the baby and the bathwater

Same Old
May 21, 2008, 8:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Same Old: as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever.

Same old.

Same old God, doing the extraordinary, the incredible, the unfathomable. Same old God using people that we don’t think deserve it, in churches we don’t think have earned the right. Same old God, upping sticks and moving into new territory just as we have got settled. Same old God, surrounded in the mystery that only his perfect love and perfect sovereignty can explain. Same old God shouting one moment and staying silent the next, but in both breathing His life into his church and revealing more of His nature.

Same old.

In one sense we shouldn’t be surprised. God is just being God, as He always has been, and as He always will be. Unchanging.

Same old.

As I engage with what God is doing at the moment in our church, and churches across the world, there is something that I find distinctly normal. It just feels like normal church. Church as it should be. The excitement, the healings, the expectation of divine intervention, the passion for worship and song, the beautiful messiness of it all. It all feels strangely comfortable.

Over the years we have called out for this, we have hungered for this, we have in many ways waded through the treacle towards this. We have delved into the bible, gaining a theology that points towards this. So now that God appears to be moving in this incredible way the most strange, inconsistent, abnormal thing we could do is not go with it.

It’s not as though we’ve suddenly discovered a new formula, a new liturgy, a new theology. It’s just that God’s Spirit has chosen to move in this way right now. Quite why is probably explained somewhere between a response to the prayers of His people and a sovereign act of His will. But whatever the reason, I think we would have to change our theology not to ride the wave where-ever it heads off to.

These should be great times to be a worship leader too. In our times of gathered worship, there seems to be a huge passion at the moment to meet with God as we sing. I honestly think that I could sing ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and people would go for it. (don’t worry I won’t). Throughout the course of history, a move of God seems to generate creativity, particularly in song, and so as a worship leader I know that now, more than ever, I need to be putting time aside to allow God to shape those songs in me. Even last night as I led worship at our hungry for God I began to feel like my song book was lacking, that there were things we as a church need to sing that we haven’t got the songs for yet. Bring them on.

And where will all this lead? I don’t know. But I hope that this move of God’s Spirit will lead to a renewed passion for justice, a huge influx of new believers into the church, a restructuring of the political and financial landscape, and a massive increase in mission. Just like moves of God’s Spirit have done in the past.

Same old.


May 4, 2008, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

on: with respect or regard to

In a week where I been teaching, leading worship, listening to others teach, hanging out with friends who are great theologians & worship leaders & speakers, being involved in a community project ‘The Noise’ throughout Cheltenham, but mainly listening to God, I have been trying to articulate what He has been saying to me.

Thought I would share them with you. They are my own quotes, so please only blame me if they are rubbish.

On Theology: God’s generosity is greater than our theological understanding: His presence with us says more about His desire to reveal Himself to us than our ability to explain why He does.

On Experience: Our experience and our theology will come together if we keep seeking His presence and keep seeking His truth.

On Fire Tunnels: The similarities between a fire tunnel and Simpson’s Hit and Run level 4 are remarkable.

On Platforms: I probably disagree in part with everyone I share a platform with. The fact that I trust them is why I still do it.

On Generosity: Generosity doesn’t fit into a business model. One generous giver can blow our budgets to pieces. One outpouring of God’s Spirit can make our structures irrelevant in a moment. Come Lord Jesus.

On Treasure: When God asks us to treasure something, He means that we should spend it wisely and spend it all.

On Songwriting: It’s not good enough to be ‘not incorrect’ when writing a lyric.

On Mystery: Knowing that we live with the mystery of God should compel us to find out more about Him. Dive into the cloud, don’t just sit and admire it from a distance.

On Leaders: The fact that people follow you doesn’t mean you are right. It just means that you are a leader.

On Fears: My fears are an expression of my dependence on God, not of my lack of faith in Him.

On Revelation: What God doesn’t do reveals as much of his nature as what he does do.

On Gifting: Never assume that the person who operates in gifting most effectively is the best one to teach about that gifting.

On Being Impressed: The sight of a few hundred local church people involved in community projects this weekend was strangely more impressive, and definitely more humbling, than 2000 leaders gathering for a conference during the week.

On Faith: A sick person who allows their dwindling life to be lighted up by the Hope that is Jesus Christ exercises a very deep faith.

On Bible verses: There are 31,103 verses in the bible. Read each one in the context of the other 31,102.