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Charles Simeon

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“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.”

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February 24th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

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Off The Grid

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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 🙂

 

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February 14th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

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Doctor Who and Optimism

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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.

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February 9th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

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Social Justice, God’s Kingdom & The Church’s Mission

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Today I read a tweet that got me thinking. The author of this tweet likened the social justice work (advocacy for poverty reduction) he and his colleagues were undertaking to be that of modern day prophets bringing in God’s Kingdom. The author is a great guy who loves Jesus & he is doing good things. His tweet made me think about how social justice is related God’s Kingdom and the mission of His church.

Kevin DeYoung has a heap to say about social justice, the kingdom, scripture and the church. Here’s what he said about the language of ‘bringing in God’s kingdom’: “I don’t think the talk of “building the kingdom” or our role in “ushering in the kingdom” is language that can be supported by Scripture. God already reigns, and he doesn’t need our help to get on the throne! .. We should live out the ethics of the kingdom, pray for the kingdom, and by faith we can receive the kingdom. But we do not bring about God’s reign.

Last year, in the context of discussing the mission of the church, DeYoung suggested that social justice and neighbor love were not the same as undertaking the great commission. Here’s what he said: “I want the utterly unique task of the church — making disciples of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit to the glory of God the Father — put front and center, not lost in a flurry of humanitarian good deeds or environmental concerns.

The only way the kingdom of God – the redemptive rule of God – is extended is when he brings another sinner to renounce sin and self-righteousness and bow his knee to King Jesus.

Pretty confronting gear. Lots of people didn’t like what he said.

A little later DeYoung interviewed Tim Keller about it. The context was social justice & the proclamation of the gospel as responsibilities of the church. Here’s what Keller said:

The first thing I need to tell people when they come to church is believe in Jesus, not do justice. Why? Because first, believing in Jesus meets a more radical need and second, because if they don’t believe in Jesus they won’t have that gospel … So there’s a priority there. On the other hand, for a church to not constantly disciple its people to do justice would be utterly wrong, because it is an important part of God’s will. I’m calling for an asymmetrical balance here. It seems to me that some churches try to load in doing justice as if it is equally important as believing in Jesus, but others, in fear of falling into the social gospel, do not preach or disciple their people to do justice at all. Both are wrong. A Biblical church should be highly evangelistic yet known for its commitment to the poor of the city.

I’m glad the author of this inspirational tweet is doing this work – glad in a way that’s far more than token. I’m glad that Christians I know are involved in this work. I’m glad that I get encouraged to be involved too. It’s good work, and it needs to be done. Especially by Christians. But with respect to the church’s mission, these guys are highlighting an asymmetry between social justice and the work of the great commission, and I think they’re right – “priorities ought to take, well, priority“.

Check this out: What Is the Mission of the Church? DeYoung, Kelly, Gilbert (and Keller)

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September 21st, 2011 at 8:34 pm

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Reminder

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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!

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September 6th, 2011 at 10:36 pm

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Who do you claim to be?

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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:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ (indicative), set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (imperative). For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God (indicative).” Colossians 3:1-3

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved (indicative), clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive (imperative) as the Lord forgave you (indicative). And over all these virtues put on love (imperative), which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

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.

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September 1st, 2011 at 9:51 pm

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Is silence an option?

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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.

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August 27th, 2011 at 11:24 am

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Are You Well?

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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.” 🙂

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August 21st, 2011 at 12:49 am

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Word: Nahum

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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.

This morning I had the pleasure listening to a wise old man preach at our church on God’s love. It was a cracker. This wise old guy spoke from 1 John 4 – you can listen to it here.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 John 4:9-10

God’s love and mercy, righteousness and judgment go hand-in-hand.

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August 14th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

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Heavy

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“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 🙂

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March 8th, 2011 at 10:13 am

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