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September 2011

A New Kind of Pentecostal

The word 'Pentecostal' creates a variety of images and impressions as soon as it is mentioned, depending on an individual's background and personal experience. Pentecost was a feast that the nation of Israel began celebrating at the time of Moses. This day also marked the birth of the church as the Holy Spirit was poured out on 120 praying believers (Acts 2). The modern day Pentecostal movement has roots in the early 1900s with an outpouring of the Spirit in Azusa Street in Los Angeles. How is the Pentecostal movement morphing around the world today? Click here to read a... Read more →

Known by our Love

Jesus’ dream was that his followers would be known by their love (Jn.13:34-35). Think of all the various qualities Jesus could have told us to be known for – truth, justice, holiness, or righteousness. All of these are very important, yet Jesus’ desire was that LOVE be the mark, measure and goal for his new community – the church. The apostle Paul picked up on this priority of love from Jesus. In a letter to church at Corinth he addressed various groups within the church that had developed a variety of priorities and pursuits (1 Cor.13:1-3). To those pursuing more... Read more →

Tough Love

Jesus calls us to a life of love. Sometimes love has to be tough, especially when there has been a conflict. Arguments and disagreements separate people and create division between friends, families, communities, and even in the church. It takes a great deal of courage, wisdom and sensitivity to resolve conflicts and restore relationships. Jesus understood that conflict would occur and he prepared his followers for these times. He warned against anger and made reconciliation a priority for disciples (Matt.5:21-23). He commanded loving confrontation and taught a clear process for sorting out differences (Matt.18:15-17). He expected his followers to give... Read more →

Understanding Women ...

Men and women use same words but they sometimes have different meanings. For example when a woman says, “I feel like you never listen,” she does not expect the word “never” to be taken in a literal sense. It is simply a way to communicate the frustration she is feeling at the time. When it comes to their choice of words, many women use poetic license, superlatives, metaphors, and generalisations. Unfortunately, men mistakenly take these expressions as literally, causing all sorts of misunderstandings and even conflicts. Here are some common complaints that are easily misinterpreted: Woman: "We never go out."... Read more →

East Africa Emergency Appeal

Many of you would be aware of the dire situation in East Africa right now. More than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa countries, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, are in need of our prayers for relief from one of the worst prolonged droughts in 60 years. Children are especially in need of prayer for nourishing food, opportunities to go back to school to learn, spiritual nurture and safe places to live and play. The crisis is worsening by the day, and is highly complex and urgent. UN and media reports point to a spreading famine across the... Read more →

Corrie ten Boom - the Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is never easy - even when someone apologises and asks for it ... Corrie ten Boom spent spent time in Nazi concentration camps for hiding Jews in her home during the Holocaust. 52 and unmarried, she had lived at home with her elderly father and older sister Betsie. All three of them had been sent to concentration camps when the Nazis discovered they had been hiding the Jewish refugees. Corrie lost her freedom, her dignity, and her beloved sister and father in few months in those concentration camps. In God’s providence, Corrie was released due to a clerical error,... Read more →

Common Questions about Forgiveness

Here are some common questions about forgiveness: 1. “Is it wrong to be angry?” It is not necessarily sinful to feel angry. Anger is a warning system alerting us that something is wrong and needs our attention. The key is to not covert angry emotions into angry behavior. Allow your emotions to settle down then seek to address the situation calmly and seek a resolution. Make use of prayer and wise counsel. 2. “Is forgiveness conditional or unconditional?” Jesus commands us to forgive others whether or not they ask for it. We choose to have a forgiving approach to people,... Read more →

Awkward Love

The Christian God exists eternally in a Trinity of loving relationships – Father, Son and Spirit. God created us as the object of his love and invites us to participate in a community of loving friendships. As we fully understand how much God loves us, we are able to love others from a strong foundation of acceptance, significance, security, and purpose. Because of sin, loving others is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it is awkward. This is especially so when people act in ways that offend or cause hurt to us. Situations such as these provide opportunity for us... Read more →

Choosing to Forgive

Robert Enright (2008) Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step by Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope Washington DC: American Psychological Association Dr Robert Enright was called the forgiveness trailblazer by Time Magazine. He is the unquestioned pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness. He is a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a position he has held since 1978. He is co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about forgiveness and community renewal through forgiveness. He is a licensed Psychologist. He is the author or editor of... Read more →

Differences between Men and Women

There are lots of similarities between men and women ... and also lots of differences (far beyond the fact that men can't get pregnant). Here are a few that I have read about (and yes, there are exceptions to every one of them!): 1. The average man has 6 items in his bathroom - a toothbrush, tooth paste, shaving cream, razor, soap, and a towel from Holiday Inn. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 437 - the vast majority of them totally unidentifiable by most men. 2. Apparently, women don’t think about sex as much... Read more →

Men and Women Communicating

Men and women process information very differently. Women often think out loud, sharing their process with any interested listener. Men, before they talk, silently mull over or think about what they have heard or experienced. Women tend to process things by talking them through. Men tend to process things by thinking. A female brain is organised for multi-tracking – she can juggle four or five balls in the air at the same time. Multi-tracking can even occur in a single sentence. Here's a slightly exaggerated example ... BILL: “Is Sue coming over for Christmas?” DEBBIE: “Sue said she’ll come depending... Read more →

An Excellent Study Opportunity in Australia

I am commited to life-long learning and have thoroughly enjoyed the formal studies I have done over the years (an MA in Theology with Ridley College and a Doctor of Ministry degree with Fuller Theological Seminary). There are many excellent training colleges in Australia including the Australian College of Ministries (ACOM) has a partnership with Fuller Theological Seminary where students can do the course while staying in Australia with only one two-week trip to the USA. Students then learn in the context of their own ministry, with course work from the likes of Dallas Willard, Arch Hart, Mark Conner, Keith... Read more →

Common Questions Women Ask About Men

In the book Why Men Don't Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes, the authors discuss common questions women ask about men, based on over 5,000 letters they have received. Here are a few of them. [Note: I take no responsibility for the information or opinions presented in this BLOG post] 1. Why do men continually offer solutions and give advice? When a woman wants a man to show empathy, he thinks she’s asking him for a solution. Advice-giving is perceived differently by men than it is by woman. If one man asks another man for advice, the... Read more →

Australian 2011 Census

This coming Tuesday, August 9th, is national census day here in Australia for all residents. The census seeks to give a clear snapshot of our nation and is conducted every five years. Participation is mandatory for all households. The census can be completed via a paper form or on-line. For full details about the census click here. Religion is one of two non-compulsory questions.For those from Pentecostal church such as CityLife Church, we recommend that you choose "Other" under this question then write in "Pentecostal" so that the government gets an accurate idea of how many people attend churches like... Read more →