Thursday, 15 January 2015

Creativity not tragedy

What is the gospel? Is it simply an evacuation plan, how to enter Heaven and avoid Hell? Where should we get our understanding of the gospel from, only the New Testament? What if insight could be gained if we stepped right back to the very beginning?

Genesis 1:1-2 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Now I deliberately pause here before the announcement of light and the rest of creation. What do we have here? We have raw material and raw energy waiting to be formed and shaped and used for something good. This is where the Bible starts, with creativity, not tragedy. With possibility!
This is where the Bible begins, with possibility, with hope, a place where heaven and earth are in harmony and creativity is waiting to burst forth.

I believe that many followers of Christ have lost hope and become disheartened because they have never been presented with the wide angle view of the gospel and all they were left with was an evacuation plan gospel that had nothing to say about life here, now, today. It is my understanding that people tell stories they are captivated by, moved by, inspired by. When something gets under your skin it naturally spills out of you. I believe it’s time to wake up and see that we are standing on holy ground, that each moment counts, that people need you to be your true self.

The gospel is good news and we need to recapture that. I think we need to probe deep into our hearts and ask the tough questions and get to the bottom of why the gospel doesn’t bring us joy. I believe many have no joy from the gospel because they are afraid of the God behind it all. They are trying so hard to get everything lined up that there is no time for joy, or they just stuff it down and get on with their lives like everyone else.

Many think of sharing the gospel as telling someone that if they aren’t right with Jesus they will die and go to hell, I say the gospel is far more than that, the gospel is good news, so at its core it is about connection and communication. Our whole life should be gospel, every kind word matters, every thoughtful act counts, it’s all gospel. It's about taking the plunge into a new world Jesus invites us into, it’s about trusting that He is good, it’s about coming to life, and coming to terms with our life in every aspect owning our story and knowing that our story is woven into His story and can help others if we are open.

That I might save some

Paul wrote the following in Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

He climaxes his statement by saying "I have become all things to all people  so that by all possible means I might save some."

Then he goes on to say "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

The implication here is that if we don't become all things to all men (and women) then we are missing out on sharing the gospel and enjoying its blessings. What does it mean in 2015 to become all things to all men? What would the examples Paul might use today be, "To the liberals I have become liberal" "To the post-modern's I have become post-modern" From what it looks like to me Paul met people right where they were and He was not afraid to engage with anyone in any place. I think what we have tended to do is say "this is the gospel, take it or leave it" and when people leave it we just bracket them out and call them rebellious or whatever helps us sleep at night. Paul does something so fascinating in this text, on the one hand he acknowledges his freedom and yet he refers to himself as a slave, he was so compelled with the gospel he gave everything and he saw it as a joy. Perhaps we have been sold something far short of what Paul was referring to, perhaps we need to rethink our whole concept of salvation which to Paul was clearly more than just going somewhere better after death. Jesus described the Kingdom of God like a treasure, may we wake up and see the treasure that the gospel is, may we be so compelled with it that it would naturally overflow from our hearts, that we would take the time to become all things to all men and women, that we may win some.

Reframing the Gospel

If we could import Jesus into 2015 what would that look like? First of all who would He want to associate with? Where would He find His disciples? Who would be drawn to His teaching? Who would despise Him? What stories would He tell? What images would He use to speak of His kingdom? I wonder if there is value in pondering these ideas as it seems for so many the text of the Bible has become nothing more than nice ancient stories for an era long past. If we strip everything back to it's basics, one man with 12 disciples and a message for humanity which includes grace, love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, judgement and so on. Perhaps instead of turning the tables in the temple and throwing out the money changers he would be railing on big business and corporation much the same way as Russell Brand is (not saying He is Jesus haha). Would the work that he endorses be found mostly inside or outside of the church or would it even matter to Him, perhaps He would just affirm goodness wherever it is found. Would He rail against atheists as some in the Church do or would He find Himself agreeing with many of their sentiments (though it would be hard to be an atheist living in the time of Jesus haha) Who would be the ones crying out for His death?

