Archive for the 'Christian Faith' Category

14
Nov
17

7 Thoughts on the Numerous Recent Moral Failings of Public Figures

Another very insightful article from Jeff Weddle. While Jeff refers to the political situation in the USA, the same principles can be applied elsewhere.

Please take the time to go to the link and read all of Jeff’s post.

I particularly like the last sentence – it sums up the whole issue perfectly.

anti-itch meditation

When Bill Clinton was elected president, I was cleaning floors in the Northwestern College cafeteria. My roommate’s girlfriend came in and told me, with tears in her eyes, that Clinton won.

“Oh,” I said, and went back mopping.

The Clinton years were a fascinating time to be a Christian. I will admit I got caught up in the hysteria. Monica Lewinski, rape allegations, “at least Nixon resigned” t-shirts, etc.

The moral outrage amongst Christians was astounding. Clinton was the devil incarnate.

Oh how far we’ve come, dear church.

“a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.

Evangelicals no longer think moral…

View original post 806 more words

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07
Nov
17

If Moses had been more like Charlton Heston.

Onesimus Files

img-Z17112455-0001

Who is YOUR God?
Who do YOU follow?
Who receives YOUR allegiance?
Who do YOU trust?

Choose this day who you will serve.

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02
Nov
17

do not worry about your life…

Yesterday I was told that a significant part of my job will be reallocated to someone else in one of the city offices. I asked whether I could expect a generous redundancy payout to be coming my way. The laughter that came in response seemed to indicate no.

 

If I can only survive here until March next year I’ll beat my previous longest term with an employer. Until now 9 years 11 months is the best. That was the job I had prior to starting university in 1990.

My next longest was around 8 1/2 years in the position I had prior to leaving Sydney to move to this country town.

I’m not sure what options there will be after leaving this job. There aren’t many new openings around for people of my age.

 

Prior to working here I had no concerns about finding enough work to keep the bills paid. I believed something would always come along, and that belief was always realised. More than once I was offered work without actively looking for it, including my current position.
I received an unsolicited phone call offering me five weeks work, relieving someone who was on 5 week’s leave and I’m still here almost ten years later, never having applied for my position, or being interviewed for it.
The main administrative change was being made a permanent employee at the same casual pay rate I’d previously been receiving. (Casual employees are usually paid a higher rate because they don’t have leave entitlements – I was given leave entitlements as well as keeping the higher pay rate).

 

It’s probably much easier to trust the Lord to provide when there’s no other option. Having something secure has its benefits, but it’s easy to become dependent on that security instead of trusting God.

 

I remember a friend of mine once received one of those Reader’s Digest sweepstakes mail outs to say he was in a draw to win a large amount of money. He prayed earnestly to win it and thereby solve his financial problems. I gave it little thought at the time but later realised that receiving a large pay out like that would have done nothing for his ongoing faith in God.
Rather than trust God for a one time answer to a life time of problems, we need to trust Him day by day by day … continuing throughout the rest of our lives.

 

While the future of my job may not be as secure as it once was, I need to be confident in trusting the Lord instead of relying on the security given by an employer.

 

 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

25
Oct
17

Why Is Theology Confusing?

An excellent post on Jeff Weddle’s blog.

I think he really gets to the heart of most of the major doctrinal difficulties and disagreements affecting followers of Jesus.

anti-itch meditation

Biblical doctrine is much simpler than human theology.

Most confusing doctrines are confusing because they are someone’s idea of what the Bible says, not what the Bible says.

The problem is that biblical doctrine is straightforward. A little too abrupt and real. It tends to mess with life.

Theologians enter the picture to “clean up the mess” by telling you the Bible doesn’t mean what the Bible simply and clearly says.

The main job of a theologian is to impress you with their theological astuteness. In other words, they prove their doctrinal superiority by being confusing.

“You’re too stupid to understand, that’s why you need us smart theologians.” Is the attitude. We go along with them because they tell us why we don’t have to listen to all those parts we wish weren’t there, which suits our flesh fine.

You know you’re dealing with human theology when you are reading…

View original post 195 more words

10
Oct
17

Travelling the Right Path (and remaining on it).

It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.*

The most visited article on this blog is this one: Is David Pawson a False Teacher?  In that article I express concern that so many people are clearly looking for someone else to answer that question for them instead of following the example of the Bereans, searching the scriptures to find out whether the teacher and his teachings are true. (My own experience with Pawson has led me to believe he’s more trustworthy than most – but others need to test what he says for themselves)

Over the years I’ve seen more and more examples of how unwise it is to put our confidence in man. While there is a clear legitimacy in receiving teaching and instruction from others, we have an equally clear personal accountability. No teaching or instruction should be accepted without adequate, persistent, ongoing scrutiny.

