22 July 2009

Walking like Enoch

We're like Enoch. If we walk with Yahweh, staying close to him at all times and in all situations, we will hear his voice all day every day. And he will take us out of this world into a place we could not have imagined and we will be hidden from view.

Do you see how this applies to your own life? Do you sense how true it is in the here and now, how Enoch is a prototype of all who believe and become deeply focused on Christ?

We will no longer be bound by the world's ways, demands, and needs. We will fly! We'll be hidden from view because the world will not understand us, will not see what we do, will not comprehend the source of the new life that flows in us and through us.

We will be no more because Yahweh will take us away (Genesis 5:24)

In other words the old 'me' will no longer be present in the world, the new 'me' will be 'hidden with Christ' (Colossians 3:3).

There is a rich and encouraging truth here. All of us who walk with the Lord are like Enoch and are affected like Enoch.


06 July 2009

His Church and His Heart

I wrote the following text and posted it on the Relational Christianity website almost four years ago. The original postYou can still find it there.

It provoked little interest, but the Spirit impressed upon me at the time that 'it will return to you and then you will know that its purpose has been fulfilled'. I thought this had happened two years ago though now I'm not so sure.

But Frank Viola's book 'From Eternity to Here' and 'The Jesus manifesto' (written with Leonard Sweet) have made me wonder if now is the time.

For that reason I'm republishing it. The text is covered by Creative Commons copyright but free for anyone to copy, edit, and republish.

Christ's love for the Church

Perhaps these words are a wake-up call to the Church. Turn away from worldly ways, put all your energies into just loving Christ - it really is that simple. For all those who read it and understand it, this letter is a challenge. It is a call for real and lasting change in the way we 'do' church. The focus must shift from adherence to traditions, structures, and practices to merely loving the one who says, 'I will build my Church'. Does his Church love and trust the King more, or does she love and trust the World more? She can't choose both, it has to be one or the other.

A Letter to the Church – His words

My dear people, I love you so very much and I know the love that you have for me as individuals. But I have to explain to you that it's not enough that you love me as individuals, I also need to feel the warmth of my Bride's embrace, I need to see her eyes filled with adoration and love for me. The Church is greatly loved yet she's estranged from me, and I want you to know and understand how I feel.

When you are far away from someone you love there is a deep longing in your heart, a sadness, an incompleteness, a hollow emptiness. And when the one you love is devoted to someone else, then your heart truly grieves. Every thought, every movement, every sight and sound is changed to heaviness and sadness and yearning. And that's how I feel towards the Church.

How can this be?

My Beloved, my Church, my Bride-to-be, where are you? How can you be so far from me? Who has stolen you from me? It is the World that has stolen away my Beloved. Every day she gazes lovingly into the eyes of the World, she walks in the World's ways, talks with the World, rejoices in the World's companionship.

I am grieving for my Bride-to-be. Every moment of every day I think of you and long to be with you, but you don't hear my voice calling. My love goes out but doesn't return to me, my heart aches to be close to my beloved, but she gazes into the eyes of another. I want to walk with you, talk with you, hold your hand, spend each day with you. But my Beloved prefers the company of another. Now do you see how I feel?

Ah, what pain you cause me. How you wound my heart as with a knife. I watch you pass by, hand-in-hand with another. I see you talking and laughing with the World, planning your life with the World. How I long to be close to you, but you are already close to the World. How I long to see you smile at me, and laugh with me – but you smile and laugh with the World. I want to take you to my favorite places and show you all the wonders of creation along the way, but all the time you are walking with another.

Now do you see how I grieve over my Beloved, and why? To understand, to truly understand, you must see how the tears rise in my eyes, feel the wretched hollowness that fills my being, know how I yearn and yearn to gather you to myself.

I will never tear you from the world. Love cannot do such a thing because love does not coerce or demand. Love will only wait in desperate hope, broken-hearted and full of emptiness. I need to show you this, you need to understand how I feel even though it will be no more than the merest hint of what is in my heart.

I am calling you to turn away from the World and return to me. I am calling you, my Church, to stop and retrace your steps.

I am calling you to hear and obey my guiding and leading voice, not the voices of men and women. Turn away from every method, every technique, every system and turn instead to me for I am the Source, the Truth, the Light, and the Life. Above all I am Love. Look into my eyes and see yourself reflected there for I am always gazing upon you.

Don't misunderstand what I say, there are many individuals who love me, walk with me, and dance with me. I love you as individuals, but I also love the whole and it is of the whole Church that I speak here. The fullness of my desire is for my Church. I will dance with her, my Bride, my Beloved. I will rejoice in her when she returns my love, but until then I will walk in pain and anguish as she gazes into the eyes of the World.

Some further thoughts – Merely my words

We must track back before the House Church, back, back before the Charismatic Renewal, back even before the Pentecostal Azusa Street outpourings. We must retrace our steps back before the Methodists, before the Puritans, before Martin Luther. Back, back, back, before Paul wrote his letters, before the events of Acts. Right back to Calvary where our Lord poured out his very life in love.

And when we arrive back at that point of beginning, then and only then can we see the Church stripped of all her love for the World. Why? Because love of the World began to creep in right there, right after the beginning. Just as, in the Garden of Eden, love of the World crept in right at the completion of creation, so in the Garden of Gethsemane it began to creep in at the completion of the work of redemption. We see it even before Love gave himself up to death, we see it in Peter's use of the sword. We see it later in Peter's denial. We see it in Ananias and Sapphira, in the divided Corinthians, in the foolish Galatians.

