Monday, March 31, 2008

Missions and the Emerging Church



From Encounter Mission Ezine Issue 22 & 23

Emerging Church – part one
Issue 22 Editor: Rob Hay

Emerging Church seems to have something of the soap bar about it that post-modernity had. We kind of know what people are alluding to when they use the term but certainly would not want to try to guess precisely what they mean. In fact there is a very high probability that they don’t know exactly what they mean by it! However, like post-modernity it seems that it is a significant issue we should be wrestling with and one that will potentially change the landscape that we are familiar with and take for granted.

Article 1: Emerging Church? New thinking about the church in Europe in the 21st century.(Richard Tiplady, 1423 words)
Article 2: The Church in a Postmodern Society.(Dr Jonathan Ingleby, 1627 words)
Article 3: The Rugby Club Church.(Paul Tester, 1430 words)
Article 4: Evangelical and Ecumenical Missiology in Post-Communist Europe Mindmap.(Revd Darrell Jackson)
Article 5: Insights into the Mind(map) of a European Missiologist.(Revd Darrell Jackson, 401 words)

Emerging Church – part two
Issue 23 Editor: Jonathan Ingleby

This second attempt to have a look at the topic of Emerging Church is based largely on the Thinking Mission forum held under the auspices of Global Connections in February of this year. The title of the forum was Baby or Bathwater: Must We Ditch Traditional Church Structures to Do Mission Well? and you can see more details, including some of the articles published here and the discussion that followed the talks, on the Global Connections website.

Article 1: Baby or Bathwater? Must we ditch traditional church structures to do mission well?A perspective from the Emerging Church in the UK.(Jonny Baker, 2069 words)
Article 2: "Ecclesiogenesis": Base ecclesial communities in contemporary perspective.(Dr Paul Davies, 1696 words)
Article 3: The emergence of Muslim Background Believer communities in Bangladesh.(Dr Ida Glaser, 1040 words)
Article 4: Maintenance Exhaustion: A postscript to the debate on emerging church.(Dr Jonathan Ingleby, 1126 words)

Missions and the Emerging Church



From Encounter Mission Ezine Issue 22 & 23

Emerging Church – part one
Issue 22 Editor: Rob Hay

Emerging Church seems to have something of the soap bar about it that post-modernity had. We kind of know what people are alluding to when they use the term but certainly would not want to try to guess precisely what they mean. In fact there is a very high probability that they don’t know exactly what they mean by it! However, like post-modernity it seems that it is a significant issue we should be wrestling with and one that will potentially change the landscape that we are familiar with and take for granted.

Article 1: Emerging Church? New thinking about the church in Europe in the 21st century.(Richard Tiplady, 1423 words)
Article 2: The Church in a Postmodern Society.(Dr Jonathan Ingleby, 1627 words)
Article 3: The Rugby Club Church.(Paul Tester, 1430 words)
Article 4: Evangelical and Ecumenical Missiology in Post-Communist Europe Mindmap.(Revd Darrell Jackson)
Article 5: Insights into the Mind(map) of a European Missiologist.(Revd Darrell Jackson, 401 words)

Emerging Church – part two
Issue 23 Editor: Jonathan Ingleby

This second attempt to have a look at the topic of Emerging Church is based largely on the Thinking Mission forum held under the auspices of Global Connections in February of this year. The title of the forum was Baby or Bathwater: Must We Ditch Traditional Church Structures to Do Mission Well? and you can see more details, including some of the articles published here and the discussion that followed the talks, on the Global Connections website.

Article 1: Baby or Bathwater? Must we ditch traditional church structures to do mission well?A perspective from the Emerging Church in the UK.(Jonny Baker, 2069 words)
Article 2: "Ecclesiogenesis": Base ecclesial communities in contemporary perspective.(Dr Paul Davies, 1696 words)
Article 3: The emergence of Muslim Background Believer communities in Bangladesh.(Dr Ida Glaser, 1040 words)
Article 4: Maintenance Exhaustion: A postscript to the debate on emerging church.(Dr Jonathan Ingleby, 1126 words)

The Task of A Christian Scholar

I would suggest that the purpose of theology is to serve the church and its mission by engaging in the constructive task of setting forth a coherent model of Christian belief-mosaic that is faithful to the biblical narratives and teachings, is informed by the trajectory of the church's theological reflection, and is relevant to the contemporary setting



Stanley J. Grenz and John R. Franke

Beyond Fundamentalism: Shaping Theology in a Post Modern Context (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 3-54

The Task of A Christian Scholar

I would suggest that the purpose of theology is to serve the church and its mission by engaging in the constructive task of setting forth a coherent model of Christian belief-mosaic that is faithful to the biblical narratives and teachings, is informed by the trajectory of the church's theological reflection, and is relevant to the contemporary setting



Stanley J. Grenz and John R. Franke

Beyond Fundamentalism: Shaping Theology in a Post Modern Context (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 3-54

An Icon of the Holy Trinity


The Icon of the Holy Trinity was painted in 1425 by a Russian monk, Andrei Rublev.




Based on the story in Genesis 18, on one level, it depicts the three angels who ate the meal Abraham and Sarah prepared for them. Later they will announce the unexpected birth of their son, Isaac.

On a deeper level, the three angels represent the three persons of the Trinity. Although their heads are tilted at different angles towards one another, their faces are identical, and each holds a staff suggesting they possess equal authority. (click on picture for a larger view) Each of the figures wear blue, showing their oneness, yet they also have different coloured garments showing their distinctiveness. Their faces, bent towards one another show their love for one another while their gleaming eyes show their enjoyment. A silent intimate conversation seem to be going on.

The central focus of the icon seem to be the chalice which contain a lamb sitting at the centre of the table. In distinct ways, the figure point to the significance of the lamb. The central figure who is the Son points with two fingers directly to the lamb, acknowledging his mission of being "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

The hand of the Father, the figure on the left, is raised in blessing over the chalice, thus encouraging the Son in his work. The Holy Spirit, the figure on the right is pointing to a rectangular opening in front of the table which signify the world.

