Monday, 8 March 2010

Have A Break

I'm going to have a break from blogging.

There are a number of reasons.

Two and half years ago I became tee-total. It was a journey of discovery in terms of breaking down idols and learning to worship God in deeper and more committed ways. Alcohol was something that had a strong grip over my life and I felt God calling me to give this idol up. I named this desire to drink 'The Beast':

You know when you want something. When you really REALLY want something. All you can think about is this thing that you want. It is always on your mind. You think of ways in which you can get it. Sometimes you know your desire for it is unhealthy, then in the next thought you rationalise it and convince yourself that it is normal to desire something this much. Sometimes your desire for it subdues, and life goes on as normal, but deep down, in the depths, this desire still burns, still rages and you wonder how you will ever live with this desire unless you feed it. Sometimes you mange to feed it but the next day it is hungry again, still raging within...and so it goes on. This is 'The Beast'. It wants to consume me. Lord help.

The reason I'm writing about this is because I have noticed the subtle way my desire for alcohol has transferred onto the internet. So I'm checking my blog a lot, reading other people's blogs and spending my time like this. I've noticed that it's starting to have an impact on my prayer life and spiritual health, so it is a problem. Therefore I'm going to have a break from all things blog. I need to have a spiritual workout.

Not sure when I'll start up again, if at all. Have to see how it goes.

Thanks for reading my blog. Good to meet new people through this.

God Bless you all.

'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

Friday, 5 March 2010

Transforming Mission

An excerpt from a recent essay of mine.

'David Bosch argues in Transforming Mission that the ‘bourgeois church of the West’[1] has a flawed understanding of the Incarnation and therefore has an ‘idealist understanding of itself.’[2] This in turn has led it to no longer takes sides and identify itself to a particular group, and in doing so has lost its identity completely. Whereas Jesus is seen as the One who identifies with the marginalized and oppressed, wearily walking the dusty roads of Palestine and finding solidarity with victims, the church in the West has refused to engage in its communities in such a way and has therefore lost its relevance.[3] The Christian faith, argues Bosch, is ‘intrinsically incarnational’[4]and therefore, unless it chooses otherwise, should always enter into the reality and culture and context it finds itself in. For those in India an alternative community is one that seeks to bring the future hope of the Kingdom to become a reality in their lives today through an incarnational approach. This can happen through holistic healing enabling people to be set free from the poverty and oppression they find themselves in....Without doubt the cultures in which the Indian church and Western church finds themselves in are vastly different. The expression of incarnational mission will look different because the cultures are so different, yet the principles are the same and can be applied in both scenarios. The Indian church understands and practices incarnational mission in such a way that it is an integral part of who they are and it seems to be something that the Western church in the 21st Century is struggling to understand and put into practice. Indeed, it may be that the Western church has not yet validly asked the question of itself about incarnational mission. The rise of Café church, emerging church and fresh expressions of church could be seen as a grappling with this question, about how its mission is to be expressed in the 21st Century. Yet it seems to this writer that incarnational mission for the Western church is very much still off the radar and whether or not it ever comes on the radar remains to be seen.

‘We need to hit the road again. We are people of the Way, and our path lies before us, inviting us into a new future in which we are permitted to shape and participate.’[5]

[1] Bosch, D.J., Transforming Mission p 513

[2] Ibid

[3] See Bosch, D.J., Transforming Mission p 512-513

[4] Bosch, D.J., Transforming Mission p 191

[5] Hirsch, Alan, The Forgotten Ways, p241

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Kingdom Work

A current debate taking place on this blog is in regard to the campaign to get a Christian song to number one for Easter. As I have blogged before, I do not believe it is a relevant campaign to be involved in for Christians because I do not believe it is actually doing anything for the sake of the Gospel or the Kingdom.

There are some, probably many, who completely disagree with me when I say that I do not see this campaign as Kingdom work.

I see Kingdom work about bringing heaven to earth and seeing God's Kingdom working itself out in the here and now. I see it most powerfully when the poor and oppressed, widows and orphans, powerless and abused are cared for, given a voice, fed, clothed, healed, restored and given new hope. Right there I see the Kingdom of God at work.

I see Kingdom work when brokenness is redeemed, hurting is healed, hopelessness transformed into hope.

I see the Kingdom at work when people, whose lives have been oppressed and turned into ash trays, find their lives redeemed and their ash trays turned into crowns.

I see the Kingdom when the Church fights for justice, peace, reconciliation and new life.

I see the Kingdom when Jesus is in our midst calling us to the way of the Cross. This is the Way I believe we have been called, so please, can we stop being side tracked and can we walk the Way of Jesus...

Monday, 1 March 2010

Creation Was Never Perfect

In my sermon yesterday morning I shared on the idea that God did not create the world perfect.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, I do not believe that God created the world 'perfect', rather, it was created 'good' with a goal of perfection. Creation therefore was on a journey of 'eschatological perfection', or in other words, creation had a future goal that it was heading towards. Creation was on a journey to become something better than it is now, something it has never been. Sin however disorientated this goal and rather than creation journeying towards something better, it journeyed away from that which God intended.

The death and resurrection of Jesus restores creations goal. He is the One who enables all of creation to become what God has always desired it to become. Christ humbled himself and became nothing in order that he may be exalted to the highest place by God (Philippians 2:6-11). This journey of ascending and descending is also in order that Jesus may fill the whole universe (Ephesians 4:8-9) and have the supremacy (Colossians 1:15-20). In other words, all of creation, humanity included, has a goal to be 'in Christ' and share in the 'divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4)

This idea is first seen in the work by Irenaeus (Born in the first half of the 2nd Century) who sees creation journey towards a future perfection rather than being returned to one. It makes sense to understand creation and redemption to be intrinsically combined. The Cross is not simply about forgiveness because God can forgive without the Cross. Rather, the Cross is in order that the consequences of our sin, this disorientation away from our goal in Christ, is dealt with and we can once again journey towards our God intended goal.

Therefore we have a responsibility within our communities to point them towards something better, to model this future goal, to declare that something better is on the way but we can taste and glimpse it now. Something better and more glorious than has ever been is on its way! This is good news! And this is all because of Jesus who died and rose again, the One who will enable all things to become what they should be, to become something better than they are now.