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Monday, 31 May 2010

Chess and the Bible No.1

In Chess there are levels of understanding and you must understand one level before you can progress to the next.

An example of his is in castling.*

1. A good trainer will encourage novice players to Castle early, on the King side, and place the King in a safer spot near the side of the chessboard. If they don’t they will loose a lot of games by their King being easily trapped in the middle.
2. A more developed player will be taught the importance of sometimes holding of on castling until it is clear which side it is safest to castle.
3. Later the more experience player will come to understand that castling can also be an important attacking move and to look for the right time to bring the Rook out from the side lines and into the centre where it can be more active.

There’s no point in trying to explain 2 or 3 to the novice player, they just don’t have the understanding necessary to apply those to their game. But the experienced player can never afford to forget 1, or they’ll find themselves with a King trapped in the middle when they least expect it. You must start with 1 and work your way up through the levels; it’s the only way to progress as a player. All chess trainers understand this need to start with the simple and build the level of the players understanding. They simply don’t last as trainers if they don’t.

There are similar levels in God’s Word.

1. New Christians (young or old) need to be taught to memorise verses, in particular key verses that help them understand their new faith.
2. More mature Christians need to learn how to see Bible verses in their context, that the verses that come before and after are important in understanding what is really being taught by a verse and in better understanding what God is saying to them through it.
3. Later the Christian should come to realise the need to incorporate their understanding of the Bible as a whole into their understanding of any single verse.

Like in chess, you cannot afford to skip 1 and go on to the higher levels. But unlike chess there seems to be a growing number of Bible teachers (trainers) who no longer feel that simple Scripture memorisation is needed. Like in chess, you need to start with 1 and work your way through the levels to only way to progress. But, unlike in chess, these trainers who do not teach this way seem to be able to last.

*Castling is the only move where two pieces are move and counted as one move. The King, which is in the middle jumps two squares to one side and the Rook (also know as the Castle) on that side jumps over it. It can only be done when neither piece has moved and there is nothing blocking the way.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Jesus: Heretic or Lunatic!

This is the title of my sermon this Sunday at Leichhardt Congregational Church. I comes from Mark Chapters 2 & 3.

In these chapters Jesus commits many heresies in the eyes of the religious authorities of the day like, claiming to be able to forgive sin, doing work on the Sabbath and hanging out with the wrong people. This is the heretic part of the title.

At the nd of chapter three Jesus' family show up to take him home because they thought he'd flipped his lid (Mark 3:21), hence the lunatic.

Of course Jesus was neither of these, but for those who would not believehim at the time, he had to be one or the other.

Now Jesus said that, if we followed Him, we would be treated the same way that he was (John 15:21). So, has anyone called you crazy lately, for being a follower of Jesus? Ever get perscecuted, or accused of heresy?

It doesn't seem to happen all that much to Christians living in Australia.

I really do often wonder why?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Are two year old boys human?

My two year old, Nathanael, does some interesting things. Like crawling on all four and trying to sound like both a dog and a cat at the same time, running up to me to give me a hug and deliberately head butting me between the legs, all with a great big smile, deciding to lay flat on the ground, while crossing a the road a a major intersection and refusing to move, trying to swim, breaststroke, on a path made of pebbles, stretching his arms out, owling, and spinning until he falls over, trying to fit himself in every cupboard and box in the house, pulling all the paper off the toilet role and coming to tell you what his done, etc. the list is eandless.

Yes, I know this all make him a normal two year old boy, which leads to the question, "Are two year old boys human?"

My daughter, when she was two, was never so strange. Yes, she did once sit facing a wall and repeatably bag her head against the wall while saying ouch every time, but that was only once. Nathanael has no problem doing similar things many times over.
So what drives two year boys to do what they do?
Is there some developmental benefit to all this?
Is it the sin nature shining through?
Is it an evolutionary throw back?
Are all two year old boys taken over by aliens for a year?

If you read this and have an answer, please, please, I need to know.

Well not really, but i would still love to hear your answer.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Religion is not a dirty word

Religion is not a dirty word
Religion is not a dirty word

Religion is not a dirty word

Don't you believe what you've seen or heard

I was a huge, but closet, fan of the skyhooks as a child, I'm still a huge fan. I was a closet fan as a child for two reasons,
1. Good Baptist kids, like me, were not supposed to listen to evil bands like the Skyhooks, and all those nasty/evil/satanic heavy metal bands I liked (still like),
2. My older brother hated Skyhooks, and all those nasty/evil/satanic heavy metal bands. The only thing my brother and the church I went to as a kid agreed on.
Fear of my older brother was probably the greater reason.

Anyway, I'm just acknowledging the Skyhooks Song, "Ego is not a dirty word" as the source for my post title.

Back to Religion, as the new pastor of Leichhardt Congregational Church I've been looking around at what other churches are in my area. The newest church, less than a year old, is called Citywest. It has a slogan, "REAL LIFE NOT RELIGION", and it got me wondering, "What's wrong with religion?"
The same question, for me, came up during the "Jesus, all about life" campaign in Sydney recently. One of the phrases used in it was something like, "I'm not into religion, but Jesus had some cool things to say." (that may not be an exact quote). Again I ask, “What’s wrong with religion?”

If you look at the dictionary definition below, that there is nothing wrong with religion, it’s fundamental to a belief in God. But it’s had some ad press, and the meaning has been change for many. For many, religion has come to mean pointless ritual and mindless rules that restrict freedom and liberty, unless it’s about sport (as seen in the second definition).

When it comes to your favourite team, being a religious fanatic is not only acceptable, but also often expected. It’s ok to have belief in and worship your favourite team, but not God!

Christians, I believe need to be “extremely enthusiastic” about God, and that = religion. I do not believe that we should by into the world’s anti-religion mantra, but stand up for true religion.

But on the other hand, Citywest Church is doing quite well!

religion noun
[C or U] the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship
(the Christian religion)
[C] informal an activity which someone is extremely enthusiastic about and does regularly
(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

PS. This ended nothing like I expected it to at the start, but it’s ok.

Religion is not a dirty word
Religion is not a dirty word

Religion is not a dirty word

Don't you believe what you've seen or heard

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The bits of my life

My life has many parts, like everyone. Some of the most imortant parts of my life, in no special order, are, my faith, my work/ministry with Child Evangelism Fellowship, my role as pastor of Leichhardt Congregational Church (part time, if there is such a thing), my family, wife and three children (one which is still internal), my chess (which very bad, but I love) and my desire (unfulfilled) to be a writer.
I'm hoping that with this blog I can chronicle the journey of all these parts of my life and the thoughts and feelings that flow from them.
It may be interesting to someone.

This is all new to me!


I'm going to try and make a blog of my life, thoughts and feelings. I have no idea where all this will lead. Hopefully my next blog will explain more.