29 August 2013

Calm

Calm by bobmendo
Calm, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

A friend liked someone's instagram status today. It began "If you're secure in the one who holds you, you can sleep through the storms." Immediately I flashed on this photo which I took on Sunday morning in Brisbane up in Queensland. The little child was asleep in daddy's arms. The father was going up to the front of the church to receive communion. The babe was calm no matter what was going to happen.

I liked the moment. I took the photo. I hope you like it also.

And this idea of calm, no matter what, made me think today. What are the 'no matter what's' which come to you each day? Or today? My brother was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and he's bearing well to some. I read another story today in Issues magazine about a woman in the US who has fought off cancer's dominance for years. And she's serving as a nurse!

http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v20-n01/rabbis-skeptics-and-the-suffering-messiah

Amazing stuff. Calm in the midst of lots of storms.

What else? Car crashes. Drought. Loss of a job. Loss of a wife. Loss itself, in whatever form.

Storms come and toss us to and fro. Or so they try to do. But calm in the midst...that's the life!

Tonight I read in the Bible John 16.33. That's at the end of a pretty lengthy sermon/ talk/ discourse by Yeshua. He has just warned his mates that in very short order he would be killed, would be 'going away' and they would be in anguish. Then he told them they would cop the same kind of treatment from others as he would endure.

They thought they understood. They didn't.

He ended his talk with “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Wow, what courage himself. Chutzpah. Conquest? He was about to die on the Roman cross. Overcome? I don't think so. But He knew. And he could title it such.

In the world, you will have tsuris. You will have troubles and tribulations and bothers. Storms. But take courage. Be calm. I'm in the driver's seat. I'm in charge. You may not see it; I do. I have your life in my hands. Relax in my power to save.

Not that he would save them FROM trouble, but THROUGH trouble. Eternity is much longer than this life, no matter how many years we gain now and then.

Calm. Like a resting baby.

Are you wanting that today? Talk to the Almighty. He's listening...

22 August 2013

Project Timothy is available

Interns and messianic congregations and missions alike are joining together in an ongoing program titled "Project Timothy." Each intern takes a year off and travels the world serving and staying with ministries and congregations, learning, being mentored and growing in his/her messianic faith.

Check out the website at Project Timothy or the Facebook page Project Timothy on Facebook and "like" the FB page and learn more on the website. There are photos and a brochure, applications, FAQs of course, and so much more.

The purpose is to grow new disciples for Yeshua.
The plan is to encourage 18-25 year old messianic youth to travel and learn and grow.
The place is everywhere!

Come, check it out.

18 August 2013

Encouragement


“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus” (Romans 15.5)

Every two years or so, I visit all the capital cities of Australia, travel to New Zealand, and teach and preach in Singapore. It’s a wide territory, but worth our visiting for evangelizing the Jewish people and for teaching in churches. On my first trip to Singapore in 2001, I spoke to a large gathering in the Anglican cathedral. After the meeting an older Chinese Christian woman approached me, touching my arm, and almost in tears, said, “I’ve prayed my whole life for the Jewish people. I’d never met one until tonight. And the first Jew I meet is a believer in Jesus. Thanks be to God!” I don’t know who was more surprised. And I don’t know who was more delighted. Here I was, the answer to her prayer, saved some 30 years previously, and in that one moment, God was affirming to her that He listens. I told of other Jews who had found Messiah. He was encouraging her to keep praying. I told of other Jews who were considering Y’shua. He was challenging her to keep praying. At the same time, He was encouraging me to return, again and again, to Singapore and other nations in Asia, to keep letting people know that Jesus is the Messiah and that God answers prayer.

16 August 2013

From generation to generation

Mara and David... #3 by bobmendo a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.
Who will lead us? What's going to happen in the messianic world in the next 20 years?

Pictured are Rabbi David Rosenberg and this woman farewelling at Messiah College in July this year. This year at Messiah Conference I was privileged to spend hours and hours speaking with rabbis and young alike about Project Timothy. And both of these two and so many others are ready to join with whoever else puts up their hands for this brand new messianic internship program.

And I'm willing to help coordinate this.

What's the point of Project Timothy? To build a new generation. And to watch what G-d does in building His people in the next era.

Here's what I mean. When I came to faith in Yeshua in 1971, what we did, in what was called the "Jesus movement" was so very different than anything else in church history. Oh, not different than other massive movements of the Lord over history. I don't mean to sound so pompous.

