The Charitable effect of the gospel


A friend emailed me a story from the Guardian online by a thoughtful writer called Roy Hattersley. In it he says this,

We atheists have to accept that most believers are better human beings

He then goes on to describe how Christians and religious organisations are normally at the forefront of disaster relief, while

Notable by their absence are teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers’ clubs and atheists’ associations – the sort of people who not only scoff at religion’s intellectual absurdity but also regard it as a positive force for evil.

Sometimes we Christians are too hard on ourselves. God’ Holy Presence dwells within us, and sometimes His light, grace, power and love shine through. I think God is proud of what we often do in His name!
Have a look at this final quote from Roy,

Civilised people do not believe that drug addiction and male prostitution offend against divine ordinance. But those who do are the men and women most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping bags and – probably most difficult of all – argue, without a trace of impatience, that the time has come for some serious medical treatment. Good works, John Wesley insisted, are no guarantee of a place in heaven. But they are most likely to be performed by people who believe that heaven exists.

New Living Translation


I’ve had my New Living Translation since my accreditation with the Baptist Union. They asked us to select a Bible they would then give us as a gift.
I love my NLT. It brings a freshness to my devotional times. I remember growing up with the unstated commandment being, you must read the KJV. Then the NIV became the standard for all the trendy churches. But the New Living Translation is such a joy to read. I read somewhere it is designed for public reading and application.
Here’s something you will know, but this translation brings a freshness to it,

1
The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. 2He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.3 He renews my strength.He guides me along right paths,bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23

consider this example for humours sake,

10That night Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. 11The Pharisees were indignant. “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” they asked his disciples. 12When he heard this, Jesus replied, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.”

Matt 9 NLT

If you want to check it out without having to buy it Bible Gateway

Technology, big churches and small ones


Recently I discovered that a mega church, a true one, not Hamos work, was flogging off for the measly price of $200 US what was basically a DVD of one of their services.
I have to admit, this makes me filthy mad.
Are we in the money making business, or the soul winning business?
Its time that bigger churches realised they dont have to sell everything they do. Maybe they could pass on some of the blessing they have recieved from God to bless some other smaller churches. In fact I have found the most generous churches are those without a lot. One big northern Church was asked by one of my mates if they could use some of their multi media stuff. No was the reply, but we will be selling it soon, at some ridiculous price.
Sell it for cost price, for what it cost to burn the dvd or cd.
This is good stewardship. Good stewardship is not taking off the small bloke the one lamb he has, to make your huge flock bigger.

Rant over, resume normal nice guy transmision

Looking looking looking


Melinda and I are convinced of God’s calling to be in the area of our mission field. A stack of people who come to our church do not come from the Bedford Inglewood Dianella Mnt Lawley area. Thats ok! These people are great supporters and we need them all. We have people who come to our church from Heathridge! People will make the sacrifice if they are finding a great place to minister, and be ministered too. In fact is some ways these folk are making a great missionary sacrifice in being involved in a mission work, that is not on their door step. So I am really grateful to God for them all.

But as leaders we feel we need to be in amongst our mission field. God has led, we have sold our house in 13 days and for a good price. Now we need Him to guide us to a house that can house our family, be in the area of a school for Clem to attend and not cause us to go into financial hardship. We both wont to be able to concentrate on mission, not worry about finances, and getting cash, all the time.
Pray for us!

Homer and Bart


The Simpsons is a classic show. Love some of the humour, flinch at some of the barbs. What other show has characters such as Ned Flanders and Rev Lovejoy?
Phil Baker has a discussion on it at his blog.

We dont let my four year old watch it at this stage. The other day we were both busy and it came on. I noticed and said to him, turn that off please! His reply was, but daddy its a Christian show! I said, no its not, what do you mean? He replied, “the daddy said ‘o my God'”. Melinda and I looked at each other, great! What sort of parents are we?!? It was a good opportunity to talk with him about what it meant in that context.
None the less I often use stories from the Simpsons in my messages. From how it portrays Christians, to how dads and mums interact, to the fear we observe in Homer’s dad.
I dont really know what the writers think of Christianity, or even if I could reccomend it to someone else. But I do know it is a smart and insightful window onto our cultures soul.

God’s Party goes off

A great sunday, with a number of visitors and friends who came along. My wife, who is the Ministry Team Leader for Children, worked out we had to buy 47 books for all the kids and babies in our church. Thats fantastic. We also gave out a few extras to some visiting kids.

What was most encouraging was the breathroughs we made in what we did. There was no formal message, just a few devotional thoughts centred around some party games. For instance we played pass the parcel with the whole church. As each person unwrapped the ‘present’ they found a letter inside. When they were all assembled up front it spelt out ‘at God’s party’ “everyone’s invited”, complete with apostrophe of owndership in the right place. It was a lot of fun. Hopefully the brief and clear point, that knowing God is fantastic, and we want everyone to feel welcome, was made.

Adultery, fraud and Pastors


I should be a sub editor at the West with a byline like that.
But I am glad I dont live in the good old US with Pastors like there two as contemporaries.

Exhibit one

First Congregational Church has been on Main Street in the middle of the town of Ripon for almost 90 years. But what no one in the congregation knew was that the church had been sold for $500,000, and more than $450,000 was sent to a fraudulent bank account, according to authorities.

The Rev. Randy Radic was arrested and faces charges of embezzlement and forgery.

“He was pastor there for 10 years. He gained their trust. They said he was a good pastor. They got a lot out of his sermons. And it was just a complete shock,” said Ripon Police Department spokesman Danny Sauer

MSNBC Story

Exhibit Two

Today the 78-year-old pastor faces what could be the most difficult test of his career. A former parishioner, Mona Brewer, has alleged in a lawsuit filed in August that Paulk forced her to have sex with him and others—including visiting charismatic preachers

Charisma Online

Pastors are called to a higher account, in my opinion. You cant be a spiritual leader, and abuse your position and authority in such a wicked way. We are all sinful, and pastors have feet of clay like anyone else. So pray for your pastor!