed by the Holy Spirit into Rachael's heart, and shared openly with everyone present. How all our hearts burned, recognising the deep significance of what he was showing us about our relationship with him!

The presence of the Most High is 'woven into the fabric of our being'. Wow!

Thinking it over - There are several things to be said about revelation of this kind.

  • It comes unexpectedly, even if we are expecting it. In other words we can't plan for this, he will speak to us if and when and how he chooses. But we can make ourselves available in our times together (and in our lives individually too). We can also fill our lives and meetings with so much activity that we are not really available.
  • He will share truth that we could not imagine or see for ourselves or understand by our own efforts. It's revelation, he reveals what was hidden or indistinct. What he provides is fresh and, in every sense of the word 'cool' - it's living water welling up within and providing life.
  • There is a clear sense of 'rightness' about what he reveals. We know in our hearts that it is truth from him. How? I have no idea except to say that the Spirit of Christ who reveals something to one person is the same Spirit of Christ who witnesses to its truth in the hearts of those who are listening. Together we test what is said, and recognise its source.
  • Whatever he says to his children will be based on his love for us. Sometimes it will be encouragement, sometimes it might be chastisement. He may challenge us, provoke us, calm us, pour out peace upon us, call us to action or simply inform us. But whatever he gives us is good - an egg, never a scorpion. (Luke 11:12)

If you want to see how this particular revelation fits with the other things that were shared read the online notes from that evening seven and a half years ago.

Over to you - Do you regularly receive revelation from the Father's heart? Does this flow of blessing arrive when you're alone or during times when you are with others (or both)? What might you do to make more opportunities for this - individually and corporately? What things that you do might make it less likely?

Please leave some comments. I'm interested to know how often and how widely we are receiving directly in this way. Can you share examples of your own experiences of this kind?

07 October 2011

THOUGHT - What next for the body?

The church is the body of Christ here in the world. We are his current physical presence and he is the head. Where are we going next? There are some clues and we should pay attention to them.

A hearing aid
An obedient journey - As an individual follower of Yahshua (Jesus) I am on a path, a journey. Along the way are distractions, obstacles, and choices of direction. As the body, all of us together are also on a journey with distractions, obstacles and choices.

Making the right choices depends on hearing what the Spirit of Christ is telling us, and that demands our willingness to pay attention. In this article I am going to try to share something about paying attention, listening, and the need to hear what the Spirit is telling us. Hearing is critically important. How will you and I obey without hearing?



The breath of the Spirit - As individuals we obtain direction from a variety of sources. Reading the Bible, other good books, prayer, careful thought and planning, and direct leading by the Holy Spirit - all are important. Experience matters too, we can learn from our mistakes and hopefully we continue to grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). But the Spirit himself is the real source.

Without him we can engage in all those activities (even the Bible and prayer) and have no insight or benefit whatsoever. With him they all become channels for receiving the truth. The Most High can communicate with us through anything in life. He does it by sending his Spirit to live within us, pouring out the light and life of Jesus. Living water wells up within us and flows out to a needy world. This is, of course, a miracle!

For the body of Christ the process is the same. It's the Spirit of Christ acting in and through the body that brings life and direction. Without the Spirit the body is a dead thing. Read Ezekiel 37:1-14, now read verses 3-10 again remembering that 'breath' and 'spirit' are the same word in Hebrew - 'ruach'. The Holy Spirit is the breath of life in the body of Christ.

Hearing as an individual - There's a useful technique that can help us hear, it's called Virkler. Please remember that it is only a technique; it's not important in and of itself; its has value only as a framework to help us with hearing. Think of Virkler as a spiritual hearing aid.

There are four simple steps
  1. Clear your mind of the day to day stuff that fills it.
  2. Focus on Jesus.
  3. Pay attention to the flow of thoughts in your mind.
  4. Write them down.
For more on Virkler check out the CO2 page, it contains fuller details and some useful links to what others have to say about it.

Hearing as a body - When we meet together we are a local and temporal expression of the body of Christ in a particular place at a particular time. Yahshua said that when two or three meet together he would be there amongst us. Let's take him at his word!

When we meet, the Spirit of Christ is in each one and Jesus himself is among us. That is the key to hearing. Just as Virkler is a useful aid for individual hearing, so a slight modification of it can be a useful aid when we gather together. Try these four steps when you are together (the first three are unchanged).
  1. Clear your mind of the day to day stuff that fills it.
  2. Focus on Jesus.
  3. Pay attention to the flow of thoughts in your mind.
  4. Speak them out.
You may be surprised at the words and images that will be shared, and you may be even more surprised at the end of your time together as you realise that there has been a theme. The individual thoughts as they were shared may have seemed random, but together they will often be much more than the sum of their parts.

Can I encourage you to try this when you meet? What did you learn about the way the Spirit leads? Is it better to listen to one another, to Jesus, or to one another and Jesus? What are the differences between these three choices? How can the church find direction for the future? Please come back and leave some comments here.

