OPEN BOOK SPECIAL - HUNCHES ABOUT JESUS: GETTING THE WORD OUT AND ABOUT
Opposition to the work of Jesus was spurred on by the jealousy of the religious leaders. And now, just as it was starting to get more difficult for people to come to Him, Jesus initiated a fresh approach. Those living in the towns throughout the Galilean region would have the opportunity to respond by welcoming His closest disciples. It was time for the 12 to get involved by spreading God's Word.
The Kingdom of God has always required workers. Then it was the 12; later it would be 70; still later all of us have become involved. By sending out the 12 to cast out evil spirits, Jesus also continued the work begun by John the Baptist. As Jesus had taught, repentance prepared the soil so that the seed can bring forth a good harvest.
So out they went. It was no fashion parade; no door-to-door selling. This was work the Rabbi had planned for His students. They were to spend time with people, live with them in their homes, get to know them and their problems, share their worries and fears. They would have to rely on the people they visited. Jesus sent His disciples out expecting that such people would be generous and hospitable - God's Kingdom is about God's generosity and hospitality.
In his series on Hunches about Jesus, BRUCE C WEARNE examines the passage in Mark chapter six in which Jesus sends out His disciples...|
LIFE'S TOUGH QUESTIONS: DOES THE BIBLE CONDONE SLAVERY?
A common objection to the Bible is that it portrays a God who condones slavery. Considering there about 27 million slaves in the world today, it is a major issue that many Christians are involved in try to abolish. The abolitionist movement made famous by William Wilberforce was almost overwhelmingly Christian. So why would Christians fight so hard to abolish slavery if the Bible condones it?
With any issue like this, when we want to look at what the Bible says, context is everything. To paraphrase real estate agents: context, context, context. It can’t be emphasised enough. We can’t just take an issue that we can do things about now and transport it back 2000 years into a completely different culture and context.
The main thing that I see when I read the Bible, particularly the New Testament, is that it is written in a context of suffering. Jesus was a suffering Messiah, and the epistles were generally written to communities which were experiencing some sort of oppression and persecution.
NILS VON KALM takes a look at what the Bible says about slavery... |
SIGHT-SEEING: THE DEBATE THAT CONTINUES TO HIT OUR SHORES
The recent announcement by the Federal Government that it will be diverting even more of its overseas aid to deal with asylum seekers is more than a disappointing development. It will ironically mean asylum seekers will be coming here in bigger numbers and for longer.
Let’s be straight - the asylum issue is more complex than the ‘tow the boats back’ or ‘humanely accept everybody’ sound bites would have us believe. Indeed a pessimistic outlook would say that Australia has little control over the issue at all. That push factors are much more important than pull factors when there are close to 10 million refugees in the world, and we take less than 15,000.
The only ‘solution’ Australian governments can hope for is respite when the issue fades into the background for a while because boat numbers decrease or other issues steal the front page.
The reality is we have a wonderful place to live, filled with peace and prosperity, despite what the politicians say. While there is inequality, poverty, corruption and war across the globe, people - average everyday people like you and me - will take intolerable risks to find ‘life!’
PAUL CLARK looks at the vexed issue of asylum seekers in Australia...|
The Christian church has lost one of its most articulate spokesman and thinkers. Dr Dallas Willard, 77, received his award in the early hours of today (Thursday, May 8th, 2013), after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
His death came as a surprise to many as it was only on 6th May, 2013, that he revealed on his Twitter page that he was suffering from stage four cancer.
Willard will be remembered for his many books (Spirit of the Disciplines, Renovation of the Heart, Divine Conspiracy, etc), but also for his kind soul and penetrating mind. As department chair of philosophy at University of Southern California, Willard encouraged the pursuit of truth with a clear intellect and open heart.
A friend of mine, Christine Scheller, was able to interview Dallas for Christianity Today magazine in 2006. During a brief conversation with Christine after her interview, she told me that Dallas was an amazing human being, honest, spiritual, and very humble. Christine mentioned his deep love for his wife, Jane, and family. I was pleased to hear this; a man who lives what he teaches, I thought.
