Stop delivering verdicts about other’s perceived shortcomings. Put your precious moral code to work on yourself primarily. Any scale of self-righteousness you use is going to boomerang back and kick you in the bum – with the exact strength you dealt it out. Why are you so busy critiquing others, when you yourself have massive character flaws? Crookedness that’s causing you really obvious problems! You hypocrite! First, take a long look in the mirror, go hard at your own issues, only then might you have a fighting chance of seeing clearly enough to help others with their relatively minor muck ups.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a worship conference. They set up a huge tent in the middle of a field and had bands lead people in sung worship for 72 hours straight. It was a remarkable event, and so helpful to spend a day focussed with eyes upward.
Every two hours they changed the band that were leading. Around 6pm on the Saturday, a new band took on the baton. After a very brief spoken introduction the guitarist strummed. Something happened. I’ve been in a lot of meetings but I’ve never known anything quite like it. I can only describe the shift in atmosphere as ‘positively spooky’.
As in it noticeably changed, in a dramatic, almost eerie way; yet it had none of the negative connotations those words might normally have. It was special, like some truly wonderful and kind King had walked into the room. I was undone.
I’m aware the above could be put down to many things – my psychological state; the weather; the burger I’d eaten for lunch, the chord. Yet I’m also aware of a shepherd boy called David who had some sort of spiritual power on the playing of his instrument.
I want to encourage you disciple, even as the summer festivals aren’t as readily available, to push in on music as a key ally in your connection with the Lord day by day, and if you’re a musician to not only practice for technical skill, but also to pray for spiritual power. Chords really can connect us with the King.
Jesus maintains his poise.
From the momentous mountain top marvelling, through the cheeky August afternoon nap, and into the super stressful September school run, He is poised with grace, ready to love and to serve.
Wonderful news in at least two ways for us disciple:
His presence is not determined by our present circumstances. His most emphatic promises were around his ongoing accompaniment of us. Whether you’re making inspired utterances, or throwing a temper tantrum, he is on hand and available to you.
And, believe it or not, he is carefully turning you into the kind of person that also maintains their poise in all circumstances, alert to reach out in love and lay down your life for those around you.
Thank you Jesus, for being with us today, and for continuing to transform us into your likeness.
Given that you’ve got a Father who is actively feeding and framing you, that you’re throwing everything into your quest for His Kingdom, you’ve got to stop worrying about tomorrow. You need to cease getting so worked up about what the future may or may not bring. Tomorrow takes care of itself – you can’t touch it no matter how much you think about it. You’ve got enough on living faithfully in the moment; today is troublesome enough. This Kingdom endeavour requires all that you’ve got (including the mental and emotional energy you’re tempted to spend on worrying about the future).
You won’t be pressured into it.
The general flow of life won’t take you there.
But here it is:
Cultivate your inner life. Give some care and attention to the parts of yourself you might call your ‘soul’. Dwell, really dwell, on some good truth. Marvel at, and marinade in, some part of Jesus’ character. Smell the flowers. Watch some birds. Analyse some ants. Poke around a proverb. Welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit. Lift your hands in worship. Call on his Name.
Resist the details and the busyness and draw near to him for some moments.
Disciples draw near day after day. Disciple draw near today.
In this week’s episode we talk about handling the post summer camp / festival ‘come down’. After the mountain top experience how do we re-engage with ‘normal life’? Enjoy!
For all previous episodes and all information about the podcast check out the podcast page here.
The seek first his kingdom stuff is perhaps not too difficult on sunny days. Today though disciple I want to encourage you to lean into it all the harder when the storms are raging.
There’s a strong temptation to hit pause on both the private pursuit, and public service of, the King, when it’s all hitting the fan.
“I’ll pick this stuff up again when things have settled down” we tell ourselves.
I think this is a mistake.
Not only do storms tend to hit with alarming regularity, it’s also true that we will find our comfort somewhere, and if it’s not the King, it’ll be another.
If it is the King, we’ll find He’s actually quite well equipped to lead us through storms, (he’s done it once or twice before apparently). And we might just find that as we continue to serve out of our brokenness, we experience a strange measure of healing.
Even Jesus, when the devastating news of his cousin’s murder was brought to him, leaned in and arguably saw a marked increase in the quality of miracle he was performing. You might just find the same.
Disciple, seek first his Kingdom (in the midst of the storm), and all that you need will be added unto you.