Having the wrong partner in your relationship is not something to be taken lightly. It can break your heart, and worse, it can ruin your life, future, and even the people who rely on you. I’ve coached couples professionals for almost twenty years and love helping singles, dating or courting couples. In this post, you will learn some of the “divine clues” that can guide women in identifying the right man for them. Hope you will enjoy it!

1. He doesn’t Corrupt Your Character

Remember God said to Adam “cultivate Eve” not to corrupt your wife. When those closest to you start saying things like “you changed” or “you’re not the same.” These a signs that the man you’re with is a bad influence over your life. 

“Divine Clues” He’s the One! Click To Tweet

2. He Makes Sacrifices

If you keep sacrificing your “last Rolo” this is a sign that he doesn’t love you. If a man truly loves you, he will also make sacrifices for you. It may not be a divine sacrifice like what God did, but it can be sacrificing his own ambition, material possessions, his last Rolo and other important stuff. King Solomon was willing to forsake his throne for Mrs Solmon. I call this the law of pursuit… Don’t miss this one!  

3. He Preachers What He Practices 

Even though he speaks the words of God, if he doesn’t practice them, you can conclude that he’s only a great pretender and not really the guy sent to you by Heaven. Words are futile without actions, correct? So if he says you are the most important thing in his life but does not subscribe to that in-action he does not love you! If you are an option, you have your divine sign. 

4. He Doesn’t Isolate You

 When he shuts you off from anyone outside of the partnership, it means he is obsessed with controlling you.  An abusive partner uses isolation tactics, to isolate you from your support networks. Such as your mother, siblings, friends, Church. Hear this very carefully; isolation is an early sign of abuse. Not only do you have a right to “certain” relationships and friendships, but to your individuality.  

 

Dating Readiness - What Nobody's Told You!

Dating Readiness – What Nobody’s Told You!

5. He Does Not Criticise You 

Habitual criticism can corrode the very foundation of your relationship and that’s not an overstatement! Criticism is so critical, it is one of the top predictors of divorce and spells disaster for the non-married. That said, no one expects one to just roll over and accept all of your partner’s less-than-desirable qualities. Inevitably, you’re going to have complaints. But how you choose to communicate these grievances to your partner is what matters. I teach communication extensively in my in coaching. If he uses hurtful words and insensitive and mindless actions during moments of conflict, disagreements, you have a “red flag” you just cannot ignore! 

Check out plenty more resources on relationships:   1. Four Steps out Of Your Marriage Crisis

 

 

 

Throughout history, during some of the most vicious wars, a “ceasefire” was observed on this day, Christmas? One such example was one of the history most powerful yet forgotten Christmas stories. Nearing the Christmas of 1914, in the fifth month of World War I, which had claimed hundreds of thousands of killed, wounded, and missing, but sometimes the greatest beauty emerges from deep tragedy. The Christmas Truce was one of histories most beautiful moments, made all the more beautiful in light of the carnage that followed it.

The Christmas Truce

It began on Christmas Eve, when many German and British troops fighting in World War I sang Christmas carols to each other across the bloody line of death. It is said that when the German soldiers lit and placed candles on their trenches and on small Christmas trees, the British, French, Belgian, and German troops continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols to each other, and at certain points, the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing. Extraordinary, but not as extraordinary as what followed next. 

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenched and approached the Allied lines across “no-man’s-land”, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a soccer game. 

They were naively hoping that the war would be short-lived; the truce lasted through Christmas night, continuing until New Year’s Day. Until angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead. This reminds me of Charles Yale Harrison who authored an anti-war novella from first-hand experience as a young soldier who fought in World War I. In his book, Generals Die in Bed, Harrison helps us realise that war is a game of strategy fought between generals, and soldiers are the ones who suffer. 

The Christmas Spirit of Peace

Man has argued about the ethics of war for generations. For instance, the “Just War Theory” is a tradition going back to St. Augustine in the 5th Century and St. Thomas in the 13th Century. In stark contrast to the Old Testament, the New Testament –the Christian ideal is total elimination of war and brotherly love among all people. The Christmas spirit hinges on this spirit, the spirit of peace and not war that prevailed over those soldiers of World War I.  

To quote British soldier, Murdoch M. Wood, speaking in 1930: “I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired.”

During World War One, the soldiers didn’t expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but not even a world war could destroy the Christmas spirit.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Here’s the irony, it seems as if the debate today is not about salvation but vaccination. One side of the Church says we must always obey the government, and the other side says we must obey God. But don’t you find it ironic that the Church hasn’t approached the issue of salvation and holiness with the same enthusiasm and zeal that it does about the vaccination and masks?

