Monday 19 September 2011
I've been watching loads of justice league unlimited(JLU) and thoroughly enjoying it! For those of you(s) who aren't geeks DC comics have rebooted their universe (started from a Blank canvas again) and one of the comic review caught my eye. It basically said Wonder woman is one of the most important characters of the DC universe (Batman and superman making up the holy trinity) but there are no decent stories/comics with the classic tale which involves wonder woman. This kinda of idea creeps throught out the whole of the DC universe and eventually leads to the bigger question "what do we do with Wonder woman?" Do we make her into a female superman who is strong and tough but not superman, so he can save her; do we make her a man-hater a strong feminist or do we make her into the token eye candy(when was the last time you saw a flat-chested, non-curvy plain wonder woman)
This questing of the role of women in churches is another example - Every good pastor needs a trophy wife, but as long as they are not causing problem/headlines it is ok! Heck, we can even give a job which isn't that important! The The idea of a woman leading in a new direction is dangerous and what would happen if she had a new story ....
So would the real wonderwoman step forward and show us all the way?
Tuesday 14 June 2011
Monday 4 April 2011
What happens after "love wins"? After the hype/reviews/discussions? When we've sat in judgement? If the Marshill grows after this episode, the sceptic can claim it is based on heresy and thus a cult. If it reduces in size, they can claim God's judgement is in action. If Rob Bell repents (if he needs to?) what will happen? Can we now cross Rob Bell of the list of "Evangelical Messiahs" as he might have done something questionable and now start the look for the next John Wimber/Billy Graham/
What happens if the book is immaterial (Not finished reading it) but it is a catalyst for bringing to the surface the worldwide churches true agenda? Reading the New Testament highlights that the hallowed early churches were full of lots of problems much heavier then this?
It seems a Zugzwang - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang and Does Love Win?
It seems a Zugzwang - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang and Does Love Win?
Monday 28 February 2011
Monday 7 February 2011
Below are the Notes from My first sermon at Sion. I've made some grammatical changes to improve the read.
Introduction - English
Jesus is the center of our faith - He is everthing. Christianity is not about the church, helping people, being good, following rules, our sin, theology, getting into heaven, making us feel better but it all about Jesus and knowing him. The apostle Paul wrote that he is "the author and perfecter of our faith."
I want this time for us to a time of discovery and/or rediscovery of the real Jesus - let us put aside our images of Jesus, the baby, the sin sacrifice, the good teacher, the revolutionary, the person we do things for or how we want to think of him and let us together meet with the Real Jesus - the invisible God within human skin. So when we look at Jesus, we see how God is; When we see how Jesus acts/feels/talks/things about things we see how the God of the universe deals with Issues.
This time may not be easy or painless as we may have to leave behing things which we have held onto for a long, things which may define us but have faith that as we seek to know God more, he is a good father and he won't disappoint or hurt us. Remember, This God came to earth be immanuel - God with us and that is what he seeks
C. S Lewis wrote about Aslan - the God lion in the narnia storys. "He is a wild lion, you can't control him, he goes were he wants to" - So, we are going to pray together (in english sorry) but we are going to ask Jesus to uncage himself and release himself from the boxes which we have put him in. Then in this teaching series, we will be looking at Jesus and more particularly, what Jesus said in one to one conversation in John gospel and discovering the real God-man!
Jézus áll hitünk középpontjában - Ő minden. A keresztyénség nem a templomról, gyülekezetről, egyházról szól, vagy arról, hogy segítünk másoknak, hogy jók vagyunk, hogy szabályokat követünk. Nem a bűneinkről, teológiáról, a mennybe jutásról, vagy arról, hogy jobban érezzük magunkat, hanem Jézusról szól és az Ő megismeréséről. Pál apostol írta, hogy Ő “a hit szerzője és beteljesítője”.
Szeretném, hogy ez az alkalom számunkra az igazi Jézus felfedezésének és/vagy az újrafelfedezésének alkalma legyen - tegyük félre elképzeléseinket Jézusról, a csecsemőről, a bűnért való áldozatról, a jó tanítóról, a forradalmárról, a személyről, akiért tesszük a dolgokat, vagy azt, ahogyan gondolni akarunk Rá, és találkozzunk együtt az Igazi Jézussal - a láthatatlan Istennel emberi alakban. Így amikor Jézusra tekintünk, látjuk, milyen Isten. Amikor látjuk, Jézus hogyan cselekszik, érez, beszél és gondolkodik dolgokról, látjuk, hogy a világegyetem Istene hogyan foglalkozik problémákkal.
