Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Jesus was a spaceman

The other day i listened while a member of my family explained his reasoning behind Jesus being a spaceman, the whole DNA splicing with alien genes, the alleged proof that this happened and what it meant to him. Then he asked me an interesting question " if Jesus was a spaceman would you still believe in him" I took sometime to think before i answered him. The simple answer was not simple at all, on one level it's the person and teachings of Jesus i follow or try too. On another level i had to say no because it would take away his deity and his Godhood (try explaining that in 5 minutes with a cup of tea and a cigarette) he got what i was saying and tended to agree with the Bible part of what i said (his words) but was still convinced Jesus was a spaceman, so would it matter? Like i said on one level no it would not, we follow the teachings of Jesus if he came, and was a spaceman his teachings still ring true, and his work on earth is no less valid, at least he came and helped out.

On another level we have to deal with the whole virgin birth, his life, the things he said and his resurrection. The whole person of Jesus is uniquely tied to his Godhood and his status as the Son of God, if you take this away you are left with a man who made claims he could not back up and thus he becomes a liar, and the Apostle paul says "that if it was a lie we are to be pitied above all men" but this thought pattern also got me to thinking why people believe what they do. Over the years many of my friends have called me a nutter or worse for believing in God and what the Bible says about him, while all the time holding to some very strange beliefs themselves (aliens, Atlantis, crop circles which i know how they are made)) and not seeing the irony in what they have said to me. So why is it easier to believe in Aliens or something else other than God? Part of the problem lays in the fact that God requires something from you. He requires that you follow him, that you turn away from sin, that you start to do good instead of bad, that you and i need to be different than what is around us. We follow a narrow path, a path that starts as a pilgrimage and makes us disciples by the time we have finished the walk and we have shuffled off this mortal coil, God wants something from us. That is where i believe the rub for a lot of people lays, they want the goodness of God, the blessings and all that nice stuff, but are by and large not prepared to lay it all on the line for God not prepared to sacrifice, not prepared to just give in and let God be God. There is that glorious verse in the Bible that says" the truth will set you free" it's true it does, but to have that freedom we also need to submit to God, it's a dichotomy in all truth. To gain absolute freedom we have to submit to God and his rule, how can you have freedom if you are abiding by rules? it's not about the freedom to break laws or be a pain in the neck. It's the freedom to know that no matter what God is with you, offering guidance, offering hope, offering forgiveness offering himself.
There are demands in the Christian life, there are things we need to do as Christians and followers of Christ, those things may require sacrifice, may require that we lay ourselves down and just let God do his thing. That is why some people cannot or will not accept God, they cannot get over the barrier of "this is me and i'm number 1" the truth is when we come to the foot of the cross and ask and seek forgiveness we are actually saying i messed up, i can't do it on my own, which means we are not number 1 anymore.
So if Jesus was a spaceman, i don't mind his teachings still stand the test of time, but if him being a spaceman takes away his divinity i'm going to say not a hope in henry can he be, and keep walking this path i started on many years ago.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Context the VIP at the table of life.

Context in anything is vitally important and this was bought home to me earlier. Bumping into a friend of mine and being me i hugged her and kissed her (it's how i greet certain people) someone i know saw this and waited for me to finish and asked "what's going on" ? It's not something i get asked regularly because those who know me well enough, know me well enough. Looking at it now and if you were looking in from the outside you could be asking the same question, but jumping to conclusions is not the same as having the full information in front of you. This brings me to something i have been pondering for a while, it may upset some of my more fundamentalist friends, literalist friends, and even liberal friends.

There are many things in the Bible i struggle with and in all honesty it's harder to be a Christian than not, mainly because we all get tarred with the same brush, we are all idiots or fools and we have no brains (but i'm guessing 3 degrees for me) means some where i have a brain, but at times i choose to not use it fully. Now this bit i cannot believe i am writing but bear with me, the Bible was written ages ago, Jesus did not use a bible, none of the Apostles used a bible, so when they talk of scripture it's not what we have today. Our Bible comes with a bias towards our tradition, in certain parts of the world you get bibles for a specific people group, that backs up their ideology and enforces some bad views, based on tradition and having no context what so ever to when, why, what and to whom the things where said. This is more evident in the Old Testament, people use parts of Levitical law today to back up certain prejudices, but you will find they only take the parts that backs up the viewpoint they hold, and leave the rest. Many Christians quote levitical law about Homosexuality, but are happy to eat shell fish and wear mixed fibre clothing, so any integrity we think we have gets thrown out the window. You cannot treat the Bible as a pick n mix free for all, it needs to be taken seriously. When we celebrated 400 years of the King James Bible i was privileged to write a vast amount of commentaries on the Scriptures for our district website (they are still available) from all those who took part in the process of writing them.

Context is important with scripture as with all things in life, because if we take things out of context we make mistakes, NOTE WE make Mistakes not the Bible. My point is this too many Christians and none Christians for that matter read what they want in the Bible to make it say what they want. They make Jesus in their image instead of being transformed into his image, Jesus becomes like them and they become less like Jesus. Proper bible study is so important, it helps us to see things as they where and are not as we want them to be. The truth is the truth because it is, however unpalatable that is it's still the truth. This is not about the Bible being wrong, but about taking it seriously. Some parts of it are literal, some parts are stories, some parts are parables, some parts are poetry some parts are wisdom which we apply today, some parts are Gods truth to his people. If we want to be taken seriously by people searching for truth we need to be taking the Bible seriously, we need to apply it or leave it. Don't go around picking the parts that enforce your own opinions,and leave the parts you don't like,  be open to God speaking to you through it's pages. Be open to the idea that you could be wrong, be led by Gods Spirit, and see the difference it can make in our lives and the lives of those seeking.

