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…)
Living urgently, alertly and appropriately replete in the 21st Century has been the focus of this blog series so far. Thomas, Andy and Joshua have kindly helped us to honestly consider our Christian lifestyles, provoked by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and to what extent we’re living with urgency or lethargy, with alertness or sleepiness and with souls well-fed or deficient in even basic, Bible nutrition.
A Complete Waste of Time
Kissing a Lifestyle of Convenience Goodbye
I’ll be up front – I am writing this at the worst possible time for my family and me. Rachel and I are in the throes of moving from Thailand to Vietnam. Not only are there the logistical challenges of visas, accommodation, flights, ‘yard sales’ (to borrow a term from our American friends) and endless packing, there’s also the emotional upheaval of goodbye meals with friends and colleagues, daily ‘lasts’ of what have been routine activities for the past five years, and a variety of emotions that range between excitement, sentiment and a growing realisation that we have little idea of what we are heading into.
We had our final packing day on Tuesday, and then we officially leave Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Thursday. In fact, since this is scheduled to go live on the second Friday in April, you’re most likely reading it on our very first day as official residents of Hanoi. Oh, and add a three and one-year-old into the mix, and you will be rightly wondering if spending time writing this is the wisest use of my time… and you’d be in good company with my long-suffering wife. (Editor’s note: thank you, Rachel!).
What’s This All About?
Most of you who read Firebrand Notes on even a semi-regular basis will know that about eighteen months ago we produced a film/music project called Jesus Come. Not only were Mairi and I really pleased with the way the project turned out, we passionately believe in the message that it carries: that the world is in a desperate, desperate mess (more than we can see) and people are hurting (beyond our capacity to understand); Jesus Christ is the only hope to bring justice and order and He is coming again.
For generations, the church has flitted between the excessive polarities of, on the one hand, talking about the Second Coming too much (while doing very little) and, on the other, focusing on an ‘attractional’, ‘relevant’, seeker-sensitive model of church (while failing to teach disciples to live in the reality of His coming).
In both cases, the gospel is generally more of a fix-my-life-make-it-better prescription than it is an invitation to surrender, suffer, die and live in the evangelistic power of the early church.
Houston, we have a problem.