The Same Sex Marriage Vote

voting

We had our say, and the nation overwhelmingly voted “Yes” to same sex marriage. I am disappointed but not surprised.

What should Christians make of this?

Firstly, it should be a wake up call for anyone who maintains that Australia is a “Christian country.” It is not, and 60% of the population showed that they are not in favour of a strictly Christian society. Interestingly, the electorates where there was a majority “No” vote were those with a larger than average immigrant population- both Middle East and Asian.

Secondly, it should be a sign to the church that we need to be more intentional in missions. That is, we must take the message of Christ to the streets, to the workplace, to our neighbourhoods. There will be a temptation to withdraw from the public square, to sit in our comfortably padded pews and hope that nobody notices. Instead we need to get out and win hearts, minds and souls to the kingdom.

Thirdly we need to prepare for persecution for our beliefs. By that I don’t mean that Christians will be thrown into prison for being Christians. No it will be much more subtle than that. Human Rights Tribunals and other quasi-judicial bodies will prosecute individuals and groups who oppose the dominant narrative. If you dare to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman in any context other than a place of worship you may soon be liable to a complaint. If you think that is unlikely, consider the Bishop of Tasmania who was forced to appear before that state’s tribunal for publishing a booklet explaining the church’s position on marriage and supporting the current legal definition of marriage.

Finally we need to pray as never before. We must pray for our friends and neighbours to receive the gospel. People have been rejecting God for a couple of generations now and that trend is not showing any signs of being reversed. We live in a society that is increasingly narcissistic, because it is made up of people who think they are gods. We must repent of our own self-centredness and give ourselves anew to serving God and God alone.

 

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Mike Willesee: A premonition, plane crash and testing miracles

From the ABC:

Mike Willesee: A premonition, plane crash and testing miracles

Updated 

Veteran journalist Mike Willesee has revealed how miraculously surviving a plane crash changed his life forever, kick-starting a journey back to his Catholic faith.

It is this faith, and the support of his family, that has sustained Willesee through his current battle with throat cancer and a debilitating course of radiation therapy that ended only recently.

The legendary current affairs presenter and reporter was too unwell to attend his induction into the Australian Media Hall of Fame on Friday in Sydney.

In a pre-recorded acceptance speech he said: “To be a journalist, for me, has been a gift that just keeps on giving.”

If it wasn’t for an extraordinary twist of fate 20 years ago, Willesee’s career could have been cut short well before now.

In 1997 he and his cameraman Greg Low were about to board a twin-engine Cessna plane in Nairobi, Kenya, bound for Southern Sudan to film a documentary.

But before they took off, Willesee said he had a premonition the aircraft would crash.

“I couldn’t understand it. I had this fight in my own head before I got on the plane. How do I tell Greg that it’s going to crash?

“I don’t believe in premonitions. Did I believe it was going to crash? Absolutely.”

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

VIDEO: Everyone aboard the Cessna aircraft was unharmed. (ABC News)

The plane took off in a tropical downpour and shortly after began experiencing problems.

For Willesee, the experience was surreal.

“When it stalled, and it stopped for this one excruciating second and then started to spiral and go down, the only thought I could get out of my head was, ‘I was right’, which is pretty freaky.

“I said my first prayer to a God who I didn’t understand and whose existence I was quite unsure of.”

That wasn’t the end of the drama. When the aircraft finally settled, the pilot and the other two passengers got out as fast as they could, leaving Willesee and Low in their seats.

“Greg’s seat buckle was jammed because he had his camera on his lap and we thought the plane would explode and burn because of the noise and incredible amount of smoke.

“So I ran back into the plane and Greg freed himself as I got in and we got out.”

The plane crash was the start of a long journey back to the Catholic faith of his childhood.

“The plane crash changed me a lot,” Willesee said.

“It still took me I think maybe two years, for me to actually say there is a God.”

Read the full story here

Adam Piggott: The Art of Consistency and The Riot Act

Adam Piggott is not a christian, but here he nails the key to the christian life- consistency. Our growth generally does not come in big events (although we might get a high that helps to propel us forward), but in the daily plod of life, work, worship, quiet times, prayer, cell group. That might seem boring to many, but it’s being consistent day after day that grows in us the kingdom of God.

Adam Piggott writes:

The art of consistency and the riot act.

I am sure that my learned readers are familiar with Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. The hare is spectacularly advantaged over his opponent but it is the tortoise’s consistency which gets him over the line. To put it bluntly, the hare goofs off. To put it even more bluntly, the tortoise knew that the hare would good off which was why he challenged him to the race to begin with. Always know your opponent better than he does.

