The Drive To Get A Right Move On

Writing these blogs does not always come easy. I don’t feel the pressure to have to write something. If that happens I know that it’s a misuse of time putting something together to write about it.

Over the past few weeks there just happens to have been a decent thread of issues to whet my writing appetite. So to varying degrees of success, I have been able to post something. Coming across Psalm 146 again recently, has fired up a whole new series of matters to blog about, which I was all set to to do as of today.

Yet.

I have the great pleasure and privilege of being part of a home fellowship. The beauty of home fellowship is that not only is it in the home but it is a great way of feeling at home with people who are brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s not always obvious that I am a part of a family in a construct that was never designed to scream family, but other things like crowd, audience and spectators.

Anyway, in the home group, among other things, we got to sharing about matters of the heart and that’s a beautiful thing about being family – the space to be able to do that. As we shared, I reflected on what drives us. What is it that really gets us going? Of the various factors that could drive us, we as a group renewed our desire to be driven by a desire to pursue the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is the only thing that can ever truly satisfy. Being driven by that desire is about having the desire to be like Jesus and letting the same Spirit that inspired and lead him be the same that motivates and drives us.

As we’re driven by that, it makes sense that we will never truly accept the status quo as long as it doesn’t line up with the reality of the Kingdom. We won’t accept that in our own lives, we won’t settle for that in the lives of our loved ones, we won’t applaud that in the lives of the world around us. His Kingdom come and His will done is something that gets us moving on and right move on it is too.

2017 has featured a number of goals and desires I had, which God has allowed to happen, not for me to get all giddy on getting my heart’s desires, but to trust Him more in pursuing His. So I really want to see His Kingdom and will done in my life, in the life of my family, the community of grace to which I belong and the city in which I live. I want it to be experienced by brothers and sisters around the world and by strangers and enemies close to home and in distant lands.

It is something that gives me the drive to get a right move on.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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This Is God – Revisiting Psalm 146

There are some things in life that are really obvious. Things like, the start of the year is January and the end of the year is December. That’s obvious.

Yet here I am approaching the end of November and it’s really dawning on me that the end of the year is near. I watched a movie at the cinema recently and on leaving was reflecting on how many films I’ve watched this year so far.

What does that have to do with revisiting Psalm 146? That’s a good question to ask. Recently I was reading Psalm 146 again and was really taken with its content to such an extent that I wanted to write about it. Then it occurred to me that for the first 150 days of the year, I had be making my way through the Psalms and so on Day 146 I had written something about. Here it is for your reading pleasure. Go ahead and read it. I’ll be right here when you’re done.

The beauty about reading this Psalm again, though, was in seeing what it says about our God. I touched on the faithful aspect of God in the previous piece and mentioned in passing some of the other aspects of Him that are revealed in this scripture. What really intrigues me on this reading, however, is just how much God is a one who cares for His creatures, with particular note on the often marginalised.

There’s something in the list of those He looks out for that, for me reading it, nudges at what He means when He says He loves the righteous. The righteous would share the same concerns that God addresses in the rest of the Psalm. Their righteousness is not measured by adhering to a moral code based on things to avoid. This righteousness is about sharing the heart to see justice for the oppressed, see the hungry fed, look out for the orphan and the elderly. So much spiritual, social, physical and relational in how God reveals Himself and as a result what He expects from those who are His image bearers.

Don’t get me wrong – this Psalm is all about showing off about how great God is and what He does. Knowing this is the God we serve is massively reassuring. There is something about this, though that develops not just a trust in Him in a passive way as though we just keep our fingers crossed when bad things happen. There’s a trust in God to depend on Him and long to see that kind of rule manifest in our present age. If that is a desire, it changes our approach to wrong from either neglecting it or berating to being more compassionate and responsive.

That’s what I got from revisiting this particularly Psalm. As time passes by and I recollect what movies I’ve watched this year, I also reflect on the goodness of God that I have experienced this year, which is of vastly greater significance. Even in that reflection, looking at how great God is and what He does in my life and those of others motivates me to want to see Him do that more and be available whenever He calls me to be involved.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Now Where Do I Begin?

There is a saying in the culture that life begins at 40.

My initial reaction to that was, obviously no one was paying attention to what had been going on in the previous 39 years. Getting over that reaction, I then moved on to consider the question: if that is the case, where do I begin?

Well there’s no better place to begin that with praise and thanksgiving.

