‘A story about two gardens’

Gethsemane-Jesus-PrayingI recently spoke at my church on Mark 14:32-42 ‘Gethsemane’ and I was asked to share it. So I thought I’d resurrect the old blogging days and make it available for any interested.

So here we go:

This is a story that’s really about two gardens.

This garden story is a response to the first ever garden story.
The first garden is where sin came in,
because man gave in.

The second, this garden story,
is the restoration story.
Where the human response to temptation and sin
is ‘not my will but yours come in’.

The first thing we can learn from this passage is that Jesus, like us, understands pain and suffering,
He is not on a cloud of ignorance, but literally sweating out of fear.

‘IF THERE IS ANOTHER WAY, TAKE THIS CUP FROM ME!’

Who has ever said something like that before?

But here is the second lesson and an incredible thing,
Jesus says, ‘not my will, but yours come in’.
In the place of great pain, Jesus submits to the will of the father,
even though he knows what that means,
he is fixed on the path laid before him.

Jesus shows us that we must lean on God,
because without his grace and guidance we are lost.
But to lean on him we must break down our own wall of will and let his in.

See in the first garden, the first people put their will above God’s,
they decided they knew best and there was no cost,
They believed the lie that they could actually do life like God.
Yet the cost didn’t only effect them, it cost us, it cost God.

Choosing their will above the creators, left a crater in nature,
but that’s exactly what sin does, it tricks you into taking something that was never yours at someone else’s cost.
Be it love, be it value, be it ambition
We take the beautiful things of God, and make them grimy and lost

But in the second garden, this garden,
when faced with the same choice,
Jesus chose to submit instead of walk his own way.
This, the second garden is where our salvation was truly sealed,
where a suffering Jesus decided to trust the fathers will.

And in that single act, broke the power of the first gardens crap and showed us that for all our selfishness, God has got our back.

So what can we take away from this?

That Jesus understands suffering, yes.
That we can trust him to understand how we feel when we suffer, yes.

But also that from the first garden to this day,
the biggest problem humanities faced, is our wills fighting to take first place.

The ancient yet ever present battle of
mine verses thine.
Of my way or his way
When deep down we already know who’s way, Yahweh’s

We make this choice everyday, but which will you choose?

The fathers will or yours be done?
Because when we say your kingdom come,
In the small things and in the large,
We must follow it through with his will be done.

A story about two gardens – Audio

Blogging, how I fail at it and those that do not…

I’m not going to lie, I ain’t to0 good at the blogging thing…

Going by the blogs I dip into, it would seem, that to be a good blogger you must commit to at least one blogging session a week. It is fundamental to have a blogtastic timeout in the week to share with the world all the important things you are currently thinking about. Using this as a template…I am a pretty crap blogger.

I am joking of course, blogging shouldn’t be become a job – unless it is a job. Blogging is about expressing yourself, your thoughts when you want to, not because you have to! But as I haven’t written a blog in ages, I thought I would drop you some links of people I have been following (not literally) so that you too can enjoy their musings like I have. So here’s a few:
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A ‘not to bad a read’ Book – The Case for the REAL JESUS

So who is this Jesus then?
Is he a softy, a nice guy, a buddy, a bully, a racist, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic… Is he on my side, or holding a knife to my back?Is he the guy from the bible or whatever I want him to be??

The Journey
A couple of the young people and I decided to venture into this challenging question and to do it with some confidence we read through a book together that actually turned out to be really helpful for them…and even me. Now we have finished it and although, no scrap that, BECAUSE I don’t agree with everything in the book I thought I’d offer it out to you all to have a read yourselves and chew on!

Here are some good quotes

On the Gnostics (like Gospel of Thomas)‘The new portrait of Gnosticism is profoundly attractive for modern seekers, that large constituency interested in spirituality without the trappings of organized religion or dogma.’ p.30

On the Gospels”They’re early enough, they’re rooted into the right streams that go back to Jesus and the original people, there’s continuity, there’s proximity, there’s verification of certain distinct documents with archaeology and other documents, and then there’s the inner logic. That’s what pulls it all together.” p.39

”For us to come along and say, ‘Unless we can explain it scientifically, metaphysically, and philosophically, we should just reject it,’ is high-handed arrogance.” p.39

On true definition of Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible ‘Inerrancy: The Bible is true in what it touches. Infallibility: The Bible is true in what it teaches.’ p.51

On the reliability of the Disciples ‘They didn’t willfully lie about this. Liars make poor martyrs.’ p.87

