Monday, August 25, 2008

I think I like Mike Guglielmucci's song Healer better now...

Danny Guglielmucci has made a statement about what led to Mike's cancer story:,22606,24233308-5006301,00.html

I think I like the song Healer better now that I know it came out of a Romans 7 type struggle with sin/addiction than when it was about cancer. Certainly speaks to my life a lot more than before :-) THIS I can COMPLETELY understand. I think this situation coming out into the open is God's first step in answering Mike's prayer for healing from his sexual addiction.

I think he will look back on this time and be grateful that this became public. I think he will never forget how much damage and pain he has caused and I think it will give him opportunity to understand a fresh the grace of God towards him. This is God discipling Mike as a son (Heb 12:5-8) which is grace in itself. This means that Mike is still God's son, which makes him our brother. As the people of God I think we should seek to be a community of healing rather than judgement in this situation.

For everyone else we need to learn/remember the following things:

  1. Deal with sin, don't hide it, God won't let it stay hidden for ever, so have a zero-tolerance policy towards sin.
  2. Our faith needs to be based in the character of God, not of our leaders because newsbreak they are all fallible and sin, only God is 100% trustworthy.
  3. Take the log out of our own eyes before we try to take the speck out of our brothers. And remember that when we think are 'standing firm, be careful that [we] don't fall!' (1 Cor 10:12)
  4. God is sovereign and He will work even things like this for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

I really feel that so much good is going to come out of this. I feel Joel 2:25-27 is a promise for those who have experienced devastation as a result of this situation. God is passionate about restoration. He is the God of resurrection, when things die/are put to death there is opportunity for God to do something unexpected and good. As a people we need to put our hope in God that He is good enough, and big enough to make something good out of this. And considering the size of the "sin impact zone", I think this could be the beginning of a big revival in the Australian church. I think this could be something that draws people away from their false idols (church leaders, prosperity doctrine, name-it-claim-it theology, prooftexting), and back into a deep and complex faith in Christ.

God bless,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Guglielmucci, Bentley & Success

It's disappointing to hear that Mike G's cancer story is a hoax. It's hard when something that looks so strong in the church is shown to be weak and sin-tainted. Similar thing happened this week with the revelations about Todd Bentley (although I have to admit no surprise on that one at all). As Christians I think we really love it when things look successful. Healer is a great song that has touched many people. Bentley's ministry looked flashy and successful. But both are now questionable.

First thing to say would be that God is entirely capable (and there is biblical evidence) for God using the ungodly for his purposes. To varying extents we are all sinful and yet God still uses us. So just because these men have been shown to be in sin does not mean that God is not at work through their ministries. I think it is illustrative that while Saul was in sin, God's anointing still rested on him as king of Israel.

Secondly, I would say that there is a problem as Christians when we love things that "look good". I think we want God to break in and establish His kingdom (and vindicate our witness) through big, flashy, undeniable displays of His power and sovereignty. I think the reason we love songs like Healer is that they do provoke deep feeling, and we think that's a sign that God is at work in a big way, and that somehow vindicates our witness. It's like evidence that supports what we've been saying. Same thing with big flashy healings. It vindicates us, brings us a bit back off the ledge, removes some of the risk of faith and witness. But I don't think that big and flashy is the way God necessarily chooses to work all the time. I think Jesus is a great example of this. He "emptied Himself and took the form of a servant", he didn't arrive as the big flashy political messiah that Israel was expecting. Instead He came and He washed His disciple's feet.

I think we should be more pleased when we see Christian leaders and the church displaying the CHARACTER of God, rather than necessarily the power of God. The power of God should be exercised in ways that are consistent with His character. I think this links in with the problems with the Church growth movement. It measures church success through numbers and tends to use marketing techniques to get people to church. I have been reflecting recently that much of what the church says to bring people to Christ sounds a lot like secular advertising. Secular advertising sets up false models of salvation. This product is going to make your life better by xyz. You are going to be bigger, better, faster, more beautiful by using product abc. This is very similar to the gospel that we sometimes preach - come to Jesus, find the purpose for your life, be happier, more at peace, God will heal all of your health issues in this life etc etc. But I don't think this is the true gospel. The true gospel is about dying, dying to self, taking up our cross and following Jesus. This is completely counter cultural, and does not look at all like the messages that we get flooded with by the world. I think the church should be functioning in ways that show this dying to self and mortifying the flesh.

The thing is that I think this is goes entirely against our ideas of success. I think our flesh loves it when we can count up church attendance and let that be a measure of what we are doing. When there are lots of people there, or lots of people buying our CD / crying during our song we see that as success, and our flesh loves it. The central point of the bible is the death of Christ--this absolutely looks like failure. The church needs to concentrate more on knowing and following Christ in His death. In the end this is all about God's glory, not the glory (success) of humans. We need to remember that His strength is made perfect in our weakness not our strength (success).

