Often when we think about a conversion to Christian faith, we imagine a specific moment. Many of us can pin point when we first made a decision to follow Christ, to surrender to him, to take our faith seriously – to live a life consistent with our baptism. These moments are usually very powerful and memorable but for most of us, this moment did not mark a conversion, it rather marked the beginning of our conversion… the decision to begin the journey with Christ.

To address this journey of conversion, let’s think about our lives in terms of a house. Each room represents an aspect of our lives. If you’re a teenager, your house might look like this – the living room is school, the kitchen is family life, the first bedroom is your social life, the second bedroom is your hobbies, the third bedroom is your part time job and the bathroom/toilet is your homework. If you’re an adult, your living room might be family, your kitchen might be work, your main bedroom might be your children etc…

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ConversionThere is a moment in every Christian’s life where they can recognise a time where things changed for them, something happened and things were different afterwards. For some it might have been an overwhelming event, an experience of a Sacrament or a ‘thunderbolt’ moment. For others it could have been like somebody turning on a light. Something they had always known but somehow it became something different, something more.

We talk about it as our conversion. This moment from our history where we changed.

However, if we leave it there, in our history as just one moment that once changed us, we are making a mistake and one that could be fatal to our relationship with God. What keeps that relationship ongoing and growing is letting God continue the conversion that He began. Continue to change us to shape us into the image of His Son. Continue Reading…

find joy in the ordinaryIt has been a month since we heard Peter Pellicaan’s talk on Encounter at the first More night, and more recently Paul Plant’s reflection. All of us can testify that we have experienced pivotal and significant moments with Christ like St Paul’s ‘Road to Emmaus’ moment. One aspect that many of us struggle with is how do we experience God in the ordinariness of life?

We’ve experienced Lent, Holy Week, Easter Octave and now the days of Eastertide are drawing to a close. When we come off the mountain-top experience such as the above, where and how do we encounter Christ?

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This Easter week, the Church’s readings describe many different encounters with the Risen Christ (You can watch or read the last two chapters of John’s Gospel here). Even today, we can experience these profound moments of encounter with the Risen Jesus.

Last week, I asked people within my circles to answer the following question using exactly six words: “What happened when you encountered God?” The concise answers I received (which I call “micro-testimonies”) are, of course, too short to contain the full profoundness of encountering God. The strict word-limit pushes us to reflect deeply on our experience, to ruthlessly cut away all but the single most precious gem at the centre.

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Pope Francis’ Encyclical Evangelii Gaudium begins with the invitation to have a personal encounter with Christ. Though we can encounter Christ is a myriad of ways, here are six examples of encountering Christ that are found in scripture and that I have experienced personally.

1. Baptism:

Having been brought up in a Christian home as the son of a Protestant Minister, I first encountered Christ through the sacrament of Baptism. Of course being about 10 days old at the time, I have no memory of this, but even so, Christ met me as an infant in this beautiful sacrament that began my Christian initiation. Continue Reading…

Advent Love

20 December 2014 — Leave a comment
AdventWreath_4The Fourth Week of Advent – we light the candle of LOVE

Over the past weeks, we have marked the Advent themes of Hope, of Peace and of Joy. In this final week leading to Christmas, we come to the crux of what this season is about – Love. Not a romanticised notion or a fickle emotion as we often find in the movies, but a love of self-giving, commitment and sacrifice.

We of course see the ultimate expression of this Love at Easter through Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, but we find it also in the birth of the baby Jesus at Christmas, through the Father’s giving of his Son to us on earth.

Christ Jesus… did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

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Advent Joy

16 December 2014 — Leave a comment
AdventWreath_3The Third Week of Advent – we light the candle of JOY

On the surface it seems easy enough to know what “joy” means, but what would joy mean to a person suffering depression, or other things  life throws up at us like ill health, financial problems, or just the busyness of life that tries to rob us of joy.

“I realise of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.” – Evangelii Gaudium #6

Does Pope Francis exempt people when they are having a bad day? Do we grit our teeth & smile anyway? That won’t come across in a very genuine way. On one hand we have the Pope asking us to show joy and not be a “sourpuss” as he says, and on the other hand we have our day to day circumstances. So how do we bring this together?
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Advent Peace

6 December 2014 — Leave a comment
AdventWreath_2The Second Week of Advent – we light the candle of PEACE

We’re less than 3 weeks out from Christmas… If I’m honest with myself, too often my first thought is one of stress and overwhelming busyness as I consider the things I have planned for the coming season.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

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Advent Hope

29 November 2014 — 2 Comments
This week we begin the new Church year as we enter the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas.
AdventWreath_1The First Week of Advent – we light the candle of HOPE

I googled ‘Hope’ and it was interesting to read the difference between earthly and scriptural hope.

The modern idea of hope is ‘to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment’; a kind of unsure wishy-washy optimism that leaves us idle and empty.

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Come Let Us Adore Him

25 November 2014 — Leave a comment

adoration2I’ve had a few moments with Adoration over the past few weeks. The first was an experience of God presenting Himself to me, and my discovery of how close God was. It was quite a powerful experience which challenged me and impacted me deeply.

So close, and so present.

The other experiences have been simpler, almost unremarkable; just quiet reminders of how accessible God is. I have plenty of of opportunities to come before the Lord in personal prayer, in Adoration, through prayer ministry and so much more, yet for some reason I rarely take these opportunities. I return to the busyness of work, ministry and mission rather than stopping to connect anew with God.

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