Saturday, 31 May 2014

Finding God in the Godless.


I have always found it hard to deal with the message that God is everywhere, all around us. Sometimes for me it can seem like he is only really there at church, youth group or when I'm praying. But, I have been thinking recently about the fact that he can be found anywhere, in all aspects of our lives if we look.

I am a big fan of both rap music and hardcore punk rock. My struggle with liking these is often times the lyrics promote a very ungodly way of the world. Rap is all about your material wealth. money, cars and so on. Whilst punk rock can talk a lot about how terrible the world is and how we are all doomed no matter what. This is at least my experience with the bands I listen to and as you can see they don't display a very godly message that I want to fill my head with. I used to consider these genres godless, without God, but in fact they are not. 


Lecrea is a popular example of a Christian rapper who's lyrics promote following God and rejecting materiel wealth. I discovered Lecrea a while back and felt refreshed that I could listen to rap without disagreeing with the lyrics, but I was still left with the that feeling when I listened to some of these punk rock bands. Then one of my friends showed me 'Being as an Ocean' a wonderful hardcore band (with a bit of screaming which I do like!) but with lyrics about love and grace "the greatest law is love" is a lyric of theirs.  It was wonderful to discover both these artist and if you like either of those genres I highly recommend them. They preach God in a wildly Godless genre.

Psalm 139:7-9 "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there." 

The bible has made it clear no matter where you go, no matter how much you might stray from him, God is there with you the whole time. So if you are in a position where you just can't seem to find God; whether it be at school, a genre of music you like or anything really, first turn to prayer then look around. I thought there was not really any Christian's at my school but it turns out there are a fair few who I am not friends with.

Seek and you will find God in the Godless. 


Here are the links to the two mentioned artist if you want to give them a listen: (click the names)

Lecrea

Being as an Ocean


Monday, 26 May 2014

Movie making!

video
video
video


Here are the movies you made last Friday. What a talented bunch you are!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Always?

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.


"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,


From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.


The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.


The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."


And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on. 


He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
~Myra Brooks Welch


I read this poem the other night when I was just messing around on the internet and it really brought out and revealed to me God's unfailing love for us and God's mind blowing grace. If we think about the violin, it is like us. We were worth pretty much nothing, we were battered, far from God and full of sin, going for merely a dollar. But then God came along into our lives and told society and ourselves that we were worth so much more. That he is our master and he has designed us perfectly. With the touch of his hand on our lives, we were transformed. We were transformed into sons and daughters of God, forgiven for the state we'd let ourselves get into and just like the violin we where tuned again to make a beautiful sound. And that sound in our lives is the sweet sound of the father's presence in our hearts. It is the sweet sound of what God did and continues to do for us.




Ephesians 2:8-10
 For it is by Grace that you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from your selves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no-one can boast. For we are God's handy work, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.'



If you just sit for a while and think about how despite all our sins, God's love for us is so vast and so deep and so wide, it is never ending. It's pretty incredible that he loves us so much that he was willing to send his only, beloved son to die a death on a cross that really should be our death. This alone is mind blowing, because we live in a world where we are surrounded by revenge and the idea of Grace is rarely present and that is why it is so mind blowing and incredible that God loved us, broken and full of sin. He loved us so much that he was willing to sacrifice his only son. Willing to spend the time to re-tune us so we could sing a new song.

And then I think about how God shows us Grace in our daily goings on. When we feel like we fall short of God, God goes 'Hey I forgive you, I'm not going to love you anymore or any less. My love for you is like an overflowing cup it just keeps pouring out on to you, nothing you do will gain any more love and nothing you do will make me love you any less.'

Ephesians 3 v 19
'And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.'

Even though we know of Gods great everlasting love, I think you'll agree with me here, that when we are faced with trials and are walking in what may feel like the deep valley, sometimes we find ourselves question God's love.

'If God loves me why would he put me through this?'

But when we are faced with trials I think we should take things right back to the truths that God has gifted to us and what he did for us, because he loves us. And to remember that it is in these trials that God tests us, teaches us and prepares us to be who he wants us to be to complete his will.

Ephesians 10
'For we are God's handy work, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.'


