The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth. - 2 John 1 v 1
This verse made me stop in my tracks this morning and ask myself how do I speak about the Church.
Beyonce has a single lady but God has a chosen lady.
Here John seems to speak with such tenderness about the Church.
A chosen lady with children.
It reeks with tenderness, love, care and intimacy.
Often when we talk of church it can be as an inanimate third party not as a dignified mother caring for her precious children.
"The church is not a voluntary organization but the fellowship of those called together by Christ. For such a fellowship, family imagery is all the more appropriate, for it suggests the bonds of intimacy and love that bind the family together. Family imagery also underscores that it was not by the children's initiative that this family came into existence." - IVP Commentary
The Church is also called the Bride of Christ and here a God chosen dignified mother.
Let's remember not to trash her.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Caught this video clip on Facebook yesterday. John Piper talks about the power of "Small Prayer groups that change the world."
"God's hand is not shortened by the size of the prayer gathering" - amazing stuff
Maybe it will give you a new perspective when you talk to God today. It did me!
(Click here if you cant see the video)
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Last night I watched a very disturbing documentary on the BBC - Abused: Breaking the Silence.
"It recounted the harrowing account of former pupils from two Catholic prep schools in England and Tanzania were reunited via the internet. Chatting in cyberspace, they discovered they had all suffered terrible abuse at school: mental, physical and, in some cases, sexual. As young children they were frightened into silence by their abusers.
Now, as men in their fifties and sixties, and strengthened by the group, they want the truth to come out. Twenty two men have started legal proceedings against the Rosminian Order for compensation. They want justice. But half a century has passed, and their abusers are now elderly. What will it take to repair the damage and for the victims to feel able to move on?" - BBC Website
One of the victims was asked if had or could forgive his abuser. Clearly it was a difficult question for him and after mulling it over he said.
"Well to forgive is to stop renting the abuser space in my mind."
Just an amazing statement!
The documentary is available on iPlayer for a few days.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I've been thinking about God's healing recently.
The Bible says that Jesus healed EVERYONE that came to Him.
I believe passionately that God still heals today.
But I am still left with many questions that I can not answer yet.
Most of them start with: WHY?
But what I do know is that HE CARES.
As John Piper puts it in this video:
"He cares about our ... tears .... cancer ...... leukemia ..... sore throat ...... depression .....
BUT he cares about our soul 10 million times more."
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” - Luke 23 v 42 - 43
We don't know exactly what the two men crucified with Jesus had done.
But we do know that they were condemned out of their own mouths.
One of them said that they deserved to die.
Having lived a life and made the bad choices that had brought them to the point of death it would sound like no one looking at that scene had a complaint. This was no unjust execution. So onlookers and even one of them knew this was what they deserved. Justice was going to be done.
But even with the nails being hammered through his sinful hands with death imminent, Grace was about to dawn on one criminals life. Grace shouts you are never too bad and as long as there is life in your body its never too late.
There may be a few people surprised to see his face in heaven after all he was not a nice guy. But grace surprises us every day and may even continue to surprise us in eternity.
It may surprise me who ends up in Jesus Kingdom but the biggest surprise to me is that I will be there.
Only by GRACE.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 8:36 am
Monday, June 13, 2011
Mark Sherratt started a great new teaching series at MKCC on Sunday. Based on the book Christian Atheist The PB by Craig Groschel, Mark really brought the heat.
Its based on the premise that sometimes as Christians although we believe in God we don't live like we do!
Mark's message was "I believe in God but not His Church."
Here are some of the highlights:
- As a Christian it's easier to talk the talk than it is to live the life.
- The church is dear to the heart of God.
- Thinking that we just GO to church rather than BE the church gives us a consumer mentality.
- The Church of Jesus Christ is a picture of participation not spectators.
- When you see something not being done do it. That may be the call of God on your life.
- You are part of God's church by doing not just attending.
- Every need in the church can be met by the church. it's not rocket science it's easy you just have to die.
- The power of the church is released when people become the "Ministers" and grasp the one anothers of the Bible: praying, caring, meeting needs etc etc.
