Tag Archive: Christ followers

psalm 19 is a tough one. because there is just so much in it. it is a beautiful, beautiful psalm. make sure you read the whole thing.

It starts so powerfully with a declaration of who God is:

‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ [Psalm 19.1] This makes me think of Jesus calming the storm in the boat [‘The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” [Luke 8.24-25]] and when Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly [‘When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19.37-40]

the message is that God will be praised and if we can’t do it then nature will take over. the glory and creativity and imagination of God are all revealed through nature. take a moment to praise God and add your voice or the meditation of your heart to the chorus…

verse 4 [‘In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun’] got a little more chaotic when i read it to my wife [aka the beautiful Val] because it reminded both of us of a really funny awkward sermon moment which happened here.

but back to more serious things. STOP LAUGHING!

this next section i just loved the poetry in the writing:

‘The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.

The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;

they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.’

The first time i read over this psalm i read the word ‘warned’ in verse 11 as ‘warmed’ and i think it works both ways… because when you start to know and experience the character, heart and faithfulness of God, then even His commands/law/statutes warm you – there is a confidence and sense of being able to trust this God who promises to be with you even when you are ‘broken-hearted’ or ‘crushed in spirit’ [psalm 34.18] and even when you are walking through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ [psalm 23.4] – He won’t take all the bad away, but He will strengthen and comfort and walk alongside you…

verse 12 and 13 ask for protection and forgiveness from sins we are aware of and even those we may not be which is a good reminder of the accountability we need to have with other people who can help point out our weaknesses in love as we invite them to.

and then the psalm ends powerfully with: ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ [vs 14]

if only all Christ followers, myself included, could start each day with that prayer and then try and back it up with our actions, we would completely start to transform the world…

what next? leaving the old people outside for the coyotes to finish them off…?

sounds far fetched maybe, but i have just been thoroughly revolted by what i have just read [and i know in this day and age we can get mildly upset and tut tutty and each-to-their-own-device but maybe it’s time for people to stand up and SHOUT WILDLY AGAINST THIS KIND OF FILTH…] and we need to draw a line…

it started with me reading my good buddy Bruce’s rant [totally justified and i agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed] or question [but i know the rant is simmering beneath] about the question of whether there should be a filter on what we tweet, which you can take a look at here:


well actually, to be honest, it began a little earlier with this blog i wrote after my encounter with two horrible t-shirts and then the recent one i wrote about young people using the word “rape” to describe a bad sporting or examination encounter

but then i went on to yahoo and happened to catch site of the heading of this article where firstly a guy passes out and everyone is too busy tweeting and facebook statusing to go and help him, and later ends with people taking phone pics of a guy as he dies on the street…


as a society we are becoming sicker and sicker and what is the worst part is that it is becoming the norm, it is becoming acceptable – we have legalised abortion (baby-killing) and made divorce easier than getting a visa to fly overseas and our government seems to have an anything goes policy when it comes to government officials being involved in corruption/mismanagement of funds and so on…

where does it all end?

i’ll tell you where it ends. with the church!

will the real Christ followers please stand up? because this is where the call to be holy, to be set apart, to be different is at its most vital…

Engage the young guys who are wearing those shirts. Refuse to let someone get away with a statement of how they were “raped by that exam” without being challenged to never again use that word (and sentence) lightly. Leave your flippin phone in your pocket and go and get up on that stage and see if that man is okay. Shout, scream, make a noise – IT IS NOT OKAY – THIS IS NOT ACCEPTIBLE – I WILL NOT STAND FOR THAT.

