Active Gospel


Christian’s have far too many committees.

In fact we have so many of them its amazing we achieve anything at all.

case in point:  I have a friend that recently went to a church meeting  for a ‘team/committee’ at 10pm on a friday night. after recieving a text message to come to the meeting at 9pm,  This meeting was for a ‘committee’ that had met less than one week earlier, the meeting a week earlier had gone for 3 hours and had achieved nothing.

The question has to be asked how can you preach on a sunday about ‘going out in the world and making disciples’ and then have your weekly schedule look like this:

Monday – small group
Tuesday – worship meeting
Wednesday – nothing
Thursday – helping with the small group you lead
Friday – youth/young adults hang out session (because we have to have something that will keep us out of the world)
Saturday – nothing or hanging out with christian mates at night to watch a DVD
Sunday – church once or twice including service in someway e.g. worship team, childrens church, prayer ministry, coffee/tea etc.

 In fact many surveys have shown that because Christians tend to socialise within Christian circles their work colleagues, next door neighbours and non christian friends see very little of them and so are unable to form any meaningful relationships that don’t seem to be overtaken by christian activities.

On the other hand there are a large number of christians (normally single males – i know some of those reading this blog would dispute that) that don’t actually step up to leadership or serving within churches which means those who are serving within churches tend to have a heavier load which takes a greater amount of their time as there are less people willing to serve or lead.

Do your experiences mirror this i.e. are you involved so much at your Church ‘serving the lord’ that your non christian friends and family can count their time they see you in minutes in a week?
OR
have you have had experiences that are quite the opposite?

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Yes I know I haven’t posted in a while, but to be fair about 50 of you have visited and only one of you has commented so I haven’t really felt that motivated.

I think when one is on the front lines of the real world dealing with the consequences of crap it is easy to see why some 20 somethings have quarter life crisis’ and want to revert back to being in university full time.  The ‘real world’ , the world where teachers deal with children who have suffered horrific psychological and physical abuse, the world where kids come to school with no lunch , the world where  myriads of children come to school and ask sincerely in prayer time for God to help heal their mother, father and grandma is much easier philosophised from academia and the world of politics and theology where lives are less tangible. 

As I wandered around the playground at lunch talking to my pupils (still don’t know their names – but to be fair they still call me Mrs Music teacher lady) and delighting with them over the small things (such as watermelon seeds, cricket balls going high, and chalk pictures of roller coasters) it occured to me that these fearfully and wonderfully made creatures deserve nothing less than to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, how one does this comes in a variety of forms, but the fact that one must do this is essential.

Christians for some bizarre reason have a very annoying habit of turning up to events late and/ or handing important things in late. I really don’t know what this is about. I sure don’t know what the biblical principle behind it is. God help me I have tried to understand certain members of my Christian circle who think they have the right to waste an hour of my life while they turn up an hour late to events/ meetings/ gatherings. However I really don’t get it.

Sure I can understand 5 even 10 minutes, things happen, but the ‘I’ll-be-there-when-I-get-there-Jesus-Cruisin’ ‘attitude is not just bizarre it’s a very poor witness. The other night I was out with sister (not Christian) I had arranged dinner with 3 christian friends for 6pm. The first friend arrived at 6.50. My sister was not only annoyed, but also discussed with me that my friends obviously don’t respect me very much, she was quite looking forward to the dinner but spent the whole night worried as we had ordered too much food for people who never arrived.

There is no point in ‘evangelising’ if your whole life doesn’t show it, this means how you interact with other Christians impacts your interaction with non Christians and how you show you value others.

The idea of suffering as part of the Christian faith is not that popular. In fact as a new Christian when I found out that martyrdom was a ‘spiritual gift’ that some Christians were ‘blessed’ to have in one of those ‘find your gifting courses’ I was incredibly reassured by a line that said that veryt few people in Gods family were ‘blessed’ with this gift. All joking aside, Modern day Western Christianity often has a hard time fitting suffering into its theology. Due to the incredible uprise of the Prosperity gospel it is seen as necessary for one to have ‘health, wealth and success’ in order for one to be a successful Christian.

