Darren Dalton • July 19, 2021
I've been contemplating the people's movement in regards to Jesus. There is a saying, "you are either moving towards or away from Christ".
On the notice sheet last week and this week, within the spiritual food box. We have looked at the feeding of the five thousand. Last week we had the beginning part in Mark 6:33-34 and this week the end in John 6: 23-24. We are given a picture of these people desperately seeking Jesus, their motives may be different, some wanted healing, some feeding and some to listen to what Jesus was saying.
Whatever their reason, Jesus was able to teach, perform miracles and reveal the glory of God to them. Throughout the Gospels, people came far and wide searching for Jesus to discover for themselves who He was, receive healing, or have their lives turn upside down. Nicodemus, Zacchaeus, the woman suffering from bleeding and the Lepers are just a few.
They understood if they wanted answers, healing, receiving fulfilment and salvation. If they wanted to know more about the father they had to come to Christ and listen and respond to the answers.
These people put everything to one side and prioritised Christ, they desperately sought Him out and drew closer to Him. The only way Jesus could speak to them, heal them, and teach them is if they were with Him.
Sometimes I expect my faith to grow deeper, my prayer life to be out of this world and my bible knowledge to be greater than Dot from East enders. But there are times I don't put in the effort, I expect Jesus to come to me or perform some sort of wifi download while my attention is elsewhere.
It's like me wanting to be healthy while eating pizza and have muscles upon muscles, while not even attempted to walk close to a gym or making any effort to walk. I'm either walking towards the gym or the takeaway, each direction will have a major impact on my life.
If we want to grow deeper in our relationship with Christ, have a better understanding of the bible, or be more intentional about our journey. We need to be walking towards the one who can do help with all of this.
Only Christ can reveal Himself to you and the world can only reveal itself, so are you desperate enough that you are prepared to do anything to meet Christ. Are you seeking Him in the right places? Regular prayer time, reading His word and attending church will aid you to face the right direction and to move towards the prize.
We are either moving towards or away from Christ, the first thing to ask is are we even facing Him at all?
Rev Darren Dalton
St Andrew's church Kinson Bournemouth.
Darren Dalton • July 15, 2021
Calling all Leaders.
When you hear the word leader what comes to mind? Do you have a picture of a significant leader from the past, do you think of dictatorship. Is it the idea of a top-down approach like we see in most businesses? Is it a position of power and authority, to be used for the greater good?
Those can be some views and what we have experienced in our lives. Through social media and the news, there is a rise of a different style of leader. They are called influencers, people who share their lifestyles, their life hacks and inform those who listen what to wear, where to shop, what new places we should visit. Most of these people have over a million followers and they have the ability to shape a generation that wants to buy into their life.
What has become apparent is some of these people sell a lie, the pictures are fake the things they say are revealed as a lie and what they are selling is a result of a cooperate sponsoring them and telling them what to advertise to a public that wants to live a different life a so-called fulfilled life. Thus building upon the lie that we can not trust anyone but ourselves and/or a better life can be created through materialistic things. Keeping people distracted and reaching for the impossible.
Yet there was and is an influencer who was completely different to the world. An influencer/leader whose message turned the world upside down, who made the impossible possible. One who loves others washed their feet, had the best picnics, someone who lived by example and died for those following Him.
That's right Jesus, the way he lived his life, the way He showed genuine love and concern, by His actions caused others not to only follow Him, but their lives were transformed as they went out and obeyed what Jesus taught them in order that others may be influenced by Christ.
Christ also calls us to be influencers and whether you like it or not we are already influencing others around us. The way we bring up our children, how we interact with those around us. How we live with those in our families all have either a positive or negative impact depending on who or what you are revealing.
Christian leadership is an influence relationship, not an authority relationship. It is rooted in a relationship with the Trinity, built upon the bible and directed by the Holy Spirit. It is marked with servanthood, sustained in prayer, shaped by the cross and resurrection and lived out in the community.
We are all called to influence our communities, our families we are commissioned by Christ to influence others forming disciples who also influence and disciple others.
So pause, ask yourself who are you influencing, then ask what are you influencing them with. Are you pushing a worldly life that leads to dissatisfaction and death, or are you revealing a life in Christ that leads to satisfaction, fulfilment and eternal life? Also, one last question, are you actually living the life in Christ that you are revealing and trying to influence others into?
Rev Darren Dalton
St Andrew's Kinson Bournemouth
Darren Dalton • July 08, 2021
Missing the Target
Paul writes in Romans 3:23-24
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The key here is to acknowledge that we are all sinners, we all do and say things that do not match up to God's standards, God's morals and God's law. Yet, just as God is just He is also merciful and sent His Son to pay the price of our disobedience. Therefore we need to know our need for Christ, only through Him can we be reconciled with our Creator.
What's amazing about grace, is that, though our hearts should be trying to aim for God's standards, we can not meet them and yet grace is freely poured down upon us and we are called to try again.
Though we may never meet God's standards, we should not give up trying to aim for them. Yet we hear the phrase "God love us unconditionally" this by itself is dangerous and prevents us from fearing our creator. We may ask "If He loves us unconditionally then why do we need to change or even try, He'll love and forgive us anyway! This is cheapening grace, and not glorifying God.
We also live in a world, town, village that consist of people who do not know God, it may even feel like we are similar to Israel when exiled to Babylon. Babylon's standards, their way of life and their morals and idols become ours if we are not careful and become the norm.
Footballers can have affairs, treat people badly drink-drive, etc., but if they score a goal, all is forgotten about and are worshipped.
Or recently a member of parliament is caught having an affair and people including some Bishops were more concerned with the couple not adhering to social distancing, rather than the fact they both were committing adultery and possible destroying two families in the process.
If we are not careful we can end up aiming for the targets set by culture, ones set up by man, that enable them to have a clear conscience and no need for a saviour, they become their own God's.
In Jeremiah, chapter 29: 4-14, God told Jeremiah how we should live in our communities, not to lose our spiritual identities but to serve out of them. Revealing to those around us a new way of living.
I'm wondering and reflecting, do the things that matter to God also matter to me, who's standards am I trying to live up to?
God says His ways are not our ways neither are His thoughts our thoughts. Are we spending all our time trying to convert God to our religion rather than allowing the Spirit and God's truth to transform our religion into worshipping the one true God, as we live for Him?
Rev Darren Dalton
St Andrew's Church Kinson, Bournemouth.