Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Girl Rescues Song from Rubbish Bin

We enjoy singing Michael Baughen's version of Sister Suzanne Toolan's I Am The Bread of Life in our church. In fact, we sang it this morning.

You will notice that Suzanne's words are somewhat different from Michael's. In fact, Michael has added an introductory verse, Come Let Us Worship Christ.

I was interested to read Suzanne's story of how a little girl rescued her song from the "circular filing cabinet."

It was 1966 and Mercy Sister Suzanne Toolan had been asked to write a song for an event in the San Francisco archdiocese. With the deadline looming, she worked on a song in an unoccupied room next to the infirmary in the Catholic girls’ high school where she taught.

“I worked on it, and I tore it up. I thought, ‘This will not do,’ ” Toolan said. “And this little girl came out of the infirmary and said, ‘What was that? That was beautiful!’ I went right back and Scotch-taped it up.”

That schoolgirl saved “I Am the Bread of Life,” one of the most popular hymns of the Second Vatican Council era.

Toolan credits Father John Olivier at a seminary near her convent in Burlingame, California, with helping get the word out about her songs.

“He began to hear some of my things and he took it back to the seminary. And that’s how I think most of my things got out.”

“I Am the Bread of Life” is in many Catholic hymnals, as well as in the official hymnbooks of the Episcopal, Lutheran and Methodist churches. “People keep giving me copies of it when they go to Europe or Asia, even,” Toolan said. “It’s in different languages. It’s thrilling.”

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Population explosion

What was the world’s population when you were born? The older you are, the more you are likely to be amazed by the figure! It wasn’t until 1804 that the first billion was reached, but 123 years later, it had doubled in size. In the 20th century it increased from less than 2 billion to 6 billion and this week, it will reach 7 billion.
It is now increasing at a slower rate, as governments attempt to make our world more sustainable.

But what about Christ’s church? It is hard to say exactly how many of the 2 billion who call themselves Christians are really following Christ. In Australia, the rate of growth of the church is quite slow, but in many countries, throughout the world, the Christian population is outstripping the general population.

Here are a few examples from Operation World:
Somalia, in the Horn of Africa is growing at 2.3%, but the tiny church is increasing by 8%
Belarus, bordered by Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, has a shrinking population, but the percentage of Evangelicals is growing by 3% per year.
Bangladesh is growing by 1.5%, but the number of Evangelicals is increasing by 3.6% each year.
Uruguay is only growing by 0.28% yearly, but the tiny Evangelical Church is increasing by 3% per year.
Jesus said I will build my Church, and He is!

Triumphing over cerebral palsy

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has a terrific story in the usually great 2 Of Us section.
Margie and Stavros Kalomiris, who both have cerebral palsy tell their own story of overcoming doubt and disapproval from Disability Services and from their own families to develop a relationship and finally marry.

If you can get your hands on a copy of 29th October, 2011 edition of Fairfax's Good Weekend, [puts on Molly's hat] Do yourself a favour ... and read it

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Worst Christmas Pageant ever?

At first the children think that their annual Christmas pageant is going to be the worst ever, because the worst kids in the school, the Herdman family, have suddenly turned up at Sunday School, and they are mucking everything up, just as they do at school.

But before too long, these rough pagans are teaching everyone about Christmas, as they hear the story for the very first time.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a fun book that makes you think. It is easy to read. Primary school children should be able to tackle it easily.

I'm on my 3rd read-through and enjoying it just as much as the first time.

It's a great book to give and to read before Christmas, which is what I'm doing.

The author manages to get across many of the points of the Christmas story without preaching.

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bringing the Gospel Home

Bringing the Gospel Home is Randy Newman's third book. I've enjoyed all three, beginning with his first book, Questioning Evangelism, which had been recommended by Don Carson.

Bringing the Gospel Home is realistic and encouraging. It does not promise success or provide you with secret formulas for winning your family for Christ. The journey Christians have with their family members is definitely presented like the picture on the right, not the easy-street misleading one on the left.

If you click on this link you'll find that Crossway have generously provided a sample for you.

I highly recommend this book and hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.