What's Love Got to do with it?

What if we've missed the point? What if Love Wins is enough? And why Rob Bell may just be right.

Right On our doorstep

Think that slavery is a thing of the past? Think that the UK is too civilised to be part of trafficking? Think again

5 reasons why being married to Brit is great (or 5 reasons to marry an American)

5 things you will never know until you marry an American

Masturbation Month

Giving up masturbation for a month. Why we need to save the kittens.

XXXchurch! Whaaa?

Why I love porn (ministries).

16 Mar 2011

Lent blog party Day 8. slow is the new fast

So a little bit of free advice. When you begin the next day of the Mars Hill Lent plan, make sure to check it out the night before.

Anyway, as I sat down at about ten thirty this morning eating my bowl of frosties eager to check out what my lent challenge was today, I was a little bit disheartened to see that today I had to fast during daylight hours. Oops. Fail.

Moving on I decided to finish up and start afresh, so I did. I didn't eat for the rest of the day until about six in the evening. The last time I fasted I felt like I learned a lot. This time I didn't. Maybe it was the length of time, maybe it was the fact I wasn't really prepared. But I didn't feel any different doing it. Unlike last time where I could see and feel God moving me and changing me.

But maybe this time that wasn't the point. Maybe how I feel God is speaking to me about me was not the point.

It's only now that I am writing this do I think it has hit me.

So I went a few hours without food. Big deal. I had a bowl of frosties then a few hours later I had fish and chips for dinner. Oh and a cupcake for dessert. Woopdy doo! And did I mention I drank fruit juice during the day to replace food?

Maybe this time God is telling me though that I have enough. Maybe he is reminding me that there are people who have nothing.

I've said I think this lent will be about reminders for me and so far I have been proven right. Reminders that God is big enough to deal with anything. Reminders that God loves me. And today, a reminder that I don't need much. Not really.

Giving things up is what most people do for lent. But what if are required to go further? What if we are required to give things up and then use the resources (be it time, money, ourselves) to invest in others. What if we have only really begun to scratch the surface?

I'm not going to pretend that I do those things. Because I don't. Well certainly not as much as I think we are called to.

I am grateful that this lent there will be opportunities for us to do that. To be sacrificial, not for the sake of being sacrificial, but for the sake of others. I hope like everything on the calendar I won't just let it change me for forty days or so but my life will change so I love people better all the time.

So maybe the question is not, what are you giving up for lent, but who are you loving for lent?

15 Mar 2011

Calling All Peacemakers. Lent blog party Day 7

There aren't many things harder than realising you are wrong. That you screwed up. That you were a jerk. That you aren't everything you thought you were.

Well actually there is. Admitting that to someone else. Specifically the person you wronged.

Today's lent calendar task was one that was a potential banana skin for me on this lent journey but one that I knew that if I wanted to get anything out of this, I needed to do.

So I set about writing a letter to a friend from school that I had been a complete and utter jerk of the highest proportions to. Someone who I would have considered a best friend at one point. And someone who I rejected and made feel like crap. This isn't the place to go into details but know that I really was a jerk.

And saying sorry is a risky thing to do. Because you don't know how the other person will react. Will they accept it, will they have moved on and not care anymore or will they be angry that you even have the audacity to think you can fix the situation?

All things that I have considered. Of course reconcilliation at some level is our desired outcome but what if it doesn't happen that way. What if we do get burned? Does it matter? Is just making a move the important thing? Or for closure, does it require both parties to come together?

My mind says I did the thing that was important. I made a move. My heart however tells me that isn't enough.

To be honest at this moment I just don't know. Peacemaking is a tricky business which makes me glad that there are people far better than me who work daily in places and in sitautions where reconcilliation is a tricky business.

What about you? Have you ever said sorry and not got the response you desired? Or did it all end in a happy ending?

9 Mar 2011

Love Wins, Love Wins, Love Wins

Have you ever been in a place where you thought there was no hope and you couldn't get out?

If you have or currently are, then I know how you feel. I know because porn is a battle that I face daily. I've written a lot about porn and I will keep writing about it because it's something that I care about. Not porn itself of course but helping people get away from it. Being passionate about seeing myself and others be free and allowing Jesus to take control.

Porn is devestating.

There have been times that I have looked at porn and thought to myself, "This is it, this is all I will know".

If you are there right now, maybe not with porn but maybe something else, it sucks doesn't it? Thinking that there is no where to turn and no way to be fixed. You've tried everything but you still go back to the computer and the sites you have vowed never to go back to.

Or maybe you are stuck in a job you hate. You have a dream but you are stuck in a place every day that is slowly killing you. Or maybe you are struggling with an illness. Maybe things looked good for a while but the illness comes back. You thought it was beaten, but it wasn't.

It's in these times that it's hard to see Jesus. It's hard to see hope. You just want to give up.

If you're out and about today you probably saw a lot of people with weird marks on their forehead. But they are more than marks. They are crosses. But they are even more than crosses.

They are visible reminders that there is hope.

They are reminders that our sins are defeated.

Yeah they will tap you on the shoulder and try to convince you otherwise, but they are defeated.

Today is the start of Lent and I think this Lent is going to be all about reminders. So I am going to start living as if the cross actually happened. So often I forget my sin has been dealt with. The moments I sin are needless. They are me forgetting who I am and what Jesus death means. 

Love Wins.

This Ash Wednesday that is what I am going to remember when I see a cross. That no matter how many  times I screw up Love wins. No matter how often I feel like my life is going nowhere and I am stuck, Love wins. No matter how often I let myself believe the opposite. Love wins.

