Sunday, August 27, 2006

Summer's End

Last week of holiday's this week and it was a hectic one. GLO Lurgan had it's fourth outing this week. 150 young people blasted the 4 corners of the town cleaning, gardening, painting, kid's clubbing, bbqing etc.
It was much more difficult for the leadership team this time around but the highlights shine brighter. For me this was watching the young people cross the religious divide and immerse themselves into working in the 'other' side of town. Relationships were built and community leaders expressed surprise with how successful the venture was. The future is exciting.

It is great to see young people realise that, if the rangers shirt is swapped for an armagh one, people are all the same.


On Thursday I took a break from GLO and headed down to Dublin to watch Radiohead at Marlay Park. They were supported by Beck and his awesome band of entertainers. You could watch them for a week and never be bored. Check out a video on Zico's blog. Radiohead didn't disappoint either. I thought they had their self-indulgent moments (including Thom Yorke playing drums for no apparent reason) but there were also many of those beautiful concert moments that can only be felt not described. Those spine-tingling moments that are felt when a congregation of people are together and the music seems almost trancendent. When you feel you are caught in something bigger than yourself and the world feels safe.

I felt this at GLO as well, in the highs and the lows. I'm reading 'Velvet Elvis' by Rob Bell. He describes it better than me:
...it isn't just concerts and surfing and the high points, and it isn't just those beautiful moments in the midst of the everyday and mundane: it is also in the tragic and the gut-wrenching moments when we cannot escape the simple fact that there is way more going on around us than we realise.

50 comments:

Jen said...

right, i wouldn't normally say this to anyone, but i reckon u need to blog again. How's school going?

Anonymous said...

What on earth has radio head star signs and having a trancendent experience have to do with God mate.
Do you not know frienship with the world is emnity against God please wake up i judge you by the word of God and not my own judgement,
Check out the astologers in Isa Dan and so on it is occultic,
Your christian life will be be easier and fuller if you get rid of these things.
IF YOU ARE HONEST WITH YOURSELF YOU WILL SEE TRUTH,
Please recieve this with love as it is intended to help you.

J-Mac said...

Thanks for the love mate. I don't fully understand what you're speaking of as I can't find anywhere in the post that I mention 'star signs' or 'astrologers'.

Definition of transcendent= 'surpassing, excelling, existing apart from the material universe.' I think this has a lot to do with God and I'm glad we can experience his creativity and beauty outside the church as well as in. 'Even the rocks cry out....'

As for 'friendship with the world', Was Jesus not the friend of sinners? Should we not be like him?

Finally...you tell me my christian life could be 'easier' if I heed you. I'm not sure that God wants our lives in Him to be easier. Does he not ask us to run, strive, pursue, wrestle until we reach the goal? I think the main problem in the church is that our lives are much too easy.

Anonymous said...

Well if you took time to look at your own profile which you are beamimg out all over the world you will see you have actually put what star sign you are, which says you are in favour of it.
Also you are right in your definition for transcendent but you see there is also the flip side to that which is not everthing trancendent is of God Paul says in 2co ch 11 v 14 satan himself can be transformed to an angel of light and considering Radio Head are not saved as they show no fruit what so ever apart from geting drunk cursing and the like i ask you is this God working through these people or satan?
Now please do not say radio head are lovely sweet people i was into all that stuff myself so please dont go there i know everyband inside out and have done a lot of reasearch into all these bands.
As far as rocks crying out friend the rocks did not cry out Jesus was using a powerful illustration to rubuke the Pharisees we are the stones see 1pet ch 2v5 so you see if the 12 disciples shut up then others who believe in chirst would cry out.

Again you are right about Jesus being the friend of sinners BUT you need to get this he never took part in agreed with or give any allegiance to the SINNERS his main focus was to CONVICT THEM OF THEIR SIN.
Now please again do not tell me you went to the concert to be a witness to someone, you went there to join in.
On your last point I think you know what i meant but i will explain.
Easier means easier to serve the Lord. SIN stops the work of the spirit by no means do i say the christian life is or should be easy the Lord himself says in the world we will have tribulation.
By having friendship with the world is enemity against God not my words.
If you think the church is getting it to easy you are right because of people who are not willing to sacrifice pleasures in their lives and put them on the alter the church is a sleeping church, and no threat what so ever to the powers of darkness and therefore under no attack as it is dead already.
But know this without holiness it is impossible to please God.
My question is what has star signs and going and financially supporting bands which are no more christian than Marlyn Manson is have to do with your faith.
Again friend i say this to help you i have been rebuked myself many times and will to the day i die, and i thank God for people who do it, as long as it is of God it will help our walk.
There is no such thing as neutral in music it was created for Gods glory you are to worship in spirit and truth what is truth? It is the scriptures through song in whatever style of music you like.
Not to be on a side is to be on a side.

leanne said...

