Who’s at the Centre? Part Four

So, this idea of ‘Centring’ is something that any Christ-follower can do. We do not need an education, a position or a title. We might need an example (although we do have Jesus), but we may also need a person to walk with us as we work out the best way to do this. In reality, however, any Christ-follower can be skillful at centring others.

Let me ask you a shocking question, and see how you wouldanswer?
“How would you kill your neighbour?”
That is, “Have you got someone in your sights to take down?”
Hmm, these are very important questions relating to ‘Who’s at the centre?’ Now we could use a weapon or something that we find at hand. However, there is something that is far more effective to kill your neighbour.

The best weapon to kill your neighbour with is love! This is exactly what we are to do wherever we have been placed. Jesus said that is what He did, and that His followers are to do the same.
34 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My followers” (Jn 13:34-35 NLT).
Previously Jesus had already acknowledged the summary commandments of the Old Testament, Matt 22:37-40. But here He goes one further by givinga new commandment to do as He has done.

So, the challenge is not to kill your neighbour with a weapon and especially with your tongue (Jas 3:1-12), but with love. How do we go about doing this to those around us? Just like Jesus did by ‘Centring’ others and loving them. That is, seeking their highest good, regardless of whether they return this love or not.

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

Who’s at the Centre? Part 3 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

In the previous blog, we were introduced to what may be called ‘Centring.’ Namely, bringing into focus, or highlighting the fact that others need to be at the centre of our thoughts and actions and not our self. Continuing on centringas a Kingdom of God lifestyle, I would like to ask a question. “What is conceivably the best illustration of centring that we could inspire us?”

For me, it would have to be when Jesus humbled Himself and washed the disciple’s feet (John 13). He chose the place of a servant and served them. Do not forget that also included washing Judas’ feet,
4 “So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him… 12 After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, ‘Do you understand what I was doing?’  14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet” (Jn 13:4-5,12,14 NLT).
Wow, what a powerful image and example of the Kingdom of God. Jesus was centring the disciples as He served them, and showed them how it is done.

Jesus said that His followers were to wash the feet of others. What would this look like for us today? How can we take the focus off ourselves, humble ourselves and serve those around us? Can we do this despite the cost and what others might say about us?

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

Who’s at the Centre? Part 2 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

As was said in the last blog, there are different ways we can live our life, but in most cases, we are at the centre of them. Yes, we need to be kind to ourselves. However, we need also deliberately to put others at the centre of our focus. This is something that Paul told the local Philippian church to do when he said,
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Phil 2:4 NLT)

Now, if we are honest, sometimes this can be hard to do. We can all have this struggle to serve others and place them at the centre. This could be called ‘Centring,’ that is, bringing into focus, or highlighting the fact that someone else is at the centre of our thoughts and actions and not our self. It is an intentional choice to put others first above ourselves. It is taking ourselves out of the centre and put someone else in the centre. It is similar to
“The action or process of placing something in the middle of something else.”[1]

Paul had this to say about Jesus the King of kings, the Almighty God who placed others at the centre,
5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had7 He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” (Phil 2:5,7 NLT).
That is He came centring those around Him as He livedout what the Kingdom of God life looked like to the world. Do we really have the same attitude that Jesus had? One way to test this is to ask those around us how we are doing in this area.

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

Who’s at the Centre? Part 1 by Ps Michael Podhaczky

There are different ways we can live our life. However, I would dare say in most cases that we are at the centre. That is, we are the focus; it is all about us and our rights. This is the way that most of humanity lives. We are taking care of business for ourselves, our family, home, business and friends etc. But is this the most righteous way to live?

I will be provocative and say: it is not. This is especially the case if we are Christ-followers. Why are we at the centre of our thinking and living a lot of the time? Yes, we have been given new life with all of its blessings and gifts. It is true thatwe benefit from this, but it is not all about us. The blessings and gifts are, in fact, for those around us. They are to be used as we seek first His righteousness, His kingdom and do His will as it is done in Heaven. We are to do this here where we have been placed.

As His children, we are here to reach out to those around us in His love and share the Good News. Those around us need to be the centre of our focus and efforts. This was the way that Jesus lived out the Kingdom of God life. For example, He said,
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45 NLT).

If this was Jesus’ focus, and we are His followers, what makes us think that we are excused from putting others at the centre of our life here while we are still living? We need to lift our eyes off ourselves and our own and see others at the centre. We need to serve others and give our lives accordingly. This is the most righteous way to live.

