Category Archives: Sermons

2014.10.19 Sermon (Kevin Tengvall)

Chosen People.

Do you feel a chosen person? Are we one of the chosen people? Are we a model to all people? My answers to those questions are, NO, Maybe and I wish. It would be great if I could say YES, Yes and yes. But in all honesty I am too often filled with doubt and self-loathing to think I am a chosen one and I see too much hatred and disaster in the world to think we are a chosen people (although in Australia I might be naïve or bigheaded enough to think that we aren’t as hateful or a lot better off than some nations) and like many others I try to do good and be a role model but that is where my doubt etc begins.

On the other hand I know that as a redeemed soul I am saved by the blood of Christ and will spend eternity with him, but that is another sermon all on its own.

In the Thessalonians reading it says that the gospel came to them with power, what does that actually mean? The clue I think is in verse, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

Paul Silas and Timothy went to them and lived among them and not only by their words but also their actions which I believe showed their deep conviction and faith.

In our time on this Earth we have the Bible which is God’s word which is given to all who so desire to read it and I believe that is the Power in which Paul and co speak of in 1Thessalonians 1:1-10.

So Paul Silas and Timothy became a model to all believers, the challenge I think is, are we a model to all those that we meet?

There have been many people in the past who have been extraordinary role models in the past, Smith Wigglesworth, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, just to name a few. But how many more people have we not heard of who have also been great role models in their communities and Homes.

This I think this might actually give me/us hope that I/we can be role models to those around us, this I might add is no less daunting to realise that as Christians we are under scrutiny from those that would bring us down.

One of the ways we can be a role model in this era is in how we react to the news of the day or the propaganda that we are being subjected to in the papers and on TV and social media.

I have a friend on face book who has started driving me nuts with his continued and relentless haranguing of Tony Abbot and this government, I said to him that I think it would be far more productive to stop sniping and undermining the Government but start praying for them instead. Which do you think would be the better role model?

How do we react to the continued bombarding in the News and social media about the threat From Isis and then by inference (from the media) of Muslims in general, I believe we need to be VERY careful in our thoughts and actions in dealing with this issue alone, as history has shown that one Man. country or organisations actions can sway the masses to hate.  We as a nation need to be careful in how we react to all forms of media and whilst we might not agree with the Muslim belief we do I think need to respect their right to choose what they believe. But at the same time our nation’s leaders do need to be alert to what has proved to be a very real threat from so called Muslim radicals.

Now isn’t that a can of worms? Because we Christians too have the right to choose what we believe, it is time that our countries leaders stood firm for the principals on which this country was founded. But more importantly it is how we react and what we say to this issue among others that we may well be judged on.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus has many people around the world worried; many are claiming that it could be the start of the apocalypse. I don’t know about you but when I started thinking about the terror of this disease I was quite surprised to find that I had a “we will be alright attitude, we live in Australia”, quite illogical really and I have no idea why I should think like that. On the other hand I was told of a group of work colleagues who were discussing the Ebola outbreak the other day and their attitude was one of imminent disaster and that we (even in Merredin) should start preparing ourselves for when it starts ravaging Our country state and towns,

As Christians,

are we going to be judged on how we react to these perceived threats? Do we need to be worried about terrorism or rampant diseases?  Or do we have the faith to do what is right? Do what is necessary with faith trust and compassion.

As Paul said in verse 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. Can it be said of us as it was for the Thessalonians that our faith has become known everywhere? Have we turned away from the idols of the first world to serve the true and living God?

Will others see our faith in God in the manner in which we receive those who are against us? Will others see our trust in God in the way in which we face natural disasters and diseases?

If we believe we are Gods children a chosen people then the challenge is that we need to be seen to have faith trust and compassion, for as *sure as God made little green apples” we will be judged on our actions thoughts and deeds here on earth as in heaven.

I will finish on these words from Paul to the Thessalonians verse 2-4 we always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you,  5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

In God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be with you.

2014.02.23 Sermon (Kevin Tengvall)

After many months of praying and searching we finally got to meet a candidate for a minister for our parish.

I for one really enjoyed meeting John and Bronwyn and was glad of the opportunity to talk to them about their plans and ours for ourselves and our congregation, which got me to thinking what a great responsibility we have, to make the right choice, or do we?

