Friday, 14 June 2013
I found a site where someone had asked "why do you not go to church" and people had asked for the question why do you.
There were many different answers, though a lot the same, and there were many different attitudes within the answers too.
A lot of people said they went to church to worship, praise, adore and thank God. So, how do we praise and worship God ? We praise and worship God as we sing the hymns and choruses in a church service. There are so many styles of music used in the praise and worship and I think none of them are wrong, it is a personal preference as it is what kind of music you listen to outside of church. But, are you just singing songs or are you really worshiping God ?
Some people said they went to church to "hear from God". God can speak to us in many ways as we attend church. It could be through a sermon, from a short word that someone gives you or through the words of a hymn or chorus. We only have to listen out for the words from God.
Other people said they went to church "to serve God by serving other people in the church. How can you serve others who attend your church ? The best thing is to look around you and see if anyone has a need you can fulfill. Maybe someone is ill or living on their own, you could go round to visit them or make them a meal. Just to sit with someone who lives alone is a big thing for them.
Other people said they went to church to "feel better, to lift their spirit or their soul". So how do you feel when church is over ? Do you feel better when you leave than when you went in ? Are you glad it is over ? If church does not make you feel better, why not ? What would you change to make this happen ?
Others said they went to church because the Bible told them to, to meet together. Is this a valid reason ? These people seemed to think it was their "duty" as a Christian to go to church, they have to go. The Bible tells us to do many things but do we do them all ? Going to church is one of the easiest.
Some people said they went to church because they have always gone to church. They went as children and have not stopped. They thought they had to to be a Christian. Thing is going to church does not make you a Christian the same as living in a garage does not make you a car.
Some said they went because they wanted spiritual growth. they wanted to grow as a Christian, to get closer to God, so they could hear His voice better.
Which of the above is the best reason to go to church ? All of them are valid reasons and most will do you good.
In the Bible it does say to meet together. It also says that where two or more are gathered together in His name He will be there too. Another thing it says is that WE are the church, not the building.
So as you go to meet with your Christian friends and neighbours during the week you are meeting together, going to church. You are "living" church. If the other person feels down pray for him and thank God for him. Now you are fulfilling some of the reasons people go to church. To praise and worship, to be lifted up, to hear from Him, To serve God by serving others.
Church does not start and end on a Sunday.
Being a Christian is not just fro Sundays, it is a lifestyle and we are taught how to live that lifestyle in the Bible.
When you go to the building on a Sunday it is to corporately praise and worship God all together to give Him our best praise, to lift Him up so the world might see. Just tell Him how much you love him, how much He means to you, tell Him how great He is and wait for a touch from God. Try to feel His presence as you praise and worship Him.
Monday, 6 May 2013
I went out to the barn to get something and noticed a man in the next doors garden/land. I wondered what he was doing there as I had not seen him before, he seemed to be just wandering about.
I looked over the fence to see a flock of sheep, he was their shepherd. I don't know if he was meant to be there or the sheep were meant to be eating all they could but the back of next doors land is open and here shepherds and there flock just wander looking for grass etc. for their sheep to eat. He might have been invited as this is sometimes a way of clearing the land where vegetables have grown, or he might have just wandered.
As I watched the shepherd walked over to a tree and started to knock fruit off the tree and put them in his pocket for later. One that he knocked off he didn't catch and it fell to the ground. One of the sheep saw this and ran after the fruit but the shepherd got there first and he picked it up and put it in his pocket.
The sheep went up to him and pushed its nose against his stomach as if to say "that was mine". After about a minute he reached into his pocket and gave the fruit to the sheep.
When I saw that it struck me how much that shepherd loved his sheep. Then how much it paralleled the Bible stories of the shepherds. How they loved their sheep so much that they would leave ninety nine to rescue one and how Jesus is called the "good shepherd".
How much more does Jesus love us, we are called his flock, and how much more does he give us. All we need to do is ask like the sheep did with the shepherd next door.
