The relevance of the gospel

In contemporary western Christianity, there seems to be a trend towards being “relevant” to today’s culture. How that would typically play out is by incorporating aspects of contemporary culture into the church – suits are out, skinny jeans and deep-vees are in. Elaborate lighting, smoke machines, overdriven guitars and synthesizers are staples in worship services where believers jump around to the beat of the latest Hillsong United jam. The call to repentance gives way to a personal development speech more at home in a motivational seminar.

The parody below illustrates my point:

Is this how we make the gospel relevant to our culture? I must admit that I don’t see anything wrong with dressing fashionably (I only own skinny jeans ;)) or worshipping God through modern day instruments or giving an uplifting message. What I have been pondering is, do any of these (among other things) make our message any more relevant or our cause any more compelling?

I would have to say no. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not need anything to make it more relevant. It is the most relevant message in the history of humanity! Mankind’s universal need for a saviour means that the unadulterated message of the cross is supremely relevant! We can strip it all away, the lights, camera, action…if all we ever do is proclaim Christ and him crucified then that is enough. God has ordained that the preaching of the Gospel be the means through which people are saved when they believe. If we do not preach the gospel nobody gets’s that simple. Sadly in contemporary Christianity the message of the cross is hardly mentioned. Ideas like repentance, self-denial, faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins, atonement, justification are seldom heard. A less offensive message may be more palatable but in the end will only result in false professions of faith and little if any true conversions.

I sometimes think that in our well-intentioned efforts to become “all things to all men that by all means we may save some” we can lose our way and end up diluting our message in order to make it more seeker-friendly or palatable. The Gospel does not need to be made more palatable to the unbeliever. It will never be palatable to the natural man because according to the Bible “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” and “there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.”

Salvation is a work of God and we can add nothing to it. So let us not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.

Is anybody out there?

Well this is waaaay overdue. When I started this blog I intended to post something everyday, just my random thoughts on God and life in general however…things didn’t go according to plan. For the last while I’ve been facing some obstacles in my spiritual walk and it just didn’t feel right for me to post anything on the blog until now.

Well this is waaaay overdue. When I started this blog I intended to post something everyday, just my random thoughts on God and life in general however…things didn’t go according to plan. For the last while I’ve been facing some obstacles in my spiritual walk and it just didn’t feel right for me to post anything on the blog until now.

I’ll be the first to admit that being a Christian in this world is not easy and I’m not going to sugar coat the whole thing. Some people seem to think that Christians are immune to failure, temptation, sin, depression etc but we are not or at least I am not. One thing I do know is that Christ is greater than my failures and shortcomings. This gives me great hope to know that in everything He is the all sufficient One. When my failures feel like they’re overtaking me I know that his grace is sufficient for me. When I feel tempted I know that God is faithful and will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear but He will make the way of escape for me and give me the strength to stand. When I am reminded of my sin God says “As far as the east is from the west so far have I removed your transgressions from you”. And when I feel depressed and overwhelmed by all the challenges of this world,  Jesus says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world!”

After thinking all of these thing through a scripture springs to mind…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Well that’s it from me for now. If anyone has taken the time to read this I hope that it has encouraged you in some way.


Ollie and all the rest

Ok so its 11:17pm and this is my first post ever. Please forgive me if this doesn’t make alot of sense as I am quite sleepy and all this blog is intended to be is just the ramblings of an ordinary guy who has encountered an extraordinary God. So where should I start? Ooh I think I know…I’ll start here:

“Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians AD 96)

Sometimes I think as Christians we tend to complicate things when it should be so simple. Jesus said “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” I believe that to love God is our highest calling and to love others is our greatest responsibility.

I think that love involves sacrifice…ouch…that’s a painful word – sacrifice. It’s painful because we have to give of ourselves and as humans we are inclined to always look out for “number one”  but I do not believe that this is how God wants us to live. Jesus showed us the ultimate act of love by sacrificing his life for us and he should be our example. So does God expect us to be crucified? Well in a sense he does. Jesus said “If anyone wishes to follow Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” and the apostle Paul has this to say “I am crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ that lives in me.” So what this means to me is that when we lay down our lives for God in the sense of giving up our selfish and sometimes sinful desires then Christ’s light will be seen in us and we will display the character of Christ which will bring change to our world. This however is no easy task. Well at least it isn’t easy for me. The bible makes it clear that if we have accepted Christ and been born of the Spirit we are a new creation but we still have to deal with the old nature. This old nature to me is like a dead-weight, constantly trying to weigh me down and hold me back from what God has called me to be.

There is hope however. In Romans 7 the apostle Paul describes the struggle of overcoming the old nature like this: ” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” and he goes on further to say ” So I find this law at work: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”. Finally in dismay he exclaims “What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” That’s quite a sad story if you only read up until that point but then in Romans 8 we get to the hope I was talking about. It says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” To me what this means is that by the power of God’s Spirit in us we can overcome the “old enemy” which is our sinful nature. We no longer have to be held captive to it’s whims and desires. There is freedom to be found in Christ! And this gives me great hope, knowing that I can overcome anything through the power of Him that works in me, knowing that though I am not perfect God has not given up on me.

Anyway back to the love thing. The philosophy I try to live by is this: Love God, love people, love life. To me this is the essence of life, what it all really boils down to. God and people. Jesus said “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”. We have to decide, are we going to live for ourselves? Or are we going to live for a greater cause? Are we willing to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us? The choice is yours to make…

So in closing let me just say this: let love rule.

The End…


“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or even imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21)