Getta load of this! (Be there - August 2-4 2007 at Northampton Jesus Centre)
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
When Diana's family learned that she had become a Christian, they repeatedly beat her and insisted she return to Islam. But Diana refused. She was then forced to a local canal where her uncle put a pistol to her head and gave her one last chance to return to Islam. Diana replied, "You can kill me if you want. I will not leave Christ."
It was then that Diana's uncle noticed an extremely poisonous black cobra swimming in the canal. Believing he could escape any prosecution for his niece's death, he threw her into the path of the cobra. He also knew she could not swim.
Diana miraculously escaped from the canal and is in hiding today. She is a new Christian but has already learned what it means to suffer for Christ. She recently told The Voice of the Martyrs, "Jesus was crucified for us. Can we not endure some of the same for Him?"
(From The Voice of the Martyrs)
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The bird on the branch, the lily in the meadow, the stag in the forest, the fish in the sea, and countless joyful people sing: God is love! But under all these sopranos, as it were a sustained bass part, sounds the “de profundis” of the sacrificed: God is love.
- Soren Kierkegaard
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
A modern Jesus army event...
Real and Wild
2-4 August 2007
For the rising generation...
For anyone aged 15-35
What’s going on?
Hundreds of fired-up young visionaries. Passionate worship. Prophetic challenge. Real action. It’s gonna be unmissable. Get all your mates and get there.
What is RAW?
The modern Jesus army has a vision to call young people to be all out for Jesus in their generation. To become a “Jesus Generation”.
That is what RAW is all about. The call to real discipleship. The call of the wild. RAW will combine potent worship and Holy Spirit power with practical training and the call to full on Christian living.
Don’t miss it if you want to be on the cutting edge of what Jesus is doing in the
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
(Every Tuesday, the core members gather for a meal and an opportunity to eat, share bread and wine – and fellowship; to worship and study the Bible together. The New Testament Church shared bread and wine within a fellowship meal or “love feast” and we do the same – in fact, agape means love: the unique self-giving love of God.)
And as it happens I’ve been musing about love and the nature of “God-love” (agape) and sharing some of my musings with the household. A couple of weeks ago, I explored a little the opposite of love – fear – and how it has to do with punishment (or “torment” in the Authorised Version). We are held back from trusting each other because we fear “torment” if we do so: the pain of being misunderstood, looked down on, rejected, hurt, trampled. Fear has to do with torment. But “perfect love” – the agape love of God, poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit – “drives out fear”. How we need to let the love of God loose in our hearts.
In this sense, true love is a paradox – in making itself utterly vulnerable (because there is no fear in love), love becomes utterly secure. G.K Chesterton wrote: “The Cross cannot be defeated for it is defeat.” Think about it.
Tonight, I want to continue the musing on a slightly more practical note which has to do with serving which is the reality of love in action.
Jesus said various things about serving. But here’s one particular thought.
In one story a servant is commended as a “good and faithful servant”. As the moral of another, Jesus says, “So when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants’.”
The good servant is congratulated by another; about himself says, “I am an unprofitable servant”.
There is a principle here: about ourselves we say, “I am unprofitable” and about others we say, “Well done!”
Let our household be filled with people saying to others “Well done! You’re doing well! I really esteem the way you work hard in the Lord!” and also saying, “As for me, I am only doing my duty as an unprofitable servant”. Let this be our deep heart-attitude. For this is love.
The flesh reverses this. A household full of the flesh will be full of people carefully setting up their safety zones and feeling that they’re ever so pushed and stretched and really giving so much – but that those other lazy ne’er-do-wells – well! They could really do with getting down to some serving! In effect, the dominant attitude becomes “poor old serving me” and “lazy old unprofitable others.” And the flesh is afraid - so, so afraid. “They don't understand; they're going to get me to do even more.”
And so the flesh lashes out, mistrusts, carps, looks for faults in others.
How different if we're a household that is letting love drive out fear: then we will believe the best of one another – including waiting for them to say, “You’re serving well – how about you have a rest.”
We will “do to others (and think of others) as we would have them do to (and think of) us”. This is the whole of the law and the prophets...
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Let me love without honour,
Let me serve without applause,
Let me suffer, no-one knowing,
Live for Jesus without praise.
Let me walk without turning,
Follow You, mocked and betrayed,
Pressing forward, hold the vision,
Many pressures, no complaints.
These are the words of a very deep and searching song we sometimes sing. The lyrics are based on something written by Watchman Nee, the Chinese Christian leader who suffered for his faith under the Communists.
The reason I’m posting them today? Well... there’s been a fair number of “pressures” on some of us recently. Some sickness, some over-tiredness. Ironically, the pressure on the core of our church household comes – largely – from the blessing we prayed for!
“Send us people, Lord,” we prayed. “Teenagers will come to us,” we prophesied. And He did, and they did. And we love them – truly, our new disciples are our “joy and our crown”.
Yet, with people come pressures and a number of our “house family” (those living in the community house) have been feeling the strain. We’ve needed to address how we can give the house family some “recharge space” in the midst of all the challenges of a busy schedule.
There’s a danger in this, though. “I can’t cope” was not a phrase found on the lips of Jesus. In the Spirit, we can, in fact, cope. Jesus “coped” by rising early and spending time communing with His Father in the hills. But He wasn’t very keen on the disciples’ “sensible” suggestion to stop “those annoying children” coming to Him for a blessing!
In the same way, White Stone’s house family need to recharge and draw on God and one another; they will need opportunities to do that and wise leadership will provide them while avoiding the flesh taking over and rejecting those the Father has given us.
Let us love, serve, suffer... all for Jesus.
Friday, February 02, 2007
I've been thinking about anger (because I've been thinking about love, but I'll come to that later...)
It seems to me that it is an emotion that needs expression. If it is suppressed, it sinks down to become resentment (literally - 're-sentiment' as in it will resurface to poison future relationships). Yet if it is expressed in an uncontrolled manner, it clearly has destructive or violent potential.
So how does one express genuine anger, not supressing it, yet not losing one's self-control.
I think it's impossible without the Holy Spirit (indeed self-control is the fruit of the Spirit), which would lead me to conclude that natural man cannot have healthy anger - to some extent, it will be either suppressed or violent.
Nevertheless, I believe all human emotions are relations (though sometimes distant relations) of love. Now there's a thought...
"Love is a feeling to be learned.
It is anxiety and contentment.
It is deep yearning and hostility.
It is pleasure and it is pain.
There is not one without the other.
Happiness is only a part of love.
Suffering belongs to love also.
This is the mystery of love,
its beauty and its burden." - Walter Trobisch