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Showing posts from 2011

Christmas Eve

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Today is 24 December and the rain woke me, then I had a brief time with my daughter and then a lot of time with my grandson who fell asleep eventually. I came to the Jews for Jesus book shop in Bondi Junction. It's that time of year when the shopping centres and the malls and shops are alive and bustling. People are hunting deals and hoping for a dollar or 50 dollars off. Hoping to find the best gift to give their loved ones or the lady next door. And giving is a good thing. So I'm always happy that people want to be generous at this time. I like being generous at this time. I also like it when people are generous to me, but hey, who doesn't?
We sell a lot of things at this time of year. We sell menorahs and candles and dreidels, calendars and cookbooks and biblical books and books of all kinds. CDs and DVDs and heaps of necklaces. So this time of year is good business for us, and I'm not sad to thank God for that. All surplus from our shop sales goes back into evangeli…

Frozen in time

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Sunset over Kansas, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I'm in Sydney as I write this, but earlier this month I flew to Kansas City, to visit with my daughter and her family. I've often commented that 'just above' the clouds is my favorite place on the planet. And I've been in many places on the planet!

So here I was, at sunset, early December. The sky is turning those gorgeous colors. The camera takes a great shot, but nothing compared to the real colors. It's a little 'less.' Maybe that's why the Almighty said not to make an image of anything 'above, or on the earth, or of things under the earth'. When we make an image, we actually 'freeze' something at a moment, and miss motion. We miss smell. We miss the rest of its reality.

Now don't get me wrong. I love photography. I have over 15,000 photos on this Flickr site from which the "Sunset over Kansas" shot was taken.

What I'm saying is that when we shoot an image, when we …

Be careful where you bow

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Yesterday I was surprised when Katie, a young Jewish believer, told me she didn't sing certain songs at her uni, because they are sung to Isis or some other tribal deity. She sings opera, and I never really thought about all that. I'd considered activities of worship when my family went to Thailand and we were invited to play with some sticks. The tour guide told us the luck we would gain from the Buddha in front of whom we were invited to bow would be wonderful. No, I said, I'm not going to bow down there. OK, so that was fairly blatant, but Katie's comments made me ponder more about 'the season' in which we find ourselves.

My friend Phil up in Brisbane updated his Facebook account today after church with, "Must be Christmas time, the place is packed pumping and jumping." I asked him if he meant the shopping centre or the church.  He replied, "It might depend on who your God is."  Yes, that made perfect sense. 


Tonight in Lane Cove, in the …

Sabbath made for man: 4th in a series on Restlessness

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This is now the 4th blog on rest and restlessness.  And my theme today is rhythm.
In music, I like rhythm. I like melody, to be sure, and harmony, and all the components that make up music, but I can't get away from rhythm. Maybe that’s because the beat stays with me even if I forget words or lilt. The other night I was playing guitar, leading the singing at the OneNewMan fellowship in Waverley (NSW) and saw everyone's feet tapping along with the rhythm of the songs. Nice feeling. We all got onto the same rhythm and we all were together together.
God gave us rhythm, not only in music, but also through the annual cycle of events in the Jewish calendar. That calendar is most notably listed in the Bible book of Leviticus chapter 23. That chapter starts by listing a weekly Sabbath, a time to pull apart (rather than being pulled apart by) [from] regular work and let our timing get in sync with God. He rested; we should rest. That's sensible.
I remember hearing a medical doctor di…
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Same Sex Marriage and the Labor Party According to Bill Muehlenberg of CultureWatch in Australia, "Federal Labor has declared itself to be aligned with the powers of darkness. It has decided that the most important thing this nation needs is homosexual marriage, and to hell with ordinary Australians and workers who dare to stand in their way."

Here is the story: “The Australian Labor Party has voted in favour of same-sex marriage. It’s also backed a motion to allow state and federal Labor MPs a conscience vote on gay marriage if a Bill comes to parliament. The motion on the conscience vote was carried 208 votes to 185.

“The motion to change the party platform on same-sex marriage was carried on the voices. When the results were announced, Senator Penny Wong hugged Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Delegates on the floor of the party’s national conference in Sydney clapped and cheered.”

