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Posted By Nan

At the end of the last entry I asked you to read three readings from Luke 10.
The first reading, Luke 10:20 reminds us to rejoice, not that spirits submit to us, but that our names are written in heaven. So often in some churches, great emphasis is placed on possessing the terminology of high brow spirituality with great showy prayers and ministry. Yet here, we are reminded that what is important is that our names are written in heaven. Forget the smug displays of virtue. Remember who wrote our names in heaven!
Luke 10:25-37 is the story of the Good Samaritan. Before you say “I know this one” look at it again. It starts with an expert of the law, no doubt wanting to show how clever he is, asking how Jesus reads the law. His answer is to reiterate what is written in Deuteronomy 6:5. “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and Love your neighbour as yourself” (v 27). The expert, still wanting to be commended for his wonderful insights, asks “Who is my neighbour?” In answer, Jesus tells about a Jew, mugged and left for dead on the road. As he lay in his terrible state, a priest walked by and, seeing him, crossed to the other side of the road. Then a Levite came by and did the same. Lastly a Samaritan came by. He saw the injured man and, moved by love at his plight, came to his assistance. He cleaned the man’s wounds using his own precious supplies of oil and wine, then bandaged them. He placed the man on his donkey and took him to an inn where he looked after the man. When he had to leave, he left money with the innkeeper and asked him to look after him, promising to reimburse him for any additional expenses when he returned. Jesus asked the smug man who was the neighbour and he, downcast, admitted the man who had shown mercy. I guess the point Jesus was making was that it is not our pious promises or our perfect services but our actions that mark us as a good neighbour. Jesus admonished the man (and us) to go and do likewise.
In reading this I am reminded of a story I heard in Sunday School. An old woman had a well behind her house. One day she drew water from the well and it tasted awful. She decided this was because the well was old and shabby, so she replaced the housing. The water still tasted awful. The woman decided the surrounds were ugly, so she planted a beautiful garden around it. Still the water tasted awful! Eventually a man came and cleaned out the inside of the well. Inside he found a dead cat. The moral of the story is that it is not the outward appearance that matters but what is inside. Looking wholesome and squeaky clean with services that run like clockwork and are polished is like the outside of the well. There is still a dead cat inside and the water still tastes awful!
The final verses of Luke 10:38-41 are about Mary and Martha. Jesus arrives at their house to stay. The ever practical Martha busies herself making sure everything is perfect. She industriously cleans and cooks. To her annoyance her sister is worshipping at Jesus’ feet! Although Martha’s industry was commendable, Jesus pointed out to her that so much of what she was doing was unnecessary. He said Mary had chosen the right thing. Sometimes in our hurry to have everything turn out well and to have the outward appearance of being dutiful Christians with everything in our immaculately presented church services running smoothly, we forget that this does not impress Jesus. What impresses Him is us sitting at His feet in worship.
So God wants us to concentrate on worshipping Jesus. He wants us to be Good Samaritans and Mary. He is not interested in polished services and immaculate churches. He doesn't want any dead cats in our wells!

A question - during the peace do you greet everyone, especially those you don’t know? Or do you see this as a chance to catch up on the gossip?

Next entry I am looking at Luke 12:35-48 and 14:15-34.

