The Hills are set for massive change, in lots of ways.
The train line, so long promised, is being built. The forecast is for 100 000 people to be moving in in the next 20 years or so.
And one of the stations will be down the road from the church where I serve, St Paul’s Castle Hill. Literally down the road – less than 1km away. It will incorporated into a massive redevelopment of Castle Towers, a shopping centre that is already huge.
This story, from today’s local paper, states that the completed redevelopment will mean a floor space of 173,683 sq m., and bring an estimated 2500 extra jobs into the region.
The challenge before us a church is thinking into the future – what do all of these developments mean for St Paul’s? And how can we make the most of them for the future? We are working hard at these questions right now.
I am wading into the turbulent waters of ‘Parenting’ this Sunday at St Paul’s 10am church, as we begin a 3 week series on the topic.
As part of my prep, I am curious to know if you think the task of parenting has become harder over the years.
If you have a spare 10 seconds, you can anonymously answer the poll below to help me with some stats for this Sunday.
Yesterday a bunch of us from the SPCH staff headed up to Brisbane for a half day with Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.
– seeing and hearing someone who is 63 speak with such passion and energy about the lost and the church
– hearing a passion for training leaders, and discipling people, from a church that is often maligned as ignoring
– hearing leadership wisdom that was soaked in Bible, battle hardened and time tested
– having someone be humble to share of lessons learned from mistakes made
If the coming into existence of the Nazarenes, a phenomenon undeniably attested by the New Testament, rips a great hole in history, a hole the shape and size of the Resurrection, what does the secular historian propose to stop it up with?… the birth and rapid rise of the Christian Church… remain an unsolved enigma for any historian who refuses to take seriously the only explanation offered by the Church itself.
C.F.D.Moule (Cambridge), The Phenomenon of the New Testament
This weekend is Easter weekend.
Australians in general love it because it is a four day long weekend, a chance for rest and recreation.
Christians love it even more because it is the very foundation of real rest, the relief from having to wonder about our relationship to the divine, and the ultimate freedom from having to prove ourselves via competition from others (if you want to know how that works, I spoke on this last Sunday, you can listen here).
There have been some very helpful posts leading up to Easter this year, so I thought I point them out.
1. Resurrection and Science
One of the major objections to belief in the resurrection of Jesus has been the thought that is is incompatible with modern science.Dr John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, has written a piece on how a scientist can believe in a ‘miracle’ like the resurrection of Jesus. You can find it here.
2. Resurrection and Sources
Another objection to the resurrection of Jesus is that the accounts in the primary sources, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, found in the Bible, are incompatible with each other. The claim is that, since these accounts mention different things and different people, they can’t be speaking about the one event, and so therefore they are unreliable.
Dr Peter Bolt, Head of New Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney (and PhD in the world of the first century from Cambridge) has written a piece showing how the different accounts weave together to speak of one narrative. You can read it here.
[Peter will be speaking at St Pauls on Thursday, 15th May 2014, on the evidence for the historical Jesus, his life and actions – all welcome!]
3. Resurrection and Evidence
Finally, here is a helpful piece from Dr William Lane Craig that puts together the case for the resurrection of Jesus.
May you have a safe and meaningful Easter.
[BTW, our services at St Paul’s Castle Hill where I work are Good Friday: 8am & 10am; Easter Sunday 8 & 10am, 5 & 7pm]
He is Risen – He is Risen Indeed!
In a Christian community, everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community which allows unemployed members to exist within it will perish because of them. It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship.
… Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 95-96 (see the book)
“There is one more thing to say about God’s glory – it is his absolute splendour and beauty. The word for ‘glory’ in the Old Testament means importance, the word for ‘glory’ in the New Testament (the Greek word doxa) means ‘praise and wonder; luminosity, brilliance or beauty.’
Jonathon Edwards once said: ‘God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in.’ It is not enough to say, ‘I guess he is God, so I have got to knuckle under.’ You have to see his beauty.
Glorifying God does not mean obeying him because you have to. It means to obey him because you want to – because you are attracted to him, because you delight in him.
This is what C.S.Lewis grasped so well in his chapter on praising. We need beauty. We go to lengths to put ourselves in front of beautiful places, or surround ourselves with beautiful music, or hang out with beautiful people. But these will leave us empty if we don’t learn to see all of these things as mere tributaries and God himself as the fountain, the headwaters of it all.”
Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2013), 170.