I’m writing this on a plane headed for Cape Town. As I sit here I think about the many stories that fill this cabin of crowded anonymity. Beyond the appearance of the well-groomed people who fill airline cabins on Monday mornings I wonder what joy and sorrow sits in the seats around me. What is the burden of the airhostess who brought me water with a forced smile and troubled eyes? What drives the two businessmen sitting behind me passionately discussing their meetings for the day? What scars does the grey haired man sleeping two rows in front of me carry?

People are not what they appear to be?

Most of us feel the gap between who we are and who we pretend to be. Sadly, rather than trying to narrow that gap, we settle for managing it. We hide in whispered conversations or behind cell phone and computer screens. All the while we smile and wave in boardroom meetings and at civilised dinner tables, grateful for the duplicity that the sociological “closed doors” of our time allow us. We are a Jekyll and Hyde generation worn down by the internal chaos of a soul in conflict with itself.

Jesus sees us as we are, not as we pretend to be.

In Christ we find an ocean of redemption that brings relief to our conflicted souls. In Christ we find love at work, bridging the gap between our intended nature and our fallen state. Management will not do when transformation is possible. And transformation is possible in Him. This is why Jesus sets the standard so high in passages like Matthew 5: 27-30.

 “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”

It seems as if Jesus raises the stakes from difficult to impossible. Why? Does he mean to burden us beyond what we are able to bare? Of course not, He sets the standard beyond our ability to eliminate any hope of self-salvation. Jesus holds us to a holy standard because He is the holy provision in whom we find a holiness of our own.

You have heard it said that suppression is the norm; but I say to you, redemption is possible.

Much Love



The bare minimum. I’m tempted to settle for it all the time. So are you. So often we are more interested in what is convenient than in what is authentic.

When it comes to the state of our hearts we settle for the appearance of transformation because actual transformation is costly.

Religion does this too. Always has, always will. When faced with the brokenness of the human heart the best religion can offer is legalism. A set of rules to shape us up. Rules like “do not murder, do not steal, do not…”. The problem with a “do not” ideology is that it aims to control what is broken, rather than to actually change it.

Fortunately, in Matthew 5:21-24 we find that Jesus sees the flaw in this kind of religiosity and invites us to something more.

It’s as if Jesus looks on at his audience with a quiet desperation saying “Do not murder? Is that the best you can do? You refrain from murder but still hold anger against one another, still insult one another, still call one another fools. You ritualistically ‘bring your offering’ sabbath after sabbath but your hearts remain the same. I want more for you than that. Please! Leave your sacrifice, leave your religion, and step into something better.

Be reconciled to your brother. 

The Kingdom of God is about more than just the absence of sin. It’s about the presence of Holiness. The absence of one does not necessarily mean the presence of the other. The invitation of God in the person of Jesus Christ is so far beyond the religious conformity that preceded Him that it actually becomes an entirely different prospect to the religion with which it is so often associated.

As other worldly as it may seem, Jesus’ intention is actually the transformation of the human heart.

I pray that we wouldn’t simply settle for the bare minimum. I pray that we wouldn’t miss the invitation of Christ by living a life of sin management. I pray that we would be reconciled to God and, through Him, be reconciled to one another.

Perhaps then we will understand that what is impossible for man really is possible for God.

Much Love



Failure is not an option, it is a guarantee. From failed attempts at walking as a child to failed pick up lines as a teenager and failed business ventures as an adult.

Failure is part of life.

But not all  failure is the same. Failure to wash the dishes is one thing, failure to remain faithful to your spouse is another. Intuitively and experientially we know that sometimes the cost of failure is significantly higher than it is at other times.

Of all failure, perhaps none is as absolute and enduring as the failure of the human will to obey the law of God. And of all costs none are as high.

Why? Because the law of God is less a list of Gods’ expectations and more a reflection of Gods’ nature. Thus to live in contravention of God’s law is to oppose the very nature of God. Those who oppose God are estranged from Him and because He is our origin, estrangement is tantamount to death.

A post Christian society dismisses this position as irrelevant and narrow-minded. But we only need to read the tabloids, twitter feeds and news headlines to see what happens to the world when God is dead and His Law is irrelevant. More than that, the consequence of our disobedience is not only external, it is internal as well.

There is a longing of the heart that no amount of sex, money or power can ultimately satisfy. 

And so we find ourselves in need of rescue. God is unchanging, His Law is unchanging and our inability to obey seems to be unchanging. Thank God for the message of Matthew 5:17 where Jesus simultaneously affirms the indispensable nature of God’s Law while providing the means by which our disobedience can be accounted for. 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” 

In Jesus we find the strength of God accounting for the weakness of man and satisfying the Holy demand of a Godly law. Jesus has fulfilled the Law of God and in so doing offers us the reconciliation that our weakness prohibited us from attaining. The Law remains, not one iota, not one dot will pass from it until all of it is accomplished.

The wonderful news of the Gospel is that all of it is accomplished in Jesus.

Much Love



Our world longs for fame. To know that we are known. The incredible success of reality TV bares witness to this. X-factor, Idols, bachelors and bachelorettes, MTV with no music and excess teen angst, all of this rooted in our need for acclamation.

