Friday, November 26, 2004

Skinnier bloke update

This morning I bought somn shorts and a belt that were 2 sizes smaller, because I have now lost 17 centimetres and 16 kilos! My darling wife thinks I look pretty good, and you know what they say: When your wife thinks you look good, don't look for a second opinion!

Monday, November 22, 2004

The rest of my life, part 2

I have been reading about a Christian author who began writing at age 50, and wrote one book every year after that. Sounds like a good idea. I could write a book each year on the theme of my preaching for that year, beginning with God's Living Word, being about Jesus and the bible as God's living word to us.

At Cathy's, 2002 Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Dieting Update

I have now lost 14 kilos. I am grateful to my wife, Joan for making a comment one Saturday morning in May about needing to lose weight.

I feel a lot more comfortable, and have done it simply by reducing what I eat, and keeping away from take away food and some high calorie foods most of the time.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Did A Church Council Debate Whether Women Have Souls?

There is a story that I keep hearing that a church council once debated whether women have immortal souls. According to this story, they decided they have, but by only one vote. I first heard this story at least 20 years ago of the Westminster Assembly, but this week I have heard it said of Trent, Nicea and a synod in Macon, France.

It was not hard to discover that it is a myth. Here are 3 webpages debunking it. The best one is The Alleged "Soulless Women" Doctrine, but there is also helpful background in Opinion: The Myth of Soulless Women and in this soc.religion.christian newsgroup page.

Here is an extract from the first article cited above:

The actual historical event which became the basis for this rumor did not happen at the Council of Nicea or any other ecumenical council in Church history, but in a local Synod in France in 585 AD. The account can be found in the book The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours ...

During a break between sessions at the Synod, one of the bishops there expressed to his fellow bishops his personal belief that the Latin word homo does not include women. Immediately every other bishop present objected to his statement, pointing out that
the Vulgate (the Latin translation of the Scriptures used at that time) uses the word homo to refer to both Adam and Eve in Genesis 5:2.

That verse reads: "(God) created them male and female; and blessed them: and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." Adam, besides being the proper name applied to the father of our race, is the Hebrew word for "mankind" or humanity" (as opposed to ish, which refers to a male human being). When Saint Jerome translated the Bible into Latin he rendered Adam here with the Latin equivalent homo. And the bishops at the French Synod used his Vulgate translation to prove their fellow bishop wrong in stating that women are not included in the word homo.

Having sufficiently refuted that notion, the discussion ended ... Nowhere in this entire episode does anyone mention the question of whether or not women have souls! This was a later misrepresentation of the proceedings which, unfortunately, has been widely disseminated and believed by many who have not tracked the rumour back to its source.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Is there a perfect plan of God for my life which I must discover?

1.God has a plan for you, but he hasn’t promised to tell you the specifics beforehand! Jesus himself said there were things he didn’t know about God’s plans.
2. Most people throughout the world have not had the luxury of choosing their occupation, where they would live, who they would marry, etc. If God intends us to discover in advance what he is doing, we are certainly a privileged few!
3. This view leads to unhappiness, because it implies that we must daily discover God’s design and that if we don’t we will end up with Plan B.
4. There are times when we can consciously cooperate with God, but many times when this is not possible.
5. This view does not take into account God’s sovereignty over all of his creation and over all people, whether they want to follow him or not.
6. It does not recognise that God uses my failures as well as my successes.
7. This view assumes that God has designed only happiness and not hardship as well. But God uses pain as well as pleasure, as he transforms us and makes us holy.
8. It only accounts for the big things, and not the little things.
9. It fails to recognise that there are many things we can’t plan for.
10. It ignores the fact that God says that we don’t see things as he does. It assumes that we know what are the important things.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Thoughts on God's Guidance

How does God guide people? Does he speak to people today?

Here are some verses from the bible about God guiding:
God promises to guide those who love him
Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.
Isaiah 58:6-14
… Let the oppressed go free ... share your bread with the hungry … bring the homeless poor into your house …Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer … (he) will guide you continually.

What must I do to know that God is guiding?
1.God’s sovereignty over his creation works for the good of those who put their trust in him.
But it works against those who refuse to follow in his ways.
2. In all we do, we must seek to be guided by God. But mostly his guidance will be behind the scenes.
3. When we have choices to make, we must obey his clear instructions, or seek wisdom in making non-moral choices.
4. We do not need to make fleeces or look for signs to be in step with God's will.
5. When I make a choice selfishly or foolishly, I may have to face the consequences. But God is still in control of my life! There is no Plan B [or Plan Z]

Monday, August 23, 2004

More good news on dieting

I'm excited that yesterday, I had to buy a smaller pair of trousers, and that I can now fit into some in the wardrobe, which I was inclined to throw out!

