Showing posts from January, 2016

Priests and Melchizedek

A sermon given at Epping Baptist Church
Epping NSW
24 January 2016

Thank you for that reading from Psalm 110. Here at Epping Baptist you are looking at the pslams during the month of January, and I thought Psalm 110 would be a fitting one for me to teach. And Hebrews chapter 7 is almost mandated to adjoin this psalm.

(The audio of this sermon is here )
Shalom to each of you today as we unpack this psalm and learn a bit about one of my favorite biblical characters, Melchizedek, and sort out why the biblical writers chose to make mention of him and use his person as a pointer to the Jewish messiah Yeshua. And today we will also consider the mission to the Jewish people here in Sydney and worldwide as I share a bit about Jews for Jesus also.

Introduction: Who is this guy?
The psalm begins with unusual vocabulary. “The Lord said to my Lord” It doesn’t sound very Jewish, because we Jews have one God, and not more than one. Here we read One Lord said to another Lord, and that sounds li…

Admitting hypocrisy

I don't like knowing some things about myself. I know those things I do when I'm alone; I sometimes appreciate them. And I know what I have promised and commitments I've made. And I sometimes keep them. And sometimes I fail. That's the human condition. "To err is human," the Bard reminds me. But that doesn't mean I like to fail. Or want anyone else to know that I fail.

Edmund Burke said, "Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing." But I don't imagine myself as such. I actually intend to go beyond promise. I actually intend to perform vows and my own words. "I give you my word" is not a couched fingers-crossed intentional deception. It's a plan; it's a promise. And yet...

I love the phrase/ thought of American politician (from decades ago), Grover Norquist who said, "Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." Ouch. I don't want …

The miser and the slippers by S. Brombacher

Photo Credit: AdamJiaoshi130

In a small village lived a very rich miser. Every time the local rabbi came to his door to collect funds for the poor, the miser would invite the rabbi in, offer the rabbi a glass of tea and talk about his business. When the rabbi started talking about the plight of the poor people in winter, the miser would brush him off and tell him that poor people like to complain--it wasn't all as bad as the rabbi thought. In any case, he had no cash in the house at the moment, and couldn't give anything right now. Could the rabbi come back another time? The miser would then escort the rabbi to the door, go back to his warm and comfortable room and settle down in his favorite chair near the fireplace, very pleased with himself.

But the rabbi was not pleased. The poor had no money for food or for wood for their stoves and they were cold and hungry.

One evening, the rabbi knocked on the rich miser's door. It was a cold and miserable night, snow and sleet …

Densification and the new technocracy

Mark McCrindle is one of my go-to guys for trends in society, certainly in Australian society. He wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the latest trends and commented on this issue of crowding. He reports, "Australians have responded to the growth, with housing trends of densification, the growth in apartment living and "walkable" urban communities. In addition to this, the year ahead will see policy and political responses to population growth through more focus on growing regional centres, investing in public transport and road infrastructure, airport and flight movement expansions and renewed discussion of a very-fast train link between Sydney and Melbourne, which together are home to 40 percent of the national population."

In case you missed that, what Mark says is that more people are moving to Sydney and Melbourne from the countryside, where farming and cattle/ sheep stations are losing their populations, and internationals are moving to our capi…


by Bob Mendelsohn
I'm writing this blog in the air. Not in my back yard overlooking the creek. Not from a high-rise building. But from 36,000 feet, on a United Airlines jet plane. I plugged my computer into the power point, strengthening the battery for the long haul 13-hour flight, signed up for the Wi-Fi service, and began working as if I were in the office in Sydney. Only I was sitting in seat 33 and not standing at our work stations in Bondi. Otherwise, it felt the same. Answering emails, uploading photos to Flickr and to our Social Media calendar for the weeks ahead, And sending this blog to the all seemed so ordinary. BUT IT'S NOT ORDINARY! When you think about it, it's fascinating. 350 other people are with me, flying at 800-1000 kph, across the Pacific Ocean, and I'm typing like I'm sitting in an office back home. You couldn't even get normal people 50 years ago to 'get it' about this one, could you?

Other things fascinate me,…

Morals and sports

When Pete Rose, known as Charlie Hustle, was discovered as having gambled on professional sports games, he lost his place in American baseball history. Look who he was and then consider how he fell. Rose played from 1963 to 1986, and managed from 1984 to 1989.

Rose is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), singles (3,215), and outs (10,328). His teams won the World Series three times, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five different positions (2B, LF, RF, 3B, and 1B).

In August 1989, three years after he retired as an active player, Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball amidst accusations that he gambled on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds, including claims that he bet on his own team. In 1991, the Baseball Hall of Fame formally voted to ban those on the "permanently inel…

Christmas and that man with the thorns

Adapted with attribution from
"Kabbalah Kronicles 34 by Uncle Zally / Zalman Velvet

"I arrived at the computer store ten minutes before midnight, on the last Thursday in November, hoping to avoid the crowds the following morning, known as Black Friday. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US. It's "black" because retailers hope to get out of the 'red' by the enormous volume of sales that day. However, when I arrived at Best Buy, I got a big surprise – there was a line of people in front of the store a kilometre long.

“Oh Great!” I said to myself.
At five minutes to midnight, the front doors were still locked. There was a nasty-looking female security guard waiting behind them, with a taser and a Glock 9 hanging off each hip, an M-16 in one hand, a turkey drumstick in the other. There was a tent right up front, with the line starting behind it. From inside the tent, a young man in his 30’s peeked out. He was unusual looking…

Fire and rain...Turbulence in Sweet '16

No one in Australia would have been unaware of the millions of dollars being spent in the New Years Eve fireworks shows in Sydney and Melbourne and to little villages and small country towns all over the country. The Brisbane River attracted 100,000 visitors and Perth, Adelaide, Wodonga and everywhere brought in the new year with joy and merriment.

Down in Mosquito Hill, Currency Creek, South Australia, yesterday 15 homes were directly threatened, and 310 hectares were scorched. Thanks to 200 firefighters, no deaths were reported and the fire is "contained" which is great news. Not so the people of Wye River where many are still homeless from last week's major fires along the Great Ocean Road. Kennett River (Victoria) home owners were evacuated yesterday, but thankfully no one saw their home destroyed.

In Dubai, a skyscraper is ablaze. The fire erupted ahead of a major New Year's Eve fireworks display, due to be held at the Burj Khalifa. Crowds gathering to watch t…