The spiritual life is an answer to being ‘left behind’

What’s on my mind devotionally this week is a verse of scripture that is in the gospel. Jesus said: “Better to enter into life maimed than to have you whole body thrown into hell.”

The spiritual life Jesus offers is also an antidote to feeling left behind in life. Continue reading

People still trucking into Bible college

Enrolments steady at Bible College of NZ

2007. Bible College of New Zealand enrolments are holding steady although they are well down on those of the early 2000s. Figures have declined in the past two years because of a drop in the number of international students.

The college expects 650 full time equivalent students this year at its national campus in West Auckland, nine regional centers, and distance learning center – the same as last year. Continue reading

New Bible materials are a ‘fundamental reshaping’ of older resources

Salt makes way for Light

2004. Scripture Union is making fundamental changes to their range of published resources which will take over from the old range of Bible materials in September this year.

Salt, a range of published resources to help leaders of children’s, youth, and all-age church-based ministry to run learning sessions and weekly services, will be succeeded by Light. Salt has been active since 1984, though Scripture Union has been publishing a similar church-based curriculum for over 60 years. Continue reading

Sitting down with a Bible teacher: “Jesus Christ is the only relevant issue, churches are not”

Unique man with a unique message

2000. Bible teacher and author Charles W. ‘Chuck’ Missler is described on his ministry website, Koinonia House (khouse.org), as a “unique man with a unique message”.

Mr. Missler was speaking throughout New Zealand over the Easter period and beyond. Continue reading

A vow of poverty to write

Do you give enough? I feel I don’t whenever I read the passage in the gospel of Matthew about the rich young man as if I am rich, which I am not.

Saint Francis of Assisi took the passage literally and lived a life of poverty. Isn’t the writer’s life the same? A vow of poverty to write. Not that I am in that boat at all… Continue reading

Labour’s love

God did his work

And I am proud of the work he made.

It was awesome that he rested after six long days

I for one will sing in praise

To the awesome God who is not behind cloud

Shown he has the world at hand the marks of his love

Who toiled at building this place we call home,

He gave it his all.

And bent down, humble, and said,

This is yours,

This is mine.

Alive

I have been reflecting on the Gospel of John. The read has been enjoyable and compelling. This week, I have been reading the chapter on Lazarus and I learnt why Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. I now share my findings from the gospel itself.

Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, who lived in the village of Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, in the first century. Jesus at the time was staying on the far side of the Jordan and was told that Lazarus was unwell.

Two days later, Jesus said to his disciples that Lazarus was physically dead. Jesus explained to his disciples, who were with him, that he meant that Lazarus was resting–meaning his disembodied spirit was resting in Hades, the waiting place for judgment of the dead (as David Pawson explains in “The Road to Hell”). Lazarus was not in heaven or hell. He was resting, in a waiting place for the spirits of the dead.

Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters and was going to wake Lazarus up, so his spirit would come back to his body. Lazarus would come back to life. Jesus went to Bethany and met up with Mary and Martha. Lazarus had been in a tomb four days and Jesus prayed and Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive.

Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Love. Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. They would have been grateful they got their brother back and Jesus delivered on this for them.

I discovered that Jesus’ love in raising Lazarus has a much wider application as well.

Continue reading

Writing reflections is, well, a reflective exercise

I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.

I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.

Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.

So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.

Thank God for Jesus’ disciples

The servant does not deserve thanks for obeying orders, does he? "It is the same with you [Jesus' disciples]: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, 'We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty'."(Luke 17:7-10, Good News Bible). Thank God for Jesus' disciples who brought us the true gospel. They did what they told to. They done their duty. Without their efforts there would not be the true gospel. So, with the gospel record, we can back and see what it truly is, because they delivered it to us. 

These two verses make better sense with an explanation

I find it interesting that a verse on giving is juxtaposed with a verse on not judging others. I don’t know why this would be, but a Bible scholar may have more insight into why this is the way it is, as the two verses seem contradictory. Why these seemingly two unrelated verses together? There must be an explanation, so I put both verses together in context, to arrive at a meaning, which may or may not be the original meaning, but sounds nice all the same. And it makes sense to me, despite the two verses being out of joint on the surface of things.

Here are the two verses, from the gospel of Luke, chapter six, v. 37-38.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)

Does it all make sense to you, in context? My guess is that it may mean this: Instead of judging others, give to others. Do quality giving, not quantity judgment. Give to those you’ve judged in some way.

Good proverbs for living

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28
Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29
Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30
Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31
Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32
For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33
The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34
He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35
The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame

(Proverbs 3:27-35, New International Version)