Monday, November 30, 2009

Who Mans the Catapult?

So young, so ancient
Weathered, knocked, scarred
Lying around, biding time, asleep
Silent dreams, inner ambition, selfish and selfless
A castle? A foundation? A sculpture? A landmark?
Work, strive, pursue
What’s not there can never be there
What’s there once wasn’t
Rest, relax, pause
Obvious and known, hidden and to be discovered
There is a sparkle within
Chance, karma, coincidence, or called, destined, ordained?
Promoted, picked, placed
Launched, accelerated, fast tracked

Who mans the catapult?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Website of the Week...

Check this out the Junky Car Club. Drive a crap car in order to be more generous. Awesome!

Understanding the Sabbath Part 4

We now conclude by looking at what it means for us to keep the Sabbath today.

Do we still have to keep the Sabbath today?

Yes of course we do. Just like we still have to keep the rest of the Ten Commandments, every single one of the Ten Commandments is still applicable today. It’s just that every single one has been developed and amended through Christ.

We don’t keep the Sabbath by imitating God’s rest for a day and looking forward to seventh day rest again in a week’s time.

We keep the Sabbath by entering into the state of seventh day rest through relationship with Jesus Christ. Through repentance and faith we come into a saving relationship with Christ. We discover fruitfulness, a call to dominion, relationship; we begin the process of being restored into the fullness of the image of God.

We enter into the beginnings of seventh day rest as seen in Genesis 2:1-3 as we become a part of the kingdom of God which is now, but not yet. It has begun and will be completed at Christ’s return, where we will enter fully a new season of seventh day rest.

Is the Sabbath a Saturday or a Sunday?

It’s not about a certain day of the week.

The Sabbath is about resting in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Does that mean that we have to go to church every Sunday?

The Sabbath is not kept by going or not going to church.

Church is about discipleship, community, relationship, being part of the body of Christ.

What about if you are a shift worker?

Shift workers should get saved as well and therefore enter Sabbath rest and keep the Sabbath command.

Isn’t the Sabbath more a principle than a command in the 21st Century?

As Christ followers the Sabbath is a command as much as the other Ten Commandments. We just need to be sure of what we are commanded to do. The Sabbath is now about relationship with Christ.

There is still a principle of Sabbath that is important for us as Christians to practice.

While the law no longer remains the intent of the law is still positive and there are principles here that are beneficial for us all.

We must practice and commit to regularly (I would suggest 1 day a week) pausing and resting from our regular work.

For most of you this will most likely happen on a Sunday, and for most of you, you’ll also attend church on that Sunday.

What we need to be mindful is that the Sabbath is about rest and worship.


- from your regular work
- most likely your work of providing (of earning and bringing in income)
- still be involved in good works of dominion, serving your fellow Christians and building God’s kingdom
- still mow the lawns
- can still paint the fence
- can still work in a team at church or whatever


- not in the sense of a church service
- not in the sense of songs
- worship in the sense of a choice to rest and a choice to dwell on that which the Sabbath is a reminder and a celebration of…

The fact that life is not all about work, six days of work are important, but don’t let work become and end in itself.
God is my provider, as much as I work to provide, I trust in him.
That’s why in season and out of season I still chose to rest and worship God.
When things are bountiful and when things are tight.

Exodus 34:21
Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the ploughing season and harvest you must rest.

God is creator of all and sustains the cosmos, as much as we work as stewards of creation, his is in control and watches over all.

God is Lord of all people, I work to bless and serve my Christian family, but God is Lord of their life and ultimately cares for them.

God is building his Kingdom, as much as I am called to and must work towards his will being done on earth as it is in heaven, he is the true builder of his kingdom, not me.

God is my deliver

God is in control – I don’t have to be busy doing, doing, doing, working, working, working, I can let go and trust him. I can rest even though there are 10 million things that need doing.

If you can’t rest, if you can’t relax, it’s indicative that either you think you can control life, control things, by doing, or that you don’t trust God.

We must keep the Sabbath today. We rest in our relationship with God, we worship and acknowledge God is our provider, sustains, and is in control.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

50 Ways to Help the Planet

Understanding Sabbath Part 3

We now move to the New Testament where amongst the Jewish people the Sabbath is still kept and celebrated with the Pharisees having all sorts of rules about what can or cannot be down on the Sabbath, about what does and does not constitute work.

