We’ve been sharing the gospel via video over the internet for some 26 years. That’s some 915 sermons! We can be grateful for the resources we have to do this in this prosperous South Land of the Holy Spirit.
How do we know when the gospel reaches the ends of the world? Jesus said this good news would be preached in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world before He would return. Perth in Western Australia is the world’s most isolated capital city, and I happen to live on its rural fringes.
So, again, how will we might know that the far reaches of the world have been reached with the good news of Jesus Christ? Perhaps when this good news echos back from the ends fo the world?
Over the years we’ve slowly made significant improvements not only in the research, content and delivery, but also with lighting, audio, cameras, and more recently, focussed work on colour calibration and grading. We use two BMD cinema cameras, and our studio work is such an important part of our filming. So grateful for all those who have supported us in prayers, donations, and shared feedback.
We want to produce the best Christ-centred Biblical teaching possible, using the best practices known in the film industry. I recall filming in Israel in 1985, using an old wobbly tripod, a National Panasonic VHS camera pack, and lots of heavy lead batteries. That’s all the technology we had back then. Today, even my mobile cell phone can film in 8k, hundreds of times better quality than what we had back then. In fact, if I reminisce ten years earlier in 1975, we were still filming using Super 8 silent video! But, hey, it was in colour!
What does the future hold? I believe the best is yet to come, as God reveals His will, purpose and timing via the gift and voice of the Holy Spirit. And may this South Land’s echo be part of that final narrative!
Our Heavenly Father calls us to Christ. Jesus, then, in choosing us, further makes His disciples into “fishers of men,” equipping us according to the spiritual gifts given to us. But there are many who baulk at Jesus’ invitation. In Luke’s narrative in chapter 7, he tells us that those Jesus beckoned into service often made lame excuses.
One wanted to follow Jesus just for the perks. Another wanted to first see his father’s life out before committing to Jesus. Others simply procrastinated. See Luke 9:57-62.
In his search for willing disciples, Jesus often encountered those who cited some kind of pressing, interfering need. How easy it is, from our carnal, limited perspective, to often relegate something more important than the Lord’s beckoning! God doesn’t want to rate second to our work, family, hobbies, studies or anything else.
This should be cause for sombre reflection in our own personal lives and calling. Jesus spoke of the impossibility of serving God and mammon. In His parable of the sower, He cited the dreadful attrition of why good seed failed to produce. How might the lessons in the gospel accounts apply to us?
It’s important to remember that Christ chose us; we didn’t choose Him – as an optional extra in our already busy lives. Our intellectual reasoning or intuitive prowess didn’t bring us before the throne of grace! No, rather, our Heavenly Father called us. Christ chose us. We did not choose Him. Our portion is to respond in faith.
In meditating and examining our current life trajectory, we must sense and respond to a compelling meaning, purpose and identity founded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the transcendent certain promises contained therein.
Do we really comprehend the nature of our high calling in Christ? What radical changes have happened in our lives since following Jesus? And how have those changes affected us and those around us?
And, may we add, what remaining course corrections are we still to make, as we grow up into the image and stature of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we expand our lives into His grace and knowledge?
Have we adequately filtered out the cacophonies of worldly noise and the forms of inappropriate entertainments and distractions that can deafen our ears to heeding the true and righteous word of the LORD? Our own hearts, according to scripture, can deceptively lead us into sinful ways.
How authentic is our attunement to His will and purpose? Do we genuinely hear and obey the still small voice of the Holy Spirit?
Our response to Jesus’ offer must be radical and sure-footed, especially considering His instructions as recorded in Matthew’s testimony: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [food, clothing and shelter] will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
When God called each of us individually to His Son and into community, He had a purpose in mind. Often that purpose is intended at a specific time in history.
For example, Noah found favour with the Lord and is remembered as a key player in a salvation narrative. Abraham, as God’s friend, was also a notable protagonist in a bigger generational story. Moses talked with the Lord as with a friend, and is remembered as powerfully pivotal in God’s hands. Esther was a woman of her time, called and raised to save her people from genocide. Ruth the Moabite woman stands notably in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Also born for his time was Peter who later led the first century church. Paul, an intriguing man of his time, took the gospel to the Gentiles with great fervour and tireless energy.
