Archive for the 'Christian Faith' Category

07
Aug
17

Why Must the Laborers Be Few? by Jordan Scott

Why Must the Laborers Be Few? by Jordan Scott

My family cannot say that we were called by God to the Kurdish people. Four years ago, I didn’t even know who they were. However, my wife and I both bought into Jesus’ name being made famous where it was not. Then, some of my closest Christian friends decided to move to Kurdistan, and their decision that really helped direct my steps. That’s how my wife and two daughters ended up here. No audible voice from God, no highlight on a map, no specific burden for the Kurdish people—just a young, passionate family who loves the Lord and wants others to love Him too.

I recently drove into East Mosul with a team for a food and water distribution. As we were passing out packages of food, we would see families sitting next to the goods while another family member would go find a wheelbarrow to transport it. I see this one kid, about seven years old, sitting next to four cases of water. And a few feet away I see another kid, same age, sitting on the ground with nothing next to him.

If you were on the distribution with us that day, who would you give your water to?

America is sitting next to four centuries of “water”—four hundred years of access to the Gospel. The Kurds aren’t. I’ll let you make the choice.

Read complete article here:
http://www.faimission.org/articles/2017/8/5/why-must-the-laborers-be-few

 

_____________________________

I came across the above article at a very opportune time. The fact that it was written only a day or two ago makes it seem even more significant.

Recently many of my posts have been addressing Christian attitudes to Muslims, something that has concerned me since seeing some of the hateful things written about Muslims, even by those considered to Christian teachers. (What kind of Christian witness do those attitudes display?)

After publishing those posts I’ve received some (well-meaning) advice: that I’ve been venturing into risky territory; that ministry to Muslims requires a special calling.

Firstly, I’ve never considered myself to have (or need) a special calling to minister to any particular group of people, Muslim or otherwise, and I’ve never considered myself limited to addressing one particular group above another, (most of what I’ve posted hasn’t been directed at Muslims anyway – but to Christians who’ve taken a very un-Christlike approach to Muslims).

I try to deal with opportunities and confront issues as they  arise. I don’t believe I need to wait for a special calling to do so, and I don’t believe that the average Christian needs any special calling to permit them to act on whatever opportunities they find right in front of them.

Too many of us can be like the servant who chose to bury the money (“talent”) he was given by his Master, too afraid of doing the wrong thing and losing it, to put it to use and potentially make a profit for his Master.
Matt 25:14-30

We wait around for that assumed special, individual calling and in doing so miss the general universal calling of all believers. We rationalise our avoidance of certain possible actions with the excuse: “it’s not my calling”.

I know I wasted most of my Christian life avoiding so many opportunities that will never open up again. I look back and see so many possibilities that I didn’t act on – not because I wasn’t “called” to take them, but because they may have been inconvenient or caused discomfort: basically through fear of losing something I didn’t really want to give up.

I replied to that well-meaning advice I mentioned earlier by referring to the book of Acts and some of the experiences of Paul. Those experiences are also cited in the above article.

 If the Lord doesn’t want you to go, He’ll stop you the way He stopped Paul in Asia.

(Acts 16:6-7 )

 

Am I denying that there ARE some special callings for particular people?

No – it’s clear that Paul was called to be the apostle to the gentiles, and God appoints some people to particular roles and tasks within His church and in the world; but we should not allow that fact to hold us back from general obedience to what he has commissioned His followers to do, when the need is clear and while we have the opportunity to do it. And if we are faithful doing that, we’ll find more opportunities opening up.

 

19
Jul
17

Who is the White Evangelicals’ “Christ”?

Despite holding the presidency and having majorities in congress and the senate, the republicans (the white evangelicals’ party of choice) seem to have no ability to deliver anything workable on healthcare. Their only agreement seems to be on their desire to remove “Obamacare”.

During the Obama presidency, while far too many professing Christians were lapping up (and sharing) anti-Obama rhetoric no matter what its source and veracity; one of the complaints that I couldn’t understand was the passionate “Christian” hostility to the idea of affordable health care for all US citizens. Whether or not the so-called “Obamacare” could deliver that wasn’t even the issue. A lot of “Christian” opposition I saw was against the whole idea of making healthcare accessible to those unable to pay for it.

This morning I came across the following, making some interesting observations and claims:

…until recently, most [US] politicians [were] insisting that US healthcare was the best in the world. In reality, the World Health Organisation ranks it 38th, behind Colombia (22nd) and Saudi Arabia (26th) and just above Cuba. The No 1 cause of bankruptcy in the US? Medical debt. And with more than 250,000 deaths a year, medical errors are the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Obamacare has made things somewhat better, but there are still 27 million people without health insurance because they can’t afford it, and millions more who can’t afford the co-payment on prescriptions.

 

Rightwing Christian fundamentalism has had a devastating effect on women’s health. There’s little care for poor women or children once they’ve been born ; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 other industrialised nations are better than the US at keeping babies alive. Americans who say they are pro-life merely mean they are pro-birth. Republicans want to slash Medicaid – government help for those who cannot afford to pay – which pays for nearly half the births in the US.

