God speaks in silence

I find peoples addiction to their phone a strange phenomena. I fail to understand the need to be “in touch” with everyone, at all times through the use of the internet. My son recently visited from the UK and he and his friend seemed incapable of having a moment of any day when a phone or laptop was not connected wirelessly to the world way beyond my little home in NE India. To be fair at times we went where there was simply no network to be accessed and so in those moments they somehow managed to cope only to get online asap upon arriving back at the house.

In saying I failed to understand I confess I was in fact concerned with the pressure that such incessant contact put upon their soul. It was a world which seemed to lack peace, there was no sense of tranquility, it was not a relaxed environment to be part of. Thinking became little more than handling and processing of information, an answer was only a few touches away. Meditation and contemplation was rarely done, and if it was t was only in the light of information not revelation.

I worry about a generation of such people. A reliance on the ability to “know” something is an easy opt out clause for the depth of relationship that can be achieved with God only by revelation and time spent in contemplation.

Fortunately I am not alone in such thinking, 75 year old David Wells agrees with me! I recently listened to a podcast, Six Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, on the Desiring God website. This is part of Tony Reinke’s introduction,

My iPhone is such a part of my daily life, I rarely think self-reflectively about it. That’s precisely what concerns David Wells, 75, a careful thinker who has watched trends in the church for many decades.

Wells asks Christians to consider the consequences of the smartphone. “What is it doing to our minds when we are living with this constant distraction?” he said recently in an interview. “We are, in fact, now living with a parallel universe, a virtual universe that can take all of the time we have. So what happens to us when we are in constant motion, when we are addicted to constant visual stimulation? What happens to us? That is the big question.

The podcast offers some suggestions in answer to the question posed above and I do not want to add to that list.

However I would encourage you, strongly urge might be a better way of putting it, take time off from your phone, laptop and other communication devices every day. And try to fast from them for at least half a day every week.

My expectation is that you will find more of God in the silence of non-communication.

Preaching notes – LTCi Chapel Service 11th July 2014

Why was Paul obsessed with knowing Christ (and why should we be)?

GK Chesterton, “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair”

1. Because Jesus is the supreme source of revealing God 

Heb 1:1-3

Radiance – shining brightness, brilliance, the blazing glory, the splendour

2. Because he is the author and perfecter of the life we are called to

Heb 12:1-3

Do you want to know how to live this life, really live it? He wrote the book – he is the book

 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

3. Because I belong to him – and him alone

Gal 2:20…I have been crucified

1 Cor 6:19…you are not your own

Ravi Zacharias: Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.

You were not made by or for anyone or anything else – and nothing else is worthy of your life

4. Because there is no other proclamation or source of glory

2 Cor 4:5…for what we proclaim is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord 

Gal 6:14…may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

5. Because we are called to abide in him

continue, remain, survive, last, persist, stay, hold on, live on…

John 15:4-10 ESV

…and without him you can do NOTHING

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 

6. Because he is the goal and because only through him do we get resurrection

Prov 29:18

We are called to be obsessed by Jesus – consider…

Heb 12:2 — fix your eyes on Jesus

Heb 3:1— fix your thoughts on Jesus

Our life ends that his life might shine forth – and in that way we find our fulfilment and bear much fruit – by simply abiding in him

Php 3 (TM)

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.