The Son comes and offers himself for the world, through the Holy Spirit the world is brought to the Son and the Father.

Take a while to look at the icon and meditate and pray before you read the comments below




Henri Nouwen comments, "we come to experience a gentle invitation to participate in the intimate conversation that is taking place among the three angels and to join them around the table. The movement from the Father towards the Son and the movement of both Son and Spirit towards the Father becomes the movement in which the one who prays is lifted up and held secure"

Rublev's icon beckons us to enter the circle of love, the divine life of the blessed Trinity.

.

An Icon of the Holy Trinity


The Icon of the Holy Trinity was painted in 1425 by a Russian monk, Andrei Rublev.




Based on the story in Genesis 18, on one level, it depicts the three angels who ate the meal Abraham and Sarah prepared for them. Later they will announce the unexpected birth of their son, Isaac.

On a deeper level, the three angels represent the three persons of the Trinity. Although their heads are tilted at different angles towards one another, their faces are identical, and each holds a staff suggesting they possess equal authority. (click on picture for a larger view) Each of the figures wear blue, showing their oneness, yet they also have different coloured garments showing their distinctiveness. Their faces, bent towards one another show their love for one another while their gleaming eyes show their enjoyment. A silent intimate conversation seem to be going on.

The central focus of the icon seem to be the chalice which contain a lamb sitting at the centre of the table. In distinct ways, the figure point to the significance of the lamb. The central figure who is the Son points with two fingers directly to the lamb, acknowledging his mission of being "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

The hand of the Father, the figure on the left, is raised in blessing over the chalice, thus encouraging the Son in his work. The Holy Spirit, the figure on the right is pointing to a rectangular opening in front of the table which signify the world.

The Son comes and offers himself for the world, through the Holy Spirit the world is brought to the Son and the Father.

Take a while to look at the icon and meditate and pray before you read the comments below




Henri Nouwen comments, "we come to experience a gentle invitation to participate in the intimate conversation that is taking place among the three angels and to join them around the table. The movement from the Father towards the Son and the movement of both Son and Spirit towards the Father becomes the movement in which the one who prays is lifted up and held secure"

Rublev's icon beckons us to enter the circle of love, the divine life of the blessed Trinity.

.

Greece Study Tour 2008

From Kar Yong's blog


In collaboration with World Discovery Travel (M) Sdn Bhd, Seminari Theoloji Malaysia invites you to join Dr Lim Kar Yong, Lecturer in New Testament Studies, on a specially designed 11-day guided tour to Greece from 18 - 28 May 2008.

Take an unforgettable trip by following part of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-18:22). Come and see, feel, and take a walk with Paul in the cities he visited. Listen to the special on-site lectures and investigate the connection between the archeological evidence and social-political settings of the ancient cities evangelised by Paul and his fascinating correspondence with the churches he founded.

Discover the biblical significance of these cities and read the letters of Paul with new and fresh insights.Some of the highlights of the tour include:

  • Places with biblical significance including Kavala (biblical Neapolis – Acts 16:11), Philippi (Acts 16:12-40), Thessaloniki (biblical Thessalonica – Acts 17:1-9), Veria (biblical Berea – Acts 17:10-15), Athens (Acts 17:16-34), Corinth (Acts 18:1-17) and Cenchrea (Acts 18:18).
  • Kalambaka and the spectacular Byzantine monasteries.
  • Delphi.
  • Thermopylae, Tempi.
  • 1-day cruise to the lovely islands of Aegina, Poros and Hydra.
    1-day free time in Athens with options to explore the historical sites and museums, take a day-trip, or to shop!


This study tour is also offered as a 3-credit hour elective course for STM programme. Further information on the fees, reading and course requirements will be provided upon request.

A detailed itinerary and further information can be downloaded here.

For further information on the tour, please contact:Sarah Yap (sarahyap@stm.edu.my) or Ruth Tee (ruthtee@stm.edu.my)
Seminari Theoloji Malaysia
Lot 3011 Taman South East
Jalan Tampin Lama Batu
370100 Seremban
Tel: 06-6322815 Fax: 06-6329766
.

Greece Study Tour 2008

From Kar Yong's blog


In collaboration with World Discovery Travel (M) Sdn Bhd, Seminari Theoloji Malaysia invites you to join Dr Lim Kar Yong, Lecturer in New Testament Studies, on a specially designed 11-day guided tour to Greece from 18 - 28 May 2008.

Take an unforgettable trip by following part of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-18:22). Come and see, feel, and take a walk with Paul in the cities he visited. Listen to the special on-site lectures and investigate the connection between the archeological evidence and social-political settings of the ancient cities evangelised by Paul and his fascinating correspondence with the churches he founded.

Discover the biblical significance of these cities and read the letters of Paul with new and fresh insights.Some of the highlights of the tour include:

  • Places with biblical significance including Kavala (biblical Neapolis – Acts 16:11), Philippi (Acts 16:12-40), Thessaloniki (biblical Thessalonica – Acts 17:1-9), Veria (biblical Berea – Acts 17:10-15), Athens (Acts 17:16-34), Corinth (Acts 18:1-17) and Cenchrea (Acts 18:18).
  • Kalambaka and the spectacular Byzantine monasteries.
  • Delphi.
  • Thermopylae, Tempi.
  • 1-day cruise to the lovely islands of Aegina, Poros and Hydra.
    1-day free time in Athens with options to explore the historical sites and museums, take a day-trip, or to shop!


This study tour is also offered as a 3-credit hour elective course for STM programme. Further information on the fees, reading and course requirements will be provided upon request.

A detailed itinerary and further information can be downloaded here.

For further information on the tour, please contact:Sarah Yap (sarahyap@stm.edu.my) or Ruth Tee (ruthtee@stm.edu.my)
Seminari Theoloji Malaysia
Lot 3011 Taman South East
Jalan Tampin Lama Batu
370100 Seremban
Tel: 06-6322815 Fax: 06-6329766
.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Some Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts I received by email. I have no way of ascertaining whether they are true or false.


