Friday, January 28, 2011

The Power of the Cross

Something has recently dawned upon me like one of those lightbulb moments which has reminded me of one of the essences of Christianity.

We have been hearing sermons and part of meetings relating to new year resolutions, new visions, new strategies, etc. etc. and we always tell people to step up, tell people to up their faith, tell people to trust God....

But all of this is useless if people don't understand the power of the cross.

Why would I really want to step up? Why would I want to be more devoted in my walk with God, more trusting of Him, more passionate about Him?

The reason why we put God first is because what Jesus has done on the cross. This is the only way people will 'press on', will 'tell the world', will be 'stronger' in their faith - through a total conviction that Jesus died to take away their sins and make them right with God.

Lets not forget the magnitude of what Jesus has done for each and every one of us through the cross of calvary.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Songs of 'Praise'

Last night, finally saw Chris Tomlin live with a bunch of friends. Darth Nolla gives a good review of the concert here.

I must say, I didn't enjoy the whole concert. The concert was of two halves, both in the way that there was a clear break between two parts of the concert, and also because of the distinct change in vibe/atmosphere/songs. I enjoyed half the concert.

Why do I say this?

First half of the concert:
- No mention of the cross, of grace, of price paid for us
- Frequent reference of focusing on us, on me, on my, etc.
- Shallow theology (if any at times)
- "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs
- Songs that just can't be sung easily, and with really obscure words and metaphors
- No flow of songs to nail a particular point

Second half of concert:
- All songs focused on our God, on Jesus, on the Lord
- Frequent mention of grace, on who God is, on who Jesus is
- Maybe not meaty theological stuff, but substantial theology through songs
- Songs had a progression towards the message, and out from the message to apply to current situations in our lives
- The lead singer (Chris Tomlin) was humble and his purpose was to lead people to focus on worshipping God
- The songs were a tad high, but were all easy to sing, easy to pick up, easy to join in

Praise God for God glorifying, Gospel driven, Christ centred song leaders and song writers.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where is Jesus in the Church?

Had a long day with vision planning for SDBC Youth, Vision Sunday music practice, and a SDBC Worship Team dinner, and I had these separate thoughts that kept pointing to one question.

- What is in a vision or goal within a church that doesn't include Jesus Christ?

- Why do we sing so many songs that don't say anything about what Jesus has done for us on the cross?

- Do our lives, in our worship, in our life stories, in our words and actions, reflect the impact of the saving message of Jesus Christ?

I don't know if its just me, but where is Jesus in today's church? Where is Jesus in today's 'Christians'?

God's Word points to Jesus on the cross. The turn of history points to Jesus on the cross. The Holy Spirit is a witness to Jesus on the cross. Who, or where are we pointing to?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

True Christian Spirit?

On the way home today from BLT, I was astonished at all the cars parked outside my house and around the suburb. I knew it would have had something to do with the floods, but I had no idea what it was until I got home and asked my parents.

Mum responded me and said: "Volunteers for the flood recovery."
I replied: "Wow that's amazing, so many people!"
Mum again responded: "Yes, that's what they call true Aussie spirit."

Mum was right, Aussies have a great sense of comradery and mateship. But at the same time, I was a bit saddened. If Aussies can get together in the droves to help out those in need, why aren't we as Christians getting out there in droves and helping those around us in spiritual need.

Why aren't we moving in carloads to tell our neighbours about the saving message of Jesus?
Why aren't we packing the planes to share the gospel to the unreached?

Aussies who are great people, but largely nominal unbelievers, can be energised to do good works for the country. We serve and even greater power, the almighty sovereign God that Paul describes so strongly in Colossians 1. Its time to show true Christian spirit in getting out there and sharing the good news to the world.

Monday, January 03, 2011

What to look forward to in 2011

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.