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Category Archives: General

Learn more about Morling at Oxygen14

Morling College is one of the sponsors at Oxygen14. Morling has the distinction of being the largest provider of Theological Distance Education in Australia. In addition there are a variety of full time and part time on campus study options. Whether you just want to dip your toe in the water with a short certificate or diploma, prepare for vocational Christian service or enter academia, Morling can help equip you.

If you’re at Oxygen14 this week, stop by the Morling College booth for some more information on the next steps to take towards improving your impact on the world.

 
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Posted by on 05/08/2014 in General

 

Oxygen14 Sponsor’s Flying High

KCC’s Oxygen is an Australian national interdenominational ministry conference for anyone in Christian service. Their objective is to refresh those in ministry as they refresh each other and continue in the work of the gospel.

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Among the sponsors represented at Oxygen14 is the Australian Defence Force Chaplains. I spoke briefly with Kevin Russell who has 26 years experience as an Airforce Chaplain and Troy White who has been in his role for 18 months. Both were ordained / accredited ministers with pastoral experience before joining the Airforce as Chaplains. That experience helped prepare them for their current service, although that was just the beginning.

Part of being a defence force chaplain is complete immersion in the context of military life. That includes 18 weeks of basic training as well as being on the move to where ever posted. That might include a training base or it might be in a theatre of war or alongside peace keeping forces.

One of the main distinctions from regular “civilian” ministry is that a defence force chaplain is serving among a predominantly secular context with people without a faith background.

The pressures on family life are akin to those of regular defence force members, so chaplaincy makes for an immense challenge. But, as Jesus said, “great Is the reward.” Besides that, if you’re an Airforce Chaplain, Troy exclaimed, “We’ve got the jets!”

Enquiries about serving as a defence force chaplain: Australian Defence Force Jobs (this is the Airforce link)

Those with Anglican ordination can also go to: Defence Anglicans website

 
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Posted by on 04/08/2014 in General

 

Hidden In Plain Sight

AG:

My recent post on the ‘Reading the Bible in 3D’ blog.

Originally posted on readingthebiblein3d:

dolphinsby Albert Garlando

Having read the Bible through many times over many years in many different ways I’ve always been trying to improve my comprehension of how, if at all, the whole story fits together. And not just in a systematic or logical way, but in the sense of how it teaches me about who God is, why he acts the way he does and what, if anything, I’m meant to do in response. One can dismiss it as a haphazard sedimentation of religious manipulation collected to control the masses or pacify the minorities, but that doesn’t explain the impact it has had across diverse (and often opposed) cultures and social groups throughout history.

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Posted by on 28/03/2014 in General

 

John the Baptist – Doubting Prophet or Provocateur

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During my study prep for a sermon from Luke 7, I had a bit of to and fro with Mike Bull about the structure of the passage and where it fits in both the flow of Luke’s narrative and the unfolding covenantal history of the New Testament history books (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts).

The literary structure of the Bible works like a fractal. Layers within layers or if you prefer to use the language of Ezekiel, wheels within wheels. And just like those funky 3D pictures from the 90’s, once you see the pattern you can’t un-see it. God is the greatest architect and the Bible is his handiwork. God also is a covenant maker. He reveals himself, explains how he will relate to men, gives his word (law, commands, promises), explains the consequence of accepting/obeying versus rejecting/disobeying it (blessings, curses, rewards) and then provides for the means for the next generation to inherit the promises and blessings.

Covenantally that looks like this:

Transcendence
       Hierarchy
               Ethics
       Sanctions
Succession

So what? Structurally, the first part of Luke’s gospel (4:14-9:50 after the intro and preamble) concerns the identity of Jesus. Who is he? Covenantally, that’s a role of hierarchy – i.e. how will the God who reveals himself relate to men, how and in whom will he visit his people to help them? So throughout this section of Luke, there are accounts of people interacting with Jesus and determining the answer to “Who are you?” Using a variety of mostly miraculous acts, Luke demonstrates Jesus is the one who has come from God and is the one to follow. The narrative has an interplay between these acts and the reactions and responses of the crowds and more particularly the leading disciples who will (later) become the primary witnesses of Jesus to the Church.

Luke used John the Baptist in his introduction (1:1-4:13) to act as an announcer (A.K.A. a prophet!). Now, midway through the next section, John shows up again, (7:18-35) in a similar role, with a slightly different approach – so it seems. Often described as doubtful and struggling, in a way similar to his Old Testament counterpart, Elijah; I think John is acting in that way, but, there’s a lot more to his role than merely a doubter that the modern reader can identify with and get some sort of consolation or excuse for their dissonance.

John’s role in sending the questions to Jesus helps fill out the answer to the “Who are you?” of this section of Luke. John is already convinced that Jesus is the Priestly King (i.e. the Messiah who will anoint his people with the Holy Spirit of God.) What remains is to confirm that Jesus is also the prophet who is going to inaugurate the new covenant. Jesus’ answer to him makes this plain and Jesus uses it as a teaching opportunity to awaken the crowd to something that John already understands but they don’t. When it comes to “Who is Jesus”, John sees him as King, Priest and Prophet. The people, with their fascination in his miraculous acts, are only seeing a powerful King. If they are going to commit to following Jesus, they need more than a King. They need the anointing empowerment of a priest and the direction of the prophet. John helps clarify the threefold role of Jesus. Jesus, proceeds in chapter 8, to lay down the prophets directions to his people: those that follow Jesus are those that put his words into practice.

When you ‘get that’ John becomes a provocateur among the Jews to agitate and incite them to realise Jesus full identity. It follows that if Jesus is really God’s final prophet, then why aren’t you listening to him and putting his words into practice? He who has ears to hear …

 
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Posted by on 22/07/2013 in General

 

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AG:

Conversations with Church friends often stay within polite and superficial boundaries. Yet, we know that when we are with the Church, of all places, we should be able to go a bit deeper and talk about genuine spiritual needs and help each other move towards godliness. What other helpful ways have you thought of to get yourself and others talking about something other than sport, politics or the weather?

Originally posted on andrewhong.net:

What are conversations like at church? are they encouraging – or superficial? do conversations at morning tea lead you to see the glory of God – or are they bland and predictable?

Fellowship is meant to do great things for us. It’s meant to encourage us, strengthen us, and fire up our love for God – but often the reality of our conversations falls far short, and that can leave us feeling alone and uncared for.

Lately I’ve been thinking about simple things that people can realistically do in conversation that contribute positively to the body life of the church. Here are the six things that I have come up with:

Ask about a situation you know about

“Hey, how have things been going with that guy from work you told me about? What’s happened?”

Maybe you know from a previous conversation how they have been struggling at home with…

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Posted by on 21/11/2012 in General

 

AG:

 

This article, originally by J. C. Ryle, is an excellent and practical approach to reading the Bible.

 

Originally posted on The J.C. Ryle Archive:

1.Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it; and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it , which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

2.Read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it. Do not think for a moment, that the great object is to turn over a certain quantity of printed paper, and that it matters nothing whether you understand it or not. Some ignorant…

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Posted by on 12/08/2012 in General

 

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