I have made it to the age where life apparently begins, but now I consider the previous 39 years and I am so grateful. Grateful for the faithfulness and goodness of God expressed all over my life. I am grateful for His goodness when I patently did not deserve it. I am grateful for a brilliant family – both those in my household now and the household of my parents when I was growing under their care. I am grateful for the extended family who may not share the same surname, ethnicity or even support the same football team but they have nevertheless been vital parts of family for me over the years.

I am extremely grateful for the gifts and abilities that have been given to me that I have been able to apply at points in my life. To be able to be a vehicle to transport the positive things I have been able to carry across in my time on earth thus far has been an enormous privilege.I am also very grateful to have observed some brilliant people at work and doing life and learning much from them. Life is better done together for sure and seeing this work itself out in small settings through men and women being transparent about the joys and pains of life have left a distinct mark in my life.

All good things that I have experienced have come from God. I love Him so much and I want to grow in living Him. My desire is to be pleasing to Him and reflect that in loving relationships. Recognising being a member, a minister, a messenger and a missionary is just the start of getting on with sharing the love. I do want to share that love and see others likewise desire to grow and know the Lord Jesus Christ.

He has done so much for me, it’s the best place to begin in any endeavour of life.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Missionary

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a missionary from and for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus hardly spoke about anything else. His entire life was about the mission – He was very clear about it.. He declared it, He demonstrated it. His call was for anyone following Him to also be about the mission of declaring and demonstrating just what the rule of God on the earth looks like.

For some time in the church circles that I grew up in, the focus was about being saved. Being saved was seen as a one off moment and once the line was crossed to ‘be saved’ there was the matter of living up to the morality of the church. A lot of it tended to be a bit defensive. There was a kind of reluctance to get engaged with the world and more of a desire to stick to our own to maintain the purity of our beliefs. Surprisingly very little was talked about the Kingdom of God. Likewise there was little indication that following Christ meant getting involved in the same mission as He was.

In a way it can appear rather appealing. You make a decision, you’re now in the club, you just got to keep yourself in the club and watch yourself from going out of the club and patiently wait as the inevitable end approaches and then you can leave all this behind. It’s a life with little in the way of much hassle. It’s just not the life that Jesus calls His followers to.

Among other things we can see about the life of Jesus, it definitely wasn’t one of safely patiently waiting until the inevitable end. As He was sent on the mission, so His followers are on the mission. That mission seeks to impact and influence a world corrupted by the kingdom of darkness so they can clearly see the alternative is breaking though in the Kingdom of light.

Looking after the elderly, visiting the lonely, supporting the prisoner, feeding the hungry, being a voice to the voiceless, advocating for the disenfranchised, loving each other as He loved us. Those are some of the expressions of the Kingdom to which we belong and to which we are called to be missionaries. Every member of the Body of Christ, gets to use their gifts to minister others and in doing so get to share their message they have. They do not have a message to drop off alone. The Kingdom reality is one that is clearly demonstrated in ways that shows clearly that God rules – in healing, delivering and restoring, He establishes His rule clearly.

I appreciate the challenge in being a missionary, though. Especially as it’s been referred to as a specialist subject designed for specialist Christians with their specialist knowledge. As we pat them on the back and tel them to get on with it, we can just slink back into safe and unperturbed waiting for the inevitable end. The only issue with this is that it is no way indicated in scripture. Seeking first the Kingdom and His righteousness – – is about looking for ways God answers our prayers for His kingdom to come and will be done. He has a great way of doing that, by putting us to fulfil the purpose for which we’re here by fulfiling the ultimate purpose for which He has called us.

Being a missionary really is not the sole preserve for the brave types going into the places yet to be reached by the gospel. Being a missionary is just as much about how you’re a Kingdom ambassador wherever you go. Every day we have opportunities to be about the business of prioritising the mission.

I remain grateful for significant influences throughout my life who pointed me to the implications of Kingdom first. I am grateful about the reality that this makes me a man on a mission, just like the example I follow was an mission. It calls for much to rely on Him, but once that takes place following His lead becomes more of a delight.

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a missionary of and for the Kingdom of God.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Messenger

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

True story. I loved journalism. For a while I wanted to be a journalist. In fact at one time I was seriously studying towards a career in it. One of the things I liked about journalist was the opportunity to apply my love of words to report on current events. I love the thought of reporting and sharing the news.

