What culture do you embrace?

Culture is something that has been established over time to meet the presiding unanimous majority’s desires, wants and needs.  Culture, as we may know it,  is not necessary something written or spoken of directly in fact, it is often something quite ethereal and ‘’out there somewhere’’ and yet something everyone “knows”….it is ‘’the way things are’’…not always easily explained or understood.  If you don’t like it…go and find yourself another culture, don’t rock the boat, because you will feel the pressure of the presiding unanimous majority and it will not be nice for you.  The pressures of a society that has established precedents in culture and ways of doing things, do not take kindly to the status quo being interrupted or unbalanced in any way – so just don’t rock the boat…ok!

 

Well..that was fun….my quirky sense of what culture might be…

 

When it comes to culture, we could be talking about a nation or we could be talking about an office or home environment.  Culture, as we know it, is definitely something that humans create….sometimes purposefully and other times, simply by the way individuals and then groups of people live – the way life is organised and it becomes part of the culture.  This would include food, ways of cooking it, types of food, how it is eaten and whom it is eaten with and so on… Culture touches every part of a person’s life – including and especially beliefs.

 

I would like to say, that I do not believe that CULTURE of itself is inherently bad….the good or bad, comes from the individuals that built and embrace a culture that has distinctly unhealthy and harmful practices to either themselves or other human beings and may include, atrocities to animals and the earth. 

 

So, that being said, is there a possibility of a culture that is in every way, something that would embrace everything good, holy and righteous?   There is a way…it is possible…and it is clearly spelt out in the Book of Life.

 

Psalm 46 talks about a culture of stillness, a culture where everything we need for life and Godliness is found in this place…a culture that says first BE still and know God, be still and wait for His power to come upon you, then Go and Do greater things.  It is a totally inclusive Culture – in the sense that, no one is excluded from participating in this culture.

 

This is a culture that has been established and has a definitive authority over any other culture.

To adopt this culture…this way of being, going and doing….is transformational, is revolutionary, is world changing…is radically counter cultural to the current culture embedded in our towns, cities, nations, countries. 

 

This is a culture of Faith, Hope and Love. A Culture that has and will continue to change the world, because it has Power that no other culture has.  This Culture has within it the very core strength and power that rose Christ Jesus from the dead, the resurrection power and the life giving power to dissolve every other culture on this planet.

 

Culture is built by community and the common unity of the individuals in it. Culture isn’t something that just happened…it is a deliberate decision to live and operate a certain and specific way.

 

The perfect culture was established by three persons in common unity – the Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 

The best part of this Culture, is that it is documented and completely available and simple to embrace. There are no hidden agendas, nothing harmful to man, animal or planet.

 

It’s up to us to immerse ourselves in this Culture, to embrace it fully, since it was established from the beginning of time and there is no end to it.

 

If you want to be part of this Culture, adhere to the simplicity of the Gospel, believe and receive it and you have entered into the Culture of Eternity. The same Power that established all things, holds all things together and brings all things to completion.

 

That’s the Culture I adhere to… like glue…I’m stuck on it….and live to embrace it more and more.

You can try and rock this Cultural boat, but it ain’t tipping, it’s been attempted before and that didn’t work…the Solidarity of this Culture has been tried and tested – proven to be immovable, immutable, impossible to move.

This is real Culture!

 

 

 

The Answer is here!

No matter what comes our way.. yet will we trust
Him!

It is not the what-if’s, the maybe’s, the
possibilities, the stresses and trials, the testings and temptations that will
draw us away from our God.

It is the decision unmade – the prayer unspoken –

“No matter what comes – yet will I trust you O’God!

We want to so desperately to know the end from the
beginning.

The answer beckoned and not yet arrived…

What OR Who is the focus?

Why has God not answered my prayers?

O my soul, why so weary at looking after such things,
when the Comforter is right here next to you!

Our Saviour is here – now – perhaps not with the answer
you want at this moment, however..

He is the Answer for NOW!

He brings PEACE that surpasses all understanding.

He brings His very presence to comfort and reside in
us.

He brings gifts of many kinds, though unseen, their eternal
purposes to perform.