There are lots of lessons in that little fable but the one that I want to elaborate on today is the art of consistency. Consistency is to success in life what confidence is to success with women.

Right now I’m having the best results in the gym that I have ever had over the course of 30 years of lifting the weights. The program that I’m following is undoubtedly a big part of that, as is the fact that I am being so careful with my technique. But what has really nailed it for me is my consistency. The program states that I have to go three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and by God I’m going three days a week. Consistently.

The biggest gains that I’ve had, (moar gainz!), have been in the past four months, and it is no coincidence that this has coincided with my rigorous consistency. I followed this same program for almost a year in Australia but I was less consistent. Three days one week, then two days the next, then maybe back to three or it might have been just a single day. You get the idea. I didn’t see any of the gains that I’m getting now. Same program, same technique – less gains.

It’s the consistency, baby.

Back when I was teaching English in Italy, my greatest success story was a barber from a little mountain town with no real education to speak of. He decided to come along to a course and he didn’t have the imagination to second guess what I was teaching. He followed my directions to the literal letter. After six months I told him that he didn’t need my services any more. He wasn’t particularly intelligent but he was entirely consistent.

If I look back over my life, my greatest achievements have one common element to them – consistency. Whether it was learning the guitar, becoming a rafting guide, opening my own bar, learning Italian, publishing my first book, or any other goal or pursuit in which I excelled, being consistent was the difference between success and failure. Equally, if I consider where I failed then it was my lack of consistency that let me down.

This blog has become a success due to my consistency.

Last weekend I had occasion to discuss consistency with someone. This young guy has spent 2017 turning his life around. At the start of the year he was a dope smoking loser with a girlfriend that sponged off him and he was close to getting fired from his job due to his lack of commitment, an outcome that would not have been unfamiliar to him. Nine months later and he has jettisoned the girlfriend, completely abandoned the drugs, is killing it at the same job, and is tearing it up on the football field.

His consistency has been a big part of his success but yesterday I needed to remind him of that. Because there was talk of him maybe needing to go traveling, to lie in the sun somewhere; after all, he “deserved” it.

It’s all too easy to wander off track when you’re on the mundane journey known as adult life. After all, what could the harm be? The little voice in your head convinces you that you’re wasting your time anyway. Surely it would be better to be off somewhere having fun. The trouble is, this guy spent the past ten years doing exactly that. But now that he’s finally seeing some success for the first time in his adult life, he wants to slip back into the past behaviors. It’s all too easy to do.

But we had a good talk and I got him back on track. Sometimes that’s what you need; a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. The thing is, I wonder where I’d be now if I’d had an older guy to talk things over with and help me stay on track when I needed it. To read me the riot act when I needed to hear it.

Because that’s what we need sometimes; the riot act. No soft words or subtle anecdotes carefully interspersed so as to not cause offense. Cause offense, for God’s sake. Give them a verbal slap around the ears.

One of the things that young guys need to understand is consistency. You’re jealous of the guy with lots of money and nice toys? Most of the time it comes down to hard work, not taking no for an answer, and consistency. Twenty years of that and you’re looking at a solid base. A fortress of solitude. If I had my time over again I would be more consistent.

But who I am kidding? I’ve got loads of opportunity to be consistent right now. Learning Dutch, finishing my next book, finding the right house in the right part of Holland, setting up a new business; it’s all going to come down to consistent effort.

And another cup of coffee.

Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

thessalonians

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+2.1-8

Scripture

God was pleased to trust us with his message. We didn’t speak to please people, but to please God who knows our motives.

Observation

Paul relates how he had come to Thessalonica without hidden motives. He wasn’t trying to trick or fool anyone or to please people.

As an apostle, he could have demanded that they support him. Instead he chose to be like a mother nursing her baby, prepared to give his life for them as he gave them God’s message.

Application

As social creatures we all have a need for the approval of other people. We want to be liked by other people and to fit in.

But for the child of God, this is not always an option. To be faithful to God means that we may need to suffer the enmity of people.

This is the way it was for Paul who was imprisoned, beaten, stoned and otherwise mistreated on many occasions. It is the way for millions of christians around the world today.

As western society runs at break-neck speed away from the christian values that have underpinned it for centuries, we have to expect opposition even from our friends and family members.

We must be God pleasers, not people pleasers. We must be determined to stand up for Jesus even at the risk of losing friends or being publicly mocked.

Paul responded to opposition by doubling down on love. He was like a mother to his new converts and was prepared to die for their sake.

In a society increasingly hostile to the gospel, let us respond with the love of God.

Prayer

Help me Lord to please you in all my endeavours. May I always be a God pleaser not a people pleaser. Amen.