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.


6 Comments so far
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Neil – An encouraging post…

Same old God that make us all new creations…it feels like I’ve been ‘born again’ again…!!

I pray that God would further inspire you with new songs of worship.


Comment by Andy

Same old God . . . who manages to exult in monotony.
“It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy seperately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we are.’

He goes on creating again . .. and again . . . . and again . . . . . .and pouring himself out again . . . and again . . . and again . . .and showing himself again and again . . . and loving us again and again . . .

Comment by Naomi

Thanks Andy. your ‘born again again’ story today was awesome! keep on going!

Comment by Neil Bennetts

naomi, your insight impresses me again and again and again….

glad to see you’ve survived your intensive!

Comment by Neil Bennetts

Always nice to hear poeple thinking the same thoughts! I love how God can do new things that remain true to who He is & what He’s already revealed of Himself.

I’m with you on the songwriting point – as a (very) amateur songwriter I’ve always tried to focus my writing (such as it is) where I see ‘gaps’ in our song vocabularly and theme. This is the great advantage of being local focussed and journeying through life with a bunch of people – you can react and create out of what God is doing in ways specific to your community. What a gift when we get it right – to give our brotehrs & sisters the words that release worship they’re longing to bring & what grace that God should use us in that process.

He reveals and we respond . . . So last year I wrote lots of songs about turning from dissapointment and despair to trust in God, confess His goodness, and ask for Him to release the fulness of His kingdom. Right now I’m writing songs which ask for more but have a ‘we must go’ focus. . . and not in the social justice tradition (though I will always defend faith worked out in practical actions) – we’ve got plenty of songs on that theme – but we must go and bring the grace of God to the world, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I look forward to hearing what comes out of this season at trinity, very exciting!

Comment by MattCrossman

It is exciting all that God is doing. But in this I can hear that what He wants is more of the intimacy, more relationship with us, that He wants to meet us in the stillness to enable His voice, His love to show through and bring the healings and power to those outside the ‘church’. Singing a new song to this generation is releasing God out of the box we have put Him in. May your songs bring freedom j x x

Comment by Anonymous

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