Our current sermon series at St Luke’s is titled “Conflict and the King”, looking at John 5-8. John 7:1-24 is another instance of Jesus coming into conflict with the Jewish leaders over healing on the Sabbath.
Preached at St Luke’s, Liverpool on Sunday 11/03/2012
In the years we’ve been together, I’ve been sharing my movie critic skills with my wife, Katherine. Using these skills, she’s been excited by (and sometimes disappointed) by her ability to know what’s going to happen in a movie or TV show before it happens, like a cinematic fortune-teller. One thing she recently pointed out that she’d learnt from me is that “they’re not dead unless you see the body.” If the bad guy gets shot and falls off a cliff and is presumed dead, they’re probably still alive. Unless they find the body and get a full autopsy, chances are the bad guy will pop up and cause some trouble when the hero least expects it. If you live in the movie world, don’t trust anyone that anyone is dead unless you see the body.
Scenes From A Multiverse is a webcomic that can go anywhere and everywhere. Absurd and unique universes are playgrounds waiting to be frolicked in. Which provides the author, Jon Rosenberg, plenty of room to play with ideas. Which also provides him plenty of opportunities to look at things such as religion. The genius of the setup is that he can explore the inconsistencies and fallacies that he sees in religion, without actually looking at a particular religion. Sure, we know he’s making comments about Christianity and other faiths, but he does it in a way that brings us to question our logic, not just assume he’s having a go. I don’t always agree with Rosenberg. And I don’t always agree with his logic. But I appreciate being given the opportunity to think through my beliefs and examine the logic behind them.
Our current sermon series at St Luke’s is titled “Conflict and the King”, looking at John 5-8. John 5:31-47 takes a look at three testimonies that Jesus points to as evidence for who he is and what he has come to do.
Preached at St Luke’s, Liverpool on Sunday 12/02/2012
A number of years ago, there was a show called John Safran’s Music Jamboree. Each week, John Safran would take his signature sense of humour and journalism and look at the world of music culture. In one of the episodes, Safran looked at one the most exclusive night clubs in Melbourne and wondered what it would take to get nine 18 an 19 year old males through the door. Watching from a surveillance van across the road, the first attempt was a miserable failure. The bouncer didn’t even open the door before telling them to be on their way.
But Safran had a plan. The next night he called the club up and told them to expect a big name band from the US to rock up. That they should be prepared for them and put their name on the list. How would these young men manage to convince the club that they were famous enough to let in? They would dress up like Slipknot, a 9 piece metal band, well known for wearing overalls and masks. And it worked. Not only did they get in, but they got given a private room and gave out autographs to fans.
Now I know I’m not good enough to get into heaven on my own. But what, if like these young men, I could get my name on the guest list? What if there was a name that could get me into heaven? A name that would guarantee me entry? Well there is such a name. And that name is Jesus.
When I take my wife out to dinner, it usually begins with us trying to work out which restaurant to go to. I’ll start by asking her where she wants to go. She’ll say she doesn’t know. And then I’ll say I don’t know. Then she’ll ask me to give her some options to choose from. And then we’ll narrow it down to one choice. And then, knowing my luck, the place will be shut and we have to go through the whole process again.
It’s good to know your options before you settle on a decision. Especially when the decision is where you are going to spend eternity. I want to go to heaven, but before I get my heart set on it, I really should investigate the alternatives.
But I’m still in love with Judas, baby
Lady Gaga has a new song out called Judas. On first listen, it appears that there’s more than a passing connection between this song and Judas from the Bible, the guy who betrayed Jesus to the authorities. The film clip furthers these connections with images of Jesus and his crew riding around on motorcycles.
But is this song really about Judas from the Bible? Is Lady Gaga giving us her understanding of the message of the Gospels? Or is something else going on here?
A couple of suburbs down the road from my place is a big billboard on a major road. It says “Judgement Day is coming. 21 May 2011.” According to this billboard, the end of the world is coming and it’s only weeks away. There seems to be a lot of people recently who are saying that they have prophesied the end of the world. They point to events such as the floods in Queensland, the earthquake in New Zealand, the tsunami in Japan and say that the end of the world is coming any day now. That these disasters are a sign from God that he’s getting ready for the end game. The people behind this billboard are even prepared to name a date, based on their understanding of the Bible and some creative mathematics.
Should we listen to these so-called prophecies? Are they reliable? Can we really know the date when Jesus returns?
I have my doubts. Let’s just say I plan on getting a photo of myself in front of this billboard on May 22nd.
Lady Gaga rocked up to the 2011 Grammy awards inside a giant egg. She then proceeded to perform her latest song, Born This Way, while dressed as an egg yolk. This should come as no surprise. Lady Gaga has crafted her entire celebrity around being provocative and attention grabbing. She needs your attention and she’s going to get it by telling you exactly what you want to hear.
Born This Way is a celebration of the uniqueness of self. But it is also a glorification of sin. Because this song is a lie. It presents a world where sin does not exist and there’s not a single thing about you that needs to change. Every thought you have, every thing you do is not only acceptable, but applaudable. Do not conform but be yourself. You are perfect in every single way. That’s the gospel of Lady Gaga.
But it’s not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
by Dale E. Basye
Where do the bad kids go? If a really rotten kid dies, do they go to a) heaven, b) hell, or c) somewhere else? If you answered c, then maybe you’ve been reading the kids book Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go. Welcome to Heck. It’s not quite hell, but it isn’t a pleasant place to be either. Heck is where underage sinners go to be rehabilitated or punished for all eternity – or until they turn 18. Heck is not a place you want to spend any time. Are you in danger of spending time in Heck?
That’s how long it took to change everything. One moment, life is going along as normal. Two minutes and seventeen seconds later and nothing will ever be the same again.
Simultaneously across the globe, every single person on the planet blacks out and has a vision of what they will be doing in six months time. In the mean time, cars are crashing, surgery patients are flat-lining, and surfers are drowning. The world is plunged into chaos. No one knows what is happening or why. And even after all the fires are put out, how will people deal with what they have seen in the future? This is the premise of Flash Forward and I’m keen to find out where this is going.
I spent a long time trying to work out if I wanted to watch this show. Musicals can be very hit and miss with me. Set it in a highschool and the chances of me enjoying it drop dramatically. But throw in a level of self awareness, some black comedy and some quirky characters? Now things are looking better.
Glee is the story of a small town high school in the middle of nowhere. You have those at the top of the popularity spectrum – your cheerleaders and football players. And at the very bottom you have those who are in the glee club. Will these kids achieve against all odds? Will they find self esteem through performance? Is this their one and only opportunity to find satisfaction in life? Welcome to high school life Glee style.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson
Is anyone reading Harry Potter reviews and actually undecided about whether they want to see this movie or not? This is the sixth movie in the Harry Potter juggernaut. By now you’ve already made a commitment to the series. And if you haven’t seen the first five movies in the series, Half Blood Prince is a really bad place to start. This movie is filled with raging hormones and the darkening of the Harry Potter world. There’s way too much of one, not enough of the other.
People look for salvation in all kinds of places. In their work, their family, their possessions, etc. Everyone is looking for that one thing that will make their life complete, that will rescue them from insecurity and doubt. When things are tough, people head for their real god. Life is difficult, so I’ll find god at the bottom of the bottle. Life is tough so I’ll go out and find god through meaningless sex. Life is hard to I will search for god through hard work and super annuation. We look for salvation in all kinds of places. Except for the place where real salvation can be found – Jesus Christ.
X-Factor #43 shows us this truth in just one panel.