Hope For Living The Love in 2007
Hope For Living The Love in 2007
By Brian & Pat McGaffiganFrom the U.K.
Brian McGaffigan D. Min. (Fuller 1999)
Box 147, Strome, Alberta, Canada T0B 4H0
New Year’s Eve 2006 proved to be a very rich and rewarding experience. We were in England with friends who had several visitors making up a group of 14 adults and 4 children. Our English friends with their visiting Danish friends, our Canadian family and some young Christian ladies from Hungary, Germany, Taiwan and Latvia, created quite an international group.
In the process of reflecting on obstacles and opportunities for Christianity in 2007 people responded with great interest, and similar themes came out from various nationalities.
One of the big obstacles put forth was that of “religion”; living by law rather than grace, always hearing but not doing, believers who are not living the Christian life. People see the institutional church as too often working to maintain its own system instead of reaching out to seek the lost. Some feel that the church is compromising on key aspects of the gospel so as not to offend, and is also failing to uphold moral values in society.
It was further noted that the church historically has not been able to dialogue over issues of science which it perceives as a threat. Hence it has alienated the educated, giving them a dim and incomplete view of God. This insecurity creates a stumbling block, as the church is seen as controlling and defensive.
It was good to express frustrations, but in the midst of this came the
recognition that we live in an age of opportunity to break out of the box, to recognize that we need to do things differently. It was felt that we are learning to listen, to respond to needs – to love unconditionally and help people heal their wounded hearts.
The 20-something group at our New Year’s Eve gathering was very strong on the point that we need to demonstrate love through our lives - that the Kingdom of God means showing compassion even as God works miracles. This ought to offer a great opportunity for Christians to develop their own relationship with Jesus, helping others into that relationship, and then into relationship with one another.
One young lady from Hungary shared that there is much fear for the future in people, but that they see no attraction to Christianity when they see Christians living by rules alone. Her own experience of God changed her perspective and now she can reach out and share with others. It is important for her not to present the Christian life as perfect but to admit to problems and share how God has helped her.
Needing success in terms of numbers, recognition and prestige is an obstacle which is being addressed by the rise in numbers of “anointed amateurs”, or nameless, faceless disciples doing the Father’s will. This is demonstrated by ministering to individuals as one of the Danish folk told of Heidi Baker’s word from God: “love the one I set before you”.
Opportunity can also rise from obstacles, as someone shared that the positive side of society no longer going en masse to church is that today each person needs to make a choice, not just going because that’s what is done!
Today’s decline in church attendance is seen as a refining of the Body of Christ. Small groups make deeper impact. The emphasis needs to be on quality rather than quantity. It was agreed that we cannot define opportunities – they are ever-changing and will open up out of our relationship to the Father as we display love for others.
Prayers for 2007 - to live out what we know. To engage in worship to create an open heaven and hear from God.To listen to the voice of the Lord. To understand that there is no need for competition between Christians because each person has unique gifts and a unique calling and we need to complement and encourage one another. To encourage those engaged in the 5-fold ministry to empower the saints.
A 10 year old member of our group gave us a message through her youthful enthusiasm. Following a midnight fireworks display she stood on a stone wall and arms open wide shouted “I love England! And I am from Denmark!”
Everyone at our New Year’s Eve gathering was lifted up and given hope by this multi-national and inter-generational sharing, sending us into 2007 with renewed hope and optimism.
Brian and Pat McGaffigan