Sep 26

Community

At the end of the day, after all is said and done, what does God require of us, His people.

We read in Mark 12 v 30  Commandments: that we love God, that we love our neighbour; and in John 13 v 34 he details how that should be.

Interesting: New Testament under grace but not law, and yet there are clear commandments.  Difference with the New Covenant is that each time we choose to be obedient He grants us the supernatural power to enable us to actually live differently, i.e. supernaturally.

God has even designed how we could represent Him when He said “all men will know that you are My disciples when you love one another”.  So clearly the primary representation should be a group of people loving one another.  Today God looks for such people that make an accurate representation of what He is really like in this world.  Breaking out of the traditions and form of religion into the reality of real relationship.

How do you do that?  What would it look like?

Surely it is not a plan or a system.  It must be a real connection which requires elements of personal openness and vulnerability.  But then there’s a problem; because surely you never really open up and make yourself vulnerable to someone unless you know that they are essentially for you, on your side, looking after your interests.  So I guess this is where the faith factor comes in.  The willingness to risk all in favour of pleasing God, of stepping out, being open, real, honest, yes vulnerable, with the chance that you may be taken advantage of but nevertheless seeking to do what God requires.

I often see it as the difference between connections between pool balls and jigsaw puzzle.  The pool balls hard, smooth, bounce off one another; the jigsaw has indentations and protrusions which fit together to make up the whole.

community

So if we are to have this open hearted, genuine relationship where real thoughts and feelings are shared, it needs time; it needs a particular structure; it goes beyond meetings.

Here we are looking at something which is pleasing to God, so pseudo-community where little lies, compromise, competition, creeping in order to keep an outward view of unity would really not suffice.  Even more than words, actions would be required, more along the lines of what we read in Matthew 25  “if I was hungry and you gave me more meat”, which is further emphasised in the Book of James.

Galatians 5 v 13 speaks of true love serving each other.  This requires (a) we’re close enough to know (never just assume), (b) love enough to care, (c) willing to sacrifice to pay the price to take action.

Clearly meetings with which we are familiar serve a purpose, but not this purpose.

My questions:

  • Are you needing to break out of the limitations of the traditional and popular requirement often seen as church?
  • What would be different if you became more a doer than a hearer of the word?
  • What changes, both personal and church, would need to take place?
  • What price would need to be paid in order to achieve this?
  • What would God’s current commentary be regarding your position?

Let’s remember this is a command, not an option or a suggestion from God.  God is Himself essentially community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I don’t believe that we can express God without community, that we can’t show a genuine and accurate reflection of Him in this world without meaningful living relationship.  I am sure there are different forms of expression, but one thing I do know whatever it is if it is not from a heart of love there is frankly no point in it.  It can look good, but it is not God.

Final question:  What do you think – honestly?

Aug 25

Making the Most Use of God’s Help Opportunities

This is mainly in terms of getting, drawing or receiving crucial help from those we look up to or work with; it might be visits from John or others who come to input into our lives or the work we are doing. I have attempted to put down what I am realizing has potential to give us more benefit. The lesson became clearer to me after the last visit to us by John and Dawn.

Building TogetherI have learnt that when God sends you someone who is further in the road you are walking, a resourceful person, or someone with a specific thing God wants you to get. No doubt, some people possess a light from which we can light ours in many aspects. We need to make the most of such divine provisions. Though there might be a lot of things I would want to talk about when I meet them, I now choose to be deliberate about not taking up the whole time talking without positioning and quieting my spirit to focus on drawing help. The urge to be heard and to prove what is going on well can hinder us from paying attention to what God wants us to catch if we forget the primary purpose of each appointment. Sharing has to be an opening of life, including the successes, challenges and desires in order to get real help that can unlock our ability to move forward where we feel limited or hindered.

Where we already know there will be opportunities to draw from those leading us or those we work with, it is important to write down those things we feel stuck on or confused about in the very moments they trouble us because we might not recall them to proper depth later when we need to explore them with others. Again, we can think well in advance of those things that normally challenge us and leave us with the feeling of badly missing satisfactory or the right kind of help; some of these maybe things that recurrently occur.

