Old Meets New

Tonight we watched the Last Samurai at our flat. I’m not really a big Tom Cruise fan. I think he does awesome movies that’d be even better if someone else starred in them. One of the cool things about the Last Samurai is before the last battle, he is presented with a sword with a Japanese inscription on the blade “This sword belongs to the warrior in whom the old ways meet the new.” Can’t remember if that’s the exact wording of it, but you get the idea.

Every time I see the movie that line makes me smile, cause I think that’s what every warrior should be like. In our battle to see people come to know Jesus, where satan will try to pull them any other way he can, we need to know what’s important. I think often as the church we find ourselves going one way or the other.

There are churches where the new ways are honed. They have inspiring songs and loud music. They have good coffee. But the old ways are gone. No one talks to anyone they don’t already know, and bringing people to events is considered to be far more important than evangelising by actually trying to be a part of, and show an interest in other peoples’ lives.

And from what I hear, there are churches where the old ways are valued, but new ways are rejected. It sounds like the stuff of story books, but apparently they still exist. Churches with good biblical hymns, bible-filled sermons and strong community, but with a disdain for anything resembling popular culture.

Where are the warriors in whom the old ways meet the new? Where are the congregations that have music that is culturally relevant and yet lyrically biblical and educational even? Where are the churches that have good coffee, but where people might actually say more than just “hi” to someone they don’t know? Where are the congregations who are filled with passion for their friends and colleagues who don’t know Jesus and aren’t prepared to wait for some event to be created (which their friends may or may not attend) to tell them about Jesus? Short of that, where are the congregations who really actually genuinely care at all about people who don’t know Jesus? Where are the Christians who’s hearts are really broken for the lost? Where are the churches who don’t need to use mild forms of prosperity gospel to coerce people into giving money? Why don’t the ministries of the church speak for themselves as a worthwhile financial investment?

Ok I’m starting to just get generally cynical now, but maybe you get my point. “Church” seems to be getting to the point where trying to be culturally appealing is becoming just as distracting as being stuck in the past. We need to be living on the edge. We need to acknowledge that the gospel is offensive to present culture, and that there are some things we need to be saying that will never be culturally appealing, no matter how we package them. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to be working in people’s hearts so that they will listen to and accept what we say, not just relying on our coffee and our music.

And how can the Holy Spirit work if we will not pray? “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” I am far from fulfilling all the idealism I have outlined in this post. My heart is not always broken for those who don’t know Jesus. I don’t always rely on the Holy Spirit instead of being appealing, by any stretch of the imagination. But I can tell you that if it weren’t for the fact that I only finish work at 6 in the evenings, I would be at my church’s weekly prayer meetings at 6pm on Tuesdays, cause I KNOW that that is where evangelism starts. That’s where we petition for hearts to be changed, for a nation to be changed. An hour a week is a bare minimum in my book. As the church in Wellington, in New Zealand and in this world, we should be praying together much more often than that, and I think 24 hour prayer should be running on a more regular basis, not just occasionally when the odd church decides to do something that might make its members feel like they’re being radical. That’s my opinion anyway.

I think I’ve said enough for now. Yes I’m cynical, and yes I’m often hypocritical. But maybe if we all step back and think about what we’re doing, we can change some things for the better and see the gospel start to take a stronger hold than ever in the lives of people around us.

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2 responses to “Old Meets New

  1. Oh by the way bro, i wrote this up like three in the morning so i dont think i did a good job with the grammar and spelling of a few words ay. I just hope that people can be able to read and understand and yup contribute some more on the topic, which i find to be very interesting ay. Cheers bro. :)

  2. Bro thanks for the invitation for comments, allow me to post some of the thoughts i have in mind. Being cynical and hypocritical is a good thing so stand in line your not the only one who and dont worry there is worst yet to come, so cheer up. lol. I find your ideas and points to be clearly constructed and well presented but to be honest I think its good that we go a bit deeper than that bro. I believe that the most challeng question that every christian should embrace is this; What steps am i taking to die daily for the word and gospel in order to live on the edge and serve the kingdom of God with an authentic lifestyle that takes the first step without backing to see God dominate in todays world.

    Bro i appreciate your concerns, I believe everyone who claims to be a christian is struggling with the same issue of living that authentic lifestyle that you have just mentioned above. People are not the same josh, some have ideas about evangelising in ways we both will never be able to understand, the good news is that they all start from a change of the heart. God gives different visions and talents to everyone for the purpose of changing lives bro and it starts from a change on the inside no matter what.

