Archive for: January, 2008

the ministry of moneychanging and merchandising

The Temple moneychangers and merchandisers, more than anyone else on record, angered our humble Saviour. They and everyone else, no doubt, saw their “ministry” as a very useful one. Jews from all over the world visited the Temple and inevitably there were currency exchange issues which frequently emerged.

Likewise, those selling the sacrificial animals offered a very real service in the eyes of most. Otherwise, they would have been removed prior to Jesus.

What did our Lord detect in their harmless looking “ministries” which enraged him so?

What if they had rendered their services on a voluntary, non-profit basis?

What can we learn from this holy outburst of righteous anger?

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:13-16

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William Wilberforce and “the ministry”

He was in his twenties when converted to Christianity and felt led to enter “the ministry.” John Newton, his song-writing friend, forbad such a course and encourgaged him to remain in politics where he eventually had huge influence with regards to the abolishment of slavery and – of all things – the encouragement of good manners.

‘Minister’ is the same word ascribed to government officials by Paul in the book of Romans, by the way. The abolition of slavery – I’d call that a ministry.

Anyone seen the recent movie about William Wilberforce?

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Taking back the streets of Philly

Ordinary caring people and older ones (elders) doing what is usually done by professionals. Hmmm… Do you see any parallels with church life? Are you a volunteer or do you expect professionals to take care of everything? Looks as if most folks in Philadelphia don’t want to get very involved despite it being the City of Brotherly Love.

Still, it’s is a great idea – perhaps the start of something permanent.

“10,000 Men, A Call To Action” kicked off on some of Philadelphia’s meanest streets Tuesday night, near 19th and Federal in the 17th District on the city’s South Side.

It wasn’t thousands that showed up, but dozens … all African-American males, most in their 40s and 50s, some pushing 70, fathers and grandfathers hoping to make a difference.

“We’re doing this for the children,” one told me. Showing they care, patrolling block after block in reflective “Town Watch” vests, talking to residents and drivers, handing out fliers, chanting, “It’s a new day, a peaceful way” and “10,000 strong can’t be wrong.”

We walked with them from a local community center to a gritty area a mile away, where they canvassed six square blocks, two-way radios and fliers in hand, talking to anyone who would stop and listen.

I saw curious stares from behind curtains, skeptical looks from some young people on corners, and honks and hugs of gratitude from others.

The all-volunteer effort is designed to reassure folks in the crime-plagued neighborhoods that people still care about their problems, spreading the word help is available for jobs, financial services, youth programs and more. The fliers have phone numbers on the back and words of explanation and encouragement on the front.,2933,313564,00.html


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Any Christian dynasty builders among us?

A home church generally emerges from a Christian home. True, there are frequent exceptions. Consider, now, the historical footprint of one Jonathan Edwards:

Edwards, one of the greatest Preachers of all time, was married in 1727.

He and his wife Sarah had 11 children and are an excellent example of two people who built such a spiritual family dynasty: 173 years after their marriage, a study was made of some 1,400 of their descendants.  

By 1900 this single marriage had produced 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers, a dean of an outstanding law school, 30 judges, 56 physicians, a dean of a medical school, 80 holders of public office, 3 United States senators, 3 mayors of large American cities, 3 governors, 1 Vice-President of the United States, 1 comptroller of the United States Treasury. 

Members of the family had written 135 books, edited 18 journals and periodicals. They had entered the ministry in platoons, with nearly 100 of them becoming missionaries overseas. 

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