Thursday, January 31, 2008

Interesting Trademe Message Board

Capital Mosaics connections at Mount Mosaic have set up a fascinating message board that asks the question
What puts you off church the most?

Check it out here

here are some of the thoughts that caught my attention.

"don't go to Church because I don't believe in God - simple really."

"Coz I don't need to go to church to believe there might be a God, and I certainly don't need to be preached to or saved."

"boredom and the failure of most churches to keep up with the times. If a church is not progressive enough to keep up with science, evolution, music etc and either ignores them or worse, tries to tell you it is evil then they just push you away."

and the one that really got me

"in answer to # 1 question the people that go there"


"I don't need to go to church to have a relationship with God. Plus there are too many 'actors' in there who as soon as they leave spark up their smokes and zoom off to the liquor store before heading to a party where they'll have fights and throw bottles on the roads....all on a Sunday."

For more on the this subject read
They like Jesus but not the Church" by Dan Kimbal or "Unchristian" by Gabe Lyons

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My New Tie

My good friend has just come back from Southeast Asia and I asked him for a peice of communist memobilia. He has brought back me this tie!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Journey over the Last Two Years

This post describes some of the pains and joys of the last two years of my spiritual journey and is to try and explain why I am where I am today on this adventure. Warning the first bit is poetic, it describes the pain of deconstruction in my journey.

Pain disappointment, discouragement, a dark patch surrounding me that I didn’t know why but I knew perfectly why it had enveloped me, taken me captive for a moment. That moment of perfect vision and perfect stupidity took me into its hold and spat me out, weary, confused and wondering how to move forward in my journey.

A few weeks earlier I felt like I could conquer anything, that I was the strongest in the room, no doubts in my head about who I was, the God I followed, how church should be shaped, everything seemed perfect, I was in a dream a perfect dream, but the bubble was about to be popped for the first time in years.

I went from belief to doubt in a few breaths, wondering why it was that I had gotten to the point that I had, I realised that I needed to rediscover my faith, my journey, my God, my saviour.

I had discovered a hurtful painful scary truth in myself, I wasn’t who I thought I was, who I had come to believe. I was looking at myself and seeing a hypocrite staring back at me, acting in ways to save face, to keep hidden what was going on beneath the surface. I knew that something had to change. I had to reorient my life again around Jesus. I had to look at the c.r.a.p (which I described to one person as “Church religiosity and practice) I had put in place of the truth of Jesus and rediscover that once again and find the truth there. In many ways I’m still doing this, rediscovering the arts of spiritual discipline, prayer, learning to love my neighbour, and not making big things out of those which are tiny in comparison.

At this point I read a lot of stuff about post-modern theology, post-modern ministry, theology in general. A lot of this had a profound impact on me, either for good or for bad (I’m still figuring that out for myself as I continue that journey.) I learned about post-evangelicals, about the emerging church, read from Brian McClaren, other Rob Bell and others to get an idea on what was going on both in church culture and Christianity, and outside the church. Still pretty confused, but accepting numerous ideas and trying to rediscover who Jesus was, what Christianity was to look like and what needed to change in my life.

Mostly the most stunning realisation that came was how much crap I had to deal with and deconstruct, reforming my understanding of God to a more biblical understanding, rediscovering that radical nature of Jesus’s message and teaching (something I still don’t have my head around today, as I’ve been learning in the last few weeks.) I kept searching out more and more about God. I did another theology paper, listened to ideas and kept discovering things about what Christianity was about again.

In this period, my cell group started watching Podcasts from Mark Driscoll. To be honest, when I first watched Driscoll I didn’t like him that much. I’ve grown to appreciate his knowledge of the bible, his pastoral heart for the community he pastors, his theological convictions (even though I don’t agree with him totally on everything!) I appreciate what I’ve learned from listening to him. The ideas he introduced me to about being culturally relevant yet staying strong to your convictions and to remaining true to Christ have had a major impact in how I attempt to live out my faith in action. At this point I remained though searching, excavating deconstructing, but keeping connected with people who could help me keep true to God and the bible (thanks Sym and others who have listened to and prayed with me.)

