from time to time I will add posts on various thoughts, rides, prayers etc
Bless ya heaps and keep the rubber side down 😉2017-03-06 16:45:42
” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the waters, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me’, Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” [Mark 1: 16-18].
This Scripture is probably one of the best known and beloved in the Bible. Jesus’ dramatic call, “Come, follow me”, is one of the quintessential elements of Christianity.
Jesus’ call is the call to be healed, a call to follow the Way, that leads to love, to peace, to a gentle community.
We can probably all speak about our dysfunctional, upside down world, about the violence against us, the teachings we have received against God, against charity to others, against acceptance of others. We’ve been called ugly every day, and called a failure.
We have been told, ‘Think of yourself first. We do not give to charity.’ And we have been taught to be suspicious of others.
So we can end up alone and scared. Even as children, a lot of us knew that our family and friends did not seem to be saying the right things. All that they said contradicted the love and the security that we craved. And so, we we decide to retreat.
We take a vow to stop speaking out. We give up.
So where is Jesus’ call in our lives now?
I would say to you that it is, first, simply hearing others speaking our name!
Jesus is in others greeting us with expressions of total delight!
You see, in our Christian childhood, it was much better, much safer to be invisible. But when someone actually sees us today, and does not look right through us, it means that we are not invisible.
We DO exist and we do matter!
There is a thrill in our heart when someone calls us by name; a feeling of joy that we think will never go away. It is the thrill that comes from the love we have for one another, which is also the love that comes from Jesus!
Sometimes, we still feel worthless and useless. If we imagine that we hear the call of God upon us, we are tempted to dismiss it, because we think, WHY would God call me?!
I am No one, I am a Nobody.
This circumstance reminds us of the story of Samuel.
It did not occur to him that this voice calling out to him could be God.
If we are so unassuming that we think we have no value, will we miss the call of God and Jesus in our lives?
Quoted from the original writer…………………….
“I went through this when I received the call to convert. There was an insistent, persistent preoccupation inside, with drawing nearer to God.
I kept “hearing” in my head, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and, “Only say the Word and I shall be healed.”
It was an odd time for this call to come. I could think of so many other times when this call would have been so much more convenient. But it was there, and it was not going away.
I went to seek advice from a wise mentor. I asked, “Why would God call me? Why would I be called to come closer to Jesus by receiving the Eucharist?
I am Nobody. I am only a woman, only a wife and mother. I am nothing special”.
I thought that, to be called, I had to somehow measure up.
The mentor replied, ‘Well, the first disciples were only fishermen! — humble, uneducated, unknown at that time.”
This is why, as we are called by Jesus, we need each other. We need to be in community.
We can see Jesus best by His reflection in ourselves and in each other.
If we cannot speak to one another about the call of Jesus in our lives, we might not recognize Him at all! It is in our prayers for each other, in our love for each other, that we truly recognize Jesus.
For some it can be painful and difficult for us to reach out. But if we want to expand the reach of Jesus in our lives, we must challenge ourselves to embrace others, from all walks of life. We are called to treat everyone we meet as a son or daughter of God!
We are all called to follow Jesus, yes. But we are also called to be “fishers of men”, like Jesus. And so, we need to become Collectors of People. We are instructed to befriend people from all walks of life, be they white, black, yellow, tall, short, fat, thin, Christian, atheist , Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim. Yes even Muslim.
Not once did Jesus ever say “ Hate your enemies “
Treat everyone as family.
There is some risk, and often a great deal of challenge in responding to the call of Jesus. In Mark 1: 19-20, James and his brother John, upon hearing Jesus’ call, leave their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and follow Jesus.
To follow Jesus, we must leave our comfortable life behind and “get out of the boat”.
We may also have to leave our “fathers”– that is, to leave our past behind, in order to become a follower of Jesus.
Many of us have families and friends with a very tortured view of the world, leaving them confused and bitter, trying to drag us into their despair.
Sometimes, we have to choose between our family’s ways and Jesus’ Way. That can be very painful. We sometimes have to literally leave our father– and mother– behind, and turn to a new Way.
But we do not have to forge our way alone. We have Jesus to follow and emulate.
May we see Jesus’ gentle and loving ways in everyone we meet as we ride across this great land.
Over the last eleven years I have been privileged to serve initially as Treasurer and then for the last six as Chairman of CMA NSW. During this time I have seen members come and go, some areas blossom, and others fade, and I am constantly reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 – there is a season for everything, a time for everything . And whilst there are no constants in man’s world, one thing that has remained unchanged is God – Jesus Christ – The Holy Spirit. We, as an organisation and as individuals have had our ups and downs during these years, yes I’ve rubbed a few people up the wrong way and only just kept my hands off a few throats but His grace has covered all of this and His love and His hope have been at the forefront of our existence.
