One of the things that really surprises me in our current generation is our level of arrogance, not just socially with one another, but also and especially when it comes to History. Over the past 2 years especially it has become common place within discussions and debates to make statements down the line of “we are more inclusive now” or “we are much more developed now”. Really? the world has become a much better place now to what it was? we have become a more equal community? please do tell me how.
As i am preparing for teaching on Sunday we are coming back to the book of Acts 17:16-31 and Paul’s speech in Athens, here he is speaking to 2 groups of people, the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. The interesting thing from where i sit, is that nothing has changed.
Athens is described as a
city filled with idols
Luke makes fun of them for constantly chasing after the latest “knowledge” and not being of any substance
Epicureans sought “truth” by means of personal experience
Stoic philosophy sought purpose through living a “good” life and followed one’s reason
why is it that as i read this and what Paul encountered in Athens i look at our culture in Australia and around the world, and i see very little difference. Yes we have more technology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that our values and issues have changed.
To theologians, thinkers, speakers before you start saying we are better than our forefathers and more developed and culture has changed SOOO much, start to read some History (any history really) and you will realise that nothing has really changed, it is just presented slightly differently.
Why do we do history? so that hopefully we can learn from the mistakes from our past. does this happen? very rarely in my opinion.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;(A)
there is nothing new under the sun.
It is sad to see how over the space of a decade someone who started out big with the authority of Scripture has now lost the plot and no longer has the confidence keep the Bible as authoritative in issues of life and faith.
Andrew does a great job in this interview in being grace filled whilst still holding ot his convictions. I kind of feel annoyed at Rob Bell as he doesn’t actually interact with what Andrew is asking him, nor does he answer anything and then plays the victim card. Rob, what has happened to you dude? did popularity go to your head?
One of the things that I have been finding very interesting in recent times is catching up with fellow pastors who spend most of their time complaining about their congregations, “if only they were more like this… or more like that” and I confess that sometimes i fall into that are as well. What has really struck me over the past couple of weeks is really the celebration of faith and “seeking” that Jesus has with people around him. He is not after a full transformation there on the spot (as many of us churchies can be like) he is after “faith”. He is after the Hand of the sick outcast woman stretching out because she believes there is something in Jesus that can heal her, he is after the centurion who sends his people to Jesus because he believes that there is something in Jesus that can heal his servant, and Jesus turns to all the Jews and Priests adn Pharisees and says “I have not seen faith like this in all of Israel”. Jesus celebrates faith no matter how small it is, because he knows what faith can do. (tell mountains to jump into the ocean)
I reckon we don’t spend enough time celebrating when people have faith in Jesus. what more do we actually want?? If we’re honest most of the time we would probably want conformity, but that is never going to happen and is not healthy, but faith is the foundation for BIG things.
Take more time to celebrate faith in Jesus of the people around you.
I got to attend a Pastor’s Network meeting yesterday hosted by our neighbours Hillsong. It was a great time of fellowship with brother’s and sisters from across the denominations coming together to talk about life, ministry and everything else. Pastor Joel from Hillsong shared a bit about their vision for 2020 which was great to hear, and i am really loving my brothers and sisters from down the road.
at the network i had the privelage of meeting a dear old couple who have been in ministry for the best part of 30years. That is so cool, yet at the same time part of me was thinking “how the heck have you survived that long? ministry is hard, people want you 24/7, you’re a CEO, cleaner, pastoral care worker, fund raiser, teacher, administrator, publicist, evangelist, visionary and a lot of other things, how cna you last that long in ministry? i have been a senior pastor for 3 years now and i am excited by what God is doing but i am getting tired” this whole thought process has stayed with me for the past 24hrs, and has bounced around my head like a bounce ball on steroids, and then the answer came in the form of an sms. I got a text from our children’s worker sharing how excited she was that someone new came to the kidzclub and they were interested in finding out more about Christianity and Jesus. and it just struck me..this is what keeps us going, the knowledge that God is restoring people, calling them back to himself and we have the privilege to be part of the whole process.
We have the privilege of seeing people draw closer to Christ, and as i look over the past 10 years of ministry, it’s been these events that have really recharged me. moments where you see elements of faith and searching in people.
this week i am working really hard at acknowledging and celebrating faith in people life. no matter how big or small as long as they are reaching out to Jesus, they are heading in the right direction, we are just here to be part of the process.
When you are tired, sick of it all or just going through a hard time, remember the amazing privilege that Christ is giving you to be part of His mission, and you will keep on running for the king.
“I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer.. kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography, p. 927