Posts Tagged ‘andrew’

The Devil’s Outreach and the forgotten tool of evangelism (Jesus’ will Jesus’ way part 2)

We cannot live for Jesus without living like Jesus.  
We cannot do the will of Jesus without living the way of Jesus.

Jesus’ will Jesus’ way. (part 2)
please let me know what you think of this, all discussion is welcome! 

Once we have a grasp on the fact that we cannot and should not do the will of God without doing it in the way of God.  That is, for the Father’s glory, copying the life of Jesus and doing it through the Spirits power.  This new age that Jesus brought in, and the mission He left us with, to make disciples in His name teaching them to love.  It must be done in the way of Jesus.  Jesus’ life matters immensely.  It is the example that God choose to show us, how life is meant to be lived, how we are to live this Kingdom Life, this Resurrection Life.  The sermon on the mount, the parables, the encounters He had with people, the way He addressed His parents and followers, the way He played with children, the things He wept about, the things He celebrated, should be the nut’s and bolts of what we use to put our lives together.  All of His weeping, jumping, playing, teaching, story telling, eating, chatting, Sabbath observing, praying, waiting, sacrificing, walking on water, cooking breakfast, these things should be always on our minds, if we are going to live like Jesus; if we are to follow.
The first thing you do when following is observe, and you keep observing that which you’re following as you begin to walk in the pre-trodden footprints.  

So as we specifically look at the mission of Disciple making, the extending of God’s kingdom which we are all called to, I think we need to look at the start of Jesus’ mission when He started. 
When we think about making disciples, I’m beginning to find that Satan is trying to tempt us into doing the right thing the wrong way, he tries to get us so focused on the will of God, that we forget the way of God.   We still give it the label ‘outreach’ and it seems to do the job of making us feel good about our engagement in God’s kingdom.
This seems to be satan’s first tactic. 
He get’s us to simply serve God not be a servant of God.  You can serve someone solely on your terms, however you cannot be a servant on your terms.  You do not follow Jesus by ‘helping’ Him along in his mission. No. You partake in it, you become a servant and follower you personify his mission as a lifestyle.  

Jesus didn’t just tell the truth, He was the truth; Jesus didn’t just show the way, He was the way; Jesus didn’t just introduce you to the life, He lived the life.  

So when Jesus was about to start announcing the Kingdom of God, the kingdom He would rule, He was tempted by Satan in three ways. I believe this is recorded for us as a warning that when we start to think of How we are going to make disciples, we will be tempted in the same way and to watch we don’t fall into the trap of setting up God’s kingdom in a faster, more efficient manner, one which we think God hasn’t yet considered.  The story is in Matt 4 and Luke 4.

Jesus was tempted to make stones into bread.
And He could have, in-fact he could have made all the stones in the world into bread and ended world poverty.  He could have lived showing off His ‘super-powers’ and lets be honest that would have been a real eye catcher. He could have promised bread for all who pledged alliance to him, he could of pointed his finger at trees and made them crumble to dust and then re-grow in 10 seconds.
He could have, but He didn’t. 
He didn’t bribe people into the kingdom, He was no prosperity Gospel preacher, He did not put on a magic show to ‘attract’ people into the church. He built relationships with people, He told people it was their faith that healed them, He wasn’t looking for a pledge of alliance for some surface level “you serve me and I’ll change your stones into bread” contract.  He knew only the world of covenant, a messy relationship filled community.
Jesus didn’t come to save the world by preaching prosperity and bribing people into the kingdom and neither should we.

Jesus was tempted to show-off His standing with Heaven.
The Devil temps Jesus to jump off the temple into a crowed market place, I’m sure with many important people in the crowd.  The angels from heaven would come to His rescue and everyone would see just how important He is and bow down and worship Him.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, He could have made a celebrity out of Himself, walking around with visible angels at His side. He could of kept that huge choir of angels that appeared at His birth as His opening act when he came to a town near you.
He could have but He didn’t. 
He didn’t try to make a celebrity out of Himself, when He was in Jewish regions and someone said ‘you’re the son of God’ He was like ‘keep that down will you’.  Relationships were so important to Him that He wanted to get right down to our level so He could have real friendships.  He wasn’t looking for some sort of celebrate status so He could increase His influence levels and impact the world.  He knew only the world of humble loving, relationships.
Jesus didn’t come to save the world by showing off and becoming a celebrity whose better than other people and neither should we.

