Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Wise words from J Piper

Wise words from Mr J Piper (once again!).

Christ died to make us 'zealous for good works'. Zeal means passion. Christ did not die to make good works merely possible or to produce a half-hearted pursuit. He died to produce in us a passion for good deeds. Christian purity is not the mere avoidance of evil, but the pursuit of good

Taken from Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, number 36.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Core Values

After chatting with a Christian mission organisation called Pioneers, they asked my to read their core values and put them into my own words. The first of these, Passion for God, is included beneath. As always, I look forward to your thoughts.

Passion for God

Passion for God is a very good thing, however it's something I wish I had more visibly more often! Often with me there's a break somewhere between the head and the heart. As is always the case, the answer comes from repeatedly reminding the sinful person within exactly who God is and what he has done.

God is Lord. He reminded the Israelites repeatedly of this in the wilderness. We should not follow anything or anyone else. Remembering that he is creator and sustainer of everything, as well as the definition of what is good and just, helps to create right attitude of reverence and fear that he truly deserves (Exodus 20). This is someone not to want to get on the wrong side of, and not someone to belittle or treat with too little regard. As Narnia puts it, he’s a friendly lion, but not a tame lion.

God is Love. In being three in one, God is relational and defines pure love. Furthermore, God wants a relationship with us to the extent that he revealed himself personally to us in his son, limiting himself to a man, being rejected, despised and hated, and ultimately undeservedly dying for those who deserved to die (Romans 5:6-8, Isaiah 52-53).

God has a plan. Tying the above together, God will unite all things under one head, Christ. This salvation plan has been in place since the beginning, and makes sense of all things. There is a glorious end in sight, and shows us just how good and important it is to live for Christ in all aspects of our lives. Christ died to present us pure to our heavenly father, and we are right before God only because of his actions (Ephesians).

God is fantastically powerful, unfathomably loving, and has a plan for the world. There are myriad reasons to be passionate about serving our Father, including those of fearful respect, knowing his righteousness, heartfelt gratitude at his rescue, and knowledge that his plan is rightfully and unstoppably coming to completion. However being a sinful man I recognise that I let myself be dulled by the chimes of the world far to often. Thus, the importance of immersing in scripture, fellowship, building one another up in Christ, prayer, and living for God, should never be underestimated!!! Only with God at the foundation will true passion for his plan happen.

Amongst other things, I'm hoping to read a chapter each day of Piper's - '50 reasons why Jesus came to die' each day. There's definitely enough time each morning for this (they're very short!), even if it end up being on the tram!!! Why not check it out - it's free to download and has helped me a lot in the past.

Romans 5:6-8

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

It's gotta be...

There are few cities where:

you can start jogging in the party district,
run between two huge fountains,
head down a floodlit parade,
be greeted by fireworks,
cross a cobblestone bridge,
enter a world heritage city centre,
passing by an opera singer and accompanist,
through to a Starbucks and McDonald's,
racing a tram along the streets,
stopping to admire the river,
watch an open air theatre slowly become flooded,
chat to other tourists in a mutual second language,
and return via some glorious eastern-block architecture!

It's gotta be...