Shalom. May you know the love of God on all areas of your life.
The local church is the first expression of the hands and feet of Jesus in a community. It’s not a building or a construction or a trust or a constitution… these things provide a framework to allow church to do and be, but church is people. It is us… if there are things we think ‘the church’ should be doing or not… then we are saying we should be doing it. Now there are some things that as individuals we can’t do that require us to come together and work together and do. There are things that others can do that help us achieve this… I really appreciate our musicians and sound techie guys… those who serve our morning tea etc.
There are some things I can do but maybe I can’t do all of it… I need help… I need teams.
There many things needed to keep our church functioning. I can’t and actually I won’t do all of it. But if we all do a little, then it makes everything easier. Don’t know what to do? Talk to me, or one of the Elders or a leader… but be careful because I might have a job for you!
Seriously if you find the right things to do it helps you in your being to.
Shalom. Let the truth of God’s promise remind you that the best is yet to come.
Worship is the art and act of… God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1-2 Msg.
Worship is living your life as a continuous offering to God. At times this can seem mundane and even curiously weird depending on what you’re doing. It’s the difference between being religious and relational in our approach to Jesus.
Hebrews don’t really have a separate word for spirituality because for them everything is spiritual. No matter what you do or where you are, you are in the presence of God and where God is is spiritual.
Also scripture tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. This means that worship is an outwork of that internal sense of freedom. A response of gratitude for the greatest gifts we can ever receive. Life itself. It’s the realization that nothing is ultimately ours and we appreciate all we have… even the bits we don’t want or like.
So go ahead and worship Jesus with all that is in you. Creation will join in.
Shalom. Let the truth of God’s love be your polestar and anchor.
Mission is a common word in the church. I use it all the time. But it’s good to stop and consider what it means, because my understanding of mission might be quite different from yours.
When I talk about it I don’t exclusively think of people overseas sharing the gospel story of Jesus and helping people with issues like poverty, slavery and persecution, though that is part of it.
For me, mission happens because God initiates it constantly. Ecclesiastes says the purpose of man is to worship God. Because we don’t all worship God, mission exists. It exists to draw us into a place and space where we realize the need, understand the importance and grasp the relevance of worshipping Jesus.
The role of Holy Spirit is one of worship and mission. His task is to lead us to truth and release us to be all we were created to be… sons and daughters of a loving and living God. Co-heirs with Christ in a family that draws not just people, but creation itself back to a right relationship with the Creator.(Romans 8:19…. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.)
Read the surrounding verses too…
Mission constantly reminds us that it’s not about us. It doesn’t diminish our part, but firmly and gently keeps us as servants leading others to freedom so that every part of humanity is included, even the bits we don’t like.
Mission is the act of our God and Father through his Son Jesus, empowered by Holy Spirit to reveal his love to and for a creation that desperately needs it. It is the message of the gospel, it is the enactment of the great commission… it is the how of our who.
Who… is to point to Jesus, How… is the means revealed by God to achieve this purpose.
Mission happens wherever we and others who are searching for answers exist, it’s overseas, it here in Aotearoa and in our workplace, our leisure experience, our study places and our homes… life is a mission field…
So mission is a big deal, it is why we do what we do and leads us to the bigger task of worship. Which is a whole other thing I can look at next week.
Shalom. In times of trouble we desire God to be near, in times of peace we forget.
Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us. Never is never, so even if we feel alone, we aren’t! But often we choose to live out our faith based more on our feelings than his promises. When we stop and realize that, we can see how stupid that is. But even when we choose to follow his promises there can be a nagging sense of aloneness. Instead of rejecting it, embrace it and push through it… looking for, asking for, seeking beyond our sense of abandonment. Sometimes it is when we embrace that and acknowledge it can we disempower the feeling. Often Jesus asks us to simply be honest… when we are honest we are also vulnerable, when we are vulnerable we are humble, when we are humble we are teachable… this Holy Spirit delights in. It’s truly knowing in our weakness we are strong. Because we look not to ourselves but instead to Jesus. We know that we aren’t perfect, but we struggle to accept our brokenness… when we do God is able to bring us to wholeness.
It seems to be oxymoronic but instead it is transformative. We become living sacrifices.
I trust this week ahead you embrace your feelings but aren’t defined by them.