In the middle of the year I went back to Siberia. I had become convinced by then in the importance of mission for the Church and the need for us to move outside the comfort of our culture. I also was pretty convinced that we needed to be doing mission in our backyard, in New Zealand. Not outreach where we organise a big concert but living alongside others in thier space and form relationships, incarnating into thier environment. Organising groups to discover meaning together, to form relationships with one another and to journey with one another. This mission trip was a joy and allowed me to gather my thoughts better, form deeper relationships and practice missional life outside my home culture.

I was still looking, searching for what it meant to be a Christian in the culture and environment we live in. I also had reservations that the churches I saw in Wellington and around the country were engaging very well with the culture around them. How we shaped seems to at times miss the point, even though there are some great churches around doing some great stuff for God and I have had the priviledge to be involved with many sincere followers who really want to see the lives of those around them changed. I got in contact with my friend Mike Brantley. I knew Mike Brantley when he lived in Wellington and went to the same church as him for a number of years. I remember his sermons on culture and place, what it means to be a Christian today, etc. His radical call to engage with the lost had challenged me immensely when I was younger, and I knew I had to get in contact with him. When I heard that he’d moved to New Orleans for ministry I was again intrigued by this guy, he would do anything and everything to minister to the lost in the dark places. So I got in contact with him at the end of 2006 to see what gems of wisdom he had on church and Christianity. As with any conversation with Mike, I ended up having my paradigms challenged and shifting beneath my feet (something that I have been growing used to.)

We got into a conversation about church and I got to write a few epistles to him on ecclesiology and evangelism, one of them you can find on his blog. He challenged me to read the book Exiles, which is one of most life changing books that I have read. Frosts material (both his book and some sermons I have) have had a severe impact on me, leaving me both very uncomfortable but also challenged for the road ahead, it has given me significant ideas for ministry opportunities over the next three to five years and the ideas I have for this year. I was practically moved into a time of rethinking where to go next, where to move forward. Mike had given me a number of options to take with contacts he had given me, and I had found a number of other options I could take, now it was time to narrow it down. One option who he gave me was to talk with Phil Crawford who he told me was setting up a community in Wellington. Which I would latter find out was a Mosaic plant (the plant which I’m now involved in.) I had coffee with Phil one day and was blown away (and frightened) by his vision for a community in Wellington. I said that I would get in contact with him but lost track as he was overseas and I was busy trying to get my life sorted.

I moved into a time of basically hard thinking and looking at my options. It was my honours year, I had a lot of my plate mentally and time wise. I spent a lot of my time though hanging with university mates, getting to know people deeply and trying to share my life with those around me in deep read ways. Just being there listening, talking and being a friend.

In the middle of the year my mate Matt Mansell from Capital Vineyard asked me if I wanted to taste and see his vision for Karori. I spent about two months with the crew from Sanctuary Vineyard tasting their vision and seeing how they are going about the motions of creating a community in Karori. I also spent a lot of time in prayer about whether it was the place that God wanted me, I also spent a whole lot of time speaking to mates about the Church plant. I found that God was telling me quite explicitly that it wasn’t where he wanted me to serve. The great thing that came out of this though was the ability to develop a friendship with Matt who I hold a whole lot of respect for because he has followed Gods call and listened to the heart of God. I know that his humble heart will see his mission being blessed by God.

A while after this I got back in contact with Phil Crawford from Capital Mosaic. He was heading off to L.A at the time but he said I should check out Mosaic. I went along not knowing what to expect. I found a group of saints that I have decided that I want to journey with. They have a similar heart for the city that I do, particularly with concern for those within their twenties to thirties (but like them I don’t want to restrict it to that). My heart resonates with their call to be missional, to see people become disciples of Jesus, to follow the call of Jesus into the city so we can see it transformed. We are a community who wants to embody Jesus in they way we live and the way we relate to people. I weep over the city of Wellington just like Jesus weeped over the city of Jerusalem. I have a heart for Wellington because it is a significant city of culture and power within New Zealand. I believe that Jesus can be a positive influence in this city, changing people through his saving grace so that they can be positive influences in there spheres, whether as bar tenders, artists, musicians, buisiness owners, politicians, parents