Jesus though is about to muck all of this up in the same way that in Matthew 5 he mucked up current understanding of most of the other commandments and declared himself to be the fulfilment of the law.

Matthew 11:28
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Matthew 12:1-8
1 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."

3 He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven't you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that one [
a] greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' [b] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

In these passages Jesus makes some pretty incredible statements regarding the Sabbath.

- Implies that he has authority at least as great as Mosaic Law, where the command to keep the Sabbath originated.
- Declares himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath.
- Announces that true rest (seventh day rest of dominion, fruitfulness, and relationship with God) can now be found in Him.
- True and lasting rest which the Sabbath only remembers and looks forward to can now actually be entered into through Jesus.
- He is the one that is actually going to bring the blessing that the Sabbath celebrates and looks forward to, into reality.

This is pretty major.

John 5:16-18(30)
16So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." 18For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Here again Jesus makes some pretty incredible statements regarding the Sabbath.

- Declares His father God, and himself to be at work.
- Analogy is to the work of the first six days of creation.
- They are working towards the seventh day, rest, restored relationship, creation as it was intended to be.

The passage goes on through to verse 30…

30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Revels that God will realize his goal for humanity in the person and work of the Son.

It is the son who will give life to the dead, judge all people, and bring honor to himself and to the Father.

He will realize the Sabbath by bringing an end to human rebellion and the reign of death, that destroyed the seventh day as it was meant to be.

He now participates with the Father and the Holy Spirit in a second great work of creation, begun after the fall, that will culminate we know in his return, judgment, and the re-creation of the havens and the earth to the seventh day state God always intended.

This is radical.

To be continued in a final post suggesting what the Sabbath means for us today…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Freedom of Simplicity 7

Chapter 7 - Outward Simplicity: Beginning Steps

Today there is a heretical teaching that is an absolute plague on American Christianity. It is the dogmatic unexamined credo that whatever we gain is ours to do with as we please. If we earn $70,000, how we spend it is our private affair. Perhaps we will concede that it is legitimate for the Church to talk about tithing but the other 90% is none of its business.

How utterly self-consumed and provincial! In no way can we twist scripture to justify such a belief. Our lifestyle is not out private affair. We dare not allow each person to do what is right in his or her own eyes. The Gospel demands more of us: it is obligatory upon us to help one another hammer out the shape of Christian simplicity in the midst of modern affluence. We need to love each other enough to sense our mutual responsibility and accountability. We are our brother's and sister's keeper.

Most dangerous of all is the tendency to turn an expression of simplicity into a new legalism.

We understand that Peter spoke to the particular issues of his day; our task is to discern what constitutes ostentatious elitism and speak to that situation today.

Never forget that poverty is not simplicity.

Most of us if we kept a careful record for one year would be amazed at how much we spend in certain categories.

And also 7 or 8 keys to stepping into simplicity that you could initiate in your life today. You need to buy this book and read it.

My major takeaways...

1. Simplicity is not simply a private matter or choice. It must be discussed and addressed in our churches, life groups, friendship circles etc. This presents a massive challenge but we cannot back down from it. Pastors and leaders need wisdom. Congregations need an open heart and a passion for Kingdom living. We all need the Spirit of God to speak and lead, understanding that means we may not be led where we want to go, but into what is best for us.

2. Simplicity is not poverty and denial it is freedom, peach and purpose. It brings health and growth. Unless we chose to simplify, to live sustainability, to live counter culture to the world, we will continually damage this planet, our relationships with people around us, and our intimacy with God. Consumerism and materialism is counter to the culture of the Kingdom. We have to recognise that as truth. We also have to be brave enough to acknowledge that so much in our lives is unnecessary excess. Sure we can call it blessing, favor, and the grace of God. Again we have to come back though, to what is that blessing for? Challenging and difficulty but a journey we must all take. Billy Graham said - 'The growing possibility of our destroying ourselves and the world with our own neglect and excess is tragic and very real.'

