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Some notes on Grace

6 Dec

Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjan, speaks on grace. His hope-filled words are phenomenally powerful and resonate deeply with my feelings on church and ‘Christianity’ today.
Have a read…

If we’re not careful we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. – 

Furthermore, it seems that the good news of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules;

Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living and the judgments that result from them rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over again. But if anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. 

Eugene Peterson has wisely said that “discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own.” The way many of us think about sanctification is, well, not very sanctified. In fact, it’s terribly narcissistic. We spend too much time thinking about how we’re doing, if we’re growing, whether we’re doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our spiritual failures and brooding over our spiritual successes. 

Preoccupation with our performance over Christ’s performance for us actually hinders spiritual growth because it makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective—the exact opposite of how the Bible describes what it means to be sanctified. Sanctification is forgetting about yourself.

As J. C. Kromsigt said, “The good seed cannot flourish when it is repeatedly dug up for the purpose of examining its growth.” Unless we go to the Bible to see Jesus and his work for us, even our devout Bible reading can become fuel for our own self-improvement plans, the place we go for the help we need to “conquer today’s challenges and take control of our lives.” 

The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with his rescue; our sin with his salvation; our failure with his favor; our guilt with his grace; our badness with his goodness.
the Bible is not first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of Jesus who is the answer to our unchristian living. 

Grace is thickly counter-intuitive. It feels risky and unfair. It turns everything that makes sense to us upside-down. It’s not rational. It offends our deepest sense of justice and rightness. It wrestles control out of our hands and destroys our safe, conditional world.

These are the main points I picked out from this valuable article – I was lazy and just literally ‘copied and pasted’ but I’m not arrogant or pretentious enough to think I could have put it any better myself.

You can read the whole interview here.

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WE ARE NOT FINISHED

4 Sep

#2 in the series “Punch-Packing
Not my words but these echo 100% where I feel the Church is at in this day and age and what I am called to as a devoted, adoring follower of Jesus Christ.
The world so desperately needs us to ‘stand up and be counted’…
So – listen up!

I am deeply concerned that those who inherited freedom have lost sight of its high cost! I grieve over a gospel that is cloaked in benefits but requires no responsibility. Some bask in His victory while the nations continue to live in oppression, poverty, and despair.

I don’t doubt our victory nor do I question our great calling…but I wonder at lack of resolve that many Believers have to engage society at the level of their greatest pain and carve out a path through the snake invested jungle, carrying the weak to a place of safety.

We are not called to polish our armor or hold a Body-building contest! We have been left behind to transform the world. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus said He was finished, He didn’t say we were!

When Paul spoke of his apostolic credentials he unleashed a list of beatings that would have scared Arnold Schwarzenegger. The very man that taught us about great grace was entrenched in a battle that scared his body and troubled his soul. Yet many Believers are convinced that we will tip toe through the tulips, or win the nations through some garden party.

Where are the women and men with radical faith and outrageous courage? When will the righteous reign and the demoniacs flee at the very sight of a child of the King? How long must we stumble through this darkness before we rise with wisdom that stuns the kings of this world? Who will step out from the crowd and dare to leave the cesspool of unrighteous living to embrace a life of purity?

These are the questions that plague my very soul. As for me, I wasn’t born to live near the sound of church bells…I was created to destroy the gates of hell! Are you ready to incite a revolution?

(K. Vallotton, senior associate leader at Bethel Church, Redding, CA)

>Going away!!

28 Jan

>Tomorrow I am Going Away, for Five Days!
On my Own…
Leaving Mark and the kids behind…
And I Can’t Wait…
Being a staff intern at church does have its perks, one of which is being invited to attend the Vineyard National Leaders’ Conference, all expenses paid…
I am so excited and cannot wait to have some time to really ‘hang out’ with God, worship Him, wait on Him, and see what He has to reveal to me. I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to practise listening to Him, and hopefully also to allow Him to speak into other people’s lives through me…
And I’m also really looking forward to spending quality time with people from church, and, yes, with myself! I know this may sound indulgent and somewhat introspective; but I’ve only recently started to really get to know (or rather rediscover) myself, and realise that I actually quite like myself *grin*… This is completely God’s work in me, as not even a year ago, my self-esteem was pretty rock-bottom and I disliked myself with a passion!!
I think maybe the fact that every spare minute of “space” (from the kids and from the rush of every day life) is a little precious treasure, has something to do with desperately wanting to make the most of each of these moments spent alone and in God’s company. And as I’ve started relishing those times, God has done an amazing healing work in me, restoring my self-esteem and image, and replacing my self-loathing with increasing self-respect. I’m not “there” yet but I’ve come a LOOOONG way!
So, for all these reasons, and many more I’m sure, I feel incredibly blessed and priviledged to be given this opportunity. My expectations of this time away are quite high and there is a danger in that, that there may be some disappointment along the line.
My challenge to myself therefore, is to come back from the conference and be able to share with those of you who will listen, some of what God has laid on my heart during my time away. Kind of like an ‘accountability’ thing.
So I guess I’ll say goodbye for now, and see you next week end!
To be continued

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