Posts Tagged With: Jesus

The Avalanche of Poor Behaviour

The vitriol against our bankers is reaching fever pitch. Even at the local gym my wife encountered patrons seething at the behaviour of the banks. This comes on top of the recent inquiry into child abuse. The churches, in particular, came out of that with their reputations badly damaged. There is another current inquiry into the behaviour of the managers of Aged Care Homes. The police are under scrutiny because of poor behaviour and our politicians have reached lows that has even left voters aghast that new lows are even possible.

The level of self righteous anger is seen on tv news shows, radio talk back, newspapers and blogs. Society is venting! The populace is restless and angry.

There is one segment of society left out – the rest of us – the ordinary punter. But are we really in a position to cast the first stone? Let me ask: Are our tax records spotless and our driving record immaculate? Have we always been honest and honourable with the boss, or spouse or colleagues? Have we used the cash economy to avoid tax? If there was a tv screen on our foreheads that broadcast our inner thoughts for everyone to see, would we have any friends? If we came across an easy way to make extra, illegal, money but wouldn’t be caught, how would we behave?

The problem is that each one of us, banker, politician, you and me – everyone – has a sinful nature. It is an unpopular concept in today’s society in which truth is considered relative. Today we are told that there are no longer clear wrongs and rights in the moral sphere and yet we are surprised when people “do wrong”. We ourselves do wrong but we justify it to ourselves – just, as I am sure, the bankers did, or the paedophile, or the manager of the home or …

Yes, we do need laws to protect children, bank depositors, old people and so on, but let us not pretend that we are innocent.

In the apostle Paul’s words, “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sinfulness is a problem we all need to deal with. The ultimate answer is not the laws that we have piled on year after year to try to control all sorts of behaviour but rather the real answer is an encounter with Jesus Christ and the the forgiveness and renewal that is freely available through him.

Yes the laws are important to order a civil society but even more important is a radical renewal of each person – politician, policeman, you and me.

Yet first, each of us has to acknowledge that we have a problem and we ourselves do not have the resources to deal with it but Jesus has. In Luke 19:10 Jesus says to the tax collector ( or banker, or business manager or you and me) “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Step one is to acknowledge that we are “lost.”

Categories: christian, Christianity | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Has Jesus left the Church?

I have deliberately made the title vague. It can be taken in a number of ways.

I have just been observing the lead up to Christmas and Christmas itself in Europe. In some places like Seville there was a Christmas market which only sold items for nativity sets. In another few markets I could have bought gloves, scarves and solar panels to do me for a few lifetimes. There has been a mixture of the sacred and secular. All in all, the secular wins.

But Christmas is only a microcosm of society’s attitude to faith and religion in general. So little of the Christ of Christmas remains but that is true of life in general.

So has Christ left the church, in the sense that even the church has left the Christ of Christmas tucked away in some small corner? We sing the carols, attend church for the one time in the year but they are empty tokens. How many sermons were preached this Christmas that declared a radical Christ who introduced a new kingdom through his own death and resurrection? How many sermons declared Christ’s own words, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” That politically incorrect statement comes from the Messiah and is unpopular in many churches today. The cute baby in in a feed trough is easier to speak about and certainly less confronting.

But there is an even scarier perspective. Christ withdrawing himself, not unlike the Shekinah leaving the temple in Ezekiel. Christ leaving because the people who bear his name do do so thoughtlessly. I know he says in Matt 28 that he will be with his disciples to the end of the age but that was on the basis of their continued faith (not perfection).

The radical Christ, the counter cultural Christ, the Christ of a new and everlasting kingdom, the Christ who purchased the lives of his people on the cross and is now preparing a place in eternity for them, the Christ who dwells in his people through the Holy Spirit, the Christ who fought injustice and prejudice, the Christ who tells us that this life is only a brief pilgrimage … He is so hard to find in many churches and many western lives. Alas in my own life.

Has Jesus left the church? Only if we, his representatives on earth, have left him. In our syncretititic and politically correct age we need need to have the courage of the one who gave us his name to stand up to the culture and attitudes of our age and reveal how amazing his message really is. This Christmas have we been overawed and amazed that God became one of us because He loved us so much? Have we been humbled by his claim on our lives? Are we rejoicing in the revelation of His kingdom?

 

A nativity scene in a side chapel at Caen Cathedral

  

Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, Faith | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Eyes Attuned

If your eyes are attuned, when you travel around France and Spain there are numerous signs indicating the Camino to Santiago. They are on walls, paths and buildings.  They are a silent indication that you are on one of the many paths leading to the Spanish city of Santiago. But I had never noticed them until I had actually gone on a portion of the pilgrimage. After that, I bumped into these signs regularly – I began to notice them. Until I had consciously connected these signs with the pilgrimage, these signs were invisible to me.

We need to have this sense of attunement too, with the representation of Christ in the Old Testament.

