• Virginity pledge no guarantee

    TEENAGERS in the United States who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control, a study published yesterday says.

    "Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behaviour," said Janet Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health read the rest

  • Passive Christianity

    "The way we've done church for the last fifty years, the attractional model, is going to reach a certain population, but we're getting close to tapping out that market. We have to think in terms of mobilising the kingdom to go where people are. Too many Christians are passive and unengaged. They may listen to Christian radio and read Christian books, but they're not communing with God directly. Therefore, they are not dynamic witnesses, and they rely on the church to do all the missional work. We need to help people hear from God directly and obey him."

    Neil Cole (poached from http://www.waikanae.apo.org.nz/ )

  • Changing religion is a vital right: Bush

    US President George W Bush today insisted the ability to change one's religion is a fundamental human right at a UN inter-faith conference sponsored by Saudi Arabia that has served to highlight the differences between the Muslim and Western worlds.read the rest here

  • Church & Tithing

    From the very mature, wise and experianced Jack Guerin

    WHAT SHOULD SIMPLE CHURCHES DO WITH THEIR MONEY?

    WHAT SHOULD SIMPLE CHURCH MEMBERS DO WITH THEIR "GOD" MONEY?

    Actually I haven't got an answer to these important questions. You could even say that it's none of my business. (But the questions did get your attention!). But if you've been reading these SIMPLE CHURCH letters you will know that they describe a journey that I, my wife Averil and Waikanae Cafe Church are travelling. You may have even (rightfully) come to the conclusion that it has been a liberating journey. In fact I have had two friends tell me that they have heard that...'Jack and Averil have gone off the rails.' Well, there's some truth in that. Rails can be very restrictive!

    The 'rails' that guided the giving of Averil's and my 'God' money (tithes and offerings) were very simple. Our main gifts went toward the support of the local church (the "storehouse" - more about that miss-used word next letter) and other money to overseas missions. With the arrival of A/P's this could be done with impressive efficiency, but with the fresh insights into other aspects of our Christian/church journey we began to question this almost unthinking giving. The new freedom we were enjoying made us look at the challenge to be 'guided by the Holy Spirit' in the realm of financial giving. Just what should be our priorities? Where should we direct our giving?

    I was struck by a statement in a recent "Tear Fund" publication which said, "There are more than 2,000 verses in the Bible about looking after the poor, the widows and the sick." Thinking about this made me take a hard look at what the Bible does (and doesn't) say about giving. The Old Testament shows God's compassion towards the poor, the alien, the widow and the sick and his directions to his followers to support and care for them, e.g., Isaiah 58. The New Testament follows suit, e.g., Matthew 25:31-46. And, the apostle Paul gives us two whole chapters (2 Corinthians 8 & 9) on the subject of giving, but it is not giving to a church building or any other church programme, but to people who were suffering in a famine. A cross-cultural missions appeal. (c.f. Acts 11:27-30).

    I started this letter with those two provocative questions and to get back to them with some sort of answer here are three things to consider.

    Be Free. If you are under any sort of self imposed, church imposed or guilt imposed pressure to give, this is wrong pressure and I suggest you get out from under it as quickly as you can. I'm sure God doesn't take pleasure in receiving gifts that are squeezed out of us by any sort of manipulation, "...Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure..." 2 Cor. 9:7.
    Be lead by the Holy Spirit. If your giving is locked into a predictable, boring, lifeless habit, ask the Holy Spirit for fresh guidance. Ask about your responsibility to the poor - especially the other half of the world who eke out a living? on less than two dollars a day. If you don't (like me) believe in 'hand outs' find out about 'hand ups' like Tear Fund's, and other mission organisation's microenterprise initiatives. The Holy Spirit is never boring or predictable, so get ready for an interesting, surprising and exciting financial ride.
    Be extravagantly Generous. But how do we compare our generosity? I can answer this question in Paul's words from the 'giving chapters of 2 Corinthians, "You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich....Thank God for his Son -- a gift too wonderful for words." (2 Cor. 8:9; 9:15, NLT). "God so loved that he gave..." So should we!
    Should a Christian tithe? My answer in next SIMPLE CHURCH letter.

  • A true christian candidate

    Poster from the recent election in Vanuatu. Now thats what I call a real Christian candidate :)

    canda
    from www.nzherald.co.nz

  • Labour is the Anti Christ?

    So another election campaign is upon us. All the evangelical churches will be mobilising their people to boot out the godless Labour Party with its Anti Christ Helen Clark and install a new heaven and new earth with the National Party and its friends.

    As I said in the last election, this mindset is very puzzling as all three of the centre right parties are socially liberal and is reflected in their leaders Key, Hide, and Dunn (which his Christian wing finally woke up to). I think the only true Conservative in the leadership of any of the centre right parties is Bill English.I think NZ evangelicals have made the mistake of thinking the NZ political scene is like the U.S where Right equals God fearing (and guns of course).

    The most socially conservative party going by its voting record in my opinion is NZ First. And it could be argued its most family friendly party with its successes in free health care for under sixes and recently the increases in the super and the introduction of the gold card. So it may not be popular and it may be bagged by the media but I know where I am putting my vote this election even if it winds up a wasted vote. And In the end Winston just has better suits then the other guys :)

    winston

  • Crazy Weather

    Yesterday at lunch time it was 3 degrees celsius in the sunroom. Today it was 42 degrees celsius in there. I took the boys upto Mt Hutt for the last day of the season but it was so hot we only stayed for about 5 hours and came home.

    DSC01224-1

  • A Christian?

    not a liberal

  • 40% of Communists are religious!

    Since 2007, all members of the Chinese Communist Party have been allowed to have a religious affiliation. 40% currently have declared a religous affiliation to some type of religious group. (BBC All things considered Podcast 03/08/2008)

    My guess would be that this would be one of the highest religious affiliations by a ruling party in the developed world. It would certainly be higher then any political party in New Zealand!

  • leave the Church of England alone

    When Anglican bishops say that the Church's position puts it in a relationship of service to the nation, they are right. A report last year by the Von Hügel Institute demonstrated that the value on the charitable work undertaken by the CoE would cost the State hundreds of millions of pounds. And that bears out a Home Office citizenship survey showing that the religiously observant are 48 per cent more likely than the uncommitted to engage in regular voluntary work. The CoE is good for England. Leave it alone. Read the whole article here

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