Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Understanding the Mystery: The Christian Visionary Leader

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"Understanding the Mystery" is potentially a whole heap of videos exploring faith, leadership and Christian mission. I am inspired by the words in Colossians 2:2-3 that says, 'My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Hope you enjoy this first video (with hopefully more in the future), and no comments on the bald head!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark - Pete's Bible Commentary

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Let's look at the gospel according to Mark; part of Pete's Bible Commentary.

The generally held view is that the gospel of Mark was authored by John Mark. John Mark is the newphew of Barnabas, and he is said to have scribed this gospel with significant assistance from the Apostle Peter.
Around 110, Bishop Papias wrote, 'Mark was an interpreter of Peter and wrote down carefully what he remembered - though not in order - what was said or done by the Lord. He had in fact neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later on, as I said, he followed Peter. The latter formulated his teachings as was needed, though without making an ordered composition of the oracles of the Lord' (cited in Charpentier, 1981: 57).
Guthrie says the gospel of Mark is more about movement than discourse (1975: 53). It is not hard to realise, in comparison to the other gospels, that Mark is down to earth and what it lacks in analytical, historical depth, it makes up for in vivid pictures of the work of Jesus, and a fairly detailed view of the passion narrative.
Mark is one of three 'synoptic' gospels. The word synoptic comes from the Greek synopsis, meaning you can read these texts in a similar fashion, and they are easily comparable. The other two synoptic gospels are Luke and Matthew. The book of John differs somewhat in its literary content and style to the other synoptic gospels, and is therefore treated separately.
Mark was the first of the gospels and the general consensus is that this gospel was written in Rome in 70AD. It is also very probable that Matthew and Luke were aware of Mark's writings and referred to them when scribing their own gospels.

* Guthrie, Donald. (1975). New Testament Introduction. Inter-varsity Press: London.
* Charpentier, Etienne. (1981). How to Read the New Testament. SCM Press: London. 

The Introduction to the Gospel of Mark is part of Pete's Bible Commentary, written by PeteBrookshaw.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Could you be a Saint and not even know it?


'Righteousness is said to be ours, not because it is ours as if from ourselves but because it becomes ours from divine generosity. As we say in the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread." Notice that we say "our bread" and yet we pray for it to be given to us. It becomes ours when we receive it yet it is God's because he gives it. Therefore it is God's as a gift; it becomes genuinely ours as we receive it.' ~ Gregory the Great.

So can we be righteous? What about - can we be a saint? I spoke with a Catholic brother recently, who spoke about Saints in the history of the church and he asked my opinion. I responded with the belief that the Catholic Church has elevated the concept of sainthood too high, and that really a saint should be someone who is a holy and righteous person before God. He then asked, 'So are you a saint?' Ouch. Good question. I said tentatively, 'Well, according to my (probably innacurate) definition of what a saint is... yes...' Silence... Of course, we quickly qualify this, with the fact that this is a gift from the Lord, and nothing that I can do, can appropriate this righteousness, except the faith to believe in the atoning work of Jesus.

Maybe this righteousness theology is a little confronting. This is really 'inputed righteousness', meaning that because of the blood of Jesus and the grace of God, we can be righteous. Surely we believe this? Without holiness its impossible to see the Lord. We can be righteous - set apart, sanctified.

2 Samuel 22:25 - 'The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness' [the words of David - so we presuppose, David was fine with saying that the Lord had given him righteousness]
Psalm 37:6 - 'He makes your righteousness shine like the dawn'
Matthew 6:33 - 'But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well...'
Romans 3:22 - 'This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe'

What about being a 'saint'?
Psalm 31:23 - 'Love the Lord, all his saints!'
Acts 9:32 - 'As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda defines a 'Saint' as one separated from the world and consecrated to God; one holy by profession and by covenant; a believer in Christ (Ps. 16:3; Rom. 1:7; 8:27; Phil. 1:1; Heb. 6:10).

Understandably this is radical post-reformation theology, but from my theological lense and my evangelical upbringing, I ask the question, 'Are you a saint?'

I'm sure you have an opinion on this.  

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What was the name of Mary and Joseph's Donkey?


Well it's not Christmas, but I did say I would blog about any question thrown my way. So what was the name of Mary and Joseph's Donkey as they travelled to Bethlehem?

The first question is really: Did Mary and Joseph even use a donkey? The four gospels are like this:
* Matthew - No information given
* Mark - The writer skips quickly to the ministry of Jesus and says little about the birth of Jesus or any preceeding events
* Luke 2:4-5 -- 'Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.'
* John doesn't touch on the birth narrative.

To make a serious answer, we would say there is no conclusive evidence from the gospels that Mary and Joseph rode a donkey.

But if they did ride a donkey (which is surely possible), then they may have named him:

* Darren. (Darren the Donkey - What do you think?)

What's most important is that Mary gave birth to a son who can transform your life and mine; forever. His name is Jesus.

Ask any question about faith and the Bible here:  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Australian 7:30 report - Salvation Army will open LAW FIRM in Sydney

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The Salvation Army will open a commercial law firm in the Sydney CBD later this year which will charge market rates to do property and conveyancing law for corporate and government clients. Profits from the new firm, which will pay its lawyers proper salaries, will be funnelled back into the Salvation Army’s humanitarian work, including free legal advice for the poor and needy.

See the report here:

Did you have a good Easter? We had an amazing time on Sunday, when well over 60 different people came through the doors and engaged with the message of Jesus. There was an amazing presence of God in the morning service and 17 responded to a call to follow Jesus. Someone said they felt at peace. I love it. The Bible prophesies that Jesus is the prince of peace - so it's not suprising someone feels that way after they reached out to Jesus. Praise God.

Christendom churches --> Missional Churches. Was creating a stir on facebook recently. Out with the old and in with the new some were saying. Others are happy with clergy and traditional churches and what they represent and the history that has come from their ministry. The Salvation Army believes in the priesthood of all believers, i.e. all followers of Jesus have a responsibility to engage with the mission of God. How could we teach and live out this belief more effectively?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Amazing Story of the Saviour

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'How can this strange story of God made flesh, of a crucified Savior, of resurrection and new creation become credible for those whose entire mental training has conditioned them to believe that the real world is the world which can be satisfactorily explained and managed without the hypothesis of God? I know of only one clue to the answering of that question, only one real hermeneutic of the gospel: a congregation which believes it.' - Lesslie Newbigin

It's faith to believe that Jesus' death and resurrection brings new life. Something the scientists and skeptics struggle with; scientists want everything proven by scientific method and skeptics just think 'faith' is a cop out.

When we enter that relationship with God through faith, we put to death our sins and enter wholeheartedly into that relationship. What a powerful, significant time is the message of Easter.

Lets focus on Jesus once again this Easter 2010.


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