Wednesday, March 22

Element Revisited.

I was reading an article in RELEVANT Magazine today which got me thinking about Element (our youth ministry’s old young adults worship night) and how we could re-do it with some major changes.

Let me try and Encapsulate for you just what the article was about. The author Cameron Conant was talking about community and how as Christians, though we are in community to some degree wherever we are, we are Westernised individuals and live apart from that community. Ben Irwin defines community as "People who are Experiencing Life Together."

You’ve all heard sermons before on the Acts 2 church and for those of you who belong to Thornlie, you know that this is the foundation on which we build our ministries. But how often do we meet to, "share meals with Great joy and Generosity?" We worship together regularly and we are taught together and we give tithes and offerings together but rarely do we have an opportunity to eat together, to share our lives with somebody other than our spouses, fiancĂ©es, and partners or close friends, and when we do we talk about non-important issues that will never draw us closer to God. Maybe this is because we think to ourselves, "Who else needs to know?" or maybe, “Who else even Cares what's been happening, or what I’m struggling with.” Have you ever thought that you might have something to say to someone that uplifts them, that encourages them or that they can really connect with or that they might have something to say to you? The dinner table is a perfect place to share what’s been going on in your life, what you're growing or going through and what God has spoken to you about recently. There are things in your life that others need to know for their own growth; granted this position is one of extreme vulnerability but God will use your experiences in others lives for their growth.

So I guess you're probably thinking to yourself "Good thoughts Stunners but we don’t have a forum at Thornlie for this kind of community." my idea is that we create such a forum. I’m thinking Friday or Saturday night or Wednesday on the off week, we get together for dinner at the church. We talk, we share our lives, and we worship through this. Then once we're finished we really tell God how highly we love him. We do whatever comes most naturally to worship God. We testify of God's love in our lives and we join together in community. not singling out one particular style of worship as better or even more accessible than another, not "fellowshipping" with "how are you?' but with "how are you and God?" not asking, "what have you been up to?" but asking "what has God been up to?" and not answering with, "I’m good" but I’m not so good and here's why," or, "I’m Great and Here's why."

I have had an epiphany about Element. The name Element is singular. It describes ONE aspect of worship, one way to Seek God and that is its flaw. God desires worship in all elements of our lives even our Friendships. Isn’t it time we started?

Monday, March 20

Praise Our Unfair GOD

Life’s unfair isn’t it? Doesn’t it always seem that those who deserve the least get the most and those that deserve the most get the cold shoulder? I’ve been reading through Job and it strikes me that He was a man who deserved the most and, for a time got the least. In fact he had the most and it was taken from him. Read through some of the psalms and you’ll read about unfairness, Ecclesiastes and Isaiah also talk about it. But I want to look at Isaiah this morning and remind you of the injustice that brought us here today.

Isaiah 53:2
2 My servant grew up in the Lord's presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected--a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows* that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! 5 But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! 6 All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins--that he was suffering their punishment? 9 He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave. 10 But it was the Lord's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord's plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honours of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

Jesus bore the greatest injustice of eternity He Died so we can live. So may you, when you feel hard done by, missed out, looked over, or ignored; when you feel like you’re taking someone else’s blame or punishment, may you remember your saviour, and praise God for his saving injustice.

Sunday, March 12


No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. 19When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.
21It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22I love God's law with all my heart. 23But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?[c] 25Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2For the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The Law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us[c] who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

God is good.
How many of you have thoughts like “I’m gonna beat that habit,” or “that’s the last time I’m ever doing that.” And then despite all the conviction in the world and all the resolve that you can muster you find ourselves saying the same things a week later. Well apparently Paul had the same struggle. He talks about wanting to good but sinning anyway, and fighting against sin but still doing it. Isn’t this exactly what we face day to day? Somehow it feels comforting to know that Paul struggled in the same ways I do. In every day life we find ourselves fighting battles over things that we have the victory over through Jesus Christ’ death and resurrection.
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Though we can’t be right with God simply by trying to do good—which we fight to do anyway, He made a new way for us to be free from the bondage of sin, as Paul says “God destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” Through Christ’s sacrifice we have the victory. Sin has lost its power; death has lost its sting. We can now lean on Christ like never before. He is the only way that we can be saved. Satan’s plan is to keep us wallowing in our sin, it seems that like quicksand the harder we fight, the faster we sink. But god has thrown us a rope and it would do us good to grab it. We have the victory! We have God. And like a wise man once said—“If you flip to the back of the book we win.”