Nov 25, 2018
Serve Everyone, Always
Posted by Sarah Walker

While musicians are touring or actors are on set, they will often have a rider - a list of extras they expect to receive for their performances. Usually, riders include a list of items to be left in their dressing room including food and beverages. Generally, the more fame a person gains, the more ridiculous their demands become. On their 1982 tour, Van Halen’s rider insisted on bowls of M&M’s with all the brown ones removed. David Hasselhoff requires a life-size cutout of himself set up backstage. Brittany Spears requests McDonalds cheeseburgers with no buns, and Jenifer Lopez demands that every single thing in her dressing room be white - the chairs, the curtains, the carpet - everything. The craziest part is, these demands are met! These celebrities have such a high opinion of themselves that they demand whatever they want and expect other people to make it happen. It’s all about them and meeting their every need because they hold the power. They want to be served, because they are the most important.

Most of us can’t imagine demanding people serve us in this way, but we can easily get caught up in that, ‘All about me’ mindset. We can be quick to trample over those who are beneath us, and push people out of the way as we climb towards the top. Ancient Rome, not unlike today, was a society where a small minority at the top held all the power and control, and didn’t care much for those who were at the bottom. It was all about climbing the ladder and making yourself more important. But Jesus came to show us a different way of living. He entered the world in the position of a servant. He didn’t demand power, he didn’t exploit people because he was in a position of authority, in fact, he made himself nothing. He poured himself out for people and showed us that what is required from Christ-followers is a posture of humility and an attitude of service. Not so that we can get ahead or elevate ourselves, but that we might live lives that put others first and be satisfied, because our identities lie in who God is, rather than the position we hold in the world.

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  • Nov 25, 2018Serve Everyone, Always
    Nov 25, 2018
    Serve Everyone, Always
    Posted by Sarah Walker

    While musicians are touring or actors are on set, they will often have a rider - a list of extras they expect to receive for their performances. Usually, riders include a list of items to be left in their dressing room including food and beverages. Generally, the more fame a person gains, the more ridiculous their demands become. On their 1982 tour, Van Halen’s rider insisted on bowls of M&M’s with all the brown ones removed. David Hasselhoff requires a life-size cutout of himself set up backstage. Brittany Spears requests McDonalds cheeseburgers with no buns, and Jenifer Lopez demands that every single thing in her dressing room be white - the chairs, the curtains, the carpet - everything. The craziest part is, these demands are met! These celebrities have such a high opinion of themselves that they demand whatever they want and expect other people to make it happen. It’s all about them and meeting their every need because they hold the power. They want to be served, because they are the most important.

    Most of us can’t imagine demanding people serve us in this way, but we can easily get caught up in that, ‘All about me’ mindset. We can be quick to trample over those who are beneath us, and push people out of the way as we climb towards the top. Ancient Rome, not unlike today, was a society where a small minority at the top held all the power and control, and didn’t care much for those who were at the bottom. It was all about climbing the ladder and making yourself more important. But Jesus came to show us a different way of living. He entered the world in the position of a servant. He didn’t demand power, he didn’t exploit people because he was in a position of authority, in fact, he made himself nothing. He poured himself out for people and showed us that what is required from Christ-followers is a posture of humility and an attitude of service. Not so that we can get ahead or elevate ourselves, but that we might live lives that put others first and be satisfied, because our identities lie in who God is, rather than the position we hold in the world.

  • Nov 18, 2018Honour Everyone, Always
    Nov 18, 2018
    Honour Everyone, Always
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    When my brother and sister-in-law were married in the Philippines a few years ago, we travelled there for the wedding and to meet our new extended family. The first time I met my brother’s Filipino nieces, I was overwhelmed with their love and affection as they took my hand placed it on their forehead whispering, “Mano po”. The word ‘mano’ is Spanish for ‘hand’, and the word ‘po’ is often used in Filipino culture at the end of each sentence as a sign of respect when addressing an older person. This is a beautiful, physical gesture of honour that children are expected to perform towards adult relatives and adult family friends. Failure to do this in Filipino culture would be considered dishonouring, so experiencing this gesture made me wonder what we do in Australia to honour people. I couldn’t think of much. Actually, I think it’s fair to say that we've become a culture that is primarily without honour.

    Even in cultures where honouring is valued, generally those who are showed honour are elders, family, people in authority, and those we decide, due to position or performance, are deserving of honour. If someone is the right person, believes the right things or behaves the right way, we consider them worthy of honour. Conversely, if one does not believe the right things or behave the right way, they may be shamed, rather than honoured.