3. Simplicity is all about the sorting of priorities in life. It brings us into a depth of relationship with God, with others, and with creation that brings life in our Christian journey.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Understanding Sabbath Part 2

Having established a pattern or work in our lives we are now ready to look at Sabbath and the implications of seventh day rest to our lives.

History of the Sabbath...

In Genesis we have the first mention of something that somehow relates to the law of Sabbath.

Genesis 2:2-3
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

After six days of creating, God, on the seventh day rests from all his work.

He blesses the seventh day and making it Holy.

He creates a new type of time or a new state of being – a state and a time of rest.

The seventh day is a new period of time, a new session, a new state, which is blessed and is Holy.

Its creation in its completed and good state.

This seventh day state of rest is not just a day but is ordered creation as God intended things to be.

- Where man and God now dwell together.
- A time of right relationship with God, with each other (Adam & Eve), with oneself, and with creation.
- Where everything is as it was created and meant to be.
- Where one worked, but not a work of labour and toil, but of fruitfulness and dominion, humankind as stewards over creation.
- It’s a state of rest in that creation is complete and now can be enjoyed, developed, savoured, and celebrated.

Then in Genesis 3 we have the fall.

Humanity falls short of all God desired and created them to be.

As a result God pronounces some serious curses on Satan, Eve, and Adam, on humanity and all of creation.

Genesis 3:17-19
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Sin now has a massive foothold in the world.

- Man and God no longer dwell together like that used to.
- There is failure of relationship.
- No longer right relationship with God, self, each other, or with creation.
- Fruitfulness and dominion, is now painful toil, sweat, thorns and thistles.
- Nothing is as it was created and meant to be.

This seventh day state of rest is now lost. That which was blessed and holy is now cursed.

Moving from Genesis now to Exodus and Deuteronomy we discover God commanding the Israelites to keep the Sabbath, to keep a day of rest.

Exodus 20:8-11
8"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall work and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Here in Exodus, the seventh day of Genesis has now been substituted for the term Sabbath.

- Therefore the LORD blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
- Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Sabbath is essentially a celebration and imitation of God’s resting on the seventh day after the previous six days of the creation narrative.

The Israelites remember the Sabbath, they take a day to rest and cease from work in imitation of God.

They rest even as God rested.

Although it may be all these things, the…

Sabbath is not about relief from work.
Sabbath is not about rest in order to be more efficient in one’s work.
Sabbath is not about a massive sleep in so you can recover from last week and get ready for next week.

The Sabbath is about remembering that there is more to life than work.

It’s about remembering that God worked for six days only in order to create the seventh day state of rest in which humanity could be fruitful, take dominion, and relate with God, self, each other, can creation as they were designed to do.

Through the remembrance and observing of Sabbath rest, the Israelites remembered and worshiped God, (not worship as in band and song, or service) worship as in lifestyle that prescribes worth to God.

Through rest they remembered, worshiped, and honoured God as creator God, and remember than in fact creation was good, and that the work of creation was in order that God and man could dwell together.

The Israelites remember the wonder of the seventh day state of rest that God originally created.

They rest for a day and symbolically enter that rest of the seventh day, knowing that it has been lost, but that it was always God’s intention for humanity.

They celebrate that God is faithful in that he is working towards restoring things to as they once were as well.

That God still desires to dwell in relationship with humanity.

We now go to Exodus 21:12-17.

Exodus 31:12-17
12 Then the LORD said to Moses, 13 "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. 14 " 'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.' "

Here we see that as well as keeping the Sabbath as an imitation of God...

The Israelites kept the Sabbath as a sign and reminder of their unique relationship with covenant God.

They are to remember that God is the one who blesses them and makes them holy, even in the same way that he blessed and made the Sabbath, the seventh day holy.

That God has set them apart as a special people and is going to restore the original rest and blessing of the seventh day of creation to them.

Even though that was lost God is going to somehow recreate and re-establish things as they are meant to be.

They remember that God is the covenant keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He is the God that they are making a covenant with at Mount Sinai.

They remember the promises of God to Abraham.

God is the God who has and will bless them in order that they might be a blessing.

They can trust in his promises and his faithfulness.

These things are remembered and celebrated through the Sabbath.

