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Archive for July 2011



Church: Old Fashioned ? Pt 2


Ps 33:11 The Lord’s purpose is eternal, the designs of his heart go on through all the generations of man. (BBE)

God has promised us that His Word (thoughts) remains the same to all generations. His word is unchanging, secure and established for all time and eternity. This truth establishes and anchors our hearts in an ever changing culture and world. (Mal 3:6, Num 23:19).

But though God’s Word never changes – the vehicles He uses to proclaim and communicate that Word, are always changing. They change because society changes: family, government, business and fashion are some of the institutions that are in a state of continuous flux.

It’s when the Church doesn’t recognise this and fails to change with this flux, that it gets left behind, becomes out of date, an anachronism. The Church then becomes separated from society and loses it’s impact, it’s voice and it’s authority.

In Europe, secularism has reduced the influence of the Church to a minimum; And we now have whole generations arising that have little or no knowledge of Jesus and His Gospel. This alone should tell us that the models or vehicles we used 30yrs ago to proclaim the Gospel, will not connect to the current generation.

Sunday Schools, Ceremonial dress, King James 16th century language of thees and thous, will not strike a chord with the youth of today. For example: many Churches have ditched their old fashioned names such as Zion Baptist Church, Beulah Assemblies of God or Jesus is Lord Ministries and instead use names such as Pioneer, Hillsong, New Life etc.

Their buildings are not shaped like a Church building. They are minus crosses, organs, wooden pulpits, pews and hymn books. Instead they are modern with up to the minute technology, musical instruments, comfortable chairs and fashionable decor.

Instead of Sunday School, Young People’s Fellowship and Bible Study they use titles such as ‘Ignite, Catalyst, Connect, Fuel and Refresh’.

They have been accused of watering down the Gospel and removing any trace of what a Church used to look like; but Christians who criticise, do so because they either don’t realise the Church has to change or they simply don’t want to change.

We are creatures of habit and change is hard. That is why we must adopt a pioneer not a settler type mindset; The Pilgrim Fathers paid a great price when they left the shores of Britain to sail to America. On arrival they built a community to sustain life. These people were true pioneers. But when it was suggested they build a road 5 miles into the forest, those same pioneers baulked at the idea and shut it down. They had changed their mindset from that of a pioneer to one of a settler.

Meditation Point:  Do I have the motivation of a pioneer or have I settled for the de-motivation of a settler.

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Church: Old Fashioned ? Pt1

Latest Fashions ?

If I asked you the question: Imagine in your mind a picture of the Church?  Would that picture show the Church to be – old fashioned, out of date, culturally irrelevant, an anachronism (stuck in the past), unattractive etc. Or would it be a Church that is modern, up to date, culturally relevant and attractive.

I suspect it would be the former. In fact, it would be an embarrassment to invite a visitor to many of our Churches. They would sing hymns that were written 300 yrs ago. Speak to a people who’s language they don’t understand, who’s dress sense is old fashioned and listen to a sermon that is full of do’s and don’ts; And leave promising themselves never to return again.

“Harsh words”, you say! Maybe, but I think you would agree there is a ring of truth to such a picture. So why has this happened, why are we so out of touch with the world around us; and I’m not just taking pot shots. I love the Church like many of you and want to see it become relevant once again.

The answer to the question: Why has this happened is because of the teaching of extreme holiness and separation. We’ve been told for decades that the world system is sinful, that we should separate ourselves from anything that has a whiff of uncleanness and should resist anything new lest we become locked into the kingdom of the sinful trinity: satan, the beast and the man of sin.

Because of such teaching, we have extricated ourselves from this world. Cut ourselves off from it’s changes, it’s progress, it’s new inventions. So, there’s the critique. In my next Blog we will look at the remedy and how we can become relevant and in the process become a change-agent to the Church.

Meditation Point: Has this Blog made me aware of my irrelevancy to the world. If so, how can I change?