I have now lost 14 centimetres and 11 kilos!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The rest of my life

I think I have just discovered what I am going to do for the rest of my life. It is not really a surprise, but I am hoping that the next however many years will be productive, as I seek to support indigenous missions in Asia through organisations such as Gospel For Asia.

Through reading my free copy of Revolution in World Missions I have come to realise how little of the previous 50 years has been spent in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to the 3 billion people in the world today who have never heard it.

There is a lot of talk in Christian churches about the 10/40 window, but Gospel For Asia is doing more than just talking, with their 14,000 indigenous missionaries and 133 bible colleges training those dedicated folk.

I am praying God will use me to enlist many others to support our brothers and sisters doing this strategic work.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Dieting that works

I have been overweight for most of my adult life. When we lived in Brisbane in the late 70s, I managed to lose 20 lbs over the summer, when I was doing a Father Christmas job! I stopped eating snacks and dessert, and ate a lot of rabbit food, and the heat helped!

But since then I have steadily gained weight, and have not seriously tried to diet.

For the past 4 years I have had an enjoyable, but sedentary job teaching piano, and ended up weighing 99 kilos, and finally did something about it, when my wife, Joan, decided to diet.

The most helpful thing for us has been writing down what we eat in a diary, which doesn't give you much room! We got ours from Alan Borushek and also bought his Pocket Calorie Counter.

We haven't bothered to sign up for his diet club, but the simple act of writing down what we eat and weighing ourselves each morning has been beneficial.

So far I have lost 10 kilos and about 8 centimetres around the waist. This is as much as 3 large drink bottles of juice. I can't believe I was carrying that around all the time!

We have done this gradually, by cutting out fats such as butter, drinking less juice and eating less fat-free or fat-reduced food, which is usually loaded with sugar and often contains only a tiny bit less calories than the non-fat reduced stuff!

We have reduced the amount of food we eat, such as having 2 franfurts isntead of 3, or 2 slices of bread instead of 4.

We have stopped having desserts, and eat a piece of 2 of fruit instead.

We also drink more tea, more water and less fruit juice, which seems to have about as many calories as soft drink!

We have not found exercising to be a good way to lose weight: in fact taking up skipping was fun, but soon gave me a very sore knee.
I previously tried to lose weight by doing a regular walk, but only managed to reduce by a couple of kilos.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Treasure Principle

The best thing about Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle is his six points. They were a great impetus to changing my attitudes:

Principle #1- God owns everything. I am His money manager.
Principle #2- My heart always goes where I put God's money.
Principle #3- Heaven, not Earth, is my home.
Principle #4- I should live for the line (eternity), not the dot(short life on earth).
Principle #5- Giving is the only antidote for materialism.
Principle #6- God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.

Thoughts on Christian Giving

Last year I was asked to preach on 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 in our little church in Bathurst [3 hours west of Sydney, and a thousand kilometres from care!] In preparing for this I read the relevant chapters in Scott Hafemann's NIVAC Commentary on 2 Corinthians and Craig Blomberg's wonderful Neither Poverty Nor Riches. Reading these books challenged me to reassess my own giving, and later encountering Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle was also a great stimulant to my thinking.

Here are a few thoughts I have about giving:
1. Jesus, Paul and other NT folk teach generosity, not tithing, but to use this information to give less than 10% would not seem to be right for a person who has received God's gifts so freely!

2. Giving to your local church is primary, but it must not end there. For one thing, most local churches spend almost all you give them on themselves, and only a tiny amount ends up supporting God's work beyond your local area.

3. It seems to me that Jesus' words in Matthew 25 about kindness to his brothers and sisters who were hungry and thirsty, needing clothes, in prison or needing a welcome is a good guide to Christian giving. I think we should support Christians in need or being persecuted for their faith, without neglecting giving to causes that ameliorate suffering of people of all cultures, races and creeds.

4. Craig Blomberg's challenge of giving more as God blesses you has led me to seek to increase my giving a little each year, and this experiment has been a joy which has worked well for the past 2 years. I have begun by increasing my giving by a tiny amount each year, with a view to supporting my local church more faithfully, Christian missions which my church sponsors, a humanitarian Christian organisation which loans money to the poor, and a ministry which supports persecuted Christians. My next project is to begin giving to indigenous Christian missions in Asia.