Radical You & Me – The Radical Christ

images-2It’s easy to say, ‘We are to be like Christ’, it is RADICAL and yet it a common statement, we may also hear folk say we are to be incarnational, what does that really mean? Someone once said that ‘Jesus put a face on God’ by coming amongst people and touching, lifting, embracing and caring for them in their hurts and needs. I find the scripture in John 1:18 very important for the day in which we live, it states that Jesus “came to explain the father”. He put a face on God for all humanity and this is continuing in the family way, explaining and making people aware of God, being the image and likeness of God to our homes, streets, work and educational establishments. We embrace Christ’s radical mission, recognising that the Father sends us even as he sent Jesus, [John 20:21] then we too can wear the face of God in…

God’s intention today is to step into the cities, towns and rural areas of the nations to touch and lift the fallen, broken, hurting and dying in humanity. We must refuse to fossilize if we’re to avoid becoming a church, a called out people ‘having form without power’.[ 2 Timothy 3:5]

In reality Christ, the supreme restorer, was the most RADICAL man that ever walked the earth. Jesus’ radical actions were not moments of human weakness or intolerance, but expressions of God’s heart. The radical Christ is at all times the perfect image of God the Father. Radical Christianity will always be passionate, jealous as well as zealous, and white-hot for the divine interests involved. Being radically committed to the restoration of the church to God’s full intention brings us into inevitable conflict with custom and tradition.

Before we move on “Radical” a much used term that has often been taken to mean the way out, those who extremely different on the edge kind of people, those that don’t easily belong to cultural or norms. But RADICAL actually means “foundational”, Jesus is radical as he has always dealt with humanities foundational issues. We are radical as we carry a foundational message, life and implication.

I mentioned being radical is being committed to radical restoration, restoration challenges any misplaced sense of loyalty to religious heritage, or sentimental attachment to a religious past. Radical commitment to the restoration of God’s church keeps us moving forward in the direction of the Spirit in our day, and prevents us from falling by the wayside with the religiously comfortable. Its only by being given to a radical restoration will the progress of the church be achieved. Standing radically to break through the restraining religious walls and forces of our time, this is the radical ministry of the people of God.

Our world today and tomorrow will be affected by radical men and women who live as saints from bygone years in the light of God’s purpose.

RADICAL CHANGES

Changes are occurring at a fast pace, the world we live in is getting unrecognizable, shifts are happening, things are changing in this generation; we are growingly aware that what we have now is no longer sufficient for what presently is, or for what is coming. We cannot settle for the average, accepting conventional wisdom. We must do more than merely think of changing; we must change our thinking. We cannot just uphold the same. We cannot just drift by but the need to be foundation-ally radical is there. The kingdom of God is the reality of God’s ways, God’s order, God’s government and pattern in our “time/space” world. The kingdom of God is a very radical experience.

We are being radical when:

· We embrace the gospel that joins us to others and their need, and cuts us free from the destructive influence of our independent self-will.

· We embrace the consequences of following his direction and Spirit regardless of possible consequences, which frees us from self-preservation.

· We maintain an attitude of pioneering, journeying onward rather than settling in self-comfort zones; we are pilgrims, not settlers.

· Living free of any domination of consumer world and the passing unimportant things that try and make themselves important via group pressures. Money can enslave; decisions, actions, directions, relationships, even ministry can be controlled by the desire for the temporal or money.

· Confidently confront the powers of darkness that oppose us rather than allowing them to paralyse us in fear.

· Making things happen is our way of living It is not for others to cause something to happen but for you to make it happen.images

· We refuse to compromise the truth to accommodate religion, or cultural norms.

· We remain committed to Christ as head of the church refusing to get stuck.

