Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Glance at Galatians Pt 5

Pt 5 :: Justified by what?

Galatians 2:15-21, I feel is the heart beat of Galatains. I can´t take my eyes off the significance of these words and how, if grasped, can change your life. Most of us wouldn´t call ourselves pharisees - those proud, harsh religious folk that just stay in their religious bubble and outwardly do what seems all the right things and not be involved in any secular things what so ever. Or maybe that sounds more like us then we think.

When you think of works, what do you think? We know that doing good works won´t justify you, we know that we are justified through faith in Jesus. Thats what Galatians says, but what does that mean? Does it mean we never do good works? But what about the law, im not a Jew therefore I am not under the law.

I think there is a twist in this. We are not under the law, infact if your a gentile - you were never under the law. But there is a tendancy to rely on our works then have faith in Jesus. You see, having faith and loving Jesus should from that flow abundant joy and good works - but those good works should not be what justifies us and what makes us proud.

Think about when you read your bible. How do you feel? You either feel very good with yourself for managing to make time to read it out of your busy day or you feel guilty because its been months since you last read it. And we think that these feelings affect our relationship with God. This is a danger that every Christian faces - we base our spirituality on what material things we do. When we hear others that don´t read their bibles, we start to put on our spiritual badge and remind ourselves..."well I get up at 5am everyday to read my bible..." Suddenly a spring of pride and bad attitude flows and we start looking more like that Pharisee, because infact the point of reading our bibles is to know Jesus more and to treasure him, not to gain points.

One of my favourite quotes from Relay 1 was :: "If you think that 5 quiet times in a row is excellant, then you need to compare it to Jesus on the Cross - which is better?" I think it puts everything into perspective and means that it is good and wonderful that we are justified because of Christ and because of having faith in Him and not by works or deeds, but because of Jesus. It means we stop looking at ourselves and stop asking ourselves how we feel, how are we doing, what good things am I doing, instead we can start focusing on the One that matters most.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Navidad in Peru

So Christmas has gone and been and what an experience!! Firstly it doesn´t feel like Christmas because its boiling hot here. I am use to the air being able to freeze your face off and sometimes snow on the ground, so being in a place where there is music about snow and outside there is burning hot sunshine - its slightly strange!! But what was nice was being with the family. In Peru they celebrate Christmas on the 24th at Midnight where they have the Christmas dinner and open presents with fireworks going off at Midnight. Its a time for family and for remembering the birth of Christ. It was a very special day and I enjoyed it a lot, it was also followed by a British Christmas with turkey and crackers!!! woohoo

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What we value

Tim Chester writes:
We follow numerical success. We pursue career paths. Church leaders look like company directors. Conference speakers look like entertainers...
Evelyn Ashley suggests that while in the west we´re not scandalized by the cross itself, we are scandalized by leadership modelled on the cross: "Somewhere along the line, we seem to have fallen in the same trap as the Corinthian Church. We have come to value power, control and success"
But the apostle Paul suggests we should respect those christians who work hard, face danger and suffer for the gospel.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Glance at Galatians Pt 4

Pt 4 :: Discipline in the church and in Peru

How do we feel when we get told off? It feels like we are at school and the teacher writes in red pen in your note book "see me". *gulp*.
But what about in church? What does discipline look like in church? I think its very easy to switch off from this and not really see it as important. But something I have learnt is that there is discipline in the church in Peru and they take it seriously. I have heard of cases where people have done things like adultary or stealing etc have been made an example of in front of the whole church and been taken out of ministry. I wonder what your first reaction would be of that? I also wonder how you would classify which sins need to be most disciplined?

Sometimes we shy aware from discipline and say that we cannot judge the other person and therefore should not discipline them if they have sinned. But I wonder whether thats biblical? No im not saying that what peruvians do here is an example, but it made me realise how seriouse dicipline is here and how they view sin.

Have a look at Galatians 2:11-14. Paul openly in a letter tells of his rebuking of Peter. Why would Paul include this? I think Paul was showing his love for Peter and the use of discipline and that its good to discipline one another because he wants the church to live for Jesus and show the truth of the Gospel and he wants to encourage them to seek that in each other and sometimes that means rebuking and challenging one another.

Its hard though, especially when you live in a culture that says that you can do what ever you like, that you are King of your world and no one can tell you otherwise. But perhaps the truth is, is that the church needs to exercise discipline as well as Grace and this can only happen with a love for the people and a conviction of the word of God. I dont think its something to be feared nor should discipline occure without help provided, but there is discipline in the bible and God disciplines those whom he loves. But what would that look like in the church now?

I am just throwing out a lot of questions. Do come back to me on them!