Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

man from Plymouth thinks he can see Jesus in his cocktail cabinet

from The Telegraph

Monday 24 August 2015

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Jesus Christ performed many miracles, according to the Bible. He turned water into wine, fed five thousand people using a very limited food supply, and has now appeared in a church organist’s cocktail cabinet.

Robert Burgess-Moon, 35, was delighted that he was chosen to experience an apparition of Christ. He said that he noticed nothing untoward about the cabinet until he felt like he was being watched as he watched TV.

He told the Plymouth Herald: “I thought ‘There’s a face looking at me through the cabinet’, it looked like the face of Jesus, the image everybody has of him. We were quite shocked really, it was just not something you expect, it’s like a Holy Spirit cabinet now.”

 

His partner didn’t believe him about the apparition of Christ at first, but he soon came round: “He couldn’t see it to begin with, but when I pointed it out to him it stands out.”

Instead of performing miracles such as walking on water or healing lepers, it appears that nowadays Christ has decided to spend His time appearing in various household items, such as pancakes, log fires, socks and jars of Marmite.

 

Sky Pilot says:  I think that Robert Burgess-Moon has been sampling too many of the contents of his cocktail cabinet!

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virgin on the ridiculous

 

A theology teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, IN, 38-year-old Jessica Hayes has a special love for her faith.

It was so deep for her that she spent years soul-searching and praying for guidance in her life.

“I had been praying about it for years, trying to seek God’s will for my life and not really finding it in any of the paths that I sought before. It was really a consideration of which things brought me the most joy and where my greatest happiness was.

It seemed that all of those loves converged on this one thing where I could still be living in the world and be a part of the lives of my students and be studying and teaching and involved in a parish life, but I could also give myself more completely by making this total commitment of my life to serve the church in whatever capacity is needed and whatever capacity my own gifts are available for,” Hayes said.
Hayes made the decision to become a consecrated virgin and to wed Jesus Christ in a ceremony held in the Catholic Church:
A consecrated virgin is different from a nun in that they don’t live in a convent or take vows of poverty and obedience, reports the Daily Mail. Like nuns, however, they do take a vow of chastity.

Hayes hopes her example will inspire others:

“I’m so happy to have had so many witnesses (at the wedding) because there may be others that the Lord is calling in this way that have now heard of this life and can consider it in their prayer.”
She acknowledges that now that she has made such a public commitment to living a life of chastity and never being able to marry another living person, she will feel “an encouragement” to “live consistently” in her words and deeds that express her love for Jesus.

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“Then Face to Facebook”

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FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES

In 1990, the country-western singer Garth Brooks had a hit song titled “I’ve Got Friends In Low Places.” It’s the story of a young man whose girlfriend has dumped him to marry an older and wealthier man. The young man shows up at her wedding, but he doesn’t have the right clothes or behaviour and so he stomps off in anger to join his hard-living friends, telling her, “I’ve got friends in low places, where the whiskey flows and the beer chases the blues away ….” Raucous words, but set to a powerful melody.

 

I’ve sometimes thought that with a slight change these words could apply to God-in-Christ: “He’s got friends in low places.” Perhaps even, “He’s got friends in low places, where the mercy flows and the free grace is for you and me ….”   How do we learn mercy?  Some people learn mercy by taking the plunge and doing it.

Such was the case with Sister Helen Prejean. Her story is told in the book Dead Man Walking, which was  made into an excellent film. Sister Helen hears one day of a correspondence program with prisoners on death row. She decides to participate and begins writing, even though she’s been told not to expect to hear anything in return. Much to her surprise, though, one of the prisoners does respond and catches her completely off guard by asking her to be his spiritual guide. Apparently his execution date was fast approaching, and he wanted some representative of God to be there for support over the next several weeks.

Sister Helen hesitates. It is one thing to do charity long distance. It is quite another thing to do mercy face to face with a convicted murderer. Gary had been sentenced to death by lethal injection for participating in the brutal rape of a young woman and the subsequent murder of both her and her fiancé. Sister Helen recoils at the very thought of meeting this rapist and murderer, let alone ministering to him. But a voice deep inside of her tells her she must go. So she does.

 

Helen Prejan

Helen Prejean

The first several meetings are difficult. Gary comes across a whole lot more cocky and arrogant in person than he did in his letters. He refuses to admit his guilt and insists that he is the innocent victim of a corrupt legal system.

To make matters worse, Sister Helen is despised and publicly vilified by the victims’ parents for even spending time with Gary. How could she, a deeply religious nun, befriend this cold-blooded murderer! They are horrified and let her know that every time they see her.

