Bag of Allsorts No 8
Resources and insights worth visiting.
The items offered here seek to provide thinking Christian people with resources and a Biblical world view amid the many voices competing for people’s hearts and minds.
It’s OK to vote NO in the postal survey.
We need to continue to live out the clarity, challenge and compassion God’s Word gives us.
Darryl Budge in Western Australia who cares about the future, not just the here and now, has made his statement about marriage.
“Through the unfailing love of my biological family and wife, I give and receive the unconditional love of God. In my experience, a person who has been abandoned by their biological parent(s) finds it very difficult to trust the kindness of their heavenly Father—whom they cannot see physically.”
Compassion and Intimacy are important.
Francis Schaeffer once said, “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the UGLIEST thing in the world.”
Intimacy does not require sex. And sex does not create intimacy. So its quite possible to have intimate, close, non-sexual, friendships. God made every single person needing intimacy- deep close relationships with others. “It is not good for the man to be alone” Gen.2:18. That is true for all people, single or married. We need intimacy.
Intimacy, not sex is crucial to human flourishing and living. (Jesus was the most fully human person who ever lived, and He was celibate. So to suggest sex is necessary for human fulfilment is to call our Saviour sub-human).
So we---the church of Jesus Christ—must be a community that is:
(1) ---a place of intimate friendship.. God calls us to be a large spiritual family where single and married people can develop intimate friendships with each other, and so flourish and feel at home—hopefully providing a foretaste of heaven.
(2)--- we must see and love all people through God’s eyes, not our own—treating ALL people—all who identify as LGBTI—and all who don’t—All people as beautifully made gifts and treasures of God, precious and worthy of inviting into intimate friendship.
(3)--- Welcoming/ to all but applauding/ affirming none---except Jesus. The church should be a Community that is welcoming and embracing to ALL, yet applauding and affirming none.
i. Yes we should welcome EVERYONE because everyone is beautifully made by God.
ii. But yes, we should applaud No-One because all of us are broken, and we don’t applaud brokenness—not in ourselves or others.
iii. Rather, we commend, worship and applaud only Jesus—where true life, identity, healing, wholeness, flourishing and fulfilment are to be found ! Our focus must always be on Jesus and his loving call on our lives.
It has been said, “Jesus loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay as we are.” (John 8:1-11) That’s true of all of us. So the church community celebrates the gift of being expensively rescued by Jesus death on the cross and joyfully received, forgiven so that we can warmly welcome others.
Adapted from a church Bulletin
A Book worth Promoting
News of an excellent book is sweeping the nation. A must purchase for the informed person. Tthe Plausibility Problem, the Church and same-sex attraction.” By Ed Shaw, forward Vaughan Roberts $14.99 Koorong.
“It’s all very well to say that the Bible is clear when it talks about homosexuality. But is it realistic? Isn’t it unrealistic and unfair to those who struggle with this issue? Is what the church teaches a plausible way of life? Ed Shaw experiences same-sex attraction and he shows that the Bible’s teaching can seem unreasonable not because of its difficulties, but because of missteps that the church has often taken in its understanding of the Christian life.”
Sites worth exploring.
►False freedom: “Be true to you” True freedom: “Be true to Him.”
Vaughan Roberts an Anglican minister from the UK is solely same-sex attracted (ie homosexual in orientation) and yet he is committed to what the Bible clearly says and what the church has always taught about marriage and sex.
Vaughan has set up a website Living Out The goal of this site is,-- “to articulate a perspective that is not often heard—that of men and women who are honest and open about their same-sex attraction, but who have discovered that obedience to Jesus in this area of life is fulfilling, healthy and authentic. We want people who experience same-sex attraction, those who self-identify as LGBT or who are just questioning, their family and friends, their churches and pastors, and those investigating Christianity, to find here a plausible way of living out what Christians have consistently believed about marriage and sex.”
