I’m an idiot… or very slow at best.
You see I’m a fixer… I like to solve puzzles… I like discoveries… I like to help the ones I love out… I like to share insights I have with those who have been brave enough to share their feelings…
My problem is I can’t shut up!
I know it’s a problem I have but I can’t help it… it doesn’t help especially when you’re trying to nurture a relationship, and then on top of it all… I’m a communicator… I talk through things… I work through things via blogs… songs… talking… you know anything I can do to… well… communicate!
GREAT… so not only can I not shut up… I can’t shut up… because it’s part of my thinking process.
I’ve been married for 13 years and you would have thought at least some time during this time I would have cottoned on to the fact that sometimes the loved ones in my life don’t want the solution… they just want you to listen to them…
I’ve been there, and watch as friends eyes glazed over as I gave another analogy to try and describe why they should do this… or shouldn’t do that… I see it happening… but do you think I can stop myself from projecting the equivalent of noise pollution into the environment? – of course not!! – why? – because THAT my friend would make sense!
And I’m a slow learner!
I’m very blessed to have amazing wonderful and polite people in my life that I love very very much… however they are so polite… they let me dribble these words filled with theories and stories of love and loss… into their personal space… when I am being the equivalent of a talking ass with a theory!
What it deserves sometimes is for them to tell me to “just shut the heck up!”… and they would be well within their rights to do so.
I think part of the problem is that I get nervous when people talk to me about stuff… I’m not as confident as I try and make you believe… when someone tells me something that they want to get off their chest… or they are struggling with I start to think to myself “is this a trap???” – I need to know the answer to this one… they need to hear this!
I heard one guy say to his wife when she started to tell him something “do you want me to empathize or do you want me to help?”
He said his wife has never once said “I want you to help!”
I am powerless to fix my friends… no matter how many opinions I give… how many strongly worded arguments I give… how much I plead for them to listen to my words… or how much I want them to.
I’m just a guy who loves them very much but I’m just that… I’m just a guy… I’m a good communicator… but I’m just a guy.
I can try and ‘fix’ my friends… I just can’t… no matter how much I really want to
I can try but all that will happen is things coming to a place where they just escalate into a place where they won’t listen… they can’t listen… because all I have is become a wall of sound rather than a bed of peace… a brick wall rather than a bed of roses.
A couple of weeks I talked about how I have realised how small my heart was… now I’m figuring out how smart I thought I was… and how much I still need to learn… the first being to just be quiet… but I’m a slow learner.
I can’t fix things that are between them and God.
Only the Holy Spirit can change peoples hearts…
Only God can heal things that can’t be seen…
Only God can change someones situation… and I’m just to be there to lend an ear… I’m there to cry with them… hug them… kiss them… walk with them, share their pain… I can’t walk their walk!
So if it’s that easy why is it so hard???
I love you… I want the best for you and me talking is how passionate I am about you… but if you need me to shut up please tell me… just say Goose I just need you to listen this is something that I’m struggling with… I don’t want your help… I want your empathy.
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. - 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (NLT)
wow that’s humbling… I can plant a seed… I can water the soil… but I can’t make it grow…
ONLY GOD can make things grow.
I am super excited that our church is going to be talking about the “Kingdom of God”.
Those who have read the Bible and the things that Jesus talked about would know that the Kingdom of God was a big issue. In fact that was what Jesus talked about THE MOST.
The problem we face with it is… it all seems a bit cryptic, I mean I’m sure you could understand the plot of the first Mission Impossible Movie faster than this… and what has happened it has left us all divided standing in our own camps trying to argue if it’s now or later, here and now or then and there.
Now I have read a few books by people on the subject and they can be so varied… some say things like…
“The Kingdom of God is a spiritual thing… and we can fully realise it now, we can work miracles and we can do wonders”
The problem with this is that… we all know that we are far from perfect and it would seem to me that Jesus was talking about things far more tangible… and not so completely spiritual and ‘fluffy’
I’ve hear someone else talk about it being about just the Church…
That’s great but that seems to make the Kingdom of God seem really really small. This theory to me makes it seem like Jesus took the whole Bible and reduced it to a bumper sticker… or took his prize Bull and turned him into a Beef Stock Cube. I don’t think Jesus would have wanted us to take the Kingdom of God idea and reduce it to such a small man sized idea.
And then I heard someone talk about the Kingdom of God being in the Future… nothing now… it’s all later. The Kingdom of God will only be realised in heaven.
However this doesn’t explain the miracles (that Jesus predicted)… it doesn’t explain why we have the Holy Spirit… there is a lot of loose ends, in this theory.
