It made me wonder about why so often in church we make the message of the gospel seem so boring and so dull when actually you read the Bible and it’s one of the most exciting things ever happening. Like when Lazarus was brought back to life (john 11). I’ve heard people talk about this like it’s an everyday occurence…Come on he’s just died and come back to life that is pretty amazing!!! The same with any of Jesus’ miracles they are truly amazing things yet we treat them like there’s nothing to them, as if they happen all the time.
I know that I’m, as guilty of this as anyone, especially when it comes to God working in my own life and in those around me. I might pray and ask God for something to happen or ask to know his will or for his will to be done, I get an answer and then i forget God even exists. In ‘The Cross and the Switch blade‘ David Wilkerson recounts a conversation with his wife, after he has prayed and asked God to work in the lives of the gang that he’s meeting and sharing his faith with he starts to see them becoming christians and he says to his wife that they must be making fun of him or mocking him. Her response is great she says to him, why are you being so stupid, you asked for a miracle, you got one and now you’re trying to explain it away like it was something completely normal. How often is God working in our lives and we try to explain it away as if He isn’t even there?
Well ThisAndy has just come back from running a youth camp for a week in south Devon. I’m shattered and exhausted in every possible way, have picked up a few minor injuries such as pulled muscles and I am thoroughly ready for a good sleep and another shower.
This was a camp that is not that like many others. First of all the leaders get actual beds…that’s right a proper bed frame and mattress. We also have hot showers which is rather nice and a fantastic team of leaders who do a great job and all make it seem like they can get themselves off of their sofa but sounded as though they would be glad to head back to it at the end of the week.
Anyway there were a couple of moments that I particularly wanted to put up here to share the first is the idea of a sacred place. One of the visitors to the camp this year had been praying for us and felt that the site we are based on is what Celtic Christians would refer to as a ‘thin place’. A place where heaven and earth are much closer together, a place where we meet with God and a place where people have met with God in the past, present and will again in the future. This made me think about the places that I meet God in. One in particular is the field we have the camp in, God’s presence feels very strong there, for me I often meet God in nature, a place that I feel comfortable in and a place where I am surrounded by everything God has made. Where is your sacred place? Where do you meet with God?
The second is about purpose, why do we end up doing the things we do. This year at camp was very sad as we said good bye to the managers of the team but also exciting as we welcomed the new ones. On the last morning of camp we were praying for the old manager, thanking God for what they had done, for the blessings he had given through them, the gifts he had given them and for their future. One of the campers shared a short testimony that if it hadn’t been for the work of these two managers she wouldn’t have met with God in the same way and wouldn’t have understood it if she had. This got me thinking about how often in serving God we don’t see the affects of what we do, which is quite biblical in a sowing and reaping sense. But this testimony was one of those moments which spurred on the managers and the whole team by saying to us ‘Yes, you’ve got it right, keep on going!!’. I want to share that with you too, if you’re serving God then keep on going as even though you might not see the effects of it, they are there!
You wake up. You go to work. Go Home. Hang around. Go to sleep. Throw in going to the Pub, and you have most peoples lives.
Thats fine for a while, but if you’re anything like me, it gets to the point where that gets you down. Personally I found myself feeling unfulfilled with what I was doing, and scrabbling around for a purpose in life. I do occasionally still feel that way, if you’re anything like that, here’s a few things I’m finding that helps.
1. Learning skills you want to learn. Dont learn something that might help your career.
I need to be motivated to learn something new, I also need to to be excited by it or I’m not going to bother. I tried going over the cisco CCNA course… to be honest it was the best way to go to sleep. So I quit that, and did a course in something I actually want to do (Adobe Dreamweaver / Flash).
2. Getting more involved.
I got more involved with the youth club at church, when the guy who was leading it admitted to struggling with the commitment needed. I find that as well as focusing my time, it gives me an identity away from the world of 9 – 5 .
For those people who haven’t heard of her, Jennifer Knapp was a semi famous Christian singer back in the late 90s. I say semi famous because… well you’d have to have known about Christian music to have heard of her. (It may have been different in America).
I’m starting to see her name pop up again on Twitter and various RSS feeds. Not because her first album in nearly ten years is any good but because she has come out as being gay… oh… and she has a new album as well.
Cross Rhythms has an interesting article called Jennifer Knapp’s sexuality causes controversy in US Christian retail – it asks stores in America if they are stocking her new album… and asks why not. The response mostly seems to be “no – no one has heard of her”. Where stores have taken her album of the shelves, the sentiment seems to be “Thank God for Grace”.
I cant help but wonder if the Christian Press has made a bigger deal out of Jennifer Knapp being a lesbian then is needed, and in the process giving her a bag full of free publicity.
While we’re on the topic, if you’ve not heard the album you should get yourself over to the Jennifer Knapp website. Here you can listen to her new album for free, and find out that its actually pretty good!
According to the Telegraph, the Rev Land feels that the Church needs to update its images by Christians swearing more:
Reverend Michael Land, 67, said Christians needed to adopt swearing in their everyday language because it is how Jesus would have spoken.
He said too many people put Jesus “on a pedestal” and failed to realise that he was poor, relatively uneducated and preferred not to mix with the elite of his day.
He added that the Church risked becoming out of touch with ordinary people if its clergy did not become “streetwise” and failed to use earthy language. Rev Land even backed up his suggestion with the admission that once, while driving and wearing his dog collar, he had beeped at another motorist who almost caused an accident then wound down his window and swore at him.
It goes on…
“I wound my window down and said ‘why don’t you learn to f***ing drive’. He just walked away. I don’t think he could believe it. “I did not remove my clerical collar, why should I? I did it then and I’d do it again, I’m not afraid to tell it how it is even if that means swearing. “Just because I am a vicar I am not a soft touch “The church needs to modernise and that means keeping up with the trends in language.”
Christians are called to stand apart and to make a difference. We are meant to have attitudes that reflect who Jesus is, how does swearing make us stand apart? How does it show a positive Jesus centred attitude? I do sometimes wonder how good I am at this whole Christian thing, and I just find the Rev Lands comments confusing.
How does the fact that we call ourselves Christian show?
(Thanks to the Churchmouse for pointing people to this article)
You’re at the shop where you work. You’ve worked there for a while, in fact you’re the manager. The week was the same as normal, you went to church on the Sunday, you go back to work on the Monday. Its now the Friday and church is just about a distant memory.
As you’re about to slide deep into the same day to day routine, this guy with a mask on comes in. He has a gun. He’s asking for money.
A) Duck and run.
B) Give the dude what ever he wants… knowing you’ll probably have to make up the shortfall.
C) Talk to the guy about Jesus.
…The feeling of sitting down on your sofa. You have a drink in hand, control of the TV and for just that one brilliant, shining moment, all sits well with the world.
You then realise that maybe, just maybe you should be at Church…it is 11am on a Sunday after all, and you’ve kinda figured that this God thing works best in a group. So you get your ass off to Church, but you can’t tear your mind away from that sofa back at home.
This is a website from 2 blokes who love God, want to do the whole Church thing but feel more comfortable on that sofa.