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Karori Santuary Visit

Yesterday we went down to the Karori Wildlife Santaury, braving the Wellington sun in the hunt for some native endangered birds. If you have not been to Karori Wildlife Santaury I suggest that you go. The best days to go are calm days when there are only a few people in the Santaury. The entrance fee is relatively expensive, costing 12 dollars. The Santaury has the only mainland wild populations of Tuatara, Hihi, and Saddleback. All these magnificent animals have been extinct in the Wellington region for over 100 years. The Santuary also has loads of history contained in it. It has a mine shaft for the abandoned morning star Gold mine, which was used during the gold rushes of the 1800s. The reason it was abandoned was the returns were poor. The lakes within the Sanctuary used to be used as sources of water (the lower dam until 1997) but they were decommissioned as open water sources are not hygienic enough and they are both located on a fault line which makes them a large earthquake risk.

The ancient Tauratara - New Zealands living Dinosaur

We have only been able to go three times since the opening of this wonderful resource in Wellington, but yesterday was the best day yet. We managed to see every imaginable species that is awake during the day and that should have been sleeping. We were walking along in the bush and herd this cacophony of bird sounds at one point, not realising that the were walking into a very unusual yet fascinating situation. What we found were a bellbird, a hihi, and a black robin bird calling to warn the rest of the bush that a Morpork was awake and was on the prowl. So we got to see these birds all calling and close up. The most impressive thing was seeing the male Hihi pick a fight with the morpork and frighten the poor thing off! We also got to see the elusive yet beautiful Kaka which up until that point we had only heard or seen flying in the distance (we had the priviledge of seeing a group of five of the birds come and have a feed at one of the feeding stations.)

The Hihi or stichbird - they are so colourful and noisy!

The North Island Kaka

I’m very much a nature lover; I could spend my whole life in the Karori sanctuary and wouldn’t get bored. When I look at the beauty of these Birds and hear their calls it makes me want to worship God more than ever. God put his love into creating these beautiful creatures, for his enjoyment but also for our enjoyment. They point to a magnificent creator. I thank God that he put the dream into the hearts of men to set up the Karori Wildlife sanctuary for the enjoyment of so many people, its great to see these strange and magnificent creatures living in the wild once again. The awesome thing about the Santuary is that we have a recovery in our local hardier bird life such as the Tui which are now flourishing by the thousands (though some people seem to not like being woken up by their calls during the morning!) There is also the possibility of seeing Kaka in some areas if you are lucky, but this is only possible if you live near large trees such as the rata or pines because they are high canopy birds.

Dear God, when I look at your creation, the beauty of the splendour, it makes me want to worship you. The deep red of the wings of the Kaka, its splendid movement show the intricacy and love you put into its creation. The call of the Hihi, sharp and screechy crys out that you are Lord, a lord of love and salvation. All creation crys out for your restoration. The Tuataras are ancient, but you are the ancient of days. We thank you for the love you have poured out in your creation. Lord we worship you because you are wonderful, beautiful even beyond the beauty of creation, you cannot be described. You formed this world, created it, made it to show your splendour, and we can only fall down and worship you, because you are God.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Posts of Note # 2

The Blogosphere has been heating up again so I am going to make some general references to my favourite blog posts and websites at the moment, as usual I'm about two weeks behind the times, but hey here is a few blogs that interest me.

Mak from Swinging from the Vine has written a very nice post called Lest we forget the Mystical. I found it interesting to hear her view that we are going through a period of renewal or revival within the Christian church which is being led by the emerging/emergent churches. It would be interesting to hear thoughts from anyone, both positive or critical of this. The term mystic is growing on me and I may be using it one day on myself ;-) Anyway, I think Mysticism and the holy spirit are highly important, but as me and Matt were talking about, the need for a plan can be necessary to get things sometimes working and shaped. More on this topic later....