In ancient England, people could not have sex without consent from the King.
When people wanted to have a child, they had to solicit a permission to the monarchy, in turn they would supply a plaque to hang on their door when they had sexual relations.
The plaque read … "Fornication Under Consent of the King" (F.U.C.K.).
This is the origin of the word.


When the English settlers landed in Australia, they noticed a strange animal that jumped extremely high and far. They asked the aboriginal people using body language and signs trying to ask them about this animal. They responded with ’’Kan Ghu Ru’’ the English then adopted the word kangaroo. What the aboriginal people were really trying to say was
‘’we don’t understand you’’, ‘’ Kan Ghu Ru’’.


During historic civil wars, when troops returned without any casualties, a writing was put up so all can see which read
"0 Killed".
From here we get the expression "O.K." which means all is good

A cockroach can live 9 days without it’s head. It only dies when it cannot eat

Each King on playing cards represent a King in real history:
Spades: King David.

Clubs: Alexander The Great.
Hearts: Charlemagne.
Diamonds: Julius Cesar.


A statue in a park with a soldier on a horse with it’s 2 feet in the air means
the soldier died in combat.
If the horse has only 1 foot in the air,
the soldier died of injuries from combat.
If the horse has all 4 feet on the ground, the soldier died of natural causes.



HT: Loukas

Some Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts I received by email. I have no way of ascertaining whether they are true or false.


In ancient England, people could not have sex without consent from the King.
When people wanted to have a child, they had to solicit a permission to the monarchy, in turn they would supply a plaque to hang on their door when they had sexual relations.
The plaque read … "Fornication Under Consent of the King" (F.U.C.K.).
This is the origin of the word.


When the English settlers landed in Australia, they noticed a strange animal that jumped extremely high and far. They asked the aboriginal people using body language and signs trying to ask them about this animal. They responded with ’’Kan Ghu Ru’’ the English then adopted the word kangaroo. What the aboriginal people were really trying to say was
‘’we don’t understand you’’, ‘’ Kan Ghu Ru’’.


During historic civil wars, when troops returned without any casualties, a writing was put up so all can see which read
"0 Killed".
From here we get the expression "O.K." which means all is good

A cockroach can live 9 days without it’s head. It only dies when it cannot eat

Each King on playing cards represent a King in real history:
Spades: King David.

Clubs: Alexander The Great.
Hearts: Charlemagne.
Diamonds: Julius Cesar.


A statue in a park with a soldier on a horse with it’s 2 feet in the air means
the soldier died in combat.
If the horse has only 1 foot in the air,
the soldier died of injuries from combat.
If the horse has all 4 feet on the ground, the soldier died of natural causes.



HT: Loukas

The Two Tasks of a Christian Scholar


On September 13, 1980, the great Lebanese ambassador and Christian statesman Charles Malik (1906-19870) joined Billy Graham and ten thousands others for the dedication of the new Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
With passion and prophectic vision, Malik implored Evangelical Christians in American to engage in two great tasks:
"task of saving the soul, and that of saving the mind."
"The problem is not only to win souls but to save minds. If you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover you have not won the world. Indeed, it may turn out that you have actually lost the world."
William Lane Craig, Paul M. Gould, (eds)(2007), The Two Task for the Christian Scholar : Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books
.

The Two Tasks of a Christian Scholar


On September 13, 1980, the great Lebanese ambassador and Christian statesman Charles Malik (1906-19870) joined Billy Graham and ten thousands others for the dedication of the new Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
With passion and prophectic vision, Malik implored Evangelical Christians in American to engage in two great tasks:
"task of saving the soul, and that of saving the mind."
"The problem is not only to win souls but to save minds. If you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover you have not won the world. Indeed, it may turn out that you have actually lost the world."
William Lane Craig, Paul M. Gould, (eds)(2007), The Two Task for the Christian Scholar : Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books
.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Re-examining the Enneagram


The Dynamic Enneagram-Introduction-Tom Condon





The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on the Enneagram and NL




The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on Fives, Sixes, and Sevens




The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on Eights, Nines and Ones




The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on Twos, Threes, and Fours




The Dynamic Enneagram-What’s my Style




The Dynamic Enneagram-Secondary Gains




.

Re-examining the Enneagram


The Dynamic Enneagram-Introduction-Tom Condon





The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on the Enneagram and NL




The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on Fives, Sixes, and Sevens




The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on Eights, Nines and Ones




The Dynamic Enneagram-Tom Condon on Twos, Threes, and Fours




The Dynamic Enneagram-What’s my Style




The Dynamic Enneagram-Secondary Gains




.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Cross of the Plains


The Cross of the Plains

Rising 190 feet above the vast Texas panhandle plain east of Amarillo stands this monument to the suffering and sacrifice of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lifesize bronze sculptures depicting the twelve stations of the cross circle the base of the monument.

Complete set here

The Cross of the Plains


The Cross of the Plains

Rising 190 feet above the vast Texas panhandle plain east of Amarillo stands this monument to the suffering and sacrifice of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lifesize bronze sculptures depicting the twelve stations of the cross circle the base of the monument.

Complete set here

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jesus Camp


Movie Synopsis

A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America whereby Christian youth must take up the leadership of the conservative Christian movement. JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. The film follows these children at camp as they hone their prophetic gifts and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future. -- © Loki Films
I watched this 2006 documentary last weekend. This documentary is about a Pentecostal youth ministry run by Pastor Becky Fisher.
I am both exhilarated and disturbed by watching the documentary. It is not about youth from 6-10 years being filled the Spirit and speaking in tongues, slain by the Spirit, and other manifestations. That is exhilarating.
What is disturbing is that there is a hidden agenda in the camp. The agenda is the teaching that the United States is a Christian country and President Bush is leading the country in a Christian way. I am not against the United States but I will fall short of calling the United States a Christian nation. I have nothing against anyone especially children being patriotic about their own countries. I will encourage parents to teach their children to be patriotic. However I will draw the line when Christianity and patriotism to the USA are merged.
What is horrifying is the way the children are being manipulated and indoctrinated into patriotism under guise of Christianity. It is heart breaking to see footage of the children standing outside the Supreme court building in Washington DC in the bitter cold, claiming the appointment of a pro-life Supreme court Judge in Jesus' name.
An interesting feature in the film is the children visiting Ted Haggard's church and hearing him preach. This was before the scandal. Much of Ted Haggard's sermon can be found in the deleted section of the DVD under special features where he spoke out against gays.
Well, to be honest, I was exhilarated, disturbed and a bit confused after watching the documentary.
What do you think?



