DON’T BE A SQUATTER – DARE LET YOUR MIND BE ‘TAMPERED WITH’

(October 11, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge all who feel something is missing …

Some time ago we read somewhere a very meaningful observation of Know the Truth blogger Philip De Courey, Kindred Community Church’s pastor, Anaheim.

He wrote that ‘The average Christian is a theological kindergartner lacking a basic knowledge of Christian doctrine … When it comes to doctrine; this is a day of the lowest common denominator. Congregations want preachers to play on their hearts not to tamper with their minds.’

Our own observation is that the line following is still so relevant in October 2017: ‘Ours is a time when people want to feel God and know God without having to think biblically about God.’

Christianity playacting
Often we find ourselves pointing out to congregations that we live in a day when many Christians are playacting, not participating – that they have problems simply because they can’t trust God and don’t (to use an often quoted expression church/business) move forward! (more…)

STANDING IN THE GAP

(October 17, 2017) Tim Edwards brings another timely challenge

Sometimes in church services we can end up creating an environment which can appear to be a little insincere if we are not careful.

‘How?’ you ask.

Because although it can be a moment in time where we see people with smiles on their faces and even singing happy up-tempo songs, many may not feeling that way at all in their hearts. Some may be truly feeling really flat, miserable or unloved and need encouragement!

Life’s reality
The reality of life is that we all walk through difficulties in our lives at various times – and we must recognise this, acknowledge it and be honest about it. But not give in to it.

Despite how we may feel on any given Sunday when we gather together we do so to worship, sing and celebrate God, pray, learn – and be encouraged.

But it is also a time for us to help each other to look to God! Our togetherness can, if we will allow it, be an opportunity to serve by reminding those we sense are troubled to keep their eyes fixed on him and not on the challenges.

Stay focused no matter what!
We see this focus as we read the prophet Jeremiah’s heart-breaking, sorrow-filled writings in his book of Lamentations.
(more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G6) AMAZING GRACE – CHARIS (Part 2)

(October 15, 2017) Dr Jim McClure respected theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

In Part 1 of this study we questioned the definition of ‘grace’ as ‘the unmerited favour of God’ as the phrase inadequately expresses the depth of meaning and significance of charis.

Some other inadequate definitions of ‘grace’ are as follows:

  • Grace is the empowering presence of God enabling me to be what God created me to be and to do what God has called me to do.’

There is much that is true in this definition but it is limited in its reach.

  • ‘Grace is the unlimited life, power, gifts, abilities, and nature of God imparted to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the complete righteousness and the finished sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, because of his love for us and his mercy toward us, to enable us to do all the will of God on earth here and now, with a victorious spirit of excellence, praise, worship, and thanksgiving unto God, thereby overcoming all things in order to go and make disciples of all nations.

This definition is essentially a more elaborate description of the previous one.

  • God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’ Despite its appeal as an acronym, it fails as a definition.

(more…)

DESPERATE TO STUDY THE BIBLE, NORTH KOREANS MET IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND

(October 11, 2017) Mark Ellis shares a challenging testimony…

The underground Christians in North Korea are literally conducting secret meetings under the ground.

Searching for food, finding and sharing Jesus
North Korean defector, Choi Kwanghyuk, now living in Los Angeles, described the secret life he and other believers were forced to live in the oppressive country in an interview with The Christian Post (CP).

During a famine, Choi learned about Christianity when he made a desperate quest across the border to China searching for food.

In China, he met a Christian, began studying the Bible, and was born again. When he returned to North Korea, he shared his faith with nine friends, and continued making trips back and forth to China with the aid of the missionary, according to CP.

‘Church’ in a hole
Choi began to meet with his friends to study the book of Matthew in a surprising, secretive location. (more…)

THE MISSIONARY TASK HAS NEVER CHANGED!

(October 10, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares a very important strategy reminder…

Internationally
Christian Missions operate in a wide range of areas of ministry, service and aid!

  • Some are big enough to incorporate many activities and ministries.
  • Others specialise in one field of service such as humanitarian aid, education or medical services.
  • Significant numbers specialise in language translation and the provision of the scriptures in the language of the people.
  • The majority of missions that prioritise on evangelism, Bible training and church planting also open schools, medical clinics and other services.

A discovery
Early in my thirty years of active mission organisation leadership, I discovered that these services were often crucial to our acceptance by indigenous leaders in developing countries. Biblically they were an evidence of Christian love and compassion to people in need.

The missionary task has always been about ‘making disciples.’ Jesus commanded the early church ‘to make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew. 28:18-20). He commanded his disciples to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel’ (Mark 16:15). Matthew adds the important dimension of the Great Commission by quoting the words of Jesus, As you go, make disciples.’

