Friday, May 29, 2009

the fear of deliverance ... matthew 12:22-28 ...

We don’t like it when our kingdoms are uncovered and exposed for what they really are. The kingdoms of conquest and power cower in fear at the possibility of a kingdom that offers deliverance ... I think the Pharisees trembled with this fear when Jesus brought healing to the demon-possessed man (matt 12).
It wasn’t His authority in the spiritual realm that concerned them so much, but His growing authority in and amongst the realm they called “theirs”. That’s the reason they came up with such a lame protest: “He does this by the power of the devil” ... and Jesus was quick to reveal the ridiculous nature of their argument:
Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined ... if Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?
If Jesus was a tool of the devil, surely he’d be used in some other way than to deliver people from the oppression Satan himself was enforcing!
These guys weren’t thinking straight ... their fear of losing control trumped their ability to recognize the kingdom of God ... a kingdom that brings the possibility of deliverance ... they feared the deliverance of their people... they feared their own deliverance.
In fact, they were so fearful of the kingdom of God, they threw a label at it - “the work of the devil.”
God’s kingdom uncovers and exposes my kingdoms of conquest and power as it brings deliverance from fear, confusion and oppression ... may we be people who can recognize it when “the kingdom of God has come upon us.”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

grandpa, contemplation and urgency ...

On Friday we said good-bye to my grandfather. He was 86, and it took a heavy blow to the head to take him out ... I reckon he would have kicked on for another decade if not for his fall. Reading out his eulogy awakened a deeper appreciation for the legacy he's left me and the rest of his family. I didn't know that he was so instrumental in the setting up of South Australia's rural grain handling network ... I didn't know he was a lay methodist preacher for 40 years ... I never realised the impact he had on so many in his latter years just by being an encourager - until he died.

Today I spoke at his home church in Lameroo ... where about 20 faithful people gathered - friends of Harry, my Grandpa. It was kind of surreal - preaching on the same platform from where he had had so much influence over so many years ... nostalgic ... healing in a way. If not for the persistance and resiliance of this old farmer (among others), I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today ... if not for his faithfulness (although flawed at times), I wouldn't be playing my part in the story ... which, I might add, is a much bigger story than what I initially imagined.

And so, as I take the 2 hour ride home, I'm drawn into a deeper appreciation for my history ... a larger picture of the potential of my own contribution ... a greater resolve to participate in the landscape of what God is doing here in my country. This type of contemplation is what fuels me ... maybe it's weird that my Grandfather's passing initiates it, then again, maybe not.

It's true that the shortness of life compels us to think about the urgency of what God desires of us whle we're still around ... but I reckon this "urgency" isn't just about eternal fire insurance (that people will be saved from the judgement to come) ... this urgency is about becoming all that I'm supposed to be, contributing in the manner I'm called to, and helping others step into the restoration that Christ alone has brought into His creation. ... an urgency with the motive of long-term movement and legacy over short-lived frenzy and activity.

So... I'm glad that my Grandpa is in "a better place" now ... but I'm more glad that he contributed while he was here - that, while he longed for heaven, he was compelled to serve on a hospital board, initiate better grain storage strategies, raise a God-fearing family, and go out of his way to say a kind word whenever he saw fit ... I'm glad that his legacy goes deeper than a "courageous" telling of Jesus' story, and is easily recognised as an integral current-day part of Jesus' story ... I'm glad that I'm a part of that legacy, and therefore a part of that story.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

immerse headquarters

NEWSFLASH ... check out this clip on the YMA Adelaide office