"kids..they are so open, they are so usable for Christianity." Pastor Becky Fisher

What others say
Center for American Progress: What I Learned at Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp


Movie Synopsis

A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America whereby Christian youth must take up the leadership of the conservative Christian movement. JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. The film follows these children at camp as they hone their prophetic gifts and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future. -- © Loki Films
I watched this 2006 documentary last weekend. This documentary is about a Pentecostal youth ministry run by Pastor Becky Fisher.
I am both exhilarated and disturbed by watching the documentary. It is not about youth from 6-10 years being filled the Spirit and speaking in tongues, slain by the Spirit, and other manifestations. That is exhilarating.
What is disturbing is that there is a hidden agenda in the camp. The agenda is the teaching that the United States is a Christian country and President Bush is leading the country in a Christian way. I am not against the United States but I will fall short of calling the United States a Christian nation. I have nothing against anyone especially children being patriotic about their own countries. I will encourage parents to teach their children to be patriotic. However I will draw the line when Christianity and patriotism to the USA are merged.
What is horrifying is the way the children are being manipulated and indoctrinated into patriotism under guise of Christianity. It is heart breaking to see footage of the children standing outside the Supreme court building in Washington DC in the bitter cold, claiming the appointment of a pro-life Supreme court Judge in Jesus' name.
An interesting feature in the film is the children visiting Ted Haggard's church and hearing him preach. This was before the scandal. Much of Ted Haggard's sermon can be found in the deleted section of the DVD under special features where he spoke out against gays.
Well, to be honest, I was exhilarated, disturbed and a bit confused after watching the documentary.
What do you think?



"kids..they are so open, they are so usable for Christianity." Pastor Becky Fisher

What others say
Center for American Progress: What I Learned at Jesus Camp

N.T.Wright on Resurection

This is an interesting interview from PreachingToday blog


At the National Pastors Conference in San Diego, PreachingToday.com's Brian Lowery got to interview N. T. Wright about his latest book—Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church—and how it relates to preaching. Since we are all in the midst of the Easter journey, his words are timely, challenging, and above all else, hopeful.

Preaching Today: In your book Surprised by Hope, you talk about a deeper understanding of hope "that provides a coherent and energizing basis for work in today's world." How has that deeper understanding influenced your preaching through the years?

Bishop N. T. Wright: [Studying] the Resurrection for an earlier book, Resurrection of the Son of God … ended up rubbing my nose in the New Testament theology of new creation, and the fact that the new creation has begun with Easter. I discovered that when we do new creation—when we encourage one another in the church to be active in projects of new creation, of healing, of hope for communities—we are standing on the ground that Jesus has won in his resurrection.

New creation is not just "whistling in the dark." It's not a kind of social Pelagianism, where we try to improve things by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. Because Jesus is raised from the dead, God's new world has begun. We are not only the beneficiaries of new creation; we are the agents of it. I just can't stop preaching about that, because that is where we're going with Easter.

For me, therefore, there's no disjunction between preaching about the salvation which is ours in God's new age—the new heavens and new earth—and preaching about what that means for the present. The two go very closely together. If you have an eschatology that is nonmaterial, why bother with this present world? But if God intends to renew the world, then what we do in the present matters. That's 1 Corinthians 15:58! This understanding has made my preaching more challenging to me, and hopefully to my hearers, to actually get off our backsides and do something in the local community—things that are signs of new creation.

What themes emerged in your preaching after having been surprised by hope?

I've found myself addressing current issues—what you might call "God in public life"—and I've been doing so from a wide variety of points of view. If you start taking hope seriously, you begin to ask, "What does this mean for our public life?" You begin to wrestle with how this actually impacts education policy or what we do with those who seek asylum. These themes have crept into my preaching.

At this last year's Christmas Eve service, I talked about the problems the hill farmers in my diocese were facing because of foot-and-mouth disease. I noted how the government's attitude toward that issue was like the government's attitude toward those who seek asylum. It's the church's responsibility to stand up for those who have nobody to stand up for them. Somebody approached me on the way out the door and said, "You should stick to the Scriptures. There's nothing in Christmas about those who seek asylum!" I was so astonished, that the person had gone before I could say, "What about Matthew 2? What was Jesus doing in Egypt? Weren't they seeking asylum?"

I have found that my preaching is touching on some of the key issues of the times, presenting a Christian response and not just a political response for the sake of political response. I keep asking myself, How is one to think Christianly about these big things?

Many people still cling to older or limited versions of hope, resurrection, and heaven. How can today's preacher contend with some of those limited viewpoints in such a way that the listener is pleasantly surprised, but not offended?

Some people are always going to be offended when you actually teach them what's in the Bible as opposed to what they assume is in the Bible. The preacher can try to say it a number of ways, and sometimes people just won't get it. They will continue to hear what they want to hear. But if you soft-pedal matters, they will think, Oh, he's taking us down the old familiar paths. There is a time for walking in and just saying what needs to be said. Sometimes you just need to find a good line. The line I often use—which makes people laugh—is: "Heaven is important, but it's not the end of the world." In other words, resurrection means the new earth continues after people have gone to heaven.

