METTLE Weekly Newsletter

METTLE

Volume 3

Issue 43

Monday

01-Dec-2008

Gentlemen,

Hippolite Musings

Telecom Party

Does Allah = YHWH?

I think the short answer must be "it depends."

Specifically, it seems to depend on, to whom you are talking.  This weekend just been, Telecom had their annual Christmas party.  This year, the theme was "one night in the orient."  I chose to wear the caftan I was gifted by a friend who returned from a trip to India.  At Telecom there are a multitude of Indian contractors from Tech Mahindra, India.  I seem to get on well with them, because:

  • I’m indigenous; they’re indigenous;
  • I’m (light) brown; they’re (dark) brown;
  • I’m religious; they’re religious. 

Specifically, they’re an eclectic mix of Christian, Hindu and Muslem.  I like engaging these guys in "religious" discussions, because, unlike typical Kiwis, they won’t shut down the conversation.  They have an opinion.  They may or may not have thought about the issue, but at least they’re willing to discuss it.

I was partying with these guys on Friday, and it got me to thinking.  I’ve read a little on the subject of comparative religions, and spoken with a few Christians and Muslems on the topic.  It seems to me there are similarities but also marked differences in our understanding of God.  I list these more for my own benefit really, below.

Telecom Party

Attributes of God

Christian

Jewish

Muslem

Hindu

Omniscient

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Omnipotent

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Omnipresent

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Creator

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Loving Father

Yes

Yes

No

No

Personal Saviour

Yes

No

No

No

In the words of a Christian brother I spoke with on Sunday, the Muslems are our spiritual cousins (and by extension of the analogy, the Jews are our spiritual big brothers).  That makes us (gentile Christians) the Prodigals.

 


Worship Song

The Power of Your Love

Words & music by Gary Sadler

EPHESIANS 3:16-19

The power of Your love
Is changing me
Changing me
Changing me
Oh, Lord
Change me by the power of Your love

You’ve drawn me to Your side
And what else can I do
My heart is open wide
My hands reach up to You
I’m calling out for more
I’m asking in Your name
That by Your Spirit, Lord
I will never be the same

I’m singing out my praise
I’m pouring out my thanks
For the power of Your love
Is changing me
I’m lifting up my voice
I’m dancing in the joy
For the power of Your love is changing me.

© 1998 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music / ASCAP


Sunday Service

Communion

Served by an international contingent from Philippines, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Scotland, Aotearoa. 

Things you need to know

  • December has arrived and the festive season has begun!
  • The church was full of light yesterday as Jeannie spoke about "Lighting up our World." What a privilege it is to know Jesus, and to walk in His light no matter how dark some circumstances may seem. In the evening, Selwyn plunged us into darkness in order to carry on with this idea of the importance of walking in the light, and being reflectors of the Light in the world. 🙂
  • December is a month full of celebrations, and we look forward to celebrating our Lord and Saviour together with you, and your friends who may not know Jesus. We start the celebrations off with "Love has Come" on Saturday the 13th, which you have heard much about by now – make sure you don’t miss out! On Sunday the 21st we will be having a 1hr Christmas Carol celebration service (with a few surprises). 🙂 Bring your friends along. We will also then have our Christmas eve and Christmas day services in celebration of the birth of Jesus. On Wednesday the 24th we will start our Christmas eve service off with a light supper from 10:30pm, and then move into the service from 11-12 midnight. And finally, we’ll see you for our Christmas day service, which starts at 10 AM
  • On the following Sundays we will only have morning services: 28 December, 4 January, 11 January
  • God’s Gym Cancelled, due to Rob Reid’s elderly grandmother passing away.  Rob was to be our guest speaker, but now won’t be available.
Baby Dedications

None today

Crunchies

I went forward for two things this week:

  • I gave a Crunchie to my friend Tim who had to put down his beloved dog, Zigzag, this week;
  • I danced rings around Ike at the Telecom Christmas Party!
Tithes and Offerings

We had some. 
I met a visitor to our church, Luzia from Switzerland.

