Tag Archives: on

Letting Go Of The Church, Holding On To The King

The other week I became quite despondent about the reality of the church, as yet again I prepared for a christening for a family more interested in the party afterwards! It was not so much that I was despondent about them, but more so at my effectiveness or lack off in encouraging them to walk with Jesus.

As a church and churches we are waking-up, to the reality that the church is in decline, there is a worry as we awaken and stumble around a bit figuring out what to do, as someone might just as they get out of bed still half asleep. That it might already be too late!

I do not want it to be too late, but too often, we as churches take potshots at each other, are focused inward, or do things over and over that haven’t worked in a very long time! Its then I wonder if we can change, become truly reinvigorated and renewed.

In once sense we can’t, because we need the Holy Spirit, to be that renewing agent. The disciples of Jesus saw church in a different way. Rather than being centred in one place all one building they were itinerant, but they were itinerant as church leaders enabling those in particular contexts, to flourish, to develop their expression of church. That expression of church no doubt was influenced by Jewish temple worship, but also to openness too what the spirit of God was doing in their midst.

The cynics and doomsayers, might see the fall of the church and what follows, as being a desolate wasteland, of buildings once used for prayer turned into furniture stores, lavish houses, or bulldozed altogether from existence. So these people rightly will say where is the Church? The church has become invisible, ceased to exist.

However the church of Christ, the kingdom of God, isn’t corporeal, it is spiritual, that spirituality is what underpins our religious activity and in that sense therefore the church cannot die out if it is in fact alive.

The church I am part off, has no building structure, no financial worries, no leaky roof! The church I am part of does not need to worry about the assessment, or the bell tower, it has one concern, discipleship, making disciples.

May we as a church and churches, as we stumble around, awaking from slumber to the reality of our situation. May we have one voice, one concern and focus on serving  God and in serving our primary activity be about making disciples of Jesus. May that action, not be based on some default template or copied from someone else but instead nuanced and flavoured by the spirit of God, alongside our own ideas and skills.

Making disciples to me is both Missional and evangelistic it is intentional about what we are about. And Missional as we enable the faithful and those without faith to step into walk with the living God.

So today let us take a long hard look at what we’re doing in the name of God, how we are serving him, alongside that of how we serve ourselves. May we be open to the spirits guidance, Challenge and leading, that we might continue to and enter into all that the Lord is calling us to, in the power of his resurrected son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

God Bless

Interesting links

Last week: http://godlifechurch.me/2015/06/08/unlikely-heroes-and-heroines/

On A Similar Theme:

Losing My Faith In Stone

Election 2015: Will the Church Please Stand Up.

Airplane Mode In 3.2.1…

Recently I took a trip back to the 1990’s! Where internet was slow and scarce and mobile data was infuriatingly slow. Yes you might have guessed it, I moved house and am having to wait weeks for the pure juiciness of the internet to be connected to the house.

During these weeks, I can be found intensely searching for the elusive golden number and letter of basic internet accessibility, that being 3G. My wife also joined this quest for internet, and found a spot in a corner of a wall in our house, next to the front door, on her knees. Here and here alone she can just get a whiff of 3G. As for myself, I found success in the cafés of Starbucks, Costa and Nero, but am unsure if I can or should charge the accompanying lattes and cookies consumed there to work or not!!

In this period of near internet isolation, certain apps have become more important to me, such as, signal strength permitting wordpress, and Facebook, but also Daily Bread (a christian devotional guide). I can’t access my usual app hangouts of YouTube, and flipboard because of a lack of signal strength. So I read the bible and devotional guide in Daily Bread, an Ipad app I hardly use despite having a yearly subscription, something I am not proud of.

When normal service resumes, which is the end of this week, and my devices are drinking from the fountain of the data highway. Along with myself consuming gigabytes of video and social media content, I hope that my devotional app doesn’t take a backseat but remains in contention with all the noise in my life. For it is this still small voice of God, that this app points to me towards, the voice in my life that should be louder than the bleep of a message landing in my inbox or the wolf whistle of a tweet, or the stats page of this blog.

In this slight blackout the world didn’t end, life continued, I had more time to chat to others, and even felt a bit more in control of my life. As my devices were silenced from their collective demands for my attention.

The lack of internet has brought a new level of quietness to my life. I was no longer chained to my devices in the same way, and had space to listen for what the Lord is saying to me. Especially important as I take up a new church leadership position.

I hope I have learnt a valuable lesson in these few weeks. Perhaps an out working of that is that I might go unplugged sometimes. Instead plugging myself into what the Lord of creation the God that speaks to us is saying and calling me towards, something none of us need good signal strength for.

So my dear reader, let us consider how to reduce the data noise in our lives, and choose to intentionally switch on airplane mode more often. Not just that we fly with God more often and soar with him, in away that allows us to really live and see our lives differently. Moreover that by switching to airplane mode, we become more present in the now, of that person closest to us who wants and deserves our attention.

So on 1 if you are able let’s flip that switch, 3.2 (see you next week) 1…

IMG_5050.JPG

The Self Sufficiency Lie

PostImage_VirginHolidays_TropicalIsland-1

My dream island would look something like the picture above, peaceful, with beautiful beaches and the bliss of doing nothing but relax, catch some fish to eat on a log fire and then go back to relaxing not needing anything from anyone, being in two words self sufficient. Something we all work hard at being whether on an island or in an office.

Being self sufficient is so appealing, its more than financial stability, but that outward posture of being “fine”,”great” or as one of my congregation says Champion even when he has quietly had a hospital visit for an operation!

Perhaps you have seen the movie About A Boy where a character played by Hugh Grant believes that man is an island, much like the above picture, calm, knows what he is about. Yet as Hugh’§s character discovers, ultimately he is utterly alone as much as this island is alone, a small dot in an ocean and is a place fairly inaccessible with limited access too outside amenities.

People in all walks of life pressent to the world and God an image of self sufficiency, and if they are inquired upon usually say ” I’m fine”, “great” or “I’m champion.”

How many of us including myself find that if we are unsure of something, like a spelling or a technical question, we don’t ask a human for fear of ridicule or embarrassment. Instead our goto places can be, Apples Siri or google search, they don’t point jokes at our lack of understanding or learning and they can’t knock our fragile egos. So our self sufficient veneer remains intact.

This strategy works to a point, but (dare I say it?) Siri makes mistakes, the IOS dictation software is totally inconsistent and even google makes errors! Within all this God sees us, sees me, trying to waffle my way through, choosing other words in this post because the dictation software is not that great and I cannot spell it, no matter how much I shout the word at the screen.

The song by Mat Redman The Heart Of Worship sums it up, when all is said and done, we come as we are before God, with all pretence and tricks to succeed stripped away. Are you willing to be rather than self sufficient, reliant on God, on the help of good friends and colleagues. Or my wife who checks my mistakes when I write stuff, not because I am insufficient or stupid, but because she loves me and wants to help me in an area of weakness.

Let’s foster an atmosphere wherever we are, whether in our family or work, where we allow each other to admit to when they are not great at something, without ridicule or laughter or causing them personal embarrassment and shame. and find ways to enable that person, rather than forcing them or me to scuttle behind our facade of self sufficiency,

Take a look at this link to the song The Heart Of Worship and spend some time with the Lord on the areas of self sufficiency in your lives.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BvXi1JACxQ&index=18&list=PLFF54yto1k3QUOvEs7zqCX7Zntd9qwJfG

Prayer Time

God, help me to be less self sufficient and more reliant on you, and those you have put in my life to bless me. Finally Lord help me to have the grace to help others in need without judgement but because of love.

Amen

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: