Truth and the Christian Way

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

That is something I believe with all of my heart. That truth has become more important the more I’ve walked with Him. Embracing Him in this way changes things and how I view things too. With every passing year, I see the need to be more gracious and at the same time to value this truth for who He expresses Himself to be.

That comes with a cost, especially to things that some might hold dear to their heart.

Things like …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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A Word On Peacemaking

Among the many aspects of the blessed, Jesus highlighted that peacemakers are blessed by being referred to as sons of God.

It’s interesting that this aspect of the blessed is not always emphasised. It still seems as though I can go looking for God to bless me and restore me and all that other good stuff, with little in the way of taking responsibility for anything. Whilst thinking on it over the last week or so, it occurred to me there was a good reason why this isn’t emphasised.

People love the prize of peace – they’re just not interested in paying the price.

In an entitlement and consumer culture the prize that looks glittering is something that we want as soon as possible. We also want to get it with the minimum of fuss. If you present peace in a particular way, it certainly appears glittering. The life at peace where everything is functioning in a harmonious way bringing out the best in each other for the good of all. Peace depicted as nothing broken or malfunctioning and everything fitting as it should.  It’s a beautiful picture.

The price for that is to give up your pride, look to the interests of others first, be prepared to extend mercy and forgiveness to those who hurt you and bless those who oppose you and be quick to seek the forgiveness of others when you err. The price for that peace is to acknowledge your own faults and failings and rather than justifying them or defending yourself leave yourself at the mercies of the other and particular of God. The price is to see the good in others and seek to encourage that even at the worst of times.

The price seems a lot until you recognise what Jesus did to bring about peace. the price He paid was significantly more than we are ever asked to pay. In it He gives a model of the price we should be paying to see peace made in our lives. It’s a price we are able to pay as we submit to Him, but even that is a bit too much for some of us who are so self-absorbed that the thought of someone else ruling is terrifying.

That is why the best place to start in being a peacemaker is to acknowledge the complete inadequacy in our beings to make the peace that lasts and the peace that matters. Not the peace that the world offers with treaties and accords and summits. Not the peace that is cheaply portrayed as a life of no effort. Oh no, the peace on offer here is the richest, purest and most exhilarating peace available. This peace surpasses human understanding but can still find itself as a part of the human experience.

It’s heartbreaking for me to hear of relations in certain communities of grace never flourishing because we allow offence to shut down others. We know gossip expertly, but know nothing about peacemaking. We know bitterness like a pro, but we know nothing about peacemaking. Despite being recipients and beneficiaries of peace, we carry on as though we are yet to get that revelation.

I suggest we need that kind of understanding. We need it to be able to see the prize for its worth and be so committed to it that we will put in place the actions God requires of us to to truly be His children.

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

Awe From An Insight

The beauty of the Creator is the various ways in which He reveals Himself.

I was reading Matthew 17 again and the wonder that the three disciples got when they saw their Rabbi transfigured ad conversing with the Law and Prophets. In the midst of this magnificent convocation, Peter thinks it’s time to mark the occasion with monuments. Yet this insight wasn’t given to have the point of monuments. The father in heaven chose this opportune time to remind these disciples that the whole point of Jesus was to hear Him and follow Him. The affirmation is something, but it’s the instruction that should really be arresting when it comes from that particular divine source.

It’s great that we can relate to Jesus in prayer. It’s even better when we can have an encounter with Him that leaves us in awe of Him. Desperate to follow Him as we pay attention to Him. From the point of that awe of having an encounter that gives a greater insight into who He is.

Just a thought.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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

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