Like, Love and Follow Christ

In today’s world we are confronted with so much social media. Hardly a day goes by without any of us Liking a post, Following someone on twitter or Loving something on Instagram. It’s become part of who we are. We spend more time on our smart devices than we do with each other. I once saw a sign outside a family run coffee shop and it read “No free Wi-Fi, we rather you talk to one another”. How true is that for us? We live in that society where it is easier to interrupt a moment with a loved one and take a pic to post on Instagram, or to check-in and tweet. Some of this behaviour steals away from the intimacy of a relationship between a husband and his wife, or a child and their parent. We are sharing our lives with the world. I wonder how you would feel if you were 2 years old and your mom was forcing you to walk / eat or swim so they can take a video and share it on a social network. What have we become?

What is worse about our tendencies to share on social media is that we look for the best moments, the best pictures, ‘The’ right tweets and present these to the world. At times, not always, it is a complete fabrication of the truth. Have you ever thought that when you check into a place, someone can pick that up, and go burgle your house? A college of mine checks into Virgin Active every day, but never goes into the gym. She scans the card at the turnstile, checks in and walks right out. I know, I know. But she does this for two reasons – people can see she is a gym (lifestyle) person and the other part is that so she does not lose her Vitality discount.

But I guess all of this is in line with today’s world, where to be accepted you have to be a certain person, do certain things, have certain things and be seen in certain places. All this to fit in with the world, or at least measure up to the view that world expects me to have and be. And as Christians, we tend to bring this behaviour to how we relate to one another in the community of believers and how we view the gospel. It is all instant gratification. We don’t Like, Follow or Love the parts of the bible that don’t appeal to us. We Love and repost Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” but we never repost Ephesians 2:1 -2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. “We Follow certain teaching in the bible. We gladly Follow certain teachings in the bible” Ask, and you shall receive”, but when told “you shall not serve both God and money”, we don’t Follow that teaching. At times I wonder about myself and how I approach my faith in this way. It disturbs me the outcomes that I have when I think about it.

I flip the script and ask myself two questions:
• Of the things I post, tweet /retweet and update, would Jesus Christ Like, Love and Follow? Or would he look at me and wonder where my priorities lie.
• And I ask myself, if Christ had an Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account, would I Like, Love and Follow him – even the hard parts.

Like – people like our posts / check-ins on Facebook and that gives us self-gratification and a sense of belonging, because we long for it. Remember Christ Likes you very much – that is all the like you need. He accepts you for who you are, not because of where you go or what you look like. The only thumbs up that should concern you is his.
Love – we look for love in many places and often the cheap, quick love is the social love. Don’t fool yourself, love that comes easy does not last. Christ loves you beyond a tap on a screen and he proved it on the cross. He is and gives you all the love you need.
Follow – we follow so many people in life and we love it when people follow us. Don’t fool yourself, only Christ is worth following.

I hope you think about it a bit more and are encouraged by these words Romans 12:2 ” Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
Be more Christ like in everything you do, especially when you approach social media.

Irvine R.

IOS 7 and the gospel of Jesus

It’s been a few years since Apple computers had all of us, well at least us the fans, on pins and needles. Over the last few weeks, all Apple users and fans have been in heavy anticipation of the new operating system, IOS7. This IOS update has been presented as the most significant change to the Apple’s mobile OS in a long time. It was said that this OS will change your life.
I don’t doubt that for one bit, because I see it, experience it first hand on my phone. It looks different, feels different and to be honest it makes the iPhone look like a new phone. There is a little b it of the old stuff, but it’s only remnants, nothing to write home about.
When using the OS, you don’t do the things you used to do on your phone. You treat it differently and respond to it differently. It really is a change, a change for the better for Apple iPhone users.

This got me thinking, about the gospel and how it changes our lives. Paul, in his second letter to the church in Corinth, tells them that anyone born of Christ is a new creation; the old had gone and the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). So if we use parallels between the IOS update and to being born again we see the familiar results. When we acknowledge and see Christ as Lord of our lives, we change, we are made new. Our thinking, our behavior, our attitude is changed completely. We don’t see or do the same things we used to. Our hearts and minds change.
From who we were in the past, objects of wrath (Eph 2:3) and facing destruction, to this glory we share in Christ – God has redeemed us and makes us new. He cleanses us, wipes away our sins and forgives us. By being born again, we are adopted into God’s family and our lives will never be the same.

So, much like the update for IOS, we receive some sort of an “update” – a new life all together when we receive Christ and unlike the Apple which is periodic, when we accept Christ, we do it once and that counts for eternity.
Irvine Rambau

Hosea continued

The consequences of infidelity
Hosea 1:4-7

So, the drama continues. A marriage to a prostitute can only spell out disaster. And that’s what I think we are left to anticipate as we begin to look at the early years of Hosea’s new life together with Gomer. And the prophet’s dirty laundry is about to be hung out for everyone to see.

