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Showing posts from December, 2018

How to ditch the pitch on New Year's Resolutions

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by Carolyne Rohrig

It’s that time of year again.
I don’t mean Hanukkah.
Or Christmas.
I’m talking about those pesky New Year’s resolutions.
This year I’m staying clear of them.
I’ll let you make them if you want. I’m not going to go on a diet, buy a gym membership, eat healthier, or be nicer to my brother.
I am staying just the way I am. Plump, self-indulgent, and cranky.
I don’t like failure. Who does? I don’t want to start the New Year in the negative. I want a few weeks of blissful self-illusion. Have you noticed as the year closes how your inbox expands with tips for improved living? How to speak Hebrew in six weeks. How to find the mate of your dreams online. How to improve your relationship with your therapist. How to write a memoir. All it takes is money. And sweat.
No thanks. You’d think everyone would see the hype, but every year there are enough desperate people who believe the gimmicks.
The truth is we all want hope. Every one of us wants to be thinner, healthier, younger, and wealth…

Will the real Christmas please stand up?

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I loved this Christmas video today. I got a little dizzy as the camera almost sped around the speaker, but I listened and agreed. And I don't usually like rap-style communication!

Maybe you will like it as well.

Or maybe you have already chosen to disregard the stooper. I hope not. I hope you listen with both ears, and with the ears of your heart.

It can't hurt, you know?

Here's the video from the UK:

Then please, tell me, or better yet, tell someone else about your beliefs about Santa or about the Messiah. Which is the real Christmas? Will the real Christmas please stand up?

Welcome vs Accommodation ...Santa, Sweden, and you!

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Welcome in English. Vilkommen in German. Bienvenidos (Spanish), and Baruch Haba (Hebrew)... it all indicates open arms and open doors. I like that. We have made welcome a major part of our activity and purposes here in Sydney at our bookshop. Welcome matters to those who often feel outside, whether being outside is real or imagined. Can 'welcome' go too far?

What about this which happened in Sweden in 2018? The Bishop of Stockholm has proposed a church in her diocese remove all Christian symbols including crucifixes and instead put down markings showing the direction to Mecca for the benefit of Muslim worshippers.

Here's the article.

"The bishop indicated all airports and hospitals already had multi-faith prayer rooms, and converting the dockyard church would only bring it up to speed. Regardless, the announcement has aroused protest." (from the article)

The difference, of course, is that a church is not a multi-faith prayer room. It's designed to represent. When…

Born is the King of Israel

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"The first noel, the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay... lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter's night that was so deep. Noel, noel...born is the king of Israel."

The Christmas carol is one of the most-often sung at Carols in the Domain. Each chorus ends with the phrase, "Born is the King of Israel."  But wait a minute, you say, Christmas is about Jesus and therefore Christianity. And the King of Israel sounds Jewish. What does Christmas have to do with things Jewish?

Look, Jesus (his name in Hebrew is Yeshua) was a Jewish boy in his youth. He never converted to Christianity. He led a Jewish life in Israel. Born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth up north, and when he hit 30 years old, he began to preach the Kingdom of God in public. How did he do that? As the King of Israel, he could do so.

Jewish people had kings from about 1,000 years before Jesus was born. Saul was the first king of Israel. Then instead of Saul's son,…

Christmas... what is it about anyway?

We figured that not everyone knows the story, after all, it's been a bit confused the last few years with significant alternative stories tossed in. That said, here's the account from the historical record. Not to be confused with St Nicholas or good ol' Saint Nick. Not to be confused with David Jones and merchandising. Not to be confused with presents under a tree. Here it is, from about 2,000 years ago. Read it once and really listen to the words. Then if you have time, please tell us what you think?

"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,  just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us,  it seemed fitting for me as well, having 1investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;  so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. 
  In the days of Herod,…

An invitation to hope (from Psalm 85)

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A sermon Given at Epping Baptist Church Epping (Sydney) NSW 9 December 2018
Introduction Shalom and thank you to Andrew for welcoming me again to the pulpit and for assigning me both the topic and the Bible passage to consider. Today we read Psalm 85 and consider the topic, “An invitation to hope.” I understand this is part 2 of a four-part series, where invitations are given: an invitation to peace, to hope, to see, and to receive Him. I like this. I’m not the opening batsman, but I’m included, and I appreciate the welcome. Today I will also mention some things about Jews for Jesus, the organization with which I’ve worked for 39 years, and a couple of our activities in Bondi Junction and around the globe.  You have received a white card with the words “Jews for Jesus” at the top. Please fill that out during my talk and drop it into the collection as it is passed or drop it off at my resource table this morning. Thank you.  (If you are reading this online, just drop me a note there an…

Timing is everything

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A full three hours before I arrive at our rented house in Melbourne’s suburb, my GPS told me that it would take another three hours of driving, that I would arrive at 4:18 PM back at the house. I sent a note to one of our colleagues who was awaiting the car for hand off, so he could plan his day, which included an appointment he had at 5 o'clock. If I arrived as scheduled, he would make his appointment with ease. To me it was amazing. I was so distant and yet my little machine could sort out all this out. I arrived at 4:18 pm. In another case, the size of the baby on the sonogram told the doctors a likely date for the birth of our third grandson in October this year. As a result, my wife and I made bookings to fly over on certain days in acknowledgment of that medical prediction. The date: 27 October.  I guess it should come as no surprise that just past midnight on 27 October our daughter’s little one entered the world. What precision in their prediction four months earlier? Timin…