And yet, despite these difficult barriers, Sister Helen risks her name, her reputation, her own safety, to reach across them and embrace Gary with the love of God. And the more she perseveres in loving him, the more his defences begin to crumble. Finally on the night before his execution, Gary confesses to his crime and asks for God’s forgiveness. In a flood of tears, he thanks Sister Helen for all her love and support. He then tries to send her home, insisting that her work with him is done and that he is now ready to meet his Maker.

“No, that’s okay,” she responds. “I’ll stay through the execution.”

“But why?” Gary wants to know. “I’m only getting what I deserve.”

“Because,” she replies, “the last face I want you to see before you die is not one of hatred and vengeance, but one of love and mercy.”

The next morning, Gary is strapped into place while Sister Helen and the victims’ parents watch through the window of an adjacent room. Within a matter of minutes, the last lethal dose is injected and Gary is pronounced dead. Most of the by-standers breathe a sigh of relief. Some even begin to applaud. But Sister Helen alone stands there with arms reaching out to Gary and a look of pure mercy on her face.

 

 

Most of us, like Sister Helen Prejean, learn mercy by just doing it to those who least deserve it to those who are unclean, who are despised and rejected by society.

As did Jesus Christ all those centuries ago.  He called to discipleship a detested tax collector, loathed by the society in which he lived and worked.

And when the unco guid of his day criticised Christ’s apparently bizarre action of going to Matthew’s home for a meal with him, and other tax-collectors and so called ‘sinners’, Jesus replied with these words: (as we find them in our Good News Bibles)

“I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts”

Not the righteous but the sinners

What all-embracing mercy!   What an amazing grace! ………

that saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

was blind but now I see.

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Only in America (again)

 

Nebraska woman files suit in federal court against all homosexuals
By Alissa Skelton / World-Herald staff writer

An Auburn woman claiming to be an ambassador for God and his son, Jesus Christ, is suing all homosexuals.

Sylvia Driskell, 66, asked an Omaha federal judge to decide whether homosexuality is a sin.

Citing Bible verses, Driskell contends “that homosexuality is a sin and that they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in the closet(?)”

Driskell wrote in a seven-page petition to the court that God has said homosexuality is an abomination. She challenged the court to not call God a liar.

“I never thought that I would see a day in which our great nation or our own great state of Nebraska would become so compliant to the complicity of some people(’s) lewd behavior.”

Driskell could not be reached by phone. She is representing herself in the lawsuit.

 

 

 

Plaintiffs:
I Sylvia Ann Driskell
Ambassador for Plaintiffs
God, and His, Son, Jesus Christ

Defendants:
Homosexuals
Their Given Name Homosexuals
Their, Alis Gay

Your Honor, I’ve heard the boasting of the Defendant: the Homosexuals on the world news; from the young, to the old; to the rich an famous, and to the not so rich an famous; How they were tired of hiding in the closet, and how glad they are to be coming out of the closet.

I, Sylvia Ann Driskell, Contend that homosexuality is a sin, and that they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in a closet?

I, Sylvia Ann Driskell, write, as well, we also know that if a child is raised in a home of liers, an deceivers, and thieves that it is reasonable to believe that child will grow up to be one of the three, are all three.

The way to destroy any nation, or state is to destroy its morals; look what happen to Sodom and Gomorrah two city because of the same immoral behavior that represent in our nation, in our states, and our cities; God destroy them.
If God could have found ten righteous people among them he would’ve spared them.
I’m sixty six years old, an I never thought that I would see the day in which our Great Nation or Our Great State of Nebraska would become so compliant to the complicity of some peoples lewd behavior.
Why are judges passing laws, so sinners can break religious and moral laws?
Will all the judges of this Nation, judge God to be a lier?

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Why Evangelicals Should Love the Pope (copyright The New York Times)

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SundayReview

Why Evangelicals Should Love the Pope
APRIL 4, 2015

ON Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate an event that inspires more than two billion of the faithful with eternal hope. Jesus spoke often about the life to come. Yet he also spoke about God’s will being done here on Earth. How best to live out one’s faith in this world has been a complicated issue throughout Christian history, and it remains so today.

Since the mid-1970s, one dominant strain of cultural engagement among Christian leaders in America has been to warn about God’s judgment on a disobedient, decadent nation. This approach assumes that the main task of the church is to call us back to moral righteousness. Among the most prominent representatives of this kind of Christian cultural engagement is the Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of the famed evangelist Billy Graham. Last month the younger Mr. Graham warned that our nation has “turned its back on God.” For nations that do this, he said, the “end is near.” The “tide of immorality has risen to new heights,” Mr. Graham said in 2013, with homosexuality and “all the anti-God people” being the main cause. He has gone so far as to praise the autocrat Vladimir V. Putin for his anti-gay policies.

