(July 23, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…
The first mention of ‘kingdom’ in the Bible is Genesis 10:10 where it states, in reference to Nimrod, ‘The first centres of his kingdom were Babylon.’ In biblical thinking Babylon often represented that power that was constantly opposed to God.
While many nations were ruled over by kings, for many years after the Israelites had settled in Canaan they had refused to appoint a king of their own because they accepted a theocratic system of leadership in which Yahweh was recognised as its king.
In this lay the secret of Israel’s uniqueness and its strength as a nation. From time to time other leaders were appointed on a temporary basis – we read about many of them in the book of Judges – however those leaders were never recognised as kings nor was their leadership hereditary. At other times a high priest or a prophet appears to have had a leadership role – such as Eli and Samuel – but God was still regarded as the ruler of his people. (more…)
(April 8, 2017) Chris Pick, Special to ASSIST News Service shares an Easter reflection…
Let’s go back in our hearts to that Black Friday nearly two thousand years ago. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate presented before the crowd two men: One man named Barabbas and the other Jesus. Pilate declared: ‘It is your custom that I free one prisoner to you at Passover! Which do you choose?’
‘Give us Barabbas!’ the angry mob cried.
Why did the crowd choose this man over the Messiah? What did they expect?
One was a sinner – one was sinless but chose to become sin
It is quite possible that Pilate presented before the crowd two men named Jesus. Some scholars believed Barabbas’ real name was ‘Jesus Barabbas.’ The Greek scholar and early Christian theologian Origen found many early manuscripts of Matthew 27:16-17 which referred to Barabbas as ‘Jesus Barabbas.’ And the name ‘Jesus’ was a common name in first-century Galilee.
So, if Barabbas’ first name was Jesus, then the question could be rephrased, ‘Which Jesus do you choose?’ It’s a question that can still be asked today as we are presented with so many different ‘Jesus’ figures globally. To some, he is a great teacher. To some, a prophet. To some, he is God’s son. To some, a mere man. And sadly to some, just a myth. (more…)
(March 8, 2017) Stuart Reynolds brings another timely challenge …
A pig and a hen were walking down the road when they saw a poster advertising the forthcoming Harvest Supper. It reported that bacon and eggs would be served. The hen said to the pig, ‘How nice it is that we can help the church.’
The pig replied to the hen, ‘It’s all very well for you – you’ll be making a contribution, but I’ll be making a sacrifice!’
It was Alexander MacLaren who wrote: ‘Martyrs by proxy, who have such strong convictions that they think it somebody else’s duty to run the risk for them, are by no means unknown.’
A location considered
We rightly pray much for the ‘Persecuted Church’ – often feeling small and inadequate alongside them because of what they are living out and proving in the midst of oppression and we’re not. (more…)
Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, considers a touchy (to some) choice…
What a sombre topic!
I have just returned from a funeral and listened again to the familiar scriptural words that are frequently quoted at a Christian funeral.
During the service I thought of a question I was asked a few weeks ago about the rightness of burial over cremation. Eventually we will all be confronted by this choice concerning loved ones.
Arguments in favour of burial
There are many Christians who would adamantly assert that burial is unquestionably the correct way to dispose of a body. (more…)
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW TO WORK THE CROWD!
Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, writes:
It is important for pastors and church leaders to know how to work a crowd.
Oh my goodness! You now think I have slipped a cog. How in the world can anyone in ministry possibly think about ‘working the crowd’? That is so phoney. Further, it must be as far away from godliness as one can get. What’s up with that? (more…)