We now go to Deuteronomy 5:12-15.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15
12 "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Here we have a third reason why the Israelites are to observe and remember the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a memorial of God’s faithfulness in delivering them from the captivity and slavery of Egypt.

The analogy is that six days the Israelites worked, laboured as slaves, but on the seventh day God delivered them and brought them into rest, brought them into a place of freedom.

God delivered the Israelites from slavery back into a place of freedom, and dominion, and relationship, beginning with deliverance from Egypt to the wilderness and completed upon entry into the Promised Land of Canaan.

They celebrate that God is restoring and bringing them back to the seventh day rest of Genesis 2:1-3.

So for the Israelites…

The Sabbath is…

- An imitation of God’s rest and a reminder of how God intended creation to be.
- A reminder that life is not about work but about community and relationship, with God, with others, with self, and with creation.
- A reminder that God is the creator God, worthy of all worship and that creation was good.

The Sabbath is…

- A reminder that God is a faithful covenant keeping God.
- A reminder that God has chosen them as his covenant people, that he will bless them in order that all the nations of the world might be blessed.
- A reminder that God’s desire is to dwell amongst and with them, that he will be their God and they will be his people.

The Sabbath is…

- A reminder that God delivered them from Egypt, from slavery.
- That God is a faithful deliverer.
- That God will bring them again into the rest he originally intended for all creation, which for Israel is pictured in the Promised Land.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom of Simplicity 6

Chapter 6 – Inward Simplicity: Holy Obedience

Three stages to discovering the simplicity of self-blindness. 1) Freeing ourselves from an ‘intoxication’ to material or outward things and becoming sensitive to the things of the Spirit, especially our inward condition. 2) Moving away from total absorption in ourselves and our eternal destiny and to being centred in the fear of God. 3) The natural calm and unpretentious exuberance of simplicity.

Fenelon – ‘With this purity of heart, we are no longer troubled by what others think of us, except that in charity we avoid scandalizing them.’ We do not have to be liked. We do not have to succeed. We can enjoy obscurity as easily as fame.

Genuine humility has a gentleness about it that is delightful.

We would do well to discipline our words to what is actually the case without embellishment or overstatement.

My major takeaways...

1. Not living by the standards of the world is truly a free place to live.

That we do not have to be liked and that we do not have to succeed, that obscurity can be enjoyed as easily as fame is so counter to everything society throws at us. It is a truly free place to live though. Continually and consciously in our thinking and actions we need to ensure that we are choosing to live with this attitude.

2. Simple living is not a life of phlegmatism.

It is not a place of no longer caring about what you do in life. Rather it is about caring so much about what you do in regards to obedience to the Holy Spirit, faithfulness to God’s word, and living the way of Jesus and the Kingdom that as long as there is authenticity in ones relationship with God that is the yard stick. No longer the standards of the world. This does not result in lethargic living but rather purposeful, measured, and sustainable determination.

3. What a virtue humility is!

When we live in this place we can begin to develop humility in our lives. True humility truly is gentle and delightful to be around. People with humility draw the best out of others, walk with confidence that is never overbearing or seemingly arrogant, and you so easily find yourself open to what they have to say. Think of the most famous or well educated person you know whom you actually enjoy spending time with, humility will be a major characteristic in their life. How much more effective would Christians be in reaching their neighbours if true humility was a common characteristic.

4. Simplify your speech.

That we so carefully need to watch our words. So much of what we say has the potential to be embellished and overstated. So much of what we hear, we know is embellished and inaccurate. Jesus instructs us to let our ‘no’ be ‘no’ and our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and not to make oaths. Is this because oaths are bad? No, it’s because if an oath is required then it implies we have two standards of talk. Oaths which are when we are being truthful and then the rest of our speech which may or may not be honest, trustworthy, or reliable. As Christians we don’t need oaths because all of our talk, all of the time, should be honest, trustworthy and to be counted on. This is a real challenge but a challenge worth embracing. Simplify your speech.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New books have arrived...

New books from Amazon have arrived!

Green Revolution - Ben Lowe
No Impact Man - Colin Beavan
Deep Church - Jim Belcher
Fasting - Scot McKnight

Looking forward to getting stuck into them. In what order though?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Understanding Sabbath Part 1

The following posts are taken from a couple of sermons I preached earlier in the year.

