• Guest post: How the gospel shapes my life as a newlywed by Kat Oxley

    Hans’ note: The author of this post, Kat Oxley, is getting ready to go over to New York with her husband (who is super brainy!). She has been a staff worker at UTS with CREDO and she has been at Resolved since it started.

    Here’s how I’d love to answer this question: The gospel shapes my life as a newly married woman by spurring me on daily to be a better ‘living parable’ of Christ and the Church (his bride) so that the people around me who don’t have a relationship with Jesus may see something of him in our marriage. But here’s the (not so) secret truth… I fall short of this on an hourly basis.

    Marriage is this wonderful beautiful gift from God; to have a companion in all of life, to have a partner in all you plan and do, and to have a spiritual leader who’s primary concern is for my relationship with God, blows my mind! Plus it’s a whole lot of fun! In my best moments I am unbelievably thankful to God for this beautiful undeserved gift in my life! While I loved being single for many reasons, I still spent too much time wondering what ‘one’ had to do to earn a husband, or what this or that girl had that meant she got a husband and I didn’t. But, much like God’s grace in salvation, I have and am learning that God gives good gifts to his children because he is a good Father, not because we are good children. Some well meaning people say nice things like “I’m so glad you have a great man, you deserve that”. No. I’m not good enough to earn a husband, and living this closely with one only magnifies my unworthiness more!

    I would love to respond to this gift well, to be spurred on to thankfulness more, to be more aware of my own sin (especially my selfishness) and therefore the cost of the Cross, and to love Peter as the Church should love Jesus so that God may use me to encourage everyone to love Jesus more – both in theory and in practice. But come on! It is hard. One of the hardest things is taking Peter for granted, he is a husband who reads Ephesians 5 seriously, and it would be too too easy to ‘let’ him always choose what is ‘best for me’ instead of loving and serving him, putting him above my own wants and needs. We’re also noticing a tendency to think that it is because we are so perfect for each other, or we did this and that the right way, or whatever other ‘us’ based reason, that means we have a fun and good marriage now. That is flat out wrong. Marriage is good because God made it, and he made it good (even when its hard). When we are loving being married, or even struggling through harder times, we should be driven to thankfulness. Sometimes we are – I just wish I was every time.

    Having said all of that, being in relationship with Jesus fundamentally changes how I “do” marriage. If I really believe that God created me and marriage, and that I have been freed by the blood of Christ to be truly who I was made to be, well then I will want to listen to what God has to say about marriage. Thankfully he gives his Holy Spirit, because I am still too broken and sinful to selflessly love Peter as I should, but that doesn’t mean I sit on my ass and wait for the Spirit to do its magic! When I am being grumpy or selfish, there is a conviction from the Holy Spirit that says “not cool Kat” and I have to take a breath and stop dwelling in the strange comfort of the bad mood and start to work the real issues through in my mind (which often means I need to stop negatively twisting things). Marriage is from God and it is good and it is for life. “No divorce” doesn’t start when we have been fighting for years and need to see a counsellor or lawyer, it starts now, by not playing emotional games, by being honest and working out everyday what it is to be us – a married couple trying to please God. Even this I cannot do apart from God’s help.

    Through God’s grace in my decisions I married a man who loves Jesus –  I know Peter is also filled with the Spirit, and that divorce is not an option for him – and I know he takes that seriously from now. It is a wonderfully safe environment in which to grow and love. It also has meant that we try to have an open welcoming marriage, where hospitality and relationships with others are essential. Not just because God created us to live in community, but also because we want to be a living parable of Jesus to people (because we trust that God can use even imperfect examples). While this serves others, the transparency also serves our marriage, because when we let people see how we really are, we start to realise how much we need to draw closer to God through his word and prayer together. Hopefully this is a godly cycle that feeds itself, rather than a self-indulgence or a guilty balancing act of us time verses time with others.

    If you’re a praying person, which if you know Jesus I hope you are, please pray for the marriages you see around you. Marriage is no walk in the park, even when it is fun and good, and I’m no expert on it, but I know I need love and prayer and support from my family in Christ. Pray that we would thank God for his undeserved gifts, and that it would lead us to remember his ultimate grace in salvation when we deserved nothing but judgement. Pray that we would be more aware of our own sin as we live so intimately with someone else, and that the awareness would not lead us to despair, but through awareness into thankfulness for the Cross. Pray that, in all of this, we would love Jesus more, and therefore desire to share him with people around us all the more in little and big ways.

     

     

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  • Links of the day 27/05/2011

    Eugene Cho has written a thought provoking post about Abortion. You need to check out the song at the end of the post it is amazing!

    Michael Johnson shares a great C.S Lewis quote about forgiveness over at Desiring God

    CJ Mahaney has written another great post for ordinary pastors this time dealing with patience

    The Resurgence has a got a thoughtful post about non Christians coming to our churches on Sunday

    This is a cutting blog about women letting themselves go and what Driscoll said about it by Rachel Held Evans and this is a great reply by Tim Challies

    Here is David Letterman interviewing Paris Hilton just after she got out of jail. This is hilarious!

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  • Sometimes I don’t live in reality

    Go, my people, enter your rooms
    and shut the doors behind you;
    hide yourselves for a little while
    until his wrath has passed by.
    See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling
    to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
    The earth will disclose the blood shed on it;
    the earth will conceal its slain no longer.

    Isaiah 26:20-21

    Amongst other things I read in the Bible this morning was Isaiah 26 which is a passage chock full of imagery that speaks of God and his salvation of the righteous and his destruction of the wicked.

    But it was the two verses above that really hit me. This passage hit me again in the heart about how God is going to come back to save some people and punish others for their rebellion against him.

    That is reality

    I prayed that God would give me a renewed sense of reality and went out of my office to buy a heater and it hit me in a real way.

    The guy who I bought the heater off if he doesn’t know Jesus he is under God’s terrible judgement!

    The woman pushing that pram if she doesn’t know Jesus she is under God’s terrible judgement!

    The funky looking girl reading a book in the cafe if she doesn’t know Jesus she is under God’s terrible judgement!

    Then I thought about my friends and family, if they don’t know Jesus they are under God’s terrible judgement!

    And the only thing that can save them is the gospel!

    This is reality

    It hit me how much I really don’t live in reality. Of course I know intellectually about the reality of the coming judgement. I know intellectually about the reality that salvation if found only in Jesus. But I go through my day without ever thinking about reality. I go through the day without letting reality shape my day.

    I don’t let reality inspire me to pray

    I don’t let reality give me courage to tell my friends about Jesus

    I don’t let reality impinge on how I use my time

    I don’t let reality push me to use my money generously

     

    My prayer is that I will live in reality every moment of every day.

     

    Are you living in reality?

     

     

     

     

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  • Links of the day 26/05/2011

    Thabiti Anyabwile wrote a discouraging but important blog called Don’t make your Pastor a statistic

    I stumbeled upon Christopher Yuan’s very encouraging testimony

    Desiring God has four videos of John Piper interviewing Matt Chandler about preaching, life and ministry.

    Bob Kauflin asks the question Should we play music behind people praying?

    Ron Edmonson Has a great post for us who are thinking about welcoming people at church

    Michael Hyatt has got a great post on Improving our public Speaking

    Here is a video of  Lego machine gun that is fully operational. I want one!

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  • Theology is like how a woman thinks

    I don’t get women. I am married to one and I love her heaps. But there are little things that happen where I realise how little I get women.

    Can I hear an ‘Amen’ from my brothers reading this blog?

    See, I am not sure if it is that women are from Venus and I am from Mars or Pluto or wherever. I think it is all to do with how we think. As a dude my thoughts regarding how I feel about one thing usually don’t determine how I think, feel and react about something else.

    But with women it is a whole other story.

    Because everything is connected!

    I learnt this when I was 18.

    I was going out with this girl who was a lot of fun and one Friday I had prepared this date for us to go out on. She knew that we had the date on and I knew that she would love what we were doing. I went over to her place to pick her up to go on our date and she said words I will never forget.

    “I don’t want to go because I just watched Party of Five and Bailey is drinking again and I am sad!”

    Now I thought what does Bailey drinking on Party of Five have to do with us going out on a date?

    Everything

    Because everything is connected!

    One of the curious things I have seen as I read and study theology and I talk with people about theology is that:

    Everything is connected

    To me it is not surprising that Rob Bell ends up where he does on universalism because of the conversations that he has had in his earlier books and DVDs. Some of the things that Bell said in his earlier books are biblical and beautifully communicated while other things that he espoused were communicated beautifully but lacked biblical truth.

    Why did Bell end up as a Universalist?

    Because everything is connected

    In Velvet Elvis he espouses a heavily modified view of scripture and truth. I am sure it was these doctrines of scripture and truth that opened him up to other views on hell and the atonement which were different and led him away from biblical truth.

    Why is this so?

    Because everything is connected

    But do you realize that what happened to Bell can happen to you?

    Have you ever thought that if you modify your doctrine of scripture and you deny inerrancy how that will affect your view of revelation?

    Have you ever thought that if you change your view on hell that will change your view on God’s judgement and will flow over to how you speak about the cross?

    Have you ever thought that if you change your view of justification it will change the way you articulate the gospel?

    Because it will

    Why?

    Because, theology is like how a woman thinks.

    Everything is connected

     

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  • Links of the day 25/05/2011

    Trevin Wax writes a great post on N.T Wright on Rob Bell and the reality of hell. This is Gold!

    Here is a video of a beautiful prayer that Al Mohler prayed for Rob Bell and people who read the book.

    Geoff Suratt has got a thought provoking post about Visionary leadership being overrated

    Michael Hyatt asks the question what are you doing to protect your marriage?

    C.J. Mahaney posted an encouraging blog about pastors being committed to unoriginiality

     

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  • No, but I am sexy…

    There is a constant temptation around us to live and work for things that don’t last.

    We live and work to be popular

    We live and work to have money

    We live and work to be in a relationship

    We live and work to be sexy

    There is always a constant temptation to live for these things that may be good things, but the problem is we make them ultimate things. Our lives become defined by these things.

