Tag Archive: imagine

i have used this passage in a lot of preaches. It is possibly one of the greatest starting points of connection with God, or simply a helpful reminder when life is feeling a little overwhelming, as it tends to be at times…


Ephesians 3.20-21

and i am wanting to focus on 20 and 21, but i really love the preceding passage as well as i think it sets it up so well:

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints,to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

# Christ dwelling in your heart through faith [reminds me of Colossians 1.27 – Christ in me, the hope of glory] – this is a huge and needing to be continually aware of promise.

# being strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit – so helpful if we remember where to look to for strength, ability and capacity

# being rooted and established in love which is also the most powerful reminder – Jesus pointed to Love as the greatest commandment and we need to keep going back to that as the place of starting and foundation for everything we do [else it all means nothing, see beginning of 1 Corinthians 13]

# grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ – speaks for itself and what i love about this is the description of  what love is just keeps going – the writer almost can’t contain himself in terms of just trying to get across the message that this Love is so ridiculously huge – can’t even wrap your mind around it [imagine if all Jesus followers could wrap their minds around the unmindwrappability of the love of God?]

# to know this love that surpasses knowledge – it just keeps getting better – this love is beyond our capacity to understand and fathom it – that is insane and WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE THAT? how small do we make the love and reach of God?

# that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God – be filled with all the fullness of God. again, this whole passage feels like something that could use long and hard meditation, because we [or christians in general] tend to live lives that are so small and certainly would not for the most part be described by outsiders as ‘all the fullness of God’ right? Maybe we should forget our focus on rules and who is in and who is out and just step back and be awestruck but this God we serve and what He freely offers us and who He calls us to be [and the fact that He does all the work of that – not our feeble efforts or strivings]

the best part is that was not the bit i wanted to focus on, but how incredible, right?

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


What does that verse say to you? That maybe, just maybe, for the most part, we are hoping and imagining too small?

Because sometimes our prayers are so small [especially when they are me-focused] – God is wanting to end poverty and we are asking for a safe car journey. God is wanting to revolutionise your neighborhood and we are requesting more people in our sunday meeting? God is wanting to see His church in the marketplace and on the front lines connecting with and seeing life change in those who do not know Him… we pray for enough money to redo the church roof.

Immeasurably [which means can’t be counted, unable to be worked out or measured] more [as in not that much, but even more than that much] than all [as in everything, not just the easy ones or the things we can do in our own strength or as a community] we could hope or imagine [are some of us even hoping and imagining at all?]

Are you hoping and imagining big enough? Am i?

[For my next favourite verse, i look at Psalm 119 vs 105]

[For the growing list of all my favourite verses, click here]

on December 8, 1980, John Lennon, member of one of the most famous rock bands in the world, the Beatles, was shot and killed. his killer’s name – Mark Chapman.

how do i know that? possibly the only reason i do is that i have a friend called Mark Chapman, and so it has come up… but when i think back to people who were killed many years ago, there are some cases where i may have heard or recognise the name of the person doing the killing, but for the most part it was the person who was killed who was the focus.

in recent times, it has seemed to swing the other way. the killer receives all the headlines and face time. the victims remaining largely nameless.

which brings us to this crazy week in americaland, where yet another school shooting has happened and everyone is up in arms [literally, as Texas recorded a significant increase in gun sales since the shooting, possibly riding on the back of fears that finally something will be done by the government to make it harder for the average person on the street to own a gun, and guns] and social networks are going crazy with everyone having an opinion on gun control and school safety and the need for the president to do more.

one article i read suggested that a solution is to stop giving the killers any air time at all – let them remain anonymous so that we don’t glorify and in a sense celebritise what they have done. but as long as the majority of us continue to slow down at the site of a car accident i cannot see that happening.

there seems to be some twisted, warped part of us that secretly takes some kind of pleasure in the ‘need to know what happened’ – to hear the details, to be the first one to recount them, to get all political in our tweets and our facebook updates, to somehow feel like we’ve played some kind of useful part, when probably all we’ve done is help build the hysteria.

and i really do think Hollywood and the computer games manufacturers have to put up their hands and take some sense of ownership of responsibility for continuing to desensitise the general public to horrifically graphic violence… and us for continuing to consume it [this is an area where years ago i made a strong movement from things i was okay to watch, to what i find acceptable now, although no doubt with some unintentional hypocrisy and need for more change within there]

i feel like there is just so much that can be said on this thing but i don’t have great words for it and even this post is probably a waste of time. the thing that stands out the most for me, perhaps, is that this thing that happened, with 27 people tragically shot, is that it didn’t make me cry. i honestly don’t know why that is. something of this magnitude should break each and every one of us. but it didn’t. and for that i am ashamed. and maybe for how i have fed my mind and soul. i mourn and grieve and am moved for sure. but something of the regularity of events like this has created the sense of “oh, another one” which i think is a horrible, horrible thing.

i do think the government needs to do better. but i know that the most control i have relates to me. and those i am in relationship with. is there anything we can, and are prepared to do? i really hope so.

but for now, what i can do, is use this space to at least honour the names of the people who were killed [and don’t get me wrong, i feel for the shooter too and his family, and his death is a complete tragedy as well because how was he allowed to get to that point? where did community or family or friends fail him?] by the shooter, instead of mentioning and adding to the hype surrounding his name as there is enough of that going on already…

so the staff and children of Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut who were killed in the shooting:

– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female
and Nancy Lanza [the shooter’s mom]

we list your names in remembrance and we hold your families and friends up in prayer trusting that the God of light will bring some good somehow out of what has been a tragic and horror-filled occasion.

are we big enough to move past our fascination with and hunger for violence in our movies and books, in our music and art? or will we continue to justify freedom of expression and the phrases “it’s only a…” or “it doesn’t affect me” and together seek unity in doing everything we can to make sure something like this never happens again?

you may say I’m a dreamer,
but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

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