Friday, 5 July 2013

Three things to know...

There is something quite awesome to hold a baby in your arms and to look at this tiny bundle of love and happiness and wonder. What future, what talents, how like mum or dad will they be? And then the great adventure called parenting begins.

 I shared at our Commission Prayer days last week three things I observe in the life of the prophet Jonah and priorities I desire to see reproduced in all of the churches I serve and in each member  - three things for us to know.

 Firstly knowing God. A few years ago my son announced from the back seat that church had been "boring" that morning. I swiftly told him he had no idea just how dull and boring church can get but then reflected that while styles may be lively it is no substitute for the presence of God. There exists within the heart of every human being a shrine reserved for God alone. Idols can quickly accumulate in that hallowed place, gifts God has blessed us with, skills, intelligence with which we soon find our identity.

Our hearts put down roots into these things and only violence can tear them from us: “those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8). Our God is too small, our appetites too easily satisfied. God wants all of us, intimacy, prayer, worship, a childlike delight in our Father and a refusal to become professionals.

 Secondly and in every way linked to the first is a knowledge of God’s word. A God who lives in unapproachable light speaks. Living words that bring God life, conception, birth, small steps growing through to soul maturity. "I speak to you children…young men… Fathers” (1 John 2:12ff).

 God calls and we walk - we grow up into Christ through the nourishment of word and Spirit. Ephesians 4 is a pivot point in the letter, to live a life "worthy" of the calling. The Greek word Axios functions here like an enormous pair of scales in equilibrium. Good doctrine must result in good living, calling means walking; a mature life is one of balance. We live in the day of the soundbite, the quote, tweet, where scales are quickly loaded dogma or caricature. Questions designed to box us in, to label and subsequently ignore biblical dialogue and depth.  I.e. Driscoll or Johnson, complementarian or egalitarian, charismatic or missional? The pressure increases for the one liner and the church becomes unbalanced, illiterate and immature. Each of us must go deeper and engage in open biblical dialogue if we are to grow strong and mature.

 Thirdly we must know God's mission. ‘What is your Commission?’ is the theme for this Westpoint 2013, encouraging every believer to know God's unique kingdom plan for each of his children. Jonah is us and we can quickly run from the cost of discipleship and being true to all God wants us to do for his glory. Of course this means churches being planted, missionaries commissioned to new nations, churches growing.

 But our mission is so much more. It involves families, mums and dads, singleness, business, conservation, care, development, education, music, politics, art, sport and so much more. The questions Jonah asks our generation are the three great knowings - knowing God, knowing his word and knowing his mission, the Great Commission.

1 comment:

  1. I must admit I love the "What is your Commission" section at Westpoint as it points out that we are all FT for Jesus and on the front line wherever he has placed us seeking to reach out in his name and also being salt and light wherever we are"

    "It is the church, the glory of God's son"

    As Dewi Hughes said "the church the supreme manifestation of the Kingdom of God"

    People empowered, Jesus exalted, doctrine of the church rejoiced in a missional way - Love it! Andy