Sifting through Mark’s gospel as has been our joy and challenge for a couple of months now, one of the stand out lessons from Jesus is that we don’t have to use ONLY Christian sounding words and phrases to represent and demonstrate the God’s kingdom on the earth.
It is a certainty that a primary reason why every day Australians have marked ‘no religion’ on the census more than at any time in our history, stems from how much fog you and I have added to the clear kingdom gospel message; fog which Jesus never intended we add.
Those who have joined with me from time to time in our bridge building to the neighbourhood efforts over the past few weeks have all noted how thought provoking it has been to find themselves in conversations with people who genuinely have no history or experience with Christian sounding words and phrases, just to discover that by trusting the Holy Spirit to lead (just as Jesus DID), pretty much EVERY conversation, including about the weather, can bring Kingdom values to the fore IF that is something that the Spirit reveals is wise IN THE CONTEXT of any given conversation.
We have declared November the month of ‘Uncluttered Christianity’ (I have to be honest right here and indicate I’d much rather call it ‘A Month to focus on the Basics of Following Jesus without the crap’ but I’m aware that might be a step too far – colloquially speaking). Our specific prayer is that we will learn more and more about how to make kingdom of heaven responses to the expressed thoughts and questions that our families, neighbours and others share with us in the context of our everyday conversations.
We will also have opportunity during the month to invite people we know and love into safe spaces where more of these conversations can take place so stay tuned. More soon ….
The Company of the Committed NEEDS YOU!
We have been throwing this idea around for a while now. During the next few weeks Graeme will be seeking an audience with EVERY PERSON connected to our church family so together we can determine TWO things. Firstly what each and every one can bring to the table in this season of building bridges for the gospel. NOT from resources we don’t have but that which we DO. There will be NO pressure brought to bear in this process, simply an opportunity to find ways to help, indeed urge each other into our God given, unique, all-of-life vocational task. If we discover together that this task is to simply support our taskforce with prayer or a word of encouragement or some shared wisdom, then that’s what we’ll be creating a framework to help you achieve rather than just be thoughtful and hopeful about it. If it is to serve in some more active or present-in-the-room sort of way, then that’s what the developing framework will be a catalyst for. In our recent reflection from Nehemiah, we learned that EVERY PERSON had a function in God’s purpose. Nehemiah and his key support leaders might have had a specific responsibility to facilitate the BIG picture BUT without every Dad, Mum, Child, Priest, architect, sand shoveler etc. God’s purposes couldn’t be fulfilled.
Secondly, this process will also give us a clearer picture of what sort of gift/skill mix we have across the whole company. This will help us strategically plan for the best use and facilitation of what God has given us. IT WILL ALSO show us where there might be gaps so we can PRAY intentionally and with focus, asking God to provide what we need to play OUR part alongside other brothers and sisters to represent and demonstrate God’s kingdom ON EARTH as it is IN HEAVEN. Let’s find time to have these conversations and see what God has apportioned to us.
Breakthrough Wednesday – Jesus IS Building His Church
This week we experienced a definite shift in the encounters we are having in our neighbourhood with God visibly increasing the favour and building an atmosphere of trust. We have also experienced some warfare through some silly attempts to trip us up – to be expected. Let’s have confidence in God’s revealed plan and stay pre-prayered.
Mark Chapter NINE (What did Jesus actually DO?)
- Jesus further clarifies that the Kingdom of God isn’t some future mystery, it is HERE AND NOW. You will see the Kingdom of God come with power when you see followers of Jesus ‘denying SELF, taking up the CROSS and following Jesus. (vs 1)
- Jesus took the THREE who were to be the FOUNDATION (apostles/prophets) of HIS church, up for an encounter with God’s glory ON THE EARTH. Equipping DISCERNS anointing (God’s empowering presence i.e. grace, apportioned to each of us) (vs 2-7)
- Jesus once again commands the disciples NOT to speak of what they had seen with anyone else for a specific time – in this case until the Son of Man had risen from the dead which of course, the disciples didn’t grasp at all. (vs 8-10)
- Jesus responds to the disciples’ question about Elijah by highlighting how pivotal this season of His ministry had become. He identified the forerunner to the Messiah had already come and had been dealt with as previously been written about. (vs 11-13)
- Jesus’ presence continues to overwhelm the crowds with awe and wonder (vs 14-15)
- Jesus might have been struck by a moment of ‘unbelief’ Himself as He wonders whether these followers of His were ever going to become so FULL of Him in their hearts that they could TOGETHER rightly represent Him (The Kingdom of God) on the earth without Him physically being amongst them. Instead of responding in despair about the future and the BIG picture, Jesus deals with the issue right in front of Him with deftness and compassion so as to continue to model the equipping process i.e. how to represent and demonstrate the Kingdom. (vs 16-19)
- When the spirit SAW Jesus, there was an immediate response. (vs 20)
- Jesus sought information from the boy’s father – discernment is helped by knowledge and in this case wisdom. With wisdom Jesus engaged the father to determine the shape of his heart. The result was telling and Jesus questions the father’s doubt then encourages/challenges him to express the faith in his heart TRUTHFULLY and with INTEGRITY. (vs 21-27)
- Jesus saw a crowd coming and healed the boy quickly and completely (vs 25-27)
- Jesus sought retreat time to further equip His disciples; correcting and rebuking, and in particular demythologizing traditional human constructed thought so that their hearts could receive the simple truths that God has entrusted us with (vs 28- 41)
- Using extreme teaching methods, Jesus continues to challenge His followers to trust the simple and relationship driven wisdom of Heaven over the limiting, faith belittling and stifling, control focused, institutional religious thought (vs 42-50)
Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/7-click-here
Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project http://corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog/9-uncategorised/9-click-here