I put it this way for my audiences: "there is life after life after death." People are very puzzled by that, so I begin to explain it to them. There's life after death. That was Jesus between Good Friday and Easter. He was dead, but he was in whatever life after death is—in paradise without his resurrected body. But that wasn't his final destination. Here I introduce the idea of a two-stage postmortem reality. Most Western Christians have only heard about a two-stage postmortem reality in the Catholic idea of purgatory. That's wrong! A person goes to heaven first and then to the new heavens and new earth. People stare at you like you've just invented some odd heresy, but sorry—this is what the New Testament teaches. The New Testament doesn't have much to say about what happens to people immediately after they die. It's much more interested in the anticipation of the ultimate new world within this one. If you concentrate on preaching life after death, you devalue the present world. Life after life after death, however, reaffirms the value of this present world.

Early in the book, you write: "Our task…is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and the foretaste of the second." What role does the preacher play in that good work? In other words, what does it look like to live as resurrection preachers?

So many people think preaching the Resurrection means doing a little bit of apologetics in the pulpit to prove it really is true. Others simply say, "Jesus is raised, therefore there is a life after death." This isn't the point! Those types of sermons may be necessary, but there's more to it than that. To preach the Resurrection is to announce the fact that the world is a different place, and that we have to live in that "different-ness." The Resurrection is not just God doing a wacky miracle at one time. We have to preach it in a way that says this was the turning point in world history.

To take preaching seriously, you need a high theology of the Word of God. When your preaching announces that Jesus is the crucified and risen Lord of the world, things happen. The principalities and powers are called into account. Human beings who once thought the message of someone rising from the dead is ridiculous, actually find that the message of resurrection can transform their lives.

Finally, there must be a relationship between what you say and who you are. Preaching is the personality, infused by the Spirit, communicating the Word of God to people. If there's a mismatch—if you're not being a resurrection person—you may say the right words, but something radical is missing.

At the end of Surprised by Hope, you offer a short but potent appendix entitled "Two Easter Sermons." Both sermons, to each their own degree, miss the point of the Resurrection. Thousands of preachers are climbing into studies, libraries, and offices to put together a message for Easter morning. If you were to give them a word of encouragement and a word of exhortation as they prepare, what would you share with them?

I would tell them to take very seriously the connection between what happens on Easter Day in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and what happened before Good Friday. In other words, the Gospel writers seemed to think that the resurrection of Jesus is somehow the fulfillment of his announcement of the Kingdom of God. We have tended to read the Gospels in such a way that the death and resurrection fall off one end, and then there's all that neat stuff about Jesus healing people and telling parables. But what on earth do they have to do with each other? Preachers must think and pray about how that message of the kingdom is the thing which resurrection is really all about—and, conversely, how resurrection is what the message of the kingdom is all about. When we put the Gospels together like that, then we are really in business! But that's tough. We're not trained to often think like that.

N. T. Wright is Bishop of Durham for the Church of England, and author of Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperOne, 2008).


read more here

N.T.Wright on Resurection

This is an interesting interview from PreachingToday blog


At the National Pastors Conference in San Diego, PreachingToday.com's Brian Lowery got to interview N. T. Wright about his latest book—Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church—and how it relates to preaching. Since we are all in the midst of the Easter journey, his words are timely, challenging, and above all else, hopeful.

Preaching Today: In your book Surprised by Hope, you talk about a deeper understanding of hope "that provides a coherent and energizing basis for work in today's world." How has that deeper understanding influenced your preaching through the years?

Bishop N. T. Wright: [Studying] the Resurrection for an earlier book, Resurrection of the Son of God … ended up rubbing my nose in the New Testament theology of new creation, and the fact that the new creation has begun with Easter. I discovered that when we do new creation—when we encourage one another in the church to be active in projects of new creation, of healing, of hope for communities—we are standing on the ground that Jesus has won in his resurrection.

New creation is not just "whistling in the dark." It's not a kind of social Pelagianism, where we try to improve things by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. Because Jesus is raised from the dead, God's new world has begun. We are not only the beneficiaries of new creation; we are the agents of it. I just can't stop preaching about that, because that is where we're going with Easter.

For me, therefore, there's no disjunction between preaching about the salvation which is ours in God's new age—the new heavens and new earth—and preaching about what that means for the present. The two go very closely together. If you have an eschatology that is nonmaterial, why bother with this present world? But if God intends to renew the world, then what we do in the present matters. That's 1 Corinthians 15:58! This understanding has made my preaching more challenging to me, and hopefully to my hearers, to actually get off our backsides and do something in the local community—things that are signs of new creation.

What themes emerged in your preaching after having been surprised by hope?

I've found myself addressing current issues—what you might call "God in public life"—and I've been doing so from a wide variety of points of view. If you start taking hope seriously, you begin to ask, "What does this mean for our public life?" You begin to wrestle with how this actually impacts education policy or what we do with those who seek asylum. These themes have crept into my preaching.

At this last year's Christmas Eve service, I talked about the problems the hill farmers in my diocese were facing because of foot-and-mouth disease. I noted how the government's attitude toward that issue was like the government's attitude toward those who seek asylum. It's the church's responsibility to stand up for those who have nobody to stand up for them. Somebody approached me on the way out the door and said, "You should stick to the Scriptures. There's nothing in Christmas about those who seek asylum!" I was so astonished, that the person had gone before I could say, "What about Matthew 2? What was Jesus doing in Egypt? Weren't they seeking asylum?"

I have found that my preaching is touching on some of the key issues of the times, presenting a Christian response and not just a political response for the sake of political response. I keep asking myself, How is one to think Christianly about these big things?

Many people still cling to older or limited versions of hope, resurrection, and heaven. How can today's preacher contend with some of those limited viewpoints in such a way that the listener is pleasantly surprised, but not offended?

Some people are always going to be offended when you actually teach them what's in the Bible as opposed to what they assume is in the Bible. The preacher can try to say it a number of ways, and sometimes people just won't get it. They will continue to hear what they want to hear. But if you soft-pedal matters, they will think, Oh, he's taking us down the old familiar paths. There is a time for walking in and just saying what needs to be said. Sometimes you just need to find a good line. The line I often use—which makes people laugh—is: "Heaven is important, but it's not the end of the world." In other words, resurrection means the new earth continues after people have gone to heaven.