Have you ever wondered about the Sabbath day and what it means for your life?

It’s one of the Ten Commandments so it must be fairly important.

1: Have no other God’s before me – straight forward in our NT context.
2: Don’t make anything as an idol – again straight forward.
3: Don’t take the name of the Lord in vain – yep of course.
5: Honour your father and your mother – for sure, and now you have to love your enemy as yourself.
6: Don’t commit murder – obviously and building on that now even to hate is as murder.
7: Don’t commit adultery – yep and even to lust with your eyes is as adultery in the NT.
8: Don’t steal – seems obvious but perhaps we need some help here, for 1st Century Christians, if you had two coats while someone had none, that was stealing. Big challenge for us in the global village.
9: don’t bear false witness against your neighbour – again pretty clear, no lying etc.
10: don’t covet your neighbour’s wife or any of your neighbour’s possessions – also obvious and also a big challenge in our materialistic and consumer driven society.

It’s pretty clear and pretty straightforward that we are still to keep these nine commandments. As New Testament believers, they are even expanded in their scope and applicability to our lives.

What about number 4 though?

4: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy – what does that even mean?

• Does that mean go to church every Sunday?
• Isn’t the seventh day Saturday though?
• What about if you are a shift worker?
• What about if you just have a little part time job and have to work just Sunday mornings? Can you then go to church on a Sunday night? Is that all good?
• Is that even what it’s all about?
• What’s the story in regards to Sabbath in the 21st Century?

Some key scriptures...

Genesis 2:2-3
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Exodus 34:21
Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the ploughing season and harvest you must rest.

Exodus 20:8-11
8"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall work and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15
12 "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Before we begin to unpack the Sabbath though we need to look at the concept of work.

Six days you shall work and then one day rest. What should that work look like?

Let me suggest 4 types of work that we should involve ourselves in.

1. Work to provide

2 The 3:10
Anyone that doesn’t work, shouldn’t eat.

Most people have jobs and work in order to provide themselves, and hopefully others as well with resource to live life.

We live in a monetary economy rather than an agricultural economy, so we work (at various jobs, in various industries or services, which I trust is ethical) for money in order to clothe, house, feed, and supply our families.

You don’t and won’t always necessarily enjoy this sort of work.

We should be excellent in this work, as unto the Lord, be honest, be diligent, be punctual, go the extra mile, keep a good attitude and right spirit, and work hard.

2. Work of dominion

Gen 1:26-30
26 Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created human beings in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

This is the work of stewarding creation.

Caring for animals and the environment.

Developing things, creating things, inventing things, painting, writing.

Doing things out of worship and to the glory of God.

Living sustainable.

All of those things and others I would put under the heading of the work of dominion.

Sadly though many of us just live status quo in regards to these sorts of issues.

Abdicated everything to the City Council or our MP, or weird greeny hemp type people.

God always intended though that his people would take dominion and steward and care for creation.

3. Work of blessing fellow believers

Gal 6:9-10
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

The bible encourages us to do good to each other at every opportunity.

4. Work of partnering with the Holy Spirit in building God’s Kingdom

Matthew 6:10
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Witness to the world around us through presence and proclamation of the gospel.

Outreach through service and social concern.

Living the ‘way’ of Jesus as light in the dark.

So before we even go further and talk about Sabbath and rest, let us ensure that we are committed, diligent, and hard working Christians.

Not people absorbed only in our careers and the work of provision but in all four types of work.

Are you an active worker in all four areas?

To be continued...

Freedom of Simplicity 5

Chapter 5 - Inward Simplicity: The Divine Center

What will free us from this bondage to the ever-spiraling demands that are placed upon us? The answer is found in the grace Christian simplicity. This virtue, once worked into our lives, will unify the demands of our existence; it will prune and trim gently and in the right places, bringing a liberty of soul that will eliminate constant reversions to ourselves.