From your 'anonymous' writings it seems to me that although you meant this in love as an onlooker the tone of the whole email sounds very judgemental. In the past people have come to me in 'love' and tried to put me on the so called straight and narrow and instead disillusioned me with what a Christian really is.... NO ONE not even ONE is perfect and this whole life is a journey where we are convicted of certain things by the Almighty God. I have known John for a while and I know his heart is for the lost as should everyones. Instead people now are being so critical of each other. The Christain life is tough and you can be in the world and not of it...we need to go to the dark places and shine cause thats where we shine brightest!! We only get one life and its time we stopped being so critical and pull together.
As for the astrology part if you had a blog site it would become apparent that as soon as you put your date of birth in the blog site it automatically puts your zodiac sign up....so don't think this is agreeing with it.
God can use anything to speak or communicate with people take him out of the box.
Keep up the good work John!!!

Anonymous said...

Leanne we are called to judge James ch4 on one hand james judges, and then in v 11 he says do not do it, the same with Jesus in matthew Ch 7 v 1 he says do not judge yet then he goes and says in v 17-20 you will know them by their fruit so is he contradicting himself, of course not. We judge through Gods word it is his judgement not ours for he wrote the rules and he askes us as in Gal 6 to judge by his word. I take on board your comment regarding the zodiac, but you see its not on Philip or Ali,s profiles, why is that?
You say we need to go to the dark places and shine our brightest. I agree and I am sure John is a much better evanglelist than I am.
It's one thing to go to a dark place, it's something else to take part in darkness, do not be decieved.
Again if people have tried to put you on the straight and narrow without showing you in God's word where you are wrong, then they are wrong.
I stand on God,s word Galations 6 springs to mind.
If I sound harsh I ask your forgiveness but you see I have been in the same place as John and have a real love for music but that energy is better spent giving all your time to God be it listening to music or producing it to bless others.
Again don,t think I am being holier than thou I am sure both you and john are much better than me in certain things in the christian life,
But not only are we told to judge (again by Gods word and through love so it is not our own personal judgement)we are commanded to.
What if philp preached from the pulpit that Christ was Satan how would you handle that if you could not judge by the scriptures.
Constuctive critisim is very helpful and if you are mature in the faith you will recieve it.
I do understand there is destructive critisim and that is were I agree with you on christians fighting and hurting each other it is very sad.
I know music, movies, and things of that nature are a grey area, but the thing that caught my attention was that John said his experience at radio head was the same as at Glo now it's one thing to go to a concert where there is nothing even mentioned of God and have a spine tingling moment, but it is something else to say the same thing should happen at a christian night of worship, our we to conclude that God is blessing radio head as well as glo?
The fact is this i have been a christian long enough see what is going on, you see i don't mind if a person says well, I fail the Lord because sin gets the better of me and i fall, that happens to us all but at least strive and fight against it.
The problem i have is that i see christians with the attituide i am the same as the world, the only difference is i foung jesus we are not the same and have to be careful where we go what we listen to and what we watch.
I can tell you of numerous christians who are in bondage because they watched something they should'nt have or, listened to something they shouldnt have.
Your eyes are your eyes and ears are the windows of your soul.

leanne said...

I couldn,t agree more that your eyes are your eyes and your ears are the window of your soul. We do need to be careful what is seen and heard and also it a blessing to have christians around us that have been christians a long time as we can listen and learn from their lives and experiences and I believe God places these people in our lives for that reason.
I am a relatively immature christian in the worlds eyes being only 26 and can look back on a few big life changing events and learn lessons from them whereas you can probably look back on a lifetime of events and be eager to point out to other people where they are going wrong, which can be beneficial but sometimes it just doesn't sink in to a young persons heart. Personally I grew up with an alcoholic dad all my life from i can remember and I always said I would never touch a drink myself but in the last 4 or so years socially I would have taken a drink and on those occasions where I had been feeling a bit sad, down or got carried away with the crowd I would have had a few more than normal and it was this New year past that I really felt convicted about drinking again but I had to learn for myself that night and the next morning I just felt like I had let myself down and most of all God. People had told me about drinking and my mum and i knew myself but I, only me could learn this for myself
Now if I do go out I want people to notice I am different in pubs clubs wherever it may be... people would rather see a sermon than listen to one being preached. I didn't tell you this as a sob story but merely to hightlight that everyone learns from their mistakes or shortfalls to build character and it is great that you now can look back and see all that music and films for what they really are but as I said earlier today life is a journey and you are at a different stage of that than me and the main thing is that God knows my heart and motives and to me thats all that matters and maybe if we listened more we wouldn't make as many mistakes but that is way God made us and our generation has a whole different outlook on christianity than there used to be and at times 'anything should't go' but be patient with us! As for the star sign thing it was only today I realised about the date of birth thing and took it off mine, thanks I had forgotten to do it!

Anonymous said...

leanne thankyou for your very honest reply i will make it a point to pray for you.
When you go to clubs and pubs leanne please be careful as it is so easy to get sucked in, I have been a christian for 7 years and i know i could not be in that environment, but i leave that choice to you.
I know about clubs as i have done ecstasy and everthing else going for years and i know how depraved the devil can make you so you understand why i try to warn young christians as the devil runs this earth seeking to devour you and anyone else, i know as i have fallen myself as a christian and wish someone had told me to be radical and stand for christ even when my christian friends did not.
The Lord loves it when we get radically holy for him make it your vision to set a standard for other young people, believe me the lord can blow you away if you will but follow in ways of holiness, you will beam with light and grow in strength beyond measure.
May i suggest reading smith wiggelsworth you will see what is possible if you read this mans life.

