“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be”
I was very interested to watch Songs of Praises tonight (the only remnant really of Christianity on UK terrestrial TV). Normally I find that programme cringe-worthy but tonight they were showing the large charismatic church in Peterbrough - Kingsgate Community Church - led by Dave Smith (who incidentally I heard at Life in the Spirit Conference). The church is large enough that it attracts famous national speakers such as Terry Virgo, Greg Haslam and Stuart Bell. And I noticed that the Songs of Praise event was led by Noel Richards. The congregation were dressed in brightly coloured clothing (some were indeed wearing ties which Stanley Jebb would note).
Did I enjoy it? I did mainly. I can't help but find some aspects to the church's attempts to show a "contemporary but real" image to the watching world. Sometimes it seems that the church tries so hard to be contemporary that it just looks cheesy. So on the one hand you have dry and dull and dusty tie-wearing Christians (advocated by Stanley Jebb) and on the other a church full of people who frankly look like they have swept the entire collection of the United Colours of Benetton off the shelf. Which is worse? Or which is better?!
But that aside - my heart rejoiced greatly that there is a BIG church not far from me which is unafraid to proclaim the gospel set on fire by the life of the Spirit. I am one of those who believe passionately that BIG attracts attention. After all - Chris Moyles took interest in this church and I have yet to hear him go to some small chapel of tie-wearing conservative evangelicals. This evening's "Songs of Praise" got me thinking about words that I love;
"Hope! - Vision! - Anticipation! - Excitement!".
Is anyone else fed up of the depression and formalism that much of life brings? Everyone finds their own excitement and anticipation in their own favourite things. Such as booking a summer holiday (which I've done!). But - call me odd - I find holy convocations of tremendous excitement. Something about seeing a massive group of God's people together worshipping in one - reminds me of what we have to look forward to in heaven. So I've put together a string of Restoration Magazine posters advertising the rapidly approaching Dales Bible Weeks with my very own Ern Baxter as keynote speaker. Here they are:
So that quote again:"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be”.
The past wasn't perfect (but we thank God for it). The present isn't so bad (because Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us). And the future is resolved actually (because He promised that as surely as He lives ALL the earth WILL be filled with the glory of the Lord!).