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Friday, September 17, 2010

Hundreds of years later the words had effect. . .
Hundreds of years later the words had effect. . .

 

Isaiah who they say lived about 800 years B.C said this

 The Lord and King has taught me what to say.

      He has taught me how to help those who are tired.

   He wakes me up every morning.
      He makes me want to listen like a good student.
  The Lord and King has unplugged my ears.
      I've always obeyed him.
      I haven't turned away from him.

 I let my enemies beat me on my bare back.
      I let them pull the hair out of my beard.
   I didn't turn my face away
      when they made fun of me and spit on me.
 The Lord and King helps me.
      He won't let me be dishonored.
   So I've made up my mind to keep on serving him.
      I know he won't let me be put to shame.
 He is near. He will prove I haven't done anything wrong.
      So who will bring charges against me?
      Let's face each other in court!
   Who can bring charges against me?
      Let him come and face me!
 The Lord and King helps me.
      So who will judge me?
   My enemies will be like clothes that moths have eaten up.
      They will disappear.
  Does anyone among you have respect for the Lord?
      Does anyone obey the message of the Lord's servant?
   Let the person who walks in the dark
      trust in the Lord.
   Let the one who doesn't have any light to guide him
      depend on his God.
 
Some people say this applies to Jesus and reference the New Testament part of the bible that says. . .

 Matthew 26:67 (NIRV)

   Then they spit in his face. They hit him with their fists. Others slapped him..

 There does seem to be a correlation here doesn’t there? This occurred about 800 years later!

 How about another piece of New Testament text. . .

 Matthew 27:27-31
The governor's soldiers took Jesus into the palace, which was called the Praetorium. All the rest of the soldiers gathered around him. They took off his clothes and put a purple robe on him. Then they twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then they fell on their knees in front of him and made fun of him. "We honor you, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him. They hit him on the head with the stick again and again.
  After they had made fun of him, they took off the robe. They put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to nail him to a cross.

 How cool is it that Isaiah seemed to know about this about 800years before it happened? How sad that Jesus was treated this way!

 I find it incredible that these words have been preserved for all these years! Just so that you and I can read them and marvel at the way they came true!

 Isn't it amazing how God that loves us?

 Hey, have a great day!
Fri, September 17, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Followers, mindless or mindful?
...
Followers, mindless or mindful?

 A mindset is a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. (Wikipedia)
guidedog.jpg
 
 There has been a lot of research done on mindsets and how they influence individuals and societies.

 One positive influence was the understanding of the “Cold war” mindset which predicted that with the attitude of distrust between the nuclear superpowers, any nuclear action would have resulted in mutual destruction of the opponents, and this alone stopped the war!

 The problem is now we have to live with the huge risk due to the number of warheads on missiles that have to be cleared! A fallout of hate!

 Politically we see mindsets that party followers adopt and terrorist groups adopt mindsets as well.

 

So far we have considered negative mindsets, but we have positive mindsets too, those that follow weight watchers have a mindset they adopt. This helps them and improves society by making people more healthy! Then consider the help Alcoholics Anonymous does for those who adopt it’s mindset. I’m sure you can think of other examples!

 If we follow a group of people that have adopted a particular group of rules and guidelines we are said to have a mindset!

 Christians have a mindset as well! In fact the bible suggests we should have one. It says

 1 Corinthians 2:16
"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

 Is it a positive mindset? Well lets see what is suggested. . .

 Philippians 4:8 (NIRV)
 Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.

 This seems positive doesn’t it. Then God(in the old testament part of the bible) says ….

Leviticus 19:18
" 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

 And Jesus (new testament part of the bible ) says …

Luke 10:27
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

 No negative influences here!

 So why do so many followers fail to follow this and become embittered, negative and nasty when it comes to “outsiders”?

 Well somehow they think they have to become God’s protector! Have you notices how groups get ugly when they want to force their views on others or force others to comply?