It is far too easy for personal admiration and even friendship to lead to short cuts; bypassing necessary checks and balances, and as a result start to accept things that ought to be pushed aside. And it’s also very easy to allow our personal desires to lead to similar short cuts: we want something to be true so we find ways of supporting what we want to believe, often through finding isolated, seemingly favourable bible verses (regardless of their intended context).

I’ve previously given examples of my own experience related to “Word of Faith” teaching, and how I ignored my own reservations about aspects of the teaching, a choice that made it easier for me to swallow falsehoods that I may have otherwise have recognised for what they really were.
Apart form personal experiences like that, I’ve also seen far too many friends taking dangerous paths.

I’ve seen some lose their faith altogether.
I’ve seen some heading more and more into mysticism.
I’ve seen others getting caught up in partisan politics, confusing their nation’s agenda with that of God’s Kingdom.

Several of those people were “leaders” of a kind, maintaining or moderating popular, well-visited Christian forums. They had an influence over people and their beliefs.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things.**

Whether we are teachers or not.
Whether we are in a position to influence others or not.
We need to be sure, for our own sake if not the sake of others, that we remain sound and that the path we’re on is leading in the right direction, that we’re not straying from the truth.

As a simple guide I’ve come to recognise the following;

The gospel is simple, not convoluted needing great intellect or learning to understand.
The gospel is practical, not airy fairy and esoteric.
The gospel is about God and His Kingdom, not about man and mankind’s political kingdoms.
The gospel puts God and His agenda first, not man and mankind’s desires and ambitions.

 

 

_____________________

* Psalm 118
** James 3

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08
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection: SSM and Religious Freedom

During Australia’s same sex marriage debate, one group (on the “NO” side) continues to claim that religious freedom will be put at risk should SSM be legalised. The other group (on the “YES” side) continue to insist such concerns are unfounded and are mere red herrings – that the only issue at stake is the happiness of people who want to marry their same sex partner.

But what is the reality?

 

I heard an interview* on ABC radio this morning that made it clear that any protection of religious freedom will ONLY be applied to religious institutions and not to Christian individuals.
Bringing out the now clichéd example of a cake maker refusing to supply a cake for a same sex wedding, it was made clear that they will be guilty of breaking anti-discrimination laws and will be subject to prosecution.

 

My own view of that is that it is the EVENT being “discriminated” against – not the people involved. I’m sure the cake maker would be willing to bake cakes for anyone as an individual – just not willing to bake a cake for an event that compromises their religious beliefs.
To take a step to the side – should a cake maker (religious or otherwise) be legally required to supply a cake promoting (legal) extreme right wing groups or other political views that challenge their conscience, or would their refusal be deemed prosecutable discrimination?

 

Apart from that hypothetical and now clichéd example, we have current cases to look at (not exclusively religious), such as the one described in this story:

A petition with more than 2000 signatures has likened doctors who oppose marriage equality to racists and accused them of contributing to “increased depression.”

The open letter accompanying the petition was written by Perth medical student Carolyn O’Neil and accused more than 400 doctors of adding to “increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/37005078/doctors-opposing-marriage-equality-slam-petition-against-them/

 

This follows a situation that I mentioned in an earlier post, where a doctor was being subjected to a petition calling for her to be struck off the medical register.

A woman that appeared in the advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

In recent weeks I’ve kept an eye on several discussions in the media around the topic of same sex marriage and have found very strong anti-Christian attitudes being shown that don’t line up with the assurances that religious freedom won’t be reduced.
The problem with those assurances is what “religious freedom” actually means to those making them. The nature of that “freedom” is being defined by those who won’t be needing it – by the irreligious, the non-believer, and at times those who are actually hostile to all kinds of religious belief.

Those people have NO qualification for understanding the reasons why Christians (or adherents of other religious beliefs) might not agree with same sex marriage. To have that understanding they would need to recognise what it means to believe in a God who has revealed what HE requires of His creation – that it is GOD’s standards that count – not man’s ever changing whims.

Genuine Christians believe in a very REAL God and desire to commit their lives to Him and His ways – to them “religion” is not a mere interest, a hobby – an alternative to sport or any other past time. Their relationship to God is the most important part of their life: in fact it IS their life.

_______________________

* http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/same-sex-marriage-hate-speech-santow/8884594

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.

 




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