But here is the thing… I can understand why we want to box an idea like this up… I get that.
The Kingdom of God is a HUGE idea… and it’s not an easy one to get our little dust brains around. We are challenged by it… we are frightened by it…
The hardest thing for me the more I think about it is this…
We talk a lot about a God of love… about a savior… and it’s right, and good to do so… but here’s were it gets me… KINGdom…
Jesus is not an elected member of parliament… he wasn’t voted in… he’s the KING.
That gives you NO wiggle room… and then if this is the case…
I once heard this phrase about 5 years ago and it’s stayed with me since.
What are the consequences of accepting the savior… but rejecting the KING???
Hmmm I may need some more Kingdom thinking…
There are a lot of things I like about our church and the church leadership… The church I go to is called Hornby Presbyterian Community Church (HPCC) in Christchurch New Zealand…
What makes me proud of our church is the fact they they have decided every year to have 3 weeks of prayer.
Why does this excite me?
Well first of all is that it is Biblical… all throughout the Bible we are told to pray first… It would be easy for a church like ours to try and get stuck into doing community work and start big ideas to have through the year… but here is the thing, unless we pray first all of the things that we are doing haven’t been given to God to deal with.
And Secondly… it’s not about us.
It’s easy to get stuck into the rut of praying for ourselves… our own needs… our own problems. However what my church leadership has done (and what other churches around the world continue to do) is given us an example of putting prayer first, but it’s more than that… it’s reflecting as job of the Holy Spirit – interceding for others.
What a great way to start the year… bringing the needs of others before the altar of God.
It shows that it’s not about us… it’s about a God who cares for all.
It shows that in all things pray first… or as it says in 1 Timothy
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1
- Are your prayers gutless??? (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
Brent Richardson is a guy I really respect… and today he reminded me of the first church in the book of Acts
Now the book of Acts is my VERY favourite book of the bible because it reminds me of how the church could (and maybe should be)
In the book of Acts, Peter and John were in and out of prison for their faith almost more Charlie Sheen has been arrest just for doing dumb stuff… and the church was saying to them “We need to protect you… we can’t have you guys being lost… you are the head of our church at the moment” but instead of becoming untouchable… instead of hiring armed body guards and armored vehicle do you know what they prayed for?
They prayed for BOLDNESS.
This is what they prayed:
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
You see it was never about them…
The church was never about themselves looking inward… the church was about looking out at the world and shining a light… and they knew some of the world didn’t like the light… they had the scars to prove it.
Do you know what boldness is?
Boldness is about creating opportunities… Do you think your friends would be mad if you said “hey do you mind if I pray for you?” – of course not… they could say “yes, I do mind” and that would be ok… the reality is, they are most likely would say “no… that would be fine”
We have to be open to be led by the promptings of the Holy Spirit… he’s certainly not going to leave you hanging… And in the Bible it says that he convicts… he does all the hard work… all we have to do is step out in faith.
Do you want to do something really uncomfortable?
… lets pray for boldness…
When was the last time you prayed for boldness?
“Lord, consider the threats we will encounter and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
You hear people say that God is a big rule keeper… and that he demands so much from us… and I think REALLY?
I’ve been reading Genesis (the beginning of the world as my 8 year old puts it) and it seems to me that God gave us everything we needed… I mean EVERYTHING and only one rule.
God basically made the world to please and inspire and be wonderful just for us… and then he handed us the keys and said “there you go look after this baby for me… I made it for you” and then he added “Oh just to let you know you can eat the fruit from any of the trees except one”
OK that seems pretty easy doesn’t it…
ALL the trees are ok to eat from except one!
It wasn’t like “Here’s the car… oh and by the way the clutch slips, just watch out for that!” – it was I’ve only made one rule for you to follow and this is it!
And so God started the world as a World of GRACE.
It’s pretty cool huh?
Even in Acts there was more of a focus on less rules and more grace.
The apostles came up with this for new believers in the early church.
28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”
So basically here were the rules…
Don’t do anything that is sexually immoral… and don’t hack off the Jews.
Yet we have this thought that we have a whole lots of rules and regulations to follow in order to keep ourselves in Gods favour… the relatity is that when we become born again (become a Christian) it says we are made NEW… that means we are ALREADY born into Gods favour… lets not get stuck on the ‘rules’…
Here is the reality…
God is concerned more about the condition of your heart…
Don’t get lost in rules and regulations… they can’t get you closer to God.
God knew this…
The early church knew this…
yet we have forgotten!
Have you notice that in the Bible there are a lot of principles… but there aren’t a lot of things that tell us HOW to do things… why do you think that is?
