Mike Frost was recently in Texas and preached the following sermon. http://vimeo.com/51452260 In it he tells the story of a pastor he met in the Philippines who works in a ghetto / slum area, and took him for a tour of the ministry there.
In his talk, he asks the hard hitting question of the church he was preaching in. If you were to shut your doors today, would your community grieve you doing so? Would your community even notice you were gone?
The question I ask today is, “Does your local community know you exist?
I pinched this from a friends face book status…
A black man walks to a bar. a white man says: “coloured people are not allowed in here.” the black man says: “when I’m born I’m black; when I’m cold I’m black; when I’m sick I’m black & when I’m dead I’m black! but when you’re born you’re pink; when you’re cold you’re blue; when you’re sick you’re green & when you’re dead you’re purple! yet you have the nerve to call me coloured?!”
Puts a different perspective on things…. I watched the movie “Australia” the other night. I am glad that I didn’t live in the 40’s. Where segregation was taken for granted and even enforced. I certainly enjoy the fruit and the freedom that we have today which stems from the hard work and effort that many put into changing the status quo.
Yet the question is still asked of me and its asked of all of us… what within our society today needs change. Where does injustice exist? If you can answer this question; then the next question is…” What are you doing about it?”
Most of my readers will know that I tend to emphasise the New Testament over the Old Testament. Having said that, one of my goals this year is to re-read the Bible through in its historical ordering of the books and using a translation that hasn’t any chapter and verse headings.
I’m in Exodus around chapters 22-23 and reading some of the various laws and principals for living that God has set for them….with the charge to Listen and be careful to do ALL I tell you to do…..
So far I have read stuff about how God would be against you if you didn’t care for the widow and orphan. How he would be against you if you oppressed and mistreated the foreigners amongst you. Then there is stuff about not charging interest to the poor, paying and accepting bribes. Don’t gossip, slander and tell lies about others. How to care for the poor amongst you and how the Sabbath day of rest was to bring about refreshment to both the working animals; servants / slaves and foreign workers. Don’t blaspheme the rulers of your people etc. Then there are the verses that deal with crime, sorcery and immorality.
In reading this I have reflected on how it seems many concentrate on a few verses against sexual immorality, sorcery and tithing and yet ignore the former…. Perhaps we truly need to stop and pay attention to what Jesus said…
Mat 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others….
I find it interesting that Jesus says that the weightier matters of the law are to do with Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness…… May mercy and justice be our catch cry…
In Australia we take a lot for granted within society regarding equality for all and possibly many don’t know much about Dr Martin Luther King. Today he is honoured and remembered throughout America and hence the thrust of this post.
There are a number of worthy articles to read about him and here are a few you might like to look at.
Our modern western society, owes a lot to this civil rights movement; which was spearheaded by a man who truly believed the Gospel message. That in Christ; there is no distinction between gender, race and social class. And in keeping with my previous articles message about actively listening… he went about doing something about it….
While this newspaper article is dated in 2004 it shows an interesting proposal to stop suicide bombing of buses in Israel.
The proposal was to put bags of pig fat on every bus; with the idea that any would be bomber would be sprayed with the fat residue in any explosion and thus invalidating his / her entry into heaven
I have no idea if this proposal was carried out and how successful this strategy was if it was implemented. I have heard calls and reports on various blog’s that a pig head should be buried on the ground zero site in New York to invalidate any potential mosque being built there or nearby. It’s an action that I have problems in sanctioning; though I am also miles away and have no real right to speak into the pro’s and con’s of any mosque being built there…
On this site many people from all religions and nations were killed; including Muslims who were going about their daily business. For many of the deceased; and not just the Islamic dead, the very idea of a pigs head buried there would be offensive and so I ask the ethical question if this really is the way to go?
It is no secret that in the Western World there is much talk about equality between the sex’s. And indeed we should push for gender equality and accept it. However I am continually shocked that in the newspapers of today they continue to push the same old barrow that its only women and children who are abused within heterosexual relationships.
In the Sydney Sunday Telegraph 28th November on page 13 there is a interview with the Sex Discrimination Commissioner; Elizabeth Broderick. . .This paper over the last few weeks have been consistently reporting on the issue of Domestic Violence against women and children in the community.. .yet not once have they raised the issue that men are also victims of abuse from their wives …In it she rebukes the federal government for not fulfilling its promises to reduce attacks on women and children..
This is the Sex Discrimination Commissioner herself who is discriminating against men in society who also are victims of abuse within the society in which we live. I am a man. I am a heterosexual man. I was abused by my wife. If I did to my wife what she did to me…I would have been locked up in goal.
Why, why, why can’t they make a genderless statement and say.. We want to stamp out abuse of every kind within Australia. And in doing so help prevent abuse for all in Australia?
I get increasingly frustrated at the level of work and rewards theology that is increasing within the western world. In Australia one such theology is much propagated about how God is blessing our nation because of what the Light Horsemen did in releasing Jerusalem from the Turks in World War 1.
What do you think of it?
If your Christian faith does not compel you to be involved in Social Justice. If your faith causes injustice, or causes you to over look injustice then your faith is a stench in Gods nostrils.