    For that matter, the point id like to raise here is this bro: Be real with yourself about the things you do for God and let us all take steps to die daily for him and practically live it out in our every day circumstances. Being mindful of the little things we do that involves another human being entirely because we want God to dominate. If it helps keep track of a process of dying daily to God by keeping a journal on the steps we take to live at developing that authentic lifestyle for God and let it resonate in your everyday living with your flatmates, family, friends etc… We can change things for the better, we can! But who will take the first step? Who will postition himself to die daily for the cause of changing things for the better and see the gospel take a much stronger hold in the lives of the people around us?

    Basically it even boils down to the questions of who will do the dishes? Who will sacrifice that time or money for someone who needs it the most? Who will go to heights in his/her educational career just to see the values of God dominate in the secular governing systems of the world? Who will give his time for new born again christians? Who will be faithful to the promise that God has for our lives? Bottom line who will sacrifice his hearts position for the things of God? Will you be that person Josh? Will i be willing to? I know you do bro so dont worry. :)

    I believe that God has given each of us enough support that we need already, in order to change, like the bible, the Holy Spirit, fellowship with other christians, family and good strong christian friends, but what are the steps we are taking to live that authentic lifestyle for christ that seeks to dominate and spread Gods priniciples and values in todays world?

    Thus for that matter i believe that demonstrating and living an authentic lifestyle reflecting Christ is most central to all who wish to see Gods kingdom dominate here on earth and it starts with the little things in life.

    We need to be to deal accurately about ourselves and truly examine ourselves and ask ourselves the question of what am i here for? Does my life mirror what i say i believe? Will the life i live now guarantee me eternity with God? And Is the response im taking about my life, in line with what God wants for his kingdom ?

    The reason why i say this is because we can have endless arguements about which church is good to grow in and which church is better, but whats the point? We all claim to be christians right? and if we all do so, does God really care about the arguements we make of the churches we attend? Do we fully understand that living for christ covers everything we do?

    Its obvious that we all want our actions to amplify the God we serve amongst us and throughout our lives and we all WANT to say that this church the one i attend is better than that church in terms of worshiping God or prayer or whatever, but whats the point of distinguishing churches and critically analyzing them when we dont live up to a step by step process of dying to ourselves daily and developing that authentic lifestyle which provides the solutions the world is seeking today?

    We should be the ones advancing Gods kingdom here on earth! We should be the ones dominating the secular world for Gods kingdom expressing humility, kindness, willingness, courage, faith, strength when being tempted. We pressure our peers!
    Moreover we should be the ones striving to establish a strong and completely functional, model of Gods Kingdom community incorporating the biblical pattern of leadership in our local assembly of believers whose order and organization is motivated and directed by the Lord.
    In addition, us, the church of God should be the one who recognize, receive and activate the foundation laying gifts of church apostles and prophets along with the other governmental office gifts of evangelists, pastors and teachers so that the community may be established on a firm spiritual foundation and be brought to strength and maturity.
    Additionally bro, we should be the ones who become that community in which prophetic ministry, divine healing, miracles and all the gifts of the Spirit function and are manifested in the nature and character of Jesus Christ today.
    We also, should be the ones who develop the capacity to produce all the models of kingdom life, patterns for spiritual development and strategic initiatives for kingdom purpose upon which Gods name and majesty is seen in us.
    Finally bro we should be the ones who bring individuals and families to a life-changing encounter with the transforming power of the knowledge of Jesus Christ living through us to equip them and to bring them to maturity in the faith and in supernatural understanding and performances that relates witht what God is doing today on our planet earth and to bring them to the recognition of their own calling and destiny in the Lord, and release them into their ordained functions to accomplish the Lord‘s will for their lives. We should be the ones brother, you and me! All of us who calls ourselves christians should be the ones doing all of the above! Again it all comes back to the heart! Where is your heart and my hearts position with God right now?
    We christians should be the answers for the problems in this world. The principles that should govern the world today should be the principles of Gods kingdom and we make that happen! But its obvious that we talk too much and do nothing! Especially in the little things! Worst, we dont even see the little opportunities presented to us to make God shine out from our lives. I find that to be even more disturbing than going to church every sunday.

    Again as iv stressed earlier, it all boils down to our hearts position for God bro. is your heart and my hearts position to the word and principles of God active or is it deaf to his word and his will for our lives? What is our immediate response to God and his word and how is that translated into our every day lives, especially with our commitments and interactions with christians and non christians in general? Iam challenged even by writing this up in response to your blog bro so stand in line, i am also not perfect, eventually i know together we will get there if we make the decision to die daily for christ and understand that we are the ones who make christ known throughout the world today.

    Cheers bro.

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