Posts Tagged ‘Pentecostal’

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Christmas Time Devotionals

November 23, 2010

Christmas Themed Devotional Readings: https://darthmaulmakesmesmile.wordpress.com/tag/Christmas-2008/

In 2008 I wrote a series of 28 Christmas-themed devotionals, beginning with https://darthmaulmakesmesmile.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/christmas01/.

At the time, I wrote:

I thought I’d take some time out to share a few thoughts on Christmas in the month to come, as a sort-of non-denominational pre-Christmas Advent devotional and musings column. I hope that it brings you some light, inspiration and excitement as we remind ourselves of the true meaning of the festive occasion.

I believe it is still relevant and hope you will consider reading it as part of your spiritual journey during December.

The devotionals incorporate Bible scriptures and links to further readings on related topics of faith.

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Christian Apologetics Article on “BioLogos”

September 7, 2010

Another apologetics link – in this case, on the topic of BioLogos, one of the various alternative perspectives out there that tries to fit the Bible into science (in this case, it appears to be a form of “theistic evolution“).

http://creation.com/biologos-evolutionary-syncretism

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Following Jesus

September 12, 2009

As I write, it helps me negotiate, in a sense, my understanding and beliefs. It’s a way of personally reasoning through my thoughts and ideas. Recently it’s been an intersting exercise engaging in online discussion about life, the universe and everything on Facebook.Com with friends and family from my local Church community.

It occured to me that I haven’t actually written a whole lot about my Christian faith on my blog. So, while I do intend to keep the key purpose of this blog as a means of sharing my art folio, I really do want to include a bit more specifically on the topic of life, the universe and everything – from the perspective of being a follower of Jesus.

I don’t intend to address controversies, denominational debates, or any huge issues here. I would like to stick to the topic of just what it means to follow Jesus. I have provided plenty of links* elsewhere on this blog to sites that do deal with the more ‘controversial’ issues of Christianity. Readers are encouraged to visit those sites to learn about possible Christian responses to various issues and concerns.

I hope to keep it simple – to keep the focus on Jesus and the Bible and how I seek to apply His Word to my day-to-day life. Hopefully it will serve as an encouragement to my readers who are also believers; and that, for those of you who do not share my faith, it mght spark your interest in learning more about who Jesus is and what He teaches us today.

For those of you who are reading and wondering what my ‘qualifications’ are, I have been a volunteer leader for about four years in my local Pentecostal-style non-denominational Christian church. I spent one year involved in, and eventually leading a hospitality team that looked after new visitors to a youth programme for high school students. I spent almost three years running a small home group for senior high school girls. The last year has been involved in co-leading a small group for young adults aged 18-25 years, most of whom are newlyweds. For a convenient summary statement of faith to which I ascribe, see http://www.citylifechurch.com/info/statementoffaith.aspx, or read The Foundations of Christian Doctrine (1980) by Kevin J. Conner

* See the Links Page or the Weblinks Category for more links.

Following Jesus

 

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By Request?

April 21, 2009

I’m interested in hearing from regular readers (and there must be a few of you because in just over a year I’ve had 30,500 hits on this site). I would like to know if there are any topics on which you would particularly like me to write a blog post. I think it’s a symptom of the fact that I am doing half my usual university study load this semester, and would like to take advantage of the extra time to perhaps write a few short blog posts on up to 5 requested topics.

Please use the comments box to add your (genuine) suggestions. If you are reading this on facebook.com, please follow the provided link to the WordPress Blog and add your comments there.

Suggested topics might include:

– Australian culture.

– Thoroughbred horse pedigrees (maybe there’s a particular horse you’re interested in and want to know a bit about its family). Australian horses preferred.

– Christianity and Apologetics. Have you got any questions about a particular area of apologetics? I may be able to dig up some information for you (as an interested layperson).

– Art! This is primarily an art blog, so I should probably write on art at least once in a while!

– Maybe you have some suggested ideas for my RedBubble Online Store and Gallery, where I sell some of my art designs as t-shirts and art prints.

– Vegetarianism. Do you have any questions about vegetarianism?

– Environmentalism issues.

– Books! I read a lot of books… so I might have some suggested reading ideas for you.

I really hope my readers can help me with this! Be creative.  🙂

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Easter T-Shirt Design

April 15, 2009

2898300-1-inri-inspired-by-easter

T-Shirt –
http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/30716/works/2898300-1-inri-inspired-by-easter
As an Art Print and Greeting Card – http://flokot.redbubble.com/sets/31396/works/2898307-2-inri-inspired-by-easter
RedBubble Profile – http://www.redbubble.com/people/flokot

**

Here’s my latest t-shirt design, which is available for purchase at RedBubble.Com. I entitled it “INRI,” which is an abbreviation of the Latin for, “Jesus of Nazereth, King of the Jews,” that is often seen on images of the Cross in Roman Catholic Churches. That said, as always my art here is intended as a non-denominational celebration of the foundational aspects of Christianity that followers of Jesus hold in common.