 
Posted By Nan

At the end of the last entry, I challenged you to read some bible passages. I am going to start by talking about them.
In Luke 5:5 Jesus asked Simon Peter and his companions to let down their nets. Simon Peter tells Jesus that “because you say so” he will do as Jesus says. The result is nets so full they can’t be loaded into the boats. Before commencing my study of the question on church membership, I asked God where in the Bible I should search. His answer was in Luke. This is the first reading from Luke that sent a message to me. When living our lives, we need to be mindful of God’s leading and do things “because you say so”. My reading of this passage is that the answer to my question on church membership will ultimately revolve around following God’s direction because He says so. The direction isn’t clear yet, but my response to it is.
Luke 6:32-33 speaks of how even ‘sinners’ love those who love them and do good to those who do good to them. This passage speaks to me of how we as Christians are expected to help the ungrateful and the nasty. Whoa, that is a hard one. Who wants to do that? Because he says so we must do it. I also believe it is telling churches they should stop sitting in their fat complacency and greet newcomers to the church, going that extra mile to include them. Not because they want to, but because God told them to.
In Luke 6:38 we are told that if we give, we will receive abundance in return. Giving of our time, hospitality, patience, love will be rewarded with an abundance of returns. Are you prepared to be given your measure? If you receive it what will it be? Sit with God and honestly, earnestly, seek His answer.
Luke 7:44b-47 is a particularly challenging piece for pious churchgoers. It speaks of the outsider who poured her love on Jesus, while the established ‘virtuous’ rejected her. How many churches do just that? How often do the members of a church reject the outsider who wanders in to church and pours their love for Jesus out while the church members sit in their hardness and prejudice in the pews not even acknowledging Jesus?
A wonderful old man told me of a time, he met a famous evangelist . The Evangelist asked him how he knew he was saved. The man answered: “Because I have gone to church all my life.”
The Evangelist responded with: “That won’t save you.”
The man replied: “My parents, my grandparents they all went to church, how could I not be saved?”
The Evangelist answered: “Until you accept that you have sinned and can never enter God’s presence, and until you acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross to wash away those sins so you can enter God’s presence, you are not saved.”
This encounter transformed the man's walk with God. He had never understood, because no one had ever told him, that his walk with God was personal and he had to make a personal decision for himself.
How many generational churches teach their children this? How many young people in generational churches are still stumbling in darkness, believing that the warm fuzzy they get from belonging to this community means they are saved? What resilience does their childish belief have when the world challenges them?
Adult Christians need to give children the freedom to question and understand their faith. Instead of feeling threatened by their questions, encourage them to seek God’s answers. Trust them, and trust God to guide them to His answers. Teach them they must have a personal relationship with God and form an individual understanding of who God is and how He impacts on their life. Give them the opportunity to follow God’s will “because He said so” not because of community pressure on them.
If you have any thoughts on my blog entry I welcome your input.
In the next blog entry, I will be discussing Luke 10:20, 25-27, 38-41 and Luke 12:35-48.

 
Posted By Nan

When I first decided to write this blog I had so many ideas for entries. As I planned teh entries, one idea stood out as being of great importance. This was the issue of church membership. The urgency of this discussion has been emphasised through conversations I have had with a number of people recently. These people had been rejected by their churches because they had questions about their faith. As young people they had, quite rightly, questioned how their faith fitted in to the world about them. This is normal, and a church sensitive to Jesus’ example, will mentor young people and help them to find the answers to their questions. Sadly, there seem to be few churches that are able to do this. Instead, what happens to these young people is that they are told to blindly follow the church’s teaching. If they persist in asking questions, they are thrown out of the church.
I had an experience one day, where I listened as a young man, with tears in his eyes, told me the story of how his church put him in a position of leading the younger teens without support. When these teens and this young man had questions he was told to stick to the church’s doctrine. He didn’t have the tools to do this and wasn’t sure whether he agreed with the church’s doctrine. So he was thrown out of the church. The hurt he expressed over this long past experience of being thrown out was so obvious. I felt a righteous anger welling in me for the way this precious son of God had been treated. I had a very strong sense that God was angry at the way this boy was treated and welcomed his questions.
I myself have been a member of many churches which my husband and I have left because of unchristian behaviour in the church. We have never actually been thrown out of a church, but I have been removed from the preaching roster because the elders in the church didn’t like my sermons, despite the fact that visitors to the church were contacting me to ask for copies of my “inspiring” words. I find myself currently in a church that is little more than a Sunday social club. Actually I have already described the church so I won’t repeat myself. I have always sought to belong to a church because I was always taught that you should. Lately, however, I have met so many wonderful Christians who don’t belong to a church, and so many people hurt and turned away from God by churches, that I have questioned the need for church membership. I took time out recently to spend time reading the New Testament and praying, seeking God’s answer to this question. My findings on this will be presented over the next several blog entries.
In the meantime, if you would like to join in this analysis, please read Luke 5:5; Luke 6:32-33, 38; Luke 7:44b-47 and meditate on these verses and what God is saying to you through them.