I put it this way for my audiences: "there is life after life after death." People are very puzzled by that, so I begin to explain it to them. There's life after death. That was Jesus between Good Friday and Easter. He was dead, but he was in whatever life after death is—in paradise without his resurrected body. But that wasn't his final destination. Here I introduce the idea of a two-stage postmortem reality. Most Western Christians have only heard about a two-stage postmortem reality in the Catholic idea of purgatory. That's wrong! A person goes to heaven first and then to the new heavens and new earth. People stare at you like you've just invented some odd heresy, but sorry—this is what the New Testament teaches. The New Testament doesn't have much to say about what happens to people immediately after they die. It's much more interested in the anticipation of the ultimate new world within this one. If you concentrate on preaching life after death, you devalue the present world. Life after life after death, however, reaffirms the value of this present world.

Early in the book, you write: "Our task…is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and the foretaste of the second." What role does the preacher play in that good work? In other words, what does it look like to live as resurrection preachers?

So many people think preaching the Resurrection means doing a little bit of apologetics in the pulpit to prove it really is true. Others simply say, "Jesus is raised, therefore there is a life after death." This isn't the point! Those types of sermons may be necessary, but there's more to it than that. To preach the Resurrection is to announce the fact that the world is a different place, and that we have to live in that "different-ness." The Resurrection is not just God doing a wacky miracle at one time. We have to preach it in a way that says this was the turning point in world history.

To take preaching seriously, you need a high theology of the Word of God. When your preaching announces that Jesus is the crucified and risen Lord of the world, things happen. The principalities and powers are called into account. Human beings who once thought the message of someone rising from the dead is ridiculous, actually find that the message of resurrection can transform their lives.

Finally, there must be a relationship between what you say and who you are. Preaching is the personality, infused by the Spirit, communicating the Word of God to people. If there's a mismatch—if you're not being a resurrection person—you may say the right words, but something radical is missing.

At the end of Surprised by Hope, you offer a short but potent appendix entitled "Two Easter Sermons." Both sermons, to each their own degree, miss the point of the Resurrection. Thousands of preachers are climbing into studies, libraries, and offices to put together a message for Easter morning. If you were to give them a word of encouragement and a word of exhortation as they prepare, what would you share with them?

I would tell them to take very seriously the connection between what happens on Easter Day in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and what happened before Good Friday. In other words, the Gospel writers seemed to think that the resurrection of Jesus is somehow the fulfillment of his announcement of the Kingdom of God. We have tended to read the Gospels in such a way that the death and resurrection fall off one end, and then there's all that neat stuff about Jesus healing people and telling parables. But what on earth do they have to do with each other? Preachers must think and pray about how that message of the kingdom is the thing which resurrection is really all about—and, conversely, how resurrection is what the message of the kingdom is all about. When we put the Gospels together like that, then we are really in business! But that's tough. We're not trained to often think like that.

N. T. Wright is Bishop of Durham for the Church of England, and author of Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperOne, 2008).


read more here

Abdullah's Bible

The Other Malaysia
Written by Farish A. Noor
Thursday, 20 March 2008


All this talk of ‘dangerous’ texts and potentially dangerous Bibles in particular reminds me of one particular edition of the Bible that caused quite a stir when it first came out. In fact so controversial was this particular edition that it almost never came out at all. For here I am talking about Abdullah’s Bible; or rather the translation of the Bible by none other than Munshi Abdullah Abdul Kadir, who is universally regarded as one of the forefathers of modern Malay literature.

Now those of you who remember what you were taught at school (and believe me, as an academic I am all too familiar with the phenomenon of selective amnesia among students), will also remember the name of Munshi Abdullah. He was the Peranakan Muslim scholar and translator who served both the early British colonial administrators in Singapore and Malacca as well as the various Malay courts during the opening stages of the 19th century.

Abdullah wrote his ‘Hikayat Abdullah’ which stands until today as one of the most honest accounts of the state of the Malay world at that crucial juncture in the history of this region. Abdullah was of course a key figure in the exchange of letters between British colonial administrators like Raffles, Farquhar, Minto, et al. and the Malay nobles and kings. The Hikayat of Abdullah was unique for its pointedly frank observations about all that was wrong with the world he lived in then, though perhaps one of the most interesting and touching episodes in the Hikayat is where Abdullah describes his quarrel with his father, who was afraid that his son might be tempted off the right path by the ‘deviant teachings’ of the English missionaries he was working with.

The thorny issue that was being debated between Abdullah and his peers at the moment was his role as translator for a particular text that many of them were reluctant to touch: The New Testament.

Abdullah had been approached by some English missionaries and commissioned by them to translate the New Testament into vernacular Malay, which was to be used at Church as well as the modest missionary efforts among the colonial subjects of the Crown Colonies. As Malay was the lingua franca of everyone who lived in the straits then (including the Peranakan Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and even the British and Dutch), it was deemed appropriate to have the Bible translated into Malay as well.

Munshi Abdullah who regarded himself primarily as a professional translator was prepared to do the job that scared off all other contenders; until his father came into the picture, spewing steam and hot curses, and swearing that his son would never be converted by the heathen missionaries. In a touching passage of the Hikayat Abdullah describes how he appealed to his father’s own sense of values, and in particular to his father’s own love for knowledge and languages in general. His father was further persuaded by the appeals of the priests Milner and Thomson, who promised that they would respect his father’s wishes and refrain from offering any religious instruction to Abdullah. In the end, Abdullah notes how the appeals eventually won over his father’s consent and he was allowed to continue his study of this foreign language called English. The result of Abdullah’s efforts came in the form of one of the first vernacular Malay translations of the New Testament, the Kitab Injil al-Kudus daripada Tuhan Esa al-Masihi.