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

Tis the Season of a Silent Night

There has been some dis­agree­ment as to hymn Silent Night’s origin and tradition. However, it is still a favorite hymn sung over the last few hundred years. One account of its origin is as follows. Early Christmas Eve 1818, tragedy struck a little church in the town of Oberndorf, Austria. Franz Xaver Gruber, the church organist (and primary school headmaster) was shocked to discover that the organ would not bellow out its majestic tones. After further examination he found that either mice had chewed a hole through the bellows or they had perished. For several days prior to Christmas day it had snowed heavily. So, nobody was able to come to repair the organ. Gruber was concerned that there may not be any music for the Christmas service. It seemed that it would be a season of a silent night without singing.

Gruber went to see the assistant minister Joseph Mohr telling him of the dilemma. Gruber asked Mohr to write a Christmas song that could be sung without the organ. Mohr walked off into the countryside trudging through thick snow, thinking about what to do. Later that day, Mohr sat reading the Gospel of Luke chapter two and thinking about what he was reading, he read Luke 2:11,
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David (a king of Israel) a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11 ESV)
The words welled up within him like a mighty overflow from heaven.

Working long into the night, Mohr composed a poem about the Christmas story. Early Christmas morning Mohr took his freshly penned words to Gruber hoping that he could quickly write a simple melody suitable for the guitar. That afternoon the music was finished. The people arrived, but there was no organ bellowing into the cold night air, only Gruber strumming his guitar. The song was sung that night for the first time. The people fell in love with the song immediately. Thus, Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber gave the world a much loved Christmas carol. Since then it has been translated into more than ninety languages and dialects.

Oh, that the real meaning of Christmas would grip us this season. Grip us, the way that it gripped Mohr and Gruber. The message of the angel is one for all. Yes, even you! Jesus Christ was given by the Father as the beginning of a season of the greatest gift ever. He was born to die for your sin and rise again from the dead to give you new life. This Christmas tis the season that could be the beginning of the greatest Silent Night for you or someone you know.

The Spirit World Part 4 "Satan" by Ps Michael Podhaczky

If someone were to ask you if you believe in Satan and to explain what you believe what would you say to them? The spiritual being known as Satan is real, he's not the figment of someone’s imagination. Neither is he just a myth. Regardless of what the media or skeptics say, there is a real individual being known as Satan and the devil. He is the enemy of God and the enemy of anyone that belongs to God. In fact, Satan hates God with hatred that, really we can never understand.

Satan is the epitome of evil and sinfulness, more than one could ever imagine and then more. What God is in purity and holiness he is in evilness and sinfulness. The depth of depravity and darkness that Satan has fallen to is beyond any human comprehension. Do you get the picture, he is not just bad, he is in reality off the chart.

There are two main Old Testament passages that suggest the existence of a created spiritual being before and after his fall from heaven. One is Ez 28:12-19 (esp. vv14,16) where he was called the anointed cherub. The other is, Is 14:12-14 where he was called Lucifer, i.e. light bearer, or Son of the morning. After his fall he was no longer called by these names but was then known by the following. These reflect an aspect of his character or actions. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give some insight into this evil being,
·         Satan: Adversary or oppressor: Zech 3:1; 1 Thess 2:18; 1 Pet 5:8
·         Devil: Meaning diabolical slanderer and accuser, used 35 times: Lk 4:2; Rev 12:9
·         Serpent: Indicating deceitfulness, treachery and cunning: Rev 12:3,7,9; 20:2
·         Dragon: Vicious and powerful: Rev 12:3,7,9; 20:2
·         Evil, wicked, or lawless one: Matt 13:38; Jn 17:15; 1Jn 5:18.
·         Prince/Ruler of this world: Jn 12:31; 16:11
·         Prince of the Power of the Air: Eph 2:2
·         God of this world or age: Who controls the world’s philosophies: 2 Cor 4:4
·        Beelzebub/Beelzebub: The prince of the devils/demons, or lord of the flies or lord of filth or lord of dwellings: Matt 12:24; Lk 11:15 cf. also 2 Kings 1:3,6,16
·         Angel of Light: Positioning himself as a false spiritual helper: 2 Cor 11:14,15
·         Tempter: Matt 4:3; 1 Thess 3:5.
·         Murderer: Initiator of sin and death and father of lies: Jn 8:44
·         Abaddon from the Hebrew, and Apollyon from the Greek: Meaning, destroyer: Rev 9:11
·         A roaring lion: 1 Pet 5: 8

One of his greatest lies to the 21st century west is that he does not exist. But as we have seen from the Bible,he does in fact exist. Here are some things to ponder on the subject of Satan. He is a defeated enemy. Jesus Christ defeated Satan on the cross and through His resurrection once and for all time. As Christ followers, we are never told to fight the devil, because that has already been done, 1 Jn 3:8.

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over