Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. – Romans 12:1
What drives you daily? I begin this blog with a rhetoric because it is the resounding question currently voiced within our Church. It is the beginning of an exciting new season at Thyme Court Church. As 2011 draws to a close there is a sudden sense of change amongst our people.
Have you ever experienced that season in church where things just fit together, and suddenly all our leaders see eye to eye, our preaching is common in topic and woven together in such a phenomenal way that can only be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit.
There is a sudden anticipation of change, as we await what God will do in 2012. The word in our Church has been inspiration. What is our source of inspiration? What is that “x-factor” that drives Christians to work harder, dream bigger and go further than the every day joe? To live extreme lives in extreme times?
Well Pauls sums it up well in this section of the book of Romans. He states two things, a cause and effect.
Cause: “View” He speaks of beginning this chapter with a “therefore” and an “in view of” – Basically he is speaking in retrospect. But retrospect to what? Well God’s mercy? In context the previous 11 chapters have been a synopsis of Paul’s perspectives outlaying his entire doctrinal beliefs. Many theologians believe this verse is where he transitions from theological doctrine to practical application. He begins his practical section with a statement basically implying that the practical Christian life is one lived in retrospect.
Daily we look back, in view of God’s mercy and this is our inspiration to live, to work, to do, to be, and to become all that we are called to be. What is God’s mercy? Well i won’t get into the full doctrine, but basically the amazing redemption, adoption, justification, sanctification, grace and mercy found in the person and work of Christ (aka the Gospel).
What is our inspiration? It’s the Gospel, that’s it, nothing else.
Secondly Paul then addresses this singular point. What practical response are we supposed to have to this Gospel? Well… Offer your lives as a living sacrifice. It sounds crazy but when you are exposed to such an amazing love story, whereby a God-Man Jesus gracefully lays down his life to save yours it’s no longer crazy to lay down your life, it’s only logical.
Yes our lives can’t match his, he has payed so much more, but Christianity has never been about repaying an eternal unpayable debt to an eternal God, but rather it’s always been about responding to what an eternal and Loving/ saving God does to us. In return in love, we give our lives gratefully, passionately and fervently.
This makes “crazy” Christians seem less crazy and somewhat logical. In fact with this in mind “uncrazy aka lukewarm” Christians seem like the crazy ones. How can you respond any other way if you truly have experienced and understand this story of amazing grace?
This is why we live for the cause, this is why people have died for the cause. Not to repay an eternal debt, but to respond to an eternal act of graciousness and love.
This is our inspiration… This is what drives us, what ignites us, what unites us and what allows us to go further, work harder, love more and give more than we ever thought we were capable. It is the gospel that forces us to move from selfish to selfless, proud to humble, weary to passionate, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I see a church mobilised as one, and inspired by the cross, where people serve not because they have to, but because they get to. Where people love more, give more, serve more, do more not because they have to but because they get to, because it’s all we can do in response to this Gospel. Imagine what 1, 2 or 2000 people like this could do? It’s only by this that we can truly be the hands and feet of Jesus in our City.
Praise God, that it is only because you loved us first (1 John 4:19), that you set the standard, that you provided all the inspiration we will ever need.
Jeremiah 6:16 – 16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
This week has been interesting, and a lot has changed. The purpose of this blog has been to see what changes i would experience in my life by committing to spending 365 days with Jesus (although i have missed a few due to camps etc). Lately however one topic has plagued me, start up my business which i believe God has opened many doors, or… embrace my ultimate call into full-time ministry now by going to bible college.
There have been a number of updates in my situation, firstly this week the business took a good turn with signs looking very optimistic that it will in fact go ahead. Secondly i had a dream on sunday night/ monday morning seemingly directing me toward bible college. Again on Friday i also met with a very close dear mentor of mine who also felt the need to direct me toward bible college.
So on Friday i found myself in trinity college booking a meeting with the registrar to inquire about my options, the meeting is Tuesday (yes that does mean i sacrifice my weekly golf game).
So here in lies the dilemma, is God directing me to both? Which way is the right way? Can one do both? At this point i remain unsure, but i am pushing ahead with both.
Jeremiah speaks of what to do when you face such a cross roads in life.
- Stand – Stop moving at your cross road
- Look – On Jesus whilst you’ve stopped, look at both paths which one looks right?