Would Jesus Get The Jab

Maybe you don’t see the irony, but I do. I often wonder what society would have been like if the Church treated the matter of salvation and holiness with the same enthusiasm and zeal as he vaccine and masks mandate? Heres’ why I believe Jesus or the Apostle Paul would have most likely taken the jab or worn the mask. No, it was not because of travel restrictions But for the same reason, Paul advised young Timothy to administer medication for his sickness (1 Tim 5:2) and for the same reason Jesus endorsed medical doctors (Matt 9:12).  So was Timothy perhaps trying to act super spiritual? If you’re Christian –thou shalt not take painkillers! Surely as a cultural norm, Tim understood the wine’s medicinal properties? So why did he need Paul to nurse him? I’m pointing out that God is not against doctors or medication, and therefore anyone who argues the contrary is unscriptural.  

A Church Caught In Civilian Affairs   

I’m intentional about not sounding conspiratorial, “vac is the mark of the beast” it may very well be the stage, but this is not the point of this blog.  The point of this blog is to illustrate the effects on society we would have had if we as the Church had focused our passionate feelings about vaccines and masks toward the unsaved,  including those who are not growing in their Christ-likeness within the ranks and respecting each other (2Tim 2:4), especially spiritual leaders. Imagine how different things have been? 

Stop Barking

Instead, one side barks off Romans 13:1–2, and I would need to quote it as stated in the Bible because I believe it is misused. For instance, Romans 13:1–2 says, 

 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” By doing so we are free from the fear of punishment (13:3–4), our consciences are clear (13:5), and workers [i.e., government officials] are worthy of their wages (13:6; cf. 1 Tim 5:18).

Sure enough, all this is true, and we should obey these commands but make sure that if you are on this side of the argument, make sure that you are also keeping the speed limit. Ensure that you are coming to a complete stop at a stop sign and indicating when changing a lane. Don’t also forget to declare the income from your garage sale and to love your wife or respect your husband. 

The first part of the problem is when people stress one part of the scriptures but neglect the rest at the cost of hurting the relationship and disparaging the wisdom of God. (Insane!) 

The second part of the problem is when one finds themselves on the other side of the argument. “We should obey God and not Nero!” Loosely quoting verses such as Acts 4:19–20. When the ruling Jewish authorities demanded that they stop preaching Jesus, Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  This side also quotes Acts 5:29. “We must obey God rather than human beings!” and argues that biblically mandated worship is impossible with masks. Or we cannot worship and obey God if we can’t meet in a building! Others even go to such an extreme by saying,  all those that are vaccinated are deceived and therefore not true believers. (What!?)    

But think about this… Do you obey God ALL the time? If you speak about people who are not present, you are a gossiper, which means you don’t obey God all the time.  Do you give generously to your Church (2 Cor 8:7) since workers are deserving of their wages? Do you detest what is evil and cling to what is good (Rom 12:9)?  So why do so many Christians speak in absolutes when so many brothers and sisters hold the opposite position?

It’s Despicable

Here is a deep concern happening right now in the Church. I don’t know how much longer pastors will stand for the hypocrisy and graceless behaviour among their flocks? The issues of the vaccine and masks mandates are tearing churches apart. Pastors are doing their best to serve God and His people as they are led –in the building or outside of a building. Yet, people are leaving their local churches, walking away from decades of God forged and extended fellowship and friendship. Giving members stop giving, serving leadership stopped serving, and pastors are walking away from the ministry in unprecedented numbers. Where is the Grace? (I think it’s despicable!)

God Outweighs Nero

I think the basic principle is clear: obey your governing rulers, even if that ruler is Nero, as in Paul’s day. But when the government tells you to do something that is contrary to God’s laws, then we cannot obey the government. (I know that I wouldn’t!) God outweighs Nero. But are vaccine mandates or mask mandates contrary to God’s laws — I’m still looking for that verse — or are they a violation of my personal freedom? (Maybe you can help me better understand?)

If you read Romans 14, and if you permit me the freedom to change the text a little, you’ll see what I am getting at.  The words in italics are mine (Shan), not Paul’s. The difficulty of this passage is determining which theological position is “weak” and which is “strong,” so I will paraphrase the passage two different ways.

Paul starts with his general principle. 

“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. “

And then he continues:

“One person’s faith requires them to get the jab or wear masks, but another, whose faith is weak, does not get the jab or wear masks. The one who gets the jab or wears a mask must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not get the jab or wear a mask must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.” (Get it?)

Now to switch the weak and strong:

“One person’s faith requires them not to get the jab or wear masks, but another, whose faith is weak, gets the jab or wears masks (I’m not suggesting if one medicates or wears an N95, one is weak in faith). The one who does not get the jab or wear a mask must not treat with contempt the one who does get the jab or wear a mask, and the one who does not get the jab or wear a mask must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.” (Get it?)

