An interesting article
An interesting article
The clip summarises some of what I intend for this year … an exploration in God and His purposes. In my heart is an all embracing holistic approach to life, free of the many constraints that inhibit the people of God.
Over the years I have encountered acquaintances from the university ministry we pioneered in the early ’80s. To my distress as I listened to their heart and what they missed from those years and the resulting disillusionment of not finding a ‘church’ that replicated what they missed, I meditated on what happened, on what they missed and why. As good as it was at the time there were numerous mistakes, as there always is when pioneering. Seeking what was is not appropriate nor necessary. Seeking to walk with Him as our Lover is. So it is not what was but what He wants to lead us into now; that will require Jeremiah 1:10 the word the Lord spoke to me back many years ago. In 1964 the Lord spoke to me from Isaiah 58 (especially verses 11 & 12). (A side note – I find it interesting, not on one occasion have I been asked what God has put in my heart over the years. Why are we not interested in what God speaks to others? Why are we more concerned with what is in our hearts and what we want to do? Intriguing …)
Ad naseum I stated in those days “Don’t go to church be the Church”. That has been my mantra and God called purpose … wherever I am to be His ‘church’ to those around me all the days of my life. In those days most didn’t get it; therefore they were unable to take the basics and reproduce the life we sought. The fault was a lack of understanding of discipleship … which as I look back is OK … that is where we were. The journey continued and is continuing.
Do not seek a church but be Church with those around you, right where you are. Now that has many implications; particularly as what church is and is not; another time for that pontification.
However I have waited for this day for 50 years … I have this sense now is the day of ‘small beginnings’.I am interested in this year and its possibilities … the only problem is me … me being me, sinner that I am, you are and those around you … so I ask for your love and compassion in prayer and friendship
Much love to you … enjoy the video clip … hopefully … to my friends I’ll see you this year … to share His goodness
Wayne alias the Winnie or Crock
At the risk of sounding trite and missing the point absolutely I think this discussion while a should happen, needs to happen in a context that gives power to what we are saying. The refutation of all other philosophies is crucial for those who follow Jesus in our modern and secular society. There is a drastic need to address the mostly un-thought-out position by most whether atheist, agnostic or Christian.
Unfortunately it misses a crucial ingredient. Our position has to be more than a well thought out system of rational knowledge rhetoric because if that is all it is than we are merely another philosophy competing in the ‘marketplace’ of souls.
Jesus neither rationally nor through doctrinal proclamation wanted to prove He was God. He did that another Way. He, as God expressed something we have forgotten in our pursuit for affluence, love of money and status. Further in our quest for everything to be explainable the people of God have bought into the sophisticated secularism (particularly in the institutional church) that the Apostle Paul addressed on Mars Hill when He addressed the philosophers of his day (Acts 17:16 -34). Jesus’s practical feet on the ground and God in a human body approach, He sought to convince us through love, a love that was explainable, non replicatable from human effort. God came to convince us He loves us. Do I hear the raising of an eyebrow because it is not considered a part of this debate. Now how trite a saying is that and therein lies a problem we neither know what He meant nor are we interested to understand the simplicity of His teaching. Love is a ‘commodity’ in extreme short supply in His Body, but not in Him. Love is to be the convincing ‘witness’ that provides the context for such a debate. It will not silence the atheist but it will certainly provide ‘food’ for thought’.
My discussions with students in the social sciences look at people such as Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and others who through decades lived differently, why? They expressed something that captivated us in their living that was unexplainable . Mostly we aren’t convincing enough. That is, there is not enough evidence to cause those who look upon us as His community that we have something that is extraordinary and supra-human. There is a need for that something else that is mega- metaphysical, that transcend the ‘natural’ order of this world … Jesus proclaimed love in such a way people knew He loved them. This is the God we are talking about.
And in danger of losing the points made allow me to use a much abused and very misunderstood Scripture “By our love for another they will know you are my disciples”.
Our loud protestations are drowned out by the lack of our love for one another.
My experience over 40 years is that most news stories are incorrect – it is rare to be reported accurately. The political agenda of most journalists will not allow truth … as truth is fed through the bias of filters that support their prejudices.
May the truth re: Egypt wash away the lies
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Understanding the present situation in Egypt
A SAT-7 CEO Commentary
By Dr. Terence Ascott, CEO and Founder, SAT-7 International
Special to ASSIST News Service
NICOSIA, CYPRUS (ANS) — Many of us involved in Christian ministry in Egypt are appalled at the misunderstandings about the situation in Egypt being propagated by even normally balanced international media like the BBC, and the way it has, in general, portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as the victims of injustice.
Dr. Terence Ascott
So, on behalf of myself, Ramez Atallah (General Secretary for The Bible Society of Egypt), Pastor Fayez Ishaq (part of the leadership team at Kasr El Dubarrah Evangelical Church), other ministry leaders in Egypt and the leadership of Middle East Concern, please allow me to paint a bigger picture of what has been going on the past year or so:
Yes, former President Morsi was elected “democratically” in June 2012, but only by the slimmest of majorities, and only 13 million people (out of a total population of 83 million) voted for Morsi at all. And yet he took this as a mandate to do as he wanted, with a winner-takes-all attitude. His new government was not inclusive and he quickly appointed former Muslim Brotherhood leaders (some with previous convictions for violence or incitement to violence) to serve as regional Governors or government Ministers. In November 2012, he illegally gave himself new sweeping powers to act without censure, and rushed through a new pro-Islamic constitution despite the protests and boycotts from liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, and then he refused to call for new elections – as had previously been agreed to do after a new constitution had been adopted.
St. George’s Coptic Church in Sohag City, Egypt (which has a large community of Coptic Christians), after arsonists set it ablaze
And, of course, the economy was very poorly managed by the new Ministers, whose only apparent qualification for office was the fact that they were Muslim Brotherhood loyalists. By the end of 2012 the country’s infrastructure had begun to fall apart, electricity and fuel supplies became unreliable, prices for basic commodities soared and Egypt struggled to get much needed international financing.
By June 30, 2013, on the first anniversary of Morsi’s election to office, the Egyptian people had had enough! Perhaps as many as 30 million people came out to demonstrate against Morsi continuing in office – this included many who had voted for Morsi a year before and, even if the figure of 30 million cannot be independently verified, it is clear that the number of people on the street was far more than the number of people who had ever voted for Morsi. But, unlike the President of any normal democracy, he refused to go, or even seek a renewed mandate through new elections – confirming to many that the Muslim Brotherhood were just using the new democracy in Egypt to establish a theocracy.
In a situation like this, the last line of defense for democracy is the army. They alone have the power to re-start the democratic process and, by (very) popular demand and with due notice, the army did step in and remove the former President – to the absolute delight and relief of MOST Egyptians!
Weapons brought to the Rabaa sit-in by civilians
In the past six weeks the Muslim Brotherhood has occupied a number of public spaces, to demonstrate for the reinstatement of the former President (currently being held by the army and facing charges related to abuse of power, including substantial material and intelligence support to Hamas).
Unlike the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square by demonstrators in January 2011, and again at the end of June 2013, these Muslim Brotherhood occupations were dominated by calls for violence against the army, the police, the liberals and, specifically, the Coptic Christians in Egypt – all resulting in the violence witnessed on August 14th, when police stations, hospitals, private and public property were destroyed. Many Christian churches (at least 40 so far), homes and businesses were also attacked, as well as a monastery, three religious societies, three key bookshops belonging to the Bible Society in Egypt, three Christian schools and an orphanage.
The Coptic Orthodox Pope, HH Tawadrous II made a statement about the attacks on churches this week, saying that “this had been expected and, as Egyptians and Christians, we are considering our church buildings as a sacrifice to be made for our beloved Egypt”. Other church leaders have made similar statements, stressing that church buildings don’t make the Church but the Church is the Body of Christ, made of people who have their faith in Him, and that is getting stronger as it passes through these challenging times.
Children pray in church after arsonists burned it
It is also important and encouraging to note that some Muslims went to protect churches and that, in return, many Christians then sent messages to their fellow Muslim citizens saying, “Buildings can be rebuilt again, but you are priceless, so stay safe, and don’t worry about the churches”. And the Egyptian government also announced today that the State would take the financial responsibility for the rebuilding of damaged churches.
The Muslim Brotherhood have been, and remain very effective in portraying themselves as the victims to the media, pointing to how Morsi had been “democratically” elected and that the army “coup” was a major setback to the country’s democratic progress. They have known what buttons to push with the Western press and this seems to be the version that most of the World is hearing – but it is not a version of truth that resonates with the vast majority of Egyptians.
Message on a southern Egyptian home reads, “Love your enemies. We will pray fervently.”
And, while the loss of life these past few days has been most regrettable it has not only been Muslim Brotherhood supporters that have died, and there has been scant reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to destabilize Egypt, its calls for violence against the government and its supporters; and there has been a total lack of reporting concerning weapons that the Brotherhood had in the camps and used against the army as it sought to dismantle the sit-ins.
In closing, can I ask for your prayers for this important country – the largest in the Arab World, with the largest Christian Community in the Middle East.
Please pray that:
* The current violence will end soon
* The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
* There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
* Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
* Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country
Dr. Ascott (left) with Dan Wooding and SAT-7 staff member Rita, after recent radio interview
For more information, find out how SAT-7’s television programs are ministering to Egyptians by browsing the News Page athttp://www.sat7usa.org/news-and-events
To listen to Dan Wooding’s recent interview with Dr. Ascott and other SAT-7 team members, please go to: http://www.assist-ministries.com/FrontPageRadio/FPR08.25.13SAT7TeamMono.mp3
This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
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Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old
Look I am about to do something new;
Even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:17 -19 (HCSB)
Scripture From Hugs, Daily inspirations
To be free, to reign in life is His purpose for each, together; whatever that means, wherever.
For so many the past hangs like a sour note over the song of their lives. The now, the future and relationships that could be and are, are warped by pain and incredible losses.
How does a person break the shackles that bind in darkness deep within, alienating from God and our fellows?
How does a person walk away from that darkness within?
How does a person open up those locked doors of hidden secrets deep within the caverns of the inner person?
Now these are the eternal questions that demand an answer; none are exempt, except of course if you are young and inexperienced; the young have all the answers and insights, so they think.
Life has not been easy for me these last twenty five years. Great Job-ian losses of family, home, property subdivision, friends, reputation, finances, work and ministry. Broken within, loneliness tore my soul apart, hope went out the window. With it my natural jolly demeanour. Survival through each and every day became the slugging reality stepping through the mud and mire of an existence without much love and affection in a loveless marriage that broke my heart. Head down, simply I did what I had to as a single parent for my children, for their welfare. There was no joy, no peace but a void of nothingness, a deadness that consumed my soul; that made me less a man; the dark one tore the good from within, trampled it under the weight of his oppression.
God did not seem to be there.
Truly the people of God were not there; their Job comforter approach certainly was. Theological rightness proclaimed over me more times than I could count provided cold comfort. Where was God? It seemed not in His people…. But where was that warm embrace from those who called their name Christian? Why didn’t His people care and share? God where are you? Fortunate I knew in the mess and brokenness He existed. I am fortunate I have two good friends more than most. That is not the complaint. My weeping has been for His dysfunctional Body that neither understands their importance to each other nor desires to walk life His way; in other words hypocrisy. The proclamation is one thing but allegiance is given to organisations, to man, to ambition, to self promotion to another authority in our lives than Him. It is business as usual doing what has always been done. The business precludes the astounding possibility of Jesus love happening; being there for one another as the Scriptures say in love, prayer, bearing burdens etc. The draw-bridge of society’s values of privacy, self-gratification, entitlement, self comfort, greed and un-involvement isolates from the pain of reality of those in our sphere of influence. Simply we refuse to engage, to love one another as He loves.
We become good at ‘supposedly’ praying for one another to ensure there is no need to enter into the others pain; that is too costly, too time consuming in a society that is time poor and over stressed with over-activities; the dark one’s agenda to make God’s people irrelevant and ineffective. Jesus’s love costs and He assured us all will be rewarded according to the cup of water, the visiting in prison and compassion that is His heart.
Whom do you serve?
Now back to the Scripture. He spoke those words of Isaiah to me, re-igniting hope. With it came a peace from time to time massaging my bruise, broken soul. The spirit ignited a lost dream, a lost hope gently wafting my suspicion and uncertainty. In the midst of disillusionment, disconnectedness, distraction, distraught and dire circumstances God comes; gradually He restores the years the locust has eaten, the wilderness has consumed. You find you are on the arm of the Beloved as you are being led out of the wilderness. God Himself is here.
In the wilderness I learnt a lot of important lessons; that who I was, was not who I was in the eyes of God. He saw me differently. What was, was not necessarily what God wanted nor planned by Him. Character was, is important to Father, more important than my comfort, my prosperity and my dreams. Character formed in the furnace of affliction produces a quality distinctly different from a life without the intense heat of the purifying suffering. There are many important ‘revelations’ received in the wilderness on the way to the Throne room. Abraham, Moses, David and countless others endured the ‘wilderness’ journey, as did Jesus. As have I.