What about us? God’s call is also an invitation, and it can be thrust on us when we perhaps least expect it. Moses was called into service at 80 years of age, and we’re quite familiar with how he protested at the mere thought of what was before him. Samuel was called to serving ministry just after being weaned. Jeremiah experienced God’s call at just 17 years of age. “Don’t say that you’re too young,” God told Jeremiah. Elisha also had some quick decisions to make when calling and ministry was thrust upon him.
You see, the prophet Elijah’s ministry was coming to the end, and God told him, among other things to anoint Elisha into service. (See 1 Kings 19:19-21)
Elisha immediately realised that there was no turning back from the LORD’s beckoning. So, what did he do? He killed his twelve oxen.
Remember, animal stock was often the primary source of wealth and provision in ancient times. However, Elisha invited his neighbours and friends, lit a big BBQ with the timber yokes of the twelve oxen, sacrificed to the Lord and hosted a feast for everyone that day. Elisha truly “burned his bridges” in the sense that he was determined to never be tempted to return to his former occupation. He then followed Elijah in ministry.
If we follow the narrative, Elisha wasn’t shy about embracing the daunting scope of work he was called to facilitate in the legacy and footsteps of Elijah. He asked for a double portion of the Holy Spirit! And from the ensuing story, it seems that God granted just what he asked for!
Let’s fast forward to the gospel accounts, as recorded in John chapter 21. Peter and Andrew, together with John and James, were former fishermen. They were the sons of promise for their father’s seafaring livelihood.
However, Jesus had called them three years earlier to become “fishers of men”. After the confusing horrors of Jesus’ crucifixion, however, the post-traumatised disciples returned to Galilee. “I’m going fishing,” said Peter. The others followed. So they fished all night, and caught nothing.
In the morning, Jesus was waiting for them on the shore, with freshly baked bread and barbequed fish on a welcoming fire. Jesus fed them breakfast before re-commissioning Peter back into ministry service with four injunctions. He said to Peter, “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” “Feed my sheep,” and finally, “Follow me.”
The early chapters of Acts then show a remarkably transformed Peter. He was fearless, articulate, and passionate for His Saviour. Never would he again deny his Lord!
The Body of Christ today, at home and around the world, is in need of Godly men and women to hear and respond to God’s calling in their lives. We’ve heard that in our current post-COVID era that church attendance is significantly down throughout the Christianised world. Perhaps it is.
We are undoubtedly in an age of increasing unbelief and faithlessness. But that’s not where we the people of God are. We endure and grow by faith. We learn how to respond. We learn what sacrifices have to be made. We learn to implicitly trust Jesus, and to put our hands to the plough for the Kingdom of God – and all it might mean!
Within our churches we see a new generation of young people embracing God’s calling for their lives. And those of us who are older in the faith must mentor, edify and encourage this next generation so they more clearly see and embrace God’s purpose for them.
Do we see every little boy attending church services with their family as a potential pastor, a missionary, a man of God? Are we equipping our little girls into Godly service and mission?
Should we not pray that God would raise many faithful, humble, servant leaders in our time who are willing to take up the mantle (pick up their cross) and run their race in the name of Jesus? Such prayers or aspirations are not presumptive. They’re absolutely necessary.
God has called us to be faithful with the gifts He’s already given us. We need to ask what strides of faith we have taken to develop those individual gifts for the benefit of the Body of Christ? And, moreover, are we willing to suffer for Christ in His service? The message of scripture is clear. Deny yourself. Pick up your cross. And, follow our LORD.
Think back to our early days of faith in Christ when we were compelled to seek baptism. “I surrender all, Lord Jesus,” we may have cried out in prayer. What we experienced is known as “first love”. And as we were raised from that watery grave, in the Holy Spirit, we became a new creation. Then, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, into His stature and image, at some point the call of discipleship became unmistakably clear.