Well… I think its because God gave us tools like our conscience, the Holy Spirit and church community to guide us to make the right decision and come up with methods that best suit our needs… based on where we and our community around us is at.
The Bible says “Parents train your children…”
Ok is there a special schooling you would like us to follow?
Does it have to be a Christian school?
Is a school uniform important?
Is that home schooling?
God doesn’t give us that information why? Because he is giving us the freedom to do that ourselves based on Gods timeless principles based on the Word of God. The Bible
What seems clear to me is to listen and really lean into the principles and stay true to them… but be flexible on the methods.
We start looking and becoming just ‘religious’ when we start to say that we have to do things a certain way.
Have you been in a ‘debate’ with someone who has the same principles as you but doesn’t agree with you because you don’t do things a certain way… and more importantly do things THEIR way.
It may because they are blinded by they way they were taught by someone they look up to. I personally believe there are many ways to bring people to Christ and I will use a different ‘technique’ based on the situation… but I know others who stick to the same method and don’t budge on that… because that is the way it HAS to be.
I have 5 kids and treating them all the same just doesn’t work… We have basic principles in our house like “you must clean your room” however we have lots of methods to help stick to this based on the different child’s needs.
1 principle – different methods
Wasn’t that the differnce between Jesus and the Pharisees in relation to the Sabbath… they had lots of rules… Jesus didn’t.
They had the same principles about the Sabbath being Holy… Jesus agreed with them on this… but they wanted Jesus to conform to their METHODS
The bottom line is… different people have different methods of doing things and not everything they do is going to fit in with the way WE do things… they have their own methods.
However if they are following the basic principles that are in the Bible but not the same method as you then you need to trust that maybe God is doing something different for them.
One of the things that adds to the mystery of the whole Super Hero story is the whole hidden identity schtick. It’s cool, you always know when they’re ‘off duty’ because they haven’t got their capes on with their ultra slim fitting lycra clothes and undies on outside their pants.
It seems Super heroes and Christians have things in common, apart from the power inside (as mentioned in part 1) it also seems that they only show their power when they are wearing their super hero outfit.
A lot of Christians I know walk around not even knowing that the Holy Spirit is in them, they don’t know the power that God has promised, no wonder they are still worried about things, no wonder they still try to do things all by themselves, no wonder everything seems to go wrong in their lives.
But here’s the really crazy thing about these Christians, put them in a room with other Christians and they’re waving swords, and walking around all gung-ho, but in the real world (where it matters) they play mild mannered reporter.
Ok… so here is the thing… we should be putting on our super hero outfit EVERY day (the Armor of God) … we have to realize that we have the God given power within us. You see we should have our super senses always listening out for the promptings of the Holy Spirit because you never know when you’re going to be called to ‘duty’…
Are you spending you time in your ‘bat cave’ honing your skills? Are you reading Gods word and learning to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (that are there to both keep you out of trouble and convict the hearts of those who you come in touch with)?
As you don your outfit each morning, as you prepare for the day putting on the armor of God, it’s a reminder that the one that has your back as you head out into the world… is the creator of the Universe… and that is something that most super heroes never had in the comics that I’ve read.
Did you realize that faith isn’t faith if you know the outcome? I mean isn’t that the whole point of faith?
If had to choose my favorite animal I would choose a Rhino… to me the Rhino is the ultimate example of a faith filled animal. For a start the Rhino can only see 30 meters in front of it… past that… not much, yet the Rhino can run faster than a squirrel. A squirrel tops at 14 MPH where a Rhino can run as fast as 30 MPH… that’s awesome! All this means that a Rhino has to rely on his sense of hearing, and smell.
On the flip side we have the impala, who if they can’t see the ground where they are going to land… they don’t jump, even though an impala can jump more than 9 meters and 2.5 meters high. Do you know how high a fence you have to make to keep and impala in? 3 meters high, that’s all… there’s no trust in what they can’t see.
So are we running full force forward trusting in what we see, before it comes into view?
Or are we refusing to jump until we can see the ground ahead?
It’s a real faith statement.
The Bible is full of stories where God promised a miracle… but it took a act of faith on our part. For example Gods people walked out of Egypt to the side of the sea before he revealed his escape plan… through the sea (who would have guessed) … Elisha got a widow to borrow as many empty jars as she could get her hands on before God revealed the ‘olive oil miracle’ … which brings us back to our original statement “faith isn’t faith if you know the outcome”… It seems often the crazier the task the bigger the miracle. Now please hear me, this doesn’t mean go and try something crazy to see if God will turn up… although this is where we need to be open to be Spirit lead.
So Listen… can you hear the calling?
If you can… run as fast as you can trust… obey.