God bless,

Friday, August 8, 2008

No spine whatsoever

OK I take it back, the archbishop of Canterbury has no theological or moral spine whatsover:

The Anglican church is quite clearly on the death march to hell if it follows this mans leadership.

God bless,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Refinement through Busyness

I usually feel that God doesn't really want us to be 'busy', productive yes, busy no. I would normally say that busyness consumes us until a point that we typically can't hear God and so are spiritually cut off from our source. But I've been reflecting recently that God can actually use our busyness sometimes as a way of refining us.

This year has/is jam packed full of change and stuff to do for me. So far this year I have changed churches, been temporarily unemployed (then reemployed by same employer!), become a life group leader and gotten engaged. The rest of this year looks like this; moving this Saturday, classes resumed this week, possibly will be looking for work again in Sept when my contract ends, preparing for our wedding in December, working, studying, leading a lifegroup, other church commitments. Additionally my fiance is looking for work as he was made redundant a few weeks back.

I had thought that I would only do one subject this semester, but I got into classes this week and realised that the majority of my spiritual food actually comes out of my study not church. There is just something about getting deeper into the things of God that really really gets me spiritually amped. For some people great worship music makes them want to jump up and down, for me it exegeting Leviticus ;-)

So while I was quite prepared to cut back a bit and try to resist the encroachment of busyness I'm feeling this week much more like there is a point to my busyness at the moment. The whole year has felt like a time of refinement, and I believe God is using this crazy-busy time in that process of refining me. I am, where possible, trying to learn to say no to things that aren't essential. But I'm also learning that where my energy runs out, His energy is available to me. I felt that particularly today as I was sitting in my Exegesis class. Most students seemed a bit freaked by the prospect of Leviticus, but I felt elated, I felt that God's empowering grace is there for me to do this.

And I think that's part of what He's trying to teach me in this period of refinement, to stop relying on my own energy, my own strength, my own intelligence and startling good looks, not to mention humility LOL, but rather to rely on Him and His empowerment to do what He's called me to. And I think He's deliberately set the bar so high that I can't do it on my own.

I'm just praying that 2009 will be a year of peace and rest. I'm calling in the Deut 24:5 principle:
If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

God bless,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So the Archbishop of Canterbury does have a spine

It appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury does have a spine, and a moral compass!

It is a good thing that he has stopped pandering to the liberal faction of the Anglican church and has finally called a spade a spade; yes there are divisions in the Anglican church and those divisions were caused by the US & Canadian bishops who have gone against the word of God, and the beliefs and traditions of Anglicanism.

God bless,

Unborn Slaves

This is a must read:

God bless,

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pornography Addiction amongst Muslims

It's odd the things one stumbles across on the internet, but this one is really fascinating:

It talks about muslims with porn addictions. It is interesting to read how they approach fighting the addiction, and how it is all in their own strength. So much of what they talk about in fighting the addiction is similar to what Christians would suggest in terms of praying more, doing more spiritual disciplines, drawing away from the world etc. But Jesus is missing, and the admission that they cannot change themselves is missing.

Really sadly there are many that talk about how they need to go and do extra good deeds to balance out their sins of lust. And they talk about fear of Allah being the major motivation for not continuing in this sin.

There's also testimony from a muslim wife about how she copes with her husband's problem, all without the agape of Christ in her to love her husband and support him in his struggle. She feels that fear is the only way that her husband will change and thinks that if she got in a car crash that would jolt him into changing.

I think this is very encouraging for Christians, to be reminded that we fight against sin for a God who loves us and who uses "kindness to lead us to repentence" not fear. And that it is Jesus' work in us that allows us to overcome sin, not our own striving and work. And that God does not expect or need us to balance up our sins, that it's all through His grace that we are accepted and will be rewarded in the end.

In reference to the muslim wife's comments, a Christian couple's love and support for each other in this area comes from Jesus and His strength. He empowers them. There is no way outside of Christ that a woman could deal with her husband's (or vice versa) betrayal like this, without the agape of Christ in her. It is impossible to show the required level of forgiveness and understanding towards someone who hurts you like that without understanding how great is your sin before God, and yet how gracious and forgiving He has been to you.

I think it's easy for Christians to fall into similar lines of thinking as these muslims. Reading that article for me was just a really good reminder of God's grace and that we need His grace more than oxygen, and how great and how good is Jesus Christ!!

I'd like to ask you to keep islamic sex addicts in your prayers. Perhaps in the desperation of finding themselves entirely powerless to this addiction, and completely unable to balance up their bad deeds with good deeds, they will hear Christ's call of love and forgiveness, and submit themselves to His grace.

God bless,