Category Archives: Practical Faith

How to overcome denial

Renovate the family denial banner with darryl schoeman and thisiswhatihavetosay in conjunction with Glenwood Community Church (Durban, South Africa)

My church (Glenwood Community Church, Durban) started a new series this Sunday entitled “Renovate the Family”. As part of the series, all the Bible study’s and homecells are running with the theme, and the first topic that we dealt with was on denial.

The message is essentially that we are all living with some form of denial. For some, the denial is “big”, whilst for others it is “small”. It is even such that those that do not believe they are “in denial”, are in fact already exercising denial: Romans 7:18 (NIV) says “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” So the bottom line is that there ARE areas in our life that we are ashamed of or that hold us back, and the first step to recovery, to renovating the family, is to acknowledge this denial.

There is however a subtlety to denial too. For those that really and genuinely believe that they have “worked through” all their past hurts and issues, will genuinely believe (deny) that they have any problems. So the challenge is, how do we identify when we are in denial? How can we “measure” whether we are in denial or not? What do we look for in our lives – or look for the lack thereof – to help us determine our level of denial?

I think the answer is fruit… the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We can determine our level of denial by looking how we reflect or carry the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives. All born-again Christians should have all the fruit (in growing degrees as we mature). But where there is a lack of or lesser degree of a particular fruit, then we need to be looking as to why it is not there. To ignore a missing fruit, is in essence denial itself.

Ask God to help you determine why it is that you are not as fruitful in a particular fruit. The answer may come immediately, it may not. It may come from God, or it may come from a friend/spouse. But don’t deny that there are no problems. Celebrate recovery and find the cause of your denial.

What else can help us overcome denial?

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

The Deception of Music

Image of Bookcover of Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin on with Darryl SchoemanAs part of my theological studies, I am busy with a book by Bob Kauflin called Worship Matters. It is a profoundly theological book on the subject of Christian worship, especially as it pertains to the musical aspect of worship.

One of the key thoughts that he has focused on is how deceptive music can be. He writes that music can make theologically shallow or vague songs appear to be substantive, yet according to Jesus’ command, it is the Word of God that should be dwelling in us richly, not musical experiences. To quote Bob directly, “Sing God’s Word. Lyrics matter more than music. Truth transcends tunes.”

Truth transcends tunes.

But he shares the following story that illustrates the deceptive nature of music most profoundly:

I once heard of a Christian woman who spent time serving God in South Africa. While visiting a health clinic, she was deeply moved by the sound of the local Zulu women singing. Their harmonies were hauntingly beautiful. With tears in her eyes [emphasis mine], she asked a friend if she knew the translation of the words. “Sure,” her friend replied. “‘If you boil the water, you won’t get dysentery.'”

Now, coming from South Africa, I can truly relate to the harmonious capabilities of my fellow country-men. But this example highlighted acutely the reality of the power of music to “alter” one’s perspective, even negatively.

Follow me on Twitter as I periodically Tweet Bob’s pearls of wisdom from Worship Matters.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Your life is like a mayonnaise jar

cartoon golf balls in mayonaise jar with thisiswhatihavetosay and darryl schoeman

I stumbled across this again in my archives and thought it worth sharing. It’s probably been shared and viewed a number of times. But just as Peter said that it was good to be reminded (cf. 2 Peter 1:12), this too was a good reminder and refresher.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”. The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you…” he told them. “So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

This was not my original work. Here is the YouTube video of it:

Photo Credit goes to

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Scripture references:
2 Peter 1:12 NIV So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.

A husband’s significance

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 2:1-5 (NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (2) (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (3) And everyone went to his own town to register. (4) So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (5) He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

What do we see when we read this passage of Scripture? We see that the Romans wanted to do a headcount of their population and that this was not the first time they had wanted to do so. We see that everyone was required to go to his hometown to be counted. We see that Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted correctly. And we see that Joseph has taken his pregnant fiancé with.

It is so easy to miss the significance of mere words on a piece of paper that were written some two thousand years ago. In not being a first century Jew or Roman official living or stationed in first century Israel, it is so easy to simply gloss over these words and think, “Okay! So Joseph travelled from point A to point B with his fiancé because he had to.” And thus it is so easy to miss the significance, the truth, of what has been written.