Right here, right now, in this place, the Spirit is
tending to the tree – that is me,

and will produce a crop in due season…the fruit of
the Spirit that will continue bearing fruit for all time and eternity.

 

URLOVD extravagantly!

Is your Faith-full?

Faith is very pleasing to God! He is the author and the perfector of that same faith. Faith the size of a mustard seed can achieve the unimaginable…the incredible…the miracle that God’s heart is moved to make happen!

Faith does that…moves God to action!  Our faith is being filled up with His Presence, His Glorious Grace…

His Powerful action…in order that we are faith-full!

Hebrews Chapter 11 is all about faith in action.  God has a plan to bring our corporate faith to a glorious culmination…

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Heb 11:39-40)

God’s design and desire is that we walk by faith – not by sight….(1 Cor 5:7) and that faith even the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) would cause such great movements – ‘mountain be thou removed’ – it is so!

1 Corinthians 13:13
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Without faith, we cannot please God, (Hebrews 6:11) without hope we have none of His Promises (Hebrew 11:1) and without His Love within, we cannot truly live a purposeful life. (Matthew 22:36-40)

I love how God explains in His Word, that we do not need a bowlful of faith, a bucket load, truckload or any great size amount of faith….just a tiny bit…a mustard seed is quite small, about 1 to 2 mm in diameter. To have a mustard seed full of faith is pleasing to God and He says, is more than enough in the exercise of it, to see great things.

My question then is…

Is our faith full?

Are we exercising the faith we have,

powering up that muscle of faith…

being faithful with the portion of faith we have been given?

Being faithful and being full of faith (faith-full) means we will see fruit-fullness from that same faith…like our forefathers in the faith, they exercised faith and were faith-full and saw many promises fulfilled!

They did not see the completion or receive all that God had promised and indeed nor will we…the culmination is coming and we will be made complete in that same faith…hope…and love!

Meanwhile being faith-full we will absolutely see fruitfullness and fullfilment of Gods promises!

URLOVD to the fullest and overflowing!

A snippet of Truth, like the light from a candle – can change the whole atmosphere.

 

 

 Did you know that everywhere you go – you influence the atmosphere around you?

You have that much influence! You do!

 

 

I don’t want to play down the global warming thing…it’s just that there are so many things in this world that make themselves more important, more urgent and bigger than what they really are…you know what I mean?!

 

On the other hand, there is one thing in life, that is often not given enough consideration…is down played and minimized more than anything else and really should not be…the question of our destiny…I don’t just mean our time here on this planet – although that is important – I mean our eternal destiny.

 

Many talk about our present times, the issues at hand, the affects of global warming, the extinction of species of animals, the increase in all kinds of natural disasters, global financial crisis and so on and so on…we are bombarded 24/7 with every issue under the sun…it’s enough to keep one so totally preoccupied from a very important question…a question that should be asked and an answer sought…

 

Where will I go when I die?

 

Perhaps it’s a question that many just do not want to ask….or don’t care….or don’t want to think about…or are too preoccupied to think about…or….?

 

I believe I horrified my sister, when I told her that I was looking forward to dieing…even excited at the thought. Of course that is quite a statement, just out of the blue! But honestly, I am very much thrilled at the thought of passing from this world to the next…not that I am not having a great time right here and now.  The thing is when you know where you are going…there is no fear in death, no wondering or worrying..it’s all completely laid out, right there in the Book, what my destination is like..and it is already prepared and ready for me…I have even seen a glimpse of it…and I really like it!

 

So, like getting ready to move house…getting things in order, tidied up and shipshape, all in preparation…where needed, shedding any extra baggage, discarding any ‘old junk’.. in order to be ready anytime…to make the move, the transition into Eternal Glory….

 

That kind of confidence comes only from one place…from one Person…a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  If you have that confidence – great! If you want that confidence – great!…Lets talk…soon…even email me now… urlovd@sctelco.net.au  Let’s connect… I am happy to share my story with you.

 

URLOVD!

Inclusion – what does that mean for the Church…?

When I use the word INCLUSION in the same sentence as CHURCH …many of you may immediately think of things like:

Oh yeah…we need to include the disheveled person, the ‘’lost’’, the sinner, the drunkard, the unusual, the unchurched, the backslidden, the drug addict, the homeless, the hungry…

… or perhaps you may think of yourself!

