29 November, 2006

I’m ba-ack! Thanks to those of you who sent emails wondering where I’d gotten to and fretting over the lack of bloggages. Life has kicked in once again, with work and friends, and strangers and coffee and dinners and in short… it’s great!

Here’s what God’s been immersing me in of late, this isn’t anything different to previous blogs, and I’m not sorry for repeating myself, I love this stuff! So, here it is:

“We are stewards of His grace”

Paul says it ever so sweetly (has Paul ever been described as ‘sweet’ before?) when he says:

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you…” (Ephesians 3:1-2, NKJV, emphasis mine)

The NKJV uses the word ‘dispensation’ (that’s for you Gi), but it can also be translated as ‘administration’ or ‘stewardship’, basically he gives us grace, not only for us, but for others, and we’re in charge of how that’s to be shared, given away, freely administered. Not held onto, stored up, stashed away and hidden from those around us, from those who don’t like us, from those who work against us, but poured out in abundance upon them, just as His grace is poured out on us! Lovely. And of course, there’s absolutely no reason not to give His grace away, to share it with others, because tomorrow, He’s going to pour out some more on you! His mercies are new every morning!

I’ve been listening to a stack of teaching lately that I’ve downloaded from the net, Dallas Willard and Todd Hunter speaking on the relationship of the Kingdom to the Church (loved it!), and Gayle Erwin of Servant Quarters teaching on the nature/character of Jesus. This is some of the best teaching on Jesus I think I’ve ever heard. Gayle teaches on The Jesus Style, which is really the way Jesus did life, and it is absolutely brilliant! It’s been a complete delight and pleasure, Gayle also being one of the funniest teachers I’ve heard.

If you’re interested in listening to these guys, links to them are the MP3 resources page of my website.

So, that’s it for tonight. Short and sweet. If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, then stop hogging his grace. Go be nice to someone who least expects it. Smile at them. Ask them how their day is going. Ask them how their family is. Find out what their interests are and become their friend. It’s really not that difficult. And it’s a whole lot of fun!


7 November, 2006

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ‘But I tell you: Love your enemies bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (emphasis mine)

How’s that for words of life! How awesome! How radical! Loving our enemies? Loving people who actively work against us? Love them, to have their best interest at heart, to want the best for them. To bless those who curse us? Do good for those who hate us? Pray for those who make life hard for us!?! It’s the complete antithesis of our instinctual self-preservation! What? Put them ahead of ourselves?

How? You’re kidding right?? That’s a pretty huge ask! I mean, if I give them an inch they’ll take a mile! It’ll surely end in tears (mine!). It’ll all go pear shaped! Nup. I have to protect myself. I have to stay away from them.

But, what if someone taught me a better way? A better way. The Way… love. The Truth… all have sinned, and while we were still sinners, He died for us. The Life… life abundant. Not held captive by anything… anything.We’re all broken. We all need love. We all want to be signifcant. We all want to matter. The great majority of people have no clue how much they are loved. They don’t get that they don’t have to put others down in order to feel okay about themselves. They don’t know how to love others without feeling diminished by it… how sad is that!? Surely it’s the antithesis of life…?

Imagine spending all your days trying to prove yourself, comparing yourself with others, competing and downgrading…? They aren’t really our enemies, they’re their own worst enemies. They’ll never achieve what they want. They’ll always be someone else in their way, or doing better, or happier, or richer, or more popular, or even more content. They don’t like themselves. They’re so insecure.

How can our response be anything but love? How can we not want them to know the truth? To set them free from this incredible lie!? How can we not pray for them? How can we not want to bless them? To do good for them? To love them! How can we not want the best for them? To bless their proverbial socks off!!! To show them a better Way!!

The Way

The Truth

The Life

How wonderful…!

Isn’t He…. ?!