Saturday, 24 September 2011
In James chapter one, James says it is a good thing to go through trials. God is testing our faith. Going through hard times make us stronger in faith and in life. God doesn't make us go through trials to hurt us, just the opposite, to build us up in our faith. If we find ourselves in the same situation later on in life we know we can overcome because because we did the first time. Also sometimes we go through trials to help others. If we know someone who is struggling through something we have experienced we can get alongside them, knowing how they feel, and encourage them through to the end.
To get through times of trouble we need to stay close to God. We need to decide to stay close to God. We cannot serve two Gods. In Revelation chapter 3 verses 15 and 16 God says to the church of Laodicea "Because you are luke warm I will spit you out of my mouth". God requires us to make up our minds to follow Him, live our lives holy and clean and to stick to that decision. If we don't we are double-minded and can not receive anything from God.
To have a stable life our faith must be shown in every part of our life. In Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6 it says "Without faith it is impossible to please God".
Faith is not just for times in church, itis for every part of our lives. Where do we get our faith? From reading, meditating and living the word of God. Read the Bible and take it in and use it as a manual for life.
To live a stable life we must submit to God. We always want to do things our way, to live our lives as we want to. But God's ways are not our ways. As we live our lives for Him we have to give Him the glory not ourselves. Doing things our way gives us the glory because we are in the forefront of what is happening but if we allow God to work through us we will do things that can only come from Him.
If we pray for someone to be healed and God performs a miracle and that person is healed we are just the tool that God uses when we prayed. We can not heal people other than through God's power, God gets the glory.
We also need to lovingly look out for each other. Not by condemning them but by gently showing them their wrong doing and being there for them, helping them to overcome the problems they hare facing.
Like a pond that in the winter gently freezes bit by bit so our hearts harden towards God just a bit at a time. Maybe we fall out with someone, then have a small problem and blame God, we don't go to church one week and then it is a few weeks that we don't go to church. Because we are not spending time with God and His people we drift into old habits and bit by bit we slowly turn away from God.
Instead we need to forgive each other, bring even small problems before God and watch what we are doing as well as watching out for each other but out of love not condemnation. God does not condemn He forgives.
The world nowadays teaches us to get and keep all that we can. Take care of yourself was not one of God's teachings. Jesus always preached look after one another, give to the poor and needy and look after your neighbours.
Psychologists say that grasping and holding onto things and people only makes us anxious, possessive, controlling and hard to live with. That is why Jesus said in Luke chapter 17 verse 33 "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it but whoever loses his life will preserve it". To lose your life is not to die, but to invest it into God's plan for your life. You might lose your worldly life but you will gain a better life with God.
We need to give our whole lives to God 24 hours a day seven days a week not just the bits when we go to church or spend times with our Christian brothers.
Do everything in a way that pleases God and you will have a better life, and God will use you in ways you can not imagine or have seen before.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
I got a friend's newsletter the other day and what he said in there "from the editor" spoke so much to me.
Here is what he said:
"When the truth dawned that Jesus died on the cross with the punishment of MY sins on HIS shoulders that He died so I could live, that He died so I could be forgiven, reconciled to God, made friends again with God. What else could I possibly do but hand my life over to Him? My life belongs to Jesus, the Messiah, the only Saviour, besides whom there is no other. He paid the price and what a price! My life cost Him His life!When we become Christians, we give our lives to Him. He gave us Christians a commission to go and make disciples. If He owns your life are you where He wants you to be, go to where God wants you to be and be radical being God's love for him that others around you might also find the One and only God.
I have searched and can not find anyone else who has died for me, He and He alone has claim to my life, to who I am. Buddha has no claim. Mohammed has no claim. Krishna has no claim. Allah has no claim. Satan used to have, but certainly has no claim now, but still tries hard.
... We were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! ...Romans 5:10
Have you ever thought about who owns your life?"
Sunday, 3 January 2010
How can we get a happy new year?, a happy life? or just be content.
As a Christian I believe that true happiness comes from God.
You and me, all of us were made for a purpose, God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of our lives, it is up to us to find that purpose and live out our lives as God wants us to.
That does not mean life is going to be boring or doing things we all hate doing. As a biker one of the best things for me to do is to ride my motorcycle. An early part of my life was riding with The Christian Motorcyclists Association in the UK. I was a member for over 20 years and I travelled all over the UK and places in Europe to be with fellow bikers.
