Thursday, June 29, 2006

Have you ever sat back and wondered if we have got it right?
I am talking about this thing called 'church'...

I believe this is a valid questions for every generation, especially in the time we live.

Erwin McManus explains this really well in his book An Unstoppable Force.
He talks about our current generations being so different from each other.
When you compare them and attitudes from the 1800-1900's it is striking! It wasn't uncommon in past centuries to wear the same type of clothes your father or grand father wore. You were also comfortable with the same music and lifestyles.
Now we are normally poles apart. I personally do not want to wear the same style of clothing my father wears, let alone listen to his music.

With that in mind, we need to explore 'church' for this generation.
What is important?
What should it look like?
How will future generations look at it?

I don't want to assume that 'church' based on another generations model is right for us now.
I want to think, ponder and understand.

I want to take the good from the past but push on for the better that God has for us now!
Let's not be afraid to wrestle until we find God for our generation now!

Starting in July at Cafe Church we are exploring this in depth.
Looking at the early christian church you read in the Book of Acts.
Learning from them, but applying to the world we find ourselves.

Should make for an interesting journey!
Keep watching this space...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We live in a western world where 'war' is a dirty little word.
Where 'war' is something that should be avoided at all costs!
Since the 1960’s the ultimate goal of each western generation has seemed be something they call peace.
Because that call has been around for over 40 years and become embedded in our culture, there is an interesting unspoken philosophy in church circles that the ultimate goal of our lives right now is peace. With peace is the blessing of God.
But that doesn't line up with what I read in the Bible.
Yes, we should be at peace with each other, but not completely at peace.

Jesus said some interesting things...

Matthew 10:34
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Luke 22
35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
"Nothing," they answered.
36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one"

This doesn’t sound like things should always be about peace!
In fact, the Bible makes it very clear that there will be seasons for battles, for wars in our lifetime.

Judges 3:1-2
These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):

God knows we need to learn to fight.
What we fight for will mean something too us. What we don't have to fight for, we can take for granted!

If you haven’t guessed it, this is a call to fight!
For some of us it is simply a reminder
For others it is something new.

2 Chronicles 6:34-35
"When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause."

So the expectation is when not if

So who are you supposed to be fighting?

Eph 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

There are things, forces, the devil even out there to destroy you.
It is one thing to become a disciple it is another to get involved in the fight.

The last thing the devil wants for you now is to fight. If he can keep you bound up and scared, or even tired and cynical…they you don’t pose much of a threat.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

God has given us weapons to fight with…
And the most powerful one you have is your mouth!
With your tongue you can build up and you pull down.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil he used his mouth! He spoke the world of God and he overcame.
He didn’t just study it or even just understand it. He used it!

God is not looking at our generation and wanting us to enjoy peace at all costs.
Just like previous generations, we have a battle that only we can fight.
Whatever you are facing please fight. Fight for what God has for you!
Open your mouth and declare what God has spoken, what God has promised.
Stand and Fight.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Recently I have had the privilege of sharing with some people what we believe as Christians - as disciples.
You know, the very basics of our faith. Stuff that you can build on.
Now they tell me as we talk and study that they are learning a lot...but I am learning just as much, or should I say reminding myself?

From all that a phrase popped up that intrigued me.
It went along the lines of...'Christ needs to be the centre of who we are and what we do'

Step back from a phrase like this and ask why?

God is amazing in that he arranges simple teaching and instruction for us, not just to tell us what to do, but to benefit us greatly.
Christ being the centre is exactly the same. The why questions helps clarify the how.
When Christ is the centre, when he truly is the means we don't get caught up in dumb stuff.

As a guy I can be very focused on things I like!I love playing American Football on my XBOX. To the point that it takes up all my focus and I sometimes don't see other things around me.
When Christ is your focus and you really focus...all the other issues in life can seem a little different.
The problems that you may be facing might not take over your thinking so much. They even might be put into a better perspective.

The Bible encourages us to "fix our eyes on Jesus".
Why? Because it is the best thing to do!
Without it you can get distracted by other things that don't matter as much.

The Book of Revelation mentions several times about Jesus being "in the centre" and everything else revolving around him.
This picture of heaven showes where Christ should be for us personally and as the church.
With Christ as the centre of our lives everything else will fit into heavens plan.

...let's fix our eyes on him again...