Now is the time for the Church to throw off her love of the World, and to turn to Christ who loves her and aches unceasingly for her love in return. He demands her undivided attention, He will accept nothing less.

What does this mean in practice? It means we must stop working for Christ and instead just love him and let him begin working in us. It means we must stop looking for the latest book, and listening to the finest teaching; instead we must look into his eyes and listen to his sweet voice as he teaches us and reveals his purpose. There are many who already know him as a personal Saviour and friend, now the Church as a whole must come to her Lord as Saviour and friend. Do you see the distinction between the many and the one? Although he loves us greatly as individuals, his best and finest is saved for pouring out on his Bride, the Church, in her wholeness. But this can only happen when she turns to him and walks with him along the paths he will choose.

Come, Church of Christ, come. Turn and see his love upon you and respond. Receive his love, dance with him, rejoice in him, make him glad. He is waiting for you, patiently and in great pain.

Chris Jefferies – August 2005

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03 July 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Family

Only Paul and I met this morning, the theme that emerged was 'family', particularly the family of believers living and meeting in a place.

We talked for a while about this and that, remembered a number of friends and neighbours, then prayed for a while before making lunch with fresh salad from Paul's garden.

Paul read from 1 John 4:7-12 and said that the word 'family' had been in his mind.

26 June 2009

Friendfeed as a personal hub

Spyros Heniadis, writing on his blog about Facebook and Twitter, makes some very good points as he compares and contrasts the value these two giants have for him. FriendfeedHe finds Facebook less than totally appealing, and he finds Twitter much more useful that it might appear at first sight. (And Twitter's raging success must have some basis other than sheer fadness.)

I agree with Spyros, I have a lot of friends (real ones almost entirely) on Facebook but I don't spend nearly enough time there to keep up with all the stuff they post. And the Facebook applications mostly drive me mad with their inane and persistent in-your-faceness. I always click the 'Ignore this request' button with a slightly guilty feeling of having 'jilted' someone I care about.

And I agree with his remarks about Twitter too. It took me a long, long time to understand it, but now that I do I'm beginning to appreciate it. I also use Friendfeed - a lot. If you want to see how, just visit my stream.

You'll notice it contains posts from Twitter, Delicious, Moblog and many more. All of them are added automatically whenever I post to those sites. And when I write an item on my blog Friendfeed picks that up and adds it for me too along with all those other sources. And I can fill in my 'status' on Friendfeed just as I would on Facebook or Twitter. All the output from Friendfeed can appear in Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else I like without me lifting a finger or striking a key. I love it!

It's well worth a try. Like Twitter it's really simple and very easy to use.

20 June 2009

A turning point for Iran

Today is a turning point for Iran.

Either there will be a change of direction as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs down and is, perhaps, replaced by the Assembly of Experts; Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameneior more likely he will continue along the path he's chosen and will try to stifle the opposition and return to some semblance of the repressed normality that has been Iran for so many years.

If he does continue to threaten violence and pretends to pin the blame on the opposition, there could be a rapid growth of upheaval and things would then become extremely unpredictable.

So, if there is violence, who will really be responsible for it? When a member of the Basij points a gun at unarmed people in a crowd and fires indiscriminately, fear has become cowardice and the responsibility for injury or death lies with the one who fired the weapon. To say that peaceful disobedience to the Supreme Leader shifts the blame for violence onto the crowd or onto Mr Mousavi is a strange argument. Surely it is an argument rooted in fear and desperation!

If you strike me or shoot me or burn my house it's my fault, not yours? I don't think so! Responsibility lies with the one who pulls the trigger and with those who give the orders to do so or try to justify such an act in advance.

Ali Khamenei is no more a Supreme Leader than I am! The very title is an affront to the Most High in heaven for he alone is Supreme Leader over Iran, the entire world, and indeed the Universe. It does not befit men or women to act as leader because there is One who has true authority. The Koran instructs its readers to also read the Injil (the gospel), and there every seeker of truth will find Isa (Jesus) who said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life'. He is King, he is the Great Shepherd of the sheep.

No mortal man or woman has a heart great enough, a mind wise enough, a spirit true enough, or an ego humble enough to be a Supreme Leader. No, not one! And we also know that every single one of us has sinned. Let no one stand against the Most High, for he alone has the true authority and power over the lives of men. He will have his way, better not to stand in his path for he will sweep aside everyone who opposes him.

What did Isa say about the law? He said that to love the Most High and to love the people around us (even if they are our enemies) is the fulfillment of the entire law. How can anyone do harm to those they love?

To the reader I say, 'Pray for the people of Iran, for Khamenei, for Mousavi, for Karroubi, for Khatami. Pray for peace, pray for wisdom, pray for the Almighty's will to be done. Pray for those who may decide to go out on the streets today, for the police, the army, the Basij. Pray that they will all hear and obey the voice of their Maker.'

This is a turning point for Iran, a turning forward or a turning back. It could be a disaster or it could be a wellspring of hope. Time will tell.

Speaks for itself...

A video from Iran - poetic, moving, heart rending, quiet, powerful...


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