Mak has another great post about her Cat and comparisons with herself. Sym will like this as I know one of his most favourite books flows into this topic. She states...
"I’m an eager little lap cat with hungry eyes jumping up into God’s lap for some warmth until I have something more interesting to do. I’m not interested in the give and take of relationship, just the warmth I feel from the experience.

And hey, I’m not stupid, I’m not going to bite the hand that feeds me right? I’ll put up with some attention and maybe even listen long enough to hear a few words but that’s about the extent of it.

Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner."

It seems our desire for warmth, food and security drives us many times, rather than a love for our father. Just to sit at his feet panting like a dog, being loyal to our maker becuase we know God is good, picking up the stick becuase we know it pleases the master, living to please him because our master is good to us.

More on this kind of topic, read another brilliant post by Mike Brantley on Spotlight Rangers. I know that many times in my journey I have been the spotlight ranger, making it look like I'm all strong and mighty, but running for cover, looking for security when the perverbial hits the fan. I don't look for security in God, rather I look for it in stuff, in a job and a career, or my credentials.

Reid S Monagan has done a good review of Christianity Dangerous Idea, which is a history of the Reformation. After having a rather stimulating conversation about the differences of opinion on scripture with a newly catholic convert, I think I may need to read this! I certainly have been spending a lot of time reading my history of christian theology over the last few days.

Last but not least, Alan Hirsh has put up on his blog a interview from openheaven. This gives a good entree of the ideas that you will find in Alan's book "The Forgotten Ways" which I would highly recommend to anyone who is planting a church in a western, post-christian culture.

Sweet and Brantleys Sweet Sweet Qoutes

I found a couple of good qoutes on my friend Mike Brantleys Blog, one from himself and one from Len Sweets book "The Gospel According to Starbucks"

Len Sweet Says:

"Organised religion has been assuming that because it has a better product - namely, God - that it simply needs to open the doors and customers will line up. That assumption no longer holds. Christians have much to learn about faith as a lived experience, not a thought experiment. Rational faith - the form of Christianity that relies on argument, logic, and apologetics to establish and defend its rightness - has failed miserably in meeting people where they live. Intellectual arguments over doctrine and theology are fine for Divinity School, but they lose impact at the level of family life experience. Starbucks knows that people live for engagement, connection, symbols, and meaningful experiences. If you read the Bible, you'll see that the people of God throughout history have known the same thing. Life at its very best is a passionate experience, not a doctoral dissertation. The problem is not that Christianity can't be believed, but that it can't be practiced because of its lack of lived experience. And it can't be observed by others because there are too few Christians who are radical enough to manifest what the Gospel really looks like."

I'm struggling with this, knowing that its not all about propositions, who's right between arminians and calvinists, whos right about the shape of church, whos wrong about some issue of theology. I am slowly learning, and having it knocked into me that its all about knowing Jesus, following Jesus with my whole being, listening to the aches of his heart. I know this means me humbly rereading the gospels, rereading them and letting Jesus speak to me, truly asking what it means for to me to be a follower.

Mike Brantley comment at the end of his post states:

"We get the constant question, "how do we begin the spiritual conversation". We don't. We simply posture (our attitude, desire and actions) scream we love you, enough to sacrificially care for and bless you... The rest comes to us."

As Christians we need to get back to the simple yet radical message of Jesus's Love for the world. The only way we can do this is by living what we beleive and know, loving the lost and posturing in a way that will reach them, listening, talking, and offering our time to those who need it. As Michael Frost says in one of his sermons "Our job is to be the best freinds to those around us they ever had." Posturing in this way we are willing to give up all for those around us, because show true love means that. We are saved by grace so that we can truly change the world, we have in our hands the most compelling story ever told, our job is to tell it with our lives.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Last FM

My Freinds have just introduced me to Last FM. This is a social networking site for music addicts. One of the useful things it does is it uploads the information of your music library onto the web and then you can also browse other artists of similar type that you may be interested in. I think it might be a new addiction for me for the next while, as Facebook has definitely lost its buzz with me. If your into music and you need to find new artists. This is definitely a good way to do so. But I also like recieving information from word of mouth. Definitely need to also spend more time going to concerts!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Recommended Music!

