The video spun us through the previous 9 weeks, with Week 1 reminding us not to covet “most people want just a bit more than they already have”, and questioning, what’s the Number 1 for you now – food, drink, sport… or God?
- The size of the audience – it was HUGE!
- How to make the message relevant?
- How to get under the skin of this man, Jesus? As an actor one tries to understand the heartbeat of the character you’re playing, as a Christian, God had already been working on Israel’s heartbeat!
- Nowhere near your car?
- In the car, but locked in the boot for Sundays, where you stuff him back in for the rest of the week, in case he upsets your ordinary life?
- In the car, but a back-seat passenger who you don’t pay much attention to?
- In the car, but a front-seat passenger, so he’s a bit more in your vision, but still…
- Or is he the driver in your car….
- As Jesus drives down the “road of forgiveness” are you complaining that you don’t want to go this way?
- As Jesus points the way at a fork in the road, are you complaining “where are you going?”
- Why is a football supporter known as a “fan”?
- Why is a Christian known as a “fanatic”? Take it as a compliment!
- Minor suffering, that’s what you suffer from!
- Major suffering, that’s what I suffer from!
- Would your welcome be sincere?
- Would you hide some of the magazines you’d been reading and put a Bible there?
- Would you bury some things in the deepest darkest cupboard, or is it all there for Him to see?
h excludes all others. By turning away from other gods [in whatever form they come] you can actually HAVE GOD!
The song “The Faltering Child” (re making choices), beautifully sung, written by Chris, head pianist! Brian Draper’s book Spiritual Intelligence was launched, officially released this Friday… J John said the manuscript arrived on a day when he didn’t really have time, started with a quick look, then read the whole thing in one sitting! [There was certainly a long queue for signed copies of the book at the end of the evening, I suspect Brian may have run out of copies!] The idea was created by Danah Zohar in Re-Wiring the Corporate Brain, and Brian wanted to build upon that with ideas from Ecclesiastes.
“If I had a photo of another woman in my wallet, should my wife just say, oh, that’s OK, or should she be angry and demand to know who it is… if I was turning to that woman for advice, would my wife believe me when I said “I love you”. “No, I would expect her to be hurt/angry – she has every right to demand that I keep myself for her. I want to, I love her, I made vows to her.”
Idolatry = adultery to God, it’s unfaithfulness, we have prostituted ourselves by bowing to idols.
A child asked whether God was in the house (yes), in the kitchen (yes), in the marmalade jar (yes), and then clapped the lid on and said “Got Him”. If we think we’ve “Got Him” in our hands, then we’ve lost touch with him… God can’t easily be captured.
Superstitions are a form of idolatry, usually coming from habits (e.g. not walking under a ladder [although I always think that’s more about a paint pot not landing on my head!]) or a belief in protection. Phrases such as “Touch Wood” (and removing 13th floor from hotels and 13th row from airplanes) acknowledge that there are other powers at work.
J John appears to know a lot about the Freemasons… the Church of England Synod did a study into whether Freemasonry was compatible with Christianity – with an answer of a resounding NO!
- Freemasonry is characterised by deception, and lower level members don’t really know what is going until they reach at least Level 4.
- It is often seen as a charitable organisation, good for networking, job opportunities, social status, etc., therefore often seen as harmless.
- Freemasons meet in Lodges which contain temples, where they kneel at at altar, swear oaths to sacred laws, and at the 4th level, start to worship specific Gods.
- Curses are prol
ific, and level 4 and above pledge lifelong silence BEFORE hearing material… and curse themselves to death if they reveal secrets.
- At the 30th level, Freemasons declare that Lucifer is God (i.e. the Devil, the complete antithesis of God!)
Jesus himself, who came to make God visible, made in God’s image (as are we).
Before Jesus, John the Baptist was a great preacher (and if you think that J John is aggressive, you should have heard him… calling people snakes and vipers!).
The only image on your heart/mind shoudl be Jesus, replacing the focus on all those other things.
- Use it to insult
In the dictionary, Jesus is 1) An exclamation of surprise 2) The founder of Christianity
When swearing, we are treating something sacred with abuse
The media uses Goddamit, Jesus Christ, etc, but says that they are merely reflecting society
Film Classification: PG) Blasphemy 15) Sexual Swear Words
Don’t de-sensitise the name of God – why do we say “Jesus” and not “Buddha”?
Why are we blaming God for something he didn’t cause? If something good happens we tend to say, “aren’t I lucky?” , but if something bad happens we say “Why did God allow this?”
Talking about coincidences (the flying kitten): are these God’s way of remaining anonymous?
- Use it to exult/indulge ourselves
How often do we feel that we are doing God a favour?
What motivates non-Christian parents to have their child baptised, when most are making promises that they have absolutely no intention of keeping?
