Jason Russell, and Why We Need to Stop Judging

I didn’t write about it on here because I don’t like mixing Jesus with global movements represented by rich white men but, after jumping on the Good Ship Kony 2012 for all of twenty-four hours, I gladly stepped off it, back on to dry land and, to be quite frank, a bit of sanity. I wrote on my second blog about how “a rich white man” won’t do much for the economic and political situation in Uganda, how quickly the hype would “fizzle out”, and how Jason Russell is a damn good filmmaker.

And, as it turns out, Mr Russell ended up acting a little bit crazy and managed to find himself in the news; but for all the wrong reasons.

At first I found it pretty funny. I felt pretty clever for not having fallen for Russell’s tricks (for too long, anyway), and that he had had this crazy mental breakdown which proved me right. But, after a few hours, this didn’t really sit with me anymore. It’s all well and good for me to be happy that Kony 2012 will probably disappear from the Internet completely soon enough, but for me to be happy about the meltdown of a fellow human being? That’s not right.

Jason Russell represents to me how broken this world is. First of all, he uses good film making abilities, scandal and his cute five year old son to get people to care about the thousands of Ugandan children who suffered at the hands of Joseph Kony and the LRA, to which most of us give into instantly. Twenty-four hours later, we’ve changed our minds. Then, within the space of two weeks, Russell becomes so overwhelmed by this project that he ends up running around naked and masturbating in public. And then those of us who thought he was a bit of a shady character in the first place decide it’s our place to make a mockery of him. 

Jason Russell has a family. He is a husband, a father. Putting aside Invisible Children, he has a life. He has a big influence on his son. His son who is going to hear all about this and probably become ashamed of it when he grows up and realises what it all means. His wife will have to deal with questions, the sheer humiliating consequences of the way her husband acted.

It is not our job to mock Jason Russell when he is probably already hanging his head in shame.

Matthew 7:1-2
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

This is a scary concept. To think that the way I judged Jason Russell (instantly and harshly) is the way God could judge me. I judge people all the time, the world tells me it’s okay, that it’s normal; but it’s not. We happily gossip about others and make judgements but when we think about others judging us does it make us happy? Are we okay with it? I doubt it. I’m not saying that I don’t make judgements, but I want to try not to, I want to just love people and try my hardest to see the good in them.

It might not be the easiest thing to do, but Jesus never promised it would be easy.



Semester Eight, And Why It’s Been So Stinkin’ Amazing [So Far]

Today my hamstrings are aching.

Last night, on the way to blog (the meeting for students in my church) I decided to run up the hill that leads to the manse. It was a bad move. Not only did I end up with a very sore throat, today I appear to be in more pain than I am when I go to the gym.

But it turns out that a little bit of pain is worth it.

I go to North Parish Church in Stirling and I adore it. I adore how inspired and encouraged I am by the sermons, by the community, and the beautiful church family I am ever so slowly becoming a part of. I love how the students are such an important part of the church. I’m sad that it’s my last semester in Stirling but being able to go to this church is such a blessing.

I spoke to my Mum on the phone yesterday and she told me that I sounded happier than I ever did over the first three years of university. And she’s right, I most definitely am. I lived with some amazing people for three years who taught me a lot about myself and the world that I didn’t know much of. They allowed me to make my own decisions, my own mistakes, and then watched, without judging, time and time again as I returned to Jesus to ask for forgiveness.

But it wasn’t easy. This is no comment on the people I lived with, like I said, they were great, but it’s different to live with people who share your beliefs, who I can come home and talk to about Jesus and how amazing He is, or ask for prayer. I’m so comfortable this year, and I think that’s okay for once. The whole of this year hasn’t been so easy, last semester had plenty of its own trials, but Jesus brought me through them and has taught me so much.

I’m so glad to be living the way I am this semester. I’m healthy, happy, and in love with my Jesus. I don’t drink anymore because I simply don’t care for it. I go to 3:11 (Bible Study) and CU every week and I’m going to try and make it to church every week from now on.

I was reading Acts this morning (inspired by church last night) and I realised how grateful I am for fellowship. Without even trying, the people around me are such a great influence and encouragement to me.

So, friends, I hope that, when I write a soppy blog post in June about university ending, I can say even more wondeful things about these people. Praise Jesus!

Christ is Risen!!! Alleluja!

I can’t even begin to imagine how Mary felt when she discovered Jesus had been resurrected. After an intense crucifixion – darkness covering the land, shaking of the earth, and the temple curtain torn in two – surely this wasn’t over?

It wasn’t. 
Oh, man, how it wasn’t over!

It’s not Easter yet. In fact, it’s around a month until Easter. But I wanted to write about it because, never mind the fact that it’s my favourite day of the year, it is probably the most important day of the year for Christians (other than Christmas).

When God witnessed the fall of man He was deeply moved by our pain; He was deeply moved by the brokenness it caused. All throughout the Old Testament God constantly reminds His people of the new covenant, we can search its pages and discover prophecy after prophecy, promises that someone was coming to give us hope, a second chance at life, a chance at forgiveness and so we could know our Maker.

I can’t get over the beauty of that, of who Jesus is.

