Monday, February 29, 2016

Why Abraham?

Why did God choose Abraham. Was there something special about him. He was not more virtuous than other people. he was a sinner, when God made his covenant promise in Genesis 12:2. God declared him righteous, when he believed the promise of the covenant, even though he was old with no family (Gen 15:6).

There were three reasons why God may have chosen him.
  1. He was not part of the power establishment at Ur, and he did not join with the Canaanites, so he was free from the domination of the spiritual powers of evil.
  2. He was old with no children, so there was no one to distract him from following God’s call.
  3. He had failed to become a father, so he was desperate for a miracle.
Maybe God called many others, but Abraham was the first to respond and go. We don't know.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Abraham’s calling was a promise with no guidance, explanation or conditions, except moving to Canaan. It was more like a prophecy. Circumcision was not a condition for obtaining the promise, but a sign that marked out the people of promise.

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6).
How was that possible before the cross?

God had already decided that he would forgive anyone who trusted him. Knowing what Jesus would do, he was prepared to forgive their sin and consider them righteous.

The cross was necessary, because the spiritual powers of evil had stolen authority over the earth when Adam and Eve submitted to them. The evil powers refused to let humans free without a ransom being paid. Especially, once the law was given, as it defined transgression and specified the curses on transgression. The spiritual powers of evil demanded the right to implement the curses of the law.

Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the demands of the spiritual powers of evil. His death was the ransom that the law specified for sin. His death redeemed all those who trusted in him from under their authority.

I think Abraham had escaped the spiritual powers of evil by leaving Ur. They thought he was irrelevant, so they just let him go, so they could concentrate their authority near the centre of power. They had not heard God’s call, so they did not understand that Abraham was following God. He just walked out and they let him go free.

Abraham was not perfect, but there was no law yet specifying a curse for transgression, so the spiritual powers of evil had no hold on him. He was dodgy when dealing with Abimelech, but God had accepted his faith and declared him to be righteous. Once God had done that, the spiritual powers of evil could not touch Abraham, because he was under God’s protection. This is why he was able to defeat the kings that took Lot captive.

Abraham’s servant was faithful to his master’s God. I presume his faith was credited to him as righteousness too. He asked God to lead him to the woman who would be a wife for Isaac. God lead him to a good woman. This gave Abraham’s family a great start.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spiritual Protection

Spiritual Protection of a Church.
  • Each Church should be led by a team of elders who submit to each other for protection from evil. If one falls, the others will raise him up. It is unlikely that all would fall at the same time. The elders have strong relationships with each other. Their unity is strength.

  • An elder is watching over each Christian and covering them with prayer. Each member is submitted to the elders. This gives them protection from any fall that would make them vulnerable to the devil.
  • The elders are a balanced team. The pastor-teachers deal with hurts or relationship problems that could cause problems. The prophet challenges false ideas and rebellion that could break in.
  • The people of the Church are submitted to each other, so they have authority to do battle for each other. If a person is attacked by evil, his friends have the authority to stand together with him in prayer. If a person falls into deception or sin, his friends will challenge him before too much damage is done. He will accept their correction, because he knows that they love him.
  • If the friends cannot get victory, they can call on the elders for help. The elders are looking outward, resisting the devil. They stand united against him (James 4:7).
  • Living in the same location is important for spiritual protection. If a Church can establish a spiritual stronghold in the locality where they live, getting victory over evil will be come much easier.
Being Church Where We Live, p.87.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dunair Drive

Five years ago, we lived in Dunair Drive. This is how it looked after the earthquake, with silt caused by liquifaction being carried out to the street.

Now the suburb is gone. Just a few trees and the broken street to show what had been there.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Freedom allows people to succeed and fail. This inevitably leads to inequality.
Therefore, freedom cannot stand alone. It needs a counter force to give those who fail a second chance.

