Monday, 25 November 2013

When did the sacred become silly season?

What does Christmas mean to us?  Some love it, in all it's festive spirit. Some feel tired thinking about it. Some feel stressed by the debt it creates. Some are exhausted by the time the day begins. Some work their longest hours leading up to it. Some see gifts as tick off a long scrawled list.

Tinsel was up early November this year, the local Mall was looking very festive. Honestly I'm a little over Christmas before December has arrived. Maybe the hectic pace of Christmas is more a problem for the southern hemisphere. December means the end of the school and university year, work functions, sports do's, group break-ups ... and then ... Christmas.

What has become of Christmas?  Is this crazy pace and pressure anything remotely to do with the celebration of a sacred birth?

I sense a desire to slow down, breath, rest and regain the sacred. There are murmurings, our Christmas theology has been drowned out by blaring, tacky Christmas songs. It's hard to hear the Christ in Christmas when worldly wants and desires scream so loud we think, self. I want Christmas back. I want the celebration of Christ's birth, the grace gift, the best gift, the only gift.

Advent, the marking off the days, the tiny doors to chocolate countdown or the story?

The story of Christmas is the story of all time. Way back when time began, the angels were warming up for the song sung to Shepherds under the stars.  This is one event that was planned down to the very last detail. As God wished it, the birth of Jesus was.  The stable, the trough, the very young Mother and the long journey.

Planned, detailed, invited guests, and gifts... sounds a little like our kind of Christmas. Yet the vital difference was, worship. The stars invited the rich Magi, the Angels sang an invitation to the lowly shepherds, all worshipped Jesus. Jesus, baby once, King now.

Have we taken the time to think about what we do at Christmas and what it means?  Stockings, Santa, presents, cake, I don't necessarily think any of these are 'wrong', I just wonder if we do them because we always have, without thinking what they have to do with the birth of all time.

Do we base Christmas on traditions or thankfulness?
Is that what we want Christmas to be?
Does our Christmas reflect our theology, or have we been tempted into the worlds view of Christmas.

Maybe it is time to wipe the design clean and start from scratch...

Christmas according to what we believe.



Friday, 22 November 2013

Friday 3

I'll be very brief this Friday.

I'm big on, eating, sharing life and opening our home to others. So when I heard this quote, I wanted to share it. It's definitely my favourite quote this week, if not year!
"Our actual theology is best expressed in hospitality." Ann Voskamp

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Friday 2 (except it's actually Saturday)

Because it is Friday ... this is something I stumbled across this week, an intimacy experiment through art. Actually it probably wasn't really, but it was a jolly good idea that affected the few who were involved and maybe if we allow ourselves to think about it. I am not hugely touchy even with my friends, so my heart felt enjoyment of this concept really surprised me - it's called   Richard Renaldi's Touching Strangers you can enjoy more of Richards work here

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Revival


Have you ever prayed for revival?   When was the last time you heard revival prayed for in our bible studies, Sunday services, or our prayer gatherings? Maybe it’s only the Welsh with their delightfully lilting accents that God in His sovereignty has blessed with revival but somehow I don’t think so.

Thinking on this whole topic of revival got me searching for the truth in my own life.  Do I pray for revival? Not really. So why not? After a long time deliberating, I’m humbled to admit that I don't pray for revival because I don't know what it would look like and I like things how they are thank you very much.  There I said it!  I know it's selfish and I have confessed to my heavenly Father who initially gave me the revelation about the possibility of revival.

I wonder what revival would look like in our faith family. This is an exciting thought don't you think? Revival is about regeneration not discomfort or displacement, as I may have once feared in my mediocre religiosity. A while back I may have been concerned that I may not get to sit on the row of chairs I normally sit on! If revival happens, I may even have to arrive early to get a seat.  How terrible that would be!  

Tears fill my eyes at the many opportunities we have. The potential for loving our community is only a drop in the bucket compared to the opportunities we would have in a revival.  Bruce Milne in “Know the Truth” says “It is doubtful whether there has been any genuine revival in the church over the centuries which has not been preceded and accompanied by fervent personal and corporate prayer.” So I’ll say it again, have you ever prayed for revival?

I have been guilty of complacency and wallowing in the comfortable status quo. I fear I'm not alone in suffering from this debilitating dysfunction?  What got me starting to think about revival was thinking of how glorious heaven will be.  I’m excited about heaven, about what heaven may be like, what opportunities there will be to worship and praise our Father, adore our Saviour Jesus, and immerse ourselves in the Spirit.  We think earth is beautiful and it is, but this is only a fraction of what is to come. We are duped if we think our creative God has created this vibrant earth, but then created a dull and boring heaven! I’ll tell you something for nothing. Heaven will blow your mind, not for its splendour, even though it will be spectacular. It will blow our minds because Jesus will be there, Father God will be there, the Holy Spirit will be there and we will be there. All God’s children together in this beautiful place of perfection constantly praising our Almighty God.  Will my friends, family and community be there?  That question really bothers me.  

Imagine with me for a moment, rush hour traffic in the morning. Cars lined up bumper to bumper, everyone heading in one direction. People getting out of their cars and walking the closer you get to the destination everyone is heading for. A whole host of different modes of transport, just to get to … not to a rugby game. Not this time. … to get to church. Wouldn't that be a sight!?! We all have opinions as to what the problems with our communities are. I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not the pubs, nightclubs, brothels, TAB or even legislation that is the main problem.  The problem seems to be our apathy toward those who don't know Jesus yet in our community.  If we prayed for revival and it came, would we even have cause for concern about the state of our community?

Join me on our knees (creaking as we get down and creaking more as we get back up again) as we together pray for revival.  Do we want our usual warm pews week after week or do we want to share eternity with those around us?  Let’s pray for the latter.