This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You

Written by Anthony Douglas on Sunday, 18 June 2017.

Grenfell TowerAt times of grief, it is very common to hear accusations against God. How could you allow such a thing to happen? Don’t you care about the suffering of innocent people? What kind of good God stands by and does nothing?

It’s a genuine and appropriate question. It’s simply absurd to suggest a being greater than us who cares less than we do. And to place our trust in an indifferent deity leads to callous followers. If we simply bury our head in the sand on this, it’s a travesty that destroys our moral credibility.

So let’s start with one of our favourite responses: assigning blame. It didn’t take long to point fingers this week - the flames were still growing stronger when the managers and refurbishers were being put under the spotlight. In Luke 13, Jesus was asked about a recent disaster, and he did something surprising.

He blamed the victims.

But he didn’t stop there. Jesus warned us that we are all guilty. It’s only the kindness of God that we don’t all experience tragedy, all the time. We have so mucked up this world that we have no grounds for complaint. Humans start wars, commit murders, enslave and degrade each other; we spread disease, we exploit the weak ... and we cut corners for profit.

God is not standing idly by. He is constantly holding back the vast majority of what would go wrong without him. But if we lead a charmed life, protected from all the consequences of evil, then he knows we’d just keep going, and reach an afterlife that is far from charming.

God is not standing idly by. His own Son came to bear the brunt of evil, and break it. If we are to point our finger at the heavens, let it be to direct others to the Saviour we have to thank.

In the Real World

Written by Anthony Douglas on Saturday, 10 June 2017.

Down-to-earth is generally meant as a compliment, describing someone who isn’t prone to flights of fancy, who is reasonable and level-headed. Someone who can be trusted to think things through. We like to work with people who live in the real world. Frankly, it just makes good sense.

HawaiianAnd then there’s the Hawaiian pizza.

There’s different schools of thought on whether it’s acceptable to put pineapple on a pizza, but let’s not get into that. What we can all agree on is that pizza is an Italian creation, and Hawaii is not. The common but confounding pizza is Italian-American. Right? No - it was invented in Canada: let’s call it Italian-American-Canadian. Not so fast...the inventor, who died during the week, was a man named Sotirios Panopolous, an immigrant from Greece. So next time you tuck into a slice of Hawaiian, then remember it’s an Australian-Italian-American-Canadian-Greek cuisine...

The real world isn’t always as clear-cut as we think it to be. The more we come to understand, the more shades of grey we find. What we thought was ‘real’ and therefore true turns out to be a little more complicated.

And conversely, sometimes what is spiritual isn’t quite as vague and misty as we’re led to believe. Sometimes they’re crystal clear. Sometimes they’re the most real truth of all. Like when Abraham has his servant swear by “the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth”, because there’s no more profound a vow to be made.

In the real world...? Or would you prefer the one who is greater than the world, who made the world, who rules it still? Your God awaits...

An Acceptable Misspelling

Written by Anthony Douglas on Saturday, 03 June 2017.

Davies

Yesterday was the commissioning service for Nick and Kysha Davies as they come to work in Bolivia with CMS and MOCLAM. It’s not a form of service that you’ll find in the Bible, not even in a prayer book somewhere. But it makes sense to both recognise the ministry that they’re heading for, and to ask God’s blessing on their labours.

But I don’t mind if we omit a letter from the word. After all, it has so many, including two double letter pairs, and a few more split duplicates. I’ll be fussy, though, and insist that the right misspelling comes from removing an ‘m’.

That leaves us with co-missioning - and that says something true about what took place as well. We aren’t just waving a ‘bon voyage’ banner as they set off, and then heading home to return to normal life. We’re partners with them in their work...or perhaps I should say, our work?

From a worldly point of view, we won’t be doing much. Sure, our gifts will help pay their living expenses, but the greater gift is our prayers. For as we pray, we truly co-mission with them, and better still, we commune with our heavenly Father and confess the truth: it is not the Davies’ work, nor MOCLAM’s work, nor even all our work together. Rather, it is God’s work, and we are his fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9).

CMS are aiming to raise $1.4 million by the end of this month in order to meet their costs for the year. If you’re able to help them, you can do so at lastinghope.cms.org.au. Alternatively, if you’d like to make a regular donation and/or receive Nick and Kysha’s prayer points, we have the appropriate forms available.

God Moments

Written by Anthony Douglas on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.

Hindsight can be a great thing. Reflecting on our lives, where we have been and where we are now can help us see the path ahead. When it comes to our testimonies, this is a great tool for us to see how God has worked in our lives to bring about his purposes in us. This week, why don’t you reflect on how God has worked in your life and write it down. You might be surprised at what you find. Neville gives us an example of what that looks like with his story:

With all the highs and lows of my life, I have come to see that there have been ‘God Moments’ too. Often, I was not aware of them at the time but looking back, I can now see their significance for God to work out the plan He has for my life.

• When my mother was told that her marriage in a Methodist Church meant that the R.C. didn’t recognize the marriage but it was still OK for my brother and me to be baptized. Within a month, we were baptized - in a Methodist Church.

• When my brother and I were playing out in the street when two men from a local church asked to speak to our parents about Sunday School. So, I became involved in a Methodist church that was Bible believing in teaching and preaching. It was where I found faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord.

• When as a leader at a Country Children’s Camp I met the daughter of the camp cook, Robyn…and you know what followed.

• When I was challenged by the Holy Spirit at a Missionary and Deeper Life Convention to consider full time ministry and to apply to study at the Methodist Theological College in Sydney.

• When Robyn and I were married, that we were to become a ministry team.

These are some of the ‘God Moments’ that have brought me to faith and how God is directing me “in the way I should go”. (Isaiah 48:17)God Moment. Neville Henry

Mothers-In-Law Are A Blessing Too

Written by Anthony Douglas on Wednesday, 17 May 2017.

As today is Mother’s Day and we all thank our Lord for our mothers, I want to pay homage to my mother-in-law and thank God for her influence in my life.

When I was a child, like most children of my era, I went each week to Sunday School but did not make my confirmation as most of them did at the “approved” age. I subsequently turned away from church and God, thinking if they didn’t want me I didn’t want them. Fast forward a few years and in my mid 20’s I had been feeling that somehow my life was incomplete though by society’s standards I was doing ok – husband, 2 great children, home etc.

The local church had recently completed their new church building and my mother-in-law was invited to the dedication, which she was reluctant to attend on her own, so I offered to go with her. I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome she received. Over a cup of tea after the service I was invited to attend Sunday services with all my family, which we did.

After a few weeks, it was announced in church that a confirmation service was to be held in a couple of months time and that confirmation classes were to start the following week for those interested in being confirmed. It was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me as I realised that this was what was missing from my life. I signed up for the classes immediately after church – I didn’t care if I was the only adult to do so I knew it was meant for me. Surprisingly there were 6 adults altogether and we met as a group each week.

The joy I felt on ‘confirmation day’ was hard to describe but I know that this was just the start of my journey with Christ and I am eternally thankful that He brought my wonderful mother-in-law into my life and I miss her presence daily.
So to all of us who have mothers and mothers-in-law who are Christians we are doubly blessed.Mothers In Law Are A Blessing Too
Linda Curran

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