Christians don’t always ask to be called out like Peter did that early morning on the boat. And we shouldn’t wait to be invited to step out in faith
I have been challenged by the story in Matthew 14:22-31. The disciples had been out all night on the boat that Jesus had sent them on and it was nearly dawn. They started to freak out as they thought they saw a ghost walking on the water. Jesus tells them to relax, “it’s just me” he says. What happens next is pretty amazing! Peter, (who knows what was going on in his head) calls out and asks Jesus to invite him out on the water with him. Peter then starts to walk on the wet only to be spooked by the wind and starts to sink. He cries for help and he receives it.
It’s not the part where Peter deliberately asks Jesus to call him out, or even that he stops focusing on Christ which causes him to sink that has got me thinking. There is no boat but there is plenty of comfort zone, and I haven’t gone out of my way asking him to invite me out to the unknown, but the fact that I have chosen to take following Jesus seriously, means that he is continuously saying “come”. I have recently entered a new season in my life, one that I know is going to shake things up, challenge old scripts in my head and heart, and force me to dig deeper into the word. Even though I have experienced many different forks in the road during my faith journey, making the choice to step out of what I know (or what I think I know) has never been easy. Each new chapter has meant pain and celebration. Lets be honest, who intentionally likes to be spiritually stretched. But its part of the package, when Jesus calls us down from the tree (or wherever you were staying out of reach) we also have a new membership in his Gym.
If you have any desire to Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), and have made daily choices to seek first the kingdom of God, then you know that during these times of self-examination, the holy spirit will make you aware of areas on your life that need to be exposed to the light, the stuff that gets in the way of you becoming more like Christ. Unfortunately God doesn’t always directly say “that’s got to go”, which means we need to trust that Jesus is standing in the unknown waiting for us, and will reach out and grab us like he did with peter when he started to drown. Scary stuff!
I don’t have a 5 point plan to navigate through this new season I am walking through, but If I remind myself of how God has provided for me over the years, and instead of being anxious, bring my prayers to him and continuously ask for wisdom, God gives me fuel to keep moving and I have a new perspective. But of course this is only true for me;-)
So if you are in a similar situation, then I want to encourage you. Its easier to stay in the same comfy space, and harder to get out of it later if you have made your home there. Don’t keep putting it off, make small choices to participate in the growing that God is doing in you. The fruit that is produced from this, will not only spur you on, it will also give others the strength to step out in faith as well.
I stood on the side of the street in my own little world and heard a loud angry voice coming my way. As I looked up from sending a text, my eyes met with the guy who was crashing through the crowd of people. He came to a sudden halt and shouted at me “Do you know what you have just done”? I had no idea what he was talking about but as he came closer to a big smile appeared on his face. “You are a #@$%-ing human valium”! I laughed at this but he went on to share with me that someone had hurt him and caused him to get anxious and extremely angry. He said he wanted to kill someone but while walking past as soon as he saw me all the anger vanished and he felt at peace. We spoke for 30 min about his life, struggles and what he hoped for. I have been called many things but never a human valium.
Valium is used for anxiety. Valium can also be used to treat trembling, states of confusion or anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal. It is also used to treat panic attacks. I can see why people would turn to valium to relieve things that are hard to manage in their lives. With the recent events that have taken place in the world and all the stuff we that don’t hear about the need for medication will no doubt be on the rise. More than ever Christians need to be available to be a sort of medication to a world that is full of chaos and pain.
From the book of Matthew chapter 5
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Jesus is saying we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Yep, sometimes people will need medication to get through the day, but what would happen if we took seriously what Jesus is saying here. How would it impact us and others who come into contact with us? As I continue to work out my salvation on a daily basis, I am realizing more and more that my faith journey is not just about my relationship with Christ and the benefits of my internal transformation, but how the renewing of my mind will impact others. This is not some new profound thought and doesn’t just apply to me. I believe there are many who are part of the body of Christ who are neglecting this part of running the race. Whatever the reasons for this happening, its time to take hold of the truth that Jesus is speaking about.