This principle suggests that love triumphs over knowledge and Christian liberty, as also suggested in 1 Cor 8:12.  (Get this right and even the devil may change his mind about us.)

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

Before you start guessing what I believe about the vaccine or masks, be assured that you probably don’t! So please don’t shoot the messenger. Please don’t send me resignation letters or bombard my inbox with conspiracies. 

But one thing that I know for sure, I am convinced that the Covid-19 pandemic has given Christians the greatest platform we have had in years –to show our neighbours that we are different and that our hope is not in this world, (vaccines or masks) but in Christ Jesus. 

And I am convinced that when we split or leave our Churches, ditch God’s kingdom responsibilities we have failed. 

 

The power of the Resurrection has both doxological and contextually relevant implications.  We looked firstly at the Cross, and said, the Cross is not only,

  1.  The demarcation of Christianity – The Cross distinguishes Christianity, by a historically and empirically verified Resurrection.
  2. The security to character enhancement – there is no other power to transform a depraved human heart.
  3. The separation from religion into a relationship -religion is what we do for God. Relationship is what we do for God, with God!
  4. The disconnection from the world – the Cross is our alignment to Christ and His Way of doing things (See Galatians 6:14).
  5. The reference point in life – even though it is a historical reality, the Cross holds contemporary relevance.
  6. And finally, the Cross is our ongoing identification – By carry my Cross daily, I give the accuser of the brethren sufficient evidence to find me guilty for loving God (See first Corinthians 15:31.)

So, to circumvent the decline that we see in Christianity, mainly in western countries. We must prayerfully seek to understand what the causes are for the decline. As I’ve mentioned, one of the most significant assaults on Christianity today is a Crossless Gospel, or a Bloodless Gospel. The Cross is the Power of God! Paul said, 1 Corinthians 2, and verses 2, and 5; For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. And again verse five says, That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Still, the cradle and the Cross are of little value without the Resurrection. But the cradle plus the Cross, plus the Resurrection, equals salvation. So in today’s message, I want to talk to you about another Powerful aspect of the Cross of Jesus Christ –The Power of the Resurrection!

Think about it, without a resurrection, Christianity would be stillborn. You need a living Saviour to have a living faith. If Jesus did not Raise from the dead, then our faith is vasectomised (or sterilise), meaning that it has no power to bring about the New life! 

But in the scriptures, Jesus says something that no other claimant of deistic status ever claimed;  John 11 and verse 25 says, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the Resurrection and the life…

Eternal Life is Synonymous with Resurrection Life

Notice how eternal life is related to resurrection life? If Jesus did not Raise from the dead, then our faith is vasectomised. It has no power to give life! Romans 6 and verse 4 says, “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. As we reflect on Church History, the Apostles’ Creed, also known as the Nicene Creed, it concludes with this declaration: “…I believe in the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” This is based in 1 Corinthians 15.

Resurrection is the Womb of the New Birth! Click To Tweet

Resurrection is the Womb of the New Birth! This is not only a doctrinal reality; this is an empirical reality. People who believe that Jesus died and the third day rose had their lives change! So we don’t believe in a lifeless and powerless religion. But our faith is in the Way of life that truly saves, delivers, sets man free from the slavery of sin and its consequences! Glory to God!

But what does this mean from a doxologically and a Contextually sensitive perspective? Firstly, other religions or world views could compete with Christianity and say something like: “Your founder gave you a holy book? Our founder gave us a holy book. Your founder has a large following? Our founder  has a large following.  Your founder teaches you how to be morally good. Our founder teaches us how to be morally good.

But only a Christian can say, “All of that may be true, but our Founder rose from the dead!” Religion is an attempt to find merit with God. In Christianity, God places Christ’s merit on us! Secondly, the Resurrection secures three reality: that makes Jesus and Christianity worth following:

One: The Resurrection substantiates the uniqueness of Jesus and Christianity.

Two: The Resurrection authenticates the validation of Jesus and Christianity.

Thee: The Resurrection affirms the victory of Jesus and Christianity.

 

Watch this message now on YouTube: Resurrection Realities 

I hope you enjoyed reading or listening to this blog.

Please remember to subscribe to my blogs and get thought-provoking inspiration right into your inbox! Also, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Shan Thumbran, and get a notification each time I am live!

God Bless you!

Hungry for meaningful community and authentic relationships, people involved in this spontaneous movement worldwide are learning the Kingdom’s values firsthand, through smaller church meetings.   

Barna says (Barna, 2009), when the focus shifts from geography and independence to the individual’s faith experience or spiritual expression with much less structure and formalities, “people are especially likely to recall such participation.” This may be primarily so because people can take part in some form or the other, instead of feeling like a bystander.  

Although these new expressions of church are just dotting the landscape, they already cover the landscapes of other nations around the world. Places like China, Central Asia, Latin America, India and Iran have experienced tremendous growth through small, simple churches that disciple and empower participants to be “the Church.”