Do you feel included, embraced, like you belong and are an integral part of the Body?

Do you sense that Church is an inclusive place?

WHAT DOES INCLUSIVE MEAN ANYWAY?

Let’s look at the opposite to inclusive – exclusive…sometimes it’s easier to understand the opposite first.

Exclusion is: leaving out, a deliberate act of ostracisment, to be excluded from something, omitted, prohibited, left out in the cold.  Have you ever felt excluded?   Banished, disallowed, omitted,  excommunicated, ignored, non-existent, of no merit or worth, expulsion, the act of forcing out someone or something….

 

I have – in my workplace. A long story short – excluded and ostracized, omitted to be included in everyday conversations, which affected my ability to do my work, interact with others, not able to be a part of the team….

it was purposeful and with deliberate intention, with a motive in mind – to get rid of me. There are people in workplaces that have their own agenda and if another comes in that ‘appears’ to threaten that agenda – look out….you are in the firing line…

 

In some workplaces, there are very good models for this kind of behaviour to be stopped and legal ramifications for bullying in the workplace however you and I know, that some people are very very good at covering their tracks…being sneaky and downright wicked….for their own gains.  For me, it was a no win situation.

I resigned…even after discussing with management and requesting a formal complaint process..it was not worth the fight. I have better and more worthy battles to engage in, than that one. A worthy lesson in choosing my battles – thanks Lord!

 

Although, this did teach me, that there are many injustices that go unspoken, unfought, unknown and of which relate to exclusion and isolating someone.

 

So then, as a church, as a community – are we exclusive? Do we knowingly or unwittingly exclude people from our “FAMILY”… are we inclusive – all encompassing – firstly of each other and then of others?

What does inclusive mean?

Taking a great deal or everything within its scope

Including the specified extremes or limits as well as the area between them: the numbers one to ten, inclusive.

considered together

all-embracing…

comprehensive..

equality..

Ok then….just going back to the workplace as an example – there is a lot of money spent on Human Resources, training, legalities, inclusion and diversity documents which talk about things like bullying in the workplace, inclusive practices, appreciating diversity, team strategies, communication methods, conflict resolution, disciplinary processes and actions pertaining to non-compliance and procedures in the workplace.  It all seems a bit over the top really… although…. perhaps we could take a couple of pages from the Human Resources Manual of some workplaces….since they may well reflect Jesus stance on inclusion.

Some of us may think that it is just so obvious and easy to be inclusive – if that were the case, why are our churches not full to the brim and over flowing…perhaps we would have each other in our homes more often,

Perhaps we would be more able to share the struggles and the joys of our lives lived in God, we would be more authentically open and accountable with ourselves, each other and those around us, that this community would see Who we belong to.

Yep…how inclusive are we really? 

How much do we really want to share our lives with each other and then to ‘’ends of the earth’’?

This is a real challenge – this is how the world will know that we belong to God – be the way we LOVE one another… by the way we include one another!

John 13:35 NIV

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:35 NAS

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35 TNIV

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:35 BBE

By this it will be clear to all men that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

His Power be in you and move through you!

I am not a star trek fan however I do like that phrase: “May the force be with you”,

 

 

Although I change it to: “May His Power be in you!” 

God’s Power is that force that created all things in the beginning, sustains all life now and for all eternity!

That’s the Power I need and want! 

That mighty Power that was at work…in Him and now in YOU!

Power is mentioned in the following translations:

210 x  The Message

529 x  New Living Translation

275 x  King James Version

256 x  New American Standard Bible

…God’s power is essential for daily living…

It is the power of God unto salvation…and the power of God unto being kept in that salvation…and the power of God, that all praise goes unto the Lord our God! Romans 1:16, 1 Peter 1:5, Revelation 19:1. 

 His Power to you and move through you!  URLOVD Xtravagantly!

Trained up and cheering on to greater things…

The church is a bit like a gymnasium – a place to receive great training/coaching and to put this training into practice through exercise, stretching and building up the faith muscles in order that we are prepared, ready and actually use them throughout the rest of the week.  As members of Christ’s Body – the Church…..let’s be cheering each other on to greater things….greater Love! URLOVD!