Archive | July, 2007

Motive Check

26 Jul

Currently I’m reading Andrew Bonar’s biography of Robert Murray McCheyne. I’ll give you a full book review once I’m actually finished it but I came across a challenging quote from his journal in regard to our eagerness to serve Christ in missionary work, such as Go Teams, in comparison to our service of him where He’s placed us now, among our friends and family.
“Self-examination. Why is a missionary life so often an object of my thoughts. Is it simply for the love I bear to souls? Then why do I not show it more where I am? Souls are as precious here as in Burmah. Does the romance of the business not weigh anything with me? – the interest and esteem I would carry with me? – the nice journals and letters I should
write and recieve? … Am I wholly deceiving my own heart? and have I not a spark of true missionary zeal?”

Robert Murray McCheyne

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How To Be A Completely Ineffective Church Member (Part 2)

23 Jul


Only Pray Occasionally

Paramount in your quest for ineffectiveness in church life is that you have infrequent communication with God. Infrequent prayer will develop an icy breeze that will blast through your character and cool down any heart warming for a closer walk with God and a love for others that might be heating up within. Don’t be misled into thinking that the simplest route is to abandon prayer completely. Such a drastic step has the possibility of sparking feelings of guilt, which will hinder your slip sliding away approach to church commitment. Remember that a slow death of spiritual vigour is the easiest to handle, so you do need the odd gasp of the vital breath of prayer to make the whole process a lot less painful. On a personal level there are some basic components that assist in developing an irregular prayer life. A meaningless repetitive grace at mealtimes can help make the whole sphere of prayer a mere recitation. It is also advisable for those infrequent excursions to your knees to gather up as many little clichés as you can. These will ensure that your infrequent prayers don’t get too personal, for that again tends to stir up the spiritual juices. Try hard to limit your praying to cover the big decisions of life – what your opinion should be on global warming, the expansion of the European Union and the pros and cons of world trade embargoes. Such an approach will help you work into your life a sense of the utter futility of prayer.

Do not at any cost start talking to God about who He is, your sin, what you have to thank Him for or communicate with Him about the details of your everyday life. Keep prayers really vague, “God bless all missionaries everywhere all the time.” These generalities will mean that you will never be aware of God answering prayers and the desire will decrease. Remember also to only pray when you feel like praying. Never force yourself to your knees. No matter how many times the minister asks for prayer for himself and the church missionaries you must resist any tendency to do this on a regular basis. Once a year would be a reasonable approach for such prayers as a good conscience salving measure. When the church has a bookstall, divert your eyes from books on prayer and any study guides for exploring Bible prayers. If the minister announces a forth coming series on prayer you must initiate Getaway Plan A, that long planned visit to your mother’s second cousin twice removed in Outer Mongolia. Sitting under preaching on prayer will scupper any progress you are making.

With regards to prayer at a corporate level there are ten golden rules for utter ineffectiveness in church membership: Only appear at the Sabbath morning prayer meeting when you have a doctor’s certificate to say that such an early start will not seriously damage your health. You need your lie in. Make several guest appearances where you talk about the importance of the prayer meeting to as many as possible. Such holy chit chat will give the impression that you are there all the time. A few well-timed appearances at the prayer meeting just before the annual session oversight visit to your home, will keep at bay any pleas for commitment to corporal prayer.. When the elder who leads the prayer meeting asks for prayer points keep your head down and your lip firmly buttoned, unless of course you have some juicy gossip to share. During your infrequent appearances try to tune out the passionate prayers of others in case such godliness rubs off. Think rather about your busy schedule for the incoming week. Thinking about going more often than you do is quite sufficient. After all it is the thought that counts. If your congregation issues a prayer diary each year leave it in your pew or at least stuck at the back of your Bible. When mission activities are coming up in congregational life avoid those extra prayer times that will be announced. Your life is too busy. Tune out the pleas of the minister for a deeper commitment to prayer in the congregation and don’t believe him when he says that without prayer there will be no blessing. Don’t allow guilty thought patterns to develop. You do go to the prayer meeting. It is just that the times that they arrange don’t fit in with your hectic lifestyle. Remember a regular prayer slot in the Christian life is like breathing in invigorating fresh mountain air. Start praying regularly and you will soon find that your “Royale family style couch potato” lethargy will begin to disappear and the next thing you know you’ll be one of those active members that encourages everyone in the congregation. You’ve been warned – Keep off the knees.

Bible Bits to keep clear of: Philippians 4:6&7; Nehemiah 9, Luke 11:1-13

David McCullough

A Tribute

19 Jul
All good things come to an end. Including Brian Wright’s stay in Northern Ireland. Today he is sadly flying home to Boston. This, the first post back after my holiday, is a tribute and a thank you to him. I’m sure many of you reading this also got to know Brian and please leave your own comment in tribute to the “American Refugee”.

Some of you may have been confused in the past be Brian’s many names. Credit for this has to go to Joel Sommerville who decided “Brian” didn’t sound American enough and began to refer to Brian as “Brad” the trend was continued at the Sommerville’s legendary New Year’s Eve Party where the name “Buzz” was created by Brian Rankin. Many other names have been coined since including “Sugar Buzz”, “Bard”, “Bingo” etc. In my opinion Brian sums up most of what is good about America. Good crack, good music and a powerful and reliable ally in times of trouble. Hopefully he’ll be able to write some articles exclusively for this blog in the future so watch this space!

Below are some pictures and a cover of Chasing Cars done entirely by the man himself; vocals, bass guitar, electric guitar, mixing etc. If there are any record producers out there interested in this unsigned talent let me know as I have appointed myself his European Agent!

The man himself

Fun times

East-side!

ChasingCars.m4a

Fantasy Football

Totally unrelated but the RP fantasy football league is back with more vengencethn a Robbie Savage tackle. http://fantasy.premierleague.com Contact me for the league code!

Strawberries and Cream

5 Jul

As it seemed like every one had headed off to Senoir Camp, I was left on Monday wandering what to do with myself, I turned on the T.V and suddenly remembered how to pass this first week of the Summer, watching Wimbledon! However, this years event has not all been Strawberries and Cream, seeing the covers being pulled on and off every 10 Minutes got me thinking…….
Do we, as Christians, some times pull on the covers, straightaway at the first sign of danger in our lives? Now i’m obviously not talking about stopping the grass getting wet but more protecting ourselves from potential embarassment or maybe verbal abuse. Its a problem i’m sure nearly every one of us has encountered at least once in our lives so we all need to work at it.

Do we some times quickly change the subject after being asked what we did at the weekend? Or perhaps sneak off to S.U in school as we’re embarassed by people seeing us?
It is an aspect we must work on in our lives, the Bible gives us always should give us huge hope as in Romans 8 vs 31 ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (NIV)
By now, shouldn’t be already be trusting in the Lord as sovereign in our lives after every thing we’ve learnt, read and heard?
Jesus in Matthew 8 vs. 23-27, rebukes the disciples as they did not have faith in Him as they thought they were in severe danger from the raging seas. So how should we respond to these “storms” in our personal lives? We shouldn’t be afraid, rather we should know that Jesus has control over every thing, sickness, weather, demons, the lot.

So rather than pull on the covers straight away, call on the Lord in prayer to help us know that he is sovereign and that it would reflect in our lives.

Alastair
(I’m heading off to Co.Galway for a few weeks now too so keep watching this space, hopefully it won’t be dormant for too long!)