Salt enhances the flavour of food and is used to de-ice sidewalks after its been snowing. Light replaces darkness and allows people to see more clearly. Salt and light are good things, but when its Jesus Christ telling us that is what we are then its not just salt and light, its God fuelled. When I take the time to have dialogue with God I often pray and ask that I will see people and situations from a kingdom perspective, that I will see what Jesus sees. Its amazing what takes place when we see with our spiritual eyes and ears. Its even more profound what others see when we have committed ourselves to being available.
Straight up, the world needs some good flavour, and those who are walking on unstable ground need something to help them move forward. and you only have to take a glimpse at the news or look at your feed on Facebook to see that darkness and shadows are very real in this world, and a light that can pierce that darkness needs to be present. Thank God it is, Jesus is very much alive and we, the body of Christ are his hands, feet, ears and tongues. The bible says we have the mind of Christ so connect with him to be used, to be that person who counter attacks anxiety and causes people to feel at peace.
If you want this, to see the world differently and to see people as Jesus sees them, and most of all be the salt and light that he says we are, be prepared. Sometimes you wont like what you see, you may even grieve, but those who are seeking truth will see him in you and will often be drawn to you. Read the word, be in constant dialogue with the trinity and place yourselves in the company of others who can encourage and support you to be this God fuelled salt and light.
Thanks for dropping by and reading
I havent blogged since January this year and its been a real challenge to take the time to reflect and put into words anything that I thought was worth writing about. Well this week I had the opportunity to do something that i have been wanting to do for about twelve months, something that I knew would not only be eye-opening but would potentially change my life. I spent two hours at the Melbourne Immigration Transit accommodation centre, otherwise known as a Detention centre for Asylum seekers.
For readers not in Australia, the issue of asylum seekers arriving on our doorstep, especially those who have made the choice to travel by boat has been an on going politcial storm for awhile now. My intention is to not make this blog entry all about how much i hate what the Australian Government is doing/not doing and point the finger in anger at all the human rights violations taking place as there is enough of that already.(I might leave that for another entry but for now my Little rant is over;-))
I said earlier that i have been keen to visit asylum seekers in detention for quite some time. I am in my second year at university doing a degree in International Community Developement and during this time i have been working out what i want kind of work/vocation i would like to be involved in when i finished my study. Outside of uni i have had t to expectnumerous encounters with people who had fled their countries because of conflict, arrived here by boat and spent time in detention. Every time i would walk away really impacted by their stories.
On the way to the detention centre i was really anxious, i realised that no amount of preperation could actually prepare me for what i was walking into. Yes it sounds dramatic in a way, but the people who i had met out in the community who had unfortunatley been locked up both here in australa and abroad spoke of a deep deprerssion and the struggle coming to terms with their freedom, especially with the rest of the their family on the other side of the globe or the memories of oppression always at the front of their minds. How much more intense would it be on the inside?
Well it was intense and extreemly confronting but it didnt take long before i was reminded of a couple of things. 1. The visit was never about me and 2.They are not boat people(many refer to them as that) I have my freedom and all the privilidges that come with it…and i take it for granted as well. I can leave my house whenever i want and have visitors at any time. I know where my family is(well most of the time) but im certainly not worried for their saftey and even though there was a time in my life when i was displaced..well i think you get the picture.
What an honour it was to meet these men!. All of them had been through hell(&some more than others still are)to get to Australia and now live day to day having no idea what the future holds for them. Missing their wives and kids or knowing that family memebers are missing and are not in a postion to do anything but wait. Yes their stories are sad but the i saw a spark in many of their eyes that said something very different. STRENGTH. I may be able to visit them regularly and give them encouragement and hope(and thats exactly what they need) but i have no doubt in my mind that spending time with them will mean no more standing on the sidelines.
Have you ever been to a detention centre or refugee camp, met any asylum seekers or been one yourself? If so i would love to read about your perspective. Feel free to leave a comment and thanks for reading
I have been thinking a lot latley, probably to much which is why i havent blogged in awhile. I had in my head that each blog had to be long, detailed and profound which made it really tough to sit and just write because of all the stuff that i have been keen to write about.
