RSS

The Application of Truth

I have a piece of paper on my wall and this is what it reads:
Application of truth > Relevance

There are two types of relevance. Worldly Relevance and Gospel Relevance.

Worldly Relevance.
This is more of a conformity than anything. It’s actually trying to be like people around you rather than sticking out from the crowd. It’s actually giving into the stereotypes people have placed upon you, or giving into the ‘norm’ of society. It can even be considered as a mask or something fake that we can all succumb to. We want people to like us, so that can change the way we dress, or how we speak or what we believe in cases (or even what we want people to think we believe). Worldly relevance is a killer when trying to show Jesus in our lives.
Can you imagine if Jesus woke up one day and just decided that he wanted to be like everyone else? He wouldn’t have been perfect for one, and he wouldn’t have been the saviour of mankind because he would have been hell-bent on becoming someone who he wasn’t.
Fact is, Jesus couldn’t give one about what people thought of him for who he was.  He wanted people to follow him, yes, but he didn’t let it change his character or who he was in the core. Do you think he was thinking “I really hope I don’t upset anyone” when he flipped the tables in the temple? Or “I better wear my best garment today as I’m doing a preach” when going up on the mount. No, I can guarantee he didn’t.

Gospel Relevance.
This is something people would argue doesn’t exist. And I’ve mulled over this myself for the past few days; Is the gospel (the story of Jesus Christ) relevant to society and the modern world? My conclusion, yes. Of course it is.
Think about it, the Bible would have been called relevant 100 years ago. And the argument against that is that it isn’t relevant today because a lot has changed in 100 years. But, there was more change in 1900 years than in 100. Let me put it simply, if 100 years ago it was relevant 1900 years after it was created, then how can it not be relevant just a measly 100 years after that; today. Get it?
People say there is a decline in religion. Maybe there is, but I can tell you what there isn’t a decline of, People who have a very real, very tangible relationship with God, regardless of rules or religion or society of what worldly relevance is. I have seen God’s ways and witnessed things he has done in my life and those lives around me. I’m not saying there is a decline in religion, but there most certainly an increase in people who have a relationship with God. So if that is the case, those people who have a relationship with God look to the library that is the Bible, thus looking to the story of Jesus, the gospel.

The gospel is relevant. But it is only outworked in society (that says it isn’t) through us. We are the key to show people, our friends, our family, that person who is sitting next to you on the train, that God is real.

How do we show this?

We show this by reading what the Bible says and applying that truth to our lives, rather than being relevant in a worldly sense.

The Bible is counter cultural, therefore it cannot be relevant on its own without people. But, it is relevant in society if we outwork it and live it. If we, as an army for God, are all living what the gospel teaches us, then how can it not be relevant, because we are out there, part of the world, in the world, but of God; of the gospel.

Thanks for reading.
Nick.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Wilderness of Hopelessness

Just a thought that I’ve had today and thought I’d share it.

We have all felt hopeless or had a feeling of hopelessness at some point in our lives, whether we have been of faith or not. And not having any hope is so destructive. It can take away any remaining passion in an instant. Obviously, this isn’t good.

Think back for a moment where you have been truly hopeless and thought giving up is the best option. I can think of a few in the past 6 months. Try and think how you was feeling in that moment or period of time. Maybe you’re in a period of hopelessness.

Now you’ll know what I say next, it doesn’t last forever. Pain is temporary. Hopelessness is temporary. God is enduring and everlasting. Which kind of begs the question, can you have hope without God in your life?
Yes. You can.
Will that hope be everlasting, if it’s without God?
No.

Because you see, having hope in something that isn’t Godly means you’ve got hope in something worldly. And as the Bible says “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” – 1 John 5:11. Now I know this quote doesn’t directly say it, but just swap the word ‘life’ out for ‘hope’ and you get this:
“…God has given us eternal hope, and this hope is in his Son”. Can’t say fairer than that, right? It doesn’t say that God has given you eternal hope and that hope is in the world, the only hope you can truly hold on to; the only hope that is, in fact, everlasting, is the one that’s in Jesus.

