Be who God meant you to be…

The Bishop of LondonLike around 2 billion other people, I spent Friday watching the Royal Wedding, of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. I was particularly struck by the opening line from the address by the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres. The line was this:

“‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’ So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today.”

This got me thinking – how do you become who God meant you to be? I am sure there are many answers to this, but the following were top of my list as I thought and prayed about it yesterday:

  1. Love God and follow Him
  2. Serve others
  3. Develop close relationships and accountability
  4. Identify, grow in, and use your gifts
  5. Give generously

Love God and follow Him (Matthew 22:36-38)

This has to be fundemental to everything we are and all that we do. Jesus made it clear that loving God was our top priority.

Serve others (Matthew 22:39)

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus makes loving your neighbour as yourself number 2 on the list after Loving God, so we should take this seriously and look for ways to love and serve others.

Develop close relationships and accountability (Acts 2:42-47)

The Bishop referred to marriage in this context, but it doesn’t have to be marriage. In the New Testament, people were “saved and added” into the church community. Our culture is very individualistic, but Christian culture is far more community orientated. We make an individual response to Jesus and then we’re expected to follow Him in the context of community.

Identify, grow in, and use your gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7)

God has given every Christian at least one gift, often more. We have a responsibility to discover what this is and use it/them to the Glory of God.

Give generously (Luke 6:38)

Giving generously helps to ensure that we put God first, at the very centre of our lives. Generous giving is also a great antidote to the very materialistic culture we live in.

I am sure there are other things you might add to this list, but this is my initial offering. Live like this and be who God meant you to be. You could set the world on fire!

You can download a sermon based on this theme from the Jubilee Church website here.

So, who to vote for?

According to the Today Programme this morning, “The latest polls suggest that four-in-ten people still have not decided which party they are going to vote for.” If you are one of them, how are you going to decide? And particularly, if you’re a Christian, who should you vote for? There is no one answer to who you should vote for, but here are my thoughts to help you make a decision.

  1. Pray about it. This might sound obvious, but it is certainly worth stating again. And whilst you’re praying about that, pray also for whoever might be in power on Friday. Paul encourages us to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-3) and that is certainly needed at this time.
  2. Find out what the parties stand for. Think about what issues are important to you, e.g. social justice, care for the poor, education, the economy etc. and then find out what the parties have to say on these subjects. The BBC election website is very good for this and you can also download each manifesto from there. The Christian Institute has compiled a particularly helpful paper outlining some of the major issues and showing where each party stands on them. You can download a copy here.
  3. Make sure you vote! We should be seeking to play our part in society, and part of that is using our vote.

Pray, research and then cast your vote tomorrow. And let’s keep praying for local councillors, politicians and national leaders as they seek to serve us and govern wisely.

Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury…

It seems that everyone with a Blog is commenting on the unexpected death of Michael Jackson. It has been a huge news story, ever since the TV news channels ran uninterrupted coverage from the LA hospital on Thursday evening. For those who are slightly older than me, they will remember the death of Elvis Presley. For my generation, it’s going to be the death of Michael Jackson.

I was listening to Uri Geller being interviewed on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning. He was recalling memories of his friend, Michael Jackson. He remembered one conversation when he asked Michael Jackson if he was lonely. Apparantly, Jackson replied, “Uri, I am a very lonely man”. This reminded me of Freddie Mercury’s comments on loneliness.  He was the lead singer of Queen, and before he died in 1991, he said this,

“You can have everything in the world and still be the loneliest man, and that is the most bitter type of loneliness. Success has brought me world idolisation and millions of pounds, but it’s prevented me from having the one thing we all need – a loving, ongoing relationship.”

These two men both had world idolisation. They were both incredibly famous and incredibly talented, but both were lonely individuals. As Christians, we may not have millions of pounds and world fame, but we do have that security of a “loving, ongoing relationship” with Jesus Christ. Let’s ensure we’re doing our best to share it with others too.