This Sunday at Healingsprings fellowship: Critical Journey| Stages in the life of faith

One of the best analogy for life is that of a journey. A journey is a path to a destination. That destination can be described as our destiny…

Most of us find ourselves on this journey not knowing where we are going, or what the journey is all about in the first place. So we sheepishly go with the flow: days, months, years; and we are none the wiser. Seasons change, powers shift, news headlines trend, technology advances; we grow older, but none the wiser.

“The journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step”, says the great Chinese Philosopher, Tao Tzu. With this in mind I will be starting a seven week series entitled, The Critical Stages of life. The Critical Stages of life is the product of a beautiful piece of work by Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich; it is an attempt to articulate the key stages in the life of faith.

Jesus gave a very short and insightful analogy of life using an agricultural process. In this parable captured only in Mark’s version of Jesus’ story, we are offered private viewing of the mystery of human existence: the farmer, the seed, the soil, time, sprouting, growing, reproduction of seed, and finally the sickle by the farmer for the harvest.

Interestingly, the farmer and the harvester is an external agent. He is beyond human control, just as we are powerless over our birth and death.

So why not drop-by for a life-changing experience? This 90 mins might end up being a catalyst for some awesome things.

(6:00 – 7:30)pm

The Drama Room, Bexleyheath Academy, Woolwich Road, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7D

There are free parking spaces directly in front of the school and on adjacent streets

Our Big Sunday Celebration can be best described as a community Christian festival. So in the spirit of thanksgiving, together we: sing, pray, give, celebrate life, discuss current affairs, present thoughts from Biblical themes, and encourage one another; like one big family!

Spiritual Intelligence: The Door

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Good morning friends. The use of metaphors to describe oneself is a very powerful tool for self discovery. It is very simple and easy to implement in one-to-one or group settings. In its most simplistic application, it can be used as an icebreaker with a view to getting to know participants below their facade. At an in depth level, it can draw out participants’ intuitive self; and how it might affect their world view; this concept is widely known as Metaphor Coaching.

Jesus used a lot of metaphors in His preaching and teaching ministry. In these verses; He describes Himself as “the door”, His audience as the sheep, and the devil and his agents as thieves or hirelings. Doors lead us to passages, corridors, rooms, exits, entrances, stairs etc., in the same vain He opens their minds to endless possibilities by using this metaphor. He takes them on an extraordinary journey, explaining the various dynamics in the relationship between each subject, and finally he crystallises his presentation with a prophecy about His death and resurrection.

However, it was still far fetched for His disciples and followers, as the idea of His death as an atonement for sins, and His resurrection; were perhaps still contentious today as it was then. He said:

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father

These words reminds me of David’s testimony to Saul as he tries to convince the young shepherd to reconsider his decision to fight against the vicious and more experienced giant by the name, Goliath. But in response, David said:

“Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

The level of his commitment to the sheep in his care was unquestionable. He puts his life in harm’s way to ensure that they are kept safe from predators, he provides shelter for them from the elements, and green pastures for their nourishment.

I close this thought with a passage captured by Matthew. I believe it highlights the difference between Jesus’ commitment to His fold, and that of David or any other leader in humankind’s history:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

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~ Sabali

Spiritual Intelligence: Divine Connection

Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

Good morning friends. At the point of this insightfully spiritual lecture, Jesus was close to His death. A death He freely accepted in fulfilment with; prophecies, God’s will for His life, and God’s plan for the redemption of humanity. So, in the spirit of preparation, He was executing His exit strategy. A central part of this strategy was the delivery of key lectures in open forums where questions could be asked by His audience.

With that in mind, this lecture presents Him as the sent one. The one sent to be a model for humanity. The one sent to reflect God’s power and love on earth as the light of this world, the one sent to be the saviour of the world. At a time when heaven kissed earth, both realms were in harmony, and the church was conceived – glory hallelujah! He was sent to reconnect us with the father.

Let us pray:

Father, we bring our lives before you today. We realise that without your spirit, we are powerless.

We acknowledge that its your spirit that works in us, both to will and to do of your good pleasure. So we pray that your Holy Spirit will start a work in us today.

We need you Holy Spirit, our souls long for you as the deer pants for water. Amen.

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~ Sabali

Spiritual Intelligence: In All Things, Give Thanks

An incident:

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

A statement by a Jesus freak:

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

My conclusion:
There is something tremendous about gratitude expressed through a lifestyle of thanksgiving. It brings a sense of inner peace to the person offering it, it frustrates the devil, and most importantly it gives glory to our God.

Just like Job’s, our lives are the platforms for the eternal battle between; Angels and Demons, Good and Evil, or God and Satan if you prefer. Therefore a life of praise gives victory to God, and massive destruction to the camp of the evil one!

