churches should engage young people – not tell them what NOT to do

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Tip for pastors: How to pray for lay-people in ministry

DONT: Pray for people who would be great for your ministries.

DO: Pray for people who these ministries would be great for.

Explanation: I have seen people who are passionate (or worse – just dipping their toe) in ministries but they are not the best (say at singing, service leading etc) and so they get discarded by pastors. Yet – I know these ministries are great for these people to know and serve Jesus.

So many times people in the Bible expected great people, yet Jesus chose those who appeared less than ideal. He chose fisherman as disciples – and not learned theologians. Indeed, people expected Jesus himself to be a great warrior king – yet he was a simple carpenter.

The Lord selects people to do things because it’s of benefit to them. I love it when I see passionate people singing off-key, or hesitant-shy people standing up-front and leading the service. Amen!

Should christians fight in wars?

I found this interesting quote:

Whether or not one believes that the exercise of violence is everlegitimate, … the presence of violence in any culture does not precludethe possibility of legitimate Christian witness…. The vocation of chaplains is integral to the formation of witnessing communities in the military which legitimately use its particular language and culture to demonstrate and proclaim the shalom of God’s kingdom.”

Putting aside the bias with chaplains (I think we should all be witnesses) my question is should christians be involved in military armies where killing is kinda inevitable.

This is a tough one for me!

The bible certainly has some great warriors in it…who were stand up God followers who God loved.

Do we have a right to defend…but not be the unjust unfair aggressive attackers?

I will leave this one up to people’s individual thoughts with God but I will make two points:

  • where ever there is violence and war – Christians need to be there with the message of love, grace, self-sacrifice and hope
  • whether we are in the military or not – we need to always remember our first boss is God.

OK final point – being a christian if often about being a light in a dark world, being different to how other people think in a worldly manner – and Jesus said it would not be easy (OK – that’s several points).

the age of the earth according to the bible

Some christians are quite literal in how old they say the earth is according to the bible.  I have got to admit I am on the side of the “the earth has been around for billions of years” crowd.

Anyways – if you take it literally from the bible here is the timeline:
Beginning with the archeological landmark event of the fall of Jerusalem (which has now been corrected to 588 B.C., instead of 586-587 B.C.) and counting backwards the prophesied number of years between this event and the division of Solomon’s kingdom (390 yrs. + 40 yrs., according to Ezekiel 4:4-7), brings us to 1018 B.C.

From the end of Solomon’s 40-year reign to the start of the Temple in the 4th year of his reign takes us back another 37 years to 1055 B.C.

From the start of Solomon’s Temple “in the 480th year” (1 Kings 6:1) back to the Exodus from Egypt (hence 479 years previous) brings us to near 1534 B.C.

From the Exodus out of Egypt to Abraham’s entering Canaan from Haran was exactly 430 years to the day (Gen 12:10/ Exodus 12:40/ Gal 3:17), thus around 1964 B.C.

Since Abraham entered Canaan at age 75 (Gen 12:4), he was born approximately 2039 B.C.

From Abraham’s birth to Noah’s grandson (Shem’s son), Arpachshad’s birth, 2 years after the Flood started, was 290 years (Gen 11:11-26), this places the onset of the Flood at around 2331 B.C. [definitely 4,300-4,400 years ago].

The genealogy of Genesis 5:3-32 precludes any gaps due to its tight chronological structure and gives us 1,656 years between Creation and the Flood, thus bringing Creation Week back to near 3987 B.C. or approximately 4000 B.C.

Therefore, the biblical age of the Earth (using Scripture itself as a guide) is 6,000 years !! (note: assume you are reading this blog around the year 2000, give or take a decade). Mankind did not evolve 4 million years ago on an Earth which is 4.5 billion years old in a universe which was “big-banged” into existence 18-20 billion years in the distant past.

Jesus Christ said He made mankind male and female in the beginning (Mark 10:6), and that when the heavens and the earth were commanded into being (Gen 1:1), they “stood up together” (Isa 48:13) not billions of years apart !!

