Archive for the church Category

a quick note on revelation…

Posted in christianity, church on October 19, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

Is more of the book of Revelation being fulfilled before our eyes? I believe it may be…

Peace in Israel… on its way…
http://www.onemillionvoices.org/

more prayer needed…

Posted in christianity, church, friends, taking action on September 25, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

Ok, so its the second time in a few days… but could really do with some prayers right now…

Just found out that someone I’m close to has been diagnosed with cancer… don’t know if its localised, or if its spread to the rest of the body… I have to admit, I’m quite shaken up by it all… I had to get up and leave the living room where my housemates were for a while just to process my thoughts… I haven’t even told them yet…

Anyways, please please please be praying for this person – for healing… but for God’s will to be done, whatever that will be… and for courage and strength to deal with this situation, and accept whatever outcome may occur – please pray for healing… please just pray… anyone who reads this, and believes in the power of prayer, please pray…

sunday night…

Posted in christianity, church, friends on September 25, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

On sunday I gave a talk to my Youth Fellowship at church…

For a long time now, it has been becoming more and more evident of problems within the YF, to a number of leaders… One of these problems is a lack of (im sure this word doesn’t exist, but I can’t think of a better was to say it) genuinity… to be honest, I feel it’s a problem with Northern Ireland as a whole, myself included… to say we’re Christians, but don’t live a sold out, passionate God seeking life…

But, I’m not doing a rant now… this is about sunday…
My talk was about worship – how its by no means merely singing songs on a sunday, no matter how passionately… I was really trying to get across about the LIFESTYLE of worship, about loving God with EVERYTHING we have, and not calling ourselves Christians while leading a lukewarm life… About how we need to worship Him in SPIRIT and TRUTH, with our integrity, our love, our friendships, our LIVES… And how talking behind other peoples backs, inappropriate joking, not standing up for the oppressed (stopping before I rant again) just isn’t on…
And something I feel it is important to clarify… I didn’t do it out of anger. I did it because I really care for those guys, and I can’t stand seeing them not living up to their potential in Christ… I can’t stand the lack of genuinity in my own life, and I can’t stand it in theirs… Most of all though, I did it because I love God… because it hurts him so much to see his people living lukewarm lives…

So anyway, how it went… I was content in the end. I got up and I said what I feel I had been given to say… some responded to it, some didn’t… but I did my part, and thats all I can do… I’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the next few weeks now…

Please continue to pray for us…

prayer needed…

Posted in christianity, church, taking action on September 23, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

Ok guys… for anyone who happens to read this before Sunday 23rd Sept (today pretty much) at 8pm ish, and you believe in the power of prayer, please please pray for me.

I’m giving a talk at my yf, and I’m gonna be bringing up a lot of uncomfortable truths… and Satan is really trying to stand against me on this one. I’m afraid of what I have to say, but I know God wants me to say it, and I’m gonna stand for whats right… but I really need prayer support guys…

I know this is breaking from my normal blogging style, but its REALLY important to me… please…

What is christianity…

Posted in christianity, church, taking action on August 28, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

Ok, so this has been coming at me from all directions for quite a while now… Seemingly everywhere I turn these days, someone or something is drawing my thoughts back to this one verse… God has ‘impressed it upon my heart’ to use some slightly more flowery language… to put it more simply, God has been holding it under my nose, gently whispering ‘Do you see it yet?’…

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22 : 34 – 40 (NIV)

I’m not claiming I have the definitive picture of what Christianity truely is. I’m not saying I have this all worked out, and I’m CERTAINLY not saying I am currently living what I am about to say… but this is what God has been teaching me, and it’s what I’m going to strive towards. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to see what has been right under my nose all along…

The greatest commandment – Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The Message version says to love God with all your passion, all your prayer, and all your intelligence.

Love God with everything… LOVE Him… Strive to serve Him, seek His heart and His compassion for that which He cares about… To love God, I’m finding, is to be transformed. TRANSFORMED! To have your thinking turned upside down! To be wholly and totally committed to His plan, His love, His purposes, His justice, His compassion! To LOVE God is to love that which He loves, it is to seek after Him with EVERYTHING we have, to make Him our NUMBER ONE priority!
(I realise this will probably sound like a shoutout from a soapbox, but it’s genuinely surprising me how fresh it feels! I just hope and pray you can catch a glimpse of what I’m seeing in this right now…)
To love God is to live a life sold out for Him… man, I have no idea how to condense this into a blog post… and thats GOOD! This is far too huge to be confined to something as limited as even the entire of the Internet! How many Christians do you know who speak their faith from the lips but lead lives of haphazard mediocrity and lukewarm sentiments? If you know me, you know at least one… but I am striving to change that now! When we take the name of JESUS CHRIST upon ourselves, call ourselves Christians, we ascribe to a higher way of living – a way of SACRIFICIAL LOVE for God, for those around us. When we truely seek after God with all our hearts, love Him with all our heart, soul and mind, love Him for what He has done, for who He is, seek to spend every moment with Him, everything else follows! We love the lost because HE does. We strive for justice because HE DOES! We get off our backsides and REACH OUT to those around us and LOVE them because HE DOES!!!! Never before has Matthew 6:33 made so much sense! But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Seek after God first and foremost, above all else, and everything else will flow from it! For from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks!

