Retractable Christianity

So Nathan and Amy (the people I’m staying with while I’m working in Cambridge) have recently got two kittens. It’s amazing. My heart is currently in the process of melting due to the unceasing onslaught of extreme cuteness. Quite a nice way to go, all things considered.

Thing is, these little bundles of fur aren’t all warmth, comfort and suspicious damp patches on the settee. No, these kittens have a business end, in the form of 20 miniature knives attached to their heart-warmingly oversized paws… and they haven’t quite grasped how to retract them yet. Ouch.

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From every Tongue and Nation…

I think I’ve caught a glimpse of what church is meant to look like.

Yesterday morning and all of Saturday I was in the Cambodian town of Poipet, right on the border with Thailand. The guide books call this place the ‘Armpit of Cambodia’, but it was there, in a small church service overlooking the dusty street, that I was hit by some of the most beautiful images of unity, grace, faithfulness-without-borders and family that I’ve ever seen.

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Introducing: The ‘Do Something’ Page

Hey folks, just a short update today, encouraging you to have a gander at the newly added ‘Do Something’ page, an ever-expanding list of ideas and suggestions of ways to live like Jesus. I know in my life I far too often focus on knowing about God rather than actually knowing Him; my theology can be empty and shallow when it should be bursting through me and spilling over into every part of my life. How often I sit and chat doctrine when I should be out there living it… This is God we’re talking about. God. How can a true knowledge of Him not lead us to action? How can His immeasurable grace not cause us to go? They’re only suggestions, but I hope you’ll add to them as I do (just leave a comment on this post) and try with me to live that bit more like Jesus. We are His body in the world. We are what people think of when they think of Him. Scary.

But we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

Show Justice, Love Mercy, Walk with God.

Yesterday I posted on the topic of the universal Christian family, and how, as a family, we should have the attitude of the early Christians, who “were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (Acts 2:44-45).” This may well be more difficult today, as the church now numbers in the millions or billions, but that’s not a reason to sit down and give up. Jesus said that love between Christians would be the defining characteristic of his disciples (John 13:34-35), and love without action isn’t love at all (John 14:23).

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Family Values

In what other family can a total stranger be your brother? In what other family are there homes waiting for you 6000 miles from your own? In what other family is the bond not flesh and blood, but heart and Spirit?

Pretty much none, I think. God’s family is unique. Sinners, wretches, messed-up humans from all walks of life, every nation, tribe, language and people brought together under the glorious banner that reads ‘His, by Christ alone’. We’re as dysfunctional as we are diverse, but through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit we’re being fashioned, lovingly and patiently, into a fitting Bride for the King, a fitting Body for the Head, a community of lives perfectly reflecting Jesus, the one who brought us together by his blood.

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No Sympathy for the Devil

I was reading the Got Questions article on demonology, and something hit me that I’d never noticed before. Satan fell for the sin of pride, the sin of wanting to be greater than God. And what did he tempt Adam and Eve to do? Exactly the same thing. Satan knew full well the results of that particular sin, the appalling separation it brought, but he went out of his way to drag innocent humans into it as well. He corrupted creation in the best way he knew how, and delighted in making it share in his fall, out of spite, with sadistic glee. There aren’t words to describe how sick that is.

I suppose I don’t often think about how evil Satan is, so this realisation came as something of a shock. Thank God, though that Satan is defeated, and destined to Hell. However, it should also serve as a stark reminder: be on your guard, and don’t fall for the devil’s favourite game. We should never try to grab hold of equality with God, like he did, but instead recognise him as Lord, as the one who gave his life to save us, and adopt us as his children. God is no tyrant. He’s a father who gave everything he had to save his enemies. He’s a friend who looked past his revulsion at our sin, and took it on himself. And he’s a king, enthroned over everything we are, taking us by the hand and leading us through the fog of tomorrow. Now that’s someone worth serving.

Apathy Kills. But who cares, really?

If a persons sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about he will be held responsible.

Leviticus 5:1

I’m trying to keep this post brief, so I’ll cut straight to the point. God cares about the people who make our stuff. And, if we in any way claim to love him, we should too. Simple as that. It’s easy to wrap ourselves up in a comfortable bubble called ‘western culture’ and ignore what’s happening in the outside world, but we mustn’t. We can’t. God doesn’t give us the option to stay quiet when we know people are suffering to supply us with the things we take for granted.
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