What I mean is that the music was different. The literature we wrote was different. The hair was longer. Drugs, sex, rock and roll had been the matrix of our worldliness. Now we were going to be the leaders of a new generation and a new evangelical movement.

So what will take us to the next level? Will it require new music? New clothing? New poetry? New liturgy? I don't have any idea, but I have loads of ideas.

And here's what will happen. The older people like David in this photo and me and so many others, who have been working in the ministry, have to yield. We have to give the reins over to those whom we can mentor, but who will take us to the next place. I'm willing to go where they lead us.

What about you?

07 August 2013

Tolls...will they drop them?

Tolls...when to drop them by bobmendo
Tolls...when to drop them, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.
Every three or six months all around Sydney, the government allows the roads and maritime authority to raise the rates and tolls for using the roads. They claim it's all about the rising costs of living. They say it's commensurate with other expenses. I say, it's time to stop the madness.

It's not only that I'm a user of the roads and the tolls. Down in Melbourne they have a prix fixe system, if I understand it right, but their websites are terribly confusing. Still they charge a maximum each day, for cars on all their roads. It's almost an incentive to use the toll roads.

Here in NSW, each time you use a toll road, you pay the toll. There is a discount if you don't use certain roads during peak hours, but no maximum will ever be reached.

I've spoken to transport minister Gladys Berejiklian, and I know she would like to adjust the situation here in NSW, and I hope that this will happen.

I guess today I was encouraged to remind her, and to write this, when I heard the Liberal candidate, Tony Abbott, mention that he intends to lower business taxation from 30% to 28.5% in July 2015. I got excited because it's one of those concepts I'm afraid many in Australia don't understand.

Let me explain, using the toll roads as a prime example.

When the government noticed that not enough people were using the Cross City Tunnel a couple years back, they did what is typical: they raised the prices to gain more revenue. Of course, from whom were they going to receive the increased revenue? From the already-burdened users of the toll road. My suggestion at the time, and it's consistent with Abbott's announcement today, was to lower the toll, not to raise it. As a result, more people would use the toll road; more revenue would be gained and more loyalty would be accrued. In the long run, more money would come to the state's coffers. But it takes patience, doesn't it?

In the same way, when businesses have more capital, given a 1.5% discount on requisite taxes, they will hire more people, funnel more cash into overhead or into inventory, and as a result the state will gain more cash through everyone's taxes.

So I'm taking a lesson from myself. As of 1 September, all prices on our CDs at the Jews for Jesus shop will be lowered, significantly. $30 CDs will now be $25. $25 CDs will be $20. And we will adjust other products in due course. But we have to start somewhere. And help our customers. And help the economy. Seems right, doesn't it?

Hotel 81: Honest reporting

I stayed in a run-down, fairly ordinary hotel last week in Singapore. I won't stay there again. When Expedia, through whom I booked, asked me to rate and review, I thought it right to do so.

Three times I tried to follow their guidelines and each time received this note: "Oops! Looks like we need you to revise your hotel review before we can post it. "

Expedia would not let me post my hotel review which I submitted at their request 3 times. OK... I'll do it here:

"Hotel 81 Kovan I was surprised that prostitutes are allowed in the hotel and that room rates could be hourly. This is actually an encouragement for their activities. The room was very very small; the bathroom and toilet are so merged that neither is efficient. There was no room to put anything on a convenient flat surface and the closet was sideways, so everything which was hung had to be touched when reaching for anything else. The lift from the garage was not operational so I had to lug my luggage outside by very bad footpaths to the street. the whole situation was not convenient at all.

My review: Disappointed."

Expedia gave guidelines about reviews: 1) Don't mention specific prices or room rates 2) Leave out any profanity 3) Don't reference personal information 4) Exclude photos containing inappropriate or unrelated content . I 'fixed' my review each time, but still they knocked it back. What do you think? Did I satisfy their requirements? Is "prostitute" a profane word? You decide.

Makes me wonder when I read food reviews or hotel reviews by others, how many are actually disallowed. In other words, what is the real average score if the company will use everything that is submitted. Fascinating, eh?

By the way, the management told me that hookers were not allowed on my floor (the 'family floor' they called it). I discovered the prostitute visitors because a Christian brother who fetched me on the Sunday morning asked me "Do you notice all the young couples at your hotel?" I told him that I thought it was a 'marriage weekend' or such as I had noticed them in abundance the days before. He told me they are only couples for an hour or two.

