Friday, July 21, 2017

the Ball Brothers - It's About the Cross (OFFICIAL video)

If there is a song around that encourages one to look out of one's self to Jesus Christ, it has to be this song by the Ball Brothers.  Thankyou Ball Brothers, glory be to God!

It's not just about the manger
Where the baby lay
It's not all about the angels

Who sing for him that day
It's not just about the shepherds
Or the bright and shining star
It's not all about the wisemen
Who travelled from afar

It's about the cross
It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus
came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It's about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could
have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's about the cross

It's not just about the good things
In this life I've done
Its not all about the treasures
Or the trophies that I've won
Its not about the righteousness
That I find within
Its about His precious blood
That save me from my sin

It's about the cross
It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus
came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It's about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could
have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's about the cross

The beginning of the story
is wonderful and great
But it's the ending that can
save you and that's why we celebrate

It's about the cross
It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It's about God's love
Nailed to a tree
It's about every drop of blood that flowed from
Him when it should have been me
It's about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could have real life someday
So that you and I could have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's about the cross

It's about the cross

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No Time

In this insipid age where individualism and institutionalism make destructive bedfellows in governments, media, and churches of our society, God is calling his church to return to him and stand once again in him, alone! 

In the LCA, the call for repentance is no less than anywhere else!  The practitioners in this career driven organisation are losing their way.  The career pastor doing what he wants in an institution that does what it wants, has turned the word of God and his liturgy of divine service and worship into a means of controlling souls to the glory of many things other than the Triune God.

The people of the church are tired!  Tired of government control, manipulation by the media for the sake of business and retail power, now the church which more and more is modelling the media, marketing, and the pungent political strategies of a secularised world is feeding the already cynical and sceptical society in which we live.

Yet the parishioners too practise and participate in the very things that make them tired!  The very thing our society is work for is the very thing that is taking away the thing for which we work.  And it is no different in a church full of career pastors and “one-hour-a-week” parishioners.

The riddle is this:  We want more time!  Yet, the more we work for it the less of it we have!  And the church too is hell bent on the same goal.  But the career pastor and the parishioner are too busy to give time to the only thing that will sustain us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (the whole ontological package).  Why? Because we too have gone a worldly way and conformed to the wills of the media and government!  Ironically, these are the very things causing us to be distrustful of people who use given power for their own purposes.

Instead of following the seduction of secular society busying itself in a bid to not be busy, the church too has a mandate given by God, to be still, to stand, to remain, and to abide.  Our mandate is not to work for the weekend but to stop in God, to stop in his word, to rest in him.  Not just as a righteous work on Sunday morning to keep up appearances, but to be in him, remain in him, and desire it.

If we want to be less tired, have more time, we need to stop and give our time back to him.  If we want recreation, we need to be re-created, and if the church wants to be the agent through which Jesus Christ gives us the re-creation we so desperately need, we need to listen to God, not the prose of politicians, the bullying of bureaucrats, and the mantra of the media.

If the church wants people to give more time to the church, then the church needs to give more time to God.  Those career pastors and bishops, holding out for retirement, need to give time to God by being with people, not locked away behind a desk, or an infrastructure, or role that makes them too busy to be whom they’ve been called to be.

If people what our church to serve them, they need to let God serve them more than just one hour a week! 

We need to stop!  Say no to our practises and the practises of others that make us tired and cynical.  Rather than “do” we need to “be”.  To be still in God and listen to him!  To not just use his word as a justification of conforming to our wrong ways!

When our political system and the media along with our social structure collapses in the future, a church found seeking its security in these practises will tumble too.  Many will wonder why we have fallen apart.  But reality is the church that collapses will be a church that based its faith on everything other than Jesus Christ and looks to other things rather than the word of God, repentance, and forgiveness.

The church that crumbles will be one that does the things of God because it has too while it loves to be seen doing what the world wants.  The one true church will be the church doing the things of God because it loves to, wants to, and turns its back on the world to do so.

Bishops, pastors, and parishioners, it’s time to draw a line in the sand and stand in Jesus Christ alone.

Psalm 46:8–11 (ESV)
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Grace, Mercy,  Peace

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Relearning to Judge

On the stern of an aircraft carrier, a bunch of guys stand watching each landing performed on the carrier's deck.  They wear white vests (the colour designated for safety officers) and are called Landing Signal Officers.

Made up of senior pilots, these officers judge each landing on the carrier.  In each of their hands they also hold a trigger which at their judgement they can set off at any moment as the landing jet aircraft approaches, waving the pilot off if the landing is not looking as it should be. 

If the pilot gets out of shape in his landing, too high, too low, has not put down his landing gear or arresting hook the landing safety officer waves him off to go round and try the landing again. 

The signal officers also score each landing and many an ego of gung ho "top guns" has been brought down by a low scoring landing that they had performed.

These white vested signal officers are safety officers, they are their because of their wisdom and experience, they stand watch to protect and teach pilots with a different view of the landing.  They also stand as rear guards to protect the rest of the personnel on the foredeck of the carrier from being injured or killed by an out of control plane skidding across the deck of the Navy's carrier.

The Christian Church is like an aircraft carrier.   Because the church's charter is to bring others on deck though baptism into Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, through the preaching and teaching of his word, the administration of Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Absolution of confessing sinners, it makes the church a dangerous place.  Right from the nave of the church to the everyday lives of each Christian, we face the high seas of turmoil and tribulation.  Just as an aircraft carrier sets sail on the sea to stand guard over others, it also draws the attention of the enemy who doesn't want it there.

