Blogging and Ray Ortland

Blogging is a funny business. Lots of people are very passionate about what constitutes a blog. This is even more heightened in the Christian blogging world. The advent of online forums have provided an incredible ocean of helpful thoughts and ideas to be disseminated quickly and easily to the world. I have learnt many things from bloggers from different cultures. It has also provided another realm for sin to grow. Anonymous commenting and imbalanced critique has hurt many and led to divisions and misinformation to spread. We need to be careful how we comment. As the writer of the Proverbs notes, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (10:18)

I follow many bloggers. Some I dip into. Some I weight eagerly for their latest thoughts on culture and our world. All I find helpful as I grow as a human and servant of Jesus.

A favorite of mine is Ray Orland. He is pastor in the USA. His blogs are quite unique in my blog list. Each day he shares a quote or reflection on a book, article or culture. The blog is rarely long. It is never complex. Yet it is regulary profound causing me to stop, think and pray.

This week he wrote a wonderful blog. I have included it below. As I read the comments I was encouraged by 1 commenter who encouraged Ray on how his blogs lead people to the grace of Jesus. Now that is what Ray loves to hear I imagine.

You can read Ray’s Blog HERE (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/)

This Post can be found HERE (“Come to me”

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

The sacred center of Christianity is Christ himself.  Coming personally to the Person.  Coming directly to the Mediator.  No one but Jesus can call us with such authority, and no one but Jesus can encourage us with such a promise.  No one else can give us rest.

If our primary purpose in church is to connect with one another, that’s what we’ll get — one another.  And we’ll end up angry.  Only Jesus gives us rest.  If we will put him first and come to him first, then we’ll have something to give to one another.

If our primary purpose in church is outreach and mercy and justice, we’ll end up exhausted.  Only Jesus gives us rest.  If we will put him first and come to him first, we’ll be renewed for endless mission.

There are as many false and disappointing centers as there are impulses in our hearts.  Everything else will let us down.  Everything.

Only One has ever said and can ever say, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.”

His offer stands.  And we don’t have to deserve it.  He gives it.  But he does come first.

Thanks Ray

Coffee in Port ~ Bitter Sweet

The name sets the bar high. Could this be a place that serves coffee that is bitter and sweet? Could they deliver an elixir that is strong and punchy, yet smooth and sweet? The answer: Yes. For me this is 1 of the top 5 coffee jaunts in PM. The coffee is wonderful. The cakes are Port’s best. The venue is open and friendly with the smell of the ocean flowing through the venue. It is the meeting place of mums and their bubs most days which makes it quite rowdy. Yet we were able to read the word and chat easily over a fine brew.

Yoda’s Review

  • Coffee: 4.5/5
  • Insight: A sweet place; bitter heaven

Jesus and Peter

Steve used a great video in his sermon yesterday to illustrate how Jesus forgave Peter for denying him. It really captures the mistakes we make with Grace. Sometimes we see it as too easy – “sorry Jesus” and move on. Sometimes we see it as too simple – “thanks Jesus” what’s next! This video captures the seriousness of sin and how personal it is before Jesus. It also captures the wonder of Grace that says “It is dealt with”. I like it.

Reliability of the Bible

One of my clearest memories of Christian Studies at high school was watching some old videos displaying the incredible historical reliability of the New Testament Manuscripts. With amazing 1989 graphics the program illustrated how many early fragments of the New Testament have been found and how they remain consistent over time. I remember thinking, Wow!! The rumour that “the bible has been changed over time’ is a myth. I need to take some notice of this document and what it says about God.

A lot has changed for me over the last 20 years. A lot has changed in manuscript studies over that time as well. The great news is that there are more and more fragments of the New Testament being found, some estimated at being written in the 1st and 2nd century.

On Justin Taylor’s Blog this week he posted an interview with Daniel B Wallace, an expert in New Testament Manuscript research. He was asked, “how does the number of NT manuscripts compare to other extant historical documents?”

NT scholars face an embarrassment of riches compared to the data the classical Greek and Latin scholars have to contend with. The average classical author’s literary remains number no more than twenty copies. We have more than 1,000 times the manuscript data for the NT than we do for the average Greco-Roman author. Not only this, but the extant manuscripts of the average classical author are no earlier than 500 years after the time he wrote. For the NT, we are waiting mere decades for surviving copies. The very best classical author in terms of extant copies is Homer: manuscripts of Homer number less than 2,400, compared to the NT manuscripts that are approximately ten times that amount.

If you are interested in reading the whole interview you can find it here

640am Thursday 22nd March

Psalm 19  The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky aboveproclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voicegoes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
     which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Reality vs Real TV

I’m quite partial to reality TV. My heart pounds when a swimmer is sucked into a rip at Bondi (again). 24 was an integral part of my life last decade. Masterchef is a staple part of life from April to July (even with all the tears). Some reality TV is horrendous. A lot is harmless fun.

Real TV is a different matter. There are a few shows on TV that get behind the performance and really open doors into peoples lives. In real TV we may not be entertained but we are always challenged and left to ponder life, people, culture and ourselves. I love Real TV.

The most consistent Real TV at the moment in Australian Story (ABC). Each week the story of an Australian is explored. Sometimes it is a well known figure or event (eg. the death of a cyclist by a well known barrister in Adelaide). More often it is an Australian we don’t know whose story is infamous yet profound.

The last 2 weeks have deeply challenged me. Both Daniel Clark and Leigh Woodgate have disabilities. Yet neither have succumb to a victim mentality. Both have chosen to live a full life. Both have taken risks. Both were deeply profound on how life works.

I love people. I love life. I think God has made it beautifully complex. The darkness and greyness is not defeating. As we wait for sin and death to be removed and the new creation to begin, much can be learnt about life from the people who live in God’s world. Australian Story reminds me each week to get to know people.