I know that many of us have been praying (since before David left) that God would prompt the right person to feel the call to come to Merredin and lead us into the next phase of our journeys with Christ.

And I urge all of us to continue praying for God’s wisdom to shine, let us put our own agendas and desires to one side and “Let go and let God” send us the right person to be our paster.

In one of today’s readings it tells us to be Holy.

Leviticus 19:1-2

19 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

As God spoke to Moses let us open our hearts to him that we might hear also, our call to worship this morning is Psalm 119: 33-40, more particularly in verses 33-36 it tells us what we must do when we ask God for guidance ,

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
God tells Moses to

Teach

Follow

Obey

Direct

May God be with us all as we seek his guidance in calling the right person or couple to serve in our part of his wondrous Kingdom.

Today’s sermon is about Trusting God, this saying has become something of a cliché, something we say and mean but then we go and let ourselves get in the way. Is it because we don’t trust God? Or is it because we think we know better? Or is it that we are so impatient that we think things must be done in our time?

I don’t know about you but if I’m honest, I have been guilty of all of these. Is it so hard to trust God? Why is it so hard to let go? Why are we so arrogant that we forget to let go and let God and try to take over ourselves?

The answer I think is that we are human, and suffer all the frailties of that, that make us who we are.

ALWAYS BELIEVE IN GOD

BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS

EVEN GOOGLE CAN’T ANSWER

I wonder what would happen if we applied the same standards of loyalty to our Christian activities that we expect from other areas of our lives?

For instance, if your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy? If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a reliable employee? If your fridge stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it works most of the time.”? If your water heater provides an icy cold shower every now and then, is it dependable? If you skipped a couple of electricity bill payments do you think Western Power would mind?

In our walk with God do we hide behind colloquial language? Are we trusting God when we use Christianese? For example, do we use these sayings to cover up our failings?

Christianese: “If it be God’s will.”

Translation: “I really don’t think God is going to answer this one.”

Christianese: “Let’s have a word of prayer.”

Translation: “I am going to pray for a long, long, long time.”

Christianese: “That’s not my spiritual gift.”

Translation: “Find someone else.”

Christianese: “Fellowship”

Translation: “Organized gluttony.”

Christianese: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Translation: “I’m totally clueless.”

Christianese: “Lord willing . . .”

Translation: “You may think I’ll be there, but I won’t.”

Christianese: “I don’t feel led.”

Translation: “Can’t make me.”

Christianese: “God led me to do something else.”

Translation: “I slept in instead of going to church. “

Christianese: “God really helped me with this test.”

Translation: “I didn’t study but I guessed good, so I’m giving God credit in the hope that He helps me again.”

Christianese: “She has such a sweet spirit!”

Translation: “What an airhead!”

Christianese: “I have a ‘check’ in my spirit about him.”

Translation: “I can’t stand that jerk!”

Christianese: “I’ll be praying for you.”

Translation: “There’s an outside chance I’ll remember this conversation later today.”

Christianese: “Prayer concerns”

Translation: “Gossip”

Christianese: “In conclusion . . . ”

Translation: “I’ll be done in another hour or so.”

Christianese: “Let us pray”

Translation: “I’m going to pretend to talk to God now, but I’m really preaching at you.”

Christianese: “You just have to put it in God’s hands.”

Translation: “Don’t expect me to help you.”

Christianese: “God wants to prosper you!”

Translation: “Give me all your money.” (Author Unknown)

Trust

Trust Your Instruments

Inside every airplane are instruments that are critical to flying the aircraft.  The instruments will give a true reading of how the aircraft is flying, even if a pilot’s mind may tell him differently.  On a clear, sunny day a pilot may not need some of these instruments, but at night or in poor visibility, these instruments become vital to his survival.  Many planes have crashed because the pilot became disoriented and failed to trust his instruments.

While attending Texas A&M, Jeff Patton and I became friends as members of the Corps of Cadets.  He is now Lt. Col. Jeff Patton and flew as an F-15 fighter pilot in Desert Storm.  On the first night of the war, his mission was to escort a large formation of fighters in bombing a chemical weapons plant in northern Iraq.  The date for Desert Storm was chosen because the absence of moonlight and the high clouds helped the attacking allied fighters from being detected by enemy defenses.  Flying in total darkness, the pilots became completely dependent upon their instruments.

