Sunday, July 27, 2008

The joy of certain hope

Christ Church, Brighton has now had its first death in the family. Phyllis - who was 86 (I think) and incredibly lovely went home to be with the Lord last night. Christian old people are amazing. Her husband, Derek, rocked up to Christ Church a few months back (the Sunday after we'd been praying for old people together on the Wednesday). We're their closest church and although Phyllis has been housebound and never made a meeting its been such a joy having both of them in our midst - people who have been Christians for over 60 years - amazing. And seeing Derek cope with the death of his wife of over 50 years has also been inredbile. Instead of being mournful and bitter, he has been joyful and selfless. He knows where she is - she is with her Saviour in a far better place, a place of no more tears or mourning or crying or pain, and he's rejoicing in that. And Derek cares more about that than about his own state, left behind, missing her greatly - but joyful none the less. That is certain hope. And that is a real challenge - to live with the reality of eternity...
'Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown through Christ my own'

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The way of the cross

Ok so having not blogged since January quite a lot has happened in my life - I've moved house into Hollingbury where I want to 'live in community to impact the community' (ask if you wanna know more), I'm going to be properly employed by my church from September (I'll have to pay tax and everything!) and I've finished my 1st year of Porterbrook training. 2 weeks ago I was up in Sheffield helping wit the Crowded House's 'Summer in the City' week - what a week that was. It was a week where I was blown away by people in the Crowded Houses' commitment to the gospel - they obviously believed it was true and it showed in their lives. The had a nice little routine to it - in the morning we'd all meet together for prayer and Bible teaching, in the afternoon we'd go out into our separate communities (I was on the Manor team - we always gardened and we usually got soaked!) and then the evenings were spent doing some kind of relational thing (Jazz cafe, pub quiz type thing). The teaching was amazing. Tim Chester taught us on taking hte way of the cross. One day, we looked at 1 Peter as an example of how many times the theme of suffering followed by resurrection happens - look at it, its awesomely littered all the way through. The Christian life is about suffering - expect it - but glory will come. The Christian life involves 4 S's (though I can't remeber the last one) suffering, servanthood and self denail.

That is what taking the way of hte cross is. I think I often think of taking the way of the cross as being about the big decisions in life - and it is. People on the Manor team in Sheffield have all made the big life dicison of going to live on a rough estate when really they are all middle class and don't need to - most middle class peopel would run a mile from that place - but they haven't - they have taken the way of hte cross, as they love people and want them to know Jesus. But taking the way of the cross is far more than that. It is daily dying to self, it is daily putting others needs before my own. And that can be hard. That means that I will joyfully do the washing up again, even when I don't want, coz I'm valuing others over myself. That means I will help people, even when I'm tired, and spend time with people who I may find difficult, as they need to know Jesus' love too. And I'll do this not to earn God's love - I can never do that, but as a response to what Jesus has done for me. A reponse that shows that I'm not living for this world, but for eternity. I want my life not to make sense unless the gospel is true - and in the case I must take the way of the cross.

Ok, ok

I'll blog again... Aimz has spoken...