Articles (Page 20)

Articles (Page 20)

The mystery of a sermon (1)

In Reformed worship the exposition of God’s Word has a central place.  Rightly so!  Praise is important – it’s something the Lord repeatedly calls us to do.  Public prayers are important when God’s people gather for worship.  Our giving for the work of church and kingdom should continue to be part of public worship.  So should the administration of the sacraments.  It’s not difficult to find Biblical support for all those things that we do in our gatherings for worship. …

Providence

Life is made up of numerous little events but also some occasional momentous ones.  Life involves numerous little choices but also some occasional big choices. This past week, amongst all the busyness of the ordinary daily routines and the added pressure of sending out Christmas cards to the family I was shocked to hear of the death of a Facebook acquaintance, who I knew from my days in Sydney.  Anthony died suddenly of a heart attack – and he wasn’t…

The death of a saint… ?

I saw enough of the funeral formalities of Nelson Mandela to be impressed.  The long list of official welcomes was like a who’s who of international politics, royalty and other miscellaneous celebrities.  This former president of the Republic of South Africa was obviously well liked – evidenced in the fact that from the moment of his death media commentators were trying to outdo one another in testifying to Mandela’s greatness. From my perspective some of that is with justification.  On…

And the downhill slide continues

In the Land of the Long White Cloud there was a disturbing development this past week.  A New Zealand mother and father were declared to have suffered a “personal injury” and were entitled to compensation from New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Okay… I’m sure the NZ courts make those rulings with monotonous regularity and it’s good that there is a system for which those who have suffered serious personal injury can receive some sort of compensation. What was unusual…

Pearls (a postscript)

It’s rather nice when someone picks up on something you’ve written.  It means that people do read what you write.  Reaction to last week’s bulletin blog leads me to revisit the subject of pearls.  There was a rather glaring omission I made.  Thanks for those who pointed it out to me thus giving me the opportunity to elaborate further. For the benefit of those who didn’t read it, I wondered out loud why Jesus spoke of the gospel of the…

Pearls

In the Holy Bible there are less than a dozen references to pearls. Some of those references simply refer to what is most valuable and precious.  Thus Jesus tells us not to throw our pearls to pigs (Mat.7:6).  I’ve often used that verses (and probably misused it too!) to justify not answering an antagonist who is having a go at me for my Christian beliefs. In other instances pearls are used to refer to jewellery items and are simply included…

Heaven…!?! (II)

What’s heaven like?  The obvious answer is: awe inspiring…! When the apostle John, exiled on the island of Patmos, has a vision of the glory of heaven he falls face-down as though dead.  Ezekiel, in the Old Testament has a similar experience and the reaction is the same. Over the years I have often spoke n to people who had a near-death experience, which gave them just a small glimpse of what is on the other side.  Rather typical is…

Heaven… !?! (I)

What’s heaven like?  That’s an interesting question that has occupied many of us from time to time. Cleaning up some paperwork last week I came across an old letter from my mother from 1990.  Mum always had a great sense of humour.  She shares a joke: “Do you know how you can double your money?  Fold it!”  But there is also a lengthy section in which she shares her thoughts about heaven. In the retirement village in which they lived…

Standing in someone else’s shoes

There’s a saying that we shouldn’t criticise someone unless we’ve walked a mile in their shoes. That saying highlights the difficulty of properly understanding someone else’s situation. At times we have issues with someone but often in such circumstances we only know half the story. There is a sense in which this also applies to understanding someone else’s pain. Last week Ed Welch, in a blog in the newsletter of the Christian Counselling & Educational Foundation, commented that there are…