Friday, November 21, 2008

FFcF#3 Sabotage

This film clip would've been so fun to be in, I love it. Possibly my favourite film clip of all time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is funny

When Doug first showed me this, I thought it was a prank done by some Sydney Anglicans. Turns out it was real, but it didn't mean wht I originally thought it did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something worth remembering

If you are reading about a biblical topic, chances are there is always someone who has done more reading than you. So be prepared to be wrong.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A missionary hypothetical

If you are a missionary overseas in a closed country and are just beginning to see real fruit in your ministry, yet also have an ageing single mother who can no longer look after herself, how would you put this verse into practice?

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God
1 Timothy5:3-4

Assume you have no brooders and sisters, or they are all overseas as well, and there is no other family there to look after her. What do you do?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A forgotten yet dangerous evangelistic method?

When was the last time you used an evangelistic/church planting resource (outside the bible, of course) that promoted using good deeds to win over your friends? It may be a good thing if you haven't. I have been pondering over the Sermon on the Mount to try and work out what I think of using good deeds as 'method'.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven"
Matthew 5:16

What I love about this verse is the context. The "In the same way" is referring back to not putting a bowl over a lamp. It causes us to ask "Why would you cover a lamp? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of using the lamp in the first place?" Yes it does. It is the same with our good deeds. They are meant to be so that men can see them, so that they might glorify God and turn to Christ. If you are hiding them, you are defeating their purpose. It seems therefore, especially in the context of 4:19, that we are to use our good deeds for the purpose of winning souls to Christ.

However, there is a very serious tension. Jesus says in the same sermon; "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven"

I know of a church who are very good at promoting their 'good deeds'. They have t-shirts and signs that speak about the 'good' they are doing in the community, and you see them as they walk around the streets doing it. But I think they've missed the point. I think there is a major difference between "Let your light shine" and "advertise", and what this church seems to be doing is advertising their good deeds. This is why I would probably sit uncomfortable with using good deeds as a strategy for mission, it has the very potential to produce hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is very much a salvation issue in the gospels. This is why it is a dangerous method, or why we should perhaps avoid using it as a 'method'; hypocrisy. We do good deeds because we are the light of the world and the salt of the Earth, and ultimately because we love God.

Perhaps a way of avoiding this 'method' language is by saying that it is not strategy, but it is strategic. Does that work?

So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven, just don't advertise them.

I still haven't worked it out. What are your thoughts, if you have any?

Friday, November 14, 2008

FFcF#2 - Just

The thing I love about Radiohead film clips is they usually are story. This one is their best and most original, with a killer punchline. If you haven't seen it, watch it. It's one of the best film clips of all time. Also, what do you think he says right at the end?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Aliens in the world, yet no longer alien

As I was riding my bike along the single-lane Redfern street today, I noticed bus coming up behind me quite quickly. So I stepped on it and pedalled as fast as I could so that I wouldn't be holding the bus driver up. It was pretty fun. As I got to the set of traffic lights, I noticed as the bus came up beside me the driver was opening the window to say something to me.
"Race ya!" he said with a smile
This was nice, we're about to have a small bonding experience. I laughed and was about to say something, when he gave this crude laugh and said "I'll race ya to her!", and nodded towards a girl walking up the street.
Dang. Suddenly I can't relate to this guy anymore. I found that kind of talk disgusting. I didn't know what to say, so I just moved a bit further on my bike, so I didn't have to look at him and converse any longer.

1 Peter is comforting for the Christian in these moments. The main theme is Christians living in an non-Christian environment, and Peter reassures us that we are aliens in the world (2:11), and our hope rests on the inheritance given through the resurrection of Christ. This enables us to rejoice as we persevere in suffering (Granted, for some that suffering is an awkward moment at traffic lights, but nevertheless...).

However, at the same time Ephesians encourages us that as Gentiles we are no longer aliens. Once we were cut off from the people of God, but now through the blood of the Messiah we are no longer foreigners to the covenants of the promise (2:11-13).

