Monthly Archives: April 2012
Have you ever noticed that in most of the major fairy tales that you read as a kid, the only thing that the pretty girl and the young prince have to do to live “happily ever after” is meet each other?
No wonder relationships are so short these days.
What do you mean Goose?
Well have a look around… there is more and more relationships breaking up, and never getting back together… there are young men, and young women who have gone from relationship to relationship each time thinking the next relationship will be the one that will last forever…
Why will it last forever?
Because they have found “the right person!!”
The right guy.. or the right girl…
But here’s the thing… what happens after all the chemical “BANG!” has worn off???
The problem is that most people don’t work on their relationship skills… but here’s the crazy thing… all relationships involve dealing with PEOPLE! Duh!!
If you don’t work on honing those skills… then your relationships are going to be more chance and less substance. Sure the physical thing is great… but we all know it doesn’t last forever.
Here’s what I think… and you can take it or leave it…
Why don’t we spend less time looking for the right person… and spend more time making sure we are the right person! – I mean how often do we try to impress a guy or girl… but have not even put any thought into how a relationship would work.
I mean even if we take the most basic version of what love is…
”4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Are you patient in your relationships? do you not try to rush someone to do the things that you want to do???
Are you kind? Are you considerate, are you always trying to lift the person you are with up?
Are you envious? of friends… or other peoples status in life?
You get the picture…
You see this is what we should be striving for… this is what makes realtionships stick…
Stop chasing a myth…
Get to the realtionship gym… and let Prince (or princess ) Charming come to you… because I bet that once you start being picky about who you are… you’ll start looking for the same in the person you want to be with.
Give it a try!
If Easter has taught us anything is that when we think it’s all over… God has another plan.
On the Saturday after Jesus was crucified the disciples must have been thinking “What happened, Jesus was meant to be the Messiah and now he’s DEAD?” they must have still been in shock I mean Jesus was going to be the one who was going to lead them to a new freedom… Where they following the wrong guy?
But you didn’t need to look far to find that the disciples should have looked a bit further.
In the Gospel of John there is a story about a friend of Jesus names Lazarus who was ill… in fact he was on his death bed.
Instead of rushing to the aid of his friend to heal him, Jesus waited a couple of days and then went to see Lazarus, and in John 11 Jesus actually says these words “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death” … however by the time Jesus got there his friend Lazarus was dead… in fact he had been dead for four days.
So was Jesus wrong?
You see it’s all in the Grammar… you see we think that when someone dies that’s it… however God doesn’t work like that.
A couple of years ago I hear this phrase:
”Don’t but a period (or what we call a full stop in NZ) where God has placed a comma,
and don’t place a comma where God has place a period”
You see sometimes we think that we are still under the power of the enemy, but the reality is Jesus said “It is finished”
A new chapter has begun.
And like the Lazarus story we get sucked into thinking that because we seem to be dead it’s all over
… dead in our relationships, dead in our careers, maybe even what seems like we are dead in every aspect of our lives… a feeling of being LOST.
But Jesus doesn’t put a full stop on death…
He offers a Resurrection… a comma.
And we have access to the very same resurrection… born into a new life.
You see it would seem to me that death is only an ending for us… however when you place it in Gods hands… there is a resurrection… something new… a comma.
Are you living a life where you have given up… have you put a full stop where God intended a comma to be?
I’ve been reflecting for a while about the KONY 2012 campaign that went viral around the world about a month ago and for the most part I applaud the efforts of the organisers of this campaign, it was well run and hit the marks it needed to… it had a certain demographic in mind and it made sure it attacked the heart of that group and it did so with great success…
But was it just good marketing??
Now before I go on I want to make it very very clear that I do not condone the use of sex slaves, people taking children from their homes to work for them or any of the other more horrific stuff that was done under the hands of Kony and his leaders… However I wonder if as Christians we should be doing things differently.
Now to start off… to say that this was about one man was a bit naive, the issue is such a complex ball of muck that to try and unwind it would be just as damaging as Joseph Kony himself.
