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Page history last edited by Paul Hazelden 5 months ago Saved with comment

Strong Foundations

Let's work together to change the world

The Task

 

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:6-7, NASB)

 

Those of us who received Christ Jesus the Lord are now called to walk in Him and with Him.  He is the Way, and he is our Companion on the Way.  There are two essentials: using one Biblical image, we have to be firmly rooted and we have to grow; using another image, we need a strong foundation and we have to be built up from that foundation.  We have to start, and we have to continue.  Just 'getting saved' as a one-off event is not enough: you cannot choose to receive Jesus but not walk with Him, just as you cannot - with integrity - get married and then live as a single person.  You made a commitment.

 

Walking with Jesus is not a nice Sunday afternoon stroll, something we can squeeze into an otherwise unchanged life.  Walking with Jesus means hitting the road with Him, going where He goes, sleeping where He sleeps, sharing your meals with Him and with his people, taking part in His mission and ministry.  The walk is our life of love and work and service.  We are 'in Him' as we walk: the whole Christian life is a process of discovering what it means to be in Christ.  But the love and the work and the service, while they may be hard, are not the price the pay for the blessings we receive; the challenges we face along the way are part of God's blessing, part of His gracious provision for us; so we walk, motivated by love, not duty; we are not grimly holding on but overflowing with gratitude for His provision of both the challenges and the means to overcome them.

 

What does this mean for us?  It all boils down to two simple points.

 

  1. We have a choice.  Jesus had a mission to change the world, and invites us to join Him.  We have a choice: we can follow Jesus and be a part of His world-changing mission, or we can turn our back on Him, take a seat and wait for Heaven. 
  2. We have a strategy.  Jesus told us to love God with everything we have and love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  The church has often failed to understand all that this entails.  If we wish to understand it and communicate it, one way is to begin at the end.
    • Love ourselves.  How do we love ourselves?  Salvation, eternal security and a place in Heaven is clearly a part of this, but so too is physical health, good food, a loving family, a secure home, a fulfilling job, the respect of the local community, and much more.  We cannot gain these things on our own: in order to love ourselves, we have to be a part of a healthy community.
    • Love our neighbour.  I cannot have a secure home and a fulfilling job unless the people alongside whom I live also enjoy these things; I cannot enjoy a healthy, loving family if we live in a broken and dysfunctional society.  If I want to love myself, I have to love my neighbour; I have to want for my neighbour the good that I want for myself.  But I cannot be healthy if I live a selfish life, only caring about me and the people around me, and the society I live in cannot be healthy if it ignores issues of justice and compassion.
    • Love God.  If we love God and seek first His Kingdom, we will embrace His ways.  This is the only way to live a healthy life and live in a healthy and sustainable community.  Kingdom values are not only the right way to live, they are also the only way for a society to thrive in the long term: they work.  Our Heavenly Father knows what we need. 

 

We would like to say the strong foundation is Jesus, and Jesus alone.  This would be theologically true, but inadequate.  It does not work - it does not effectively communicate the truth - in the modern world; being practical, we need to spell out in more details what this means.  And the Bible spells this out in various ways: Hebrews 6 provides some essential foundations for our faith.

 

Theology might be the study of God, but it is also a human activity which cannot be understood without reference to politics and economics, without addressing the basic questions: "Who has the power?" and "What is their agenda?"  These questions are equally applicable to this site and our activities as they are to the activities of those who currently benefit from the status quo.

 

 

This site

 

This web site arises from a conviction that we are being called to integrate faith and life into a coherent whole; to combine prophetic teaching from a Biblical, Trinitarian and Jesus-centred perspective with prophetic action arising from a Spirit-filled place of resting and peace.

 

  •  Prophetic teaching: the Bible says we have to get the big things right; but in practice we often teach people to strain out gnats and swallow camels. The mainstream Church is essentially right about most of the things it teaches, but is significantly mistaken in aspects of what it communicates (sometimes through what it fails to say) about Heaven, Hell, the gospel, salvation and evangelism.
  •  Prophetic action: the Bible says we have to put our faith into practice; but much of our attention is directed at telling people to attend church, pray and lead moral lives. This is a good starting point, but wholly inadequate for building a community of disciples which is seeking first the Kingdom of God. One important way in which we love our neighbour is through developing faith based social action; as an expression of this, I am seeking to establish Local Friends (https://localfriends.org.uk), a scheme to provide pastoral care for people in the wider community.
  •  Spirit-filled rest: the Bible says that though Jesus’ death and the Spirit’s indwelling presence, we already have everything we need for life and godliness; our activity is a joyful expression of the life we have received; motivated by gratitude, not guilt; freely offering what we have freely received. 

 

(You can find a brief amplification of these points on the Manifesto page, or download a fuller version in the Manifesto document.)

 

The point of this web site is to support the building of a community of people who share these concerns and a vision for building a strong foundations: on Jesus, on a Biblical understanding of His message and ministry, responding to His call to follow Him and share His work, both as individuals and as his people in community.

 

 

 

 

 


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