Congruence

Eugene Peterson, the Pastor and Poet behind The Message Bible taught  me another new word! His personal desire is how to be a Pastor of his church and how to be a human being outside the church! Now this interests me very much applying this to my context, how to be a Leader in the market place and how to be a human in the world!

The word ‘congruence’ means “the outside matches the inside”. Living a life of congruence is when my words and actions align with the things I believe in my head! Whilst fascinated that I learnt a new word, I was reminded by Eugene a phrase people use to describe the same thing – “practice what you preach!” and it sure does ring a bell! We are so good at branding people who don’t practice what they preach as “hypocrites” and I am certainly one who does this often!

So it’s time for me to ask myself if my words and actions match up with my thoughts that roll around inside my head! This learning therefore teaches me that my life must be the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence – congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between preaching and living!

Interesting to learn also is that the opposite of this probably looks like “I’ve got my Christian life over here, my social life over there, my family life off over there, and my work life is here” and that this is not a divided house I certainly want to live in, knowing that in time, this house will not stand!!

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. – Ephesians 4:14

Intentionality

When I heard this word at first, it got me thinking, ‘have I heard this word before or am I hearing correct?’. I certainly know the meaning of ‘Intention’ but ‘Intentionality’?

From a philosophical aspect, it means the quality of our mental states, our thoughts, beliefs, desires and hopes being directed toward some purpose or state of affairs. The pastor in church today explained it as “Live each day in line with Gods purpose and in contrast to the world”.

We looked at what our purpose of being alive was, why are we created and why are we on this earth? What is it that we are expected to do each day if we are to be of some meaning or impact in the world? I am encouraged today to know that I chosen to live on this earth intentionally!

Oh wow and my mind went racing back to my drive to church a few minutes back, I was peacefully following the line of cars driving into the premises when I notices one car nose diving into the queue from the wrong side! And I looked at this and said to myself ‘are we not coming into church today to try to be better people, and is this ‘intentionality’ or is this a ‘everyday habit’! Add to my amusement, he did it a second time when he got ahead of me! Oh but I must not miss the message, lets not go on a side trip now!

3 reasons why we are intentionally chosen to live on this earth helped me today to see something a lot more meaningful, a) to be SALT – preserving our families from what is going on in this dark world and LIGHT – let people see the good works we do always! b) To be AMBASSADORS – an appeal is made through us to be representatives and to be reconciled and c) to be a WITNESS – specifically in this context for Wives, Husbands and Children!

Back to the experience of the car earlier today and how we are to to live the purpose, the challenge we all face is how do we live in this dark world despite knowing that we have a purpose to live? We are being watched by others in everything we do, are we truly able to live that purpose knowing very well that the temptation out there in this dark world is much greater not to live this purpose?

 

Release!

I look back over the years and conclude that majority of our resentments, arguments, anger, animosity, unpleasantness and much more feelings come to us because of money! Anything to do with money matters and boy oh boy, are we not in a mess!

I try to teach my family to be generous always, we try and we do fail when the temptation to have something more for ourselves is greater!

We talk about giving and if we do not get back,  that’s a bigger problem too! Our two boys just celebrated their birthdays and we had an upcoming birthday to which Cindy out of her goodness shared a gift and here is me asking the question “so did these people give our boys a gift?” I bit my tounge no sooner I said this and said how sorry I was for making that statement and said not to even discuss it but, no it did not stop there! It got ugly between us!

Family and money equals trauma! Even though i know that my parents can afford to get something for themselves, they do expect us to give it to them and it’s ok for them to expect. But inside me I get all upset and question why!

Today I read this verse that talks about compassion, patience, gentleness coupled with forgiveness. 

The problem is my expectations and my feelings towards the situation that leads to disliking the persons we give to or get very upset with those who expect us to give!

Forgiveness is a nice thing, we love to talk about it and say we will do it but deep inside me its not so! Forgiveness means ‘Release’ or ‘letting go’, this picture I took a few years back shows an Eagle trampling and holding on to it’s prey. It’s a victorious moment for him. It’s his survival. This should not the case for me, I don’t need to hold on,  as an individual i must not have hurts inside me or find fault when we give. I need to be a lot more gentle and learn to release and not hold on to anything in this desire of being generous!

Devoted to Fellowship

Today I said to myself, I need to go back and visit my friends at Holy Trinity Church in Makati, as a family we worshiped here 7 years ago and whilst we have dropped by and joined in the fellowship during our holiday visits, today was different, we were coming back!

I got in a little early and this gave me the perfect opportunity for my personal devotion, moving back is not as easy as one would think, its a new beginning and things have changed so much! New faces, new organisation to work in – people with many questions, catching up with past friends who are excited, rules have changed, life and life styles have changed, its a very different scene! Add to this, Cindy and the boys are not yet here as school term ends on the 8th! So much to depend on the creator for guidance and help!