Jesus temped to have control over people by force.
The Devil temps Jesus by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and saying, “you came to be their king didn’t you? Well, I can make that happen for you right now, no need for Geathsamine no need for the cross just pure lordship.” well I’m sure that was tempting! But then came the decision making comment from the lier, “only if you bow to me first.”  Now He could have became king by force, He could have followed the way of the devil. He could have used his power to manipulate and intimidate people into being subject to His rule. 

He could have but He didn’t.  
He didn’t force people to obey, He didn’t make people come into His kingdom, He didn’t take advantage of people’s emotional state.  Relationships have to be a free choice, Jesus knew this. So many times He let people reject Him sometimes without much care it seems.  He always gave people the choice to follow or not, He didn’t even butter up his kingdom, often telling people how much they’d have to give up. He knew only the world of a trusting, freely following relationship. Jesus didn’t bring people into His kingdom by force or taking advantage of them and neither should we.

Neither should we, preach prosperity Gospel, come into the kingdom and all your stones will turn to bread!

Neither should we, embrace celebrity culture, come to the kingdom because David Beckham thinks it’s a good idea.

Neither should we, leave people with no choice, taking advantage of their emotional state or leaving them with no choice. 

The three big temptations of Jesus, are still very evident as we continue in Jesus’ mission to the world, we are tempted to do the right thing the wrong way:
To preach that all your stones will become bread if you come to our church
To preach that, ‘hey look being a Christian is cool, just look at this cool rock star we have who became a Christian.’
And to force people into the church with threats and bribes into professing Christ. 
Would be to follow the devil’s plan for church outreach.  

We need to study Jesus’ life in detail, we need to read the gospels as part of our routine, to allow them to absorb into our character and into our church mission plans.  What if we were to plan our church’s outreach with using no other references or templates other than the 4 gospels.  The woman at the well, Jesus’ focus on prayer, how he challenged hypocrites, who he spent time with, His over dinner conversations, His public speaking.  How would our churches look if we didn’t follow the:
‘come to our service and get free tea/coffee a KFC voucher, oh, and you’ll get richer’,
‘come to our service and meet a celeb’,
‘come to our service, or else’, approach.

Relationship is the scaffolding of Jesus’ kingdom building, a real one, with a real Jesus.
Is relationship the forgotten tool of evangelism?
my prayer
‘Oh to have a pure witness, unwavering and boldly following Jesus.
Please Holy Spirit lead me to be more like your son. I love you and long for you.’

Standing on Grace.

Sorry if this sounded harsh. I feel I myself fall into the devils temptation to do the right thing the wrong way often. 
I’m hoping to do part 3 of “Jesus’ will Jesus’ way” 


Hudson Taylor’s Notebook (Job – Part 1)

Just finished a book called radical discipleship based on the life of Hudson Taylor, it’s the book I read on honeymoon… This is not a copy and paste job, I’m going to type out some thoughts from hudson’s notebook as he reflects on the book of Job. His thoughts really summed up what I had wrestled with a couple of years ago as I looked at the book.
The story of Job is about a guy who’s experiences has rocked my theology to the ground and rebuilt the foundations of my faith and now I can see the God who delights in His children’s faithfulness and calls us to depend on His more clearly and with more love! 

