I went to Glasgow this week for a meeting and, coming out of the train station en route, walked past two young girls stood at a Jehovah’s Witness stand doing their thing. (passively standing to attention hoping that someone might stop so that they can ‘witness’ and earn some credits or even an eternal get-out-of-jail-card). (more…)
I bumped in to a neighbour today out on the street on the way home from work. He’s an Iraqi Muslim who’s lived in Scotland for probably longer than I’ve been alive, has a wife and children and grand-children. He’s such a great guy…so gentle and willing to genuinely discuss and talk about loving God. We stood in the street for just fifteen minutes or so but for the whole time we talked about the Bible (like, “oh what’s your new job, Nick? What does Bible Advocacy mean? etc etc) about faith and about Western/Eastern world views that influence spirituality.
It was awesome.
Then, as I sensed the conversation shifting, I felt like I needed to just emphasise the Father.
Just for the moment, forgetting the state of the world, the mutual exclusivity of the Bible/Qu’ran, Trump, North Korea, terrorism, unbelief riddling the Nations, the cesspit of false teaching in the church, blind “leaders” leading others like sheep to the slaughter, societal obsessions about so-called gay marriage and mirages of equality and inclusion and counterfeit love….just for the moment let’s just talk about Him.
So, I said that to him… (more…)
In Matthew chapter 10, we read Jesus sending out His sheepish yet hard-core company of followers into a dangerous world with the gospel and an express set of instructions that are particularly interesting – particularly interesting because He usually didn’t prescribe formulas for miracles. There was no Visa, no North Face apparel, no weekending bag picked up for a snip at T K Max – just the gospel and a heart and mouth of Spirit-drenched faith.
Fledgling in their spiritual authority, Jesus told them to speak to the houses that they entered (v12), monitor the activity of their peace (v13), find the places that were deserving of their presence and to shake the dust from their feet in protest against the places that weren’t (v14). [Related reading: The Places We Call Home]
Church, Wake Up!
The Urgent Call to “Go”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matt 5:10-13
I have been in love with Jesus just over fourteen years. I still vividly remember the day that I finally stopped running from God, repented of my sin and received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Everything changed in an instant. The Holy Spirit flooded my soul with the most glorious love, joy, peace and ecstasy. Words are utterly inadequate to describe what took place then and the loving Presence which continues to follow and fill my life to this day. I will say I knew that heaven and hell were real, that death had lost its sting, that I would spend eternity with my heavenly Father and that, well, EVERYONE needed to know about the reality of this crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ. So I started getting out there in the sea of humanity, going after the lost, opening my mouth and telling people about Jesus. The rest has been salty, bewildering and exciting history! (more…)
The Need For Learning
The early church exploded from a small group of misfit disciples into the most dynamic and cohesive movement within the Roman empire in just three hundred years. They were the new kids on the block and they were taking over the place. One early critic was claiming that they had ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17.6).
In seeking to cultivate a lifestyle that is truly ready for Jesus’ second coming, directed by His Sermon on the Mount, we could contribute their success to a few factors:
They were courageous. They witnessed that Jesus was Lord in the face of persecution.
They prayed. Without much money, celebrities, or smoke machines, they relied on the power of God.
They were alternative. They preached a fiercely counter cultural message against both sexual immorality and greed. They lived chaste lives and gave freely to the poor.