P.S for those of you who prayed for Jacob he is back from Romania and well happy with what they did.

God bless ya


Friday, 5 April 2013

Why do you Blog?

Today i was asked "why do you blog"? the details of the conversation are not particularly relevant or for that matter wholesome, so we will leave that part of the conversation. It's something i have never been asked before and got me to thinking, and now as i have had a bit of time to think i guess it's time to reply. I'm going to post the text of my reply, but not the mail that came with it, because it is not great, and apparently i'm a disgrace to God, the Kingdom, my parents and the whole of Christendom. This all from a blog i wrote earlier this month.

Thank you for your question as to why i bother blogging, i'm going to attempt to answer it in order but that may not happen.

1. There probably is a bit of ego in everyones blog, the idea that something you want to say can help someone could be construed as egotistical, so you maybe right, i don't think you are but who knows.

2. As for being an all round embarrassment i guess you would have to speak to those people you mention, that i have embarrassed and see how they feel about it. You do appear to have a direct bat phone to God so ask him while you are at it, and let me know what he says on the matter. Because causing embarrasment to God is far away from why i do anything.

3. I'm always brutally honest in anything i do, whether that is preaching, or blogging and i will outline the reasons to you.
a) my hope is that by showing my failings, showing my humanity i can help break the myth that a rose garden exists if you are a Christian, i know your particular way of thought is that i am wrong, but i can actually back mine up with numerous scriptural passages, experience and tradition.

b) 90% of the people who read my blog are not looking for pat answers, they are looking for something from God that enables them and empowers them to do better in their lives. To see the face of God and get to know him better and intimately, and to know that God loves them despite the doubts and fears they possess.

c) Most of my readers are not Christian in any way that you would define it. But they appear to get help from what is written, and yes someone has given their life to Christ, not because of my blog (it was only a small part of the journey they are on) but because they actually met someone who said it was okay to doubt and struggle with questions of faith. You see the Bible never tells us that we have to understand everything before we make the jump into the arms of God, it actually affirms "come as you are" i'm more convinced of that than anything else in my life right now.

You see since i gave my life to Christ in the early 80's the only thing i have ever wanted to see happen is people come to faith in Christ, i'm not concerned with where they go to worship, how they worship or who they read to help them on their journey ( before you jump, i'm talking about Christian worship) what matters most is that someone is making that journey, someone is willing to trust and put their faith in God and his son Jesus. Never having understood the reasons denominations try and build walls instead of breaking them down, i'm more than happy to try and blow them away with an anti tank gun or DC10. People do not need to get to the right church to find faith, they need to find God, they need to dedicate their lives to him and see the greatness of himself working in their lives.

The reason i blog is i hope that those people who never go to church, never attend any form of Christian service, get to see something of what God has done in my life and is doing in my life. It's a lot easier to say what i say on the internet on my blog page, not because i think i'm better than anyone else, not because  think my words are more important, but because if i had to see each person individually i would never get any sleep, never get any rest and never see my wife.

Genuinely i thank you for the time you took with your Mail, and i have tried to respond to it honestly, i hope you read mine in a similar way. God bless you on your journey and shine his light upon you.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

One of those questions

One of the main things i'm asked is "why do you believe in Jesus?" it can never be given in a nutshell, i have tried but it does not work for me. Fortunately the people who tend to ask me this have no theological background, they don't want super spiritual or normal spiritual answers, they just want something that makes sense to them. So today when i was asked the same question i answered in simple terms " it just works for me" Not deeply spiritual, not theologically great, just a simple statement of what happens in my life, and what happened in my life to make me change my ways. I'm still amazed that the deal i made with God all those years ago has stood the test of time, a throw away comment from me, a goalkeepers save from God and here we are 30 something years down the line, with God still proving himself to me, and hopefully me showing God i'm still in it. It's not all been easy mistakes have been made, people hurt, people injured both physically and emotionally, for 11 years i decided the grass was greener on the other side, then found out it was not, had a raging drug problem that nearly killed me (and i still suffer the effects of that addiction today) put my body through hell and survived to tell the tale.

So why do i believe in Jesus? Simple really, God took a chance on me, he showed me he loved me, he cared for me, and despite my best efforts to screw it up, he never gave up on  me, he came through, broke into the darkness and got involved in sorting out what i called life. He got involved in it all, got down in the mire, lifted me up, dusted me down and said " hey son lets go for a walk, i'm not promising you a rose garden, i'm not saying it's gonna be plain sailing. But it will be the ride of your life and i'm gonna be with you every step of the way". You see i don't really like trying to analyse everything down to the last comma, i have no interest in it. Mainly because (and i can't stress this enough) the average person in the street does not want to know about the council of this, the writer of that, the reason the bible was canonised as it was, these things can be sorted out when someone comes to faith in Christ. They want to know that in the hard times God is not going to walk away from them, but will stand with them, will help them. He uses the church to do that in some cases, in others he comes alongside those hurting people and carries them through the burden, lifts it, and helps out.

I think it was Wesley who said something like this and i'm going to have to paraphrase it" discussion about doctrine, no matter how earnest, is not the same thing as getting involved". Many people i know do not believe God gets involved in the everyday, thats fine and dandy, me i believe God wants to be involved in every aspect of my life, not to control it or control me from a distance or from standing beside me. But he wants to be involved just because he can be, he allows me to make my mistakes, he allows my successes, i genuinely believe he revels in our relationship.

Why do i believe in Jesus? simply because it works for me, despite me, it's no simpler than that.