Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Called to bear fruit that will last.
Your parents call you in to eat…
Your resume that you sent in for that new job is greeted with a call…
You take a number in the bank, in the hospital, when you go pay your bills, and after a while, a robotic stereotype voice calls your number…
The girl or guy of your dreams, suddenly out of the blue calls you…
All these things that I mentioned above, has a no brainer answer…The call, each call requires a response. There are two responses that are needed; it’s either a positive response or a negative one.
What we read in the Theme for the whole SIB this year, the short text reads “we are called to bear fruit that lasts”. The first part of the text says that “we are called”. Jesus calls us.
What is Jesus’ call to each one of us?
Invitation to those he Chooses
He tells his disciples “come follow me” (Matt 4:19). This is an extension of invitation. He does not pull ears, bring down fire, exert force, shout out loud in your ears when he does this. He simply calls; he simply says, “come”. There are no signs of rudeness or harsh words. An invitations sounds safe and gives you time to think whether you want to follow or not. His invitation is to experience him.
One important mention, when we treat Jesus’ call in terms of invitation it talks about him being the one who chooses.
In John 15:16 “…You did not choose me, but I chose you…”.
This goes against the way disciples or rather students chose their teacher; rabbi (in their time). Just like when we watch a kungfu movie, it is the student who chooses his teacher, not the other way round.
Another thing about his call is that it is specific. He calls to “follow him”. In other words to do things the way Jesus did-Jesus way.
Jesus’ Invitation, is simply put; an invitation (especially directed to you) for change of our present way to his way:
“Are you (your name) willing to change your course of life to follow mine?”
What kind of Change
Since we know that the call that Jesus puts forth to us is an invitation for change, we want to look at the nature of the change, or what kind of change is Jesus actually talking about.
We have already discovered the first part what the text says. The second half tells us what kind of change God requires when we respond to the call to follow him. To simply put it God requires that we…
1. Bear Fruit – what is the produce of your change
It’s funny, if you think in a funny way that is. God calling us who are humans to bear fruit like trees. That is simply not how we are. But God is talking metaphorically.
Why fruit? An easy way to explain- When we look at the fruit we can know what kind of Tree. Sure we can know what kind of tree by the leaf, the trunk and the look. But are these things useful, significant, edible? For anyone the fruit explains what type of tree, whether it is good or bad.
Now can we say a tree is sour or bad just by looking at it? You must be some sort of prophet to do that. But for anyone with any type of IQ, we just eat the fruit, and true enough we can make judgment whether the tree is good or not.
The kind of change that God requires from us is that we must bear fruit. Our lives must show a change.
Lk 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’
If we say that we believe in Jesus and have responded to his call there must be change. Like Zacheus, Paul, Peter. These people are examples of people who show that they have responded to the call by showing change. We can see the fruit.
2. Fruit that will last
Sure calls us to bear fruit/ to show change, but like trees also, they don’t just bear fruit once and that is it. If they stop bearing fruit that shows that the tree is dead or of no use already. So down with the tree. Who likes trees that have stopped bearing fruits?
Jesus also requires us to continually bear fruit. Not just once but bear fruit that will last. What does this mean, fruit that will last?
It means that we continually grow in our change state to become more like Jesus. Like when we follow Jesus, we respond to his call, our lives must show change. But in a way that is gradual.
A baby doesn’t just know how to talk because it has a mouth. The baby has to learn to talk. And in that learning the continues to grow and expand the way people should talk, until we mature.
It is so with us too. We must bear fruit (show change) but don’t just stop there, we must bear fruit that will last (continue to change into the image of Jesus).
In the end the fruit will define the call.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Like, sometimes when we are in a prayer meeting, and it gets really really boring. We hear people speaking of things that dont really connect, like they are going round and round. And nothing is really going on great. Does this sound normal? Ok, now we are asked to pray about something, a certain issue or a need. People looking rather dour and pale and lifeless when the explanation of the prayer matter is shared. There is no convincing stare of interest. Then when we ask to pray, people just spark with very faithful words, belief that God would answer prayer. I mean in the whole setting of boringness thare is a belief in God that he will answer prayer. That sound rather dull.
