Archive for May, 2009

Soft God?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2009 by iggz

The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe

I heard a sermon recently where the speaker* quoted an excerpt from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe , a famous novel by C.S Lewis.  In this section, the children ask Mr Beaver whether Aslan (a great lion who is king of the land) is safe.  The reply is as follows:

“Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver…’who said anything about safe?’Course he isn’t safe. but he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Let me tell you that this is also how we should be seeing our Lord God.  A lot of us have a misconception that God is simply a giant, cuddly, marshmallow in the sky cheerfully raining blessings down to us. Big white beard, jolly, lots of gifts – hang on; isn’t that Santa Claus?  Let’s get the other half of the picture…

Our Lord God is a fearsome and mighty God.  He is a God that is completely holy and who despises sin.  He is a God that is just and righteous.  A God that cannot and will not ignore evil.  A God who punishes the wicked.  A read through any of the major prophets make these facts quite clear. The nations rebelling against the Lord in Jeremiah 25 (v36-38) were faced with this :

“For the LORD is laying waste their pasture, and the peaceful folds are devastated because of the fierce anger of the LORD. Like a lion he has left his lair…”

So when you think of God, make sure you get the full story.  We must have a reverent fear of who he is – a fearsome and holy God. Understanding this is the beginning of all wisdom (Prov 1:7). But we can also take great comfort that he is a God of love, that he is good – and most of all, that he is the king.

*The speaker was Pastor Josh Ng of FOCUS Church, Sydney.  Great faithful preacher of the word.

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Christianity, a verifiable religion

Posted in Books, Reflections, Reviews on May 21, 2009 by joannagoanna

adapted from “If I were God, I’d make myself CLEARER”, John Dickson

Great! So you believe in the gospel! That Jesus Christ came to earth, as a man, preached God’s glorious message and bore the brunt of God’s wrath for all the awful (comparably to God) sins we have committed (past, present and future) (Phillipians 2:6-8)! But, do you ever get that inkling feeling that what you are believing in is just a fictional story, made up by an ordinary man who wanted a great and grand following for himself? Or if you do really, truly believe that the “Jesus story” is true, has anyone ever challenged you of your belief? Worst still! … Did you find yourself lost for words with the confrontation?

I am sure you will be comforted to know that what you are believing is true! Christianity is a verifiable religion! What do we mean by verifiable? Can it be supported by other witness accounts or documentation to establish the truth, accuracy and reality?

The Gospels were written in a simple and understood langauge called Koine Greek or common greek. It was a language widely used during the times of Alexander the great; no doubt, many other historical documents were written in this language, forming the basis of those ancient history text books used in high school!

In addition, as it is described by John Dickson (referenced below), historians do not expect to find original manuscripts of any writer from such an early period. Instead, they try to find copies of the original which date as close as possible to the original writings. For instance, Plato’s (famous philosopher – dying in 347 BCE) oldest manuscript can be dated back to 895 BCE. On the other hand, the earliest manuscript of the Gospels were dated around 200 CE, indicating that they were copied around 120 years after they were written. As you can see, there is a whopping 500 or so years between Plato’s originals and copies, compared with only 120 years for the Gospels’.

Now that we have established the authenticity and age of the manuscripts, put yourself in the position of a non-Christian person. You would probably want other documentation to verify that the content is actually true! And aren’t we lucky we had awesome notetakers back in the day! The life and death of Jesus has been also confirmed in non-Christian writings of that period, three from Roman writers and four from Jewish writers.

But most of all, the claim of the risen Christ itself! How can this be verified? First of all, it is an outrageous thing to lie about! Who would believe you if you claimed your dog rose from the dead? Let alone Jesus?! It is said that numerous people (ie multiple witnesses) had claimed to have seen the risen Christ. And in today’s courtroom, that you have a witness to testify is pretty great evidence!! Secondly, as previously written, there were awesome notetakers in Jesus’ time (many of their accounts forming our knowledge of that era), yet there seems to be no documentation of a counter claim; to say that the numerous witnesses were lying.

This is just a really, really miniscule amount of information, to verify a very, very small portion of Christianity. There is sooooooooooooooo much more information out there in support of Christianity! I really encourage you guys to make the time to find out more information in support for the great faith, Christianity!!