This is an open post. I'm feeling the need to expand my horizons on the music front. I want people to help me to do my homework for me.

Name your favourite bands at the moment and why you like them

Name your favourite single.

Ok I will name some of my favourite groups and songs.

Anberlin. Thier Song <Fin> has been one of my favourites for the last year or so. Mainly becuase its the masterpeice of thier album cities. The chior is awesome on that song. I think the song also shows the strengths of the lead singers vocals as well. Its a great climax to what I think is a mediocre record from the boys!

Emery Listening to Freddie Mercury. This song has number of parts to it. Its trademark of the style of thier second album The Question. But it flows nicely and ends well .

Foo Fighters Come Alive. My favourite song on The Echoes Patience Silence and Grace. I hope they do not make this a single otherwise I'm writing to the record company to show my displeasure that they have ruined my favourite song!

Interpol. I can't say what song is my favourite on thier latest Album. I'm just happy that thier latest album doesn't make me feel as depressed as Antics did. I like the latest album a whole lot. Very professional and very crisp. As one reviewer said though, they have overproduced some of the songs in thier latest abulm. Evil is a standout track from Antics.

Qwandors Picks:

The Anywheres and their song "Bottom of Yourself"
Jonathan Coulton

Jakes Picks:

Aqaulung and their song "Strange and Beautiful"

Sigur Rós and their song Untitled #8 (Popplagið)

and a heavy metal band Dream Theater

st as we go along on this little adventure. Please Please Please Post Comments, and thanks for those who have already commented

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Comtemplating the Religion...

... Of Blogging that is!

Hat Tip: Mike Zook

Beating the 1 Corinthians 1-4 syndrome - some thoughts

Lisa has written about her recent trip to a catholic church and the catholic service she was involved in. She asked four questions in her blog. I’m going to give some long winded answers to this in my blog. The questions were

How do you view other Churches? Is your view on other Churches influenced by first hand experience/scholarship or by something else? Do you worship in other denominations with ease? What have other church traditions offered your faith journey?

This is my third attempt at writing a response to these questions, I want to write a “generous response” to these questions. Most of my experiences of church traditions have been good. I lean toward certain churches due to my own personal spiritual journeyk, but something that has certainly happened throughout my journey as I have grown more and more appreciative of the different expressions of Christian spirituality. I wrote one time to a mate of mine that I believe that Church and church expressions are like a cake, there are certain ingredients needed to make a cake (I believe that for a good cake we need to be first of all Christ focused – acknowledging that Jesus is our lord and saviour, outward focused - missional, disciple makers, the importance of the apostolic ministries talked about in Ephesians 4:11, the church as an organism etc.) I do believe that the shape, and “flavour” of churches can be different, due to different environments where churches are set up and the history of a church. I believe that we should be kind to those from different denominations or traditions than we are from and should learn to be in diologue with each of them. Personally on my journey I have learned from numerous traditions and wish to learn more from the practices of other traditions.

What I have seen is a disturbing trend within Christianity is what Lisa called in her post the 1 Corinthians 1-4 syndrome. This syndrome usually resembles the “my church tradition is best.” We accentuate the idiosyncrasies of one group and make it seem like there are no flaws in the way we “do church.” I’m not a big fan of this. I cottoned on to the idea when I was younger, and tried to just say Christ follower or Christian. We may worship differently but we are all part of the same family. I’m not very sectarian. One of my best friends (who is also a close family friend) is a staunch Catholic, we may have certain disagreements about certain theological points, but I know that we can share in the fact that we are still part of the same body.