Cos there HAS to be a line. And we need to speak and act and react in absolute love and compassion and know when and where and how to speak and act. [and the Holy Spirit will guide us in this area, if we pay attention] But we cannot stay silent any longer!

so i write a weekly email called thort for the week aimed at challenging people to live out what they say they believe and for this week i really felt like John Eliastam’s comments on the Anne Rice note i wrote on Facebook really express well what a lot of Christ followers (and others) could well do with reading:

In fact for this week’s thort let me use my former boss John Eliastam’s response to my note and to someone who replied antagonistically to it because i really think this brings up a lot of important stuff for us to think about [those who know me know that i love the church – i am currently working on a book aimed at people who have ‘walked away from the church’ but still profess to love Jesus – and so just because i understand to some extent where Anne and others may be coming from, i don’t think the solution is to disown church completely, but i do ‘get’ it:

‘I’m hugely sympathetic to Rice. I had a long conversation with an atheist the other day. Most of his objections to the Christian faith were based on his observations of church history from Constantine to TBN. He asked if an impartial observer were to look at Christians, would they find any links (other than spoken words) between their lives and the message of Christ that would make them any different to anyone else. He doesn’t buy the “God sees the heart” thing… said that what’s in your heart is expressed in your priorities/values/actions towards others. I struggled to find words to explain or defend what we call “church” – particularly why there was a need to keep it going exactly the way it was, rather than seek reform and renewal that would give it a “shape” that changed the shape of our lives to be more like Jesus (my thoughts not his). In the end I managed to persuade him that he was really an agnostic rather than an atheist by showing that the arrogant, closed-mindedness of the atheist view as unappealing as his perception of Christians. Next week we’re going to explore the questions of “how we know” more deeply.

Back to Rice though: all over the world the church/institutional christianity/whatever you choose to call it is losing people because they want to follow Jesus more authentically and find “churchianity” an impediment rather than a help. I can’t judge “church”; it’s the way it is because its made up of people like me who are so susceptible to the selfish sinfulness of our hearts and the pulls of our culture. I believe that it’s God’s desire to renew and reform his people, whatever shape they currently find themselves in. My questions to anyone who reads this: are there ways that you can align your life with God’s renewing work rather than with perpetuating the status quo?’

Then later he responds to an antagonistic response to my note:

‘I agree with the “lone ranger” bit completely. We need to be part of a community that isn’t made up of people we choose to be with because we’re comfortable being around them – the miracle of God’s people is that they are old, young, black, white, in-between, rich, poor – all a visible demonstration of God’s reconciling work, especially because in the NT picture, they seem to really share each other’s lives (including possessions), not just a church service. Following Jesus isn’t a solo thing and needs to be done in costly community.

Something I’m exploring is what “church” really means. Most Christians are quite comfortable with the concept of “nominal Christians” – people who would put down “Christian” as their religion on a form…. what about the idea of “nominal churches”? Organisations that call themselves churches, but if they are analysed they bear very little resemblance to the biblical picture of following Jesus. They say all the right things, but in their everyday lives their members lives just like everyone else, with the same priorites and concerns. Jesus himself said that there would be sheep and goats, wheat and tares in the field, that many would claim to be his followers and do great things in his name – even though he says he doesn’t know them. Do we have to surrender unquestioningly to the “authority” of anything that calls itself “church”?

What we call “church” at this point is history has seen things like a clergy/laity split, a whole lot of syncretism with Roman pagan religion, the Enlightenment and the separation of secular/spiritual, a history of splitting whenever we disagree…. Today churches often look a whole lot like a clubs with some kind of loose affiliation to the teachings of Jesus… I long to be part of something deeper….

When the followers of John the Baptist come to Jesus (Matt) and ask if he is the “real deal”, or should they expect something more, Jesus points to some very tangible evidence. The world looks at the church, especially it’s claim to be all about love (I have yet to find someone outside the church who would believe this), and asks, “Are you guys the real deal? Are you really what the whole of creation has been waiting for? Is this as good as it gets?”. What do we point them to to convince them that we are? That we go to services, listen to sermons, sing songs, have a lot of correct information about Jesus in our heads, that we tithe and go to home group? Not sure it’s that convincing for them…’

Really think John is saying some good stuff here and i would say one of the keys is his line:

“He asked if an impartial observer were to look at Christians, would they find any links (other than spoken words) between their lives and the message of Christ that would make them any different to anyone else”

and then his question:

“are there ways that you can align your life with God’s renewing work rather than with perpetuating the status quo?”

Something for us all to ponder on this week perhaps…

God bless you as you live as the church God called us to be
Known by the love we have for each other
Love brett anderson

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