- Church keeps growing when people who are already part of it realise that the church exists for the people outside it.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Love this song and video by Jimmy Needham
Look, you might have heard I was dead in the grave
With some shackles on my wrist
I was very enslaved to the lusts and the passions
In various ways
In the band, on the horse, I was dead and depraved
Sight wasn't just blurry and vague
I was blind as a bat, couldn't thoroughly gaze
At the glory of Christ or the story of life
The Father said come to Him, but I hurried away
I was stuck, couldn't choose to be found
Tell me when the last time
You seen a dead man moving around
Couldn't buy my freedom I was truthfully bound
Couldn't get myself saved
I was shooting them down
Only by Gods will does grace heal with great might
Cuz only the words of God can create life
Give joy, remove shackles and replace shame
I was raised by grace and I praise Christ
You breath life into me
Now I finally feel my dead heart beating
You open my eyes to see
That's what makes Your grace amazing
Friday, June 10, 2011
Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. - Matthew 26 v 75
Sometimes I think how could Peter of all people deny Jesus at His point of greatest need. Even after him and Jesus had taled about it. He still got it wrong.
Then I think how mny times have I sat on the wrong side of my actions with Jesus words flashing through my mind wishing I had only listened earlier.
Go the extra mile.
Turn the other cheek.
Seek God before pleasure.
Building treasure in heaven instead of here and now.
Not to worry.
Trust in God no matter what.
Ask for wisdom.
God help me to listen earlier so I can avoid some of the crazy thing I do!
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Great Baptism service at MKCC this past Sunday. It just never never gets old! Brings me to tears every time.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
We are all made out of shipwrecks......
The name Judas has become synonymous with betrayal. If someone turns against you very often even outside of church circles he is called a Judas. All pointing back to a fateful night in a garden called Gethsemane when the Son of God was betrayed by a man with the very ordinary name of Judas.
It was interesting to note that Judas was the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name "Yehudah" - Judah. So in microcosm we have Judas betraying Jesus as by enlarge the Jews who took their name from Judah the son of Jacob were rejecting Jesus.
But it is amazing to me how Jesus addresses His betrayer.
"Jesus replied, "Do what you came for, friend."" - Matt 26 v 50
Jesus calls him FRIEND.
He could have used the word hetaíros - Supposed Friend.
But he says etaire - colleague, clansman, comrade & friend.
And that is what he still does every day. Call His enemies His friends.
"...our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies..." - Romans 5 v 10
Monday, June 06, 2011
How can suffering and death be part of God's plan?
It would seem that was the question banging around in the Apostle Peter's mind when he hear Jesus start to explain for the first time where this quest was heading. This couldn't be God's will, God's plan.
Surely the Messiah was to bring victory and success.
So Peter decides to put Jesus straight. He REBUKED the Son of God!
"Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." - Mark 8 v 33
We seem often to side with Peter rather than Jesus. This Christian life could not lead to suffering. Surely that could not be God's plan.
But Jesus is very clear, he is more interested in the salvation of our souls than the comfort of our bodies!
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. " - Mark 8 v 34 - 35
Jesus help me to follow you no matter what and to trust your plan for my soul.
So then, those who suffer ACCORDING TO GOD'S WILL should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. - 1 Peter 4 v 19
Friday, June 03, 2011
“The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God and a longing and a burning desire to see Him acting, manifesting himself and his power, rising and scattering his enemies...the thirst for God and the longing for the exhibition of HIS glory are the essential preliminaries to revival.” - Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones
In my 37 years as a follower of Jesus I have prayed many times for revival. When I think of what I was praying for it was of course to see people turn to God and that can never be wrong.
But this quote from Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones helps me to understand more of what revival is:
More of God and more of HIS glory.
Sometimes I think we ask God for revival because it will bring glory to us or His church.
I need to feel the more and more the dehydration in my soul of God and crawl through the dessert to ask for more of the only one who can quench our deep thirst - More of God.
So like the lady Jesus met for a drink at a well; We will NEVER thirst again.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
I am a huge fan of Youversion.com. Both the web version and app. It is definitely the home for most of my Bible reading.
The guys keep developing the resource to keep helping people all over the world connect better with God's Word.
YouVersion currently offers the Bible in 41 languages, and is looking to rapidly increase that number. The Bible is currently translated into 2,000 of the more than 6,000 languages spoken throughout the world. YouVersion’s goal is to make it available in every single language in existence.
In a recent webcast they talked about some further developments.
- Upcoming features
- Future plans
- New tech support announcements
- How you can keep YouVersion free
- Insights from the developers