What about Christmas Christians, who take communication: 1 Corinthians 11:27? God hates hypocrisy, so do it because you believe in the death/resurrection of Jesus, otherwise don’t bother!
- Use to intimidate
How often to Christians ‘Play the God Card’? This was used to sanction the Crusades, slavery, wars, football, etc. as well as much smalled ways.
Believe that God speaks to us as individuals, but don’t misuse the “God told me” [Heard about a few guys doing that: “God has chosen you for my wife”… yeah right has been the general reaction!]
Beware of “spiritual forgery”. Don’t twist the Bible to fit your own ideas, ideals and lifestyle!
- I need to be selective with my words
Watch slang – which is often a shorthand for swearing (e.g. Damn, is a shorthand for Damnation: condemning someone to an evil fate)
By Golly, Gosh, For crying out loud, all refer back to God/Jesus
Often we say we don’t mean anything like that, but God’s name is a holy name, and shouldn’t “not mean anything”.
We are bombarded with profanity on all sides, and unintentionally it becomes a part of our vocabulary!
If we become too compromising it may not bother us, but it bothers God. In the Bible, misusing God’s name was worthy of the death penalty.
Make a decision not to use God’s name irreverantly and ask colleagues to desist.
- I need to be sincere in my actions
Ensure our life matches what we say we believe: Ensure your walk is consistent with your talk.
Many people attend church only when they are hatched, matched and despatched, and with that, the first time you’re carried in, the last carried out, so only once by choice!
- Cleanse our souls, heal our deepest hurts (putting hands out, palms up, is a sign of vulnerability and that we are prepared to receive healing)
- Restore humanity/dignity
- Saviour = name of power, some people are healed in God’s name, and delivered from evil spirits.
- Jesus spent 3 years discussing who, where, why, how, etc… and told many parables, at least one of which will connect with where we are NOW!
- Teacher: Educators
- The Way: Traffic Wardens
- The Truth: Politicians
- The Vine: Horticulturalists, etc
- The pace of life is literally killing people. If you get burnt out, you’ll wake up and discover you’re not that bright after all.
- When your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will be your downfall.
- If you have too many irons in the fire, you’re likely to put the fire out… before you know it, your spark has gone!
- A day to rest our bodies.
Rest from your weekly activities and create a day that is distinctive.
Drs say that a lot of illnesses where rest is prescribed is for those where the Sabbath is in arrears. [I’ve heard this before, but think it’s so appropriate]
If you’re not taking the day off, you’ll not be fit to live with.
The story of the businessman/the fisherman
- A day to recharge our emotions.
Told us the story of Chippie the Budgie, who was sucked up by the hoover, rinsed off under the tap, then dried with a hairdryer: Sucked in, washed up, blown over!
How many are tired, tense and troubled?
How many expressions are there like “I feel like resigning from the human race”?
Take some time out to recharge in the quietness (as I did on what I keep saying is my best day out of my RTW trip: Doubtful Sound in New Zealand, where we stood still in complete silence for 5 minutes!). Psalm 23:2. Enjoy nature rather than trying to change it.
- A day to be renewed spiritually
We have so little time for God – our lives are so full and yet so empty.
God says: “Be Still and Know That I am God”
Worship renews the spirit as rest renews the body.
Treat Sunday with delight, a
s God’s Holy Day… and in the first part of every day, demonstrate to God that he comes first through daily devotions
We currently “Worshop work, work at play and play at worship”.
A son said that he’d watched church on the TV and didn’t want to go… his mum said, OK, when we get back, you can watch your lunch on the McDonald’s advert, whilst we have a proper roast…
Pearls of Wisdom?
- Only as we cease to be restless doing, do we discover what is to be done.
- The most important things in life are not THINGS, they are people. If you’re too busy for family/close friends, you’re too busy. We have less time for meals than we did, don’t eat what we should, and don’t take time to digest what we eat… it’s all grabbed and snatched!
- Technology: the phone at mealtimes – ignore it – be the master of the telephone, don’t let it master you (J John has a particular bugbear with people constantly checking their mobile phones, and calls for us to focus on the people we’re socialising with, rather than checking it every 5 minutes!). Technology promised to make our lives easier, but has instead increased the pace of our work (both speed/volume).
God’s offer is like a wedding invitation, it has an RSVP on it, and it has a date by which you must reply otherwise you can’t go.
- From: God
- To: Us in Jesus Christ/Everybody
- About: Forgiveness from the past, and new life here today, and hope for the future.
“In a world of hopelessness, the world is like a hospital gown – you’re often not as well covered as you think you are.” (Church is not a form of insurance, but a living relationship!).
I thought I had better write to you about a couple of problems I’m having at school this term. Last week half of the boarding house burned down. But don’t worry too much because I’m now living in a flat in the village. I’m living with Frank the plumber. There’s no need to worry, he’s very nice, in fact I’m three months pregnant with his baby. We’re planning to get married at the end of term.