In an article first published on ASSIST News Service, BRIAN NIXON recalls an encounter with Dallas Willard who died this week at the age of 77...|
WOW! BELLA - AN INSPIRING MAGAZINE FOR YOUNG WOMEN
Bella is a fantastic Australian magazine written for young women, created to focus on issues untouched or over-emphasised by other magazines.
Aiming to improve girls’ self-esteem, body image as well as promoting their general wellbeing, Bella works to replace the sort of “sexed-up” magazines that proliferate today.
Regularly introducing us to inspiring young women as well as asking and answering the crucial questions, readers are taken back to their roots to consider who they are as people instead of as a dress size.
In place of detailing the latest seven-day miracle detox, Bella presents today’s generation of young women with a healthy alternative to the photo-shopped supermodels readers are used to seeing daily.
LAUREN MUSCAT is impressed with Bella - a magazine for young women...|
MY MISSION: 100 HOLES OF GOLF? HOW YWAM IN NEWCASTLE USED A MARATHON GAME AS A FUNDRAISER
YWAM Newcastle is a non-denominational Christian organisation. We are part of an international movement started in the 1960 by Loren Cunningham. We are unique in that all of our staff, from the international president (Loren Cunningham) down to the newest staff member, are totally self-supporting. All of us pay room and board to the YWAM base in which we live and work.
As a result, there is an ongoing need for fundraising for each of us as individuals, as well as for the YWAM base itself.
We are always looking for unique fundraising opportunities which could supplement our annual 'Dessert Banquet' fundraiser and, at the same time, to involve the community of Newcastle in our operations and outreach in a greater way.
As I have had previous experience both playing in, as well as organising, a '100 Hole Golf Marathon' (I'd previously organised and played in similar events in Portland, Oregon, and Battleground, Washington, in the US), it seemed like a great way for us to raise the funds.
JACK NARVEL writes about how YWAM in Newcastle, New South Wales, used a 100 hole golf marathon as a successful fundraiser... |
"Democracy," wrote James Bovard, "must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
If proposed new legislation on the tracking of social media conversations is passed in Westminster, British democracy may well move a step closer to this scenario.
The Government's powerful security forces may, at least in the public's perception, become online wolves, ganging up on the humble sheep of the electorate to redefine the cybersphere.
British Home Secretary Theresa May is committed to including a new Communications Data Bill within the Queen's Speech this month.
Cyber-security experts, including top-tier academics from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, are warning that the measures will undermine the privacy of citizens.
Backbenchers from both wings of the coalition government are also opposed to the bill, the main thrust of which was first proposed by the previous Labour Government. It was abandoned after an outcry from privacy advocates.
Writing from London, MAL FLETCHER outlines problems he can see with a proposed bill to introduce tracking of conversations on social media ...|
CHRISTIANS FACE THREATS AND DANGER IN ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST VIOLENT CITIES
The large type, appropriately black, shouted the message across the front page of the newspaper: '12 More Bodies Found Dead in One Day'.
It was a typical, almost daily news bulletin in this second-largest Honduran city, San Pedro Sula. With each passing day the death toll from the country’s out-of-control violence mounts.
Everywhere one turns beefed-up security is visible: guards armed with machine guns outside of supermarkets and pharmacies; entrances to tranquil-appearing residential neighborhoods protected by three or four armed guards, vicious looking dogs and roads blocked by chains; electrically charged barbed wire atop walls surrounding houses; and people riding in bullet-proofed cars driven by heavily armed men.
Such is life in what has been termed the world’s most violent city where drug-fueled gangs fight it out on city streets, feuds between Mexican drug cartels break out into violent conflict and innocent shoppers or church goers are victims of “express kidnappings” in which victims are driven to ATM machines and ordered to empty their accounts.
Following a recent visit to the Central American nation of Honduras, KENNETH D MACHARG - in an article published by ASSIST News Service, writes of the violence besetting cities like San Pedro Sula...|
What was it like growing up that famous family, the Winans?