Food for thought: If what Christianity has to say can be applied to other religions with a few minor details changed; doesn’t changing those “few minor details” essentially change the truth/core beliefs of Christianity or of that other belief with which you are comparing it to?

Great books:

Case for Christ and Case for Creator– Lee Strobel

If I were God, I’d make myself CLEARER – John Dickson

Please add comments, questions, books!

edited by Gracie

From Abe…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14, 2009 by billymlam

Those of you who came to Summer YF would remember Abe, friendly Gold Coast Christian Surfers dude who came to speak to us about evangelism 🙂  I just had an update from him from Teahupoo, Tahiti and thought I’d share it with you guys…

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the view
This is Abe’s workplace…

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Dear Friends,

 

As you may know the ASP World Tour is currently in Tahiti for the Billabong Pro at the infamous wave Teahupoo. I arrived to the location 2 days ago and have had many opportunities to serve and hangout with the surfers. It has already been an amazing journey which the Lord has richly blessed. I am staying with a local family and sharing accommodation with the Billabong staff.  Yesterday I spent most of the day helping the work crew set up the event area for the opening ceremonies; this was an awesome opportunity to provide some active service for the contest staff. Last night I met with Kevin from Christian Surfers Tahiti and joined them as they did an outreach near Teahupoo. After the outreach I met up with some of the surfers and shared a meal at their house. It was great to hangout in a relaxed setting where I could continue to build relationships with the surfers.

 

Today was day 1 round 1 of the contest. I was lucky enough to bump into some of the surfers as they headed out to the contest area. I spent the day on their boat watching the contest and caddying for some of the competitors. After the comp I headed out for a few waves with the surfers which was a great time to share and reflect on the day.  

 

Although it is early in the event I feel the Chaplaincy is beginning to become more established on the tour and I believe the Lord is using me to rebuild and reconnect the surfers to Him. Pray for protection and favour over the next two weeks I’m here and thank the Lord for his provision as he has blessed me to be able to be here.

 

Thankyou for your support, prayers and fellowship, I look forward to what lie ahead.

 

God Bless

Abe (Men’s Surfing World Tour Chaplain)

– – – – –
Don’t stop praying for this guy. I may be biased, but I believe that he is having massive impact reaching out to the world’s pro surfers who are idolised by millions of kids everywhere. Pray for opportunities, and for him and the Christian pros within the tour that they will be awesome examples of God’s love.
Also – chaplaincy is a voluntary service and relies on the generosity of donors for it to continue. If you would like to support financially please fill out this slip and forward to the given address.

You can read more about Abe in Pebbles

Finding answers…

Posted in Reflections, Reviews, Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by BillyL

We studied in the last Colossians study to be Christians who are ready to stand up for our faith and live it out as well.  I’m sure many of you, myself included, have always found it difficult to ‘make the most of every opportunity’ and ‘letting your conversation be ‘salty’, so that you know how to answer everyone’ as it says in Colossians 4:

5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Apologetics is the term to describe the defence of our faith.  There are great books I really recommend on this topic that helps with questions like if God is so good why is there so much suffering? or how do science and christianity coexist? or even more specific arguments such as abortion or stem cell resarch.

Some of the titles I’ve read that I really recommend include (in order of how easy I found them to read):

1st century answers to 21st century questions by David Cook

Issues that Christians face by John Stott

Case for Faith or Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.

Most of these books can be found at Koorong stores in Brisbane or you can order them online.

For extra reading and for those who live at and dare I say, ‘idolise’ their computers, you can also read really interesting apologetics articles online at:

www.bethinking.org

www.carm.org

So what are you waiting for? get cracking!

Enjoy.

Compassion Day 2009

Posted in Events on May 11, 2009 by joannagoanna

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Thursday May 14th

This year commemorates the 10th anniversary of Compassion Australia’s “COMPASSION DAY”.

Compassion Day, a day for Australian Christian radio stations to unite and appeal for public support to achieve their goal of sponsoring 1500 children throughout the day. Your local Christian radio station is 96.5 FM, and will be airing stories from workers, sponsored children and their families of the struggles and triumphs. But most of all, encouraging you that your small contribution will make a difference!!!!

