Friday, 23 October 2015

Leadership Resolve

As noted previously, to go with a God idea instead of a good idea can be an unpopular route. Even the closest among you might be adamant that you have got it wrong ... yet forward you must go.

Of course a key skill in leadership is gauging the pace of progress - not so fast that many who were supposed to come with you are left behind. Not an easy task, and one we most likely often get wrong.

Yet we should note that after the Mark 8 episode with Peter, Jesus still went on to Jerusalem in accordance with plan A. He didn't seem to say: "Fair enough - let me press the 'pause' button and go into a holding pattern while you guys get it". For Jesus (presumably benefiting from 100% accurate Spirit given discernment!) the time was right and it was now.

Similarly Paul got to the point where he was Spirit-led to journey back to Jerusalem on a trajectory that he knew would entail hardship and limitation. Acts 20:25 has him telling the Ephesian church leaders 'you will never see me again'. They wept and embraced him ... and then he set sail.

Both showed a resolved to pursue their knowledge of God's plan. They did it with their colleagues as much as possible, but overall the journey was onward.

Let us discern the God idea, and with it a suitable sense of God's timing, and then on top ask for a God infused resolve to journey forward.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Talk Jesus

This week I read an article that challenges Christians to 'Talk Jesus' more than they 'Talk God'. The missional logic being that across the world in our pluralist cultures 'God' can mean loads of things to different people, whereas 'Jesus' is specific.

The author has a point: just this week I talked with a friend who quite clearly believes in God of some sort, because his own life story is one of miraculously being brought back from the brink of self-destruction. Yet God of some sort is where it remains for him. He is a 'firm believer', but his firm belief is in a very wishy washy concept! My job was to proclaim this God of some sort to be none other than Jesus Christ (much like the Acts 17 Athens scenario, I guess).

It is interesting to look at Peter's development of Christology (understanding of Christ) in his first sermon in Acts 2. Through much of the sermon his Christology actually seems quite weak: v22 Jesus is a man, albeit accredited by God. In v24 he is a man raised, not held by death. Okay, now clearly a very special man ... but arguably still just a man.

In v25 Peter starts to increase the heat: could this man be Lord, as spoken of in the Old Testament? V31 talks of the promised Messiah, who would not be abandoned to death. Yet at this point arguably still we have Jesus a man who by God's vindication is not held by death and thus proved to be the Messiah.

At last Peter's argument reaches its climax in v33-36. By Peter's own witness (v32) this Jesus is exalted to the right hand of God, able to receive the Holy Spirit and pour it out. I sense Peter saying to the crowd, "Tell me, who can do that other than God Himself?". King David saw it long ago, and now let us all see it: this Jesus is both Lord and Messiah. To see God let us see Jesus - a 'strong Christology' in theological jargon.

The result of course was people 'cut to the heart'. Peter's audience was vast-majority Jewish, so he accordingly built on their Old Testament roots. Our audiences may be more varied ... but let us 'Talk Jesus' working towards the logical climax that Jesus is indeed God, and is ready to meet us, right here right now.