Simply it’s put like this:

KNOW GOD
KNOW HOPE.
NO    GOD
NO    HOPE.

Pain is temporary. God is eternal. Hopelessness doesn’t last forever. God does.
Just look to him to restore your spirit and passion. He will. Just ask for hope and he’ll give it to you.

One final point I want to make, being in a season of hopelessness feels like your life is baron, like there’s nothing there, like maybe, it is a wilderness. Nothing around you but the heat, the pressure and the sand.
Here’s an analogy I though about today:
(Based on Matthew 4 – Jesus entering and being tested in the wilderness)
If you haven’t read the chapter, I’ll sum it up: Jesus entered the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights and was tempted by the devil time and time again, but in the end, our hero prevails as he does time and time again.

Think of the wilderness as your life. Grim, I know.
Jesus has entered your life and is fighting the devil on your behalf within you.
Now I don’t know about you but if I spent 40 days in the wilderness, I’d be tired, hungry, thirsty, bored, all of the above. It would feel like a damn long time. And not having any hope also feels like a damn long time.
See the parallels I’m drawing here, your life can be a wilderness, but the good news is that Jesus will enter your life and help you out.

Wilderness no more, Hope restored.

Thanks.
Nick.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

It. Is. Ok.

This post is pretty long. I hope you’re ready.

It took me a while to realise that people aren’t super beings. That they fail everyday. It took me ages to realise that sometimes people do suck and that people mess up and that people will let you down and that you’ll let people down because you’re a mere man or woman. And it’s hard when you fail, because you have to get back up from it because you know it’s what you should do and you know that it is expected of you also. But getting up is damn hard when you know you’ve let yourself or God or your friends down. Or all 3. It is damn hard indeed. Does it make us a bad person if we don’t get up straight away from our failures, if we don’t bounce back and have the same attitude that we have had prior to what has happened?

No. It doesn’t.

Because you know what is a common, but brutal misconception about Church and Christianity? It’s thinking you aren’t good enough for either. and it absolutely breaks my heart when people say “I would worship like they do but I’m not good enough” or “I would go to Church on a Sunday, but in fact, I’m really not good enough for that”. It sucks so bad and it is incredibly frustrating too.

Let me tell you, it is genuinely ok that you are not perfect, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to worship God. And it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on anything to do with Church. What people like to forget is that Church isn’t (or shouldn’t) be for people to glorify themselves, nor is it for people who are perfect, but Church is for broken people. Please, I implore you, Church is for people who need God to help them to get their life sorted out. It is not a place to make people feel like crap. It is not a place to work your way to the top or become a ‘leader’. It is people helping people in an honest way.

You are good enough, regardless that you’re a mere man or mere woman, let nobody tell you that, in or out of Church. There shouldn’t be some standard that you have to live up to to come to Church or be able to serve.

And what infuriates me further is that people who may have never been to Church or in a Christian setting have that common misconception. And you know why – it’s because of us! How crap is that! It’s our fault as Christians called to be Christ-Like that this is a misconception of society. And what doesn’t help is that we are the ones who nurture that weed that has been planted in their mind. We need to uproot that sucker and plant the right seed! Not the seed that you have to be of a certain standard to come to Church or serve on certain teams.

Let me tell you a true story, for the sake of the people involved, I have changed the names.