God has always provided that counterforce. In the Old Testament land-based culture, he provided the Jubilee land law. In the more-diverse economy of the New Testament, he provided giving and sharing, and giving away unrighteous wealth.

More here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Unwise Bandwagons

The same law should apply to both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you (Ex 12:49).
Christians in South Africa had to learn that God will not bless a system based on apartheid. It took them a long time and the lesson was painful and embarrassment.

The Jewish leaders of the nation of Israel have still to learn the same lesson. It will be painful and embarrassing for them too.

Christians who hitch their horse to their wagon will share their pain and embarrassment.

Monday, February 15, 2016

God's Timing

God did not give his system of government by law and judges to the early church. The early Christians were not in a position to implement an alternative system of government, so they would have becomes embroiled in unnecessary conflict with Rome and distracted from the gospel.

Instead gave his system of laws much earlier, so that it would be available for the church when needed. The perfect time to give the law was when the Israelites were entering the promised land. They needed laws at that time to organise their society to maintain peace. The benefit of God’s law is that it worked reasonably well without the gospel, so it was OK to give it to his people before the gospel. Then it would be there for the early church when it needed.

Of course, God’s system of justice will work much better with the gospel.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


The Zika virus is becoming a terrible threat in many parts of the world. The consequence for babies affected by the virus is abysmal. A virus that stops a baby’s head (microcephaly) is about as bad as it can get.

There are two views on how these things occur.
  1. The common view is that the emergence of the zika virus is just a natural outworking of evolution. The virus has mutated by chance to become harmful. Or the mosquito has evolved its behaviour in a way that spreads the virus to many new places. If this view is true, evolution is a terrible god to serve.

  2. I believe that we live in a world where what happens in the physical world is strongly influenced by what happens in the spiritual realms. Humans have given the spiritual powers of evil authority to work on earth and they love to do evil. Jesus said,

    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
    So when we see killing and destruction, we should assume that the spiritual powers of evil are behind it. The did not just make a mess and then retire. They are still at work. One of their techniques is to dabble in the natural world to modify simple organisms to become more harmful. I presume that the Zika virus is their most recent and most blatant attempt.

The second option makes more sense to me. God sent Jesus that we might have fullness of life. He is a good God, who wants good things for his people and his creation. He is worthy of our worship.

The spiritual powers of evil hate God and his creation. That is why they love to destroy life and rob people of its fullness. We must not attribute their works to God.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Everyone in this world needs Jesus:

  • to free us from the consequence of rejecting God
  • to rescue us from the spiritual powers of evil
  • to guide us in how we should live
  • to give us with his Holy Spirit to live within us
  • to restore creation
  • to worship
  • and to love.
We need a new breed of evangelist, who can:
  • tell people who Jesus is in the language of the new generation (with no Christian jargon).
  • explain how the world works and the role of the spiritual powers of evil in perpetrating evil and destruction on earth.
  • explain to people how Jesus can deliver them from the spiritual powers of evil
  • heal the sick to demonstrate Jesus victory over the power of evil
  • explain how the Holy Spirit wants to work within us
  • teach those who trust in Jesus how to listen to his voice and do what he says.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Loss of Sovereignty

Protesters against the TPPA are concerned about loss of sovereignty. I am not sure whether the benefits bought by free trade will outweigh the negative effects of the investor/state dispute settlement process, but I am more worried about the loss of sovereignty to the state than to the TPPA.

Modern governments claim absolute sovereignty. They claim authority over every aspect of life. That authority is more dangerous than the TPPA.

Monday, February 08, 2016

TPPA Protests

The TPPA was signed in New Zealand last week. Large crowds marched in the streets to protest against it. Their main concern seems to be loss of sovereignty, due to the investor/state dispute settlement process provided by the TPPA.

The problem with this concern about sovereignty is that we do not have any sovereignty. We lost our sovereignty a long time ago.

