Monday, 28 September 2009

Getting into the right mindset...

I've been helping to teach the new catechism class in my church

trying to make it more trinitarian and christ crucified centered
so have been changing the notes a bit
taking it slow.. =)

see what you think

this one is on God:

see if you recognize some of the points and where they are from =)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Insane Grace of God

Read this:

Romans 2:3-5 3 Do you suppose, O man - you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself - that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

The logic of God defies all human understanding...
yet it is something very clearly revealed to us in creation...

I was thinking about prayer
what happens when we don't pray according to His will?
i.e. people pray for selfish riches etc
you'd think the answer would be no...

but according to this verse, the answer is yes!
take the errant child in the parable of the wayward son
he is granted all the riches of his father's wealth
eventhough his father knows he will squander it

yet why does he give it?
in the hope that he will see the father's great love
and come to repentance!
how insane is that

and yet any 'good father' does that with his own errant children
he continues to shower grace and to try every form of blessing on his child
so that he/she turns and rejoins the family!!

what an insane love this is..
Our Father pouring out grace for us

and yet.. how terrifying
on judgement day when they see the tremendous blessings our God has given to them
how many times he has said yes
and yet how we abuse it again, and again, and again
what a 'store of wrath' that will be!!

the sign of sonship is discipline
Hebrews 12:6-8 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

to those the Father wants to 'groom' to be disciples
He is strict - the more that person wants to be a disciple,
the stricter and the more difficult the circumstances the Father throws him into
just like a coach training a champion athlete
only the strictest regimes are allowed
- the goal is perfection

Jesus had the most vicious of training circuits
indeed He was perfected in suffering - unto death on a cross

Look at the good gifts your Father in heaven has given you
is not it time to give all to Him?!

Friday, 18 September 2009

The Revelation of God

Mike Reeve's stuff on Trinitarian Revelation

Good stuff

a favourite verse from old:
Psalm 36:9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

get it? no? listen to talks...

- although I'd add one more point
- I don't think that preaching is the end point per se
- but rather the Word must always become Flesh...
- it's never meant to 'hang out there' or 'to remain unaccomplished'

Thursday, 17 September 2009

An early version of "That's my King!"

The law and the prophets and evangelists have declared that Christ was born of a virgin, and suffered on the cross; was raised also from the dead, and taken up to heaven; that He was glorified, and reigns for ever. He is Himself termed the Perfect Intellect, the Word of God. He is the First-begotten, after a transcendent manner, the Creator of man; All in all; Patriarch among the patriarchs; Law in the law; the Priest among priests; among kings Prime Leader; the Prophet among the prophets; the Angel among angels; the Man among men; Son in the Father; God in God; King to all eternity. He was sold with Joseph, and He guided Abraham; was bound along with Isaac, and wandered with Jacob; with Moses He was Leader, and, respecting the people, Legislator. He preached in the prophets; was incarnate of a virgin; born in Bethlehem; received by John, and baptized in Jordan; was tempted in the desert, and proved to be the Lord. He gathered the apostles together, and preached the kingdom of heaven; gave light to the blind, and raised the dead; was seen in the temple, but was not held by the people as worthy of credit; was arrested by the priests, conducted before Herod, and condemned in the presence of Pilate; He manifested Himself in the body, was suspended upon a beam of wood, and raised from the dead; shown to the apostles, and, having been carried up to heaven, sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and has been glorified by Him as the Resurrection of the dead. Moreover, He is the Salvation of the lost, the Light to those dwelling in darkness, and Redemption to those who have been born; the Shepherd of the saved, and the Bridegroom of the Church; the Charioteer of the cherubim, the Leader of the angelic host; God of God; Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Irenaeus, Fragments 54)

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sacraments: Infant Communion and Baptism

Been thinking recently...

What if 'communion' and 'baptism' were not the only 'officiated' sacraments?

This is of course related to the definition of sacraments... which I think should mean "God's revelation to us". Actually, that would make everything God's sacrament.

This takes me to the bow in the heavens as one of many sacraments, and the feast of meat after the global flood. What are both but pictures of baptism, the Christ-ark through the waters of renewal; and communion, where we must feast on the meat of Christ?