 

When the church becomes a way of life, not a way in life: Discipleship and growth occur naturally, as everyone develops their gifts and learns by doing under the mentoring of spiritual fathers and mothers Click To Tweet

A Way of Life

When the church becomes a way of life, not away in life: Discipleship and growth occur naturally, as everyone develops their gifts and learns by doing under the mentoring of spiritual fathers and mothers ( Gal 4:19).

The Future of Church

The gathered church will never stop and while this may be true, but the church that loves her model more than the mission will. There is no doubt that today, the online church has become a back door for Christians who are done with attending church. However, the online church can never replace the gathered church. 

Cary Nieuwhoff, says, but, for those who are not done with the gathered church … they still need community.  Yet within a few years, a new role for online church and ministry will emerge as the dust settles. With the new front door, the online church, has much greater potential to reach the curious, unconvinced, and those who want to know what Christianity is all about. 

But is our congregation and leadership ready for the catch? 

Today there is almost no one who visits a hotel or restaurant without first checking it out online? A church’s online presence will [is], be, the first home for people, which for many, will lead to a personal connection with Christ and ultimately the gathered church. It is wise, therefore, for a pastor to invest in an online presence and for his congregation to support their church’s efforts to embrace change.   

Smaller is Smarter

The Covid-19 pandemic sent all the statisticians back to the drawing board. Until 2019, the future of Megachurches seemed bright and leaders felt unstoppable. After a global standstill, many leaders are re looking at the effectiveness of their church model. 

The future church will become larger, as Niewhoff says it,  “not because they necessarily gather thousands in one space, but because they gather thousands through dozens of smaller gatherings under some form of shared leadership.” Also, millennials and Gen Z’s seek tighter connections so the church’s future might also be in coffee shops or even home venues under a simple structure.   Still, some religious historians believe that house churches represent the next wave of evangelical worship, after the boom in mega-churches that occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. The trend was recently captured, in an article in Time magazine, which describes how “evangelicals are abandoning mega churches for mini churches, based in their own living rooms.”  

Personally, I feel we cannot talk about the church without reflecting on church history. When we consider the large empty church buildings (Cathedrals) all over Europe, the question remains, will the church love Jesus’ mission more than her model?

I believe the church will love the former more! 

George Barna found that 5 per cent of all believers in America are currently involved in house churches-and the trend is booming. (See my blog,  The Miracle of House Church). 

Although there are thousands upon thousands of healthy, vibrant churches throughout the world, new expressions of church are continually needed to accommodate believers who do not fit into the current church structures. Just as wine can be contained in both bottles and glasses, so God’s Church necessitates many sizes and shapes of containers. Jesus referred to this problem of “wineskins” in His day. 

He taught that new wine needs new wineskins because old, brittle wineskins will burst with the fermentation of new wine (Luke 5:37).

 

Thank you for reading! Please remember to subscribe to my blogs and get thought-provoking inspiration right into your inbox! Also subscribe to my YouTube channel, Shan Thumbran, and get a notification each time I go  live!

 

God Bless you!

 

To clarify, it is not a particular model of Church that matters, as it is to witness what the Spirit of God does in people’s lives when they discover the New Testament principles of being and doing Church in small communities. 

The Church is the Hope of the World 

Think about it, over three billion people on our planet have never heard the name of Jesus, even once.  Add to this the many complexities of the post-Covid world, which presents people with various social and spiritual challenges; joblessness, loneliness, mental stress and fatigue,  spiritual corrosion, lukewarmness and the disconnection from godly influences, to name a few.    

I believe the Church is the hope of the world. Therefore, contextual sensitivity is critical for her relevance, which means that she must always discover new ways to be outward-focused! The Church has been commissioned to respond with Jesus’ compassion and the good news of the Cross to both the physical and spiritual challenges the world faces. 

Indeed, she is not perfect (well, at least not yet); sure, she does not have all the answers, and because of her diversity, we all understand that a “one size fits all” approach does not work with her. Nonetheless, I am excited about the House church movement, not excluding any other part of the Body of Christ. So, if you are looking for a blog that strikes and criticizes the institutional Church or denominations or mega-churches, this is the wrong blog for you.

Rather, I am excited about how God’s Spirit moves through House churches to touch people, especially those who would not otherwise attend the institutionalized Church.  Most of the people who have never heard the good news about Jesus live in countries, that are closed to traditional expressions of Sunday oriented, building-driven churches. What is happening around the world right now through house-church movements is spectacular. 

In communist China alone, one million people are being saved each month. Tens of millions of people are coming to Christ in Middle Eastern Islamic countries through hundreds of thousands of small, simple churches worldwide. 

