Sunday, February 28, 2010

The cosmological argument for the existence of God

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Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) wrote these words about the existence of God. Philosophers of religion call it the cosmological argument for the existence of God. You may want to read it a few times to grasp some of its content.

"The existence of God can be proved in five ways. The first and most obvious proof is the argument from change. It is clearly the case that some things in this world are in the process of changing. Now everything that is in the process of being changed is changed by something else, since nothing is changed unless it is potentially that towards which it being changed, whereas that which changes is actual. To change something is nothing else than to bring it from potentiality to actuality, and a thing can be brought from potentiality to actuality only by something which is actual.

Thus a fire, which is actually hot, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, thus changing and altering it. Now it is impossible for the same things to be both actual and potential in the same respect, although it may be so in different respects. What is actually hot cannot at the same time be potentially hot, although it is potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that, in the same manner and in the same way, anything should be both the one which effects change and the one that is changed, so that it should change itself.

Whatever is changed must therefore be changed by something else. If, then, whatever is changing it is itself changed, this also must be changed by something else, and this in turn by something else again. But this cannot go on forever, since there would then be no first cause to this process of change, and consequently no other agent of change, because secondary things which change cannot change unless they are changed by a first cause, in the same way as a stick cannot move unless it is moved by the hand. We are therefore bound to arrive at a first cause of change which is not changed by anything, and everyone understands that this is God. " (cited in McGrath, 2001: 247-248)

Ok, breathe!

William Paley (1743-1805) argued about the existence of God, using what is referred to as the teleological argument for the existence of God. He writes about the biological nature of the human heart, saying, "It is evident that it must require the interposition of valves-that the success indeed of its action must depend upon these; for when any one of its cavities contracts, the necessary tendency of the force will be to drive the enclosed blood not only into the mouth of the artery where it ought to go, but also back again into the mouth of the vein from which it flowed" (cited in McGrath, 2001: 252).

Using these kind of biological examples, Paley argues strongly about the existence of a God. This kind of natural theology definitely flies in the face of the evolution argument.

God exists. He created you. He loves you. He wants you to trust in Jesus as your Saviour.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What's the worse that could happen?

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Found this excerpt from http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=2600055&p=1 an article talking about Salvation Army Thrift stores (thanks Stephen Court!). Here's the last part which mentions Youth For Christ:

"In Winnipeg, a non-profit group called Youth for Christ is investing $11-million to build a downtown complex for troubled youth that would be open to all, and the city is kicking in $2.6-million and a land grab to help.

The response?

Complaints. A university of Winnipeg professor named Jim Silver, whose research is urban and inner-city studies, whined that "city council [is] supporting these outsiders who are coming in and think God will solve everything. It's awful. This isn't the right way to meet the needs of kids in the inner city. This is a colonial attitude."

Spare us the drama. Youth For Christ stands a good chance of keeping a large number of kids off the streets and out of juvenile detention. What's the worst that could happen? Some of these kids become religious and go on to effectively help others? God forbid. "

What's the worse that could happen? Some people could get saved. Ahh, praise God.
_____________________
"Be still and know that I am God." - In the midst of the busyness. Be still and know that he is the Lord.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Leadership Tips

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Been challenged again recently to think about leadership, and its importance within the realm of serving the Lord. Here's some points I have been thinking about, (feel free to comment and leave your leadership thoughts):

* We must believe in people to achieve and do well. Many times people will step up to the mark when we empower them and believe in them.
* Don't be quick to judge who God can and cannot use. Consider Moses (a murderer), David (an adulterer), Paul (persecuted followers of Jesus), Peter (a denier)... We are used by God to transform lives, only because of the grace of God.
* Vision of a better future excites and harnesses the followership of others.
* Developing leaders who develop other leaders is critical. Don't just gain followers, or just develop a leader. Develop leaders who can lead the next generation.
* Be clear about God's mission for your Corps/organisation/workplace and communicate it constantly.

I challenge us today to step out of the boat and fix our eyes on Jesus. Cast aside every sin that so easily entangles us, and run the race with perserverance.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Telling the next generation

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The words of Psalm 78 have been echoing in my mind recently. Locally at Palmerston Salvos we have been discussing a vision statement for our church, and one of the lines is about bringing hope to future generations. Stop and minute and read some of the powerful words from Psalm 78:
'O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in parables [sounds like Jesus],
I will utter hidden things, things from of old--
what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us [you know, like the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt]
We will not hide them from their children; [otherwise how will they ever know?]
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done. [No different today, right?]
....Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands. '

How selfish that we would ever consider NOT telling someone about the hope we have in Christ. I know that not to be the case for most Christians I know. They let their life scream out salvation and their life reflect the character of Jesus.

Lord, help me to be a light that shines in the darkness and not a dim light that fails to light up the dark places we live in.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Opinions on the new My School Website

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What's your opinion on the new My School Website?

Many principals and teacher groups have slammed the My School Website idea. But, is that because there is now too much accountability for them, and public pressure to improve their schools? In my opinion though, 'My School' can have a damning affect in the sense that schools that were beginning to improve from less than impressive scores, have been hit a momentum blow to continuing to improve their school. How difficult is it for a principal of that school to gather the teachers together and excite in them passion for the days ahead?

Leader of the Opposition, Terry Mills (NT Government) says, "An analysis of the My School Site reveals no single NT Government school, urban or remote, met the national average in all areas of testing. When compared to the 'like for like socio economic index' NT schools were behind 2 to 1. This is a statement about systemic failure, a failure that demands....policy response..." This is a sobering thought for schools in the Northern Territory.

What's your opinion of the new My School Website (www.myschool.edu.au) ?

Setting the Bar High on Holiness

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Major Stephen Court comments on my previous post related to holiness. Check out: www.armybarmy.com/blog.html for the low down. It got me thinking about setting the bar high for holiness. Pushing the boundaries of holiness is about this idea that some Christians set the bar low. They try to find God's lowest common denominator with sin, and live a life within that realm, always hoping God still is 'ok' with them. Major Court has made me think about the opposite; setting the bar high.

Do you know those people who are striving to live a life worthy of the calling they have received? Do you know of those who are passionate about prayer, integrity, wholesomeness, good character and are loving to others? If there is any movement of the people of God that was and is known for being that kind of movement, with those kind of people, it is The Salvation Army. Lets set the bar high when it comes to holiness, and be one of those people with a passion for pure living!
_____________________
Lord, help me to live in a way that honours you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit to overflowing. It is no longer I that is living, but Christ that is living in me. Amen.
_____________________
UK officer's blog - Andrew Bale - Check it out: www.beyondthebrook.blogspot.com

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