Is there a 'solution' to life?

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Change, Christ, Challenge – Matthew 13:53-58


I’m not going to bother with an introduction (barring this sentence) today, it’s late and I want to get this down while I can still see straightish.

 

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

 ( Matthew 13:53-58 NIV)

 

I find this passage challenging today. It’s the passage from the Biblestudy I was due to do on the tenth, but I don’t know if I would have really gotten it last week.

Previously when reading it I would think about the practical nature of things, it’s hard to accept somebody as different from the person you knew when they were growing up. However, Jesus didn’t leave home as a boy – He left as a man of around 30. This community knew Jesus well, he was a local tradesman in a pretty small town, he couldn’t have gotten by!

This passage has less to do with a radical transformation of Jesus in the time He was away (although He had changed, moving from a time of waiting into his ministry as the Son of God). Rather this passage is much, much simpler to understand than I had made it.

The passage is simple – The people didn’t understand exactly who Jesus was – they had an understanding, he was just another bloke, nothing special, just another guy like you or me – they didn’t realise he was the Messiah, the Chosen One. Just like the fire-truck in transformers, Jesus is more than meets the eye.

Jesus taught and clearly rumours had circulated after he arrived, because the people ask about Jesus’ change. However, when confronted with the fullness of Jesus’ identity, more than a wise man, more than a healer, more than a man they deny it. They explain it away, like a lot of people do today. “He’s just another man!” “His own flesh and blood are here with us, and they’re nothing special!” “Maybe Jesus had something worth listening too, but all this God stuff is a bit much, don’t you think?”

Then there is nothing more to follow. Jesus’ ministry takes a pause, there are no miracles, maybe the people didn’t bring Him any lame folk, maybe the blind didn’t cry out to Jesus. Perhaps they didn’t follow him out into the countryside without a packed lunch. We don’t know for sure, but my guess is that the people didn’t give Jesus any room to manoeuvre.

There is a lot of that in my own life. There’s a lot of that in the churches we are apart of. Some people pray “Lord make a difference here” but refuse to make changes. Some folks sing “Lord have your way with us” literally do what you want with us, and at the end of the service they leave the building and walk by homeless people without a second glance – I know I have, I know I do.

The point is this – If we really want to see miracles, if we really want to see a friend, a family, a city, a nation… the world changed then it has to start with us. It has to start with making sacrifices – taking the hard road when asked. Denying yourself, and taking up a cross and walking.

Maybe that means sitting down (again!) after a long service and chatting to some poor bloke who can’t afford to eat without begging. Maybe it means changing your prayer life. Maybe it means actually doing something when you know should, even though you don’t want to.

I think it means all of those things for me. I know when I cry out to God “Where are you?” or “Where were you?” The answer is always the same.

“Waiting for you to give Me a chance to help you.”

Genesis 46 – Still trusting in God.


It’s been less than two months since I last blogged, I must be getting back into the swing of things eh?

Brief summary of the last two months of my life – poor attendance at my one day a week class, great attendance at church, painting rooms, reading books and probably passing my course (provisional mark is a pass, but that has to be confirmed by a physical submission). How exciting!

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2046&version=NIV

It’s (most likely) been a long time since God asked Jacob to do something major – I wonder how much God and Jacob spoke since their wrestling match. The story is coming up to the grand reuniting! Jacob planning to go and visit is much loved, and much longed for son, Joseph, Egypt’s boy wonder. He must have been nervous, because before he actually leave the land of Canaan God has to prompt him. Something similar happens to modern day followers of God. (more…)

Identity and Worship – and a few thoughts on the “Charismatic” movement.


It’s been a long time since I last blogged.

That seems to be a very common opening for my blogs! I wish it wasn’t, yet at the same time I struggle with motivating myself to write. I have half formed thoughts, and think ooh that would be a great subject to blog on. That way I can bounce my thoughts off the screen of my laptop until I have something vaguely coherent, and perhaps almost conclusive, then I can publish it and people will read it.

That for me, is what my blog is supposed (I think) to be about, a place for me when I can bounce my ideas around outside of my head. I’m a very internalised processor, which means when I think about things I tend not to do much discussing until I have a pretty good grasp on the idea/plan. It is only infrequently I’ll speak up about a plan or an idea and say everything that I could about it, it tends to be I open on the topic, talk/explain what I think and then let people draw their on conclusions from what is right for me. That’s why I used to (and still do) enjoy blogging! I get to talk for just as long as I want to, go back and rephrase things I’m not comfortable with until it’s neater.