 

Home churches produce greater ownership, accountability, spontaneity, involvement, responsibility, growth among attendees and the best part; it is not at the mercy of any secular States lockdown restrictions. Click To Tweet

A Post Covid Reality 

If we are to reach the unchurched in their masses, the unsaved whom we are ACTUALLY called to touch with the love of God, I believe it will not be through program-driven, professional-clear models of the Western Church Model. Individualism is a dying breed.  Individualism is a dying bread. Our recent pandemic has revealed this, our most innate need for community. 

In the light of the post-Covid world, the increasing hostility against Christianity there is probably no more significant factor in the growth of the Church worldwide. Then the recently rediscovered power of small, simple, easily reproducible house churches –the principles that make small, simple churches work well are not only fueling worldwide church growth but are also helping people grow spiritually. 

Home churches produce greater ownership, accountability, spontaneity, involvement, responsibility, growth among attendees and the best part; it is not at the mercy of any secular States lockdown restrictions. 

To reach every nation and every person with the Gospel is a BIG DREAM! God is just that, a BIG GOD! We, too, should dream big dreams while we build small. Like God who has a big dream for the Church-but, He builds His Church one life, one family and one small church community at a time. Then this is how we must begin!

Finally, Fostering a Culture of Micro Groups

This is essential for the future health of the Church.  Its effectiveness measures the maturity of the leadership and effectiveness of the movement. Healthy micro-groups have a lasting impact, providing it is the central mission of your Church’s leadership.    

Remember, the principles that form the engine in the house-church model are not the model itself but the Spirits working in us in a smaller community. The beauty here is that these principles are not complicated, and figuring them out doesn’t require a seminary education or very talented individuals.  The New Testament principles are woven throughout the story of the Church in the book of Acts, and they continue today to permeate the house-church movement worldwide.

With this in mind, please read my other blogs (The Future of the Church) with the hope that they will guide and inspire you to see what God does when you open your home, your office or your classroom to a few other people. 

You may also email us if you wish to join the movement by starting or attend a house church!

Thank you for reading! Please remember to subscribe to my blogs and get thought-provoking inspiration right into your inbox! Also, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Shan Thumbran, and get a notification each time I am live!

God Bless you!

Prompted with reflections, celebration and concerns in the light of Christianity’s celebrated growth as cited in the Cape Commitment (CTC), more specifically in sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions; the supernatural power of God’s love is evident. Still, it is essential to analyse Christianity’s steady decline in Europe and the Americas. Begging the question, why is Christianity losing its drawing power? How does God require one to respond? Smacked hard on one cheek by the firm first of the ever-growing challenges of religious pluralism and trodden down under the feet of relativism ––claiming that all truth is equal and there is no such thing as truth, respectively. I am asking how one as a leader can prepare the Church to circumvent these challenges? How urgent is the need for the Church to think “missionally” not merely denominationally? 

 

Victory in the South, Compromise in the North

 

As one (I) reflects upon its humble beginnings two millennia ago, in the region of Palestine with only a handful of convicted followers, Christianity’s growth is not short of a supernatural phenomenon. Two millennials later, it has spread so vast, in comparison, no single continent or nation can claim indisputably it is Christianity’s global centre. In contrast, Islam a religion projected to outgrow Christianity’s long reign mainly because of its fertility (natural birth) strategy. Christianity, by contrast, owes its growth through the supernatural –the New Birth through Jesus Christ (John 3:7). Christianity’s distinctive touch!

 

Still, following its expansion southeast of the globe, namely the African and Eastern regions as stated in the Cape Town Commitment (CTC, Wright, 2011, n.p), growth calls for celebration. Yet, considerable concern (to me) regarding the decline of Christianity, mainly in the north-western nations, is a disconcerting reality and worthy of urgent recognition in light of the Church’s Mission (Matt 28). According to Pew Research Centre, Christianity’s made up for 32% of the world’s population, compared to 35% a century ago (Pew Research Centre, on Religion & Public life in 2011). This is a challenging reality! Furthermore, if one appeals to the determination of the remarkable Lausanne Covenant (1974); (needly to mention, a remarkably comprehensive evangelical strategy,) written by one of its chief architects, John Stott (1921), with a scope too magnanimous to mention in this post, except for its commendable impulse and provoking call to the Church (me included) to work towards Christian unity and to make Jesus known to the world. Moreover, from Lausanne Covenant, the Cape Town Commitment (2011) pollinates. However, one (I) beg the question, why is Christianity losing “gained ground?”

 

The aim of this post is not argumentative but expository –highlighting the compromise in the North and identifying the most significant threat against the Christian worldview. Nevertheless, what is God’s remedy? Honestly, the answer fail me. Still, the colossal Mission and the words that keep echoing in the chamber of my heart “bring the revival back to Europe,” should be (I believe the LORD, says) interpreted in the urgent need to engage these nations in “robust apologetics” –one of the most vital missional agendas.