    I sometimes wonder what questions Jesus is going to ask of us when we get to see him face to face?

    I don’t think he is going to ask:

    How popular were you?

    How much money did you have?

    Did you get that sexy boy/girl to like you?

    Was your body really hot?

    I think he may ask

    Did you live for me?

    Every moment of every day did you live for me?

    Take stock of your life now. Are you living for him every moment of every day? If Harold Camping was off by a few days and Jesus came back now and he asked you

    Did you live for me? What would you say?

    Yes, or

    No, but I am sexy!

     

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  • Links of the Day 24/05/2011

    I have spent many hours in Gould Books on King Street in Newtown so it was with sadness I read that the owner, Bob Gould, passed away a few days ago

    Car Trueman has written a great blog about preaching The Hardest Text

    Piper has an encouraging blog about working hard into out later years. Brothers and sisters lets not waste any time on this earth!

    Here is a funny video of comedian Michael Jr. interviewing John Maxwell

    Refine us and Jenni Clayville are two blogs that I think everyone person should read. They are both blogs about christians having affairs and then  getting thier marriages back on track.

    Erin Crispin has written a great blog about her reflections on the basketball wives TV show. Erin and her Husband are both Christians. Her husband plays professional basketball in Europe.

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  • Guest Post: How the gospel shapes my life as a young mother and wife by Nicole Hamilton

    Hans’ note: I met Nicole at bible college and it seems she has not lost any of her spark and humor that made her such a great person to be around. Please take time to read her blog. It is a great read!

    Motherhood is a season of life which gripped my heart with an unprecedented amount of emotion.

    Guilt and self-loathing: As I took my first shower as a new Mum while my baby girl screamed in her bassinette for some comfort… Or as you hear your two year old mimicking a phrase that you know is yours, but which you wished you could attribute to your hubby instead.

    Frustration and sadness: As the years of broken sleep keep adding up and our beautiful children struggle to breathe at night through crippling sickness.

    Satisfaction and delight: When one of them shares a beloved toy or better yet, recalls that: “God is everywhere, Mum. Did you know that?”

    Being a mother is definitely the most challenging and yet exciting season of my life yet. Because despite feeling like my heart is able to be crushed in a million pieces at a moments notice, the benefits of being a mother are great, and the importance of being a godly mother even more significant. What I realised early on in motherhood was the necessity for me to be a person worth imitating. Paul often urges the churches: “Therefore, I urge the churches to imitate me.” (1 Cor 4:16) And the reason why? Because of his “way of life in Christ Jesus”. Whether we want to have the role of mentor or not, this is what a parent is. We will instruct our kids on how to live by the way that we live. And if they see that our lives are lives of value and significance because of Christ, then we are doing our jobs well.

    Early on in motherhood it became absolutely clear to me that the way that I support and love my husband, Craig, and the way that I nurtured my own growth with God was essential to my goals as a mother. Part of my passion and deep-seated desire is to ensure that our children see that Christ is worth our everything. If my beloved (and best-friend) Craig heads away to teach about Jesus, the way that I reflect Craig’s absence will make an impact on our children’s minds. If I allow myself to hold an unbalanced and resentful view of ministry, then how can I expect my children to find joy in expending themselves in service for Christ? If I choose to read my bible and pray, then that will not only affect my attitude towards our children, but will hopefully impress upon them the godly habit of disciplining themselves for the race we’re running. Nurturing my walk with Jesus is a key element to my “success” as a mother. Sure, I’m going to make mistakes and fail. Sure I’m going to live a much-less-than-perfect life. But the walk alongside my forgiving saviour is the key. So I consciously reflect on my mistakes with my children (not all of them, sheesh I wouldn’t want to overwhelm them!) Sometimes we repent together in our prayers at night for the mistakes we made during the day. Sometimes we just come together and thank God for clouds and pink milkshakes. Other nights our 3 year old thanks God for dying to take away all her naughtiness. (This one always brings tears to my eyes.) Yes, being a mother is more than fetching soggy poo out of the bath plug-hole or learning all the names of the Yo Gabba Gabba family. Being a mother is the opportunity to impress God’s message of salvation upon our kid’s hearts so that they know and love Him and are passionate to share this relationship with their world. I think God has given us a very special and beautiful responsibility. And the best part is, all we have to do is live alongside these beautiful creatures of our creator. Loving them as best we can and loving God a thousand times more than that.

    I love my life.

     

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  • Links of the day 23/05/2011

    Francis Chan is writing  a book on hell and has put out a great video that you should watch about hell and the book. I can’t wait to read this book!

    Timothy Dalrymple has written a great letter to anyone who thought Jesus was going to come back yesterday.

    Also on the rapture that wasn’t, Eugene Cho has written a great blog on the subject here.

    Kevin Deyoung has a nice quote by J.C. Ryle on Preparing for Your Funeral

    As a pastor/Christian/leader are you accountable. Here are 15 accountability questions that a trusted friend should ask you regularly

    My NBA team The Golden State Warriors have hired Jerry West. This is an exciting time to be a warriors fan!

    This is just funny!

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