Now contrary to the fears and doubts of his friends, Munshi Abdullah was not secretly converted to Christianity as a result of translating the Kitab Injil al-Kudus. No magic Christian pills were plopped into his tea behind his back while he was working in the missionaries’ quarters; nor were there any reported attempts to lure him to the Church by offers of money, promotions or package holidays. As he stated from the outset, he was professional through and through and he carried out his translation work in a scrupulous and objective manner, to the satisfaction of all.

Today one can only wonder aloud about the fate of such a text, should it find itself before the customs officials or immigration desk at KLIA or the Golok crossing up North. If Bibles from the Philippines can be detained upon arrival, what then would be the fate of Abdullah’s Bible, born and bred (or translated and bound) right here, in our dear ‘ol Malaysia? And how would be take to Munshi Abdullah, ‘father’ of modern vernacular Malay literature, pioneer of the vernacular autobiography and realist writing; who also happens to be one of the first translators of the Bible? Or have we, in denying the religious complexity and pluralism of Malaysia today, also closed the door to Malaysia’s past where Muslims seemed less easily spooked by books of whichever tongue?

read complete article

Abdullah's Bible

The Other Malaysia
Written by Farish A. Noor
Thursday, 20 March 2008


All this talk of ‘dangerous’ texts and potentially dangerous Bibles in particular reminds me of one particular edition of the Bible that caused quite a stir when it first came out. In fact so controversial was this particular edition that it almost never came out at all. For here I am talking about Abdullah’s Bible; or rather the translation of the Bible by none other than Munshi Abdullah Abdul Kadir, who is universally regarded as one of the forefathers of modern Malay literature.

Now those of you who remember what you were taught at school (and believe me, as an academic I am all too familiar with the phenomenon of selective amnesia among students), will also remember the name of Munshi Abdullah. He was the Peranakan Muslim scholar and translator who served both the early British colonial administrators in Singapore and Malacca as well as the various Malay courts during the opening stages of the 19th century.

Abdullah wrote his ‘Hikayat Abdullah’ which stands until today as one of the most honest accounts of the state of the Malay world at that crucial juncture in the history of this region. Abdullah was of course a key figure in the exchange of letters between British colonial administrators like Raffles, Farquhar, Minto, et al. and the Malay nobles and kings. The Hikayat of Abdullah was unique for its pointedly frank observations about all that was wrong with the world he lived in then, though perhaps one of the most interesting and touching episodes in the Hikayat is where Abdullah describes his quarrel with his father, who was afraid that his son might be tempted off the right path by the ‘deviant teachings’ of the English missionaries he was working with.

The thorny issue that was being debated between Abdullah and his peers at the moment was his role as translator for a particular text that many of them were reluctant to touch: The New Testament.

Abdullah had been approached by some English missionaries and commissioned by them to translate the New Testament into vernacular Malay, which was to be used at Church as well as the modest missionary efforts among the colonial subjects of the Crown Colonies. As Malay was the lingua franca of everyone who lived in the straits then (including the Peranakan Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and even the British and Dutch), it was deemed appropriate to have the Bible translated into Malay as well.

Munshi Abdullah who regarded himself primarily as a professional translator was prepared to do the job that scared off all other contenders; until his father came into the picture, spewing steam and hot curses, and swearing that his son would never be converted by the heathen missionaries. In a touching passage of the Hikayat Abdullah describes how he appealed to his father’s own sense of values, and in particular to his father’s own love for knowledge and languages in general. His father was further persuaded by the appeals of the priests Milner and Thomson, who promised that they would respect his father’s wishes and refrain from offering any religious instruction to Abdullah. In the end, Abdullah notes how the appeals eventually won over his father’s consent and he was allowed to continue his study of this foreign language called English. The result of Abdullah’s efforts came in the form of one of the first vernacular Malay translations of the New Testament, the Kitab Injil al-Kudus daripada Tuhan Esa al-Masihi.

Now contrary to the fears and doubts of his friends, Munshi Abdullah was not secretly converted to Christianity as a result of translating the Kitab Injil al-Kudus. No magic Christian pills were plopped into his tea behind his back while he was working in the missionaries’ quarters; nor were there any reported attempts to lure him to the Church by offers of money, promotions or package holidays. As he stated from the outset, he was professional through and through and he carried out his translation work in a scrupulous and objective manner, to the satisfaction of all.

Today one can only wonder aloud about the fate of such a text, should it find itself before the customs officials or immigration desk at KLIA or the Golok crossing up North. If Bibles from the Philippines can be detained upon arrival, what then would be the fate of Abdullah’s Bible, born and bred (or translated and bound) right here, in our dear ‘ol Malaysia? And how would be take to Munshi Abdullah, ‘father’ of modern vernacular Malay literature, pioneer of the vernacular autobiography and realist writing; who also happens to be one of the first translators of the Bible? Or have we, in denying the religious complexity and pluralism of Malaysia today, also closed the door to Malaysia’s past where Muslims seemed less easily spooked by books of whichever tongue?

read complete article

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Light in the Darkness





A Light in the Darkness

15 years old Tee Hui Yee made headlines last year when she received two heart transplants within a week. Prior to that, in 2006, she was on a mechanical heart for one year in IJN (Institute Jantung Negara), making a record for the longest period anyone is on a mechanical heart. Her own heart was too weak to work. It would not have been comfortable as the mechanic heart need a battery that weighs 9 kilograms.

In October 2007, she received a suitable donor heart from a man in Perak. Unfortunately, her body rejected the donor heart within one week. On 3 October, a 20 year old mechanic was killed in an accident in Johor. The parents agreed to donate their son’s heart and Hui Yee received a second heart transplant. This time, her body accepted the new heart and she was able to be discharged in time for Christmas last year.