 

Tolerance the New Religion

 

The CTC is cited as “one of the most important Christian documents of our day” and justified reason. Subsequentially, like a beautiful tapestry, we (I’m) presented with a hassle to emphasise one single mandate over another. The nature of sound theology helps one define sound theology as the ability to speak the eternal “truth” into the temporal “situation” or culture. Certain theologians argue that theology must be reflective (orthopathos) –feeling the love between us, our neighbour and creation, but it must also be engaging (orthopraxi) –referring to the right action within our cultural

situation. “Spiritual Mapping” further guides us (me) to diagnose the spiritual typology, helping us (me) identify the cause for the hostility and regress in nations and regions.

 

Inadvertently one of the most provoking statements in the CTC entails bearing witness to the “Truth of Christ in a postmodern culture.” Perhaps one strategic way to regain lost ground and maintain new territory requires the Church (me) to seriously relook the sentiment of R.C. Sproul, who said, “Empty heads do not nourish burning hearts” (Prov 19:2). I am troubled by the reality of a Church in love with a God they do not really know, let alone able to defend in an apologetic sense. It is disconcerting, for instance, to accept that the focus in evangelical tradition is on mainly proclamation and not an explanation of the Gospel. Dr Francis Schaeffer helps us (me) understand the value of explanation by referring to apologetics as “pre-evangelism”, not evangelism. The former is necessary to engage a culture that does not believe in the Bible at all.

 

  If our postmodern, post-logic, and post-truth culture is the greatest threat to true liberty, justice and freedom, values cherished by the Christian worldview, then should the Church (me as a leader) not be equipping the saints and training its troops for Acts 17 styled evangelism?

 

Pluralism Faces Christ

 

Once again, one of the cardinal truths that need “defending” are outlined in the CTC statement that says, “Bearing witness to the truth of Christ in a pluralistic, globalised world.” It is profoundly encouraging (to me) that Christ’ exclusive truth claims are not unique. No single religion or worldview posits inclusivity. Therefore, defaming Christians as religious bigots or as narrow-minded is both discriminatory and logically self-defeating. In this aspect of truth, one (I) sense the LORD’s leading to defend the truth claims of Christ (John 8:38).

 

Christologically, the LORD’s uniqueness in Personage, Nature and Mission, concerning human beings and creation is a glorious truth and the very thrust of the Gospel, I am determined to “proclaim”.

 

Lastly, the “must live Truth” statement in the CTC document also inspires one (me) to think in an orthopraxi manner –Truth should not only be studied, but the truth should also be incarnate (God help me). The Biblical prescription by which the light can shine through the blindness in the minds of the lost and seeking, that they may see Jesus Christ as the image of the invisible God ( 2Cor 4:4).

  

Conclusion 

 

If sound theology is the ability to speak the eternal “truth” into the temporal “situation” or culture. The challenge I perceive is how theological reverent is our message in a Postmodern world that is hostile to the Biblical agenda? In the new spiritual landscape of our postmodern, post-truth, post-logic world, I sense the overwhelming burden to equip myself and the Church to think “apologetically.”

Sorry, but God is not a magician

We make decisions to believe things based on information that cannot always be proven to the degree someone who disagrees with us, would change their mind.

Still, much like the Jews who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus, modern man, expects a mythological manifestation from God to show Himself to them performing tricks to satisfy their doubts. Sorry, but God is not a magician, and life is not a show.  

 Others (Christians not excluded) believe in God without even considering evidence of His existence; I don’t validate this, not one bit! In the end, no one can absolutely prove to me God does not exist, and I cannot absolutely prove to the unbelieving sceptic that He does. 

Eventually, faith will have to enter the picture. 

Modern man expects a mythological manifestation from God to show Himself to them performing tricks to satisfy their doubts. Sorry, but God is not a magician, and life is not a show. Click To Tweet

No, no, no!

Wait a moment before burning tires at me, “I’m a realist, ‘belief’ defies logic; therefore, religion makes no sense!” 

 

Hear me out before spinning off!  

Contrary to many modernists, who happily reject “the assertion that there is a God or gods (Atheism)”.  Affirm,  belief in something! Well, belief in precisely nothing, actually too specific but still a belief system nevertheless. To beg the question, how willing are they to at least consider opposing views? What’s fascinating, almost everyone has an opinion to offer about the Bible, yet so few have read it.

 

Why? 

I become a Christian at the age of thirteen after accepting Christ Jesus Lord and Saviour. Even as a child, I  believed there was a Creator of the universe. Later I understood better, about a God who intelligently designed both the seen and invisible and placed it in motion and that Jesus, is the Son of God, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 

Thirty-five years later, I still believe salvation is only in Christ Jesus and only by trusting in Him. No one is good enough to earn eternal life. No amount of good works can pay for the right to live with God in heaven for eternity. You cannot go to church enough, pray enough, fast enough or tithe enough to earn points as if with our deeds we can appease God’s justice.  

