Saturday, 30 April 2011

Anti-social Media

Warning - if you're hanging out with people and haven't invited others who are usually part of the group, it makes things look very very exclusive when you post events, photos, statuses and comments about it all on Facebook.

I think some of the things we post on Facebook can highlight the cliques we create and make some people feel more excluded than included in our lives.

And to add to it, some status updates when read by certain people in context can be funny, witty or clever - but to everyone else, or people in specific situation they are a bit offensive.   Last night I was feeling a bit sensitive, and some of the things I read - though seeming pointed at certain contexts - made me feel even worse about where I am in my life right at this moment.

Largely it was a reminder to myself to be careful what I post on Facebook.

P.S - I am very aware that this will also appear on Facebook.  Hopefully I was careful enough in what I said to keep things civil and would hope people would read it in kind.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Since when has being rude become funny?

It's probably due to the latest stand up comedians with their rude and abusing content during their shows, but I'm noticing more and more that in an attempt to 'be funny' people (mostly at church) are just being blatantly rude.  Other's then laugh and they feel they've produced a good time.   However I think the receiver of the rude remark hardly ever finds it funny at all (even though they may laugh - just to hide it and fit in).

I think as Christians we really need to think about what we say to other people.  Being rude is simply being unloving, it is not funny.  I find more and more that I am not laughing with people, but simply wanting to walk away when they start their 'comic' routines.  Maybe I should start saying something, because it's only getting worse.

Naturally 7 - Simply Awesome

After the Saturday night washout (literally) of Easterfest, a impromptu stage was set up in the Toowoomba City Centre.  Since Naturally 7's gig on the main stage was cancelled due to so much flood damage on site, they performed out in the open.  I wasn't there, but I'm glad someone took some video - cause how good is this!!!   Vocal instruments are flipping awesome!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Why do the dumb 'Christians' get quoted in the media?

Some American 'evangelist' has been quoted talking about Christ's second coming and social media...

IT'S played a part in celebrity slip-ups, scandals and revolutions.
Now social media has been pegged as a key component of the second coming of Jesus Christ...
"The Bible says that every eye is going to see it" and that Christ will "come on the clouds", Graham told ABC News presenter Christiane Amanpour, host of This Week
"How is the whole world going to see him at one time? I don't know, unless all of a sudden everybody's taking pictures (with their cell phones) and it's on the media worldwide," he said in the interview which was on Easter Sunday in the US.
Why do people put themselves out there with these really dumb statements?  Do they really think it's going to forward the Christian message by trying to dumb down things so greatly?   It seems the only people the media quote about Christianity are those who are trying to explain away anything miraculous or spiritual to the mundane and human.

I truly believe 'every eye will see' but not because of twitter or youtube... All will see through the glory of God, every tongue then will also confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Full article here...

Another Photo from the Train Museum

Nathanael and I playing with the train sets


Friday, 22 April 2011

Easter Friday.

Your blood speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims I've heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defense
Jesus it's Your blood.

What can wash away our sins?
What can make us whole again?
Nothing but the blood
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can wash us pure as snow?
Welcomed as the friends of God
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood King Jesus

Your cross testifies in grace
Tells of the Father's heart to make a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not by earthly confidence
It's only by Your blood

What can wash away our sins?
What can make us whole again?
Nothing but the blood
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can wash us pure as snow?
Welcomed as the friends of God
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood King Jesus

(Matt Redman)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ipswich Rail Workshops Museum.

I took my nephew to the Rail Museum in Ipswich today.  It was an awesome time, and Nathanael absolutely loved it.  During the school holidays they have a special Thomas the Tank Engine display, including a life size Thomas to climb in and blow the whistle.

I was amazingly impressed with the thought gone in to the museum to entertain kids.  There's interactive displays and a whole room set up with Thomas and Friends train sets for kids to play with.  Nathanael got incredibly excited seeing all the toys and loved pushing Thomas and Percy around numerous different tracks.   There's also a toddler area with ride on Thomas bike things and rocking Thomas engines and other big play toys.  Nae was overwhelmed and didn't want to leave.

My sister bought herself an annual pass so she can take Nae back again and again - and I'm thinking I will probably buy one in the end too, especially cause it's walking distance from my sister's house, a great place just to go down and hang out.  Nathanael sure loves it (as seen by the gigantic smile on his face).

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Devotional Greek.

In my first year of Bible college the 12 month Greek course almost killed me.  The amount of work I had to do just to keep up with the subject was ludicrous, the amount of information we had to learn was so intense that I didn't really enjoy it, and wondered if it was really worth it.

The last year I did an exegesis subject on Romans in Greek.  It was very theologically heavy, with hard translation work, and a lecturer I didn't quite click with.  I did alright though and began to see the extra meaning and insight you can pull from the text when you understand the original language.

This year I am doing an exegesis of John in Greek, the story of Jesus, the words of Jesus and I am really REALLY enjoying the translation.  I find sitting down every week to translate another chapter of John is more of a devotional time than a study time.  I find so much worth in the words, and keep having 'ahh haa' moments as the Greek text opens itself up to me.   The classes as well are good times as D expounds on the text with many insights which I am finding very rewarding.

