Friday, January 31, 2020

Invaded by the living God

We have been invaded by the living God himself, in the person of his Spirit, whose goal is to infect us thoroughly with God’s own likeness. Paul’s phrase for this infection is the fruit of the Spirit. The coming of the Spirit, with the renewing of our minds, gives us a heavenly appetite for this fruit. The growing of this fruit is the long way on the journey of Christian conversion, the “long obedience in the same direction,” and it is altogether the work of the Spirit in our lives.

Gordon D Fee
Paul, the Spirit and the people of God

Monday, January 20, 2020

Messiah’s Misfits

”You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle. Without bringing either Apollos or me into it, you’re sitting on top of the world—at least God’s world—and we’re right there, sitting alongside you!

It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. 

Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-13‬ ‭MSG‬‬

So who is up for the life of an Apostle?

When it looks like God is indifferent...

If your hopes are being disappointed just now it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly; many things lie unsolved, and the biggest test of all is that God looks as if He were totally indifferent. Remain spiritually tenacious. 

 In the Bible you never find the note of the pessimist. In the midst of the most crushing conditions there is always an extraordinary hopefulness and profound joy, because God is at the heart. The effective working of Redemption in our experience makes us leap for joy in the midst of things in which other people see nothing but disastrous calamity.

Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A lousy job....

Being a priest is not a matter of winning victories for God. Countless stories, movies, television, and now video games have burned into our imaginations a certain heroic plot: the brave adventurer sent forth on a Mission Impossible, and eventually winning against all odds. Yet this is not, and never can be, the pattern of Christian ministry, for the simple reason that it is not the pattern of the gospel—which, as you know, is all about human defeat, the shattering of human hope, the excruciatingly painful disappointment of human desires . . . and after all that, in spite of all that, even through all that, God’s victory becomes perceptible. That is why being a priest is such a lousy job for an incurable optimist, because disappointment is so fundamentally built into the job.

Ellen F Davis

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Living libraries of God’s Word

By choosing Christ to flesh out the word, God made a lasting decision in favour of incarnation. Those of us who are his body in the world need not shy away from the fact that our own flesh and blood continue to be where the word of God is made known. We are living libraries of God’s word. Our stories are God’s stories. Sometimes they are comedies and sometimes they are tragedies; sometimes faith shines through them and other times they end in darkness, but every one of them bears witness to the truth of God’s word. Preachers cannot “stay out of” their sermons any more than singers can stay out of their songs. Our words are embodied, which means we bring all that we are to their expression.

Barbara Brown Taylor 
(The Preaching Life)