Some thoughts. Daily advance. Truth and Grace. People.
I have a lot buzzing round my head. So I thought I’d stop by to get some of it out. Just to give some context: Just been doing two weeks of intense mission in which God has done more than I possibly imagined might happen, and generally been wonderful. He is really really good!
Thoughts number one and two go together. I was listening to Bill Johnson on a very long drive yesterday, and he said he believed there would be a generation coming who know what it is to see daily advancement of the kingdom. I thought about it, and kinda agreed and said amen.
But later, I suddenly thought of the words of Jesus found in Luke 9:23 – he who wishes to follow Me (says Jesus) must deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me. Suddenly I realised, Bill was right. Who would die for something not worth dying for?? The cross is the greatest price ever paid and yet what it paid for far outweighed it again in terms of worth. In the Christian life, when we take up a cross, it is not to simply be sacrificialists – that is more Old Testament thinking. We take it up because we see a great goal ahead worth paying that price for. (For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in/to us, Romans 8. Jesus for the joy set before Him went through the cross Hebrews 12:2. etc.)
I believe Luke 9:23 is loaded with potential and God is looking for the generation that is made HUNGRY by the potential of this verse, wherein we might indeed see DAILY kingdom advance. How surely in this life is death followed by a resurrection? (Phil 3:10 the two go together.)
The next point is linked to this. It’s common to read this verse or hear it preached, and to feel crushed and depressed because, how on earth do I die daily? (Didn’t Paul also use that phrase – I die daily? Galatians?) What a challenge! Yet first of all, we ought to be encouraged by resurrection, but secondly, it is worth reminding ourselves that according to John 1:14-17, Jesus brought GRACE AND TRUTH. The Law was given through Moses. They found that impossible. When Jesus came, He did not just release truth to finish us off with impossible holiness, nor did He just release grace without us knowing what we needed it for. He released both. Jesus never speaks a truth without releasing the grace needed to accomplish/fulfill it. Titus 2:11 says the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness! Isn’t that amazing. Translating ‘charis’ as ‘grace’ (normal) in Hebrews 12:28, would tell us to have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably. If you read something that Jesus says (such as Luke 9:23) and you wonder how on earth you can live like that, get into receiving posture and let His grace come.
Final thought, kinda different from the rest. Just a point which came from discussion with a friend. When Christians think about their future they often think geographically – where does God want me? I’m not saying that’s wrong, quite clearly God’s heart is for nations, and that is how we do mission. But perhaps we just need to shift our thinking a little bit and think: with whom does God want me? Who are the people who I know have something I want spiritually? Who are those with whom I have a great spiritual bond where there is something more to develop? I just know that personally and for a few others that I’ve known of, thinking relationally rather than geographically has helped a great deal to fuel people further into their calling and destiny. That’s just a thought, maybe I’ll expand on it sometime.
I’m personally excited that from September, I will be working part-time with Ichthus doing various things including involvement with the worship life of Ichthus. I have many great ideas!! But the best thing will be working with Chris Orange who carries so much of what I want to press into. And being around people this year who have pioneered some incredible things in the faith, like Roger and Faith Forster, and others, has been an incredible experience, the investment I have received has been wonderful, I feel spiritually fat with all the amazing stuff I’ve been learning! So, it’s all about people! 🙂