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Church Isn't The Building

Recently I was reading a blog post from a good friend and one of the other Firezone bloggers, Filipe Saafi. His blog was titled ‘You are not Forgotten!’ and it got me thinking about not forgetting those around us who are also in their own walk of faith with God.

About a year and a half ago I was blessed with the opportunity to Tonga for 10 days and the difference I saw was astonishing compared to the way many of us live in New Zealand. It wasn’t the difference in food, or that I had no power and had left my phone back in NZ that really impacted me but that nobody got left behind. Even if that meant waking someone up early in the morning to go for a walk to the neighbouring village or spending time by having a mohe at another person’s place.

Back here in New Zealand we tend to be so busy and have such a fast paced life that we forget about friends and other members of the church (at least I know I can be guilty of that). We are told that we are not forgotten by God but we should remember that in being Christ like we should also try not to forget those around us.

In writing this I also remember our first Foundations of Youth Work workshop in which we talked about ways we can help people who are suffering. One point that really stood out to me was that if we say we’re gonna pray about an issue then we really need to remember to pray about it rather than forgetting. And remembering to catch up with people when you say you will.

Just remember the church isn’t the building, it’s the people and without the people there would be no church. We need to help each other in our walks with God so we can succeed. So I challenge you to slow down and try not to forget those around you.

The Glad Game

How often in your life do you complain? How often do you make comment on how grateful you are for something or someone?

I’m willing to bet that the answer to the first question is significantly higher than the second. For me it definitely is. I complain way more than I should, I’m rarely grateful for what I have.

Normally I start my blogs immediately jumping into a movie I’ve recently seen. For the first time, this time I'm throwing it back to my childhood. To a movie that was my mother’s favourite when we were kids. I haven’t seen it in a few years but it still continues to be a cherished favourite for me. I’m talking about Pollyanna, it’s a classic.

Pollyanna was an extremely positive person, according to the dictionary ‘Pollyanna’ is “an excessively or blindly optimistic person.” If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know that’s pretty true. Pollyanna is an orphan living with her very strict Aunt, in a very dull little town called Harrington. Pollyanna had a lot to be unhappy about, but she made the conscious decision to be happy and grateful for what she had. Which feels significantly more difficult to do than she makes it look.

I was reminded of this recently during a women’s conference I attended, the message on the Saturday Morning was based on the statement. ‘She rises in wisdom, she rises in gratitude, she rises in hope’. The part of the message where the speaker got on to Gratitude she quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Which reads

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I went back and read this passage in context a couple of days later and I feel that 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 is all important to the discussion of gratitude. Just to highlight the importance of the passage, it is titled ‘Final Instructions’.

It’s definitely hard to start being grateful rather than complaining. In Pollyanna she plays a game called the ‘glad game’ where she looks for the positives in life rather than looking for the negatives. The people in the town of Harrington really struggled with this. They were thinking why should they be positive about these terrible things that God had put in their lives. I don’t know about you but I really struggle with that too. The verse above says “give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s WILL FOR YOU in Christ Jesus.” It’s definitely not easy to be grateful in your hard times but God has got a plan for it, even the negative and hard things.

My parents always told me in some really tough times in my life that God had a plan for these things to make me stronger to face the next mountain. I’m realising that my parents were pretty wise, and now I’m learning to be grateful for those hard times in my life. I’m also learning that as I’m in the middle of my hard times to be grateful for them then. It’s really not easy to even begin being grateful for everything in your life, but especially the negative things.

Why not try out the Glad game?