These beliefs have a theological corollary: It is the duty of Christian leaders to fight on behalf of traditional values and to reprove sin. According to Mr. Graham, “We are locked in a war against the Christian faith.”

But this two-generations-long culture war is not going particularly well. The cultural influence of evangelical Christians is rapidly waning. As one religious leader put it to me: “We used to be the home team. Now we’re the away team.” The response from some Christian leaders, like Mr. Graham, is to ratchet up the condemnatory rhetoric. This has led to greater disaffection, especially among younger evangelicals who find this approach to be brittle, alienating and unforgiving. We are living through a moment of introspection and reconsideration, then, as Christians search for an alternative way to engage the culture that is both faithful and effective.

Enter Pope Francis. For those of us who are part of the evangelical movement, the popular leader of the Roman Catholic Church offers an archetype. He views the role of the church not as a combatant in the culture wars but “as a field hospital after battle.” He has also said, “Without mercy, we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of ‘wounded’ persons in need of understanding, forgiveness and love.”

In 2013, the pope told a young audience in Rio de Janeiro, “Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent.” Two weeks ago, Pope Francis did just that, meeting with gay, transgender and H.I.V.-positive prisoners during a visit to Naples.

Pope Francis criticizes the church not for its unwillingness to rebuke sinners but for ignoring the weak and vulnerable. He washed the feet of two women and two Muslims in juvenile detention — the first time a pontiff has included both women and Muslims in the rite. Without changing church doctrine, he has altered how the Catholic Church is seen. These are symbolic acts packed with theological content, reminding us that individuals are infinitely more valuable than moral rules, that failures don’t define us.

Of the two approaches — Franklin versus Francis — the one taken by the pope is not only more popular but also better reflects Christ’s example. Jesus confronted sin, not to be censorious but because it puts us at enmity with God, one another and our true nature. “Go and sin no more” were words meant to produce greater human flourishing. Yet time and again in the Gospels we read about Jesus embracing those denounced by the religious elite of his day.

The authorities were constantly at odds with Jesus because he hung out with the “wrong” people — the despised, the outcast, the ceremonially unclean — and he claimed the authority of God in doing so. Jesus was condemned for being “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” and for consorting with prostitutes. His anger was directed most often against the proud, the hypocritical and the self-righteous. The powerful hated him, while those who were broken flocked to him.

Some of my fellow evangelical Christians may respond by saying they are called to stand against unrighteousness for the good of the whole. But Pope Francis is not reversing the teachings of his church; indeed, Mr. Graham’s and Pope Francis’ views align on matters of marriage and protecting unborn life. The difference has far more to do with tone, animating spirit and emphasis. In the words of the New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays, “What the Bible does say should be heeded carefully, but any ethic that intends to be biblical will seek to get the accents in the right place.”

That is where Mr. Graham and those evangelicals he speaks for have veered off track. He obsesses on some issues while ignoring others, speaks with stridency rather than mercy, and thereby creates a distorted impression of Christianity, one that is at odds with Jesus’ approach.

The award-winning Christian author Philip Yancey once took to asking a question of strangers, when striking up a conversation: “When I say the words ‘evangelical Christian’ what comes to mind?” Mr. Yancey reports that he mostly heard political descriptions — but not once did he hear a description suggestive of grace. This is quite an indictment of a faith in which the concept of grace should be at the very center.

Pope Francis, on the other hand, understands that Jesus’ main mission was to persuade a world in need of God’s love and mercy. If the pontiff speaks of the church primarily as a field hospital, Mr. Graham sees it as a sentencing court.

Steve Hayner, one of the baby boom generation’s most respected evangelical leaders and my spiritual mentor, died earlier this year. The last time I saw him, he told me that the central characteristics of God are love and grace — and that therefore the central mission of Christians is to extend his hand of grace to others. What God has given to us, we owe to others. “If what you’re doing in your life is leading toward reconciliation and redemption,” he once told me, “then you’re most likely headed in the right direction.”

Pope Francis is heading in that direction. There are an awful lot of evangelical Christians ready to follow his lead.

Peter Wehner is a contributing opinion writer and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who served in the last three Republican administrations.

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CHRIST IS RISEN! (some thoughts for Easter)

CHRIST IS RISEN!

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Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was a Russian Communist leader who took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda , and was a full member of the Politburo.

Once in Kiev in 1930 he gave an anti-Christian speech to a large gathering on the subject of atheism

After putting down Christianity for an hour, at the end of his diatribe, a man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient acclamation:

“CHRIST IS RISEN!”