Next day, another letter from Sarah……
I know you will be worrying about yesterday’s letter so I thought I should write to you again. Mum the boarding house didn’t really burn down last week and I’m not living in a flat in the village. In fact I’m not even pregnant with Frank’s baby and we’re not getting married at the end of term. Mum, the real problem is that I failed my mid year exams really badly and I just wanted you to see this problem in proper prospective, All my Love,
- Child when asked “My name begins with M, I pick things up”: Mother
- The father carries a photo where his money used to be.
- Teenagers: “Stop asking where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.”
- We encourage the kids to show off, then tell them to “Sit down and shut up”.
- Honour my parents by ACCEPTING them.
Don’t tune them out, don’t highlight the negatives.
God is not asking us to pretend that are parents are perfect when they’re not.
- Honour my parents by APPRECIATING them
Appreciate the effort that your parents put in is difficult/costly.
Son presented bill for £1 per job, mother presented bill of £1000s in return, but the final total was “I love you”.
Mothers can direct air traffic control, whereas children are expensive but can operate the DVD!
- Honour my parents by AFFIRMING them
This is the only commandment which doesn’t last a lifetime, a day will come when you can no longer make amends – and no amount of expense at the funeral will be equal to that of a visit whilst their alive.
- Honour my parents by NOT ABANDONING them
As parents age, offer support in practical ways.
- “I hate my parents”: Sometimes we hate you too…
- You may hate it when parents repeat thing,…. if do it first time, we wouldn’t have to. Acknowledge that you’ve heard by saying “I got it”.
- Play your part in the family, Dad is not ‘the old man’
- Teenagers are experts on surveys of one: “Everyone else is doing it”
- Mark Twain quote
- We get parents at so late a stage in their life that it’s impossible to change their habits!
- Think about what example you are setting, more likely to be honoured.
- The perfect model for parenting: God – treat our kids as God treats us.
- God listens to us
Teenagers often complain that they can say what they like at home as no one’s listening anyway!
- God understands us
A carpenter works WITH, not AGAINST the grain.
Give your kids roots and wings…
Are we perfect? NO, but God accepts us through grace, treat our kids the same, not as though our standards are automatically the best.
Teachers can teach kids to count, parents can teach their children WHAT COUNTS.
Demonstrate honesty, admit when you’ve done something wrong.
Do/don’t do as you’ve said, even if it’s difficult.
- God loves us
Offer affection, affirmation and attention (how often do you just sit and let them set the agenda?)
The average time parents spend talking to their children is 15 MINUTES A WEEK!
It’s easier to build children than to mend broken adults.
If you don’t live by priorities, you end up living by pressures.
- God disciplines his children
“I love you, but sometimes I don’t like your beahviour.”
Often people tie up the dog at night, but let their children run free.
Discipline offers a structure of safety until the children has enough structure in character to stand up on their own.
Parents discipline best when they exhibit disciplined behaviour of their own.
Requirement to assume that forgiveness does not mean forgetting, and it’s possible to forgive without dulling the pain (of 51 years of nagging!), but does remove the resentment!
The sixth commandment is simple… murder is a serious crime which once committed cannot be undone, and appears in many different terminologies (e.g. manslaughter, serial killing, etc.) in the newspapers on a daily basis. The term “Road Rage” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1997, and of course there are associated terms such as ‘Air Rage’. 42% of those in the UK workforce noted that they have been yelled at at work, with many reduced to tears.
Violence is pumped into our culture by the megatons… e.g. films such as Die Hard are not constructive models of anger management! We can also break this commandment through passive action – e.g. if we see someone freezing/hungry and do not help them out, we may be letting them freeze/starve to death.
It’s not just about inflicting physical pain, but actions and attitudes can cause harm, e.g. grudges, resentment and prejudice, etc. Our language is full of venom: e.g. “Drop Dead”, and “If looks could kill”. J John argues that there is a thin line between violence of feeling and violence of action, and its often with those that we care most about that we get the most angry with/hurt the most.
- I need to admit my anger (if we don’t talk about it, we’ll take it out on others; there is justifiable anger – the Bible is full of stories of God/Jesus expressing anger, and we need to seek to do the same – express it non-destructively)
- I need to deal with my anger immediately (“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist” “Those who fight fire with fire end up with the ashes”. Don’t give a piece of your mind (you may not be able to afford to lose it), but seek to be a peacemaker. It takes more inner strength to forgive than retaliate… let God give justice).
- I need to understand anger (Anger usually covers a hurt, which covers an expectation, which covers a need… need to uncover these).
