Categories
Christmas

Astonishing, yet true

Every year TIME magazine names a person of the year. It is the person they consider had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year.  The Person of the Year 2016 is Donald Trump, as they say on the cover, “President of the Divided States of America”.

What’s astonishing is that is that this real estate baron and casino owner, who became a reality-TV star, who never spent a day in public office, is now president-elect of the USA.  

Donald Trump lives in the Penthouse on 3 floors in the very expensive and upmarket Trump Towers in New York overlooking Central Park.  And yet he won the hearts of the American working class who could never ever afford this kind of luxury.

It’s astonishing.  And yet it’s true.

Christianity is also astonishing and true as it makes an astonishing claim; a true claim we celebrate every Christmas.  In fact, it is a blasphemous claim; if it were not true: Christianity claims that the man Jesus was and is God.  Christianity claims that Jesus Christ was fully human with flesh and bones; and he was also fully God.

Categories
Christmas

Why the wise men were wise

There is a remarkable account of what happened a few years after Jesus’s birth.  This account tells us about Jesus’ being a King and it is the visit of the magi or wise men.

The wise men were not Jewish, but they were revered, learned men who had heard of the ancient Jewish prophecy of the coming of a great king.

The wise men certainly did many wise things:

Categories
Giving

Giving, not to get, but to give

moneyEvery year at our church we have a “Planned Giving Sunday” when we ask our members and friends to prayerfully consider their giving to the church.  We don’t use coercion or guilt.  We don’t say “Give to Get!”  We simply remind the church of the importance of gospel ministry.  This year I reminded the church of Zacchaeus. 

Categories
Christian Worldview

How do we deal with differences of opinion in the church?

applesLast year Tanzania elected a new President, John Magufuli.  He is unlike all the presidents before him in that he is not interested in being a strong man with a lavish lifestyle, but rather a servant of the people. 

Soon after his election, he declared there would be no celebration of Independence Day because it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when Tanzanians’ were dying of cholera.  

Instead, he has said everybody should pick up their tools and clean their backyards.  After his first official visit to the Muhimbili Hospital, he ordered over 200 million shillings marked for “parliament parties” be used to pay for beds for people lying on the floor and sharing beds.  He dismissed the hospital’s governing board and within days the broken MRI was fixed.

Three days into his presidential term, Magufuli announced a ban on all foreign travel by government officials. He said that’s what ambassadors were employed for. Instead, government officials have been instructed to make regular visits to rural areas to help solve problems facing everyday Tanzanians.

At the National Assembly, the President sent out the message that it will not be business as usual and now has an unprecedented 90% approval rating.

We love leaders who are willing to serve the people.  We dislike leaders who think they are above us, think they are high and mighty and travel in blue-light brigades.

Categories
Guidance

How to make a decision (part 1)

ultra-spiritual-jp-searsIt seems that many Christians don’t like making decisions – they would prefer God to make their decisions for them.

To this end many Christians are constantly looking for signs, confirmations, fleeces, open door or closed doors (please excuse the Christian jargon).

Or else they are waiting for a “word of from the Lord”, a neon sign in the clouds or the nebulous “peace in my heart about the decision”.

Many decisions can be very important and we should certainly be spending time in prayer asking God for wisdom in making God-honouring choices.  However, it is important to not that God gives wisdom so that we can make the decisions, not Him

It also goes with saying that in the decision-making process the Bible is the highest authority in the Christian’s life.  As the Bible is the revealed Word and Will of God, so our decisions should be based on what the Bible says – that way we can be sure that we are honouring God with our choices.