We are trialed because if we were always on the mountain top then how would we reach the next destination, the next thing God has in store for us? We can't just fly to the next mountain peak,  though sometimes I do wish I could fly - that would be insanely cool, but then again if I could fly I would miss out on the depths of the valley, the moments where God prepares me for the next thing he has in store for me. I think this is brilliantly described in an excerpt  from the 'Tramp for the Lord - by Corrie ten Boom'


"Think with me here...everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but if you'll remember, mountaintops are rocky and cold. There is no growth on the top of a mountain. Sure, the view is great, but what's a view for? A view just gives us a glimpse of our next destination-our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off the mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life's next peak.'



If you think about when you're at the top of a mountain and you look out at everything below you, there is a joy that forms because you are thankful that, firstly you actually made it to the top with out dying - congratulations haha - but also the fact that there is a deep joy within your soul because it is then that you realize that all the struggle it took to get up to the top was definitely worth it. Because well, the view is simply beautiful. But we do not learn anything, we just gain joy from reaching the top.
I think we should remember that joy we feel at the top when we find ourselves in the valley. That excitement when we view how beautiful the next mountain is, how glorious and promising it looks with the sun reflecting on the snow and all that it has to offer. And if we remember that God is never going to put us through anything that is going to harm us.


In Jeremiah 29:11 it states,
'For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

And this is true, so shouldn't we have faith in God's plans? That he has everything aced? Everything aced from the highest mountain top to the deepest valley and to the darkest shadows we find ourselves in.

In Thessalonians 5 v 16 it says,

'Rejoice always, Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for it is God's will for you in Christ Jesus'

Rejoice always... pretty challenging ae, challenging because always means..

- at all times, at any rate,  in any event.

So this means that I should rejoice even when I find my self in the struggle? In the times where  I honestly feel like I am in the deepest valley? Because God is putting me through these things and his plan is to... 'prosper me and not to harm me' he is preparing me to complete his will.. his next mountain top.


"God has a perfect plan for our lives, but he cannot move us to the next step until we joyfully accept our present situation as part of that plan." - Anonymous

'You can go on thinking that the situation is controlled by the devil - and by your lack of faith in God’s supreme power make it difficult for Him to work out His perfect plan, or you can believe that God is at work, thanking Him for everything and thereby release His power to work in your life.'

It's like Ken was talking about on Sunday, about having faith. As soon as we doubt we seem to lose the faith we have in God's plan on our life, faith that he has everything aced and when we doubt, we miss out on so many opportunities God has in store for us.

'Try to accept with your understanding that God does love you and has allowed those circumstances because he knows they are good for you. Praise Him for what He has brought into your life; do it deliberately and with your understanding.' -Anonymous

This is still something I'm still learning and God is teaching me and revealing to me, because it is something we, you, I,  have to daily remind ourselves of, to be thankful in everything. Wow.

Because it is challenging. It's so different from society and the way the world portrays to live, where the world says to feel sorry for the hardship you are going through God says  'Praise, thank me and be joyful in everything thing I put you through. Where the world says to show revenge and pay back; 'God's Grace is present and it blows our minds that despite everything we've done God still loves us unconditionally and for eternity'. Where love is uncertain amongst people; 'God's love is forever and will never end.' It is amazing to have these things to focus on. When the world says one thing and we find that the trials are pulling us away from God, we can look towards what God says to us and we can rejoice because we have a father who cares for us and who will never leave us. That is an incredible thought.

And so I shall leave you with the wise words of Martin Luther,

“Blessed is he who submits to the will of God; he can never be unhappy. Men may deal with him as they will…he is without care; he knows ‘all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” ~ Martin Luther

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Honour: It's All About Identity (Part 1)

Another key word I have been reflecting on is honour. It seems to be a bit of a buzz-word in Christian circles, promoted particularly by Bethel Church in the States. It's not a new word though. Neither is it a new phenomenon in the church. Honour has been around for as long as God has.