 

full article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/14/attack-healthcare-policy-with-comedy-jonathan-lynn-yes-minister 

 

Considering the attitudes I’ve seen expressed by many professing Christians over many years, I have to wonder what kind of “Christ” do they think they are following?

Their “Christ” seems to be very different to the person I read about in scripture; their “Christ” seems more associated with partisan politics and political slogans and labels than in reaching out to the most needy people within society.

14
Jul
17

Son of God?

Son(s) of God)

(a brief overview)

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem reportedly has the following inscription, expressing ONE of the tenets of Islam that distinguishes it from Christian belief:

“God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son”.

That statement is a clear attempt to distance Islam from Christianity, and it’s surely no coincidence that other inscriptions near to it focus on the persons of Jesus and His mother Mary.*

The identity of Jesus as the Son of God is central to the Christian faith and Jesus regularly identified God as His Father. That relationship was continually disputed by enemies throughout His life on earth.

The gospels give an account of how Satan challenged the Sonship of Jesus. The recorded temptations in the wilderness were centred on it, as he tried to tempt Jesus to prove He was the Son of God.

“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

“Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.”

Religious authorities were determined to kill Him because of His claim to be God’s Son, considering it to be blasphemy.

“We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

But many who heard his teaching and experienced His miracles readily recognised Him as Son of God.

“Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

When crucified He was mocked by the crowds because of the claim He was the Son of God.

“saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

“He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’

But not everyone mocked, even a Roman Centurion witnessing the crucifixion recognised Jesus as the Son of God.

So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said,

“Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

After His resurrection His disciples recognised and preached that He was the Son of God.

Saul (Paul):

Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy

John:

He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

And most significantly, God Himself confirmed the Sonship of Jesus.

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

and

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

It is also important that the question of whether God could have a Son goes beyond His relationship to Jesus.

The Bible describes Adam as “son of God” within one of the lists of Jesus’s ancestors.

the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Scripture also refers to others who are considered as sons of God:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.”

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

There is also the promise that followers of Jesus are adopted as sons.

“you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

and

adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”

And that last quote (“according to the good pleasure of His will”) perhaps gives the most significant rebuttal to the claim that having a son would somehow reduce God’s “transcendent majesty”; as if God could be reduced in some way by the fact of being Father.

Does God Himself not have the right to make that choice? Is it not up to God Himself what He can or cannot do and what He can or cannot be?

For any man to say God cannot have a Son, that man is in fact limiting God, enforcing some kind of restriction on God’s own right to choose and act and BE according to the good pleasure of God’s own will.

That man is making himself the limiter of God.

_____________________

* Inscriptions
See “INSCRIPTIONS ON THE INNER OCTAGONAL ARCADE”

11
Jul
17

To Forgive or Not to Forgive.

From Noriko Dethlefs’ In His Strength (p53)

“It is rare that killers are brought to justice here [in Afghanistan], but in the case of a colleague – whose cousin was shot dead for not releasing some office documents – members of the family are taking the law into their own hands. When I spoke to them about forgiveness, they agreed to forgive after they found the killer and put him to death. It is a matter of honour”

Compare to:

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

And

Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

And

if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

The above quotes present interesting contrasts in attitudes to forgiveness. The resulting outcomes are also significantly different.

What is REAL forgiveness? Something we apply AFTER punishing someone for perceived wrongs? Or something we apply despite being wronged?

What do we think is more important?

Maintaining our personal sense of honour – or being eligible for God’s forgiveness?

08
Jul
17

What is the best way for European Christians to reach Muslims with the good news?

 

Valid for Christians everywhere, not just Europe.

 

05
Jul
17

Cherry Bounce/The American Elections: An Invitational Exhibit at the William King Museum

I love this artist’s work: an abstract and symbolic expression of her Christian faith in paint and collage.

This is the latest post from her blog about some of her recent paintings.

grace carol bomer

Last year, guest curator Eric Drummond Smith invited me to be part of the “historical” show Cherry Bounce/ The American Elections at the William King Museum in Abingdon, VA. It was historical in subject matter–its theme the history of the American elections from George Washington to Barack Obama, the 44th President. His well-chosen title Cherry Bounce, an Appalachian liquor, alluded to either hope or despair as we anticipated the yet undecided outcome of the November 2016 election. It was historical because Nixon. jpegI was assigned the Nixon/McGovern race of 1972 (the Nixon poster called for “a sense of history, not histrionics”), and historical also because my own Christian faith believes all of history is a story with a divine plot and the post-Fall battle for power.

I am a painter who is conscious of this “grand narrative” called history. My statement reads, “Bomer is concerned with the human condition surprised by…

View original post 853 more words

02
Jul
17

Nasser al’Ahmad Story

Nasser al'Ahmad Story from College Heights TV on Vimeo.




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