Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Underneath and undergirding the many books of the one Bible is the motif of God's grace: his favour and love to the undeserving says Dane Ortlund in his blog with the intriguing title of Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology

His article The Grace of God in the Bible shows how grace is the grand subject of all 63* books of the Bible.

His list has been carefully thought-out, and is a convincing summary of each book's teaching on grace

* The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles were not originally divided into two volumes.

Making Good Marriages Better

Our church is hosting a marriage enrichment conference on Saturday, 25th February, with Jim and Lesley Ramsay leading.

Lesley and Jim have been married for 41 years ... 40 of which have been spent working alongside one another in pastoral ministry! They have 4 adult children, and 9 gorgeous grandchildren. They now live in Terrigal where Lesley enjoys reading novels and making quilts, Jim enjoys sudoku and the quest for the perfect lemon meringue pie, and they both enjoy the beach.

They have asked us to read Christopher Ash's book Married For God to prepare for the day's teaching.

I got my copy today from Pilgrim Books, which is now located in the All Saints Cathedral Church Hall in Bathurst.

I am one of the odd people who like reading the acknowledgments in books [and also stay to the very end at the movies].

Christopher Ash's thankyous didn't disappoint, and i like the way he ended them:
Above all I want to thank my dear wife Carolyn for showing me so much of the joy and purpose of marriage in practice as well as in theory.

Thankyou for your patience with an imperfect husband who pontificates about marriage while he ought to be getting on and living it.

Looking forward to the rest of the book and sharing the marriage enrichment day with my wife, Joan.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I've got my doubts

If you have yours, too please don't feel guilty or beat yourself up.
What can we do when we have questions running around in our minds which are worrying us?

Michael Patton has some helpful suggestions for what to do when someone is struggling with doubts. And he admits that he has been through this, too.
I've put some of what he has written into the first person, but his article is written from the point of view of helping someone else. I hope you'll read what Michael has to say, but here are a few gems:

Doubts are often the birth-pangs of deepened faith.

Embrace the central teachings of the Christian faith: don't get hung up on small, less important issues, which may be intriguing, but are not worth being overwhelmed by.

Doubt is not unbelief. When yo uare struggling with doubt, don't write yourself off, and start living as if you are no longer a Christian. Continue to live as a Christian, even if you don't feel like one anymore.

Sometimes people doubt because they want to sin, and are trying to justify this biblically. A man who has his eyes on someone else's wife, may be experiencing doubt, because he is dwelling on his lustful thoughts and attempting to somehow make it OK.
if there is something that we know we are supposed to be doing, and we are not doing it, doubt will soon spread, and the crisis of faith will be hard to overcome.

I am a perpetual doubter learning to live with it. I don't rejoice in my doubt and don't wish it upon anyone else. However, I have come to realize that it almost always makes my faith stronger in the end, so long as I am not apathetic. This perspective can help us deal with others in their doubts.

I hope these thoughts may be helpful to someone.