Build Church: One Thing

The obvious thing to say here is we don’t build the church, after all, Jesus did say He would do that. Yet, in my amazement, He chooses to partner with us and use us to help make it happen.

Everywhere we go we represent our Saviour. Doesn’t matter if we do it well or do it badly, both will influence others in how they think about or want to get to know Jesus. One helps, the other less so.

Playing my part in building local church needs just one thing…involvement. 

Actually, this is problematic and could be considered simplistic in approach as I can already hear people saying what about His presence, what about prayer, what about sharing the good news, what about caring for others, what about worship, what about serving, what about the Word, what about fasting, what about hearing from God more, what about…[insert own thought here].

Other than God showing up, although we have to be there and respond to Him, the key aspect for us in all of these is this one simple thing…INVOLVEMENT.

God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what he is building. [Ephesians 2:19b The Message].

Raises 3 questions then for us to think about…

How is our involvement with God? Is it healthy, is it close enough, are we spending time in His presence?

How is our involvement with His church? Are we only attending or are we contributing?

What one thing could we do to improve our involvement with God and with His church?

If we all just raised our involvement by 1%, I wonder what a difference it may just make. It is through involvement in all which God is doing that His Church will built. And it will be built through unity, faith and done in such a way as to honour Him and represent Him well to those who do not know Him yet.

What do you think?

Always Acknowledge God

Have you given God a thought today?
Have you stopped to remember Him?
Have you taken time out to pray?

Have you managed to praise Him at all?

Is to not do these things, whether by choice or just through forgetting, to be like those who say there is no God?

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” [Psalm 14:1]

Well, but, I know there is a God. I love my God. I just haven’t had chance today. He understands I’m busy. Life is full. I can’t always be giving time to these things.

To not acknowledge God is to make room for things that are not of God.

To not acknowledge God is to not deny yourself and pick up your cross but to deny God and ignore the cross.

To not acknowledge God is foolish. Senseless. However you put it, it doesn’t sound great.

I don’t want to be religious about all this. The reminder to me is simple: if I say I love God and have chosen to follow Him then to acknowledge Him each day is the least I can do.

Let’s make room for God today. Deliberately. On purpose. Let something else go to get with our God. Always a good choice.

Stay Respectful

“Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honour to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege. (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭6‬ MSG)

We spend a lot of energy trying to be relevant, working hard to stay current and if we can do it looking cool, then that’s even better. When I saw a picture of me from when I was a young leader at age 19, I kind of cringe. Who did I think I was?

Image. Style. Banter. Fun. Being cool. If we are honest, these are powerful drivers for us all and that’s not just when we are younger. We don’t want to be ‘out of date’, we don’t want to ‘not know’ what’s happening or feel like we are ‘behind the times’.

To remain in the ‘in crowd’ we perhaps fuzzy the edges of our faith. We maybe let things slide, after all there’s no real harm done. We don’t really mean it. I just don’t want to be thought of as ‘too spiritual’ and incapable of having some fun.

Definitely been there. Trying hard to not go back there.

If and when I do, I am thankful for the Word of God that reminds me that walking with God is not something to handle so carelessly.

Walking with God is to be taken seriously. Not with intensity or in a boring way, but with reverence, honour and the utmost regard to our Saviour Jesus.

I have found there is always the need for a quick check up. Am I being flip about my relationship with Jesus? Am I avoiding unnecessary banter and silliness that doesn’t honour God? Am I just using quips to convince people I know God or do I really know Him?

It’s a fine line but my walk with Jesus is worth more to me for it to just be some cute thing I do. I want it to change my life, every day and I want to see other peoples lives changed by it too.

The Real Me

To discover the real me I need look at what I spend time thinking about when no one is looking and when nothing is forcing me to think about anything in particular.

Where do my thoughts go to?

I have to train my thoughts to lean toward God, to move toward Him.

It’s about more than reading my Bible 24/7 or mumbling under my breath in tongues whenever I can. It’s about taking captive thoughts that otherwise may wander. It’s easy done. Negativity. Selfish. Lustful. Angry. Empty. Resentful. And the rest.

In the secret place where no one else watches is where I truly determine the power of my relationship with God. Let’s not be religious about this but lets not fill our heads with so much of the wrong stuff that we don’t make enough room for thoughts that are truly God-centred.

Thankful thoughts.

Thoughts that praise and honour God.

Go first for thoughts that dwell on the goodness of God.

Prayerful thoughts.

I watch what goes in as it feeds my imagination. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he [Proverbs 23:7]. Just because I can [read that book, watch that film, behave that way, say those things, do that thing] doesn’t mean I should.

If I can’t be humble, joyful, faithful, disciplined, honouring, truthful, full of integrity in private before God then what I want to appear on the outside will not match who I truly am.