Love Wins.

Love Wins.

Love Wins.

I can't say it enough. Because we can't believe it enough.

Maybe before I can do anything, before I can start living the way Jesus wants me to or before the pain goes away, I need to remember that.

I think we all do.

Happy Ash Wednesday everyone.

Love Wins.

8 Mar 2011

L.E.N.T. Giving up at giving up

It was pointed out to me last night by Brittany that I am obsessed by time. This was made aware to me as we sat in the same restaurant that we had sat in almost a year ago for our anniversary. A year that has seemed like a week.

I am fascinated by time. I've found that the older you get the faster time goes by. It's really true. Did you know that by the end of this month we will be a quarter of the way through the year. Only three more of these and it will be Christmas again. Crazy right? ..No? Just me then.

But it's this obsession with time that reminded me that it is a year since Lent last year. Last year I attempted to follow the Lent experiential Calendar that Mars Hill (yep the Rob Bell Mars Hill) offered on their website. Rather than giving up one thing for Lent you got the chance to experience Lent and take action.

For me Lent is like the younger brother of New Year's resolutions. Just trying to do what they do because they look up to them, but always a bit later and not quite as cool. I think maybe its the religious thing.

Last year I wasn't so successful at Lent. I was really excited and ready to move closer to God but to be honest when it came to the calendar I picked the days when it asked me to do something that was pretty easy. Like pray for an issue I cared about or eat my weight in chocolate (ok that one I made up but wouldn't Lent be mush easier for us all, and the people around us if we had to eat more chocolate rather than less). Other days I passed by. Like calling someone I had fallen out with to make ammends with them.

Things like that are too hard. And sure, I was probably too busy that day.

You see when it comes to things like Lent I am so super excited because I see that finally I have a good reason to change the things about myself that I don't like. I love Christian festivals because they are reminders. We get caught up so much in our lives, in our struggles, in our jobs, in ourselves that we need reminded. Reminded of God.

To stop and reflect and listen for God and discover how we can love others.

But most of the time for the rest of the year I am always moving, I am not thinking and I drown God out with...well anything else. And I think of myself first.

This year I need Lent.

I need reminded.

And I don't want to forget.

(If you would like to follow the Mars Hill experiential calendar you can find it here. I'm going to do it and I would love you to do it with me. This Lent I'm going to write every day a bit about my experience and I want to share these with you, but wouldn't it be great if we could share them with each other. I'll write and you can leave comments about what you have been learning and we can help each other out. I'm calling it the great Lent blogging extravaganza 2011. Hope to see you there)

2 Mar 2011

What's Love got to do with it?

On top of a list of things you wouldn't want to say when you go round to the Pipers for dinner might be, "That Rob Bell fella is great isn't he?" or "Geez have you heard the latest Rob Bell sermon?..it's fantastic"

Rob Bell is fast becoming enemy number one in a lot of Evangelical/Calvinistic/Reformed circles these last few days and all because of his new book coming out later this month, Love Wins.

Rob has often been accused of holding some dodgy beliefs but this time for a lot of people he has gone too far. With just a release from his publisher and a short accompanying video, a lot of people have decided that Rob is a Universalist. In short, someone who believes that everyone will end up in Heaven.

I don't know if Rob is or isn't. I don't know what he believes. And the reason I don't is because I haven't read his book. And I'm not going to start talking about what someone believes even before it has been truly revealed. Maybe he is.

But this blog isn't really about Rob Bell. It's about how we live our lives as Christians. It's about how we love (yeah love, not just like or tolerate) the people we meet (or tweet about, hey that rhymes) every day in our lives.

You see theology is important. It's very important. But...sometimes we make it too important. Sometimes we forget that theology isn't the point of being a Christian. The problem that people have with the type of theology, which Rob Bell is accused of having, is that it takes away from Jesus death. That it is untrue to what the Bible says.

But what if in the middle of this whole debate we have missed something so much more important.

Jesus once said that the two greatest things we should do are Love God and then love others (Matt 22:37-40)

Maybe I am being naive but getting to Heaven isn't the point of being a Christian. Having the 'right' theology held by some Christians isn't the point. The point of being a Christian is Jesus.

The point of being a Christian is to follow his example. To love the people that nobody else gives a crap about. To give up our lives for something bigger than ourselves. To show compassion. To be with people who are hurting. To give our neighbour hope. To stand up for injustice. To help people be free from the things that are killing them daily.

To do all these things so that all people see in us, is Jesus.

At the risk of coming across all emergent like ; ) I am going to pose a question and not answer it outright.

What if we took Jesus commandments and loved God and loved others? What, if like Jesus said, we live each day following these two commandments, not as if they were the most important thing to Jesus, but because they are?

Maybe then theology wouldn't matter. Maybe then everyone would get to experience Heaven. Because love would be all the world would know and since Jesus is love, then the world would know Jesus.

You see people outside of Christian circles don't care about all this stuff. They wouldn't know the difference between a Calvinist and an emergent if they slapped them in the face with the Nicene Creed (if you don't know what that is well...exactly). Most people don't even think they need saving  from anything.

What they do care about is being loved. About hurting. About finding real peace. About desiring joy.

If Jesus were to think anything about this whole Rob Bell debate, he might wonder when we got so distracted. When it was we rewrote his most important commandments to being "love God and make sure you get all your doctrine correct even though the word I left you can be fuzzy about a lot of this stuff" (I'm glad that wasn't one because that would have been hell learning in Sunday School)

So what if we did live that way?

I think in that case at least,

Love definately wins.


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More