020 – Smell the Flowers

Stop worrying about your wardrobe – what you should wear, how you’ll be seen, what all the other people will think.  Take some time to smell the flowers.  They aren’t working or worrying, but they look incredible! No one dressed by even the best designers from the big city fashion shows is as stunning. No one ever has been.  So if that’s what the Father does for even a throwaway flower, he’s going to frame you much more favourably isn’t He, ‘wardrobe worrier’? Stop fretting over how you’ll be satisfied, and how you’ll be seen – He’s got it well in hand.

Matthew 6:28-31 as part of the SAS project

Back to Earth

1,000s of young (and not so young) people will be returning to their daily reality at the end of summer having had a significant experience of the grace of God at a summer festival or camp.

What now?

Remember.  Give thanks for the real blessing that the event you went to was. That stuff really happened, and it’s going to bear some real fruit in your life.  But more than that, remember some of the objective realities that you heard about – the stuff like God sending his Son Jesus because he so loved the world.  This Jesus brought a message that we have a Father who cares deeply for us, and we’re part of a Kingdom that’s so unstoppably good it’s worth selling everything to get involved with.  That this Jesus didn’t just teach and heal and raise the dead, but amazingly he laid down his life in love, embracing an ugly death at the hands of Roman soldiers, to show us love and set us free. That on the third day he rose again, appeared to many, ascended to heaven and then poured out his Spirit. That the Kingdom he spoke about is close enough for you to reach out and grab, and his Spirit is equally available to you.  Remember that stuff.  It was true before camp, was true at camp, and will continue to be true whatever you do or don’t do with it.

Reunite.  Following Jesus is something you do with your friends. If you can keep reconnecting with the guys you went to camp with – great; if that doesn’t work, connect with other followers of Jesus local to you. Say to one person this week, “Hey, can we pray about this…” then follow through with the awkward two to three people prayer meeting.

Reconnect.  Reconnect with the words of Scripture. Ok, maybe you saw a miracle or two, but the real power was in the word that you heard. It’s available to you; if you’re not a reader – get listening.  Don’t set targets, but embrace a process of getting in front of these words with regularity. Where to start? Maybe go New Testament first; gospels first (the first four books); Mark is the shortest!  Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) if you want to go straight to the fire.

Revolutionise.  Revolutionise the way you act towards others. Here’s the thing, “Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to help mum with the dishes”.  You want to stop people trafficking in Paraguay, but and Jesus calls you to take the annoying opportunities to serve the people that you actually bump into (this is what ‘love’ is).  You’ll find two things if you do this – it brings you incredible freedom, and it doesn’t work!! When you hit this, the beatitudes begin to make a little sense, and it’s welcome to the good life!

The mountain tops are magnificent, but you win your victories in the valleys.  All the best to you!

Gillett & Brims Podcast Episode 21 – How do we interpret the Bible?

Gillett and Brims podcast_21

This week we have part two of Nathanael’s interview with our friend Alex Fry.  Alex is currently working on his Phd in Durham on the Psychology of Religion, having previously got his Masters at Kings College London in Biblical Studies. They wrestle with “hermeneutics” – how do we interpret the ancient text of the Bible today? Enjoy!

For all previous episodes and all information about the podcast check out the podcast page here.

 

At Your Funeral

They’re not going give a powerpoint presentation looking at how your salary changed over time, complete with a pie chart tracking how your net worth was made up.

The key events of your life will be recounted, but more than anything people will want to talk about the kind of person you were.  Your character.

This is a mixed blessing of course, because we are all to some degree crooked timber.

But here’s the thing disciple, Jesus is committed today to working with you on the painfully slow process of character formation.  He’ll be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters, and he wants us all to share the family traits.  It’s his graceful agenda for us – transformation into his likeness.

Time alone will not do it, but trust in his ways over time, and on that day when you’re in the box, some will smile as they talk about how goodness and mercy increasingly followed you around during your brief walk here.

Today disciple – character over currency.

019 – Stop Stressing

So here’s the thing – stop stressing out about your life. Fretting over how you’ll be filled, obsessing about what’s going to make you happy, continually caressing your craving for contentment – stop it.  Life is way bigger than your own private happiness.  Do some bird watching – yep, spend some serious time staring at sparrows.  They’re not hustling hard, climbing a career ladder, or frantically filling their investment funds yet they are more content then you are – fed and Fathered in fact! You’re worth more than a bird aren’t you? So trust Him. Is all this stress really resulting in greater satisfaction?

Matthew 6:25-27 as part of the SAS project

Discipleship at the level of our smartphones

If it’s not touching here, it’s probably not going deep enough… 10 questions that might spark some thought in this regard:

Would the apps on my phone pass a Philippians 4:8 audit?

Would I be comfortable passing my phone to the person one row in front of me at church, telling them the password, and saying, “hey, have a good look around”?

Do I too often ignore the people actually in front of me, in the service of my phone?

Have I made my smartphone an ally in the ongoing process of the renewal of my mind?

Can I switch this thing off, or am I too deeply dependent upon it?

When was the last time I did actually switch off from it?

Would I be ok with the content of my private messages being broadcast publicly?

Is the way I relate to this device helping, or harming, my prayer life?

Is this device saving me time, or sucking my time?

Am I storing poison on here?

Questions worth having a wrestle with.

Today disciple, do what’s necessary to make your phone your ally in your walk with Jesus.