Archive for December, 2006

Christmas 2006!

Posted: 25 December, 2006 in My thoughts, Theology

The last supper

To all my readers:

Merry Christmas -I hope you enjoy your day (presents included πŸ˜‰

I’m sure you all know that today is not just a day about gifts, but also the day that we celebrate the earthly birth of our Saviour. So whilst it may have become a day which pagans use as an excuse for a holiday and a good drinking binge, we can grab hold of the oportunity to thank the Lord again for sending his son.

Here are some things for you to think about concerning the birth of Jesus. If Jesus had never been born our world would be a vastly different place! (What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? – D. James Kennedy)

-Christianity has influenced the world’s view of the value of human life
-Christianity has contributed largely to charity and helping the poor
-Christianity has contributed heavily to education
-Christianity has contributed to Civil Liberties
-Christianity has impacted science by giving people a desire to “think God’s thoughts after Him”
-Christianity has influenced free enterprise, ecconomy and work ethic
-Christianity has influenced health and medicine (value of human life)
Christianity has influenced people’s morals
-Christianity has influenced arts and music (Sistene Chapel)
-Christianity has changed lives forever by Jesus’ Death

This is just a few areas where, had it not been for the birth of Christ, our world would not be the same place we have come to know today!

Think about it! πŸ™‚

Ant

Quote of the Week

Posted: 21 December, 2006 in Quote of the Week

C.S. Lewis once said:

“The Devil is always trying to trick us into extremes.”

I’ve looked around recently at things which different denominations (Christians who believe different things) disagree over, and I have noticed how easily Baptists seem to overcorrect! Its a real pity!

The Catholics believe that Mary is a co-mediatrix with Christ (she can speak to God on our behalf), and so they pray to her and revere her as divine et cetera. But the result is that when a pastor teaches us what an amazing girl Mary must have been to be able to respond so well to the angel, we get all scared that the pastor is leaning towards catholocism. The same goes for the Apostle’s Creed which is recited by Catholics to earn them brownie points – I can still remember the first time we as a church recited it πŸ™‚

We as Baptists also seem to play down the work of the Holy Spirit because we dont want to come across as Charismatic. This is sad since the work of the Holy Spirit is essential to Salvation!

This can apply not only for overcorrection, but for going to extremes which were never commanded in scripture. For example the pharisees often told Jesus that he was doing what was unlawful, because they considered it work.

Mat 12:1Β  At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.Β  But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”

Mar 3:4Β  And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.Β 

Β Just to name two instances. I need to ask myself often when I feel jusdgemental of someone whether I am thinking biblically or whether I am taking something to an extreme which was never commanded.Β  Whilst its often safe to err on the side of caution, adding things to scripture is just as sinful as neglecting what is written.

I think Lewis hit the nail on the head when he made that quote- perhaps we should heed what he has shown pointed out, and make the necessary changes in our thinking?

 

What am I?

Posted: 14 December, 2006 in My thoughts

I was reading 1 Corinthians 4 in my quiet time recently and I came across a verse which really convicted me.

(1Co 4:7) …What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

If you stop and think about that verse for a little while, you realise how guilty you are of thinking you are better than other people, when in reality you are only the person you are (with the talents, finances, toys, skills etc) because God in his grace ordained things such that you are who you are! You could just as easily have been that drunkard begging at the side of the road, or that murderer sentenced to life in prison!

(1Co 15:10) But by the grace of God I am what I am…

If you can think back to that post I did long ago about our “free will” then you will remember how I discovered that there is absolutely NO WAY that I could have come to Christ (or even felt repentant for that matter) unless God was behind it all, willing and working out his purpose in my life. My soul would be void of any desire for a saviour, and bent towards sin, had God not changed my desires!

If you havent read the post on free will, then please do because the above might make a lot more sense afterwards πŸ™‚ You can read it here

Getting back to the verse – I’m sure you find yourself thinking things like: “I know I’m a sinner, but at least I’m not as bad as that kid who walked into that school and shot all those other pupils!”