Shortly after crossing into Iraq, Col. Patton’s jet was “locked on” to by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile radar.  He violently maneuvered his aircraft to break the radar’s lock on him.  His maneuver successfully broke the lock, but it created a new problem.  Those radical movements in the dark threw off the balance in his inner ear (which is what happens when a person gets dizzy), causing him to become disoriented.

His mind was telling him his plane was in a climbing right turn, but when he checked his instruments, they indicated he was in a 60 degree dive towards the ground!  He was sure he was in a climb instead of a dive, and his mind was screaming at him to lower the nose of his F-15 to halt the climb.  While his mind commanded him to correct the plane in one direction, his instruments instructed him to do just the opposite.  Because he was flying in total darkness, he had to decide quickly whether to trust his mind or his instruments.  His life depended on making the correct choice.

Even though it took everything within him to overcome what his mind was telling him, he decided to trust his instruments.  He rolled his wings level and pulled his F-15 upward, which drew seven times the force of gravity, pulling the aircraft out of its dive.  It only took a few moments to realize he had made the right decision.  If he had lowered the nose of his jet like his mind had been telling him, he would have crashed the plane.  Trusting his instruments saved his life!

Immediately he looked at his altimeter, which told him the elevation of his aircraft.  He had narrowly escaped colliding into the mountains of Iraq by just 2,000 feet.  Although he had made the correct decision by trusting his instruments, he realized if he had delayed just three more seconds his plane would have crashed into the mountains.  Even right decisions can be wrong ones if they are made too late.

God will guide the “instruments” inside our hearts through his Spirit, even though our minds may tell us to do just the opposite.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 17-18)

At the End of Your Rope

During the 1930s, 250 men were holding the ropes to a dirigible (an airship similar to a blimp) to keep it from floating away. Suddenly a gust of wind caught one end of the dirigible, lifting it high off the ground.

Some of the men immediately let go of their ropes and fell safely to the ground. Others panicked, clinging firmly to the end of their ropes as the nose of the dirigible arose to greater heights. Several men who couldn’t keep holding on fell and were seriously injured. One man, however, continued to dangle high in the air for forty-five minutes until he was rescued. Reporters later asked him how he was able to hold on to the rope for so long.

“I didn’t hold on to the rope,” he replied. “I just tied it around my waist, and the rope held on to me.”

So as we pray and ask for God’s will to be done lets us truly put our trust in him. Instead of trying to hold on to God, let God hold on to you.

You Have Got to Ask for It

“Just remember that when you don’t know what to do, God always knows what to do, and He will tell you (James 1:5).” –Kent Crockett

Blessing

Rom 15 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2Cor 13 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Part one: Advent what is it?

Part one:  Advent what is it?

There are four emotions God has given us that I want to dwell on today, I think they are very relevant especially today as we have just been a part of the baptism of Ruby who we pray Has Hope, Peace, Love and Joy all ahead of her.

Which doesn’t mean that we don’t have it ahead of us as well, for in John 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

And in that belief we have Hope, Peace, Love and Joy. Over the last few weeks we have been observing Advent I want to go into it in just a bit more depth, you may want to grab a pen and paper as I wish to draw your attention to three scriptures pertaining to each part of Advent.

The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life. Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.

Malachi 3

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

How amazing is that? This prophesy was stated four hundred years before his coming, I wonder if there are prophets today that are forecasting events that will change mankind in the next four hundred years?

The first candle – The Prophesy candle –Hope!

The first candle we lit was the candle of hope, not the hope that we have more money or bigger better or brighter presents in a couple of days’ time, but the deeper and more everlasting Hope that we can have in Christ Jesus who was born, lived and died that we may have eternal life. Now isn’t that something to hang your hat on? In the Psalms there are many verses that encourage us to have Hope in Christ.

Psalm 33:18

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Psalm 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 147:11

the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

The second candle – The Bethlehem candle –Peace

Can you imagine? If you will what it must be like in a time when there is no Peace, we are lucky indeed to be in a country where we take peace for granted, the mind boggles at the thought of a politician or leader who can order the death of our first born, but it is another Peace that I draw your attention to and that is the peace we receive when we trust in God. I think it is harder sometimes to remember to trust in God when everything is going well, we can become complacent and carry on in our own strength. Many years ago I remember at a bible study a friend of ours said “that if we wanted more people to believe in God then we must organise a disaster”. If you think about that you will find that it is both sad and true.