Now I know what you’re thinking… but it was to raise awareness and start important conversation, and yes you are right it was partly… and for the most part it got us thinking about social injustice, human rights and where to best put our resources in relation to all that. It’s great to get passionate about that stuff however I wonder how many people who displayed the video are still pursing the cause?
For me… it’s not about if ’Invisible Children’ (the campaign group) are right or if Kony is a criminal or not. That’s for people with bigger brains than me to decide.
My concern is this… Jesus said:
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:44-48
It’s Gods plan and he’s the judge.
We as a race have got an attitude that it was them and us… good guys and bad guys… but it’s not, it’s just US… humans!
I’ve seen Christians who are saying “I hope they get him and give him what he deserves…” people who go to Church and are applauding the use of violence to another person… when does one wrong make right another wrong?
Many of us who have read the Bible would know the story of Paul… when he was Saul he brought terror to all those who sided as a Christian… but this terrorist became the person who wrote half of the New Testament…
If the Christians had decided to get a campaign to kill Saul who would it have helped?
We have this sense that we can change the world and we can be who we want to be… and we can, the problem is that we have started to believe we can do it on our own.
Jesus changed history with just 3 years of public ministry… he did it without killing any leaders… without starting some sort of rebellion using military might… but he made it clear that God was the power behind his power.
We should be concerned about what is happening to these people… but the reality is that we should be concerned what is happening to ALL people… of ALL ages from the unborn to the children in foreign countries, from kids in your home to the kids on the street.
I wonder if we are so eager to get on the whole Kony 2012 bandwagon because WE are the people who have made the kids in these countries invisible?
We forgot about them?
It was US who let Kony take advantage of thousands of children… and now we stand in shock saying “Lets make Kony famous”
- Maybe pointing the finger is easier than looking at ourselves?? -
Why do Christians see Easter as such an important part of the year… I would even go as far to say that Easter IS the most important part of the year for Christians and that it’s the one thing that everything revolves around for ALL people claiming to be Christians.
Because it’s more that just a story it’s HISTORICAL… you can read in the Bible about real life encounters with people who were there.
The Apostle Paul (who spent a lot of his early carrier bashing Christians and killing them) said in 1 Cornithians 15:14
“And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.”
and then later in 15:17
“And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins”
EVERYTHING hinges on this…
It wasn’t just Jesus’ teaching that was great the Bible is FULL of people who brought the word of God…
It wasn’t Jesus’ death that made people take notice… thousands of people have died for their faith…
The one thing that changed everything for the whole world is the fact that Jesus Christ came back to life!!!
He rose again… RESURRECTION
In the book of Acts… the main reason thousands of people became Christians, wasn’t because of just good preaching… wasn’t because of a death… it was to do with the resurrection.
It was like “hey remember seeing that Jesus guy get crucified? – He came back to life again….”
And it wasn’t months ago or years ago… it was just a matter of weeks.
They all knew about it… and it was local…
It turned a bunch of sniffling disciples who were hiding… and turn them into followers of Christ… and for most of them that lead to their own death…
These stories are unchanged for centuries… it’s authentic… told by people who were there… passed on by people who knew them… in towns close to where it all happened…
In a world full of electronic sounds, remakes and dub-overs, remixes and auto tune it is great to hear a sound that doesn’t manufacture a foot tap with a Phat bass line… but a sound that makes your soul smile with the simplicity of the song… the honesty of the band and the melody and rhythm that mirrors life….
There seems to be a ground swelling of people who are looking for ‘real music’ and bands like ‘Rend Collective Experiment’ New Zealand’s ’Avalanche City’ with their single ‘Love Love Love’ the rawkus ’Mumford and Sons’ and the list goes on…
Now you can add to this list ‘The Vespers’ Indie music’s new secret weapon… armed with ukulele, banjo, love and some really catchy tunes, you can expect hearing some more from this group.