"Yeah...it was noisy, there was always a lot of noise going on; we all sang. People who don’t know me - my mom and my dad both sang and they had 10 children. So I have siblings, seven brothers and two sisters, and we all love to sing. You know, we would bang on the piano. But it was definitely a great time."
Is it true that the great Andre Crouch discovered the Winans?
"Yes that’s true, you got it right. He was in town and a friend of his told him about our whole family, 'Ya gotta hear this family. All of ‘em sing, every single one of ‘em.' Andre said 'What?' And sure enough he came to our house in Detroit and we all sang. My older brother had a group called The Winans and Andre signed them to Light Records."
In the return of Sight's Under the Grill column, GURYEL ALI caught up with Grammy Award-winning Gospel singer and author CeCe Winans during her recent brief visit from the US to Melbourne... |
THE WORD: WORLDLINESS - LIVING IN THE WORLD
Worldliness is not the same as living in the world. This statement ranks with that other Christian approach to life, an approach which has seen its share of parodying in recent years; love the sinner but hate the sin.
The beauty of this sometimes difficult concept is Jesus modelled how to live in the world without having the world live in Him.
Perhaps fortunately and unfortunately this does not make for a straight forward matter for His disciples. How do we weed out worldliness while maintaining roots in the world? Our personality can be a major contributor to how we manage this matter. With no Leviticus of the New Testament to help sort the tares from the wheat; the in but not of the world; we need to draw on the Bible as a whole, the Holy Spirit, the community of believers and Jesus model, for each generation.
Two thousand years of Christian communities has provided a pendulum swing of points of engagement and disengagement with the wider community.
LLOYD HARKNESS looks at what it really means to be in the world but not of the world... |
A Presbyterian Minister in the early half of the 20th century, Rev John Flynn’s heart for remote outback communities led him to found both the Australian Inland Mission and the world’s first air ambulance service – the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Born on 25th November, 1880, in the now mostly deserted Gold Rush town of Moliagul, Victoria, Flynn was the third child of school teacher Thomas Flynn and his wife Rosetta.
His mother died in childbirth when he was just three and as a result Flynn spent part of his childhood with relatives before the family moved to the western suburbs of Melbourne where his father took a job as a head teacher.
Flynn went on to study at University High School and after graduation, unable to afford to attend university, followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as a secondary school teacher for five years.
DAVID ADAMS takes a look at the life of the founder of the Australian Inland Mission and the Royal Flying Doctor Service... |
VIEW: THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
It is a popular belief that separation of church and state in Australia implies that Christian and/or religious ideas and worldviews have no place in the public sphere. Some may go further and decry government funding of faith-based schools and institutions as a breach of separation of church and state. It's important to understand what separation of church and state means in Australia.
In the lead up to Australia's federation in 1901, lawyers and colonial politicians were concerned about preventing any prospect of an established church in the nation. They were particularly concerned about replicating the established Church of England in Australia and felt the best way to protect the religious freedom of the many settlers practising other Christian traditions was to forego an established church. Thus it was proposed a section should be included in the Constitution which became known as section 116: "The Commonwealth shall not make law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. "
KATHERINE SPACKMAN, communications director at the Australian Christian Lobby, takes a look at what the separation of church and state means in the Australian context...|
To sit, and to be. To sit, in the moment. To sit, and not fill in the time. To sit, and think about nothing else, other than what you see in front of you. To sit, and to be at peace.
Why do we find it so hard? To sit. Why do we struggle to find the time?(It has occurred to me) The sole purpose of many things that we have created is to save time. Dishwashers, stoves, cars, power tools, toasters. These inventions were to make life easier and save time. We stopped having to light a fire to cook dinner. We stopped having to walk everywhere. We stopped having to use our physical labour in the garage. We stopped having to wash dishes ourselves.
As a result of these inventions, we have found more time to do things that we enjoy doing. So, we’ve also created things for our pure enjoyment. Televisions, PlayStations, surfboards, music players. We spend an enormous amount of money on ‘entertainment.’ When people write up budgets, there is always a section for entertainment. A budget for fun.
JOSHUA ZANKER writes about the importance of being able to stop... |
With up to 75 per cent of abortion-seeking women stating financial constraints as a reason they are unable to continue their pregnancies, one has to wonder what these ‘women’s advocates’ are doing to ensure that no woman has an unwanted abortion when financial constraints are a primary factor.
The cases put forward in this article of the woman with five children and a domestic violence issue, a homeless mother and a mother with children in foster care seem on the surface to be desperate cases for abortion. However, these cases only demonstrate how miserably we are failing to support women and children out of their dire circumstances by offering them surgical solutions to their social problems. This kind of problem provides abortions for the pregnant, homeless women, instead of housing and financial support.
In the return of an occasional column, DEBBIE GARRATT, executive director of Real Choices Australia, takes issue with the view that Australian women need greater access to abortions... |
INSIDE THE CHURCH: SPEAKERS "OPEN UP" AT HILLSONG
The dust has settled on yet another Hillsong Conference and this year seemed bigger than ever. As the crowds packed Allphones Arena I couldn’t help but feel the anticipation in the air. Opening night is always a special occasion. This year was no different. The night started a singer and moved on to virtual bell ringing. Soon after, a presentation began with wireless lights all blinking in synch. The lights were in the shape of cubes and the people holding them were standing on the stairs. Over the speaker system a voice started quoting I Peter 2:5 and the people carried the lights to the stage, putting them together. Ephesians 2:21 was then quoted. A cross lowered from the roof and praise and worship started with a song from the new Cornerstone album.(If you’d like to see the opening there are a number of videos on Youtube, one of which can be found here www.youtube.com/watch?v=BitS6Jx1RRc.)
Guest speakers for this year included Joyce Meyer, Steven Furtick, Louie Giglio and Joseph Prince. Brian and Bobbie Houston also spoke at various times throughout the conference. This was a conference at which the speakers opened up about themselves, difficulties they had been through and how God was with them through those times.
ALAN TAYLOR writes about his experiences at this year's Hillsong Conference... |
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
This is just an except from the extraordinary prayer spoken in a radio address to the nation by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the evening of 6th June, 1944 - a day better known to us as D-Day.
An estimated 100 million people tuned in to hear the President ask them to join him in prayer at 10pm that night - if correct that figure would make the prayer one of the largest mass prayers ever said.
Elsewhere in the six minute prayer the president asked for help for those left at home in rededicating themselves in "renewed faith" and to be able to "bear sorrows that may come". He also calls for strength in redoubling the contributions made for the physical and material support of the armed forces and, noting calls for a single day of special prayer for the war efforts, instead asks "that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer".
DAVID ADAMS looks at a prayer asking for God's help in a time of war... |
FOR MORE OF OUR SERIES ON GREAT PRAYERS click here...
Want free weekly email updates
of everything that's new on Sight?
The bookshop is now open. Click HERE to go there...
Thought of a way we could make the site better? Or any other general feedback? Drop us a line here...
We're committed to keeping Sight freely accessible to all our readers but
if you wish to help support the work of Sight, you can do so by using the donate tab above for whatever amount you wish. Please note that donations to Sight are not tax deductible. Any queries, please email email@example.com
WE'RE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS!
If you think you can help out on Sight, then please let us know. We're always looking for new writers and reviewers and the more technically minded. If you'd like to join the Sight team, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
THEY SAID IT
"This is a long journey and there is still much more to be done. The displacement of people, the violence directed towards them, needs to stop."
- US President Barack Obama speaking to Burma's President Thein Sein during the latter's visit to the White House this week - the first such visit in almost 50 years (as quoted on www.washingtonpost.com on 21st May, 2013). For more of They Said It, follow the link... | more... |
THIS WEEK ON THE WEB
16th May, 2013
Writing in Eureka Street, Frank Brennan explains why it is time Australia committed to negotiating final maritime boundaries with East Timor. You can read the article here...
Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...
