Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Church is Terrible!

I have to admit that when someone critiques my Church or the Church in general I have to be very careful.
There is a part of me that gets defensive.
It is easy to want to bite back to some claims levelled at us in general.

This happened again to me very recently where someone was pointing out their case for where 'the Church' has failed.
I prayed under my breath, did my best to hold my nerve, and spoke at the same time as I was trying to learn.
I am first to admit the Church, even my Church has areas where we are weak and even fail.
But I am also adamant that the Church, and my Church, have done more good than bad over a lifetime.

I was shocked to see a conference being promoted today on how to be a bad Christian, as though it was the new revelation on how to be one?
The speaker list includes people burned by their christian experiences, others are affirmed atheists, another lives in a way that is opposite to how scripture teaches us - and they are speaking on the relevance of using scripture...
This is not going to fix the issues we have!
But our issues aren't as big as the God we serve and what good He has done in and through His people for generations.

We are allowed ask hard questions of ourselves.
Others are allowed to do the same.
Maybe we need to apply grace and truth to that process even more purposefully.

Here's a couple of thoughts/points to ponder...

"Put a bunch of sinners saved by grace together and you don't instantly get perfection"
You naturally get the opposite.

Churches generally are groups of people at different stages and places in their journey, mixed with others wrestling with it or even new to it.
Throw a sex addict into this place with a puritan and see what happens.
Throw a thief in this place...
Throw a liar, a racist, a cheat, a well into the mix.
After many decades of being part of God's amazing Church I love the fact I have seen amazing transformations, lasting transformers happen with Christ and His Church.
We are messy yes - but we are also always believing for something supernatural to change our natural.

"When people meet and Jesus is not the centre, you get drama, you potentially even get abuse"

I have seen renewal and restorations of relationships that were an utter disaster.
And I have seen people accuse each other of satan worship and worse if there is anything worse.
I have seen powerful moments of ministry where someone is healed or changed before our eyes.
And I have seen others curse each other in the middle of a worship time.
Love one, loathe the other with a passion.
A common denominator for me is the presence of or absence of Jesus being the centre, as to the outcome.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says something about this that is pretty key for me personally and the Church...
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

There is a process we are part of that God is orchestrating.
He is transforming us step by step into a glorious bride for Him to come and collect one day soon.
Let's let Him do that work...

Romans 12:2 tells us that God is transforming our minds, our thinking.
Let's let Him continue that work...

Matthew 5:48 shares Gods ultimate goal for you and the Church...perfection.
Let's let Him achieve that goal...

Philippians 3:12-14 explains the concept of not being perfect yet, but doing all we can with Jesus as the centre to give us the best shot of making it...

I love the Church and all its flaws because of the flawed people involved.
I want it and us to alway strive to be better.
I am believing for the Church to continue to grow up, reach out and thrive.
And I am committed to only having Jesus at the centre!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Gospel according to Marie Condo

In my decades alive I have seen many popular ideas arise, trends that come on very quickly...and then disappear again sometimes just as fast...
Right now the name Marie Condo is appearing all over the place.
If you haven't heard of her, she is mega popular right now selling the idea of an organised and decluttered home bringing ultimate peace to your life.

I did my own research. Watched her show.
Researched her background.
Actually I could only watch one episode of her TV programme...
At the moment this lady prayed to the house and thanked it for its service she lost me.
Now I am not against being grateful for the roof over my head. It is just the roof didn't put itself there. I believe God had more to do with that...

My wife loves her rolling up and colour coding the t-shirts, I guess I can live with that?
And we all like the idea of less clutter being good for us emotionally and practically.
Those parts are all cool and harmless.

But can I encourage you to seek peace for your life and home from an even higher source than Marie? Supernatural peace supersedes the fad of decluttering.
God wants to bring peace to your life and home even if the socks don't match, or your kids are a mess, or you haven't folded the washing in many many days.

Just my thoughts and something to think about...

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace 
at all times and in every way. 
The Lord be with all of you. 
2 Thessalonians 3:16 niv

May the God of hope fill you with all joy 
and peace as you trust in him, 
so that you may overflow with hope 
by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:13 niv

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Check yourself

Watch your life and doctrine closely. 
Persevere in them, because if you do, 
you will save both yourself and your hearers. 
1 Timothy 4:16 niv

A very influential Church Leader is being reported to have told his people to not worry about the 10 commandments. According to his recent sermon he sites different New Testament passages to back his thoughts.
Many are expressing concern over his doctrine.

An article I read recently expressed well something I have noticed recently, where many people (especially the young) make sweeping statements about Jesus, how He behaved, how He sees life for us, that bears no resemblance to the Jesus in the Gospels.

I personally thinks Pauls charge to Timothy applies to all and for all time.
You have to be very conscientious with your life and doctrine.
You have to be wary of your own propensity to self justify based on many factors.

Can I encourage you to do some of this?
Keep checking yourself against the teachings of Christ.
Keep being discipled and lead by someone over you (no matter how experienced you might believe you are).
Keep studying Jesus from scripture, what He said, what He is saying to you, and let it challenge and stir you.
As Paul soberly mentions elsewhere, others before us have 'shipwrecked their faith' and 'pierced themselves with many griefs', and that is such a waste!

Let's help each other. 
Let's remind ourselves to measure ourselves against what is right and true and 'biblical' - even if it grates us or offends us.
I would rather God challenge the very soul of me than miss the mark one more day.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Does anyone notice?

I have issued a challenge to myself and our Church to read the whole of the Bible through in one year. Totally believing it will change our lives in 2019 doing this together...

So far I have been right on track with the plan.
Today I was excited to check out the YouVersion app and see my achievement graphically represented. It would mean anyone viewing my profile would see how well I was doing.
As I type this I recognise how prideful this kind of is, but that is not my point today.

I was struck by the fact no one would know I was on track possibly because my streak was not registering for 'perfect weeks'.
Would people think less of me?
Do I keep going if the graphics don't show how awesome I am doing? (Yes I am)

I think sometimes we wonder if anyone notices the good things we do?
It can bother us that in hindsight no one seemed to notice and care. Part of our make up to some degree is this need to be noticed, to have recognition. And yes, taken too far is very dangerous for us on a number of levels.

I was reminded today that no matter what I do in life and especially for the Kingdom of God, God will also see, He will always notice, He will always recognise.
Scripture teaches us that God sees what was done in secret and in fact rewards it.
Jesus in Matthew 6 teaches us to:
Give in secret.
Pray in secret.
Fast in secret.

Please know what you do matters to God.
Even if no one recognises it and acknowledges it, you have a fan in God today.
God promises us to reward us for our Kingdom work.
Maybe it is indeed better if no one sees what you do?

Something to think about...