stories

Creating good families

Impacting Christians and non-Christians

2000. “We exist so that God, working in and through us, will use us, to help people know, apply, experience, embrace and proclaim God’s truth on marriage and family. The result is godly families reaching others with God’s truth”, explains Andy Bray, Director of FamilyLife (in New Zealand), a ministry that encourages a variety of couples at various stages in life in their marriages and roles as mothers and fathers.

Continue reading “Creating good families”

stories

Outreach on

Calling Kiwis to the Olympics!

2000. Blood, sweat, and tears is going to flow from thousands of people worldwide at the Olympics this year. And it will not be just the athletes. The YWAM 2000 Games outreach in Sydney, where the Olympic games are being held in September, will be well underway with an estimated three thousand people. Lots of travelling, little sleep and battling crowds is the order of the day but promises to be one of the most memorable and exciting times in someone’s life. The NZ organizers are looking for 250 New Zealanders to take part.

Continue reading “Outreach on”

stories

Church leaders working together

Partners in Ministry – From relational unity to functional unity

2003. A “rookie” pastor found that churches were not co-operating as strongly as ideal, and he desired a greater unity. It was not enough to motivate Stefan Schlogl, Pastor of Victory Christian Centre, to action but when God spoke to him about initiating fellowship between ministers in the Hutt Valley, he immediately sent letters to some of them sharing his vision.

Continue reading “Church leaders working together”

stories

The church responds to cultural changes

Cultural shifts offer challenges for church

2004. Religious belief is not declining in New Zealand and other Western countries – the situation is increasingly described as a change from “religion” to “spirituality”, so is the consensus from sociologists, theologians, and academics from around the globe who say there is a resurgence of spirituality and belief in God outside of institutionalized Church.

Continue reading “The church responds to cultural changes”
stories

Christians stir controversy at Parliament

Enough is Enough

2004. The Rally for Human Rights preceded hundreds who marched Monday in the Enough is Enough rally taking a message to Parliament’s steps about the sanctity of marriage, proposed legalizing of civil unions and the Care of Children Bill deemed to undermine the marriage institution.

Continue reading “Christians stir controversy at Parliament”
poetry

Understanding “The Persian Rug”

How does one understand today’s poem “The Persian Rug”. Although it may sound like red carpet service for politicians despite their misdemeanors, it does not mean that at all. I can imagine a politician’s flaws being overlooked, though, and life goes on as normal, but this has nothing to do “The Persian Rug”. Quite simply the poem is spiritual. I am not using a strict religious metaphor from the Bible. I could have used another idea than the one I did, but I use “Persian rug” because it sounded like something exotic and transcendent which fitted in with my meaning. It is about how Jesus treats a person despite their flaws and sins. He died for sin but is not condemning someone for their sins. In a way he is treating the person in my poem like royalty even though he does not deserve it. This is God’s goodness to that person.

poetry

The friend

An oppressor they called him;

Two thousand years of oppression!

And women are down?

Blame it on the Apostle Paul (some would say)

Women got to be submissive in Paul’s day

So, what does this say

About the Lord?

A misreading others say, as

Jesus was good to women–

And they loved him back.

By the mere, more than mere, fact they responded to him,

Was their love for a man who revealed his pure heart

To their souls

Jesus included women,

He did not reject them,

Scold or deny them

He showed them respect.

Maybe a women felt she got no respect

But Jesus friended them as they were.

Guided them where he could;

With gentle loving wisdom,

Which was understood

And despite the wrongs that were done to them,

Jesus gave them the grace to rise above.

If they feared a ruler,

They get a true servant instead.

Who is respected back

For the love that he gives.

poetry

The case

Departmental assistance not required and unwanted

In the belly of the artist living off the love of the Lord

Found in him.

Assign a case manager to this poor soul so he will prosper they said

And earn his way in.

For he will belong when his stripes have been attained.

But he had remembered the Lord in his youth,

The case manager did not know Departmental assistance not required.

We do life a certain way, you’ll belong that way they said.

Where indeed you will, dear man…

But in the belly of an artist living off the Lord

Was found the deeper recesses of water

That had nourished his soul

If they hadn’t come

He might still be at peace

In the deeper recesses of his soul.

In the artist living off the Lord

The Lord was still here,

Abundant life had already fashioned

Departmental assistance was not required.

The artist’s spirit could not be broken.

Deeper waters already brooding.

meditations

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 “Alive”

stories

Myths and facts

I have come across some odd sayings in my day. But more than odd, they were controversial sayings, but delivered palatably, with even with a hint that it should be accepted. Except when I heard it, I may have had the advantage of my knowledge over others in the crowd.

The controversies were told at church, but if one knows their Bible quite literally, as I do, you would think twice about the saying. You would recognize it as controversial and that it did not quite fit the evidence of the Bible. Maybe they were aiming for mass and consumer acceptance, but I sat there dismayed. Waiting for someone to correct. So here it is. The fallacies that appeared from time to time on my journeys. How do I reply…

Continue reading “Myths and facts”
stories

Church unity at ‘high level’ and revival anticipated

Harvest expected in Lower Hutt

2000. Unity between churches in Lower Hutt Valley is unprecedented says Facilitator of Partners in Ministry, Seth Fawcet. He says many people who have been in Lower Hutt for a long time are testifying they have never had this sense of unity.

Continue reading “Church unity at ‘high level’ and revival anticipated”
stories

Brands

I was in the middle of watching a advertisement about sagging skin and the product they claimed would get rid of this ‘physical problem’ under the eyes. It seemed it would alleviate the emotional pain that came with having physical unattractiveness as well. That was never said, but isn’t feeling unattractive emotional? Then put the cream on again and again and make sure you get a good night’s sleep for good measure! That does not solve the emotional side of it.

I was hearing the reviews customers gave about the product and how it solved their problem. I always find reviews in advertisements a little if not a lot ingenuine. How can one prove the review is sincere in a format intended to promote a product? I guess some people feel this way about churches.

Continue reading “Brands”

notes--writing

Older writers keep on going

The musing said to the aspiring novelist, the novelist was getting no younger:

Hope the younger ones do well for the traditional publishers that are still going. Depending on what they would write for them. Nothing short than…As for you, you may just find something else. Something better. So, for you, I will keep the possibility of ‘afresh’ avenues open. But keep knocking on the door, from time to time.

meditations

Grappling with faith

Image Journal, as well as proving helpful descriptions about the submission process (see previous post), also provided helpful descriptions of one’s relationship to faith in their submission guidelines.

All the work we publish reflects what we see as a sustained engagement with one of the western faiths—Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. That engagement can include unease, grappling, or ambivalence as well as orthodoxy…

Let me say first that they are an arts journal in which faith is involved in that. What they’re saying is an engagement with faith that is uneasy, or grappling, ambivalent, or orthodox. I find their distinctions helpful and true. One can be uneasy about faith, grapple with faith, be ambivalent, or be orthodox. And one can approach art from those perspectives. These distinctions opens one up to the question of where one stands. Which way? Is one uneasy about faith? Grapples with faith? Is ambivalent? or is orthodox? I think Image Journal don’t try to convert people to one way or another, but I think they are a journal and forum for discussion, thought and illumination about the arts and faith, although I’m not directly quoting their about page.