Posted: 15 June 2011 / Job
A Nigerian Poet once said:
When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.
Job suffered. Greatly. It is hard to comprehend such suffering. Maybe you have experienced deep pain, or a member of your family. And yet people suffer all over the world in terrible ways.
Is there a path through it all?
This Sunday Justin Moffatt (St Philips York Street) will come and tell the story of Job. We will ask the question: What will get a person out of their dust and Ashes? In other words, is there a path through suffering?
Come this Sunday and explore this idea with us.
Posted: 10 June 2011
This Sunday we are privileged to have Dr. Michael Jensen come to speak to us on the topic:
To die for or to kill for? Martyrdom and the Spectre of Religious Violence
Michael was one of my favourite Moore college lectures, and a previous minister to Tim, Rachel and Murray, who has an excellent ability to make complicated topics very accessible. He writes on this topic,
Even after the death of Osama, there is nothing quite as terrifying as the thought that suicidal religious fanatics might inflict their unreasoning violence on us. They seem to lash out with such resentment against the rest of us. They seem driven by a hatred of life itself – willing not only to die for their...
Posted: 03 June 2011 / 1 Peter 2:13-17
This Sunday at Vine Church we are looking at 1 Peter 2:13-17 and the topic Citizens in the City. In particular we are considering whether a separation should exist between church and state. This afternoon I was reading over one of the sermons of Martin Luther King Jr. (the great American civil rights advocate). He said,
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
Come this Sunday and explore this idea...Continue Reading
Posted: 24 May 2011
Four weeks ago we began a new series called Christ & Culture: Christian Identity and Difference in the City. This is an important topic for us to understand because,
Some churches are bomb shelters in their city, running away from engagement
Some churches are mirrors of their city, never saying anything controversial
Some churches are parasites of their city, only using it for their own ends
But some churches are cities within their city, seeking to do good within the city
The first three types of church avoid suffering and grasp for power. Bomb shelter churches avoid suffering by avoiding those who would bring them suffering (the ‘bad people’) and by attacking. Mirror...Continue Reading
Posted: 21 April 2011
World-weariness, apathy, acedia, and sloth are words which describe the posture our time – the inability to believe in or do anything.
What we suffer from is not over-sensation, as is commonly thought, but from de-sensitization, an anesthesia of the spirit. One is hard pressed to identify that for which postmodern men and women are willing to live or die.
The last words of Jesus offer a solution: gravitas. Physicians and scientists who have studied the medical aspects of the crucifixion concluded that Jesus last words had to be short because crucifixion causes asphyxia, which made inhaling air to speak difficult and painful. This makes every word Jesus spoke from the cross full...Continue Reading
Posted: 12 April 2011
When you read books that make a case for believing in God, you quickly get the feeling that they are written primarily for those who already believe. The authors of such books tend to gloss over the hardest questions about God. The Reason for God Course is different. Not only will we not shy away from the hard questions, we will address them with the seriousness they deserve. This six week course is designed for sceptics and believers alike to begin a conversation about the challenge of faith and life. We invite you to join us for dinner and a discussion for the following six weeks.
Isn’t the Bible a myth?
How can you say there is only one way to God?
Posted: 02 April 2011 / John 19:28
In John 19, as Jesus dies upon the cross, he cries out “I am thirsty.” It’s one word in the Greek but full of meaning. Philip Ryken reckons,
If the thirst of Jesus Christ was a genuine thirst, then it was a human thirst. God does not get thirsty. He is never short of fluids. Angels do not get thirsty. They are spiritual beings who do not experience physical lack. Among rational beings, only human beings have the capacity for thirst. The thirst of Jesus Christ on the cross was the thirst of a dying man. It was proof that he was human after all.
This Sunday we continue our series on Gravitas: Jesus Last Words From the Cross, with a look into this Jesus shortest cry from the...Continue Reading
In Matthew 27 and in Mark 15, as Jesus is dying on his cross, he cries out these chilling words:
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?
We are told what this means. It means:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
It’s a quote from Psalm 22. What’s happening here? John Dickson says of this cry:
This is not a cry of self-doubt from Christ’s lips, as if he is here questioning his identity and mission. It is his deliberate and agonising identification with the suffering poet of Psalm 22 and therefore, with all those who have cried out to God ‘Why?’. There on the cross, so the Bible insists, God intentionally enters our pain and misery, getting his hands dirty and even bloody....
Posted: 21 March 2011 / 1 Timothy 2:1-3
This Saturday is the NSW State election. As we think about how we use our vote, it would be worth reading a short paper written a couple of years ago by John Dickson (founding director of Centre for Public Christianity), called “How to Vote Christianly!” (pdf).
In short he encourages us to:
Not get into an unthinking voting pattern
Not vote for someone just because they are a Christian, and
Not make economic prosperity the central issue
Vote for others
Vote for the moral health of the community
Vote for the poor and weak
Vote for the gospel, and
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—2...
Posted: 18 March 2011 / John 19:26-27
Our Gravitas series for Lent continues this week as we look at Jesus’ last words on the Cross. In particular, when he speaks to his mother, and to John:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother… When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25–27 TNIV)
William Barclay says of this:
“There is something infinitely moving in the fact that Jesus in the agony of the cross, in the moment when the salvation of the world hung in the balance, thought of the loneliness of his mother in...