On the resurrection – “even the atheist Gerd Ludemann conceded: ‘it may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ’…” p.87

On reliability of a genuine resurrection ‘…the idea that the disciples stole the body is a lame explanation. Are we supposed to believe they conspired to steal the body, pulled it off, and then were willing to suffer continuously and even die for what they knew was a lie? That’s such an absurd idea that scholars universally reject it today.’ p.92

On historical views of Jesus ‘…If for no other reason than the books late dating. Scholars quibble over a difference of just a few years in the dating of the New Testament, whereas the Qur’an didn’t come until six centuries after the life of Christ.’ p.98

On Jewish perspectives of Jesus – ‘So Jesus was like a walking Shekinah?’ p.145

On Evangelical Christianity – ‘Many Christians today, especially evangelicals, don’t have a sense of history. They’ll quote Martin Luther left and right, but they won’t talk about the horrific things he wrote that Adolph Hitler adopted, like when Luther recommended, among other things, that synagogues be burned, Jewish homes destroyed, and rabbis forbidden to teach under the threat of death.’ p.163

on Postmodern thinking – ‘Relativism falls apart logically when you examine it. As a worldview, it simply doesn’t work.’…”For instance, relativists believe that relativism is true not just for them but for every person. They believe that relativism applies to nonrelativists (‘true for you’), not just to themselves (‘true for me’). The relativists find themselves in a bind if we ask them, ‘Is relativism absolutely true for everyone?’ To be consistant, the relativist must say, ‘There is no reason to take seriously the claim that every belief is as good as every other belief, since this belief itself would be no better than any other.”‘ p.170

OK. Getting carried away now… Just check it out for yourself!



Spotting real tangible growth

God and the Young People

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
Amos 5:21-24

Ouch. Sometimes when we read scripture we just have to stop and re-think how we are doing this Christianity thing. I love Church, I love festivals and cool God slogans (one of my all time favs -‘GSUS, more then a chord’) and I must confess that noisy music with some ambient lights and some profound lyrics like ‘oooh oooh oooh’ really excite me and make me feel great about being a Christian. But is all that stuff what following Jesus is all about?
According to Amos, God just isn’t interested in that stuff as much as we are. Sure we can glorify God through that stuff, but it is a very small part in Gods plan. What excites Father Gods heart is to see his people being little Christ’s where it really matters- in our ‘living it’.

This is what has been on my heart as the youth worker. Father God, let the young people know what it is to be a true follower of Jesus, if the traditions are getting in the way, scrap them. When I first started at Cairns I would always worry about numbers on a Sunday morning and began thinking through how to get young people into the doors. I thought, ‘maybe if I preached more or enticed them with sweets and maybe even money that will do it and then as soon as they get through the door BAM, God will reveal himself and they will love Church and come every Sunday’. Seriously, I really thought that! and I must confess I did try coaxing some young people in with the sweets thing, but realised as time went on that my perspective was all wrong. God reminded me that if I really wanted young people to meet him, then I had to truly show them His heart and not just parrot the same old ‘right answers’.

We over complicate things really. What is on Gods heart is simple, he wants his people back and he wants them to look like Jesus in the everyday. To be more concerned about their neighbour’s welfare then whether or not they should go to church on sunday. To put scripture into practice and not just into memory. So what should we do? Scrap Sundays? of course not, it’s the body gathered. Change it so that it doesn’t look like the contemporary culture from the 80’s, yeh maybe someday…But its not even about that. It is simply about getting our hands dirty again. Doing the stuff we so often talk about on sundays–being the light God has called us to be (Matt 5).

Now we have arrived at the reason for my rant.
I’m excited! Because God is moving in the young people I work with and they are growing into mighty fine followers of Jesus and action has been the catalyst. From what I have seen the young people understand what following Jesus looks like when they clean up some single mums garden they don’t know from Adam, but knowing it just might making a difference to her life. They get it when they spend a week serving in orphanages and the most powerful message is not a ‘God slot’ preached but simply holding a little boy that even in Europe seems to have been abandoned by government and worthless in society. They get it when they can fight for the things that are on Gods heart, like justice and fairness, equality…you know the kingdom stuff.

So if, like me, you have been worried about how much the young people are growing when they seem so disengaged with traditional Sunday morning ‘church’, then ask them what they are doing instead and if they are getting their hands dirty with God. Why not ask them what they think is on Gods heart. I think, you’ll find something is happening and its spot on… And when you find that out, give thanks!