The word honour (when used as a verb) means to hold in high esteem. We know that throughout time, each member of the trinity has been honoured and loved. The perfect example of this is when Jesus was baptised and the Father's voice boomed throughout eternity declaring his pride - his esteem - in the Son; and when the Holy Spirit came like a dove and annointed Jesus in the water, He placed his stamp of approval - His honour - upon Jesus. So honour is a key component of the trinity and it is a key component for our lives too.

So what does honour look like in our lives?


Well firstly, we are called to honour God. The opening line of the Lord's Prayer is 'hallowed be your name' (Matt 6:9). Hallowed means to honour as holy. Our first approach to God, our number one priority needs to be in declaring him Lord and Saviour over everything in our lives.

We give Him honour because He alone deserves honour. This is the God who created the universe and everything in it. This is the God that is perfect, holy and blameless in every way. This is the God who gave humanity life. This is the God that gave Himself up on the cross so that we could know Him. This is the God that doesn't deserve a little praise, but our all. The chief end of man - the reason we exist - is to bring glory to God. Our lives need to revolve around honouring Him.

We honour Him through our thanksgiving; by putting our trust in Him; by living by His word; by acknowledging His provision and grace in every moment of our lives; we honour Him by declaring Him to the world! We also honour Him, because out of that worship, we create an environment where He can act. It's no mistake that the opening lines of the Lord's Prayer that give honour to God (hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, will be done) are followed by God's provision, pardon, protection and power. As our hearts turn to worship and honour God, we are in a better place to receive from Him. And this leads us to more worship. Which leads to more of God. Which leads us to more worship. You see the pattern here?!

Secondly, we need to honour ourselves. God says over us that we were 'fearfully and wonderfully made' (Ps 139:14) and that we were 'made in the image of God' (Gen 1:27). We aren't just animals. We are special! This requires us to think 'specially' about ourselves... More than that, as Christians not only is this true of us, but we are also sons and daughters of the living God (2 Cor 6:18, Hosea 1:10, Rom 8:16). And it doesn't stop there, because of Jesus perfect sacrifice we are now considered holy, blameless and perfect (Col 1:22) and nothing we - or anyone else - can do, say or think can ever change that (Romans 8:31-39). Our position with God is mind-blowing!


God holds you and I in very high esteem. He honours us. When He looks upon us, He sees the good in us and then Jesus's blood covering all the rest. All the sin and shame has been replaced by Jesus's perfection. That is how God - our Father - views us. Now, if God views us that way, who are we to say anything different about ourselves? You may feel unlovable, useless or stupid, but you are not. We know that God is perfectly holy and that He cannot stand the presence of sin and yet He dwells in you. What does that say about you?

You see, it's all about our identity. Once we realise the truth about ourselves, we realise how great God is and by extension, how great we are. The lies you whisper about yourself are not true and contrary to what God says about you. In Romans 8:33, Paul asks the question who can bring any charge against you and the answer is emphatically NO-ONE! That includes you. So, stop believing the lies and believe God. You are honoured and treasured by your Father. Accept it!

Once we realise who we are, it changes the way we relate to others. Check out Part 2 in a few weeks to see how we need to honour other people.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Our Worries, One Mystery

What realm does my imagination tend to dwell upon before I am submerged into the unknown? The possibilities that transpire within the unknown itself of course. Mysteries by their inconsistencies may seem to be complex, because we can't quite distinguish an independent variable in their occurrences. 


Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. 
- Proverbs 19: 21


Recently I've been thinking about how this affects my relationship with God and (in one aspect) mysteries are simply just a wide span of imagined possibilities, which ends up shrouding the ultimate conclusion. This ultimate conclusion is the will of God.

My conscience tends to have the attitude to be drawn to what I want, and in consequence; I may worry about the many possibilities that may conflict with it. I find it very easy to worry, and because of this attitude I tend to be bewildered by even the smaller things. For example: the 100 things that can go wrong at a dinner date. "Is my humour overwhelming?" - "Does she actually like the food?" - "Did I actually say YOLO?" etc. You could think of such things hours upon hours, but "worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere” (Erma Bombeck). 


"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." 
- Matthew 6:34

Tomorrow is the word that expresses many mysteries. One who believes that "the true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible” (Oscar Wilde) will understand that a mystery is merely an illusion; formed by the conflicting hopes and despairs of different people. 


