Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shut up, James!

19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:19-20 NIV
It's not often a Bible verse is so perfectly appropriate. Damn!

My words got me in trouble with someone, because they misunderstood what I said. Being misunderstood makes me mad. Wham, wham, wham! I've done the opposite of what this verse says. Yarr.

Starting to feel a bit better after a very brief walk outside (to the letterbox and back - very brief!) but at the time I felt an overwhelming desire to justify myself, and show the other party how unreasonable they was bein'.

Makes me wonder how the monks of old used to keep their vows of silence without going crazy. Or maybe they did go crazy. But I think they took out their frustration by gardening and making wine. The grapes didn't complain.

But me, I live in a world of words. My job is words. Social interaction is words. Even when I look at a photography book, I end up reading the captions.

Thank God for music - the instrumental type - and also for His grace that keeps me on an even keel, even when I'm fit to keel over.

I love it when a Bible verse makes you want to tell it to shut up, because it means the Word hit its mark in me. It's meant to hurt - and bring about change.

Thanks God, for being so amazingly patient and also amazingly passionate about righteousness at the same time. Passionately patient. That's our Father.

Friday, July 15, 2005

This just in from the Friday Fax, which I get as an email. But at least I get it on Friday! :)

Breathtaking stuff here. I like how this is written - it's not just an "Oh, that's interesting" kind of cultural shift, it's more like a revolution. I've unconsciously been doing steps one and two at the end - getting out of the way of the old structure, and being prepared for the suspicion of other Christians (hasn't really been so bad for me yet).

But I've got a fairly long way to go on the last two - taking responsibility, bearing others' burdens, loving. Although I know that's what I have to do. :) God, please help me to make small steps forward each day.

Friday Fax 2005 Issue 28, 15 July

In this week's Friday Fax:

Instructions for subscribing, unsubscribing and changing e-mail address are
included at the bottom of this Friday Fax.

That's the title of American author Jim Rutz's recently-published book. It's
hotly debated on TV, and one of Amazon's top sellers. It has also caused
controversy in broad swathes of self-contented US Christianity. 'Megashift' is
a sharp-minded analysis of current Christianity around the world, and is partly
based on dozens of carefully-researched Friday Fax reports. Rutz is now one of
the popular columnists in the conservative Internet news site World Net Daily
(www.worldnetdaily.com). What are his main observations?
- The 1700-year nightmare is over: the Constantinian Shift is shifting back.
Under Emperor Constantine, the Church became an imperial audience, but is now
finally freeing itself from the corset of state control.
- An unprecedented transfer of divine power is underway, from clerics into the
hands of ordinary people. According to Rutz' research in 49 nations, hundreds
of people have been raised from the dead in the past 15 years.
- This is giving rise to an entirely new form of Christianity - with far
greater repercussions than the Protestant Reformation.
- Over 1 billion non-Christians could become active Christians in the next 10

When millions of ordinarly people do extraordinary things
The Charismatic Evangelical movement, currently numbering 707 million people
around the world, is growing by 8 percent per year. That alone is exciting. The
centre of this movement, though, is a mostly unknown and little-understood
movement of 100 million Christians who have no building and neither pastor nor
programme. "A church without vertical hierarchies," says Rutz, "which will
change the future." They have experienced what Rutz calls a 'lifestyle upgrade':

Lifestyle upgrade
Anyone who uses computer software knows what an upgrade is: a new and better
version of a programme replaces the old version. Through an act of God, many
millions of people have experienced an 'inner upgrade' leading to an entirely
new quality of life. Rutz lists a number of chances and advantages offered by
this upgrade, which were previously unthinkable for many people:
- People experience release from the limitations and burdens of a traditional,
hierarchical (and unbiblical) religious system, being freed into an 'open
Christianity' with 100% participation.
- They are no longer a number in someone else's religious programme.
- They experience personal empowerment and are able to do things they
previously could not even have dreamed of, including the supernatural
(healing, prophesying, performing miracles etc.)
- They learn to overcome their own problems, and help others to overcome
- They experience fellowship with a small group of close friends who give
mutual support, so that each person and the whole group reaches God's aims,
which are their calling.
- In doing so, they find that which they have sought for their whole life.

Away from spectator religion
The path away from spectator religion frees people from fixed church
role-playing. Previously, many people were passive, conformist churchgoers,
experiencing church as a television without a remote control. The personal
involvement of every follower of Christ, though, rouses millions of talents and
abilities to solve even the most difficult problems. The result is a
'Megashift', a quantum leap in church history.

Post-Protestant revival
Protestantism was an important epoch in church history, but it is now time to
stop protesting and start acting. The current post-Protestant awakening is
larger than the great American revivals since 1727 under Wesley, Whitefield,
the Herrnhuter or Johnathan Edwards. "This third Reformation," says Rutz, "has
three characteristics:"

The church is transforming itself from an organisation to an organism
After 1700 years of institutional structure, the Body of Christ is emerging in
the form described in the New Testament. People are rediscovering the original
forms and functions in an open, participatory system mostly consisting of house

100% active
Moving away from the one-man church system, in which the pastor literally did
everything, a growing number of Jesus' followers are becoming active
participants, leaving their spectators' seats and taking their place on the
playing field. It should be no surprise the number of goals scored increases.
When 100 people pray for the sick, prophesy, and plant churches instead of just
one, it is also reasonable to expect the number of miracles to increase.

Immense numbers of new believers
Church growth outside America is breathtaking. Tens of thousands of new
believers (Rutz speaks of 175,000 per day) means that although all religions
are growing naturally, only Christianity is experiencing significant growth
through conversion. Where religions meet, Christianity almost always gains new
believers, and new networks of house churches are formed.

How to be part of this Megashift
1. Stop going with the flow, and decide to actively turn away from the outdated
control structures (clerics & laypeople).
2. Take responsibility. That also means paying the price of being a pionier,
including Christian friends' suspicion and ostracism.
3. Learn to love others, overcoming selfishness and becoming a team player.
That requires a lifestyle of repentance and obedience - out of healthy
enthusiasm, not duty.
4. Help carry others' burdens, and not stagnate but take small steps forward
every day.

Rutz says: "Is there a small voice inside saying 'That's right!'?" Follow it.
But you also have the choice to ignore it. That too is freedom. But please
don't complain later..." Or, as C. Peter Wagner says, "Jim describes what God
is going to do tomorrow. You can't afford to miss this book!"
Source: Jim Rutz, www.megashift.org, e-mail ocmoffice @ openchurch.com

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Articles in the Friday Fax may be republished freely on condition
that the Friday Fax is attributed as "Source: via The Friday
Fax (www.bufton.net/fridayfax)" or similar.

Producing the Friday Fax costs time, effort and some money. If you would like
to support this, please consider making a donation. Details are available at
www.bufton.net/fridayfax/donation.html. (When donating, please remember that
this free version of the Friday Fax will cease at the end of 2005.)

Subscriptions and forwarding
The Friday Fax is a newsletter sent only to subscribers.
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit www.bufton.net/fridayfax

If you did not subscribe, but receive it anyway and want to be removed, please
send a copy of the full header, not the Friday Fax, to fridayfax@bufton.net. I
will try to determine where you receive the Friday Fax from. (Note that most
e-mail programs hide the full header details by default.)

If you forward the Friday Fax, please ensure that it is apparent that the Friday
Fax comes from your e-mail address, and adjust the unsubscription instructions

(c) 2005 S Bufton

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Good Doctor

Dr Who

(As differentiated from The Great Physician!) As a Doctor Who fan and a Christian, I couldn't have said it better than this article did.

I'm in community!

I was just reading Sandra's blog, and realised that hey, I actually know this person! This most eloquent of bloggers is actually in my orbit of people I know.

And it made me think - this time last year, Marie and I were somewhat on the retreat from close-knit community, while at the same time very aware it was what we needed.

Now, without us trying particularly hard, we find ourselves in community again. It's very satisfying.

There's the Crossover team, where Sandra comes in - and Adam, and Robyn. Neat people, passionate people. The kind of people you want to be around.

Then there's church - theSanctuary in Auckland. Thanks to Marie's work friend Michelle (who is quickly becoming a real close sister!) we're going regularly, because she needs a lift home from us afterwards! Good plan, God! Otherwise we would've never got around to getting regular.

And for this month only (while stocks last) I'm working at my old stomping ground, Rhema Broadcasting Group. I've got community coming out of my ears!

It's funny, the Crossover team aren't all Christians, but we have a surprising amount in common, given our widely divergent backgrounds. And what's really nice is we're fairly open-minded about each other's differences. I think it actually helps our creativity.

That doesn't change the fact I'd like everyone I know to know God personally. That doesn't equate to knowing or believing in exactly the same way I do, to make me feel validated. That's the baggage I've dropped on my journey through, and out of, the dysfunctional church scene.

Speaking of church, theSanctuary is a Godsend. They provide a hype-free zone, and focus on the heart issues. That's not to say they're perfect - I'd get freaked out if I visited the absolutely perfect church. But these guys get rid of some of the stuff that I find gets in the way of people connecting with God.

We had a great guest speaker on Saturday - the Princess of Tonga. Amazing lady, very much led by the Spirit and no slave to tradition. Very quiet, gentle, gracious and radiating an inner strength. So encouraging.

She encouraged anyone to whom it applied to know when a season of grieving was over, and move into what God had that was new for them. I think that was for us!