Monday, 23 May 2011

Get your motor runnin'

What makes your world rock?

Do you have a passion for fashion or get in a frenzy for football? Do you get dreamy over dogs or go crazy for cupcakes? Is it meeting A-list stars or driving shiny cars?  Is it drinking fancy liquors or seeing pretty girls in their knickers?  What is it that gets you going, what moves you to madness?

We all have something that pushes our buttons, sometimes in a most beautiful and freeing way and other times in a hedonistic, pleasure-fuelled, guilt-inducing haze.

Last night I was introduced to the oratory talents of Louis Giglio and he reckons that we should get a little crazy when we remember the life-changing affect Jesus has on those of us that know Him already.  Not so that it becomes impossible for us to function or so that others might think we should be avoided but just every now and then, we should allow ourselves to get super-excited about the super-exciting, supernatual power of God, a bit like David did when he danced in the streets because his God had brought the Ark back to Jerusalem (read it here!).

Imagine getting excited about Jesus, imagine being that guy or that girl that is not ashamed to express the wonders of God in their life and sing and dance and shout hallelujah.

Sadly in the culture I grew up in it is considered odd to do this.  Ulster says no to letting yourself go.  We must be ordered and serious and reverent.  And indeed we must.  Our God is a God of order, He makes sense and we are to be sensible. But we should not let order rob us of the wonder of worship and the freedom of praise.

Don't pour out your passion onto food or wine or images on a screen. Don't waste your worship on money or drugs or the latest fad on the music scene.  Be excited about being God's and dance for Jesus.

'I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.'
2 Samuel 6:21-22

Monday, 16 May 2011

Looking for love?

People are lonely.

Not all people - but a lot are.  Some people are lonely by themselves, they want to be in company, they want friends but they find them hard to come by.  Others are lonely in the midst of a crowd, very much loved and surrounded by people who are prepared to make sacrifices for their good but then, when they lie in bed at night, they feel totally alone.

Others don't have this problem, they are content with the friends and family they have.  Sometimes these people get annoyed or confused by the lonely people, they find it hard to sympathize.  They look at the lonely people and think surely if they were just easier to get along with or if they weren't so opinionated/obstinate/shy/grumpy/odd/smelly they would find the friendships they are looking for.  And those people who feel lonely when they are surrounded by people who love them, what's wrong with those people? They are ungrateful and undeserving of those people whose love they reject.

I don't know why some people feel lonely or struggle to make friends but I do know that they are lonely and feeling lonely sucks. They need grace and patience from others, they need to be loved even when it is temptin to walk away.

Below is a postcard from the website postsecret.  It shows someone pinning their hopes on another person, that's too much pressure.  Look to God and He will be with you through your lonely times.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
   but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The enemy within

It's 2011; people are calm and reasonable, right? Wrong.

I recently had the dubious pleasure of a trip across the water to Old Trafford football ground to watch Manchester United play Everton.  I was travelling with a United fan and a neutral but I, alas, am an Everton man.

Yes, Roger, the Sage-on-the-Hill and myself made use of someone else's season tickets and found ourselves in the largest stand of the largest club stadium in England, just us and 75, 297 others.  Roger was wearing a lovely red number, the Sage was in pastel shades and I was proudly sporting a 1996 Everton home top, all was well. 

All was not well.

While sitting in our seats as the crowd started to filter in we were approached by a little jobsworth steward in a fluorescent jacket who pointed at my shirt and said, 'You can't wear that here.'  I was flabbergasted.  In this day and age, in a time where everyone sits during a match, in a time when prawn sandwiches and G&T have replaced pies and beer, in an enlightened era of cosmopolitan footballers and their A-list wag's, in this time a little ginger man can't sit alone with a different coloured shirt to the 75, 299 around him without fear of being beaten to a pulp if his team scores first!  It's a disgrace I tells ya - a disgrace.

I put a jumper on. Problem solved.

As in football, so too in life.  I am in enemy territory.  This world belongs to the devil but I don't.  I have a different coloured shirt on.  The problem is that the world fears those in God's team but we must stand strong, we must declare our allegiance and suffer the consequences, we must be prepared for a battle. 

Unfortunately we (Christians) have a tendency to, metaphorically speaking, put our jumpers on over our shirts.  We still are on the Lord's side but we just don't shout about it. We still want our enemy beaten but just as long as we don't get a beating along the way.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes
Romans 1:16