Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why aren't some Christians more 'Christ-like'?

I read a similar question in my Facebook feed and I knew I just wanted to click on it.
That is a title that stirs my interest!

When someone does something on purpose or even inadvertently to someone else that is wrong, you regularly hear the comment "I thought they were a Christian..."
During discussions over major issues in the world today some say "if you were really a follower of Christ..." to mean you need sometimes to change your ideas to theirs.

While the ultimate goal of anyone following Jesus here on earth is to spend eternity with Him, what should our goal be now? What should we be attaining to, reaching for, goal setting for, going after with passion? And the answer for me is always Jesus!
Jesus over religion.
Jesus over rights.
Jesus over ambition.
Jesus over being right.
The list goes on until we become I believe more and more "Christ like".
Less of me and far more of Him!

The only person I think you can potentially make more Christ like is yourself.
After 2000 years of people trying to make others more and more like Jesus, I have observed it is pretty hard. In fact following Jesus for yourself is hard let alone trying to make someone else do it.

Jesus summed it up for us I believe in a few key statements.

30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 niv
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21 niv

If you and I simply read Jesus words in the Gospels for the rest of lives and did them, you will not fail to be more Christ like.
That is a formula for your faith that you can bank on.
It is about His revelation to your heart and in turn your heart turning to give it all for Him.

'Christ like' people are most definitely 'Christ like'.
That is where we got the original idea of being a 'Christian'. Some people saw a another group of people acting a lot like Jesus so they were termed 'Christian' - meaning little christ. (Acts 11)

Can I encourage to join me on this most privileged and honourable journey and become more and more 'Christ like'?
Where you and I just take Jesus at His word. Act like Him. Love like Him. Give like Him.
It will change your world and everyone else around you that you come into contact with!

Something to think about...

Christlike. /ˈkraɪstˌlaɪk/ adjective. resembling or showing the spirit of Jesus Christ. Christlikeness, noun.

If you want to read someone elses ideas on this, you can check it out here...
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/why-arent-more-christians-actually-more-christ-1#PGZGGsLGEu5McHsX.99

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Getting high on information"

I was driving along this week flicking through radio options and I caught part of a famous song called Californication by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Please don't stone me and no I not promoting it, it was just on, I heard a line from the song, and it got me thinking...

"...getting high on information..."

It is talking very briefly about a young pregnant lady, sitting at a computer screen, being bombarded with information. That the amount of it is like a drug to her, making her experience something like being high.

We all have a propensity to look for things to fill in the gaps we perceive in our lives. And when we over do them, become obsessed with them, maybe even become addicted them, they in turn can become a drug to us.
I know so many people now not addicted to actually drugs, but in discovering everything they can that is going on in the world, true and untrue. It doesn't actually matter when you are lost in the information addiction. As long as you get a fix - then that is all the matters.

As someone doing my best everyday to follow Jesus and all that implies, too much information from too many sources has never helped me.
I know some argue that we need to keep open minded, but the tipping point for me is when my mind is flooded and it literally is washing away any good thing that was there for me...

Scripture tells me simple things I can understand like :
Be wise - on what on what I let into my life.
Be careful - on what I look at.
Be measured - on how much 'things' influence me.

Can I encourage you to consider for a moment whether you are addicted to too much information?
I am the first to admit that it has been an issue for me personally.
Simplify your life and your faith in Christ and leave the noise behind.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

How many voices?

I discovered this a while ago and felt I should maybe talk a little about it today.
The reason why it is a big deal for me is that I am by nature a people pleaser. I want to please people so have in the past been swayed backwards and forwards to try and keep the masses happy with me.
And in case you didn't know...it doesn't work!

Because of this character flaw I have had to learn a lesson that I think most of us could gain from?
You need to work out how many voices you want to listen to?

Every week I am flooded with voices telling us the right and wrong way to live, to function as a husband, to follow Jesus, to lead a Church, to stay fit...hundreds of them.
Facebook, newsfeeds, blogs, books, random people approaching me...it can be so dang confusing if you let it become that way.

When I have people ask for counsel over big decisions, a reoccurring theme is that they are confused. Not always over how hard the choice they maybe facing is, but because there are normally too many voices, too many opinions swaying them backwards and forwards.

For me I break it down like this :

1/ What is Jesus saying?
... he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4 niv

The picture here means a lot to me personally. I am following Jesus who is always leading the way to where He wants me to be. And all along that following journey He is actually speaking. It is a voice I am designed to hear.
I ask myself regularly "what is Jesus saying about _____". That influences me greatly!

2/ What are my advisors saying?
Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. Proverbs 15:22 nlt

We aren't designed to live life successfully on our own. We need the right voices around us giving us the right advice at the right time. There are a few people who fit this role for me and I am very picky about who they are.
I only have advisers who have my best interest at heart.
If someone trying to give me advice based on their agenda I switch off real real fast.
I am also challenged when I read this proverb to ask the next logical question for me, how advisers are the right number of advisers?
I believe it isn't specific on purpose. It is probably different for most of us. You just need to go on a journey of discovering who those people should be. Asking Jesus to help is a good starting point!
My best advice though is to keep the list a short as practically possible. It is advisers, meaning plural and never a crowd.

So if you are reading this and you are really struggling with the noise around your life, maybe some of this will help you today?
Ask how many voices you should have in your life?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Be careful how you label yourself

I have come to observe the ever growing danger of labelling ones self...
And I am not talking about the tradition positive or negative labels of being good looking or ugly, fat or skinny, cool or a loser. I am talking about those cultural and philosophical labels of left or right, conservative or liberal, trump or hillary...

When I was a kid people used to be really clear on where they stood.
My Dad was a staunch National Party support. Right of centre is the only way. Based on a bygone tradition, that is the direction I should go in as well.

But the world to me looks different then, to now.
Now you can be a conservative with liberal leanings.
Straight but promoting bysexuality.
A radical feminist but posting on Facebook how much you need a man in your life.

Some months ago a group of people protested something called the TPPA. It incensed them so much they marched, they posted hate messages and end of the world as we know it messages on Facebook. Then some of those people got angry when President Trump got elected.
Now here is where it gets sticky. This president they hate got rid of what they hated. And those people went quiet...
The labels didn't work any longer...

Before I upset some of my very passionate and politically polar readers too much, this is my position.
While I have some opinions, my label for my life, philosophy, political, culture and more is so wrapped up in following Jesus - that being a follower of Jesus is the most important to me.

27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28-28 niv

Ideas on left verses right come and go for many over a lifetime.
Positions change very fluidly as life and experience take hold...
But one thing I do is this...I don't spend my time focusing on what label to wear except that I belong to Christ.
He is my label and He is my identity.

Something to think about...