Monday, August 25, 2008

Preaching the need for redemption

Ths Sunday I will be preaching on Exodus 14, the exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. It teaches us among other things that God is redeemer of his people. What I am struggling with, and always have, is how to convince people they need redeeming.

How do you do this? Not of redemption in Christ, but that they need redeeming in the first place.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Too late for a personality change?

I've had a few of those 'wow, I really am a jerk' moments lately. Things I've said in public that really just reveal to me (and everyone) the depths of my immaturity and indiscretion of word choice. We all have these moments, and I honestly think such self reflection is a good thing if it leads to repentance (2 Cor 7:10). But how do we actually effect change in our character? I'm not talking about certain sins we might be struggling with necessarily, but more deeply rooted characteristics in our personality such as laziness, rashness of toungue, irresponsibility, unreliability and a natural self-centeredness. Is there an answer that is more specific and applicable than pray, read your bible and let the Holy Spirit do it's work? (not that these are not essential!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sinful baby Augustine

I've begun to work my way through 'The Confessions of Saint Augustine' (I don't need to let you know that I'm reading it on the toilet). As a father of a one year old, I found it amusing yet thought-provoking on how he viewed himself as a baby. He writes;

Thus, little by little I became conscious of where I was and began to want to express my wishes to those who could content them. But I could not express them because the wishes were inside of me, and they outside; nor could they by their senses enter into my spirit. So I flung about at random, limbs and voices, making the few signs I could and such as I could, like - though in truth very little like - what I wished. And when I was not immediately obeyed, my wishes being harmful to me or unintelligible, then I was indignant with my elders for not submitting to me, with those owing me no service, for not serving me, and avenged myself on them by tears.
Confessions, Book 1

This was Augustine's interpretation of himself through observation of infants (obviously not his memory of himself!). The older Noah gets the more Sarah and I see that he, like the rest of us, is under the curse of the fall. He is completely egocentric, and I'm sure as he gets older this quote will continually come to mind. Having said that, Noah is a wonderfully well-behaved baby whom we both delight in very much, and this in no way a complaint about his behaviour!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Luther on the Kingdom

The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the kingdom of Christ; he wants to be aomgfriends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devoutpeople. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?

I love friends, and they are so much easier to be with than the unsaved.Bonhoeffer is quoting him here in the beggining of a chapter on Community. Wemust not take it for granted that as Christians we have the privelege of livingwith other Christians. Bonhoeffer says this is because Christ lived in the midstof his enemies, and at the end of it all even his disciples deserted him.Therefore we too, must live 'in the thick of foes'.

It scares me. It scares me because I love my friends, but also because I fear what Christ will say to me if I meet him face to face as one who has sought relationships not with the bad people, but only the good. What am I for the kingdom?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Savages

A great movie. Go see it.

Must Christianity be Counter-Cultural?

In Church History we have just looked at Constantine and seen how he brought in the beginnings of Christendom in the Western World. The church dramatically went from being a persecuted minority to people with social and political privileges unprecedented for Christians anywhere before. Suddenly to be Christian was a matter of fashion rather than fear.

Although the persecutions subsided, the counter cultural aspects of Christianity were non-existent.

Is Christianity still Christianity when it is no longer counter-cultural? I think for the Christians facing persecution at the time of the arrival of Constantine would have had an immense feeling of joy and relief, but was it at too much cost to the gospel? You can see the reverse thing happen at private Christian schools. When students leave the comforts of where it is 'cool' or accepted to be Christian, suddenly the desire for acceptance, money and sex becomes more important than the gospel.