God bless

J-Mac said...

Where do I start??
1. I have no problem having a conversation with people whose views differ from mine. I would however prefer a conversation with less of a condesending, pious tone and perhaps even an open mind on both sides.
2. It would probably help in this regard if I knew your name. You speak of phil and al (two of my closest friends). Do you go to my church?
3. Had tried before to take the star sign thing down and will try again now, thanks leanne!(funny I always thought I was scorpio!).
4. I don't want to get into a whole argument on the rights or wrongs of pubs/clubs etc save to say that I think a lot depends on the age, strength, motivation and heart of the individual. Paul's writing in Romans 14 about whether or not to eat meat bears much relevance here.
5. You ask if we can experience God outside of a Christian worship service in the same way as we do in. I would say YES and in my experience often more so. From Isaiah- 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory'. It is God's world, he owns it and is present everywhere in it. Is it too far removed to beleive that we can experience Him at a concert? Rob Bell speaks about claiming 'truth' wherever we find it. Paul in the bible quoted Cretan and Greek poets. He affirms the truth that he finds there. I think sometimes the truth turns up in strange places!
7. ARE WE NOT MISSING THE POINT HERE!!! There is much more I would like to say but I find these conversations somewhat petty in the light of the big picture....LOVE!!!....too many people in N.I. have been turned off christianity because we have given them a picture that to be a good christian means not drinking, not smoking, not using colourful language and not listening to secular music. When Jesus was asked what was important He said loving God and loving eachother. I long for more conversations on pursuing love, justice and peace in the world and less on what we shouldn't drink, watch or listen to.

Ldawg said...

I reply as a Non-Christian and as a general interest reader of J Mac's blog.

Anon, I agree with most of what you say in fact it touches upon one of the main criticisms I have of the modern pseudo Christian lifestyle, that it is all too easy. I have always understood that Christianty is a full commitment of life and living, I am fairly sure that most Christians no longer aspire to the likes of Job, Abraham and Stephen, let alone Jesus.

That by the way is not a judgement, merely an observation.

I think if you truly believe that the Bible is the word of God then the bar must be raised to the heights mentioned previously by anon.

Robbie F said...

I have to agree with John on his last point no. 7

" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Mathew 22:37-40

So what r u going to do about it? There is no debate, Jesus hung out with sinners, He went to parties, sure, he provided the wine at that wedding he was at, He was no social recluse He was there right in the middle of it all changing the world. He lived Mathew 22:37-40. Are we not to follow his example? What r u afraid of? it says in Romans 8:31 "If God Is for Me, Who Can Be Against Me?"

ldawg's right we need to raise the bar. Why not just do it and quit talking about? Be the light in the darkness. The light in this page is so bright i need sunglasses to read it :) you can't sit in front of your computer screens all your lives.

Jen said...

Whoa- you don't have internet connections over a weekend and look what happens! Good to see you blog again John. Words have so much power and often I think our ability to write gently, but persuasively isn't great and I sense that anon has trouble in this area! I found your tone rather condescending- I appreciated the biblical references, but I think someone's life speaks for itself and John def. has the light of Jesus' in his. I, personally think that God is in everything (like John said) and that in many non christian artists we find much deeper meaning and heart felt sincerity than in other 'Christian' songs. I take your comment about confusing non christian with our actions, but we also need to know and experience what is happening in non christian circles. Also I think that God knows what our individual strengths and weaknesses are and as we learn to listen to his voice, we often find that he requires some people to say abstain from alcohol, whereas he recognises that others can handle the temptation. If this is unbiblical then call me on it.
I have to say I love this debate because I had a similar one in work on Friday with a Christian. It was about whether we should go into pubs on sundays (my friend argued that it puts pressure on people to have to work on sundays and we shouldn't support it). I have always considered it a way to kick back and rest with mates-something i don't do during the week.

Jen said...

Oh I forgot to say: we are not called to be judges of other people. You'll have to come on Tues night to Pretty Mary's as I'll sing you a song I wrote about it. Yes we're asked to advise each other and help each other walk the narrow path, but not judge others. What about the spec in his eye and the log in your own and all that?

mark said...

I think it's great to see someone speaking their mind like you, anonymous, it really makes you think about your faith and why you do things the way you do.
I do think though that, as has been said above, we're all on a different journey. I have been at the point myself of throwing out music that I own cos I didn't feel it was doing me any good, I admire people that give up something that big for a closer walk with God. But, I have also had God speak to me and encourage me through various types of music. We can't put God in a box.
I was at that radiohead concert, and I totally agree with John about those moments that just blow you away. I think that Thom Yorke is a genius - that's a God-given gift. Whether or not people like him use their gift for God or not shouldn't stop us appreciating or even enjoying what they do!
My pastor has amazing taste in music (in my opinion), and he is one of the most holy men I know - I could say the same about John.
Also, a friend from church who listens to a lot of metallica and the like goes to the city hall in belfast every saturday to hang out with and share God's love with the goths and punks (please forgive the stereotyping!) So far he has seen 2 guys there give their lives to Christ!!
If striving to live a holier life means giving up listening to certain bands etc. then I admire you for that, bro, stick with it! It doesn't mean everyone should do the same thing.
Unless we see a brother (or sister) totally taking the wrong path because of a particular sin then we have no right to judge.