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Our Time…

“And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 

25 “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

images-9Acts 3:24-25

I’m not sure how long I have heard certain types of comments and messages going around the church, not only the church but in politics and society, messages on ‘times of transition’. I think I can truthfully say there has rarely been a year not hurt teams such as ‘days of transition’, ‘changing seasons’, and ‘new day’ and even the buzz term of today ‘paradigms shifts’. Why is it that every New Year we feel we’ve entered into the time of transition and without playing semantics I think a better summation of what has been taking place would be to say, we’ve been caught up in the purpose that his constant change therefore you feel you are in constant transition.

Unfortunately what is meant by transition often is to move from one fixed state of existence to another. Yet with great joy we experience something better than that. We are involved in the progressive and sure emergence of God’s kingdom in life and power in the progress towards maturity of the people.

In recent years it’s become popular paint on walls or to purchase planks with pithy sayings on, I came across one recently which stated, ‘if you only do things the way you have always done them, then you only get what you’ve always got’. Progress to the fullness of Christ, showing the Father that is, is only possible if we escape the fossilized influence of the status quo, of religious acceptance.

I believe we live in a generation that is calling out for Prophets who when they prophesy it’s not insipid prophesying passionate prophets.   Those in-home everything about their life his passion. What they hate they hate absolutely, what they love the love totally. What they do knows no half measure. There is an inch to their sword, conviction and their voice, men and women deeply moved by the spirit of God, men and women carry the burden can’t…Passion.

Over the years we have all recognise passionate preachers. The non-always held, you can be loud and not passionate, and you can be passionate and not allowed. But we could tell if their heart) in one memo from speaking we knew when there was passion inside them. The men and the women believe what they were saying, they believed they carried the word of God and love to such an extent they believe they were the most important person in the building at the moment, and what they were saying was the most important thing in the world at that moment…Passion.

And let me say they were not arrogant, they were not totally sure of themselves but they were sure of the God of the call and the word of the burden. That poured outness, giveness, their abandonment to thy God propelled them.

Passion by itself is not guarantee of truth, but also the passion instead. ‘The letter kills, it is the spirit that gives life’…Passion.

We could join with those 2 disciples that pass comment when they realise that Christ had walked on the Emmaus Road with them and say ‘ did not our heart burn inside this’ when they heard the word of God. We know very well that communicating with heart must be a way forward. There are so many able people to communicate information and do it with such creativity, you when I will be much the better from hearing them, but it also deliver their heart…Passion that captures us.

Should not the things of God, the interests of the creator, the seal of the Lord that will accomplish it be that which triggers and fires a passion?

Samuel and his successors were at the forefront of the purpose of God for their time, and brought to each and burning messages of God’s word. O Lord give us a fire back in words, not empty with no substance words, but words of revelation that carry a fire of heavens throne.They spoke to kings and rulers, who in turn put pressure on them to change their throne to change their message, to change their prophesy. Yet these prophets were 1st and foremost servants of God, and despite all pressures remained such. Political engineering  and electioneering in our day shawls politicians seeking to discover through opinion polls what the people want them to say on issues. When they find this they often change the emphasis opposition accordingly. We have politics of single issues. Not so all the prophets, they know the purpose, they know the heart of God and they press the issue. They are not politicians but prophets.  Men and women who love God and deeply loved the people of God, folding after Christ the great prophet who loved people.

These never measured themselves by people’s response to the word they carried. The fulfilling release they have is knowing that they’ve been the voice of God that time. The response of the word is an issue between people and their God. The prophet is to deliver what is known to be the word of God.

Think about it…your passion, your burden, your abandonment…

 

Leading from mail, ’email’, ‘snail mail’, ‘Royal mail’ or Power Letter…

Biblical LetterWhat a book, what a letter, what a pouring out of wisdom and revelation.

How can I best present the book of Ephesians to you, a book that was penned into a world where the evidences of powers behind politics, social challenges and finances were so evident. The signs of strength were openly displayed on the market streets of the day. History tells us even the world power of the day, ‘Roman Empire’ had claimed the eternal rights of power in having a divine Caesar, this was the world Paul wrote in to, this was the world in which the readers took hold of the truth that Paul unpacked.  Perhaps in truth, not 1,000,000 miles away from our own world where the powers still seek to capture the state, the politics, the finances, the world markets, therefore this letter introduces to us  how to live in such a world.