I may be struggling to find motivation to do assignments, but each week when I sit down to translate I come out the other side feeling much better than when I started.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Encounter with the King

--I was asked to share a little of my testimony last night at City North, I always find it a very emotional and draining thing to do, no matter how short.   This was a 5 minute spot, and I worked hard to break down a part of my story into a short concise testimony, with its main influence highlighting my encounter with Jesus as the King.  I thought I'd post the transcript.

When I was young my mother became a Christian and I remember going to Sunday school from when I was about 5. From that point on I have always believed in God, known Jesus came to die for my sins and knew all the Bible stories which all point to God's love and power.   I can’t remember a point of ever doubting that – I was baptised when I was 9, I understood that Jesus was my Saviour, and to have my sins forgiven I needed to believe in him and become a Christian. I prayed and had faith, and I was a Christian. But there's one moment in my life, when I was 14, where God distinctly showed me that Jesus was not only Saviour, but the Lord – King – Ruler of my life as well. And I had to give my life to his plan, his will and not think of it as my own anymore. This in a very real sense was my encounter with the King.

As I said I was 14, and the church my family was going to had an annual church family camp – my whole family went, and there was a good group of teenagers on the camp. I was mates with most even though some were a few years older. I remember the first night of camp playing table tennis with some guys, this one guy Wade, was 17 and he was overly energetic, almost crazy in the enthusiasm he was putting into the games. For some reason I really took note of the energy, exuberance the life that this guy had.

The next day after the study session we were playing basketball, and again I remember Wade, who was the tallest guy round, totally dominating the game. But after a while he complained he had a headache – so he went and saw one of the adults, got some panadol and went for a sleep. We finished our game of basketball, cleaned up, had dinner and then after dinner we were having a bushdance. I’ll never forget seeing another mate of mine run up from the dorms grab one of the older guys who was a paramedic and race off together… shortly after that we cancelled the bushdance because my friend had found Wade in the dorm, not breathing and without a heartbeat.

 As a church we broke into groups and prayed… the ambulance came and took Wade away – the entire time Neil, the paramedic, was giving him CPR. Almost an hour after the ambulance left the camp, we got a phonecall to say that Wade had been pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital. It was shocking, and horrible – and I remember wanting to talk to my Dad, only to realise that as the youth leader, he’d actually gone in the ambulance with Wade.

I waited up for Dad to return. Another adult took some of us boys into a cabin to talk, but I remember feeling so overwhelmed I just had to get out. Standing outside, under a magnificent, incredibly sky filled with stars I encountered the King. I remember looking up to the stars and questioning God – why had the most energetic, full of life person I knew just died? Wade had been playing basketball with me in the afternoon and was in heaven right now. I asked God why. And I received this amazing sense of peace. God spoke to me and he said that his plan was perfect, Wade was in heaven now because God had called him home – and though I didn’t understand, I had to know and accept that God’s plan was perfect, and he is the King. My plan wasn’t to pass away one night on a church camp, and that meant that God had a specific plan for my life. And not only did I have to believe in him as Saviour, but I had to hand over every aspect of my life to him as the King, the commander, the perfect planner and ruler of the life I was to lead.

Since then I can’t say I’ve let God have his way in every moment, I still wrangle the reigns back at times. But since then I can say that when I have taken control again I’ve realised that I’m not making things better and sooner or later Jesus shows up again to show me my mess, and take control once again.

In times of unrest, or problem God’s given me a verse and I’ll just finish by reading it. It’s Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

If that’s the case, then why should I try and rule my life, when the one with the perfect plan is able to keep me within it?

Friday, 15 April 2011

Baby Dedications.

Are the baby dedications we do in church needed?  What significance do they have to the child?  To the parents?

Are they Biblical? If not, should we do away with them?

I'm interested to see what people think, and hear how they're done in your churches.?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

What happens when we die?

Are we judged immediately?  Do we all go to the same place? Are we left waiting in some void until the end of time? Do we go to heaven but without a body until the resurrection where we are given a new body?  Or do we suddenly awake at the end of time, in front of the throne of God to be judged and either given a new body or sent to the lake of fire?

All the things to be considered during a 3 hour theology lecture.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit an additional work or experience after conversion?

** extract from assignment I handed in yesterday

Philip Yancey when asked to give a definition of grace, replied;
Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more – no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries and divinity schools, no amount of crusading on behalf of righteous causes. And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less – no amount of racism or pride or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possible love.
This pastoral application of grace in response to God’s love gives the impression that the initial work of grace through Jesus is enough. The perception that baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second work affects the completeness of God’s grace in his work through Jesus Christ. To determine the Spirit baptism as a subsequent work of sanctification is to try and find a way to ‘make God love us more’ by being ‘more holy’, or ‘perfect in love’. To say that it is a second work of empowerment is to demote Jesus’ work of redemption to only introductory, and the Spirit’s following work as definitive to salvation.

Schwertley agrees stating;
If one… makes Spirit-baptism an addendum to the work of Christ or some kind of spiritual bonus for elite Christians, one must logically assert one of two unbiblical ideas. One can argue that Jesus did not achieve a perfect redemption and therefore the Holy Spirit must come and finish what the Lord left unfinished… [or that] Spirit-baptism is based in part on human merit… Spirit-baptism comes only to those who have correct knowledge or seek the baptism in a proper way…

In this regard, if a biblical understanding of grace is to be held, one must see baptism of the Holy Spirit as part of the initial work of grace, given by Jesus as a gift of righteousness and regeneration.
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