Anonymous said...

hey john i think your a legend and u can listen to whatever music u want!

J-Mac said...

Thanks for all your thoughts people. I just want to address LDAWG's comment because I think it has much merit.

He criticises the modern pseudo Christian lifestyle because it is too easy stating that 'most Christians no longer aspire to the likes of Job, Abraham and Stephen, let alone Jesus.'

I agree 100%. Too many Christians find it comfortable and easy. But what does it mean to aspire to these great men? I think that what they were concerned about was love, humilty, compassion, justice, a hunger and thirst for righteousness.

If Christianity is too easy it's because we have lost our compassion for those in need, our love for the unloved, and our righteous anger at a world at war and in poverty. The bar does need to be raised, to a place where we are not 'of' the world but we are more of a presence 'in' it.

p.s. if idawg is disappointed by Christians who like the odd beer then he's probably been hanging out with robbie f for too long :)

Zico said...

God has given all people many things. It is their own freewill what they use these talents for. If they do not use their talents for God that is their choice. Their God-given choice.

Music for me is a big part of my life. It stirs up thoughts and emotions for me, whether I'm listening to Christian or secular music. Some songs conjur sadness, happiness, confusion, euphoria, and these all come from God who made us. Is it wrong for us to enjoy God's creation? Is it wrong that as Christians we enjoy the talents of non-Christians?

In His love, He created all things from nothing and made humans as the best of His creation, being made in the likeness or image of God. God created everything to glorify himself.

Not sure if i'm makin much sense, but then again i rarely do.

Archie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
archie said...

Also as for getting the same emotional experience at a worsip service and a radio head concert just tells me one thig the spirit at your worship service was not the Holy Spirit.

I too have been emotionly and physicly effect by powerful secular music, but it was nothing to do with God more to do with my sin and flesh.

Anonymous said...

i agree totally there is no way what was felt at radiohead was Gods presence that was just the buzz you got yourself from being there nothing to do with God.

Jen said...

Maybe the point is gentlemen, that we will never truly understand God. It may be that some of us are inclined to exaggerate or over emphasise the loving nature of God as an excuse for our behaviour, but neither is God a heartless tyrant. I agree he is JUST. That also means that he is not black and white. He understands the grey too- his presence is felt EVERYWHERE and if a Christian is at a Radiohead concert Christ's spirit dwells in him, therefore he may choose to fill that person with the holy spirit during the concert as a means to increase that person's longing to see the lost saved. I hate when things are made Black or white-the world is in COLOUR and God is an amazingly balanced ruler who can (unlike us) see everything.

Archie said...

The Holy spirit of God , can not, and will not condon, Godless musicians, ( you could be argued are anti God ) so I would say partaking in an event like that would Rather grieve the Spirit, not make it well up in a believer.

The thing is Iam a sinner and my flesh loves to make excuses for me to sin, but the Spirit of God that is within me, will always check this behavior, usaly by takin a back seat in my life, or by convicting me.

We cannot have our cake and eat it, we are not to be part of this world system, " if any man love the world the love of the father is no in him "

Nothing is more worldly than a Rock concert.

Lets get real Iam not Judging anyone ( before anyone accuses me of that one ) But truth is truth, and must be stood by no matter what our flesh wants.

And yes Jen the love of God is used as an excuse to sin, I should no I do it.

But the Fact is God HATES sin, he cannot even look upon it " He is of purer eyes than to behold eniquity"

To play with sin , is too disregard how aweful sin is, Objects are today valued by the size of the price tag. and the price tag of sin, was the death of God son, this should show us how important this sin thing is, it is so important, because of the size of the price tag.

So we should not just mess about with it.

Anonymous said...

