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November 2011
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January 2012

The Centrality of Worship

All kingdom work is worship. Or to put it another way, worshipping the God we see at work in Jesus is the most politically charged act we can ever perform. Christian worship declares Jesus is Lord and that therefore, by strong implication, nobody else is. What's more, it doesn't just declare it as something to be believed, like the fact that the sun is hot or the sea wet. It commits the worshipper to allegiance, to following this Jesus, to being shaped and directed by him. Worshipping the God we see in Jesus orients our whole being, our imagination, our... Read more →

Jesus in all the Books of the Bible

Luke tells us a story of two disciples who were sad and discouraged by the recent events they had experienced in the city of Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-35).They had hoped that this man called Jesus would have been the Messiah - the one who would deliver Israel.There were so many expectations raised by the birth of this child just a few decades earlier - barren women giving birth in old age, angels appearing, wise men coming from the East and prophetic words being given. But now Jesus was dead. Instead of overthrowing the pagans, he had been crucified by them! Suddenly,... Read more →

Silent Night Story

Silent Night is one of the most popular carols sun across the world at this Christmas season. There are many romantic stories about how it was composed. Here is one of them that may contain an element of truth to it ... On Christmas Eve 1818 in Austria, the Vicar of a small church in Oberndorf had written a new song to be sung on Christmas Day. The organist, Franz Gruber had set the words to music but the organ broke and it looked like it was all going to be a disaster. In an attempt to rectify the situation,... Read more →

Ever Felt Dry Spiritually?

Have you ever felt dry spiritually? Sometimes our faith can get a little old and our love relationship with Jesus is not what it once was. We're not in "first love" anymore. Stuff has happened. Things have changed. Sometimes, we get stuck here ... like a rut that we just can't seem to get out of. What do you do? Stay where you are? Could it be possible that God at times withdraws the sense of his presence from our lives (not that he ever actually leaves us) ... in order to create a hunger and a thirst for us... Read more →

The Upside of Discomfort?

Long distance runner, Dean Karnezes, recently said, "Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic." Popular blogger,... Read more →

Back to First Love

Jesus' message to the church at Ephesus is always a challenging one. They were doing a lot of good things and church was going along as usual ... yet the love that they had for God and each other at the beginning had faded. Jesus wrote to warn them about the danger they were in to urge them to do the things they had done at the beginning - to return to "first love." The lyrics of Steve Fry's song First Love captures the cry of a heart desiring a return to first love: Take me back to first love.... Read more →

Knowing God More

Back in the 1980s, Steven Fry wrote a musical entitled We Are Called. It was an outstanding call to worship and our team presented it numerous times. It contains some inspiring songs. One of favourites is Oh, I Want to Know You More, which was written during a spiritually dry period in Steve's life. Here are the lyrics: Just the time I feel that I've been caught in the mire of self Just the time I feel my mind's been bought by worldly wealth That's when the breeze begins to blow, I know the Spirit's call And all my worldly... Read more →

Australian Human Rights Award goes to Tony and Lisa Clark

Congratulations to Tony and Lisa Clark who were selected as the winners of the Australian Human Rights Commission - Community Organisation award at a ceremony in Sydney today. Tony, who founded Swags for Homeless in 2007, started the non-profit homeless charity in Melbourne when he questioned what was given to street sleeping homeless turned away from shelters. Tony and Lisa Clark designed the emergency relief Backpack Bed, which received the worlds largest and most prestigious product design award the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best’ in Germany this year. Backpack Beds are provided to homeless and are distributed through 139... Read more →

Growing in the Dark

Jesus clearly explained to his followers that in this life there would be a good deal of challenges and difficulties (John 16:33). However, they were to not be overwhelmed by them knowing that they can overcome and continue to live with God's peace and joy, regardless of the circumstances. This perspective on trials of all kinds is emphasised by all of the New Testament writers (see Acts 14:22. James 1:2-4. 1 Peter 1:6-9). As we journey through this life of faith as disciples of Jesus Christ, some of our growing will be in the dark. We all face times and... Read more →

Questions for Different Stages of Faith

We recently shared about "stages of faith" as a helpful model for understanding our journey as disciples of Jesus. All six stages are important in our journey as each one has a profound impact and role in our lives. Also, different activities are more helpful in one stage than they may be in another. For instance, during stage 4, times of solitude and silence, as well as time with a mentor or spiritually mature person can be extremely helpful. Below are some helpful questions to ask yourself or a friend, relevant to each of the stages. Stage 1 How do... Read more →

Australian Communities Report

Olive Tree Media recently launched the results from their Australian Communities Report conducted by McCrindle Research to discover what Australians really think of Christian faith, Christians and the Church. Held in Sydney on 4th November, the research was launched by Archbishop Peter Jensen. Mark McCrindle, Principal of McCrindle Research presented the findings to 50 church leaders and business people. Click here to watch excerpts of the presentation and here to download a summary of the research results or purchase a copy of the full report. The Research was commissioned in preparation for a new Apologetics Series being produced by Olive... Read more →