Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas – what a funny old mess.

Christmas – what a funny old mess.

For example:
> I have a Jewish friend who celebrates Christmas because he likes presents, turkey and pudding. He doesn't have a clue that the true meaning of Christmas is Santa Claus - or is it the Easter Bunny, or tinsel, or an angel up a tree?

> When I was about 20, I had a Pastor who abhorred Christmas as a being a Christian festival and wouldn't hold a Christmas church service because he was a Puritan and Christmas was 'draped in the rags of popery'. He did however like pudding and turkey and presents.

> I was in Bethlehem this year where the Greek and Armenian priests hold their annual Christmas punch-up about who gets first dibs on poking their head in the place of Christ's birth. The actual 'supposed' slab where the manger is said to have been placed is filled with candles and is encased in bird wire and looks like a ferret's cage. I must have missed something, because other people were crying in awe. I got the giggles.

> There is supposed to have been a woman who complained aloud in a card shop when she saw a nativity scene on a Christmas card, 'The (*&*&%^&$ church! They try to get religion into everything.'

It's a mess. 
With Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Sinta Klaus, trees, baubles, tinsel,  televised carols by candlelight shows, pudding, charity appeals, suicides, turkey, rampant alcohol abuse, rampant gluttony, rampant present abuse, rampant card abuse, superstition, emotional pap about it being Jesus birthday (spare us!) the invention of Winterval, Chrisukka, Happy Holidays, political appeasement and cultural sensitivity, deaths on the roads and it only being 11 months since last one, I don't know whether to take up arms and oppose the whole thing or just go back to watching the cricket on TV and have another fruit mince pie.

So what's Christmas all about?
Apparently Christmas is about whatever you like, and as long as you don't think your take on it is true, I'm OK with that. My reality is that as long as I get turkey, pudding and a present on Christmas day I'm happy because I celebrate the reality of Jesus everyday of the year and that he took action and conquered death and that he is not the reason for the season but he is in fact The Season and will remain so, day after punishing day, until the Great Day when we shall know him as he is.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Big Hearing-from-God incidents.

Big Hearing-from-God incidents.
There is some confusion for people about whether God actually directs our paths, whether God speaks at all today or whether it's all up to us to use our God-given brains.
In most of the decisions I've made to take this or that path I didn't ever hear a 'Word from God' as it were, such as 'God told me to become a member of  Franchise Association.' So I am today mostly a result of stumbling along from ditch to disaster with only the occasional meadow of flowers, and that wasn't how I thought it was supposed to be. So if you feel as though you have been ditched, I write this to say, it does work out in the wash.

I have had many astounding interventions but this one takes the cake.

The strongest leading or direction or intervention I've ever had was when we moved to Port Pirie in 1976 to work with Pastor Bill Wheatland. He and I met for prayer on the first morning and I asked God for a teaching job and Bill Asked for me to get a TV job. I was aghast that he could be so dumb because I had been firmly rejected 2 months before in an interview that lasted 2 minutes after I had driven for 3 hours in 110ยบ heat in an un-airconditioned Ford Cortina
After prayers I went out job hunting and before morning tea scored a job at the Catholic High School. 'We were wondering how to fill that position for a Year 8 teacher,' said Father Pulis. 

I was pretty chuffed. 

Meanwhile the Manager of the TV Station (the one who had told me I was totally unsuitable for television) had fallen off his boat the Saturday before I arrived and had broken his arm and the Managing Director had driven in from Sydney to take over. On that Monday morning, his PA found my letter from 3 months before wedged between two files in the engineering filing cabinet and said, 'Jim. you might like to read this.'

It was within minutes of the time Bill was praying that I would get a job on the telly.

The rest is history. By 2:00 PM I had a job at the TV station presenting a children's show for 15 minutes a day. After a week he turned it into a 2 hour show and after two months made me Sales Manager for the network. After 2 years Channel 7 offered me a job in the Children's Production Unit in Adelaide. I've hardly been out of a TV or video production since. It was the single key that opened my life into selling, speaking all over Australia, New Zealand, 28 states of the USA, and 15 or more other countries. It paved the way for writing books, making training packages and best of all – meeting YOU.

Nevertheless I struggled for years and years over the fact that it was not a straight shady path with chocolate-crepe stands along the way and that if God had so clearly changed my direction how come it wasn't 'nice' all day and every day. There were personality clashes, role-confusions, financial struggles and deep misgivings about whether I was in the right place – even a life-long struggle with the slobbering three-headed black dog of depression.