Ah! I was shocked, and kept to myself that much more the next few hours until I left country. Sad to say many were using their services; glad to say I sensed no temptation in this regard. Thanks be to God.

Let's be honest about what we report.
Let's be forthright about things we see/ notice/ tell to others.

End of the day, I want to report to people the good things God has done and is doing and will be doing in the world to come. Want to learn more? Keep following me here...

03 August 2013

Is there a devaluation of marriage? Maybe not...

Marriage works by bobmendo
Marriage works, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.
This article from July in the Sydney Morning Herald makes some interesting points.

What do you think?

This article by Claire Lehmann ,a graduate student in forensic psychology who works as an advocate for nurses. She is a wife and soon-to-be mother.

There is a disconnect in our national discussion about marriage. On the one hand we have had a very strong movement for same-sex marriage rights but on the other hand, there exists a general silence on the value and function of marriage in society. If we are fighting for the right for all individuals to partake in an institution, is it not also critical that we discuss the inherent worth of that institution? Marriage in Australia is on the decline as it is elsewhere. Social inequality is also increasing - now approaching the highs of the 1920s, according to Labor MP Andrew Leigh's Battlers and Billionaires, published recently.

Paediatric epidemiologist Fiona Stanley says: ''If you want to have a future that is secure, successful and productive, you must invest in healthy mothers, healthy children and young people.'' One in six Australian children live below the poverty line, and one third of babies are born out of wedlock. The social justice argument for marriage is yet to be made however. One reason for this is that high-quality de facto partnerships between men and women give the same benefits for children as traditional marriage does. But it's difficult to generalise about the effects on children of cohabiting relationships because results are entirely dependent on whether relationships are long term and stable, or fragile and part of a series.

But the fact that so many people are invested in the right to marry for same-sex couples suggests that marriage itself is still highly regarded. People are not fighting for the right of same-sex couples to cohabit or enter into civil unions, but to marry, indicating that the cultural significance in the social ''fact'' of marriage remains. Despite this, media conversation around heterosexual marriage is generally coloured by cynicism and 1970s feminist-negativisms. Progressive public commentators do not like to admit that marriage is actually good for women and children, or that a happy marriage is associated with better well-being, longevity and lifetime health.

In February, Jill Filipovic of The Guardian wrote a piece condemning ''outdated'' notions of marriage, citing the ''male as breadwinner myth'' as central to her argument. Filipovic writes that ''marriage confers tangible benefits to men, and far fewer to women . for women, it means more work and less pay, or the financially tenuous position of staying home full time and hoping your marriage (and only source of income) lasts''. Filipovic's argument is based on the premise that a woman's economic position should always be independent from others. A woman's wealth should not be shared with her husband and vice versa, because independence and autonomy should at no point ever be compromised.

As a young woman about to have a baby, this argument does not compute. In the first few months of his life, my baby will be dependent on me, which means that I will be dependent on others, including my husband. That women are dependent at different times in their lives should not be stigmatised. Healthy interdependency in family relationships should not be constructed as the antithesis of feminism. Filipovic argues that our society suffers from the ''male as breadwinner myth''. This ''myth'' reinforces an outdated gender role where a man works in order to provide for his family. Such a myth is believed to reinforce gender roles, and allows men to shirk their housework duties.

This ''male as breadwinner myth'' is not just a product of popular journalism, however, it is echoed by serious feminist scholars such as Cordelia Fine, who argues in Delusions of Gender that ''hard-wired accounts'' portraying men as being intrinsically motivated to provide for their families are not only inaccurate, but harmful to women. They exist merely as an excuse for men to get out of doing childcare, cooking and cleaning. This ''myth'' might be relevant in marriages between two university professors, who squabble over who gets to take the next research sabbatical overseas, but what Fine and Filipovic fail to acknowledge is that for a lot of women and children, having a male breadwinner around actually makes life a great deal easier.

Whether such provisioning is hard-wired or not is irrelevant. Although some women do not like to admit it, men give up a lot to be married, especially in an era of commitment-free sex. Internet forums are awash with men who voice grievances about the state of contemporary heterosexual marriage, but it has taken female advocates to bring this message to mainstream audiences. So for progressives who champion same-sex marriage but not male-female marriage, it may be timely to consider evidence which suggests that marriage may actually be conducive to health and well-being for both men and women. It may also be timely to consider that marriage may actually be a good thing for our children too.

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-devaluation-of-marriage-is-costing-society-20130709-2po9k.html