I find myself thinking things like that more often than I would like to admit, and each time this verse stops me in my tracks – I am what I am by God’s grace and unless he had given me salvation and turned my desires, I could quite easily turn out to be a murderer, adulterer, kidnapper or worse! I have nothing in myself of any value, but as Paul says in Philippians that he counts all his “good deeds” as rubbish and clings to the righteousness that is his through Christ by faith!

We did not earn our salvation, and without God, there would be no good thing in us so we really have nothing in ourselves worth boasting about!

I’m sure you will agree that is sobering, but so true! I for one am going to strive to see myself for what I am and get off my high horse and give thanks to Him who earned my worth for me. He is my only boast!

My Holiday Experience

Posted: 4 December, 2006 in Uncategorized

Just before my next long silence due to cycle tour I thought you might like to hear about my holiday experience.

Don’t worry, I wont bore you with the details of the actual holiday, but its the sunday services that we attended which I was referring to.

As is our habit, on holiday we always attend a local church to get an idea of where of whats going on. In the morning we attended a fairly small church which went ok, but was rather disappointing. It was one of the more conservative churches in the area, but the service was really poor. Instead of an expounding of the word of God, the people were given oportunities to share testimonies.

But I think I would have attended 10 of those morning services rather than the evening one! At risk of sounding pharisaical (I dont mean to be critical, but rather to give those of you who dont know, an idea of what goes on out there) we attended a mega church who had recently moved into their new building, which was impressive to say the least. It could probably seat 2000 (conservative guess) and had a huge screen in the center of the stage, with two smaller screens on the right, and left-hand side of the stage. They used these for the “worship”, which was by far the main feature of the service, granted we were there in the evening which means that this service was more geared towards the youth. They sang some Tree63 songs, and others which sounded great. The drummer was absolutely amazing, I would give a lot to be able to do what that guy could do πŸ™‚

If this service was on a tuesday night, for example I really would have enjoyed it for it’s “concert” value! Instead of church the next week, they were going to have a public screening of an interview with Bono, along with some of his music. But to have this on the Lord’s day along with the shallow pep-talk the pastor gave afterwards, praising the church for their good efforts in bringing in food for the poor, the survey they sent around, and the general lack of God-centeredness made it, in my opinion, a mockery of the Gospel.Β  The pastor actually blasphemed during his talk!

I really felt troubled in my heart after that service. We walked out, and looking back at the door, I spied a guy and a girl making out openly. It saddens me that all of those people live like absolute wretches during the week, and then attend their church service and think that they are safe. No doubt, even in these churches there are some genuinely saved belivers, but its sobering to think about the shallow teaching they recieve. The whole experience left me deeply thankful for the training I have recieved my whole life, from dedicated men who couldnt care less what people think of them, their only concern is the glory of God!

I always come away from churches like these wondering what Jesus would have done, had he been sitting next to me in the service. I sometimes have to hold myself back – I dont know it all, and perhaps I should try to be less critical? The whole experience left me deeply thankful for the training I have recieved my whole life, from dedicated men who couldnt care less what people think of them, their only concern is the glory of God!

Quote of the Week

Posted: 4 December, 2006 in Quote of the Week

Hey, sorry for the long delay between the last post I made and this one, but I’ve been a busy guy – Durban, Umdloti, Rustenburg… (Suffering for the gospel huh πŸ™‚ )

C.S. Lewis suggested that every second book we read should be a book written outside of our own century. He said this not because older books are necessarily better than newer books, but books written 100 years ago had different blind spots to ours. We will never see our blind spots and correct them if we are always only consulting ourselves.

He also didnt necessarily mean that we have to read older books… as long as it is outside of the century we occupy – meaning that if we could read books which are written in 2100 then they would have different blindspots to those we have today and would therefore serve the same purpose. But since this is not possible we will have to read the golden oldies and learn from our forefathers! I think this is brilliant advise, although perservering through old books may take some discipline, you will benefit greatly from their wisdom!