The World

Watchman Nee says that the three definitions of the world are 1) the material earth or universe, 2) the people on the earth, 3) the things of the earth.
Each of these three contribute to the whole picture of the earth, some are tangible some are intangible. They need each other to function.
Scripture gives us some understanding of the world around us, and explains why it functions as it does and how the intangible effects the tangible.
Jesus tells us “My Kingdom is not of this earth”. Adam opened the door for sin to enter, making our world hostile to God. Creation tries and in a way, can’t, know God, and the human race pulls against God. Even though Adam allowed sin in, Jesus overcame sin. He was of this world and not of this world, he was human and God. He was born of the world, but was fully God, so overcame and allowed creation to be drawn back to God. At the Lords return there will be a Kingdom. This world will become part of that Kingdom. It will know no sin then, it will return to the beginning when first made.
We are in the world, but not of it. We belong to God as soon as we give ourselves to Him. We grow more and more like Jesus. We live in a fallen world, a world if sin and death. We need to make sure that how we live in this fallen society, we radiate the love and power of God. We are a witness. No one is too small to make a difference or work for the Lord.

Money happy?

John Wesley said , “When I have any money, I get rid of it as quickly as possible, lest it find a way into my heart.”
He felt that the more possessions we have, the harder it will be to leave it or give it up. We have to leave it all behind anyway, so is it important to hold things of this world lightly?
1 Tim. 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
There is nothing wrong at all with money, or having it, I am not suggesting that it is bad or evil as this verse is often misquoted with saying. Loving it, not wanting to lose it, and this love of it is where the problems can arise.
Kept in check and a good perspective, money can be used for so much good, and can be a blessing to us and those around us. It can be life changing in so many good and amazing ways.
Nearly half of the parables Jesus told were about money or generosity. It is important enough for our Lord to talk that much about it to those around Him.
Someone once said, “Generosity is not measured by how much you give. It is measured by how much you have left.”
Does our depth of spirituality show itself by how we handle the money we have? Does money make such a difference to how we worship? Are we only happy if we have more than others? Can money really buy happiness?

What church….

January is the month when some churches including my own look forward for the rest of the year and see if our vision has changed, needs changing, what has worked, what hasn’t and what the shorter and longer term visions are. When I look at my own church I see a good vision for both now and the future with ideas and community.
What do you see when you look at your church and the vision it has? We need to stop every now and again and make sure what we are doing fits in with the vision God has given you. Does God want you to change direction slightly, as nothing really stands still for very long. Do you see a vision that has a main point of spreading the gospel to all the borders of your land? Is it a church which looks outward, and not always inward at itself?
Do we belong to a church that is totally God – centred, and puts Him first, that the spiritual life of the people keep growing, and they are equipped and enabled to be released for the glory of the Lord. Is our church committed to the lost, to the lonely especially in their own church family. Do they love and care for each other as a family, bringing hope and purpose to those who belong?
Each Church is individual and different. Your church family may be small or large, but it needs to be asking questions of whether it is being the church of God and doing all the amazing work He has for you. Some of the questions are more personal and need to be asked between you and God. A family takes care of itself, so do we do that? These are also questions that I ask myself, especially whether I am fulfilling my purpose and how I belong to and relate to my church family.

Gifts and Talents

Being part of a church family is inspiring for me. I look at the wonderful talented people around me, and the things they can do, and I am constantly amazed. There are so many gifts, but so many jobs to be filled within the church. We all contribute to how our churches are run in many ways, and many of those within church are involved in lots of rotas, jobs and skills with little time to just sit and be.
Too many of us are trying to do things we are not called to do, and try things we are not shaped by God to be. If the ability from God is not there for a post that needs to be filled, it can cause more problems and can be counterproductive.
We must try to be the very best we can be when we work for the Lord. We must be able to give everything we have and excel. We need an understanding of how we have been made in God and His family. I have had a step back in this New Year and had a good think to see if what I am doing is what God wants, and it gives me a good chance to have this thinking time at the start of the year. It gives a chance to review the previous year and what I want to take with me into the brand new year.
Stephen Matthew from Life Church has a good acronym for what I feel about my place in my local church family
N – Natural abilities
I – Imparted spiritual gifts
C – Character and personality
H – Heart: the things we love to do and are passionate about
E – Experiences: everything life has taught you so far

Ask God where your niche is and the skills and gifts He has given you. It is so fulfilling to be used and equipped and know that where you are liberating.