Within all of us is a whole conglomerate of selves. There is the timid self, the courageous self, the business self, the parental self, the religious self, the literary self, the energetic self. All of these selves are rugged individualists. No bargaining or compromise for them. Each one screams to protect his or her vested interests. If a decision is made to spend a relaxed evening listening to Chopin, the business self and the civic self rise up in protest at the loss of precious time. The energetic self paces back and fourth, impatient and frustrated, and the religious self reminds us of lost opportunities for study or evangelistic contact. If the decision is to accept an appointment on the human services board, the civic self smiles with satisfaction, but all the excluded selves filibuster. No wonder we feel distracted and torn. No wonder we over commit our schedules and live lives of frantic faithfulness.

But when we experience life at the Center
(with God as the Center), all is changed. Our many selves come under the control of the divine Arbitrator, (The Holy Spirit).

Everything becomes orientated to this new Center (Christ) of reference.

We enter a refreshing balance and equilibrium in life.

From Brother Lawrence - The time of business for me does not differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.

My major takeaways...

I couldn't believe how much Foster's comments about the different 'selves' within us fight with each other. When resting I fight with myself that I should be studying, when studying I wonder if I should be exercising, when exercising I wonder if I should be with the kids, when with the kids I fret about undone tasks that need completing. Absolutely there is need for me to consciously get Christ at the center and trust him as I do all that needs doing in life, all in due course.

I have have to chose to...

1. Let go and trust Him. All my DOING will never get everything DONE. I have to remember how important it is at times simply to be. Be with Him, be with my kids, be with myself etc.

2. Chose to slow down.

3. Accept that seasons in life create different priorities. Even though I still have to fight this, having kids has helped me a lot. Golf and the gym are on the back burner at the moment. Bikes, books, and bath time reign supreme.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sabbath continued...

Scott McKnight also offers some thoughts Sabbath, Do Christians have a Sabbath or Not? I enjoyed his thoughts and looking forward to reviewing my own sermon notes from earlier in the year and posting them.

Monday, November 2, 2009


One of my passions in life are spiritual disciplines. One of these is of course the practice of Sabbath. I should perhaps post my sermon notes on the Sabbath from earlier in the year.

Derek Leman is a Messianic Rabbi in Atlanta in the states, here are some of his notes on preparing for the Sabbath. While I don't practice the Sabbath in the same way that Rabbi Derek and his family do, I really appreciate his perspective as illuminating in regards to preparing for the Sabbath as a principle in my own life.


Freedom of Simplicity 4

Chapter 4 - Simplicity Among the Saints

For the Dessert Fathers and Mothers the world, including the church, had become so dominated by secular materialism that, for them, the only witness against it was to withdraw from it.

Celibacy is necessary for some forms of simplicity. Francis could not have done what he did if he had not been single. Nor could Jesus.

The Quakers chose simplicity in their attire, in speech, in vigorously opposing injustice and oppression.

These early 'Publishers of Truth,' as they called themselves, too with utter seriousness the task of hearing the voice of Christ and obeying his word. They would ask,'What does it mean to live faithful lives in our day?' and they fully expected to receive an answer.

We who live in a world of half truths and rationalizations and intellectual gymnastics that keep us from hearing and obeying the word of Christ need to hear the witness of the Friends. Because we live in a different culture, we must ask once again what it means to live faithful lives in our day. But we must ask fully expecting to receive an answer and fully expecting to be given the power to obey the call.

J. Hudson Taylor - 'Butter, milk, and other luxuries I cease to use, and found that by living mainly on oatmeal and rice with occasional variations a very small sum was sufficient for my needs. In this way he was able to use two thirds of his income for other purposes. He wrote, 'My experience is that the less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.'

My major takeaways...

Simplicity is not something new in the 21st Century. Even in the first century Christians were choising to live simple lives in order that their affections would be set firmly on Jesus and in order that they might better help the poor and the needy. That being the case, how much more the need for simplicity in the 21st Century!?! How would the saints respond to the extravigences of life that we posses today?

Butter and milk were once considered luxuries. Would we class them as that today? Many in the world would.

What do you consider luxury items? What do you consider nessasary? What is extravegent? What is enough? What do you have to have to live? What can you do without?

I find that the more I journey with the Holy Spirit, the more I practice simplicity as a discipline, and the more I think of others and their needs, the more my answers today are not what they were yesterday.