Showing posts from April, 2016

20 things you should know about your pastor

Here are twenty things I believe are true about most pastors I know. I hope you will work together with your pastor for the good of the gospel!

1. He loves God and you a lot. (Be mindful.)

2. He is a painfully limited human being. (Be realistic.)

3. He probably has a pretty low view of his “performance”. (Be kind.)

4. He wishes he were a better preacher. (Be awake.)

5. He really does want God’s best for you and your family. (Be open-hearted.)

6. His work knows no time or locational boundaries. (Be patient.)

7. He hears much more negative information than positive. (Be encouraging.)

8. He has chosen a vocation in which few remain. (Be praying.)

9. He has chosen a highly leadership-intensive call. (Be lead-able.)

10. He needs help. (Be available.)

11. His God-given vision is bigger than himself and the church. (Be faith-filled.)

12. He wants to personally meet all the needs, but knows he can’t. (Be understanding.)

13. He’s going to say some dumb things every now and then. …

500 years of ghetto... are we out yet?

This article highlights what happened 500 years ago last month. The senate of Venice mandated "that all Jews residing in the city live together in a monitored and gated area, separated from the Christians; thus Jews were relocated to a small island encircled by walls, where a foundry used to be (in the Venetian dialect, ‘ghetto’ was the word for foundry)."

Ever since then we have been seeking our freedom from such governmental action, and looking at the Christian power elite as 'them' who would use any opportunity to incarcerate 'us' again. Of course, today we celebrate Passover, the quintessential holiday of Jewish freedom from slavery in Egypt. We had been jailed, incarcerated if you will, in the detention centre known as the land of Goshen, for hundreds of years under one Pharaoh or another. So being in a ghetto was not a new experience for us as Jewish people.

At the time of Haman, many Jewish people were living in Shushan in Persia. At the time of th…

Accolades abundant

60 points in his final game as an NBA superstar for Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. An ending to an amazing career spanning 20 years, which is the longest of any such star, came to an end this week. Terrific ending and a terrific player. His personal life was in chaos for a season or two, but he overcame the difficulties, they say, and came through with flying colours of blue and gold. The tribute video is online, and Kobe was sitting to watch it as the evening began. High praises from a massive crowd.

I sometimes watch golf on the television. I prefer playing golf, to be sure, but some events draw me to the screen. The US Masters is one of those, as the men putt on what appears to be glass, as a champion like 46-year-old Ernie Els can miss 5 putts from less than 2 metres and keep missing, like three holes-in-one on the 16th in Sunday's final round including one which bounced off another ball on the way to the cup. Amazing moments which are well noted. And then there was t…

Clever Texan

A man get stopped by a game warden with his basket full of fish.

Warden: do you have a permit for all these fish?
Man: no sir. These are all my pet fish.
Warden: your pet fish? How's that?
Man: well, every night I take all my pet fish for a walk to the lake, I let them swim for about half hour and then I whistle and they all come back and jump in my basket and we go home. We do this every night.
Warden: Well that's just a crock of lies!!
Man: here I'll show you... (Releases the fish in the lake)
Warden: well this I got to see!!

5 minutes later...
Warden: well??
Man: what?
Warden: the fish!! Where's your pet fish??
Man: what fish??

An open letter to Australian messianic Jews and non-Jews

10 April 2016

Dear Aussie Jewish believers,
I’m so troubled, and there’s no way to dance around this.

Here’s what happened. Last week, a 57-year-old Jewish believer died in Sydney. He had not organized his own funeral, and long story short, his mother, in her 80s, who is the one who paid for everything, didn’t want him to be buried with other believers. “He’s Jewish; the chevra has to organize everything; he will be buried in the ordinary Jewish section.” And even though his daughter, a teenager, a Jewish believer herself, wanted me to perform the funeral, the grandmother said no. As a result this man’s testimony ended with his passing.

If he had organized a messianic funeral at the special section we have set up, we would have gathered as a community to support all the family. They would have heard all the ordinary elements of a Jewish funeral, and also we would have pointed others to Messiah Yeshua. Some use video flashbacks and eulogies. Sometimes there are two locations to t…

Death, be not proud

The XIX century gave us information from people who seriously considered the realities of life. And death. For instance, Mark Twain, the Missouri-born author and life-observer said, "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." Also I always enjoy reading Samuel Butler on so many topics. On death he said, "To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead." Reality bites, no?

What is causing me to ponder death again? Ageing in my own body brings this to bear often, as does the reality of the calendar. Then this week three more Jewish men, two from my home town, and one of those from my class in school, all passed away. It's never easy to read obituaries and wonder-- is that it? After all those years, all those hours at work, all those photos, all those journal entries, family holidays, and late-night walks with a crying baby... what are they all…