There is a 'now and not-yet' theme going on here. Ephesians looks at what we have received in Christ now, 1 Peter is urging us to focus on what we will receive when Christ returns in glory. We can take comfort knowing that we are aliens in the world, yet no longer alien.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Come to Moore


Monday, November 10, 2008

Three Things

Sars and I did this cool little thing tonight that we found really helpful. We wrote down on a piece of paper three things that we loved about the other person, and then three things we would like to change about ourselves to better our marriage/family.

These are 2 aspects of communication we've found integral to relationships, yet have to make sure we put in the effort.
1) Making sure we regularly tell the other person what we cherish about them
2) Be self reflective about our own errors, and talk about them

Self reflection is key for anything I think, and guys generally suck at it. If you read this, why not come up with three things about yourself that need changing in regard to your relationships*.

And hey, why not tell that special person** 3 things about them that you really cherish.

*Don't write it in the comments section :-)
** Does not have to be spouse

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Film clip Fun - Regina's Samson

A total rip off of Dave's Friday foto. the first weeks clip is Samson by Regina Spektor. I loved this song from the first time I heard it. It's like an audio hug.

Does anyone think they can understand her artistic interpretation of the Samson and Delilah story? What new spin is she putting on the story?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl...

Went to the local pub to study church history tonight, ended up getting into a gospel conversation with a drunk who'd just won on the pokies. He urged me to ditch my bible and enjoy life. I told him this life would end and that he will end up in either heaven or hell (it's amazing how up-front you get with drunk people). I said some other stuff too of course. Maybe I'll see him again and we can continue the conversation, he volunteers at the fruit and vege co-op behind my church and lives in the high rise opposite my house. Please pray for Pete

Then I just spoke to one of the closest people in my life, and they told me they weren't a Christian anymore. They said it was too much to handle. Friggin' sucks.

It's a strange feeling when on the one hand you want Jesus to return so the pain would end, but on the other hand you don't because so many people you care about are perishing.

Pro-Life at the polls

There has been some serious lamenting in the Christian blogosphere over the election of Barack Obama. As always in the USA, the issue is primarily over abortion. Have you ever wondered why it is not the issue for Christians in Australia as it is in the USA? I personally have to admit it is not my only concern when voting, I consider other human rights issues as well, including immigration and foreign policy. So the election of Obama you would think would leave me feeling excited about the difference he might make to those struggling in poverty and war torn countries around the world. I'm not. Because I read things like this, that leave me feeling cold;

Obama has forcefully vowed that his very first act as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA claims a "fundamental right" to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and no government body at any level would be able to "deny or interfere with" this right. Even the pro-choice NOW readily acknowledges that FOCA would literally "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."
Taken from here

How much does abortion in Australia affect you when you go to the polls?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My man-crush

I love this blog. The stuff he comes up with is great, and always so succint and witty. You probably already know about it. If you don't, now you do, and I hope you read it regularly and enjoy it like I do.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sydney Worship must look like this

I'll be campaigning for it at St Saviour's...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blogspot sucks. Is wordpress better?

My previous post I finished writing half hour ago, but because of all the formatting issues I had with blogspot, it took me half an hour to figure out how to get it right. I should have been in bed earlier. grrrrrr....

Carson on the problem of 'Limited Atonement'

A big thanks to Dave Miers for encouraging me to read Carson on this, as I've said before my difficulties in grappling with Limited Atonement. Carson says the problem lies in the language;

The label 'limited atonement' is singularly unfortunate for two reasons. First, it is a defensive, restrictive expression: here is atonement, and then someone wants to limit it. The notion of limiting something as glorious as the atonement is intrinsically offensive. Second, even when inspected more coolly, 'limited atonement' is objectively misleading. Every view of the atonement 'limits' it in some way, save for the view of the unqualified universalist. For example, the Arminian limits the atonement by regarding it as merely potential for everyone; the Calvinist regards the atonement as definite and effective, but limits this effectiveness to the elect.
Don Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, pg 84

I think Carson has correctly diagnosed why I feel uncomfortable with being '5 point Calvinist'. There is something about God not dying for the sins of the whole world that sounds wrong. Carson argues to distinguish instead general atonement and definite atonement over limited and unlimited atonement. He asserts that under the truth of election, one must conclude that when God sent his Son to the cross, the effect would be different to the elect than to all others. This is Definite Atonement.

I think I can agree with that