The only way to God is through Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, who freely gave Himself as a propitiation for the sins of humanity. He willingly submitted to a violent mob that demanded His crucifixion under first-century Roman law. He was willingly nailed to a Roman cross for you and me, paying the price for our sins, which separated us from God. 

Trusting in Jesus’ choice to die for us is the only way, by faith, to not die the second death and eternal separation from God. 

 

Is trusting enough? 

I presume the Bible is a historically accurate document containing a true and reliable account of Jesus’ life. 

I agree that just because Jesus made claims about Himself and just because I believe those claims, it does not make those claims true. (Remember, they had not the faintest idea the earth was not flat?)

I believe there are excellent reasons to believe in the Bible. Claims, such as the historicity, literary, scientific, relevance and personal transformation—topics all for discussion at this time.

Some may ask, “But did you investigate all religions before you chose Christianity, and how can you know Christianity is the true religion? What if the truth is found in a religion you haven’t investigated?” 

Of course, the same question could be asked of the Atheist, have you investigated every thought regarding the existence of God? 

The problem with this type of reasoning is that it leads to a never-ending what-if hypothetical pattern of an intellectual investigative tennis match.  

What if you left for work today and got hit by a truck? What if the person you married really isn’t your soul mate? 

What if you decided to move to another country? 

What if you don’t vote for the ANC? 

The what-if syndrome can stagnate virtually any decision. Eventually, a decision must be made based on something.

Right? 

The best evidence

Hopefully, after you have “tested” the Bible, oh and I do recommend that you begin investigating the most bizarre claim of all, the Resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps you, too, will understand that my faith as a Christian is based on a belief founded upon objective reasoning, which leads to a rational decision based on the best evidence and information possible. 

But after all, is said and done, faith enters the picture—even for the Atheist who does not believe in faith. Or so they claim … 

My faith as a Christian is based on a belief founded upon objective reasoning, which leads to a rational decision based on the best evidence and information possible. Click To Tweet

My confidence  

Unlike most modern man, I do not propose to have all of the answers. I do not have all of the so-called contradictions of the Bible figured out, nor do I have the science background to debate things of science. I do not think I am more read or educated than most like and unlike. I do not presume or assume I am smarter than most believers, some believers, or any believers. 

I do know, however, that I am confident in a risen Savior—a historical Jesus, who gave Himself up for me that I might live. 

This confidence is based on objective reasons to believe because God never asked anyone to trust or believe in Him blindly and because blind, unreasonable faith is not Christian faith. 

 

(Except New Book: The God Question coming soon)

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates

Wisdom distinguishes

If knowledge is information or data, wisdom is a refinement of that data and knowing when to act upon that knowledge. 

One does not need to become a philosopher to be wise — one needs to be a lover of wisdom. While the contemplative argues for an unexamined life’s worthlessness. Others support the plethora of critical examination of society, religion and government. 

Yet, once wisdom is tasted, one will not want to give it up!

 

All great civilizations from Persia to Rome were built upon the unharried mind and have collapsed by the hurried hand. Click To Tweet

1. Slow down to Speed Up

 Speed drives our world. Yet, if we are always in a rush, racing from one point to the next, we are more prone to making mistakes and losing perspective. All great civilizations from Persia to Rome were built upon the unharried mind and have collapsed by the hurried hand.    Do not be obsessed with quick thinking. Every sentence or social media post should “be on trial for its existence.”

A person word and writing should clarify their mind, and it slows one down, which is the most productive kind of time one can have.  Make more “time” to read and write, instead of moving like a New York taxi from one place to another. Try to understand what is underneath something — what is driving our behaviour.  The wise slow down their minds — they observe things from a distance. They pause, learn, self-reflect and pray. 

Wise decisions require balancing urgency and tenacity.

2. Focus on What’s Essential

We associate much for meaning and more with better. So the more you do and the more you have, the better person you become.  When everything is a priority, one cannot separate what matters from what does not.  Unfortunately, this endless race to do and achieve more and more drives confusion and frustration.  If one can say no to the unnecessary, one can have tranquillity. 

If one can eliminate more, one will discover meaning. To “do less, better” is the secret of the great.  Life is not about getting less done or about getting more done in less time. Instead, life is about priorities or essentialism –focus on the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.’ As people of faith, the criteria we should follow for how we define things that add value to our lives is the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We embrace this concept of “pause and reflect before saying yes” as a way to help us follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our lives.

People are mistaken when they are more protective of their property, money, and possessions yet careless about their most precious asset: their time.

