Issue 13 February 08
3 A Note from the Editor THE VINE is published every two months by the Sydney Christadelphian Young People. The Vine Coordinator: Katie Shields Editorial Team: Katie Shields, Tim Mogg, Chrissy Lawrie, Samee Lapham, Sharon Pogson Masthead design: Alisa Thompson Layout: Samee Lapham Cover artwork: Luke Jurevicius Contributors: Ben Pooley, Philemon Burney, David Henry, Phil Hall, Vanessa Sultana, Gillian Pooley, Liezl Scheepers, Jono Russell, Josh Dawe, Tim Mogg, Phil Gilmore, Sally Gould, Lara Morgan THE VINE is published to the Glory of our Heavenly Father, through whom all things are made possible. Opinions expressed in THE VINE are the authors’ and not necessarily held by the Editorial Team. e: email@example.com web: www.scyp.net/thevine.php
elcome to the ﬁrst issue of THE VINE for 2008! I hope that your summer break was happy and safe. We are now in our third year and going from strength to strength– or so we think but we are a tad biased! Sadly we have said goodbye to Jenny and Jenni from the Editorial Team. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication over the last two years. All is not lost though as we have gained three enthusiastic members to our editorial team; Samee Lapham, Chrissy Lawrie and Sharon Pogson.
We are also welcoming a new column to THE VINE, Packaged Parables. We hope you will be inspired and uplifted as we take a look at some of the lesser-known parables of Jesus. This month we are delving deep into the world of technology. The importance of this subject (or rather lack of importance) was made obvious to me on a recent ﬁeld trip with the Royal Botanic Gardens. Four days hiking through magniﬁcent bushland and witnessing the breathtaking wonder of God’s creation ﬁrst-hand. I realised that the technology this world makes available for us is really only worthwhile in order to see his brilliance more clearly. Each of our contributors this month were given a completely diﬀerent brieﬁng but you will notice that they all came down to one thing – the best way to make use of technology is for God. I wish you all enjoyable reading. God Bless, Katie Shields
DOES TECHNOLOGY RULE YOUR LIFE? Ben asks some important questions
USER OR ABUSER? Philemon on harnessing technology
THOUGHTS ON TECHNOLOGY David and Phil give us their Pros and Cons
TECHNOLOGY: NOW AND THEN Aunty Gilly takes us back to ‘the good ole days’
ONLINE PREACHING Spread God’s Word through cyberspace
PACKAGED PARABLES Kneading the ﬂour and the leaven
PHOTO SPREAD Harbour Cruise & the Amanzi Gathering
REVIEWS Be wired inspired!
HIDDEN CHARACTERS Jehosheba
primary diﬀerence between our lives and the lives of millions of others. Do we really consider this? Do we use what we have for the greater good? Through technology our civilization is developing so rapidly that we give little time to ourselves for more important things. Our society is based on its economic structure and technology is a massive part of that. Many technological devices are improperly tested because we live in a world intent on maximizing proﬁts. For those developing technology, is it about making lives better or is it more just a strategic marketing strategy to make us believe the next new thing will make our lives better or easier? Shouldn’t our society be based on God rather than money?
Used properly it is a fantastic benefactor for our cause, to spread the Word of God.
Technology is an important part of our society but are we being held captive? Ben Pooley asks us to question its prescence in our every day lives.
e live in a day and age that strives on technological advancement. Technology is advancement. Generally it is referred to, as a broad group of digital or electrical devices. More speciﬁcally it is a branch of human knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical products as well as their interrelation with life, society and the environment.
technology? How much control do we now really have over or own lives? Is technology ruling your life?
In any case, we all generally know what technology is. And for those who don’t, the easiest ways to identify technology are innovations by man that at some point in time were not in existence.
The level of technology at our disposal in this country is one of the primary reasons that we are so lucky. In comparing your own life with someone from, ‘say’, a third world country, our lives are relatively eﬀortless. A hassle in our daily life might be our mobile going dead or getting a ﬂat tire. Is there going to be a time in our lives that will lead to us going for days in search of water, in a land riddled with disease? This is the
Technology is here, marketed as material objects that will make our lives easier. Technology is the basis of our civilization. So I pose the question, are we becoming too reliant on 3
This isn’t at all to say that technology is a negative inﬂuence in our lives. Used properly it is a fantastic benefactor for our cause. To spread the Word of God. However, like anything else, technology has its pros and cons.
Is technology ruling your life? To answer this question you have to decide what you are more reliant on– technology or God. In some ways it can come down to what you really believe in. Technology is easy to believe in because you can see it. But technology doesn’t always have the greatest success rate. Sometimes gadgets just don’t work the way you want them to, even though it’s the best mankind has available! A big part of who we are is our belief in the power of God. Would you dare sin in the presence of God? I would like to think there is no way in the world but we do all the time. Would you dare steal with a security camera staring right at you? Or speed past a speed camera? Not a chance. God is everywhere and can see our innermost thoughts. God is always with us yet we all sin even though he is watching. What do we put more faith in, the power of the camera or the power of God? Technology can be tiresome. Advances like Facebook are taking over, people are ﬁnding more comfort sitting down and ‘socializing’ with their computer. We are losing the real interactive experience of being with good friends. Is technology really making it easier to include people or exclude people?