►His helpful little book, TRANSGENDER is available from The Good Book Company.
►Beyond Stereo Types
This helpful booklet is divided into three sections and is produced by the Australian Evangelical Alliance.
1. The wider context. It begins with a statement of repentance for the hurt inflicted upon homosexual people by Christians. It explores the relationship between God and human sexuality.
2. A Thorny issue. It examines scientific research and the biblical text.
►Scientific Data. Alister McGrath makes this comment regarding a lack of confidence Christians appear to show towards apologetics---“they feel that they will not be able to respond to the questions that friends and culture at large are asking.” For scientifically robust material regarding origins of life, look up Creation Ministries International.
►Summit Ministries, Resources http://www.summit.org/subscribe/ or http://webstore.summit.org/
This teaching ministry is committed to reaching the next generation with sound Christian teaching. It provides, free of cost on Utube, many lectures and contemporary themes that could be helpful for small groups in the local church.
Evangelism Re visited
A common misunderstanding about evangelism is that it is something we do for Jesus Christ. In his book Good News is for Sharing, Leighton Ford makes it clear that it is tremendously important to de-bunk this way of thinking. Sharing the good news is God’s mission. Evangelism is His work.
At the beginning of his ministry Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”. There you have the Trinity: the Lord (Father), the Spirit, and the Son.
Ford says, “If I understand what Jesus is saying, he is telling us that evangelism is something he does through us.” It is not that Jesus Christ is saying, “Hey you go out into the world there and do something for me.” He is saying, “As you go through life, through the struggles, the pains, the joys—to school, to work to play, I am with you and I am working through you. You trust me. You obey me, and I will be with you, and you will see that it is going to happen.”
Ann Kiemel’s first book, “I’m out to Change my World” (published in the 1980s, still available on Amazon perhaps) may sound like a contradiction to what Ford has said above, but the opposite is true. Ann discovered that God worked through her. In fact Ann Kiemel is remembered for her humility, and some people considered her as one of the most authentic voices in the Christian community. Her life and faith was shared on a person to person level but when she addressed a crowd she would be quietly seated on a stool in the middle of a large platform.
She would begin, “Hi, I’m Ann. I am one simple woman in the world. I have never shaken hands with the President. I cry. Sometimes I am insecure. I have come tonight to tell you I am one… and Jesus and I and love are out to change the world. I may be just an ordinary, everyday young woman but in little ways every day I’m going to make a difference. You wait, you’ll see because I have a big God inside of me.” People sat on the edge of their seats, hanging onto every word, laughing, and crying together as Ann declared her love for a personal Lord---One who walked with her and talked with her on lonely days. She ran marathons singing simple little songs to fellow runners. A depressed taxi driver would share a recent hurt and Ann would sing. “Something beautiful, something good, all my confusion He understood, all I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life.”
Then she would simply say, “Robert do you know a friend like that?” With an intimate awareness of Gods presence, Ann’s rare vulnerability and genuine faith built bridges with neighbours and ordinary people so that she could then introduce them to Jesus. She believed that with God, other people could also make a difference in their world. We are probably not all evangelists in the same way that Ann Kiemel was, but every Christian is indwelt with the Living Christ who wants to use them to make life different. It is His mission through our availability.
“The Secret Battle of ideas about God,” by Dr Jeff Myers.
A virus has been spreading across Australia. Chances are you’ve already been infected without realizing it. It has affected politicians, corporations, schools and churches. The virus is made up of dangerous ideas---world views stemming from secularism, Marxism, postmodernism, new spirituality and Islam. This resource will help you and the next generation to navigate today’s complex world. It could be used as a basis for a long-term teaching series in a local church. Dr Jeff Myers takes you on a journey of exploring today’s world views and what they say about life’s biggest questions.
It is available as a hard back book @ $23.99, plus Curriculum Kit, Participants Paperback, and eBook. Koorong Books Melbourne. 03 92627444.