Sermon

The Supreme Light: Jesus Christ

  • "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’" – John 8:12
  • "Light" = “Phos” = “Luminousness” = “radiating or reflecting light; shining; bright”

 The Journey of Life

  • “I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.”
  • John 12:46 (The Message)

We’re all on a journey, and we all experience dark times on this journey. In these dark times it may feel like we only have a small light in our hands, but God sees the bigger picture. He is after our hearts and after His eternal purpose. With Him we “won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.”

Thomas Peries shared his personal experience of walking through a dark time…

  1. You just don’t know how things are going to work out. Sometimes things will turn out completely differently to how you planned them to.
  2. Miracles aren’t always instant. Sometimes we need to go through a growth process to come to a place of understanding who God is and knowing that He will come through in the end.

 How do we walk in the light?

  1.  Receive the Light for yourself – invite Jesus to be the light in your life.
  2. Trust in a God who loves us and is good, and wants the best for us.


Praise Reports

Local

  • Brianna has a start date for Kindergarten!!! Brianna’s kindy called and Brianna starts on 15 December. That is a HUGE relief. Cheers (MJ)
  • The fragrance of generosity from Sparrow Chatter – A vignette from my train journey home this evening.

National

  • None today

International

  • Sam and Carol Soukotta send their love from Indonesia and are so appreciative of all the prayers and financial support from Elim church. Christmas time is full of celebration events, and it would be great to pray for protection for the Christians involved, as well as for the ministry to have a significant impact in the churches.
  • Also remember our other missionaries in your prayers…
  • Mark & Julia Mitchell in Mozambique
  • Ronnie & Kay Heyboer in Indonesia
  • Chris & Rachel in East Asia 
  • John & Mary Elliot with World Outreach based in Singapore

Prayer Requests

Local

  • Elim International Kids – please pray for enthusiastic, Christian staff to start applying for available positions, and for wisdom to know who the right people are to employ.
  • Elim’s Christmas Production – “Love has Come” – pray that the show would run smoothly and have a significant effect on those who attend. Also that there would be a great turn out.
  • Pray that this Christmas season would present many opportunites for sharing the gospel.

National

  • Identity verifications on-line – What intrigues me is that this is voluntary: Later on, when things begin to move to different identity verifications for transactions and methods of personal security, will these be voluntary or compulsory? (MJ)
  • Garth George: Abortion is at the heart of all abuse.

International

  • Be a blessing – Saving a child’s heart – Many of you know about my involvement with the charity in Israel called Shevet Achim. They bring seriously ill children from Iraq to Israel for life saving heart surgery. Since my work with them in January, the demand on their resources has been huge. It seems like a tidal wave of sick children have been presented to them for help, some of them needing to stay in Israel for months to recover from complex surgery. In the last week three children died at the screening which took place in Amman, Jordan. It takes a terrible emotional toll on the staff to watch three children die three days in a row. As Christmas approaches, please consider a donation to this worthy cause. They currently have 13 children in Israel or waiting across the border in Jordan for surgery. Every day and every dollar counts. Giving is very simple – go to the website above and click on the tab "Children who need sponsors". If you live in the UK, I can also get the bank account details of Shevet Achim UK for you, so that you can make a direct donation at a local bank. If you live in NZ, I can send you the bank account details here, just hit "reply". If you are unable to give financially, please pray for the children and their mothers or carers who travel with them. Please pray for the surgeons, nurses and other health professionals who are the instruments of miracles. Thanks (JS)
  • U.N. Treaty On Kids Rights Would Still Trump U.S. Sovereignty – The U.S. and Somalia are the two lone nations not to have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1989. President-Elect Obama has already said he would consider its ratification; after all, the protection and nurture of children is extremely important. Yet, signing the treaty would allow the U.N. to trump U.S. sovereignty where children are concerned, and would lead closer to a world government. "U.S. laws for protecting children are the best in the world," said one watchdog group leader, "and we don’t need a treaty to help us."

