The Interior World

The Interior World

Diving under the surface on the reef in New Guinea where I grew up revealed another world - a beautiful one with untold treasures to experience. When we dare to go beneath the surface to the interior world of our hearts this is also true...spiritually.  

So much in our world and, sadly, our church cultures draw us to the external world – to the surface of things. 

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Why is hunger for God important?

Why is hunger for God important?

The short answer is that if there is no hunger, there is no healing.

Last Sunday the Holy Spirit came powerfully on someone during the ministry time. There was clear visible evidence – this person was hot to touch, drenched in sweat and experienced “power moving up and down the body”.  It was evident to me that the Holy Spirit was confronting evil, oppressing spirits and bringing freedom. There was no fanfare. 

The Holy Spirit just came upon this person in the sense that no-one was praying for her when the encounter began. But I noticed her body language: during the sermon she was leaning forward on her seat as if inwardly leaning toward Jesus. After I instructed us to pray for each other I noticed her deep in prayer – it was evident she was hungry for God. She really needed

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To celebrate Christmas, how will you make the world better?

To celebrate Christmas, how will you make the world better?

Boiling it down, Christmas is about the coming of God in Christ to make the world better. Yes, it was fuelled by the Father’s love, and yes, it involved him forfeiting his glory in heaven to trudge earth’s streets with us, his death and resurrection…forgiveness, atonement, the defeat of Satan and death itself! And this should move us deeply and release passionate, bowed-down worship of our King - dancing in the streets and heart-felt affection for him.

However, everything Jesus taught and modelled pointed to the fact that he wanted his followers to help make the world better too. Now of course we can’t defeat death, but to honour Christ and celebrate his coming this Christmas, we can simply ask: How can I make the world better? 

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Mountainside or Miracles?

Mountainside or Miracles?

These next couple of posts address whether followers of Jesus should focus on miracles (the expectation of, and participation in, the supernatural work of God amongst us by the Holy Spirit) or the mountainside (intimacy with God as Jesus enjoyed when he escaped to quiet places to commune with his Father – let’s call it a transforming journey of the heart into God’s love in a way which forms us spiritually into the likeness of Christ). Which is the best basis for faith? For kingdom life? For pleasing God? For finding inner peace?  

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The Power of Avoiding the Limelight

The Power of Avoiding the Limelight

Too much of Christian culture is oriented towards the limelight. The goal of the young Christian is to one day be in the lights on the stage too - to be known, noticed, celebrated, lauded as spiritual, wise and powerful. Somehow we have made it if we are in the limelight before people – ideally lots of them. If we are honest there is some (or a lot) of that in us too.

But Jesus and people throughout church history who were close to God and were used powerfully by him consistently chose to head the other way – to avoid the limelight!

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The Lost Stream

The Lost Stream

A seemingly insignificant stream dribbled along behind a village. Legend ascribed life-giving powers to its water. The forefathers rummaged through jungle undergrowth to locate the hidden stream bubbling from a deep spring, and then they would kneel and drink. The journey was hot and the flies pesky, but their thirst was quenched.

When civilization came to the village, the people became tired of rummaging through the jungle in the heat for water...

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The Jubilee - A Metaphor of What God Wants To Do

The Jubilee - A Metaphor of What God Wants To Do

Sometimes don’t you feel as if we are dealing with symbols or abstract representations of the living presence of God rather than actual manifestation? We might capture this reality in ideas from the Bible about: God being with us and speaking to us, the Holy Spirit being given to continue the work of Jesus, God loving us, and the kingdom coming. But we will struggle to experience the manifestation of it unless we are expectant God will actually show himself amongst us.

The Jubilee in Israel was a metaphor of the manifestation of God to come. It demonstrated that when the Messiah came, God would bring his kingdom in a way that transformed all of life.

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Is It a Spiritual Hindrance to Be Middle Class?

Is It a Spiritual Hindrance to Be Middle Class?

I raise this question to help us, if we are middle class Westerners, to reflect on the influences and hindrances to our own spiritual vitality.

Gradually through the Industrial Revolution a new middle class emerged based on trade and business. And at some point the Bible came to be more important for this Protestant merchant class than God himself.   

For me the Bible is God’s inspired Word to humanity and essential for the journey towards God. But what I mean is that faith became about doctrines on paper rather than about actual God-consciousness. 

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Rising Above Modern Skepticism About The Spiritual Life

Rising Above Modern Skepticism About The Spiritual Life

I don’t mean skepticism of God per se as much as skepticism of the idea that we can in fact know things spiritually about God and what is true and right through the Bible and the practices of the spiritual life. Doubts can creep in about the spiritual life because modern Western society concludes that we (unlike our biblical heroes) can’t know truth or God spiritually. This is important because whether we take our spiritual journey wide-eyed and full of wonder or squinty-eyed and skeptical will clearly impact on its fruitfulness in helping us truly find God. 

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