We learn to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. The Holy Spirit gives voice to Jesus’ words, and if we are listening carefully, it is a call to Kingdom service and ongoing testimony.
God’s hand is on you; don’t resist Him. Don’t follow a path counter to what He’s calling you to. Jesus knew the risks of those who turn back. He said of when He returns, “Will the Son of Man find faith on earth?”
God is encouraging and imploring us today into service and stewardship. His calling and gifts are irrevocable, as they are precious and priceless. May we eagerly embrace all our Lord calls and equips us for! The apostle Paul signed off from one of his letters with the certainty that: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
On that glorious day, may we too hear our Lord’s crowning words: “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21 ESV)
Bloodied, bruised, beaten, nailed and speared. It was hard to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, the Word (Logos) was dead. After all, He was the Messiah – the promised, long-awaited Anointed Saviour! Ancient prophecies told of his rulership, might and power. During his ministry, he healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead and forgave their sins, and if you knew those ancient scriptures, then only God can lay claim to that. And now the lifeless body of the Son of God hung, bloodied, pierced and expired.
The brutality of Roman rule seemed to triumph once again. The King of the Jews was dead. Those who had hoped in a different outcome now cowered in a mixture of fear, contempt and brewing anger.
The turn of events, unpredictable at best, was not what any of Jesus’ disciples anticipated. Earlier in the ordeal, when the soldiers came with clubs, swords and lanterns to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, they fell over when Jesus asked them who they were looking for. “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
The power of “I am,” conveyed in Jesus’ response caused even battle-hardened warriors to collapse in helplessness. But, then, Jesus let them arrest Him. That’s when Peter, seeing “events seemingly go so wrong” clumsily wielded his sword, but failed to decapitate the high priest’s servant.
Now, hours later, Jesus was dead. Darkness and terror lay in the hearts of the living, most of all his followers. It just wasn’t meant to happen that way! Or was it?
The gospel narratives clearly show that on several occasions Jesus predicted his death to be followed by his resurrection three days and three nights later. But it didn’t really register even to his closest disciples. Jesus’ detractors, however, the Jewish religious rulers namely the Pharisees, did remember Jesus’ prophetic assurances, and so added security was enforced around the tomb, ensuring no unpredicted outcome.
The belief in the literal resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, is at the heart of the Christian message, hope and doctrine. There is no other central teaching, no other matching doctrine. Jesus died on a Wednesday afternoon, was buried before sunset prior to the high day of Unleavened Bread, and rose from the dead sometime after sunset that following Saturday night. When Mary arrived at the tomb early on the Sunday morning, Jesus was gone.
The angelic messenger questioned her, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He’s not here. He is risen!”
Today, we stand on the testimonies of those first century eye witnesses. We see their despair, and feel their darkness. And then, just as Jesus predicted, we too exult in their exceedingly great joy at seeing their Lord and Saviour again. Such joy and gladness continues to echo across the millennia in the endearing and enduring faith of those who would follow.
Many years later, one of Jesus’ closest disciples again saw the now glorified Son of God in a powerful and terrifying vision. Jesus said to John, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive for evermore…”
If it is true that Jesus, the Logos, the Son of God, died and rose again, then this narrative seriously needs our attention. It’s otherwise foolishness to relegate such compelling evidence as fables to be discarded to the realm of fantasy. As verifiable, factual recording of events, Jesus’ resurrection then however must be the most terrifying truth we could ever encounter, because it suddenly condemns our society’s atheistic suppositions as deceptively and dangerously wrong, just as it also opens up the realms of possibility and hope.
Without “resurrection” there is no hope; human life is otherwise just a random accident, neither good or bad, with no meaning or purpose. But, if the Logos who spoke everything into existence, then entered our reality of time, matter and space to demonstrate complete redemption and forgiveness by his own blood, and he is in fact who he says he is, then you and I have a responsibility to dare to ask: “What does it mean for me, and everyone else who has ever lived?”