Picture this: A Father, Creator God, has a Son. This Son is so precious to Him, He loves Him more than I have the words to explain, He is a part of Him. However, the Father also has a few other children. Well, billions of them. He created them with His hands, He knows each one of them by name, He numbered each hair on their head (Matt. 10:29-31), He loves them insanely, He wants to be loved by them. But they’ve gone a bit off track. They took things into their own hands, told their Father to get lost and set off on their own. But the Father knows He has to save them, He has to bring them back to Him because they’re not safe without Him.

However, there’s this guy called Satan who’s pretty good at leading God’s children astray. God knows that until Satan gets something He wants, he’s going to keep leading the children astray. He’s going to keep guiding them down dark paths, subjecting them to pain and laughing in their faces and saying “I told you so!” So the Father decides that the best thing He can do is sacrifice a part of Himself, the one thing He loves the most, to Satan so he’ll give up. So the Father sends the Son to be with the children and, after a period of time of getting to know the children, of telling them about the Father and showing them how great and powerful and loving He is, the Father tells the Son that it’s time. It’s time to be a living sacrifice in the place of the children so Satan will give up. The Son cries out to the Father, He is so afraid that His sweat turns to blood, but still He says, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

The Son is whipped and beaten, He is mocked by the people who follow Satan because they have no idea who He is, He is the Son of God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. The Son doesn’t turn and run because He is of the Father, His heart is full of compassion for His people, He knows this needs to happen to stop Satan. The Son, after He had been beaten, was too weak to carry the cross that He was to be crucified on, so they gave it to a man called Simon of Cyrene to carry it to Golgotha (taken from the original Aramaic, meaning “skull”). And, upon that cross, the Creator of the entire universe was cruficied for the sins of His people.

But it wasn’t over.

Darkness covered the land from the sixth to the ninth hour and at 3:00 pm Jesus cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?” (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) At that moment the temple curtain tore in two, the earth shook and the dead were resurrected from their graves! “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!'” (Matt.27:54) 

Jesus, the Son, was buried in a tomb. A massive stone was rolled in front of it and a Roman guard was stationed there at all times so no one could steal His body. But, the next morning, when Mary came to the garden the stone had been rolled away and there was a man walking in the garden. Mary thought He was just the gardner but this was no ordinary man.

This was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, resurrected from the dead, completely alive!

On that day Satan learnt that He had no power over the Father and His children. He learnt that as long as the children choose the Father, His light will always be there to guide them, even on the darkest, rockiest roads. The Father knew the whole time that His Son would be safe, that He wouldn’t die and dissappear forever; He also knew that Satan didn’t realise this.

And when God’s children saw what He had done for them it made them realise, it made us realise, it made me realise, that God loves me so much. He loves me more than I could ever imagine. He sent his precious Son, His child, to die for me. He allowed Him to be whipped and beaten and mocked so I could get a second chance, so Satan would have no grip on me. And God felt all the pain that Jesus felt because He is a part of Him. For the Father to see his Son treated this way was like any loving parent seeing their children attacked, God would have stepped in and stopped it but He knew He had to do this to save His creation.

And because Jesus did this, just like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) returned to his father, we can now return to our Father, our Lord and Saviour, our Maker, God.

The Only Important Decision

Sometimes we think the decision that’s right in front of us is the most trying thing we’ve ever dealt with. Somehow it completely takes over our life and makes us think that nothing else is important, that if we mess this up, if we choose the wrong path, everything is going to fall to pieces. We forget that our decisions are so trivial when it comes to God.

I can’t write a post about decision making this morning, that’s not the point in this. But I want to write about the love of Jesus and how that is far more important than any decision we ever make. Maybe some of you will see it as a cop-out, but as someone who frequently thinks certain choices will make her happy, I know this is what I need.

I’m really liking the book of Isaiah at the minute and this morning I found this verse:

Isaiah 54:10
“‘Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed.’
Says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

I read Genesis back in January and one thing that kept reappearing was God’s promise of His covenant to His people, and once again in Isaiah He reminds us of this. God, who sent ten plagues on Egypt, who “rained down burning sulfur” (Genesis 19:24) on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, who could have done anything to make us love Him, has compassion upon me.

Compassion so strong that He gave up all heavenly powers and came to earth as a tiny, helpless baby who had to depend on humans for even the simplest of things. Compassion so strong that He sent His Son to die an incredibly painful death, to be crucified, for me. 

I don’t have children yet, but I am a child to two amazing parents, and I know how much they worry about me when I’m at university. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the Father to let His Son experience pain like that.

It doesn’t really matter to God which path I choose. I don’t mean He doesn’t care, what I do mean is that no matter what I decide He will be with me either way. He doesn’t ever leave our sides and, even if I do fall away from Him for a while, He will always guide me back to Him. In 2008 I chose to move to Scotland for university and I definitely did fall away from God for a while, but I think this blog is proof enough that He never let go of me.

If God truly wants us to choose one path more than another He will move mountains to make that happen (I stole this quote from a friend, so props to Rhea Wilms). But I think that right now God is saying the decision is up to me, He’ll work with whatever choice I make, that part isn’t overly important to Him.

So friends, I’ll leave you with something beautiful:

Ephesians 1:3-8
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

I encourage you to decide to fall more in love with Jesus than ever before.