Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Jesus Relevance and Politics

Wow, just wow...
All around the world I am seeing this amazing move of engagement in politics.
I am old enough to have noticed a change since my first days of voting in a general election here in New Zealand. With the new platforms that social media have brought us, I believe the number of people saying what they think has grown dramatically.
And they are saying it loudly.

Here is my angle today...
I am a firm believer that as a follower of Christ, a disciple, I need to do what I can to copy my Saviour.
When Jesus was here some 2000 years a go there were politics, they had social upheaval worse than many of us face, He faced pressures to speak out on those issues and more.
I am disturbed many times when I see other believers seemingly acting nothing like Jesus and saying Jesus supports their actions. While that may upset some readers, I am more concerned with us discovering the relevance of Jesus to our world and in particular our political engagement.

Now to offend maybe some more of you...
After studying Jesus life and ministry for many years, I have come to the conclusion He was ______.
I leave it blank on purpose.
I don't believe He was left, right, centre, populist, communist, republican or democrat.
He was here as He said "on His Fathers business", the business of getting people to see past politics to eternity and the Kingdom of God.
Jesus relevance was to bring heaven to every personal encounter.
Jesus didn't set up a political party but a world changing movement of like minded and hearted people. People who look past labels to helping people secure an eternal home in heaven.
Jesus was not a social justice warrior.
Jesus was not a political activist.
Jesus was and still is, the Son of God.

So my challenge to us all as we navigate our own personal political preferences and leanings, is to filter it through what our Saviour modelled.
He modelled compassion.
He modelled truth and grace in equal measure.
And he modelled laying down your own preference for the sake of others.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

When you are low God issues an invitation

I was struck by something I hadn't picked up on before in the story of Gideon over the weekend...
When we are introduced to Gideon it is actually at a bad time in his life (Judges 6).
He is feeling pretty bad about his place and station in life.
He is hiding. Some even believe that he was possibly depressed?

What does God do?
God turns up in the middle of his despair and speaks to him via an angel. And what God says and how He says it I think is very much important and something we can learn from.

God's response is not to simply pat him on the head spiritually and commiserate.
God speaks directly to who Gideon can be instead of who he currently considers himself to be.
God wants to lift Gideon out of that pit different to how he went in.
He tells him who He says that Gideon can be. Not ignoring Gideon's circumstances, but issuing a divine invitation to lift him up. To place him somewhere better. Offering a new way forward which carries favour from heaven.

If you are not in a good place right now, can I issue you an invitation to find out Gods new invitation to you?
Maybe take some time to seek Him in His Word?
Maybe seek out someone filled with the spirit of God to prophecy over your life?
You do not have to stay in any form of a pit.
Rise up you mighty man or women of God!!!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Not planning on graduating for a long time!

You might be wondering what I am referring to?
I thought the idea of study and learning in some field of endeavour was to graduate as quickly and efficiently as possible? Well might be true of things like becoming a doctor or a teacher etc but not how I see my living for Christ.

I have come to believe that I need to embrace the idea of being a perpetual student of Christ.
He is my teacher.
I am in His classroom.
And I aint leaving until He graduates me to heaven!

A disciple is not above his teacher, 
but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40 esv

I take my study personally and passionately.
I read scripture as much as I can and frustratingly I still don't read it enough.
I research themes and ideas for myself even researching what others have to say that make me a little uncomfortable at times. I want to know if I am right or wrong beyond my pride...
I study 'up'. Meaning a read and research to improve what needs growth in my life.
I am always asking Him to speak to me in any and every way.
I am not there yet but always pushing forward to be more and more like my teacher.

Can I encourage you today to dive into the classroom of life that Jesus has just for you?
Learn from Him. He will teach you at a pace and place that works best for you personally.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 esv

Religious people think they have already made it so they stop learning.
Their world continually shrinks and grace slips further and further from entrenched positions and postures.
Don't be like them. Be a perpetual student of Jesus.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Once upon a time I noticed a girl at Church

Once upon a time I noticed a girl at Church...
I had an idea that I would like to be with her and highly likely to marry her.

I schemed, planned and put in a lot of effort to win her as my bride.
I prayed a lot and talked to a few key leaders about it before setting course on winning her heart.

Step one was to infamously get a friend from work to invite her to our end of year Christmas function. My cunning plan was once she was there, I would eventually pluck up the courage to ask her to dance, she would fall in love with me, and the rest would be history.
Unfortunately my plan was as lame as when this is portrayed in the movies. When I finally asked her to dance she said no. And to make matters worse was given a ride home by another guy.

Did I give up at this point even though tempted through the disappointment?

I did other things over the many months this potential relationship was on my radar and in my heart.
I then got traditional with my tactics and invited her to see a movie.
She agreed to this one thank goodness! Can even still remember what we saw.
When she got sick I sent her a get well card under the guise of "pastoral care".
Yes I cared she was sick, but thought it might show my caring side and hopefully get her to like me a little more?
When New Years Eve came around I offered to give her a 'new years eve hug'.
Several days later all my praying and planning seemed to work.
We kissed for the very first time in a park by a tree. It was awesome!
Just over 2 months later we were engaged.
And at the end of that year after graduating Bible College, we got married.

So why am I telling you all this?
What is my point?

I wanted to be married to the girl so I put everything I could into it.
Half hearted would never win her heart.
Giving it a try and giving up at the first hurdle would achieve me nothing.
It took a dogged determination to win her and I think it was worth all the effort and ups and downs along the way.
I had to be fully immersed in the process to achieve what I was looking for.

I truly believe your relationship with Jesus should be the same.
You need a dodged determination. A passion to make it work, see it flourish and grow.
The Bible tells us that it takes loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
It is all or nothing. 'Full immersion' as I like to call it.
I am more than willing to give my all for my King! What about you?

Something to think about...