Sovereignty is authority. At the beginning, God gave authority over the earth to humans. However, the first humans rejected God, and by default, gave authority over the earth to the spiritual powers of evil. That is why the wold is such a mess.

Jesus defeated the powers of evil on the cross and took back the authority (sovereignty) that they had stolen. However, most humans ignore Jesus, so they lose the benefit of the authority he restored, enabling the spiritual powers of evil to continue exercising authority on earth.

The protesters are angry about the economic poverty and related social problems. They blame the government, but they are looking in the wrong direction. They should be blaming the spiritual powers of evil, who have stolen sovereignty on earth and used the authority to wreak havoc on earth. Unfortunately, they just ignore protests, or stir them to achieve more evil.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. Our nation was founded by a covenant, not by an invasion. Unfortunately, it did not continue the way it began, and the government resorted to legal manipulation and war to get control of land for European settlers. God takes covenants seriously, so breaking this covenant has created problems. Fortunately, recent governments have looked for ways to honour and fulfil it, but there is still a way to go. More at the Treaty of Waitangi.

Friday, February 05, 2016


Large human organizations need a hierarchy of authority to transmit information and to direct actions. Messages and instructions pass down through the hierarchy to the people on the bottom. Reports go back up in the same way. Hierarchy also allows decisions to be made at the appropriate level. The person at the top sets the general policies and rules, but delegates simple decisions down the hierarchy to an appropriate level of responsibility. Difficult or important decisions are delegated back up to the top. A hierarchical structure is very effective, but it is also dangerous, because it concentrates power in the hands of a few people.

Satan is a major user of hierarchy. He probably invented it, because he had no other way to control his empire. He is confined to one place in space and time, so he has to communicate and implement his decisions through a hierarchy of demons and evil spirits (Ephesians 6:12). His problem is that many of them are deceitful and rebellious. They disobey him frequently, so his will is not always done. When reporting about events in the world they often lie, so he is often in the dark about what is going on. Satan is at the top of a large, unreliable and unstable empire. He is a finite being, so he has to use hierarchy to control his organization.

God is not constrained in this way. He is omniscient, so he knows everything that is happening, everywhere in the universe, all the time. He is not dependent on reports up a hierarchy. God is also omnipotent, so he has the ability to decide what should be happening in every situation in the universe at the moment it occurs. He can speak to any person in the universe, whenever he chooses, so he does not need to work through intermediaries. Therefore, God has no need for hierarchy.

God does not need hierarchy in the church. He knows what is happening to every Christian all the time, so he does not need anyone to report to him. He has a personal plan for every Christian, so he does not need to delegate decisions down to a church leader. The Holy Spirit lives in every Christian, so God can communicate his will directly to any one he chooses. He does not need to speak through a hierarchy. If every Christian obeys the voice of the Spirit, God’s will will be done, without the need for any intermediaries.

Being Church Where We Live, pp.46-47.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Preparing for Victory

We are living at a pivotal time in history. While things are going badly for the church, the situation is even worse in the world. You don’t have to be a prophet to see the dark clouds on the horizon. The kingdom of man has over-reached itself and is rotting from the inside.

Christians should not be pessimistic about the future. God is in control and is working out his purpose. He is refining his church into a holy and beautiful bride. He is shaking the nations, so his people can establish the Kingdom. We can share in that victory, if we understand his plans and get ready for battle.

The shaking of world system will be a great opportunity for the church. In times of crisis, power flows to those who understand what is happening and are ready for action. Joseph understood what God was doing, so he was able to use the seven good years to prepare for the seven bad years. He rose to power during a crisis, because he understood what was happening and knew what had to be done.

The times are urgent. We should be using our time to prepare for the political, economic and social upheaval that is coming. We should be joining together, so we can advance God’s Kingdom when the kingdoms of the world collapse and fall. Radical change is needed, so we can shine brightly in the darkness and share in the victory that God has planned.

Being Church Where We Live, p.6.

Monday, February 01, 2016