Collection of Webs: June

Well here is a monthly collection of webs where I share with you what I have been reading on blogs, articles, books and what I have been watching or listening to. If you have missed any collection of webs this year you can find them all on this page.

Blogs Posts from friends:

Ali continues her Transition blog posts and this one in particular is the most hilarious: the one with the bible study and the man with a thong.

My Husband writes a poem about a rainbow fox inspired by a made up story by a little boy: The Rainbow Fox

What does success look like? My church leader blogs on it here.

Tanya blogs on the theology of hair curlers.

Blog Posts Out There:

Don Miller writes about how to avoid a People Hangover.

Ten Reasons Good Christians go Bad… it’s quite an interesting list!

8 Worst ideas for leadership growth

Books:

Check out our new book review website:

booksquare

 

 

 

 

 

Posts on my blog:

A Fairy Tale Ending – How we all yearn for a happy ending.

The rubber hits the road – Where theology and life go together

Building the Dung Gate – Not everyone will be history makers

What have you been up to this month?

Guest Post: Church is a Hospital

Over at my church’s blog (Waterfront City Church) I have written a blog post about the church being a hospital. Why not check it out? Here is a snippet:

Church isn’t a museum. It isn’t about being in a state of perfection hidden behind a pane of glass. It isn’t about masks or costumes where we can only have small talk and biscuits.

Church is a place where no one needs to hide. It’s a hub of activity where masks are down. It’s a place where we care for one another and point each other to the great physician!

When the Broken Walk in

gloryflowerTwo years ago a mother walked into our church holding her baby called Lexi. Her baby had cancer and she had run out of options. Could we try praying? I remember this mum standing up the front asking Jesus to help her and our Elders calling us to pray. Cancer go away. Be healed.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)

Pray without ceasing. Two years went by. During this time of praying Lexi’s mum met Jesus. He turned her life upside down. You can see the difference. You can see the joy.

This mum first walked in clutching her baby with cancer and seeming to have no hope at all. Then she met Jesus and she changed from no hope to having every hope and expectancy.

The father of Lexi saw a change. Lexi’s mum was different. The hope and new life she has is infectious. The change is life changing and people notice. Lexi’s father met Jesus and Jesus changed him too. Welcome to the family.

This is almost like the story of the paralysed man. People bringing him in from the roof in desperation and Jesus saying “your sins are forgiven”… they and you cry – “But you missed the point Jesus, he wants to walk!”

But Jesus says – “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? (Mark 2v9)

Jesus says – which is more important? Healing of our body or of our heart? Jesus cleanses the heart through his blood and gives eternal life.

Jesus did that with Lexi’s mum and dad. He said to them – “Your sins are forgiven”. This is a beautiful miracle in itself. We rejoice in this!

The story could end here. It does for many people and there is still reason to rejoice at this point. Even though its painful. There can be an element of yearning and sorrow in our rejoicing. “Though I walk through the wilderness. Blessed Be Your name”

But the story doesn’t stop there. Not today.

We got told on Sunday that another miracle has happened. Lexi has been healed. At this point she hadn’t had any treatment however the cancer had gone. It is impossible. No more cancer. No more tumors. No more. Gone. Miracle.

The faith of the church was raised on that Sunday. My faith has risen too. Not because of the sign itself but because of who the sign points to. Jesus.

Thank you Jesus.

It is good to be church. It’s good to be a part of this family where broken, hopeless people are welcomed, they meet Jesus and their lives change. It’s good to cry together and rejoice together. The roof was raised on Sunday. Together we prayed, together we praised, together we felt a part of this. Faith was raised together in church.

Thank you Jesus for the church. Thank you for Lexi and her mum and dad. Thank you that you do heal, but more so thank you that you save.

“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2v11-12)

Serving without Sinking

Have you ever had that moment where you are just really fed up of serving? At first it was a joy but now it’s just boring and repetitive. It feels like you are the only one who is serving while everyone else has gone home. And no one praises you or encourages you. Day in and day out it you slog away and you’re tired. You’re tired of it all.

Does that sound familiar? If it does, can I recommend a book to you? I know, another book to read – but it has been one of the most helpful books I’ve read on serving.

servingwithoutsinkingServing without Sinking – by John Hindley is a book that is Christ focused. In fact you spend over half the book looking at Jesus and how He serves you. This really makes you examine your heart and the motives of your heart towards serving. You could be like the person I described above where you are just fed up of serving and you feel very discouraged and tired of it all. Then this book will remind you how Christ serves you first and how he delights in you. It will melt your heart to see the love that Christ has for you. With this in mind it changes the way you think about serving from a “I should do” or a “I have to” turned to a “I want to” and “I delight to” Why? because every bit of service – making tea, printing music, washing tables, welcome team is all serving Jesus and we can do that because he first and foremost serves us.