Remember, life is never short if we know how to use it.

 

 “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”

 

3. Think From the Middle Ground 

Seeing the world only in black and white will gets us stuck. Thinking in from the middle ground is about learning, not taking positions — where one-stop seeing opposing concepts as enemies. Integrative thinking is essential. It is the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in our heads and reconcile them for a problem at hand. Fundamentalism, dualism destroys creative thinking.   

Learn to shift from fundamentalism and duality to integration. Heaven and earth, mind and matter, truth and criticism mean clarity. 

 “When you are at the top, you only see shadows, and when you’re at the bottom, you are blinded by the light, but from the middle, everything is pleasing… day and night.”

 

Wise people embrace differences and diverse perspectives without compromising their convictions. 

 

4. Spot the Weakness in an Argument

The words we don’t challenge become true. 

 

“A lie told often enough becomes the ‘truth.’ “

 

The purpose of critical thinking is not to find an error but to avoid behaviour based on false assumptions.

The confirmation bias, for example, is our tendency to look for and to recall evidence that confirms, but not that disconfirms, our beliefs and hypotheses. This is because people are usually prone to various cognitive biases. 

When reading or conversating, look or listen out for the word “surely.” It is often used as a ‘truism’ without offering sufficient “reason or evidence” — s/he hopes or presumes the listening or reader will quickly agree. However, thinking critically means not taking things for granted. Logical fallacies are arguments that fail to make sense scientifically — though they can often make an emotional appeal, they do not prove the underlying claims.  Proof by example is a fallacy that uses one or more cases to suggest a general rule. For instance, if a person has one bad experience from a certain nationality, that does not suggest that every one of that nationality are the same.  

When you observe people from a particular group doing something and then assume everyone who belongs to that group acts the same way. This is an example of a weakness in an argument. 

 

5. Be Intellectually Humble

Most talented people do not make wrong decisions because of a lack of facts but of low self-awareness.  Most intelligent people tend to overestimate how much they know. Intellectual pride prevents the celebration of uncertainty — when we reward certainty and condemn doubt, we then focus more on being right then, finding the correct answer. 

 “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

 

Intellectual humility is about recognizing that the things you believe in might, in fact, be wrong. It is an invitation to ’empty your cup,’ so you can fill it up with new knowledge. Practice being obsessively curious. Challenge everything — especially what you believe is right. Leave the door open for better solutions, rather than sticking to your answer, old wineskin. Intellectual humility is letting go of certainty.

Wise people are not embarrassed to become temporarily dependent on other people’s knowledge or expertise.

If Christianity was not on the Table

It may shock you, but if Judeo-Christianity were not on the table, the path of the noble Buddha would most likely have been my Choice for religion. Astonished? 

Let me explain. I greatly admire Buddha (5th – 4th BCE) in a certain sense. Like the courageous Martin Luther (1483 – 1586 AD), Siddhartha Gautama, a 16th-century monk and theologian, was a great religious reformer of his day. 

It may shock you, but if Judeo-Christianity were not on the table, the path of the noble Buddha would most likely have been my Choice for religion. Astonished? Click To Tweet

I may never consent to his religion, but I deeply respect how he as a prince abandoned everything – his cloistered life of ease and abundance, including his wife, son and religion of birth, Hinduism, in pursuit of the truth and a way out of karmic suffering. 

Defining Moments 

We all must encounter a defining moment or what I often call a ‘burning Bush” encounter on the journey to spirituality. Buddha’s defining moment came at twenty-nine when he encountered a sick man, an old man, a dead man and an ascetic. Siddhartha lived a very protective life within his father’s kingly love and care, and we can imagine that he had never seen these unpleasant aspects of life before. 

So he was profoundly moved and confused. 

No longer could he ignore the existence of suffering; no longer could he continue his selfishness, enjoying his life of privilege after realising that old age and death are our inevitable fate. At this time, he chose to forsake his sheltered princely life, become an ascetic, and search for the truth to the universe.

Buddha searched for Christ 

The cold of the sodden cement slates in the early spring morning pierced up into the severely bruised, fatigued and exhausted muscles of Jesus. He stood barefooted in the Praetorium while Pontius Pilate, the Roman magistrate of Judea (26–36 CE), cross-questioned him – the accused. Pilate examined Christ with the very same mystery Buddha abandoned it all for. 

What is truth? Pilate, like most westerners, unfortunately, did not linger long enough to understand the words of Jesus, “…for this purpose, I was born, and for this purpose, I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37). 

Yet Buddha, as an eastern prince, was nothing like Pilate as a Roman procurator, in both a religious and a philosophical sense. Moreover, the Buddhism he founded differs vastly from Western Buddhism. You may be further surprised to learn that Buddha’s religion is a lot like Christianity. 

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