Apr 152018
 

“The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it”, C.S.Lewis, The Abolition of Man.

In starting a new church, I need to understand the prevailing culture The Common finds itself in, to see through it and identify its idols. Then we can see how the gospel destroys the idols and saves people from them. The context for the Gospel here is not The Common’s congregation but the culture of Palmyra. The task of identifying idols in the culture can be difficult because we Christians often worship the same idols and are blind to it. I know when I or someone else identifies an idol in the culture I’m living, my sin often wants to protest because it is my idol also.

Why am I musing about this today?  The answer is that I am overwhelmed by the gospel of Jesus. I want to share how it is changing people in Palmyra and for you to be reminded of His saving grace. I am seeing God change people’s lives – people coming to faith, people coming alive in the gospel for the first time in their lives. I am seeing people repent from their idols to believe and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Last night at Alpha one young woman who, in her own words, has had an “on/off” relationship with Jesus, described how her heart has been softened towards others and particularly the church. She told me that she is having a deep revelation of God and his love for her and is now able to love others in a far more grace-filled way. Another young woman shared how she has stopped listening to the lies she has been telling herself. For many years she has told herself that she has totally mucked up her life and that the dreams she had as a young girl are not worth entertaining or pursuing. This has changed. She is so excited to play the piano again but now firstly for God. It was only 6 weeks ago that she knew very little about God and His love for her. A middle-aged man was able to come face-to-face with his sin and confess it to his wife and me and is now healed by Jesus. It is changing his marriage, his family and his faith. Praise God!

Every person that shares with me their struggles, pain and victories can be answered with and transformed by the gospel of Jesus.

I came upon this quote last week which I think touches on some of our idols:

“The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell anti-ageing moisturizer? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By make them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves would not be good for business.”

To quote John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This is the only way that a calm revolution can occur.

Thanks for all your prayers and support for me, my family and The Common. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you.

 

James

 

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