We are immediately told about the birth of the son in verse 3. The story goes to the point quicker than most soapies would. But what we are left to wonder is if the son undeniably belongs to Hosea or to another man. This is because verse 2 says that he must take for himself “an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness”. But this doesn’t seem to matter at this point because the significance of the birth of the child (similar to the other children) is on the name that he is given.

The name Jezreel is like naming a child Blood-River. It represents a place of victory and the ascendance of a nation to power. Recorded in the book of second Kings from chapter 9, King Jehu had come to power through a battle that was won by the hand of the Lord. But instead of eliminating Baal worship, he did evil just like his forefather Jeroboam. And so what used to be known as a place of victory is now to be known as a place of destruction.

The second daughter is named No-Mercy because the husband who is God himself is now fed up with the adultery of his bride Israel. He promises to destroy Israel through war. He used to be merciful, but there comes a time in a marriage where the consequences of infidelity come to play. And there came a time where God destroyed and did not show mercy.

And so the consequences of infidelity are spelled out to us through this marriage. God will surely punish his bride for infidelity. And his judgement is sure. And his judgement is depicted in the names of these two Children.
It is a message of warning to us who live in these times, to repent and not to presume on the mercies of God, because God will not always stand for evil.

Studies in Hosea – The Drama of God’s Love

What’s it all about?

In a world not so different from ours; a godless society with no regard for what is good; a world full of sin, corruption, greed, immorality, idol worship, God calls Hosea to marry an adulterous woman.
As we journey through the book we will see how the marriage of Hosea to this woman unfolds. The story is based on actual events that took place in the history of Israel in a time so far from our own. It is a different world in many regards but in many respects it’s also a similar world to ours. And because of this, it has great implications for us living in 2013 Johannesburg. So, eliminating the barriers of time and culture differences, we will plunge our noses into the book of Hosea and see what it has to say to us.
So, without giving away the whole message, it is worth noting that as we plunge into it we should learn two things. On the one hand we shall learn a great deal about the nature and character of God as it’s seen in how Hosea relates to his wife. And on the other hand we shall be taught the state of the human heart. And bringing those two things together i.e. the nature of God and the human heart, we will hopefully be challenged to evaluate our own lives and seek to appreciate God for who he is and how he relates to us.

So, for the next few weeks we’ll look at the different things that come out of this real-life drama of Hosea’s marriage as a drama of how God deals with us. It is a message of warning, rebuke, and hope mixed up in one melting pot. So, come dine with us as we feed from God’s word and as we dissect the different aspects of this ‘Drama of God’s love’.
David Kobedi

Does God need us for his own happiness?

If God created humans out of a need to fulfil something that he lacked, he would be dependent on humans to be complete and would therefore not be a big-enough God. To put it simply, if God created us because he was bored and in need of company, he would be a needy God who is dependent on us for relational fulfilment. But the Bible teaches us that God is eternally an intra-relational and Trinitarian being. This simply means that he has existed before humans; and that even way before he existed he was a fulfilled being who had relationship with the other members of the trinity (as seen in John 1:1, the word was with God, literally towards/in relation to). So, God never made us because he needed to; on the contrary, he made us as an expression of his pre-existent relational nature. He is relational; therefore as an expression of who he is he made us.

But how often do we think of ourselves as more important than we ought? How often do we think that God needs us and our worship? It is the deceit of our hearts that puffs our minds to think that God needs us and needs our worship. And we often wrongfully approach him in this way. He is independent and he exists outside of us and in spite of us.
This teaching is known by theologians as ‘Aseity’ a Latin word ‘a se’ meaning ‘from Himself’, defined by Wayne Grudem to mean “God does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation can glorify him and bring him joy”. So, on the one hand God does not need us but on the other hand we can bring him joy when we worship. He is a God who created everything and does not live in temples made by men, and he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else Acts 17:24-25. But he is a relational God who made us and who delights in our worship.

Therefore let us worship him appropriately; being humbled to know that we can offer him nothing that he himself has not created. But that he himself has created everything and through Jesus has made a way for us to have a relationship with him. We should ever be grateful to him for that. We should call on him for salvation and worship him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 50: 7-15

The wonder of Easter

By far the most significant time of the year on the Christian calendar is Easter time. Easter 2013 was an extra special time at C4 because it was the first we have celebrated together as a church family. To be reminded of the death and resurrection of Christ that has brought us salvation renewed and revived in us a sense of awe and humility.That the king of all the earth would die for such as us is truly amazing grace. Something that had never happened in eternity past and will never happen again happened on that Good Friday, something that caused God the Son to cry out ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’ – the pain of bearing my sin so that I can stand today forgiven and accepted as God’s child. What a debt I owe the Savior yet how slow my heart moves in showing gratitude.

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