Monday, 14 January 2019

Authentic Pioneers?

What you see is what you get!?!?

This statement has been bombarding my mind since I listened yesterday to a sermon about Authenticity.
It also is something I have continued to ponder upon in recent months.
The preacher used a few illustrations as she spoke to highlight her point.
Coke - The real thing
Salted Caramel Cake - the best
Starbucks - The gospel according too.
All three illustrations resonated for me.
I love to drink coffee, as many of you know, ideally with cake and I must confess if I don't drink coffee coke would be my other preferred drink.

As the speaker demonstrated her point she 'compared and contrasted' other so called 'lesser items'.

My mind has increasingly been stirred as I have reflected on the past year and the things I have seen and experienced, and the potential which I am now increasingly seeing bursting forth from what can best be described as the 'long dark dreary nights of winter'.
Even yesterday, January 13th, I was stopped, shocked in my steps as I walked Digby.   There before my eyes were Snowdrops!
I mean, snowdrops in January!
Surprising signs of new life.

When it comes to authenticity as believers, what is it that marks us out as 'The Real Thing?'

We have spent many hours in recent days preparing for the Pioneer Gathering 2019.  There is both excitement and challenge as we consider and experience what God is birthing before our very eyes at present.  
This year  we are using the strapline from our latest promotional video 'Passionate Believers, Daring Dreamers'.

We have spent many hours talking about this strapline and also the rightness of it in recent days.
At one point we were just going with Daring Dreamers, but we were uneasy.
You see anyone can dream!
Pioneering is not just about dreaming.
Its about dreams and visions being birthed out of our faith experience.
Our faith which is lived out and honed in the Presence of God.
Authentic Pioneers spend lots of time 'dwelling in His Presence'.   Dont they!

Dreaming is not enough.
Dreaming is not even necessarily Christ focused or centred.
Anyone can dream, after all.
I heard just the other day, 'im fed up with Christian leaders dreaming....!'  I was saddened to hear this. Personally i disagreed with what this person said and we discussed this together. I think leaders need to be dreaming, having visions BUT they need to be spending more time in the Presence of The Dream Giver, Vision Sharer.
Authentic Pioneers spend time listening to the Dream Giver Vision Sharer.

How do you discern is a dream or vision is of God?
Thats its authentic?
For me it is all about whether  you see the presence of the Living Lord being embodied within it.
Where the fruit of Gods Spirit is evidence.
Where lives are transformed.
And where the Gospel is made manifest in men and women within community.

This is whats exciting me.
More compelling me in these days as I consider the Pioneering of Fresh Expressions within the Salvation Army.
That whilst some are gifted as Pioneers we are all called to be pioneering.

For me the authentic demonstration of believers is the daily pursuit of living out the gospel wherever and with whoever they meet.
We are called out of our beliefs to passionately demonstrate a 'different way'.

So friends
Passionate Believers
Daring Dreamers
lets pray that God the Holy Spirit will rise up an army or Holy Discontents who through prayer, social action, acts of kindness and lives of grace truly model what they believe and who they represent.
So it can be said of the People of God...

what you see is what you get.
Authentic Pioneers demonstrate
Authentic Christlikeness.

Emmaus Pioneer Journey

Picture the scene. You arrive, on a day off to spend the day with one of your children. To help him out. You're greeted by about 5 t...