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March 2017

April 9, 2017

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

We have heard a lot about mission, outreach and sharing our faith recently and that is very positive. We need to become a place where it is natural to talk about these things and equally natural to share with each other what God is doing in our lives. However it must become more than talk, it must become action. Jesus did not just talk about the Kingdom of God, he embodied it. He did not simply talk about healing, he healed people. He did not only talk about injustice, he challenged its very roots. He did not just say everyone welcome, he counted tax collectors, prostitutes and thieves amongst his friends. None of this he did on his own, he had regular prayer communication with his father, God and he trained his disciples in his ways. However he also encountered opposition, both spiritual and temporal, from which he did not flinch back but faced head on and overcame.

Of course the big question is ‘’how do we move from talking about sharing faith to actually doing it’. It needs to be second nature to us, part of our culture, the expectation of visitors to our church that they will hear about Jesus and be invited to learn more about him with a view to making a commitment to following and serving him. It has to be totally natural to us to talk about Jesus and his part in our lives today. We need to bring God into our conversations more and challenge erroneous statements about God when we hear them. Quite simply our task is not to teach about the Kingdom of God but to be the Kingdom of God in action, here in Rubery and where we live, work and pursue our leisure activities.

Nobody pretends it is easy, it may make us unpopular – particularly with friends and family – but if Jesus is first and foremost in our lives then we must do it. Jesus simply told people to ‘follow me’. There was no manual or specific set of instructions it was simply a command to think, act and speak as he did. And what was true for those first followers around AD30 is still true for his followers nearly two thousand years later in AD2017. The Bible tells that some, faced with the harsh reality of Jesus commands and lifestyle, turned away and let Jesus go. They probably retained a basic faith in God but could not give Jesus first place in their lives and that is still true today. We need to grasp two fundamental basic tenets of what it means to follow Jesus and everything else will fall into place. Firstly Jesus told would be followers that they had to love him more than they love their parents or children (Matthew 10 vv 34-38) and he told Peter that he had to love him more than he loved his friends (John 21 vv 15-19). To some these seem harsh, uncompromising words but they are true, spoken by Jesus himself, he demands first place in our lives.

Getting this right is so important because if Jesus is first in our lives we will naturally talk about him as much, if not more, than our families, holidays, gardens, work, leisure activities, hobbies and sports. When that happens we are following Jesus as he intends us to and doing evangelism and outreach naturally and properly as we bring Jesus into our conversations.

Ian

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