Just under 2 years ago, I attended a Church event (by this point I had been coming to Church for 2 years so there was a lot that was familiar to me) where the speaker on stage told a story about a young person from Youth, let’s call them Bill. The person on stage said that Bill had the opportunity to tell his school friends that he was a Christian. He didn’t. When confronted about it Bill said “I just didn’t see what was in it for me”. After telling this to the congregation, many people gasped with horror and I particularly remember one woman sat in front of me who had been part of this Church for a lot longer than I had, we’ll call her Ellie, shaking her head and being amongst the gaspers. Her gasping knocked me sick. Now I know it wasn’t just her, but it made me feel physically sick. After the service I overheard Ellie saying to someone “…clearly this young person has an exclusive view of Church…” and then proceeded to use some typical Church language that is used by everyone. This always stuck with me, though I only ever told 1 person. The story isn’t over though. Not 4 months ago, I had just finished chatting with my group at youth about something and it was time to go into the other room to set up for Sunday or whatever, quite honestly I don’t really remember. But as I was walking past the window I noticed a group of about 3 or 4 lads, maybe 16 or 17 in age outside on their skateboards just messing around, having a laugh, being a 16/17 year old lad. Not causing any harm, not doing any damage just having some good honest fun on a Church car park. They had never been here before, they probably didn’t even know it was a Church, they cared that it was flat land and that there was light and nobody around, so they decided to make the most of it. Who could blame them? So I thought to myself, “Great, I’ll go outside now and have a chat with them, see if they’re Ok, invite them inside for a hot chocolate or a can of coke, plan a game of ping pong, get their names” etc. That’s just the evangelist in me. But by the time I got outside they had gone. They had literally vanished in the space of 20 seconds. Ellie was waiting outside for her relative to come outside so they could go home as youth was over. I said to her “Did you see that small group of lads, I was going to chat to them” and she replied with “Oh. Them lot. I told them all to go away. I told them that if they didn’t want to participate with youth (which was over!!!!!) that they should find somewhere else to loiter and mess about”. I felt like gasping myself. Chance ruined.

You know what the worst thing is, Ellie is a major player (and so is her family) in this Church. She has been going for literally decades. She’s known throughout the Church and she plays quite a big role in the team that she serves in, and honestly, she’s a lovely woman.

Doesn’t that beg the question that we might also be planting the seed of condemnation in people’s minds? I know I have in previous years.  I hope I don’t anymore. All I can do is hope and pray that I don’t really.

Oh and those 3 guys, they have never come back, I’m not saying they never will, but in 4 months they haven’t. Maybe they’ve found somewhere else to skate that’s a little less condemning.

I’m sorry this post has been so long, I tried to cut it down as much as possible. I just want you to all know that it’s totally fine if you’re not fine. Keep going, it’ll be ok. I don’t want this to seem like a rant, I just think it is definitely something to think about.

Thanks for reading.

Nick.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Church Doesn’t Work

Controversial title, right?

This post isn’t supposed to try and inspire you; to make you feel empowered to go and change the world. It’s simply a thought I’ve harboured and dealt with. Plainly, this is a post to make you and I think and re-evaluate

Only by the grace of God is it that Church works. We, as Humans, are failures. A truth that seems to have been diluted in the modern Church. The same truth has just become part of ‘Church Language’ and maybe even as far as a cliché, the truth that we all fail and that we all sin.

Our very existence is sinful, so we can’t go through a 24 hour cycle without sinning. We can’t help it, that’s just how it is. But I don’t think this truth should be summed up with “That’s just how it is”. This is what I mean by the dilution.

I feel like some of us don’t truly grasp the sense being a failure. It literally means: nothing we can do can change it. Seriously, just pause for a moment and think about how much of a failure we are. I literally cannot comprehend how much of a failure I am, and I would hope you feel the same too. Don’t depress yourself out though, there’s that light at the end of the tunnel called grace. If you can’t comprehend how much of a failure you are, then you will surely not be able to grasp grace because God’s grace is so much more than that. But that’s another story for another day.

Let me tell you a true story. One Friday night after youth about 18 months ago I sat on my bed crying, speaking out to God, swearing, shouting, cursing him and cursing about Church: “Church doesn’t work!” (who better to vent to than God) was my main point mixed with a lot of wrong and unfair things towards God. Something had happened between me and another leader of youth and it upset me extremely, and I took it out on God and Church. The weekend passed by and on the Sunday evening I was praying and God said something to me: “Church shouldn’t work…” he said “…but it does, by my grace”. Boom. Serious Jesus moment right there.

And that truth still remains. A Church only works because of God’s grace for us and his knowledge about how much we fail. Even then there are flaws in a Church. Not because God’s grace isn’t sufficient, if he wanted to create the perfect Church, he would, but then we have lost our Humanity. If there is a perfect Church, there must be perfect people.