06 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - Reusing plastics

Mike Biddle has found practical ways to recycle mixed plastics in the form of sorted raw material pellets. This is something that is urgently needed and appears to be an economically viable activity.

Watch the video of Mike speaking at a TED Conference in July. (Try this link to the video if you can't get it to run below.)



Does anyone have thoughts on how to spread the word about this and encourage our own local industries to use the recycled pellets? Will economic pressure (cheapness of the recycled pellets) be sufficient to move things forward?

THOUGHT - You or Me?

Look at any area of human endeavour and you will find two extremes of outlook, those that focus on self and those that focus on others. Between the two is a broad spectrum of attitude and behaviour reflected in society at large and affecting us all for good or ill.

ForgivenessMany of the issues we face in life can be viewed in this way. Take career for example. Should I do my best in exams and training, work hard, and hope for the best? Should I push others out of my way by fair means and foul? Should I defer to others and settle for a lesser role?

Yahshua (Jesus) was always clear - love the Almighty, love one another, love your enemy. Simple. But note that those three calls to love leave out only one single person in the entire universe - self. Yahshua calls us to love everyone but ourselves. In other words he calls us to unselfish love. And thinking about that, isn't love always unselfish? Could love possibly be any other way? I don't think so!

Sometimes people say, 'We need to love ourselves before we can really love one another'. There's an element of truth in that but only if we understand the implication that we need to be gentle and patient with ourselves. Perhaps it's more correct to say that we need to recognise our failings and forgive ourselves.

Forgiveness is always liberating, always beneficial, always brings out the best in people. That is why we do well to forgive ourselves and even better to forgive those around us. Since Christ is always ready to forgive, so should I be. Forgiveness redeems what was lost, in ourselves, in others, and in eternity. And the motive and power that drive forgiveness are found in love.

With that in mind, do you have any comments on the chart above? (Click it for a larger version.) If someone has something against you, how might you improve the chances of reconciliation?

Wherever and whenever forgiveness is offered we should receive it with grateful and thankful hearts. It is one of the greatest gifts we can offer others.

Yahshua said that providing the opportunity for others to forgive transcends sacrifice. (Matthew 5:22-24). Perhaps we should spend less time celebrating the fact that we are forgiven, and more time looking for opportunities to forgive one another. If we are truly driven by love that is exactly what we will do.

All honour and glory and praise to the King who sets us such an example!

05 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - LibreOffice

If you use or need an office suite, it's worth considering LibreOffice. There are a number of reasons for this and some of them may surprise you.

LibreOffice in use
Microsoft Office (MS Office) undoubtedly remains the most widely used office suite today. I say 'most widely used' rather than 'most popular' because so many people have criticisms of it. The most unpopular feature is probably 'The Ribbon' that provides access to the multitude of commands and features.

Other major criticisms are the sheer bulk of the program code, the considerable purchase cost, slow loading and performance, cost of upgrading to newer versions, and the licencing terms.



What are the alternatives? There are some other commercial offerings but these still have some of the same issues and do cost money, albeit it often less than the price of MS Office.

But you may not realise there are two free alternatives with a comprehensive range of features. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are both freely downloadable, you can give copies away to friends, families and colleagues (this is legal and encouraged), there are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux (LibreOffice comes as standard with Ubuntu and many other versions of Linux).

OpenOffice and LibreOffice have a common history but LibreOffice is beginning to look like the front runner. Check out Google's list of review articles on LibreOffice.

I strongly urge you to give LibreOffice a try. It's free, so what have you got to lose? It contains everything you need - word processor, spreadsheet, business presentation, graphics, maths editor, and database. All are built to professional standards, can load and save in a range of file types (including MS Office formats), can save PDFs, are regularly updated and upgrades are, of course, free. If you need more information, take a peek at the manuals and user guides (you might like to start with the introduction).

03 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - Reusable rockets

SpaceX is an innovative space launch company with a number of impressive 'firsts' to their name and a large order book of reservations for satellite launches on their Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles.

The planet MarsThe company was founded by Elon Musk using capital earned by his earlier IT businesses, particularly PayPal which was sold in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk's share was more than 10% enabling him to start SpaceX as well as the electric car company, Tesla.

In September 2008 Falcon 1 achieved earth orbit, the first time a privately owned company had orbited a liquid fuelled rocket. All previous successes were by the government programs of a variety of nations.

In June 2010 Falcon 9, a much larger vehicle, also flew successfully to orbit. And in December 2010 Falcon 9 flew again, this time carrying a Dragon capsule which completed two orbits, successfully re-entered, splashed down and was recovered. This was another first for a private company.



A heavy rocket is planned (Falcon 9 Heavy) and a demonstration flight to dock Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) is due in 2012.

But now, SpaceX has announced plans for full reusability. If they can pull this off it will be an utter game-changer, reducing the cost to orbit by perhaps 100 times.

Elon's recent presentation to the US National Press Club explains the reason for the attempt to operate a reusable rocket. His long term goal is nothing less than to colonise Mars. This might sound crazy, but he has a track record of doing things that were thought to be impossible. So maybe he will succeed. If anyone can, Elon and SpaceX can!

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