As I think about this, its our enduring pursuit of fame that confounds me. We observe fames’ inability to satisfy in the lives of those who attain it and yet still pursue it with such devotion.


Significance. Each of us hopes that our lives will count for something, that in some way the world will be different because we were here. Dreams are not built on aspirations of meaningless insignificance and all of us have dreams.

But not all fame is significant and this is the heart of the issue.

In Matthew 5:14 Jesus calls us the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. These are not insignificant titles. Evidently, in the mind of Christ, hoping for a life of significance is a Godly desire. What is critical is not our desire but our motivation and Matthew 5:16 shows us what right motivation looks like.

“Let your light shine before others SO THAT they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”(emphasis mine)

Our freedom is found in those two little words… “so that”.

With fame as with everything else our motivation needs to be the Glory of God. Our longing for fame is not only acceptable it is essential. What matters is whose fame we long for.

 The great privilege of the Christian life is not to be known but to make known.

I pray that our lives would be deeply significant as we abandon our own fame and leverage our lives for His.

Much Love



When I was a young boy my desires were simple; a warm bed, a teddy bear and a steady supply of candy. While admirable in their innocence, these desires were hardly revolutionary. Few lives would be changed by my sugar addiction. Of course, this was to be expected because desire is very often rooted in perspective.

As a child I hoped for so little because I knew so little.

I have come to believe that, as adults, our desires change by name but not necessarily by nature. While our lives may not be governed by candy any more, our longing for cars, houses and wardrobes filled with clothing are hardly revolutionary ideals. Few lives will be changed by my pursuit of status (at least not for the good). We have not left the sugar barons of our youth behind.

We still hope for so little because we know so little.

In Matthew 5 Jesus uses a word that we are well acquainted with. Blessed. However, unlike the “blessedness” of our limited perspective, the blessedness of Christ is found with the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, those who long for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers and the persecuted. (Matthew 5:2-11)

These blessings are a far cry from the possessions, positions and processions we so passionately pursue. Is this because Jesus has a warped understanding of blessing or because we do?

Jesus sees blessing from the perspective of eternity.

Because of this He understands the futility of a life enslaved to temporary treasure. In love He urges us to change our desires, not only by name but by nature as well. Jesus invites us to trade in our petty “grand ambitions” for the eternal prize that is the Kingdom of God. In love Jesus calls us to a radical transformation of the heart in which we will know blessing in pleasure or pain because we have left our reality and stepped into His.

I pray that our eyes would be opened to the eternal so that in seeing more we would hope for so much more and find Christ.

Much Love

Ever a new song

This song Ever be by Bethel has been resonating with me strongly over the past few days.

I think it’s because I so strongly believe in its message.

As Psalm 96 so powerfully reminds us, our worship finds a limitless source of inspiration in the excellencies of our God. Because He is who He is we find no shortage of “new songs” to express the awe that His presence inspires.

It is when our hearts shift from Him to the many distractions of our age that we feel the emptiness of misplaced devotion. 

But just one glimpse of Jesus corrects that in a moment. His goodness, His Love, it realigns our hearts, reminding of us of who it is that we were made for, why it is that we breath and what it means to be alive. Our Hearts beat again and our lives are given to worship.

I pray that we would constantly glimpse Jesus so that His praise would ever be on our lips. Not just any praise, but an all consuming praise of grandeur that worthily reflects the God of its origin.

“I pray that we would ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name” Psalm 96:8.

Jesus, you will be praised.

Much Love



Humans are amazing. We push the limits of possibility; dragging the world of fantasy into reality. Ours is a place of running, jumping, flying, thinking, creating, exploring, discovering, overcoming “super-humans”.

But what sets us apart? Why do some of us live in the world of the ordinary while others push the limits of the extraordinary? Where do the Usain Bolts, Richard Bransons and Neil Armstrongs of our world come from?

Sacrifice, practice, and discipline. These are just some of the ingredients that are common to the lives of such people. Contrary to popular belief the extraordinary life is seldom a matter of chance but rather of decision. What we “get out” is profoundly affected by what we “put in”.

Very often our future reality is determined by our present decision.

So too with spirituality. People rarely stumble into a life of eternal significance, they choose it. Salvation is a gift, we receive it by Grace, but journeying into the fullness of that gift is a road that each of us must walk for ourselves. The life of deep wisdom, profound selflessness, sacrificial love and redemptive grace; that mark of God that we marvel at in others and long for in ourselves, will not come from a steady diet of sitcoms, magazines, or reality TV shows.

The “wisdom” of the temporary will not lead us to the riches of the eternal.

Jesus knew this and in Matthew 4:4 He offers us an alternative.

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

So often our spirituality is informed by a popularised version of Christianity. We become students of our culture dressed in a convincing christian veneer. But our hearts are not easily fooled. We long for authenticity. And we will find it in the deep wisdom of scripture.

I pray for our choices. That we would choose the depths of His word today so that we may abide in the centre of His heart tomorrow.

Much Love