Are we willing to explore the compelling reasons to believe and hope in the power and promise of glorious resurrection life?
Are we sure Christianity has “gotten it right” in all its core faith essentials? What about those historical pagan practices now embedded within church culture? This short message may shock a few and is certain to make many uncomfortable, but doesn’t Jesus want us to make those necessary course corrections?
I share this video by way of a deep and lingering concern that we sometimes allow apathy and disregard to prevail when it comes to the accuracy of what we believe and celebrate. Have we not simply taken convenient shortcuts on truth? It’s not that we’ve intended to pave a path other than what the scriptures reveal, but our adherence to long-held traditions can easily veil and limit the truth of Christ. Oh that the reformation of 500 years ago had moved us further out of darkness and deeper into the truth!
Some churches develop their core essentials from a mix including the Bible, their tradition and their unique “apostle” or “prophet” (either living or long deceased). Others denominations give equal equity to the Bible as well as tradition. And yet others testify to adhering to the Bible and the Bible alone; that is, no prophets, apostles or popes, and no tradition that exists outside of the Biblical narrative!
The assertion in this video is really quite confronting as it claims that Christian orthodoxy has lapsed in its ability in basic mathematics. Jesus was dead in the grave for three days and three nights. No more and no less. And this then creates a problem for traditionalists and theologians alike.
As a sincere apologist, let us know whether you think it’s time for an honest rethink, some theological honesty followed by some significant recalibration?
While some may lament the marginalisation of Christianity within mainstream society, it really is a good thing.
Those saints who stand in the name of Jesus, instead of becoming marginalised and invisible, will instead rock the very world that is trying to silence and suppress them. The saints have a testimony based on their undying faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Spoken by the Holy Spirit, their witness is indisputable and no one can objectively argue against their testimony. They speak the truth. They stand for morality, righteousness, the dignity of human life, monogamous marriage, the protection of the pre-born and the call for all sinners to repent, be they murderers, thieves, adulterers, sexually immoral including the LGBT, those involved in the occult, liars and all cowards.
The unique characteristic of these saints is that they’re ahead of their time, knowing Who is in control of the future and how it turns out in the end. It is good news. Absolute victory and total redemption.
The questions for you and me are: what side of history are we on? Are we courageous enough to stand our ground in faith, and wisely choose our words? Or will we acquiesce into mediocrity, afraid of the wicked crowd?
Have you ever received a love letter, an endearingly crafted message that was also genuinely honest? Jesus sent seven such letters.
Jesus asked: “When the Son of Man returns, shall He find faith on the earth?”
What insight does the Son of God have that might counsel us today? His thinking out aloud was intentional. Will faith in the end times be on short supply? How does that speak into my journey and my life? Am I faithful, awake, listening, holy and true?
Moreover, what about the church I attend? How much does my local church community factor into my enduring faith? Does church life affect personal growth, the ability to serve and including my capacity to repent? These are all good questions.
Some years after He ascended to heaven, Jesus dictated to John in vision, when exiled on the island of Patmos, seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor, where Turkey is today.
What Jesus thought about His Body, the church as the Bride of Christ, is of utmost importance. The relationship between Jesus and the church is compared to that of a groom and his bride. This is not only brought out in many of Jesus’ parables, but also emphasised throughout Paul’s writings, as well as in Revelation.
Christians look forward to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” – a direct continuation of the covenant symbols as instituted at the Lord’s Supper. Marriage between a man and a woman is a type of metaphor for the spiritual reality between the faithful saints on this earth, likened to the Bride of Christ, and Jesus our LORD and Saviour. Jesus is coming for His Bride, who by then has made herself “white” – signifying purity and righteousness.
The analogy of marriage covenant is a powerful illustration. It can help us understand the nuances and realities of living a faith life amidst church community today. We might ask about our own faith community as it has grown around the world? What do we look like in Jesus’ eyes? What would He have to say to us?
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 is almost like reading someone else’s mail, in that we gain important and compelling insight into Jesus’ will and purpose. We also clearly see various risk factors that can easily beset the very nature of church life, even to the point when Jesus regards “church” as almost inauthentic or barely recognisable.