CMA is moving in a new direction, there is more cooperation between the states, no longer is it just an annual catch up but a cohesive national force working for good. We are also cooperating with CMA organisations across the world and reaping the benefits of this. Part of what I see in the international groups is the need to re-think the way we do things, be more flexible in our approach but more rigid in our fundamental beliefs.
In two weeks time a new committee will be elected, I pray that they will have your support and that you will ride with them and not just tag along on the journey. Be a participant and not a spectator. Some ten years ago I went searching for a verse CMA could use on stationery, on the website etc and found Psalm45:4 – for me it epitomises what each of us should do;
In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds
There is also a verse from the Parable of the Banquet (Luke 14:15-24) which invites you to get out on your bike and achieve something for Christ;
Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’
One thing that no one can accuse me of is being graceful on the dance floor, my wife maintains I have three left feet! But whilst I may not be graceful, I am grace filled and I am there by grace.
We all know the saying there but for the grace of God go I;
- I see someone who is unemployed – there but for the grace of God go I
- I see someone in an ambulance – there but for the grace of God go I
- I see someone struggling with issues – there but for the grace of God go I
- I see someone in a car instead of on a motorbike – there but for the grace of God go I
When we think of the hymn Amazing Grace it highlights how spoilt we are and how hard it is to amaze us, nowadays when we are lost we just consult the GPS, when we are blind we may be able to have eye surgery to reverse the situation – these things do not amaze us as we understand the theory behind them but amazing grace is something that defies human understanding and is an unexpected response to a circumstance created by man’s misadventures.
We cannot begin to comprehend the total burden of sin taken on by Christ to save us, we have trouble extending grace to someone who accidentally bumps into us let alone someone who has wilfully wronged us, and sin is a wilful choice.
We know the mnemonic God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, but do we pause to concider that this was because Christ was Goaded, Ridiculed, Assaulted, Condemned, Executed – He suffered so you won’t.
And His grace is all we need;
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want.
He makes me to ride on smooth roads
near green pastures;
He leads me, and my bike,
beside rivers and still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me on the roadway of
righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I ride through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, and my bike,
they comfort me.
You prepare a journey before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head, and my bike,
with oil, my engine runs smoothly.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow
me, and my bike, all the days of my life;
And I will ride in the presence of the Lord.
One of the most stirring anthems of all times is “Onward Christian Soldiers”, it brings to mind an army of saints marching in unison, singing praises as the go forth in the name of Christ – sadly though the picture in my head has them all wearing long white robes and not a weapon to be seen – a bunch of hippie peace freaks – powerless to fight. And yet the hymn says they are marching as to war! Yes there is a war – but we know the outcome already – we will win the war but it is the battles along the way that have yet to be decided.
The SAS are often called to go into battle before any other force. They are dropped behind enemy lines in small groups to prepare the way. Much of their success in hostile territory has been through the use of their “Hearts & Minds” approach and it is something we can learn from as we fight to bring Christ to more and more people. These commandos get to know the people who are living under tyrants and despots – people who are living in a world without hope – people who are waiting for a saviour. The commandos help them through simple things, digging wells, improving harvests, improving health – the people rejoice in the hope that they now have and turn against the falsehoods they live under.
The SAS do not go in as a large body waving banners declaring they stand against the tyrants – this would only instil fear, loathing and suspicion. They do not go in making a lot of noise about what they are fighting against – this would only cause fear and rejection. They go in and prepare a way for goodness to follow – much as John the Baptist did, preparing a path in the wilderness.
As Christians we must get alongside those who live under the oppression of falseness, those who live without hope – we must perform acts of service to show that we are there to help and establish confidence and trust with those we meet. By winning their hearts and minds we can lead them away from their circumstances into a world of hope. In recent times here in Australia we have seen the rise of organisations claiming to be anti this and anti that – sure we need to take a stand against the spread of Islam, the branding of Halal food (funding from certification pays Imans etc) and many other things, but we need to do this in a way that brings honour. Christ taught us to love our neighbours, He did not teach us to promote division and hatred through belonging to groups that are anti. He taught us to get alongside people – to accept, to love and then to lead them to a better life. He taught us to win their Hearts and Minds – just as the SAS does.
So let’s move on from being a horde planning to overcome through sheer numbers – let’s be like commandos, going in to the wilderness, behind enemy lines – preparing the way for Christs love to triumph by speaking into the lives of individuals – preparing their minds to receive the Word and their hearts to receive the love.
X “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”