Muehlenberg says, "So Labor has officially and decisively aban…

Drive-thru vs Family time

Australia Jews for Jesus: This is the 3rd in a series of blogs on Rest and R...: This is the 3rd in a series of blogs on Rest and Restlessness. What triggered it was a series of thoughts and readings beginning with T...
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This is the 3rd in a series of blogs on Rest and Restlessness.

What triggered it was a series of thoughts and readings beginning with Tim Chester's book entitled The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness. But I guess what prompted my reading that was considerable bother about not having time myself to do the things I like or want to do. I used to journal most days. Now almost never into the journal (book). I used to exercise very regularly in a gym. Now almost never. I used to read books regularly, and again that has dropped off to minimal reading. What is or was happening?

Chester lays out six main reasons why people tend to be busy, that is, too busy for me. They are 1) to prove themselves, 2) to meet other people's expectations, 3) to maintain control, 4) due to a preference of business/ pressure, 5) to provide capital by earning more and more, and finally 6) to make the most out of life.

He captivated me with his opening chapter. In regards to rest Chester said, "ev…

Texting

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Texting, a photo by Rick Rock Radio on Flickr. The series on Restlessness continues

This is now Blog #2 on the Sin of Restlessness.
The high speed collision in China reported here 

OK, maybe you don't have time to read it. Maybe you are doing a multi-tasking job of reading your emails, SMSing your mates, and pretending to be among the thousands of fans at the game. Honestly you can't do it all; why not admit that?

The expression is 'time poor.' We ran out of time to do everything, so we multi-task. By definition we try to do more than one thing at a time. I'm a male, so that can never happen anyway. But for some females, honestly, you simply cannot be both a fan and an SMSer. Not at the same moment. Really.

Why are we so 'time poor?' We have more conveniences and more things which do more stuff for us. We don't have to hand wash all our clothing anymore. We have a washing machine for that. All we do is toss the dirty clothes and some detergent into …

BLURRED... the world passes us by

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BLURRED, a photo by Lauren Withrow on Flickr. Today I'm going to begin a series of blogs on the sin of restlessness. It's about rushing. The blur of the crowd. The keeping up with the Joneses. I've just returned from Singapore and over and over I saw this. The crowds are one thing, but I'm talking about an inability for an individual to rest.

You know the Bible says "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the 7th day is a day of rest in honor of the Lord your God. You shall do no work in it."

That seems so quaint, so out-of-date, so not with the times. The shops stay open 24/7. The people work less 'official' hours in some countries, but they take their laptop with them, and are ever connected with smart phones and such.

I sat in a meeting last week, speaking to a group of men. They were very enthusiastic to my message, but each man, at one time or another, answered his phone, replied to an SMS or email, and was distracted by the phone. I s…

Strange bedfellows and reality

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Read the whole article here: NY Times
Pictured are Hamas and Fatah leaders, smiling, but are they really smiling?

The NY Times today published an in-depth article about the strife between Mahmoud Abbas (pictured on the right), Fatah leader since 2004, president of the Palestinian Authority and his rival, Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas. They met in Cairo, Egypt, agreeing to go ahead with elections in the Palestinian territories next year, even though they failed to resolve differences over an interim unity government to prepare for the vote. 

This is not a new reality. Hamas, the terrorist organization, supported by Syria and Iran, refuses three things: 1) to acknowledge the reality of the state of Israel, 2) to denounce violence in pursuit of its goals, and 3) to agree with past Palestinian-Israeli peace agreements. Those three conditions are required if there will ever be peace in the Middle East, and certainly if Hamas wants to be recognized as legitimate by the US, th…

Cheap tippers

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Here's a report (at the end of the blog) from the USA ...on Thanksgiving no less.

Seems that some folks are being cheap and leaving Gospel information for restaurant servers instead of a gratuity (tip). Read the end first, if you must.

End of the day we should all be generous, happy to share with others, and especially with those who share with us.

Look I've been guilty of trying to get away with giving less, and admit it, but I don't think I ever left a Gospel tract IN PLACE OF a tip, only along with it. In fact, I would feel bad being known as a believer if I was not being generous.

Why is that? God loved the world so much that he gave his only son. That's generosity. And that's the spirit of heaven, and not the spirit of this age.

