Showing posts from 2013

Loss and found

62/366 Where there's smoke..., a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I have just returned a few minutes ago from the Domain in Sydney. A great night of singing Christmas carols with tens of thousands of Sydneysiders from every continent of earth. Only I didn't stay to the end. I had to look around for something I lost. Actually it was stolen. My camera bag was taken from right next to me while I was handing out tracts in front of the Department of Lands Building as thousands passed by me on their way to the Domain.

I spoke with Darren and Belinda, with Siobhan and Daniel and all their friends and family, with young Matthews, and a few others. A Muslim man wanted to discuss the flyer and the resurrection of Jesus. Another Christian said, "Good on you, mate!" It was a good hour and a half. I had already handed out 1400 flyers.

Then two young Jewish teens came by. Jasmine and her cousin Carmen spoke with me for a moment. I told them to read our website. They live in Randwick and…

Change or die

My first cell phone, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I remember carrying the cell (mobile, hand) phone around Washington DC. The year was 1993 and I was busy traveling from one appointment to another to visit Jewish people, and had to have my phone with me in the new 'reachable' world. After all, the office was not my only haunt; when I was out people had to be able to reach me.

The phone was jacketed by a leather pouch, and the phone itself was nothing different than what I had at home. It was portable only in that I carried it around, but otherwise it looked like a regular desk phone.

Then they brought out the brick and the pouch was gone. The new mobiles from flip phones and sliders to iPhones etc were ushered in. All that is left of those early days are old movies and sentiments and fading memories.

Which today make me think about all kinds of 'old' things. (Hard to call something 20 years old old: compare a university student). Kurt Cobain has been dead for 19 years,…

Neither Jew nor Gentile?

A believing friend wrote me last week, taking me to task on something I said about Jews and non-Jews. She didn't like it that I titled her a non-Jew, based on an understanding about the New Testament views of the redeemed.

Here is what I began to write her back... enter into the discussion if you like.

You are right, the Bible is clear "there is neither Jew nor Greek," and then proceeds to tell us that there is "neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Jesus." So let's unpack that a bit. The same apostle who says that, told wives to submit to their own husbands (Eph 5.22) and "let a woman learn in silence with all submission, and I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man..." (1 Tim. 2.11-12). That same apostle told men "older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience" (Titus 2.2) and that the "younger men to be sober-minded, in a…

Wendy Zukerman from the ABC radio

Wendy Zuckerman from the ABC radio, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Interviews are funny things. You think you know what you want to say, then someone puts a microphone in front of you, and er.... what I meant was .... seem to rise up in my mind.

But I've been trained and know that ums and ers don't work on radio, especially national radio, so those were not there. And the clanging of the dishes was apparent and the clatter of chatter abundant as the people at our Hanukkah gathering shared joy and fellowship with one another.

The question remains though, did I say what I wanted to say, and will the editor or the journo (shown) allow me to say what I want, or will they cut and paste and make me sound, ... less than what I wanted.

The verdict is out until probably a month or more from now.

May God give Wendy clarity of mind as she works on this article/ radio piece for the ABC. May she find eternity in Yeshua also. May the people of Australia find joy in finding Messiah'…

Wrong call

WrongCall, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I hear it a lot in professional sports that the referee has a lot of discretion and an umpire can overrule a linesman and the fate of the game changes. Certainly that happened at the end of the football (NFL) contest on Monday night (Aussie Tuesday) when the New England Patriots played in Carolina against the Panthers.

I really don't have any affection or disdain for either team. They are both pretty good in so many areas. Tom Brady is the veteran quarterback and leader of the Patriots and was orchestrating a final charge down the field for a possible winning strike against the home side.

This photo taken off the television shows the bad call by the referee. The players in blue are converging on the ball and on the player in white. Problem is, the blue guy can't touch the white guy after 5 yards from the original line (way back where the other players are standing) until someone touches the ball.

No one had touched the ball and thus the … many is enough?

Everywhere Else, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. From a TED talk in the USA. Selections chosen and moderated by NPR (National Public Radio)

What do you think? How many choices paralyze and how many liberate?


OK, misconception number five - who doesn't like to have lots of choices, right? Like, say, for example, salad dressing.


BARRY SCHWARTZ: I want to say just a word about salad dressing.

RAZ: This is Barry Schwartz. A social psychologist, and this is from his TED talk...


SCHWARTZ: A hundred and seventy-five salad dressings in my supermarket, if you don't count the 10 extra virgin olive oils and 12 balsamic vinegars you could buy to make a very large number of your own salad dressings in the off-chance that none of the 175 the store has on offer suit you.

RAZ: Which is what it's all about. Why we are happy, why we live more fulfilling lives because of our limitless choices.


SCHWARTZ: The official do…

Courage to think and to do exploits

Dorothy and Toto from Kansas knew a thing or two about courage, and had enough to pass it on to the friendly lion, you know, the one without courage. He was nicknamed the "Cowardly Lion" and I suppose that's a proper appellation for him. Without courage one is rightly labelled cowardly. Remember what he needed? Courage. Very similar to what the Tin Man needed which was a 'heart.' Now I'm sure Frank Baum in his original writing was not leaning on the French language where 'courage' and 'heart' have the same root. In fact, I'm sure that the symbolism of the three industries of agriculture, military and the steel industry, about which many write was probably not anywhere close to Baum's thinking. Still, that's not our point today.

The Cowardly Lion makes his first appearance in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He is the last of the companions Dorothy befriends on her way to the Emerald City where he ambushes her, Toto, Scarecr…

Prayer before they start

Prayer before the sortie, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. It's customary to offer a prayer to God before things. The most common prayer is 'grace' said before a meal. "Lord bless this food" or "Bless us oh Lord for these they gifts..." are standard. In Judaism, if the meal contains bread, we say, "Blessed art Thou, oh Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth." A quick, and usually intentional "thank you" to the Creator. Good plan.