Well it seems to me from the first comment i made on John's Radio Head concert, and star sign issue things really have moved on.
I would like to address a few things if i may.
First of about the whole sabbath thing which Jen addressed,
This is not even an issue, the sabbath was on a saturday for the Jews under the law and Never for the church.
The punishment for not holding the sabbath, and many of the other 615 laws was DEATH, so are we to conclude that if one buys or works on a Sunday he/she should be put to death?
The answer is of corse NO.
JESUS IS OUR SABBATH REST and everyday now is special not just Sunday or saturday.
This issue along with tithing have annoyed me since i was saved, again tithing is not scriptural for the church, it was however under the law.
WE DO NOT TITH, we GIVE as God has blessed us and if your heart is right before God you will give more than a tenth IF YOU CAN. I know people who cant, and i mean genuine cases.
JESUS DIED TO SET US FREE FROM THE LAW WHY DO PEOPLE INSIST ON GOING BACK TO A THING JESUS DIED TO FULLFILL CRAZY PEPOLE.
On the issue of drinking the scriptures says not in excess, now that is between us and the Lord, the reason why preachers say DONT DRINK is because most people in ulster will always drink in excess given half a chance, and bring ruin on themselves.
I dare not go outside scipture but i also understand why preachers try to protect their flock.
I do repect and welcome Archies comments, he has the attributes of God well balanced.
If love is all God is, then he will never send anyone to hell which we all know is a very real place and thank God he saved us out of it.
My main issue with most of this whole love movement is it is unbalanced.
Ministers do not like to offend because they are affraid of losing numbers in the church and therefore thier wages.
Now i do not judge emmanuel on this matter i am making a general comment.
If we look at divorce rates in the church now they are exactly the same as the world.
Now look at it 50 years ago 1 in 100 in the church now it is one in three the same as the world.
I know for a fact that even in churches were people believe God is still Blessing, there is fornication, adultry, clubbing getting drunk. and they then turn up at the Lords table as if everthing is fine.
I also believe becaue of the churches attiude towards sin and lack of concern for it GOD HAS STOPPED BLESSING IT.
Most of what we see now is good feelings, this is why John could not descern the difference at radio head and GLO why? because there was no difference.
The church is now the same as the world, mabey a bit cleaner but just the same.
Now dont get me wrong there is still Gods people but they must rise up and be holy.
If the church stops being salt and light society crumbles they have no example to look to.
Zico you just said that music can bring confusion and that it is of God.
So confusion is of God, the scriptures say God is not the author of confusion this is what the word of God says, but again you use your experience rather than stand on Gods word.
I hear people say just follow your heart yet the bible says the heart is decietful wicked who can know it.
I do thank everyone for their comments, i myself may seem black and white, and do understand there are grey areas but only in our own tiny minds who cannot comprehend God.
He is not grey in him is light and no darkness at all .

Anonymous said...

Just a point to Jen, you are right God can fill use with the spirit anywhere anytime even at a radio head concert,
But and this is key he uses unbelievers to preach his word do miracles and the such.
Many shall come to me in that day Lord Lord did we not prophecy, cast out demons etc. DAPART FROM ME I NEVER KNEW YOU.
Very powerful statemnet you see i believe our friut shoud speak separtion from the world, and to convict others of sin by the holy spirit whtin us.
He may use you but if you go to take part in things that do you damage the LORD WILL NEVER BLESS YOU FOR IT, IT IS AGAINST HIS WORD.
He may use you but you will not get blessed for it.
I have really enjoyed your comments Jen you are quite a deep thinker and i believe your comments have been very helpful to this blog.
I also would like to thank John for writing his blog and letting us be part of it.
Although I don;t agree with John on the points i raised i believe he is probably a better christian than me, and he could also point to my faults which I am aware of.

D said...

yo

i'm johns brother. 2 b honest got a bit bored reading some of the big blogs but found some stuff interesting.

i have struggled with lot of these questions for long time and in some way i still am.

but, when i read about Jesus and i see his heart compared to heart of pharisees a lot becomes clear. he hung about with sinners so much he got called a drunkard and glutton! lol. he seemed dirty to pharisees. he was a danger because he didn't dot the i's and cross the t's of the Law. he offered mercy to the dirty prostitute who 'deserved' to be killed under the law.
For some reason Jesus actually seemed to ENJOY the company of sinners. Wow- he was the FRIEND of sinners, not the 'person who hung round sinners to judge' - obviously his friendship was to point them after him - but it was still friendship.

People, we're FREE from the Law, not bound by it!
For so much of my life i've been 'bound' by trying to live up to what i feel God requires of me. but then i realise to love is the best, to obey is better than any sacrifice, & to be more like Jesus is serve the least, love the unloveable & follow all guns after Him (probably making mistakes on the way!)

Jen said...

Wow thanks guys this has made me think, reminded of that verse 'we are to be in the world not of the world,' so i reckon christians still need to be at radiohead concerts. If that's my sinful spirit, sorry. Sometimes I think I'm convinced it would be easier to live in a christian bubble away from all the sin (which actually grieves me too by the way-i've never been to see any band play live) but i believe that's not what God calls us to. I believe he calls us to go the sinners and not reside in a perfect christian bubble. As you rightly said sin resides everywhere including in the church, so i reckon the mission field is everywhere.

archie said...

Yes the Mission field is indeed everywhere, if someone wasoing to a concert to promote the Gospel, telling men and womwen to repent from their sin and turn to Christ, then there may be a case for going.
But simply going to enjoy the pleasure of it, cannot be in anyway condoned, how on earth is going to a concert and getting, emotionly involved with what is going on, reaching the lost ?

This modern notion of partaking in other people sin ( which Jesus of course never done ) will somehow win them to Christ is complete nonsense, " come out from among them and be ye seperate "

Yes we are in the world and that is where Christ wants us, but we are not of the world that means we are not to act as the world does. And Iam afraid this is exactly what Christians seem to be doing now adays.