I got into some good conversations with non Christian bikers and shared my beliefs with them as well as serving them through Holy Joe's Cafe, a Cafe set up at bike rallies in a big tent to serve as a place where people could come if they wanted somewhere to sit without alcohol or a friendly place.
Now I live in Romania, helping people through a Romanian registered charity, after God called my wife and I to move here full time and work amongst the people. God has given us a great love for the people and the country of Romania and we regard this to be our home now. Who knows, God might call us on to somewhere else.
Having said all of the above, you might be called to stay at home and do what you are doing. How do you further the kingdom of God? Ask God what it is He wants you to do, either where you are or in another place, what ever it is if you are fully following and serving Him you WILL enjoy it and that makes for a happy time. He said He came to give is life and life more abundantly so find your niche in His kingdom and have a happy new year/life.
Monday, 28 December 2009
I was gob smacked to read about an Anglican priest from York, UK, who says it is OK to steal.
Father Tim Jones, parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda, broke off from the traditional Nativity story yesterday, and said stealing from large national chains was sometimes the best option many vulnerable people had.
His Bible must be different to other peoples, it says in Exodus 20:15 it says "You shall not steal" (NIV)
He says that people should steal from "big supermarkets" and not from small shops, that is OK. I thought that stealing was stealing whoever you stole from, there are no big sins and little sins, they are all sins.
Man has sinned, everyone has sinned, whether they have thought a bad thought or murdered someone, it is all the same to God. But God gave us a way to be free from our sins of the past, to come before Him and confess those sins and to ask forgiveness. He says if we do this then He will forgive our sins.
Churches today are soft and that is one reason why society is how it is today, churches have not stood up for the Bible truths, preachers have preached nice sermons that make the congregation feel good. Any preacher who preaches anything controversial won't be liked but they are not here to be liked, they are here to preach God's word and hopefully seek Him to see what God wants to say to the people today.
To find out more about the news story click here, and to see the full transcript of the sermon given by Father Tim Jones click here.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
We are all "The Church". Each one of us, when we become Christians we become part of “The Church”.
There is nothing wrong in having a church building, it is somewhere where we can come together and worship God. The early church in Bible times did not have church buildings and met in each others homes. I wonder if any church congregations today would be able to fit into one of our homes. I suppose we have grown too big to fit in a home. When we visit each other at home we are part of the church meeting in a home.
The church is also a family. The Family of God.
God is our father, our heavenly father, and we are all His children.
We have to love each other as a family, meeting each others needs lovingly as God meets our needs. The more God gives us the more we have to give away to people worse off than ourselves.
The early church in the Bible listened to God and the Holy Spirit and when prompted sold possessions to meet others needs, and gave away other items they had that other people needed.
The church is also formed not for ourselves to be an inward looking group of people, but looking at ways to help others outside of the church both materially and spiritually. God's great commission to all Christians is to "go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" Mark 16:15. (NIV)
Not all of us have to stand up and preach from a pulpit. There are many ways to preach the good news, sometimes without words but with good deeds.
Some people have been called to go to foreign lands to preach the good news, but others are called to stay at home and witness to their friends and neighbours and tell them the good news.
We have all been called to be witnesses and this is done by talking and doing good to others.
Part of being a witness is to show God's love to one another. People will be drawn to God's love by the way we act and react to each other both inside and outside of the church family.
Where ever we go and have come into contact with other Christians, we have found more family and we have found God's love. This can be sometimes visiting friends and friends of friends, visiting other churches and even meeting total strangers.
One time we were going back to the UK from one of our many trips to Romania and stopped at a restaurant in Hungary. There was only one other couple in the restaurant. They heard us talking about Romania and the visit and asked why we had been to Romania. It turned out they were on their way to Romania and worked there too.
They were French and we were English and we only knew a small amount of each others language. It ended up with us both, (English and French) having a conversation in Romanian, sharing a meal together and sitting at the same table in a Hungarian restaurant. We often wonder what the waitress thought.
There were no barriers between us because God brought us together through His love, we were all part of the same family.