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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Church is...


Anyone who uses the Google search engine will probably be familiar with the 'suggestions' feature which provides a list of suggested searches as you type based on most popular searches... Some are quite revealing...

I thought I would type in: the Church is....and see what popped up.
The results as you can see from the picture above are interesting.

It got me thinking, what is the Church? To some a charitable organisation, to others a place of corruption or as the picture says: a place 'full of hypocrites.' To some a place of safety to still others a place of bad memories and hurt feelings.

Recent days on a certain Facebook Christian blogging group have seen some concerning attitudes displayed; arrogance, personal attacks and an assumption by some that any differing opinions are 'false, 'pagan' 'dangerous' and need to be censored, attitudes that are somewhat less than Christ-like have been displayed.
Perhaps it's no wonder that people outside the church struggle to see us as a reflection of Christ when all we seem to have done is argue and fight amongst ourselves for the last 2000 years...

But that isn't the whole story, the church can be responsible for the greatest acts of kindness and service, that isn't what gets reported though; there only seems to be interest when things go wrong or we screw up.

The Church tries to be all things to all people but as the old quote by John Lydgate says:
"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

So I suggest doing and being the one thing that matters...a reflection of Christ...let us emulate His love, His courage, His service and His sacrifice; we may not always get it right... Wait scratch that, we WILL not always get it right, but let's do our best and start with ourselves, cut out the fighting and bickering and commit ourselves to being Christ-like and Christ-centred. Of course we will still fall out and disagree, but let's disagree as mature Christian adults as brothers and sisters in Christ. Then when we ask people the question 'who do you say we are?' They will see Christ reflected in us and long for that light in themselves.

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Disclaimer: the opinions and comments expressed in this blog are personal and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of the Salvation Army

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Service with a Smile...

Anybody who has worked in retail will be aware how irritating clich├ęs like 'the customer is always right' can be...I know that it's the foundation of customer services, but quite frankly it's more often than not used as a weapon for customers to make unreasonable requests and use this ultimate, final and all purpose answer to apparently check mate any customer service assistant into submission.

A phrase I much prefer is: 'Service with a Smile' it inspires confidence, calm and charisma; now, I'm not really interested in happy salesmen, but I wonder if we ever think about this principle in our Spiritual lives?

Psalm 100:2 says:
"Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing."
The Christian life should be a celebration, a life of joy and fulfillment; so why does it sometimes feel like a chore, why do we sometimes serve out of a sense of obligation or reluctantly because it's expected of us?

I remember sitting for hours at a checkout with a forced smile plastered across my face, willing the shift to end and determined to stay positive and approachable despite being asked the same questions about the weather for the 5000th time in 2 hours...Christian service should never be like that. As a salesman represents the brand or company they work for, so Christians represent the King and God that we serve; do we want people to see through us? a God who begrudgingly guides and protects us, who loves us out of a sense of forced responsibility or duty or do we want them to see a God who created us and loves us; genuinely and completely because it is His good pleasure to do so.
He loves us all for a reason and that reason is Love!

You may be the only Bible some people ever go forward in your Christian walk with joy and love and remember who you represent and in whose name you serve. Don't be the bored grouchy sales assistant... Be the inspirational, devoted and loving reflection of the most amazing, devoted and loving God.

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