Reflection on Job 42:1-16

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Scripture

‘I had only heard about you before .Now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

Observation

After the Lord’s confrontation with Job, Job now replies.

Job recognises that he was wrong to question the Lord’s wisdom because he was so ignorant. Having seen the Lord, Job now repents of his pride.

The Lord then speaks to Job’s friends and orders them to offer some burnt offerings, asking Job to pray for them.

The Lord then restores Job’s fortunes- wealth, livestock, sons and daughters. He lives a long and full life, dying at an old age.

Application

It makes a difference when we experience the Lord for ourselves instead of relying on other people’s knowledge of the Lord.

Job was a righteous man before, but in his suffering he sees the Lord and talks with the Lord for the first time.

We were meant for relationship with God. If we don’t have that relationship we will try to fill it in all kinds of unhealthy ways.

Religion is the substitution of laws, rituals, sacrifices and other behaviour patterns for the relationship for which we were created. So Job offered sacrifice after sacrifice to keep himself and his family right with God. He knew no better because he had only heard about God; he didn’t know God.

We each need to have our own encounter with God. It may not be God audibly addressing us out of a whirlwind. It might be as simple as a deep conviction that we need a saviour and God has given that saviour to us in Jesus. It might be what John Wesley called a “Strange warming of the heart” as he heard Scripture being read. It might be a vision of the risen Christ.

When we have that encounter and decide to follow Jesus, handing everything over to Him, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives to empower us and equip us for the walk of faith. Then we are completely new, born again in Christ Jesus,

Prayer

Thank you Lord for saving me. Help me to live every day in the power of your love. Amen.

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Yesterday’s Sermon

The sermon for October 21st 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, a part of a Messy Church service, I talk about “Who Da Boss?”

Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3

The Hypocrisy of the “Chattering Classes”

If you  thought this was OK

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And if you were not offended by this

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You do not have the right to be offended by this

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If the so-called “iconic”, sails of the Opera House are “sacred” as one commentator put it, then they were “sacred” when you approved of the cause being promoted.

You don’t get to pick and choose what you are outraged about according to the particular image being promoted.

This is the biggest problem in our society today. Very few people believe in principles that are unchanging. We just want to cheer or boo the cause of the day.

Despite all the chest thumping, only 1000 people turned up to express their opposition. But at least it gave the ABC something other than climate change and Tony Abbott to get worked up about.

 

Doctor Who Season 11

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I finally caught up with the new Doctor Who this afternoon on iview. My experience was somewhat spoilt by our media computer freezing from time to time. Maybe it had problems  adjusting to a female Doctor too.

ecclestonMy first impression was that it was really good. In fact Jodie Whittaker in this role reminded me a lot of Christopher Eccleston, the first doctor in the revived series. Eccleston’s Doctor had a Manchester accent, leading to the classic exchange with Rose where she says, “You can’t be an alien; you’ve got a northern accent” and he replies “Lots of planets have a north.”

So Whittaker’s Doctor has what I’m guessing is a Sheffield accent, given that the episode is set in Sheffield and she sounds pretty similar to the other characters.

jodieMy biggest fear in casting the Doctor as a woman in this season is that it’s going to go political on us. That is what really killed the program the first time around when script writers turned it into an anti-Thatcher propaganda show and people just turned off.

If they keep it all laughter and irony it will be glorious: classic Doctor Who with no axe to grind, message to sell, virtue to signal or awareness to raise.

But did you notice that the strong characters were all women? The male characters were all weak and needed rescuing by the women. There is lots of ethnic diversity so the white patriarchy is kept in its place.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. I just hope they can keep the SJWs away from it or they will kill it again.

I don’t suppose anyone from the ABC reads my rants, but in case they do. 6 pm on Monday. Really? Does the ABC have so little faith in Doctor Who- with a female lead at that- that they can’t find space at a time when adults are watching? Is it really on a par with Antiques Road Show” and “Pointless” and the other rubbish that fills in the space while we are all watching the news on commercial stations?

 

World hits wealth milestone

Great news from the Centre for Independent Studies:

World hits wealth milestone

Eugenie Joseph

12 OCTOBER 2018 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

 

The world reached an incredible milestone last month. For the first time in recorded history, more than 50% of the entire global population can be classified as middle class or wealthier.

The US-based Brookings Institution has estimated that over 3.8 billion people now have enough discretionary income to be classified as middle class or wealthier. And most of the recent growth in the middle class has occurred in the developing countries of Asia. The Brookings Institution’s estimate is based on the number of households that spend between $11 and $110 (in US dollars) per person each day.

Obviously, any definition of ‘middle-class’ is subjective and contestable (for example, some might argue that home ownership is critical to being middle class). Nonetheless, these developments represent an unambiguous triumph over poverty — which would have been unimaginable even 20 years ago, let alone 200 years ago.

However, it seems the news has attracted little attention in Australia — despite the fact that many Australians care deeply about tackling global poverty. It seems we are blasé — or perhaps just oblivious — when developing countries make huge strides in lifting the living standards of their citizens.

In part, it could represent uncomfortable truth for some of us: that free markets and liberalised trade actually work. And not just for the rich; but also for the millions who lift themselves out of poverty each year. But it could also reflect the negativity bias in news generally. Bad news sells; and people are simply less interested in good news.

It also doesn’t help that statistics are difficult to ‘sell’ as a story. Statistics do not resonate easily with most people or stir up empathy or emotion. A proclamation that the global middle class will reach four billion by 2020 does little to engage a person’s emotions.

But if you say that a mother in India can now afford a refrigerator and washing machine for her home — there’s a story we can all comprehend and celebrate. And she is one of those 3.8 billion people.

 

Reflection on Mark 10:17-31

 

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Scripture

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth.

Observation

A rich young man comes to Jesus and asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds by listing the commandments. The man replies that he has kept them all.

Jesus then tells him he must give all he has to the poor, and then he will have treasure in heaven.

The man is sad at this, because he is rich.

The disciples are amazed and ask Jess if the rich cannot be saved, then who can be saved. Jesus tells them that what is impossible for men id possible with God.

Application

Jesus tells the rich young man that he must give all his wealth away to the poor and then he will have treasure in heaven. The man goes away sad because he has so much money.

This prescription of giving away possessions is not for everybody. Jesus gives this instruction to test this particular man’s motives.

When we put conditions on our discipleship with Jesus, we are setting up idols and are not really being disciples at all. For this man, wealth was more important than eternal life. He wanted eternity, but he wanted to enjoy this life first.

What are the idols that get in the way of my life? I am convinced that Jesus is first in everything, but there may be a point at which I say “No” to Him. I hope not. I sincerely believe not. Nobody knows what their idols are until God demands that we let them go.

Some people have placed their family above Jesus. They will not follow Him because they fear losing their family. For others, it is work or business opportunities.

Jesus will not tolerate second place in anyone’s life.

We must always be prepared to give up anything that we own for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, please show me any idols that I have which stop me from following you completely, and give me the grace to let them go. Amen.