- Ask – Jesus which one is the right way
- Walk – Then walk whatever direction you deem right
- Find rest – then have peace that you’ve done all that you can
I have stopped, both paths look right, i’m asking Jesus and this tuesday i will receive a sign, i am walking with whatever is in my hand. May i find peace with the decisions i make in Christ
Right now perhaps i lean more toward doing one unit and working on the business? – Seems the most logical, although i am open and obedient to wherever the Lord leads, this coming week will indeed be interesting.
Lord guide my situation, give me discernment, wisdom, strength and obedience to walk in your way.
Readers do pray for me, and find out the outcome this Tuesday.
Mmm what a dilemma
Tonight was youth group, it was an amazing night the amplify band (our youth group band) was very impressive and the message was very relevant.
Our Youth Pastor Kien preached on how we are called and when we are called we are purposed and when we are purposed we need not seek the world because we have Jesus’ call.
However my eyes did wander to Luke 5 the story of the calling of the first disciples and immediately i felt the holy spirit speak something to me.
Today i was at work, i was payed which is fantastic, my income is substantial because the Lord has chosen to bless me, he has opened opportunities for me to receive mentorship, to open my own practice and to work less hours then my fellow peers and yet make more money then all of them. This is only from God and not from myself and i acknowledge this.
However if i’m being honest i am still struggling with my ultimate call that deep down i am going into full-time ministry. I often wonder “why would i excel in the workplace, and have this ability to help people if the Lord didn’t have a plan for me as a physiotherapist?”
This thought lingers as i read Luke 5:1-11. This story we see a few characters but i’ll focus on the main 2, Jesus and Peter. We see Peter working and suddenly Jesus walks into his occupation, once there Jesus instructs him and he hesitates because by his own efforts he had been unsuccessful in his occupation. But he obeys and as a result he excels as a fisherman, he catches more fish than anyone else. Realising this is from God it prompts his worship of Jesus who then tells him you have obeyed me with the fish, now follow me and you will fish men. To this he answers “okay” and leaves his old occupation to start a new one following Jesus.
Now i understand that with that interpretation one would ask, does that mean we are all meant to leave everything and follow him. The answer is yes, but he calls us differently. In this case Jesus had told peter to become a full time disciple, to some he might say, stick to your business and others your study, and to a few become ministers of the word.
The point however is not just that we should follow him, but that we do excel when he is in our life and we are obedient. That the very presence of Jesus results in excellence. Also that this excellence i believe can only be harnessed in one area. We as Christians are called to excel, but also to focus on one area at a time. We can only be excellent in one thing, our life can only be excellent in one area. If it be business than give it 100% whilst listening to Jesus, cast your net where he says and have faith. If it is full-time ministry than throw your life into that, cast your net where he instructs and trust him.
If i’m being honest with this blog i’ve reached a point where i know i cannot live this season of my life half as a pastor and half as a physiotherapist. I am one or the other, and i will be excellent in only one of these areas per season of my life. Who knows my season as a physiotherapist may be as short as one year just as Peter’s season as a Jesus Led fisherman was only one hour.
I would rather glorify God in one area than be mediocre in 2, this may mean stepping back from my involvement at church for a season, or it may mean giving up on my career and working part-time throwing myself into bible college. I don’t know… and i guess we’ll find out together on this 365 day journey with Jesus.
Few things i do know
- We are called to be excellent
- We will be excellent when Jesus is in the house if we obey him
- Our time is short, we only have 24 hours in a day and thus we can only be excellent in one area (some would say i know someone who is awesome in many things, i argue this… if they are that good at both imagine if all that time went into just one… they would be way more awesome at one?)
- We must leave it all and follow his instruction (even if we aren’t sure what that is, i believe we just love him and do what we want until we are certain, God is never vague)
Rather then end with my normal ben’s commitment segment, i would ask you to pray for me and i would offer this prayer to the Lord for myself
- Jesus thank you for your excellence in my life, your are so gracious, guide me to cast my net to make your decisions in my life. Lead me past this season of uncertainty that i would come through loving you more, knowing you more, glorifying you more and doing exactly what i’m supposed to do with my life. Give me clarity…
In Jesus name i pray, Amen