Tag Archives: CITB

Are you a Pharisee?

22 Oct

As yet another politician fell by the wayside recently because his private life did not match up with his wholesome public persona I was reminded yet again of Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees.  Everyone who has read the Bible knows that the Pharisees are the bad guys of the Gospel story.  They were the ones who hated Jesus and certainly Jesus reserved his harshest criticisms for them.  As a result, it is easy to condemn the Pharisees for their cold religion and hypocrisy.  However, even as I read about their failings, I fear that if I am honest the spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well in my heart.

Jesus’ major problem with the Pharisees was their hypocrisy.  They put on a show of religion, ostentatiously obeying all the laws and fulfilling all the important religious obligations, however, their godliness was only on the outside.  They were not willing to admit their sinfulness.  The outward appearance was white but their hearts were black.  As a result they refused to listen to Jesus.  Jesus famously said that he had come to heal the sick not the healthy.  Jesus’ message of salvation was for the sinner, not for the righteous.  Continue reading

Hymns: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

21 Oct

At Church in the Bank we love to sing hymns. Hymns are a rich heritage of beautiful theological truth combined with moving and memorable melodies. I think we would miss a lot if we didn’t sing them, and if we didn’t take time to think about their words. So, let’s have a think about Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, a hymn written to the grace that we are given in Jesus. This is the first of three blog posts – one on each verse (that is commonly sung today – there are other verses that have dropped out of use).

Come Thou fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy unchanging love

This verse is a prayer of orientation Continue reading

Praying in small groups

20 Oct

[This post is courtesy of Col Marshall, posted on The Briefing 22nd November 1994.]

If there is one sure-fire prayer point in small groups, it’s praying that God will make us more prayerful! Everyone believes in prayer; everyone recognizes that we need to pray more, but everyone has trouble making it a priority. Put it down to the bustle of 90s life, or simply to sinful, independent hearts—either way, we can always find something which is more pressing a task than speaking to God in prayer.

Prayer ruts

Most Christian groups pray. Most Christian groups easily drift into prayer ruts. Our times of prayer become hurried intercessions, a quick vote of thanks at the end of the Bible study, prayers for the sick or ‘those who aren’t with us’, or general prayers for more love and peace. Of course, these are all great things to pray for, but we usually end up praying for them by default, because we don’t put in the time and effort to think about what to pray. Continue reading

Acts – Ends of the Earth

16 Oct

Thanks to those guys who put in questions out of my sermon on Acts 1 on Sunday night.  Here are my thoughts on a couple of them:

 1. Is it wrong to keep re-translating the bible? Some would argue we’re twisting Gods word.

I take it this is more a question in the light of our move to the Holman translation at church.  Though it is relevant to Acts also, because we saw that it is the Apostles witness in the New Testament that points us to Christ.

The short answer is, no it isn’t wrong to keep translating the Bible, In fact we need to keep doing it.  The Bible was originally given by God in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) with a little bit in Aramaic.  So, if we want to read it we need to do one of two things: learn those ancient languages or rely on a translation by people who know those languages.  But the thing is that over time our own language changes.  Some words mean different things in English than they did 300 or even 30 years ago.  So once in a while we need to look at a new translation.

More than that, sometimes people have different reading abilities.  So it is appropriate to have different translations.  The key point though is that even if translations might differ over the most accurate way to translate a particular word, none of the core message of the Bible is ever in dispute.  So while I might recommend the Holman translation I am happy for anyone to read the NIV, ESV, NRSV, NASB etc As long as we read the Bible in a language we can understand!

 (You might also like to see my earlier article on why we are moving to the Holman)

 

2. What about when others are referred to as apostles in the NT?

Great question.  I made the point that there are no more Apostles after the 12 (including Matthias) and then Paul.  They are the ones entrusted by Jesus with the incredible task of being witnesses to him of what they heard and saw Jesus do and teach.  However, there is a reference to Barnabas as an ‘Apostle’ in Acts 14:14 and he is not one of the 12?  How does that work?

This comes about because the word ‘apostle’ refers to someone who has been sent.  In that sense there are lots of apostles, as many people are sent for specific jobs.  In Acts 13:1-4 Barnabas and Paul are sent by their church and the Holy Spirit for a specific mission.  That is the sense that they are referred to as apostles in Acts 14:14 – men sent to preach Jesus.  In that sense we have lots of apostles (with a little a) but the point is that there no more Apostles (with a capital) who are explicitly sanctioned and given authority by Jesus.

Phil Colgan

‘What it means to be God’s man’

12 Oct

Recently the guys at SNAC met together to enjoy some great food and fellowship. Tim Booker joined them to discuss and challenge the guys on the idea of ‘What it means to be God’s man’.

Check out some of the great things the guys had to say about the night below …

What did you think of the night?

Rob: It was very encouraging to be challenged again to be a christian man, to take initiavtive and to stand firm in this world.

Tim: I found tonight to be a real challenge – but a good one!

What are some of the biggest challenges facing christian men seeking to live a godly life?

Greg: Consistency, it is very difficult to remain consistent within this world

Pete: I would have to say breaking out of the comfort mold that we like to live in within Australia

What can you and your christian brothers do to help eachother live as ‘christian warriors’ in this sinful world?

Eddie: To continually pray for each other and look into God’s word and rely on that as our guide

Cam: To combat this sinful world Christian guys must be comrades. We’ve got to bite the bullet and open up to one another. We need to share our victories and our battles. We need to read God’s word and pray together. We need to be more like a Band of Brothers than a lone ranger; more like the A-Team than James Bond.

What was your biggest take away from tonight?

Tom: That as a Christian guy I need to focus on fulfilling a mans duty under God

James: To not to be lazy and just sit at home

Adam: To be a man for God who is willing to take his stand and do his duty

The Return of The King – Ryan’s Sermon Blog (Part Four)

11 Oct

This is the fourth and final installment of the ‘Return of the King’ Sermon series blog posts. 

Q:  [From Matthew 25:31-46] As Christians, and with realities that people don’t know Christ and are ultimately going to hell, how can we rationalise having time to ourselves, just relaxing having fun?

 

I struggle with this one and I don’t think I’ve thought it through enough. However here are some initial thoughts. We live in a society that is basically hedonistic (a hedonist strives to maximize pleasure) in form i.e. life is all about ‘me’ time and having fun. We worship through relaxing and enjoyment and making sure that the ‘I’ is entertained. Some people simply work during the week so that they can do this on weekends. Whole industries have sprung up to help us in this worship; economies have come to be shaped by it. The world of the eternal weekend – can there be anything better? Continue reading

Time to get a new Bible!

9 Oct

Over the next couple of weeks we will be moving to a new Bible translation for our public reading in church – the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Our faith stands or falls on the trustworthiness of the Bible. The Bible is the inspired word of God and accordingly, it is our final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The Bible is the centre because God speaks through his word.

We have to remember though that the original versions of the Bible weren’t in English. What we have are translations from the original languages of Greek and Hebrew. There are literally hundreds of English translations. Some of them are really concerned to be word for word accurate. Others are more concerned to be readable in modern English. As a result they sometimes paraphrase things to make it readable. However, often that means they have to make a decision about what something means rather than just using the words that the original uses. Continue reading