Consistency of Salt

I am no cook!!!!  But my taste buds work really well, and I know what I like and what I enjoy the taste of.

Why is this?
Well yes, part of it is to do with the fact that my tastebuds work, which I am very thankful for, but the more important part is the flavour and how the flavouring works.

Flavouring is what attracts us to eat something and to go back to it and even to enjoy eating it all over again. Let’s be honest, if we don’t like the taste of something, we ain’t going to try it again!!

Salt is one of those key flavourings – certainly not the only one by any stretch – but a common one and key one for many at a meal time. And yes, it does flavour our food really well, but why?

One reason is the make-up of salt: its consistency enables it to do what it should do – it doesn’t change into something else just because it engages with other food types. It is able to remain an influencing factor in our food because it remains as it is!!

Jesus talks about people being salt in Matthew, chapter 5. He refers to people being that influencing factor in the world and encourages us to be the salt that the world needs. I guess he says wanting us to keep our consistency and be that influencing factor that remains good, honest and as it should be.

We can only be the salt to the world if our consistency is right and we remain who we are meant to be.

So, can we live up to our call to be salt to the world?
Is our consistency right to enable us to be that salt?
Are we able to be that influencing flavouring to the world?

A Theology of Inconvenience

In a culture where expectation says that everything has to be convenient to me, when I want it, where I want it and how I want it, how do we cope when things are not as convenient as we would like them?

Life will be full of pressures upon our time – maybe in a way that has never been experienced before – and the social trend is that those pressures are only ever likely to grow, not lessen.

But the reality is, people will not respond at the speed we want them to; things take time to sort and develop; time will not change – there will still be 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks in a year. Oh yes, and batteries will die at some point!!! Maybe there will continue to be dead spots for the Internet, but even where it is strong, there is always a chance that the Internet too will die!

So, if all these things are true, what is there that is foundational in life that enables us to keep going, know who we are and have the ability to cope with all these inconvenient elements to life?

Patience: Do we have it? Do we show it? Are we able to live patient lives?
Identity: Do we know who we are, not who others or our machines say we are?
Relationships: Do we have the ability to relate to people in appropriate and engaging ways?
Trust: When the unexpected happens, where do we put our trust? How do we cope with the unexpected?
Rhythms of life: Do we have any form of rhythm that enables us to enjoy and flourish in life, rather than falling to the demands and dictations of people and the culture around us?

Jesus seem to have a number of these things in place in his life, but I wonder how good we are at living out the life we are living for, or are our lives lived out through the imposition of others?

What changes or adjustments do we need in our lives to be able to live with the inconvenience that life puts before us?

Oxygen to breathe

Over these last few months, I have heard a number of people offering their thoughts around prayer, what it is and means to them, how it happens and what we need to learn.

Someone recently related it to the ability to breathe and got us thinking around that point in an aeroplane journey when you are told to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping someone else.

Part of me has always thought of this a little differently because I would always want to help others first, believed I should put them before me and somehow should be thinking about how to save others rather than myself.

But the question was put, that how can we save others if we are not looking after ourselves? If I do not have my own oxygen mask on, how can I help others put theirs on?

The same is true about prayer and our relationship with God, how can we help others with theirs if we are not sorting our own relationship out? How can we encourage others to grow in their relationship with God if we are not doing things to grow ourselves?

A lot of this comes back to the old phrase that we can only give out of what we receive, and we have a God who is able and wanting to give so much. The challenge is whether we are in a place to receive. Do we put ourselves in that place? Or do we think we are doing ok and we can just help others?

This has changed my way of thinking about prayer and my ability to help others. I for one, will be doing a lot more to look after myself so that I can help others, as I want to be able to be in the place that I can help as many people as possible,

Who is at the centre?

Recently, I have done some exploring and teaching on the story of Joseph. What is interesting about this story is that we often believe that all the way through, he had God at the centre of his life, but if we actually look closer, it was a transitional period for him, removing himself out of the centre and God into the centre of his world.

I wonder how many times we trick ourselves into thinking that God is at the centre, when the reality is that either we have ourselves at the centre or even try and have joint ownership at the centre of our worlds with God?

Joseph, although having dreams, put himself at the centre by telling his brothers and parents that they would bow down. He placed himself jointly with God at the centre by telling the men in prison that God can interpret dreams, but that God would tell Joseph what they were. He placed God at the centre when he told Pharaoh that only God could interpret dreams.

Only when Joseph removed himself out of the centre and placed God at the centre did the fruition of his dreams come into reality.

This is a huge challenge for all of us, we believe that we can join in with what God is doing, but often we place ourselves at the centre along with him, without recognising that we need to place God totally at the centre, and when that happens God’s plans start to work out for us.

This, of course, is worked out over time, and God knows his own timings. We need to continue to trust in him with timing!!

Often this is easier said than done, but Joseph trusted in God despite everything that was thrown at him. More and more he put God at the centre of his life.

Do you have a dream that God has given you?
Have you vocalised that dream to others in a way that puts God at the centre?
Are you able to put all your trust in him for his timing?
What experiences get in the way or enable you to place God at the centre more?
If people looked at your life, would they see God at the centre, or would they see you putting yourself at the centre?

Tough questions but necessary for us all as we grow as disciples.