Gospel ministry probably isn’t for you

Last words are important.

It’s a common and good practice to have a Last Will and Testament where you express how, after your death, you want your assets to be distributed and any other instructions that are important to you.

It was surprising when a Manhattan woman who died in 2015 left R1.4 million to her 32 cockatiels, her cat and her dog, along with specific instructions on how her beloved birds should be fed – which included popcorn.

However, that’s small-fry compared to a German-Shepherd named Gunther (a dog!), who was bequeathed R1.2 billion from his owner, a countess, when she died in 1991.

Your last words can tell a lot about you, your priorities and your concerns.

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Don’t live in cuckoo-cuckoo land

syriaWe don’t need the Bible to tell us about the reality of suffering and evil, it’s all too common to us.  The Bible says we live in a fallen, broken, scarred world where evil and suffering are prevalent.  In fact, the Bible is the only book in our world that can truly explain why the world is like it is.

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Why does God allow his people to suffer?

IraqWe have all been following with horror the atrocities committed by the Islamic State in northern Iraq against Christians and other minority groups.  We are all filled with revulsion knowing that Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 mostly Christian schoolgirls. Our news reports are filled with acts of violence being committed against Christians.  Christians are suffering, going hungry and dying of exposure.  How ought we to think about the suffering of God’s people?

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National Geographic and the wisdom of God

goat 1Imagine this terrible scenario: You are lying in a hospital bed being kept alive artificially by plastic tubes in your arm and nose. A killer hurricane has destroyed everything you own and all you’ve worked for – your house, you car and your savings. You family has not survived. You’re hanging on to life. You move through the normal stages of grief, but your prayers are tinged with bitterness, “If only God would visit me and give me some answers. What has happened contradicts everything I know about God. If I would just show up and explain why!”

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The message of Job vs the “prosperity” gospel

large__6790625269 (1)Christians sometimes experience the depths of despair In Job chapters 1-2 Job has lost his livelihood, his business, his employees, his children and has been inflicted with a loathsome, painful, debilitating skin-disease. Yet 3 times in these chapters it says he is blameless. In other words, he is above reproach, a man of integrity and not living in sin. He is also a believer. Blameless believers, who have not fallen into sin, may go through utter dereliction.

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Three lessons from Job

SufferingAs I mentioned in a previous post, one of our dogs died last week. Charlie, a dachshund, slipped a disk and started going paralysed and we had to have him put down. We were devastated. And even though Charlie was only a dog, I found myself asking, “Why did God allow this to happen? Charlie wasn’t a bad dog! Why not cause bad dogs to slip a disk? Why did he do to deserve it? What did we do that God is punishing our dog?”

 Many in our church have suffered greatly, losing loved ones, parents, siblings, friends and even children. We have all seen the suffering caused by disease, death and disaster. Because we are created in the image of God, we instinctively know that there is something wrong with our world and this is not how it’s supposed to be. Perhaps the most common question people have is, “Why does a good God allow suffering and sorrow and slipped disks? Why do bad things happen to good people?”

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