Sunday, February 14, 2010

To have my soul happy in the Lord

A Brilliant quote:
“I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary
business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished . . . I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it.” --George Mueller
So, for the next couple of weeks I am on conference with Latin Link and then I am moving again and wont be able to blog for a while. I hope to update the blog about the conference and my time in Huaraz in March... watch this space.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Glance at Galatians Pt 9

Pt 9 :: Church and fellowship.

This is my last post on Galatians and I just want to do a run through of what we have seen so far: 
The Galatians and Christians today have one true Gospel, a Gospel that should be guarded and proclaimed. Paul has a testimony of not only his conversion but also the work of Christ in his life - he is committed to proclaiming Jesus Christ as savour and Lord - and so should we. Paul is not afraid to show discipline and wants the church to take responsibility in guiding, rebuking and loving the members of the church. The heart beat of Galatians pump out the truth of who we are in Christ and what are identity is - who are we living for? What justifies us - our works or what Jesus did on the cross? The law cannot save us. So what do we need to do? We need to walk in the Spirit and focus on Christ so that we see Him as better then anything else. But the story isnt over, we are not individuals but we are apart of a body - what does this look like?

Paul opens chapter 6 with talking about sin (v1). What happens when someone sins today in the church? Two things happen:
  1. We are shocked to think someone could do that - we are like the world with a magazine layout of a scandal that has exposures of the true story revealed - "SHOCKER, A Christian Sins..." ( 3 page spread inside)
  2. We elevate ourselves - "I would never do that"...
Think of times when you have heard about someone sinning, what do you think? If your anything like me your mind goes to - "Thats terrible, I would never do that". instantly we have elevated ourselves, believing we are better then they are. But the problem is, is that we sin. And the answer isnt to get proud and self-rightouse, the answer is to "restore him in a spirit of gentleness". This is the mark of the church.

It is good and right to be serious about sin and pointing out sin in our lives and others in order to be restored and to repent. The idea is not to crush the person but to restore. I have seen many christians, including myself be very zealous about these things but instead of restoring the person or having Grace in a situation they crush the person and in themselves they are proud and thankful that they are not like that sinner. There is a lack of Grace here and the Church should be the place where Grace is most exercised.

Look at some of the attributes of the Church that Paul describes:
  • Having a spirit of gentleness
  • Bear one anothers burdens
  • Not growing weary of doing good
  • Do good to everyone
Imagine if we live like this not just on a Sunday, but everyday. Aiming to have our words dripping with Grace and in order to restore our brothers and sisters. Its good and right to rebuke sin, but not if its out of our proud and self rightousness - if it is, we will only destroy the person we are talking to and our hearts will just be hard.

We are sowers and what we sow we will reap. Therefore we need to sow in the spirit, sow in serving and loving in order to reap those things and to build up the church. The church isnt about you or your wants, its not about being the best at music or teaching or not sinning. The church is about Christ and about the other people around you. In light of it all, Galatians is anchored in what Christ did for the church on the cross in order that we may be an example of showing Grace and love to the body of Christ.

Thank you for reading some of my thoughts on Galatians, I know that there is so much more in Galatians to dig into but I think that would require more then 9 posts! I would encourage you to read through Galatians and see how amazing Jesus is and how He is using the church to shine this truth. 
You can read all of "A glance at Galatians" series below:

A Glance at Galatians:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The hope in Lima

The horns beep fiercely, the people bustle and hustle on the street, the smell of pork sizzles on the road side filling the air, the combi drivers shout at you to get on the bus that you don’t want to take and the sun tries but fails to pierce through the cracks in the clouds however the heat hangs heavy like being trapped in an oven. Welcome to Lima. The Capital of Peru. It has elements of home with its Starbucks, McDonalds and giant shopping malls but it also captures the essence of Peru with different types of people, music, clothes and traffic system.

On the one side of the city there are lush parks full of tall trees and beautiful flowers that tickle the air with their scent. You cant help but walk amoung this scenary and be tricked into thinking that you were not in a giant city. Yet when you skim the edges of the city you can see a different side of living in Peru. The slums grow upwards onto the mountains that surround Peru, they are rooted in hope of finding food and clean water as they display the contrast between the rich and the poor living only a few blocks apart. This is a mirror of the world, reflecting the reality of life. The reality of sin.

