Do we want to use natural disasters as an excuse to judge people, or do we want to use them as a catalyst to spark Christian action, helping those we do not know?
The topic from The Daily Post today is a tough one. Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Why or why not? It’s a tough topic to look at, as a Christian.
See, as Christians, we believe that we have free will – God gave us free will, which led to the fall of man, and the need for Jesus to come to forgive all our sins. Yet, God is all-knowing, and all-powerful, and knows what we are thinking before we even think it. So does that change things, for although we have free will, God knows what we’re going to do before we do it.
There are also Christians who believe that God is an interventionist God – basically meaning he is still active and changing things in the world, and others who don’t. I tend to lean towards the non-interventionist God in a way, believing that he’s still active in our lives, but not controlling such things as the weather. This would not sit comfortably with those Christians who believe that the floods in Queensland were a message from God.
So, do things happen for a reason? Yes and no. Some things happen because we cause them – cause and effect. I know that if I pour a beer over someone, I’m likely to get punched in the face. Or if I help someone out who’s struggling with something, I’m likely to get warm fuzzies. However, somethings happen because it’s the way the world is designed, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t stop the wind blowing, the rain raining, or the sun shining (although sometimes I wish its UV was a little less potent to my skin). What we can do is control how we react to these situations. Do we want to use natural disasters as an excuse to judge people, or do we want to use them as a catalyst to spark Christian action, helping those we do not know?
Thankfully, I’m not someone who gets stressed out very often. I’m fairly relaxed in my disposition, so things that might stress other people out don’t generally stress me out. I just go with the flow.
That’s not to say that I haven’t been stressed out before. The 6 month period at the beginning of last year when I was searching for a job was particularly stressful. Getting constant rejections, running out of time before my wedding, and more, it got very stressed.
I also got stressed towards the end of this year as I started to work on the directory for the Uniting Church. Having never done anything like this before, and knowing it was such a big project, it was getting me stressed out as to whether I would have enough time to get it done. I even chose to take the train for a work trip to Kalgoorlie that I have coming up, so that I could have an extra 14 hours to work on it. However, once I actually started working on getting the layout done, and working in access, I got it working fine in no time and am now trying to figure out what I’m going to do on my 14 hour return train ride.
So am I stressed right now? No – because I’ve just finished a nice little break, and go back to work today (for a day, then a three-day weekend). Are you stressed? What’s some of your techniques for dealing with stress?
I’ve been reading my bible again, and going through the book of Job. I’d gone into this book with the assumption of knowing what happens. Job, an upstanding and outstanding man of God, is tested by God and Satan, when Satan causes a whole heap of bad stuff to happen to him. Job goes on a kind of “Woe is me, woe is this, woe is that” spiel for a while, and eventually God appears and explains what happened. Probably not quite right, but that was my understanding of it, not having read the book before. Continue reading “God Forgets”
At the end of a Songsters rehearsal last night, I was asked from a musical perspective what I think of the Songsters. The Songsters is the Salvation Army choir, and it’s very different to any choir I’ve sung in before. However, there is a wealth of music there that fulfills me Musically, Lyrically and Spiritually. Continue reading “Count Your Blessings”
I found this blog while looking at blogs for work (what a wonderful part of my job) and I thought it was fantastic. It’s a theme that has been hashed out in different formats through different people at different times and basically proposes the question: Would Jesus fit in at our church? Would he be the type of person to fit in at any church? Are church structures too strict sometimes and do we lose our perspective?
When I read this out at my bible study tonight, someone else got me thinking on this. God is too vast, and too immeasurable, too infinite to fit into our churches. He is also someone who judges what the audience wants, what they desire, and gives them what they truly needs. Like in this post, He gets sent to the youth church, where the pastor thinks he’ll fit in – and then changes and gives them something different. Then sent somewhere else based on this latest change, and he changes once again. Each time, he upsets many people, and leaves many people asking questions. All the time, he affects people’s lives, often in ways they do not expect.
Do our churches need to look past our traditions (which are often done because someone once did it for a certain reason, and a church did it ever after), and start looking at what our church – and more importantly, our communities – truly needs?
On 07/06/2010, at 3:34 PM, Pastor@BelmontCommunityChurch.org wrote: Dear Jesus, I have been praying that you are sensing God’s presence during this difficult week for us all. Last night the Church board and I held an emergency meeting and I am writing to inform you that we have come to a difficult decision. Writing this email is one of the hardest things that I have had to do at my time here at Belmont Community Church. Before I tell you of our d … Read More
Tonight, I went to an Emmaus gathering where the special guest was Bill Harper, National Lay Director of Chrysalis and Emmaus in Australia. He had lots of interesting things to say, but one that particularly caught my mind was one where he talked about the split within Emmaus, and within the Church at large. Continue reading “Division of Labour”
In my morning coffee time, I follow the form ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication – in my prayers. This morning, I was in the confession part of the form, and I used the group confession that is used in the Liturgy of the Anglican Church. Continue reading “Confession”
I went to Chrysalis over the weekend – it’s a three-day non-denominational Christian retreat for young adults that I’ve been involved with for a number of years. At the end of the weekend, I was exposed to an idea that I absolutely love – having Coffee with God. Continue reading “Coffee with God”
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—’God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:
Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.