Dec 16, 2013
Nov 20, 2013
Nov 13, 2013
Sep 10, 2013
Aug 22, 2013
Brokenness identifies us with Christ, Who is the true worship leader, and was Broken for us as the ultimate living sacrifice.
Brokenness identifies us with a crushed world.
Brokenness identifies us with those we are trying to "lead" into worship,
Brokenness is one of those common denominators that connects us to all that is relevant in worship - God says that He will only draw near to a humble and contrite heart. I am also pretty convinced that you can't have true authenticity without it.
Brokenness does not fit easily into a "western-impacted" theology that has mixed physical and tangible success along with a pragmatic economic to produce a prosperity-influenced apologetic which basically equates financial gain with God's blessing.
Utter Dependance is the truth about our standing in reality.
Independence is a lie, and it is the enemy of the church and of the Christian.
Interdependence is the work of the Holy Spirit amongst us, that empowers and holds the broken pieces of the Mosaic called the Body of Christ together, and makes us
Aug 16, 2013
Article by Dr. Terence Ascott, CEO and Founder, SAT-7 International - Special to ASSIST News Service
Many of us involved in Christian ministry in Egypt are appalled at the misunderstandings about the situation in Egypt being propagated by even normally balanced international media like the BBC, and the way it has, in general, portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as the victims of injustice.
So, on behalf of myself, Ramez Atallah (General Secretary for The Bible Society of Egypt), Pastor Fayez Ishaq (part of the leadership team at Kasr El Dubarrah Evangelical Church), other ministry leaders in Egypt and the leadership of Middle East Concern, please allow me to paint a bigger picture of what has been going on the past year or so:
Yes, former President Morsi was elected "democratically" in June 2012, but only by the slimmest of majorities, and only 13 million people (out of a total population of 83 million) voted for Morsi at all. And yet he took this as a mandate to do as he wanted, with a winner-takes-all attitude. His new government was not inclusive and he quickly appointed former Muslim Brotherhood leaders (some with previous convictions for violence or incitement to violence) to serve as regional Governors or government Ministers. In November 2012, he illegally gave himself new sweeping powers to act without censure, and rushed through a new pro-Islamic constitution despite the protests and boycotts from liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, and then he refused to call for new elections - as had previously been agreed to do after a new constitution had been adopted.
And, of course, the economy was very poorly managed by the new Ministers, whose only apparent qualification for office was the fact that they were Muslim Brotherhood loyalists. By the end of 2012 the country's infrastructure had begun to fall apart, electricity and fuel supplies became unreliable, prices for basic commodities soared and Egypt struggled to get much needed international financing.
By June 30, 2013, on the first anniversary of Morsi's election to office, the Egyptian people had had enough! Perhaps as many as 30 million people came out to demonstrate against Morsi continuing in office - this included many who had voted for Morsi a year before and, even if the figure of 30 million cannot be independently verified, it is clear that the number of people on the street was far more than the number of people who had ever voted for Morsi. But, unlike the President of any normal democracy, he refused to go, or even seek a renewed mandate through new elections - confirming to many that the Muslim Brotherhood were just using the new democracy in Egypt to establish a theocracy.
In a situation like this, the last line of defense for democracy is the army. They alone have the power to re-start the democratic process and, by (very) popular demand and with due notice, the army did step in and remove the former President - to the absolute delight and relief of MOST Egyptians!
In the past six weeks the Muslim Brotherhood has occupied a number of public spaces, to demonstrate for the reinstatement of the former President (currently being held by the army and facing charges related to abuse of power, including substantial material and intelligence support to Hamas).
Unlike the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square by demonstrators in January 2011, and again at the end of June 2013, these Muslim Brotherhood occupations were dominated by calls for violence against the army, the police, the liberals and, specifically, the Coptic Christians in Egypt - all resulting in the violence witnessed on August 14th, when police stations, hospitals, private and public property were destroyed. Many Christian churches (at least 40 so far), homes and businesses were also attacked, as well as a monastery, three religious societies, three key bookshops belonging to the Bible Society in Egypt, three Christian schools and an orphanage.
The Coptic Orthodox Pope, HH Tawadrous II made a statement about the attacks on churches this week, saying that "this had been expected and, as Egyptians and Christians, we are considering our church buildings as a sacrifice to be made for our beloved Egypt". Other church leaders have made similar statements, stressing that church buildings don't make the Church but the Church is the Body of Christ, made of people who have their faith in Him, and that is getting stronger as it passes through these challenging times.
