Posts Tagged ‘deeds’
so there’s an old guy with two sons and one of the sons pretty much says “hey dad i wish you would die so that i can get some of your money and live my life the way i want to” so the father gives him half of what he owns and the son goes and spends it wrecklessly. the second son stays home and he is a good son; works for dad, does what he’s asked without complaining, takes care of his fathers home, etc. after wasting all his money, the bad son realises that he still needs his daddy to take care of him so he goes back home. dad is so happy to have him home that he throws a welcome home party. the elder son is furious…he’s the one who’s been working hard, who’s given up his life to serve his dad…he’s the one who deserves the party, dagnabit!
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”- einstein
i think that’s the way we tend to see christianity. yes, mentally we know that it is by grace alone, though faith, that we are saved…but then subconsciencely (sp?) we still believe that we need to be good to earn that grace. we need show God that we are deserving of the grace he’s given us.
“…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64: 6)
there’s absolutely NOTHING we can do that will make us good enough for that grace. from the moment sin enters our lives we lose all rights to heaven…all rights to the presence of the Almighty and Holy One. It’s a gift. It’s free. And all we can do is say thank you. and that’s why we live good lives – to say thank you.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (Colossians 3; 17, 1 Peter 2: 12)
so we should “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can” (John Wesley) not to earn anything or to escape hell, but to say thanks for what He did on the cross 2000 years ago, and to say thanks for what He continues to do everyday single day.
This post is part of the One Word at a time blog carnival where we are working our way though the fruit of the Spirit. Check out more posts on the theme of “Goodness” here.
I saw someone get hit by a car today so i went up to them and prayed for them…and by that i mean i went up to them…then i saw other people approaching…so i backed off about 2 feet…then i started to pray…not aloud or anything, on the inside…but i had my eyes closed and my one hand extended out to the lady on the ground…but that was while everyone was looking at the lady as she was oooh’ing and aaah’ing in pain so they were fussing over her and not paying any attention to me…
all this to say…i want to live a life of miracles, i want to pray for sick people and see them get healed…maybe even raise a couple of them from the dead…i want miracles to be an everyday, normal occurance for me…i want to live a life of absolute faith…as long as i don’t have to practice that faith (*hangs head low in shame*).
Seriously though, I really want to be a part of God doing something great…I want to be used by God in ways that blow my mind away…I’m just too scared to do it. I knew in that moment that the right thing to do was to go and pray for that lady with faith as small as a mustard seed…and I know with all my heart that God heals…I know it, but putting that knowledge into practice is something else.
So there I stood in the background praying…and then the moment was gone.
And I stood there watching her walk away, knowing that I’d just missed out on being a part of a kingdom-come experience.
[The lady by the way, ended up getting up, and after limping a couple of steps, started walking away as if nothing had happened. The other people who had been there fussing over her actually thought she had made the whole thing up and was just trying to get attention.]
We watched a DVD called “Finger of God” last night and it’s all about miraculous healings and God doing strange/weird things and having the faith of a child and the love of the Father…and once again I was reminded of how I don’t actually live out the stuff I spew. And that shows lack of faith…cos I think if I really believed in the stuff I say I believe in, I would be willing to go up to a stranger and ask them if I could pray for them…because I would actually believe that my prayers would be answered.
Oh, and I didn’t go to vision k on tuesday…and i still havent gone to the street evangelism thing…
the role of the church, the way i see it…and once again, by church i mean the congragational gathering…is for community. we were made for relationships…God is relational, we were created in God’s image, therefore we are relational beings…we were not created to go through life as loners, and we are not meant to walk this Christian walk alone. Side note a bit: I’m not saying you can’t be friends and have relationships with people who aren’t Christian, but I think there’s something powerful and build-up-ness about having friends/accoutability partners who have the same basic beliefs/morals/world-view as you do.
Ok, back to our regularly scheduled blogpost: Joshua Davidson chose Peter to be the rock that His church would be built upon, but he didn’t send Peter out alone, he had 11 other guys doing it with him (yea, I remember what happened to Judas, they replaced him with Matthius remember?)…and they garnered more and more people to walk with them along the way…even Paul when he went on his many mission trips wasn’t travelling alone…he often went with Barnabas and then there was John Mark and there were times during the travels when Dr Luke would pop in for a spell…and even when he was travelling alone he would always stay with other Christians in the area.
So, as I see it the church (congregation) isn’t there to play babysitter and make sure you do your homework and eat your vegetables…we do the gathering thing for the community – to love one other, share with each other, encourage one another, rejoice with those who rejoice, and cry with those who cry.