Maybe that’s sounds boring to you but if God and knowing Him better is the most important thing in your life, then what’s the problem.

The Honour of Being Dishonoured

What a curious phrase. After all, dishonour is not something we naturally go looking for.

We like to be liked.

We work hard to save face, to protect the image, to make sure that people only see what we want them to see.

Personally I am more inclined to feel honoured to have been honoured, not dishonoured.

Dishonour doesn’t sound good. No one works towards the goal of dishonour. It feels unpleasant, uncomfortable, humiliating, embarrassing, not something to be overjoyed about. It’s speaks of shame, disgrace and a lack of respect. To see that as an honour just seems utter madness.

Yet….in Acts 5 we read that the apostles were ‘overjoyed because they had been given the honour of being dishonoured on account of the Name.’ [v41]

Just take a moment to reflect on that statement. They are overjoyed to have been dishonoured, shamed and beaten for talking about Jesus, for living for Him and declaring His name. Wow.

It’s not that they went looking for dishonour but they didn’t actively try to avoid it either.

It’s not that they wanted a beating or public humiliation, it was who the beating and public humiliation was for that made the difference. It’s not for any old name that they would stand dishonoured but on account of THE NAME that they were happy to.

They counted it an honour to be dishonoured on account of THE NAME as it associated them with Jesus, the person who counted it an honour to be dishonoured for them.

They counted it an honour to be dishonoured on account of THE NAME, which meant the good news of Jesus continued to be told, giving us the privilege of now being able to stand and honour THE NAME. 

Perhaps in my doing of Christianity I am sometimes in danger of becoming more concerned with doing it the right way, keeping it all very slick and almost professional, rather than just being a Christian and taking what comes as I journey along.

Who in the future will be able to stand and honour the name of Jesus because I counted it an honour to be dishonoured on account of THE NAME?

Nothing wrong with wanting life comfy and easy but it does seem to me that the Apostles were less concerned with that and mostly concerned with making sure their life honoured Jesus. We are not dishonoured very often for Jesus where I live. Maybe in the future we will be. If being dishonoured for Jesus is required then I pray I will be ready to take the hit, maybe even literally. In the meantime, I count it an honour that Jesus was dishonoured for me and I will live my life giving my all to honour Him in every way possible.

Hope that makes sense. How about you?

Don’t Be Flip

Sometimes we can start to take stuff forgranted. Things like..we will always have a job, we will always have our health, we will live forever, our partners know that we love them. Problem with taking things forgranted…it can catch up on us, then SUDDENLY those very same things become BIG problems.

As it is in the natural, so it is with God. We must not take God forgranted.

Matthew 7:6 ‘”Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.” The Message

Watch yourselves.
Watch the attitude towards God.
Yes, He will always be there.
Yes, He will never leave us.
Yes, His mercies are new every morning.

But…DON”T BE FLIP about these things. Don’t show inappropriate levity towards things that demand much greater respect. Our Christian walk is not to be dealt with flippantly.
Give them the correct honour that they deserve.
Remember to give God His rightful place in our life.
Honour, relevance, respect. It’s about lifestyle. It’s about consistency. It’s about integrity.
It’s not about living so close to the edge that we only look silly and misrepresent who God is and all that He has done in our lives.

Take time each day to honour your Father who heaven.
Spend time with Him, deliberately.
Don’t be FLIP with Him, just expecting that such a way is okay.

[Just my thoughts….what do you think?]

What Can I Give Back?

What can I give back?
What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

Psalm 116…gives a simple answer…
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation – a toast to God.
I’ll pray in the name of God.
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do.
I’ll complete it together with his people.

My opinions must be put to one side.
Time for me can be given up.
Remember what God has done, celebrate that and live the best life I can…that must be made important, given time and honoured in the right manner.
Keep my promise.
Do my best to get along with God’s people.

I pray that I can do these well!!

Integrity: The Just Facet

Amongst the reading of the Psalms this morning I came across this little verse. Psalm 58:1 says:
‘Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men?’ (NIV)

Leaders…watch yourselves.
Christian leaders…watch yourselves.

Speak justly. Judge uprightly.

Is this not integrity?
Be who you say you will be.
Be the same with everyone when it comes to leadership.
Listen the same.
Deal with issues the same.
Provide the same opportunities to all.

To speak justly is to do so with honour, fairness, consistently, in a righteous manner.
To judge uprightly is to do so adhering to strict moral principles.

Be a leader with integrity. It is the diamond in a leaders crown. It is not easy but the rewards it brings, the trust it builds, the respect it demands make the sometimes difficult trek of integrity extremely worthwhile.

How do you fair? Any thoughts…