Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Another interesting quote...

“According to the early Christians, the church doesn’t exist in order to provide a place where people can pursue their private spiritual agendas and develop their own spiritual potential. Nor does it exist in order to provide a safe haven in which people can hide from the wicked world and ensure that they themselves arrive safely at an otherworldly destination..." — N.T. Wright

This quote certainly got me thinking when it appeared on my social media feed this week!

As a Pastor, I am constantly looking at what sort of Church I am leading, where I sense God is leading us, and desperately trying (sometimes very inadequately) to lead us towards God's goals for us. I am painfully concerned about getting as many of us there as possible.

Over the last nearly 10 years I have been asked many questions from believers about our Church and whether it is suitable for them.
Here is a small sample...
"When will you do something about?..."
"Why don't you preach on such and such because it is the most important subject?"
And my all time favourite (I am being sarcastic)
"What do you have for me?"

Personally I think the Church is a great place to discover, learn and grow in your gifting's whatever they are.
It can be a respite from the world many battle with each week.
But it doesn't exist just for you and exclusively for those things.

When we view the Church as a place of spiritual business merely there to provide spiritual gifts and services to us, the inevitable conclusion of that goal is total frustration. 
Have seen it too many times in so many people.

God uses the Church for His glory.
What He does and when He does it is based on His timing, not ours.
In fact when I think of the Church I see it as an amazing God based design, like a living and breathing entity, one where I can give and receive from consistently. 
Just as I breath in and out. So the Church gives and I give to it.
Just imagine for a moment if I only breathed out - I would asphyxiate!
Imagine if I only breathed in - I would explode!

The same writer goes on to say...

"Private spiritual growth and ultimate salvation come rather as the byproduct of the main, central overarching purpose for which God has called and is calling us … That through the church God will announce to the world that he is indeed its wise, loving and just creator; that through Jesus he has defeated the powers that corrupt and enslave it; and that by his Spirit he is at work to heal and renew it.”N.T. Wright

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Not the enemy

When Mary & Joseph ended up having to travel to a remote village to register in a census you could argue their circumstances weren't the best, but ultimately they were the best.
Travelling heavily pregnant and not getting to book accomodation ahead of time was all part of the tricky circumstances they faced.
Maybe they had conversations about how trying their circumstances were and whether God had it right?
They actually fulfilled prophecy that they were probably blissfully unaware of.
And it meant they were in the right place for God's best.

I think sometimes we treat our circumstances as our enemy...
But what if your circumstances are actually working for you more than against you?
What if they are bringing you to a better destination, even if the road is a bit more bumpy than you would choose for yourself?

Doesn't God promise to be with us, look after us and more?

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23 nlt

My friend, please know that if you are doing whatever you can to faithfully live for Christ, that everything, and I mean everything is exactly the way it needs to be.
God has a planned your steps and is leading to the best place possible for your life!

Something to think about...