METTLE Weekly Newsletter Volume 4 Issue 14

METTLE

Volume 4 Issue 14

Monday 13 April 2009

Hippolite Musings

 

Thought for the Day

Gentlemen,

I just finished watching an awesome documentary, “In God’s Name”:

US documentary that explores complex questions of our time through the intimate thoughts and beliefs of 12 of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders.

As a study in Comparative Religion 101,  I think it did a pretty good job.  I can’t fault the portrayal of Protestant, evangelical Christianity as being strawman arguments (set up a false image, then knock it down).  There were a few telling points:

  • The leader of the Anglican Church Arch-Bishop Rowan Williams can’t remember a specific time in his life when the realisation of the reality of God suddenly dawned on him.  “It was just always there.”  A less charitable interpretation might be that he hasn’t had an actual born-again experience yet, hence his liberal (read: compromised) interpretation of the Bible.
  • On the question of doubt,  both he, the Dalai Lama and the head of the Shinto Buddhists have them.  The Southern Baptist doesn’t!  Amen!
  • The producers made a great comment.  It occurred to them that the search for truth is, itself, a religious act.  If I might be permitted to expand upon this a little further, and from my perspective.  I don’t want to put words into the mouths of the producers, but I interpret the search for truth, like the great scientist Johannes Kepler, as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”  In other words, since nature appears ordered, therefore we can infer the Creator of nature to also be orderly.  Or, since the Scriptures reveal an orderly God, we can have confidence that His Creation will follow certain Laws.  Hence, the search for truth will result in rational, logical, reasonable, answers to questions which are consistent with His revealed Truth.
  • Observers of this documentary, depending on their particular biases, will be able to argue both that it shows the inherent Oneness of all religions, or alternatively the hopeless incompatibility of religions.
  • They all, unsurprisingly and (I think) convincingly distanced themselves from the violent acts of terrorists, even when those terrorist claim to be acting “In the Name of God” (hence the name of the doco).

All in all, I commend this documentary to you.  If you didn’t get a chance to see it, then get a (legal) hold of it!  Of the alleged 12 leaders, I remembered 11:

  1. Roman Catholic Pope (1 billion)
  2. Anglican Arch-Bishop (10’s of millions)
  3. Tibetan Buddhist Dalai Lama (few million)
  4. Some Hindu Hugging Chick (undefined)
  5. Head of the Lutheran Church (10’s of millions)
  6. Head of the Southern Baptist Convention (10’s of millions)
  7. Head of the Shinto Religion (Japan, 10’s of millions)
  8. Head of Sunni Muslims (900 million)
  9. Head of Shi’ite (Shia?) Muslims (100 million +/- 10 million)
  10. Jewish Rabbai (Jerusalem, 10’s of millions)
  11. Head of Russian Orthodox Church (200 million +/- 50 million)

Blessings,

James


Easter Service

 

Praise and Worship (by Ike)

  • Holy Is The Lord
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  • None But Jesus

Sermon (By Mike Knott):

  • Symbols of Easter
  • Let’s reclaim some of the good things that Satan has attempted to corrupt

Hot Cross Buns?

  • Quite a recent invention. There was some controversy about this. Seen as a symbol of Catholicism. But the Cross is the clearest message of the love of God. He heals societies and relationships through His ministry of reconciliation
  • 1 Corinthians 1:17-18
  • For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
  • For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Easter Eggs?

  • Goes a long way back. Speaks of new life; something that breaks forth. When you crack open your Easter egg, remember the tomb could not hold Him!
  • John 11:25-27
  • Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
  • She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

The Easter Bunny?

