Saturday, 31 March 2012

Jimz Mission Statement

Thought I should put together a little sort of Mission Statement thingy. Just to lay out where I'm at and why am I even bothering to ramble on with all this stuff.

Basically, I've been on a long complicated journey through life. 40 years of it as a Christian. God has taken me on a wild ride through the best and the worst. For some reason, for what its worth, I really feel He wants me to share that publicly, to be transparent with my dreams, failures, love and disappointments. To allow others to see the good and the bad, and what God is doing in me and how he does it.

He seems to have given me the "grace" to do this. And if I stuff up and get into trouble, well, its all part of it! I have passions that come and go, revelations, victories, stupid ideas, good ideas - like most of us I guess! If all of this can be of help in any way to others on their journey then I think that's what God wants this for. And if I learn something from it, all the better. Hmm, maybe its all just for my benefit?!

Sometimes I will get all excited about a new "revelation" and assume the rest of the world needs this as much as I do, so forgive me if I get too in your face. Sometimes I've had enough and have to stop to think about stuff. But even then I like to post those ponderings.

I welcome comments, I'm no expert in anything really. Dabble in lots of things, a bit of music, teaching, training systems design, counselling, anything that gets me into trouble really. So I love to interact, learn and pass it on. Feel free to engage, I can take the flack - I dish it out so I'm prepared to get it back!

Most importantly, its my absolute heart's desire to communicate how awesome it is to find my identity in the love of Father, to express the incredible implications of what Jesus has done for all of mankind, to live loved and pour that love out - Love each other as I have loved you (Jesus said that!). He loved me first, and keeps on loving and loving and then I just love the rest of you - how selfish is that! But it doesn't get any better, and thats what He said - who am I to argue!!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

What does intimacy look like??

There's a lot of talk about intimacy these days. It's almost a catch phrase in many circles and is thrown around a bit glibly in discussions. But as I look at what "christianity" is all about, it becomes very clear that intimacy is the central issue. Yes, the work of Jesus is central in terms of the mechanics and logistics, but in terms of its purpose, its about intimacy with God, what we were created for, no more and no less. He created us for relationship with him, that's our starting point, everything in our lives comes from that place.

But what does that look like, I mean, how do we "do" it? Ask 20 christians and you may get 20 different answers. Most of us equate intimacy with God with knowing him. That's sort of OK, but intimacy implies a lot more. I know a lot of people, I have many friends I know well - even "intimate" details of their lives. But its very few people who I have shared myself with down to the most private details, bonded with my heart, shared physically and emotionally all that we are together.

That level of intimacy requires commitment, vulnerability, trust, all that stuff... but there is one factor that enables all that - communication! We have to talk, look each other in the eyes, touch each other, listen and be listened to.

Most of us tend to think we will be intimate with God by endlessly reading the bible until it becomes part of us, because its The Word, the complete revelation of God. But of course, that's absurd. If there was a detailed book of my life (heaven forbid) that you could read, you would end up knowing a lot about me, but of course you wouldn't be intimate with me. How could you? You never met me, talked to me, spent time sharing our hearts.

So to have that level of intimacy with God, it requires the same thing. Now he's in us already, in fullness - we can't get any more of him, no bigger anointing, no greater outpouring, and although he sometimes reveals something of himself in huge "whacks" and revelations we still need to renew our minds to his presence and let him build the type of relationship he wants.

He starts by talking to us. Not through the scriptures (although he can reveal truths to us that way), and not through other people (see above). He TALKS to us, that still small voice. Now scripture says its still and small, but its a voice none the less, and Jesus said his sheep know his voice. If you are a sheep, then you can hear and know his voice. Its that simple. We don't have to fast and pray, spend hours studying scripture and endless "quiet times". We just have to shut up long enough and simply trust the small voice we hear in response to our own thoughts. 

We know he loves us to bits and there is no condemnation in Christ, so if that small voice says you've been bad and God is angry, you know its not him. If he just says words of love and encouragement - that's him. If he gives ideas and suggestions about how to fix up the messes we make - that's him.

We trust that voice, Holy Spirit in us. We have "changed our minds" (metanoia) about who we are and who Jesus is, our old nature died with him, and we have a new spirit in us that's uniquely joined with the fullness of God in us. The only thing that gets in the way of hearing his voice clearly is our thought patterns - the old lies left behind that just need to be renewed. The enemy loves to tell us its a battle between the old and the new, but its really simple - really, really simple (remember, like little children). We ARE a new creation, free to run to our Dad, rest in his arms and talk with him.