I could speak about that all day, I have so many other points but I’m aware that readers can get drowsy after 350 words and I’m now on 472, so I’ll keep this snappy.

But we are pathetic, nothing, nobody, sinners. And we are all the same, no person is better than you and you are better than no person. It doesn’t make you a better person because you are in Church, nor does it make you a better person or Christian if you are a ‘Leader’ or in a position of ‘Leadership’ (inverted commas because you can be appointed into a leadership role but not actually lead anyone, just thought I’d clarify that)

People in Church are just as much sinners as people outside of Church. Get that in your head Churchy People. Like seriously think about it.

And Unchurched people, let me tell you this, we are all failures. Some people from Church might think that they’re better than you because they go to Church, they’re not. Just let me throw that out there. Don’t let what they say put you off Church, God, Christianity etc because the reality is, not all Churches are like that. At all.

Word count is increasingly massively, so, I’ll leave you with this:

Equation:
Church + God’s Grace = Church that works.
Just. It hangs on by it’s fingers. There are still flaws in that Church and there are still people in that Church that are complete d-bags. But it works.

I could talk about this all day.

Nick

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Safe

Something simple, but applies to us all. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of refreshment.

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Romans 10:9-10

We are saved when we confess with our lips, not just believing in our hearts. You see believing is one thing. Even the demons believe in Jesus and that he raised from the grave. But actually speaking that out, that’s a different story.

Knowledge without expression is knowledge and memory wasted. If you had learnt something that was so beneficial for who you are would you really keep it quiet?

A simple analogy for you: Imagine you had watched the greatest television show ever. It is awesome, everything about it. For that whole hour, you are totally captivated by it. You can’t stop thinking about it, how great it is, the effects, the acting. Everything about it is superb. Life-changing. Would you not tell anybody about it and keep it to yourself or would you want others to enjoy the greatness of it too?

I know, like I said, that analogy is simple. Hopefully not condescending/patronising. This is something I have just learnt quite recently even though its something small.

It’s the same as reading the Bible and not telling a soul about it, or taking any of it on board.
It’s also the same as knowing Jesus as being Lord and that he’s the only way… but not telling anyone. Not telling anyone about this; not confessing it, that’s the waste of knowledge.

He is the way

The Bible deserves to be outspoken to people, it doesn’t need to be stuck up for, there isn’t a sugar coat for it friend. But confessed, that’s what it needs to be.
And it’s not just bog standard knowledge from a bog standard book.
This isn’t average information to make people say “Oh really. How interesting.” and go back to their normal lives.
It isn’t just a random string of words.
It most certainly isn’t useless information.
It’s not just a book.
It’s not just a way.
It’s not just a library.
There’s no prequel or sequel.
There’s no additional features or downloadable content.
This is the word of God. And it needs to be outspoken into the world.

Thanks for reading.

Nick.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Filling

Filling: Something that leaves one feeling pleasantly satisfied.

“I’m full!” is a common expression said in our family. My 4 siblings are known to be ‘picky eaters’: “their eyes are bigger than their bellies” is also a familiar phrase that occurs in this family, normally said by Mr. J. Randall. When really “I’m full” doesn’t mean what it’s says, instead it means “I don’t like this.” or “I want something else” usually that of the sweet persuasion. And sometimes we can be a lot like that. Denying something that’s good and healthy for us because we want something easier or something that seems sweeter. But how many of us know that if you only have sweet things, you’ll get a horrendous tooth-ache. I’m a lover of sweets, chocolate and biscuits but the amount of times I’ve gone days without eating anything but these things and ended up ill are uncountable.

We can prioritise sometimes in our lives things that may seem sweet at the time but later on they are recognised as a bad thing for us. Whilst we’re choosing/doing the sweet thing we feel awesome! We feel full! But really that’s just a temporary filling. Something that we think has filled us but really it is just a hype, something that has stimulated us for a moment but afterwards we’re left wanting more; the next fix; the next dose. When we fill ourselves up on things that are temporary, we start to get ill and things start to go wrong.