  • Egg laying bunnies? A symbol of the miraculous? (Ha ha). God has called us to reproduce (spiritually, okay?). Rabbits are very good at it. The Church can’t be killed, like rabbits, we keep popping up everywhere.
  • John 15:7-8 (NIV)
  • “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
  • This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

The True Symbols

  • Communion: bread and wine. Bread = “My body, given for you.” When we eat as one, we become one Body of Christ. Wine = “My blood, new covenant.” The law is fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled it for us.
  • Luke 22:19-20
  • And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
  • In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Sunday Sermon

Praise & Worship (with the Easter Festival Choir)

  • Let Creation Sing
  • Remedy
  • Thank You
  • Alive Forever Amen

Things you kneed to know (with Jess)

  • Strikeforce Men’s Prayer, every Friday, 6:30am, meet at Auditorium
  • 50+ Lunch, Wednesday, 12pm, Tennyson Room, guest speaker: Loyola Gavin
  • Annual General Meeting, Church Partners: Next Tuesday. Capital Care Health Centre:
  • Turangawaewae: a place to stand. Partnership, if Elim is your spiritual home base. Partnership lunch 19th April.
  • On the Air: Camera Operators. Full training available. Contact Darrell on 385-9634
  • Lighting & Projection Operators: Contact Jess on 385-9634
  • Admin Assistant. 1-2 days a week. Contact Anne on 385-9634

Crunchies (with Daniel Bell)

  • Birthdays
  • Kevin Chan, aunty visiting from Auckland
  • Turned 18
  • Jeannie is a grandmother of 10 children. Marisa had a little girl, Arial Monique
  • Visiting (first time)
  • Welcome back from Gisborne

Offering (with Mike Knott)

  • Psalm 112:1-10 (NCV)
  • Praise the Lord! Happy are those who respect he Lord, who want what he commands
  • Their descendants will be powerful in the land; the children of honest people will be blessed….

Sermon

  • Visiting speaker: Ngar Faith
  • From International City Church (Brisbane)
  • Easter – the keys

A Place of Encounter

  • Matt 27:50-53 & Luke 23:44-45: The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn down the middle.
  • The division between God and Man had been ripped aside by the sacrifice of Christ. (James says, ergo: there is no other way to God except through Christ.)

A Place of Power

  • Luke 24:1
  • But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
  • “The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you!”
  • Here, the speaker gave a testimony of a member of her congregation that got healed from cancer two weeks ago.

A Place of Authority

  • I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth… Therefore go.
  • In Phil 2:9, it says God elevated him to the place of highest honour, and gave him the name above all names, that al the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • Eph 1:20-21 “The same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is above every ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in the world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ.”
  • The speaker told us that her church have declared themselves a sickness-free area. What does this mean? Does this mean if you are sick, you can’t come to church? No, it means if you are sick, then you come to church, and they will pray, and the sickness will have to leave your body!
  • She gives testimony of instantaneous healings. Including an Autistic child.

A Place of Revelation

  • On the road to Emmaus
  • Suddenly their eyes were opened and they recognised him… They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us.”

A Place of Testimony

  • Matthew 28:19
  • Luke 24:50-53
  • Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

Praise Reports

Local

International


Prayer Requests

National

  • The best thing I can say about Helen Clark’s valedictory speech is, “ding, dong, the wicked witch is dead!”  At least she’s finally out of the country.  Pray for me, that I will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to extend forgiveness to her for the damage she’s done to New Zealand small businesses and families.
  • Goff, almost but not quite, reversed Labour’s stance on the anti-smacking law.
  • MacDoctor on discipline – Read this post from MacDoctor and weep: I initially thought that this article was some sort of satire, until, with mounting horror, I decide the perpetrators were not only deadly serious, but certifiably insane. Apparently, not only are teachers not able to use any form of physical discipline, they are not supposed to be using any discipline at all!

