Orphans & Sons

Taken from Simon Holley’s book Sustainable Power, below is a table showing how the orphan mindset views God the Father vs what he’s actually like as shown in scripture. The table was used in the sermon ‘Secrets of Christian Living’ given as part of our ‘Sermon on the Mount’ teaching series, available to download here.

26th Oct 2014 — Seaford.001 26th Oct 2014 — Seaford.002

5 Ways to Increase Trust In Relationships

 Trust is like finance, difficult to accrue and easy to spend. 

When it comes to relying on one another we operate with varying degrees of confidence depending on a number of factors: familiarity, closeness, history etc. What those things affect and add up to is our personal trust account, the level of trustworthiness and dependability between us and others. Our accounts go up/down depending on what happens in our relationships; and this ranging from ‘minor’ entrances of suspicion into a relationship: ‘you said you’d be here at 10, it’s now 10:30’ to major ones ‘you promised never to commit adultery, and you have.’

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus lays out his vision for what life lived under his leadership looks like. He deals with practical everyday issues like anger & lust and in chapter 5 verses 33-37 he announces his expectations for our integrity. One version of the Bible paraphrases what he says like this:

don’t say anything you don’t mean… You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

In other words Jesus says ‘don’t cross your heart and hope to die or for that matter stick a needle in your eye.’ Don’t swear on my mother’s life or even swear to God. Simply say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Here’s the five things we can do that help us gain and keep trust in our relationships:

1) Do what you say you’ll do.

Keep your commitments, regardless. There’s always extenuating circumstances but those things are the exception and not the norm. To help, beware of the ‘yes, damn!’ theory. If someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do and I’ve got good excuses of why I shouldn’t do it, a simple ‘no’ comes relatively easily. But if someone asks me to do that same thing yet asks me 3 months ahead of when they want me to do it, I’m inclined to say ‘yes’ thinking ‘that’s ages away, it’ll never come around.’ But it does come around and when it does I find myself uttering an irritated ‘damn!’ and think to myself ‘next time I won’t say yes so quickly!’ Be wise to  the ‘yes, damn!’ theory.

2) Admit your shortcomings.

Fallible people are easier to trust. Simple. It’s the ‘got it all together’ types or the ‘never admit my weaknesses and mistakes’ types that I find it hard to trust.

3) Opt for authenticity.

Be real and transparent with people. Avoid wearing masks or putting on a show, it helps people to trust you more.

4) When you mean ‘no’, say ‘no’.

maybe is in danger of becoming the new ‘no’, except that it isn’t a new ‘no’ it’s a cowardly, often-overly-concerned-about-another’s-feelings reply to a question we’re afraid to answer honestly. We’ve all spoken to people and known that when they said ‘I might come’ or ‘yeah, maybe’ what they meant was ‘no’, they just didn’t say it. The consequence of saying maybe too often is simply this – it empties your trust account.

5) Avoid exaggeration.

Exaggerating the truth is as much a form of dishonesty as lying. ‘How many people were at the party?’ Everyone!  ‘What was the film like?’ Life changing! It’s easy to spot in some areas, like the above examples, but in other areas it’s more subtle. For example, my wife calls at the end of a working day. She’s preparing dinner and wants to know how long I’ll be, ‘I’m leaving now.’ I reply when in actual fact I’m not, I haven’t even started shutting my computer down. ‘I’ll be 5 minutes’ I tell her, knowing full well I’ll be 15. What happens in these moments is that she learns, over time that she can’t trust what I say. My exaggeration only helps reduce the amount in my trust account with my wife.


 

The above was taken from a message given at Kings Church Seaford as part of our Sermon on the Mount teaching series. Kings Seaford meets every Sunday, 10am at Seaford Head School, Arundel Road site. For more audio and video content from Kings Church, please visit www.kingsseaford.eu/media or www.kingschurch.eu/media

 

The Transformation of Seperation

Christian inscriptions from underground Rome

Reading recently about early Christianity and the development of the Jesus’ movement I was challenged.

The early Christians understood in a way that we don’t what it means to be a people ‘called out’ of the world. A people, as 1 Peter 2 puts it, ‘for the Lord’s own possession’. It was clear to all in the church that their primary calling was to Christ and if that meant being cut off from the culture, so be it. Devotion to their Lord against all the odds (and against all the laws) was what they were called to. They met in secret, worshipped an invisible god (hence were hated as ‘atheists’), held ‘love feasts’ attended by their ‘brothers and sisters’ (some of whom were also husband & wife), and they ate the body and drank the blood of their founder (in the communion meal). They abstained from popular sport, refused to attend the gladiatorial games, wouldn’t sacrifice to the emperor and they avoided national festivals/celebrations that involved worship/sacrifice to pagan gods.

In the centuries after Jesus’ resurrection Christians experienced persecution at the hands of the state and their fellow countryman. The stories from 64AD of Nero’s persecution of Christians are infamous; Christians thrown to lions, burnt as torches to light up the streets and stitched into the skins of dead animals before being thrown to a pack of dogs. One writer from the time revealed the attitude toward Christians when he wrote:

‘if the Tiber floods the city or if the Nile refuses to rise, or if the sky withholds its rain, if there is an earthquake, a famine, a pestilence, at once the cry is raised: ‘Christians to the lions.”

But the Christians didn’t retreat. After the pattern of the apostle Paul, they set about ‘infiltrating’ culture with the gospel. In pluralist pagan Roman society submitting to Christ as Lord rather than Caesar, or worshipping Christ as God rather than Aesculapius or Artemis meant that you had to look and live very differently. Christians refused to offer even a pinch of incense once a year to the emperor and they suffered the reproach of all peoples for it.

They were faithful to Christ as God above all gods and Lord above all Lords. Out of commitment to Jesus as Lord they worked differently, married differently, behaved as singles differently, raised children differently. They employed differently, used their money differently, cared for others differently and they approached death differently. They embraced chastity or fidelity as the only options in sexuality in a day that was even more promiscuous than our own and they spoke out against the killing of babies.

By and large, in an age where very few people had free access to education and the chance to exert influence this was the lot of the average Christian. It was a life of faithfulness to Christ in the face of hostility from the world around them. It was a life of influencing society at the ‘grass roots’ level and since society couldn’t stop them or mould them into its image, over time the separation of the Christians had a transforming effect on the world of its day.

Christians – let’s look like followers of Christ.

Does Christ command our highest devotion? Are we willing to trust him and follow him when it stands in direct contrast to the beliefs and practises of our society? Will we uphold a biblical view of marriage, of sex, of the unborn? Will we pursue Jesus’ attitude toward our finances? Will we embrace integrity and love and are we willing to subject ourselves to every human institution, even corrupt ones?

Let’s learn from the faithfulness to Christ of our forefathers/brothers/sisters. Let’s learn from them and emulate them in our day. Jesus not the media/politicians/supermarkets gets to set our priorities.