Skip to main content

When I'm a non-gospel "Christian" (as if such a person makes any sense)

Let me tell you about a guy I know. He works for UCCF and he's a member of a Newfrontiers church - and he loves those labels (Galatian 3:28), they matter a lot to him, and he cares which labels you wear too. He's interested in what you make of him almost to the point of anxious fear (1:10, 2:12) and will make much of you (4:17) though strangely you'll feel your gospel-joy lessened for being with him (4:15). He tends to be critical of others, even biting, devouring, provoking and envying (5:15,26). He takes it upon himself to sort things out and leads the line against others (1:13, 4:29) and can tell you where all the latest problems are (2:4). He takes himself very seriously, he is after all very zealous and thinks himself better than everyone else (1:13). In public he looks very religious and pious, privately he's pretty unpleasant (5:19-20) though he can play the game and put on the right front like any pharisee would. He looks like a slave (4:30), the kind of person who wont inherit God's kingdom (5:21). His way of life is not in step with the gospel (2:14) and though he wouldn't say so he really doesn't think the death of Jesus was worth anything much (2:21).

I know this person all to well because he's me, living by my sinful nature, and once again in 2009 I saw too much of him. This is particularly unpleasant because he has long since been crucified with Christ (5:24) and so has no place showing up at all - and it's my fault for indulging and attempting to revive him by not walking by the Spirit (5:15).

I'm thankful for the way that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are changing me - through his word, through my marriage, through the observations of friends and colleagues, through the family of our church and others in the last few months. But, this remains a work in progress - I'm still prone to relate to others sinfully, but longing for change.

If in 2010 you have the misfortune to run into this person, and I imagine you might, then please watch yourself (6:1) and gently restore me back to gospel living. Be astonished (1:6) but not too surprised, see how foolish I am (3:1) and take the opportunity to laugh at yourself because you too could be so foolish. Be in perplexed and in hopeful anguish for me (4:19). Remind me that I have been crucified with Christ and that the life I now live I live by faith in the risen Christ, Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (2:20) and encourage me to put all my confidence in the Christ who was crucified (3:1), the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (6:14) in whom I'm a new creation. That would be a great service to me and to others.

Comments

  1. Ouch and Amen! A friend to help us see these tendencies in ourselves is a friend indeed. Thanks for keeping it real and for all the helpful links I follow via your Facebook page! Happy New Year and New Creation. Phil

    ReplyDelete
  2. i know this guy too, have done for a while. I love him for his candour and creativity, his passion for Jesus in the face of his own sin and his willingness to serve even when at a will level he doesn't want to. I love him for his prophetic edge in writing and teaching and living for Jesus. I love him because he loves Jesus more than life itself.
    Thanks for starting the new year so well: may we all love Jesus all the more at the end of this year - if he should tarry that long.

    ReplyDelete
  3. mate - this is powerful stuff!

    Thank God for grace, huh!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…