International

  • Obama Pleases Muslims, Lectures Israel :  As President Obama, makes his first visit to Iraq it is a good time to reflect on what we have learned about this largely unknown leader after his whirlwind tour to Europe and Turkey. One of his persistent themes has been… (read more)
  • Pivotal Elections Coming in India and Indonesia – Indonesia and India have elections this month that could be "pivotal" for the religious liberty of the growing churches there, warned a religious freedom watchdog this week. "In Indonesia the issue arises because fundamentalist Islamic parties, whilst too small and unpopular to win power in their own right, could secure the balance of power giving them an influence far beyond any mandate…In India the past four years of aggressive Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) campaigning has been aimed at converting the traditionally animist tribal Indians to Hindutva to outstrip Indian Christianity."
  • Evolutionists Inject Religion Into Texas Debate – Evolution was back in the headlines recently as the Texas State Board of Education voted 13-2 to require students to "analyze and evaluate" major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations, as well as adopting a critical thinking standard calling on students to "critique" and examine "all sides of scientific evidence." Evolutionists typically cast themselves as the champions of secular reason against superstition, but in Texas they tried to inject religion into the debate at every turn.

Other News

Local

International

  • An MP3 review of the William Lane Craig – Christopher Hitchens debate : http://www.strcast2.org/podcast/weekly/040509.mp3

  • Suspicious coincidence – None dare call it conspiracy, but a replica of New Zealand’s derided internet piracy law (s92a) has been attempted in France overnight. Its appearance in NZ could be put down to stupidity. Its subsequent re-emergence as a serious international approach to internet piracy seems to me to be more of a back-door Trojan Horse to get a legal right established to cut off a citizen’s internet access on the orders of the State. Am I reading the significance of this wrongly? In other words, this law is not about internet piracy at all, but about establishing infrastructure and legal precedent for control of access to information for as yet unspecified reasons.  Another great expose by Ian Wishart.

  • Can radon gas leaks predict earthquakes? – An Italian researcher says he predicted Monday’s quake. Is his claim credible?

  • Sarkozy To Obama: Lay Off EU About Turkey – This weekend, President Obama encouraged the EU to give Turkey membership, saying, "The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbors and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence." French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded with not-so-subtle suggestion that Obama mind his own business. The EU is divided over Turkish membership, largely because of human rights abuses and the massive shift of power that would occur if Turkey – with its large population – joined the EU.


Why I Am A Creationist

The Resurrection and Genesis

This weekend, Christians around the world commemorate the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as these are essential to the faith. And these events are firmly based in real history. But how many realize that these are built on the foundations in Genesis? The Gospel dangles rootlessly unless there was a real first man Adam, who sinned and brought death into the world in the first place. This is why Jesus, the Last Adam, came to die for sin, then conquer death and vindicate His claims.

Our Easter weekend article, The Resurrection and Genesis, shows that the Christian faith is totally grounded in real historical events recorded in the New Testament. And it explains how these events are in turn based on the real history of Genesis.
See also our other articles on the Resurrection at creation.com/res


Humour

I went to a BBQ this weekend.  I observed there were a couple of vegetarians present.  I have two standard responses to the topic of vegetarianism.  One for Christians, and the other for non-Christians. 

  • The Christian One: If God had meant for me to be vegetarian, He wouldn’t have made animals out of meat!
  • The Non-Christian One: I didn’t fight my way up to the top of the food chain in order to be a vegetarian.

Book Review

 

Title

The First Book of Chronicles

Author

The Talmud (Baba Bathra 15a) attributes Chronicles to Ezra.

Description

The first book of chronicles tells of the genealogies from Adam through the patriarch to the tribe of Judah (with its royal line) and the other tribes, and on to those who returned from exile.  It also tells of the acts of David.

Contents

  1. Historical Records From Adam to Abraham
  2. Israel’s Sons
  3. The Sons of David; The Kings of Judah; The Royal Line After the Exile
  4. Other Clans of Judah; Simeon
  5. Reuben; Gad; The Half-Tribe of Manasseh
  6. Levi; The Temple Musicans
  7. Issachar; Benjamin; Naphtali; Manasseh; Ephraim; Asher
  8. The Genealogy of Saul the Benjamite
  9. The People in Jerusalem; The Genealogy of Saul
  10. Saul Takes His Life
  11. David Becomes Kings Over Israel; David Conquers Jerusalem; David’s Mighty Men
  12. Warriors Join David; Others Join David at Hebron
  13. Bringing Back the Ark
  14. David’s House and Family; David Defeats the Philistines
  15. The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
  16. David’s Psalm of Thanks
  17. God’s Promise to David; David’s Prayer
  18. David’s Victories; David’s Officials
  19. The Battle Against the Ammonites
  20. The Capture of Rabbah; War With the Philistines
  21. David Numbers the Fighting Men
  22. Preparations for the Temple
  23. The Levites; Gershonites; Kohathites; Merarites
  24. The Divisions of Priests; The Rest of the Levites
  25. The Singers
  26. The Gatekeepers; The Treasurers and Other Officials
  27. Army Divisions; Officers of the Tribes; The King’s Overseers
  28. David’s Plans for the Temple
  29. Gifts for Building the Temple; David’s Prayer; Solomon Acknowledged as King; The Death of David