Leaving Christianity

The Minstrel's Wife:

A picture thought of my previous blog. Says it all really.

Originally posted on lovefirst. a journey. a journal :

One of the requirements for the journey that I have embarked on was to be absolutely honest regarding “Christianity.” But I had never contemplated that the outcome of this honesty would include leaving the same religion, which was not only hard, it was terrifying.

Many, many people are exiting Christianity and this is still happening on a large-scale today. Perhaps the keepers of religion are able to define someone when one leaves “the faith” and as a former “insider,” the reasons will generally be associated with scriptures from the Bible. But for the Bible to carry any weight, it must be infallible and inerrant, which is a doctrine as fresh as the nineteenth century. This is a period where the Pope was made “infallible” and the “Rapture” theory was established as well. But I agree with one well-known writer who quotes “the Bible is covered with human fingerprints.” 

With nowhere…

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Quality not quantity?

A very sad and unfortunately normal fact for the Church in the Western world is that it is not growing, and so many churches are closing, being demolished, or being turned into nightclubs or trendy apartments in cities. This is something we should be very concerned about, and we should be being proactive in dealing with head on. How many church mission statements cover this rising trend by saying they are looking for “quality and not quantity” in their congregations.

Acts 2 shows us the wonderful Day of Pentecost, and the growth of the early church was not just in the amazing numbers, but geographically also. The Gospel didn’t just stay in Jerusalem, it went throughout the world within a few years. By the end of Acts, the Gospel had hit most of the Middle East, and even Europe and possibly England itself. What would have happened if the first church had the same attitude as we seem to have in the 21st century? It is possible it would have been a short phase and just fizzled out before the disciples had died.

A healthy church is a growing church, not just in growth of numbers, but spiritually as well. It sees its congregation growing in their walk, in their life and as they change and grow, they spread the wonderful good news of the Gospel to all they meet and live with. They live and relate in different ways to those around them, to the point that people know there is a difference to them, a feel that only knowing God can bring.

A church that only looks inwardly, that only wants to stay as it is, is destined for self – destruction. It cannot sustain itself. It becomes burnt out or it could only take one major incident that could split the congregation to the point of closure. A church cannot survive without growth, or any imbalance in how it is lead or taught.

Teaching and preaching is what we in churches do. That is part of our roles, all of us. Older, mature brothers and sisters mentor the younger spiritual members. Leaders bring teaching and leadership that gives the congregation the strength and confidence in God to go out and live the Gospel and new life they have. We all have a role of some sort of evangelism. I believe there are those with specific evangelism gifts by the Spirit, but we all have a role of evangelist when asked about our beliefs. We have the job to pray and bring those around us before the Lord, to bring the Gospel to them. How are they going to know about the new life God gives if we dont show it, live it and tell them the why and how? Don’t leave confusion of preaching christianity and then not living it. It brings words like hypocrisy into minds where there should be a wanting to know more. It is a sacrifice, it is laying down our lives to God. Its how we live for God. Its a change that happens inside when we truly understand what He has done for us and what He has saved us from.

Periodic Table of the Bible

The Minstrel's Wife:

brilliant idea! good for learning where they all are quickly.

Originally posted on adamlickey.com:

This infographic has a lot of useful information on it concerning the books of the Bible.  In Periodic Table form, we can see any given book’s position within the Bible, number of chapters, and genre.  Cool little resource.  Click to enlarge.

Used with permission.

bible_periodic_table

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