Monthly Archives: May 2013

Blessings at our church retreat

An affirmation of love

Earlier this afternoon we returned from our church retreat in the Swiss Alpine town of Leysin.

It was a wonderful time of fellowship and I was blessed with a fresh perspective on the significance of the spoken words of the Father when Jesus was baptised “… and a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased…” Luke 3:22 (New International Version). Before this weekend I have never paused to reflect on the significance of these words. I wish thank Dr. Erik Spruyt, our guest speaker, as I now have a better understanding and more importantly appreciate the significance of these words to me.

At the time when God spoke these words, Jesus’s ministry had not yet taken off and He had not performed any miracles. These words affirmed God’s love before Jesus had done anything. On a personal level I all too often feel pressure to prove myself, or to perform or justify myself. This weekend I realized that God’s affirmation to Jesus also extends to me and that He has affirmed me with love which is constant and, best of all, that I do not first have to perform to receive it. To know who I am in Him is to know that I am loved and have been affirmed – no more striving to prove myself first to seek acceptance!

I will try to be still, to listen to God’s voice, to receive the Spirit and then to act out of the love that God has given to me. I will remember who I am in Him and I will respond in what I do with the knowing of my security in Him.

Meeting the Father at the cross

When discussing ‘Meeting the Father at the cross’, we talked about sin; hurt; unmet needs and false beliefs. The Spirit lead us to focus on hurt and I found it deeply insightful that I have subconsciously tried to deal with some feelings and lies caused by hurt in my own strength, not knowing that as with confession of sins, I can also give these feelings to Jesus. He paid the ultimate price on the cross not only for my sins, but also took the burden on Himself of all negative feelings or thoughts which can be caused by hurt, for example anger, frustration, disappointment, injustice etc. This can be done in prayer and I have experienced a wonderful release in doing so, a process which I look forward to continue with. Perhaps the two pictures below which I posted in the past in the photography section of the website provide a graphic description of sorts – You can move from this …

Paris: Street art near Pompidou museum 2 July 2012
to this ….

Moscow People: Fountain fun in Moscow heatwave summer 2010 1

Moscow, Russia – Girl cooling off in summer heatwave

‘’… I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe….’’ Ephesians 1:18-19 (New International Version).

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013

 

Photography: New Pastor

On Sunday, our church will consider the appointment of our new pastor. Over the centuries many leaders have taken up similar roles in churches in this city. I pray that God’s hand will lead the way, that He will bless our new pastor and give him and his family favor, wisdom, strength and continue to nourish him for the task which lies ahead. May this also be the case for all the leaders in other churches in Geneva.

7 rue Tabazan – Geneva – Switzerland

“… Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change – yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself…” Hebrews 13:7-8 – The Message

St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva

“… Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you…” Hebrews 13:17 – New International Version

St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva

“… That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day – a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. …” Ephesians 2:19-22 – The Message

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013

Random Thoughts: Seeking Comfort

I am currently reading a book called ‘’The Well’’ by Mark Hall, (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCdIYEIurlw) who is a pastor and the lead singer of Casting Crowns (https://castingcrowns.com).

In one of the chapters he talks about “Philippians 2: 3 – 4 ‘’… Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others…” – English Standard Version (ESV)

When I read this passage I was astounded that my mind focused outwardly as I caught myself thinking … if only ABC could read this … This was a lesson to me as I realised how quickly I was able to stumble and judge others, and how I had just missed out on Paul’s message in this passage. I found it surprising, having just read about humility and the interests of others, but stumbled into the trap of silently focusing outwardly.

Jazz musician in Perugia, Umbria, Italy

It was wonderful to read how Mark Hall described in his book that the only way to versus 3 and 4 is if we understand Philippians 2: 1 – 2, which says “…So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind …’’ English Standard Version (ESV).

The point he makes is we cannot rely on our own strength but have to find comfort from Christ’s love ‘’… If our comfort is from Christ’s love, we don’t have to look out for our own interests. Our comfort is from Him. We don’t need to seek comfort from other people …” – p69 of ‘’The Well’’ by Mark Hall.

I will seek out His comfort and then hopefully be better equipped not to fall in the same trap as which I did today when I read Philippians 2: 3 – 4.

Casting Crowns also does a great song called the Well, which you can listen to on you tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA8UNaGKRhY

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013

Photography: Focus

“…Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace…” Matthew 6:6 – The Message

Sanoen winter snow 1Samoen, Switzerland

“…So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it…” Philippians 3:15-16 – The Message

2011 Tour de France Grenoble Frank Schleck
Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013