A train delayed…and a Da Vinci Code

This morning was going well enough until I hit a delay on the train. Apparantly a truck had gone through the Sherwood rail crossing and pulled down some of the lines. I was at Milton when this accident occurred – and was there for about 20 minutes.

Whilst the train was at rest I was reading ‘The Goldsworthy Trilogy’ when person sitting infront of me started to sing softly to her vietnamese song she was listening to on her walkman. It sounded pretty funny to the people immediately sitting near her – had she known that she was singing I’m sure the embarrasment would have been worse :P

But then I noticed that the lady sitting to my left was reading Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’. I couldn’t see the cover, but the page font was big enough to read… so I read a little and (if my memory serves me well) saw this, “‘Upon this rock I shall build my church’ was authority Jesus gave to Peter as the first apostle.”

I knew then that this lady was reading ‘The Da Vinci Code’. The book reminded me of the truth of what Paul wrote to Timothy – people have itchy ears and will listen to anyone who says anything to suit their own desires. I’m not sure what that lady believes in, but I pray for her nonetheless.

Christianity Today has some nice articles on how we should treat the Da Vinci Code.

To our dear departed friend…

Alfie was always full of life and energy. At times his energy, for such a compact little dog, dwarfed my own :P Most didn’t know Alfie well, but to the few who did good memories shall remain.

Is there eternal rest for animals? I don’t know. What strikes us more during this time is remembering that death is the result of sin in this world… but through Christ, we are given new life. At some point Christ’s return will also mean the end to sin…and death.

For now, we are reminded of Paul’s words in Romans… and also remember that there is more to this life than living and dying

Impatience

I was a little late getting out of the house this morning, so the morning traffic was backed up more than usual.

Then as our car was approaching the Oxley Roundabout, I noticed a grey Ford Falcon ahead of us wanting to change lanes into the busy/backed up right hand lane. The Falcon signalled correctly, waited patiently for an opening and slowly crept towards the right hand lane – all the things I think I would have done.

But a black Mitsubishi Lancer was just behind the Falcon and completely cut it off – sped up quickly enough to fill in the opening the Falcon looked like it was going to take. The Falcon swerved off, narrowly missing the two cars… sped ahead a little bit, did the same thing and a different car let him in.

This event reminded me of one thing – even after 2000 years, the Bible’s description of humanity (sinful and in a fallen world with all the effects of selfishness and pride) is still very true…and very obvious. We are all in need of the grace and mercy of God given to us through Christ.

What are words…?

Early in my evangelism I encountered this question, which at the time I don’t think I answered to well… “Why is taking the Lord’s name in vain a sin? Words are just words…”

At the time I didn’t really understand. But lately I have come to understand the power of words.

Words have the power to build up, to encourage and to bring and share love. Words have the power to give life.

Words can also be used to tear down, to discourage, to belittle. Words have the power to take life.

God’s Gospel comes to us through words. Christ is The Word.

When we take the Lord’s name in vain, we forget the simple message given to us in Acts 4:12. We throw this message out the window as if it is old news, when it is nothing less than the power for our salvation.

But on a more personal level, I’ve learnt tonight that words can cut deeply than we first suspect. I’ve thought myself eloquent with words before, but I know from experience that my words have also cut deeply. To strive towards humility in both attitude and speech is indeed a long and daunting process.

Rain…and more rain

There has been lots and lots of rain recently. Minor flooding has occured around the area – I even heard that Warrigal Road was closed for a good part of Sunday because of the flash flooding.

This afternoon on the train I was looking out the window at all the rain that was pouring down and commented to a man sitting opposite to me that there was so much of it! He then replied something to the effect that whilst there was lots of rain, we did need it.

And that reminded me of something I read briefly on the MatthiasMedia website under the ‘Couldn’t Help But Notice’ column. A sometimes cynical and slightly sarcastic column, but at other times quite insightful.

This little ‘notice’ I read concerned the drought that Queensland was experiencing during the winter. It made the comment that drought was a curse that God put on the land when the people had forgotten them.

What an interesting thought. Maybe we can share that with our friends the next time we think about the drought…or the ‘timely’ rain.