To live with mystery is to invest your hopes or despairs into one possibility. But, to live with God is not asking "what will?" But, answering "God's will." I'm not saying you need to fully understand it - even I still don't. Don't keep your eyes on the plan, rather,  keep your heart with the planner. Trust regardless when something goes your way or not, that God's will remains and he plans something even greater and far beyond what we may expect. 




So although tomorrow may seem a mystery, look at today as a gift from God. Is that not why it is called the "present"? (Paraphrased from Bill Keane)





Saturday, 10 May 2014

Gods Love

I have been thinking a lot about this topic over the last week for a few reasons. Firstly, I had an assignment to complete for the Training for the Future course (Training for the Future is a theology course I'm doing through the church). The assignment was picking an aspect of God and writing some information on it and I chose God's love. Secondly, I think it's something God put on my heart to think about this week. My mind keeps wandering to it and this coupled with the love filled worship music I have been listening to, have meant it has run through my mind a fair bit.

So, what is it about God's love that is so amazing that it can fill my head for a whole week? Well the assignment taught me a lot about and gave me a fresh look on 1 John 4:8. It says 'God is love' and this confirms to me everything God does, he does in love. It's one of the central parts of who he is. As well as it being central to him, it's also infinite. This part of it I have always found hard to come to grips with. How can God love us infinitely even when we sin and do wrong? I thought of it like this, imagine for a second you are a spaceship, not a huge planet eater but a small little cruiser of some kind. You look around from your spaceship window at the vast infinity of space, it's everywhere all around you, never ending and therefore you can't get out of it. You are in it. Always. That endless space is Gods love. It's all around us, we could fly our 
spaceships around it forever and never leave it, never even fully understand it, but it's there alright. 

As the week went on, I started to come to grips with this love and thought as a Christian I want to share this love with others. Now when I want to do something I often look for role models, people that already do whatever it is I'm trying to do and there is a perfect role model out there.

JESUS!!!

Jesus is a perfect role model for how we should show love to the world in our lives. Going to a public school, not everyone I hang out with is a Christian, in fact very few are. But I have no doubt I have been placed there by God to do his works. This is the kind of place where it's important to follow in Jesus' footsteps. Jesus hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, beggars and generally people considered the lowest. My school doesn't have prostitutes or tax collectors - you will be happy to know - but it does have its fair share of people that are sometimes looked down upon in society. At school I do what I believe Jesus would do and talk to these people as much as any other person. I know sometimes just being a Christian in those situations can show to people what Christians are like and can lead to some awesome conversations.

So I leave you with the challenge to look further into Gods love. It is all around you, simply open yourself to receive and God will pour it upon you with joy.



Psalm 136:26 says "
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Hit With Joy


I often wonder what people would see in me, notice or what they would think when passing me in the streets or as I clamber onto a bus. I generally guess people would see me for who I am. I often hope though that they see something different in me, shown through my actions or my words. Something of God being revealed.

But recently I discovered that though I try to do this, it is not always the case. It is often harder than easier.
It was a day last term whilst walking home that I got hit. Not by a car but by a realization. Let me further explain.

It had been a long day and I plundered along, minding my own thoughts and business unaware, most definitely, how miserable I looked until a man walked past me and literally yelled....

 







and that was all he said.



It was then that I got hit, like a smack in the face, but deep in my heart. And I laughed because I knew instantly it was God reminding me of the truths I bought back with me from New Day.

'With God there is no fear. Only joy in his presence'

And I realized then that I had somewhat forgotten this. I'd grown blind to the very precious presents God had given me. And that after fully trusting in God to take away my fear about this year at New Day, I was still falling short of the whole 'joyful' side.

In those following weeks God kept slipping little messages at me from above. When I opened up my bible and in songs I was listening to, God was reminding me to be joyful. I find it is often the hardest thing to do, but once doing it, it is the thing that reveals something different about yourself, that little twinkle in your eye that can only be put down to the presence of God in your life. But this can only happen when I am fully in one with God. Fully breathing and living in his presence.