The writings are there to encourage the readers, you and I, a people who are “in Christ, women, men, children all that are and were being called to be obedient to the Creator of the Universe (Eph 1:4,3:9). The truth of being “In Christ” is this, God graciously included us into Gods eternal family (Eph 1:2,5; 2:18,5:20). What a thrilling narrative what an exciting reality for each one of us, we have been given a role in the eternal purpose of God (Eph 1:9-10). Which means we have a close relationship with Father Son and Spirit. This is not any relationship but one where God was so committed to being united with us that God was willing to humble God to achieve being united with is.

The reality must be sounded greatly in our and through our lives, we are to be bold and take hold to the truth sounded by Paul in this letter by engaging and embracing “seek first” the coming of the kingdom and the anointed King, Christ Jesus has already established the victory of God, the eschatology of our world, Christ is the end!    This victory for is declared to all the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”, we being united translates to that the very same power has become available to God’s family.

WOW, the earth shattering,  eternal impacting message of this book, Paul Longs that our eyes might be open, that spiritual blindness will be taken away by all who read this letter. Because of this we are called to live as one, encouraged to take on the overcoming fight with the forces around us.

We are reminded that if we are “in Christ” we are joined, United with him and each other.

Not only did Christ conquer but also took of himself on the heel of the victory, not only crushed the head of the evil one but made available all and gave himself away by Christ distributed himself, in giving gifts so that we might maintain our oneness and come to maturity (Eph 4:11 cf)

Paul wants us to grasp and hold in our foundation that God is in the process of restoring his creation to its original unity, the unity of peace between people’s, the unity of peace in creation.

I urge us to read these passages rightly, to grasp the reasons Paul is committing hand to pen and pen to paper, so that each one must grow up to maturity in all ways, that we might learn what it is to grasp “the breath and the length and the height and depth… of the love of Christ” in order that God’s eternal plan might come to full maturity in each individual and in the corporate life of the church of God.

The giving of gifts, distribution of Ascension gifts, the setting of good works, the grasping of the love of God, see that we have been arrested since before creation began,  all is our inheritance to enjoy.

Destiny…Purpose…and You!?

images-6I have a destiny? 
I have a purpose? 
Do you?
These are common statements, yet we discover many frustrated people chasing or advancing themselves to the degree that nothing else matters.    While I believe in destiny, each one of us being created, as the scripture puts it ”…for good works…”  I see that the context of the arresting of the Divine in our lives is sometimes sidelined and misquoted which brings about frustration.
We have been born and set in place to fulfil the will of the Father,  our destiny, never mind what we think it might be, finds its source and positioning in the will of God.     Our names have been included in the bringing about of the Father, Son and Spirit’s will,  this is where we find the most fulfilling and a destiny that is true.   A destiny that is not self willed, self-centred, or self-seeking but being poured out for the Divine Call that is on every ones life.
I believe it is time to re-orient ourselves so we can fulfil the will of God.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love         he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,       to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Eph 1:3-6 
This passage explodes into the life of the  Christ follower, it pulsates, it moves at a pace.   Just as Paul whose thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit he lets lose in  a 10 verse explosion of vocabulary with out a pause in Eph 1.   Some say this is the longest sentence in written form, no breath, no commas, no fullstops!
 
THE EXPLOSION OF “BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRISt WHO HAS BLESSED US WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS
 
An excitement over what God has done for us.   Paul says it is glorious, it takes your breath away what has taken place in Christ with us.
 
Can you feel Paul’s revelation, can you feel his passion as you try read the 10 verses without commas, and pauses?   
We are included!   we are Involved!   See it with Paul!    Paul communicates all history has changed and he is inspired by it.
 
