Starting this Sunday, my church is seeking to connect with out community with the message of Jesus. We’ve called the week, ‘No Perfect People Allowed’
We’ve chosen this theme and this title because there remains a common misconception that a church is a place where people, who think they are better or more moral than everyone else, gather to look down upon the rest of the world. Maybe you’ve experienced a church, or people who go to church, who are like that.
Nothing could be further from the message and intentions of Jesus himself. It is true that Jesus made some radical demands of anyone who would follow him. It is true that he taught that those who would want to be a part of the kingdom of God that they must ‘be perfect’
. But then, the tax collector who had cheated all of his countrymen, and the prostitute who sold her body and its intimacy to countless men, and the not-so-bright fisherman, and the murderer of the early church and its leaders – all these far-from-perfect-people found a place in Jesus’ eternal kingdom.
How could that be? Come along during the week and find out, and hear the best news you’ll ever hear.
You can check out more about the week and what’s happening at the dedicated website, noperfectpeopleallowed.net.au
. If you live in the Hills, love to see you there. I’ll be one of the non-perfect ones who are part of the crowd.
Filed under church, Jesus
[from readbetterpreachbetter.com – Ken was a member of our 10am congregation. A lovely, humble Christian man, who served the church with his gifts and gave the glory to God. A delight to have known.]
Kenneth L. McKay was the grandfather of Greek verbal aspect. First writing on the subject in 1965, he published numerous articles over the following thirty years, and was the author of A New Syntax of the Verb in New Testament Greek: An Aspectual Approach. Without a doubt, his was the major influence behind the ‘new aspect era’, launched by the works of Stanley Porter and Buist Fanning in 1989/90.
Ken died yesterday morning in Sydney of a sudden heart attack.
Ken was a lovely Christian man, who for 26 years lectured in classics at the ANU in Canberra, and was for many years the area chairman of AFES in that region. He leaves behind his wife Margaret, seven adult children, and a tribe of grandchildren.
His contribution to the study of New Testament Greek will, in time, be seen as one of the most important of the twentieth century. He will be greatly missed.
“…when we come together as Christians on Sunday mornings, we do not gather merely to have our own personal devotions together. The church service is not just your quiet time. We do not gather to pray, sing and read Scripture like we do the other days of the week at home except that on Sundays with more people around because it is more encouraging. No, we come to participate in the life of our church.
And when we come, we come not as individual consumers to do our spiritual shopping for the week, seeing what’s of use down this aisle of singing or down that aisle of prayer, looking over the sermon special, browsing through post-service conversations, and taking it home in our carts for personal use. We actually assemble as a living instistution, a viable organism, one body.”
Mark Dever, The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005) , 170
Ultimate reality is a community of persons who know and love one another. That is what the universe, God, history, and life is all about. If you favour money, power, and accomplishment over human relationships, you will dash yourself on the rocks of reality. When Jesus said you must lose yourself in service to find yourself (Mark 8:35), he was recounting what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have been doing throughout eternity.
You will, then, never get a sense of self by standing still, as it were, and making everything revolve around your needs and interests. Unless you are willing to to experience the loss of options and the individiual limitation that comes from being in committed relationships, you will remain out of touch with your own nature and the nature of things.
Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, 216-217.
Filed under keller, life, quotes
Sin and evil are self-centredness and pride that lead to oppression against others, but there are two forms of this. One form is being very bad and breaking all the rules, and the other form is being very good and keeping all the rules and becoming self-righteous.
There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. The first is by saying, ‘I’m going to live the way I want.’ The second is described by Flannery O’Connor, who wrote about one of her characters, Hazel Motes, that “he knew the best way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.” If you are avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless and save you, the ironically, you may be looking to Jesus as a teacher, model and helper but you are avoiding him as Savior. You are trusting in your own goodness rather than in Jesus for your standing with God. You are trying to save yourself by following Jesus.
That, ironically, is a rejection of the gospel of Jesus. It is a Christianized form of religion. It is possible to avoid Jesus as Savior as much by keeping all the biblical rules as by breaking them. Both religion (in which you build your identity on your moral achievements) and irreligion (in which you build your identity on some other secular pursuit or relationship) are, ultimately, spiritually identical courses to take. Both are “sin”.
Self-salvation through good works may produce a great deal of moral behaviour in your life, but inside you are filled with self-righteousness, cruelty and bigotry, and you are miserable. You are always comparing yourself to other people, and you are never sure you are being good enough. You cannot, therefore, deal with your hidesousness and self-absorption through the moral law, by trying to be a good person through an act of the will. You need a complete transformation of the very motives of your heart.
Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Penguin, 2008), 177.
Filed under keller, quotes, sin