Tag Archives: church

mmmm zechariah 9 mmmm

mmmm Chocolate Hot Cross Buns mmmm

As Easter approaches, the Western world goes crazy about Chocolate!

Does Easter have another deeper and more significant meaning?

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
    Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9

The prophet Zechariah predicted that the King would arrive on a colt.

Jerusalem would witness the righteous Messiah bringing salvation.

About 500 years later, Zechariah’s prophecy came true:

When they [the disciples] brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people [from Jerusalem] spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

‘Hosanna!’

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts.

Mark 9:7-11a

Jerusalem witnessed Jesus riding a colt into the city.

They welcomed him as their King and Messiah.

This event is still remembered 2,000 years later.

Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Less than a week later, Jesus was crucified on a cross.

Three days later Jesus was raised from the dead.

Easter celebrates Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Jesus was righteous and did not deserve to die.

But he chose to die in our place taking our punishment.

The punishment for our sins is death.

Jesus saved us from eternal death and hell.

Jesus went to hell in our place.

God raised Jesus to life again on Easter Sunday.

God crowned Jesus the King of the Universe.

Jesus offers us eternal life in his heavenly kingdom.

This new life is far better than all the chocolate in the world!

Sadly 2 Egyptian churches were bombed on Palm Sunday.

More than 40 Christians were killed by suicide bombers.

Egyptian Christians have been terrorised for several years now.

This Christian minority faces violent persecution from the religious majority.

These recent attacks occurred on an important Christian day.

Australian leaders have condemned these as an attack on freedom of religion.

These terrorists tried to disrupt Easter celebrations.

Terrorism highlights that our world needs Jesus’ salvation more than ever.

The importance of Easter will never be silenced by terrorists.

Followers wait for Jesus to return to judge the world.

Followers know that Jesus will judge these terrorists.

So there is no need for Christians to take revenge against terrorism.

Instead we join the world in opposing radical terrorism.

We condemn the lies told to suicide bombers by radical preachers.

As Christians, we forgive our enemies just as God forgave us through Jesus – the real meaning of Easter!

Jesus will also judge those who have not accepted his gift of eternal life.

Are you ready to face Jesus’ judgement?

Do you have the hope and assurance of eternal life?

For followers, how does Jesus reign in all aspects of your life?

Recent news about Egyptian church bombings on Palm Sunday 9 April 2017

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 3 john mmmm

Mmmm Aussie Asian Food Mmmm

Australia has a great variety of food because we are so close to Asia.

But that’s not the only delicious food on offer.

There is food in world news and current affairs.

What is truth?

Journalists seek the truth when reporting the news.

But how do we know they are telling the truth?

The USA government has challenged traditional news channels.

An official spokeswoman presented her own “Alternative Facts”.

The USA President complained that traditional news channels spread “Fake News”.

He prefers that we only follow his Twitter account instead.

But he was caught out spreading his own Fake News about Sweden.

He claimed that a terrorist attack occurred in Sweden.

The Swedish government confirmed that there was no terrorist attack.

A senior USA senator claimed that the President was trying to control the News.

This is reminiscent of news channels being controlled by dictators like Hitler.

Democracies rely on free and independent news channels.

Traditional news channels are competing with Social Media for our attention.

We increasingly rely on our smartphones for information and news.

Journalists need to write sensational headlines to attract more click-throughs.

How trustworthy and reliable is your source of news?

Celebrity gossip pages have infiltrated traditional news channels.

News editors have discovered that gossip attracts attention and sells newspapers.

There is a fine line between the truth, embellished facts and celebrity gossip.

The following Bible passage tells of a different truth that is more important:

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 2-4

The author of this letter wrote to a leader of congregation, possibly a small house-church.

He calls them his children and prays for good health for them.

He expresses joy that this church is continuing to walk in the truth.

He encourages hospitality to support the work of the truth.

He warns against troublemakers spreading malicious gossip.

He hoped to see them again face-to-face.

So what is this truth that is so important in the church?

This truth is a person.

This truth is Jesus.

God lovingly and mercifully gave us His son Jesus.

We deserved to die for our sins.

Jesus died in our place and took the punishment we deserved.

Through Jesus we can be at peace with God.

Jesus graciously offers us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

This is the eternal truth that shapes the lives of Jesus’ followers.

Ultimately celebrity gossip is meaningless.

Fake News and controversial governments will soon be forgotten.

They will all be replaced by eternal truth.

Can you differentiate between Fake News and the truth?

Do you know the truth that offers forgiveness and peace?

For followers, how does the eternal truth shape your daily lives?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 2 john mmmm

Mmmm Sydney Desserts Mmmm

Sydney has great patisseries, bakeries and cafes with great desserts.