Economic Analysis

by Simon Smelt

The financial crisis of 2008

How we got to where we are:

The story is a mix of greed, incompetence and perverse incentives. Key factors are:

  • Financial institutions have been encouraged to the low end of the market with government backing. In the US, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become government backed behemoths to ensure mortgages get to poorer folk.
  • Regulatory and tax changes add to uncertainty but the government will rescue those caught out in order to keep the game going. The US Savings and Loans crises of the 1970 and 1980s demonstrate how desperate government is to keep funds flowing rather than tackle the issues.
  • Jam today. Liquidity has been pumped into the system through expansion of money supply and government borrowing. Each crisis is postponed or avoided by more liquidity and more borrowing.
  • Poor assessment of risk by financial institutions, in part because competitive pressure and the front end gains from deal making are stronger forces than the potential loss from risks which the government may soften anyway.

The resulting succession of crises has grown in size. The current crisis and response are the same as before, just bigger and more global.

Where to from here:

In the short to medium term – who knows. Various pro and anti-cyclical factors will battle it out, along with less or more clever interventions by various governments.

But long term, it’s all bad. Seven structural reasons for gloom:

  1. Same policies. So, expect the same results: more trouble later.
  2. Bad incentives. Those who have made the mistakes (as borrowers, lenders, or intermediaries) are being protected at the cost of the rest of us.
  3. The future is mortgaged. Government actions have absorbed vast amounts – for the US, an estimated US$5 trillion (equivalent to half the US economy. Borrowing is OK if the returns are good but…
  4. Poor investment. The crisis has shown huge amounts of current lending to be of very low quality. Now good money is being pushed after bad. Nobody expects a good return from the trillions; it’s just that the alternative looks even worse. Titanic amounts of money are tied into guaranteed, poor quality investment.
  5. Government’s role. Governments are becoming owners of major financial institutions and will regulate financial markets more. Historically, government have proved inept owners and weak financial regulators, driven by short term political considerations. The state’s expanded role will mean less productive investment.
  6. Weak institutions. Financial institutions are crippled and confidence in them is shot. Add deposit protection for all, and institutions’ ability and incentives to seek out high quality investments will be poor.
  7. Government credit cards are maxed out. They will be unable effectively to tackle the bigger and better crisis that will occur someday. Hence, one well-known commentator has identified the best guide to the future as, gulp, Zimbabwe.

Against these seven negatives, pitch human resilience and inventiveness, the on-going need to do business, and the uncertain financial strengths of the big Asian economies.

So, maybe we should expect low to zero growth rates in the West, particularly in the US, for a decade plus (cf. Japan 1990 onwards after their bubble burst). A further big downside shock or mishandling of the short term dynamics of the current crisis and the outlook is much bleaker.


Geek Humour

  • A SQL query goes into a bar, walks up to two tables and says, "Can I join you?"
  • There’s no place like 127.0.0.1.
  • There are only 10 types of people in this world, those who can read binary and those who can’t.

Book Review

Investigate Magazine

Title

Investigate Magazine 

Sub-Title

Christmas Special

Editor

Ian Wishart

Publisher

HATM Magazines Ltd

Pages

96

Price

NZ$7.99

Description

The man who took the title "little creep" away from John Campbell (formerly bestowed by former PM Helen Clark) comes up with yet another cracker of an issue.

Contents

  • John Key targeted: news media implicated
  • New Evidence: backs up the Christmas story
  • Oprah Winfrey’s new religion

Review

Anybody who gets up HC’s nose that much automatically earns my respect.  The fact that he’s also a Christian means I love the guy.


