Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Getting perspective on what the church is here for - part one
This could be the start of my very own blog-athon, as I want to make several posts following a trip last week to a big Christian conference called “New Word Alive”. Not only was I encouraged by being able to receive high quality teaching and meet together with lots of other Christians to worship and share our lives, we also had great weather (yes, and in Wales!) and I was able to enjoy chilling out with old and new friends.
Altogether a seriously encouraging, motivating, empowering experience that built us up both in terms of our thinking, and emotionally, as our hearts were stirred to greater love of God. It has helped me get a number of things into perspective:
• Our direction for life. There is an eternal heaven for believers, and great security and hope as we look forward to that, while there is eternal punishment for those who don’t follow Jesus – who Himself warned people about this in stark terms. What does this mean? For one thing, it is utterly appropriate for us to weep with a heavy heart for those who face hell. And it is our responsibility to love others enough to share our great message about Jesus, the only way to heaven. Truth, and good teaching, are meant for spreading, not leaving with believers or in comfortable places!
• Prayer. What an amazing privilege! May we continue in prayer for spiritual life and growth in the hearts and lives of those around us. It is God who brings the growth (1 Cor 3:6). Thus prayer is essential gospel work.
• Service. The vital ministry of caring for others doesn’t just happen. No ministry does. It is a struggle, and we need to ask God for help with it, and involve the church too – all the time, remembering that God is with us and it is God who wants to do good in the lives of our friends/family, and we are His servants.
• Joy. Here is what should be my greatest joy: I have Christ! Not that I have a comfortable life, or friends, family, intellect, things to do or watch or enjoy here on earth – but that I have been united with the Son in death to sin, new life and the promise of a rich eternal future. All else is from Him anyway!
More tomorrow, and yes, I actually mean tomorrow.