Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Quote of the Year

The 2016 US elections caused a lot division in all circles of society including the Christian Church. The US was, obviously, the hardest hit but even here in New Zealand I could feel my blood pressure rising with some of the things being said by prominent Christians and who was siding with who.
I had to constantly remind myself that following Jesus and living his way is above politics.
By that I don't mean that Christians should be bubble-wrapped or avoid political involvement and discussion. But, in whatever way we do participate, we need to reflect Jesus in everything we say, think and do. We have to show love, compassion, respect, kindness and all the fruit of the Spirit even to those who may angrily oppose us.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

My choice of quote of the year for 2016 reflects my thinking on what the Christian attitude towards politics should be.
Be involved if you feel the calling but don't try and make Christianity a party policy. And don't try and make your party a new Christian denomination.

Drum roll please.....

My 2016 Quote of the Year goes to Shane Claiborne at the Red Letter Christians website.
This quote comes from an article titled 'A new home for homeless Christians'.

The Quote...

'Trying to mix Christianity with a political party can be sort of like mixing ice cream with horse manure. It might not harm the manure, but it sure messes up the ice cream.'

Monday, December 19, 2016

De-Stressing Christmas

I don't know how many people I've heard say that they're over Christmas before it even gets here. And the numbers seem to be increasing every year. To be honest, I agree with them in many ways.
Just the thought of going to the supermarket in the week leading up to the big day can put the blood pressure in a zone it shouldn't be in. And if you're the type of person who likes to park as close as possible to the shop you want to go to, then I suggest you buy shares in an oil company before you venture out. Or convince yourself that walking is good for you.

Sooooo..., How do we de-stress Christmas. A few of points come to mind.

  1. Planning. Sit down at least month before Christmas and make a list of what you need to buy in the way of food and gifts etc.
  2. Budget. Set a budget for Christmas and the holidays and stick to it.
  3. Make it Easy. If you home is where the annual invasion of relatives is happening, make the day easy on yourself. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for hours tell everyone that it's a pot-luck Christmas lunch (or dinner) and get everyone to bring something. Your job is made easier and there'll be a good variety of food for everyone.
  4. The Main Event. Take time to remember what Christmas is all about. If you're a Christian don't let the chaos of the day distract you from the fact that it's Jesus birthday. And if you're not a Christian then take time to consider that without the teachings of Jesus and the Bible we wouldn't have western society as we know it today and a lot of our laws wouldn't exist.. The fact is that Jesus actually lived in Israel 2000 years ago and his wisdom and teaching still impacts the world today.

The bottom line is that much of the Christmas stress we encounter is because the festive season has been taken over by the business world and it's profit driven agenda.
The opposing view is what the Bible says. It says that we can serve God or money, not both.
By following Jesus and His God focused simple lifestyle and not being sucked into an over-indulgent expensive form of Christmas we'll be well on our way to de-stressing Christmas.

Merry Christmas 

If you have any de-stressing ideas please feel free to add your comments.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Swinging on the Vines

It's been a while since I blogged.
Well, I think it goes something like this. Through out life we face constant change. Some people use the analogy that life is like swinging from vine to vine through the jungle.
  • We move from job to job
  • We move from city to city
  • We move between different circles of friends
  • We move from church to church

Creatively, we move from vine to vine as well.

 It depends on your creative passions as to how far we swing. Some artists will simply change from acrylics to oils while other artists make a bigger leap and go from painting to photography.

Why we change is often hard to pin down. Sometimes it can be simply viewing a great piece of art and our course is altered. Sometimes it can be financial. Photography can be expensive. Writing is not. Sometimes it can be frustration with our work.

Personally, I find myself swinging around the vines of photography, writing and painting. I had always thought it best to concentrate on one and drop the others but that's not me. For me there are, and always will be, times when photography will satisfy my creativity. At other times writing or painting will take priority. It's not a matter of choosing one but more importantly it's a matter of being open to following my passion and, as a Christian, allowing God to speak through my work.

As Paul in the Bible said,

'So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God'  1Cor 10:31

How have your creative passions changed over the years?

About me

Hi, I'm Phil Lancaster

This blog is about the things I'm passionate about. Following Jesus, loving people, living simply and a bit about art stuff as well.. I don't proclaim to be perfect in any of these areas but as Paul says in the Bible, "forgetting what is behind I strive on..."

I'm married to Nicola and we have 3 grown up children and 1 grand child nearly here.

Professionally, I work for New Zealands largest DIY hardware chain in their plumbing department.

Spiritually, I'm just a normal everyday person who wants to follow Jesus as best I can. I'm not a pastor or teacher or anything like that. I think a lot about the issues facing the world and the church today and this blog is where many of those thoughts see the light of day.

I live in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Despite what John Cleese once said about Palmy, it's a great city to live in. (We got the last laugh anyway. We named a mountain at the local rubbish tip after him.)

To know more about me the following random notes may help.

  1. Skillet are the best band on the planet
  2. Big Bang Theory is the best comedy on TV. (Mrs Browns Boys is a very close second)
  3. New Zealand is the best country in the world to live in
  4. Art, and discussion about it, is lacking in the Church today
  5. Grace is seriously misunderstood and seriously needed in the world today
  6. We rely too much on technology but I'm grateful we have it
  7. Dad jokes are cool (See point 5 😊)
There's lots more I could add. Just ask me if you have any questions.