I'm writing today from Singapore, and one thing I find is that Singaporeans are very generous to those of us who are preachers and especially those who are preaching to the Jewish people. That generosity makes me want to be even …

On, off, on...what to do with cancellations

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After labor talks between US National Basketball Association (NBA) players and owners ended Friday with no deal in place, the league cancelled games through Nov. 30. "It's not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now," commissioner David Stern, who added that the amount of money lost by both sides is "extraordinary," said after the meeting. The issue of how to split revenue remains the largest obstacle to ending the lockout.

"We made a lot of concessions, but unfortunately at this time it's not enough, and we're not prepared or unable at this time to move any further," union executive director Billy Hunter said.

Here at home Qantas has shocked the flying world and the business world and maybe your world, with the announcement that they grounded their entire fleet in light of the continuing union strikes. This happened while seventeen world leaders attending a Commonwealth summit in Perth were booked on Qantas flights and were…

5772 and welcomes!

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This month we celebrated the Jewish New Year 5772. And we welcomed it with trumpets and festivities and holy crying and seeking forgiveness. And last week in Israel, Gilad Shalit, after over five years in a Hamas prison, was released to his family and waiting country. The welcomes pictured were overwhelming. And the exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners leaves much by way of controversy. Then this week we also welcomed Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch of England and the Commonwealth. She went to church today to a welcoming crowd and our comments are prompted by all these welcomes.
Hamas had demanded the release of about 1,000 prisoners held in Israel in exchange for Shalit's return, including some whom Israel considers "heavyweight terrorists," who were directly – and sometimes personally –involved in the planning and execution of dozens of deadly terror attacks against Israelis.

Finally last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Hamas had agreed to…

Beauty on beauty

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patty.flowers.jpg, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is in Canberra today and went along to the Floriade, the great display of thousands and thousands of flowers across the nation's capital.

A few years ago my wife and I went there to enjoy the same scenery the queen saw today. And I shot this photo to show beauty on beauty. Hope you like it.

And I hope you find things to give you a reminder of God's eternal love and his sense of beauty, too. We say 'our God is an awesome God' and we mean it. In nature and in life, we learn of him.

Prostitution back on the agenda in South Australia

South Australian Labor Backbencher Steph Key has stated her intention to introduce a private member's bill on the 20th of October to decriminalise prostitution. The bill aims to legalise street walking and the establishment of small brothels in suburban areas. However, under the model, no sex business can be carried out within 200m of any child-related centre such as a school or child-care centre, no people under the age of 18 are to be employed as sex workers and any conviction of a person for an offence relating to prostitution will be immediately "spent" and not retained on a person's record.

This will be the seventh attempt to change the state's prostitution laws in recent years. The latest attempt was defeated in the Legislative Council several years ago, where MLCs voted 12-7 to defeat the proposal. Since then, no one has been keen to tackle what is considered an issue which should be put in the "too hard" basket. All parties will allow a conscien…

Philip Jensen on 2 pastors and 1 silence

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Philip Jensen is an Anglican minister in Sydney. He wrote this piece on his own blog. I liked it enough to share it with you today. Let's see to whom else we can pass this on.

What The Media Does Not Report

A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.

Originally Published: 7th October 2011 Tagged: censorship media

In the last year, two pastors have caused sufficient international concern that the White House has spoken about them. But only one has been mentioned in the Sydney media.

Both pastors profess to lead Bible believing churches. Both have come into conflict with Islam. Both have been criticised by their own governments.

Yet, in many respects, they are very different. One operates freely in an open society while the other is imprisoned by an Islamic regime. One is proud of the actions he is accused of, while the other suffers from trumped up accusations. One is an embarrassment to the Christian cause; the ot…

How many times?

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Bob addressing the crowd, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. How many times?

Given at Yom Kippur 5772
9 October 2011
Sydney Australia

INTRODUCTION
We’ve been here before, haven’t we? We’ve been together for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. We’ve celebrated Passover and eaten lamb and drunk four cups of wine. We’ve read the Al Chet and repented of our sins, year after year. We’ve sung the Avinu Malkenu (which is usually not sung on Yom Kippur when it falls on Shabbat until the Neilah service), and asked God to be gracious to us. We have done this before. And you have to wonder… did it work then? Will it work this year? When the shofar sounds at the end of our services, will we be forgiven? Will the sounds be muffled and repetitious like the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher in the television show or will we actually hear steadfast declarations of hope from the Almighty?
How many more times do we have to do this?
When I first pondered the title, “How many times?” I flashed on "How Many More…