That often made me wonder if I'd made it up as well as messed it up, too many times to count.

Looking back I can only say, God has been directing my path like a chess piece knight being moved at right angles, one square here, two squares there, two sideways, one back, waiting for the bishops, pawns and castles to move into my path or to be positioned for the taking. That one incident though was too God-like to be disputed. 

In the middle of it I felt lost more often than not, but 36 years later I can see it all as clear as day. 

God does direct our paths— pulls us out of ditches, saves us in disasters and when we realise it, often sits us in flowery meadows.

So trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will direct your path.

To infinity and beyond.

Live long and prosper.

Colin Pearce


Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Lamborghini or an Antarctic Prison

You can subscribe to two Minutes with God and The Kick in Pants Newsletter (both free and provocative) here. 

Here's the question of the day:
If you could choose between eliminating world poverty and Bill Gates' fortune, what colour would your Lamborghini be?

Mine would be silver because I don't like to be ostentatious, so red and yellow are out and black gets too hot in summer. If it's silver I can park it at church and the other people will think it's just a fancy Nissan or Toyota and won't think that I'm in wastrel.

I am sure you would be different though. You would have world poverty eliminated by Friday wouldn't you? The sex-slave trade would be eliminated, child soldiers would be returned to their mothers, the refugees on the boats would be able to go home to their then-safe countries because all the bad people would be in the big jail you would build in Antarctica where if they escaped they could accidentally freeze to death or stab each other with icicles.

On second thoughts, that's what I would do to. Forgive me please. 

However I hasten to say I would need to administer it all from a comfortable office with a nice view so I wouldn't get overstressed. I would need a quality entertainment suite because I would be entertaining so many dignitaries, celebrities and politicians and we'd need good coffee in fine china with Belgian shortbread at morning tea and my own kitchen for the staff to cook lunch and a chauffer, and oh yes, I nearly forgot – my own jet. 

The whole thought makes me wonder how serious I am about eliminating world poverty.  I struggle to keep my candle burning bright in my small corner let alone become a city set on a hill that can't be hidden, and never even think of being a cosmic conflagration that burns the landscape clean. Such were William Wilberforce (abolition of slavery), Lord Shaftesbury (abolition of child labour), Robert Raikes (schools for poor children on Sundays) and hundreds of other heroes of the past and the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates of today.

How serious, really, is the prayer, 'God please let me earn more so that I can give more.'?  Why don't I start in tiny ways this morning by letting the kid in the coffee shop keep the change or by buying a copy of “The Big Issue" from the scary looking bloke with the one-eyed dog, or maybe put a bit more on the  sponsorship form for the people doing the World Vision 40 hour famine? Maybe I could grow a gift I don't have and enlarge a heart that is too small with little homeopathic doses of goodness.

Or I could just lie down until this unpleasant feeling goes away. Nah. I did that yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and the...


To infinity and beyond.

Live long and prosper.

Colin Pearce

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's all so good


"And God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good."
When is the end to people inventing their own religions and gods to the exclusion of the one staring them in the eye?
Everything sings the praises of God. Everything paints the praises of God. Everything hums the praises of God. Everything writes the praises of God.

Horrible beetles and beautiful flowers. Disgusting bugs and delicious fruits. Torrential rains and burning deserts. Tiny moss and giant redgums. Black people's pink palms, white people's blue eyes, chinese people's almond eyes, Eskimos' flat noses , dogs' tails, cats' purrs, chimps' antics, elephants' trunks, baby's giggles.
I really don't know how someone can look at a sunflower, the blue sky and a child, a frond, a fern and a handful of compost and conclude beyond all argument to the contrary that it's all the result of nobody being interested enough to start it all with a design and a plan in mind. It has as far fetched to me that personal God doesn't exist and that He's not interested in you and me as to suggest that an Airbus 380 could be formed out of the North wind blowing rubbish across the Wingfield Tip.
Perhaps 'the universe' did it. Does 'universe' have a name by the way? Is it Bob or Betty? Is it a him or a her? And is it capitalised like 'Universe' or is it a hippie and has an all-lower case name like tiger-nevada-butterfly-yo-man? Wh-a-a-at? What's that you say? It can be anything you want it to be!  Puh-lease. And you say I'M  a dreamer!
When is the end to people inventing their own religions and gods to the exclusion of the one staring them in the eye?
Anyway, Happy 2012 to you.

To infinity and beyond.

Live long and prosper.

Colin Pearce