Little wonder why Paul could boldly declare just when the enemy thought he had death as the ultimate offensive;

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

So give thanks today and always regardless of your situation or circumstance.

A health warning:
As you do things are likely to get worse, but as long as you continue steadfastly heaven gets the upper hand and victory is delivered! Its a choice my friends – a good one too.

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~ Sabali

Spiritual Intelligence: For King and Glory

For King and Glory…

In the chronicles of life we find the story of Lazarus; a man simply described as a friend of The Rabbi. In fact the famous story of the two sisters (Mary and Martha) was captured in his family home in Bethany as both subjects were his sisters – Mary the reflector and Martha the activist.

When Lazarus became terminally ill a message was sent to The Rabbi. Instead of responding to the severity immediately, he stayed behind for two more days. His explanation for this action was captured in these words to his apprentices:

His sickness won’t end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son.

By the time He arrived at the scene, poor old Lazarus’ spirit had left his body, and his mortal frame decomposing in a tomb for four days. Little wonder why each sister made this statement at different episodes as this life drama unfolded:

Lord, If you had been here, my brother would not have died.

The Rabbi asked to be taken to Lazarus’ tomb, while He wept enroute. When they got there; He asked for the stone to be rolled away from the entrance, said His prayers, and with a loud voice declared:

Lazarus, come out!

He came out covered in grave clothes and The Rabbi said to them:

Untie him and let him go.

Friends on this blessed morning of February 14th 2014, permit me to submit to you that your change is coming. For our God is never late, He’s never early, He’s always on time! With that in mind, that situation you are facing right now is not your battle; but the King’s, and for His Glory.

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~ Sabali

Memoirs: Rev Grace Glorious

Last night I had the honour of attending the Celebration of Life of a dear friend, adopted mother and mentor – a woman like no other!

Her husband passed away just after eight years of marriage and she was left with four children to bring up on her own. We were told of some of the extraordinary length she went to ensure that her children were fed, clothed and provided for in the absence of state help. Her ingenuity and resolve was second to none. She later remarried, had her second daughter and moved over to England.

Sadly she lost her second husband shortly after they arrived in the UK, but never lost her faith in God.

I liken her to Anna, the prophetess and widow that spent the rest of her life praying for the Messiah, from a young age after the passing away of her husband.

Grace was sold-out in her commitment to God! She was a poet, writer, singer, preacher and most importantly mentor to hundreds.

Tributes poured in on and off the podium, and her life was encapsulated in these words from Paul’s letter to his young friend Timothy before he died:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

I imagine her words to us from the same thread:

Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

The service ended with everyone singing jubilantly to the old gospel song; When the saint go marching in.

She made us laugh, she taught us the bible, she taught us how to share our faith, and she taught us how to pray.

Sleep well Rev Grace Glorious… See you soon!

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~ Sabali

Memoir: Dilemma…

Johnny was, Bob Marley


Opening line; “Woman hold her head and cry, ‘cause her son had been shot down in the street and died, from a stray bullet…”

This song sums up the pain and travail of humanity. Our feelings of powerlessness towards injustice and social inequality.

What is a life worth? Is the life of a wealthy man more important than that of a poorer man? Is an “educated man” more important than a less educated man? Why was Johnny hit by a stray bullet? Why not one of the oppressors, or perhaps evil person?

These questions can be asked after every demonstration or protest that has taken place around the world where people have subsequently been arrested, tortured, killed, kidnapped, assassinated, murdered…

Martyrs, prisoners of conscience, prisoners of ideology, political prisoners, prisoners of love — call them what you like. People at the end of the day – humankind.

The songwriter then tries to find meaning from the Bible with the line; “And she knows that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Jah is life…”. However this left him even more confused when he took to account that Johnny was in fact a good man.

Somethings are hard to comprehend — reminding us that we are mere mortals. We are finite; with a beginning and an end. We are very limited in our knowledge and understanding of these matters.

I chose this album as part of a collection of 3 albums when I was 14. This came about after a discussion with my Dad one lovely evening on the need to rejuvenate his record collection. Impressed with my taste, it later became a regular ritual. I bought albums of newer artists and Dad kept track with new releases of older artists and we listened to them over the weekend while discussing politics, history, sports or movies.

Bob Marley went on to close this song, with a very potent question again from the Bible, “Can a woman’s tender care seize towards the child she bear?”. Taken from the book of Isaiah, with Jehovah using the same words to assure Israel of his undying love for them even though they had turned their backs towards Him.

From a human perspective it also brings to light the pain of a loss. The death of Johnnys around the world would never be forgotten even as a woman’s tender care would not seize towards the child she bears.

This is definitely one of my favourite songs!