While I do not have time to go into great detail here, I thought that a brief summary of the Gospel message is in order:

– in the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and they were perfect. There was no suffering or death.

– Satan was a great angel who, in his pride, sought to take God’s place. As a result, he Fell and became the Devil. He is not the exact opposite of God, but rather a corrupted, and very powerful, creature.

– God appointed the first humans to be his representatives on Earth. However, they gave up their authority by obeying the Devil. Later, in the Gospels, the Devil is seens as telling Jesus that he (the Devil) was given all authority on the Earth (see Luke 4:6). All that was under the dominion of Humanity was now the Devil’s.

– This was the beginning of the Curse, the entrance of death and suffering into human existence. The punishment for humanity’s sin (disobedience to God’s commands) is death. All humans who have since existed inherit this sin from their fathers. However, God promises to one day send one who will be of the seed of a woman – not a man. The only way for men or women to reach God is through the shedding of blood of an innocent individual.

– God the Son, one of the three persons of the Trinity (the Trinity being One God who is represented in Three Individual but Indivisible Persons… phew! I know, it can be such a mystery, can’t it?!), took on human flesh. That is, though He remained fully God, He was also fully man. He was born of a Jewish Virgin, but not of a human father. God the Father was His Father.

– Jesus lived a short life, but in only three years of ministry transformed the world. His ideas were radical and often offensive to the people of His day, who plotted to kill Him. The Devil probably thought that he had won by killing Jesus… but, in the shedding of Jesus’ innocent blood, the perfect payment for all human sin was made.

– After three days in the Tomb, Jesus rose again and subsequently appeared to hundreds of people before being lifted to Heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit of God to live in believers, empowering them to continue Jesus’ earthly work.

It is an astounding Gospel and very good news for any who has ears to hear and an open heart. Admittedly, it took me several years to be convinced of it as being True… oh but it is glorious!

A few thoughts:

– think of all the various religions, spiritualities and rituals that demand the shedding of blood and sacrifice. What does it mean if God Himself has become the sacrifice? What exactly are all the religions shedding blood for, anyway?

– The Bible tells us that no one can earn their way to God through their own efforts of work (Ephesians, Chapter 2). For me, I was quite shocked at this. I had spent years thinking that my own goodness and morality would be enough to find God, and I was upset to think that it wasn’t enough. However, I eventually realised that it was a great relief. How would I have known that I had done enough for God? How would I be able to tell between good and evil, for that matter? What place, then, do good deeds have in the Christian life?

Good books…

If you want to learn more on this topic there are countless resources out there. If you’ve only ever read anti-Jesus conspiracies, but consider yourself open-minded, you may want to check out the pro-Jesus books (to balance your views).

Some useful books are The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, which takes a court case approach to the Gospel accounts of Jesus. The Jesus I Never Knew and What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey are fantastic books that really challenged all my assumptions about Christianity. Ravi Zacharias’ Jesus Among Other Gods is also a good book; and a fantastic read that really dissects the questions about Jesus and the Gospels is Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Last time I checked they’re all readily available. You might want to try Australian bookstores like Koorong and Word.

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Christmas #27 – Christmas Apologetics And Further Reading

December 24, 2008

This post is mainly on the topic of apologetics. What is apologetics?

Apologetics, understood simply, is the field of theology that investigates the evidence for Christian beliefs. After writing the previous 26 posts in this Christmas series on the topic of the Gospel message, and the meaning of Christmas, I wanted to provide the reader with extra information on where they can learn more.

I have honestly sought to provide links here that will appeal to a broad range of Christians across different denominations. It would be impossible, of course, to provide every possible viewpoint, so I have been selective for time and space constraints. However, I hope that these will provide a useful starting point for those of you who are believers who want to know more about the basis for your faith. I hope that you find it helpful and encouraging.

*Inclusion of a website here does not necessarily imply complete acceptance of opinions put forward by that site. External websites may change without notice. All links given in good faith, accessed 1 October 2008.

Books About Jesus and the Gospel Message

* here I have provided the author’s name and title of the book plus links to online bookstores that sell each book.

Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. Koorong.

Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace? Koorong.

Charles Swindoll, Jesus. Koorong.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Koorong.

Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ. Koorong.

Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods. Koorong.

Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Koorong.

Apologetics Websites

Creation Ministries International.

Institute for Creation Research.

Answers In Genesis.

Leadership University.

Probe Ministries.

TrueU.

EveryStudent.

Compass.

Ancient of Days – Archaeology and Biblical Research.

