Tag Archive: Christian Union


so back in new year’s times i met a guy called gabe at an event i was mc’ing and it wasn’t the greatest of meetings – we had a difference of opinion over some or other thing, i blogged about it without using his name (altho everyone who had been at the event knew who i was talking about) and he (and more particularly his friends) didn’t like that i did that so much (some of his friends got quite pissed off with me telling me what a solid follower of Jesus he was and how i didn’t know him and how could i say stuff and blah blah blah)…

turns out funnily enuff that despite the event being on the other side of the country, Gabe is from nearby to where i live and so when i finally was able to get hold of him, he very graciously agreed to meet (slash take me out for pizza) and we met and chatted and got to know each other better and dealt with the new year’s vibe and put it behind us… which was pretty cool.

anyways, i was invited a long time ago to speak at the Rondebosch/Rustenburg schools Christian Union camp which i did this last weekend, with the beautiful Val joining me in a really fun Relationships workshop and we had a complete vibe at the camp…

turns out, the other speaker on camp, was none other than mister Gabe himself – i had already gone to hang out with him in Jan at a camp he led worship at for one nite and so i’d seen him in ministry mode, but it was cool getting to see him ministering in another way…

and i learnt stuff… not necessarily new stuff i didn’t know, but in both of his talks there was at least one key thing that he unpacked differently to how i’d heard or seen it before and so it really was a growing situation for me which was really great – revelationary stuff…

the one was about Jesus being baptised in Matthew 3 (see title) which ends with “As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3.16-17]

and then Jesus heads out to the desert to fast and pray and eventually be tempted by the devil…

actually, as i’m writing this i remember two things that Gabe brought out of this passage…

[1] the first is to note how many miracles Jesus had done up to that point, how many great preaches He had done, how many of His acts of spending time with the people in society – women, children, tax collectors, lepers, samaritans – that no one liked or spent time with, and the answer is none. Jesus had not done any of His public ministry yet and He receives complete affirmation from God. God’s pleasure and love is a result of God, not of Jesus achieving or earning it. That is a pretty hectic picture of grace.

[2] and the second is that when the devil comes to tempt Jesus, he starts with the questioning phrase, “If you are the Son of God…” in the same way that he met Adam and Eve in the garden and questioned what God had said to them. But we’ve just witnessed it in Matthew 3 as did Jesus – heaven opened and God boomed out in a loud voice “You are the Son of God” – Jesus has heard that He is the Son of God, from His Father and so when the devil comes with his little “if you are the Son of God” He is able to stomp all over it and point back to what just happened. Because Jesus has His identity firmly wrapped up in God and who the Father says He is, the temptations and accusations of the devil fall completely flat.

So stop doing stuff to try and earn God’s love – you already have it [do stuff as a result of incredible gratitude and response to the love you have received – Christ’s love compels me…]

And find your identity in God, stop being sidetracked by the lying voice of the devil… if you follow Jesus, you have been made into a child of a king, live in that status…

“Sometimes i wish i was dead. Wait, not me, you.” [Jack Handey]

ah, one of my most favourite darker deep thorts by JH. and never true in my life in that i ever wished someone else was dead but on thursday nite i did want to walk down into the audience and slap a few people in the head (i didn’t!)

i was asked to provide some entertainment at a herschel-and-other-schools christian union pizza and improv evening and then to do a talk on the topic ‘how to make God the centre of my life this year.’ during the games at the beginning these 140-200 young people were just loud and distractionary and had to constantly be fought with to get and keep their attention. but then during the worship singing that followed they were even worse and a whole bunch of them were talking and making noise and just generally rude and disrespectful to what was going on. i was pretty angry or irritated/frustrated and realising that my talk was maybe not the most relevant for this crowd and God really stepped in and gave me words for what followed and it went really well.

i was reminded of the story Jesus tells of the lost son (which lots of us know as ‘the prodigal son’) which begins with this younger of two sons going to his father and demanding his inheritance and the father gives it to him and watches as his son turns his back on the family and heads off (to squander his wealth in wild living) – now what is important to realise is that in the jewish culture of the time, it wasn’t just a case of “dad can I have my money?” but it was pretty much the equivalent of a young person going to their father and telling him “I wish you were dead!” from our culturally biased lens we often miss just how strong his words are. the inheritance was meant to be given after the father had died and it would be divided between the two sons and so effectively what the younger son is saying is “I want the situation to be as it would be if you were no longer alive.”

Sometimes i wish i was dead. Wait, not me, you!

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