riversmeeting

a church in carrick-on-shannon

Archive for God

The kingdom of God is a party!

Check out Luke 15: Three interweaving stories.

They were stories about precious things lost.
He told of a woman who had lost a small fortune, a shepherd who had lost a sheep and a father who had a runaway son.

Something precious was lost and warranted an all-out search.
When it was found, it was cause for unbridled celebration.

Then he said, “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

It is not a stretch, nor disrespectful, to say that heaven throws a huge party when lost people come home to God.
And if we know anything about the Jewish concept of feasts and banquets, we can be sure that there is a lot of singing, dancing and joyful noise in heaven’s banquet halls.

So why should church be dull and boring?
Why should we subject people to mind-numbing boredom and sameness when heaven is cutting down the nets in victory?
Our church is not a show, not a performance, and not very polished. As a whole, we’re a pretty messed-up gathering of people. But God is good, His mercy endures forever and He is opening His arms to lost, broken people like us…and like you.

Please check us out…your visit would be cause for celebration!

Dying to self/ the self that must die(?)

Sometimes our prayers are for deliverance from conditions which are morally indispensable–that is, conditions which are absolutely necessary to our redemption. God does not grant us those requests. He will not because He loves us with a pure and implacable purpose: that Christ be formed in us. If Christ is to live in my heart, if his life is to be lived in me, I will not be able to contain Him. The self, small and hard and resisting as a nut, will have to be ruptured. My own purposes and desires and hopes will have to at times be exploded. The rupture of the self is death, but out of death comes life. The acorn must rupture if an oak tree is to grow.

Elisabeth Elliott

“We don’t do funerals…we’re into midwifery”

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Among the astonishing sayings of Jesus, comes this one: “Let the dead bury their own dead.” He said it in response to a man who was wavering about following him. The guy said: “First let me bury my father.” Either there was a family funeral he had to attend or -more likely, I think- he was talking about the general pull of family concerns: “I have family obligations. Surely you don’t wish me to shrug off my normal responsibilities?”

Jesus’ answer was an uncompromising YES. In one short remark he divided the world between those who followed him (characterised as those who had life) and those who didn’t (who were dead). It’s a Matrix-like distinction: those who really see the truth and those who don’t. And this difference is so utterly important that it takes precedence over everything. It’s the very first priority. Jesus “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God, and then all these things will be added unto you.” Get your priorities right, and everything in your life will find it’s proper place. (Check out Herman’s paper “One-way journey of endurance” on this).

I’m always fascinated by those church buildings surrounded by memorials to dead people. Why is that, do you think? In rather shocking contrast, I heard a preacher say: “We don’t do funerals. We are into midwifery.” “Let the dead bury their own dead….” “You [however] must be born again”!

Ready for school? Don’t forget to be yourself

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For many of you reading this blog, “Back to School” is where you are going in the next few weeks. Whether a private or public school, high school. college or university, you may find yourself surrounded by those who do not believe in or love the Saviour.

You may be tempted to join the party scene (rebelliously indulge your sinful desires, James 1:14-15),

to downplay your faith (hide it under a basket, Matt. 5:14-16),

to keep an open mind (question the only eternal truth, 1 John 1:1-4),

or to chase your dreams (pursue selfish ambitions, James 3:13-18) instead of running after God’s commands.

As you consider these potential temptations, you may feel weak, unable to stand, desperate for God’s help. Good. If so, may the words of the Lord to Joshua encourage you today: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

(A girltalk post. Check them out>>>>>)

John Piper – How Does a Person Make a World Wide Difference?

church without walls and the end of the one- man- band

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Checking out the Northumbria Community, we try to live by this rule.

Summary of the Rule of the Northumbria Community –
A Way for Living

This is the Rule we embrace. This is the Rule we will keep: we say YES to AVAILABILITY; we say YES to VULNERABILITY.

We are called to be AVAILABLE to God and to others:

Firstly to be available to God in the cell of our own heart when we can be turned towards Him, and seek His face;
then to be available to others in a call to exercise hospitality, recognising that in welcoming others we honour and welcome the Christ Himself;
then to be available to others through participation in His care and concern for them, by praying and interceding for their situations in the power of the Holy Spirit;
then to be available for participation in mission of various kinds according to the calling and initiatives of the Spirit.

We are called to intentional, deliberate VULNERABILITY:

We embrace the vulnerability of being teachable expressed in:
a discipline of prayer;
in exposure to Scripture;
a willingness to be accountable to others in ordering our ways and our heart in order to effect change.

We embrace the responsibility of taking the heretical imperative:
by speaking out when necessary or asking awkward questions that will often upset the status quo;
by making relationships the priority, and not reputation.

We embrace the challenge to live as church without walls, living openly amongst unbelievers and other believers in a way that the life of God in ours can be seen, challenged or questioned. This will involve us building friendships outside our Christian ghettos or club-mentality, not with ulterior evangelistic motives, but because we genuinely care.

Why do people come to church? Heating, seating and eating…

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After working in this church plant for the last year, and in six other churches in the region, as you guys know, Val and I are moving to take over a Baptist church in London. Before we leave, by way of legacy, we thought it appropriate now to give you our THREE IMMUTABLE RULES (is that the right word?) OF CHURCH DEVELOPMENT. If you follow these simple guidelines your church will invariably succeed.

HEATING

If your building is cold and uncomfortable, then even if people come, they will probably never return….

EATING

If you only offer me stale Rich Tea out of a grotty tin I will use that circumstance to form an opinion of the value you set on fellowship.

SEATING

If I have to sit on a hard wooden pew made for a 30cm gluteus maximus then please set a forty-five minute limit on the service.

Or on the other hand….

Make it comfortable. Make it cosy. Set a high value on fellowship. Strangers become less strange over a meal. Make it so that we can relax in the presence of God and one another. Could never quite see the point of seventeenth century Bible texts, eighteenth century hymns, nineteenth century buildings…. Get the heating, seating and eating right and at least the people who gather (and me) will be ready to listen.