23rd May, 2013
Haven’t times changed since we were young? These days our young people face relentless pressure to abuse alcohol, drugs, sex; you name it!
We are seeing a generation grow up in a vacuum of values where violence is all too common.
This is no time to sit on your hands. If we want our children to grow up as healthy, responsible adults, we must give them safe, healthy communities to be a part of; where they can develop the internal strength of character to see them through.
Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...|
INSECTS ON THE MENU?; A 'SPACE ODDITY'; BACK FROM THE DEAD; AND, A FOUR-YEAR-OLD MAYOR...
Insects already form part of the diet of an estimated two billion people but they may well be on even more menus in the future as experts look to alternative means of feeding people. The Food and Agriculture Organisation says that insects (and there are about a million known species) could provide a "readily available source of nutritious and protein-rich food".
ADAMS writes about the odder side of life...|
THOUSANDS OF EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS JAM STREETS FOR 'HOLY FIRE' CEREMONY... While Roman Catholics and Protestants in Israel and across the world celebrated Easter Sunday on 31st March this year, for hundreds of millions of Eastern Orthodox in Russia, Ukraine, Greece, the Holy Land and elsewhere the highlight of Easter 2013 came on Saturday, 4th May, when tens of thousands of the faithful packed Jerusalemâ€™s Church of the Holy Sepulcher to witness the Holy Fire ceremony marking the resurrection of the Christian messiah.
MEMORIAL TO QUAKER SERVICE INAUGURATED AT UK'S NATIONAL ARBORETUM...
A memorial to Quaker service opened at the National Arboretum at Alrewas near Lichfield on 20th April. It commemorates the work of the Friends Ambulance Unit and Friends Relief Service during World War II.
The Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) was an independent body led by Quakers but open to all. During the Second World War over 1,300 men and women served in 25 countries, building a record of goodwill and positive service.
It's Easter week and I'm watching that delicious softness in the autumn atmosphere start to blur the sharpness of summer down here in southern Victoria. The dry grass in the paddocks has the colour and look of a grommie's* surf-bleached hair - all oaten white and fly away, the sunrises pastel soft and the shadows at the end of the day are long in the golden light before slow sunset. Summer crowds recede and Easter tides increase.
It's back! ANN
WOJCZUK's blog about life, the universe and possibly everything...|
EVERYTHING IS RELATIONAL...
Over the last year or so I've been realising how everything in life is related to our relationships, whether we realise it or not. All of our interactions are either constructive or destructive for our relating. That's why life is so difficult. I thought of saying during a sermon once that life is easy until you have to relate to someone! It is for this reason that doing our best to get our relationships to work is the most important thing we can do with our lives.
NILS VON KALM'S blog on faith, life and how it all might fit together...|
OUT OF AFRICA: TAKING YOUR BLESSINGS FOR GRANTED...
I have been thinking a lot lately about how blessed I was living in Australia. Sadly much of that blessing was in a sense ‘lost on me’ because I didn’t see it for what it was. The longer I live here the more I realise the day-to-day difficulties people face in the majority of the world. I am amazed that people are able to keep their hope when so many things seem so difficult.
Things I have always taken for granted - access to water, nutritious food and good medical assistance - are, at times, just not available here. I am horrified at the number of times people come back from our local medical clinic saying that there is no medicine or even occasionally no doctor.
LENA JOHNSTONE's blog about life in Malawi, Africa, where she works with the Mphatso Children's Foundation...|
THE STOREROOM: HOW TO ABOLISH SLAVERY? GUEST POST BY THE APOSTLE PAUL... From Paul a servant of Christ Jesus, and Richard his brother.
So, as I wrote, my hope was that in the homes of the Church in Ephesus the relationships between slaves and masters would be transformed.
Also, I left Timothy in Ephesus and wrote this to him: “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which He entrusted to me.”
Emphasis is mine. Well, actually, the whole thing is mine.
RICHARD THOMAS' sometimes weird and sometimes wonderful 'storeroom' of ideas...|
SIGHT'S BLOG LINKS, HEAD TO OUR BLOGSPOT PAGE...