As I said in part 1, I don’t think it’s the church’s job to come up with “witnessing/outreach” things for us to do, I think it’s up to me, when I see a need to fulfil that need and then when we meet on Sunday I share with my family what happened the past week, we either celebrate together or mourn together. We share in each other’s lives, pains, etc. We praise God together, we seek Him together and on behalf of each other, we encourage each other to live a life worthy of the calling we’ve recieved, we have the enGAGE pizza together at Gino’s, then we go out into the world and live out that calling by being a witness to those who haven’t seen the light yet. That is your ministry/calling/witnessing…being a light to those who haven’t seen it yet…and it is not necessarily going to happen in mission trips and in street evangelisms and organised outreach things, it might just happen through you living out your everyday life in a way that in “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, [you] do it all in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the father through him”.
which leads me to thoughts on the church in Acts…that will be part 3
Tuesday night saw the return of vision k after a month long hiatus due to school holidays. it was rocking fun. man i miss those students when they are not around…my tuesdays feel so empty without VK.
Anyway, the topic last night was peer pressure…it’s actually two sessions long so this was just the first part. I always enjoy the small groups portion of the sesssion…cos that’s when they get to open up a bit and you really get to know them on a personal level…get inside their heads a bit. So once again here we are talking about the issues they are dealing with and me trying to tell them what the best way to deal with them, which sucks cos i always feel like because I’m not in their shoes, because I haven’t dealt with the stuff they dealt with, I have nothing to bring. I mean, yea, I was pressured into doing stuff by my friends in school, but these kids are so much stronger than I…they have deeper issues than I…where I might have done something to fit in, they might do something as a survival mechanism. So my heart breaks everytime I think of how broken they are…
Especially this one girl who has stolen my heart…there’s a few actually that I’m quite fond of, but she…she’s one of those who could conquer the world…and do great and amazing things and blow everyone away…i just don’t think she realises it. oh, she talks big…to hear her talk you would so disagree with me…but i think life’s dealt her some blows, and she’s been hurt both by people and by God…or who she perceives God to be…and so she’s hardened her heart.
She once said, through streaming tears “I hate God, because He hates me.” How do I tell her – no, show her – that God loves her…cos the thought hate is so ingraned in her mind that me telling her that God loves her is not really gonna change anything…she needs to see that love…needs to feel that love…but as long as she’s closed off to it…I don’t know how that’s gonna happend.
So I try to love her…and I pray that somewhere in that, she sees God…and she returns to him.
Tomorrow we are going to the movies and then dinner with them…looking forward to it.
“how do you influence change?” I asked.
“ask questions and probe for answers…get them to think…and most importantly take time out and listen to young people, cos they have a lot to say, they just need to be heard” Cristin answered.
My friend Cristin is a high school teacher in Seattle. She and a friend of hers, Courtney, decided to take a 14 17-year-olds from their comfortable private Catholic School worlds and bring them to South Africa to see what the other side of the world looks like. And from what I heard it has been an eye-opening experience. To go from your nice and safe home halfway across the world to serve others…it’s beautiful. Anyway, the program they started is a 2year committment where you have to apply and fundraise (cos it is quite an expensive trip to make) and then for a year you take a class on “Social Justice/South African History and Culture” and then at the end of the second year you take a 2 week trip to South Africa. While they were here they worked with groups like Habitat for Humanity and YMCA and other humanitarian groups.
The groups mission revolves around 4 pillars – live simply (they were only allowed to bring one bag with them – which is asking a lot for 17 yr old girls); community (they all lived together, travelled together, worked together, got to know each other…and also they are not allowed to make contact with their families back home while they are here…so they learn to depend on each other); act justly (see the world for what it is…the non-sugar-coated world…the difference between Khayelitsha and Camps Bay…what do see? and what are you going to do now that you’ve seen?); active faith (James 2: 14 – 26 – faith without deeds is dead, 1 John 3: 18 – living love)…and after hearing the reactions to what they saw, I was blown away…had to hold back tears.
Cristin came to South Africa for the first time 5 years ago through Camp South Africa and – in her own words – “fell in love with this country”. What she saw in South Africa only grew in her the desire to change the world…and that’s why she started the programme…and that’s why she spent her free time for 2 years planning and fundraising and stressing…and that’s why she brought 14 17year olds to South Africa…to pass on the message of change. Cos another world is possible, but it’s not going to happen unless we do something.
