In the public arena

The previous article ended on what the Church can do to positively engage in the public arena in a culture that is ‘church-less’. The following, written in 2004 for Challenge Weekly, is, however, a critique of a church-backed rally, deemed by many, as a negative display by the church in the public arena in New Zealand, in 2004. It was the way it was done that got quite a few upset. It was a protest march that stood for family values while decrying the erosion of moral values in public policy, but that might have been intimidating for onlookers. Let’s have a look.

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Life to the max and all that jazz

Fill life with living life to the max or empty life from the need to? Sometimes, we want to fill life by embracing all of it, but then we find we’re empty. Is living life to the max detrimental to living life? According to the gospel of All That Jazz, perhaps it is. All That Jazz (1979) has an angle on living life to the max. Simply, it’s when Max living gets out of hand…

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Long ago, but still resonates

It’s great to read an old article of mine. What somebody said in it are quite simply words of wisdom and even encourage me today. I think that anyone who enjoys reading, will find that the stories and articles that they look back on, can still resonate, years later. It’s like those pleasant surprises one finds in the attic and the basement; a long lost card or report that surprises one and causes a most pleasant feeling to emerge in you.

Reflective mood

It’s a reflective ‘exercise’ looking back at my older articles. It still conjures up a vague, cloud-like impression of the past, but still with the concrete markers or posts of yesteryear, like why I wrote something, where I was, what I was doing. Perhaps its cathartic, in that it washes away a past memory, but a good one.

Forgiveness is wonderful

Carrying on from last post, the cross is also powerful to forgive. This is God’s way to forgive the sin in our lives. Our sin or tendency to dark, selfish acts in whatever form is what displeases God, but God’s way to forgive us is the power of the cross.

God’s forgiveness when it is felt is liberating. The burden of sin is lifted off one’s life. Only God can forgive in this kind of way, that goes to the very heart of a person and sets one free.

God’s forgiveness is wonderful. It is so wonderful that God’s forgiveness can enable us to forgive those who have offended us, if we can truly appreciate how God has forgiven our own sins. One who loves much, has been forgiven much.

The message of the cross

Carrying on from the previous post, what is the message of the cross that it is so powerful? Even more powerful than people’s power? Here are my thoughts:

Jesus hanging on the cross looks like defeat, but there’s a hidden power behind the cross. The power of the cross is like a whirlwind, a storm of supernatural origin that one can’t see, but is something that operates in the spiritual realm. This power is power over sin and death that can help a human being overcome one’s powerlessness over death and sin. God’s power suffices instead of human power, to overcome the problems of death and sin in individual lives.

Power of men, power of God

Who is more powerful? Men or God? Jesus said about himself, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of men.” (Luke 9:44, Good News Bible). But only for a while would man seem to win…God was going to use the handing over of Jesus to the power to men. God let Jesus die crucified on a cross to show the world a greater glory: the power of God. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV). God is more powerful. It’s food for thought.

Good living

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28
Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29
Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30
Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31
Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32
For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33
The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34
He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35
The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame

(Proverbs 3:27-35, New International Version)

If Jesus came to save his people from their sins, why do Christians still sin?

I’m no biblical scholar or bachelor of divinity, but I am open to God and the Bible, and I try to read the Bible as it is. In that vein, I have read in the Bible that Jesus existed to save people from their sins. What does this mean? And why do Christians still sin?

As has been said many a time, one needs to define sin so that one’s hearers understand what is meant by sin and why Jesus came to save people from it.

So, for the purposes for this post, I think it is helpful to define sin simply. Sin is an action that displeases God to the extent that God finds it repugnant and can’t be tolerated. Sin’s worse than you and I think.

But Jesus Christ came to save people from their sins. But why do people who believe in Jesus still sin? When someone believes in Jesus that should put an end to sin in their lives, shouldn’t it?

I’ve heard many arguments to explain this, none I must say were my own thoughts, and if I used those here, they would be second hand explanations, and not my own. But I do know that I believe in Jesus and that I can still sin.

At times, sin cuts deep through my soul, and when it does, I was not saved that day from my sin. It was me who let it happen. I confessed the sin to God, and was healed of it, but why didn’t Jesus save me before it happened, if Jesus came to save people from their sins?

I think it’s not as easy as all that. Jesus was on earth to save people from their sins. To save. God hasn’t eliminated the sin nature in every human being entirely. Sin is still there, in the sin nature in human beings.

I may still sin again, somehow. Through all this, God provided the Lamb of God (Jesus) to justify me before God, that I am acquitted of all my sins in front of God. By faith in the Lamb of God I am justified. In other words, I am under God’s grace.

I still want to say no to sin and I have faith to believe that Jesus’s Spirit, which I have received, can enable me to say no to my known sins as I cooperate with him.

This Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born to enable one to overcome their sins and weaknesses while he justifies the sinner who puts their faith in him.

A close shave

If you ever get lost, remember the good voice of the Heavenly Father, and slip into safety.
There was once a train track that went through a tunnel. The tunnel was situated by a summit, surrounded by hills.

When people walked and spoke in the tunnel, it echoed. They were not allowed to walk through it, though. If they walked through it, they were in danger of a fatal collision if they collided with a train.

One morning, some girls got together and climbed the grassy hills around the tunnel, some of them reached for the top, others preferred an easy climb. Some girls stopped, picked daisies, and threw dirt and stones at boys.

Mothers tried to keep an eye on their children, but kids were tempted to go in the tunnel. The mystery was alluring and Sandy rushed into the tunnel. The others were so involved with playing that they did not notice.

As Sandy stood at the tunnel’s entrance, she saw the light at the end. As she ran towards the middle, the tunnel became darker and darker like an eclipse of the moon.

In pitch black, a train was coming. Sandy heard it and shivered. She thought she should have listened to her Mum who told her again and again, “Don’t go into the tunnel!”

Dad had told her about the manholes, like the good voice of the Heavenly Father, guiding to the right course. “Just slip into the manhole if a train comes,” said Dad.

The train closed in as Sandy ran. She saw a cut-out in the tunnel’s wall, which fitted two people. She slipped into it and waited.

The train seemed to take a long time to pass, but it did pass her by like a strong gust of wind.

She took a large breath, relieved she survived a close shave.

Is God interested in our lives?

Some philosophers have said that God has created the world and leaves the rest to our own devices. So, how can God be remotely interested in us?

However, if God hadn’t created the world, he wouldn’t be interested in us, but since God did create the world, he is interested in us.

God must be interested in people, since he first created human beings. It makes no sense to say that God created the world then having lovingly created human beings left us alone.

God is very interested in our lives.

Yet God’s involvement in my life surprises me at times. Sometimes I doubt it. I’m reminded of the line in the 1982 film Gandhi where a priest says to Gandhi, I’m not so egotistical to think that God is trying to solve my dilemmas.

But there’s a verse in the Bible that says to present all your anxieties to God. Give your concerns to God and he will look after them. God sees The Big Picture.

So, I talk to God about my life. There are times when I look at what’s happened and think God must have had a hand in it. I give it more than a rational reason. I call it more than co-incidence. God, the great orchestrator and composer.