The sermon for November 29th is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on Jeremiah 33, I talk about Advent Hope.
From his perspective as an Indian academic and a christian, Vishal Mangalwadi looks at the factors that brought modern Western civilisation into being. As he points out, there have been many cultures that have achieved limited progress. Uniquely, the Christian-based (particularly the Protestant-based) cultures of Europe and North America have led to tremendous advances in science, literature, commerce, the rule of law, democracy, and so on.
Mangalwadi convincingly connects the availability of the Bible to quantum leaps in social and material wealth in numerous cultures around the world. He argues that where the Bible is available in people’s own language, it provokes a rise in literacy as people want to be able to read the Scriptures. But more than this, cultures which embrace Biblical values, become more prosperous as honesty and trust promote business. Cultures which believe in the creator pursue knowledge of the world and develop science.
Secularists claim that many of the benefits of modern culture go back to the Enlightenment or to Greek and Roman society. However it is only Biblical values that allow the free flourishing of freedom, of science, of democracy and law. Sadly, as our elites seem determined to cut off the connection of our society with its christian past, it is likely that our culture is headed for rapid decline.
This book is a great read. Mangalwadi’s knowledge of history, cultures and of history is very extensive. He makes his case with an easy story-telling style and will open readers’ eyes to how we got here and why.
“Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Jesus teaches about His coming. There will be a lot of distress. The nations will be in turmoil and even the heavenly bodies will be disturbed. People will faint from fright. Then the Son of Man will come in a cloud with power and glory.
The fig tree shows the seasons, so when we see these things take place we will know that the kingdom of God is near.
We must be on guard, looking to Jesus rather than being weighed down by drunkenness and sin. We must be ready to escape opposition and ready to stand before the Son of Man.
Jesus’ words about the end are always given in the context of being ready. We must be alert so that on the day we are called we will be ready to stand before Him.
Christians are not called to live good worldly lives. We are called to lives of obedience, often living radially differently to our neighbours.
Being alert means that I pay full attention to what Christ is doing and respond to Him at all times. That means taking no thought to my own plans and desires. Everything must be for Jesus,
Lord, please transform me. Help me to see where my ambitions and plans hinder me from obeying your plans for me. Amen.
From the Bible Society:
The first time Lance Jackson taught Scripture at a one-teacher school west of Ivanhoe in outback NSW he asked the class to tell him what they knew about Jesus.
“They all looked a bit dumb … Anyway, I pressed the issue, thinking they were shy, but at the finish a 13-year-old girl up the back put up her hand and said ‘Look, I don’t think he lives anywhere around here but I’ve heard Dad talking about him,’” Lance recalls.
“It was an isolated area but what struck me was I’m less than 500km from Sydney and there’s a whole room of kids who don’t know who Jesus is.”
It is experiences such as this that have kept the 82-year-old Presbyterian pastor teaching Scripture for the past 61 years. The record shows that in that time he has brought the gospel of the Lord Jesus to children in 48 schools in NSW, three in South Australia, 12 in Queensland and two in Victoria, all in bush areas.
“That motivated me to just keep pressing on – because you had to really discipline yourself,” he says.
“I grew up in a climate and a church where you made a commitment for life and you didn’t rust out, you burnt out.”
Now based in Glen Innes, in the northern tablelands of NSW, Lance still coordinates Scripture for 18 classes in three local schools and the annual training courses. He also still works on a voluntary basis as a pastor at the Presbyterian Church in Glen Innes.
Read the rest of the story here
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?
The apostle Paul is filled with joy because of the Thessalonian believers. He prays night and day that he will be able to see them face to face to restore whatever is lacking in their faith.
Paul concludes this chapter by praying that the Lord makes them increase in love for one another and for all people; and that they will be strengthened in holiness to be found blameless on the day of the coming of the Lord Jesus.
Paul is passionate in his love for the church of Thessalonica. He is filled with joy over them and prays for them day and night.
The local church should be a source of joy for each of us. That’s not always true of course. We can take our faith community for granted. Perhaps people don’t meet our expectations. Some churches, like some families, are abusive or toxic.
Regardless of the state of the church, we have a duty to pray for it “day and night” as Paul did for the Thessalonians. Pray for God’s grace for the pastor and leaders; pray for the mission of the church; pray for the really annoying people.
Lord I thank you for my church and for the joy I find in the people you have brought into my life. Amen
If, like me, you are challenged in the artistic area and believe you can’t draw, grab a pen and some paper and watch this video.You too can learn to put pen to paper and draw cartoons.
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he will execute justice and righteousness in the land.
The Lord will fulfil the promises that He made to His people. A new righteous Branch of David will spring up to execute justice and righteousness. Jerusalem will be called “The Lord is our righteousness.”
There will always be a man to sit on David’s throne and a man in the Lord’s presence to offer sacrifices. This is as unbreakable as the covenant with day and night.
Jesus is the fulfilment of the Davidic covenant. He reigns on the throne of God for ever, a descendant of David.
Jesus is also our High Priest, standing for ever in the presence of the Father offering an eternal sacrifice on behalf of all people.
This New Covenant, a continuation and fulfilment of the Old Covenant, began in a stable in Bethlehem 2000 years ago and continues into eternity.
Because of this covenant, we Gentiles and sinners have full access to God and guaranteed access to eternal life.
Thank you Father for your great love shown in the Covenant you established in Christ. Amen.
Every now and again I see a report that makes me think, “This is a radical breakthrough.” This I think could be the start of a huge technological revolution, as big as the digital revolution of last century.
From the ABC:
Cyber plants: Scientists create analogue, digital electronic circuits inside living flowers
Scientists have created the world’s first electronically augmented plant, building analogue and digital circuits inside living flowers using semi-conductive polymers.
The team of researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden added the polymers to water, which were dissolved and absorbed through a rose’s natural vascular system where they formed electrical components that resembled wires.
The wires were able to spread evenly through the plant, forming conductive structures up to 10 centimetres long without restricting its ability to carry water and nutrients.
Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plants’ own very advanced, unique systems.Professor Magnus Berggren
From there scientists were able to create simple transistors, switching the current through the wires on and off, and also used vacuum infiltration to send another polymer into the rose leaf, creating a basic display with pixels partitioned by veins.
The rudimentary display allowed the research group, under the leadership of Professor Magnus Berggren, to change the colour of the leaf to different shades of green.
“Now we can really start talking about ‘power plants’ — we can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll, produce green antennas or produce new materials,” Professor Berggren said.
“Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plants’ own very advanced, unique systems.
“As far as we know, there are no previously published research results regarding electronics produced in plants. No one’s done this before.”
The research, published in Science Advances, “paves the way for new technologies and tools based on the amalgamation of organic electronics and plants in general”, the report read.
“Distributed conducting wires and electrodes along the stems and roots and in the leaves are preludes to electrochemical fuel cells, charge transport, and storage systems that convert sugar produced from photosynthesis into electricity, in vivo.”