We might better appreciate Jesus’ exhortations as he reached out to those in the early emerging first-century churches of God. Equally today, may we too take on-board his timeless admonitions as they reach and speak to us.
Let’s ask: What endearing similarities do we bear to those who pioneered in faith so long ago. What were they commended for – their strengths and assets? What about their weaknesses and liabilities? What might we learn from those, and therefore benefit?
Let’s briefly look at those seven churches. Could it be that we’re looking a broad brush-stroke mirror-like synopsis of church life even today?
Those at Ephesus were known for their toil and patience; they cannot bear evil, and they hated the false teachings of the Nicolaitans. But they had abandoned first their love. And thus, they’re sadly remembered as being the loveless church. Imagine, for a moment, that in Jesus’ love for His Bride, He had to content with apathy and “lovelessness”! Yet, despite this, for those who overcame, Jesus promised the tree of life.
Smyrna was known for their tribulation and poverty, slander by false religion, suffering, prison, and death. There’s no rebuke or correction, but aware of their suffering, Jesus promised they would not to be hurt by the second death.
The church at Pergamum apparently existed in a climate akin to where Satan’s throne was. They are commended for holding fast to Jesus’ name, and keeping the faith. Ironically, embedded into much of the church were the teachings of Balaam, inferring idolatry and sexual immorality, as well as the teaching of false Nicolaitan doctrine. (Those at Ephesus decried such false teaching, but those at Pergamum embraced them. Imagine the conflicts that arose between these two sister churches!) To those who overcome, Jesus promised a new name.
Those saints in Thyatira were commended for their works, love, faith, service, and patient endurance. Yet, they tolerated a prophetess with a Jezebel spirit leading to seduction, idolatry, and the deep things of Satan. Yet, even to these who overcame, Jesus promised authority over the nations, and “the bright morning star”.
Sardis church had a reputation of being alive, but were dead. Image a part of the Body of Christ dying, or about to die! Surely a groom wants to marry a bride alive, vibrant, and responsive! Thus, again, the call to repent. A few of them, however, inherit a promise of white garments, and their names forever in the book of Life. Moreover, Jesus promises to confess their names before Father and his angels.
The brethren at Philadelphia were known for their works. Theirs was an open door (open for the gospel and open for Jesus). Noted for their “little power” is either a reflection on the lack of the Holy Spirit, or perhaps the oppressive society they lived in. However, they had not denied Jesus’ name. They patiently endured, and apparently had trouble with false religion. Jesus promised to keep from world tribulation. They would be pillars in the temple of God, with the name of Jesus written on them.
Sadly those at Laodicea were known for being lukewarm! Thinking they were rich and having prospered, Jesus described them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”. What damning appraisal for the bride of Christ! Jesus thus invited them to find riches in Him, to dress in “white”, and be healed so they can “see”. Here we see Jesus knocking and calling – from outside church environment! Is anyone listening? Will anyone open the door to fellowship with Jesus? Those in Philadelphia had an open door; here the door was closed to Jesus. Yet, to those who overcome, Jesus promised them to share His throne.
All seven churches receive the reoccurring admonition, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Many theologians have given differing views not only on the entirety of Revelation, but also significant commentary about the seven churches. Were they historical eras over some 1900 years? Hardly. Other theologians have seen Revelation chapters two and three as as apt assessments of Christianity at any given time throughout history.
Of course, within any Christian community there are those who pray and those who don’t; those who read their Bibles and those who don’t. There are those who know Jesus in a deep, personal way and others who live quite happily without Him. There are those who are judgmental, and others who extend grace and mercy. In other words, Jesus’ parable about the wheat and tares easily comes to mind. Some look like Christians; other are identified as being in Christ.
The commendations and corrections directed to these first century churches should be a clarion call for us today. What are our strengths for which Jesus would commend us? In what area would he correct us? What specific promise might he make to us, now, collectively?
