Here are 3 quick things …. FYI-IMHO (for your info – in my humble opinion)
1. I’m now an ex-Apostolic ex-minister. We joined the Apo church in 1985 & I was ordained in 1996 – so the Apostolic Movement has been part of our lives for a long time. I’ve always believed that we shouldn’t leave a church or denomination unless we are kicked out, or it becomes apparent to both sides that it is best all-round if we leave.
In the last few years it has become apparent that my beliefs and values don’t align well with NZ Apostolics, and that I am asking questions that they don’t think need to be asked (or they think are already answered).
I got a nice phone call from one of the national leaders a few weeks ago, in which he gently asked “why are you still in the Apos Movement – with your obviously different values etc”. We had a nice discussion – he was careful to ensure he wasn’t pushing me, & I made it clear that I didn’t want to cause them any problems … & so I offered to resign.
It doesn’t really make any difference to us – we are still committed to helping establish the Kingdom, particularly here in Devonport, and acting ‘missionally’.
I guess I can now add these two ‘ex’ things to the long list of things I’m ‘ex’ – now when people ask who I am, it seems easier to say what I ‘used to be’ (ex-engineer, ex-missionary, ex-Bible College Principal, ex-director of alternative education schools, ex-church health consultant, ex-minister etc)
2. The BOOK to read this Christmas – the MUST read for the holidays – IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion) – is “Everything Must Change” by Brian McLaren. This new book is GREAT. It addresses the big issues in the world – the subtitle is “Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope”. It is easy to read, but raises important challenges to individual disciples, faith communities, and the global church. It’s available from Amazon, Epworth Books in NZ, and hopefully other good book stores. It would be a great book to read & discuss in a small group, where you help each other address the challenges the book raises (it even has group discussion questions to help you).
This book is unique – it addresses issues & concepts in a very readable way. The title is accurate – everything must change ….
3. Christmas Challenge – this Christmas, can we (you, I) care for the poor as much as we do for the rich? Is it possible for us to spend as much on the poor at Christmas as we do on the rich? (our selves, friends & family) ….
We Jesus-followers are called to love the poor, give to the needy who can’t repay etc etc …. (If you’re not convinced about this, let me know & I can point you to the multitude of Bible verses on this topic)
Can you / we / I … spend as much on helping the poor this Christmas as we spend on giving to the rich.
OR … if you / we / I don’t have enough $ to do it that way around, what about trying to only spend as much on the rich as we’ve already spent on the poor ….. (ie give to the poor first …)
As we celebrate Christmas, which is typically linked to over-eating & indulgence, can we remember, AND do something about, the people starving in the world, including the 30,000 children that die of starvation every day (including Christmas day).
Personally, we’ve been trying to move further that way … our children & relatives are getting used to being given goats & pigs & toilets & orchards for Christmas (we gave our son John a ‘john’ (toilet) J )… through the gifts for the poor programs of World Vision & Tear Fund … a couple of years ago my mother-in-law said the goat she was given was the best present she received (she got a photo of a goat which was given to a poor family somewhere) – she now looks forward to something similar each year.
At the end of the Christmas season last year, Margaret (my wonderful wife) said ‘so how did we personally do’? We sat down & did the sums, & figured we needed to give a bit more money away … & then we had managed to meet this challenge (to care for the poor as much as we do for the rich, at Christmas).
Please – join us for this challenge this Christmas – for the sake of the poor & hungry, and for the sake of our own souls. (resisting the ‘gods of materialism & consumerism)
… have a good week … & a good Christmas