Thursday Thought – Good

10 04 2009

I think the word “good” has been diluted.

When I was a kid in english class, if I used the word good, I would get in trouble for not being imaginative enough. There are better words to use than “good”. It’s a pretty lame way of describing something positive.

But I think good is just suffering from overuse. When you look at how the word “good” has been used in the past, you can see it’s actually pretty powerful.

For example, when God created the world, he looked at it and described it as (very) GOOD.

When someone called Jesus good, he said GOOD was a word that should only be used to describe God.

And how about GOOD Friday? The day when 2000 years ago, Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified and suffered the ultimate punishment in our place. He was punished so we don’t have to be. This is a GOOD day.

How good is the word GOOD?!?

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Thursday Thought – Part-time Ministry

5 03 2009

This Thursday, I’m sharing some of my own thoughts and looking for some of yours.

I’m thinking about the concept of “Part-time Ministry”. That is, being trained in and involved in pastoral ministry for a few days a week whilst supporting yourself financially with secular work on the other days.

On the one hand, this seems like a great idea. Many ministry minded lay people already spend a large chunk of their free time in ministry work. Going part time would only increase this opportunity. Also, being self supporting would mean these ministers would not be a burden on a church and would have an extra level of flexibility relative to someone employed by the church. It would mean that they could maintain relationships with people who don’t know Jesus in the work-force and have excellent opportunities to tell people the gospel within their paid work.

It also could provide a perfect entry point to someone who is contemplating committing their lives to full-time ministry, but who doesn’t feel entirely ready to take the plunge and cut all ties with their work.

On the other hand, why bother? Living in Sydney we have a great opportunity for ministers to be fully employed in ministry whilst still earning a good wage. If ministry is so important then really, shouldn’t you be devoting ALL your time to it? And anyone who has tried to balance multiple part-time activities would tell you that it’s incredibly difficult to leave one behind when you try to work on the other. There are people here at my work who only work 3 days a week, only get paid for 3 days a week, but are sometimes in here for 5!

Maybe this whole part-time thing is just an excuse to try and keep a foot in both camps? Perhaps it just shows a lack of courage to commit yourself to full-time ministry? (Don’t necessarily believe that – just arguing it!) Having a part-time person on a ministry team could be a worry. How do you know they are not going to ring up tomorrow and say “can’t come in – somethings come up at my ‘real’ job”? Will they really be committed if it’s not their whole life aim to build up a church?

On balance, there may be room in Sydney for just this sort of ministry opportunity. Maybe even as a short term thing before eventually committing to full-time work or ministry. I think it has some potential. But the feeling that I get is that it’s not encouraged. Am I right? Is this seen as a bad idea? Is it more than just the things I’ve listed above?

What do you think? Is this a wonderful opportunity that could greatly expand the harvest? Or is it a selfish attempt for someone to have the best of both worlds? Or something else?





Knowing Jesus

7 01 2009

We had a lovely dinner last night with a Christian couple from downstairs in our building.

They had an interesting journey in their Christian lives. They had spent many years at the Anglican church down the road, then they had spent 8 years doing missional work for another denomination in outback NSW and since returning had spent time at a few churches around Sydney: Anglican, Presbyterian and most recently a Salvation Army church.

We discussed what a church was, how church was done, what were the strengths and weaknesses of various churches and the need for evangelism.

We concluded that nothing is more important than knowing Jesus.

It was great! Knowing Jesus, being united to others who know Jesus and desiring to have others get to know Jesus.





Near Death Experiences

17 10 2008

The Today show this morning had a segment about near death experiences.

They had a doctor of anthropology talking about studies in near-death experiences, what people have seen on the “other side”, how this differs across cultures, etc.

But what he said at the end was most interesting to me. He has had a near death experience of his own. He says he experienced painlessness and fearlessness and he was able to travel through time. It was a positive, life-changing experience and now he has nothing to fear.

“I am a good man, I’ve lived a good life, I’ve faced death and I know that it’s ok!”

Really?

Do you think we can really have an understanding of things “outside” our world or our lives by observing from within?

If we studied what a million different people said they saw whilst having a near-death experience we may come up with a million different answers. Who’s to say which is the “truth”?

But there must be a “truth”…

Maybe the only way to know for sure is for someone from outside our lives and our creation to come in and tell us how it is.

Maybe then we can get an understanding of what happens after we die, whether we are ready for that and what we can do now to be prepared if we are not.