    This week, we consider what the Bible teaches about honouring everybody, always. Honour is a declaration of the inherent value others have as image-bearers of God. We honour one another because we have been honoured. Honour is central to who God is and what he does, therefore it should be central to the life of every Christian.

  • Nov 11, 2018Forgive Everyone, Always
    Nov 11, 2018
    Forgive Everyone, Always
    Posted by Phil Inglis

    One of Jesus closest and most outspoken followers once asked him, “how many times should I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven times?” Jesus responded, “Seven?! Nope, try, seventy times seven.” Jesus might as well have simply said, "forgive everyone always." But, this just can’t seem right, can it? If someone hurts us surely we have the right to feel angry and upset? Surely we have the right to expect an apology, at least?

    For 26 years Marilyn Elias was a reporter for one of the largest newspapers in the world. Her field was social sciences. She reported on the newest discoveries in psychology, counselling, anthropology, and social work. She once said, “The happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don't care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities and, most important, forgive easily.” In 26 years of experience she names forgiveness as one of the essential keys to a life of happiness.

    Perhaps Jesus wasn’t demanding that his followers forgive everyone always because it was their duty. Rather, he was begging his followers to forgive everyone always because he knows that it leads to happiness! This is easier said than done. Fortunately we are given some powerful tools that help us work through the ongoing process of forgiveness.

  • Nov 4, 2018Welcome Everyone Always
    Nov 4, 2018
    Welcome Everyone Always
    Posted by Sarah Walker

    “You can’t sit with us!” Most teenagers or twenty-somethings would recognise this line from the 2004 comedy, Mean Girls. The movie is an over-dramatised description of high school social cliques and the damaging effects they can have on teenagers. This moment in the movie happens when one of the popular girls breaks a cardinal fashion rule and turns up to the group’s lunch time hang out in track pants. This moment is meant to make us laugh - it’s rare in real life for anyone to be that blunt, but it’s also there to remind us of how ridiculous it looks when we exclude people because we don’t like their track pants.

    Sometimes, the world looks far too similar to the Mean Girls cafeteria. People only interacting with those who share the same beliefs or ethnicity or sexual orientation. This might be ok for those who are on the inside, it might be ok for the world to be unwelcoming and exclusive. But it’s not ok for the church. The church is called to welcome everyone, always. Why? Because Christ first welcomed us. There should be no, “You can’t sit with us!” moments in the life of the church because we are fully aware that each one of us is made in the image of God. Christians have a call and responsibility to welcome all people, especially those who are strangers and outsiders. Welcoming is more than just a warm feeling; it takes courage and open-mindedness to walk alongside people who are different than us, but often when we do we realise we are not so different after all. When we become more welcoming people, we not only help the people around us to feel accepted and valuable, but we grow in character and our lives become richer.

  • Oct 28, 2018Love Everyone Always
    Oct 28, 2018
    Love Everyone Always
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    The world can be so negative and ugly. At times, people are straight out unkind. This should disturb us, because regardless of the colour of their skin, the origin of their birth, their political affiliation, social status or lifestyle choices, each and every human being has been created in the image of God and is someone for whom Jesus died. As followers of Jesus we have to keep asking ourselves, “What does it mean to live out the teachings of Jesus?” When we do, we cannot go past the commandment where Jesus tells us to, ‘love our neighbour’. This has been God’s simple yet brilliant plan from the beginning. He made a whole world of neighbours. We call it earth, but God just calls it a really big neighbourhood, and tells us to go and love our neighbours - to go and love everyone, always.

    We are part of a Salvation Army that sees salvation as boundless. God’s ocean of love is deep - it is for the whosever, for everyone, always. The Salvation Army here in Australia has a vision to, ‘live, love and fight alongside others to transform Australia one life at a time with the love of Jesus.’

    This Sunday, five new soldiers are signing up to live, love and fight, because they desire to see lives changed by the love of Jesus. They make their covenant, not with The Salvation Army, but with God, who is love and teaches us both what love is and how to love. This call to love is not soppy, commercialised or superficial. It’s an all-in commitment to a radically different way of treating everyone we come into contact with. There’s no school to learn how to love everyone and we are not expected to love people flawlessly, but we can love them fearlessly, furiously, and unreasonably. People will figure out what we believe by how we love.