It is a sad situation, the lost don't need their fenses painted, their litter cleaned up, or even their poor cared for, then need Christ, they need to repent and believe the truth of the Gospel, they need to be born again.
" what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world yet loose his own soul ?"

Lets get the priority right, we need to convict ( through the scripture ) sinners of their sin and point them to the only remedy Christ and him crucified.

dean irwin said...

archie i agree with some of your comments but as for the lost not needing fences painted , litter cleaned up etc, this is showing love to the community exactly what Jesus wants us to do and by doing this it opens doors to speak to them about the Gospel the work that emmanuel and other churches in town have been doing with Glo is amazing its exactly what we as Christians should be doing going to where they (the lost) are and showing them love and winning them for Christ not just ramming it down there throat and preaching turn or burn stuff it doesnt work it just puts them off and drives them further from it.

Stephen said...

Hey – just found this recently and been watching with interest. Quite a discussion! Seems to me (my tuppence-worth) that it is so easy to get into a debate between (at least) 2 positions that have each been genuinely arrived at by people who have given the questions some thought.

I think Jen (above) hit the nail on the head with the ‘be in the world but not of it’ quote. The thing is that, depending on what our view of the kingdom of God is, we will arrive at different positions of what that actually means. If we see the church as primarily counter-cultural (with its own versions of ‘worldly’ things like social and educational programmes, music etc.) we most likely do so because we see the complete fulfilment of the promises of God as something that belongs in the future (heaven). There is then no point engaging with the world now unless it is to do evangelism. Another position would see the promises of God fulfilled in the current world and so Christians need to lead the world. This view brings its own problems (compare George Bush). I think God’s promises begin to be fulfilled now by the people of God, having received the risen Christ, and filling up the spheres of creation and serving the marginalised, and are then perfected in the new heaven and new earth. In this sense, isn’t there redemption to be found for the whole creation now? Or was God only ever interested in us rather than also everything else he said was good? Will we only sing worship songs in the new heaven and the new earth?

Anyway, nice to find your blog John, hope you’re doing really well and that you don’t mind me joining the crowds here in your space!

D said...

yeah

was sad (& angry) when i read "the lost don't need...their poor cared for."

Where have we lost it?

James 1v27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Archie - yes! - lets strive for holiness and ppl to be won for Jesus.
But, Jesus set an example of how to do this:
When did he scream or shout at sinners telling them to repent? He showed mercy and encouraged conviction through his actions of love, miracles and serving. The shouting, condemnation and righteous anger was left for the Pharisees who spoke judgement yet lived self-righteously.

Prob last i'll post here on this cause only so much u can say, eh?

Lets just live it!

archie said...

See were we have the perfect example of being taken out of context I did not say we dont need to care for the poor , but that, that is not their greatest need,
As for comanding men to repent.
" God commandeth all men everywhere to repent "

The gospel is a comand , Repent and believe the gospel.
#

As for shouting does not work.

The scripture clearly tells us that it is by the foolishness of preacher that people are saved.
And that faith commeth by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Christ also said the poor you will have with you always.

I totaly agree with looking after the poor, but that is not their greatest need. People with full bellies and bank accounts can go to hell as well as anyone else.

Please dont take me up as a legalist or a pharasee, I am a debtor to grace.

archie said...

This will probably be my last post on this blog , as I do not think it is right for us to turn this into an arguement rather than a debate ( something Iam inclined to do)
But I must say before I go, We as A church ( the invisable body of Christ ) Must get back to the old paths, preacher Gods grace, through the scriptures, this Christian pop culture is not good enough, we will not win the lost by being like the lost, this only creates confusion.

Lets get back to the bible.
Lets preach to the lost, as this is how all the revivals of the past came about.

Men do not get saved because they have their fence painted, men do not get saved by having their bellies filled, men do not get saved by seeing the church is a cool place to hang out.
They get saved when the word of God is preached to them, how that God sent his only son to hang naked on a tree for mens sins, and the Spirit of God turns their heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

This is the only gospel worth preaching, anything else is not the gospel taught in the Holy scriptures.

My God bless you at your fellowship, my He shine his light upon you in a mighty way, and raise up men in your fellowship, who will stand out from the crowd, swim against the tide, and preach the uncomprimising Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May the LORD bless you.

J-Mac said...

Well you have all been busy since I was last here. Since this discussion has began I have left all point of views for people to read, including those views I disagreed with (many of which make me sick right to my stomach). However I have deleted one of Archie's previous posts. I don't mind people commenting who disagree with me. However, I won't let this blog be used for any one person to force his doctrine directly on one other person (my apologies IDAWG that I did not see his comment sooner). Also it won't be used to give emails or other addresses advertising one persons services (calvinist or otherwise).

Also...any more 'anonymous' comments will be automatically deleted. I have no respect and no interest in what you have to say if you hide behind anonymity.

archie said...

J Mac I must saying deleting , a plead with an unsaved man to turn to Christ, is an afront to Christ surely you want, unsaved people who come to your blogg to have the gospel given to them . as for things which make you sick to the stomach please elaborate.

archies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
archie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J-Mac said...

