Friday, December 24, 2010


Last sunday I was in church taking part in the worship when we sang a song called Saviour King (Hillsong) when this line jumped out at me:

"I give my life to honour this
The love of Christ, the Saviour King"

One of the discussions I love to observe, and occasionally participate in, is the 'what is salvation' or 'what must I do to be saved' debate. There are so many nuances and niceties and scriptures being quoted, the "once saved always saved born again brigade" and "the Lordship salvation gang", the "are you in a relationship with Jesus today" people as well as the "put up your hand, say this prayer and receive Jesus group, lets not forget the 'live like Jesus did" proponents. As each of them speak I see sparks of hope and truth and light as well as all sorts of problems and issues that arise from their particular brand of 'being saved'

The guys at Hillsong were writing a worship song but to my mind they stubbled on what, for me, is a great definition of what it means to 'be saved' or be a 'follower of Jesus' or to be a Christian. It is to be someone who has made a decision to respond to "the love of Christ, the Saviour King". We love, because he first loves us, and we respond in a particular way. The only true response to love is to love ourselves, in other words to give ourselves to that love but to give ourselves in a way that gives honour, honour to the Saviour King.

A life given away to a lover, a life of honour, a life that points all who observe to Jesus - I don't think the process is what matters, the mechanism by which it happens it is the result - a life that honours our Kings gift to us! His gift of Love.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Gospel came sneaking...

So, my last post was about someone who died, and sorry more of the same today.

Not long after I did the funeral of 'Oli The After' I did another funeral. This time it was for someone VERY different to Oli. I'm going to call him Mr P. Mr P had been a BIG time businessman - seriously successful, so successful that he retired at 52 and went to live in a cottage in a little village in England from where he pursued his 2 hobbies, gardening, and traveling the world to watch the South African cricket team play. I don't mean watch them play on TV, he did it live baby, wherever they went he went - what a life. So you get the picture! Mr P had done all right!

To top it all Mr P was a seriously generous man, among other things. Those other things included being a hard nosed business man, a pretty serious party animal (in the 50's and 60's English businessman sort of way), and having a nominal, formal relationship with God for most of his life. He and God seemed to know who each other were' but they were not close.

Several months ago Mr P was diagnosed with (I think) lung cancer and so he came back to South Africa, (where he had lived most of his life) to get treatment and to spend time with his family. During that time he started coming to Westville Baptist Church. We were busy doing a series then on the life of Nehemiah and we had called it 'Rebuilding the Broken Walls'. Mr P came every Sunday for what he told his doctor was his 'therapy' - never missed a Sunday. I'm told some stuff changed in this process, he started crying quite a lot, he lost his temper, (as in he stopped lossing his temper), he got even closer to his already close family and he couldn't stop asking questions about this Nehemiah guy and other stuff that he started hearing about and reading in the bible. He kept all his good characteristics from before and started acquiring more. One thing he became sure of - he was "ready to go". His had been a good life but his end was even better than his beginning!
This is what I think happened, I think the Gospel snuck up on him while he was learning about Nehemiah. I think that even though he was always a good guy he had been too busy for God, too busy being successful, too busy partying, too busy with the family, maybe even too busy being a good guy. But God didn't right him off, God carried on watching him and loving him and just hanging around, and then one day he stopped being busy and he started paying attention to the right stuff - Gods voice, Gods word - and when he did that the Gospel found him. He went from being busy to being ready and God saw that and he took him.

I got to watch some of that, it was amazing and it makes me glad! Thanks God for loving us enough to be sneaky!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thinking about a death.

So the other night I was sitting by the side of the road in Westville comforting a mom who's son had just died after a skate boarding accident. The guys name was Oli (actually Oliver). He has lots of nicknames because he was a big part of the community of Westville Baptist and when you love people as much as he did then they often love you back and they give you cool nicknames. My best nickname for him was Oli the After. It refers to him after God really got hold of him and helped him get clean from drugs and other really bad stuff in his life. (He gets a whole chapter in a book by my friend Theran - its about baptism in the holy spirit - the chapter not the book, it isn't published yet but i hope it will be soon.) Any way back to the main story.

I sat with his mom and some other friends on one side of the road and we cried and prayed and sang worship songs, I looked across at the other side of the road where his body lay covered with one of those silver blanket things and thought about Oli and about death. I had lots of thoughts but I must say that I didn't once wonder what Oli's theology had been. Not even what his position was on any of the really BIG issues that people like to condemn each other over or pronounce others as heretics over. I honestly don't know what his position was on the inerency of scripture, or his opinion of woman in ministry or homoxeculity or atonement theory. I didn't even think about one of those things. What I did think about was this.....

That Oli really, really, really loved Jesus. That he spent LOTS of time praying. He was out there on the road because be had made friends with some pretty wild kids and he was skating with them and sharing Jesus. That God really changed Oli and everyone could see it.

We get so worked up about theology but when somone dies you don't think about their theology you think about RELATIONSHIPS.

Thats why I like being more postmodern than modern because relationship is a big thing, and I think relationship is a big thing to God as well.