En masse came the reply:

“HE IS RISEN INDEED!”

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A professor from Moscow University some years ago said that religion in Russia was virtually dead and  he claimed “There is no one in the Churches, except a few little old ladies”

Well, these so-called “little old ladies” have seen off the Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev, and the rest.  The little old ladies have won – and,  it is most likely that what sustained them was their abiding hope in the living Christ – the one who is and always will be the Resurrection and the Life.

No one and nothing can defeat him: no political system, no military dictator, no communist, no fascist – nobody.

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

He was dead and he was buried.  Then on the third day, he rose from the dead and is alive forever more

And the world has never been the same since.

a brief story…..

PIt concerns a little girl who one day was restless and fidgeting.  Her father was trying to read his newspaper, but was being constantly interrupted by his young daughter.

To amuse her, her dad tore a map of the world from the paper he was attempting to read.  He then cut the page into small pieces.

“Here’s a jigsaw puzzle” he told the little girl, “Why not sit down somewhere quiet and put it together”

The youngster whose knowledge of geography was pretty limited, went to work on the map and, to her father’s amazement, soon had it reassembled.

“How did you do it so quickly?” he asked her.

“Oh it was easy” she replied, “There’s a picture of a man on the other side. I put the man together and the world came out right!”

If we truly believe in the power of God and that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life – put back together, as it were, on Easter day – then one day the world in all its difficulty and brokeness, will come out all right.

Christ will triumph.  The victory will be his. Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

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“Religious Freedom” legislation

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No Compromise (a short homily for Palm/Passion Sunday)

Palm/Passion Sunday – Year B:   Mark 11 verses 1-11

 

Most people will have seen Mel Gibson’s rousing (and historically illiterate) movie,  Braveheart.  In the film, William Wallace attempts to unite the feuding factions in Scotland in their fight against England in the 13th century.  In doing so, he tries to elicit the help of Robert the Bruce.

 

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Bruce refuses to help and in soliloquy he says: “Wallace is an uncompromising man.  Uncompromising men are admirable.  But only a compromising man can be king.”

We can affirm that on Palm Sunday an uncompromising man became King of all history.

There may be times when we have to be flexible.  On strategies, we can compromise, but not in principles.

There must come a time when we ask: Is this the way it is–Yes or No?  Palm Sunday challenges the notion that all of life is but a part of the compromising process.

There once was an English priest called Charlie Andrews who became a friend of Gandhi in India.

Andrews worked and lived with the Indian Nationalists.  The Government, however, also used him as an intermediary to explain positions and decisions.

Most British people in India misunderstood him, because they thought that he was a traitor to Britain.  Many also said that he had compromised his Christian faith.

He was reviled and slandered, even although he wrote books with titles like ‘What I owe to Christ’

Andrews was really, truly, and sincerely, a man of God and a committed Christian.

He followed the way of the Cross in more ways than patiently bearing lies, insults, and abuse from the British in India.  He also lived a most spartan life in primitive village conditions, and lived tirelessly for other people.  Nobody in any kind of need was outside his concern.

 

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During Gandhi’s illness, Charlie Andrews was constantly with him, and the press reported that he would sing Ghandi’s favourite hymn to him – ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’

Charlie Andrews never counted the cost to himself of anything he did.  That is the true mark of the loyal follower of Jesus Christ, who himself gave up his life for many.  Jesus Christ came to serve humankind, regardless of the criticism, condemnation, and misrepresentation.  He never compromised his message or his mission.

Nor did Charlie Andrews, nor have countless other followers of Christ in all centuries since Jesus uncompromisingly started to bring the Kingdom of God into the lives of men and women everywhere.

On Palm Sunday, the crowd cheered Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.  Later that week, the acclamation turned to condemnation, as they bayed for his blood with their cries of ‘Crucify him!  Crucify him!’

These people just could not follow Jesus all the way through.  For, when he became unpopular because of his uncompromising stand, they abandoned him.

Is our faith like that?  Are we fair-weather Christians, ready to drop principles or compromise our beliefs when the going gets tough, our position threatened, or our personal comfort disturbed?

On the other hand, are we like Charlie Andrews and his kind whose faith never wavered?  A man who stuck to his principles.  A true disciple of his Lord and Master who, undoubtedly, took these words of Jesus to heart:

‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me’

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Two Paintings – Sermon preached at Dumfries Northwest Church, Sunday 22 March 2015 (audio version)

http://www.dumfriesnorthwest.org.uk/index.php/sermon-sandy-strachan-22-march-2015/

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