For others prayer is something done on the side of an arena or stadium. Their team is needing to sink the final two baskets or to score a touchdown on the final drive of the 4th quarter so that victory can be secured. The scene is replayed so often I wonder if God even notices it, but I'll have to admit He knows and notices everything. Still, the teams and their fans pray that God somehow will favor them with a win, and not a loss.

I remember the maxim, "There's no…


Worship, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. To me, worship is not singing, but it might happen when you are. It's an attitude and it's reflected in quiet, in humility, in love. This photos said that to me.

I find it silly when people say "Let's stand up and worship" when the Bible uses these phrases together: Psa. 95.6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. and again in
Is. 46.6 “Those who lavish gold from the purse and weigh silver on the scale hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it."

So worship says to me "bow down." It's about humility in body and soul. It's about saying to myself, "You are not" and saying to God, "You are."

Some get it (more) right when they invite us to worship in giving financially to God. I'll write more later about honoring God in our wealth, but for now:
"Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all yo…

The theology of place

New gazebo, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. A nest in a tree is home to the bird and her young eggs. But one day the little ones are nudged out of the comfort and sent out into the world, to seek their own and their new home. I get that. I have three kids who all have moved from home and yet are ever ours and we are ever theirs.

The need for place, and the holy nature of place are in my mind today. This gazebo is a sanctuary of sorts, near a little Anglican church northwest of Sydney, in Pitt Town. The old parish building is on one side, and the newer building on the other, but this little shaded area is a stand-alone. And it's welcoming. And set apart.

Our little bookshop in Sydney's east in Bondi Junction will no doubt have to move within a year or so. Like so many urbanizing areas, the Junction is meeting the creativity and greed of developers so that little mom-and-pop shops are being replaced by multinational chains and Oxford Street is becoming Franchise Avenue. We will lose…

When Hanukkah meets Thanksgiving

When Hanukkah meets Thanksgiving, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.   “Delivered from Fear: a Jewish Thanksgiving Story”

by Robin Joseph Blaha, guest writer

I know that most people don’t think of Thanksgiving as a Jewish holiday. But I always will. That’s because during Thanksgiving weekend 1973, I experienced the most wonderful, most mind-boggling—and most Jewish—moment of my entire life. It made me truly thankful on that Thanksgiving and every day since.
Believe me, what happened that weekend was as big a shock to me as it probably will be to you when you read about it. But, as they say, let me start at the beginning . . .

Born in Chicago in 1951 into a Jewish home, I am the oldest of five—four girls and a boy. My mother was a stay-at-home mom. My dad was part owner of Joseph Electronics with his brothers and father. Later he sold his portion of the business and became a stamp dealer.
Being Jewish was important to me but didn't have much to do with God. It was mainly about holidays we …

When Israelis Encounter Yeshua (Jesus)

Some of the reactions of Israelis is not unlike the reactions of Jews in Australia, Germany, Russia, and everywhere. The issue of Yeshua is certainly central to many of us, and coming onto the radar of many. We hope this video will assist you in sorting things out, and in determining, "Who is that man?"

Breaking Bad... evaluated

breaking-bad-blog-600w, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Guest writer: Andrew Barron

I got hooked on Breaking Bad this past summer when I read an interview with the show's creator. He said something like, it was hard for him to believe in heaven, but it was harder not to believe in hell. I have been following the 'chemistry-teacher-turned-methamphetamine-kingpin" up to its conclusion last night. It has been a riveting ride.

I was fascinated by the lead character, Walter White. He is a complicated man whose behavior always kept me guessing. Both a villain and a dupe, his actions were disgraceful and pitiable. He was capable of intentional malevolence and violence as well as sensitivity and charity. His bout with cancer made him a cancer on all he came to know.

After watching five seasons of this Emmy award-winning series, I found myself haunted by the question: "Under the right circumstances am I capable of the same?" "Could I be Walter White?"

Holocaust Surv…

Gravitational pull

Gravitational pull, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I like my grandson. I think of him a lot these days. He's only two years old and lives in the US, but we see each other now and then. This day I was taking his photo he was playing with sand in a sandbox. And discovering so much about life and sand and gravity. I liked what I saw. I think he liked what he learned that day. Gravity works. And things fall to the ground.

Tonight I saw the new movie out this year named Gravity. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who are the only actors to play visible roles in the film. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone who is a mission specialist on her first space shuttle mission, STS-157, accompanied by the commander of the shuttle, astronaut Matt Kowalski, played by Clooney. During a spacewalk to service the Hubble Telescope, Houston warns Stone and Kowalski that a satellite has been damaged causing all kinds of space matter to fly and that they must abort their mission.

The rest of the movie …

Law and Grace: The Beginning of a biblical review

Law and Grace: An unfortunate dialectic
A sermon given at Carlton-Kogarah Baptist Church, Carlton, NSW
Sunday September 29, 2013
By Bob Mendelsohn

Shalom to all of you here today in Carlton, and those who will watch/ listen/ and read along with us on the Internet in this information-shared world. Thanks to Pastor Steve for letting me come and thank you each of you for listening along with us today as we unpack a very fundamental and very confused topic this morning, that of the unfortunate dialectic: Law vs. Grace. As we consider this may I ask you to think a bit outside what you already believe, what you already know, what you already think, and let’s see things from another angle or two. Being challenged is a good thing, right? So let’s begin.
We have already read the Scriptures in Leviticus 19 and Romans 6. For those online, those are able to be read at the bottom of this manuscript.
Introduction: How many gods are there?
Of course every year in synagogue when I grew up, we read…