Shalom.

It is a very popular Hebrew term, used as a “hello” and “goodbye” for the comings and goings in life.

Yet like most words, English cannot encompass what magnitude and depth this word contains. Following what the Strong’s Dictionary tells me, it means more than just the “peace” that people imply. Peace is a poor English word to describe what a huge expanse this word entails. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord (7965). Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.

When used in the Hebrew, it is the fullness that is comparable to a debt that is paid. That is, the debt is not partially paid, but fully–there is a sense of the completeness and the efficacy of the shalom being complete, and requiring no further action.

Keeping this in mind, I wonder when we read the words of Jesus, he often uses the greeting: “Peace be unto you,” a translation of shalom aleichem, what that would mean to us.

If it is, that Jesus is calling for our debts to be paid, and ourselves to be made whole through the freedom from the bondage of sin. What if shalom meant more than just peace, as we have understood it to mean, but Jesus continually inviting us to drink of the Living Water and eat of the Bread of Life? Applying this, are we seeking more than just peace, but are we looking for the debt of our sins to be paid fully.

Moreover, if we greet our brothers and sisters with the greeting–shalom–do we wish them completeness, wholeness…etc. ? Do we hope and pray for the utmost of graces and love to be lavished upon them, because Jesus certainly did for the people he encountered. To have the heart of Jesus is to know love other as you would treat them, and to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.

“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1v.7

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Joyce Meyer and False Confidence in Self

ImageFor starters, this post has been breaking my heart the past few weeks. For large amounts of time I had locked away a portion of my heart, convinced that people that listen to Joyce Meyer do not exist. The only people that listen to Joyce Meyer are ghosts and people

It confounds me that for all the advances of feminism and the empowerment of women in modern culture (which I’m all for), that we still have women that allow themselves to listen to this. I am honestly convinced that Joyce Meyer is an insult to the intelligence and theological brevity of all women in the world. She is evidence that we, as the human race, have not gone far enough in the elimination of inequality between sexes because people still listen to her mind-numbing ignorance.

I seriously believe that. The same goes for men, that we have sure a derelict of godliness and Berean spirit that we listen to Joseph Prince, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar e.t.c. It confounds me, that we as a human race, have catapulted technologically so far in the past century, but still follow these ritualistic, materialistic gods of wheat and rain. Never before in history have we had so much access to theological resources, but we seem to be in the greatest times bereft of seeking after God.

The Confidence in Self

Anyway, upon recommendation, I was listening to some Joyce Meyer the other day. The talk, I deign to describe it as a sermon, was on “Seven Secrets of a Confident Woman”.

I didn’t really understand the structure of the talk. The talk seems to be a lot of stories told in succession like a comedy routine. I guess it was entertaining, with chuckle or hint of laughter was merely another soul going to hell.

It was only thirty minutes in that the seven steps began. Of which, the first step toward becoming a confident woman was “knowing that God loves you”. She was very adamant on how important it was: Read more of this post

Individualism and the Prosperity Gospel

ImagePhotos of this nature are maddening.

This is, of course, excepting my presence in reading my facebook newsfeed, which is exceedingly more maddening. I am just a slave for slogans and the ilk.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s largely correct, as far as I can tell or what meaning I can infer from it: God is our healer through providential care and grace. We can put our faith on Him to bring us through this world, nothing can extend or shorten our allotted time on this earth. Admittedly, I’m not sure what “heart doctor” means exactly–perhaps they mean cardiologist. Moreover, when they refer to “energy booster”, I assume they aren’t referring to chugging down Red Bull energy drinks and mistaking angels for people with “wings”.

God is our portion, He fills our cup overflowing. But if that is all the post is about, it’s entirely incomplete–I would argue it’s blasphemously incomplete.

The problem of the post is not itself, but the underlying motivations of the post.

The intention behind the post is what is lacking as it is brazenly existential.