Finding a suitable heart for transplantation is very difficult because the heart must match our bodies. If it does not match, our bodies will reject the foreign organ. This is like kidney transplant. For Hui Yee to find and receive 2 hearts within a week is nothing short of a miracle. The down side is that for a heart transplant to occur, someone has to die. No one can give away their heart and yet live.

read complete sermon here

A Light in the Darkness





A Light in the Darkness

15 years old Tee Hui Yee made headlines last year when she received two heart transplants within a week. Prior to that, in 2006, she was on a mechanical heart for one year in IJN (Institute Jantung Negara), making a record for the longest period anyone is on a mechanical heart. Her own heart was too weak to work. It would not have been comfortable as the mechanic heart need a battery that weighs 9 kilograms.

In October 2007, she received a suitable donor heart from a man in Perak. Unfortunately, her body rejected the donor heart within one week. On 3 October, a 20 year old mechanic was killed in an accident in Johor. The parents agreed to donate their son’s heart and Hui Yee received a second heart transplant. This time, her body accepted the new heart and she was able to be discharged in time for Christmas last year.

Finding a suitable heart for transplantation is very difficult because the heart must match our bodies. If it does not match, our bodies will reject the foreign organ. This is like kidney transplant. For Hui Yee to find and receive 2 hearts within a week is nothing short of a miracle. The down side is that for a heart transplant to occur, someone has to die. No one can give away their heart and yet live.

read complete sermon here

Sculpture for the Cross (14)


Sculpture for the Cross (14)


Michael Card: Why



Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did he use a kiss to show them?
That's not what a kiss is for.

Only a friend can betray a friend,
A stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain.

And why did there have to be a thorny
Crown pressed upon His head?
It should have been a royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead.

It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all who seek to love, A thorn
is all the world has to give.

And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to bear?
And why did they nail His feet and hands?
When his love would have held Him there.

It was a cross for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay.
And Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away.

Yes, Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away.

.

Michael Card: Why



Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did he use a kiss to show them?
That's not what a kiss is for.

Only a friend can betray a friend,
A stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain.

And why did there have to be a thorny
Crown pressed upon His head?
It should have been a royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead.

It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all who seek to love, A thorn
is all the world has to give.

And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to bear?
And why did they nail His feet and hands?
When his love would have held Him there.

It was a cross for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay.
And Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away.

Yes, Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away.

.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Visual Presentation of The Last Supper

Christianity Today's slideshow on Art depicting the Last Supper.

Last Supper
The Upper Room in art.
Compiled by Katelyn Beaty posted 3/20/2008 09:22AM


Believers who grew up hearing the stories of Holy Week find that its familiarity can rob it of its force. At our worst, we treat the events in Jesus' last week as mere chapters in a book we've grown to consider a comfort rather than a disturbance.

One way Christians make afresh the events of Holy Week is through art. Visuals of Jesus washing Peter's feet, or of Judas walking away from the Last Supper, money bag in hand, remind us of all the complex experiences and motives real people have. They also allow us to experience the heightened emotions of such events, as we imagine, for example, the shock of Jesus' announcement that his followers would desert him in his final hours. The following images, a collection of art spanning time, geography, and culture, allow viewers to have a seat around the table in the Upper Room, listening and watching as Jesus reveals what's to come in the hours leading up to his death.

see slideshow here
.

Visual Presentation of The Last Supper

Christianity Today's slideshow on Art depicting the Last Supper.

Last Supper
The Upper Room in art.
Compiled by Katelyn Beaty posted 3/20/2008 09:22AM


Believers who grew up hearing the stories of Holy Week find that its familiarity can rob it of its force. At our worst, we treat the events in Jesus' last week as mere chapters in a book we've grown to consider a comfort rather than a disturbance.

One way Christians make afresh the events of Holy Week is through art. Visuals of Jesus washing Peter's feet, or of Judas walking away from the Last Supper, money bag in hand, remind us of all the complex experiences and motives real people have. They also allow us to experience the heightened emotions of such events, as we imagine, for example, the shock of Jesus' announcement that his followers would desert him in his final hours. The following images, a collection of art spanning time, geography, and culture, allow viewers to have a seat around the table in the Upper Room, listening and watching as Jesus reveals what's to come in the hours leading up to his death.

see slideshow here
.

Ignatian Spirituality: Hope for our Times

Creighton University (A Jesuit Catholic University) in Omaha, Nebraska has excellent online resources

They have been doing a series of talks on Ignatian's Two Standards and Culture

Ignatian Spirituality: A Way of Hope for Our Times
A Special Evening of Reflection on The Two Standards and Our Culture Today

A talk by Peter Byrne, S.J. and Marilyn Kirvin-Quamme
at Creighton University on November 8th, 2001





Transcript of lecture here

Peter has served as a parish pastor and religious superior of a formation program for Jesuits, while Marilyn has been a campus minister, psychotherapist, and retreat house director.
In their ministry they offer retreats to church ministers, parishes, social services agencies and individuals around the Northwest.

.

Ignatian Spirituality: Hope for our Times

Creighton University (A Jesuit Catholic University) in Omaha, Nebraska has excellent online resources

They have been doing a series of talks on Ignatian's Two Standards and Culture

Ignatian Spirituality: A Way of Hope for Our Times
A Special Evening of Reflection on The Two Standards and Our Culture Today

A talk by Peter Byrne, S.J. and Marilyn Kirvin-Quamme
at Creighton University on November 8th, 2001





Transcript of lecture here

Peter has served as a parish pastor and religious superior of a formation program for Jesuits, while Marilyn has been a campus minister, psychotherapist, and retreat house director.
In their ministry they offer retreats to church ministers, parishes, social services agencies and individuals around the Northwest.

.

Sculpture for the Cross (13)

Sculpture for the Cross (13)

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

Today's Christian, March/April 1998

Where'd the Eggs and Bunnies Come From?
Stories behind the many symbols of Easter
by Martha R. Fehl and Randy Bishop

read more

.

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

Today's Christian, March/April 1998

Where'd the Eggs and Bunnies Come From?
Stories behind the many symbols of Easter
by Martha R. Fehl and Randy Bishop

read more

.

Good Friday

Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”

read more