When I was a kid I used to love this song by Simon and Garfunkel. It is so simple and joyous. Sometimes I wonder where did the simplicity and joy go as I grew up and what me (and maybe you) from telling it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere? Remember if you are reading this Mrs Robinson- Jesus loves you more than you will know! I’ve also added the version from one of my other favourite artists from the 70’s James Taylor– two for the price of one- can’t be bad!
Tag Archives: gospel
This morning I received a copy of Corner- Rob Bell’s latest and 23rd Nooma film. Now I have to admit that, for me, the last couple of Nooma’s have lost their way in self-indulgence but with Corner Nooma is back to its best. A simple message, creatively executed that prompts Christians to think, pray and act. Essentially Corner is about what it means to be a giving Christian- leaveing a corner for others. It’s done so differently to Rich the previous Nooma film on this topic and it is powerfully brilliant and clear in its message.
Rob unpacks why being rescued, liberated, redeemed isn’t fair: why grace isn’t fair and why God isn’t fair. “When we empower others, when we extend grace to others in their oppression- whatever that may look like- we find out about the grace that God has extended to us.” Corner can be ordered through the usual sources, but I thought I’d share with you this little You Tube movie about how it was made.
Yesterday I heard the well-known evangelist J John address an annual consultation from the Group for Evangelism in London on the theme ‘For God’s sake say something!’. Around 70 people responsible for co-ordinating evangelism and mission across a variety of Christian denominations gathered for a discussion on the subject of proclamation evangelism- has it had its day or does it still have a role? J John may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with great humility and purpose his keynote address provided a real challenge for the audience. He talked about a letter he had sent to 1,500 church asking them if they provided any sort of training programme to their congregation in how to share faith. Out of the 1,017 replies only 36 said they had something in place. Isn’t that just the problem with sharing our faith- it’s always somebody else’s responsibility. J John has developed a programme called Breaking News to help equip churches with some techniques and guidance on how to share faith: but is training without prayer or a real heart enough?
Jesus said the gospel is based around two prinicples: loving God and loving our neighbour. So how many of us care enough to pray by name for our neighbours ?(in fact how many of us really know our neighbours well enough to tell them that we are doing so?). J John went on to explain how his family are known locally as the ‘neighbours from heaven’ who care enough to help put and infirm neighbours to bed each night; to put out the bins of their elderly neighbours who can’t manage it, and to visit the dying son of a woman in the street who isn’t a Christian. They are ready to respond to need where it is because that’s what Jesus would do- even when they feel inadequate for the task.
I am becoming more convinced that praying, loving, caring and sharing is the best mission strategy we can have. This is how we can live out the gospel; this is how we can make a difference ,and this is how we can introduce Jesus- the saviour who loves- because that is what we’re meant to do. We don’t need a branded week/month of action to do this and then go away- hit and run mission has little legacy. We need to build it into our service for our neighbourhood day-in-day out and pray without ceasing. We then have the credibility to talk about the one in whose name we do this and people start to listen when they see what this love has caused us to do. Could there be a better calling card?
For more on breaking news see http://www.philotrust.com/shop/viewproduct/66
Today a guy called Peter Andrews told me about a great idea for sharing faith called hot potatoes. Peter hosts a regular event at a local pub where he provides a free baked potato meal to punters who call then decide from a menu of ‘hot potato’ issues which they’d like him to talk about. All the issues on the menu such as debt, relationships, love, honesty provide Peter with the opportunity of introducing a Christian perspective to the issue. He says people go away with full tums and nourished souls. Now I wonder if the local Harvester could add this to their early bird menu?
Yesterday I read a fine new book by Krish and Miriam Kandiah called How to Save a Life. It’s a brief 54 page guide to becoming a Christian and it contains some explosive stuff. As the blurb says – “No punches, no hiding the small print, no beating around the bush. Plain and simple how somebody can become a Christian and what it all means.”It’s part of Authentic’s exploring Christianity series but it goes way beyond that: Krish and Miriam’s little gem starts off with the dramatic story of Tamaz saving the life of Krish Kandiah under gunfire in Georgia, and picks up five years later when he committed his life to Christ. Like Mark’s gospel the book has a pace and energy about it focused on introducing the reader to the importance of Jesus and his sacrifice, and has no time for those who get in the way. The book takes as its structure four excuses- I’m too good; I’m too bad; It’s too late; it’s too soon and unpicks and blows away each one of them in an engaging, honest and direct style. Kandiah’s harshest words, like Christ’s, are reserved for the religious establishment when they get in the way of people understanding the truth of the gospel- also a theme of this blog from time to time:
” The hypocrisy of religion is not attractive. In the name of religion wars have been waged, ethnic cleansing has taken place and child abuse has been covered up….Jesus had no time for empty religion, for the thin veneer of turning up to religious services, wearing the right clothes, and reading the right books when underneath there are hidden motives, self-serving agendas, and cold rotten hearts. He wants to get to the heart of the issue. So Jesus was no friend of religion- not if religion meant using God’s name as an excuse to exploit people and initiate regulations or as a mascot for nationalistic pride. Jesus was no friend of the religious- he did not spend all his time in the temple or with the good, the rich and the famous, but in the homes of the underclass of society. He ate and drank wit politically unacceptable Roman collaborators, morally unacceptable prostitutes, physically unacceptable lepers and ethnically unacceptable Samarians. Jesus welcomed their friendship and hospitality and showed them unconditional respect and compassion. Jesus taught that becoming a Christian was not about becoming religious, nor confirming to an empty set of rituals and regulations, but becoming like him.”
Now back to the excuses, still too good, too bad, too late or too soon?
For more on How to save a life see http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Save-Life-Krish-Kandiah/dp/1850788219