Creation Syllabus

Following from last week’s call for help to design a suitable Creation Syllabus for evolutionised Christians, I’ve had the following feedback so far:

  • I don’t have any credentials in this area (says CL), but can say that I was very impressed with a podcast I saw recently and was not impressed with the recent speaker at Elim.  Reasons:
  • The podcast got straight to the point of explaining how things could work, eg dinosaurs on the ark. It quickly filled me with interest because it joined the dots and made sense. Whereas the Elim speaker covered a lot of defensive ground with lots of quotes about what various people had said or written.
  • Any audience will start off in a variety of places and so to make it impact to ALL of them is a very hard thing to do. Keep it simple.
  • Keep it positive – not defensive (eg if you spend more than 15% on time on evolution I’d be worried);
  • I am happy to give you feedback on what you do, but don’t really know enough about the topic to contribute.

Gift Idea

Hi Friends,

Sometimes it is not easy to think of a suitable gift for family members or friends. Don’t overlook the latest edition of my condensed book, "Reading the Bible in Historical Sequence", which guides its readers through the greatest book on earth, the Bible. The latest edition (6th) has 68 pages of historical and narrative information that aims to add knowledge and enjoyment to the reading of the Bible.

This might be a suitable gift. Many Christians welcome a change of reading programme for a new year. Even those who don’t read the Bible much may appreciate the summary narrative to give them an easy overview.

Wycliffe Bible Translators International (NZ & Indonesia) and The Bible League NZ are two organisations recommending this book. A senior member of Wycliffe kindly remarked "reading the Bible has been part of my life for the past 35 years, yet this guide opened up a whole new experience for me".

Some key points explained in this book are:

  • The Bible clearly speaks of short ages not the long ages of modern science: see preface.
  • Bible information shows creation occurred in 4004BC: appendix 8 gives the calculation.
  • The Hebrews were in Egypt for only half the 430 years of traditional teaching: see page 6.
  • The Hebrews were evidently led across the Gulf of Aqabah not the Gulf of Suez (App 3).
  • The inaugural Passover in 1491BC set the pattern for all Passovers including Jesus’ crucifixion week: app 5.
  • Jesus turned His crucifixion into a victory by controlling the timing to fit this God given pattern.
  • The last supper was on Wednesday night, not Thursday night of traditional teaching.
  • This meal did not have meat because the lambs had not been slain; Jesus used the bread as meat.
  • Jesus was crucified on Thursday (14 Nisan), the day required by God’s law, not on Friday.
  • The angels message to Daniel gives Mar 29, 33AD as the date of Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem.
  • The Kings and Queen of both Israel and Judah with reign dates and relationships are charted in App 6.
  • There were three periods when there was total anarchy without a ruler in the northern kingdom .
  • Brief background history of every scripture is given and easily found through the index in app. 1.
  • All scriptures are included in the reading programme and are in roughly equal daily quantities.
  • This small book has become a very convenient historical handbook of the Bible.
  • Those who don’t read the Bible much will value its brief summaries.
  • Price posted: $15 for one, $32 for three; better discounts for larger quantities.

Many Blessings

Colin Candy

End Notes

  • METTLE is an acronym for Men’s Elim Team Together for Learning Experiences. We are primarily (but not exclusively) businessmen from Wellington Elim Church, who meet occasionally in the CBD to encourage each other in our daily walk with Jesus. This Weekly Collaborative Blog is our primary means of communication.  If you know of anyone who may benefit from this WCB, you are welcome to forward them along. Similarly, if your circumstances are such that membership in this distribution list is no longer relevant, then hit reply and type UNSUBSCRIBE to have it removed.
  • If you choose to respond to any item raised in this WCB, please indicate clearly which items you wish to remain Private, as any correspondence may be considered Public and could be published.
  • If this week’s newsletter has been of benefit to you, why not drop a line and say so.  Or better yet, visit the TVORNZ website to read past issues and add a comment!
  • Published by The Voice of Reason, New Zealand, copyright (C) 2008

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