Paul says this is our destiny, to give ourselves not to gain position, quotas, elevation, greater church numbers, more books or TV, bigger and better (is this not competition), events and churches, but to be a part of Divine Destiny.    I have  a destiny, you have a  destiny, it is to be inspired with God’s Destiny and give our selves to it, so we can fulfil the good works set for us as we pursue the destiny of God  we embrace our personal destiny.   My Destiny is found in pursuit of Gods’.
 
So what do I do find people who are giving themselves to “Making God Great”,by following the eternal set ways,  setting Father, Son and Holy Spirit goal as first order and not promoting their church, their ministry but giving all they have to serve the Destiny of God.   Let us be part of a transformation that releases a fulfilled people of God as they give all to Gods’ Goal
 
In the next few blogs I will look at this inspiring destiny,  all our initiatives, all our transformation, missional involvement  and everything we involve with must find its source in the destiny of God, not simply caught on achieving my Destiny, but achieving Gods Destiny  is actually achieving my Destiny God has a goal!

Be counted in…

“The priesthood of all believers” this was once well taught, Martin Luther in the early reformation took it as a central teaching. Yet after all this time we are still battling with it.     Today we have a professional priesthood or pastors more than ever and with it people are moved into a consumer approach to faith, where we come and get God served to us on Sunday mornings.   We all agree with the notion knowing we are all priest unto God.   The dilemma today is this, do we continue to live as we are, are we ‘consumered out’ and so hierarchically set that we have to live with a priesthood once again and thus remain with a professional priesthood ?

unknownI know this is not our desire.  Today with the great cry for freedom  and liberty all around us, we should  take hold of our position through the love of God.

We have to become a priesthood to all creation, while maintaining a corporate people of God understanding and existence.    Some however have taken it to such an extreme that they have become islands of faith and individuals with no connections,  that is yet another extreme.   We are a community and family of priests unto our God, here to minister to one another and bring explanations of the Father to our world.    This is what  our High Priest the Christ has done before us.

Suppose that you gathered one Sunday morning, and some one stood before the congregation  asking, “Would any priest  here please stand?”   I am sure for some their historical backgrounds would determine the response.  Who would stand and who would you expect to stand?

Some would be comfortable to stand and others wait for those in the vocation or profession to stand.   Before you start looking to other denominations and saying ‘Ah they would….’ What have we slowly and subversively come to?   The question deals with the fleeting issue of ‘Image and Likeness’ and ‘Identity’.  This is central to all dealing with how we see and think of ourselves.  One of Gods central concerns, at this time, is to produce his image and likeness back into his world and humanity, that Christ might have supreme position in all – Restoration.   The Holy Spirit is working to bring about a people of image and likeness to the Father in the cosmos, it is an important issue today.

Heavens resources are working to bring the image and likeness of God back in view to all.

Back to the question on that Sunday morning, how many people do you think would rise? More important, would you stand?

You should! every believer is anointed to serve as a priest.

For the early Christian in the New Testament, the word priest is never used of a church leader; it is only used to characterise the role of all believers.  Imagine how it was received by the early Christians. When Peter wrote, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Pet. 2:9RSV), he was writing mostly to people who formerly had nothing to do with Israel and its God. Peter confers on these new Christians both a Jewish heritage (“you are a holy nation, God’s own people”) and the privilege of priesthood (“you are a royal priesthood”). Such a notion would have shaken them to the soles of their sandals.

Perhaps to understand the privilege of being named a priest, we need first to examine what priesthood meant to those who had a history of understanding of the practice of Priesthood.     Why do I write on this, I believe that if we could catch our Image and Likeness, our identity, many challenges would pass and life would be lived very differently, its time to finally realise the goal of the Father in this.