No he did not complain. And NO I do not want you to 'give the gospel' to people on my blog!
I feel that what you are 'giving' is self-righteous, judgemental and distorted. If you disagree with this there is plenty more webspace for you to preach fire and brimstone...you don't have to do it here.

I have tried to remain graceful throughout this discussion but comments such as these:

'the lost don't need their fenses painted, their litter cleaned up, or even their poor cared for'

'Men do not get saved because they have their fence painted, men do not get saved by having their bellies filled'

.....these leave me dismayed, angry and sick. When God seperates the sheep from the goats he will ask what we did for the least of these....as in 'clothing and feeding'...not shoving religion down their throats.

I ask you a question- I am in Africa and am faced with a man, woman, or child dying from starvation. Do I spend time explaining how they must repent before I feed them...before I love them???

Thankyou for asking God to bless our church. We feel he already is. On sunday night we celebrated all of the people, young and old, who have turned to God. God has saved these people through others building relationships, sharing joys and disapointments and discipling them along the journey.

And yes, contrary to your opinion, I have met people in Africa saved from having their bellies filled and young people in Ireland saved through Glo ('fence painting').

archies said...

As for your comment about Jesus Dividing the sheep and the Goats and saying as you have done unto these THE LEAST OF MY BRETHERN (something you left out ) ye have done unto me.

Of course faced with a man starving to death , of course you feed him, we are commanded to do ths even to our enemies, But you have missed the point of what I have been saying, that is that faith commeth by hearing ( not social kindness) and hearing by the word of God.

And tell me why again you dont want people to be confronted with the gospel on your blogg.

By the way I have commended your church for its social work, but this must not take precedance over the preaching of the truth of the scripture, that is Repent or perish.

All the best with Africa.
please do not comprimise the gospel for the sake of Kindness.
As it is possible to neglect the soul for the sake of the belly

lee said...

It seems to me john you dont like my anonymous comments, and you are trying to find out if.
1 I go to your church
2 Who i am.
Well i did not consider it a big deal, as this is about debate and not personel conflict.
Anyway i will answer both your questions,
No i do not go to emmanuel, and my name is Lee.
I feel this blog is getting a bit heated so it may be a good idea for everyone to calm down.
This blog has been very interesting and imformitive.
This debate of do we show love first or do we preach the gospel first is futile. why? becase they are both right, the gospel is the priority but it can be done either way by showing good works, and then preaching the gospel, or by just preaching the gospel.
Now having said that John has made a massive error in taking archies comment of regarding the gospel.
1 Because this may be this man's only chance to ever hear it, and therefore it needed to be done as we may never get a change to speak to him again.
2 Because whist i agree that the gospel can be Preached in many ways.
TURN OR BURN IS STILL A WAY and we shouldnt be narrow minded to think it is not valid did john the Baptist not say REPENT YOU SINNERS is this not what archie offered.
It is always the same narrow minded christians thinking their way is always right when a lot of times two ways three ways or even more can be right,
But again we have to take a strong stance on issues we do believe to be wrong BY THE WORD OF GOD.
The tradgity here is the gospel has been removed from a man who does not know chirst all over the head of a debate SAD.
Did Paul not address this in Philippians Ch 1 v 15-18 That whether in pretense or truth Christ is proclaimed and this i rejoice.
Anyhow all the best to everyone i do hope your church does a lot for the Kingdom and that you all have gotten something to chew on.
We will all have to get on one day, when in the glory, just as well our fleah will be burned up at the beama seat or these arguements would go on for eternity.

God is LOVE, WRATH, HATE , MERCY , JUSTICE , LONGSUFFERING, HOLY, ANGERY, ALPHA, OMEGA, OMNIPOTENT, OMINIPRESENT, OMNISIENT,

What a God we serve

Anonymous said...

So sad to read some of the religious, judgmental comments on this blog. The debate will go on forever!

Keep being yourself, John, with your passion for righteousness and justice. It's who God has called you to be. Keep sharing your artist's gifts of music, writing, photography... in the Church and anywhere else God opens doors for you!

All the best,
Nina

archie said...

Well I must say I really think I have been treated badly on this blog, I have been taken completly out of context, I have been censored, with taliban like ruthlesness. so much for the Love theology
But hey I still wish you guys every blessing in Christ Jesus.

I must say if I was faced with a man dying of hunger, and I could only offer him one of two things ie, food or the gospel, I know what one I would give him. I hope you do too.

I would of course give him the gospel

Jen said...

You know I felt physically upset yesterday after I commented on this blog. I went home and felt filled with doubts about whether I was serving God or hindering his gospel. I spent last night feeling depressed, and that may be just my own weaknesses in my mind-but i don't think these blogs should become a place to argue or put others down. I still feel the greatest command is to love our neighbour, because archie and lee, it is through our actions often that we truly 'preach' the gospel. I hope we can agree to disagree. I would hate to think the devil is trying to destroy the good work done by Emmanuel's blogs, there seemed to be attack even on the pastor's for a while there.

