Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Most Important Thing

It doesn't matter if you're talking about Kevin Bacon, Global Warming, Cancer or "the most important thing" it is, as they say, all connected.

Just this morning I followed various blog links until I found a post at Blog In My Own Eye called The Most Important Thing. Here's a quote;
One of the themes that keeps recurring as I spend way too much time reading blogs is some variation of the question, "What's the most important thing?"

While discussions that follow in the posts and the comments are interesting - usually spawning a variety of answers and logic and texts to support them - I always come away with a nagging feeling of discontent. The issue of "the most important thing" is hardly ever resolved to anyone's satisfaction.

It makes me wonder if there is no single "most important thing."
What if there truly were no single "most important thing"? If there is no single one, then the sentence doesn't work... ok my first observation may not be all that helpful to anyone except those suffering from Cancer, who need the cure.

I found Mr. Brenton's post to be both entertaining and potentially useful for generating further discussion with regard to an all important subject - what IS the most important thing? Yes that's right, the more I write the words "the most important thing" the more important you'll consider this article to be. (I'm just seeing if that's true... I mean knowing the truth is the most important thing right?)

I'm part of a ministry that is being used by God to bring assemblies of believers into unity in the proclamation of the Gospel. We have studied the Scriptures and come away with the impression that the most important thing is that the Gospel be proclaimed. Keith ends his post in this way;
Maybe I'm just rationalizing in frustration. I gotta tell you, though ...

This possibility that "the most important thing may be different for people that God made different" is of some comfort to me.

Except for the overwhelming conviction that I spend way too much mind-preoccupying, opportunity-squandering, butt-numbing time reading and writing blogs about the most important thing.

... when I should be out, going and preaching and baptizing and making disciples and teaching and doing good like Jesus did.
What a great moment of clarity.

In his post Keith makes mention of some important Scriptures (are there any which are not important? I'm just saying... I'm just saying...) that show us that God doesn't appear to have a single ability or method for each and every one of us to operate in. I'm not sure I agree with how Keith presented the implications of this fact, but what I absolutely DO agree with him on is that this subject needs to be explored. God has given us one Spirit who commands, empowers and completes every good work we do. That is the "most important thing" in our work. In fact this most important thing will be the primary determining factor about our works at the Judgement Seat of Christ.

I don't want to get all charismatic movement-like, but for too long Christians have been trying to re-invent the Acts 2 Church by single office movements. IE for most of the last couple hundred years if you felt called to ministry you had a plethora of options including: the office of Pastor and Assistant Pastor, and Youth Pastor..... yes we had exactly 1 choice. Then we started to see that people could build organizations by calling themselves Apostles... or Prophets... and in most recently Evangelists.

The difference between the Acts 2 Church and each of these organizations, and I hazard to say our local assemblies too, is that the Acts 2 Church had all the offices working, and all the people working each in their own giftings together for one cause - to tell the world about The Christ so as to make disciples and baptise them as Christ has given us to do.

The most important thing? That we each work together in our own giftings for the edifying of the Body of Christ until we each come to perfection in Him so that as we evangelise the world we do it at the command of, empowered by, and in the assurance of the completion by God the Holy Spirit.

Just a couple of thoughts as I head off to my church this morning to have one of two tough conversations I expect to have this week... because I have to work in my giftings.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prayer For The Church

I just bought Jeremy Riddle's latest album called "the now and not yet" from iTunes. There's a terrific song called "Prayer For The Church" on it. Love it. Here are the lyrics.

Where she is weak
Strengthen arms now, steady feet
That she would care for, she would seek
Welcoming Your lost and wounded sheep
Coming home to You

Where she is stained
Bring Your healing, bring Your rain
Wash away now her disgrace
'Till she shines in white, she radiates
She now mirrors You

(We're praying)
No more compromises, no more moral crises
Tonight may she move and act as You
No more small divisions
No more lack of wisdom
Tonight may she move and act as You

Where she is right give her courage for the fight
Full of salt now, full of light
Standing firm where truth and love collide
She remains in You

Now she's shining
Her light is blinding as she sings Your name
Now she's beauty
Up from the ashes, Your love is on her face

Where she is strong, keep her moving, pressing on
Bringing justice, righting wrongs
Demonstrating now Your Kingdom come
She's in step with You

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is Your Preaching Exclusive?

Who or what does your preaching lead people to? Does it, or even MIGHT it, lead people to rely on themselves? To prove themselves? Does it, or even MIGHT it, lead people to trust in their belief? To trust in their own doctrine?

Does, or might it, or might even just allow the possibility of someone trusting in someone or something else other than Christ Jesus?

The Bible makes worship, glory and salvation out to be very exclusive things. If you claim to preach the Bible, does your preaching match this same exclusivity?

More thoughts at The Demonstration.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A unique and solemn experience

Saturday I headed off to London Ontario to be with my best friend and ministry partner Cory. He and his wife have suffered the loss of their newborn son Judah Elias. Without getting into a lot of detail this is the second child they have lost just after birth. If you're reading this and you're a Christian you're called to pray for this family. Particularly for the mother.

The family have been being a unified and strong witness to the truth of the hope we have in Christ throughout these very tough days. Part of this witness was that they wanted a strong, clear presentation of the Gospel at the funeral service. Cory asked me to do this for him.

It's the first time in a very long time that I've been nervous in front of a group of people. I've just sort of put it together that I was nervous because most of the people I was speaking in front of actually were saved Christians who have as high, or maybe even higher view of Scripture than I do.

I think this is the first time I've been asked to speak to such a group and I must confess it's a bit intimidating. Thankfully things went well and I the Lord was in it.

Please continue to pray for these dear people.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Jesus Was Deeply Moved

We like to think force Jesus to be the god we have in our mind, the god we think He ought to be or must be.

The truth is that Jesus is the God that is.

How many times have you heard that Jesus was deeply moved, or felt great compassion for those who were crying because of Lazarus' death?
John 11:32-37

32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked.
"Come and see, Lord," they replied.

35Jesus wept.

36Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"

37But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?

The Lord Our God surely is compassionate but the words here about Him being "deeply moved" are about anger, agitation, and indignation than they are not compassion. Death is the "last enemy" 1 Cor 15:26 and the Lord God was angered by death. We shouldn't be so quick to agree with those who refused to see Him for Who He is.