Though that ambition was not realised, I have been given a greater opportunity to share the news. As a member of the Family of God which is the Body of Christ, I have the privilege of being a minister of Jesus Christ. Being a good servant of the Lord includes carrying out the calling to be a messenger. Indeed every follower of Jesus is given the clear instruction to be about the business of being a messenger.

The good thing is, though, that in a world full of negative messages, we get to share the best news in the world ever. We get to share the good news that Jesus is Lord. We get to share the good news that He has overcome the powers of sin, death and the devil to establish the eternal kingdom based on righteousness, peace and love. We get to share this good news and invite people to accept it and so get in on the action of embracing this Kingdom in every day. They get to see for themselves the difference between this glorious Kingdom of light and the Kingdom of darkness that in comparison they were only stumbling and fumbling about in.

Sure, it’s unfortunate, that for whatever reason not every follower of Jesus is quite on board with the instruction to share the good news. And not everyone does a good job of backing up the news as though it really is good news for them. Sure – that’s unfortunate. Yet this is to be expected with such an enterprise – always going to be a few people who didn’t quite the memo, always going to be the odd person who didn’t quite understand. For the most, though, this is the sort of news that when you think about it gets easier to share.

Look at the news! Look at this glorious news! Look at this – from a rule of slavery to sin, there comes this Redeemer, there comes this Saviour, there comes this Lord and Master. Here He comes and He says He rules with righteousness and justice. He says He is the Resurrection and the Life – so we need not die in His rule. He says He is the Bread of Life – so we need not hunger any more in His rule. He says He is the Light of the World – so we need not experience darkness in His rule. He says He is the Gate – so we can have free access to our Father in His rule. He says He is the Good Shepherd – so we can be assured of nurturing and protection in His rule. He says He is the Way, Truth and the Life – so we need not stumble around with lies, mis-directions and the disaster that is death. He says He is the True Vine – so we can flourish in all fruitfulness in His rule.

This is great news!! Who on earth would want to satisfy themselves with the grim morsels of gossip and chew on the dreary fat of malice, when they can feast on this news of life to the full as they look and live?

It may not have worked out for my ambition to be a journalist as I hoped. Getting to deliver this good news, though, through the variety of means available from a chat in the local pub to a blog read around the world, from WhatsApp messages to telephone calls, it’s brilliant.

This is not a passing fad or a trend popular for the moment – this is the eternal truth. The good news remains the good news whether you choose to accept it or not, but it’s great when you get the chance to do it having heard it. So thank God for the feet of those blessed with the privilege of sharing the good news – our God reigns!

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Minister

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saying that can sound rather conceited in certain religious circles. Calling yourself a minister comes with certain expectations and perceptions derived a great deal from various traditions and cultures. So allow me to be clear in what I mean.

I am a servant of Jesus Christ.

My understanding of what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ is to be His servant. Yeah, you’re His brother. Yeah you’re His friend. But yeah, you’re His servant. That means that I am His servant. I serve at His beck and call. As I said, however, that really should be the case for any follower of Jesus Christ. It’s unfortunate that the term has now been used to distinguish some followers from others almost as though some are servants where others are not. That distinction quite clearly isn’t the case in scripture. Members of the family of God which is the Body of Christ are implicitly called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, it’s kind of in the term ‘Lord’. If He is the Lord that would suggest He has servants.

The amazing thing about this experience, however, is that our Lord is the Chief Servant. He is not calling us to do anything He Himself hasn’t done. When He tells us to forgive, it’s because He forgives. When He tells us to treat the least as though they are more important than us, it’s because in His ministry – His service – on earth the Creator of the Universe did just that. He tells us to serve only after He showed us what it is to serve. Likewise the point of being a member of the Body of Christ is that as servants of Christ we are called to serve each other. What makes the love we have so outstanding is when its expressed in the delight to serve each other. Then there’s the treasure and wonder that is serving the world around us. All of that serving is what it is to be a minister. There is no difference.

I had the great privilege of seeing the servant heart of being a minister personally in the form of my Dad. I saw this man diligently carry on serving others without looking for any praise or acknowledgement at all – primarily because he knew that in serving others He was serving the Lord and there is great delight in being pleasing to the Lord who did so much in serving you.