The signal officers stand guard over one part of the carrier's operation.  They judge to protect people, safety is their job!  These officer join in with a number of others whose job it is to judge.  Imagine if they were not allowed to judge, and all on the carrier could do what they wanted.  How long would the ship and it's navy survive?

Yet in this era of the church, people are doing just that!  People are turning against the authority put there to keep them spiritually safe.  Many believe they need to pilot their own entry into and out of the church, and because they do are missing the deck in the churning tumultuous times we live.

Our landing signal officers in white, our pastors, are being told they're not allowed to judge, and therefore aren't allowed to protect those who need guidance in their lives.  Even bishops and pastors are being sucked into the chaos advocating judgement being stamped out.  Therefore many look like pastors or landing signal officers, but are or have made themselves powerless to have any authority over our spiritual safety or how the ship of the church is ordered under our commander in chief, Jesus Christ!

Matthew 7:1 is often misquoted as a anti-judgement mantra.  However Jesus says in verse one and two,
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1–2 (ESV) 

What Jesus says here is if you don't want to be judged don't judge because the judgement you use is the judgement to be used against you too.  Because by humanity's very nature we're created to judge, surely we then need to place ourselves under a judgement and make judgements that create eternal peace within ourselves but more importantly, with our heavenly Father.

The LSOs (Landing Signal Officers) on a carrier are judged by the same judgements when they strap on a jet and land on the deck of the carrier.  I believe that they participate in the operations of the carrier because they believe the judgement process to be good.  Imaging how you might feel if you knew the carrier operations on which you were landing were in disarray. Yet this is exactly where the church seems to be sailing these days.

As it gets darker we need LSO pastors more and more, to make judgements so the church can sail through the darkness and people are brought out of the darkness and on deck with infallible accuracy.
We need to relearn how to judge.

From the Psalms - Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.  Psalm 58:1–2 (ESV)

Jesus says - Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:24 (ESV)

The writer of Hebrews reminds - Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17 (ESV)

Human being have been created to judge, if we were to stop judging we would need to have most of our brain removed.  So rather than make bad judgements by pursuing the anti-judgement mantra it is time for the church to return to the right judgement given to us by Jesus Christ in the word of God, and we let the word of God stand in context to the entirety of God's written word.

Grace, Mercy, & Peace

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Teaching children to leave our churches

The mantra heard in congregations these days is, "The future of our church are our children!"  Yet in many of these congregations the children are removed for "Kid's Club, or Sunday School" for various reasons somewhere during the course of the service.

These reasons vary from, "there being nothing in church for the kids", to, "they are too noisy and distract the rest of the congregation", to, "they haven't got a long enough concentration span to get anything out of the service", just to name a few.

This is a dangerous practice on so many diffent levels!

1) In focusing on children as being the future of our church, congregations inadvertantly disenfranchise many other congregation members across the age spectrum.

2) Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but isn't the future of our church the Holy Spirit gathering and calling a congregation of young to old together around Jesus Christ, who stands at the centre of God pleasing divine service and worship?

3) What are we telling the children about church by removing them from the worshipping community?

4) What are we saying to the children, about their place in the worshipping community of God?

5) What are we teaching our kids about being still and knowing that Jesus Christ is Lord?

6) Are we not further fracturing the family unit and in some cases usurping parental authority by willing children to leave the service?

Then there is the issue of the subject matter taught.  This can vary greatly.  However, entertainment seems to be the central tenent with a myriad of secondary matter being presented in preference to having the children hear the Word of God read and taught from the Bible.  After all the Holy Spirit works Christ centred faith when one hears the word of God (Rom 10:17), not words about the word of God.

And by chucking our children out of the service, how can parents then be exemlaries of faith practices?  How do children lean about the beauty and magisty of the means which God has give to us so we can recieve his forgiveness and love?

But furthermore, Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:14 (ESV)

Why are we continuing to send our children out of church and then wondering why they don't come back when we've taught them to leave in the first place.  

Perhaps we put them out of church because of our own unbelief in Christ's promise to work through his Word by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Grace, Mercy, & Peace

Friday, November 7, 2014

Anti-Social Social Media

Social media in its very nature is not social!  The fact that I am sitting here alone in my study writing to the unknown audience is in essence very anti-social.

Having worked in television media before entering the ministry, has allowed me to sit back and see the effects of media and social media on our society.

The power of the professional media is dying.  Whether this is good or bad depends on the way you perceive how the power benefits or hinders our society.

Media in it's very nature is a medium, a bridge, as it were, between people.  In our age we have become very sceptical of the  media because they have not functioned as a medium without seeking to control people to conform socially, economically, politically and other ways to the ideals of those who want to control for whatever reason.

So with this scepticism the birth of social media has allowed people to side step the media.  The dying media are dying because they no longer function as the medium they should be.  This has happened for two reasons; the unravelling of our society through rampant individualism, and from the overbearing control of media moguls and advertisers.  (Which of these came first is chicken and egg stuff!)

Yet when our society needs a medium to be social, surely we need to question the very fabric of our existence, especially when social media just drives us even further into anti-social, introverted, and individualistic activities like posting on the web rather than talking to the person standing next to us!

We need a Saviour to save us from our Anti-Social selves, and restore us to community; a common unity through a truly faithful Medium, Jesus Christ, the son of man and God the Son, the only Medium really worth listening to!  And the Word of God, the only Media needed to be read to know what is really going on in the world and within ourselves.

Grace, Mercy, & Peace