identity, Significance, Worth

Significance taken from a sermon by Linda Jenner.

Today we had a great sermon from Linda Jenner…

It made me think that too often we think of people as defined by one gift, such as leading worship, but God has more in each of us than the one gift…

here are my notes from her talk.

We are significant!

We are… but we don’t always feel it!
Significance… “The quality of being worthy of attention and importance” (dictionary).
Genesis reminds us we were created in Gods image…and looked at with divine approval (proclaimed GOOD or even VERY GOOD).
We are all different… All of us reflected a uniqueness of Gods character…
Yet although we ought to get our significance from who we are in God, where do we actually get our significant?
What do we actually allow to shape us? Our identity and how we think about ourselves?
Our significance isn’t based on our levels of productivity, or achievements or knowledge.
Even as children we are used very quickly gaining significance by either reward or punishment rather than simply being who we are.
Things shape us which aren’t from God, “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold”…
Instead be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Can we learn a new way of being and of thinking, where we gain our significance from who God is?
Scripture urges us to take captive every thought.
The problem is we often let the negative thoughts about us fester and take root…
Let is instead combating lies with truth, for example, when we feel worthless we combat with the truth that God loves us with an everlasting love.
Sometimes as we encounter more challenging times, we can see God challenging us, shaping us, refining us…
Do we really believe that “I am fully accepted before I’ve done anything”.
Even when we get it wrong, God still loves, his love doesn’t diminish when we fail and fall and sin.
Love came first, love came before sin ever existed.
Love is greater than our sin, for “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
When we look at ourselves we often look at what we aren’t rather than what we are…
These things don’t reduce our worth or value.
Christ demonstrates his love for us, that when we were still sinners, Christ died for us
The truth is we will never be perfect. Yet my grace is sufficient for you, boasting in our weakness.
Being transformed into the likenesses Jesus.
“there are no ordinary people, you have never met a mere mortal” CS Lewis.
Sometimes we are the least kind person, to ourselves.
We are called to love our neighbours as ourselves, but the truth is it cuts both ways.
As the Father has loved me, so I love you… we are loved with the same love the Father has for Jesus.
When we feel unwanted, let’s look at Psalm 139, God want us and loves us.
Let the truth set us free.
God has created all of us unique and has gifted each of us. “Now to each one” (not just the few)…
We are not useless… We all have gifts, skills and ability, and God wants to work with us, God is an inclusive God, not just the few celebrities with ‘super gifted’.
Let’s give ourselves to the potters hands, it’s his work shaping and molding us…
It’s not about us and out achievement, it is about coming before God and recieving from him, our hands our empty but he’s generous.
I don’t always feel significent, but feelings are not facts.
You are significant.
You are loved.
Who knows what God can and will do through us.
We are precious.
He has a plan and a purpose.
Let’s not put up a limitation wall, let’s see God take those false walls down.
Being, brokenness, Community, identity, love

The Tarnished Jewel…

The Tarnished Jewel was the name of a report about an estate a friend works on in Swindon.

It had started off all gleaming, sparkling and new in post war housing with luxuries like in door-toilets and airing cupboards. Yet years later it is a run down estate.
The Church on this Estate is called Shine, the idea of gleaming and sparkling with Gods love. That is the image of what Church should be like, shining out like stars in the heavens, literally bring a light in the darkness.
Yet I believe the Church should make the whole estate shine… I remember in the book of Jeremiah the prophet us called to ‘seek the good of the city’, a call which applies to Christians today.   We alter the spiritual DNA of a place simply by being present.
Being good news in a place will change how we feel about somewhere, I believe it is no coincidence that where Street Pastors patrol crime rate falls.
Even on the very basic level having Christians cleaning the streets from litter will make people think and feel better about where they live.
The minister talks about making people sparkle, I know what he means, when people feel loved and valued you an sometimes literally see the sparkle, they look better, smiley and better.
I went to Holy Trinity Brompton for an evening service and heard about a lady who did the nails and chatted to the homeless ladies, and she said they left looking and feeling like a human beings, when most of their life experiences are dehumanizing.
Little things can still cause a great sparkle… Because for the person being blessed they aren’t little thing at all.
Often our Churches are meant to be sparkling jewels but sadly, life, sin, pain, confusion and brokenness have tarnished them somewhat, so much so that many of us have wondered and wished we could be without this jewel of the Church. Just type ‘post church’ into Google and weep!
Some of us who are vicary types, are sometimes given these tarnished stones to look after, and what we are called to do, in partnership with the Holy Spirit and the people of faith, is to see the Church regain its sparkle, to learn how to shine afresh.
Sometimes the tarnish on the stone seems really embedded and tough to remove, not always easy to restore sparkle when the years of grime sometimes encrusts it, but yet underneath any real Church will be the gleam of God.
So, let’s be people who shine for Christ.
Let’s be people that work towards making the Church shine for his Glory.
Let’s be people that make others shine.
Let’s be be that make our communities shine.
…and lets do it all for the Glory of Jesus.
identity, Nehemiah

Identity theft.

We are doing a book club tonight using the amazing book REIGNITE by Ian Parkinson, its a great book talking about turning around and restoring Churches using Nehemiah as a bit of a base for his book.

Yet at the heart of his early chapters is about Church rediscovering its Identity:-  We are the bride, the body, and outpost of heaven…
Yet I believe we will never understand our Identity as Church until before that we discover our identity as sons and daughters of God:- We are his heirs, beloved, precious, empowered, equipped, trusted…
The problem is we often nod through this intellectually but not let this captivate us and shape our view of either ourselves or who we are as the Church.
We often don’t celebrate our identity or have confidence in who were are and who we were made to be for so many reasons, one of the most fatal is that of the practice of comparisons, where we look at everyone else to the detriment of who we are.
One writer remarked that “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Yet from our Identity often flows our outworking of our life and what we think our purpose is, if Satan can sabotage the Churches identity or the Identity of a Christ follower, he can not only rob us of our fruitfulness but also our joy and peace.
If Christ’s bride does not know who she is, then she will not radiate the beauty that she has.
If Christ’s body does not know who it is, then it won’t know where to go or what to do.
How can an ambassador be an ambassador unless they know the state they are representing?
How can we be an outpost of heaven, if we just resemble our surroundings?
How does the Christian cope with all the world disorientation without our anchoring Identity on who we are?
So let us close this time together with some wonderful words from 1 John.
“See how the Father has lavished his love upon us that we might be called the children of God, because that beloved is who we are.