 Forcing others to do anything is not a Christian attribute. Jesus didn’t do anything other than express God’s perspective and act as a conduit for God’s love to everyone. If people disagreed he let them disagree. Where those that disagreed were hurting the common person or the poor or the outcasts and rejected by the society of the time, he caused them to review what they were doing by skilfully constructed arguments.

 In other words, Jesus wanted people to THINK about what they do and not follow a group mindlessly.

 As Christians that is our responsibility. To think carefully about what we do and measure it against the two greatest measures in this universe. Does what we do promote love of God and love of our neighbour?

 I want to remember this as I work and live amongst others. I don’t want to be critical of this r that person who fail, hurting themselves and others in the process. Jesus seemed to have a unique way fo showing these people his love while not approving the wrong things people did! Each person was treated with respect even when they disagreed with him.

 

That’s the true sign of a great follower of Jesus, respect and love of others. That’s one of my aims, is it your?



Can you forgive your enemy and respect them, and then take that extra step that’s uniquely Christian and love them?

Thu, September 16, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Factors of leading, and a Christian approach to leading!
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Factors of leading, and a Christian approach to leading!

 Leadership varies, cultures differ, expectations abound, gifts are finite, styles impact leadership but is there some core aspects leading to success that can be identified?
guidedog.jpg

 If we look into the business world we find enormously differing approaches to leadership and leadership training.

  The Christian world has similar diversity. This has been the case from the day the first leaders were chosen by God himself!

 I find it interesting that God deliberately chose someone who would become a trouble maker to be an apostle. A guy who would end up causing Jesus death[1]. A double talker, who stole money and loved it so much he sold out his friends. Was God trying to show us that choosing leaders is a process that is complex and complicated. Did God make a mistake in choosing Judas?

 Not likely!

 Without Judas’ evil contribution the ultimate purpose of Jesus life would have been changed. Jesus came to die and in a twisted way, Judas made that goal possible. Weird isn’t it? Sometimes the trouble makers end up helping out unwillingly and unwittingly. Sometimes they know what they did is wrong[2] and sometimes they don’t seem to care.

 But leaders choose a variety of people to help them!

 It is of interest that today we believe in the choice of the masses by democratic means. I notice this is not God’s way. God is not a democrat! He specifically selects and calls out leaders personally. Perhaps that’s the first trait of a Christian leader. One selected by God who selects those who are to help him or her!

 What do we expect from leaders today?

 Don’t we want efficient well operating teamwork, no sloppiness? We want someone who really cares! We want someone who teaches and forgets the platitudes to get to real solid helpful unveiling of truths that can help our lives and understanding. Poor teaching and preaching will empty churches, good teaching and preaching doesn’t necessarily fill them but sure enables it.

 We want spiritual leaders! To lead effectively we need to have a deep love of God and of those around us (they need to love Christian and all others independent of race, creed, or behaviour). We want leaders who’s faces shine with joy and hope. They have to be sold out to God! They must be credible! 

 To do this leaders must not only understand prayer but must connect with God in a way that songs of joy fill their heart and they spend the day chatting to God (that’s real prayer).

 Leaders need to know those they lead intimately and care for them deeply. That’s why smaller groups are better. Larger groups may have people who care as much but it may appear they are less caring and more mechanical in their approach to loving.

 Leaders need to be good at communicating and also good at disciplining in the right way.

 Wow! What an unpopular word in our world! Disciplining!

 We often fail our children by letting them do whatever they please and they develop in a stunted way due to it, and the church is no different.

 Lack of discipline results in poor self discipline and so poor self image.  

This leads to poor understanding of God’s image and failed church growth. Confrontation of one Christian to another is necessary for healthy churches. It must be done in such a way that the party addressed knows the person is not attacking them but trying to help!

 Ultimately a leader must reflect Christ and God’s purpose on earth.

 They should not apologise for truth but should also try and not ram it down throats either!

 Their lives should light up the world for those around them. They organise well and give other opportunities to develop. They must be familiar with change and promote it. Think about what Jesus did. He promoted change all his life!