1 Samuel 1:17

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Job 22:21

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.

Luke 2:14

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.

The third candle -The Shepherds’ candle- Love.

We are reminded when we light this candle that God sent the angels to proclaim his arrival to common man and that he still uses ordinary people today to spread the good news of Christ, his love and faithfulness. We are commanded by God to love. Love I might add not to be confused with lust. Are we ready willing and able to go out into our communities and show the love of Christ? People, Christians and non-Christians alike, tend to show more love at this time of the year than the rest of the year. Why is that? What is so special about this time of the year? I know and most of you do too, so do we/shall we go and tell others?

Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

 

Mark 12:33

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Romans 13:9

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

The fourth candle- Angels’ candle – Joy

God sent his angels to tell the world that Christ is born with “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy” what would we do today if an angel appeared in front of us now shouting “behold I bring you good tidings etc?” quite scary I think? Don’t get me wrong it would be wonderful and amazing and awe-inspiring but scary too, what would you do? The shepherds and wise men all had these feelings but they also had the faith and belief to go and do as directed by the heavenly host.

Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Deuteronomy 16:15

For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Psalm 19:8

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

To be continued.

Part two will be on Wednesday the 25th Let us go forth with Joy as we prepare in a couple of days to celebrate the birth of our Lord and saviour.

Blessing

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2013.10.13 Sermon (Kevin Tengvall)

Has anyone else discovered TED.talks? I stumbled across it whilst researching for this message; basically it is video clips from some of the world’s most inspiring speakers. Sometimes you come across gems like this without ever realising what an impact it may have. I think TED is probably one of them for me.

I came across this quote, Brené Brown “Maybe stories are just data with a soul.” The more I thought about that, the more I understood what it means, it is easy today to get information overload, we just have to sit in front of a computer and in seconds we are swamped with data (information). But that’s all it is, just information.

On the other hand, when we hear a story told by a real person (ha! Wouldn’t that sound strange to our Grandparents if they heard that?) The story takes on a life; the teller is imparting in some measure a part of themselves. So it would be wrong to dismiss it or not really listen, how often do we do that?

In a culture that often seems to be so much about travel or busyness where we may not be in any one place long enough to invest ourselves in other people or the community there either physically and emotionally, where we may feel ourselves more involved in the lives of Facebook friends than our actual neighbours, what does “work for the welfare of the city where God has placed you” look like for us? What are you called to affirm today? What are you called to challenge? What advice are you called to give?

These are pretty meaty questions and only you can answer them, if we find ourselves wanting in our answers how much harder would it be to answer as a group?

In john 8:7 Jesus said when they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (I will come back to this shortly)

Today is the 21st day after Pentecost It is also the second Sunday in “A Season of Saints.” This observance from World Communion Sunday through All Saints Day, although unlike other denominations we in the Uniting church do not seem to place a lot of emphasis on saints. So what is a saint? In Wikipedia a saint is described as one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue. While the English term “saint” originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the term “in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people,

Saints, broadly speaking, are those who follow Jesus Christ and live their lives according to his teaching. For example one such Saint is:

Hiram Rhodes Revels

Born as one of less than a total of 800 “free blacks” in Mississippi, Hiram Rhodes Revels’ life epitomizes working for the good of the whole people where he finds himself placed. Whether preaching to congregations of slaves and free blacks as an AME minister centered in Baltimore but traveling widely across the South and Midwest, or organizing regiments and serving as a chaplain in the Union Army in the 1860s, or as an alderman, state legislator, senator, or later educator or Methodist Episcopal pastor after the war, Revels’ whole life was about working for the welfare of the people—all the people– among whom he found himself. His Methodism had taught him a significant sign and effect of the gospel was the common good, whatever that may be where one finds oneself—and even if it involves doing good toward those rightly perceived to be enemies to one’s own people or interests.

A man that is guided by the Spirit,” says St. Maruthas, author of these acts, “fears not death: he loves God, and goes to him with an incredible ardour; but he, who lives according to the desires of the flesh, trembles, and is in despair at its approach: he loves the world, and it is with grief that he leaves it.”

