We’re surrounded by boxes and…stuff! It’s at times like this that you need someone who knows what it’s like.
Our friends, Barry and Sandy Tapp have recently moved house and home too, so he’s come to my rescue as the first Guest blogger on onestarpicket! I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading his thought-provoking post.
Thanks, Barry for your help in our very busy moving-house time. Fire away!
What we believe about God, who He is and His character and even if He exists, fundamentally shapes our worldview. In turn this determines how we live. As the Bible teaches I firmly believe that we are each made in God’s image (Genesis 1, 2). Our view of God’s character therefore reflects itself in our attitudes, behaviour and body language. It seems that behaviour is always the echo of belief.
The heart and soul of the Christian life is to hear the voice of God and develop the courage to do what He tells us to do. Jesus did not die so that we could be religious; He died so we could have an intimate and personal relationship with God.
Few people today are Biblically literate. Most of what they know about the Kingdom of God is what they see displayed before them. Unfortunately there is often a fundamental contradiction between what they see exhibited in the lives of many individual Christians and what the ‘Institutionalised Church’ seems to represent. This should not surprise us as the same contradictions were present when Jesus walked this earth: “… the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as One who had authority and not as their teachers of the law” – Matthew 7: 28 – 29.
What was the distinction? I would argue that it was the same then as it is now, the divide between precedent and practice! The ‘Institutionalised Church’ today relies on precedent (tradition) and secular opinion, as did the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day, but Jesus spoke about practise, about what He knew to be true. Following Jesus’ example the first Christians, followers of the Lord, were simply “Gospel practitioners” (Richard Rohr, Bill Johnson) instead of being “word police, inspectors, or museum curators” as Pope Francis recently called some clergy. In other words they shone in the dark: they were a light, a beacon. At times we forget that we are beacons, made to be known.
A beacon needs to be seen and known otherwise it ceases to be of use. I think a major reason for our unwillingness to risk being known is a fear of rejection and ridicule. But, God loves us unconditionally and so do true friends. He believes in us and wants to help us live the life He has planned.
When I learned to simply ‘be’ and resisted the pressures to ‘do’, I found that God is able to accomplish so much more in my life. Having learned to rest in His presence I found that He takes care of the issues that surround me, often in surprising ways.
An example from my own life will suffice. A few years ago I felt the Lord speak to me about resigning my job, setting out on a major relocation and starting a consulting business. The context was that I had a very well paid job and knew absolutely nothing about setting up a consultancy from scratch. I told my wife about what the Lord had said and she replied, “If it truly is from the Lord then let’s do it”. That was both a surprise and a confirmation.
I resigned. We set out and arrived at our destination, a ‘bed and breakfast’ unit run by friends. I sat opposite my wife and said, ‘What do we do now?’ Two hours later our friend came into the unit and said, ‘I have a call for you from an old colleague.’ To this day I still do not know how my ‘old colleague’ knew where we were let alone the phone number of our friend. However, the incredible part is, he rang to offer me our first contract. Four days later I started my first consulting contract.
For the next ten years we ran a consulting business on anything but a conventional footing. We never advertised, had no business cards, no letterhead and did not seek contracts. God supplied everything to support us in considerable abundance. The two times I did chase contracts I failed, so I learned very quickly that God is true to His word and expected me to honour our ‘personal agreement’.
Why did God give us those ten enjoyable and fruitful years? Simply to prepare both my wife and me for the next phase of our Christian ‘walk’.