I’m not very good at keeping up with blog writing, it seems. I think it’s just a fact of life. I try, I really do, but then there’ll be a barren stretch, ideas will dry up, and the common tugs of everyday life will tear me away from the joy of posting my every passing whim to a faceless public. It happens a lot, but I’ve really outdone myself this time… It’s been almost a year.
I’m at Trent Vineyard at the moment, and I thought I’d blog some of my thoughts during the service. Think of it as a sort of high tech sermon notebook! I’ll update it as the service progresses.
While we were singing about God’s love, I thought of something pretty awesome. I love Jesus because of who he is, because of what he’s done. He is lovely; he deserves to be loved.
But get this: he loves me infinitely more than I could ever love him. But not because of anything I’ve done. He doesn’t love me for my life or my actions. If his love was conditional, like mine is, I would be completely screwed! But he loves me, with a passionate love I could only dream of having, in spite of what I’ve done. Now that’s amazing.
I recently discovered this on a friends blog (original post here), and now I’m torn between wanting to go and manic street preach, and wanting to crawl under a rock and cry. Either way, I hope you find the quote as thought-provoking and challenging as I did!
Written by Mark Altrogge
“The most provoking quote I’ve read all year is by an avowed atheist. I want to read it regularly to stir me to evangelism.
“… I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there is a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward… how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that…” — Penn Gillette, (of Penn and Teller), atheist, quoted in Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine
May this quote stir us all to pray for boldness and opportunities to share the gospel in any way we can with our friends and families.”
This is a BIG topic, and one that I still don’t really get, if I’m honest with you. Why did Jesus have to die? Yes, to save us from our sins etc., but why? If God really is God, why could he not vanish our sins away without any involvement of a cross, a Christ, or even us? Why couldn’t he set up some sort of heavenly cleansing process, so when we die our sins are zapped away as we walk through the pearly X-ray machine? I never really got why God chose the method of forgiveness that he did, and in the end I sort of chalked it down to one of those things we’ll find out when we get to heaven, and filed it into the ‘knowledge = head explodes’ bit of my brain, along with the trinity and how they actually get those little ships into the glass bottles. But, as it turns out, it actually does make sense! Hit the break to find out more…
I’d like to delve deeper into this, but as it is I’m shattered, so I’ll just leave you with a quick thought:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Swine ‘flu, the economy, wars, swine ‘flu, Michael Jackson dying, swine ‘flu: these are times full of worry and uncertainty. Me, I’m most worried about Swine Flu, In case you hadn’t noticed, or a pandemic like it, because I think it has the potential to be really bad. What’s the likelihood of me getting through uni without event?
With all of this, it is so, so easy to lose sight of the promises God has given us. We’re not to worry. The rest of the world, relying on itself and only itself has every right, but us? We have God with us, literally. How can we even begin to worry!? So, life may not turn out exactly how we want it to, how I want it to. So what? Do I think I have better plans than God?
He has it covered. So I’m probably going to get swine flu at some point. Big deal. It’s a temporary disease, in a temporary life. I’m destined, you’re destined, for something far greater.
[EDIT: Well, that was a lot of fuss over nothing…]
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Genesis 1:14-19 has often confused me, for the plain and simple fact that it’s wrong. Despite what the passage says, the moon and sun are technically not both lights. One quite obviously is, but the other is just a glorified lump of space rock! To use the same word, light, for both objects is simply not right. In the most reverent way possible, what was God playing at!?
But that got me thinking. This grey, plain, boring lump of rock has been elevated by God to the same status as the Sun. It does nothing except rather poorly reflect the sun’s light, and yet here, in this passage, it is labelled as a light in its own right.
So, using other verses from the Bible, I would like to try and show how this apparently incorrect verse actually fantastically foreshadows God’s plan for us. Bear with me through the post, because the truth it reveals is brilliant. Even right at the beginning of the story, God had a plan for you and me.
I was browsing some blogs, and I came across this post, and it made me think of some conversations I was having with a friend who suffers a lot from panic attacks and such like. So, I thought I’d share it with you…
Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic… For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:25-26 (Amplified Bible)
I’d never registered this verse before, or really taken any notice. I suppose it’s a case of the old ‘same old same old’ message of a loving God, that, while utterly fantastic, can sort of desensitize you to what the Bible is saying. You can begin to take it for granted. But when you look at those verses, I mean really look at them, what a promise! We don’t need to be afraid of fear or anxiety overtaking us. We don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen, be it trouble with friends, exams, or panic attacks, because God really has got it covered! I posted yesterday about the incredible things God does for us on a massive scale, but here He is working in intimate closeness with us, helping us to overcome fear itself. He is our confidence; He is our strength. He is the one who will stop us being caught up in the fear of the moment.
What a great God we have.
(For anyone interested in practical tips for panic attacks etc, hit the link to check out the post I mentioned above. [link])