Friday, 8 August 2008

Running for Gold

With the Beijing Olympics starting today, I’ve no doubt that many preachers worldwide will be drawing their inspiration this weekend from the Olympic spirit – and I am no exception! The apostle Paul was, of course, the first to liken the Christian to the Olympic athlete, and it’s an apt metaphor. ‘Run for the prize… Run with determination… Run so as not to be disqualified… Run to win, and so on.
The Christian life IS a course to be run, a fight to be fought, but before we get too heavy here, remember that central for Paul was the immense inspiration and motivation that the Olympic athlete gets from the prospect of winning gold! Unfortunately it seems to me that this is largely lost on Christians today for two reasons:
Firstly the ‘here and now’ is often comfortable enough and attractive enough to take most of our attention.
Secondly the future hope of Christians is often confusing and conflicting enough NOT to draw much of our attention.
When I preach today (yes, Friday in the Middle East) I will be making sure that I articulate the prize very clearly: Yes, the trumpet WILL sound; the skies WILL be filled with glory like lightening; we WILL see Jesus coming in great glory; we WILL be changed – and it will all be in a moment (1Cor.15). And the Bible tells me that that moment could be at any time and that I should eagerly hasten and anticipate it!
Maranatha, Come O Lord! What a hope! What a prize!

See you in Norwich, Sunday, God willing!


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Sunday, 3 August 2008

It's hot in the desert!

It’s high 40’s here, and Angie & I are here with the Gateway Church while Clive and Heather are away on vacation.

I always find that this place provokes me deeply. Here is a nation where race really matters, where the passport you carry makes all the difference. It will determine if and for how long you can be here, and to some degree how much you will earn and where you will live etc.

And I am provoked because I am reminded of Jesus’ passion for the nations – all of them, without exception. He died to redeem people from every nation to be gathered as one to Himself as His bride. He is the Lord of the nations! He will be honoured by all the nations: Psalm 86:9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
How special then, to see churches like Gateway being counter-cultural and gathering as one from different nations and backgrounds to worship Jesus and declare His great worth! As they, and we do that, the Kingdom of God, the ‘royal activity of God’ (as Michael Eaton puts it) is being displayed for all to see! The Kingdom has come! It is here! It is among us! And it will come to completion when people from every nation will worship together at the marriage supper of the Lamb!

Your Kingdom come! And your will be done in our lives, and at Kings as we reject prejudices and no longer insist on our own preferences. That way we will get to see Jesus build the kind of church that he is after!

See you back in Norwich next Sunday,


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