 Perhaps the real sign of a leader is that they have followers. We follow them! How should we do this?

 The bible says a lot about this:

 Hebrews 13:7
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

 Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

 Today I want to be a follower!

  The main person I want to follow is Jesus. I want to consider how he fulfilled the role of a leader!

 He never built a single building, but he established an enormous group of people who like me want to follow him and help others. If we learn how he did it, we will find it was not for his good but for those around him who didn’t even know or respect him!

 I want to follow him and help those that I don’t even know and who perhaps don’t respect me.

 What about you?


[1] Matthew 26:14

[2] Matthew 27:1

Wed, September 15, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A new church! Letís kill the old one itís half dead anyway?
.dyingchurch.jpg

The church appears to be dying, why?

 In the west, the church is not being attended by the younger generation to extent that it was a few years ago. The older generation attributes this to typical behaviour of young people, and expects them to return “when sanity prevails”.

 I believe this older generation is wrong and the young people are unimpressed with the current church and their perspective of Christians to the extent that the word Christian is becoming a dirty word.

 I once heard it said that Ghandi was incredibly impressed with Christ, and asked why he didn’t become a Christian, he replied it was he had yet to meet one!

 Interesting! I believe this is part of the reason young people are rejecting churched religion. The younger generation have observed how Christians react to outsiders as well as how they react internally in the churches, and have found it to `be no different than the non-Christian` community.

 Maybe you think I am being harsh! Perhaps, but let’s look at facts. .
.

 Outside our church they know
 
  • Divorces occur as readily in the church as outside.
  • Sexual deviations and adulterous practices are rife. They have been getting lots of bad publicity in the catholic church but others are not clean either.
  • The money grabbing tele-evangelists have a voice and method that many find exceedingly annoying.
  • People see Christians with their hands outstretched but see little of what the Christians do with the money. Instead they hear reports of fast jets, big cars and large houses.
  Then they turn to the local church. . .

 
  • If they walk into it in jeans or less than well dressed,
  • if they smell of a bit of alchohol,
  • if they talk at the wrong time, or
  • don’t do what everyone else is doing,
  • if they want a more modern approach to music
  • of perhaps want videos to add to the teaching
  • or consider texting okay in church
  then they are “gently” reprimanded!

 Folks, that is REJECTION! That’s what we do! We are hypocrites!

 Then as “church Christians” we

  • are too good to join in with their festivities because they are in a pub or a non-sacred area. Non-Christians getting married wonder if they should invite Christians as they don’t want to insult them!
  • We reject the younger persons music, videos, lifestyle and often their friends.
  • We are discriminatory (You see young people don’t discriminate against gays and lesbians).
  • We don’t give our time to community support,
  • We are not good at supporting a green earth,
  • We reject having good fun(from other perspectives)
  Needless to say if viewed in this way like Ghandi we have to say, “show me a Christian”.

 True Christian love is there, but it has to be seen in an unprejudiced way.

 The world wants to see super humans, but we are human. The superhuman was Jesus, and we are just followers not carbon copies. We would like to be better, but we suffer from exactly the same ailments as the rest of society.

 There is a difference though!

 True Christians . . . 

  • look at what they can do instead of what they can get,
  • they love without judging outsiders independent of their appearance, smell, actions, or level in life.
  • True Christian want to improve our world, they want to contribute to improvements and reject damaging activities.
  • True Christian love deeply
  • and will go into places where people are hurting and mislead, not to correct and preach to people, but to love them and show them love. True Christians do not expect love to be reciprocated, they show it anyhow.
  • True Christians love Jesus and through him understand how Father god loves and try to let that love overflow into their lives and from their to others.
  • True Christians don’t get hung up on doctrines and religion and instead just read and do what’s in the bible.
  • True Christians realize evangelism activities of the past must change but are not sure where this must go (I have some ideas and will perhaps share these in future blogs).
  • True Christians are relevant and outwardly focused.
  • True Christians put aside personal conflicts to show God’s love in adverse circumstances.
  • True Christians comfort others and help them read what is in the bible.
  • True Christians don’t hoard money, but use it effectively to help others as led by God.
  • True Christians really follow Jesus and don’t just talk it on Sundays.
  • True Christians stay away from idolizing anything except God.
  Are you a true Christian?
Tue, September 14, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, September 13, 2010

The secret : The law of attraction : The universal force!
The secret : The law of attraction : The universal force!

