• Whose side are you on?

    I love the way Peterson’s Message Bible renders the question and response: Joshua asks, “Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies’?” and the response was, “Neither. I’m commander of GOD’s army. I’ve just arrived.” I launched my 2023 World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission Leader’s Missions Forecast from this passage. For my January 2024 post, I’ll repeat the introduction of that essay in the hope that it encourages you to take the time to read the rest.

  • Cheering them on!

    Olga is a survivor. The first time she escaped death was before she was even born. She was a Chernobyl baby. That is, her mother gave birth to her soon after the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred in Chernobyl in 1986, just 40 kilometres north of Kyiv, close to the Belarusian border. After the reactor of the nuclear power plant exploded, pregnant mothers in Ukraine were ordered to abort their babies. They were told the babies would all be deformed. But Olga’s mother, who lived 400 kilometre

  • Openness and hospitality

    Today, January 6, is the 12th day of Christmas in the traditional church calendar, the official end to Christmastide and the start of Epiphany, which lasts through to the day before Lent. 

  • When Jesus himself was a refugee from the holy land

    As we have watched the news over the last few years, we have seen many stories of refugees fleeing strife or persecution in the Middle East, from Iraq, from Syria, and now Gaza. Some are displaced and seek sanctuary in safer parts of their own countries, and others flee their own country for other lands. At Christmas time, we also remember that after the birth of Jesus, he too was a refugee from Bethlehem to another land. The story is recorded in Matthew 2:13-23.

  • God chose to come into this world without status or power

    As the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus approaches, friends and I have been thinking about Jesus’ words recorded in Mark 10:13-16. For years, I thought that ‘receiving the Kingdom of God like a little child’ referred to innocence – or to being trusting. Maybe it does include that. I, for one, feel I have a lot to learn about genuinely trusting God, in our deeply disturbed world. But someone recently pointed out to me that the main defining characteristic of children in first century Palestin

  • No Christmas in Bethlehem

    Five hundred hushed participants at the European Parliament Prayer Breakfast in Brussels last Wednesday listened intently as Palestinian Christian leader, Dr Jack Sara, told of the sense of hopelessness and wanton destruction that followed in the wake of the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel. 

  • Antichrist

    It should come as no surprise that Māori whakataukī or proverbs tend to be aspirational, even if they also contain a warning. After all, Māori are guided by a strongly collectivist values set. That which is treasured in this world is that which strengthens our relationship bonds—to one another, to our habitats, to the unseen spiritual world around us. There is no greater threat to collectivist values than that which would seek to separate or divide the group.

  • Toxic goodness

    That suffering can be redemptive sounds utterly perverse in the ears of our mainstream contemporaries. Our secular reality (and too much theology) is so thoroughly drenched in (false) Epicurean hope that it is unfathomable to think that anything bad can ultimately be good, steeped as Epicureanism is in the pursuit of pleasure. We must not fall into the trap that God intends evil so that good might result. That is perverse.

  • Unbroken weave

    This month’s whakataukī (proverb) is: “Hē o te kotahi, hē o te katoa.” (“The mistake belongs to the collective.”). I’ve said before, I started life in Canons Creek, Porirua, Aotearoa New Zealand—a notorious neighbourhood in the 1970s, noted for its gang violence and poverty-related issues.

  • Three blind spots

    Politicians, diplomats and intercessors from the Nordic and Baltic nations gathered in Helsinki for a prayer breakfast near the Finnish parliament on Friday morning this week. 

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