Perhaps we need to Reframe the gospel to connect with people here, now, today, perhaps we need to wake up and see that the ground we are standing on is holy. I believe that each of us has a story to tell and the story of our lives is connected to the overarching story of the gospel. We each have our part to play in enjoying the story and inviting others into it too.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

We will be forgotten

It's not a nice reality to consider but it's true, someday we will all be forgotten. In a strange way it puts everything in perspective, when we zoom out and see the bigger picture it's humbling. We live on a planet, where every conflict, every love story, everything that has happened in human history has happened on this pale blue dot we call earth. Our time is short, so what are we going to do, or rather what and who are we going to value. When you really break it down all we have is each other, all we have is this moment. Maybe Heaven and Hell have less to do with locations that we are heading for and more to do with the disposition of our hearts, what I mean is maybe Heaven is when we are open handed about life and appreciate it for what it is, and maybe Hell is when we get clingy and greedy trying to hold onto things that are ever fading away.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

For the brokenhearted

So in my first blog I mentioned briefly about suffering heartache, I thought that it may be helpful for some to talk about that a bit more. It is a very delicate subject and can be a place of pain for many people, I can’t be the only one that has been through it. Perhaps this is me just wanting to get some things of my chest, either way I hope someone finds it helpful. I believe that human’s ability to love is the highest quality that we possess and perhaps the most mysterious. To love someone who doesn’t love you back can be devastating and even hard to process, I know it was for me. You see in this other person a world of infinite possibility and they don’t feel the same way, soul crushing! For me in my experience I have learned to be grateful for the pain that I have been through, I know that it has given me empathy toward others and it has helped me see God’s love for humanity. The Bible says that God is with the brokenhearted, I believe that to be true. True love is setting someone free and I know it took me a long time to do that. Letting go is never easy and sometimes we need to grieve for people even those who are still alive, we need to grieve the loss of relationships sometimes and own the fact that things may not ever be the way we want or hope. We need to keep loving people even though it hurts sometimes, if we give up on love we just become another cold and cynical bystander.

Sunday, 11 January 2015


Today's blog is a very simple one, I just want to convey my love and gratitude to my friends and family who keep me on the straight and narrow. There have been so many people in my life that have given me space to grow and make mistakes and I just want to share how thankful I am. I know that people reading my posts and blogs don't always get me, to be honest I don't get me sometimes. I tend to be a bit of a deep thinker. I just want my life to count for something, I want to be significant in some way. My hope is that as I continue to write that people will be encouraged. I have contemplated walking the other way when it comes to faith but I realize that I can't, I see order and beauty in the Universe and I see hope and salvation in the cross. I see values such as kindness and forgiveness as key to this life, I am grateful to those who have shown me such things and much much more.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Why I'm Almost Agnostic

Growing up I was taught that we know God exists because we see intelligence in the universe. In the same way a painting has a painter, and a building has a builder, creation has a creator. So the argument is made that an intelligent being is needed to create an intelligent universe, but then if you back up and ask where did God come from, we run into all kinds of problems, we find ourselves firmly in the realm of speculation. The thing is this doesn't bother me in the slightest, I don't see it as a negative. I see it as an indication that we are all operating on faith no matter where we stand, some people believe in the beginning God, other people believe in the beginning nothing.

There is a wonder and mystery to the universe whatever way you look at it.

I'm struggling at the moment to hold onto my faith, it sometimes feels like I'm clinging to my religion and my religion is punching me in the stomach. I can see why some people go the other way when it comes to faith. When we forget that it IS faith and try and prove it to people to the point where faith isn't required, that is when things get ugly. I choose to live my life based on the idea that love, grace, and forgiveness, among many other things matter. I believe (have faith) that how we live matters, that the universe is on our side.