Pastors Reflections for August 2018

So, let me explain some more about the discipleship course.

There are a few strange words for us to understand.

The course I am using is called: CURSILLO: which means. A short course (well in our case a short course over a lot of weeks).

ROLLO: Some say this is a long boring talk, I’m quite sure that those on this Cursillo won’t be!

ULTREYA: Press On! Keep going, persevere. Used as a word of encouragement and greeting.

Cursillo, is centered on three recognised disciplines of the Christian life.

These three activities are: – Prayer, Study and Action.

We have already spent some time in prayer we have looked at Gods love in the prodigal son, and three glances of Jesus meditations and we will continue to do so throughout the weeks.

But we are now about to begin the Study and Action.

The Study is centred on the fifteen talks – ROLLO’S Ideal

This first Rollo is called Ideal, all people live by ideals, and this is what motivates them. We need to know our ideas, and to discover what they are we need to think about where we spend our time, our Money and where our thought go.

Human being are unique we have intelligence that is very different from Animals.  My dogs know when I start to prepare their meal that it is time to eat, I saw some cows this week walking across the road they really knew where they were going but their person was with them.  Mawgan was telling me about a sheep dog puppy that rounded up some sheep and brought them home proudly. Unfortunately the sheep did not belong to his family.

Our intelligence is different it comes from our freedom of will. We are motivated by ideas, our Lives have a purpose.

So what is an ideal? It is a combination of ideas, hopes and preferences.  An attractive ideal motivates us to work to attain it, and each of us has one ideal.  All our life goals and objectives stem from us working towards this ideal.  This ideal represents our values in life.  That is part of being human. We try to move towards something worthwhile.  Something that will make us a better person, live a better life.

There is no such thing as human life without an ideal.  Everyone has one or they would not be human.  Our ideal shapes and characterizes our whole life; our individual ideal makes us who we are.  The higher our idea the more fully human we are. It shows us what kind of humans we are. It gives us a purpose and meaning, shapes our personalities and our enthusiasm for our work.

Sometimes our ideal change because of something we see or hear.  The world is changing it ideas about plastic once it was the most wonderful thing.  Everything is coated in it or made of it.  But we forgot that it was indestructible and have now realised we cannot keep putting it into the sea and burying it in land fill.

People like John Newton changed his life idea from a slave owner to slave abolitionists because of things that happened to him.  Our Ideals should be high.  We should aspire to greatness.  But our Ideals should be attainable.  It’s no good me thinking I can go climbing a mountain I would not get very far.

I wonder if our ideals are influenced by what we read in the papers or see on the TV. There are lots about famous people that our children try to emulate be they a footballer a pop star.

Are we influenced by fear of failure, or our own poor priorities?  I need to buy that larger house as my best friend has just moved. I really must update my car. When, we do not have enough money, to function on a weekly basis.

There are lots of different kinds of Ideals, some personal based on what we want from life, some from our families based on things like our culture or maybe a family business, some groups like animal charities, can influence our Ideal. I had a couple of ladies in my pottery group that ran the Leicestershire cat protection league they were obsessed, running to the vet for the littlest thing constantly raising money. National and world ideals like human rights, law system and the way we are expected to act.  There are many categories of ideals. Wealth, science, glory fame how many times we can put something on the social media and go global. Living, our lives on Facebook. Things get so out of control.

So how do you find out what your idea is, because it guides your life?  Well we need to ask ourselves:

Where do my thought, my free time, and my money go?

If you are a sporting family these might be based on that sport.  If you enjoy a drink and a meal out and socialising it might be that there is where these things happen.

You could look at your calendar, your check book, or diary. These could also give you a clue.

I think sometimes we do not even really know if our ideal is holding us back from things that might be more important.

Grace

We have heard in our first talk that everyone has an ideal.  Now I want to look at: What is the Christian ideal?

Well The Christian ideal is a life rooted in God and empowered by grace.

To live this new life of grace, we only need to say “yes” to God’s invitation.

 

Paul said,

“For by grace are you saved through faith. And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

 

On the other hand, James said,

“Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Paul was telling us that grace is unmerited favour of God. It is based on what Jesus did at Calvary. James says the way we announce to other people that we are saved is through the good works that they see us doing.