He loves hearing our stories, our heart breaks, our victories, our shopping list, our funny jokes, our hopes and dreams. He loves having a glass of wine with us (or a beer), eating with us, shopping, driving, cleaning, mowing. And best of all, He chats to us all the time, so simple and natural, we miss it, looking for some powerful "holy" moment when we will have incredible revelations and fall on the floor in awe.

He talks with us, not at us. He listens, and loves. We find our security and identity and live loved, and that overflows into all around us. 

I feel like I've only scratched the surface on how important this is!! I may continue on this subject...

Saturday, 24 March 2012


What do we do about praise and worship?!

Many of you probably know I've been a "worship leader" for about 25 years. I've played with some big names, done the rounds, taught in colleges, done workshops, studied, the whole kit and caboodle (whatever that is!).

Most of this time I have longed to understand the nature of worship, especially in regard to music. There are so many questions and so many factors that come into play:
Music is only a tiny part of worship
Our whole lives should be an act of worship
Is worship an act of obedience or an act of natural love and adoration
What is the psychology of community singing - every culture has it
How does our emotional state relate to worship
Should singing songs in church be considered worship
Should we even think in terms of singing a few songs in a structured meeting being an act of worship and praise

...and the list goes on!

I could give a list of all the correct responses to those points, but they would be responses based on current traditional thought and biblical interpretation.

I want to know the heart of the matter! Yes, I know, I'm probably analysing the whole thing too much and destroying the simplicity of it in the process. So if you just love signing along on Sundays and all that entails, you'd better stop here and go back to whatever you were doing.

Here's something from a worship leaders perspective. When you first start leading worship you are panic stricken that God won't show up, you'll get all the words and chords muddled, and that you'll "quench" the flow of the Spirit. After a while you start to get comfortable with the whole thing and can feel where its going and how people respond to various cues. You settle into the routine. Its just what we do in meetings.

So what do we do at home with God? Are our hearts as open to Him in a meeting/worship context, or are they more open? Can we worship Him in any context, with or without songs and music, especially in our intimate times on our own. Perhaps this is far more important than singing worshipful songs together (not saying we shouldn't).

What if there was no music at our meetings? Would we deem it any less spiritual?

What if we abandoned the whole meeting structure paradigm and just got together once a week to hang out and be friends? Perhaps we could get our teaching on-line, or print something out and hand it around. Or ask someone if they had something neat to share. Or if anyone would like to sing something, or lead us all in singing? Or whatever. Would the church fall apart? Would we all become indifferent to God?

So what am I saying in all this? I think we have formulated "praise and worship" into a particular style of corporate singing that is conducted at meetings and is a prerequisite for God to successfully move in our hearts and prime us before we hear the preacher. We then like to make sure we are in a good space before we go, so sing another one or two before we leave.

This may sound cynical, but I'm not trying to be. For me these are genuine questions and part of my journey into true freedom and allowing Father to break down the walls that divide the spiritual from the natural, to make us fully "integrated" beings, where our intimacy with God is a totally natural part of our lives.

Friday, 9 March 2012

From Jesus with Love

A wonderful prophetic thingy from my old friend Ruth Harris

I became who you are
uniting myself with you, to save you
I continually transform your body into mine.
I am your atonement, incarnate in you
I am now in my body in heaven, presenting you to father.
Now your dust sits on the throne.
I have taken you with me
I am Jesus who rose into heaven
all knowledge of god is found in me
I took you to myself in union with the holy spirit
I abide in you, living each moment of your life
I bind myself to you living your brokenness and lostness and healing you from within by exchanging your humanness with myself. I live your life with you, in you and around you. Cleansing it and offering it to father, being your obedience, doing for you, what you cannot do on your own.

Inside your humanity I live the relationship of love and intimacy that I have with my father from all eternity
I am deeply abiding inside you forever.
I redeem your whole life past, present and future. I present your cause before the father. I take up your prayers, consecrate and purify them and present them for you to the father. Father who delights to answer me, answers you. In my name and through my body and blood you are redeemed.

I exchange me for you. Trade me your sin and I will trade you my holiness. Trade me your anxiety and I will give you my peace. Trade me your doubt and will give you my faith on your behalf. Trade me your disease and I will give you my health. I ask for what is yours and take it to myself, I drink it as the cup of wrath on your behalf and give it back to you as grace, wholeness and healing. I trade my life for your sin and brokenness. This is what love is and does.

And if you partake in me you can experience intimacy with father too. Your standing with god in not in your own strength but in me. All that is mine is ours. I am your true, dependable advocate

i came to make my blessings known far beyond the depth of the curse that came upon you. I remake your humanity. Father chose you, I found you, I carry you to the throne and stay there holding you and presenting your cause.

You are seated with me and father guided by the holy spirit. We are one. I in my father, you in me, my father and I are one, so you are one too.