Archive for the 'discipleship' Category

14
Apr
11

sheep or goat? – april 14

Reading Matthew 25, Highlighted Passage: 25:31-46

Another uncomfortable parable. I have heard it preached on as if the message is that we should care for other Christians but feel that is too narrow a perspective. In keeping with my challenge of reading scripture against myself (with thanks to Pauline Hoggarth), I find myself wondering if I fall in to the righteous category or not!

This is also an interesting story in the light of Rob Bell’s latest book – Love Wins – more on that after I have heard him speak next week in Liverpool. In the meantimne when will I be feeding the hungry, caring for the sick or visiting those in prison in the next month – now that is a challenge!

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04
Apr
11

god and money – april 4

Reading: Matthew 19, Highlighted Passage: 19:16-26

O how I wish there was more room for maneouvre in this story! As far as the world today is concerned the rich man is me. I have so much stuff. Its very easy to justify why i need it but how do I make sure it doesn’t get in the way of my relationship with God.

I can sanitise Jesus’ words and not obey – tell myself that I am not like the rich young man in the story – but in the end I have to ask myself – am I just unwilling to be that radical?

I am reminded of two things

1. My visit to the slums in Nairobi – see previous blog post here

2. A comment from Brian McLaren: ‘What do you give to the person with everything? You teach them who to thank!…. and that their riuches and comfort are at the expense of others who do not have the basic necessities of life’

30
Mar
11

rules or life? – march 29

Reading Matthew 15:1-20, Highlighted Passage: 15:1-9

Reading today reminded me of this fabulous book I read last year. A man trying to live literally by the Bible’s rules – its at the same time, very funny and very moving. If you haven’t read it then get a copy its fab

But why do we find it so important to reduce faith to a set of rules. God’s call on our life is to live – making the most of every day. If we learn to love God first then we will want to please him and that will affect how we treat others. How had the pharisees got it so wrong and what is to stop me doing the same?

23
Mar
11

judging success – march 23

Reading: Matthew 11, Highlighted reading Matthew 11:1-19

How do you decide if you are doing the right thing? This is one of the challenges of any Christian ministry where how we judge success is a difficult question. Jesus is really asked the same sort of question here. His answer is look at the impact of the ministry on others – look at the transformed lives!

It’s too easy to judge success by being busy. Instead we should be asking what is the impact on the lives of thsoe we meet – how are they being transformed in their discipleship by what they see in me?

15
Mar
11

Not prayer again! – march 15

Reading: Matthew 6, Highlighted reading Matthew 6:5-14

Why is prayer the last resort rather than the first thing we do?

Jesus gives us a pattern for prayer – not just a set of words to be learnt and repeated (valuable as that is). The challenge today is to take that pattern – find 20 minutes on your own and write a prayer that covers the areas covered in ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. Then share your prayer here.

On a personal note I am still living with a challenge. Whilst in Egypt in November, I was deeply humbled by two things: 1) God working in a session on creative prayer which we had planned but which became not a training exercise but a real heart engagemernt, 2) The passion in prayer that I saw in people there – I have never seen that passion here. Learning to pray? I’m still just a novice!

12
Mar
10

Lessons from Elephants and bartering for evangelism and discipleship.

Sunday was a day off – although I can’t remember the last day my day off involved getting up at 5.15am! We started at Nairobi game park – a strange juxtaposition with the skyline of Nairobi always visible wherever we were in the 120square miles of park. It felt rather like genuine Africa with Giraffe, Antelopes, Rhino and even a lion (apparently that is unusual).

 We then visited the elephant orphanage and heard about the commitment required to care for these elephants and releasing them back into the wild. The workers actually sleep in with the elephants to make sure that they get all they need 24/7. That includes feeding and warmth. I was amazed and challenged by that as I wonder if we demonstrate the same commitment to growing disciples.

 Lunch was followed by a visit to the giraffe sanctuary and then an hour at a local market. This was where I discovered how bad I am at bartering. It was intense! Taken by the hand shown what was for sale, outrageous suggestions made for the cost. Yet again I found myself wondering if in a small way the way that I seek to tell others about the good news feels like the sellers in the market. I was left dissatisfied and pressurised.

 On the journey we began to get a glimpse of the Africa that I had expected to hear. It was a great day and did at last feel as if I had seen some of the Africa that I expected.