Angels wish…

Every now and then a song comes along which really makes me reflect deeply. This is one such song…

Angels Wish (Steven Curtis Chapman, from All Things New LP)

Was God smiling

When He spoke the words

That made the world

And did he cry about the flood

And what does God’s voice sound like

When He sings, when He’s angry

These are just a few things

That the angels have on me

Chorus:

Well, I can’t fly

At least not yet

I’ve got no halo on my head

And I can’t even start to picture Heaven’s beauty

But I’ve been shown the Savior’s love

The grace of God has raised me up

To show me things the angels long to look into

And I know things

The angels only wish they knew

I have seen the dark and desperate place

Where sin will take you

I’ve felt loneliness and shame

And I have watched the blinding light of grace

Come breaking through with a sweetness

Only tasted by the forgiven and redeemed

(repeat chorus)

And someday I’ll sit down with my angel friends

Up in Heaven

They’ll tell me about creation

And I’ll tell them a story of grace

(repeat chorus)

MD Walkman

I recently had to purchase a new Minidisc walkman because my last one was not recording anymore. I had previously purchased an extended warranty on my old walkman and it still had six months remaining. So off to put it into service I went…and a few weeks later I got a cheque in the mail with a little note saying that because the recording function was too difficult to fix, they just refunded me the full price of the walkman! Praise God!

Anyway…I purchased another MD Walkman – the MZ-N10 Net MD – for about half the original marked price: that is, $440 (with extended warranty) as opposed to new price of $900! So I got a better Minidisc player for about 2/3rds the price I originally paid :) Praise God again!

Ok…but here is where I’ve recently been challenged. See, the MD player is great for uploading music or talks to listen to whilst on travels. But I’ve noticed lately that it really cuts me off from the world – especially on the train where I usually have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to evanglise. The other day I was wearing my ‘Jesus Loves You!’ tie…and overheard some comments made about it by the people sitting next to me on the train. I was listening to some music and also reading a book at the same time, which made it rather awkward if I was to pull off the headphones and start chatting (plus they were speaking in what I think was Hindi).

So yeah, do I continue the slightly anti-social listening to the walkman (which I’m entitled to do), or do I prefer to not listen to them and find more/better opportunities to share the Gospel (which I’m suppose to do)?

I think the answer should be obvious.

Rest

On the 7th day of creation God rested. It wasn’t as if he needed to – it was to remind man that we shall work 6 days and have a day of rest. The purpose of this rest isn’t purely for relaxation, but a time to come to God in prayer and through His Word, that we might find rejuvenation.

When Christ came to earth, He opened up a greater Sabbath rest for us in Heaven – an eternal rest which awaits us.

For now, I must find more time to rest. It’s been a bad habit of mine to be constantly busy and not find time to rest – and not just rest physically, but also as a time of coming to His word and also to kneel my life in prayer. I often forget that my job is not to please God with my busyness, but to simply come to Him daily, on my knees, in humble prayer and adoration.

You know…when you put it like that, it’s just so simple :)

Big Bands…and Jesus-Fish-Bling!

It was Big Band theme on Australian Idol tonight. What a very fun show to sit through! To think that a few years ago I would have not enjoyed sitting through Jazz music… ahh how Nora Ephron movies can change my view of a whole genre of music :P

But anyway – the other day a co-worker commented on my ‘Jesus-Fish-Bling’. He was speaking in reference to my little blue wrist band with the Jesus fish across it. I told him briefly about how this fish symbol is synonymous with Christianity because in the early days of the church, under heavy persecution, Christians would reveal themselves privately to each other by drawing in the dirt one half of the fish…the other, if also a believer, would draw the other half thus completing the ‘Jesus Fish’.

Now, I had originally bought this little wrist band as a way of letting people in the know that I was a Christian. But also to possibly have this wrist band as a conversation starter.

But when I was asked, I found, yet again, that my work got in the way of sharing or having any deep and meaningful conversation. Whilst seeding is important, what is of greater importance is actually sharing the Gospel message.

It will be a struggle to keep this need, this urgency, in the forefront of my mind – especially next week when I continue my long stints in front of the computer doing the work I’m getting paid to do. Therein lies the challenge for Christians in the workforce – to be salt and light, and to share the Gospel message in their lives and through their work.