A Passion for Life – Day 6

Woke up at six with a chronic head ache. Took it as a sign that I shouldn’t go to the R ‘n’ B and Hip Hop evening tonight! I was never going. I’m thrilled that we’re doing it, but I’m not going. Bit too much like your Dad dancing at the school disco. Not that mine ever did that, good man!

Stopped work mid-morning to witness Diggers’ first performance in an assembly. He’d been cast in the role of the Daddy Bear. They were doing Goldilocks. He remembered all his lines, delivered them with all the expertise of a seasoned pro and made his father very proud. Rosslyn had a surgery so she missed out. Headed off into town to meet up with Lee in Nero’s. We’re co-leading Saturday’s meeting. We worked through the full script of what we’re going to say and how all the consituent elements of the evening fit together. There’s a lot that’s happening, which to my mind means that there’s a lot that can go wrong!

Treated myself to a Croque Monsieur in Gazette. I’d earnt it! I love sitting in Balham reading, writing and observing. So I sat outside to eat. The town centre seemed unusually busy for a Friday lunchtime. I wondered how many go about their business with no saving knowledge of Christ. It’s probably because I’m preparing a sermon on Luke 13, but I did want to ask ‘Lord, are they few who will be saved?’ It seems that way, doesn’t it? Most people in this neck of the woods have either never heard the gospel in a way that they can understand or they’ve dismissed it out of hand. There seem to be so few followers of Christ in this part of the world at this stage of history. It was revealing that when we did the filming people were comfortable with other people bothering with Jesus but saw no need to bother with Him themselves. People simply failed to see the relevance of Jeus to their own existence. As a church, we’ve got lots of work to do. But wonderfully, this week has shown that there are lots of opportunities and people are more willing than we might have anticipated to talk about spiritual things. The street questionnaires that we’ve got planned for a few weeks’ time could turn up some interesting conversations and contacts. I’m convinced that we need to reach out to Balham more than we are. We may not have friends who live here but why would we limit our evangelism to our friends. Wasn’t that Jonah’s mistake?

Keep hearing positive feedback from people at CCB who brought friends to events; texts, phonecalls and e-mails. Some seem surprised by the positive response from people who came! Theire guests have enjoyed it and that was unexpected! We’ve become too negative in our expectations. What’s not to enjoy about a man like John Lennox dealing with the whole science issue in a way that’s responsible and helpful?

Worked on the sermons in the afternoon and got them to a place where I could leave them for a bit of final fine tuning over the weekened.

Got the kids down after Bible story. Rosslyn went to bed at 8pm feeling rough. I ate alone! Caught a bit of Sport Relief, parts of which were very funny and other parts were hugely moving. The most hard hitting mini documentaries were those by Russell Brand and Chris Moyles. Images of twelve year old kids caring for their two younger brothers because both parents have died does something to you. Made me wish we could depict a soul suffering eternal torment in hell.  The BBC have worked out that if you want to get the British public to dig deep into their pockets then showiung the horrific reality of some people’s lives will put our ‘sacrifice’ in context. We can’t take a picture eternal suffering torment even though it’s for real. But one of the things we need to keep ever before us is the horrific fate of those that die without Christ. The lukewarmness of our evangelistic lives, mine included, can only be helped by a healthy dose of eternal reality. We need to recapture the deep seated conviction that hell is real, that’s it’s eternal and that it’s horrible. If I’m convinced of these things then I can’t be a detached bystander as life moves on. Went to bed with these things on my mind.

4 thoughts on “A Passion for Life – Day 6

  1. IanM March 21, 2010 / 5:53 pm

    Hi, great blog, stumbled across it last week after attending God Confusion. This question is off topic but I wondered if you could help. I’m a newish Christian and was stumped by a question from my nine-year-old daughter this morning, namely, did Judas go to Hell? I said yes but then she pointed out that by betraying Jesus he was fulfilling God’s plan (ie it was pre-ordained) and then he felt guilty about it afterwards (ie repented) .. so was he forgiven? My answer was ‘Er, I’ll get back to you on that’. Now I’m sure this question is an old chestnut but I wondered what your take on it was

    • theurbanpastor March 22, 2010 / 9:34 am

      Hi Ian
      Nice easy one to start off with then! Here’s my first draft. In language appropriate to a Dad, not a daughter!
      Your daughter is of course right, Judas did fulfil God’s plan as did the Roman soldiers, the religious leaders and Pontius Pilate. But that doesn’t mean that he’s not responsible for his actions. I find Genesis 50:20 helpful in understanding how there are two compatible persepctives on reality; Joseph says to his brothers ‘you intended it for harm but God intended it for good’. In the one event; him being sold into slavery there were two intents. Jospeh’s brothers were total toerags and they were wicked in what they did. They had evil intent. But God is so magnificent that he uses even evil intent to accomplish his great plan of salvation; namely the saving of many Israelite lives. That God has his intentions in their sin makes them no less culpable.
      Over on Third Mill, in an answer to a related question Ra McLaughlin says this
      ‘… Judas himself probably is in hell. In Mark 14:21 Jesus says it would have been better for Judas never to have been born, which does not seem easy to reconcile with the idea that Judas is in heaven. In John 17:12, speaking to God, Jesus adds that he kept the other disciples “in your name that you have given me,” but that he did not keep Judas in this way, with the result that Judas, the son of perdition, was lost. Not having been kept in the divine name is probably equivalent to never having been saved. The Greek word for “perdition” means “destruction” or “hell,” so that Judas was the “son of hell,” which would also seem to indicate that Judas is in hell.
      Hope that’s helpful, or at least a start!

  2. IanM March 24, 2010 / 9:38 pm

    Thank you, that’s helpful. The question arose because my daughter has been studying Easter at school and had to draw six key scenes leading up Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, with a description of each. One of them was Judas’s kiss of betrayal.
    It was encouraging to read about the success of your AP4L events despite the occasional disappointment or setback. We have Roger Carswell speaking at out AP4L events this week. Well done and keep up the good work – and have a great Easter.

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