Something within - Jesus Army Life

Truly God is good to Israel,  to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
Psalms 73

I'm inspired but I'm not sure why...

Recently, I've felt bashed about, emotionally overloaded and 'can't be bothered to talk to you right now God, thank you very much'.

I don't think I'm the best candidate for God's man of the moment, and yet I sense God calling me. He won't let go.

I've been gong through a cleansing of sorts, a realignment of my soul - it's difficult to describe: before there was richness in the brotherhood life I shared, now there's only... God.

Life is multifaceted, there's a lot going on, but spiritually it's just God.

It's not a bad situation. I'm learning about the faithfulness of God, this friend and companion, who won't let me go. I don't think he lets any of us go...

And because of that I'm grateful. Because of this pursuant love I'm filled with faith, even though in me there's nothing in me personally... As I said, I'm being realigned.

He's calling me to listen. I don't want to, but I can't escape his love. It's all too difficult to explain. I'm being turned inside out and finding, in spite of myself, that there's something more precious within.


Oneness - Jesus Army Life

I'm trying to get my head around oneness.

You know, when I'm driving through Wales I feel 'at one' with the land of my forefathers.

And, taking the example of a family, they can be one even though they're tearing each other's hair out!

But oneness seems to be more than this...

In community-living we like to think we're one because we share everything together.

However, having recently visited another church known for their oneness even though they don't share things as practically as we do, I'm left asking where does oneness really come from?

There is partly something in having a shared history together, but that can breed indifference as much as oneness.

Perhaps the added ingredient of mutual affection tips the balance to achieve blessed unity? I'm not sure.

But if that is the case... What makes Christian unity so special? Perhaps it's not? But actually I think it is.

The ability to join soul to soul and heart to heart with others is not unique to the Christian faith. But what is peculiar, I think, is the sense of a common destiny, a single hope, wrapped up in a spiritual love so powerful it captures the very being of every person who puts their trust in it (or should I say Him?)

He prayed for  such oneness. It paralyses our independence, but leaves us with our individuality. It wreaks havoc with our human ties but calls us to something purer. And, if we let it conquer us practically, divorces us from every chain designed on earth to bind us from one another.

I should say I believe such oneness can be achieved without living together, but when it's doing so much why avoid the inevitable?


When I read poetry - Jesus Army Life

When I read poetry, a stillness comes over me, like I was always meant to be in this place.

When I share my life with other people, it happens the same way, a kind of calmness that helps me know this is where I'm meant to be.

Living together is not perfect, it's organic, it grows just as a tree does, jumbled but majestic, just as poetry describes life with words that are at the same time confused but serene.


The price of friendship - Jesus Army Life

Tomorrow I am the nominated leader for an evening gathering of several esteemed saints.

We've been focusing a lot on friendship lately so it seems right to follow suit. The trouble is I'm not sure what friendship is any more?

Call it ridiculous if you like, but has it ever struck you how many forms of friendship there are?

A friend sat with me the other day and quietly listened to me as I expressed my fears and troubles. They were being a real friend; yet at other times the same friend has been distant and difficult to connect with and I've despaired of finding a way to come along side them.

Friendship is a complex thing.

I am convinced of one truth in all this: our grasp of true friendship is directly related to our ability to be vulnerable. And not everyone wants to go there...

Laughter makes us vulnerable in a good way, but tears bring vulnerability too. We are fascinated by new experiences, but we long to be comfortable. Our self protective instinct can stop us truly experiencing what it is that makes us most human - the company of loving friendship.

Someone wise once said, 'I like being happy so I want to make other people happy too.' I think they'd realised in a simple way that vulnerability is the price of friendship, and that without it we will always wonder what true friendship really looks like.


Me and Jesus - Jesus Army Life

So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

I've been thinking about these words and how much I want to be a disciple of Jesus.

I don't know about other people, but normally Jesus becomes all consuming to me after I've heard a inspiring sermon or read an encouraging spiritual book or when I feel the fire of sharing the gospel message with someone new.

At those points nothing could be more important than Jesus...

But other times? I guess It's possible for my sight of Jesus to dim. Not entirely, but it's definitely not as fiery as it can be.

Maybe that's one of the reasons I joined a Christian communal movement - because I wanted to be all out, all the time, for the one who'd captured my soul with his love.

It was something I could 'do' 24-7. I'd live my life in service of him just as he'd given his life for me... The words of Jesus (quoted at the start) would take on a new reality. I'd give everything I had, nothing would get in the way of me and Jesus.

Except now, maybe, community life (and all its joys) has become something I've owned too? Perhaps, like a possession, I've held onto the ideal too tightly and it has also become something that stops me seeing Jesus entirely?

In many ways sharing my life with others has drawn me closer to God. Undoubtedly. But I wonder if it has obscured my view of him too? I want to keep seeing all these people in my life and, somehow, keep seeing Jesus too...


Letting go - Jesus Army Life

My experience of community life has changed drastically in the last few months.

Where before there was brotherhood now there is solace. Where before I knew a richness within, now there is only yearning. Before I lived in the centre of love, now I feel rationed.

I still belong to the community where I've lived for 10 years, we still share our money and time together, but now, mainly due to ill health, my wife and I live 10 minutes walk down the road. And I miss the life.

Perhaps it is good for me, for us. I'm sure I am learning lessons about resting more,  finding grace to let things go, standing more on my own, and giving myself solely to my wife. However, it feels like nothing compared to being joined heart and soul in word and deed to other Christians.

Nonetheless, 3 times I've felt the Lord say, 'let go'. I must obey, even if it is for a short time. For how can I move into His future if I do not let go of my past?


Seasons Part 2 - Jesus Army Life

At the turning of the year we had a time of prophesying into the future.

How do you do that? I can hear some people ask. Well, its simple really, you er... um... okay, it's difficult to explain but the Bible says:
You can all prophesy
1 Corinthians 14:31

And we kinda work on that basis.

Anyway, one of my friends spoke about how she felt we'd experienced a time of things dying as a community together, a shaking of our roots, (see Seasons Part 1) and that this had been followed by a year of Winter. 2012, she proposed, would be a time of Spring.

Perhaps it's too early to say, but I believe she was spot on. It seems as if new life is springing up everywhere: in old relationships, in new friendships, in new determination to get things done, even in the miraculous. There's a sense of adventure in the air as we feel our purpose returning.

I heard someone else say that enemies of the church would like to see her 'parked'. In other words not moving anywhere, just staying as she is. But you can't stop the momentum of God, yes, things can slow down and even die, but the life we celebrate together has something of the eternal about it. We just need to have the courage to keep pushing forwards.

Here's a little something which describes the purpose and heart of this blog so powerfully. It's called Seasons (See if you can spot me and my wonderful new wife in it...)