To me, personally, sometimes when i am in these situations i find it more truthful to what i feel and truthful to God that i just ask him questions. Because i just dont feel like i should fake it. We do that all the time when we are asked to pray aloud! I mean it would look a funny and pethetic sight if we were in God's position and see that. Sometimes i think its something that we just down play. Like we always have to do it like that, we always have to pray like that. CAnt we actually pray with truth? I mean when we are doubting we tell God, when we feel weak we tell him, when we are confused we let him know. WE dont do that often. Why?
We say that God knows how we are inside but its more of a show now. So that peole get fooled at how believing we are although we dont mean what we pray. HOw shoud we combat this untruth? Can there be an enviroment where we can create to encourage authenticity? I want to see that happen...
Saturday, February 9, 2008
14 “You are the light of the world. v A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Just today, i got this light bulb moment, reflecting on these two things. We who are followers of Jesus, are told that we are to be salt of the earth and the light of the world. These entail with them responsibility, engagement and being at some sorts change agents.
But in order for us to function effectively as salt and light requires that we be in places that are deprived or have none of these substances. We only loose the effectiveness of salt and light when they are not in places where salt and light are needed. Neither can we fuction as salt and light in a box, deprived of engagement with the world.
We can only be effective and functional salt and light when we are let loosed in a world where there are none of these substances. If we only mix around with our kind alone how can we be salt. Salt just staying in a jar is useless until one mixes the salt with meat, vegetables or food stuff. The same goes for light, we dont use torch lights in the day light, only when darkness falls, we take out our lights or put on our lights at home.
The only way that salt and light work as they are ment to work are when they are engaged in a situation where they are needed. Where the place has no salt and no light.
Lets reflect on this...so that we bocome what we are called to be. We are only effective witnesses when we are around those who don't know the person we are witnessing of. What use is a witness in a group of people who already know???
Well anyway, for the first sermon im preparing it will be directed to the youths (speaking for the district youth meeting, which is not something that i would have expected but the challenge is embraced!). I gonna be talking on God calling us to bear fruit that will last. I got the rough idea but still working on it. Going through i learnet something; that God chooses us. In God's call, he is the one who makes the choice. According to the study note in my bible, disciples, or before they are called disciples, they are the ones that dicide on who will teach them. They make the choice. Just like when we learn in mentoring, mentors do not seek their prote'ge', it is the prote'ge' who seeks their teacher. Like Luke Skywalker seeking a Jedi master, Yoda. Well for Jesus, he prays and calls people specifically. It is his choice. That is surely profound. Imagine someone brilliant that you have always adimred coming up to you and say that they want to train you! That would be mind blowing.
The other sermon that i'd be preaching would be on getting our christian life out of the box. In other words spirituality out of the box. Looking at it three measures; 1.that we often define spirituality to fine tune what we think it is/ to make it fit us and a no pain approach, 2.we compound spirituality, and 3.we compartmentalize spirituality. When we work out spirituality/ christian life in this manner we box it up, because we don't want to make it look messy. We want to control rather them let the Spirit control how we should live the Christian life.
Monday, February 4, 2008
I wonder, is that why pastors get burn out?
Well it is one h### of a ride. Haha. Well last night was somewhat disappointing. Well we hade some sort of continued leaders meeting and boy was it embarassing. The whole group of adults were laughing at the term young adults. I just dont get it. They were saying that the term does not exist and if i were to interpret, the term was irelevant and somewhat dumb. I just cant understand that there is such a perseption. It is crazy. How can you possibly mould teens, collage students, and younger adults who are working together in a teaching setting. I feel, if you want to cater specifically to a group you will always have to consider their seperations regardless of what. I dont mean that they cant mix together, i just mean that if we really want to reacha group, we have to know where they are. Is that so difficult????
Mabey for them it is. No wonder the christian doctrine can never be deeply ingrained in the people, because we just want the net to be as wide as possible. We like large nets. We can catch all sorts of things with a big net. But would a one type net be able to catch smaller fish? Are they used to catch crabs? Come on and wake up!!! We need all types of nets or traps.
Man just feel like ranting my frustrations!!!
- OIL TOWN, SWK, Malaysia
- I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations