Showing posts from September, 2013

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…

Unhappy fans

262/366 Raspberry, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Fans can be so great; fans can be so angry. AT that game that night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Sydney Swans took it to the Collingwood Magpies by a significant margin. And everyone likes to win at their home stadium. And when you are visiting and trying to support your wandering team, in the home field of another team, it's doubly hard. I get that.

I took a couple photos that night of unhappy fans. They thought they were being unfairly treated. They thought their boys on the field were receiving an uneven number of calls against them. To be fair, the umpiring left something to be desired that night. I made noises some 100 metres up the stands where I sat with my friend Roger.

Fan. The word comes from the word 'fanatic' and has its root in the Latin word for 'temple' (fanum) which means it was about worship in a way.

Online Dictionary says, "1. a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or b…

New year, new adventures?

Borrowed for a Blog, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. They say it's a matter of perspective. Sometimes it's a matter of personality. How do you look on the future? How do you look at things which lie ahead but about which you know very little? I found this photo by the Norwegian Tom Eikrem on Stumble Upon today. And found it descriptive of just this issue.

To be sure, the spookiness of the clouds across the lightweight bridge is a bit off-putting. I think most of us prefer ease in travel, and comfort in the assurance of what's ahead. Not many of us want to sit in a 747 crossing the Pacific Ocean flying blind with only instruments to guide us. We would want clear skies, and plenty of visibility for our pilots.

But then there are some pilots who don't mind such adventures. Anyone can fly when the visibility is infinite. Only the best pilots can fly in low clouds and tougher conditions. So one man's discomfort is another man's adventure. For one it's annoyance or…

Forgiveness: Yom Kippur message

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 11.23.35 PM, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. Yom Kippur Fables: What would Yeshua answer?
By Bob Mendelsohn
Given in Sydney, Australia
13 September 2013 (10 Tishri 5774)

Shalom dear friends, tonight on the holiest night of the Jewish calendar. I pray your fast is easy and your day tomorrow, normally Shabbat anyway, would be especially significant. Thank you for listening to me for the next 25 minutes or so.
Tonight I’m going to deliver a sermon in a different fashion. I hear so many silly things and some religious things and some cultural things that define or matter to us Jewish people, especially during this time of year. And if you will allow I want to address those phrases, those thoughts, those ideas, and see if they are consistent with messianic faith, and with you particularly in the 21st Century, here in Australia.
And those concepts or ideas or phrases are going to be up on the screen and contrasted in due course with the words of Yeshua, our Messia…

Bands and worship

Band, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr. I read a blog which both bothered me and with which I mostly agreed. It's here Singing. The thesis is that the music in churches today is unfamiliar and thus people stand and watch/ listen rather than participate.

That may be true. That may be part of the truth. That may not be true at all.

The photo I'm using today in this blog is from Rob Smith's 'performance' at an Anglican church in Sydney a while back. Rob is a friend of mine and a good man on many levels. Even though the crepuscular activity is nice, with purple rays of light beaming, I don't and didn't find them distracting. Even though there was performance, it was not enough that kept me from joining in.

So what's the difference?

David Murrow reckons it's familiarity. Others I speak with comment on the volume at the services. Some have said the words are broken down oddly on screen. (Karaoke is much easier, they say.)

So how is a person to worship in church…

Who is not being heard...Syria and Egypt

I received this post this morning from an email from the WEA. I'm concerned for those who have no voice. Maybe you are similarly concerned as you watch the horrible happenings in Syria and Egypt.

WEA Secretary General Urges Religious Liberty for Arab Christians at Conference in Jordan

New York, NY - September 5, 2013

On September 3rd and 4th, 2013, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), spoke at a conference in Amman, Jordan, convened by King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein to address ‘the challenges facing Arab Christians,’ in particular the situation in Syria and Egypt. Representatives of various churches in the region were invited to ‘unite and give voice to the leadership of Arab Christian Churches (…) and, together, to discuss and find possible solutions.’

In his speech, Dr. Tunnicliffe addressed the increasing suffering and persecution of Arab Christians in recent years, stating that “this is despite the fact that Arab Christians have been …

Kevin Rudd: Slavary, Same-sex marriage and biblical awareness

Kevin Rudd is the prime minister of Australia. He is running for re-election this Saturday. Monday night was one of the final conversations with the public in the ABC show "Q and A." A Christian pastor, radio show host, and a friend of mine, Matt Prater was in the audience and asked the PM a question. Prater asked, about trust, and about Rudd's Christian commitment. Mr Rudd said he made a decision a few months ago to change his position on gay marriage after reflecting for "many, many months and years" and concluding in his "informed conscience and Christian conscience" that it was the right thing to do.

John Sandeman from Eternity magazine interviewed Prater the next day. "You had a go at Kevin over three things. One was chopping and changing, another was his view on gay marriage, and was he fair dinkum in his view of the Bible. Which is the key one for you?

[Prater:] I think his view of the Bible. Because if you don’t take the Bible, and the…