 

Our natural state is spiritual blindness and rebellion. Any relationship between God and us must be initiated by God.

 

And yes, GOD IS INVITING US INTO RELATIONSHIP:

 

God is not remote, difficult to approach or waiting for us to get it “right”. God is present among us, reaching out to us to offer the Divine Presence.  God wants you to feel secure in grace, but not so secure that you are careless in what you say and do. WE ARE FREE TO ACCEPT, REJECT, OR IGNORE THIS INVITATION:

Some people do not respond because they are too busy with their own agenda. We saw this last time when we read about the rich young man: Luke 18:18-30:

 

God respects our freedom of choice, but continually offers new life in Christ. We must choose Christ if we are to begin a new life.  The good news is – we CAN choose Christ.  It is within our power to say “yes” to God’s freely offered invitation to a new life. (See Rom. 10:6-9)

 

Every human being is a sinner. The world consists of sinners who do not believe in Jesus Christ and sinners who do believe in Jesus Christ. Those of us who do believe in Jesus have had the power of sin broken in our lives so that we are no longer servants or slaves of sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (see 1 John 1:10).

 

Thank God that the Bible gives us hope that something can intervene against this destructive power; that someone out there loves us enough to redeem us as a human race, as a nation, and as individuals. Two kinds of people tend to put themselves outside the grace of God—the one thinks he is too good for the grace of God; the other thinks he is too evil.

 

But the grace of God that brings salvation appears to all of us. There is no one who does not need God’s grace, and there is no one beyond the reach of God’s grace. So IF AND WHEN WE ACCEPT GOD’S INVITATION, GOD BEGINS A PROGESSIVE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR WHOLE LIVES. The moment we say “yes” to God we begin to be transformed in every way, that we may fully enjoy our lives in Christ. For some, this is an instantaneous, dramatic effect. For many others it is a less dramatic, slow unfolding of a new awareness of God. When we opened our hearts to God’s saving grace, we began a relationship with God that He wants to continue throughout our lives. God’s saving grace should be followed by His sanctifying grace. The word sanctifies means to set apart, to make holy or healthy. It is the provision that God has made to set us apart from the world and make us into healthy and holy people. For all, it is only the beginning of a lifelong walk with God. It is a lifelong process of turning to God, coming to rely on God more and more in all circumstances of life.  (See John 3:1-10: The story of Nicodemus) It does not happen all at once; it occurs over time. It is progressive.  As we turn to God, we find God ready to deepen our conversion as we grow ready to allow God more and more control in our lives.

 

Once we have come to Jesus and begun walking with Him, the same Cross that made salvation possible helps us to clean up our lives and heal hurts from the past. Being healthy and whole in Jesus is what sanctification is all about. God not only sees who we are, but He sees who we can become through His growing grace. God did not bring you into His kingdom to remain as you are, but to grow (see 2 Peter 3:18).

 

Whenever we come into God’s kingdom it is possible for us to realize our Kingdom potential. From that point on, God wants His children to stay on the “cutting edge” of growth. He never wants us to stop growing, and the future can always be different and better than the past.

Paul talked about this growth potential and the Christian’s perspective:

“Not as though I had already attained or … [am] already perfect, but this one thing I do: forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forth to those things that are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Letting go of the past and stretching toward the future is the posture of growth that God wants His children to have. God’s will for us is to continue growing.

 

Keep growing. Acquire computer skills, garden, take music lessons, or get into politics. You can volunteer at church, take painting lessons, read, do hospital work, or even go back to school. Join the school religious group. Develop a prayer ministry. Develop your writing skills. There are so many ways to keep growing.

 

The first talk today, ideal calls us to live our lives with an ideal.

The Grace talk calls us to live out the Christian ideal. – it is intended to inform us all that God calls us to share a new life in Christ, a life rooted in and empowered by grace.

 

Grace opens us up to an encounter with God where we can become converted to new life. – This new life of grace transforms us.  People notice that we have changed. We become a child of God, a brother or sister of Christ, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                                 

Pastor Caroline

 

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