‘The Fourth Wall’ is the bands second album and it has all the potential to do some great things… and while the album has moments of honey sweet sounds and effervescent bubbles of pop sensitivity there is so much more depth and width to this album that you feel yourself drawn into the music.
Like a lot of bands with siblings (lead vocalists Callie and Phoebe Cryar are sisters and Bruno and Taylor Jones are brothers) there is a sound of familiarity… not familiarity in the music but in the sound that is produced… it doesn’t feel forced but feels ‘worn in’… comfortable… nurtured and it is a real credit to The Vespers to be able to have you pulled into the sound.
This album is rooted in faith and in life… and the sounds echo that.
All through the album there is a real folk and roots sound often tinged with pop… or gospel… or bluegrass or gospel spiritual but it is organic and it is real and it is good.
This band is all about people and connecting with them and the title of the album ‘The Fourth Wall’ is a extension of that belief. The fourth wall, in theatre terms, is the invisible wall between the audience and performers… The Vespers are becoming masters of breaking down those walls… and with their great music… their honest lyrics and melodies to pull you in… this is the album to either break you out of your coldest Winter… or help lift your warmest Summer.
Here’s a taste of what The Vespers do best.
Sometimes it feels like God is hunting me down with a message that he wants me to get… not just in my head… not just in my heart… but deep down into the deepest crevices of my soul… so I thought I would stop, and listen.
You see I wonder if we have it all wrong as Christ followers.
Do we really want people to become Christians?
If we do… what does one look like?
I’ve seen bitter custody battles over children by two people who claim to be Christians…
I’ve read books about wars between two Nations who claim to have God on their side… Is our God schizophrenic?
I’ve worked with people who said they are Christian… but their behaviour would seem they are far from that.
The reality is you can ask 5 different people “What is a Christian?” and you will most likely get 5 different answers… or at least views on the subject.
And here is why I think that… because there is nothing to define what a Christian is!
Hold on… what does the Bible say about the matter… surely the Bible would solve this who argument for us…
You would think so right?
You see the Bible mentions Christians 3 times (to save you the trouble Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16) and for the most part it is used as a derogatory name… it was other people calling Jesus followers ‘Christians’… and when Peter (in 1Peter) uses the word it is in reference to what people where calling them. It was almost as if people were actually saying “look at that bunch of Jesus FREAKS… those… CHRIST-ians”
And this brings me to where I seem to be getting chased… hunted… pursued. It seems that every sermon I hear or Christian book I read a word is haunting me… the word ‘disciple’. Even our own Church HPCC discussed ‘being a disciple’ at our evening church last night!
Christ never called us to be Christians… I mean what is that?
Christ called us his DISCIPLES.
“Go into all the world and make disciples” Matthew 28:19
Not make Christians…
The world is sick of Christians… and that’s OK because that is not what we were called to be… we were called to be disciples of Christ.
Even our churches are filled with people who call themselves Christians but do little more than turn up on Sunday and sing a few songs… they do just enough to bring it up in an arguement “Oh no… I wouldn’t do THAT… I’m a Christian”
Now imagine if our churches were full of Disciples?
People who were students of Jesus?
The word ‘disciple’ appears over 200 times… and it starts to paint a really clear picture of what it means to be a disciple.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my disciple (follower), you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 (NLT)
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 (NLT)
You see it makes it very clear… we are to love one another… we are to turn from our selfish ways… we are to humble ourselves.
You see it’s not about us… it never is about us… it is about reflecting everything back to God.
But being a disciple is hard work… it is dedication.
No wonder people opt to be called Christian rather than a disciple of Christ… because being a disciple means you have to live like one.
Being a Christian means you can live however you want whenever you want… why?
Because being a ‘Christian’ isn’t defined… as far as the world is concerned it’s about being good.
But you will never be good enough until you surrender your life fully to Christ Jesus and become a disciple.
As my pastor in Queenstown Shar Davis used to say “Simple but not Easy”