Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

Ulladulla 2017 – I make all things new part 1

October 18th, 2017
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1. Ecclesiastes 7:10 

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’
For it is not wise to ask such questions.’

I think a lot of people remember the past through the lens of the carefree irresponsibility of their childhood.

People will say the good old days and I say what good old days?

The early 20thth century when life expectancy was around 44years.

1914-1920 WW1 Followed by a devastating flu epidemic.

The Great Depression and WW2.

The 1950s with the Korean war, all the colonial wars such as the Belgian Congo, the Cold War with potential for nuclear annihilation, Middle East Wars etc
1960’s -Vietnam, student and race riots, Cuban missile crisis, middle eastern Wars and the genocide of 100,000s of Chinese in Indonesia. And I have left out the millions who lost their lives under communism.

It is a foolish nostalgia. It is a sign of getting old when we say such things. It is not the way God looks at things. As I said before he is not like us getting old and insecure – or wearying of life.

He has seen all the generations and he knows fundamentally we are evil and there is none that is righteous. And yet his love for all humankind has not changed and the hope he has for us in Jesus Christ has not diminished. The Holy Spirit leads us forwards not backwards.

In fact the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes tell us fundamental truths about human existence:

Ecclesiastes 1

1The words of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem:
2 ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’
    says the Teacher.
‘Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.’
3 What do people gain from all their labours
    at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains for ever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.

On the first day I referred to a quote G.K. Chesterton. He has a brilliant quote on the ability of children to rejoice in the ordinary and monotonous. Here is an excerpt from his book, Orthodoxy:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough 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 separately, 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.

That ability to enjoy all the ordinary things of life flows from our Father. It is not a desperation for novelty.

Yet paradoxically we still want to live.

The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

There is a tiredness and yet we still want more of life.

9 What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    ‘Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

Everyone thinks that their generation is special with fresh insights. I suppose that’s why each generation of the church thinks Jesus must return in my time. I live in special times. Yet it all continues. Older members die, ministers retire and die and life goes on.

The memory of each generation usually lasts no more than two generations- and even that is very selective. After that it is as if one never existed. How many young people are aware of the lives of older members who died before they were born?

So each generation seeks for meaning – to somehow be different to those who have gone before..

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
    what is lacking cannot be counted.

Even attempts to put things right can go no where. Problems always seem to be there. Fix up one thing and three other problems pop up. Elect a new government and they do somethings better and other things worse.

Each generation tries new ways to rear children. Some are better than mum and dad and other practices are not as good. And so it has always been.

There is no room in God’s eyes for generational pride.

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Message for the Day ,

The Holy Spirit gives us hope

May 1st, 2014
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1 Corinthians 13

I coach basketball with the Special Olympics. We have about 20 boys each Sunday afternoon with various intellectual disabilities. It is a privilege to be able to share the time with them.

 There are thousands of people like this, with families who never planned for their life to be this way. And that can be for a lot of other things that occur in life.

I read the following which describes this experience.

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…

 When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

 After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

 “Holland?!” you say. “What do you mean, Holland?” I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.

 But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

 The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

 So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

 It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

 But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

 The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

 But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley

Not everyone can do this. Up to 80% of marriages fail with this new reality.

Life can be disallusioning. It has many twists and turns.

In our own extended families, among our church community and when we enter the wider marketplace, we hear of or experience situations that challenge us.

The longer we are a Christian the more our lives are exactly like everyone elses.

The previous example is powerful in that the writer had to change their world view to accept in their loss there were new opportunities.

I see this every Sunday as parents get excited about the new skill their son is developing. The other day the  parents of one  young man who has autism were really excited to see him playing as a team player. He wasn’t just doing his thing but passing the ball to other players and participating more with the rest of the team.

This young man can ignore you at times, get frustrated with instruction, but goes away and eventually puts it in to practice. His parents could see that he was now beginning to understand what it means to be in a game with a team. He played in his first tournament recently. He did very well. He is potentially very good. I hope he continues with the program.

This gives the family hope for his future. It is a different future to someone else but it is a future with life, friends and opportunities.

But what sustains them is their love for him. He is their son. This is the son, with whom they are well pleased.

The source of love is God .

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Message for the Day

In the Garden (1)

June 14th, 2013
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To set the scene for this message please enjoy the inspiring music of the  Holy City. To watch and listen please click here.

 There is a conflict we have as human beings.

 We love our earth. We love our human relationships and the enjoyment we have together: whether eating, laughing, accomplishing a task. We love creativity: making something new or in some way expressing our individuality.

 We love our humanity: whether female or male.

 But on the other hand there can be a lot of pain or sorrow in this life. As we get older our bodies begin to fail us. We yearn for something better, more permanent. We would love to be closer, more intimate with God.

 So as we contemplate the future God has in store for us we can’t wait and yet we don’t want it to be so radically different that we can’t relate to it.

 I think that is why the millennial idea had such an attraction: it is like a 1000 year period into which we can project our present imagination before the great unknown after that.

 And didn’t our imagination work overtime on ideas about the millennium, which occupies about 4 vague verses in Revelation, and yet we tended to avoid much of the new Heaven and New Earth which occupies two whole chapters.

 It was almost a polarity that one was physical and the other was sort of spiritual. And we could deal with the physical and leave the spiritual as not real.

 When I spoke on the ascension I talked about the polarity of the very heavenly spiritual view of our salvation and the more earthy human view. Paul sort of brought this ambiguity together with the unusual expression “spiritual body” as mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

 1 Corinthian 15: 42-44

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

 If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

 There was a question asked during the recent conference by Gary Deddo: Where do we see the true humanity of Jesus?

 Some might say when he cried or was tired or got angry.

 The answer Gary gave: it is in the ascension, glorified, fully human filled with God’s life in a new relationship with time and space. That’s our true humanity.

 In this message I want to lean towards the more human bodily aspect of the resurrection.

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Message for the Day