So what do I like about the traditions. I will start of with my catholic brothers and sisters.
I was astounded one day when I heard someone in a cell group I was in say that they believed that Catholicism was a cult. I think I had similar suspicions when I was younger, not for anything my parents taught me, just this weird belief that catholics were less “Christian” than I was. I was mistaken, I have found in Catholicism depth that sometimes seems to be sadly lacking from its protestant cousins. I particularly love the mysticism still present within the catholic faith. I beleivfe one of the reasons why the charismatic movement is so strong in the catholic church is their links with mysticism and spirituality. The imagery and art left by the catholic church which tells our stories is important (I always find it sad how much of the beautiful artwork was lost due to the reformation. I believe that liturgy and discipline can be a good way to focus our faith and focus in on God, or on characteristics of God. I love the focus on having communion in every service. I really believe that communion is one of the most important aspects of Christian faith communities, and I love that the Eucharist is so important to catholic brothers and sisters. The history of the catholic church is long and they have offered some of the most important contributions to Christian theology and spirituality. I am heavily indebted to Catholic figures and theologians – to Brother Lawrence for his meditations on practicing the presence of God, to St Patrick for being the great missionary leader to go to Ireland and change the spiritual landscape there, St Francis of Assisi for the monastic ministry model for reaching and serving the poor, Thomas Aquinas and others. The only things that have made me wary of the catholic church would be the fact that I’m very, very post-institutional. I believe in organic expressions of faith.

Anglican: I havn’t actually spent that much time in Anglican churches over my lifetime, only a couple of services or so. The best memory of an Anglican service that I can remember was at the beginning of the year at St Michaels. What I can remember from this service was a lot of contemplation and focus time. I enjoyed this and found it both spiritually engaging but also intellectually stimulating. I enjoyed the community feel of the church, with it feeling caring and welcoming. I also enjoyed the depth of communion as we past around that wine cup and shared with one another. It was a very special service. Again, I must confess my knowledge of the Anglican church isn’t all that great, but I enjoyed my time with them.

Baptists: I love the Baptist church, particularly the New Zealand Baptist church and more than the fact that my family are involved in a local Baptist church. There are number of things that impress me about Baptist churches these days. One that the flavours and shapes are different according to different environments and places. I know at our local Baptist church that I’ve enjoyed numerous different shapes and flavours of how worship gatherings can be set up. There are quite traditional services for some Baptist churches in the provinces while in some of the bigger cities there are “emerging style” services as well. I enjoy the focus at my local Baptist church on prayer – with their being a lot of prayer within the service so the focus is put on God. Of course being an evangelical church there is focus on the pulpit as well (something I actually am struggling through with at the moment after reading Kimball’s The Emerging Church – note I believe preaching is important but I believe that Jesus should be the centre of everything – not the pastor, the worship leader or anyone else – the head of the church is Jesus!)
I find the morning church service at my local Baptist church fairly liturgical and do not mind this. The Night church that I have been to on and off is a lot more homely though for the styles I enjoy. It has contemporary music (that I sometimes enjoy if the songs aren’t Jesus is my boyfriend in style – thanks Ben for putting on that song that I love so so much that night! you know what it was!), I enjoy the times of reflection we have there, I enjoy reflecting on art or the lyrics of a song and trying to find what God wants to teach me.

I enjoy the focus on the aims of the Church – that we are part of the mission of God in this world. I love that they keep on coming back to this at the Baptist church. That our life is bigger than the church service but is about being part of Gods mission, to redeem the world and humanity back to himself. I do like the focus on social justice and on the environment as well. I think that as Christians we should be concerned about the poor, comforting and advocating for the oppressed, caring for the needy etc. I also believe that we have a role in caring for the environment and that Christians should be concerned in environmental sustainability because God created this world for his glory.

Charismatic Churches: I have spent most of my life in churches which are either charismatic or Pentecostal churches. I know that they have differences in theological belief and opinion but for this present little piece I will lump them in together. I love Charismatic churches and the people in them. I particularly love the home that I have had in the Vineyard family. I love the organic worship style that is present at vineyard but also the practice of the gifts. I have been blessed by the time I have been involved in these communities. I love the focus on mercy and compassion within the church. I also love the fact that service is uplifted within the vineyard family and that you never really feel that the leadership is above you within the Church. I also have loved the fact that worshipping Jesus is the focus of the church, it has taught me a lot in the last few years. I have been heavily influenced and shaped by those within vineyard and the way in which they honour God with their lives. It is awesome to also see this churches impact around the world with annual mission trips to fiji, a trip to Perm Russia in the past year, and others in permanent mission in other countries around the world. I know that many have been blessed by the ministry of church.

