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Danger Blindness

May 21, 2012

Last week we looked at Luke 3:4-6. The problem is me! When things go wrong who is to blame!

There is nothing worse than that moment when we realise: This mess is nobodies fault but mine! It’s another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into.

At work, problems happen, our first instinct is to say “aye but………”

At home, something goes wrong, all too often I turn to my wife and my first instinct is to blame her, or blame the kids, or blame the bank, the electric company, the next door neighbour or some unseen hoodie. Anyone but me.

The worst feeling in the world comes, when you look around the room, when you look at your life and realise, all possibilities are exhausted, you are to blame.

Here is the thing: it’s your fault. That isn’t an easy thing to say or hear, but it is your fault.

The path that is our life is not straight, we can’t see the danger round the corner, so the instinct is to blame the danger unseen, rather than blame our stupid decisions.

We are danger blind, or to be more accurate, we are blind in our sin.

There is nothing we can do, we are a “brood of vipers” we are just a bunch of snakes, all hoping that when the blame game stops that we have been clever enough that the fingers don’t point at us.

Well here is something I’m working on, here is maybe something radical. Take the blame for as much as you can, as often as you can. It is amazing how people react.

Give it a go! Try it today and let me know how it goes for you, I’ll let you know how it has been going for me over the next few days!

Taking responsibility for our sin is the first step in ending the danger blindness of our lives

Straight Roads

May 17, 2012

I remember one time driving on a road about 40 miles from my house. The road is notoriously dangerous. It is a winding road, it is filled with undulating hills, it is filled with blind spots and danger. I have driven the road many times; unlike many other drivers I have never had an accident. But there is one night that sticks out in my mind.

ImageI was about 23 at the time, so a lot younger than I am today. It was late, about 1.30am, I had been out with friends in the town at the end of this road and I wanted to get home. I was tired, I had work the next day, I wanted my bed. There was a slow driver in front. Driving carefully due to the danger ahead. I decided, on a bend, to overtake.

I pulled out, passed the car; I was just manoeuvring in when bright headlights confronted me. It was a stupid thing to do, I mean who overtakes on a corner?

I guess I have already given the end of the story away; I’ve never had an accident on the road, I managed to get in safely and avoid the car.

I have no idea how I managed it, I’m sure I could say it was an act of God but that isn’t the point I am trying to make. The road wasn’t straight. That was my problem.

But here is the point, if the road had been straight the danger wouldn’t have been removed. It wasn’t the bend that was the problem, the problem was me! It wasn’t the oncoming car that was the problem, the problem was me!

If the road had been straight, the oncoming car would still have been there, but I could have seen it and I would most probably not have pulled out.

The road being straight would have ended my blindness to the danger up ahead.

John says (Luke 3:4-6): “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God”

John the Baptist (more about him in another post) is quoting Isaiah, but he is preaching the way that is straight.

When what is crooked becomes straight we see who we really are. That is what we are to be – people who are not crooked – but how?

Its not something we can do for ourselves, that is what John is saying, It is something Jesus does for us.

Where is Your Wilderness?

May 8, 2012

If we are to change the world where are we going to start? We start by going to the wilderness.

In the Old Testament, the people of God cried out and he heard their cry. They were delivered from slavery in Egypt, but first they were brought into the wilderness. The new exodus has begun, we too find ourselves crying in the wilderness.

Just as it was in the day of Noah, so it is in our day. The story of Noah stands as an amazing example to us. Noah overcame everything, all adversity, all affliction, all ridicule, to follow God.

It must have cost Noah everything. Imagine the expense of building such a big boat, but expense is not even mentioned in the passage. Imagine the ridicule and shame of devoting your life to building a boat in the wilderness. Yet Noah did it! A relationship with God was more important than money, dignity or praise.

This should be our example!

The wilderness we are in is the world around us. How are we preaching Him to those around us?

Preaching in the wilderness

May 3, 2012

For good or for ill, the church has lost its grip on society.

No longer is the church respected. Several newspapers are carrying the story of a doctor who has been fired from the hospital in which he worked. the doctor simply shared a prayer with colleagues. The judge hearing the case said “there is no place for religion at work.” I am not going to debate the rights and wrongs of his sacking or defend the Christians’ right to public expressions of faith, but what this does show is that the church of Jesus Christ no longer has influence in the world in which we live.

But despite the securlisation of our world, people still want something more. It may not be Jesus Christ, but they want something. They don’t know it, yet, but they need Jesus Christ. How then are they to find Him?

By the witness of the church! But how has the church reacted to securlisation? I think the simple answer is badly!

Churches, when faced with securlisation do one of four things:

  1. Pretend it isn’t happening – carry on regardless, sure this is the way we have always done things and society won’t change us!– the fundamentalist church
  2. Embrace it – just become what the world is! Anything goes and everything is welcome – the liberal church
  3. Understand it, but do little to change it – invite people in, make them feel at home and nab them for the church, a church which becomes shallow with no depth – the seeker sensitive church

But there is a fourth way – change it! But how will it be changed? By preaching into the wilderness, by calling out without fear or shame, by being the voice of just one, just the solitary one crying out! It is when we preach Jesus Christ that things change, when we declare his name valleys are filled, mountains are made straight, the rough is made smooth.

As we cry out so all flesh will see salvation.