 
Posted By Nan
In C. S. Lewis’s book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, there is a scene where the children ask Beaver if Aslan is safe. Beaver replies “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King”.
How many churches know God that way? I am not talking here about knowledge of doctrine. I am talking about a personal relationship with and understanding of God.
‘St Josephine the Penitent’ is very comfortable. Generations of families worship there. The long serving ministers are very settled. They are sad to see that around their beautiful church, there is a community of lost people. They go to conferences, listen to inspirational speakers, hold prayer vigils and write screeds in their parish newsletter. But they cannot discover how to reach out.
Once a messenger from God arrived. All attempts to pass on God’s message were dealt with in one of three ways. The first was to listen indulgently and immediately forget. The next was to listen, deliberate and then action the message with the credit being given to ministry team members. The third was to totally reject the message as being ‘too hard’ or ‘not something we do here’.
What did God want to tell this church? He wanted to tell them they lacked the spirit of hospitality.
What does it mean? It means a lot more than just saying hello to a newcomer and paying a little attention to them. It means a lot more than setting up an occasional group who have morning tea, or a theatre outing. It means a lot more than setting up a program where people are supposed to contact others but don’t. It means a lot more than having post church coffee where people stand in little cliques, backs to newcomers.
True hospitality is an attitude of mind. It includes possessing a deep love for others. It involves making a choice, seeing newcomers and genuinely welcoming them. It involves a willingness to include them in your life if need be. It can involve putting aside your own activities to do something for them. It involves getting out of your comfort zone.
The best example is Jesus. He put aside His own needs to spend time with people. He still achieved his ministry goals, but along the way he made himself open to others.
So many Christians say “I am far too busy.” Satan scored well when he got people to believe that one! It doesn’t take that much time to reach out to another person. I know. I’ve been doing it for years. What I have found is that God will always give you time to do what you have to do. I have known the joy of seeing people I took time out of my busy schedule to help, come to faith in God through Jesus. All this happened because I practised hospitality towards them. If more Christians did this then the community belief that Christians are hard, uncaring and judgemental would be dispelled.
Ok, so what does this have to do with the story about Aslan? The spirit of hospitality is a gift from God. In order to receive a gift from God, a person needs to earnestly want it. It has to be on their mind when they wake up, when they go to sleep, when they move through their day. They have to humble themselves before God, accept they need His help and ask Him for it.
What about safety? When you ask God for something you have to accept that His answer will not always be the one you want. Can you step outside your comfort zone and walk that dangerous path of true depth of faith in God?
Do you want to contemplate this message more? Then read Galatians 5:16-26 and ask yourself and God whether you really, deeply, truly demonstrate the fruit of the spirit.
 
Posted By Nan

When I was first presented with the Lotus flower as my symbol, I believed I had seen a water lily in darkness when it should have been in the light. I thought this symbolised some terrible darkness in me that had to be dispelled. Later I realised that what I saw was a Lotus flower. The sacred white Lotus flower of Egypt is in fact a waterlily. It opens its flowers at dusk, so it is always open at night. I imagine, on a dark night with no moon, the white flower must shine as a beacon by reflecting any available light. So the white lotus, pure, spiritual and set apart, becomes a light in the darkness.

Almost twenty years ago, God gave me the message that I was a prophet. Since then I have wondered whether I imagined it. I have never seemed to get anywhere along the path I imagined a prophet should take. People don’t listen to my messages. The few people I have told about this message have largely disbelieved me. Prophets are not women who have no seemingly appropriate qualification. They are not newcomers with a husband and children, they are mighty men with staggeringly impressive qualifications who run mighty ministries and are held in very high regard by the church establishment.

Since being given the vision of the white Lotus at night I have had independent confirmation that I am a prophet. The person who confirmed this knew nothing about God’s original message. They merely asked God what my gifts were and He told them. I see this as God confirming the original message at a point when He has a new task for me: Lotus Christian Ministries.

The path to this message has been a long one. It has involved me being given many wonderful experiences with my beloved Father in heaven. From the moment I first accepted Jesus as my saviour, stood in the presence of God’s mighty light and heard his voice speak to me, through being shown my grandfather in heaven and seeing Satan stalking Christians in prayer and laughing at me from the shoulder of people I was ministering to. It has led me to write my thoughts down and save them on my computer, because I cannot preach and give them to people. It has led me through trying to understand how I was to fulfil a message God gave me in 2008 to “reach out to those stumbling in darkness”. It has led me through commencing my studies to become a counsellor. It has brought me through the wonderful revelation that my desire to walk in Jesus’ footsteps makes counselling the obvious career path to take, because He was our counsellor, the first, original and best.

All the theology courses I have completed, the few sermons I have been able to give, all my witnessing and writing had appeared until recently to be of no value. I found myself in churches Knox, the children and I had prayed long and hard about. We believed and still believe that these churches are /were where God wants us to be. My mistake was deciding that it was in these churches that I would be able to use my gifts.

So what relevance does my commentary about church membership have to Lotus Christian Ministries? Trying to understand why God placed me in the various churches that obviously didn’t want to use my gifts has led me to this place. I don’t think I would have seen the path God had laid for me if I hadn’t found myself searching God for answers about church membership. My gifts are to be used by God in His way and one of the ways I am doing this is by establishing this blog.

The psychologist Jung believed all people shared a deep, hereditary knowledge of symbols he called archetypes. He saw them as a deep expression of man’s spirituality. My main archetype is a white lotus. I have other archetypes as well. Of course, in common with other Christians, I have the white dove of the Holy Spirit. This is why the symbol of Lotus Christian Ministries, is a cross with a Lotus at the bottom the white dove flying inwards near the top.

My love in Christ,
Nan


 

 

 
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Nan
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