Pamela said...

What an interesting and informative debate, certainly I don't see any "religious and judgemental" comments here - just a lack of understanding of God's word. Irrespective of what gifts you've apparently been given, I have to agree though that it was wrong of you to say that you don't want the gospel preached on your blog yet you are happy to promote Radiohead!

Maybe John God has used Archie and Lee to bring a message to you. Whilst you and some others feel afronted you cannot ignore the fact that it is contrary to Gods word to be in the world doing wordly things but thinking its ok because you have love. Rock concerts, night clubs, sex, drugs, astrology, tarrot reading, supporting known satanist rock bands etc are not things that a true believer should be involved in unless they are preaching the gospel to the unsaved! And before anyone gets up in arms - the above are just examples!

I commend Archie on witnessing to that unbeliever something everyone who has commented on this blog should have wanted to do!


Pamela

Pamela said...

Jen

I have to slightly disagree with your comment this morning. Its not always all about love, God can also bring a rebuke! This debate shouldn't make you feel depressed though.

God Bless

Pamela

Jen said...

Pamela thanks for thinking of me, I am still feeling confused though. Where would Jesus be if he were here? I think he'd be in the darkest places e.g. the night clubs. I just came back from Thailand where i visited night clubs (far worse than what we have here in terms of lewdness etc) and had so many God filled conversations which led people to the Lord. Perhaps I've taken you out of context. I do believe too that God rebukes, but it's usually in a way that humbles us, not depresses us. I think God uses lots of different ways of witnessing, but i still feel things need to be aired in order to be discussed and understood-but in a sensitive non judgemental manner.

J-Mac said...

I think I'm going to have to bring this to a close because it's getting ridiculous.

Archie I have not censored you with 'taliban like ruthlessness'. I explained my reasons for deleting one of the many posts you have made here.

Pamela if you took anytime to look at my blog (or get to know me) I think you will find a lot more of God than radiohead. Of course I want people to be confronted with the gospel just not in the way archie was doing it. I feel that too many people in search of God have been turned away by complete strangers preaching to them without any attempt to know them or love them. I don't want it to happen here.

Looking back over the comments I find myself saddened. I love discussions and never wanted this to become a slanging match between believers. I am sorry if I have contributed to this is anyway.

Lee from the first post you had me boxed in as a lover of star signs and astrology. If you knew me at all you would know that this would never be the case. I mention this only as a plea to everyone who has written. LETS GET TO KNOW PEOPLE BEFORE WE JUDGE THEM!

This debate is going in circles. I think we will have to agree to disagree and bring it to a close. We will never understand the mystery of our great God.

Lee said...

Ok guys this is my last comment, like John I have looked back over the comments and understand why the star signs was there, as it was explained to me by leanne.
Please everyone do not let this be a negative. A lot of ground was covered here and a lot learned by everyone.
Look upon this as FRUITFUL DISCUSSIONS AND NOT A SLANGING MATCH.
I see all the subjects that were covered lets reflect, here are the topics covered.
Music, Gods attributes love etc, The Sabbath, Helping others good works, The law and Grace,
Believe me friends ALL THINGS WORKS TOGETHER FOR GOOD EVEN DISAGREEEMENTS.
The truth will always find a way if we are open to it.
I really feel like praying for Jen but as Pamela said you shouldnt feel sad.
The reason you feel sad and depressed is because of our differences Jen, But if you knew me you would see i love all you guys here.
I always take a hard stance against sin because i have experienced myself what Satan can do if you give him a chance.
So rejoice friends to all who belong to the Lord pick up the hands that hang down, Joy commeth in the morning.
I have seen my own weakness in that you guys have a zeal to get out there on the streets and i have'nt.
But i feel you guys need to read the word more and get well grounded in it, it is your only offensive weapon.
I myself get depressed and i am in good company the Prince of preachers Charles Hadden Spurgeon suffered this to, as did Job Paul and many others.
I let spurgeon Finish my debate, THE BLOWS OF HIS HANDS ARE SWEETER THAN THE KISSES FROM HIS MOUTH.

God bless everyone at emmanuel, and thankyou John for the use of your blog, God made us all different and give us a book of life to guide us through this mine field called life, I pray everyone reads it with an open heart.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say to Jen, I think what has confused you is the fact that you believe archie and lee are saying do not go to the dark places, but i think they are not saying that. archie, Lee, Pamela, and anonymous i believe are saying that we should go to the dark places but we should not take part in it, we should be outside the doors of the concert giving people hope through the gospel.
As far as judging goes please read Erwine Lutzers Book Who are you to Judge. I think that is the correct title.
He basically tells us how to judge and that is through the word it
becomes God's judgement.
If we can't judge then the church is finished, as we can never purge out sin.

Anonymous said...

That was some blog John. The mother of all blogs. Just read all the comments and i have to conclude this. Never saw as many spelling mistakes in my life!! SS

Anonymous said...

SS is right big lad. The spelling is attrossish. Think them christians wud be more educkated. This blog just to make it a haff centiory x