But then this made me think more about what then of the contemporary debates on baptism and communion (i.e. believers' baptism/communion and infant baptism/communion? My guess is this...
  • Though the picture of baptism and communion, as continuations of circumcision and passover, are clear in its portrayal of the circumcision by the Spirit and the feast on Christ's flesh and covering of his blood...
  • The true baptism happened long before we were even infants. In fact, true baptism was occurring when we were in the watery sack of the mother's womb!
  • So when the goes from darkness to light, from the womb to the new world, he/she is covered in both blood and water. There, the baby has already been baptised - the sacrament of child-birth has already portrayed the true meaning of infant baptism; or should I say pre-natal baptism?
  • And communion is immediately enjoyed upon feeding on the milk of the mother, a taste of new creation, though one day he must feed on the meat of Christ; just as the Israelites have been drinking milk but after Christ incarnate the entire world is feeding on His flesh. The object of faith has always been the same, though progressively revealed from Israel to the World.
Now if that is roughly an accurate thinking of sacramental theology, then long before we even knew Christ, we were already receiving the first communion and first baptism. Then, the human instituted baptism and communion are but testimonies of other sacraments which say the same thing - that, essentially, God loved us in Christ Jesus long before we even knew the Name of God. To illustrate - that crying, smelly, dirty, blood/water-covered, hungry baby is the object of God's love. If that is true sacrament, then for crying out loud, take your communion and get baptised right away: not to show how faithful you are, but how faithful He is as you stand before Him as that very infant.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Give us our daily bread...

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 13 I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack."

This passage is actually dealing with how the churches at Corinth, Macedonia and Achaia were supplying monetary provision for the needs of the others

But look at the quoted passage from the OT:
Exodus 16:15-18 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'" 17 And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.

It implies that the Lord has given His church their daily bread as a whole
everyone has been given sufficient for what the day needs and not for the next
yet some gathered more, and others less - but no one had more than one omer per person
implying that the global church has been granted sufficient resources for all it needs, yet the distribution of resources has been different - such that some may learn to be humbled and ask, others may learn to be generous and give
if then there is lack - it is the fault of the church, not the Lord

so then James says:
James 5:1-6 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

his accusation is against the rich of the visible church that store up the manna - indeed it has rotted in their bank accounts! and the rest of the church is now crying out..

Lord forgive us for holidng back and show us how to give in love, generosity and abundance that all may have need - and trust the provision of the Lord

no wonder it the prayer is "our Father" "give us our daily bread"

Friday, 4 September 2009

To the third and fourth generation...

Someone asked a question last night - why in Neh 9 do they pray for the sins of their fathers?

here's a suggestion - referencing the third and fourth generation passing of sin in the 10 commandments:

Deuteronomy 23:7-8 7 "You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a sojourner in his land. 8 Children born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the LORD.

things up to the 3rd and 4th generation symbolise the inherentness of something
so an Edomite or Egyptian 3-4 generations later becomes an Israelite - proving that this is his true nature

similarly for sin:
Exodus 20:5 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

for example.. Cain is a murderer - now Lamech is the 4th from Cain - is also a murderer
implying the inherent violence in the human race- that will cover the whole earth (cf. Gen 6:11)

also in the book of Amos, the accusations against the nations are like this:
Amos 1:3 For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
Amos 1:6 "For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,

So as you were saying last night..
the sins of our fathers admission is a demonstration that we know the inherentness of sin and the proneness of the flesh

now it is not that this causes us to 'blame them'
therefore in Ezekiel 18 - this is the case:
Ezekiel 18:2-3 2 "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? 3 As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.
and the rest of the chapter

in this case - we are using the 'it's not our fault' argument - it's their fault

but the humble sinner recognises the inherentness of sin within himself, knowing that he will do the same sins of the fathers left unchecked - and so in Neh 9-10, enters into the covenant promise of the Lord - with a true repentance (cf. 2 Cor 7)

In fact those that understand this pray for the sins of others - e.g. Nehemiah, Moses, Jesus, Job, etc...

there is one other time this 3/4 thing is used - Prov 30
blackham has a post on that
not sure if it ties up with this!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Dos and Donts for Christian Discipleship

I use Google Analytics for this blog..
and I've noticed a very interesting thing

several hits everyday are for Google searches for 'Dos and Don'ts for Christians'

I find that very revealing and worrying

Google Search Christian folk - The "Do" of Christianity is Christ, the "Don't is to not be like Christ"

You cannot follow Christ by a a list of rules - this is what the Pharisees did...
you must love Him, trust Him and imitate Him

All your thinking must turn (repent) and be about Him
All your actions must come out of knowing Him
all your being must resonate with His Word abiding in You

Stop searching for rules... go and read Jesus in all Scripture and all creation (via Scripture), and Godly Christ-imitating men and women everywhere and everyage