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Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

Month

January 2016

#Wanderlust vs Training Camps

I recently had the pleasure of a break away with my family. Whilst staying in a cottage, which was formally a chapel, I watched a DVD of a movie called Wanderlust.  The premise of the movie is that a couple find themselves, unemployed, homeless and having to drive to Atlanta, so that they can stay with the husband’s brother until they get “back on their feet”.

However, on their long drive down, it gets late and they try to find a motel so that they can sleep before driving on the next day.  They come across what appears to be a farm, but they later find it to be a commune, with pot-smoking and slightly crazy “hippies”.  They are made so welcome and treated so kindly that when they eventually get to the brother’s house and spend time with his crazy family,  the couple soon wanna go back to the commune!

I recently blogged about being “Zombie Christians” but is it also possible that we make our churches like the commune in the movie and make people feel so “elated” and “at home” that we fail to encourage them to actually “share the joy“?

Paul says in Acts 20:24

“My life’s worth nothing unless I use it for the work given to me by the Lord—the work of sharing the Good News of the wonderful grace of God!”

If we are so consumed with enjoying ourselves within our church buildings, and just waiting for people to “wander in“, then we will miss out on even more pleasure and fulfilment, than we would find if we were outside the confines of our church buildings and living alongside those who haven’t discovered the “good news of the wonderful grace of God”!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing and I will never compare the grace of God with getting high on cannabis or peyote (there is no comparison!!) But if we find ourselves in a “community of believers” who truly encourage you to be the person you were created to be, who challenge your attitudes towards others (in a good way). Where you can play a part in the community, that is great!  But, unless that community is then preparing you to share the good news about God’s grace with the world, then you are in a cult!

God:-

  • Never demands our money (he wants us to want to give, cheerfully, what we can and feel able to give!)
  • Will never expect you to do something that is unbiblical!
  • loves you the way you are, the only thing that he may want you to change is your attitude to life and others!
  • Doesn’t want you to stay in a building, but live alongside others like Jesus did!
  • doesn’t have a hierarchy, all of us are priests and heirs with Jesus Christ, his son! (anything that resembles a hiearchy is man-made and in a sense “not of God“!)

It is lovely getting away from the busy-ness of life, we ended up in a mobile network “black-spot” which was surreal but actually quite nice.  But staying so far away from reality, for too long, can never be good! One character in the film was so clueless, he was ranting on about technology in a way that made no sense and tried to sell the enormous plot of land where the commune was for £1100!

Churches should be more like training camps for soldiers or athletes, being places for rest and healing but then preparing us for the “races” or “battles” that we will face when we leave!  Archbishop William Temple was quoted as saying-

“The Church is the only organisation where its sole purpose is for the benefit of its non-members”

If the majority of the Christian’s time is spent between their own homes and church,  we are clearly missing something!  Our primary focus should not be on getting people into our Churches, but on preparing those who are already in our Churches to go out and share the good news by being as Christlike as we can!

“See a need, Fill a need” #Robots #Foodbanks

A while ago, I posted a blog about the Bicentennial Man, but there is another Robot movie aptly named “Robots” from which an important quote has recently stuck in my head.

“See a need, Fill a need”

Although this is the idea of most inventions, it can also be applied to living life, especially as  a Christian!  I went to a youth work conference a few years ago and in one seminar, they asked us to work in pairs, discussing what the issues were in the town where we lived/worked.  It is pointless creating a youth ministry based on helping binge drinkers when you have more problems with graffiti or gang culture!  I sat with a teenager who came to the conference with me, both of us knew that where we come from, the main issue for young people is alcohol and having things to do at night when their parents let them out and are not bothered about what they are doing/feel helpless to stop them going out!

When I moved to a new home with my wife and children, we found it was perfect place for our family, it has a large garden and lovely neighbours, but we also were very conscious that the estate we moved into, wasn’t an utopia, but that there was a lot of people “in need“.  We quickly knew that God had put us there for a reason and we were given a prophecy about “packages being given out“.  My wife and I are not rich, we do not have a stash of money or vast physical resources.  But we have since realised what we do have, we are able to use to bless others, it may not mean much to us, but to someone in need, it means a great deal!

My wife got involved with a lady wanting to set up a charitable organisation, although events occurred outside of our control, that particular door shut, but through that beginning, my wife has since been able to support many families in need.  We are sure that God is a part of it, because there has been at least one occasion, where someone has contacted her saying “I need help!“, she sat there thinking “we will do what we can but we dont have much in the storage!“, then someone else has turned up at our door, with all the items which the first family/individual would need!  I am reminded of missionaries like C.T. Studd who went to China or ran orphanages, with the faith and reliance on God, that I can only admire!

If we act like Rodney Copperbottom, who instead of throwing his hands up at the way his “world” was becoming, he decided “no i am gonna do what i can, see a need, fill a need!”  We are not all rich, we are not all highly intelligent, we do not all have huge homes, but what we do have we should be willing to share to bless others!

Before money and the super rich became a major part of this world, people used to barter or make mutual arrangements, “i will give you a goat or do … if you will give me...” We have all become greedy and selfish, I try not to be but I am conscious that my time or resources are not readily offered to the direction of God or even my family but I cannot help but look around and see how outrageous and selfish others are: –

  • Sick relative in hospital and you have no intention to see them
  • Child in hospital and all you want to talk about is your problems
  • Your relative is starving and not able to afford food and all you can think about is how wronged you feel by them!
  • Putting your desire to have a good time over the needs of your children
  • individual members of a church overworked and the response you give to being asked to help is “How dare you ask me? i am too busy!

In Today’s climate there is a need for:-

  • more information, about what support is out there, what you may be entitled to, who can give you good advice.
  • families to get enough food for the parents to be able to work and/or support their family, not to mention for the children to be able to study well and not be too hungry to be able to concentrate in lessons!

There are a growing number of food banks and ethical saving organizations but there also seems to be a lot of new companies taking advantage of the poor making them get into more debt!
My wife and I are only a couple of people, but already we have received support, been able to give assistance and ensure at least ten homes had what they needed to get through a hard time in their lives.

I pray that everyone who needs help will find it, but this is reliant on the “people of God” to respond to his call and not ignore the cries of the widowed, the orphaned, the hungry,  the homeless and the oppressed!

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