Notes to self:

  • have i taken something out of context?
  • is this where the bible is ‘literal’ and a day is actually billions of years?
  • did God include this in the bible for interests sake…but really he wants us to not spend too much time on this bit…and spend more time on loving him and loving others!

edit:  I wrote this post just to note it down.  Like I do for most of my posts.  It’s just stated.  As I said originally, I belong in “the earth has been around for billions of years” crowd.

the end of history – if jesus had his way…

A guy called Francis Fukuyama recently wrote an article in the New York Times (warning: it’s long with a lot of words) about the end of neoconservatism in the US…and how the US needed to revisit it’s foreign policy approach.

He also wrote a book called The End of History and the Last Man which basically said capitalism is the end game….because it’s the last man standing…now that communism has failed. That there will be no further economic world views.

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” (quoted from “The End of History?”, 1989)

Could I offer a couple of other options:

  1. a ‘star trek’ world where no one seems to use money – yet all needs are catered for and everyone seems gainfully employed
  2. a ‘christian utopian’ world where capitalism is an underlying
    ‘market process’ but self-sacrifice, generous giving and unconditional
    love drive the true economic distribution of wealth. This world will
    see orphans living in mansions and the sick in 5 star hotels.

Jesus says that love will win people over. In Iraq the neoconservatives talked about the “coalition of the willing”. I always thought that a “coalition of the self-sacrificing and loving” would see respect, love and peace in that (and any) part of the world – more so than force.

This applies to Iraq, the projects of Chicago, the cold streets of a Sydney night, and the warm but lonely homes of the middle class.

I don’t want to sound like a hippy but in the end love will win…so it’s got to be the end game.

God likes giving intellectual types hints!

The story below shows to me that while God likes to give hints, he does not want to give us a brick between the eyes kind of hint. His true love is based on faith.


Old Testament figure named on 2600-year-old tablet

THE British Museum hailed a discovery within a clay tablet
in its collection as a breakthrough for biblical archeology – proof of
the accuracy of the Old Testament.

The cuneiform inscription in a tablet dating from 595BC has been
deciphered for the first time – revealing a reference to an official at
the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, that proves the
historical existence of a figure mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.

It is rare evidence in a non-biblical source of a real person, other than kings, featured in the Bible.

The tablet names a Babylonian officer called Nebo-Sarsekim who,
according to Jeremiah 39 was present in 587BC when Nebuchadnezzar
marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it“.

The cuneiform inscription records how Nebo-Sarsekim lavished a gift
of gold on the Temple of Esangila in the fabled city of Babylon, where,
at least in folk tradition, Nebuchadnezzar is credited with building
the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Irving
Finkel, assistant keeper in the Department of the Middle East (British Museum), said: “A
mundane commercial transaction takes its place as a primary witness to
one of the turning points in Old Testament history. This is a tablet that deserves to be famous
.”

Michael Jursa, associate professor at the University of Vienna said “Finding something like this tablet, where we see a person mentioned
in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and
quoting the exact date, is quite extraordinary
.”

Some notes:

  • The british museum has over 100,000 inscribed tablets – the world’s largest collection
  • Cuneiform is the oldest known form of writing
  • During its 3000-year
    history, it was used to write about 15 languages, including Babylonian,
    Assyrian, Hittite and Urartian
  • There are only a small number of scholars worldwide who can read cuneiform script
  • The tablet was so well preserved that it took Dr Jursa just a couple of minutes
    to decipher
  • It is 5.5cm wide
  • It was unearthed from the ancient city of Sippar, about 2km from Baghdad



On hearing of the discovery yesterday, Geza Vermes, the eminent
emeritus professor of Jewish studies at the University of Oxford, said
such a discovery revealed that “the Biblical story is not altogether
invented
“.

And here is a picture of the tablet.

the tablet confirming an old testament non-king ordinary persons existence

It’s not about religion. God is waiting for a personal relationship

Because they don’t like church, or “churchy” people, many have decided that they don’t want religion. Guess what? Religion isn’t what anyone has ever needed. Religion has never gotten anyone into heaven, and pious living hasn’t gotten anybody closer to God.

God is not sitting up in heaven hoping that you find religion. He is waiting for you to find Him.

In the beginning, the human race was created to be friends with God.

With love he crafted each person, desiring to walk with them in a close alliance. That is true of you also.

He knows you better than you know yourself
, and He still wants to be close to you. He wants to walk with you through this life, talk you through the difficult moments that our society lobs your way, and direct you to the paths that are going to provide protection, fulfillment, and purpose.