At the moment I’ve reached a phase in life where I’m struggling with my identity. That’s not to say I’ve forgotten my name (Andrew James Goudie) but rather that I seem to be losing something that I’ve had through my whole childhood. I feel like I’ve lost an instinctive grasp on who and what I am.

I woke up at about 2 this morning, after falling asleep well before 9, and couldn’t get back to sleep, so picked up the book I’ve just started reading. It’s about discipleship and identity (so far). The part of the book talks about how we have to set Jesus at the focus of our lives, and make a stand for Him. However, making that stand is wrapped up in who you are! The writer talks about growing Jesus inside of yourself, cultivating a lifestyle that looks like Jesus. (more…)

Genesis 44 – Joseph’s plan in action.


Well, I’m back safe and sound from another week at camp! The last two weeks or so have featured a lot of stress – I had my resits to deal with, then I was off to camp with a little bit less time to prepare then I would have liked, but realistically you can never prepare too much for an SU camp!

Now that I’m back I’m resolved to take my bible study much more seriously, both privately and online here, with my blog. Hopefully this time I’ll manage to stick at it longer than a few weeks, and maybe even finish Genesis by Christmas and find something new (and shorter) to captivate my online musings.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2044&version=NLT

The title at the top of that link marks Chapter 44 as “Joseph’s silver cup, but in the English Standard Version (accessible through Biblegateway.com, or by changing the letters NLT to ESV at the end of the link above) it is given the title of “Joseph tests his brothers”.

I really like that as an overview for the whole passage, in context from Genesis 43 (see https://lifeisnotamystery.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/joseph-gets-his-act-together-genesis-43-and-a-springsummer-update/) we know that Joesph is no longer acting maliciously towards his brothers. He has given up trying to punish them, and now he is testing the to see if they have truly changed their ways or not.

Joseph wants to look after his full brother Benjamin, and make sure that Benjamin won’t get mistreated in the same that he (Joseph) did. In order to do so  (more…)

Gender roles in the Church Leadership – Yes or No… or that’s not even a P.C. phrase anymore…


For the past few days, I’ve been searching for a new topic, I didn’t feel quite ready to continue on in Genesis, but knew I had to be on the look out for a topic to write about.
I came across it this evening in the pub, I feel as a student all of my thinking “should” be done either in a pub, the library or heaven forbid… a lecture theater!

I had an excellent discussion with a few friends in the pub (don’t worry I’ve had plenty time to sober up!), and when walking home with two different friends, who weren’t in the original group I asked the same question –

What do you think of women being Church Leaders?

To clarify, not women leading the within a church, but being the head honcho – the Lead Pastor, or Senior minister, what ever your terminology – within a church and the Church how would you feel if the buck stopped with a woman?

I think we agreed to some extent that it was non-issue, and Leadership in Churches (and anything else really) has to be decided on a case… The three of us agreed presented with a man and a woman both going for the same task, you shouldn’t pick the woman because she’s a woman, or the man because he’s a man. The important thing is determining who is best suited to the roll, and in a church environment if that person is called to be the leader of that church. (more…)

Words sometimes fail us… Revenge is a dish best served cold. Genesis 42


It’s been a wee while since I last blogged, so I’ll take the opportunity to update you all on me!
I’m finished at uni for the term, I’m more involved at both Central Church and Davidson’s mains Church, both in Edinburgh, as well as finally catching up on all my friends and chores etc.

Moving on from the dull stuff to Genesis 42, (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+42&version=NLT) we were left on a bit of a high point for young Joesph, the prime minister of Egypt, managing everything under Pharaoh. He has successfully managed the taxation and now the distribution of wealth during a time of famine, and he must have done a pretty good job, because he’s still around.

The chapter opens with Jacob sending his sons off to Egypt in order to buy grain. The lads arrive in Egypt and are eventually brought to Joesph to decide if  they are allowed to buy grain.

Since years have passed, and Joesph is probably dressed as a very rich Egyptian they fail to recognize their brother! A mischievousness glint takes the eye of Joesph as he realise, and he sets the stage for some ironic revenge. (more…)

Genesis 41 – the lines between humility, confidence and arrogance.


I’d love to tell you how busy I’ve been in the last few weeks, but that would require me to have actually been exceptionally busy. Big changes have been I’m now a regular gym go-er rather than an irregular one (regularity and consistency are not in my list of qualities unfortunately). I reorganised my bedroom so that my desk is now tidy enough to use, my furniture is now arranged so that there is room in my room. (A brief note on my desk, it’s clean tidy and ready to use, although I’m not actually using it, despite the fact it is trying to lure me over to it’s smooth wooden surface…)

I have now relocated to the desk. It’s awesome. (more…)