reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You gotta have love...

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 5 comments
So. It begins.

Later this morning I am off to Relay 1. I love this conference. The reasons why are really made very clear by the lovely Steffy B in this post.

Please pray for us that we would see Jesus in all his gracious glory, and that would move our hearts, by God's Spirit to seek to reflect his awesomeness.

Please pray for me - it's a busier week than usual due to some staff changeovers. I'm sometimes snotty and bad tempered under pressure.

Pray that grace would sink in and change all of us.


Friday, August 22, 2008

The heartbreak of sin

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 1 comments
I hate sin. I hate the mess it makes of me and the world I live in, and all the tragic stories of people from Georgia to Tibet whose lives are swallowed up in their own sin and the sin of the institutions that control our lives. I hate the way sin is towards God - in Jeremiah in my quiet time this morning: "What fault did your fathers find in me that they strayed so far from me?" It suggests, wheedles and convinces that God is unkind, and cannot be trusted and won't give us what is best for us. It's stupid, it is horrific and it is based in blasphemy about the amazing God. I hate sin.

And yet I love sin. Sitting here now I don't love it, but I evidently do love it sometimes, or else I wouldn't do it so much would I? Something in me loves those things that are wrong. Something in me can see the starkness of the evil that ditches the awesome God for the dead idol, but loves the quick burst of comfort the idol promises. I love sin.

Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Stepping back

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 1 comments
So, the Christ Church Liverpool magical mystery tour (ooo, where will we be meeting this week?) continued on Sunday with me speaking on Psalm 82. I loved that Psalm and how challenging it was - what does true worship of the true God - that is, making the real God the centre and focus of all that you do -what does that look like in practice?

It looks like this: ceasing to show partiality to the wicked and defending the weak and the helpless. After all, that is what God himself is like: he loves, loves, loves to show grace to the weak, and he is opposed to the proud and wicked in all they do. Worshipping, honouring, and living for him will look like that!

Someone asked the practical question though - how do you "balance" that with doing evangelism? And I think the answer involves stepping back to see Asaph's unspoken but underlying theology in Psalm 82. You see, in the last verse, he makes it clear that his frame of reference is that God owns and runs the lives of everyone in the world. They are his inheritance, hence it is his right to judge them.

We are made by God our owner, for the display of God's character. We are not made to fulfil your own potential, or to fulfil our desires, or to do what we have to do to be ourselves (contra many churches' messages today!) but to show something about God. To display and honour and "glorify" his rule in the world. That's why he made us in creation, AND why he has redeemed a people for himself.

And that, at least a bit, begins to give some answers to the words vs actions question I think. Rather than geting myself into running my life myself, and then saying "oh right, how do I glorify God now -doing or speaking?" I think all if us need to consider every action, every interaction, every relationship as a means to display God's undeserved favour. At some points that will mean sharing the Gospel - after all, what is more compassionate than that?- but at some points making flat pack furniture or drinking tea, or watching a film and considering it Christianly, or driving non-aggressively and within the speed limit.

Let's step back. And say - with the person I am, in the situation I am in, how can I most display what God is like in his world? And let's ask that all the time. What we'd find, I think is that a lot more evangelism would happen, without us ever having to ask "what is more important?"

It will be hard work though. It will be almost like I'm not living my life for me any more, but living it as if it all belongs to someone else.

For those of you that pray -this week could you pray for:

- me to buckle down and get totally out of my holiday mindset into working mindset. Esepcially as we have both work related and just practical (mortgage, house insurance, car insurance) stuff to do. Pray for me to model God's kindness in all those small things
- diary planning - especially that we can prioritise good marriage time and contact with non-Christians
- for good and refreshing personal times with the Lord.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Am I a charismatic yet?

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 7 comments
One of the things I love about working in UCCF is being challenged and taught to rethink and grow by sound Gospel people who think differently than me.
It has been the influence of good friends in the fellowship, giving me books, discussing things at conferences, reading their blogs and watching them live that have given me a more emotionally rounded view of faith - that it is not just grasping propositions (although it is not less than this) but wholly, emotionally entrusting myself to a person and his enormous claims. Not just accepting that grace is real but enjoying grace. Not just "teaching the Bible" but "enountering the living God in his word."

So, am I a charismatic yet? Well, it seems to me that the main practical difference between charismatics and nons is that the caros tend to think that their "inner leadings" are from the Lord, whereas nons tend to believe that their inner leadings are probably indigestion, lack of sleep or hormones. The former is a high view of the doctrine of our hearts having been regenerated, the latter a high view of the doctrine of total depravity. I guess the difference is a little bit eschatological - generally speaking, caros tend to believe we have more of the Kingdom right now than nons do.

Now, in my cynical moments I just think "that's what makes charismatics run after every fad that's going and then when they get tired of it, say the Lord is leading them to something else."

Maybe that's true sometimes. But one thing I love about the caros - they believe, really practically, that God is actually real, and is really involved in their lives, and might, you know, actually do something when they talk to him and ask him to act.

I love that. I guess my doctrine of depravity is too strong to totally be a caro by this definition as yet, but I really want that sense of a real, active God who, by his Spirit changes things. In that sense, I am as charismatic as the day is long.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here I am

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 3 comments
So. Here I am, once again. I pour out my heart for I know that you hear every cry...oh no. Whoops, that was a flashback to the 90s we didn't need.

I'm wondering about the point of this blog, now that I have managed to ignore it so much that it has totally fallen off Bish's star list! Is it pointless? Maybe! However, I'm aiming now for at least one post a week, both my random thoughts and some news for those of you who want to use this for prayer. Hopefully there are some of you still out there.
First. I am married now. 4 weeks in, we are fans of the institution.

As I type my wife is in what used to be may spare room (now our spare room) clearing out all the old rubbish I don't need any more. We love each other and we love sleeping in our new enormous bed.

Second, August creeps on, meaning what it always means: Relay 1 prep. So I'm just working out what I need to rework for the conference, doing talk prep, and trying to learn who everyone is and where they are from.

Third, my church this year is doing an impression of the OT people of Israel and wandering around Liverpool, meeting somewhere new every week. Sadly there's no pillar of fire to attract newcomers.

Fourthly, isn't it funny the way that the Olympics makes you interested in all sorts of stuff youd never give a second thought to otherwise - like the canoe slalom.

Well, frankly, this post isn't going to bring me back onto the bluefish's starred list - but here's a number of things you can pray for if you are into that!
- Relay 1 -pray that God's amazing grace to us in Jesus would be refreshing, eye-opening, mind-blowing, and fire us all to praise him! Please pray for me especially as I prepare the talks - knowing what to do the same and what to do fresh would be great. It would also be great if you could pray for safety - we have a Relay Worker this year with a very serious nut allergy and we're having to take precuations to make sure that we keep her safe.
- 10 for Europe - this year we are hoping and praying for 10 of the Relay Workers to commit themselves to taking at least another year to work with IFES movements on mainland Europe. The needs are so great, and UCCF is in such a great position to become a great sending movement again as it was in the past.
- Me and Anna - that we would adjust well to living and working together, and that we would honour the Gospel with our marriage!

More deep thoughts later.