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Never Ashamed Pt 4


Gal 5:2-1.

‘I am emphatic about this.’
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (TM)

All Christians have been set free from shame, but not all Christians know it !   Christ took our shame to the cross and dealt it the death blow. In Christ, we also died with Him on the cross, therefore our shame died with Him and now we are risen together with Him to live the resurrection shame free life.

Then how come many Christians still struggle with shame and how can they get free from it ?

First: We need a revelation of who we are ‘In Christ’ (read above). This revelation will totally set us free from shame and keep us free in the future if satan seeks to shame us if we sin. This is why Paul said in Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free. (NKJV)

Second: We ‘stand fast’ in our freedom by resisting and throwing off all condemnation. Condemnation is satan’s way of tricking us into thinking we should still feel shame for our mistakes or weaknesses. Paul said in Rom 8:1 There is ‘NOW’ therefore ‘NO’ condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  (NKJV)

Condemnation takes place when satan seeks to accuse us for our mistakes. He will try to shame us by injecting his accusations into our minds. This shows us that shame is first a way of thinking and secondly a way of feeling and it is all rooted in condemnation.

God has created us such, that the way we ‘think’, determines the way we ‘feel’. Therefore if we think thoughts of fear, our thoughts will trigger the emotions or feelings of fear, worry and anxiety. Likewise, if we entertain thoughts of shame, our thoughts will trigger feelings of shame.

Third: We negate thoughts of shame by becoming conscious of who we are ‘In Christ’ and the freedom we have from shame, and we ‘hold fast’ to those thoughts. As we do so, our feelings will remain in a natural state of peace, joy and rest.

Many Christians are stuck with the shame of past sin because they allow demonic spirits to inject the memories of the mistakes they made into their minds. All they have to do to break free is to remember that:  1) All sin is forgiven 2) The blood of Christ washed our sins away completely. We are now cleansed from all unrighteousness. 3) We cannot now be accused of sin that was forgiven and washed away by the blood of Christ. 4) As we hold fast to these thoughts of who we are ‘In Christ’, we will come free from past shame. Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meditation Point: Father, strengthen me to hold fast to be conscious of who I am ‘In Christ’. Open my understanding to see I have been delivered from all shame.

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Never Ashamed Pt 3

The Glory of the Lord

Rom 8:30 And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory. (NLT)

Today’s ‘good news’ is that ‘shame’ has been eliminated from the Christian life. How did this take place? It took place at the cross.

Remember that the ’1st Adam’ sinned and forfeited the glory of God. For this, he was ashamed; He was now naked and nakedness became the symbol throughout Scripture and all of life of the shame of sin. But Jesus as the ‘last Adam’ went to the cross completely naked. He wasn’t wearing a loincloth as is depicted in paintings.

Matt 27:35 When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots.  (NIV)

He went to the cross naked and there took upon Himself the judgement for all our sin, past , present and future. He also took upon Himself the shame of our sin and the nakedness that came as a result of sin. He took all of this to His death and when resurrected left it all behind in the grave and rose as the firstborn of a new creation (Col 1:18).

He ascended to heaven, sat down on the throne at the right hand of His Father and  had restored to Him the glory He had before He came to earth as a man (Jn 17:5).

You and I are now ‘In Christ’, therefore together with Him we ‘were’ crucified, died, went down into the grave,  conquered death and rose again as a new creation. We ascended to the right hand of the Father, sat down on His throne and had restored to us the glory we had before the 1st Adam sinned.  All this took place in the past tense, therefore we are now free from all judgement of sin, shame and nakedness (Rom 8:30).

I Realise this is a lot to take in, but if we will meditate on these things, the Holy Spirit will lead us into the truth and understanding of Scripture.

In our next Blog we will look at how to practically and experientially live a life free from shame and it’s consequences.

Meditation Point: Holy Spirit, you are the author of Scripture, therefore, as I meditate on these things, open the eyes of my spirit to see who I am ‘In Christ’.

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