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October 2010
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December 2010

7 Prophetic Shifts

God calls his leaders to create movement by guiding His people forward towards God's purposes for their lives (see Deut.1:6-7; 2:3). To do this, leaders need to talk about where we have come from (the past - history and heritage), where we are now (the present - what God is saying today), and where we are gong (the future). Back in 1995, when I became a senior minister of a local church in Melbourne, Australia, I sensed God speaking to me about making a number of "prophetic (or strategic) shifts" in our church. A "prophetic shift" is "a change of... Read more →

LightFM - Melbourne Radio

LightFM has been functioning as a fully fledged radio in Melbourne for 8 years now. Latest research indicates that 473,000 people listen each week - about half of whom have no Christian connection. This places them in the top 10 of all radio stations in Melbourne. It is a family-friendly radio station seeking to provide a positive alternative for radio listeners. One listener recently said, "LightFM is more than just a radio station, it is a friend when we are lonely, a family when family is not around. A place where hope, joy, love, compassion, laguhter can be found, a... Read more →

Pause and Reflect ...

In many ways, our life is like a journey. Listen to the language David uses about his life in Psalm 23: "He leads me beside still waters … He leads me in paths of righteousness … even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death … goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life … (Ps.23)” Yes, life is a journey and God is with us ... each step of the way. Ever since I was 17 years of age, I have kept a journal. For many years, I used a spiral notebook... Read more →

Ancient Practices (#7) - Listening

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called into a relationship with Him. Christianity is not just a religion OR even a certain set of beliefs OR even a certain set of practices, as important as they are. It is about a relationship with the living God. God doesn’t want just religious activity or even only our service. He wants US – his people, in close relationship with Him. Jesus referred to his disciples as his friends not merely servants (Jn.15:15). The church at Ephesus was working hard and enduring times of pressure BUT Jesus was not pleased. Why? Because... Read more →

The Power of Accountability

I have always had a huge appetite and up until the age of 40, I was able to burn it off. I never put on weight and was always on the skinny side. I remember once at my Year 12 graduation celebration finishing off two huge 'pig troughs' - the biggest item on the menu at an ice cream restaurant in America called Farrells. I was a little sick the next day ... and have since repented of gluttony ... but I soon burned it off. Since turning 40, my appetite is still there but I've tended to pack on... Read more →

The Controversy of the Sacred Meal

Partaking in the Sacred Meal links us with brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world today and in an unbroken line right back to the very first disciples of Jesus over 2000 years ago. Yet, sadly this meal has become a major source of division and disunity within the church of Jesus Christ throughout the centuries. There has been great controversy and even bitterness and division around the very practice that should be source of love and unity. Both sides have burnt people at the stake for believing the wrong things. NT Wright, in his excellent booklet The... Read more →

Ancient Practices (#6) - The Sacred Meal

A very important ancient practice for disciples is regular participation in the Lord’s Supper. This sacred meal is known by a number of terms including breaking bread, the table of the Lord, communion, and the Eucharist (which means thanksgiving). Jesus instituted this practice when eating with his disciples just before his death (see Matt.26:26-29. Mark 14:22-25. Luke 22:15-20). Luke shows how the first disciples carried out the instructions of Jesus as they broke bread together regularly (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11. Luke 24:19, 30). This practice was originally associated with a meal (Luke 22:20. 1 Cor.11:25) but later became a... Read more →

It Was on The Cross

Quite a number of years ago I read a letter from a person very involved in the publication of worship choruses. They noted that there seemed to be less and less songs about the cross and the blood of Jesus - those aspects that are central to our faith as Christians. I was a little less involved in worship leading or song-writing at the time but I remember immediately going to the piano and writing a song ... one that came quicker than any other I had every written. The song is called "It was on the Cross." It was... Read more →

Ancient Practices (#5) - Sabbath

Jesus tells us in Mark 2:23-28 that the “Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.” In other words, God’s intention in instituting the Sabbath Day was for our own benefit. In reality, Jesus never violated God’s Sabbath. He simply confronted the religious leader’s additional rules and traditions they had added to God’s command. The meaning of the Sabbath (a word which means “to stop” or “to cease”) is rooted in God’s rest following the six days of creation. On the seventh day, God “rested” from his work of creation and declared the day “blessed” and “holy” (Gen.2:1-3).... Read more →

Approval Ratings of President Obama

It has been 18 months since America elected Barack Obama to be it's president. His presidency began with a lot of excitement and anticipation, partly created by his inspiring messages about "Yes we can!" It has not been an easy run for him, with many complex challenges and problems ... Gallup reported last week that the president’s average seventh quarter approval rating among Americans stands at 44.7 percent – its lowest point since Obama took office but still significantly higher than among Protestant pastors. A new survey by LifeWay Research indicates that 61 percent of Protestant pastors disapprove (47 percent... Read more →

Science and Religion

A recent article in Christianity Today by Andy Crouch highlights the ongoing somewhat awkward relationship between science and faith. Elaine Howard Euklund expands our understanding of this relationship in her new book Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think. Her research reveals that "... a whopping 64 percent of elite scientists are atheists or agnostics (compared with 6 percent of all Americans), while a vanishing 2 percent (roughly three dozen of her 1,700 subjects) are evangelical Christians. But in the middle are many, even among the atheists, who describe themselves as 'spiritual,'and many more are respectful of religious faith even... Read more →