Who do you consider a saint?  Mother Teresa springs to mind, Sister Mary MacKillop is another, also there is Saint Christopher or Saint Francis of Assisi and many others, and these are all saints recognised by the Catholic Church and the wider community.

Broadly speaking though, saints are those who follow Jesus Christ and live their lives according to his teaching.

So I ask, do we have Saints in our community? In our Church? At Home? If we are to believe, that as believers in Jesus Christ the son of God who was sent to earth, born and died so that we will have eternal life. Then indeed we are Saints.

And now this is the spot where I came to a screeching halt, because to tell you the truth I feel very unsaint like. Yes I believe, I go to church I confess my sins I try to show compassion and I do care for those in my community, but a Saint. HUH!

But we don’t need to despair because in Isaiah 40:  1-5 it says

Comfort for God’s People

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

And in Colossians 1: 13-14 it says  13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Once again I quote from TEDtalks.  Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.”” — Karen Armstrong.

What wise words indeed.

Look to God for comfort, wisdom and courage. To do this we sometimes have to make ourselves vulnerable, not an easy thing to do, can you remember the last time you made yourself vulnerable so that you could get close to someone and help them? — Brené Brown whom I spoke of earlier said this “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”

Am I willing to make myself vulnerable so I may be better able to get closer to people to do Gods work? Are you? Are we as a congregation?

Let us pray.

Through Christ in us

you have broken every chain,

loosed every bond

and freed us to proclaim your word boldly.

 

Send us now, co-workers to tend your field

and gather your harvest.

All glory is yours, now and ever. Amen.

Hymn:

Benediction:

Go forth grateful for all that God has done for you.

Love God and love your neighbor,

even those who are outcast

and all who keep their distance

because they have been so long excluded.

Seek the welfare of this community,

that in its welfare you will find your welfare.

In the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Bibliography

Quotes from Brené Brownand and Karen Armstrong, from TEDtalks.com

Notes taken from lectionary planning GBOD.

2013.09.01 Sermon (Kevin Tengvall)

 As Ride for Life #7 has just finished and I had prepared a 45 minute talk on it, for the UCA mission retreat, (which I was unable to go to and present) I felt I should give part of it here, as Ride for life the mission belongs to us (this congregation) not just me.

And I think it is important that we reflect occasionally on how our programs are going, are they achieving the goals we set out? are we reaching the people we are targeting?

Each course has been different and this one was no exception, I now feel that our goals and instruction are evolving with each program, and I think it is important that you are kept aware of our progress. once again I wrote lesson plans specific to this group of kids as led by God ( I think) but this time I also wrote trainers notes, which helped me if not the trainers. It was pointed out to me that at times I did stray from the lesson plan, which was true but I was able to point out that even though we deviate sometimes, we can always get back on track with the right leadership. (Isn’t that true of Life)?

Our weekly Devotion is setting us up I believe to step out in the footsteps of Jesus, who there will ever forget Sal’s devotion on toothpaste? Or Lisa attempting to set my pants on fire?

Each week we have a different theme which starts with team building and working together in week one and ends in week four with, helping others sharing and caring.

The second week’s theme is co-operation and understanding the lessons learned are, Awareness of actions theirs and those around them, safety. And how we can make them do what we want by our actions.

Responsibility

 Awareness of how your actions can influence those around you.

Week three the theme was Decisions and responsibility: making decisions and taking responsibility for their actions.

What worked? What didn’t?

Communication

Responsibility

Thinking ahead

Position awareness of each other and themselves.

Week three the theme is Focus or determination this third week is becoming a tradition in Ride for Life in that for the first time none of the horses are in yards, and it is up to the kids to work out how to catch them and who to catch first. It is up to them to set the pace, this group took two hours before we saddled up and they were too busy to be bored (now there’s a lesson!)

In week four as I have said is sharing and caring the lessons learned are (we Hope) working out that it is easier if they help each other (to think ahead)

Team work

Role reversal, putting themselves in the shoes of others

Trust, Timing, feel and balance.

I have just read a book “Believe” by Buck Brannaman who states that the following are Qualities for success, on these 8 principles I built a weekends lesson plan, these qualities I believe not only work when around horses but also in our general life and the people we come into contact with.