Are we a loving people? Do we love the LORD with all our heart, mind, soul, strength? Are we alive, full of “first love”? Or do we just put on a good act? Are we faithful? Is our door to Jesus always open, or conspicuously closed? Do we have genuine fellowship with Him? Are we hot and alive, or lukewarm and dead? Do we tolerate false, unbiblical teachings?
The marriage supper of the Lamb will bring Christ and His Bride together as ONE forever. How is His bride doing? How are you doing? Is the church beautiful, radiant and dressed in white? Or, is she still stained by sin, self, the world and Satan?
When we reread Jesus’ letters to the seven churches, they’re not incomparable to a Groom’s love letter to his Bride. The good news is that it ends well. The outcome is powerfully reassuring:
Revelation 19:7-9 ESV Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; (8) it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (9) And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Thus, Jesus’ words for the church bears his heartfelt, honest, eye to eye conviction, designed to move every heart and soul to repentance and renewed faith.
Notice the three elements of Jesus’ appraisal, firstly consisting of encouragement, then correction and finally promises, all underlined with a call to really, really listen.
The past 70 or so years have provided fertile ground for broader Christianity to flourish. In many places the church has bloomed and grown to reflect her Lord and Saviour Jesus. But in other places, Christianity has become known for its lukewarm nature, its tolerance of evil, its complicit silence in the face of wickedness, as well as the very public idolatry and sexual sin that has added to unbelievers’ distaste.
Whatever “community” has become, much of “church” must become like her Lord Jesus Christ. The call is to repent, to change.
Thankfully, in almost every faith community, now as well as 2000 years ago, there were always holy and faithful people, enduring terrible times, and triumphing in the name of Jesus. “You have not denied my name,” is Jesus’ powerful affirmation as to His Bride’s identity and testimony.
So, when Jesus returns in His glory, will he find faith on earth? Will he find a faithful bride, dressed in white, resplendent and radiant? Will she be ready to stand before the Son of Man?
The love letters of millennia ago have served their purpose. Will you be invited to the next great covenantal event? “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
“I’m confused. I thought those were ancient Israelite harvest festivals, and therefore bear no relevance to Christians today!”
Here’s the short answer! You’ll love it if you love Jesus.
Last year our family again revelled in the Christ-centred celebration of the “Feast of Tabernacles” with almost 1000 fellow Christians gathered in Florida, USA. The previous year, we were in Caloundra, QLD, with a 100 faithful believers. And, consecutively, for more than five decades, it began for me as a nine year old boy in 1969 worshipping during the feast in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales.
Let me explain why I believe that this celebration particularly is relevant under the new covenant, and therefore powerfully resonant with all Christians.
But I digress first and confess a little of my journey.
In those early decades, our family kept the feast with a very much old covenant overlay. I recall frequent readings of:
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16 KJV)
This was a commanded assembly for males. But, my sisters, mother and grandmother were there as well! And as a boy, of course, I loved the travel, the motel accommodation, carrying my dad’s old camera, and visiting places of interest. I recall the protracted morning and afternoon church services. I also recall on occasion a fiery preacher eliciting our attention from the pulpit.
From today’s vantage and hindsight, all those formative years truly felt like old covenant edict. Many songs and songs related to ancient experiences in Egypt, Israel or Babylon!
I’m thankful, however, that it provided a foundation to fast track to today.
Rather than old covenant or ancient harvest anchorage, these biblical annual Sabbaths/festivals (as detailed in Leviticus chapter 23) are powerfully symbolic of salvation narrative that centres on Jesus Christ. From the Passover Lamb to the Great White Throne Judgment, it’s all about Jesus! As the weekly Sabbath foreshadows rest in Christ, so too the annual Sabbaths reflect a depth of Christo-centric meaning.
These festivals are all about Jesus Christ! Let me say that again. These festivals are all about Jesus!
But not all churches actually get it.
Many think they are old covenant history, with little relevance today. Others celebrate them by command, where sadly the grace and Lordship of Jesus is absent.
So, in exploring this together, let’s ask, when was Jesus born?