I sat at the back of the church, just avoiding the attention and as I raised my head from my quiet time, I was spotted by the choir! We still had time for service to begin so it was the appropriate thing for me to walk up to the choir stand and share my news! For a short moment, there was so much noise in rejoicing, I was instructed to ‘robe up’ and join the choir bench immediately, to which I quietly requested a little time! Robin in all his excitement and love did warn me though that if I was not at the choir stall next Sunday, he would grab me by his hand and get me over!!!

Bishop Arthur, our dear Shepherd and friend retired and it was a new face for me, The Reverend Fr. Peter Chilver and his lovely wife The Reverend Deacon Mary Chilver, who were so warm and welcoming.

At church

Its a joy to see many familiar faces, the welcome was awesome, the joy in every smile so genuine, it truly reminded me of the early church in Acts 2, where the people devoted to fellowship and the breaking of bread, the word was powerful, and obviously we have a part to play in moving things forward to reach out to others.

Some dear friends are no more among the living, they have moved ahead to be with the Lord. They are remembered with joy and missed with sadness. This morning we bid farewell to a family returning to India and having gone through some difficult moments here, this sad moment also reminded me of the farewell we had, nostalgic moments for sure.

Yet, amidst it all, truly a happy and blessed morning to be in the fellowship! The joy in each of the hearts was so genuine, I truly was mesmerized! The Lord has a beautiful plan for our lives if we can just trust in Him and depend on Him. Most of the time we spend our time worrying and yet the assurance He gives us is so clear, why can we not just trust in His word?

 

VESPArrassed!

Embarrassed!! These moments are common when openly discussed!

Vespa expresses it most dynamic spirit with a vehicle in which the Vespa design is enhanced with sporting features like the analog and digital instrumentation and the powerful 300 cc, the highest performing engine ever mounted on a Vespa. This adds to the style, comfort and safety typical of Vespa, an intensely sporting attitude!

And so, with a similar attitude and much to my excitement, my dear friend who owns this masterpiece suggests I take it for a spin and despite my objections and pride of not saying that I have never ridden a Scooter, I get on the machine and wish that a nice throttle to rev up the 300cc would be a great idea,  obviously forgetting or ignoring the instruction that this was a automatic transmission machine! In a split second, I was shaken up and possibly woken up to a loud crash,  the Vespa was rammed in to a Toyota that was stationary!

Oh my goodness what have I done? What’s the damage, what embarrassment have I caused,  oh I wish it was my face that rammed against the car!

The next fifteen minutes was the most embarrassing and horrible moment in my life,  I just regretted every moment I had spent to reach this situation.

Thankfully there was no damage to the Vespa or the car but i had certainly caused pain to my friend.  Despite my madness,  he was very kind enough to forgive me and told me to forget about it.  It’s not every friend who would be like this especially when it’s to do with a personal icon, something very special and close to ones heart. 

I learnt my lesson that night, no need to get excited, remember that it does not belong to me and if I do use it,  try not to be too cocky.

So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled. – Isaiah 5:15

Seventeen!

Anaath enters a new chapter in his life and we all celebrate! That tiny little bundle is today a big fellow!

The previous night Cindy was craving for me to cook chicken,  she ate her hearts desire and it was so filling that the next 30 minutes were spent walking up and down our drive as she was heavy with chicken and our child! It was a happy evening and not long into the night the first signs were felt, her water bag! The hospital bag was packed so we just drove happily to the hospital and on Sunday morning our beautiful gift arrived,  he was too sleepy, how hard the doc pinched him to make that first cry,  it was a blessed Sunday morning!

The years have progressed in a beautiful manner, Anaath moves into his final year at school and suddenly it seems to be just a memory, where have all those childhood years gone!

We look with joy and thankfulness,  he was gifted to us, we have a God ordained responsibility as parents and we know that this prize is something we cherish and enjoy everyday!

Praise the Lord , my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord , my soul, and forget not all his benefits— Pslam.103.1-2

As parents it’s never a dull moment. Stress levels can go very high and all the hard physical work the mom pours is not easy but we have learnt to trust only in Him for guidance and direction,  there are times that we just don’t know what to do but He knows best and waiting on Him has been key!

As a family we celebrate everyday, it’s a gift and we cherish every moment! Today we give thanks that we have a new day with new life, new dreams, new opportunities and new promises!

Happy Birthday Anaath, may the Lord bless you and keep you,  may His light shine upon you and give you peace! We are blessed and we just thank and praise God!

A time for everything!

Decisions have to be made in life and the tough ones are the hardest! For good reasons it was time to leave our home country, our local church, our parents, our friends, our loved ones and my work place and plant ourselves in a new place, familiar territory but it’s a new beginning again! 

It’s never easy and this is probably where one is encouraged because we know that we make these decisions with the almighty being in total control! 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,  a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,  a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,  a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,  a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

What do we gain from all our hard work? For many years its been hard work.

I have now understood and seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know and seen and observed that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of us humans may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all our hard work—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that we will fear him. 

This is the most important aspect of our lives knowing that there is a time for everything and in all of this God is in full control!

We are excited as a family! We have dear friends to support and help us, it’s all beautiful!