 

An Australian producer made a film called “the secret” which has influenced many people and promises success for those who would follow its guidelines.



 It is certainly interesting to view but the cutting and splicing of opinions and the way information is provided to tease the viewer into wanting to get to be part of the ”in crowd” so as to discover how to be ultimately successful.

 

If we go back to the second century A.D. we find a similar mechanism was used to get people to follow another idea, that of Gnosticism. This also intrigued people with a promise of a “new” revelation of knowledge.

 Amazingly much of these “new” revelations are ancient. In fact, the makers of the film and editor of the book “the secret”,  Rhone Bryne,[1] alludes to the fact that the “law of attraction” is an ancient law.

 This law is perhaps explained as what one thinks about, one projects into the universe and the universe returns to the person what their thoughts project. It can be considered similar to an older version of the same thing, Norman Vincent Peale’s, “the power of positive thinking” which is perhaps a more honest look at the same subject.

 Being positive is good and the correct approach to life, in fact the bible clearly advocates we control our thought life in this way. See how Paul in Philippians 4:8 points this out. . .

 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”

 So it’s pretty obvious that this advocates, or promotes, positive thinking. In fact it would not counter the other premise of the “law of attraction”, that is, that we tend to attract negative experiences if we think and experience negative thoughts continually.

 Subconsciously I think we all know this as a general truth! After all, where we place our thoughts influences our actions, facial expressions, desires and direction of our lives. To state that this is using the power of the universe is however pushing truth a little far.

 Where we can choose our destiny, this is a powerful force, so for western kids growing in a free society, this is potentially useful tool. It’s even good for non-western kids to use, since having a positive outlook on life is healing and helpful. The other premise of the film, that using it will get us whatever we want, is a misdirection.

 Paul is a biblical character who is amazingly positive in his thinking, yet he says of himself that he has,

 “been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”[2]

 This man who has positively influenced millions, ended his life in jail, destitute, with an unmarked grave no one knows where!

 He didn’t gain in this life from the work of his hands or from his positive attitudes and thoughts. Yet what he did was right on the universal scale of good and evil!

 He understood the key is not just positive thought, but TRUTH and positive thought. What was important is not getting things for our self, but the expending of our life energy for universal good! Consider great people of history and you will find this was their contribution. How about Mother Teresa as one example?

 So where is truth for Paul, he warns us in the same chapter
 
“men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.”

 His advice is to align with the mind of the universe! He says

 “For who has known the mind of the Lord       that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.”[3]

 If we align with Christ who reveals the mind of his father God, we align our minds with that of the universe. IF we do this we become part of the power that drives the universe to success! Our wishes now correspond to those of God himself, and so what we desire and request becomes part of the unfolding plan of the greatest good!

 It’s all in how we control our thoughts isn’t it? But then, mindless submission to new or old ideas isn’t that useful either. Knowing the mind of God is!

 So, I like the major premise of the “Law of attraction” because it is God given, we need to be positive people! I reject the promise that simply thinking conjures up the reality of our thoughts, since it makes more sense that this process predisposes us to exposure to either the evil or good of this existence and that in turn, directs how our life’s purpose is fulfilled.

 
So, let’s go have a great positive day, but let’s do it for the right reason!


[1] http://www.amazon.ca/Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1582701709

[2] 2 cor 11: 26-28 NIV

[3] 1 co 2 :16 NIV

Mon, September 13, 2010 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

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