It is also important and encouraging to note that some Muslims went to protect churches and that, in return, many Christians then sent messages to their fellow Muslim citizens saying, "Buildings can be rebuilt again, but you are priceless, so stay safe, and don't worry about the churches". And the Egyptian government also announced today that the State would take the financial responsibility for the rebuilding of damaged churches.
The Muslim Brotherhood have been, and remain very effective in portraying themselves as the victims to the media, pointing to how Morsi had been "democratically" elected and that the army "coup" was a major setback to the country's democratic progress. They have known what buttons to push with the Western press and this seems to be the version that most of the World is hearing - but it is not a version of truth that resonates with the vast majority of Egyptians.
And, while the loss of life these past few days has been most regrettable it has not only been Muslim Brotherhood supporters that have died, and there has been scant reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood's attempts to destabilize Egypt, its calls for violence against the government and its supporters; and there has been a total lack of reporting concerning weapons that the Brotherhood had in the camps and used against the army as it sought to dismantle the sit-ins.
In closing, can I ask for your prayers for this important country - the largest in the Arab World, with the largest Christian Community in the Middle East.
Please pray that:
· The current violence will end soon
· The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
· There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
· Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
· Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country
Aug 8, 2013
Aug 6, 2013
Jul 29, 2013
Jul 26, 2013
Jul 24, 2013
One of the hazards of living out of a suitcase for a month is the fact that things you normally have time or facility for, like a haircut for example, can become a bit more inconvenient, or at least out of your comfort zone! Fortunately I have a manager in South Africa who knows how to quickly organize such things!
Alyssa is training to be a hairdresser. And I hadn't had a haircut in 4 weeks / things were getting a bit wooly! She started by asking me if I wanted a number 1, 2, or 3. I chose 3, and out came the trimmer. BUZZ. Wow. A few more skillful cuts with the clippers, and voila - job done!
There was hair everywhere on the floor. My hair grows fast anyway, but this was ridiculous. And not to force the analogy, but it did remind me of the parable of the vinedresser...
Pruning seems to be a truth in the larger remit of the Kingdom - it is necessary to keep things from getting out of hand. I mean, things grow. And things left to themselves and unattended rarely or never get better - they either corrupt, become unruly, and then deteriorate.
Hence the discipline of pruning.
Any good Orchard keeper will tell you that unpruned trees don't produce near as much fruit as pruned ones, and are much more prone to disease and branch- breakage than trees that are properly pruned. Hairdressers say the same about split ends and unwashed or unconditioned hair, but being a man, I'm not near as up on that as my wife and daughters, who could most likely lecture on the subject!
But I do know, that as with many areas of life, godly discipline is a healthy thing that keeps things from growing out of control and from making a mess, whether its politics, economics, spirituality, stuff in my garage, or on my own body!
I am fascinated that a chore as simple as getting a haircut can remind us that we probably need to regularly do a "pruning inventory" - what needs to get trimmed off so that I can reduce the clutter in my personal, my physical, and my spiritual life? It's a discipline well-worth the engagement, as it will make much more room for fruit in the long run.
Jul 23, 2013
Bummer. Somewhere between Capetown and Bloemfontein we got a flat. If this wasn't nowhere, we could see it from there! (found out later it was near Richmond, a concrete loading dock in the middle of nowhere where a train stops once in a blue moon!)
This is one of the many parts of touring that are quite unglamorous - right up there with keyboards breaking, and 3:00am wake up calls!
Harry and I got it fixed, while Helena and Benjamin (their 9 year old son) waited by the fence in the brush. It's in a part of South Africa called the Karoo - WIDE open spaces man. Wow.
Then we found out later from our sound equipment provider, Rocco, that there were an inordinate amount of flats on that section of motorway, and the local authorities believe it might be the work of a local tire company in need of some extra business. Hmm.
But the first item of importance in a world full of "bad things that happen", is: how will you respond? Freak-Out? Get cynical? Become despondent? In fact, if you think about it, it's the ONLY thing we can control - how we respond.
Truth be told, this is probably one of the best definitions of worship I think I've ever heard - "a proper response to God". Of course then comes a million definitions of "proper", but suffice to say, Micah 6:8 is a good place to start!
I guess a final thought would be how God Himself responded to a fallen world. John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, and Philippians 2:5-8 give us a good idea...
Harry and Helena responded great, took it in stride, and we were on our way.