Sunday, 20 January 2013

There Must Be More To Life Than This (Bumped)

Or the original title,
"Christianity: Boring, Untrue, Irrelevant?"

Introductory video to the Alpha Course.

Sometimes I tend to post sporadically, so if my last post seems to be here for a long time, this is the one I want people to see when they come here.

Take Care

Friday, 11 January 2013

Nicky Gumbel Interviews Ravi Zacharias

Two of my favourite people. An evangelist and a defender of the Faith. A fascinating interview.
One of my favourite moments, a question for atheists:
"Some cultures love their neighbours, some cultures eat their neighbours; which is right?"
And I would ask the atheist, whatever his answer, "Why?"

Take Care

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Secret to a Fulfilled Life

I've been thinking. (Please - you may hold your applause ;)

The internet is full of self-help websites. Bookstores are full of self-help books. Facebook is full of cut motivating posts with soft pictures and warm and fuzzy messages. But do you want to know the real key to the best life possible?

Two things:
  1. Love God
  2. Be Generous
That's it. That's all. Everything else will fall into place.

Take Care

Monday, 7 January 2013

Satan Knows How to Change a Culture

Today's program by Ravi Zacharias was a thought-starter for this post.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.  And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Daniel 1: 1-8)
Nebuchadnezzar placed these youth into comfortable surroundings - surroundings where they lacked nothing. They were afforded every luxury. Every need and desire would have been satisfied. They were to learn the language of this culture in place of the native language of their native Judah. They were to be taught new literature, in place of their traditional books, which would have been the Torah, the word of God. It isn't hard to believe that the plan of the king was to bribe them, in a sense, to forsake their former values, with all the luxuries of his court.

I see a parallel with the culture of today; especially (being the curmudgeon that I am) in our youth. The enemy has taken advantage of prosperity to give us a life lacking nothing, generally and comparatively speaking. He has lured us, as a society, away from the Word of God and into everything the supermarket newstands and the internet can lure us with. He has taken our eyes off the values of our past and laid enticing temptations before us; temptations of sexual freedom, of self indulgence, of self-centeredness. Temptations that enable us to satisfy every physical and material desire. Many have arrived at a point where they consider it their "right" to fulfil every personal whim, both physical and emotional.

But not all the youth in Nebuchadnezzar's day fell for it. Some may have, because as it says, among them were Daniel, etc. There obviously were others taken captive in addition to the four specifically mentioned, so we might assume that there were other young people who actually were seduced by the king's, "dark side." But Daniel, in this story, and the other three in a later event, resolved not to defile themselves. They stood for what they inew was right.

And so it is, thank God, with today. Not all our young people have been seduced by television programs lik Glee, or video's like those of Katy Perry, Madonna and Lady Gaga.

Let us pray for a remnant of our youth who will not succumb to the enemy's schemes; that they may stand firm in the face of temptation and ridicule from the world at large that sees them as outside the mainstream. Pray for today's young generation, and the next and the next.

Thus endeth the rant.

Take Care

Friday, 4 January 2013

Anthem of the, "Full-of-Myself" Generation

My nomination for the most self-centered message ever in pop music. (slightly edited from original).It would take a book to fully examine every lyric and expound on the complete self-centeredness of it, so whatever I say here, I am probably not expressing each thought fully, and omitting much else that could be said. But this song seems to me typical of the hippy mentality of those who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s (my own generation), whose children were raised on a steady pablum of, “self-esteem,” and whose legacy has led to the, “I/We/You Deserve” state our society is in today.

The lyric:
And the sign said, "Long-haired freaky people need not apply." So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said, "You look like a fine upstandin' young man. I think you'll do." So I took off my hat and said, "Imagine that. huh , me workin' for you."

The message: “You as a potential employer have no right to have your own rules as to the conduct or appearance of your employees. My right to the job you offer trumps your right to choose the public image you wish to present to your customers. I will dress as I want, groom myself or not as I want, and you owe me a chance at your job no matter what – because I’m worth it!”
Whoa, sign, sign. Everywhere a sign. Blockin' out the scen'ry. Breakin' my mind. Do this. Don't do that. Can't you read the sign?
Pure poetry, isn't it? The lyric:
And the sign said, "Anybody caught trespassin' will be shot on sight." So I jumped on the fence and I yelled at the house, "Hey! What gives you the right To put up a fence to keep me out, and to keep Mother Nature in? If God was here, he'd tell you to your face, 'Man, you're some kind of sinner.'"
The message: “I am entitled to go anywhere I want, even if it inconveniences you as a property owner. I have as much right to your property as you do. And despite people in the Bible owning and even being given their own property, because I think so, and because my opinion is so important to everyone, you are a sinner and God agrees with me.”

The lyric:
Now, hey you, Mister, can't you read? You got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat. You can't even watch. No, you can't eat. You ain't supposed to be here. The sign said, "You've got to have a membership card To get inside." Uh.
The message: Similar to #1 above. “My feelings, desires and wants translate into my rights, and they trump yours.” The lyric:
And the sign said, "Everybody welcome. Come in. Kneel down and pray." But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a penny to pay So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign. I said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine."
The message: “I am so self-important that God is impressed with my writing a note telling Him I am fine, and He might not have known it if I had not written that note. My thinking I am fine is important to Him – even more important than whether or not I am considerate of others’ rights and feelings, because I am the center of all things.”

As per Nicky's comment below, the original author probably intended it as a biting social commentary. And I was young and foolish once, and in 1971 I probably agreed.

Take Care