It assigns most of our hope on the current alleviation of suffering and none on the reward of faithfulness. Read more of this post

Dear Hipster Church,

So many thoughts I am likely not allowed to put on facebook. So, WordPress is in for a treat today! A early Christmas special as you would have it. ^__^

1. We Get It.

You love Jesus, we get it. You love others, we get it. However, it’s confusing when you treat Jesus and His words so flippantly.  It’s confusing when He’s merely “the man upstairs”, or “big bro in heaven”. I don’t really understand this Jesus you guys have placed your faith and hope, and ultimately laid down your life for. It’s confusing the obtuseness of your theology and lack of clarity in soteriology. Read more of this post

The Ripple Effect of Abortion

“Abortion seems to be the only medical procedure that people want to deny you based on how you got in that situation.

Drove drunk, got in an accident and need an organ transplant? No problem.

Messing around with a gun, accidentally shoot yourself in the leg and need surgery? Of course.

Smoke tobacco for most of your life and need treatment for lung cancer? Yep.

Climb a tree, fall out and break your leg? We’ll fix that right up.

Have sex and get pregnant when you don’t want to be? YOU GOT YOURSELF INTO THIS SITUATION AND YOU DESERVE NO MEDICAL HELP OR COMPASSION! THIS IS YOUR FAULT AND YOU WILL DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES!”

—– Worry About Your Own Uterus (via quoilecanard)

I don’t normally care a lot about people arguing about abortion. I feel there is a lot of baggage associated with the pro-life, pro-choice debate. In that, I don’t think a lot of pro-choice arguments are about whether a baby is being killed in abortion, but the whole issue is intrinsically tied with feminism. Therefore, it is difficult to engage the abortion debate when the two sides aren’t talking about the same thing.

Regardless, I stumbled across this little tib-bit on tumblr. There is obviously a great amount of hyperbole, and a bit of irrelevance. I don’t think that a hospital is really a good idea of what is morally right or wrong.

It also disturbs me that the writer has compared having a baby to: [having] lung cancer”, “breaking a leg”, or “[receiving an] organ transplant”. Moreover, that having sex is like “smoking tobacco”, “driving drunk”, or “falling out of trees”.


The Ripple Effect.

The core of my problem with this argument is that none of those examples given involve a life outside of the person’s own life. It’s not very much like you drove drunk and got into an accident because that is all about your own life’s preservation.

Abortion has a much greater far-reaching impact on not only yourself and whatever you’ve done to yourself, but your own unborn child. It has not been engaged with properly by the author, but some rather fantastic analogies have been given for an abortion.

The Reality.

The reality goes more like this:

It’s more like you were driving home from a dinner with your girlfriend. You had a few glasses of wine, but not that much that you thought it wasn’t safe to drive home. On the way home, you didn’t stop at a red light. It somehow slipped your mind as you were thinking about work the next day. The car door has been wrenched open, where you T-boned the car at the intersection.

You start mumbling in a drunken haze:

“WHYYY ARE YOU IN MY WAYYYY?!”.

You then begin to explain your conditions. You expect the person to pay for the repairs to your own car, and not to call the police or anything. Basically, you begin to demand to the body that they don’t interfere with your life and to pretend that nothing happened. After a while, when the body doesn’t respond you realize that the person you crashed into is actually dead and you’re actually just talking to a bloodied corpse.

Maybe the corpse is on fire and the clothes have burnt off leaving a naked body. You shake the limp body and ask for compensation for your own mistake and lack of foresight.

After a while, you become sober, and you walk home. The police never come knocking at your door. The whole car disappears overnight, the midnight bells have caused the carriage to revert to its former state. The shards of broken windshield scattered on the road the night before is no more when you drive to work the next day. It’s almost like it was a dream.

It is blatantly obvious if you drive drunk, you have an increased chance of crashing into someone and causing loss of life. If you have sex with someone without a condom, you have an increased (well, almost 100% greater) chance of having a baby.

There is a risk taken. Abortion immediately assumes that there is a positive and negative side to this coin flip. It has this idea that life is always great or unimportant according to someone who doesn’t know anything about the person they just crashed into.

The Solution.

Christians fail in this department. More often than not, they are too willing to condemn babies born outside of wedlock because it makes them feel good about a sin they are not guilty of. More often than not, there needs to be a sense of humility and service to people that are unlike us.