Or perhaps you are someone who isn’t like the person above – maybe you only serve to get recognition or you just can’t be bothered to serve others. John Hindley reminds us what kind of master we have – He is good and kind and he calls us to serve him. Again he calls us to this only after he has first served us. He is a serving master who loves his servants, servants who are sons and daughters of his Father. He calls us to serve with a glad heart – looking to Christ and not for recognition from others. We can do this because we have the Lord who knows us and a Father who sees what we do in secret.

I found this book to be good news for my heart. It’s a short book but with a deep focus on Jesus. I feel like it is something we all need at the moment.

You can get the book at the Good Book Company.

Ali Bolton has read and reviewed the book here.

The Biggest Problem in Church

churchThere is a problem in church. People look at the church and see faults, they see blemishes, they see imperfection. The church isn’t as loving, it isn’t as serving, it doesn’t do as much sharing the Gospel as it’s meant to.

I know why. I know the biggest problem in my church.

The biggest problem in my church is me.

Let me tell you the truth: I am lazy and selfish. I am proud and arrogant. I don’t love as much, I don’t serve as much, my heart is often cold and dull towards people and towards Jesus. I need help.

I have realized it is really easy to complain about other people and what other people are or aren’t doing, but when I look in the mirror I have to say that I am the biggest problem in the church before I start looking at other people.

Calvin was right when he said: ” For we always seem to ourselves righteous & upright & wise & holy-this pride is innate in all of us.”

It is so easy for me to pick out faults in others and see myself as upright and wise compared to everyone else. But the answer cannot be to will myself to love and serve more because that would come out of a sense of guilt and a comparison. My answer must be one of seeking Christ and asking for forgiveness – to bear lovingly with one another as Christ bears with me. But this takes time.

We all need to bear with one another. Not point the finger at each other or even at other churches, because we are all in the same boat. We are all the cause of the problem in the church. And we are also the solution.

So I must ask you to bear with me – to be quick to forgive and slow to rebuke. When I don’t serve enough please don’t whip me with the law but draw me to Christ. When I don’t love you, please remind me of the love of Christ. When I sin, please forgive me and bring me to Christ. And I will do the same to you. For we are all a work in progress and the bride of Christ is in her time of preparation, waiting for the wedding day.

The problem starts with me and I know I am a work in progress – being transformed everyday into the likeness of Christ. Sometimes that’s painful, its slow, there are peaks and troughs and sometimes its joyous, more evident and uplifting. We are all the same. We must bear with one another because church is messy because we are messy people. And I am a messy person.

But I know Jesus loves me. And Jesus loves the church. He loves his bride. So lets love one another.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1John 4v7

Preaching Christ

Just read a wonderful blog post about preaching to the depressed, but I think this is for everyone as well. David Murray goes through 8 ways preachers damage those who are depressed by preaching anything other than Christ. I may be so bold to say, that some of those ways damage everyone. Sometimes I feel damaged by them. This is worth reading, here is the most beautiful part of the post:

And that really brings me to the best way to preach to the depressed, and that’s to preach Christ. Preach His suffering and sympathizing humanity. Preach His gentle and tender dealings with trembling and timid sinners. Preach His gracious and merciful words. Preach His beautiful meekness. Preach His miracles to demonstrate His power to heal. Preach His finished work on Calvary. Preach His offer of rest to the weary. Preach the power of His resurrection-life. Preach His precious promises: ”A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.”

Preach Christ! Preach Him winningly and winsomely. Preach Him near and ready to help. Preach Him from the heart to the heart. Preach Him again, and again, and again. Until the day dawn and the shadows flee away.

Collection of Webs (26)

Here are some great blog posts on the internet at the moment:

Death to January – Blog post by Emma Scrivener: “A time of fresh starts, resolutions and beginnings.  But how do you make them, when you’re in the same body, with the same mind, the same relationships, the same job (or lack of), and same struggles? This month it’s harder to trot out the same excuses.”

Is the bible a book about God? – Written by Dan Hames: The Bible is specifically a book about the Son of God. So long as we say that the Bible is a book about ‘God’ in the abstract, and not fighting hard for the centrality of Christ to the Bible, we’re depriving him of his rightful place, and ourselves of vital spiritual sustenance.

Welcome to the Crazy Church Family – by Bryony Young: “I have come to the conclusion that my Church is simply a glorious ruin. Glorious because we aim to glorify God and a ruin because we are still a work in progress.”

Boots – by Tanya Marlow: “Most days I am actually okay about being ill; I kind of accept it and get on with life. It doesn’t feature much in my thinking. Today is not one of those days.”

Three is the Loveliest number – Article by Mike Reeves: “For the health of the church and our faith, we must be proud of who our God is. And since the Trinity is no mere theological icing resting atop our God—since the living God is Trinity—we must be resolutely and thoroughly Trinitarian in all our ways and thoughts.”