Richly merciful. Exceedingly Forgiving. Abundantly wise. Excellently humble.Greatly Loving – and Shalom makes a guest appearance

Was speaking to a friend just now about God. And it reminded me about chapter 2 from Dunamis that we’re sharing at our cellgroup. Started late this week cause of work and driving back from client but we managed to be blessed within a short time.

(yes I promised I’d chill but I gotta send this last one and I wont lie to you anymore. I’ll be done for the day. This time I promise.)

I asked the guys…

Do you believe that the church is the BODY of Christ and that He is the head? Like its almost as if when you put us all together in that building…maybe even globally yes globally when you put christianity together are we the body. The bride?

If you could describe your church with a few adjectives what would you say about? And think positive. Think about all the great stuff you in your church despite its many possible shortcomings or areas where it needs to improve. If you could use a coupla feel good words about church…what are some of the words you would come up with?

And they used words like
Gifted
Orderly
Great worship
Truth – seeking
Prophetic
Spirit-filled
Obedient

Classical answers right? For which Isaid that’s cool guys.

Now if you could use some adjectives what would you use to describe God, Christ, Jesus

And in came the good stuff
Merciful
Forgiving
Loving

Romans 9:23Romans 9:23
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and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Ephesians 2:4Ephesians 2:4
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But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

The set up part 1
And so I reposed the question
Do you believe we are the body of Christ? Do you believe we are meant to exhibit characteristics of God?
Of course they said yes. And I apologised for asking leading questions. (They shouldda seen it coming)

The set up part 2 (they still didn’t see it coming…i had so much fun)

So I again I asked…if asked to describe your local church, global church, Christianity as a whole, why does there seem to be a disconnect between the way we describe the character of God and the way we describe the character of the collective. The body.

Maybe that’s why not everybody agrees Jesus is God…Lord and Saviour. We are unable to REPLICATE His character.

John 13:35John 13:35
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“By this all (the entire cosmos) will know you are My discples, if you have love one for another

Some questions

When you’re husband describes you does he days “my wife is rich in mercy”
When you’re wife describes you, does he say “my husband loves me with a great love”
When youre children describe you as their father, do they say “my dad is everlasting in His love for me, and behold what manner of love, with which my dad loves me…lavish love”
When they describe mom do they say “mom is abundant in wisdom”?
Does your neighbour say of you “my next door neighbour esteems me greatly”

More leading questions you see….

If we truly are vessels of God…why is there that disconnect. I know we know people who are rich in mercy. And we diss them badly…cause we say things to and about them like “people take advantage of her”. We don’t exalt what is pure, what is good.  Why is it that we aspire and even want to be like God on the individual and yet when asked to describe our churches or christianity our mind suddenly makes a disconnect and we start thinking of it like some sort of entity without character. Almost like a machine. Like an organisation.

I’m asking us to start thinking and praying for our churches in a spiritual way, beyond the logistics and the stuff. They sing real nice. They have a great worship service. We are CONSUMING church rather than ARE church. Maybe

Sorry to offend some…in God’s eyes…what we havent isnt really church. Weve got a day. Or a place. Or a regular ceremony that takes place at a regular venue. And because He is rich in mercy He always meets us there.

But we rarely and need to start thinking of church of the different pieces of our lives like a person. At our church… We obey God…and Love Him and each other greatly. At our church we are just like God…we are rich in mercy toward those, just like us, looking for redemption.

Imagine that…imagine your churches reputation as being a place where people excel at forgiveness! Or where they are deeply knowledgable about humility? I think when that kind of people, begins to live out lives that are baptised by the Holy Spirit then they start to look at the things God asks from us, the standards, as beautiful rather than as merely dutiFULL. You get where I’m going? Let us have spirit filled churches. Let us have churches with actual character. That reflect the character of God. That go beyond obedience which is the letter. But excel in the spirit of the law. Which is a more excellent way. God wants people who are honest not people who don’t lie. The one is the letter. The other is the Spirit. The one is mental and intellectual. The other is spiritual and makes your heart go “I need you Lord!”. That’s why they were given as commandments. No choice in it. So that the need can arise and the heart can look at the standard and aspire, need want ache for that standard not the action. Galations chpts 3 and  4 explain it better. Free from what? The letter but not the spirit. Before it was a burden. Hard to live up to. Now we have a more excellent way and are now free to obey. Slaves to righeousness. Imagine being internally forced by your own spiritual desires to be honest cause it would break you hurt you to say “traffic” . Imagine a husband like that…UNABLE to cheat on you in his head let alone externally or observably in secret getaway while youre off on a business trip. Imagine a child unable not to see their parents with honour and respect. And by they way love is spontaneous not reciprocal. Spiritual discernment forces the Godlover, the Jesuschaser, the Jehovahworshipper to respect even parents who arent worth respect. We love Him because He loved us first though we were not “worth” loving 🙂 Hear that correctly. So all of that is great on the individual level.  Translate it….a church unable to turn away a drunk cause they are slaves to mercy. 🙂 A global Christian character that the whole world knows…such that when a Christian sits in peace-talks between warring peoples, they know we are slaves to forgiveness and reconciliation. Imagine that. A reputation of peace as a people planet wide…everything else we do outside THAT kind of high standard is merely a form….why…..as it is written

1 Cor 13:21 Cor 13:2
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“But if you have not love….I am nothing”….

Last piece for today cause I just asked your minds to think the impossible is about real shalom.

Shalom – which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit…why do I say this? Well the fruits of the spirit are? Love, joy, peace etc. And that’s just like shalom. English poorly translates it into one word peace. That is poor. Too poor. God can afford to give you more than just peace in your life. He can give you wisdom, no fear-which is safety, power and strength(samson/david)….sounds like ‘for we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind’. Its all about the Holy Spirit. So here are these jews walking around for centuries saying ‘shalom’ to each other. In effect, especially for the Christian, when marry all of the fruits and characteristics of the Holy Spirit together they have been saying to each other…receive ye the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Can you see it? Can you tie it together? I pray you can see it. He hit me with that revelation last Saturday afternoon.

Keep that in mind from now on….so…

Shalom (receive the Holy Spirit) on you and your family. Selah
No matter what…hold on to that…no matter what…hold on to it. The need and the proof and the faith. Receive Him. In Jesus name. Amen

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