But that’s not the only delicious food on offer.

There is food in public thought and conversations.

2016 is a year of political elections.

Australia held its federal election earlier in July with a cliff-hanger result.

USA is currently in a long and bitter battle between Clinton & Trump.

There is endless news coverage of their verbal sparring & tweeting.

Both claim to be speaking the truth.

Both claim the other is speaking lies.

How do we know who is speaking the truth and who is lying?

Is the American public tired of their claims and counter-claims?

Ultimately their claims will be forgotten as the 24-hour news cycle reports wars & disasters.

The following Bible passage tells of a different truth that lasts forever:

The elder,

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth – because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us for ever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

2 John 1-3

The author of this letter wrote to another congregation, possibly a small house-church.

He expressed joy that this church was walking in the truth.

He warned against false teachers preaching lies.

He hoped to see them again so that his joy would be complete.

So what is this truth that lasts forever?

This truth is a person.

This truth is Jesus.

God lovingly and mercifully gave us His son Jesus.

We deserved to die for our sins.

Jesus died in our place and took the punishment we deserved.

Through Jesus we can be at peace with God.

Jesus graciously offers us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

Jesus lives in the lives of his followers giving them meaning and purpose.

His followers love one another because God first showed love to them.

Politicians come and go and their claims are soon forgotten.

Are you tired of political spin?

Do you know the truth that lasts forever?

For followers, can those around you see the truth that lives in you?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 2 peter 1 mmmm

Mmmm Fresh Japanese Sushi & Sashimi Mmmm

Australia has the freshest seafood to make awesome Asian food!

But that’s not the only delicious food on offer.

There is food for thought in what we read.

What book has been influential in your life?

Is there something you read in school that opened your mind to new ideas?

Was there a text you read at university that shaped your morality and behaviour?

Most followers of Jesus view the Bible as their ultimate authority in life.

Followers believe that God is speaking to them through the Bible.

But you may ask, “Wasn’t the Bible written by ordinary men?”

“How can God be speaking through words written by human authors?”

One of Jesus’ followers, Peter answered these questions.

He was writing to counter false teachers who had infiltrated the early church.

These false teachers were challenging the Old Testament prophets & authors.

Peter wrote,

“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Peter 1:20-21

Prophets wrote down exactly what they heard from God.

They did not interpret or write from their own imagination.

This is the same for the New Testament writers.

Many of them were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life including Peter.

They wrote down what they saw or heard from Jesus.

Some authors were not actually eyewitnesses including Paul.

The Holy Spirit enabled these men to see and hear God speak.

So the Bible is not a collection of fairy tales and mythical stories.

The Bible can be trusted as the Word of God.

When was the last time you read the Bible with an open mind?

Have you heard God speak through the Bible recently?

For followers: are you listening to God daily through his Word?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm acts 2 mmmm

Mmmm Roast Duck & Orange Salad Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing fresh produce & restaurant food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating the delicious New Testament.

38 Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’
41 Those who accepted his message were baptised,
and about 3,000 were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:38-47

In the book of Acts, we see Peter sharing the good news of Jesus with a large crowd.

3000 listeners decided to repent and accept the gift of salvation.

Their journey of faith did not stop there.

They met regularly in fellowship – this is one of the earliest descriptions of “church” in the Bible.

What did these new Christians when they met together (church)?

  • They listened to the apostles teaching about Jesus and how to live the Christian life.
  • They ate meals together.
  • They prayed together.
  • They shared their possessions and helped each other.
  • They praised God with glad and sincere hearts.

Fast forward 2000 years to today.

Christians still meet together weekly on Sundays in churches across the world.

Those who only go to church twice a year at Christmas & Easter are fooling themselves.

This irregular attendance does not make you Christian or give you eternal life.

Even regular church attendance does not give you eternal life.

Only accepting the forgiveness of Jesus’ death & resurrection gives you entry to heaven.

So what is the purpose of the 21st Century church?

Church gives Christians the opportunity to share their lives together.

We are not called to be private followers of Jesus in isolation.

We are part of a wider community who love God and each other.

So those who think they can live the Christian life without church are WRONG.

  • We need the encouragement of others to keep growing & maturing as Christians.
  • We need the love & prayers of others when we face difficulties in life.
  • We thank God & celebrate together as we overcome obstacles.

Most of all, we continually remind each other of the death & resurrection of Jesus.

  • When was the last time you went to church?
  • Did you hear the Bible read & taught at church?
  • When was the last time you shared a meal with other Christians?
  • When did you last pray with other Christians?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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