A Favoured Person

Priests were chosen from among the tribe of Levi (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) to serve as mediators between God and His people. God told Aaron, the first high priest,

I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the Tent of Meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death Num. 18:6-7

It was a tremendous privilege to serve as a priest in Israel—a gift. Priests enjoyed a special relationship to God: They alone could offer sacrifices; they alone had access to the holy portions of the tabernacle and the temple where God manifested His presence; they alone were the guardians of the Law.

Then, in the New Testament, all believers are called as priests. The book of Revelation says that Jesus “has made us his Kingdom and his priests who serve before God his Father” (1:65:10NLT). In a sense, when we are “born again,” we are born into a priesthood as if we were actually privileged descendants of Levi. In addition, with our new birth we receive an anointing, not with oil as Old Testament priests were anointed, but with the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 2:2027). This anointing empowers us to serve God in this privileged and vitally important priestly role.

You won’t have to Kill a cow or a lamb.

Here are five ways we serve Christ as priests.

1. We offer sacrifices. Under the Old Covenant, priests offered animal sacrifices. They slaughtered a lamb on the altar every morning and evening, drained the animal’s blood, and sprinkled the blood on and around the altar. Then they cut the animal into prescribed portions and burned much of the meat (see Ex. 29:38-39). These costly and graphic sacrifices were a constant reminder of the deadly seriousness of sin and the need for cleansing and forgiveness from God. They were inadequate, however, to cover sins; they only pointed to the ultimate sacrifice.

This sacrifice was realised in Jesus who came as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). The offering of His life on the cross was the final sacrifice. None other will ever be necessary: “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself” (Heb. 7:27).

Because of Jesus’ sacrificial offering, priests no longer need to make animal sacrifices. But God does call us to sacrifice consider Romans 12:1 “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship”.

As living sacrifices, we offer ourselves completely to God to use as He pleases.

In addition, instead of the aroma of a burnt offering, God longs for us to offer the pleasing aroma of praise: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Heb. 13:15). This too is part of our priestly service.   I have mentioned in a number of places remember that worship was not singing but a life of obedience, worship was obedience and there to be a sweet aroma to God.    Singing has a place, it helps us express and confess, yet without obedience it is just a sing along, for the sake of enjoying the music or the celebrations of songs

2. We read, interpret, and proclaim God’s . One of the extraordinary blessings of the New Covenant is that we have direct and immediate access to the Word of God. This truth led Christian leaders such as John and Martin Luther to translate the Bible into everyday languages so all people—not just the clergy—could read it, interpret it, and delight in it. God calls all of us to be like the priest Ezra, who devoted himself to studying God’s , practicing it, and making it known (Ezra 7:10).

3. We intercede for others in prayer.    We also have direct access to God—through our relationship with him.   Developing and deepening our intimacy with him.,  Because of our close relationship with Jesus, the great high priest, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). At that throne, we believer-priests can serve others by interceding with God on their behalf.      God is still looking for those who will become the one ‘mankind’ who will stand in the gap, intercede and rule in the cosmos on his behalf.

4. We serve according to our giftedness. Not all priests will serve in the same way under this new priesthood. When God poured out His Spirit upon us, He gave us different abilities. God also has provided the church with a variety of gifted people (none of whom constitute a special order of priests) who encourage and prepare their fellow believer-priests to do the ministry. The Apostle Paul says that Christ has given gifts to the church “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service” (Eph. 4:12NASB).     That the people of God transform the cosmos around by their empowering priesthood.

5. We mediate God’s presence to the world. Ultimately, we are channels of God’s blessing. One of our priestly sacrifices is to serve others: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16). We represent God’s presence to those living with us, those in line with us at the grocery store, serving us in restaurants, working next to us, or sitting across from us in our small groups. As we talk, pray, and live with them, we are fulfilling our priestly role as Peter described it:

1 Peter 2:9 “You are…a royal priesthood…[God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

Knowing your true identity and role can have a powerful impact on your life. God has called you to a priestly position and has anointed you with His Spirit for this privileged assignment.