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The Old Testament, without seeing Jesus is, quite bluntly, a pointless book. The promise of Christ is the backbone that holds the Old Testament together. But when we start to look for him, he is not just in the promises and prophecies, but can also be glimpsed in key people (e.g. Moses – prophet, priest and king), ceremonies and rituals (the sacrifices in Leviticus find their reality in Jesus) and events (the exodus from Egypt and the entrance into the promised land declare so much about Jesus and the reason for his incarnation). The coming of Jesus, and Satan’s desire to prevent his birth is a continuous undercurrent that surges through the highs and lows of God’s people in Old Testament history. What if David had been killed by Goliath or Joseph had been killed by his brothers? What would have happened to God’s promises?

O.k. God is sovereign, yet we see that sovereignty against a backdrop of Satan’s hatred and humanity’s sin. The golden thread that draws the Old Testament into a unified story of God’s salvation history is the promise of Christ – the Messiah.

One other reason for recognising this important truth: it prevents the Old Testament from becoming just another version of a morality tale alongside brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. The O.T goes far beyond “daring to be a Daniel” or “having the courage of David” it is about God and his plans to see the King and the Kingdom come.

A book that does a wonderful job relating Jesus and his kingdom to the Old Testament is Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom. It has been around for a while yet it is still a great introduction to open ones eyes to Jesus, his kingdom and the way it is revealed in the Old Testament.

Gospel and Kingdom is a book I have purchased on a number of occasions and yet I don’t have a copy on my shelves because I have given it away or “loaned” it on numerous occasions.

Categories: Bible, christian, Christianity, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Old Testament Advent Poem No 5

Joshua and Jesus Deut 34:9 Joshua 5:15

Joshua:

YHWH rescues

Xmas '[pemsA faithful, young
obedient leader
took God’s children
by the hand
into the land of promise
to receive their
God given
inheritance.

Jesus:

YHWH rescues

Is God
whose hands were nailed
to a tree
so that we
could receive
our God bought
inheritance.

Categories: Advent, christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Lists – A Poem

God’s Lists      (e.g Exodus 20:15-17 & Galatians 5: 19-21)

God’s lists touch a nerve.
A raw nerve.
I want to run,
Avert my head,
Cover my heart.
The stare of His lists is uncomfortable,
Unsettling.
I squirm,
Deny,
Excuse.
 …
His firm but mellow hand
Holds,
Will not let me run or hide.
His lists
Like a searchlight
Reveals dark places,
Hidden corners,
Uncovers brokenness.
 …
Then

Detail from the font in Winchester Cathedral

In an almighty scream of love
He clothes me in His son.
The list evaporates.
The light finds nothing
… but perfection!
He sees me whole,
Complete, Holy.
 …
All I can do is weep;
Weep tears of elated
Hallelujahs!
Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Text of Hope for Sunday ( with Photo)

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;he will lead them to springs of living water.And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev 7:17

Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, Devotional, Faith, Jesus, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

15 Reasons Why Christian Education is Important

  1. Sound Christian Education takes the Bible seriously.
  2. Truth is seen as absolute.
  3. Christian Education believes a Christian worldview can make a positive difference.
  4. It gives students a strong foundation in a world of shifting values and morals.
  5. Christian Education recognizes God’s sovereignty and Christ’s Kingship, and …
  6. therefore God’s claims over all of creation are taken seriously.
  7. No subject or curriculum is outside the orbit of God.
  8. Students are recognised for who they are: sinners in need of God’s grace in Christ.
  9. Also students are given a vision of God’s Kingdom and their place in it.
  10. Good Christian education recognises the unique, God given gifts and talents of the students and
  11. challenges them to achieve their amazing potential.
  12. It assists parents in their God given mandate.
  13. Sound Christian Education treats the student as a whole person whose aim is to grow in Christ-likeness..
  14. A foundation in God and His world prepares the student for tomorrow.
  15. Healthy Christian Education develops critical thinking by having the courage to explore other world views from the perspective of its own worldview.

What reasons can you add?

As this post proves to be regularly accessed I have included some other sites:

Australia

http://www.cen.edu.au/   Christian Education National

http://csa.edu.au/  Christian Schools Australia

A wonderfully informative website:

http://www.whychristianschools.com.au/wcs/index.html

 

USA/Canada

http://www.csionline.org/  Christian Schools Internation

http://aacs.org/ American Association of Christian Schools

UK

http://www.christianschoolstrust.co.uk/find_a_school  Christian Schools Trust UK

Categories: christian, Education, Faith, Family, Future, Jesus, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

Known Only to Him

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

We fear the unknown. I remember when I purchased my first computer, an Apple 2C, for wordprocessing in 1984. One ministerial colleague told me that the Holy Spirit only worked through a pen. Socrates, I believe, feared writing, as he saw it as a threat to learning and memory.

Today we have much more to fear. The future races upon us daily with an amazing rapidity. Pundits tell us that many of the jobs our young people will have in the future,  haven’t been invented yet.

Matt 6:25 ff. reminds us where our trust should lie – whatever happens in the future. Or in the words of the hymn, “Known Only to Him” written by Stuart Hamblen and sung by Elvis, we hear the line:

I know not what the future holds
But I know who holds the future

This is the core of Matt 6:25ff. The Christian knows that the future is in God’s hands and not that of the scientist, politician or media star. There is no excuse for passivity or complacency here. We still need to be Kingdom workers. There is however, every reason for joy and comfort, knowing who holds the future.

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