Thursday, 31 July 2008

Do what it says

1 Peter 1:13:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Just got back from a lunchtime Bible study. We read 1 Pet 1:13-25 (we're going thru 1 Peter), but only wound up discussing verse 13. That's because we did what it said.
The verse has three commands:
(1) Prepare your minds for action. We Christians need to actively think about how to live in a world opposed to Christ. Godliness doesn't come automatically; we need to think about our lives, our decisions, the kinds of challenges we face, how respond to those challenges...
(2) Be self-controlled. We didn't discuss this - ran out of time. But given verse 14 says "do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance", I take it one of the things we need to think about. examine, are our desires. What do we want to do? Why? Are my desires set on Godly objects? Are my desires themselves Godly?
(3) Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. So we talked about what it means to wait patiently to be vindicated when Christ returns, and not seek honour in this life.
... and then lunch hour was finished and everyone had to go back to class.
We didn't get far in the text. But we got deep in our lives. We did what the text told us to do: we responded to it, we obeyed it. And I think that's much better.

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Updated links

I've been updating my links - sorted them into Bible, theology, theological colleges, apologetics & ethics, and churches & ministries. Have a look - hope they're useful. Anyone got any recommendations for sites I don't know about?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Passed Hebrew!

I just got my results from first semester!
I passed Hebrew!
Now for second semester Hebrew (*sigh*)...

Friday, 18 July 2008

Alistair Maclean on Educated Sinhalese

Strewth, mate! Check out what I found on page 138 of Alistair Maclean's Ice Station Zebra:

... he reminded me of educated Sinhalese I'd met with their precise, lilting, standard southern English interlarded with the catch-phrases of forty years ago. Topping, old bean, simply too ripping for words.

I don't think Maclean's being rascist - he's right! In the subcontinent, we're taught the Queen's English. Like you hear on the BBC. All very clipped and precise. More British than the British. The kind of English that apprently no-one actually speaks in England.
If you're wondering why I'm so interested in this - let me remind you that I am Sinhalese. Well, goodness gracious me...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Diaspora ministry

Overseas Missionary Fellowship ("OMF") is a missionary outreach to East Asia. It's the ongoing work of Hudson Taylor's China Inland Mission. OMF Diaspora Ministries is focused on Chinese, Japanese, Philippino and Thai people living outside their home country. It's becoming a bigger focus in OMF’s ministry world-wide. At the moment there are about 40 OMF members working among these people groups in the US, UK, Europe and Australia/NZ.
Diaspora ministry isn't the same as third culture kids. It's ministry to their parents. The ones who come to a new country, and have to learn a new language, new culture etc. The ones who, in an effort to preserve their cultural identity, become hyper-conservatively traditional. And give their kids a headache. For SBM to reach this group, we're gonna have to think cross-culturally. Even though we're both subcontinentals.
It's interesting that there are so many people in this category that OMF have decided to deliberately co-ordinate their efforts. Just goes to show that we don't have to go overseas - they're coming to us!
For more on the OMF Diaspora ministries, see:

Free online theology journals!

Themelios is my favourite theological journal. It was formerly published by the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students ("IFES"). But as of the latest issue, it's been taken over by The Gospel Coalition, and is being published electronically - for FREE! WOO-HOO!
I suppose it's only fair to plug Crucible, the new online journal of the Evangelical Alliance, Australia:

Monday, 14 July 2008

Third Culture Ministry

Yesterday, our St David's morning church combined with the English-speaking congregation of a Korean church. Siloam Korean Presbyterian church normally uses the lecture halls of Australian Catholic University, just a block down the road from us. They've been booted out from there for a couple of weeks because the premises are being used for World Youth Day.
Yesterday, St David's ran the meeting, and I preached. The service went off - it was stacks of fun. Next Sunday, the Koreans will run the meeting, one of them will preach - and we get to sit back and enjoy.
After church, one of the St David's people said to me "you seemed to have a rapport with the Koreans in your preaching". I shrugged it off. I did get a positive vibe while I preached, and the sermon went down well - but I didn't feel any special connection.
It was only later on that I realised - of course - most of the Koreans are third culture kids. Just like me.
Third Culture Kids are those who are born to immigrants, or - like me - immigrate when young, and get significantly formed by their new nation. Unlike our parents, we don't identify exactly with our nation of origin. We're sometimes embarrassed by the more traditional elements of our home culture - especially if our parents become hyper-conservative, which often happens to first-generation immigrants. But we don't identify exactly with our host nation either. We're embarrassed by some more radical elements of Western culture, and, over against it, find comfort in some elements of our home culture.
So we're neither here nor there. Neither "ethnic" nor "Aussie". When we're in one group, people identify us as the other - Aussies think we're really ethnic, while our family and friends think we're really Western. We're actually neither - we're a third culture.
I wonder if SBM is really a third-culture subcontinental ministry? The core group is comprised exclusively of young people from an Indian or Sri Lankan background who have grown up here. At a recent leader's meeting, we briefly pondered the fact that we seem to be good at reach "Westernised Curries", but not so good at reaching international students. They're not third culture, they're still first culture - very Indian or Sri Lankan. SBM is also different to the group of older Indians and Sri Lankans to whom my parents minister at their church, St John's Parramatta. That group came to Australia as adults. They too are not third, but first culture - very Indian or Sri Lankan.
This doesn't make SBM illegitimate. Just different. Maybe we should add another S to the front - Second-generation Subcontinental Bible Ministry. Reaching international students, and older people from the subcontinent, may for us still be a cross-cultural ministry. Again, none of this make the ministry illegitimate. Just different.
We may have more in common with Siloam Korean Presbyterian church than we think...

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

SBM mission month - off to a strong start

July is SBM's mission month. We're running four evangelistic events - one a week.
Yesterday we kicked off with an evang dinner in the city. It was an unqualified success, for three reasons:
1. The gospel was proclaimed - several times - in different ways. There was a short, simple talk; then a testimony; then discussion at tables; then a question time. In all four contexts, we talked about Jesus & what he's done & why we need to respond to him - ie, the gospel. But because they were different contexts, it wasn't repetitive but rather interesting and mutually reinforcing. 2. Non-Christians were present. Even though a few piked out - including my invitee (*?/%#@*!!) - there were others there.
3. The atmosphere was relaxed & friendly. So our guests relaxed, and chatted openly and honestly. One guest said "it wasn't hardcore, just a bunch of friends having a casual discussion". Chatting over food was probably the key to this.
Now, let's pray that people follow through with their initial interest.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

So THAT'S why I'm a Presbyterian!

From a young age, I've enjoyed Alistair Maclean's novels. I remember fishing Where Eagle's Dare off my grandfather's bookcase, and being instantly entranced. It was a green hardback, without the paper cover; I suppose it must have been lost. I think I was ten years old. I've always enjoyed Maclean's colourful characters, dry wit, vivid writing, fantastic locations... he's got it all! Where Eagles Dare has remained my #1 favourite novel. #2 is Maclean's Ice Station Zebra. But I didn't have copies of them; they were lost, or given away, when we moved from Sri Lanka to Australia.
Last week, I was procrastinating in a second-hand bookshop (yeah, I know, I do that a lot...) and came across both Where Eagles Dare and Ice Station Zebra, for 20 cents each! Excellent! I gleefully carried my prizes home. I opened the cover of Ice Station Zebra to the very first page - not where the story starts, before that - where there's a little biography of the author. I read the first line - and my jaw hit the floor.
Alistair Maclean, the son of a Scots Minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands.

I was stunned! My mind reeled! So THAT'S why I've become a Presbyterian! I've been imbibing Presbyterianism through Alistair Maclean's books...!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Faith on film & grace exhibition

What's this? Hoyts is getting pious, alluva sudden!
Faith on Film Festival: July 12-27.
Grace: God & Humanity Photo Exhibition, July 7 - 27:

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Happy new financial year!

Hey - it's the new financial year - WOO-HOO!
Hey, I used to be an accountant - old habits die hard, orright...