Coffee Break: Amazed!

Pete BardwellCoffee Break

Pete Bardwell holding a coffee mug

“When were you last truly amazed by something?”

When did something last make such an impression on you that it resulted in some sort of change or re-evaluation for you?

Andrew Williams and Pete Bardwell

Andrew Williams and I… no idea what we were amazed by!

Amazement is a strong concept but we do live in a world of amazing things—both in the natural world, and through human endeavour, creativity and interaction… But how often am I amazed? Really?

I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been on the planet a while now… and have seen a lot of stuff… After all, children seem really easy to impress when they are young but by the time they are teenagers it just seems that more energy and expense is required to get any sizable emotional response, let alone something close to the pure joy in a child’s face when they see washing up liquid and water make…

BUBBLES!!!!!!

Or maybe it’s because I am just a little desensitised to what is incredible these days: “Sure we’ve been to the moon… I guess Mars is just the next obvious step”.

Or maybe Hollywood movies are too good and now real life just doesn’t have the same ‘pizazz’ of the silver screen. (I’m so glad I got to use the word pizazz this week; I like it—it’s one of those words that makes you feel good just saying it!)

Maybe my perspective has got a little obscured by a certain virus which has muscled it’s way into our lives and pushed us into a bizarre ‘Groundhog Day’ groove where the weeks are gradually melding into one and my capacity for being amazed just isn’t what it was.

OK, I’m exaggerating… at least a bit, but I’m aware that for all sorts of reasons I can sometimes simply feel a bit numb emotionally.

We live in a world where we are bombarded by the new, the latest, bigger, better, faster, smaller and now what is cleaner and greener… Sometimes it feels like the more we hear, and the more we see, the less impressed we are by much and so the magnitude of the next thing has to be greater for it to have any impact at all.

This last week I had a moment of stopping; a ‘Salah’ moment, a ‘pausing in his presence’ moment (as the Passion translation helpfully translates that word found in the psalms), not for a really long time, but long enough to be reminded of something really really really, really amazing—Grace.

Grace, Pete's dog

Grace, Pete’s dog

No, I’m not talking about our dog, Grace… although she is pretty cool and worthy of her own blog post… (maybe another week).

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a reason the ex-slave ship captain John Newton penned the song Amazing Grace all those years ago—because it is! Grace is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Really amazing, blow your socks off, outrageous, extravagant, lavish, too good to be true (almost), love personified, coming for you… to: redeem you, save you, kill you (OK the old you), resurrect you, adopt you, forgive you, heal you, direct you, equip you, anoint you, bless you, change your name and your heart, lift your head, guide your feet and shape your destiny and love you forever and a day… Amazing!

For those of us who have been Christians for a while, particularly in the sorts of church circles we’ve been in may be well versed in teaching about Grace. Maybe we’ve had seasons where the teaching has been revelation to us and we have been changed which is wonderful, but a few years on what I’m realising for myself is that all that revelation can lose something of its wonder… its potency if I stop delighting myself in it… or to be more accurate… in Him. Grace isn’t to be reduced down to a doctrine to ‘understand’; it is the miracle of our salvation and the basis of our royal identity. It’s the reality we wake up to every morning should we choose to live by the Spirit. Grace is God’s love as a verb—His doing word! The manifestation of our Father’s love for each and everyone of us, it’s Jesus and His accomplishments which we receive freely by faith! COME ON!!!!!!! Don’t just sit there! Somebody shout ‘AMAZING!!!!!!’

And what was it that sparked this moment to be still last week?

It was simply a time of worship at home. A new song Leo found on Youtube (Maverick City Music ‘I thank God’… if you’re interested). Getting rid of the distractions, the other things which are vying for my attention and affection and simply opening my eyes to Jesus’ wonderful presence again.

True worship is like oxygen to our spirits. A powerful antidote to that numb desensitised feeling. It’s why the Psalms are so powerful. It takes us back to Grace. Not striving to conjure up feelings, but falling, being immersed in the pure clear waters of his river of delights… where all we have to do is delight.

If I were a doctor right now and I could prescribe anything, it would be for you to take your shoes off, find a carpet or a comfy sofa, lay down and take some time to be still. Give Him everything that’s on your mind until you are ready to receive what is on His… which will be His love and affirmation of you. Play some worship songs which take you higher and meditate on His word. Below is the list of verses I mentioned earlier to get you going. Repeat this medicine as many times per day as you wish. You can’t overdose on it! Emotional numbness will subside and ‘amazement’ will return. Who knows… maybe even bubbles will be amazing to you once again. It was Jesus who said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬) and the Psalmist who exclaimed “I am humbled and quieted in your presence. Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap, I’m your resting child and my soul is content in you.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭131:2‬ ‭TPT‬‬)

Titus 2:14
John 3:17
Romans 6:8
Romans 6:4
Galatians 4:5
Acts 13:38
Psalm 103:3
John 16:13
Hebrews 13:21
2 Corinthians 1:21
2 Corinthians 9:8
2 Corinthians 5:17
Ezra 36:26
Psalm 3:3
Proverbs 20:24
Hebrews 13:21
Romans 5:8