One day Jesus will separate the sheep and the goats. The criteria? Whether we cared for the sick, visited those imprisoned, provided for those in need… and remember, even if I sell all I have and give everything to the poor, but have not love, I am nothing. Nothing!
How many Christians these days are willing to go out on a limb for their Lord? How many would face torture and death for their Lord? How many would face torture and death for a stranger? Out of love? THIS is the transforming love we are called to! The western church seems to care about getting people over the doorstep more than going out over its own doorstep into the world that so desperately needs Gods love in a real practical way!

This has been completely disjointed, I know. It’s 2:18 in the morning. And this is hardly an accurate or ordered summary of what I’ve been learning of late. But I’m going to post it anyway. Maybe by the grace of God some sense can be made of it all. And hopefully I will be able to organise my thoughts enough sometime soon to give a more structured summary…

Hospitality…

Posted in christianity, church, Killarney, taking action on August 15, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

A favourite blogger and good friend of mine, Connor, made a recent post about hospitality differences between here and North Africa. Please do read it, it’s an excellent post and a great description of what this post is about.

The funny thing is, that this has been something that has been in my mind over the past number of days. On the final night of our teenager program in Killarney, two male backpackers in their mid-twenties, American, came up to the church (as did a number of other people, the sound of the music from inside seemed to draw people in…) and approached me, as I was standing outside getting some fresh air. It was about 2230 / 2300 at this time. They told me they had been searching in Killarney for accomodation for ages but couldn’t find any available rooms, and were wondering if they could sleep on the floor of the church for the night…
I would have loved to say yes, but as it wasn’t my church, I told them I would have to check with the dude in charge, so I went back in and asked him… I have to say I was a very disheartened when he said no… However, he did ask where they were, and went and had a chat with them. Unfortunately the best he could do was try to ring some people (none of whom could help seemingly) and send them in the direction of a house where they might find someone who might be able to possibly help them out…
I admit, I was quite annoyed at this solution… I could see his argument of course, about legal policies and not knowing the guys’ backgrounds and so on… but to my knowledge when the Bible told us to entertain strangers it didn’t tell us to give them a full background check… When did the church become so legalistic? I guess I’d kinda known rules and regulations had taken over to an extent for quite a while, but I never knew it had gone to this extent… I couldn’t look the guys in the eyes as they left, I couldn’t face seeing what they thought now of Christian hospitality…
Anyway, not to leave my own responsibility out of it, I had considered as I saw them walking off that perhaps I could do something more myself… I had a chat to one of the other older leaders of my team to ask them if we could have given them a place at the hostel we were staying in, but I was turned down again… I could see the logic in this choice I guess, as our first responsibility had to be to the safety of the younger members of our team… but why not let them crash in our minibus for the night? Surely that was better than the cold wet night I was certain at the time lay ahead of them (yes it was raining)?
My friend Bill made some excellent points about what was and wasn’t our property to offer up to them… but I’m not sure I buy that argument. The minibus may not have legally been our property, but it was certainly ours for using as we saw fit for the duriation of our renting it… so why not give them some room in that for the night?
I don’t know if they ever got accomodation that night, or if they stayed in the streets. I certainly prayed they would get somewhere… but I left Killarney the next day feeling fairly disillusioned (and I still do) by the whole experience. These guys were in need, and we didn’t help them out. And I can’t help but feel I should have done more, pushed their case harder, MADE SURE they got somewhere to stay… I don’t even feel it was my duty, it’s more love I guess… I guess I kinda experienced love for the needy, and I’m still hurt by the fact we didn’t give them what they needed…

Home again…

Posted in christianity, church, friends, Killarney on August 13, 2007 by Phil Alcorn

I had meant to make a post saying I was leaving… but didnt get a chance to obviously…

Well, to fill you in, I am now home after a week long mission trip with my church to Killarney. We were working (as we have been for the past 6 years) witht the support of the methodist church in Killarney to run a childrens holiday bible club in the mornings, do some street work, and run a teenage outreach program in the evenings. I have to be honest and admit that before leaving last saturday, i wasn’t holding out high hopes for a very successful or enjoyable week. But praise God, I was (as I usually am) wrong…

My lack of faith for God to move despite the problems I saw did have me setting off with quite low expectations. And I am very sorry that I had those low expectations to begin with. This is truely a week where I saw God moving not only in my own life, but in the lives of every member of the team, and indeed in the children and teens who attended the programs. Now, that being said, Killarney (and a good friend of mine, Iain, who was on the team) has re-raised a lot of questions in my head that I’m working through, and will probably blog on later. But overall Killarney this year was a real time of growth and experience, and praise to God for all that happened.

Thats all I feel I want to say right now, so there you go…