The word why gets thrown around a lot. Kids ask why all the time, its part of their curiousity and adults often ask why because they want more detail..trying to work out whats for them or clearing things up kind of thing. I have been thinking about a different kind of Why.
I have found that its really helpful to remember why i am doing the things im doing. University, following Jesus Christ and even blogging. It is when i forget the why that i feel like throwing my hands in the air and say “why bother”. So im really thankful to be reminded every so often to dont let go of the why because it can be a bit like fuel.
Nothing new or profound here but i rekon everyone has a why in their life that drives them..sometimes we need to pull into the pitstop and be refreshed. i hope you find some encouragement from reading this.
The weeks fly past pretty fast and when I get a chance i like to think about the stuff that got my attention.
So i thought why not Blog about it. So every sunday im going to post Looking Back. Your welcome to come and have a read and i would love for you to leave a comment, either about what i have written or whats caught your eye this week.
- I have come to accept this week that its cool that not everyone will agree with me. In fact it forces me to think more about my attitudes and values.
- Communication is not just a word, its also something i need to invest my time and energy in. Just because so many things can get lost in translation it doesnt mean that i should give up altogether
- The more I think i know about christianity, the more i know i need to learn. This journey is a life time process but i often forget that and want to know everything NOW.
- Some people talk so loud on trains that its hard not to listen in on convesations. And you can find out some pretty interesting stuff about the people you catch public transport with. Entertaining as well
- Everybody has a story to tell. I love asking people at bus stops how their day has been but it never stops there. Amazing lives are being lived all around us and sometimes its good to slow down and find out who it is your sharing space with
- I have 2 books on the go at the moment and im really enjoying them both. But i have many more to read and i am often tempted to start new ones even if i havent finished one yet. But my mission is to stick with the 2 and work my way down to one a month
So as i look back i realise that I have not wasted too much time;-) and now im looking forward to a new week.
I became a Christian thirteen years ago and recently I have been asking myself why? Three days before, I made a promise to a God I didnt believe in, and people who had been praying for me that there was no way in Hell I would ever believe what they believe. So what or Who changed my mind?
His name is Jesus Christ. Over the years I have read and heard lots of people’s opinions about who they think he was or wasnt.
- Good teacher
- Trouble maker
- God in the flesh
- Son of God
And some say that he never lived at all. Whether people believe that he existed or not it would be fair to say that Jesus wont be forgotten in a hurry. He is featured in Music, art, books, movies and he is often the centre of convesations, studies, debates and his name will either give people peace or cause them to get pretty angry.
Jesus and his cross are at the centre of Christianity. I became a christian because of everything he represents, yesterday, today and tomorrow. I believe he is God, part of the Trinity and that he is very much alive today and has a passion for people. But I think he is something more, or something less I should say. Because He is God I have often forgotten one of the most important things about him and this has meant I have found it difficult to approach him, and I start to think that he is to big and powerful, to Holy and would he really understand me?
God in the flesh. He was flesh and blood and I have been reminded of this in some sermons I have listened to in the last couple of weeks. Its so easy to forget that he is the bloke that I read about in the four gospels, trekking around the country side in the dust with the disciples. He needed to eat and sleep and have his space from the crowds of people who wanted his attention. He hung out with those who left everything to follow him, spent quality time with people who had nothing and rolled with the religious heavies. He cried, celebrated and even got angry. He was so serious about loving people that he was murded.
As I start to read the Gospels all over again I will ask “would the real Jesus please stand up” and leave behind what I think I know about him and what others see him to be, and will be looking on each page for the human Jesus christ. His sense of humour, strong charecter, ability to communicate in powerful ways, the way he related to people and most of all his love.
I have no doubt in my mind that as I intentionally journey deeper into Gods word and ask lots of questions, that Jesus will Indeed stand up and show me exactly who he is.
Time to Get back to Basics