Going to do this over three blogs this first one looking at the intro of the book and that central verse “does Job serve God for nothing”

“The veil is taken away from the unseen world and we learn much of the power of our great enemy, but also his powerlessness apart from the permission of God our Father.
Satan would very frequently harass the believer in times of sorrow and trial leading him to think that God is angry with him.
But our Father delight to trust a trust-worthy child with trial. Take the case of Abraham: God so trusted him that he was not afraid to call of upon hid servant to offer up his only son.  And in the case of Job, it was not Satan that challenged God, but God who challenged Satan to find any flaw in Job’s character.  In each case grace and patience and fidelity were rewarded. 
The replay of Satan is noteworthy. He had considered God’s servant and evidently knew all about him.  The arch-enemy found all his own efforts ineffectual to harass and lead astray God’s beloved servant.  He found a hedge around him. How blessed to be so protected.”  (just like we are!).
“Satan having found no fault in his character or life, insinuates that’s it’s out of selfishness.  “Does Job fear God for nothing?” and indeed he did not as satan well knew! Nor has anyone before or since. There is no service that pays so well as the service to our heavenly Father. Satan is making a true assertion, the insinuation that it was for the sake of the reward that Job served God was not true.  And to vindicate the character of Job himself, Satan is permitted to test Job.  And soon Satan shows the evilness of his character by bringing disaster after disaster upon the devoted man.”

2 more blogs to come!

Standing on Grace

the death has taken place of MrJAG

just sent out a group email to folks who’ve been connected to mrjag, this is the email!

Hey guys
just to say a big part of my life over the past 6 year, (basically all the time i’ve been a ‘real’ christian), has been mrjag!

it has been a major part of my focus for ministry and the guys have become my closest friends ones that i depend on, real friends!

we decided to finish up the band in june, so now mrjag is no more! i hope the songs will live on in lives as they will in mine.
it is sad, because mrjag was the one place i could just be myself and that was ok!  anyway i’m not writing this to be a sob story like! 
just wanted to say i really hope our music served you and if it did thank you for letting it serve you!
i feel called to lead worship so please feel free to get in touch if i can serve you in that way, and the guys will usually be leading with me like, i guess it’s the name we’re ending.  and i’m still writing songs and stuff so if you want a wee performance that’d be coolio, though unsure how this will look, just jamie and me, just me, we’ll see i guess. any band’s out there looking for a bodhran player??? i’m your man!

end of an era eh?
God is good, we hope we showed that in our music, and we hope you’ll walk close and humbly with Him all your life!


Thought I’d develop my thoughts from last week’s blog, I was thinking a lot about the cs lewis quote in it, about how when we understand that God has made this world we shouldn’t try and see how he has made it as much as ask why did He make it that way.  This has caused me to look at creation a little different this week.
I’m not much of a poet but thought I’d give it a go!  I’ll not expand on the thoughts of the poem just let it speak for itself,
here you go.

Standing on Grace

Creation’s telling a story

What if stars were not just full of smoke
With measurements to hard to grasp
Temperatures soaring
Light emitting
Massive balls of gas

What if they were tiny holes
In the black canvas between heaven and earth
Giving a glimpse
Of the light to come
From the face of God’s first birth

What if waves were not just the current
Of oceans meeting the land
The fall and rise
White water crashing
As it levels off the marked sand

What if it was to teach
How God’s forgiveness wipes you clean
The footprints and stains
Are all washed away
By morning and by evening

What if bird’s sang not just to chat but to
Turn us t’ward the creator king
A morning chorus
A worship service
And we’re invited to join in

What if trees grow crooked to catch the sun’s rays
And to teach us to search for the light
To bend over backwards
And upside down
To see that hope is in sight

What if a flower bud is to show a babies potential
If given the freedom to bloom
What if we’re to wait on the Lord before mission
Like a butterfly in a cocoon

What if eye’s could look deepen than surface colour
And the nose smell trouble ahead
What if strength is more than muscle power
And the tongue could say more than is said

What if the mind could think more than the brain
And a hug was more than a squeeze
What if the heart could do more than just pump
And the wind was more than a breeze

What if God didn’t just create things by chance
But to show His grace in everything
Then I guess a God of love is not just an idea
But a reality that can be seen.

%d bloggers like this: