I was in a queue at New Wine (a Christian Festival) and some fella in front of me, evidently a clergy person, was saying how they wanted to find up at a successful New Wine Church.
Thinking about the guys being ordained this as and last weekend reminded me that for me and cohort we are coming up to the tenth anniversary of our ordinations (actually mine is in September).
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12.1)
There are many things in life which are best left to the professionals, as my attempts at DIY often shout out loud and clear.
Sadly however this is often the mentality of people within Churches, mission, discipleship, justice and love -let’s leave it to the professionals, “I’ll just show up to Church, bung a couple of quid in the plate and let them get on with it”.
Some how we seem to have developed a ‘professional class’ of Christian which seems to misunderstand what a Christian is. I re-thought ‘professionalism’ when I worked in rehab, many of the people who are leaders in the world of rehab are also addicts in active recovery, when choosing a sponsor and addict is asked to find “someone whose recovery inspires you”.
I might be a Vicar, but I am also a wounded healer, a cracked vessel and a sinner in need of the grace of God, all I have to offer is that I know that Jesus is the one who heals, saves, restores and transforms he is the very embodiment and personification of love, the God of all Hope and he is able to meet us even in our most dark, broken and painful situations.
Louis Giglio once said “I am not all knowing, I am not all powerful, I am not all loving and all present, unlike God who is the great I AM, -I AM who I AM- I am all know, I am all powerful, I am all loving and I am all present” and he ended this talk with our identity as Christians which is “I know that I am not, but I know I am”.
Ultimately it is not the us in us that is worth anything but rather it is “Christ in us the Hope of Glory”.
Before the cross of Christ the ground is even, and all stand there, sinners in need of grace.
Yet this blog isn’t to knock the Vicary types, but instead it is to remind us of a truth that John Wimber once said: “Everyone gets to play”, mission, discipleship. justice, prayer and love aren’t for the ‘Super Christians’ it is something we are all expected to do, everyone, not just those with a leadership position.
In fact Church (by which I mean our shared life together) is further described by Wimber as “the training place for the market place”, in other words by being together we should be more equipped and empowered to live the life that God is calling us to.
The Bible uses some great images of inter-dependency, for example, the body with each bit needing one another, looking different but being equal in value, or perhaps the idea of living stones built together for the glory of God.
We are called, empowered and equipped to serve Christ in his world, and yet sadly too many people don’t take responsibility for their own discipleship… A Vicar Friend once said of his congregation “they expect me to spoon feed them, but I don’t think this is healthy!” -He’s right, a good teacher teaches people to think for themselves, just as a parent teaches a child to feed themselves.
Yet this is something that happened in the early Church too, the author of the letter to the Hebrews challenges the people to move on and go deeper ‘leaving the elementary things behind”, Peter talks of “pure spiritual milk” but the implication is that milk will lead on to solid food, both writers are saying “you are still on (Spiritual) milk when you should be eating (Spiritual) steak by now”… You are splashing in the spiritual shallow end, when the call is to swim in the Ocean, so get off the side-lines, get out the baby pool, go for it and live the Christian life properly and fully.
Sadly too often we aren’t the disciples of Christ we should be, we need to own our own faith, taking the opportunities to grow, to serve, to learn, to be stretched/challenged/inspired/strengthened/grown…
In the wild, baby eagles are thrown from their nests by their mothers in order to make them fly (they are saved if they fall to the ground) but here God is saying, you need to leave the nest and fly.
God is wanting us to mature disciples equipped to serve him in his world with his calling surrounding us on every side…
|“This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done”
Some lets be people that seize the moment, let’s not wait for someone better qualified, but take our responsibility for bringing something of heaven to earth…
We all get to participate and partner with God in his mission.
…After all Mission is really just “One beggar telling another where to get bread”
“God’s not doing it, so wondered if you could do it Vicar?”
A phrase I heard yesterday, it made me laugh, but I have been chewing over it in my mind all day.
In his book “walking across the room” Bill Hybels talks about just getting to know people, and letting the Holy Spirit work through us as the relationship develops… Its about intentionally friendly and intentionally open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
At some discussions about where to go and what to do with PINTS OF VIEW tonight, we felt that in many ways what we do with projects like PINTS OF VIEW, Street Pastors or Town Center Chaplaincy is we are primarily giving God our time to use as he sees fit, bringing across our path those he wants us to meet…
A picture of wind surfing, putting up the sail and letting God direct us, okay sometimes to catch the wave of the spirit we do have to listen to his voice and occasionally adjust the sale, but primarily it is about intentionally making ourselves available to God and what he wants to do with us (and in us).
Yet the more I thought about this, this is more than just a missionary principal, but actually what the whole of our life is about, offered to God, letting him be the wind in our sails… and yes at times we need to heed his voice and adjust the sails so we can best be used by him, ready and expectant.
Which made me ask, what does a life look like that is ready, available and expectant of the Spirit at work.
When I think of God directing my steps, this alters the view of everyone I meet, those I hang out with and chat too, and as I think of my life being lived for God’s Glory it makes me think differently about how I work, what I do, about the brothers and sisters in Christ who share our Journey with us too and how do I encourage and inspire them to adjust their sails to catch what God is doing in their lives too.
Its not about our plans, strategies or giftedness but simple echoing the sentiment of Isaiah (6) when he says “here I am send me”.
We have a new puppy Teddy.
Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” -note it s still a yoke and. Burden, but not a heavy one we can’t carry-.
Bill Wilson (leader of the worlds largest Sunday School) once said “Christians often quit before the miracles kick in”.