After a few hours of shopping at the Waterfront one of the girls came out and exclaimed that she felt so weird being in a mall…and it just reminded her of all the things that she always thought she needed but now realised that she didn’t need. Change!
this is intended to be part 1 of a series, then again it might be the only part…we shall see
for the purpose of this blog, when I say church i mean congregation or the people you gather with or whatever, not the universal church.
is it the church’s job to reach out or is it the individual…as in is it the hand’s job to pick up the paper on the floor, or is it the whole body’s. Granted, the brain has to send the message to…uhm…the place it sends messages to…and the legs have to bend to get you closer to the floor…but it’s the hand/arm that actually does the picking up right?
So I’m thinking it’s not the church’s job to organize a mission trip, or an outreach program, or whatever it is that you feel the church should be doing to reach out…it’s the church’s job to enable/equip you to do it…(how)…so basically the brain sends a message (matt 28:20, acts 1:8) (the brain would be Christ as he is the head of the church) and then the limbs (individuals) take heed and do the work…yes, we work together to help each other out – we need to work together as the body – but there’s a sense, I think, that each individual has a responsibility to do the stuff. We shouldn’t wait for the pastor to organise stuff for us to do.
Being raised in a church where everything went from top-down (you come up with an idea and then you have to pass it to whoever is your direct leader then they pass it on to the pastor/board who then has final approval and then a committee would be created to organize – with someone on the board being heading the committee ofcourse – and then you’d maybe be asked to volunteer as one of the grounds people making it happen) coming to vineyard was kinda frustrating at first. you’d come up with a random suggestion (like “ohh, we should give homeless people hotdogs”) and all Brett says “ok, do it”. I don’t know, I kinda expected him to sit down first with the leadership and ask for approval, go through the necessary procedures…for hotdogs mind you…then get back to us…but, no – just do it is all you get…actually, now that I think about it, we didn’t even consult anyone about the hotdog thing, we just kinda did it. Imagine if we had gone through that long line to get approval, it might have never happened. That’s sad. (And I’ve left the original topic…)
Christ calls individuals to do his work…Christ works through individuals…when we went out give hotdogs to homeless people, we weren’t going there representing vineyard, we were representing Christ…we wanted people to see the love of God, not the wealth or kindness of our church. That is our mission…to draw others to Christ, not to our churches. Having said that, I love my church, I really do…and I do invite people to come to my church…and I would invite all of y’all to come visit Stellenbosch Vineyard Christian Fellowship if you are ever in Stellenbosch and looking for a place to go on Sundays at 9:30 or 18:00.
So then, what is the purpose of the building, and the gathering and all that…stay tuned for part doux.
show me your faith without deeds and i’ll show you my faith by what I do. james 2:19
live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us 1 peter 2:12
for i was hungry and you gave me something to eat, i was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,i was a stranger and you invited me in, i needed clothes and you clothed me, i was sick and you looked after me, i was in prison and you came to visit me…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. matthew 25: 35 – 36,40
obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. ephesians 6: 6
there’s nothing wrong with love, i just think it’s enough to believe (David Crowder, Rescue is coming)
or is it?
where is the dividing line between religion and relationship?
i think the distinction comes between doing good because I can’t imagine doing anything else and doing good because i have to. religion is following rules where relationship is doing for the other because love compels you.
i think that if something gets boring (i’m not sure if boring is the right word here…maybe habit), if becomes an unwanted chore, if it starts feeling like something I have to do instead of something I want to do then it stops being relationship and it becomes religion. for instance, I believe “church” as in the sunday morning/evening or midweek services or cell groups/bible studies, or whatever are for fellowship, for communal worship, for mutual growth, for being church together. now if I start going simply because I have to, it loses the community aspect, the fellowship aspect, and most probably the growth and worship aspects. Now, I’m not saying that you are going to wake up every sunday craving “church” (or maybe you should)…it does happen and it feels awesome when it does, but sometimes you just don’t feel like going and you drag yourself there anyway, and worship happens in that as well…but if it becomes a weekly drag…if you never ever feel like going, then maybe there’s a problem…and you and God need to sort that out.
this year I’ve been blessed with attending a “church” I absolutely enjoy. One I look forward to going to. One that has taught me more than others what it truly means to BE church…and shown me all the missed church-moments I had in my past – times when I forced myself to GO to “church” because I didn’t realised I was already BEING church.
so therefore i do…I go to church, i do good deeds, i try to live a good life, I try to love people, i try to give when i can, i try to not be wasteful, i try to remember to take care of the environment, i try not to lust, i try to be generous and hospitable, and the list goes on…not because
of hope of a reward, or because of fear of punishment, but because Christ’s love comples me…because i can’t imagine a better way.
i leave you with a quote from one of the greatest people to ever live…and by greatest I don’t mean famous, I mean truly good: “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” – Albert Einstein.