Review

“Another exciting read” would be pushing it.  I guess the importance of this book is it’s link to the historicity of the Bible.  It was a real people, in a real land, dealing with real sins and a real Holy God who knows what’s best for each of us.  If David wasn’t real, then how else do you explain the Golden Years of the Israelite culture?  And if he was real, then what about Goliath?  Were there giants?  Did God perform a miracle?  Therefore is God (gasp) real?

7/10


Bible Reading

 

Week to 19 April 2009

  1. Psalms 22:1 – 28:9
  2. Psalms 29:1 – 34:22
  3. Psalms 35:1 – 38:22
  4. Psalms 39:1 – 44:26
  5. Psalms 45:1 – 50:23
  6. Psalms 51:1 – 57:11
  7. Psalms 58:1 – 65:13

Week to 26 April 2009

  1. Psalms 66:1 – 69:36
  2. Psalms 70:1 – 74:23
  3. Psalms 75:1 – 78:72
  4. Psalms 79:1 – 85:13
  5. Psalms 86:1 – 89:52
  6. Psalms 90:1 – 96:13
  7. Psalms 97:1 – 104:35

End Notes

  • METTLE is an acronym for Men’s Evangelical Team Together for Learning Experiences. We are primarily Christian businessmen from Wellington, who meet occasionally in the CBD to encourage each other in our daily walk with Jesus. This Weekly Collaborative Blog (WCB) 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 fortnight’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) 2009

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One thought on “METTLE Weekly Newsletter Volume 4 Issue 14”

