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All articles in category Ecclesiological & Pastoral

In the school of suffering
July 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

In the school of suffering

In the school of suffering I have on my fridge door the photograph of a beautiful baby girl. She was the long-awaited daughter of friends of ours. She lived for 7½ months — in intensive care — her parents constantly at her side. This is what they wrote when God chose to take her home to be with himself: ‘Our daughter’s lasting legacy to us, her parents, is the deeper appreciation and understanding of 1 Corinthians 13:7-8: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”.’    God has used varying degrees of suffering in my life to draw...

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The Olympic flame
June 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

The Olympic flame

The Olympic flame The tradition of lighting an Olympic flame comes from the ancient Greeks. During the ancient Olympic Games, a sacred flame was lit from the sun’s rays at Olympia, and stayed lit until the games were completed. This flame represented the ‘endeavour for protection and struggle for victory’. It was first introduced into our modern Olympics at the 1928 Amsterdam Games. Since then, the flame has come to symbolise ‘the light of spirit, knowledge, and life’.    The torch relay also began in the ancient Olympics and was revived at the 1936 Berlin Games. Originally, the torch lit at Olympia, in Greece, was carried...

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Why is prayer so difficult?
June 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Why is prayer so difficult?

Why is prayer so difficult? The Lord Jesus was an example to the disciples of a praying man. He also taught them how to pray and exhorted them to keep on praying. So you’d think that believers in God wouldn’t need any encouragement to address the living Creator. We have known the forgiveness of our sins, the gift of eternal life and the privilege of being adopted into the family of God so that we can address God as our Father. So you’d think we’d be talking to God all the time, pouring out our thanks and asking him for help.     You’d imagine we...

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Ministering to those dying without Christ
June 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Ministering to those dying without Christ

Ministering to those dying without Christ ‘It is sad beyond words to watch mom’s health failing and see her fear and anxiety or detached numbness as she faces each day. She wavers back and forth. It is all sad and full of despair.’ ‘There is no longing for glory, no hope of future joy, nothing to live for and nothing to look forward to. It is a place of great darkness and despair. She believes firmly that she has all there is of God, and any message to the contrary irritates her. It would take incredible humility for anyone to admit, “I have been wrong...

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Power through prayer
May 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Power through prayer

Power through prayer ‘After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly’ (Acts 4:31). The apostles called upon God in their weakness and he filled them afresh with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit. But have we got used to a Christianity without power? Isn’t lack of power the ‘elephant in the room’ we so often ignore?     Many of us are not lacking in new ideas and initiatives; and we should be bold, innovative, contemporary and intelligent in addressing the great challenges we face. But,...

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‘The Olympic Creed’
May 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

‘The Olympic Creed’

Pierre de Coubertin got the idea for this phrase from a speech given by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot, at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games.

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Should Christians parade their religion?
May 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Should Christians parade their religion?

Should Christians parade their religion? When former Labour leader John Smith died, one reporter wrote: ‘He’s a Christian who never parades his religion’. The question might be put: ‘Should Christians parade their religion?’ But a better question would be: ‘Should Christians display their faith?’ And there is a world of difference between those two questions! It would be ‘mission impossible’ to write comprehensively about ‘witnessing’ in one article. So I am only looking at a few relevant biblical principles.    Desire First, the Christian should desire to tell everyone about his or her Saviour. This is the foundation of witnessing. God has saved us by his...

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Steadfast faith
May 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Steadfast faith

Steadfast faith Why is it difficult for Christians to consistently maintain steadfast faith in their everyday walk with Christ? Is it because it is so much easier to have ‘feel good’ faith when everything in our lives is running smoothly with no complications? Surely we are made more aware of our need for prayer and dependence on God when there is adversity in our lives.      Christ deserves our devoted trust and faithful pursuit of him in all situations. Exemplifying unwavering faith in Christ is not always easy, nor is it created overnight. ‘But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we...

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