We are lead by what we fill ourselves with. Fill yourself with pride, you’ll be lead by pride. Fill yourself with anger, you’ll be lead by anger. Fill yourself with love, you’ll be lead by love. You get the idea. Whatever we fill ourselves with is what we priortise too. I think it’s about time we start filling ourselves with the good things. Actually, no. We shouldn’t fill ourselves with good things, we should fill ourselves with the best thing: Jesus. Once we fill ourselves with the ultimate thing that’s when we’ll be lead to do great things. If you sow into yourself the most humble person to have ever lived, allow yourself to be lead by him then you’re going to reap so much humility it’s unfathomable. And it’s the same with all of Jesus’ traits. Love. Patience. Joy. Peace. Kindness. Self-Control. Fairness. Courage. Integrity. Contentment. The list goes on and on.

We don’t get a sense of satisfaction if we fill ourselves with inadequate, momentary things. As I said before it’s just hype. A build up… build up… Build up… Build Up… BUILD… BUILD… BUILD UP… BUILD UP! … then crash, anti-climax. Then we go through this insanity hoping for a different outcome, so we try again, the huge build up again and the same result. So we try again, and again, and again, and again. It’s absurd! This is what happens when we fill ourselves and commit to things that never give us a long term sense of gratification. It’s like we’re hungry for more. Hungry for something that doesn’t fill us. Which is ironic really. We fill ourselves with something that just makes us hungrier than when we first started. It’s like these fillings makes us feel empty.

So why don’t we start filling us with something that will actually fill us? You’ve got to admit, it makes sense.

Thanks for Reading, see you soon.

Nick. 🙂

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

A Not So Farewell

Hello.

Well, what can I say? This is a belated post. I was supposed to get this typed up and published on the 31st of November 2013 just so this blog would’ve been a year to the day. But it’s over 2 months late and I apologise.

We can be so comfortable sometimes doing the same things and just chugging along as we see fit. God can tell us to do something and we obey it, but then later down the line he might ask us to do something else. We can sometimes disobey this second thing because we’re so comfortable doing the first. This is me. For so long I’ve put off doing what God wants me to do now because I’ve been so focused on doing the first thing he asked me to do. I’ve been posting and updating my blog, but to be vulnerable with all you this isn’t where God wants me to be. He wants me to move onto bigger and greater things.

I love to write, I really do. But it’s not what I love, it’s what’s God has planned for me – that’s the most important.

I’ve been putting off this post for so long because I never really wanted to stop writing my blog, but it’s time for me to now wake up and start obeying what God has planned for me.

God’s will whatever, right?

You may feel the same though, hence the purpose of this post, you may feel like it’s time for you to step up. Trust me when I say the best thing for you to do is start obeying what God has planned for you.

Even when things seem foggy and you’ve not got the faintest idea where God wants you to go or what he wants you to do you’re just going to have to trust him. Simple as that.

It’s hard and it may seem confusing at first, but God never said it was going to be easy. He even said it’d be a struggle. But you know what reassures me when I begin to slip on this path that I can’t see, that’s there’s a Grace-Zone for me.

Sure things will be hard at first. I’ll slip, I’ll fall, but God is that safety net. Ready to catch me when I do fail. He’ll pick me up, dust me off and place me back on the path he wants me to take.

But it doesn’t just stop there. He’s my guide. Linking my arm and leading me. He’s that glorious light in that gloomy darkness.

How can I not follow a plan that will deliver me into a place that I cannot fathom. A place of beauty and awe that can make Kings fall to their knees. I want that and you know what’s even better, God wants that for me too.

It’s time for me and time for you to start following the plan God has got for us. It’s not going to be easy though; far from it. But God’s with us. He’ll protect us. He only gives us challenges we can handle anyway!

Why not?

So, this belated last post is coming to an end. But this might not be it. I might be back sometime in the future. God’s will over ours.

I guess that there’s nothing more to say than goodbye. But seeing as this might not be goodbye…

A not so farewell.

Take care. Nicholas. 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
%d bloggers like this: