Question: if 15 cars leave Lismore and head to a men’s event in Brisbane, how many will get lost? Answer: almost half! But Hey, we all made it and from what I’ve heard, the time together in the cars was great for getting into some real conversation, especially on the way home as we dissected all that our very provocative, challenging and entertaining speaker had to offer.
In our discussions about the event it would be easy to focus on the things that we disagreed with (although I’m happy to go on record as saying that for me there wasn’t actually much in this category), but to be honest I think if we did that we’d be missing a great opportunity. What were the really good and necesssary challenges that hit home for you? In a sense, I think we were meant to be offended. Let’s think hard about why we were offended. Is it possible that our version of Christianity has become too “nice” and middle-of-the-road? Let’s not be too quick to dismiss our bold American brother.
I’d love to hear your thoughts – PARTICULARLY on what you thought his best points were and how you’re gonna take up the challenges that were so clearly presented.
Despite my concerns about the talk I’ve previously blogged, there were some really challenging and encouraging things I got from the night. Just sitting there waiting for the talk to start I was thinking about how often I don’t serve the Lord of the universe who has bought me with his own blood. It made me feel very convicted.
I found it encouraging to be reminded in Genesis that God is a relational God within himself, not like the idols of men who are created by mere men. If I am to radiate God’s glory more, I need to work on relating better with those around me so they may see God’s character.
Mark also referred to 1 Cor 11 where God says that men are created in his image. This is very encouraging in a world that constantly says that males are 2nd rate citizens.
Probably the biggest challenge for me was the charge not to think that if I’m not committing sins of commission that everything is OK. The sins of omission have very serious consequences. I am suppose to be a pastor to my family. How am I going at raising godly boys, protecting my family and discipling them? How am I going with serving my church family? Every day I’m tempted to not worry about these sort of things because I’m tired and it is just hard work (as opposed doing nothing, which is much easier). It’s scary to think about the possible consequences of these sorts of sins of omission, but some of Mark’s examples reminded me not to let myself deceive myself when I’m tempted to do nothing.
Phil 1:9-11 (NAS paraphrased)
I pray, that our love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that we may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
I would echo David. It can be so easy to not see that so often, doing nothing good is the same as doing something sinful. For example not telling your work mate about Christ because it “isn’t the right time”. It is so easy to go with the patterns of the world and not speak out when we have the chance.
This leads into the other major point I got from Mark. Our church isn’t growing like it could. We aren’t speaking out, we aren’t loving like we should, and so we aren’t attracting people in our city to Christ. This is something for everyone to pray about as we lead up to our focus on mission year.