1500 children have been selected from Ethiopia and Bangledesh. These countries are two of the hardest hit in the global food crisis, resulting in many living a life of poverty and struggle. The global food crisis is described in the Washington Post as a “global shortage;… the world’s food supply and demand (have) fall(en) out of balance… as the world’s poorest nations, dependent on the global marketplace to feed their people, are losing the fight against hunger”.

Compassion Australia is an organisation specialising in helping children of poverty stricken countries in Jesus’ name. They not only aid in helping the communities with financial need, but also help individuals turn to Jesus’ in their most turbulent times.

Remember: God has blessed us with our uni, food in our stomach and comfortable life.. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT!.. but remember we are stewards of God’s blessing. At the end of the day, it’s God’s money, He enabled us to receive it (as He is omni-everything!.. ~potent and ~scient), and as a steward (one who manages another’s property or financial affairs), we must choose wisely how we spend His money.

  • So help Compassion Australia, help these people in dire need!!! Consider sponsoring a child this week!!! and visit www.compassion.com.au —-> follow the links to sponsor a child! (p.S. only 44BUCKS/month.. that feeds, clothes, educates the child and helps their family out!! COULD YOU DO THAT FOR 44BUCKS?)
  • AND tune into 96.5 FM from 6am to 10pm, Thursday May 14th to hear words of encouragement and the amazing things God has done 🙂

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How Would You Rate Your Prayer Life?

Posted in Prayer on May 9, 2009 by mdchwong

Prayer is one of the big application points that’s coming up in our final bible study of Colossians.  Like many of you, my Facebook homepage has been flooded with info on what kind of power ranger/fruit/Disney character/Twilight character/periodic element/animal/food people are based on some quiz they took.  With all of the Facebook quizzes floating around out there, I thought I’d toss up this “prayer quiz” for us all to consider and have a think about.  I stumbled upon it in a bunch of other resources here (http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=4307 ).

Rate your own prayer life by answering each of the following questions with one of the following (and total up your score):  Always = 4, Often = 3, Sometimes = 2, Seldom = 1, Never = 0

1. Do you set aside time for prayer in private every day?
2. Are you able to keep your thoughts from wandering to other matters when you pray?
3. Do you make yourself get up promptly in the morning in order not to neglect prayer?
4. In public prayer are you able to forget the people present and make real contact with God?
5. Do you always approach the Father through Jesus’ name? (Ephesians 3:12)
6. Do you diligently watch for and record answers to your prayers?
7. After receiving an answer to prayer, do you fulfill any promises you made to God?
8. When you pray in public do you resist the temptation to orate?
9. Do you share with others when you receive definite answer to prayer?
10. Do you have a prayer list?
11. Do you wake up in the morning with a definite prayer in your heart and on your lips?
12. When others are praying, are you courteous and reverent, praying silently with them?
13. Are you willing to be the instrument by which God answers your prayers?
14. Do you keep your promises to missionaries and others who ask your prayer help?
15. In sickness or trouble of any nature is prayer your first thought?
16. In saying grace at the table do you avoid mechanical statements and really thank Him?
17. Do you remember to pray regularly, as God commanded, for our government?
18. When you instruct others in praying do you teach them to talk to God?
19. Are you free to incorporate Scriptural expression in your prayer?
20. Do you refuse to use your public prayer to instruct or attack others?
21. Are you so in earnest about your requests that you come to God again and again with them?
22. Is your most fervent prayer all the time prayer for the salvation of the lost and the welfare of fellow Christians?
23. Do you really fight the interruptions that would keep you from praying?
24. Do you utilize prayer as a means of resisting temptation?
25. When you pray, do you honestly seek the glory of God?

Total Points = ?

The quiz states that if you score 100, you have a rather outstanding prayer life…if not more than 50, put yourself at the top of your prayer list.

How can you improve your prayer life?

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” – Col 4:2

State of Emergency

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 by mikeytai

Guys and girls just wanna make you guys aware of the wildfires happening in California at the moment. I think we can relate a lot with bushfires that happened in Victoria.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8037211.stm
Just wanna encourage you guys to keep them in your prayers tonight. A lot of people have had to evacuate and I’m sure people have lost a lot…