There was something that helped me tremendously when I ‘decided to follow Jesus’. The call to serve is not always obvious in certain religious circles especially if you expect to be served. You have turned up to a ‘service’ expecting to be served. You place a tag of ‘minister’ on someone and avoid it yourself and expect that ‘minister’ to serve you. Meanwhile other concepts of ‘minister’ is more like a boss who functions to give instructions to those who for whatever reason they feel should be serving them. It gets messy in a hurry.

This is why the example of our Lord is so inspirational and motivational just when it gets so tough to recognise and live up to that call to be a minister. To know He is not looking sternly over you as though you constantly disappoint Him, but actually is even willing to wash your feet in order to prepare you to run with the gospel that liberates you to serve. It is truly amazing. It in itself makes serving others more rewarding as you do it to Christ.

Unsurprisingly then, it’s one of my greatest delights to come across other followers of Jesus who embrace the call to serve. They don’t wait for ‘permission to serve’ seeing as though it was given at the time they were filled with the Spirit. They are then enabled to serve their family in the faith, their neighbourhood, their workplace, and the world around them in a variety of ways all because of what Jesus has done for them and recognising His Lordship over their lives, they willingbly submit to being His servant for the glory of the Father. I love it. It inspires me and challenges me to keep pursuing this natural flow of what it is to be a member of His family.

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

What Kind Of Man Are You? In Pursuit Of Peace

Peace or pride.

Among other terms of reference for Jesus is the Prince of Peace. This is helpful for those who follow Him as He went on to say that those who are peacemakers are likewise referred to as sons of God. Peace is a big deal to God.

The responsibility of man to look after the earth specifically by subduing it was to bring it to order, not let it get wild and loose and to best utilise the resources that would bring out the best in creation. He was called to make peace in the garden as its keeper. Enjoying and sustaining the wholeness experienced in the garden was the first call to be a peacemaker. Messing that up inevitably called for greater works of peace to take place. Not only were there the natural order to keep in check, now mankind had problems with themselves, namely their tendency to wreck peace.

You have heard it said that religion has caused a lot of wars. A lot of what’s wrong in the world is placed at the doorstep of the various religions and faiths that have cropped up over the years. There’s good reason for that claim too as people declare the need to go on conquests and crusades because that’s what God told them to do. It’s a useful construct until its dismantled.

When it is dismantled, the truth of the matter is that wars have happened because men have not craved for peace. Men may have used religion as a vehicle, but history shows that they just needed to have something in them to make them feel superior to the other. Men have just needed that feeling of being better than the other and slighted by the fact that the other person is around.

The same issue that caused man to tear away from fruitful and peaceful life with God is the same issue that causes man to see his neighbour as the enemy who needs to be conquered or crushed. It stems simple from pride.

Jesus lived a life free from pride because of His complete dependence on God. That made Him the best example possible of a peacemaker. Unsurprisingly, though, when men without peace saw a man living in peace and bringing it to others, that only evoked that sense of a threat and desire to wipe Him out. They crucified Him. They went onto to kill others who were a threat to the status quo by their desire to believe the Man of peace and usher in that peace in their actions in the world.

Peacemakers are a threat to pride.

They are a threat because they see the way of God is not seen by self-exaltation, but by everything and everyone being nourished and nurtured to blossom in their own way. The peacemaker in looking for the wellbeing of the other and not the self is a threat to the mentality that idolises the self above all things. The peacemaker in seeing that wholeness is the harmony and submissive interplay of all creation is a danger to the one that wants everything to be revolved around self-gratification.

Yet this peace is unstoppable. Even though they crucified the Prince of Peace, He rose triumphantly from the grave. Even though they shed the blood of the followers of this Prince, the blood merely inspired others to see the blessing in pursuing this peace. When Stephen asked God not to hold the sin against those stoning him, the gesture of peace and forgiveness in contrast to the violent brutality of apparent men of God was noted by one condoning the stoning. So when Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul that act of peacemaking among others may have influenced his own instruction to Timothy to make the pursuit of peace a dominating priority.

The pride in man does not want to pay the price for peace. The Prince of Peace not only was delighted to pay the price, His invitation to demolish pride is a gateway to establishing a peace that surpasses all understanding. Embracing this truth makes the pursuit of this peace a must for men who truly want to live up to that standard of real manhood set for them by the King of Glory who took on flesh and lived with us.

To see a world of peace requires the ongoing death to pride. This is a price worth paying to see what Jesus indicated in His many acts of peacemaking – a world where the Kingdom of heaven is seen on the earth ushered in by those who make peace.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden