All the surveys of public opinion said the same thing: the vast majority of Australians agreed it was good idea to ban single-use plastic bags from our supermarkets. It’s a great reform! A no-brainer if you will. Getting rid of plastic bags removes a major source of pollution for relatively little economic cost. Of course we want it happen! Get on with it supermarkets!
But then it happened. And both in store and on social media people have been… outraged! Thoughts of the environment have quickly faded.
- Its such an inconvenience!
- Its too hard to bring our own bags to the supermarket!
- How dare they make me do it!
- Who do they think they are!
What is a good idea in our minds, can be easily transformed into an outrage in our hearts, if its implementation dares to challenge one of the major idols of our age: convenience.
In a self-centred culture like ours, we feel entitled to have our preferences and our needs and our desires at the centre of all activity. And even small challenges to that can cause outrage – which is what we have seen at check-outs around the nation this week.
Beware of the sinful heart that grumbles at minor inconveniences, especially inconveniences caused by good changes! Christian discipleship is often inconvenient. After-all, we follow a crucified Lord who tells us to pick up our crosses and follow him. And in a growing and changing Church like ours that seeks to grow and change even further for the gospel, sometimes we will face inconvenience. But when we do, let it be an opportunity to put aside our own interests and instead come together in grace for the benefit of Church and the gospel.
Jesus presents himself first and foremost as a Saviour. He famously said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to calls the righteous, but sinners to repentance“. (Luke 5:31-32)
The analogy of a doctor is very helpful. We are helpless before doctors, all we can do is rely on them to perform the correct surgery or medical procedure to make things right.
It is sometimes said that the church is not a school for saints but a hospital for sinners. This is true, and Jesus is the head physician. Anyone and everyone can receive salvation through Jesus, because he came to call even the worst of sinners to repentance.
Consider for a moment the humble honesty that we need to follow Jesus. Jesus is not looking for competent people. He is not offering tidbits of spiritual advice for people who think their lives are basically okay. He’s got nothing to offer you if you think at heart you are a good person.
However, if you know in your heart your greatest need is forgiveness of sin, and you repent of that sin and turn from it, then the great Saviour, Dr Jesus, is calling you!
This week I have been praying for the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem. Lee Gatiss, the director of the UK church society, has called this week the biggest ever international gathering of Anglicans. There are over 2000 people, about half clergy and half lay leaders, from all across the world representing the majority of Anglican churches.
The theme of the conference is “Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations.” You listen or watch the talks by going to online, or just searching on Google.
There are many Archbishops at the conference, including Archbishop Okoh from Nigeria who said that the GAFCON movement has “has served to awaken the sleeping giant of orthodox Anglicanism around the world.”
Please be praying for Anglican churches to stand strong on our heritage of the authority of the Bible and salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Please pray that momentum would increase for global evangelisation and courageous godly orthodox leadership to lead the way across
Anglican churches and provinces.
I am proud that BAC is represented by Ben at this most significant missions event in Jerusalem. May we play our part in defending the historic Christian faith and proclaiming Christ to our corner of the globe.
This week the third Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) is being held in Jerusalem, Israel. GAFCON will bring together some 2,000 Anglican leaders from 50 counties all over the world. BAC Ministers Ben Soderlund and Hugh Prentice are among the Australian delegates.
GAFCON is a reform movement within the worldwide fellowship of Anglican Churches. It represents approximately 50 million of the world’s 70 million church-going Anglican Christians. GAFCON begun as a response to the slide away from biblical authority that has occurred in some parts of the Anglican Communion, as the church faces pressure from aggressive secularism and revisionist groups, determined to ‘revise’ God’s revealed will in Scripture.
Therefore GAFCON works to protect and restore the Anglican commitment to biblical truth. It is a movement of Anglicans committed to guarding the truth of the Gospel by challenging the error of false teaching particularly on issues where salvation is at stake. But it is also an outward focused movement determined to spread the good news of Jesus Christ! GAFCON is committed to fulfilling the Great Commission to all nations by ensuring the size, strength, experience and world-wide Anglican Communion continues to be a powerful and faithful agent for global gospel mission.
Please pray for the conference this week! Please give thanks that the GAFCON movement is flourishing and helping to establish new Churches around the world. Please pray that God would make clear his will for GAFCON and the Anglican Communion.
Rev. Ben Soderlund
I’ve been reflecting on a chapter in Paul Tripp’s book, ‘Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy’. The chapter is called ‘Sinners and Unafraid’. There’s an excerpt that struck a chord with me, perhaps it
will for you.
“…If you and I are at all willing to humbly and honestly look at our lives, we will be forced to conclude that we are flawed human beings. And yet we don’t have to beat ourselves up. We don’t have to work to minimize or deny our failures. We don’t have to be defensive when our weaknesses are revealed. We don’t have to rewrite our own histories to make ourselves look better than we actually were. We don’t have to be paralyzed by remorse and regret. We don’t have to distract ourselves with busyness or drug ourselves with substances.” “Isn’t it wonderful that we can stare our deepest, darkest failures in the face and be unafraid? Isn’t it comforting that we can honestly face our most regretful moments and not be devastated? Isn’t it amazing that we can confess that we really are sinners and be neither fearful nor depressed?…We can face that we are sinners and rest because we know that God really does exist and that he is a God of:
- Steadfast love
- Abundant Mercy
Because He is, there is hope – hope of forgiveness and new beginnings. Yes, we really can fully acknowledge our sin and failure and yet be unafraid.”
May your week be full of hope from Psalm 51:1, that God is merciful, steadfast in love, has abundant mercy and truly can blot out all transgressions. Take comfort in this wonderful news.