Friday, 5 February 2010

" My name..."

When we are told to ask for things in the name of Jesus what does that really mean? 

Can I get away with asking for whatever I like and then just tagging it with "in the name of Jesus" and so expecting to get what I want.
I have been thinking about this lately and wondered what it means. When we look at what "in the name of Jesus actually means we get another sense of our relationship with Him and how we can expect Him to hear and answer our prayers.

"In the name of Jesus" (or "in my name") is stated several times in both the Old & New Testament. When this phrase is used it is used in the context of someone coming with the authority of the person they are naming. It also implies that they are under the authority of that same person. This is shown in Jesus' interaction with the centurion in Matt 8:9. He understood that only authority he had was that which was given to him. He was not coming in his own name.

When we do or ask for things in the name of Jesus, we need to ask ourselves have we really submitted ourselves to His authority. Do we trust that when He answers, the answer is from His will not ours. If He chooses not answer in our timing are we still under His authority?
  1. Remember that if we are saying things in His name then we should also be under His complete authority.
  2. Remember if we are doing things in His name, are we living in such a way that show we are reflecting the authority that He has over us.
  3. Remember when we ask for things in His name, let's trust that He will give us whatever answer is best for us.

Monday, 1 February 2010

People with difficulties or difficult people?

I love my job, if it wasn't for all those people...

I don't know about you but as a pastor the greatest joys and the greatest frustrations don't come from accounts, structures, a perfectly flowing Sunday service, or even a message that I have felt just hit the spot. The highest highs and the lowest lows come from my one on one interaction with people.

I love looking around and seeing lives that have been transformed by the love of Christ, often shown through His community. Then I see people who just don't seem to understand what we are all about. They are so focused on having their own personal preferences and problems dealt with. They are different from people with problems, I love them; they seem to realise that there is no one else to turn to and Christ is the answer. No, the one's I am talking about are the problem people. There aren't that many of them but they just seem to suck the life out of you and everyone around them. Everything is a drama.
Some of the major issues in their life are-
  1. The church music is too loud, I can't hear myself worship. 
  2. I want to park closer to the building.
  3. I don't like it when you talk about money.
  4. You haven't recognised my gifting.
  5. I have no friends.
  6. I don't like doing what you have asked me to do. 
  7. All my problems are someone else's fault, so I don't have to do anything about them. (Great point from Charlie Sullivan)
I could go on but I am starting to depress myself.

When we actually understand what we are called to be in this world then our focus is taken off ourselves and placed firstly on Christ, then our gaze is always directed to where His heart is. We are called to be servants, making disciples everywhere we go. As a servant my priority is to meet the needs of others; as a disciple maker I am here to replicate Christ in me in others.

We all have personal preferences that we have to get over to be part of a Spirit-breathed community. I need to look at my own life regularly and ask myself what preferences are defining me at the moment. When was the last time you checked the personal preferences you are allowing to control your life?