Later I wondered what God would identify as the most important thing about the church Futures document?
We convince ourselves that we have some how escaped the sphere of God’s vision, knowledge, influence, and reach, and rather than turn back towards the light we retreat further into the darkness. The film Nightwatch put it like this ‘It is easier for a man to destroy the light inside him than to fight the darkness all around him.’
Sin is crouching at the door. Why does something crouch? In order to pounce! The suggestion is that sin is not some inactive thing that we can fall into, but something that desires to possess us, that is waiting for us to make any mistake that it can take advantage of, including walking past ignorant of it.
Having just finished a two-week business trip to New Zealand and Australia in December 2000 I had one day free …
If I could be healed tomorrow I can’t lie I would jump at the chance. But not for all the money in the world would I change the past four years of my life. It was in these tumultuous years through silence that God invited me to reconnect with Him and I accepted. It was through the silence of my illness and confinement that Gods grace shone on me and He invited me to know Him deeper.
11 years ago I was part of the first Youth For Christ Fly team based in Coventry. Because of the location I often caught the train and on this fateful day I happened to be on the train with a few gospel tracts on me. I sat down in my seat and noticed across the aisle a man in a suit tapping away on a laptop. As I looked at this man I felt God say to me, as clear as I have heard Him say anything, ‘Grab one of those gospels, take it out of your bag, slam it down on the table by the man and say get a life!’
Determined not to throw a good piece of furniture away I bought a furniture restoration kit on Amazon. I spent a quite bit of time working away on the unit and initially it looked good. But as the magic potions dried out the damage was just as evident as ever.
Nice quote eh? I even thought to myself ‘I might use that in a sermon!’ Sometime later I remembered that thought and looked up the quote on the internet and this is what I found:
Sinking into quicksand is not a pleasant experience. As part of fieldwork while at university we used to play around …
Before we judge we have to ask are we any different? What is it about the unknown that sparks a panic in our brains? When we can’t fit what we see in the boxes or descriptions we are happy with we try to force it into the closest fit. It’s simply not the done thing to have a label marked ‘misc’ that you can hand out willy nilly.
Traditionally we preach that if you come to Him you can be forgiven, but how do people who don’t recognise a need to be forgiven relate to this? Is now the time to focus on other aspects of God that may appeal more? Is there a correct order for coming to Christ? Is it ok for people to realise they need forgiveness after accepting Christ?
Sometimes massive stuff happens to us and knocks us right off our feet. Sometimes there is nothing we can do about it. Some things are just too big
Our society sees refinement as an end or a product or something to be consumed. But refinement is not just an end. It is not just a product. Refinement is also a process. And hardly ever a fun one.
My life story is littered with examples like this, where I thought I knew best. Rather than learning this lesson, I seem to be stuck repeating the same mistakes, but sadly on a bigger scale each time.
I don’t know about you but I want to contribute to life – I want a chance to give something of myself: to God, to my ‘neighbour’, to creation.
Sometimes keeping the faith also feels like a hard slog, but I know that it shouldn’t. The challenges of my life and the so-called daily grind are nothing compared to what Jesus went through during those three long years of ministry. Sometimes I wonder why He didn’t give up?
Silence is an underrated tool of reflection that can be used to great effect in drawing close to the Lord, and seeking his still small voice. The silence that followed this remark wasn’t of that ilk, but I tried to look as though I was reflecting so to appear holier than everyone else in the room who were now staring forlornly at me.