Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm a guest blogger (again!)

I've been asked to be a guest blogger again. I wrote a piece on the second 'Deep Church' lecture, on tolerance, and it has been posted on the 'Deep Church' blog. Click on the title above to go to the article.

There will be one more to come, and then I'll be elaborating a bit more on what I've learned here.

Trust me, it will make interesting and challenging reading.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Put Jesus where He belongs

In the celebrity culture we live in, its easy to put people on pedestals, isn't it?

Think about it. If we're really honest, all of us catch ourselves unwittingly wishing we were someone else. That we looked like someone else, that we had someone else's abilities, someone else's skills, someone else's position.

Of course, that's not right.

Not that we can't have role models. Not that we can't admire and learn from those who are further on that us, who have something to teach. That's fine. But just don't put them on that pedestal. Don't make having their position or being like them your goal.

Make worshipping Jesus and living like Him your goal, your aim, you most passionate desire.


Truly worshipping Jesus. Giving all the glory and praise to Him and wanting to be like Him and live liked He lived. Looking to His example in every situation in life. Wanting to have the same attitudes, same perspectives and live the same way. Being desperate to follow His example.

Making it our goal to be like Him, wherever we go, because He is the perfect example of how to live like God wants us to. Constantly looking at how he lived and trying to follow that example in the place and time we live now. Where we work. Where we hang out. Whatever we do. Always looking for ways to become more like Him. Pursuing Him with passion, zeal and enthusiasm. Being open to hear Him speak into our lives.

If we all do that, if we worship with our lives, at the foot of Jesus, He humbly steps down from that pedestal and helps us along that path, He shows us more of Himself and we have intimacy and closeness with Him.

If we put Jesus on that pedestal, want to be like Him and devote ourselves to that, then our lives and the lives of others can be changed for good.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

God's surprise

Today I experienced something incredible.

Something happened which upset me, which exposed all the pain of my past. Suddenly I was quite angry, and totally taking it out on God.

I lost count of the number of times I said 'it's not fair' like a little child. But boy I was so angry. God seemed distant, it was like He didn't care, wasn't involved and didn't listen. I felt like I didn't matter. I blamed Him for all the 'problems' in my life.

I wanted encouragement, I wanted Him to say something. Something positive and encouraging and constructive. Something to give me hope. I wanted an answer. Now.

I then read my e-mails, which strangely enough I hadn't read for a couple of days - very unlike me. I found one from a close friend of mine, who encouraged me about something I was losing faith in and losing confidence in. Just when I needed it. It was like God whispering something in my ear very quietly when I least expected it. I sensed God's foresight, grace, love and sense of humour.

The e-mail, you see, had been sent two days previously.

I was already on the way to calming down before I read it, but reading that saw a peace descend on me and I calmed down. I saw it from God's perspective. He knew this rant was coming, and somehow knew I wouldn't read my e-mails till that moment - when I needed it the most. It was almost like an answer to prayer before the prayer was prayed.

I sensed God had a wry smile on His face as He watched my reaction. He knew i wouldn't read this e-mail till that day. He knew the impact it would have if I read it at the right time, rather than when in a good mood that Friday.

He was in control. He is in control.

Its so reassuring to know there's a God who's involved in every part of our lives. A God who can see our childish rants for what they are and yet still answers and meets our need, sometimes long before we even see it.

I'm so fortunate. We are.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No other answer

I was thinking today about our relationship with God. Thinking about how we are all in relationship with God, its just that some aren't aware of it, or aware He's there waiting for them. Someone who's being unfaithful to Him.

If we're a follower of Jesus, then we are aware of it. We know God and want to know Him. We want to be like Jesus, live like Jesus.

One simple truth stuck with me.

That if everyone in the world were in tune with God, all of us were living each day as Jesus lived and following His example, all of us being obedient and consumed with Him rather than being consumers, then there would be no problems in the world.

Equality, justice, peace, joy, harmony. Everyone together, living, serving, and blessing each other and not concerned with themselves.

God wants us to live like Jesus. He wants us to follow His example.

If someone asks me now what I think could solve all the problems in the world, I have one simple answer.

If every single person submitted themselves 100% to Jesus - including Christians.

If we displayed the love, compassion, charity, humility, servant-heartedness and obedience that he did, if we act like He did, if we do the modern equivalent to what He did - everyone - then the world would be a much better place.

Such a simple answer, yet so few see it.

Jesus is the answer, but we need to choose Him first, we need to pose the question and not be afraid of what the consequences of the answer are.

Like when Jesus asked the sick beggar, "Do you want to be healed?" You think that's a simple question? If you're sick, can't work, have no skills and know nothing except a life begging, then to have health would mean a life of work, of effort, of commitment. Something that you're not used to. It wasn't a simple answer. Just like committing yourself to Jesus isn't simple either.

Jesus don't make life easier. He makes it better. Living like Him brings God into the world and makes it more like He originally envisioned it to be.

There's no other answer to the problems of the world.