October 18, 2006

challenged to be changed

I've been challenged by different people recently, people searching for the validity of Christ in thier lives and in the world - and just by the situation of the world which has always challenged me. I've by challenged too by teaching of godly people. I talk a little about these challenges in this post - but overall - I want to say there's only one who has the greatest worth of challenge - and that's Jesus. In comparison to his challenge, nothing else matters - at the end of the day. I know it's a debate in the Christian world - on how to be acceptable to people that we love, and how can we hold up Christ as Saviour sensitively to the needs of the hearers of the gospel. Jesus disciples testified to Jesus Christ - even to their deaths. I don't presume I have that kind of faith or committment - but I think we can talk around and around on some matters - and there just is no way round the truth of Jesus - no matter how unacceptable that might sound to so many people. It's strange even to make a statement like that, I'm sure it must sound almost childish at the level of debate, but with that truth I think we should be committed on a far richer level to bringing gospel or expressing Gods glory to people with so much love and creativity and truth from the Bible - that lives just get turned around because Jesus is lifted up. Different people are gifted in different ways to do that. But it will always rock the boat. Not all are going to like it. It may sound simplistic - but its truth - cause Jesus said it. John 17.

I heard some teaching recently that said that "faithfulness" is not a commitment to the old ways, a continuation of doing the same thing - but it is venturing to something new - and using all you've got to do so. God called his people to do things that had never been done before - Noah to build and ark, Moses to set the people free and walk them through the parted Red Sea. These were considered faithful.

Jesus connected himself to John the Baptist when he begun his ministry on earth. John was no way like other "godly people" people who thought they were alright when it came to God and right living, Jesus wanted to identify with the one proclaiming - things need to be different! We need to turn from our ways and look to God to be changed! I need to be changed!! Continually. And I want to step into the new things that God would have me do. If I'm totally His - then He can use me in this earth for what He knows I can be a part of. Anyway - I'm not sure how this all fits for me. I know that the Bible is crucial and that relationship with Jesus is crucial. I know I've not yet arrived, and I wont till heavan - but I hope I'm committed to walking in the way of Jesus.

I think people who are disillusioned with the church are disillusioned because they see so much need of change in what is happening in the world and in relationships. Its a hunger for liberty and love and justice and mercy and love. Yeah I want to be challenged - just like Jesus challenged everyone he met. I want to turn from the things that are just not right in my life when I am before Jesus who is truth, but I want to be changed so that it is no longer about me... I want to be like Jesus - who loved people and was entirely in step with the will of God, and made a difference in a way no one would have guessed, no one would have chosen. He went to the cross. Who would of imagined such a thing? Not even his closest friends the disciples. Only God in His highest of ways.

Help us Lord to know how to reflect you and not push people away from truth and redemption - but instead shine for Jesus, really shine - unselfishly, and full of life and truth and in freedom. And give us a vision that is off you and the perspective you have of the desperation of this world. Reveal a reality of life that we can live out where we are. Change us Jesus.

I have some friends who have been reading books like Rob Bell's "Velvet Elvis", Shane Claibornes "Irresistable Revolution", "Blue Like Jazz" I think I'm ready to dip into these books and attitudes. Maybe I'll read there things that I understand already - maybe I'll be challenged further - I hope so - but being challenged kind of rocks somethings that havn't been rocked before. I know I need challenging in ways that are probably unexpected and even that need an element of the rebel to whats been generally acceptable by Christians - and whats been generally acceptable to myself. Who knows but I hope to keep on finding that truth that sets free, cause what's the point otherwise!

I'm being challenged here in Albania by Christians who are living a faith in ways I've never seen before - they're sold out and they're not ashamed of the gospel of truth found in the word of God - at the same time they are committed to love and unity - because naturally - saoked in the word of God and in the example of Christ - there is no avoiding the "greater love that no man has - but that he would lay down his life for his friends." And we are his friends if we do what he commands. He's commanded us to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbour as we love ourselves. We could praobably do with loving them even more than that. I think the key thing in it all though - is never miss out on the most important relationship of all - with Jesus - the one who shows us the way - the one who is the way.

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