No, he wasn’t born at Xmas time.
Although orthodox Christianity celebrates the birth of Jesus in December (historically chosen to align with the pagan sun god Mithras’ birth on December 25), we know that Jesus was born in late September or early October – around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.
So, why not honour Jesus’ birth then? The particular festival is an ideal framework to turn our attention to the divine miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth and all that it means for everyone.
Of course, John’s testimony compels us further when he wrote:
And the Word became flesh and [tabernacled] among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)
So Jesus “tented” or sojourned among us for some 33 years.
And, what’s more, He’s coming back again as “KING of Kings and LORD of Lords”, where “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord!” Jesus then reigns for a 1000 years. And finally on the Last Great Day, we celebrate the great resurrection of humanity to a time of judgment.
Everything about the Feast of Tabernacles has to do with Jesus, the Son of God and our Advocate with our Father.
So let’s celebrate Christ, in the spirit of the new covenant, compelled by love for our Lord and Saviour.
This year’s festival theme in Western Australia is “Jesus, Saviour, Lord and King”.
We welcome you to join us at the Mary Davis Library and Community Centre in Baldivis, Western Australia, 3-10 October 2020.
After more than a month of quarantine, social distancing and ongoing political and international narrative over the COVID-19 virus, with churches closed, businesses struggling, a major airline collapse amidst a general air of uncertainty, we’ve seen the remarkable response of church communities coming together in the digital universe for livestreaming of weekly church services, Bible studies, devotionals and online fellowship.
When we began livestreaming Sabbath worship services in Mundaring, WA, some 15 months ago in order to cater for our family in Christ living in remote areas, little did we realise that livestreaming would soon become an essential service. Now with three cameras, lights, microphones and other streaming equipment, the back part of our home has been turned into a mini television studio. Take a look!
And so, every Sabbath at 11:00am we “go live”, ministering in the lives of our faith community, not only throughout Australia, but overseas as well. Last week was our most successful and riveting online service, benefiting from the contributions of many more people. This week via Zoom we started a Tuesday night Bible study. And this next Sabbath’s behind-the-scenes work is again almost complete.
We’re grateful to Hannah and Emma, who significantly contribute to our team’s work. Hannah arrived here just before the coronavirus lock-down, and then being unable to return to Sydney, has been an invaluable help in our work here. Emma adeptly manages the livestreaming console. And Rebecca, as vocalist with keyboard as well as facilitating children’s church completes the onsite team.
When Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” I think he was also thinking about the difficult times we’re now entering. For when the church is under pressure, it is then that she is at her best! Pandemic fear gives way to prolific faith.
In this day and age, it is more important than ever to be able give a honest answer from the depths of our convictions to clearly, intelligently and patiently articulate our unambiguous and uncompromising Biblical position on any given subject.
What do you believe about abortion? Sexuality? The LGBT movement? Marriage? Evolution versus faith?
In our busy and often distracted world, many simply do not have the time or impetus to carefully think through the big issues of life. Who am I? What do I believe and why? Is there any purpose to life? Might my current position be wrong, and why? Do I have a testimony that stands the test of time – and scrutiny? It is much easier to dismiss such questions than genuinely probe them further.
For many, who I suspect are in the majority, it is also increasingly difficult thing to freely speak our convictions in a current politically-correct charged world. Subjects such as marriage, sexuality, divorce and abortion. Freedom of thought and speech are increasingly offset by leftist, anti-faith ideologies. The mainstream media today selectively tells only part of the story. Higher education dismisses faith and traditional values as generally irrelevant. Politicians expediently balance incorporating popular but misguided sentiment against their chances of re-election.
It is our hope and prayer that given the challenges we all face, be it fire, flood, pestilence, or an ongoing distrustful narrative, may we still give voice to the testimony of Jesus Christ in important matters. For example, are you able to clearly articulate what marriage is and what it isn’t? We hope this recent video helps you form a reliable and informed testimony about the subject of marriage, based on the timeless words of wisdom passed down through the ages.