It Has Been One Year

Gosh, it’s been a year since I last blogged. Does this mean I have been busy? Yes. But have I been busy on the right things?

Let’s not go there.

Christmas is a time, for some, when they are able to take leave of work, even if only for a few days. My family and I are heading up to the North Island to see our family. I’m hoping it will be a semi-restful time.

Did you know that God created this thing we call ‘rest’?

In the creation story God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh. This restful seventh day is called the Sabbath. I wonder what rest looks like for us in 2018 and 2019. Is it the Sabbath that was put in place so we all could rest - a day of doing that which reenergises us, recreates us, reinvigorates us? Is our rest, our Sabbath, the time when our family can be together as one instead of all of them in different places as per the rest of the week?

In this time of Christmas, while we remember the birth of the Saviour of the world, let’s also give ourselves and our family the blessed gift of rest.



Do we need a reason?

It's Christmas time - again.

How many Christmases have you survived through? For me it's been (nearly) 52. Yes. That is how old I am. Christmas isn't a highlight of my year. It's really quite busy, with plenty of outside expectations. Have you ever tried being a minister at a celebratory meal? Guess who gets to say the grace?

Actually, I shouldn't be so hard on myself or others. The holidays at this time of year (for those who get them) are a welcome relief to the busy-ness of life, and the stresses of this life. In our creation story, God rested on the seventh day. He called it a Sabbath day - a day of rest. God also said that the Sabbath was created for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath.

What this means, is that God deliberately built in a mechanism for humans to rest. One day out of every seven is meant to be a rest day.

How are you doing at resting? Why is it so hard to rest? What obstacles are in the way of us resting?

Often at Christmas time I hear the phrase - Jesus is the reason for the season. I think Jesus being the reason is slowly disappearing. I'm not hear to debate the right or wrong of this. However, I do want to suggest that maybe, just maybe, another reason for the 'season' needs to be 'REST'.

If you are able to, please find a way to rest this Christmas season. The Sabbath day was made for us because we need it.

I pray God's many blessings of peace upon you at this time.


Whose Story are You in?

If your life were to be made in to a story, what would the story tell about you - about me?

Stories have a beginning and an ending, with lots of chapters in between. If someone were to read your life story what would stand out the most for them?

My story doesn't begin when two people with twinkles in their eyes did you know what. No. My story begins before that.

My story begins with God: in the beginning God... (Genesis 1:1). The book of my life is but a mere chapter in a book of the life of the world; a world that has a beginning and that will have an end. When I ask myself, "What should I be doing with my life?" it's not just about the here and now but also about the what has been and what is to come.

My story is directly connected to God's story. God's story is the big story (the metanarrative) within which all other stories find their place.

How does your story and my story find its place in God's story? Well, firstly it's about acknowledging that there is a story bigger than our story and then beginning to seek it out. This is what we do as church. People with their stories coming together and asking, "What part of God's story are becoming?"

You're invited to join us Trinity to help discover our stories together.



Church: Institute or People?

I read another blog recently. It can be found here:

I am a firm believer that the institute that is church - its politics, its rules and regulations, its traditions - are always open to the redemptive nature of God's love. What do I mean by this?

Throughout history the world and it's peoples change. Societies change. Cultures change. One thing that seems to remain unchanged is the Church. Why is this? People like comfort. People need a place where they can rest from the change so demanding of this world. Over time though, the Church gets labelled with being irrelevant because of its lack of change. In some part the rules and regulations, the traditions and politics are to blame. "This is the way we do it here," is the catch-cry of many parishioners.

But is doesn't have to be. Why do we need rules and regulations, traditions and politics to 'govern' how people relate to one another? We shouldn't. We are meant to be a people of God's Spirit; led, moved and motivated by the very motivating Spirit of God. Where have gone wrong?

We can't be trusted to act in love 100% of the time.

The fact that church as institution exists is because history clearly shows that humans, even Christian humans, find it difficult to look out for the interests of others and not only their own. And so we put in place rules and regulations, policies of discipline, politics, to help ensure that our so-called Christian communities somehow reflect the God who saves the world. But law can never save. Law can only show where we go wrong - highlight why we need salvation in the first place.

Church is first and foremost about people. People in relationship with a loving and saving God, and in relationship with one another, expressing the same kind of love and salvation message shown by God. We don't need rules and regulations to do this - we need the very Spirit of God. It is God's Spirit that enables to us to forgive. It is God's Spirit that enables us to love. It is God's Spirit that enables us to show grace and mercy, while at the same time speaking truth and light.

If I can be so bold... if the Church appears irrelevant then perhaps it is because the Spirit of God is missing OR (and it's a big OR), people haven't spent long enough with the people of God to experience God's Spirit at work.

What do you think?

Church: Building or People?

What is church?

Most people when they hear the word 'church' think of the building on the street where people meet together to do religious stuff. This couldn't be more from the truth.

Church, in a Christian sense, is a group of people meeting in the name of Jesus, the Christ. Some churches (groups of Jesus' disciples) meet in buildings set apart specifically for the purpose of meeting. The buildings they meet in a also called Churches. This can be quite confusing.

The place of meeting doesn't need to be a 'church' building. Disciples of Jesus (Christians) can meet at a café, in a home, at a park - pretty much anywhere. It is when they come together that 'church' appears.

This is a very important point to understand: it is when disciples of Jesus gather together, in whatever setting, they are the 'church' of God.

The next blog will discuss why this is important to understand.

Thanks for reading