The 8 steps to success as laid out by Buck Brannaman are:

  1. Intuition: a gut feeling about something intangible, an unspoken sensitivity to what you’re dealing with, horses and other animals have a natural ability to sense the emotional state of people and animals around them. Whether we like it or not women seem to have more intuition than men. Men can acquire it especially if they listen to women long enough.
  2. Sensitivity: here Buck is talking about emotional sensitivity. Horses are very intelligent creatures and emotional sensitivity is something that all intelligent creatures possess. Everything around us can impact us and our horse’s emotions in some way. This is also true of humans, if we are sensitive to our own emotions and those of the people around us; we can better anticipate and respond to whatever comes our way. Once again women tend to be more sensitive than men.
  3. Change: This is the ability to back up, back down and change course if necessary as opposed to beating your head against a wall and doing the same old thing, hoping that this time it might turn out differently.
  4. Presence: means the feeling that flows off of any person who humbly but truly believes in himself and his abilities, someone at peace with himself and his abilities, someone at peace with his environment, being confident, at peace with your life, portraying a calm and healthy presence.
  5. A non-aggressive attitude: be assertive not arrogant or demanding. Don’t be a butthead.
  6. Determination: This is the ability to stick with something through thick and thin, even when things get very difficult.
  7. Humility: The concept of humility is so important, I’d underline it as being pivotal to a person’s success or failure in the world. Humility is the ability to listen to and really hear what is being said. Regardless of status or standing. Three words sum up how to gain this quality. Observe, Remember, and Compare. Observe what is taking place whether with man or beast. Remember what you have done to cause others to make a certain decision or take a certain action and compare the results of your actions this time round with results of actions you may have taken in the past, which outcome was better? Learn from it if you can observe, remember and compare effectively, and then have the ability to change course based on the outcome of what you’ve done you will map out your course for success.
  8. Love: is a complete and powerful thing. It includes the ability to love without being a victim. Sometimes love can end up being an excuse for being victimised taken advantage of, pushed around but you can still have a huge capacity for love without being a victim or being taken advantage of.

In comparison Buck goes on to say or describe the kind of person who will never get along with horses or get along period.

  1. Lack of Intuition: people who have no insight or ability to see beyond their own needs or desires, they have an expectation that what is on the surface is all there is to see.
  2. Lack of Sensitivity: Those who lack the ability or confidence to feel or understand anything that isn’t in their immediate sphere of existence, a lack of compassion for others.
  3. Stiff: people make up their minds they are going to do something a particular way regardless of the results, usually because of Pride. Which will almost certainly guarantee failure?
  4. Over-Presence: these people tend to project an overbearing presence of power, believing that their inner might will make them right.
  5. An aggressive attitude: some people go beyond projecting power and begin to exhibit it, this sort of threatening behaviour often backfires because the natural reaction to this is a feeling of extreme danger, Horses don’t react well to this and nor do people.
  6. Lack of determination: People, who don’t put their back into it, don’t get much out of it whatever that might be.
  7. Lack of Humility: we’ve all met people who spend an entire conversation thinking about the importance of what they’re going to say and then trampling all over us to say it , Deb accused me of doing this the other day which pulled me up short because if I am not listening then how can I possibly teach? Furthermore how can I or we learn if all we hear is ourselves? (I think we need someone sometimes to pull us back to earth).
  8. Anger and Hatred: Those who cannot love often believe the only way to avoid being hurt is to hurt others first.

As a Christian It is easy to see which sort of person we would rather be, but striving to have all these aspirations is not always that easy, for human nature being what it is (full of sin) we often slip up. Jesus died on the cross for our sins that we might be able to fulfil the steps to success if that is how we would like to be. Or walk in the path of righteousness as laid down in the Ten Commandments.

As you know we are now in our off season the time between this course and the next one in May 2014, it might be the off season for the kids, it is not for us, I am always looking for ways to improve the obstacle course and facilities also I am constantly in talks with the college and some government departments to improve and facilitate our referral process. I ask that you continue to support and pray for this program.

Let us continue in our endeavours to step out in faith, with this mission and the others that we do/support from this church, let us not rest on our laurels but look for other ways to reach out to the community through our Christian walk.

Amen.