Sunday, 18 April 2010

His Kingdom...not yours

Been doing some work on 1 Peter for a CU talk in a couple of weeks... seems that Peter wants to give the Christians confidence, that while their life is now difficult, tough, pressured and as they are marginalised simply for being obedient to Jesus... so they need reassurance to stand firm... in 1:1-12, that confidence seems to be: God is for them (he chose them); they have an awesome, secure future ahead of them that will never perish, and not be taken away from them; and that even through trials - they can rejoice, deeply, for the most precious thing they have - their faith - is being refined to make it stronger, more beautiful, more pure...

They're exiles... in the world, but not of the world - set apart, marked out, as being obedient to Jesus. And that obedience to Jesus causes them to be reviled, mocked and maligned... but that should not be a surprise to them, for it is the pattern that Christ himself sets up, follows and experiences (as foretold in the prophets) of suffering in this world, but glory in the future world... that living hope, that awesome inheritance.

Reminds me of this quote (from Tripp):
"Jesus didn't give you his grace, to make your kingdom work... he gave you his grace, to invite you to a better kingdom!"

"this is the true grace of God... stand firm in it!" 1 Peter 5:12

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Training Church

Some helpful and thought-provoking quotes from Trellis and Vine, ch6 (The heart of training):

Training forms not only beliefs and abilities, but also character and

Training is loving someone enough to want to see them grow and
flourish, and being prepared to put in the long-term, faithful work
that will (in God's mercy) see that happen.

We are always an example to those whom we are teaching and training,
whether we like it or not. We cannot stop being an example. One of the
key tasks for the pastor and elder is to frame their lives so that
they serve as godly models for others - which is why most of the
requirements laid down for elders in places like 1Tim3 and Titus1
relate to character and lifestyle.

We are to set an example in striving for holiness, not in displaying
perfectly achieved holiness.

In relational training, the hearts of both trainer and trainee are
exposed. As we train ministers of Christ's word, we don't measure
progress simply by the performance of tasks, but by the integrity of
the heart.

Trainees likewise need to see into the heart of their trainers - the
sins and confessions, the fears and faith, the vision and realities,
the successes and failures. The life and ministry of the trainer is
the model for he trainee - not perfection but of godly desires in an
earthen vessel. This requires an honest, open sharing of our lives.

Programs and packages can provide a very helpful framework for
training. However, to make real progress in helping the Christians in
your congregation become "encouragers", they need more than a six-week
course. They need the example of seeing it done; and they need the
personal instruction and mentoring and prayer that addresses the
spiritual issues at the heart of becoming an "encourager". This takes
time and personal attention - before, during and after the structured
training opportunity.

The Trellis and the Vine is written by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, published by matthiasmedia