Ez az alkalom talán nem lesz könnyű vagy fájdalommentes, mivel lehet, hogy hátra kell hagynunk dolgokat, amikhez hosszú időn át ragaszkodtunk, dolgokat, melyek meghatároznak minket. De legyen hitünk, hogy ahogy arra törekszünk, hogy jobban megismerjük Istent, Ő jó apa, aki nem okoz csalódást, és nem sebez meg. Emlékezzünk, hogy Ez az Isten azért jött a földre, hogy Immánuel legyen - velünk az Isten - és ez az, amire törekszik.
C. S. Lewis írta Aslanról - az Istent jelképező oroszlánról a Narniáról szóló történetekben.”Ő egy vad oroszlán, nem irányíthatod, oda megy, ahova akar.” Tehát együtt imádkozunk (én angolul, bocsánat), de arra kérjük Jézust, hogy kiszabadítsa magát a skatulyákból, amelyekbe raktuk Őt. Aztán ebben a tanításban Jézusra tekintünk, és még pontosabban arra, mit mondott Jézus négyszemközti beszélgetésben János evangéliumában, és fölfedezzük az igazi Isten-embert.
John 3: Read the story out loud
There are three sections (all good sermons have three points) - Born again, Love and Judgement)
1) Born again
"Rabbi we know that you are a teacher from God for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with them"
Nicodemus was a great teacher of the law - He was one of the best of the best. He was the leader of the Jewish teaching. He knew his bible and he knew the law (literally, he had memorised the whole of the Old testament) but there was something missing/challenging in Nicodemus' mind. Maybe the why? Remember that the reality for Jews was that they were in their land for ~400 years, there had been no prophets or major words from the Lord. And then like a bus, along comes two people, John then Jesus. And Jesus was doing miracles.
What is the question which Nicodemus is asking? The question isn't a question or is it? Did Jesus stop him before a but? When I argue with Samm, It is always best to be nice to someone before a criticism/challenge/personal attack. "You are looking very beautify today but ....", You are an amazing person but (not at 5am in the morning); You are very tidy but...
Jesus answers the non-question. "Unless one is born again, you can't see the kingdom of God." The again can also mean from above - it is deliberately vague. The answer Jesus gives is rather cryptic.
Nicodemus doesn't understand and thinks it is a physical - so Jesus expands the theme some more.
Who within in this room decided when they were going to be born? Was there kicks on their mummy bladders in Morse code to show the date - No!
Birth is a process which occurred to us, with us but something which we had little (0%) control over. So it is with the Spirit of God working in our and our friends/families/enemies lives, God is the expert midwife and we trust his timing and safe hands. I've never been to a birth but I'm assured that it is never quiet, predictable and the same for everyone. There is nothing which we can do to make this happen.
Everything is new with birth so it is with us. Also, Children tend to be like there parents - Humans can't give birth to goats, dogs to cats, et so it is like that with God and us, He gives us a birth from above means that we can access into the spiritual life from him and through him
***Example with a volunteer - We will have some boxing gloves and sparring pads. After a few punches, I will blindfold laci and ask him to repeat the exercise. He will fail - This exercise is to highlight how if we can't see, we can't do anything and we could end up doing ourself more damage ****
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Firstly, Jesus says his kingdom is spiritual and physical!!! The Jews thought it was Israel! They thought that the Kingdom of God would be a physical thing which would kick the Romans out of the Holy land and then they would be free. But Jesus means more... but it isn't just spiritual. He doesn't say to get the kingdom of Heaven you need to leave being this physical form and become a monk. Why would he? It removes the point of Jesus living 33 years on earth, he could have come as a spiritual guru for 2 months and dealt with everything
The image of wind is really cool - You don't know where the spirit of God will come from or will go but you can hear it moving. Don't we all put a box in which God's spirit can work (at church/homegroup/when I am holy/) but actually we should be listening to the sound of the spirit at work? Does this mean that God can work outside of our church, in dark places, people, before we got there ... YES! and We'll be like the wind. Not blown around but going where God wants - The wind seems random but it isn't.
Nicodemus just doesn't get it -Phew! You don't have to be a superman, This is the chief teacher and he does not understanding things. Jesus challenges him about this because if he can't see, how will the people he teaches? But Jesus explains and expands some more. He is so patient with Nicodemus and he is like that with us, If you don't get it, ask him for help and he will explain....Don't give up!
2) Love LOVE LOVE LOVE
John 3:16 The cliché verse Love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE - God's motivation was love, Nothing More, nothing less, love is the best (it must be love - Madness). It isn't just for Football games, or downhill skiing - it must shape and form the core of our very lives.
3:17 God doesn't condemn the world but wants to save it (Adrian plass' thought about God being disappointed?)
All that is mentioned here is belief IN Jesus - Nothing more, nothing less. Jesus later teaches (we won't cover it as part of the series) to enter the kingdom of God you must be like a child. How is that so, by belief! Children want to believe in things and things have to be simple. There is no complex ritual, there is nothing secret to do - Just believe in Jesus.
We rejoice in that Jesus' death has paid the price for our sin but the true is that we need to believe in Jesus to walk in that truth. We need to believe in Jesus that he sees us as perfect. We need to be in Jesus because he is the only way. Jesus is very clear it is only through belief in him
*** The kingdom of Marmite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmite) :) I'll have three volunteer from the church and one of them will be an english person. They will all be given a piece of bread with a piece of Marmite on it. I am sure that the two Hungarians will HATE it whilst english person will like it. I will then suggest a holiday of Marmite and I am sure that the two Hungarians will reject the idea, whilst the other will be interested ***
Why Marmite? in England it was sold with the advert "Love it or hate it" Jesus presents judgement as being the same thing in this passage, people will be attracted to the light or detest it. That is God's Judgement in action. God's light/goodness, unlike Marmite which is is a personal preference and not a requirement for the kingdom of God, is something which will draw people to him.
Jesus ends with a warning - People who do evil avoid the light because of fear of exposure but people who do good are drawn to the light. This is the judgement of God, not the the big fire from the sky but a subtle polarisation. Our job is to enable people see the light rather then preaching doom and gloom. We should not be the holy spirit and try to do judgement but instead let the light shine so God can use this to change them. Fear and exposure are the opposite of love and we should do everything to avoid generating them
So, In order to see God's kingdom, Let alone be a part of it , we need to be born from above - Children look like their parents so we, who are born from above should look like God, in nature. So, Are we motivated by love, Do we love, are we like God in that?
So you can't do anything, it all about Jesus and belief in him and its motivated by Love!!! So the best thing to do when shown love is to respond. No one has a marriage proposal and then walks off, No one is told "I love you" and then stays quiet.
So this is our response
The worship band will play "Több eros, több szeretetet" and if you know you need more love - Come and let us pray for you. We won't ask any questions but just ask God to show you more love and more of his spirit in your life.If you need to experience for the first time the love of God for you - Come! If you need to rediscover God's Love for you - Come! If you have been doing for God but not be with God and have no Love - Come! Are you a condemner not a lover? Come and let God's love change you! We won't talk to you but just pray for God to show you his love - Don't let pride get in the way! Come!
What do you believe in? Is it something other then Jesus? Come! let us pray for you (Sit at cross?) lay it before Jesus' feet and walk out of here a free man/woman Are you a cynic who can't believe, Come and let Jesus help you overcome your heart and be born with a believing heart.
Saturday 22 January 2011
Zoli ( the student accompanying me on this travel) and I slept well for the first night with the ariconditioning making the room fine. We awoke at 6 for breakfast at 6:30. The food was 1/2 english 1/2 indian with scrambled eggs, sausages, cereal, toast(from sweetened bread) and curry. This was very nice however the coffee was like brown water, weak as gnat's pee.
We and the rest of the westen delegates promptly filed onto the bu at 7:15 and then waited in the heat for about 15mins for another indian couple to arrive. The bus looked like the muppet hippy trail buss with lots of worn leather and the drive obliged the muppet theme by driving like crazy harry! Everything which moved was overtaken and the whole trip was like a rollercoaster (I've never had "air" whilst sat in a bus before!) into the mountains.
The conference started late(of course) with a prayer and the lighting of an oil lamp! My talk was in the first morning session and went well with good audience feedback and later the chairman congratulated me for doing a good talk. It always surprises me the number of people who have 30+ slides for a 15 -20 mins talk. 30 slides would need a slide change every 20s!
The conference is being hosted at the local university which si nicely air-conditioned but in the middle of nowhere. The climate control means that most of the day is spent in comfort and I try to sit close to the wall mounted unit so that I feel the full effects of the cool breeze emanating from the device
It is a bit strange to see virtually every female in a sari especially in this heat. I guess I only see the dress as formal/smart rather then a day to day cloths. Lunch was served outside in the midday heat with only a couple of fans cooling the delegates. I succumbed to the temptation of fish curry served with pancakes, rice, dumplings.
