Any path will do?

I’m puzzled by this sign that I saw outside a church today: Any path will do if you know where you are going?”. I’m not sure how to read it. Is it saying you can get to heaven/God by any path: Jesus; Muhammad; Buddha; Krishna; Rael? Or: it doesn’t matter where life takes you now if you know you are going to heaven? Or maybe it’s not spiritual at all: Choose whichever footpath you want, because many lead to the coffee-shop or RTA or whatever?

I pray that this church won’t ignore the truth revealed in the words of Jesus and the Spirit-Inspired words of Peter: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:16) + “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

The Idol of Sport

Let the games begin… Australia is a nation infatuated with sport. We are tribal about our sporting teams, whether it’s: Manly Sea-Eagles, Sydney FC, The Swans, The Tahs, The Wallabies or the Australian Swim team. In Australia we follow sport like a religion – we follow sports people like gods.

Don Bradman, Cathy Freeman, Ian Thorpe and maybe even Stephanie Rice (Australia’s first gold medal today) are all god-like figures. Every week more people fill sports stadiums to worship the gods of their sport – than people gather to worship Jesus. It’s easy to idolise sport.

So much money is invested into Australian sport. Is it really a good investment?

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Jesus Life Culture Design #9

Well known Christian Musician, Steven Curtis Chapman, and well known Christian Pastor + Evangelist, Greg Laurie, both recently lost a child in tragic circumstances. This morning we watched the Chapman family on Larry King Live and some heart-felt words from Laurie to his church last weekend. The resurrection of Jesus gives Christians a hope in suffering that the world doesn’t understand:

13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (1 Thessalonians 4)

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Temptation to be Loved

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return”. We all just want to be loved. But sometimes, we look for love in the wrong places. Often our world equates love with sex. In order to be really loved, you’ve got to be doing it as often as possible! 25% of Australian teenagers have had sexual intercourse by the time they turn 16 and 40% of 16 year old boys have deliberately looked for sex websites. This means that there is a great temptation for Christian teenagers to look for love in the wrong place.

Is God against sex? No not at all, he invented it! But God is against sex being done the wrong way, outside of His plans for it. The Bible calls this sexual immorality. In Corinth there was a church 2000 years ago that had people known for bizarre, Jerry-Springer style sexual immorality: A man hooked up with his dad’s wife.

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Painful Prayers

“We need to talk to God during the hard times in life. Jesus’ example at Gethsemane should be for us a demonstration that we can talk to Him in the darkest of times in life. This clip is taken from the sermon Pray Like Jesus, which can be found in full at marshillchurch.org

Mark Driscoll sermon video clip is below:

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The Idol of Celebrity

We are obsessed with celebrity. When it comes to newspapers, magazines, tv shows and websites, we are more interested in celebrity stories than serious and important issues such as the recent developments in Iraq or 3rd world poverty or the latest Asian natural disaster to claim 100,000 lives.

We are obsessed with the lives of celebrities: Brad and Angelina; Britney Spears; Tom and Kate; Nicole and Keith; David Beckham and Posh Spice; Lindsay Lohan; Prince Harry and Prince William; Paris Hilton; Delta Goodrum; and Leyton and Bec.

We are obsessed with the deaths of celebrities: I can remember where I was when I heard that Princess Diana, Steve Irwin and Heath Ledger had each died.

We make celebrities out of royalty, movie stars, TV stars, sports stars, musicians, maybe even other Christians!

Here are 3 reasons to turn from the idol of worshipping other people:

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Consider it Pure Joy

…When life is easy? When the sun is shining? When you are free from pain? No. Not according to James 1: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (verse 2). Say what? It’s normal to be joyful in the good times, but not normally in the bad times. How can you face trials with joy?

“…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (verse 3-4). Trials produce something good in the Christian. It’s through trials that our faith is tested; it’s through our faith being tested that we develop perseverance and rigour; and through perseverance finishing its work the Christian is mature and complete.

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2008 Beijing Olympic Games

While it’s not as important as the World Cup Football, the Olympic Games are the bomb! They start this Friday. Bring it! With no TV, I’ll be following the Games online. Here is the ABC website. It’s interesting to compare web design from the 2004 and 2000 games.

Above is a pic (click it for full glory) of fireworks exploding over the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, during an opening ceremony rehearsal on August 2, 2008. Looking good. (taken from here)

What’s your fav event?

Jesus Life Culture Design #8

I attended the 2008 Theology of Youth Ministry Conference on Thursday and Friday. It was very good. Three highlights: 1) Graham Stanton’s insights on the doctrine of “accommodation” in thinking through 1 Corinthians 9 and incarnational ministry. 2) Ian Fry – he smashed it to bits! 3) Hanging out some cool peeps. Stay tuned for more…

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