No matter what you say, preach or believe… faith without social justice is like stepping into dog poo!
I have often argued that marriage of its self is a societal issue and not a Christian issue. The Biblical mandate for Christians and therefore the Church is in regards to teaching rightful living within the Christian community as a community.
This community is and always will be a subset of society and not society a subset of Christian community. One cannot legislate and mandate any nation and its constituents to become Christian nor can one enforce a community to become Christian.
Certainly we have laws within society that reflect the Christian message. Such as don’t murder and don’t steal. Yet these laws are not just the domain of Christianity; though we may argue that they come from a Christian heritage. The early church was never involved in societal rule. When it comes to marriage the early church leaders were never interested in changing societal law. They never mandated that Christians try and change society by changing laws. What they did was to teach the Christian community how to truly live with each other within a collective and communitive subset of society.
Therefore while society allowed for marrying of multiple wives; the Apostles advocated within the community that elders only have one wife. The emphasis of having only one wife was a requirement for the elders / directors of the community and not a direction for all believers within the community.
As a Christian I have my own firm convictions as to how a marriage should operate within a Christian context. It should reflect the love of Christ. Love is patient, it is kind, it is not easily angered, its forgiving, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails.Yet this love is not only to be practised within the context of marriage…its meant to be practised within the context of community, particularly the community of believers.
If same sex couples are allowed to wed in this country…the question I ask is how does that affect my view towards my own marriage? … the answer is it doesn’t affect it. It won’t affect it and it cant affect it. The only thing that affects my marriage is us and how we live within community.
It’s my view that we the church should engage with society. But we cannot mandate society change. We can love those within society; but we can’t legislate any to love us. We can legislate that homosexuality is against the law… but that won’t change people from being homosexual.
While the modern church is militantly active against homosexuality and against same sex marriage; it cannot be extravagantly loving these same people who are made in the image of God. Instead it sends a message that God hates you. We hate you. We don’t want anything to do with you and by sending this message we have slammed the door shut, nailed it and put cross bars across it, preventing people from hearing the message that God loves them… and forgives them also…
Now sin is not so much what we do…. its what causes us to act and react in the way we do causing us to reject God and so sin unites all of humanity together. None of us are free from it. In this we are all equal. So a homosexual is as much of a sinner as a non homosexual person and vice versa. For it is not the homosexual act or inclination that makes a person a sinner…in the same that being heterosexual doesn’t stop us from being sinners… The Apostle Paul clearly tells us in the book of Ephesians… that while we were dead in sin…Jesus raised us to life through the gift of faith in our forgiveness of sin.
So the question I ask is this… who are the real victors if same sex marriage is allowed or denied in this country?
We had to write a contemporary prophecy as part of our major assignment within the Minor Prophets subject unit.
Minor prophet’s major assignment part 2.
This prophecy has a parallel structure that loosely alternates between two and three points. Its main theme is one of relationship between people and God.
The word is spoken into three areas of the modern church.
- The tendency towards legalism. You are saved by grace now you have to stay saved by law.
- Judgementalism and prejudices within the church, such as in the area of divorce, single parents, sexual identity, addictions, refugees, other forms of brokenness and perhaps other theological persuasions…
- Rebukes the ME factor…My church, My ministry, My gifting, My blessing… it’s a call to re-emphasise what God has done and seek him for himself.
Therefore it is an encouragement to take hold and remember God’s love towards us, and that he wants us to love those around us, in the same way Christ loves us
The word of the Lord came to me, whilst I was in prayer regarding an assignment.
My bride, my church, my people, I want you to listen closely. For I have one word, perhaps two, no make it three to speak.
I have seen, I have heard, I have felt the pain of law. I the Lord have spoken for all of eternity through my son on the cross. He paid the price of death because of judgement. He paid the price of death through law. He paid the price of death through self righteousness.
My bride, my church, my people, I want you to listen closely. I have seen, I have heard and I have felt the law being preached from my pulpits.
Just as water and faeces, air and toxins, earth and contamination cannot be pure, healthy and bring life; neither can grace and law be combined. You cannot preach grace and law. You cannot live under grace and law. You cannot come to me with grace and law. Law condemns, it builds self righteousness, and it causes death and decay.
Whenever you judge, you judge my blood. Whenever you judge another, you judge my son. Whenever you judge, you judge my love. I have seen you judge others not of yourself. I have heard you judge those who battle in pain. I have felt you judge and turn away from those who don’t conform to your ways.
My bride, my church, my people, listen to me! Only preach what I have done for you. I have given you my Son. I have given you my Spirit. I have given you myself. Stop saying what you’re going to do for me. Stop saying you need to do this for me. Stop trying to build your kingdom for me.
My bride, my church, my people, listen to me. Because I love you, you’re able to love me. Because I love you, you’re able to love my flock. Because I love you, you’re able to love the world.
My bride, my church, my people, I want you to know, I need you to know, and therefore I tell you that I love you. Turn to me so that I may truly love over, through and in you.
And remember that through Christ my Son, I the Lord have spoken.
While I am not claiming this to be an inspired prophetic word as in a true prophecy, I do think it says much to us today….what do you think?