Satan’s agenda with Job, as it is with us is to destroy trust in the Father, the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth; to reduce us to ineffectiveness through isolating the human heart from intimate friendship with the Father. Most who call themselves Christians are dwelling in the wilderness viewing the cloud, reaping the benefits of the cloud of His Presence believing that is all there is to their faith and spirituality; they are content with a relationship of distance when more is available. Moses, the friend of God enjoyed what few have, many crave for,
Father’s agenda is to bring us close; a place where enjoyment of companionship regardless what this world, the flesh and the devil throws at us is our normal daily experience. In that place Father produces in us character, a trust in the midst of suffering and pain, a hope beyond what is happening. There He takes us beyond mere doctrinal correctness, an obsession with being right to a place where rightness thrives within us, the place of love. Yes regardless, we are right in Christ before His eyes because of the work of Jesus of Nazareth on the Cross, his Resurrection and ascension being seated by the Father.
Unfortunately much in this temporal dimension tears from the human heart the good Christ has for us, in us and from among us.
Besmirching the character of God Satan taints the saints with “God doesn’t care” or “God Is unable” thus thrusting the human soul into the arena of independence from God, the original sin. Life becomes replacing relationship with ‘what we can do’ to fill the God void within. Many Christian clergy are guilty of this dynamic; aspirations of love replaced by determined exertion to prove significance and competence in the world of work Once severed from God in the heart the declaration of the human spirit is “if God can’t I will”; enter the Old Covenant of self effort, the wilderness stands before such; a hard but a wonderful place to be. God will use the wilderness to bring back those loved into an ever-closer intimate relationship with Him; as He did with Job. Job was not left to his resources even though he and his friends believed it was so; God ever mindful watched over him.
I love those words of Job, “I know You can do everything……. I knew so much about You but now I know You. I have seen You” Job 42:2 & 5 (my rendition after years of meditation and research).
The past need not rob us of a future with God.
He makes all things new.
There are big problems for Western society Christians in their experience of God. He does not intend the loneliness and the alienation from Him and from one another to be the norm. Twenty first century Western culture has severe impediments to every day health and well being producing disease, severe medical conditions, broken families and dysfunctional relationships.
The disappointments of the past invade our souls creating illusions keeping many from dialogue with Father. If we will boldly stare at the past contemplating His truth with a preparedness to hear honestly the past, lifting our eyes to Heaven, respite, hope and a trickle of fearful trust may just enter the soul. As the Holy Spirit’s revelation surfaces in our awareness, a dialogue between the Divine and a human begins. His Divine revelation seeps into the soul from the spirit; there the human is confronted with a choice, change through acknowledging His revealed wisdom as He sees us and what happened or to maintain our inner rage, no matter how quiet. If in humility the knees are bow, the hands are open saying “Be it unto me according to Your will” then the choice is to “Hear His voice now” then His pervading Presence accomplishes what we cannot. Then I have found His ‘shalom’ (uninterrupted peace that produces wholeness) brings a tranquility within my spirit, within my being as I have turned to Him and submitted to His insights and directions. On the pathway there are many signposts, junctions of decisions to other places or to return to the known, the true and the tried, the way back to Egypt . The Children of Israel in the wilderness had ten such decisions. Yet they persisted in not ‘trusting’ but lusting after what they wanted; at times a way back to Egypt.
For me, I want out of this long wilderness journey into His promises, His closeness.
I am coming out of the wilderness on the arm of my Beloved declaring
I proclaim the name of the Lord:
I ascribe greatness to my God
He is the Rock
His work is perfect
For all His ways are justice
A god of truth and without injustices
Righteous and upright is He
Deut 32: 3 &4
To change, there is the need to look at our past with new eyes. He has never left us, will never leave us. He is there for us. We cannot change what has happened but there is the chance to become free from the tentacles of memories that cause such pain. Yes things did not work out the way I wanted. God is still God, in heaven, in me and in this world.
Brother Job suffered incredible lost. As he journeyed through his suffering, grief and pain deep called to deep; tearing the comfort, the familiar, the expected from him. In so doing Job questioned his existence, life itself but more importantly God. He found God was not afraid of any question he had to ask. Indeed God had some very penetrating questions for Job to answer. While Job attempted to make sense of what happened, God’s concern was otherwise, the man He held in high esteem . God encountered Job, this righteous man who God said “there was none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and shuns evil”. His way out was humility and forgiveness; humility because he listened and prostrated himself before his Maker in abject deference. Forgiveness as he saw his errors of expectation and assumptions of how God was dealing with him.
Prostrate yourself before the Maker of all the Earth in holy worship proclaiming He is a God of faithfulness we accept what was without rancor, resentment or bitterness, knowing today is His day with me, and the future regardless of what it holds will be with and in God.
“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers.” -Isaiah 65:24
The Family Prayer of Blessings (Song of Songs, Malachi, 1 Chron. 4: 9 -10 and Psalms 91)
As a single parent I have prayed this prayer daily over my two children, my son Joshua as he was in Afghanistan in the army and for my daughter Kailia as she has gone to many nations taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as she goes to work in Africa amongst the poor, the outcast and the disadvantaged. If you find this helpful, peace and blessings as you bless your families and those you love.
“O Father that you would bless and redeem my family restoring righteousness, purity, holiness and faith to trust You in all our days, separating us unto Your ways.
Father that You would Bless Joshua, Kailia and their spouses to be, their families and their extended families and myself indeed, mightily, magnificently, and extravagantly in every area of our lives; expanding us to grow in You together.
Father, turn the hearts of the fathers, the mothers and our children to be one in You Lord Jesus; where there is estrangement turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children’s hearts to the fathers lest You strike the earth or our nation with a curse
Teach us Lord Jesus to love as You loved, that the gifts You have given to each of us may build Your household, as we together, Your community love one another mightily, magnificently, and extravagantly
That we would dwell in the secret place, abiding in You the Most High; the Almighty dwelling in us as we lean upon the arm of our Beloved as we come out of the wilderness
Open our hearts to know You love us and Your desire is toward us
Jesus, that You would cause us all to take refuge under your wings and that You would cover us, our persons, our families and our dwellings and keep us safe from every perilous pestilences and every weapon and agenda of man, the world, the flesh and the Devil
That You who are the Truth would be our shield and the hedge around us from every evil of delusion, denial, deception, slander, gossip, and lying accusation; that we may not be caught in the web of judging one another and speaking of one another unrighteously
That the ways and works of men will cease and each would yield to you
That we may love one another mightily, magnificently, and extravagantly in our foibles, failings, fallacies and even faithlessness
That you would give Your strong guardian Angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways, that they would bear us up in their hands lest we even dash our foot against a stone
That you would enlarge our territory and restore to us all that is lost in every area of our lives
That Your hand would be with us for good so that our lives would be for good to those around us
That You would keep us from evil and You would keep evil from us
Father teach us to tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent trampling them under foot in Christ Jesus
That we would set our love upon You, seeking You with all our hearts, forsaking all else honouring You in every word, thought and deed
That we may cause no pain or hurt to anyone or anything; walking in wisdom, understanding and knowing You
That we may speak the Truth to each other in Love, honouring one another and preferring one another, caring for one another and sharing all we have one with the other, that His Body may be nourished and nurtured as He intended; edifying itself in Love
That we Your people, Your Family may be joined and knit together in ‘koinonia’ and ‘agape’ by what each provides, effectively working together as each does its share
Restore Your Community of love to nurture and to nourish Your people that we may lay our lives down one for the other,
That we in the midst of Life may always turn to You in our hearts, deliver us, set us free to honour You mightily, magnificently, and extravagantly, that with long life You would satisfy us as we walk in You and the Holy Spirit.
DIGITAL AGE ‘CHURCH’ – WELL WHAT SOME THINK CHURCH IS!
From my mate Graeme Cooksley in Townsville and Bessie Pereira (Oikos) in Melbourne
Digital age church:
PASTOR: Praise the Lord.
PASTOR: Can we please turn our Tablet PC, iPad, Cellphone, Kindle Bibles to 1 Cor. 13:13….! And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon…. !
PASTOR: Let us pray committing this week into God’s hands. Open your WhatsApp, BBM, Twitter and Facebook and chat with your God. Come on…
PASTOR: Please have your credit and debit cards ready as we shall now take tithes and offerings. You can log on to the church Wi-If using the password Lord321177.
[Ushers circulate mobile card swipe machines among the worshipers]. Those who prefer to make electronic funds transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the church and those who prefer to use iPads allowed to flip them open.
Those who prefer telephone banking are allowed to take out their cellphones to transfer their contributions to the church bank account! The holy atmosphere is truly electric as cellphones, iPads, PCs and laptops beep and flicker! [Announcement]
SECRETARY: This week’s cell meetings shall be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place. Please don’t miss out.
Thursday’s bible teachings will be held live on
Skype at 1900hrs GMT. Please don’t miss out.
You can follow Pastor on Twitter this weekend for counselling and prayers.
God bless you, and have a wonderful week end!
THE QUESTION IS “WHAT IS CHURCH? ”
We act like this because ‘church’ is so perverted in our understanding, so demeaned in our thinking many no longer ca see out of the rut traditions and religion has placed them in.
Many go to ‘church’ but never experience Church as He meant us to be.
Attending a meeting on the weekend is not what church is! Listening to sermons no matter how well crafted becomes spoon feeding for passive pew sitters after a while