“A nominal Christian is content with proving the way of salvation by a crucified Redeemer. But the true Christian loves it, delights in it, glories in it, and shudders at the very thought of glorying in anything else….
Let all your joys flow from the contemplation of his cross.”
For the month of March I’ve decided to attempt to quit mainlining technology for the sake of the poor.
The rules: from March 1st-31st I’m going off the grid. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Email. No Mobile. No iPad. No Internet. No TV. No Streaming. Sermons written by hand.
|This may not seem like much of a big deal, but those of you who know me will know all too well how much of a battle this will be – I’m a sucker for a pretty gadget. In addition to giving up my toys, it also means giving up my main source of income – data recovery – which i like. alot.
It’d be great if you can donate. Everything helps. The coin you give will go to Compassion – Compassion is an international Christian child development and child advocacy ministry committed to working in partnership with local churches around the world to foster the spiritual, economic, social, physical and emotional development of children living in extreme poverty in over 26 developing countries.
If you donate, you have permission to rub salt in the wound when i’m suffering withdrawals
I enjoy the doctor. I thinks it’s his capacity for compassion and optimism. Even when the sky is falling. It’s brilliant. Pity it’s fiction.
I have a text file that lives on the desktop of my computer. It’s called “read me if you’re having second thoughts.txt”. I put it there a while back to remind me of why I’m at college in case I ever found myself asking why. I can’t remember where I adopted it from, but I recall reading it and thinking that it fit like a glove.
“God has given me a deep love for His church, even with all its flaws. It is the most powerful redemptive instrument he has used in my life, and I believe he wants to use it in this city and world. Both Edwina and I have a real passion to equip people to walk in relationship with Jesus with authenticity and increasing holiness and to make an impact for his Kingdom in the place of influence God has placed us.“
I’m stoked that it’s as true today as it was the day I plagiarised it!
It’s important to be who you claim to be.
Mr Anonymous worked as an occupational health and safety adviser for a Sydney freight company, and by all accounts, his life was even more boring than his job description.
Apparently Mr Anonymous’ co-workers used to call him “major pain” due to his four-year stretch in the army and the fact that when it came to workplace safety, the guy did everything by the book. When he wasn’t working or spending time with the Mrs and kids, he volunteered at Wesley Mission. All appearances point to the guy being Ned Flanders.
But Mr Anonymous wasn’t who he claimed to be. When he wasn’t hugging orphans to sleep or rebuking his co-workers for smoking on the job, he used his skills as an army commando to earn a few extra beans as a professional hit-man for one of the biggest criminal networks in Australia. According to the cops, he was responsible for up to nine brutal murders on behalf of a Sydney mob boss.
If i’m to believe what the papers say (*cringe!*), it’s the epitome of the double life: the guy was Ned Kelly posing as Ned Flanders.
As a Christian, I’m encouraged to do the exact opposite. I’m encouraged to be who I claim to be, to be who I am – I’m God’s. The smart dudes tell me that its about the ‘imperative’ being rooted in the ‘indicative’: i.e. because such-and-such is true about me (indicative), I should live a certain way (imperative), & cos of that, the double life is not on. Colossians 3 talks all about it, here’s some snippets:
I’m not naive to the fact that there’s a sense in which even the best of us fail to live up to this gear, but I’m also aware that there’s a world of difference between wrestling against my dodgy nature, and the pursuit of an intentional & perpetual double life.
It’s important to be who you claim to be – more than that, it’s important to be who you are.
yesterday i listened to kit preach on psalm 97. he made a point that i’ve been thinking about ever since. the Psalms are full of rejoicing and lament: rejoicing over God and his hand at work in the world, and lament when it seems as though that hand is absent.
rejoice or lament. it seems its one or the other, but it’s never silence.
silence isn’t ever the response of the Psalter when things are hard and I think that’s prescriptive. when things are great, its given a voice. when things aren’t and it’s hard, its given a voice. both acknowledge God, but silence doesn’t.
i often battle to give a voice to hard stuff because I’ve got this niggling idea in the back of my head that says to do so makes me an ungrateful kid. but it doesn’t have to be that way, i’m free to give it all a voice – in fact, i’m built to.
i can lament circumstances in a way that acknowledges and is respectful, which is great. silence doesn’t acknowledge and its not respectful, so I need to work hard to speak.
are you well?
I get asked this question most days. it comes in the context of the beginnings of a superficial conversation, or towards the end of a more meaningful one. i’m sure i’m not alone. i’m sure it gets asked and answered by countless people everyday, most of whom will take it the way it was intended, and politely respond by saying “i’m well.“.
Social convention seems to dictate that you respond by saying either: “i’m well“, backing it up with some remotely awesome things that have been going on, or you do the opposite: “things aren’t that great“, which inevitably opens up the expectation that you will share, albeit with varying degrees of depth, the nature of your situation and why it blows. therein lies the dilemma: either you lie through your teeth because you couldn’t be bothered explaining/don’t feel comfortable to, or you tell the truth and go into detail.
Lately, my default position is to do the former, because i’m over doing the latter. i don’t think i’m getting asked this question any more than i used to, i think i’m just more aware of it because these days it appears that alot of the time i’m not well, i’m crook. i’m not having a whinge, i’m just worn out. i’ve had plenty of time to think about it too, plenty of time wrestling with how it reconciles with my world view, and i’m glad because that’s quite well.
A guy called Paul wrote a bunch of letters to his friends, and in one he explains why things are OK, even when they suck. this guy lived it. he had all sorts of sucky things happen to him: he lived with guilt, he temporarily lost his sight, he was falsely accused, he lost some mates, he was shipwrecked, he’d done plenty of unjust prison time, and lived with what he called “a thorn in my flesh“. yet despite all that, he was able to say that he was glad about his lot because of what he knew about his maker, he recalled what Jesus has said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness“.
I’m thinking about the two options in answer to the “are you well?” question: lie or overshare.
I think i’m gonna role with a third option: “i’m not well, but i’m ok about it.”
I laughed at the graphic above, put together by Jim LePage, mostly because i’m terrible.
Nahum was an OT guy who rocked up about 100yrs after Jonah (of fish-food fame), and like Jonah, Nahum was concerned with people who called Nineveh home. His book in the bible warns about some heavy gear that’s gonna be dished out to rebels by God. The epic thing about Nahum is that he goes beyond the typical ‘warning with the goal of repentance’ to ‘a promise of judgment for rebels’: “I am against you, declares the Lord.” Nahum 2:13.
God’s love and mercy, righteousness and judgment go hand-in-hand.
“Often people blame God for the sadness of the world and reject any possible hope that could be spoken into it… However, in the realities of a broken world with broken people, the ultimate hope and answer for the world is the free and perfect gift offered by the Creator. … The nature of grace is free to all at even the lowest point of despair.”
The guy that wrote those words was a 28 year old pastor. He was bashed to death in his own church last week in the US. My guess is he believes what he wrote above now more than ever
thanks for the inspiration @davemiers.