lensofben

Some thoughts on my journey


1 Comment

A church for all people

A church for all people

Our church is the Christian Family Centre in Alice Springs; the heart of our great nation of Australia. Our mission is A church for all people; demonstrating God’s love for Central Australia.

We had a very special service on Sunday.

They are always special as we have a minimum of six different cultures in our worship service every Sunday. But last Sunday was most special. We had over a dozen cultures attending and then we had four different languages used to sing, pray, worship, and also encourage people in attendance: Pitjantjatjara, Walpiri, English, and Ngaanyatjarra.

This is a common occurrence for us. But to see people of different backgrounds join together in one voice and one heart to worship our Creator God is something that is very dear to me. To join with people from different parts of Central Australia, and different corners of the globe, is a highlight and a privilege for me. To get to know just a bit of different cultures, to discover what some people hold dear, and what others will not talk about, to hear and see how people worship God Almighty in their own expression from their heart. It is precious to us, and, I believe, precious in God’s eyes also.

This is what we do. And we love it.

I wonder how you cope with people that are different from you?

Different colour, different language, different diet, different smells, different values…

It can be very difficult for some people.

For the Christian however, worshipping and being in community with people who might be different from us should be the norm. Once we are in Christ, there are no boundaries of class or culture to make one person higher than another. In the Christian Bible, Colossians 3:11 [NIV], it says that (in Christ) ‘there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all’. Here is the new benchmark set for those who follow Jesus Christ; though it’s not that new.

Worshipping with someone is not about how comfortable you are, but rather ‘where does God want you to be?’. Personally, I have found being a Christian to be quite un-comfortable at times, with God requiring of me to live by His standards and walk the path He has prepared for me rather than living life according to my whims and desires.

But it is a choice.

Do I choose to let God impact my life through His Holy Spirit as I attend church, or do I choose to go to church just because ‘that is what I am supposed to do’?

Going to church is a great start, don’t get me wrong. To invest your time into meeting with fellow Christians is a great start. To start or grow relationships, to get to know people on a whole new level, to walk in obedience with our heavenly Father; this is of vital importance.

But the next step is possibly the most beautiful challenge the Believer has; to become part of the family.

To move past being an attendee, to being family and being an active part of building God’s Church.

The following part of the Bible says this: (Colossians 3 verse 12) Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

We have the choice in what we wear.

Will we choose to put on what we normally wear?

Or will we choose to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience as we meet together.

To wear these ‘clothes’ might be compared to wearing an itchy under-garment; they are not always comfortable.

But as we choose to be clothed with these virtues, and walk this path, they will (possibly slowly) become more natural to for us to wear.

These clothes will also affect our vision towards those we rub shoulders with. These people will no longer be ‘others’, but become brothers and sisters. As we allow this to take place, we become even richer as we walk in relationship with those God has put in our lives.

 

So may I encourage you?

May I encourage you to become an active part of your church family, wherever you may be?

I believe that you are there for a reason; to build what God is doing:

Transforming lives

When we meet together, no matter where we are, we really are a church for all people.

And that is God’s intention for all of us.

Let’s be active in our church life and impact this world for Jesus Christ.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Basics 101

Following the basics:

A blameless heart… keeping eyes from that which is corrupt… removing oneself from those who are fickle…

Living life is no picnic.

There are potholes, hazards, tripwires… All of these ensure that you watch your step; because each one of those traps will cost you dearly.

At the start, the traps seem harmless. If you stumble over one pothole you can think, ‘Oh, that didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would’. And so the next traps don’t bother you too much. The next time you look up to see what the damage is, you don’t even recognise what you see; it is complete carnage.

Everything you held dear is destroyed or dismembered because you didn’t care to watch out for the traps.

I have seen many people drop their guard to become popular; drop their guard to be liked or accepted by those who they want to impress.

I too want to impress; I too want to be liked.

But what cost am I willing to pay to be liked, to be popular, to be part of the ‘in’ group?

Am I prepared to sacrifice what I hold dear to be liked?

Will I follow popular culture just to get a few nods of approval from those few ‘special people’ who I know are watching; to get the WOW factor from those who I want to embrace what I do?

The cost can be so great!

It hurts me when people with promise turn to popularity and selfish ambition when they don’t need to.

Perhaps it hurts me because I am not a naturally talented man. I have had to work very hard to be good at anything; sport, music, being a husband, being a father… the list goes on.

But one thing I know, to put my whole heart into something means it costs me. It costs me time, it costs me money, and it costs me energy.

Why would I unravel what I have worked so hard for, just to keep up with popular culture?

 

All over this planet people are questioning. WHY? WHY? WHY?

And that is good.

Why choose to protect a blameless heart?

Why keep my eyes from that which is corrupt?

Why choose my circle of close friends based on upright character?

If I don’t have the answer, I just might be in trouble.

I might walk into that pothole of swearing and smutty language because I don’t know the damage I am causing. I might trip over the hazard of alcohol as I don’t see how I am injuring those around me. I might walk through the tripwire of pornography because, ‘Hey, everybody else is doing it’.

Our heart, our mind, they are precious gifts; gifts which need to be guarded and skilfully defended.

If I look for the answers in popular culture I will be disappointed, because the rules are fluid; they move with the tide.

My answers are found here:

‘How does a young person keep their way pure? By living according to your Word’.

My answers are found in the Christian Bible.

This is a place where I find consistency, where I find stability, where I find refuge and safety.

Psalm 101 (below) inspired me to write this post.

My cry is that if you have chosen to accept the love of God through Jesus Christ, LIVE your LIFE on PURPOSE. Choose integrity over popularity, hold your course for pure living, stand firm when people try to make you change to ‘fit in’.

Love God, love people, read the Bible, pray, and live life according to our handbook, the Bible, not popular opinion.

 

Ben

 

 

 

Psalm 101:1-8 [NIV]

1 Of David. A psalm.

I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise. 2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life– when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. 3 I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. 4 The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil. 5 Whoever slanders their neighbour in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate. 6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. 7 No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. 8 Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD.