Restoration of the HOUSE

“…give no rest UNTIL he has a dwelling place…” Rev 21, 22

Psalm 132:2-5

images-7I wonder what these words paint in your mind, what picture does it cultivate.    As the words are read what is sculpted in your imagination?

There is an implication for us all to do something with these words; an act of disturbance, a work of not allowing settlement, a challenge of activity with a goal of an “UNTIL” in mind.     Take all you have and all you know, all your ability and apply it to disrupting yourself, your acquaintances, deep friends, family and even God, UNTIL an end is reached.

When you are young the UNTIL must be in the fore front of your mind, it is the goal by which the Father requires us to make our focus, our first thought, our life’s ambition and longing “…seek first…”.     Don’t settle back as you get older then, as the years go by be careful not to join the status quo, be mindful not to think it is some one else’s turn or responsibility.   GIVE NO REST, it is not a time to retire or go on holiday, nothing wrong in them but keep the aim of God until our Father receives the goal of his course.   It is said of Jesus “…for the joy set before him…” of Paul “…I press on towards…”, it is too easy to make an excuse why we have done enough, it is too easy to say “this one and that one hurt me”.   To blame others, but these words sculpt in our heart’s “…GIVE NO REST…”

The Father, our God, the God who is so committed to being UNITED with you and me, that God left his abode and created a universe, so that God the Father would be one with us.   God was so given to this that God HUMBLED God to bring it about.    David in Psalms utters this, in the light of the God of grace he met, the Divine that left the Mountain and came to humanity, leaving the high abodes to join us in our ordinary lives.    David overwhelmed by this Father God and says “…give no rest UNTIL God has a dwelling place…”

God has a dwelling place in our union with God, we should take nothing else on, no other agenda, no other view,no other self-centredness or other good cause until God has a dwelling place, this is the root foundation of all true good causes and should be our only cause.   God have a dwelling pace in me,  a UNION with me, that God has a dwelling pace in the people of God, one with the bride, the ecclesia of God, that God has a dwelling place in creation, that Christ might fill all in all.   It really is about the dwelling place of God.  We understand this by the time we read Revelation 21, 22  I saw a city, that turns to a bride and a declaration “…I will be their God and they will be my people and I will dwell in their midst…” Father God has the dwelling place and the UNTIL has come.

Restoration is about the dwelling place of God.   A little personal discomfort until, my sleep, rest, my home will be realised when the Father receives the dwelling place.

There is a major “UNTIL” here, until God has a dwelling place is this not the New Testament declaration, the words of Acts 3 that Jesus will remain in heaven UNTIL a time of Restoration.   That Jesus will be held UNTIL his enemies are made a footstool, I wonder?

The “…dwelling place…” is about taking away the disgrace from the walls of the city of God, it is about building the walls of the city in Nehemiah, it’s the work of Jesus, it the prayer we pray “….let heaven come to earth…”  it is let your dwelling place be found.images-6

Even the goal of maturity in Christ is the personal maturity of Gods dwelling place, a house prepared for you O Lord.   We must not allow our eyes to be taken off finding a dwelling place for God, when we read Jesus saying “…I go and make a place for you…” let us not go away with the fairies and think of our room, house in heaven but continue for the UNTIL God has a dwelling rather than being distracted into finding ours; waiting, holding on until we get our place.   Our life and love must be to give God a dwelling place.

The joy of being about our Father’s business, we must make a place for God.  

 

Effective…Success…Maturity

Interesting coupling of words, words that are used at so many levels and in so many environments, whether in business or in church I wonder which one is used most in your world?
images-4The online dictionary says this of these three
Effective (adj) Being productive of or capable of producing a result
Success (n) The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: The gaining of fame or prosperity
Maturity The state or quality of being fully grown or developed.
All have their place and all have their challenges for the in place in which you work and the people of God you are family with.   I wonder which one of these three would you put at the top of your priority list,  priority in your walk with God?
To be effective in your call there will be a process of growing in ministry, to be fully involved in the growing there are fundamental vital aspects that will need to be grappled with and fully grasped with both hands, I will attempt to out line what I have noticed over the last 40 years of my Christ like walk to become like Christ in every way.
There will be a need to grow and develop a burden, this is not a whimsical thought or one that changes with fashion or fad of the church, but one that overwhelms and keeps us on course.   A burden is an old term yet a requirement, it is that, which as you process on ward  you actually experience the weight of carrying it in prayer, heart and thought.      It is a burden, it something you cannot put aside but it fills your day, it fills your thinking, it fills you desire and is all-embracing.   Although it is a ‘Burden of the Lord’ it is light to the soul yet it is that which governs you, it is greater than vision as it becomes your life.
It is that which God entrusts you with, it is the will of God for your destiny.
Along with the burden must come a ‘Zeal of Conviction‘ a passion, a zeal that fires you up and keeps you burning, a zeal around the conviction of truth, a zeal around the Christ of God.   This zeal is what will put one foot in front of another when objections come.  It is this zeal that will get you to leave your homeland, your comfort zone and move towards the burden.   It is that which keeps you running, this zeal, that is like a fire deep inside you, will not let you go or you will not let it go.   It is what Paul said “I lay hold of that which has laid hold of me”  
There comes to each of us the necessity to grow in the burden and respond to our zeal by being able to communicate to the average, learning that we must add skill to ourselves to be able to communicate to the average person in the streets of life.   Why you ask simple put in-order that they
Understand the principle
See the application
Move on conviction
So that burden comes to life in the lives of others as well as you.
That we become Simple. Clear. Relevant. Practical
A call will ask of each of us to give ourselves whole heartedly to people, as a friend, as a councillor, as an example.   Unreservedly being hospitable, learning the skills to be social to be able to love people and be over joyed in it.
Many long for anointing, many look and run to the anointing but the grace and anointing moves with those who are spirit-sensitive and sensitivity too changes in the anointing.    Knowing on the inner life as the goodness of God moves and ebbs and flows.   This cannot be put in notes but it can be caught.     To be one who knows and sees the moving of the Holy Spirit, knowing that seasons and moods are to there  to be caught and demonstrated to all.   Learning in the burden what it is to sense God.   To Knowing when to teach, proclaim the prophetic and when to reach out.
Prepared at all times for the supernatural,  expectant in every place even the place you least expect, develop a life of continuous conversation with the Father, inspired to move towards the supernatural.   Become sensitive to the presence of God in the heart and make things happen.
Develop a mind that is clutter free and free of negatives, along side that to be free of personal pressures
Become men and women of burden that are freely receiving grace, the grace that God is giving so much that we enjoy the grace, living in it and through it,  grace in our life flow.

 

Life is constantly changing.

Theology is supposed to be a servant of the gospel and the church, not its master, as long as Theology is a pursuit of God.

images-4Doing research  seems to clarify the truth we proclaim, helping us to re-examine what we believe and equipping us to practice what we believe and preach in a more consistent way.

Eventually all theology is a reflection of God and is reflected in life. Good teaching produces a healthy lifestyle, bad teaching produces distorted living.

For theology to perform its servant ministry to the church, it must address the central biblical truths and relevant social and cultural issues. Most Christians were not delivered their faith in monasteries, but in continually changing societies. They must be equipped to practice their faith with relevance and integrity.

The world we live in has undergone considerable social change. Christian theology, theory and practice are intrinsically bound to many ways of thinking in many people, most people don’t know it, but the way we see or consider God will affect our life style and the decisions we make, knowingly or unknowingly.   People will think they are making decisions but the decisions are always affected by perception which is gained through experience, history, parentage and, like it or not, the theology of the culture you are part of.

The world we live in is a scene of both new thinking and new practices.

How should Christians face changes in a secular society, that is how do we face new ways, issues and challenges?    We have seen changes economically in Europe and other countries, how do we face these changes, changes in law regarding sexuality in the UK, how do we face this, the changes in regard to our view of marriage and family, how do I face this, some the issues in society bring about necessary changes and some are enforced changes, we will face the changes.     There have been too many Christians who consider any change in secular society as negative and are negative about cultural and secular changes, because they have a fundamentally negative view of the secular world.    This is not a healthy reaction.

There are other Christians who see every “progressive” step in history as an act of God.     That is, all liberal and liberation movements are the direct result of the activity of God. This is as unhealthy as the opposite view posed above.

A balanced biblical view is that, while no changes in society can be given utopian status because of the perception of mankind, it is equally true that many changes in society are to be welcomed because they reflect the providential care God has for the world.

My approach

My view of Scripture is a high view, in the historic sense I believe that Scripture is authoritative, both when it speaks about salvation and when it  speaks intentionally about other issues.

I hold this view not because I am unaware of the difficulties that exist in Scripture, but because history has demonstrated time and time again that the moment we set ourselves up as the judge of what is essential or non-essential within Scripture, we begin to slide towards a rejection of scriptural authority and the enthronement of the human mind.

I have come to this position having been pressed into views realising it is not the way of dealing with Scripture, for instance, on gender, am I a complementarian or an egalitarian? Neither, a bit of each I say, I am not sure that all biblical text fits either system.   So how do I face these changes?

We must tackle Scripture not forgetting the following issues:

Trajectories – we must ask what direction does this thinking pattern set us?   What Trajectory will I take when I embrace this direction of thought, where will I end up?   Asking this question every time I grasp the word, where will I end up as far as i can see now, what direction will it set me on?  I have made a change from a hierarchical view of God to a Trinitarian view, it is amazing the Trajectory of that thinking and what areas of practice it impacts, it sets a Trajectory I did not realise, its impact  is so far reaching.

Where is it going? – An important question, if any destination replaces a view of God for us, a replacing of this Trinitarian God of Scripture with anything other than we must be careful.    Does this destination so deconstruct God that I have nothing remaining.

Let me suggest an example text to ask these questions as we consider further that describes man in the image of God.      Genesis 1 describes mankind as male and female, agreed, then consider Paul relates the relationship of the father to the son in some way to man-woman relationship in 1 Corinthians 11:1-3, and we can argue male female dynamics but first we must deal with the ultimate issue of this is it not: What is God like? 

If we settle this as being at the heart of these texts What is God like it sets a Trajectory for all other debates when handling these texts.

As we consider these text and move forward it opens up many issue to look at and have been debates through time but for our example let us consider just two views.

First there are those who argue from a permanent hierarchical relationship between men and women, arguing from the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father.     Those who argue from an egalitarian relationship between men and women arguing from the eternal equality of essence within the Trinity.      This takes us into the depth of Trinitarian theology.

Second if humankind as male and female, reflects the Trinity, therefore this opens up how does sex relate to God?     Does God transcend gender?   How does this effect the gay debate in sexuality?  Should the consistent liberation of women lead to a review of merely gender language about God in favour of a female gender language about God?

What is God like?

Further consideration as we deal with Trajectory, the where is it going questions of texts about the creative order and the fall from that order

Genesis 1 describes man and woman created equal in the image of God. Genesis 2 then describes the more detailed relationship between man and woman in creation, both Jesus (Matthew 19:3-8) and Paul (1 Timothy 2:11-15) argue from creation, basing their statements on the way things were intended to be.

Genesis 3 describes the fall, which distorts Gods intended pattern of gender relations. We have to ask what exactly fell and altered in the creative orders here and has become part of our describing the creative order.

The creative order includes hierarchy, or does it really?   Genesis narrative is placed in the context of kingship, who what doe that look like?

Are these text’s simply about the coming of the kingdom and the new creation, we also have now have tasted of the age to come.   In Genesis we simply have  the Kingdom expressed as it will be in relation to male and female, along with Paul’s reference when he said to the Galatians there is neither male or female, Paul just took a glimpse into Trajectory and saw the Kingdom a view of where this going, was talking him, and spoke from that view.    Paul painted a picture of the ultimate in a very broken, fallen world.

The general theological position I subscribed to is enacted, inaugurated eschatologically in all my discussions and life style.    I must take an eternal view where I can in all my positions.    Did not Jesus come announcing and demonstrating the Kingdom, which he brought, announced and taught from an eternal kingdom view.   He knew where his teaching was going towards, he had settled the Trajectory of the thinking.   He knew the impact of the accepted religious world and how the Trajectory of his words would challenge and change the world around him.

So what is your Trajectory if we adopted the new in vogue teaching where is it going, this is the only way to deal with theology, truth and direction of teaching