Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sing for joy

Psalm 126 is an incredible song of joy. 

Psalm 126 is written to celebrate freedom of the Israelites from captivity.  In providing for the people to return to their land the “Lord restored the fortunes” [verse 1] of the people.  Harps, cymbals and drums that had laid at rest during the captivity could again be sounded.  The people’s tongues could be loosened.   The people carolled in joyous praise [verse 2].  The change of state was surprising and delightful for the people who “were like those who dreamed” [verse 1].   That is, the change of the people’s situation absorbed all of their senses – everything seemed special and exciting to them.  The people were free.

The chorus the people sung is identified in verse 3:

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
It is a chorus that Simeon later sung, in a different form, when his prayers were answered in the birth of Christ.  For Simeon recognised that the season of awaiting God’s salvation was done: “you may now dismiss your servant in peace.” Luke 2:29 NIV.

Let us be joyous daily of the great things God has done.  The freedom the Israelites gained on release from bondage was a precursor to the freedom that would come through Christ.  The freedom of the Israelites raised songs of joy.  Our freedom, and knowledge of all the great things God has done for us in Christ, should raise songs of joy.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A responsive pastor

John 3:14 reads: "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up". NIV.

This sign proposes a different reading:

The sign seems odd. 

John 3 contains the conversation that Jesus has with Nicodemus.  Contextually, the conversation is about why Jesus is present in that age and how Nicodemus should respond. The conversation is not about Jesus returning.

On identifying the pastor's contact details the following fruitful email exchange ensued (editted):


Dear Pastor XXXX,
I had the pleasure of being in the XXX area today. In passing the XXXXX church I observed the signboard. The signboard had a message that was purported to be from John 3:14.
I immediately found the verse to be at odds with my Bible (NIV). Jesus is in discussion with Nicodemus. In the discussion there is a focus on why Jesus is present at that time, and on the respose that Nicodemus should have. Contextually, the verses do not relate to the second coming as the signboard would suggest.
For my education could you please advise whether XXXXXs use a version of John that differs from versions customarily used in Protestant churches in Sydney?
Greetings XXXX,
Let me apologise regarding the message on the board. The message is an error and should read John 14:3. I have attempted to have it corrected immediately.
It is our belief that John 14:3 is speaking of the second coming of Jesus.
XXXXXXX use the same versions of the Bible that are found within mainstream protestant churches today. I enjoy the NKJV as my personal favourite.