Prayer: Give Me or Take Me?
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God needs our hand to use for service

I have had the opportunity to observe Buddhist culture a couple of occasions when I have taught college courses in Thailand. The overtness of Buddhist devotion was something new to me. It was not uncommon to encounter a shrine to Buddha where people were praying, chanting, and offering incense, or rubbing gold leaf onto an image.

Buddhist temples are colourful and interesting cultural icons, standing out in the landscape. My Thai friends would [...]

Role of the Church
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Image © Larry Torno from GoodSalt.com

Image © Larry Torno from GoodSalt.com

Sometimes in our efforts to express the importance of conversion, or “being saved” we underestimate the role of the church. While we all understand that being joined to the church does not save us, it is or should be instrumental in us maintaining the saving relationship with Jesus. We are social creatures and we need the interaction with our community of believers as part of the “maintenance program” of salvation.

To give an example: I [...]

The Law a Delight?
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oz-police

I was driving at 110 kph, the speed limit, along the F3 freeway into Sydney when I passed a traffic police car sitting on the side of the road, ready to catch the unwary who strayed over the magical 110. I glanced at my speedo, saw the 110, reminded myself that all speedos are a few km under, and drove smugly on.

About 2 km further along the road, I saw the police car in the rear vision mirror with [...]

What Kind of Christian Will We Be in 2012?
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osprey2

A friend of mine tells the story of the time when he was on a train filled with other academy students, returning home for a term break. It was one of those trains where the carriages comprised individual compartments, called “dog boxes” in Australian parlance. Students, being students, were making the most of these dog boxes after a term of enforced “do not touch!”

For some reason my friend found himself alone, and the guard, feeling a bit sorry for him, [...]

Too Much Commentary
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commentaries-c

I know a woman who is a fabulously good cook. Not only is the food delightful to taste – it is seriously good for you. The problem is that all her food comes with commentary.

Did you know that this food has Vitamin K?
And you get 85.6% of your selenium requirements from this kind of parsnip!
There are 28 trace elements required by the human body and this meal today is providing 14 of them!

To the extent that sometimes I feel so [...]

The Galatian Letter – a Great Read
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I was introduced to Galatians in Bible class many years ago. “Pauline Epsitles” was the name of the teaching unit. The lecturer was a theological academic and the students were a bunch of third and fourth-year undergraduate science students studying for London BSc Part 2 examinations. It was an interesting time. Anybody who has studied for finals for an English University knows the time and concentration it takes. So the fact that we had to take a Bible subject was [...]

Worship In Community
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morning-light-mashton

A few weeks ago I mentioned three categories of worship – private worship, community worship, and living worship. You may remember my article on personal worship. Now I want to reflect a little more on community worship. While this discussion will feature some of the issues of community worship I want to remind readers that all three categories or worship are important and we seriously missing something if we leave out any one component.

Many respondents have made the point that worship [...]

Personal Worship
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In a previous post I commented on three types of worship, including personal worship, and some have asked me to expand on the latter. Personal worship has come under some scrutiny recently with the rise in interest in “spiritual formation.”  The topic is quite relevant to the lesson on Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship because it touches on the issues of conformity and compromise. Rather than criticize the compromise, let me emphasize those aspects of personal worship that I think [...]

What Are We Compromising?
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Before we take this week’s lesson title (Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship) as an excuse to proscribe forms of worship that we do not like, we need to consider worship in its wider context. There are three aspects of worship (Yes I am well aware that my classification is not the only one but this one helps me)

Personal worship: this is the time that we spend by ourselves in prayer, study and meditation
Community worship: this is the time that [...]

Come apart and rest a while
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The Protestant work ethic has combined with the Internet and roaming devices like the iPad to fill our lives with work. I no longer have to work from 9 till 5! I can start at 4.00am,  and I can work till midnight. I can be at home, shopping, on holiday, with the grand-kids and I can log into my College network and do some work. One of my tasks is to administer Moodle – the College’s on-line learning system. I [...]