This is the primary task of the missionary – because a missionary is a ‘sent one.’ (more…)

THE CAMEL IN THE TENT

(October 8, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, straight speaking theologian, challenges churches and Christians re lost credibility…

It was a cold night and the sheik was looking forward to closing his tent and climbing between the blankets. Just before he fell asleep, his camel put his nose in the tent and said to his master, ‘It is so cold out here that my nose is freezing! May I put my nose in the tent?’

‘Certainly,’ said the sheik, made himself comfortable and fell asleep.

Soon he was awakened again by the camel which had put his forelegs into the tent. The camel said, ‘Master, please let me put my forelegs in the tent; I won’t take up too much room.’ The sheik agreed to the request and moved over to make a little more room.

He was awakened again by the camel which said, ‘If I come wholly into the tent, the flap may be tied to keep out the cold. ‘Very well,’ said the sheik, and went back to sleep.

When he next awakened, he was lying outside in the cold. The camel had taken over his tent and there was no longer any room for him.

Today we see are witnessing a public enactment of this fable throughout the world, particularly in regard to the consequences of legalising what is mistakenly called ‘same-sex marriage.’ (more…)

COMMITTED

(September 30, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes issues a three-fold challenge…

Committed – the word has real meaning to me as a Christian, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Also as a member of my church and then generally as a citizen of Australia, and of groups in my community.

The Encarta dictionary says that commitment means responsibility, loyalty, obligation, dedication, a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or have promised Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality.

A committed person, especially a committed Christian person, has a power and influence that can only come from commitment to God, to his word and will. I will seek to cover at least in a limited degree the particular fields of commitment we must respect and follow. (more…)

IS THERE ANY WORD FROM THE LORD?

(September 30, 2017) Stuart Reynolds challenges preachers and church attenders…

It is said that one Sunday morning as Martin Luther ascended the pulpit to preach he prayed, ‘God, Thou knowest how busy I have been this last week, and my study for preaching hast suffered, please give me a word for today!

To which the Holy Spirit whispered to his heart, ‘Martin, thou art lazy!’

 

1. Preachers without fervour!
What about the rest of us who, unlike Luther, are not among the best? Are we preachers lazy? Are our hearers not hearing and practicing what they hear?

‘Is there any word from the Lord?’ asked King Zedekiah of Jeremiah (who had finally been brought from the prison to the palace). The prophet answered promptly and positively, ‘Yes…’

Today when this Jeremiah 37:17 question – which needs both to be asked and answered in increasing measure – is raised, a prompt Jeremiah-type answer has become conspicuous by its absence and consequent silence. (more…)

THE FATHER’S LOVE

(September 12, 2017) Tim Edwards brings a timely word from Jeremiah

Every day I see more and more reasons – and more and more need – for us to look to God for his love, guidance, strength and direction. And for us to call out to God for restoration. Why? Because we human beings…

  • Are messy.
  • Make mistakes.
  • Need him, our Father God!

And he is there, rock-solid and real, always inviting us: ‘Come home to me.’

Personal restoration
This means you and I stopping and thinking about where we find ourselves in relation to God as our heavenly Father.

I am completely convinced that we need God to restore and reshape us; we need to hold onto God and allow him to mould us and remake us. Life is hard enough with God – I don’t know how people live life without him! It is most definitely time now, today, to be hungry for God to live in and through us, changing us and changing the world around us in the process. (more…)

SPIRITUAL HOONS… WHEELS SPINNING, GOING NOWHERE!

(September 11, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a timely challenge…

Hoon is a derogatory term often used  to refer to anyone, especially  young people, who engages in loutish activities that can include speeding, burnouts, doughnuts or screeching tyres. In other words… irresponsible behaviour.

Commitment lacking
We were talking recently with a mature young friend about dependability – or the rather the lack of it – in some church circles.

Now our insightful friend is not only dedicated to his commitment as a husband and father, he’s a highly reliable but ever so busy businessperson. And yet he’s also totally committed to doing whatever is required of him by the both the Lord and his pastor to help build his home church.

And as we shared, he pointed out his observations of a major problem with many Christians, particularly the younger ones – although they claim they want to serve Jesus and their church through their talents and skills but they have no concept of commitment.

Actually this observation came up when we shared that we grew up in a day when one’s word was their bond. That if you said you would do something, then you did it no matter what it cost you… time, energy, personal expense especially if your promise – your commitment – involved doing something for your pastor and local church. And you answered letters and as phones with call-back messages became the in-thing, you replied to them! (more…)