Biblical Geology.

CreationWiki.

Christian Answers Network.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Got Questions – Bible Questions Answered.

The Creation Research Society.

Global Flood.

Evidence of God.

Creation Apologetics.

The Young Earth Creation Club.

Uncommon Descent Intelligent Design Blog.

Werner Gitt.

Lee Strobel.

Josh McDowell.

Dinosaurs In The Bible.

Apologetics Books At Koorong.

Apologetics Books At Master Books.

Apologetics Articles About Christmas

“A Right Christmas”
http://www.icr.org/article/20101/

“Alien invasion or the meaning of Christmas”
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/12/23/alien-invasion-or-the-meaning-of-christmas/

“Calculating Christmas”
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v

“Christmas and Genesis”
http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/5535

“Christmas Countdown – when does the holiday season really start?”
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2001/dec07.html

“Christmas – what is the true meaning?”
http://www.christiananswers.net/christmas/home.html

“Demonstrating the Christ of Christmas”
http://www.crosswalk.com/news/1177872/

“God of Creation or ‘God’ of Christmas?”
http://www.icr.org/article/700/

“Is Christmas necessary?”
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/christma.html

“Is the biblical Christmas story true? Is Jesus Christ for real?”
http://www.christiananswers.net/christmas/skeptic.html

“Jason Lisle vs. Hugh Ross debate: annotated transcript”
http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/3414

“Star Witness”
http://www.icr.org/article/254/

“The Drama of the Christmas story”
http://www.leaderu.com/humanities/dramaxmas.html

“The Real Twelve Days of Christmas”
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2004/dec24.html

“The holiday formerly known as Christmas”
http://www.boundless.org/2000/features/a0000373.html

All links accessed 1 October 2008.

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Pentecostal Priorities?

August 26, 2008

It’s with some hesitation I write this post. After all, I’m not trying to court controversy – I see this as, first and foremost, an art-themed blog. It just seemed timely regarding the current atmosphere in Pentecostal Australian circles this week. I have no interest in commenting on that particular issue though, so that is not what this is about. But the current news (which doesn’t warrant repeating) was a catalyst that got me remembering some stuff from a few years back, so I thought I’d share it here.

Don’t get me wrong, this could probably apply to all followers of Christ, regardless of tradition or denomination. I just happen to be a member of an autonomous Pentecostal-style local Church, hence my angle.

When I first became a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, roughly six years ago now – and the best decision I ever made in my life – I threw myself into it. I had just come from almost two years investigating the fors and againsts of the Christian faith. I had examined evidence from all sorts of angles – science, the supernatural, archaeology, real-life application… and more. I had ensured that I read materials from multiple denominational backgrounds, too.

Then, the reality hit. A few Christians wanted to make sure that I was then thoroughly discipled and educated, not in the ways of our Lord and Saviour, but in the knowledge of Christian celebrities, musicians and preachers. I was actually ridiculed by some older Christians because I couldn’t name or recognise various “worship” bands or singers. It shocked me then and, while I ignored it in the meantime, it has recently resurfaced as I listen to the concerns of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I remember wondering at the time, what does it even matter if I do or don’t know who the “VIP” Christians are? Why should it matter whether or not I drive a car covered in Christian slogan bumper stickers? (I don’t cover my car in stickers, just in case you’re wondering! No stickers at all!) Why should it matter if I am up on the latest in Christian news (gossip?)?

As a new Christian, I chose to follow Christ because of who He is. I didn’t know anything about the big players in the Church. While I have more of an idea these days, it’s because I read Christian websites. But these great men and women of God – who do deserve honour as commanded by God – are still humans. They are not gods, they are not infallible, and I don’t expect them to be. We are all tainted by this fallen world, by our inner natures, by our desires for greed and power. God alone is perfect.

I am realising that, for a long time, I have suffered majorly from jealousy. I have always had a rockstar complex, and it is too easy to idolise Christian musicians. Weird, because a lot of my friends are Christian musicians! The problem is that it actually eats away at me, erodes my faith. Why? Because I took the focus off Jesus and looked to my fellow Christians for direction.

So, I hope this will be a reminder for me to be a follower of Christ, rather than a follower of Christian fashions and trends.

James 2:1-10 (Good News Translation)
My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and fine clothes comes to your meeting, and a poor man in ragged clothes also comes. If you show more respect to the well-dressed man and say to him, “Have this best seat here,” but say to the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet,” then you are guilty of creating distinctions among yourselves and of making judgments based on evil motives. Listen, my dear friends! God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. But you dishonor the poor! Who are the ones who oppress you and drag you before the judges? The rich! They are the ones who speak evil of that good name which has been given to you.

You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker. Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all.

*Scripture from http://bible.crosswalk.com/.

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