Seismic Swift: Impact

Seismic Swift   Last week, Taylor Swift performed in the Letzigrund Stadium in Zürich for 50’000 people. According to SRF, the Swiss Seismological Service, reported that eight seismometers (machines that detect tremors in the earth) detected tremors as far away as six kilometers from the stadium.   Apparently, Taylor and her Swifties had some ‘impact’ and that was measurable. Probably, Taylor’s tour also has some impact on her wallet, because all her performances are sold out and her dedicated fans are over the moon to finally see her performing again and pay big money for their tickets.   ‘Impact’ is a big thing for many businesses and organizations. Pharma companies are hoping for a big, positive impact with the new medicines they introduce. Big financial gains often come in the wake of big impact.   In the NGO development world in which I have worked for seven years before I came to Basel, impact is a very important thing. If you can concretely show to your donors (especially to institutional donors like governments, USAid, European Union) what kind of positive impact your interventions have on individuals and communities, they are ready to give you more money for additional development programs.   What impact do we as people of faith have on the world around us? And I don’t mean the impact on seismometers like Taylor Swift’s concert had. What positive impact do we have on how our families function? What positive impact happens when we are part of a team in the company we work for? What good impact do we have on the neighborhood we live in? What impact do we have through the conversations we have with others?    ‘Impact’ speaks for itself in the NGO development world and brings the next grants in. The same effect happens when our impact is that of integrity, fun, honesty and kindness. It speaks for itself.   You are the salt of the earth, Matthew 5:13.Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone, Colossians 4:6   Our faith spices things up. It keeps decay away. It brings out the flavors. It has impact.We can do better than Taylor and her Zürich concert.

Get That Prize!

It is games galore this summer! The European football championship will get to its climax this Sunday with the final. Various countries that are represented in our church community can still be crowned winners of this soccer tournament! On the same day, the Wimbledon tennis tournament will culminate in the men’s final. The classic cycling competition Tour de France is racing through France and will climax on Sunday a week later. And if that is not enough, on July 26th, the Olympics start in Paris. It is still unsure whether the swimmers will be able to swim their race in the dirty river Seine or not; but race they will! I’m enjoying all that adrenaline and sportsmanship. I love the emotion and the engaged crowds who are watching, cheering and screaming. But sometimes I also think of the saying ‘Bread and Circuses’ to pacify the people. There is much going on in our world, but it seems that 22 men kicking a piece of inflated leather around a grass field seem more important than solving serious issues. Here is a thought from the Bible:  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 We need to focus on running the right race, with the right attitude and appropriate effort. It is not for a shining cup or a big bonus we are training and putting in effort. It is for a glorious inheritance that is waiting for us. What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 Let’s get that prize!

We Are Going On A… Summer Holiday!

School’s out for summer! Six or more weeks of bliss, freedom, rest, sun and warmth. At least, that’s what we hope for. With the versatile spring weather we had, we don’t know if we will have some stable summer weather this year. Many of us will be going away for a few weeks. Probably you are looking forward to it. I hope it will be all that you desire it to be. But there is no guarantee. No matter how good the weather will turn out, how wonderful the location will be, the fun activities that are on the menu… You take yourself and the ones that come along with you. It seems that at the end of August, there is always a spike in divorces and relationship break-ups. That is attributed to a few things: a) the summer holidays have been a disappointment; b) partners come to the conclusion they don’t have anything to say to each other anymore, and c) being together as a family can be very stressful if the rest of the year consists of individual persons living their own lives in a setting in which not much interaction is required. Here are a few tips to make your summer holidays a success: Here is a Bible portion to ponder when we think about getting ‘real rest’. In The Message we read this: The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey, we’ll surely rest with God. So, let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11 I wish you a splendid summer holidays, whether you will be away or at home. And when you are home, we hope we will see you in the services. During July Sundays only at 10:00 in the morning!