  1. Easter Eggs – Represent the stone that was rolled away from the tomb – simpleZimbabwe – I can\’t get excited about a new Zimbabwe – Have a look at this letter sent to me over the weekend:A letter from the diaspora OUTSIDE LOOKING INDear Friends.I have never been a farmer or had much sympathy with white farmers who in my experience were often racist in their attitudes and generally treated their African workforce badly. Two events helped to soften my attitude: one was the killing of the white farmer, David Stevens and the brutal assault on the other farmers who went to his rescue. That incident took place in my own hometown and the killers were all known and recognised. The second event that affected me directly was the invasion of my own daughter\’s farm. Hers was one of the first to be invaded back in 2000. I will never forget the sight of my daughter, hand in hand with her small son; he carrying his little suitcase on their way to school as his mum tried to keep his life as normal as possible in the midst of the fear and chaos all around him, with strange men shouting and drumming at the farm gates. Nine years later the so-called \’land reform\’ programme is still going on, though it\’s quite clear that what is happening now has little to do with \’land reform\’ – if it ever did.Speaking on February 28th this year, one month after the Global Agreement was signed, Robert Mugabe told a gathering of his supporters that white people who wanted to remain in Zimbabwe must do so on his terms and not oppose the seizure of their land. " If they want to go we will open the borders for them. We will give them a police escort." In those two sentences, Mugabe tells us what this final stage of \’land reform\’ is really all about. White people are only permitted to remain in the country if they are prepared to live under his rules. Whether or not Mugabe is a racist himself hardly matters but he is a vengeful man. His intention is to clear out the last remaining white farmers, not to free up the land to grow desperately needed food, but to dish out more patronage. We should never forget that Mugabe and Zanu PF are in election mode. Anyone who opposes him, black or white, is regarded as the \’enemy\’ and must be punished. Over the last nine years thousands of people have been the targets of vicious attacks by Green Bombers, questionable war veterans and other assorted Zanu PF thugs, all ably assisted by the police who, if not actually participating, have turned a blind eye to patently criminal behaviour. Mugabe has rewarded them, the police, the judges and magistrates with stolen farms. It is the classic \’politics of patronage\’ and Mugabe\’s coterie of elderly Zanu PF comrades from the Liberation Struggle have been his willing accomplices.Now, in April 2009, with a so-called Government of National Unity in place, the farm invasions continue unabated as the vultures gather to devour what remains of the carcass of commercial farming. It is impossible to see the suffering in the face of Mike Campbell or hear the weary despair in his son-in law\’s voice as he describes their ordeal and not feel pity for their plight. What crime have they committed, apart from having a white skin and successful farming operations, which some greedy \’big man\’ now has in his sights? The truth is that Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth dared to challenge Robert Mugabe in the courts and were successful. A SADC tribunal ruling clearly found in the farmers\’ favour but that means nothing to Robert Mugabe. Such rulings, he says, cannot override Zimbabwean law. The farmers have nowhere to turn for justice; a farmer\’s wife is arrested by the police and openly told that she is the \’bait\’ to flush her husband out of hiding so that they can charge and prosecute him, for daring to remain on his own farm, presumably? Farm workers are imprisoned without charge and tortured to extract information by a police force that has become a law unto itself. The maintenance of law and order, the protection of the citizens is no longer their concern; all they are concerned with now is to keep Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in power.Despite their appeals to the MDC \’partners\’ in this sham of a Unity Government, the farmers can get no help even from the party that promised to bring the farm invaders to justice. When is the MDC leadership going to find the moral courage to do the right thing? They should be there on the farms to see for themselves the anguish of the farmers and their workers and to order the police to do their duty and arrest the wrong doers. Instead, the police continue unchecked as they have for the past nine years; the guilty are set free on the orders of some \’big man\’ in Zanu PF. And meanwhile, all the MDC top brass can do is to echo Mugabe\’s call for the lifting of sanctions – whose existence the MDC was denying until they entered government – and the restoration of relations with the west as if none of this chaos on the farms is happening. \’There are no farm invasions\’ Zanu PF ministers assure foreign visitors, \’You can invest here with absolute safety.\’ The talk is all about \’rebranding\’ Zimbabwe as if it were a product for sale and, together Zanu PF and MDC attend expensive \’bonding\’ workshops at Victoria Falls while Zimbabwean citizens, men and women, black and white, suffer sleepless nights of terror and dread as violent farm invaders drum and shout outside their doors. In the villages too there is no peace as the anti-Inclusive Government thugs continue their violent campaign against MDC supporters while the police look the other way. By doing nothing to address the problem of lawlessness, the MDC have become complicit, morally no better than the party they have joined in government.I was accused recently of being \’blind\’ when it comes to the MDC. \’Time to see them for what they really are\’ my accuser told me. \’Nothing more than Zanu PF in different clothes, just out for power and privilege.\’ I really don\’t want to believe that but, I admit, doubts are creeping in. Once, I admired the MDC for their courage, for their integrity and the moral high ground they occupied. Now I see them in their elegant Mercedes cars with all the trappings of power but none of the moral authority that true political power must entail. This hybrid government may call themselves \’Team Zimbabwe\’ as they dance the night away at the luxurious Elephant Hills Hotel in a \’bonding\’ exercise – directed no doubt by some highly paid Management Consultant – but from where I stand they look more like politicians on the make while the people\’s lives remain unchanged. What was it we used to say in the old days of economic structural adjustment? \’Eternal Suffering for African People\’ As we approach Zimbabwe\’s twenty ninth Independence Day, it seems nothing has changed and once again, disillusionment is setting in. When will freedom ever come for Zimbabwe?Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson author of Going Home and Countdown political detective stories set in Zimbabwe and available on Lulu.com

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