Jesus clearly taught that his followers would endure suffering most obviously his sacrifice but also read through the sermon on the mount, this was part of his call of being an obedient follower of Christ (Matthew 5)

I wonder if Western Christians are a bit like the reciepients of the book of Hebrews.

Some of the things the reciepients of the Hebrews had were a great liking for the Old testament ( a bit like prosperity followers) and also some deep seated conscience issues to follow the ‘right way’ even though had a very skewed idea on what this was (even though it was well supported with some out of context bible verses) .

They had lost how suffering fitted into Faith and got side tracked into a whole lot of frivalous stuff (some of it with the best of intentions) that they thought would take them closer to God.

This led the author of the book to say this to them and I think they are very good words to ponder:

Hebrews 10
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

I wonder when was the last time you ever heard a sermon on suffering / read an article on it?

Have we disconnected suffering from our contemporary theology or do we only speak about it on special occasions? If suffering is a daily occasion for the persecuted church, how come we hear very little of it in the western church?

Yesterday in the mail my monthly mag from VOM arrived detailing the Happenings? Events? Life? of Christians in Perscuted countries around the world. This months feature was on Laos and includes some absolutely beautiful and heart wrenching stories that bring one into the true reality of Gods grace.

However before we comfort ourselves in the fact that we are not the ones in the persecuted countires and click over to some other well meaning form of escapism can I encourage you to watch this video its a life changer, Its hard hitting and I make absolutely no apologies for it. The reality is that while dieing for ones faith as a Christian isn’t a day to day reality in western countries. Regardless of where one is or who one is in Christ , one should have faith in what and who one believes and be able to stand up for it if the time comes.

God give me strength if I am ever in a situation like this

Made by, Martin Fazeli,

The clip speaks for itself really…

but I have been pondering this clip in conjunction with the lyrics of one of Tim Hughes’ latest songs..

We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in everyway
Walking humbly before You God

You have shown us, what You require
Freely we’ve received
Now freely we will give

We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out Lord

Acting humbly
Loving mercy
We must go, we must go
To the broken
And the hurting
We must go, we must go

Sam and Lily get out of the busy traffic and escape into the quiet of a cafe and reflect on the latest movie – it made them good to feel a Christian. Wasn’t it good to know that slavery was all over?

‘Good movie that Amazing Grace? ay Lily?’

‘Yeah great Movie?’

‘Wasn’t William Wilberforce wonderful,’

‘Isn’t it great all that slavery stuff is done with now? ‘

‘Yeah less work for us to do Sam, i mean that guy was certainly persistant, it was so annoying that those others wouldn’t help him , I mean how could you not see the injustice in people being held against their will ……’

sips coffee ( where are the coffee beans from?)

‘beats me….. it makes me so so angry …Lily!!’

They pull up a video off Youtube recommended by a friend off their latest whizz gadget phone (totally essential item)

‘I don’t get it! Sam what the frickin heck is the video on about that was a little whack!’
——————
Yes well , it is really!

  • At least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Of these 2.4 million are as a result of human trafficking.
  • 600,000-800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 per cent are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children trafficked each year.
  • The majority of trafficked victims arguably come from the poorest countries and poorest strata of the national population.
  • Trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are caught in the trap of slavery.
  • Human trafficking is the third largest source of income for organised crime, exceeded only by arms and drugs trafficking. UN office on drugs and crime
  • People are trafficked into prostitution, begging, forced labour, military service, domestic service, forced illegal adoption, forced marriage etc: Types of recruitment; include abduction, false agreement with parents, sold by parents, runaways, travel with family, orphans sold from street or institutions.

http://www.stopthetraffik.org/ – be the difference. What Wilberforce started we have to continue. Its always more than ‘just a movie’

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