(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…)
(August 12, 2017) Stuart Reynolds challenges today’s spiritual deception…
Some of us may remember the classic 1973 film set in 1930s Chicago and starring the strong acting trio of Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw. It tells the story of an elaborate con of a much feared criminal banker in retribution for a murdered friend.
The phrase – The Sting – refers to the moment a ‘play’ is completed, taking a target’s money. If successful, the ‘victim’ of the con does not realise what has happened and who has cheated him, until all are long gone.
Paul wrote about a particular ‘sting’ in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’
Ground of our deception!
‘Do not be deceived’ – If ever a warning text for our day, this is it! Among others, there is a two-fold implication to this command of counsel:
- The possibility that we can be deceived
- The protection that we need not be deceived.
Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, writes more current dangers …
‘If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?’ (1 Corinthians 14:8).
Paul wrote those words to the Christians in Corinth who were using the gift of tongues in an undisciplined way that resulted in confusion and a diminishing of the effectiveness of the church in its unity and evangelistic ministry. He went on to say, ‘Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air’ (1 Corinthians 14:9).
The result was confusion! (more…)
Robert and Maureen McQuillan share:
One of our ways of relaxing is to watch old movies and selected engaging TV series. Every now and then we hear an actor profoundly share a (whether the script writer realised it or not) great biblical principle or life principle. Such as one we heard recently in a Person of Interest episode.
Without going into details regarding this hit TV mystery action series, let’s just say that repeatedly the dialogue carried some great life truths, such as this one.
‘We all have free will – and with that comes great responsibility’ explains billionaire software genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), creator of ‘the machine’ (a secret government Big Brother surveillance system that watches everyone, everywhere) to his top operative, former CIA agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in The Passion). He adds, ‘Sometimes great loss.’ (more…)
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PHILIPPINES/ THOMASTOWN (Vic)
Frontline Foundation’s Pilot Project a continuing success
Connect City Church’s Tess Abadilla, founder and CEO of Frontline Foundations – dedicated to empowering one Filipino community at a time – is delighted to report that its Let Us Sell Goods project is an ongoing success.
‘The Badjao Community Livelihood Cooperative Program (BCLCP) led by Pastor Albert Santiago in Libjo, Batangas City Philippines has completed its first year of implementation. It’s received the complete funding as per its original proposal,’ says Pastor Tess. (more…)
Robert and Maureen McQuillan share concerns:
Underbelly – the 17th century word has been highlighted recently through the TV series on Australian crime bosses.
Dictionaries explain it as ‘a vulnerable or unprotected part.’ Winston Churchill, concerned about ‘the gathering storm’ in Europe prior to World War 2, later used ‘underbelly’ in a figurative sense of ‘the most vulnerable part’ in a 1942 speech.
Church underbellies (more…)
Question: Please help me understand this encroaching ‘Sozo Prayer’ teaching. Is it a deception?
Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, responds: This matter requires some writing at length, actually as an expanded article, but I’ll make it as clear as I can!
Introduction to The Sozo Deception
There is a disturbing trend in contemporary Christianity, one in which the long-established fundamentals of the faith are being set aside or modified or replaced by dangerous novelties. Consequently, while there has been a diminishing in the teaching and preaching of sound biblical truths, there has been a corresponding rise in fanciful and speculative ideas that tickle the imagination and appeal to the mysterious. (more…)
Question: Sometimes I feel very close to God and at other times I feel that he is a million miles away. When I don’t feel that he is near, does that mean that I have done something that has offended him?
Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, responds:
This question raises the more fundamental question of how reliable our emotions are in experiencing God’s presence and in sensing his speaking to us.
First of all it has to be said that our capacity to have emotions is a gift from God. When he made us, part of the human package was what we call ‘feelings.’ Some of them make us feel good, such as happiness, love, wonder, and pleasure; other have a negative effect on us – such as, sadness, disappointment, shame, anger and envy. Still others include such feelings as sympathy, compassion and courage. On and on the list goes! It would be hard to imagine life without feelings. Yet… (more…)