9th June 2024

Why is Jesus smarter? That’s the question I left with you last week. You can find the previous parts to this discussion below. 

Let me put the question another way, “It is not possible to trust Jesus, or anyone else, in matters where we do not believe him to be competent. We cannot pray for his help and rely on his collaboration in dealing with real-life matters we suspect might defeat his knowledge or abilities… if Jesus were divine would he be dumb? Or uninformed?” (quote from Dallas Willard) 

Where you and I look for help is the fruit of who we believe is smartest. A quick prayer to Jesus to heal us from a diagnosis of cancer, while we devote hours to read every internet page we can on treatments and how to save myself should trouble the person who says “I follow Jesus.” Think about it: it’s not that human wisdom has no value in cancer treatment, but if my way of dealing with life is really Google and not God, what do I also really believe about Jesus? This is a very serious discussion that we must have as a community following Jesus. Does Jesus have more knowledge about cancer and how to deal with it than google, and how do I live out the belief that he has more knowledge? 

The claim of Jesus is that he holds all knowledge and the future of the universe in his hand (Colossian 1:17; 2:3; Revelation 1:5). Do I believe this? It’s okay if you’re not sure! We don’t work ourselves up into belief, we must experience it (let’s talk about that next week). 

2nd June 2024

Let’s keep talking about what Jesus means by “making disciples”. You can find the previous parts to this discussion below. The second part of what Jesus means by “making disciples” is “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Here is the important question: is Jesus the smartest person you know? I don’t mean the smartest religious person you know. I mean the smartest, smarter than Einstein? I don’t just mean intelligent either. Is Jesus better (smarter) at cooking than Jamie Oliver, better at finances than Warren Buffet, better at IT than Steve Jobs, better at gardening than Don Burke, better at football than… insert your favourite player?

I’m serious. Is Jesus the smartest person you know, in the sense that what he says about life and how to live it to the full tops everyone else? Jesus is calling us to apprentice ourselves to him, not just in one area of life, but all of life. That means Jesus know the best way to cook and garden, deal with finances and IT, even play football. Remember, Peter had to learn that Jesus is the best fisherman, twice (Luke 5; John 21).

If we don’t understand this, we won’t obey Jesus in every area of life, like an apprentice would. That would be also why we don’t experience the reality of God being with us in everything we do. If we want Jesus just for religious experience and then other experts for what we call “real life” we will find ourselves in all sorts of mess. 

Why is Jesus smarter? Tune in next week.

26th May 2024

When Jesus said, “make disciples” he begins to explain what he means by the next words: “baptising them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit… (Matthew 28:18-20).

The word “baptise” simple means “immerse” or “surround”. Although Jesus might have meant “with water” he certainly means more than a symbolic act. He means, immerse those you invite to be my apprentices to live in the reality of the Trinitarian God.

Here is the key question: What is real? What is reality? The “world” teaches us to be its apprentice by believing that owning a home, comfortable retirement, wrinkle free skin, sufficient grandchildren, and so on, is ultimate reality.

Jesus is saying that those who apprentice to him immerse themselves into the reality that God is with them now, as Father, Son and Spirit. They would do that because who they see in Jesus, in his life and his death and his resurrection, as more real than mortgages, beauty treatments and continuing the family line (among other possibilities). So, living in the same reality as Jesus makes sense. Again, making disciples is not by force (see last week’s reflection; it’s available on the website). It’s a natural outcome of seeing the world as Jesus presents it as true reality. We want that to “form” (make) us.

More thoughts on this important theme next week.

19th May 2024

In our mission statement we begin with we want to bring glory to God by making… disciples.

It’s possible that you cringe at these words. The word “make” might suggest to you forcing something onto someone, like in the phrase “I’ll make you do this.” So, it’s important that we understand what is meant by these words.

These words come from Jesus. They are part of his last words spoken to his followers in Matthew’s account. Jesus’ life gives us the understanding of what “make disciple” means. Firstly, he never forced anyone; Jesus always invited, “Come…” Secondly, he was serious about following him, not accepting a set of ideas, but living like him (disciple could easily be translated apprentice). So, to accept the invitation is to choose to let Jesus shape the way I think, speak and act. 

We are all “disciples” of something or someone (I’ll let you ponder that; if you really think you are a completely free agent, I’d love to hear more from you over coffee!). Jesus’ last words are saying to the first disciples, it doesn’t stop with you; who I am and the call to follow me continues. As you have become my disciples, apprenticing the way you live to conform to how you see me live, invite others to do the same. Simply put, that’s what is means to “make disciples”. Jesus, whose way brings life in abundance, continues to be offered as we “make disciples”

If you still cringe at this idea, I’d love to have coffee with you too. I’ll continue these thoughts next week.

12th May 2024

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14

God’s good purposes for us involve our mums. Being born is good! You are fearfully and wonderfully made, even if the journey from birth for you has included pain and difficulty. Remember that today, and give thanks to God that your mum did give birth to you.

God’s good saving purposes for the world include mums. He made a promise to Eve that her offspring would one day crush the power of evil, and we can trace that plan through the history of the world, all the way to the birth of Jesus. Jesus knew pain and difficulty too. Yet, finally in this birth, we see how God overrules all evil. Even death has no hold. Being born is good and God wants us to know that he has also given us new birth through Jesus. Being born, does not have to end in death.

Today, as we remember mothers, dwell on these truths. Let the words of Psalm 139 speak into you pain. Let the reality of the birth of Jesus speak into your joy. Let the wholeness and fullness of the Good News of Jesus shape how you celebrate your mum.

Hear these words again: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14