Is it a question of how self-obsessed people are becoming that we have web pages devoted simply to ourselves? And Facebook isn’t the only culprit. How much exposure should we have before we are satisﬁed? Are we becoming that vain that we should feel the need to include intimate facets about our lives and all that we do on the web because we believe everyone else will want to know? And to have an instant messaging service because we need to know everything that second? Do we really need to have a means of contacting everyone at all times? It’s a question of priorities. In a lot of ways technology is a great way to keep in touch with people and very handy for preaching and the like but where is the majority of our time spent? Remember the old saying ‘life is short’ but at the same time realize that in essence there is nothing more valuable than our time. So how do we spend the ‘free’ time we have? I’ll admit I’m a guilty culprit, I don’t spend my time exactly how I think I should or how I would like to. God and His purpose are meant to be the focal point of our lives. Shouldn’t the most important thing in our lives take up most of our time and thinking? Is it more important to run home and read the latest blogs just in case we missed something?
Are we becoming that vain that we should feel the need to include intimate facets about our lives and all that we do on the web because we believe everyone else will want to know? Technology isn’t bad but like anything in life it all comes down to balance. I would like to think that God and his word will always take priority. Let’s make sure technology doesn’t rule our lives. Next year’s gadget will make this year’s gadget obsolete, whereas the word of God is forever. We are lucky to live where we do, with the technology we have. So let’s use our technology, ‘the talents’ God has given us and use them for Him, rather than letting technology rule our lives.
re you using or abusing your access to technology? What are you ﬁlling your mind with when using technology? How are you choosing to communicate with others? Philemon Burney focuses on these questions and reminds us of technology’s impact. Are you Using or Abusing?
‘Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by ﬁlling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.’
Almost every day a new device is released that is smaller, more powerful, has more storage space and is packed with new features. Sometimes we may wonder how the Bible, a book written 2000 years ago is relevant to our fast-paced, always connected But you may say, ‘It’s up to my conscience society. David didn’t own an iPod and Esther what I watch or listen to’ That is true but certainly did not have a mobile phone. How think carefully about the principles found in does God want us to deal with technology in 1 Corinthians 10:23, 31. 2008? ‘All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things In this crazy world, where the only thing build up. So, whether you eat or drink, or that seems constant is change, one thing is whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’ for certain– God’s principles do not change. What matters for each of us as follower of Jesus is how we use diﬀerent forms of technology in our lives. What are you ﬁlling your mind with? Much of the latest technology is geared to entertain in a more realistic way than ever, including 3D games with life-like graphics and massive wide-screen surround sound home theatres. Most of the content that is available is designed to appeal to our natural lusts, which can ultimately tempt us to ungodly thoughts and actions. So, as we use these things we must ask ourselves a basic but important question: ‘what would Jesus do?’ Would Jesus or perhaps one of Jesus’ disciples watch this movie? Listen to this song? Visit this website? Play this game? Philippians 4:8 gives us a ‘checklist’.
So before you stream that movie clip or hire that DVD or visit that website or load that video on your phone ask yourself: is this going to be helpful for me? Is this going to build up or build up others in any way? Can I do this and give God glory? Yet as with many things because it is so eﬀective, much of this technology can also be helpful. Try loading an audio bible onto your portable music player. Listen to a bible talk in your car as you travel. Make a spiritually themed movie with your friends. Listen to some Christadelphian music while you study. Fill your mind with the things of God! How are you communicating? If we are to be true disciples of Christ, we must remain true to God’s principles. God hates gossip! It can spread like wildﬁre on websites like Facebook. It is so easy
In this crazy world, where the only thing that seems constant is change, one thing is for certain – God’s principles do not change. to forward a ‘juicy’ e-mail or be involved in bullying and backstabbing on MSN. Leviticus 19:15-17 says ‘You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.’ Just because you can hide behind your phone or your computer screen, does not mean you should put down people or demean them. In whatever way we communicate we must remember Colossians 4:6. ‘Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may
know how you ought to answer each person.’ So rather than frittering away our time gossiping let’s use technology to encourage and build up. Send a text message to someone to remind them you care. Write an e-mail to a young person overseas. Display what you believe on your Myspace or Bebo page, post some spiritual thoughts on your Facebook or blog. IM a friend who doesn’t live close to many other Christadelphians. Technology is just a tool, don’t let it rule you. We choose how we use it so let’s harness it for good to assist our own spiritual growth and to encourage our friends.
