Smeagol battling ‘the flesh’

Watched the first part of the extended edition of The Two Towers this evening. Love Andy Serkis’ brilliant rendition of Sméagol/Gollum, and the way it pictures the spiritual battle we all face with our own sinful passions.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind
and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:15-25

The 12 Facebook Commandments

Tim Chester suggests twelve guidelines for social networking:
1. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say were the people concerned in the room.
2. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t share publicly with your Christian community.
3. Ensure your online world is visible to your offline Christian community.
4. Challenge one another if you think someone’s online self reflects a self-created identity rather than identity in Christ.
5. Challenge one another if you think someone’s online self doesn’t match their offline self.
6. Use social networking to enhance real-world relationships, not to replace them.
7. Don’t let children have unsupervised Internet access or accept as online friends people you don’t know offline.
8. Set limits to the time you spend online and ask someone to hold you accountable to these.
9. Set aside a day a week as a technology ‘Sabbath’ or ‘fast’.
10. Avoid alerts (emails, tweets, texts and so on) that interrupt other activities, especially reading, praying, worshipping and relating.
11. Ban mobiles from the meal table and the bedroom.
12. Look for opportunities to replace disembodied (online or phone) communication with embodied (face-to-face) communication.

With You Heart & Soul

Go back, Sam! I’m going to Mordor alone!
–Of course you are–and I’m coming with you!

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

On Simple Church: Something to think about

The opinion of the 24-7 Prayer website
Our growing conviction is that ‘simple church’ (2 or 3 gathered in the name of Jesus) is a brilliant place to start but a terrible place to stay. It’s like a human body which begins with two single cells uniting but immediately begins multiplying and moves from fetal to adult through a process of ever greater complexity. Thus Matthew 18 (‘2 or 3 gathered in the name of Jesus’) becomes Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12, where the graces and gifts of apostles, prophets , evangelists, pastors, teachers, with the fit function of the members of the Body grow up into Christ resulting in maturity.

We like ‘simple’ and relatively small (12-30-50 people) gatherings acting as an extended family household, but see them over time maturing, and graduating to the complicated processes of numerical growth and reproduction.

Communities that stay small for too long can end up like Bonsai trees. Lacking the depth, the diversity and the economy to really enjoy life, they can’t raise mature disciples, can’t develop spiritual children and can’t embrace more than a mono-culture, and they rarely start new initiatives.

What would Ying Kai say? Discuss.