Where am I most comfortable, what has is my worship DNA?

The shape and feel of church I probably lean too are less formal smaller churches – I actually wrestle with this leaning a lot of the time. I love music – many people have heard me rail music and worship being put together but I actually love good music and worship together. I’ve ranted against this for a few reasons – I know how easy it is to get trapped in the opinion that worship and music are synonymous. This is not the case, read Romans 12, Hosea 6:6 and Michah 6:8. Worship is a whole of life activity where seek to love God, following his comands and words and to love people. There is a need to die to ourselves daily, following God.

I enjoy contemplative worship a lot these days. I enjoy it because we need a balance, sometimes I’ve found that in some cases worship leaders can build up a spiritual high in ecstatic worship styles but God might not be present in those highs. God is waiting in the whisper, waiting for us to quietly listen to his gentle spirit, willing to talk if we would listen. I enjoy taking in art, or music, or dance and seeing how others express their love for God in different ways. I enjoy prayer and meditation. I love prayer which is natural and not contrived. Just allowing people to express their needs and to let go in front of God in community.

Personally, I’m a bit of an intellectual when it comes to God. One of my pathways of worship is through thinking and writing and wrestling with God in that way. I know not everyone is like that, but I just love it! I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about God and his awesome love, but also I believe it is highly important to be active not just a blogger or a writer.

I also believe that we need to focus on Jesus. I believe this is the most important thing. That we focus on what Jesus has done for us on the cross and through his life on earth. I believe totally in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and what he has done for us, and we need to talk about this constantly through church. The gospel should be the centre to every message and every time we come together. I learned about Jesus being the centre both from the time I spent at vineyard and also from Mark Driscoll sermons and books. I believe that Jesus is centrally important. Not a watered down message about Jesus and what he has done but the full bodied, fully textured vintage story of Jesus.

Hopefully this gives a summary of thoughts on this subject. As I said, I think we should be able to learn humbly from different traditions from ourselves. I believe that the different ways we do worship are legitimate and none are more legitimate than others. Of course there are limitations on this and you are free to discuss these in the comments on this blog.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years Resolutions 2008

As usual I do a "New Years Resolutions Post" where I kind of comment on what I want to do with myself in the coming year, how I want to be a better person - in a holistic manner. So where do I feel I need work in my life.

- I want to restate that my life is all about Jesus - Jesus saved me, he has rescued me from sin and is journeying with me through my life. I want to follow Jesus, worshipping him with my whole life - with the way I speak, with my actions, with my heart desires.

This means that I follow his two major commands - I am to love and worship God with all my heart mind and soul, and I am to love and serve people. The second flows from the second. I have to admit that I struggle with both. My fallen nature means that I struggle and fall. But I know that God is there picking me up and making me a better person.

I do not want to be a hypocrite, even worse I don't want to be a judgemental hypocrite. I want to be real, honest and open about who I am, my struggles, and the fact I rely on God for salvation.

I want to be more of a leader.

I want to become a better Friend to those around me, I want to listen deeper, I want to spend more time with those who need a Friend, I want to incarnate naturally into the environment of those who are hurting, those who are in pain. I want to show them the God of the bible, Jesus, showing how he heals our brokenness, and restores us.

I want to learn how to drive. I need to do this now, and I state this as something which would be cool to get under my belt.

I want to start doing photography intentionally, learning how to use my camera more effectively, I believe that I can use this as for creative expression.

I want to learn more about other religions - I have been convicted over this as I have been reading Dan Kimball's "They Like Jesus but do not like the Church", if I am to be a humble missionary into the culture around me, I have to know what people are conversing about, why they find meaning in worshipping a particular god or idol or object. I have to be able to posture I a way similar to what Paul did at Mars Hill. He saw that people were religious- that they found meaning in worshipping gods. He did not flog them with a bible and hit them hard, he acknowledged their search for God, and told them that they needed to search further and look into who Jesus is and the beliefs of Christians.