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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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Work and leisure
July 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

Work and leisure

Work and leisure How do we strike a right balance between work and leisure? Both are God’s gifts to us, but our attitudes to them are too often dominated by society’s secular and pragmatic outlook.     The gradual decline of moral and spiritual values in our culture is particularly reflected in how people spend their leisure time. Today’s confusion between work and play is well summed up by the aphorism ‘we worship our work, work at our play, and play during worship’. Christians need to rediscover God’s blueprint for both these vital aspects of life.    Work Work can be defined as ‘the meaningful employment of...

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So many mysteries!
July 2012
Articles > Ecclesiological & Pastoral

So many mysteries!

So many mysteries! To many of us a sneeze is a mystery! And falling in love; and the workings of a washing machine or a mobile phone; and the sowing of seed, the reaping of a harvest; and so on! What a mass of mysteries life really is. What is our life? What is its purpose? Is this the only life we have?    Our earliest years are a blank to us. Even if we suffer abuse or hardship as a child, we slowly become conscious that we are individuals with freedoms in thought, speech, action, movement and choices.     We learn our place in the...

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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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