Take a step back for moment and ask yourself, “Where exactly was Nazareth in relation to Bethlehem? How did they get there? How long would it have taken for them to have travelled there? What about compensation for loss of income due to this travelling time? Was it safe for a pregnant women to be travelling this distance and under these conditions?”

When we take this step back and ask ourselves these questions, then we realise that Joseph would have had to have travelled by foot for four days just to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to satisfy the demands of a tyrant. And then we realise that this travel time would have doubled by the fact that he was taking a heavily pregnant women with him on the journey, needing to rest often, fearing imminent birth or worse, miscarriage.

And after we’ve realised these things, we realise – we see – the significance of what this passage of Scripture is trying to bring out to us; faithful commitment.

It would have been so easy for Joseph to have given Mary up because of her pregnant state and save himself from the ridicule and scorn of his peers. It would have been so easy to have left Mary in Nazareth with her parents and allowed her to be counted amongst the people of Nazareth. It would have been so much more convenient to just set aside his responsibilities and quickly get this over with.

But he didn’t. Because he was committed! And his commitment allowed him to remain faithful to Mary, believing the story she told him of how she became pregnant. And Joseph’s commitment allowed him to be faithful to God and His will for their lives, for the world.

How is your commitment? Can you be counted on to remain faithful to a cause, a decision, your word?

When we read the gospels, we find very little written about Joseph. He was not a prominent figure, or person of significance. Yet, maybe it is that God chose Joseph to be Mary’s husband for this very reason, for this very characteristic of his, knowing that it is going to need the faithful commitment of a man like Joseph to ensure the successful fulfilment of an ancient prophecy that would result in the salvation of humanity.

Joseph was not a man of significance. But he was a man of commitment. He was not asked to move mountains or drive out nations. But he was asked to be a husband to a women. And that was all. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Are you such a man or women that God can use? Can you be trusted to remain faithfully committed to whatever it is God has called you to be or do? Do you have it in you to be a Joseph? With God, all things are possible.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

A father’s duty

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:65-80 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. (66) Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. (67) His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: (68) “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. (69) He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (70) (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), (71) salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us– (72) to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, (73) the oath he swore to our father Abraham: (74) to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (75) in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (76) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, (77) to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, (78) because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven (79) to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (80) And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Earlier is this gospel of Luke, we read how an angel had appeared to Zachariah, telling him that he would have a son in his old age. And now the words of the angel have been fulfilled and John – who we know as John the Baptist – has been born. Due to the supernatural significance surrounding his birth, people wondered what would come of him, what his purpose was going to be. Clearly God was with him and going to be with him.

In a time of Roman oppression and with a few failed coups speckling the past, maybe it was that the people were thinking, were wondering, if this child – John – was the one whom had been prophesied would come to set the captives free, set Israel free and restore her to her rightful inheritance. Maybe it was that the people were thinking, were whispering, “Could this be the Messiah?”

And when we read Zechariah’s prophecy, we nearly want to say yes! For he speaks of God now having come and redeemed His people; and he speaks of being saved from their enemies; and he speaks of God remembering and restoring His covenant. For a moment, people might be forgiven for thinking that Zechariah was indeed speaking, prophesying, about his son John.

But he’s not! You see, verse 69 shows us that the first portion of this prophetic utterance is related to a descendant of David. And Luke 1 vs. 5 shows us that both Zechariah and Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They are thus not of the line of David. So, the first half of Zechariah’s prophecy is not related to his son John.

The second half of Zechariah’s prophecy is however related to his son. Zechariah has remained faithful to what he believes, knows, John’s calling to be as given to him by the angel in Luke 1 vs. 17. He prophecies over John in vs. 76, that he is to “go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” THAT is John’s call of duty. THAT is going to be his work. THAT is what his father will be preparing him for.

And that is Zechariah’s duty – a father’s duty: to remain faithful to what God has laid upon his heart for his children and to help prepare them for what God has called them to be.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

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