Truth and the Christian Way: Gathering

The rows all point to the platform. On the platform is something they call a pulpit. The thinking is that everything that happens in the gathering will be geared towards the main event of someone standing at that pulpit and speaking from it to the others who will look on more or less quietly any noise they will make will usually be to encourage the speaker as he speaks.

The book that they rely on doesn’t refer to any of that as a guide of what should be happening when they meet. Yet should anyone challenge this, they will be met with great resistance and reference to statements made in the book taken in isolation out of context but conveniently to serve the purpose of reinforcing the status quo. To be fair, however, the arrangement appears to work for all the parties, because the spectators feel less under pressure being spectators rather than active participants. It’s cool, especially seeing as though that guy at the pulpit is the expert and they wouldn’t have a clue what to contribute because that guy should know.

It’s a neat arrangement and has been the case for generations, so why change it now?

Why indeed.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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Grateful for Prayer

Praying on my own has a lot of pleasant aspects to it. I do love it.

What I have grown to enjoy all the more this year, however, is the real joy to be found in praying with others. I love what others bring to prayer, how they pray and the insights they share in prayer. I learn so much from it all.

For example, there is something about believing that God will communicate with us as we talk to Him. Seeing that practised in intimate settings has had a profound impact on my faith. It wasn’t always that emphasised in the circles I was in when growing up and when I think about it, I think it’s a little sad.

Just like it’s a little sad that I’ve often viewed praying as a marathon where the person who prayed the longest wins. When actually some great brothers and sisters of mine have shown how brilliant short, concise and heartfelt can be.

Lots of things to be appreciated just by being in the company of others who can give so much in times of prayer. And that’s not even touching on the results of prayer that I have had the privilege of observing this year …

… So I am grateful for prayer. Ever endeavouring to keep on praying.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

November Remembered: A Dryden Update

Interestingly it took me a while to remember it was a new month, but when I was at work yesterday, I was baffled as to how things weren’t recognised as being in December. Odd.

Yet here we are a brand new month and the final month of the year 2017. Ahhhhh this is the time where things really ramp up in terms of preparing for the end of the year. Reviews are put together, folks clamour over a year end festival and shops are ready for the blitz of last minute panic purchases.

As the month goes on, it’s worth reflecting on the month of November. I am really grateful to God for the month it has been one of the best months of my life. Largely because of the birthday celebrations. More than that though, there were some really great experiences over the month.

So it’s worth just posting this to say how grateful I am by it and look forward to being a blessing to others. over this the final month of the year

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Something About Speaking The Truth In Love

Whilst roaming around looking for material for an upcoming project, I came across this video.

It is truly remarkable how much teaching we still need on the issue of communicating properly with each other. This video is designed for married couples, but there are lots of principles that can be applied to most relationships.

It saddens me to see relationships crumble because we just don’t know how to speak the truth in love. As long as there is God and His wisdom, there is hope that we can learn and will do to the glory of God.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Concern and Action

Wringing hands.

It’s an interesting gesture and it has its place from time to time. Yet sometimes I think it’s an excuse to cover up for inactivity. It’s the physical expression to support the verbal chunterings of how ‘things were better when …’ and ‘how things are getting worse and worse’.

There is something about being a follower of Jesus that makes these behaviours unacceptable. No point in just talking and wringing hands. Plenty of people are doing that and offering little more than hot air that changes nothing. It’s been my honour to have witnessed men and women who have done something about it. Motivated others to act through their gifts and character. They have invested their lives in getting among those who are oppressed by various issues of life, associating themselves with them and saying that they are committed to helping them with every breath of their being.

Mentoring at schools, prison visits, volunteering support in hospitals, playing chess at the elderly luncheon club. Offering a word of encouragement. Cleaning toilets where the residents abuse them regularly. Never giving up on people even when others have written them off.

There is something about the good news of Jesus that says the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven is not about waiting to get in a comfy building on a Sunday to sing songs, hear someone talk for an hour and then forget it thirty minutes later. It’s about all of life with the opportunity, not to wring hands, but get them dirty engaging in the mess of real life, with the love of God endeavouring to uphold the oppressed.

That’s just a thought.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

He Is Forever Faithful

So the other day I celebrated my birthday. To be fair, it was the longest birthday of my life. Most birthdays I’ve had last for a day – which is kinda what the point is meant to be. On this occasion, though, it felt as though my birthday lasted an entire week. This was largely thanks to my incredibly, amazingly outstanding and sacrificial wife.

One of the things about the birthday week of celebration was getting to reflect on the enduring faithfulness of God. I hear it said by others and can certainly attest to it myself – I really shouldn’t be alive today. I shouldn’t have such an incredibly, amazingly outstanding and sacrificial wife. I shouldn’t have such loyal, compassionate and devoted siblings. I shouldn’t have such brilliantly blessed daughters. I shouldn’t have people I call friends and family who have not blinked twice when the call has come to be a help in my time of need. There is nothing I have done and there is nothing about me at all that in any way deserves all of that. It’s really down to the faithfulness of God. These are realities in my life purely out of the faithfulness of God.

To give that context, too, His faithfulness has been there even when I didn’t have all that. I would be griping and moaning about what I didn’t have. I would complain about the bad things I was going through. In it all, God did not give up on me, in it all God did not leave me. I would blunder, I would stray, I would deliberately act against what I knew He told me and yet He didn’t reject me, His love and His goodness told me that He meant it when He said He was faithful.

It makes me marvel even more at how good God has been to my parents over these years. It makes me marvel even more how good God has been to characters like Paul, Peter, Moses, David, Abraham and Noah. It makes me marvel that in spite of it all, He really does remain faithful and truly great is that faithfulness.

There is something about that faithfulness too that has got to me to the extent that I don’t want to take it for granted. I don’t want to coast on it  as though I’m virtually guaranteed a win and don’t have to sweat it at all and can do what I like. I don’t want to get complacent.

I want to respond to that faithfulness … ooooohhhhh I have just the thing and another thing too!

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

About the Platform of Praise

Praise can be a platform.

A couple of years ago, I spoke with a very good friend of mine about life in Christ. He shared about how he had arranged some forums in which people could gather together and be supported. The types of gathering, he stated, was about being platform. The stage on which duties and actions can be performed in the right environment.

I had an experience recently that reminded me of what a key purpose can be of seeing praise as a platform. Praise in this sense is what it is to acknowledge and point out positive aspects through various means. When it comes to praising God this can involve words in speech, words in song, physical acts as well. All pointing to the remarkable qualities of God.

Considering this has to be done in recognising what praise is as part of our ongoing dialogue with God. This dialogue begins with seeing Him as the creator of the universe – everything around us and everything including us. We benefit from this reality. In the light of acknowledging this in its various facets, praise is a totally understandable response.

That praise stimulates further conversation. It highlights our engagement in it and encourages further response. God speaks to us in response to our praise. That response can be in terms of a warning, a correction, a rebuke or encouragement, affirmation and instruction for healing. Either way, praise is the platform to invite further divine conversation.

Why that is of significance, is that it should make us consider carefully if we really make the most of the platform. Sometimes we can just offer praise and leave it there. We might be missing out on what God has to offer in response to our praise. It would be the equivalent of giving credit to the customer service advisor for taking your money for the goods, but not stick around long enough to get the change that you should get for the purchase AND not get the details for the proper use of the item. Even to hear them say ‘you’re welcome’ is a massive miss.

Sometimes our best intentions and desire to control matters can get in the way of us genuinely engaging in the conversation on the stage that was ideally made for it by our praise.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden