This is an illustration I drew the other day and as I don’t often do these sort of illustrations, I thought I might share it on here. After the first study I was reflecting on the parable of the four soils, which is a parable I have thought lots about in the past. This vision also made me reflect on something… If we aren’t throwing this seed around at the moment, what are we doing with it?
It’s similar to another illustration I once heard about the difference between a swamp and a river. Also, if you like colouring in and you’d like to improve my illustration with some colour, I’d love to see that! More than a bigot or a bully or a racist or a violent megalomaniac, Trump is a businessman. Right now he says things that are offensive to many people, but not to the people he is targeting. If he wins the Republican primary, I predict his who angle will change, because his target audience will change. I despise Trump and what he stands for and happily get behind the #NeverTrump movement, but I don’t think he actually cares. Now, I may be wrong on all this and if Trump becomes president he may still be the swearing, violent buffoon that I see now. Firstly, I want to say that Trump is completely wrong in regard to the right of a religious leader to question another man’s religion. Jesus himself also warns us to watch out both for false believers and for the fact that we might be a false believer ourselves. Now, there may be many, many reasons for someone to consider that Donald Trump is not a genuine Christian. Now, you have to be careful judging the reality of someone’s conversion based on the fruit you see. When Jesus called people to follow him right at the beginning of his ministry he said, “The time has come. Turning to God in repentance for our sin and believing in the good news about Jesus for our forgiveness is the simple requirement for the salvation that God offers. Trump first tries to avoid the question, talking non-stop for a full minute trying to win the crowd by name-dropping his minister.
Not long after this interview, Trump was questioned about his answer and his understanding of Christianity on CNN. As has been often pointed out by Christian commentators, if you do not see the bad news of our sin and need for forgiveness, then you will never see the good news of Jesus’ offer to die for your sin and provide you that forgiveness. The best we can do is make sure that we know the gospel ourselves and make it known as best we can. The van veered off to try to avoid me and crashed into the short concrete wall separating the freeway, this cause a pile up of cars behind it as they all tried to screech to a holt. It is only by the grace of God’s miraculous hand that I escaped death and am hear to tell you the tale. Now that would have been an exciting near-death experience story for me to be able to tell you, except for the fact that… none of that actually happened.
Firstly, God ensured that when my tire blew, I was in the left most lane so it was fairly easy for me to quickly turn into the emergency lane and out of harms way.
When my tire exploded, I was naturally surprised and a little anxious as I got out of traffic, but I was never terrified like I described in my exciting made up story. Now, I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel that thinks that God is only looking after me when good things happen (you can see my thoughts on God’s sovereignty in suffering here). Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90.
Judgement (and I’m obviously speaking from a biblical Christian perspective here) is so important because God is holy and good and as much as he is 100% committed to good he is 100% opposed to evil.
Your entire body is made by God, but how you choose to use that body is your responsibility. Are you wondering, if God is good and he is able to prevent evil, why doesn’t he do it? God is the source of life and light and so, turning away from him brings the consequences of death and darkness (whether we intend this or not). So, the bad news is that we are all sinners to various degrees and that puts us under the punishment of death, experiencing separation from God both now and forever. The pro-life position focusses on the life of the unborn child arguing for its right to be protected from abortion. The pro-choice position focusses on the choice of the pregnant woman, arguing for her right to have an abortion if she wants to.
When two marches like this take place, it is easy to suggest that these two positions are absolute and that there is no overlap. The march began back in 2009, one year after certain abortion laws were passed in Victoria.
Partial-birth abortion, also known as Intact dilation and extraction (IDX) is a very controversial form of abortion that is banned in many places around the world.
Whether you call yourself pro-life or pro-choice, if that law turns your stomach, then join us on Saturday. Most people, even hard core pro-choice advocates, would agree that a child should be afforded basic human rights after it is out of the womb, and that if partial-birth abortions aren’t infanticide, this surely is. But even if you fall more on the pro-choice side, you might still be able to stand with some pro-lifers in saying that Victoria’s abortion laws, as they currently stand, are wrong and worth protesting.
Still, if our church is to continue to grow and face the challenges of a changing community, I must discipline myself to pick my head up from the daily routines to think long-term.
Read – I try to read something everyday and I read an equal balance of leadership and Christian books.
Let others invest in me – Sometimes I have to release power to others on my team and allow them to lead me. How do you keep focused on the forward picture, without being bogged down in daily routines?
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A swamp collects water but doesn’t move it along, and so it gets stagnant and disgusting. Right now he is trying to win the vote of a large percentage of small town Republican Americans who were sold the dream that America should be the greatest country in the world and believe that Trump can make it once again.
He will then be aiming to win over both Republicans and Democrats and so his style of speeches, the content of what he says and even his physical demeanour and mannerisms will change. His target audience will then be the rest of the world and he will switch into the cool, respectful, hand-shaking businessman that he probably is in the board-room. In fact, the apostle Paul would say that that is one of the responsibilities of a religious leader. You could point to his unrepentant boasting about his various extramarital affairs, or his sexist, racist and ableist comments, or his foul language, or his commitment to bring back the practise of water-boarding and worse, or his threats of violence against those that oppose him, or his general arrogance and ego. And if asked about whether he feels a need to repent, he will point out all his good works – working hard, being honorable, employing people, giving to charity and building stuff. It’s not to get my American friends to not vote for him (though most of them are more anti-Trump than I am). We must make sure that we understand the gospel clearly and that we have responded to it in the way that Jesus commands.
Millions of people who expect to meet God as a friend when they die, and yet will meet him as a stranger. I could hear the loud flap of the torn up rubber and the scrape of the metal rim as my little Mazda 2 veered violently to the right, almost going into the lane next to me. It was a fairly violent nudge and it forced my car off to the right, where I scraped into the side of the van in the next lane. My car was totaled, I have a few broken bones, but after a couple of nights in hospital it looks like I will pull through. God also probably helped the car stabilize in that process as I didn’t find it too hard to control even though I was driving on the metal rim and travelling at a high speed. I called Cat and she called her brother Phil, who’s handy with all things practical (unlike me, with my uncalloused graphic designer hands).


The fact that my actual story is not as dramatic and exciting as the one I made up is actually a miracle.
I have had my share of pain and tragedy, and yet I can still say with confidence that God is kind and loving and in control.
I was stumbling around the internet, looking for things that famous people had achieved by the age 38, and found this great quote from Martin Luther King Jr. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause.
And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. I haven’t ever posted a conversation before, but the questions they asked me were so profound, genuine and clear, I was encouraged by the opportunity it gave me to try to explain the gospel.
In fact, it is unkind for God to be apathetic about evil.The Christian message is not that God ignores judgement for evil, but that he bears it and takes it on himself in our place.
Jesus showed that God is ultimately a God of love for everyone, including those that do evil like you and I. Jesus will return to judge all and no evil act will be ignored and no injustice will not be addressed and put right. This is that, although we are meant to love God with everything and love our neighbour as ourself, we don’t do that. And the really bad news is there’s nothing in our own strength that we can do to save ourselves.
The sides are polarising and people feel pressured to choose which side you wholeheartedly support.
Even if they believes that abortion is a form of murder, or even if the child is in its final term, then by law the doctor or nurse must either perform the abortion themselves or refer the patient to someone who will. It involves killing the child on the very verge of being born, when its entire body is out of the womb except for its head. It is killing a baby when it is almost completely out of the womb and justifying it by the fact that the babies head is not outside as well.
Consider the scenario… During a late term abortion, the baby is removed but they abortionist failed in their attempt to terminate the child. In 2010, Peter Kavanagh MLC (DLP, Western Victoria) raised a motion that these deaths should be investigated. There are many discussions worth having and there are many compassionate and thoughtful people on both sides of the debate. Sproul, both on his position that infant baptism is ok, but also on his position that both sides have good arguments.
Everyone, including the children brought up by believing parents, is called to repent and put their trust in Christ.
This point sounds silly, but it used to be one of the biggest reasons why I agreed with credobaptism for a long time. In addition, I follow dozens of blogs with a variety of focuses, from technology, to culture and leadership. I take notes of ideas sparked along the way using Evernote. The newest ideas always seem to come from the younger generation at the time. One reason I like to be around college students is that they keep me fresh in my thought process. I feel I have even more to offer and have a stronger desire to keep a fresh approach when I think others value what I have to add to the discussion. The key for me is to break the monotony of busyness and allow my mind room to think. Something about exercising gets the blood flowing through my body to my brain. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
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Our Standard license allows you to use images for anything, except large print runs over 500,000+ or for merchandising. Once you have downloaded your image, you have life-long rights to use it under the terms of the license purchased. I began getting excited by the prospect of what might happen if this bible study series (which we are all being encouraged to do) would prompt each of us to throw a bit more seed around the place. A river however stays full of fresh, pure, thirst-quenching water precisely because it doesn’t hold on to it.
He will still present himself as a no-nonsense straight talker, but he will shift his tone for his new target audience. But in order for us to clearly proclaim and protect the gospel message, we need to be able to call a spade a spade.
Someone may be a genuine follower of Christ and still have a lot of bad fruit that God is working on over time. If you do not show evidence of having done this, then other people are right to (as Trump puts it) question your faith and religion.
Because of this, it is important that we are clear about the gospel, it is important that we defend the gospel and it is important that we protect the gospel from being corrupted over time.
I don’t know about you, but that reminds me of a parable Jesus once told that seems quite appropriate. I was in the middle lane of the freeway and the traffic was very busy with lots of trucks and other commuters on every side.
I was terrified and I can remember screaming and thinking that I was truly going to die and how horrible that would be. My airbags went off and the the next few moments were a chaotic mess of broken glass and crunching metal and being tossed around like a rag doll, all the while knowing for sure that at the unjust age of 38, the great fearful blackness of death was about to swallow me at any second.
God made sure that there were no cars right behind me as well, so slowing down didn’t cause any problems.
God had made sure Phil was available and, in a longer term sense, had shaped Phil’s godly character into an “always willing to help when needed” sort of dude. My boring true story is a sign of God’s kindness and sovereignty and ability to control events like tires and freeway lanes and everything else. As the bible says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Even though the conversation was public, for the sake of privacy, I will simply put my Facebook friend’s comments in bold. If we start asking why doesn’t God simply destroy all baby rapists, we may eventually have to ask why God doesn’t also destroy us for our evil acts? He died in our place, making forgiveness and reconciliation possible, and for me, ending the question about whether or not God really loves us.
Life is not about having a happy marriage or a healthy body, or even, not ever enduring violence. Any good deeds that we do is simply good that we should have been doing in the first place, and so they don’t earn us anything.
He came and took on humanity in the person Jesus, lived the perfect life we could not live and then died the death that we deserved.
Naturally, we must turn away from our commitment to sin and turn back to treating God as God, but what makes our reconciliation with God possible, is what God has done in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. If Islam is a religion of peace, then people should in fact be saying that we need more radical and extreme muslims. Even if you are fine with first term abortion, march for the sake of those late term babies. If you are pro-choice you may also believe in a medical practitioner’s right to choose.
Because of these arguments, I have flipped and flopped on this issue for years, and if you have done your own thinking on this issue and have come out a credobaptist, I wouldn’t blame you for it. I also have several people who regularly speak into my life. I surround myself with good, creative, seasoned leaders. If at any time you're unsatisfied with your experience with us, you can cancel your subscription. I look forward to getting a good theology of evangelism which will inspire me to do it more boldly and in a way that is more God honouring.
Basically, Jesus tells this parable of a sower who goes out and sows seed, finding that it falls on four types of soils, and only the fourth soil is really good and bears fruit. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. When someone has no understanding of the Christian gospel or shows no fruit that should accompany someone who claims to be a Christian (see Galatians 5:16-23), then we should feel free to suggest that that person is not a Christian. The example I mentioned before where Paul publicly rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) was an example of one Christian rebuking another Christian. Trump does acknowledge that he may have made some mistakes, but that doesn’t drive him to his needs before God.
The point of the parable that Jesus told was that we should not base our understanding of our own goodness by comparing ourselves to others.


Firstly, in order to defend the integrity of the true Christian gospel I feel it is important to say that Trump does not get it. Several other cars then plowed into mine as I spun, pushing me further across the freeway and into the lane of an oncoming truck. We contemplated getting some roadside service, but it was going to cost us a bit so we thought we’d first try to give the car a push start to see it that could start the engine that way. I believe in a God that can do anything, which means he can cause or prevent anything he wills to. Life is about knowing and enjoying our Creator, and that is a joy that is for all and it is a joy that surpasses all other griefs.
Our sin severs the harmonious relationship we should have with our Creator and puts us under his just judgment and condemnation.
It satisfies our holy God’s requirement for justice and for those who trust in Jesus, it leaves no more judgment or condemnation left for us to face. This is a fascinating and personally exciting topic for me, as I don’t simply believe it to be theoretically true. An extremist Christian is one that takes the love, mercy and grace of Jesus to extreme lengths – loving their neighbour, being generous, offering forgiveness and praying for their enemies. Although, I personally am pro-life, I also acknowledge that there are many positions that a person may hold and I would hate for someone to feel excluded from attending the March for the Babies, simply because they felt they were not sure they were a 100% pro-lifer. If you think that doctors and nurses should be allowed to conscientiously object to being complicit in an abortion, then join us in marching for this law to be changed.
Even though I have come down off the fence as a pedobaptist, I have not come down as a militant one. This tries to avoid any feelings of privilege that someone may feel because they grew up in a Christian household. Pedobaptists would point out that this is because he was writing to first generation Christians who were baptised at the moment of their conversion and so that connection is appropriate, and that if he was writing a few decades later, he might have written differently with a more mixed audience. To some degree the parable encourages us that 3 out of 4 of the people we share the gospel with might not respond with faith. Unfortunately, a politician (and definitely the President) should be a public servant, and that is something a businessman will never be. It is important that I point to an example like Trump and say, despite the fact that he calls himself a Christian, he is not one.
And if someone questions our genuineness as a Christian, we need to not react like Trump did to the Pope.
The last thing I heard was the deafening hiss of the truck’s airbreaks as the driver desperately tried to avoid me. He quickly replaced the tire with my spare, using his cool drill attachments to undo the nuts on the wheel, making me feel like I was in the company of a Formula 1 pit-crew. By God’s kindness, it did, and both Phil & I were able to get to get on our way and attend the ministry meeting at our church that we had on that night. Now, I don’t look forward to the actual process of dying and I’m sure if that horrible crash had actually happened I might have been screaming as I awaited the painful end. God will look after those in Christ through all things like sickness, divorce, near-death experiences and even death itself. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Also, for context, this conversation starts in the middle of a bigger conversation about theology and the nature of God.
I have personally experienced this reconciliation myself, and have enjoyed a restored relationship with God for over 20 years now! But you would agree on one point though – that the laws in Victoria are too extreme and should be changed.
Well, in Victoria the child still has no right to life, and these unwanted babies are left to die without food or medical support.
We were both brought up in the Catholic Church and were baptised as infants, we both responded to the gospel in our teens and we both have continued to grow in our faith and become passionate followers of Christ and active members of our respective churches.
It’s not a very deep or sophisticated argument, but that to me is actually its strength. Whether or not that is true, it still remains difficult for pedobaptists who are raising their kids to read the Scriptures. Now, I know Jesus didn’t mean for it to be taken so mathematically, but it is fair to say, odds are, if more seed is being thrown around, then more chance it will land on some good soil. The Tax Collector was actually a worse sinner than the Pharisee, but he did something that meant that he went home right with God – he acknowledged his sin and he asked for mercy.
We need to give people the right to ask those questions and we need to ask those questions of ourselves.
But I wouldn’t be thinking “that at the unjust age of 38, the great fearful blackness of death was about to swallow me at any second.” It wouldn’t be unjust for me to die at 38 or 68 or 18 or even 8 months (the age of my daughter).
On the complex and sensitive issue of abortion, people often have mixed emotions, views, beliefs and opinions.
Daniel ended up in a Baptist church and is settled as a credobaptist, and I ended up in a Presbyterian church and am settled as a pedobaptist. And the following are the points that mean I will always respect and even defend credobaptism as a valid position to take. Some pedobaptists can argue in a way that makes you feel like you need a Masters of Divinity specialising in covenantal theology before you can wrap your head around their position. Credobaptism aims to only baptise those who have consciously and publicly agreed to and embraced the gospel, and this comes from a godly desire to protect individuals, the church community, and the reputation of the gospel itself. What will I say to my daughter when she reads Paul making such a connection between baptism and salvation? That includes our money, our possessions, our health, our intelligence and most importantly, the gospel itself. We need search our hearts and the Scripture to allow God to convict us and call us to repent and believe. The bible says the God is the one who “gives everyone life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25). They haven’t been enough to convince me, but if they convince you, I would not hold it against you.
John didn’t allow them to rest on the fact that they were brought up with a certain faith. When she reads that “all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death” how is that true for her?
And he grows fat and comfortable gorging on the seed whilst before him are the four soils ready the receive it. Or maybe he wanted Cat there, as if I had really been in a major crash, I doubt she would have attended the meeting either. God’s hatred for sin and all his condemnation and judgment was taken by Jesus on the cross. It’s supposed to prepare them for the variety of responses they will see as they share the gospel with everyone they meet. It’s like a judge who condemns you to death for your crimes and then steps down from his seat, and says that he will go to the electric chair instead of you. Now, pedobaptists often compare these two rituals to show how it is ok that they are performed on children, but baptism has a significant disadvantage. With circumcision, the Jewish guy could look down every morning and be reminded that he was circumcised. With baptism, the experience comes and then goes, with no ongoing objective reminder that it has taken place. The feeling of the water washing over your body as a reminder of your sins being washed away is only ongoing if it can be remembered. I don’t want to forget that the seed of the gospel that someone gave to me is seed that I am supposed to pass on. Nowadays, pedobaptists can solve that problem by recording infant baptisms so that they can be watched later, but that seems a poor comparison to actually being able to remember the experience personally.
Like having a cut foreskin, or killing a lamb, or eating bread and drinking wine, baptism is a very physically tactile experience.
It seems like the nature of the ritual of baptism lends itself to being performed on those that can remember it. Of course, this is more of a practical argument than a biblical one, but it’s still pretty impressive to me.



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