But there is so much hope. Jesus has so much to offer and its more then clean water, its more then a better house or good clothes or food everyday. Jesus offers living water, an eternal house, clothes of righteousness and He offers himself - the bread of Life. I want to share this hope with these people, I dont want them to trust in magical dolls or witches or praying for the dead. I want them to see Jesus and how amazing He is and trust in Him.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Glance at Galatians Pt 8

Pt 8 :: First Start Walking

They say that 30 min walking a day is a good amount of exercise you need to be healthy. In Chapter 5:16 Paul tells us to walk, but for more then 30 min a day. He wants us to continue walking and to walk by the spirit. We have seen from 5v1 that Christ has set us free and now we are free to walk and once we start walking we wont start gratifying the desires of the flesh. Most of the time we think that if I just stop doing this sin, if I can just have enough strength to not do this again then I will be accepted by God, then I will be able to walk in the Spirit.
But this is BACKWARDS... look at the text:

"But I say, walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh" - (5v16)

What does Paul tell the Galatians that they must do first? Is it to not gratify the desires of the flesh? Is it to stop sinning in your strength, is it to muster up some amazing power to be perfect? No... He says, "walk by the spirit"... you first walk by the spirit, you first fix your eyes on Jesus, you first walk in His strength and His power, you taste the glory of Jesus and you see Him as better then anything in this world AND THEN... once you know Him and your walking in His ways and you are savouring Him, then you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

WHY? Paul goes on to tell us in 5v17 that the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit. There is a war here, they are opposed to each other. So we need to fight it...

But first we need to see Jesus. Then, fixing our eyes on Him as we walk through the day we will no longer have our eyes on ourselves. We will stop looking inward to our desires and start living for Jesus everyday. Paul talks about this alot in his letters, he wants Christians to stop looking at themselves and start looking at Jesus and keep focused on Him and then they will be able to continue through sufferings and trials and they will look at the things that tempt them or at the things the world strives for (career, money, sex, success, drink, house, cars, good schooling etc) and see all of that as rubbish compared to Christ. But we cant compare it all to Christ if we are not focused on Him, if we are not walking in His ways...

So you need to start walking in the spirit first...fix your eyes and your hopes on Jesus and see how He is better then the temptations in front of you and see how he helps you when struggling against the desires of the flesh.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Glance at Galatians Pt 7

Pt 7 :: The Law, the Promise and the Faith

I once heard from a preacher that the best book ever written that explains the law is Galatians. Everytime I read it I am blown away by how clear it is about the function of the law and what Christ did. It helps me to understand the Old Testament and also the new. I wont go into details here but I want to show you how amazing Jesus is.

Chapter 3 starts with a rebuke - "O foolish Galatians", Paul did not mince words. Imagine saying that to your church, its just not PC. Paul didnt care, what was at stake here was important, he is arguing for justfication by faith, he wants Jesus to take credit and he uncovers this truth in 3 ways and then an exploding fourth -

- The Galatian Experience -Did they recieve the Gospel by faith or works? (v1-4)
- The life of Abraham - Was it his works or was it by faith? (v5-9)
- The law - Can the law justify us?(v10)

The conclusion that Paul draws to is that you dont need to look any further then to see that its by faith, the Galatians first heard by faith, Abraham believed in God and that was enough and all those that rely on works of the law are under a curse. We therefore need a fourth and its been preached before to Abraham - the Gospel. This is amazing, the plan of the cross was right there in the start and we get glimpses of this mystery in Genesis. Abraham knew that he couldnt rely on what he does for God, but he had to love God and trust him with all of his heart. And God promised him an offspring - which isnt a whole line of people, but this offspring is Jesus Christ, the promised one, the seed and all those that believe in Jesus become Abrahams offspring and recieve the promise of being heirs.

Why have the law? Galatians shows us that the law was given because of our transgressions. The law showed us how Holy God is and how we are sinners. The law was our guardian until Christ came (v24) and the promise was coming to all those that believed in Him.

Now in Jesus we are free. We are "in" Christ and therefore we are clothed in his righteousness and its only because of Jesus. We can never think that its about what we do that has obtained this, its only because of the Cross.

A Glance at Galatians Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Genesis reflects the New Testament

A brilliant quote from Derek Kidner.

"Genesis, in fact, is in various ways almost nearer to the New Testament than the Old, and some of its topics are barely heard again till their implicatios can fully emerge in the Gospel. The institution of marriage, the fall of man, the jealousy of Cain, the judgement of the Flood, the imputed righteousness of the believer, the rival sons of promise and of the flesh, the profanity of Esau, the pilgrim status of Gods people are all predominantly New Testament themes."