Another sad chapter for the Episcopal Church in America

“In 2004, Anglican leaders had asked the Episcopal Church for a moratorium on electing another gay bishop while they tried to prevent a permanent break in the fellowship.”

However, the Episcopal Church in America has recently decided to ignore the advice of their peers and they’re in the process of electing another gay person to a position of authority. [Reference – this article  … ]

I have no more of an interest in homosexuality, than I do, in: adultery, sex outside of marriage, theft, murder, dishonor of family, lies and dishonesty, etc, etc  – they are all examples of rebellion against God’s love, and  a general failure to love those ‘around us’. The current attitude of the Episcopal Church in USA – demonstrates a breakdown of  loyalty to God and His church, and a failure of true social justice. 

The question then is – can any person who follows Jesus – follow their example?

What are your views?

Preaching on Amos

I can recommend this sermon given by Pastor Richard Utber (Nowra Baptist Church). Pastor Richard addresses the issues raised in Chapter 6 and 7 of Amos. It’s about God’s judgment on the northern Kingdom of Israel – whose people were more interested in living the ‘good’ life; as God said: ” … you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.”  It sounds a warning message to us, in the western world: ours – is a time and place where many waste their life on ‘feasting and lounging’, to satisfy their own selfish desires.

Amos 6 (NLT): “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!

Go to Calneh and look at it; go from there to great Hamath, and then go down to Gath in Philistia. Are they better off than your two kingdoms? Is their land larger than yours?

You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror.

You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.

You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.

The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself – the LORD God Almighty declares: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.”

If ten men are left in one house, they too will die. And if a relative who is to burn the bodies comes to carry them out of the house and asks anyone still hiding there, “Is anyone with you?” and he says, “No,” then he will say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the LORD.” For the LORD has given the command, and he will smash the great house into pieces and the small house into bits.

Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness – you who rejoice in the conquest of Lo Debar and say, “Did we not take Karnaim by our own strength?”

For the LORD God Almighty declares, “I will stir up a nation against you, O house of Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.”

Amos 7 (NLT): “This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the second crop was coming up. When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the LORD relented. “This will not happen,” the LORD said.

This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: The Sovereign LORD was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”  So the LORD relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. 

“The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.”

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying: ” ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’ “

Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD. You say, ” ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the house of Isaac.’

“Therefore this is what the LORD says: ” ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will certainly go into exile, away from their native land.’ “

News reports – you don’t often see

I’ve heard that the number of Christians killed, in various countries, is increasing. I don’t have the means to verify the various news reports from Christian based organisations – but I do think these reports need to have wider coverage in the western media. What’s you view?

For example, I recently read this report: “Islamic extremists controlling part of the Somali capital of Mogadishu this month executed a young Christian they accused of trying to convert a 15-year-old Muslim to Christianity.
 
Members of the Islamic extremist group al Shabaab had taken 23-year-old Mumin Abdikarim Yusuf into custody on Oct. 28 after a 15-year-old boy reported him to the militants … Yusuf’s body was found on Nov. 14.  Before Yusuf was executed by two shots to the head, … there are reports that Yusuf’s body showed signs of torture; all of his front teeth were gone, and some of his fingers were broken. … “

Somali is a  country where the normal government procedures  used to maintain law and order,  have collapsed.

What is the western world’s answer to this type of situation?

Lack of content – where is Jesus?

I was just looking at a web-site in Sydney, which represents the interests of a major Christian denomination.

Here are the titles of some of the current articles, on their site: 

  1. Leaving a church badly
  2. Baptise those Babies!
  3. Too many ministry apprenticeships?
  4. The Gentleness of Scripture
  5. Jumping on the secular bandwagon
  6. Jingle all the pay!
  7. 30 web apps to do ministry on the cheap

Given the season – we are approaching – I just sometimes wonder about the priorities some people appear to have adopted. Have you read or seen anything of interest that may help us – rediscover Jesus, for Christmas?

Jesus All About Life – Campaign

I read in the December edition of the Southern Cross, that the recent Jesus All About Life (JAAL) campaign in New South Wales was reasonably successful. An analysis showed that over 80% of the people, polled in a survey, reported that they experienced the campaign in some form.  The TV advertisements were received with a ‘moderately positive’  response, by the gen Y age-group – one of main groups targeted by the campaign.

An interesting statistic was the number of unique visits that the JAAL website recorded – close to 150,000.  Personally, I think the number of visits would have been higher if there was more activity on the site – that is, better coverage of events and some reporting on various individual’s  reactions to the TV advertisements or church activities.

It’s good to know that the vast majority of people were positive about the campaign’s message. Yet, it’s somewhat sad that many churches appear to have returned to a ‘business, as usual’ stage – and work in the harvest field has resumed its ‘normal’ pace.