Tag Archive: revolutionary


i really enjoyed enGAGE (our sun evening congregation) tonite

i was away for two days this week so didn’t do my traditional thursday morning sermon prep and so yesterday (sat) i put some stuff together and it felt decent, but when i was looking over it today it suddenly clicked into place and i really felt super amped about it

and then when i was preaching tonite i just had a sense of God telling me not to hold back but to preach the powerful word powerfully

[a glimpse into the context of this is that the first sunday of this term about a month ago we had our biggest enGAGE meeting of the year – 40 something people, yeah tough year – and i challenged the okes on commitment as i was going to be looking at reaching out into the community and wanted to get some continuity from week to week – anyways next week we had 15 people, then 12, then 20-something, so not really sure what’s with the numbers – been having great times together, just few people been coming]

anyways i just really felt God saying i needed to preach His truth and not worry if people left because of it or cos i knew there were people in the congregation who wouldn’t be particularly amped to hear what i had to say…

and i did. and it wasn’t a particularly revolutionary message except in the fact that it was completely revolutionary

has felt for a while like the general population of enGAGE and maybe beyond enGAGE as well are in a bit of a ‘bleargh’ place in terms of life and God and just a bunch of apathy with regards to getting themselves out of it or being proactive at all – just kind of happy to stay in that space…

and the message in a nutshell was about the kingdom of God colliding with your life, and about the need for people to GYHOOYA (get your head out of your…), about God wanting your most precious thing (abraham’s isaac, the rich young man’s money/stuff), the response of Job (1.22) and David (after bathsheba son death as a result of his sin) to God in worship and the woman caught in sin to live worshipfully…

with the bottom line being that it is not all about you – it is ALL ABOUT GOD!

the point is – you can’t do it! the point is – you have nothing to give! and the point is that we have to die (john 12.23-24) to be of any use – we have to deny ourself and take up our cross and follow Him (luke 9.23-26) – that God chooses to use the weak and foolish (1 cor 1.26-31) to bring about His kingdom

and that when you are bleargh and apathetic and a little overwhelmed with life, then you need to read hebrews 12 (all of it) and verse 12 which says ‘strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees’ followed by ‘ make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.’

[and i’m not sure i understand what the writer was intending with that second verse cos it looks like part of it is a quote, but the way i understand it is that you need to make a level path for your feet – if the level path was made for the lame person it wouldn’t help cos they are still lame – so that you are able to get to them and bring healing to them]

and then verse 25 (in the context of really go and read the whole chapter) – SEE TO IT THAT YOU DO NOT REFUSE HIM WHO SPEAKS – powerful, powerful phrase… and it finishes off with 28 which says, ‘Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

i read and use hebrews 12.1-3 a lot and think that i have missed this end bit so much because of that, getting stuck in the beginning – which itself is incredible stuff – but this is a warning from God (coupled with warnings in matthew 7 – Lord, Lord, did i not do all this stuff in Your name? – and Revelation 3 – because you are neither hot nor cold I am going to spit you out – and a variety of other places

but finally, in and thru all of this, it is God who does the stuff – you’re weak? you’re unable? you’re bleargh? you’re apathetic? you’re overwhelmed? it is GOD who does it all – you just have to turn to Him – and…

‘Did you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.’

[isaiah 40.28-31]

see to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks…

Excerpt from Erwin McManus ‘an unstoppable force’ (available from Loot – http://www.loot.co.za/refer.html?referrer=85894849355 – for R170)

[continued]

HOW MANY TIMES DOES HE HAVE TO CALL?

Why are there so many levels of Christian calling in our contemporary Christian community? Where are they found in the Biblical text? I have a strange suspicion that the nuances of these “callings” have less to do with theology and more to do with the condition of the church.

Paul seemed to think that there was one calling. He writes to Timothy, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1.8-9a)

The Scriptures seem to simplify the process of calling. The one call is to lay your life at the feet of Jesus and to do whatever He asks. It is a calling that says “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1.21). It is a calling that declares, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the  body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2.20) It is the calling that challenges us to make ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, that we may know and do His will.

An honest evaluation of the dramatic number of callings that the church has created would reveal that we have found extraordinary ways of describing the overwhelming amount of Christless living in the church. If we got the first calling right, would any of these other callings be necessary?

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” He did not say, “Believe in Me so that you can go to heaven.” In fact, He lays down extraordinary criteria. He said, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.” He expands by saying, “Unless you hate your father and mother, your brother and sisters, your wife and children, yes even your own life, you cannot be my disciple.” He is emphatic in the condition that unless we deny ourselves, we cannot be His disciples. He describes the response to His calling as the end of ourselves. If we try to save our lives, we will lose them. But if we lose our lives for His sake, we will find life.

LET’S CALL IT WHAT IT IS

What we now consider to be the highest level of calling in the Christian community was, for Jesus, the basic entry point. It was to the whole church that Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything” (Matthew 28.19-20a). It was to the whole church that Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8).

In the process of creating a theology that accommodates apathy, disinterest, compromise, and even rebellion, we have lost the essence of the movement for which Jesus died. We made a mistake of making heroes out of those who were simply living a normal Christian life. There may be no more significant ingredient to the apostolic ethos than establishing a radical minimum standard. The gatekeepers for our culture are not the heroes or supermen, but the common person. The individuals who represent the ideal inspire masses to pursue the values and virtues of their people; but it is the common person within each society who establishes the boundaries that are required to remain a part of the clan. It is not the extraordinary standard but the minimum standard that is the critical boundary in shaping a culture. To unleash an apostolic ethos, it is essential to establish a radical minimum standard.

It’s easy to confuse the minimum with the extraordinary. We do it all the time. In fact, organisations continuously face that crisis. Whenever someone fails to live up to an understood expectation, we are forced to make some kind of re-evaluation. Either our standard should change or our actions have to change.

When we live below a standard, it is simply human nature to redefine the standard as unreasonable and establish standards which that our patterns are already accomplishing. We keep lowering the bar until we clear it…

[to be continued]

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