The urge to be heard and to prove what is going on well can hinder us from paying attention to what God wants us to catch if we forget the primary purpose of each appointment

So, when opportunities to be with those that disciple us come, sometimes the temptation to only show the positive side of things is strong, but realising that it limits defining help coming our way, will help us open up on areas we actually feel really challenged. I have realized that most progress has come with fresh challenges and setbacks, thus some challenges come because we have progressed into new territory or a different but further part of the journey. There is need to put away any thoughts that say our struggles mean we are failing. Although not all problems come because of growth or progress, no matter what is the source of our challenges, they still need to be shared earnestly to access the input needed in order to overcome them. This I am seeing that understanding this has a lot to do with our personal growth, which in turn improves the quality of the team God builds around us.

Therefore, my suggestion is that, as you get opportunities share your progress and desired future, bring to light the thorny realities unreservedly. God has ways of helping our personal development through the troublesome issues as we also get empowered to resolve them effectively.

Therefore, my suggestion is that, as you get opportunities share your progress and desired future, bring to light the thorny realities unreservedly.

I just kept on having an urge to share this for some time now. So, in case someone finds this helpful in their own journey, I have decided to share it. Just remember, the big choice we have to make is how we interpret God’s provision, is it a chance to show ourselves and exhibit all our strengths, or a time to put our ear to Him on what He is intending with each provision? Actually, the purpose can be different with each encounter, but there will always be drawing of strength and revelation from God.

Thank you,

Lawrence

Jul 05

Adopt a Spirit of Adventure

Hello All! We just received a note from John about RealTalk. I hope you’ll join with John, Mark and I and participate in these conversations. I’ll never forget the day when Mark told me we learn far more from participating in a conversation than by sitting and passively listening to a sermon on Sunday morning. To participate, please add a comment at the bottom of the page or a reply to someone’s comment. If you would like to initiate a topic, please send it to me with an intro of about 250-300 words to get the conversation kicked off. I thought we could start with the other email we received today about the Spirit of Adventure. Here’s a copy of it – more importantly, what do YOU think?

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Over the last 5 weeks God has been calling LifeLine Church to adopt a Spirit of Adventure. Our teachings on Sundays, prayer meetings, small group meetings, testimonies and other activities are being influenced by this topic. We believe that Spirit of Adventure shouldn’t just a be a series we look at for a few week but it is an attitude which should be absorbed into the our bloodstream and become part of the DNA of our church. We accept this could take some time as we have to re-wire the way we think but if God is speaking He is also releasing the grace for us to be doers and not just hearers of His word.

Adventure is “an unusual, daring, risky and exciting experience”. We believe God has been telling us now is the time to take more risks. Sometimes these risks will look like they pay off andSpirit of Adventure 2 sometimes it looks like they have flopped. But the only question we have to asked ourselves afterwards is “did I think this COULD be God?”. If the answer is ‘yes’, there’s no need to berate ourselves, catching God is worth the risk. Adventure is wherever the cloud stops. We need to be mobile like the children of Israel were as they followed the cloud around the wilderness. The cloud could stop over your work, family situation or somewhere completely different. We can have the Spirit of Adventure when we go into battle or to the shops. It’s not where we go but HOW we go there. If you would like to access all the previous teachings within the series please click here.

 

Recently Anthony McKernan and I had opportunity to unpack some of the points raised by John in previous teachings and highlight other features of the Spirit of Adventure (click here for audio and here for the PowerPoint).
I spoke about our call to be the Head and not the Tail. But I admitted just like flipping a coin, I’m as likely to be a Head as a Tail. As a Head I’m influenced more by conviction than facts, hopeful, responsible for my choices and solution focussed.

To step into my identity as a Head I need to
•    refuse to agree with the devil
•    remember God’s nature
•    be thankful and boldly take God at His word and nature
•    rest assured He won’t allow me to be crush.

As I choose to do these things I will be ready to take my adventure by the scruff of the neck.

What does adventure mean for you?

Old age didn’t dampen Caleb’s Spirit of Adventure (Josh 14:6-12). He was eager to conquer the fortified cities God had promised him. What is your hill country and fortified cities that you will conquer?

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