Friday, 23 January 2009

The deeper gospel

I'm writing from the last day of the first of two weeks of outreach events at Lancaster University. As ever, it's been a mixed time: frustration and heartache is inevitable, but there have also been great encouragements. I'd encourage you to check out things from the perspectives of Michael, the speaker this week, and Sarah, one of the team of CU Guests.

I've also found that this week has made me reflect more on my own walk with the Lord, and what it means for me to be a Christian. This is my fifth mission week at Lancaster University, and so it feels that reflections have been inevitable both in comparison with the first, four years ago, and the most recent, a year ago.

It was during my time as a Relay Worker that I think I realised that the gospel was really real. Not just in an existential kind of way, not just as truths in a spiritual subsection in my mind, but really real, more real than anything else. And that conviction has just kept on growing over the years since.

In the past year, I think I've seen that Jesus' diagnosis of humans is really real too. I've written about this before. I think I used to have two categories of Christians in my head: those that were basically sorted, and those that were basically unsorted. The last year has helped me to see that all of us are basically unsorted: struggling with sin, knowing hurt and feeling sore under the effects of the sin of ourselves and others in our lives. And knowing this truth in experience has had a whole number of different knock-ons: knowing that we are broken and hurting jars of clay offering other broken and hurting people hope (and don't need to be 'sorted' to first offer this hope), and knowing that only Jesus can clear up the mess.

So this mission week has felt like it's been in a richer colour. I'm grateful to God that he's helping me to see and feel these basic truths more. The gospel that I'm aware we're offering is rendered more deeply. I'm praying and having to ensure that this doesn't spill over into frustration with other Christians that appear to have a much smaller (more clinical) gospel. I'm desperate to see the gospel changing lives, in bringing people into the kingdom and then in changing lives. Because that is the ministry that, with the Holy Spirit's help, we have.


Chris said...

amen! really real - so crucial for ministry. Came up in a conversation with a nonXn lad last night - "God is unjust to create me with original sin then punish some people for dying atheist because I dont believe in Jesus" - when I asked him why he thought everyone needed Jesus, he couldn't see any reason, so of course he thought it was outrageous, and his view of original sin was radically individualistic - oddly enough, opening up Mark 2 showed both sin & shame as reality, and forgiveness as necessary. Changes everything!

Ali McG's event went well. Christians were chomping at the bit for more on Jesus, but the non christians were chomping at the bit for more questions next week. I'm happy with that.

enjoyed the call yesterday. thanks!

Hope you have fun this weekend & get to chill out. Beko & I are looking forward to winding up a tired Ted on the weekend.

peterdray said...

thanks for the encouragements, Chris