is god incompetent?? suffering and hidden grace (joseph part 1)

ImageMany people have this expectation: if they cry out to God for help he SHOULD save them.

Many people know this reality: sometimes they cry out to God, cry out for help and there is no answer, they do not see the help they long for.

Many people have the expectation that help SHOULD come, and most people have had the experience of feeling like God has left them, like he’s not there.

What is the common response to this then? What many people say is: “Look at all the pain and suffering – in my life, in that person’s life, in the world – if God is really out there, if God actually exists, he must not be very good at his job.”

God is hidden. He’s not doing anything. Suffering and pain still occur. God must be incompetent.

And so, the question must be asked, is God doing what he ought to do? Why does he sometimes appear like he has gone missing? Read the rest of this entry

poverty in australia

October 14-20 is Anti-Poverty Week in Australia.

In a new report just released, the Australian Council of Social Services said that around 1 in 8 Australians live below the poverty line.

17% of all children live below the poverty line.

This equates to around 2.2 million people.

Poverty in Australia is measured by 2 standards. The first standard of poverty is 50% of the Australian median income. The second standard is slightly higher at 60% of median income.

For a single person this equates to $358/wk (50% of median income), $537 for a couple with no children, $573 for a single parent with 2 kids and $752 for a couple with two children.  Read the rest of this entry

taking your hands off the wheel

What does it mean to take our hands off the wheel of our life and let God be in control?

There was young woman (15-16 years old) in the 1930s who made a commitment to go to Asia as a missionary. Despite others making similar commitments and failing to follow through, she kept her resolve and finished high school still with plans to go to Asia as a missionary.

The young lady went to the missionary societies to ask what she had to do to get to Asia. They told her that she had to get some training, cross cultural training and theological training, but there was one other thing. She had to be married (for safety and cultural reasons).

At this point, this young woman prayed.

“I am going to give You my life… everything. I am going to go into missionary service for You. I will do all the training I need to do, I will give you everything I have… there is just one thing I need from You, God… a husband.” Read the rest of this entry

racism, sexism, classism: the need to justify ourselves

Racism does exist in our country – just ask an Aboriginal person, a black African or a person of Middle Eastern, Asian or Indian appearance.

Whether racism is prevalent in Australia is up for debate.

But where does racism, sexism, classism and bigotry come from?

If you get caught speeding and there is evidence to support the police saying you were speeding (and you know that you were), you can either admit wrong and cop the punishment, or admit wrong but justify your actions.

“I was late to work.”

“No one else is on the road. Its not affecting anyone.”

“I drive this road every day and I know you can go faster than 100km/h.”

If someone points out a flaw, a point of brokenness, we can either admit it and seek healing, forgiveness and wholeness, or we can admit the wrong but justify our actions. This is an attempt to cover up our guilt and shame, to cover up and prevent others from seeing us as broken.

It is exactly what Adam and Eve do in Genesis 3:11-13. Read the rest of this entry

dumb drunk and racist

ImageTonight, the ABC2 program Dumb, Drunk and Racist looked at relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Part of this episode, addressed the Myall Creek Massacre.

This bought me to think about the number of massacres of Indigenous Australians since white men appeared.

From some simple research, some 44 massacres of Aboriginal people occurred between the 1790s and 1930. However, I suspect this is not an exhaustive list of all the murders and even all the massacres of Aboriginal people since white settlement.

Frequently the short recounts of these massacres detail the deaths of 12, 14, 30 and sometimes more than 100 Aboriginal deaths.  Read the rest of this entry

boat people: compassionate solution or political point scoring?

Photo: Asylum seekers crowd the decks of the boat shortly before it sank. (AMSA) ABC News

The last week has seen 2 tragedys at sea.

Two boats carrying asylum seekers have sunk between Indonesia and Christmas Island within two days of each other. The first boat capsized last Thursday, June 12, and was carrying more than 200 passengers and around 90 people died. The second boat capsized on Wednesday June 27, and 3 asylum seekers lost their lives.

What has ensued is a major political storm surrounding Australia’s policy on asylum seekers. Read the rest of this entry

thoughts from the hearth (geoff leslie)

More thoughts by the Hearth

 

The big old log has gone cold overnight

Shut up too long in stale air

There are churches like that!

 

First step universal:

Open the door and let in the breath of life

But too cold to respond…

Read the rest of this entry

inspirational women: the five barley loaves (moved by others)

The Five Barley Loaves

In my last post, I mentioned ‘the five barley loaves’, an inspirational story. But perhaps you have no idea who they are.

‘The Five Barley Loaves’ was the affectionate name given to 5 Australian Baptist women who were essentially the pioneers of the Australian Baptist mission movement. These 5 single women, all in their twenties, set out as missionaries in East Bengal on the Indian sub-continent in 1885.

If you are thinking that 5 single women being sent to India in 1880s is perhaps not what you might expect, you would be right. Punchanon Biswas, an agent support by Furreedpore Mission in East Bengal, travelled to South Australia to encourage those already supporting the mission to consider sending women to do some of the work. He strongly believed that the women of his country needed to be ministered to by women.

The idea that women should be sent here was not one that many liked the sound of. It was thought that a European male should head up the work even if much of the Zenana work was done by women. However, incredibly, in 1881 the South Australian churches accepted the names of Marie Gilbert and Ellen Arnold as missionaries for this work. Read the rest of this entry

moved by others

The Stoning of Stephen

Is there someone who inspires you?

We love hearing stories of people, stories which encourage and inspire us. Whether they be stories from people who are famous and long gone, or just the story of our neighbour or family member. We love being inspired by the stories of others.

As humans we need one another… we were designed to be in community, living alongside one another, loving, caring and supporting one another. We are relational beings. And so it makes sense that we love stories… Read the rest of this entry

moved by God: it’s always been about mission

Photo by Karl Schuler

If you were to tweet or SMS or write in a sentence the whole message of the Bible and God’s activity throughout history, what would you say?

When you read the Bible, you find that the history of God’s dealings with mankind is for one purpose… that all the world might know and worship Him. Mission is the primary activity of God, it is the heart of God… it is and always has been about mission.

Often when we think of “mission” we think of the New Testament, of the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20), the early church, the Apostle Peter, Paul and Barnabas… we hardly ever think of Israel and the Old Testament. But should we? Was the nation of Israel supposed to be missionaries? Is there missionary activity found in the Old Testament? Read the rest of this entry

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