The first day has been ok so far, there has been too many cancelled speakers and typically the cancelled appearances are the ones which I wanted!
Thursday 13 January 2011
The following posts are extracts from my journal which I started to write whilst away - I hope that I (Andy) will be able to this maintain following my return to Hungary
Day 1 1:30 am local time
I've been awake since 5am CET and am currently waiting for the third flight from Dubai to Cochin. The travel so far has been good; The Malev flight was bascis yet functional and the Emerates flight from frankfurt to Dubai was nice and smooth. The 5 hours flew by whilst watching "The Expendables" and 3/4 of "Interception" with the highlight of the film coinciding with the landing of the plane. The food and service was very good with good quality and quantities of things to munch and slurp. However, the overzealous stewardess prevented the theft of a blanket - It would have been for samm (honest!)
Zoli(chemistry Ph.d Student and co-worker) has been an excellent travel companion; well humoured; generous and fun despite us spending 7+hours in airport longues together. The final flight sees us seated separated by 40 rows with me buried in the last row of the plane.
I'm interested to see how this week in india pans out as I'm looking forward to a life with less technology. This reduction has come voluntary as I'm travelling without a computer and will have a wifi-less phone which will be used sparingly for SMSes. It is hard to believe that mankind has survived for the last 2000+ years without the need to facebook or to look for that all important email. I remember receiving my first email address from University back in 1997. I never would have thought that it would explode into my life in the way it has. The strange thing is that only apple and amazon email me with offers and the overal quality of the general email communication I receive is rather poor. A few lines of poor english haphazardly thrown down. I know, I am the most guilty one of this.
I am hoping that the extra time which I will have will also enable me to (re)discover prayer and mediation. I know that whilst on holiday, it is rather easy to relax, focus and make time for contemplative things but the times that I need it the most is when i feel my time is pressed the most. Retrospection reveals that I'm too busy with not much and too many unimportant things. Times to streamine. I'm also hoping the conference isn't terrible; that I'll be able to plan ICF and enjoy the hotel's pool.
I hope that Samm is sleeping well and that Milkda isn't mooing too loud. I also hope that Crunchy is rehoused ASAP. It is a little sad because she has become aggressive towards other animals and this lifestyle isn't compatible with farmlife. Only the other day, she saw the cat through the windows and jumped 1 meter into the window to get the animal!!! She hasn't been bad (Only killed 2 Cats, 1 sheep and countless hedgehogs) but she is very agressive. For example, she has tried to chew her way into the pig house!!!! On the other hand, she is gentle and very kind natured dog towards other humans. I think her problems start from when she was a small puppy till she was 1 year old. She was very poorly and couldn't play/see properly. Now she is better, the problems have appeared but we couldn't discipline her during her early days as she was soo tired/unmotivated.
We made it! A trip from the airport to the Hotel feels like a victory when you suvive! The final flight was on a massive 777 which was packed to the rafters with people. At the last moment, a large indian(with a GB passeport) sat next to or virtually on top of me and then promptly spent the remainder of the flight fidgeting. I managed to get off o sleep but did get to see the end of interception (Good film but tried too much at the end of the film) and the "The A-Team" ( Not too bad film - Could have been a great action film sans the poor portrail of the 80s legends).
Once landed, the fun had only just begun - the 3/4h wait at the border with MORE paperwork.(Thank you EU for making reconciling this part of travel to the 19th Century) was followed by a 20min search for our pre-booked taxi which magically appeared after phoning the conference.
The 1.5h taxi ride was intense - Breaking distances, passing space and other highway code niceties are optional and actively encouraged to be broken. Going head to head with a bus isn't nice but part for the course. The road which we travelled on are single carriage pothole laded roads which meander through the mountains and bisects the bright red soil. Travel is accompanied by the ensemble of car horns every 2 seconds.
Arriving at the hotel, we realised it looked better on the web! it would have been nice 20 years ago and needs dragging into 2011.
Conference registration went well(With hindsight, that was about all that did!). These few positives need to be highlighted. We finally got breakfast moved early so that we didn't have a 10min breakfast munch before leaving for the conference. Most of the delegates (including us) thought that the conference was happening at the hotel but was instead being hosted at the local uni in the middle of nowhere.
Went for a 1/2h sweaty walk into town over broken pavements, rubbish and other undescribable things. The smell was refreshing too. Dinned in a local tandorii restuarant and had cauliflower (rantott?) and veggies. I hope it stays down and in!