- I need to stop and think before I speak (If you speak when you’re angry, you’ll probably make the best speech you wish you’d never made)
- I need to ask God to fill me with his Holy Spirit (seek self-control, asking God to influence thoughts, words and actions; society tries to reform people, Jesus can transform)
After reminding us that the 10 Commandments offer a “map not a track”, we watched those in London, when questioned “Will an affair revitalise a marriage?” A mix of responses, but the youngest pulled a face of disgust and said “just think of all the diseases you could get” (so those public health campaigns are paying off then?), and another that modern relationships are all about ‘use and abuse’. Most modern affairs start on the internet…
Perry & Heather
Perry and Heather met at a church event, and he soon had to inform her that he was a haeomophiliac who had contracted HIV via a blood transfusion. This was in the 1980s, at the height of the fear of AIDS. They told us of their story, of expecting 5 years of marriage, with no children, but have just celebrated their 20th Wedding Anniversary (although Perry has regular stints in hospital, including one 2 weeks ago – and at times plans have been made for his funeral), and have had 2 children through pioneering surgery.
Back to J John
After a beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm, J John came bouncing back on giving us the modern perception of the 6th commandment, which we tend to think is “You shall not admit adultery”, rather than “You shall not commit adultery” – I think we’d agree there’s a subtle difference there! After cracking a few more jokes (man in a fridge, anyone?), he went on to talk about that other joy – contemporary culture – where loving couples are rarely married, but are surrounded by music, laughter and sumptuous surroundings – it’s all romantic & exciting, with little recognition of the tough times that come in a committed relationship.
Even when forgiven, leaves scars… it hurts and shatters trust.
Love = giving
Adultery = taking.
Marriage was designed by God in the Garden of Eden, where 2 become 1, should never be split.
Is this topic not relevant?
For most of us, having realised how we’ve #failed in the past 3 commandments, if we’re not in a relationship, have we won at this one?! No, because affairs/lust start in the mind:
“Many people have sex on the brain, and that’s the worst place to have it”.
As a man followed with his eyes a beautiful woman walking past the window, his wife, without even looking up says “Was it worth the trouble you’re in now?”
Thoughts -> Words -> Actions – > Habits -> Character
When the Bible says ‘take out your eye’ or ‘cut off your hand’ if they cause you to sin, we’re not LITERALLY talking that! If it’s what you’re looking at, cancel the Playboy subscription or the adult channel… by encouraging fantasy, you’re encouraging reality.
If you’ve had an affair in the past: go for counselling (delicate/painful/needs to be done)
If you’re having one now: STOP (that’s all… and read Psalm 51)
Rationalising, simply means “Rational Lies”.
In the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus commanded the woman to “Go and Sin no more”
One for the archeology dept: “Why do archeologists make the best husbands? Because the older she gets, the more interested he is in her” (boom boom)
How to maintain interest over the years:
Mutual respect: the husband should love the wife as himself.
There’s no such thing as a “perfect marriage” as it’s the union of 2 imperfect people.
“You can bury a marriage with lots of little digs.”
“Don’t criticise your wife’s judgement: look who she chose to marry”
It’s not about how compatible you are, but how you deal with the incompatabilities: may not necessarily see eye-to-eye, but still be able to walk hand-in-hand.
Good communication is key (even for ‘conversationally challenged’ men). Women speak 35,000 words per day, men 20,000 (so they’ve run out of words by the time they get home!). [See a refutation of these stats]
Need to TALK and LISTEN, 4 hardest statements to use more of:
I was wrong
I am sorry
I don’t know
I need help.
A theatre was packed full of men waiting to hear “How do you get your wife to treat you like a King?”…. simple answer: “Treat her like a Queen”.
Look to fix the problem NOT the blame: your attitude should be the same as that of Christ
The number one problem in marriage is selfishness, too much concern for rights, rather than duties.
“If there was more courting in marriage, there’d be less marriages in court.”
“Adam should have said to Eve: you’re the only girl in the world for me!”
The Bible says “Rejoice in the wife of your youth”
Dating was fun, so marriages should also make time for fun.
The vicar gave a talk on “sex” (marking it as “sailing“)
The Man’s Guide to Female English (never say what they mean); The Woman’s Guide to Male English (it all comes back to sex).
A recent marriage, the couple took a small candle each, lit a large candle, then blew out the small candles, signifying that there would be no more “old flames”.
J John called for all to value marriage, remaining loyal, proving faithfulness to each other.
Life has all seasons, including its “winter seasons”.
“Trying times are not the times to stop trying”
“Treat disasters as incidents, not incidents as disasters.”
Arches are made of 2 weaknesses, which lean against each other for strength.
To start: admit that need God and his help, as he created us, marriage, sex, etc.
Every page of the Bible is a proposal to you… God’s present to us was pinned to a Cross, and he doesn’t woo us with perfume, but with blood, sweat and tears.
If you wanted to see a past series on DVD, see here.