I fall short daily of this but I try and when I am joyful I've discovered it's easier to relate to people, easier to be who God wants me to be and it is definitely easier to talk to peers and people about God. God still reminds me daily to be joyful. It is in these passages that I am reminded of this quote and these verses that will never leave my soul.

'With God there is no fear only joy in his presence.'

Phillipians 4v4 -

'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanks giving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.'

John 14v27-

'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid!' 



And In these I am reminded, hit, well not literally but yes hit so suddenly in my heart by the fact that God does take away all our fears and replaces it with joy, but it is up to us as Christians to fully give our fears over to God and let him then work in us. God often reminds me to be joyful on the days when I am far from joyful.

So today are you prepared to be hit by God's joy? Shall we turn and be a generation where something is different within us? Something that draws people in and can only be put down to something greater and more powerful than us? Something that will attract our peers and completely change their lives?

And so I will leave you with the words that have forever changed me,

'With God there is no fear, only joy in his presence'


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Be Strong and Courageous

I find the holidays afford me the time to do a lot of thinking. Whether it's sitting in the bath, laying in bed at night or walking up tracks to waterfalls, I have had plenty of opportunities to think. One of the things I've been thinking about is culture. By that I mean the values/principles that drive a community. I've been thinking about the communities that I'm part of and what 'culture' I would like to see developed in them.

One aspect of culture that I would love to see developed amongst Reveal is courage. As a young(ish) leader, who is looking to develop other young leaders, it seems to me that courage is something that we need. Courage is the thing that drives us through our worries, our fears and our inadequacies to change the world. 

God calls us to be courageous.

There was a man called Joshua in the bible. He was a pretty cool dude and did some amazing things for God's nation of Israel. He led the people of Israel across the River Jordan into the land that God had promised their ancestors and there triumped over innumerable hardships, problems and enemies to see God's Kingdom on earth established. But Joshua wasn't a man without fear. He was so scared that when God called him to lead he had to be reminded 3 times by God to be "strong and courageous." Joshua felt fear, but trusted God's promises and overcame it. He showed courage in overwhelming circumstances and we are called to do the same.

In the Wizard of Oz, the absence of a heart meant that the lion had no courage. We link the two together; hearts and courage. So, when Jesus is about to face the cross and knows that soon after that he will be resurrected and ascend to heaven, he talks to another group of young leaders. He tells them that it will be tough, but reminds them to "Take heart! I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33). He tells them to be courageous. Yes, it will be scary. Yes, you will be persecuted. Yes, I will be going. But take heart. Know that I have overcome the world and therefore you have nothing to fear. Know that I will be with you to the very end of the age. He says the same to us. Being a christian is not an easy task in a secular world, but we're called to be courageous in sharing our faith and courageous in living out our faith. Just like the disciples.

Timothy was another young leader who felt fear. He was already a young pastor, already a leader in many people's eyes, but he too had to be reminded to be courageous. To trust God in his life. Paul had to remind him that "the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord." (2 Tim 1:7) Timothy had to be reminded that in him dwelt the Holy Spirit, who equipped him for every situation he faced. He had to be reminded to be courageous and to not be ashamed of the gospel. That is a reminder to us too. When he remembered this, Timothy did great things and faced down mighty challenges. We can too!

Nelson Mandela once said "courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." The great thing about being a Christian is we are not alone. We don't face fear by ourselves. We have a God who has already overcome the world covering our backs. We can take courage in him.

Wouldn't it be cool if like Joshua, the disciples and Timothy we were known for our courage? If we were courageous in sharing our faith; courageous in standing up for what's right; courageous in sharing about our struggles; courageous in our friendships; courageous in offering prayer; courageous in sharing a picture or word at the front of church.

When was the last time you trusted God and did something courageous? How about trying something today?

The King's Youth Blog

Haere mai, youkoso, welcome to the blog of King's Church Youth! In the not too distant future, this blog will be filled by different stories by different people from this youth group. These stories may feature from one's poetic voice of their worship to a casually written or humorous short of one's day. At the end of the day, we hope to bring different eyes together and reflect God's work in us. Thanks for dropping by! Be sure to hit up the 'About Us' page under "TKY", and find our blog again soon.