On the reverse, the condemnation they dish out, they create an environment that distances rather than draws sinners close. Admittedly, I am one of those who would be more likely to be standing outside abortion clinics, but you would never see me supporting the single mothers. You never see me play an important part of raising these babies not judged as interference to life. It’s so much easier to wave signs and say sermons to people for a short time, rather than invest a lifetime into seeing someone grow to value life and what a gift that God has given.

Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Don’t miss the babies for the political stance.

The Church needs to be that vehicle the gives the help and the compassion.

Christians Voting In Government Elections

Recently, I voted in the New Zealand elections.

…reluctantly, I might add. My parents had to drag me to the voting booth, kicking and screaming. I don’t even think I filled out the form correctly. I only read later that you were strictly supposed to tick the box, not colour it in–I will never know if my vote was valid or not. The whole idea seems ridiculous to me, that my vote could be opposed by someone else who had no idea and choose the funniest name. Read more of this post

To Be Christian Is To Love Your Enemies

The Apostle John argues in his letter to Christians, that to love is the mark of a Christian.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1John 4v.7

In other words, essentially, the Spirit of God is a Spirit of love. The knowledge of God that is given to us when we are saved is essentially a knowledge of a loving God. All else would be in vain if we did not have the knowledge of the provision for sin through the love of a Saviour in us. Matthew Henry says that it is “love [that] oils the wheels of his affections”–and surely this is a sign of being born again: being compelled to love.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” 1John 4v.8

John then proceeds to explain what the application of this love is: in the image of Jesus. Jesus was God’s only Son, the manifestation of everything–there was no other son that God had left. What Jesus accomplished on this earth was that we would live through Him. What is love, if we do not continually relate it to Jesus? What life is there of the Christian, if we are not continually comparing ourselves against what standard Jesus set for us?

Too often, I think it is too simple to compare ourselves to other people and see how ‘good’ we are compared to them. I can look at the Pat Robertsons and Rick Warrens of this world and think I am better than them, superior in the faith perhaps, and that could be no further from the truth. I am continually needing grace when I see myself and how Jesus needed to die on the cross for all of my sin.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4v.9-11 (English Standard Version)

In another reiteration from John to emphasize and expand his point, he describes specifically the work accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus. What John is describing is not a menial love, that cannot stretch far–but a love that goes till the death. That if we were to love with the love of God which has filled us, it should be a lot that sacrifices itself totally for one another.

The description that John gives a complexity beyond just loving those who deserve love, but those who do not deserve our love. The same applies to grace, that we not only are lavished with this unmerited favour, but we are so fallen beyond deserving or even seen as neutral before God. I like to think of it as a negative bank account balance, no bank would dare give us a loan. The reality is this: that we can only love, when we realise that we are loved undeservingly. We can only love if the love of God inhabits within us.

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I was in church the other day, and there was a man who was struggling with addictions. He described how it would go in cycles, he would stop for a time and then when he thought he was victorious, it would come back with a vengeance. There was a certain doubt and defeatism that had entered this man’s heart, that he couldn’t believe in himself to fight this any longer. In an open conversation, my pastor gave two points:

1. The Holy Spirit in our hearts is the only thing that can truly change us. Him, entering our hearts will undoubtedly change us and conform us into what God would want us to be like. Freedom from alcoholism, freedom from drug abuse, and even greater–from sin and the eternal bondage to these depraved things.

2. I can guarantee you that everyone in this church would die for you. We all believe in the Holy Spirit’s power, and His love toward us–I think I am safe in saying that everyone here loves you so much that they would do anything for you.

It’s a monumental statement from my pastor to proclaim that anyone would die for him. He certainly knew his own worthlessness better than anyone else in the church, therefore, better than anyone else in the church should he know of what a love there is in the Church. Where there is a worthless feeling, surely this should be matched with love–that there is a value assigned to us in Christ. To be afraid of love, is to be afraid of God and who He essentially is. I am certainly reminded of what Saint Francis of Assisi said many years ago:

“Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.”


I truly believe that to love others truly it demands everything of us, and this in turn, is a monumental task. I daily realise how far short I fail in this standard and where I don’t have enough faith, I doubt. What does love demand of you, and what ? Is your life different from before you knew Christ, are you loving more?