Friday, 30 July 2010
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Dusty. Outmoded. The grumblings of old women. Monotonous Hymns. Empty pews. Choir boys. Cold halls. Moaning prayers. Groaning preachers. Droning congregations.
Some of the words you're likely to hear when asking someone on the High Street what words spring to mind when they think of "Church Music".
I've recently been enjoying the new Hillsong album, 'A Beautiful Exchange'.
Watch this clip and see how those views above are not entirely correct in some places.
Not all churches look like this one; most actually. But it inspires me watching stuff like this. It reminds me that the viewpoint I used to share with those on the High Street can in fact be challenged and changed. The old-fashioned becomes the culturally impacting.
The lyrics convey far more than I could achieve here...
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
I don't think we were created to chase fleeting pleasures, broken relationships, and cheap flings...
It is so easy to look around us and notice others who have something in their lives that at that exact moment fills their lives with more meaning. It might be a new car. The birth of a child. A promotion at work. The expectation of a particularly luxurious holiday. As one experience or instance passes though, we scrabble around searching for a different fix, the latest high or the newest trend in culture. How long will it take us to realise that these transient ‘life-fillers’ are capped. They have a ceiling; an expiration date; a restriction that leaves them clipped and causing us to want more.
In the Bible, Jesus informs us that ‘the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it’ (Matt 7 v14: NLT). The gateway to a ‘purpose-filled’ life that the world offers is wide; most find it. And most finish it feeling dissatisfied with a sense of disappointment and a hunger for something more.
But this path, this gateway that Jesus refers to in this gospel brings freedom. Some might say that this ‘relationship’ the Creator calls His created into, brings restrictions. That it binds up and domesticates. That it saps the fun out of living by pressing rules against everything. I used to think that too. I used to think that if I pursued Jesus then my identity would be stifled; that I’d be held back and constrained from experiencing life to the full while I was still young and single.
I was wrong
We are all dead people walking until God intervenes. We think we have life to full before that, but we truly do not. We all think we know how best to live life but there’s only one who does. Don’t lose out on discovering God just because you think you already know the answer as to why you are here.
Sunday, 18 July 2010
On Wednesday night four of my friends were in a terrible car accident. So on the day my Dad celebrated his 60th year on earth, Annie Clague celebrated her last day. Nobody will be able to fathom God's plans for our lives but at the same time, no one can out do the immeasurable grace He hands out to help everyone cope with a situation such as this. Now she see's Him face to face; earlier than imagined, but no less gloriously amazing. I have found reading her blog and her Pastor's blog really helpful recently when trying to get my head around it all (www.angharadspot.blogspot.com / www.simonbenham.com)
With a weekend away to follow an already turbulent week, I found myself being challenged in a new way, now that I had the death of a 19-year old on my heart as well.
How much do I love this Jesus of mine? And I mean REALLY love Him? Am I going to be willing to share His story even during the hard times too? Well, this week has been totally life changing for many people very close to me, and now I am learning more than ever that it's time to get really ready for life. No more short-sightedness. No more tainted dreams. No more time wasted watching re-runs of 90's sitcoms. Because, as the old saying goes: If you want to see something you've never seen before, you've got to start doing things you've never done before.
It has taken the death of someone I have only known for 10 months to really open my eyes to how precious this 'one chance' life is. I have seen countless facebook profiles detailing countless emotions. Those who knew her would speak of their grief but also the joy that she has made it to Heaven. Those who didn't know her, remarking on new iPhone 4's, bangin' hangovers or perhaps how fantastic that week in Malaga was.
To quote John Eldredge: 'We'd much rather be included in something truly grand than to have to create the meaning of our lives.' Annie see's that more than ever. And I am all the more richer now, when I consider that what she truly lived for was not died for without reward.
I'll see you when I get there mate.