THOUGHTS ON TECHNOLOGY David Henry and Phil Hall tackle some tough comparisons between the pros and cons of technology.
ake one stream of tech change; rock to wood then papyrus to parchment. Followed by quill, paper, pen, typewriter, keyboard and ﬁnally oral dictation directly to a machine. This is technology – constantly moving, changing the boundaries, reinventing, and making the impossible possible. This is the age of the A380, PS3, Xbox360, smartphone, High Deﬁnition, $20 Chinese drills and kettles, SMS, instant news, bit torrent. We’re the beneﬁciaries of thousands of years of learning, of getting smarter, and of knowing more. But we still eat Macdonald’s and we still read the Sun-Herald and we still sunbake between 11 and 3. Technology has brought us Kyle and JackieO. It’s obviously not all good. Your parents have probably warned you about the dangers of some of the technological things you use. Or maybe they haven’t. Maybe they don’t even know the dangers because it’s all still so new – and we’ll discover the problems of today’s tech over the coming years (like iPods causing hearing damage). I have a gripe against mobiles, myspace, and facebook. Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy! The latter two especially seem designed to make you think friendship is happening and seem to encourage an accumulation of “friends.” I don’t understand how that can be when you’re typing to a screen. Relationships occur with ﬂesh and blood. I look at them as isolationist vehicles. It’s relationships via proxy. Remember to communicate with people who don’t have access to these things. And remember to be patient with us older people who do struggle with some of these new communications systems. Chat rooms, forums and email can be very disheartening and very open to misinterpretation. The media gladly points out the ﬂaws of current tech – mobile phone bills, pornography on the Internet, how-to-build-a-bomb manuals… 7
Pornography is one of the BIG, bad things. Learning about women (or men) by looking at this stuﬀ has led a lot of people to have a really ﬂawed idea of what is normal or acceptable in a relationship. Looking or reading about pornography is rarely a controlled glance. It quickly becomes habitual and often subsides into detrimental behaviour. The actor, Yul Bryner, who died of lung cancer caused by smoking used to front an anti-smoking ad and say ‘Just don’t do it.’ The same can be said of pornography. TV, the dying medium, is under the control for better or worse, of a censorship board and classiﬁcation system. You and your parents can determine what’s OK to watch because of the ratings – but the Internet has no control. You and your conscience have to decide to not watch, read or listen. The celebration of mediocrity, sensationalism, stupidity and vapid, vapid Hollywood ‘stars’ should be ignored but it’s becoming harder. Look for pure and beautiful things to ﬁll up your time in this world. We can place videos on YouTube about God’s promises and His love and about Christadelphians. Maybe look at the Internet as this giant free advertising space. From your backyard in suburban Sydney you can reach out and aﬀect change! Make DVD’s and CD’s to send to ecclesias that have few speakers. Send talks and lectures and music and singing. For those who do speak now – there are opportunities to enhance what is said with PowerPoint, Keynote and video projectors. Try it every now and then. Even make it a group eﬀort to knock people’s socks oﬀ! Technology has allowed us to travel fairly cheaply. When we do make it an imperative to contact the wonderful Christadelphian family that we belong to. It is our relationships, our contact with each other, standing eye-to-eye, which surpasses any technological improvements in this world. David Henry
wouldn’t exactly class myself as someone who keeps up with ‘the latest.’ A downside of technology is that it leaves some people behind, like me. And your grandma! So I intend to look at the possible advantages of not having technology, or maybe more importantly the advantages of choosing not to use it in some situations. Functional Technology Latest products, appliances & gadgets
This includes anything from new cars to a new toaster. Imagine how great it would be without constantly wishing you had a better car or a new toaster. Ok, maybe the toaster is a bit hard to understand, but some of us have simple tastes. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t exactly avoid having these things around in your everyday life. But do you ever wish you could just be content with the way things are right now? This is what God tells us is a more satisfying way to live life. ‘If you love money, you will never be satisﬁed; if you long to be rich, you will never get all you want. It is useless,’ Eccl 5:10. If we take his advice and try to turn our attention elsewhere we can avoid getting stuck in the never-ending cycle of wanting bigger and better. ‘You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as… greed (for greed is a form of idolatry),’ Col 3:5. Communication Technology Internet, email & mobile phone
Without a doubt, technology plays a useful role in communication locally and globally. When my girlfriend Leesh was in South Africa I could keep in contact with her by mobile. Likewise I can easily and inexpensively keep in touch with family in South Oz and NZ. However, what happens in situations where conventional methods are possible? If we didn’t have technology we may be forced to actually go and visit people to talk rather than simply sending a txt, or sit down and write a letter to someone – I think I’ve written less then ﬁve in my lifetime! The question I guess I’m asking is would we have better personal communication skills if we chose not to use technology all the time? Might we actually meet someone for the ﬁrst time at youth group as opposed to on Facebook?
Communicating through technology such as Facebook has its good points but it can also encourage gossip. It can invade personal communication by allowing anyone to ‘listen in’ on a conversation and cause the feeling of exclusion to those who are aware of but not involved in what everyone else is doing! Entertainment Music, video & games
Instant entertainment at the click of a button can be a great way to wind down after a long day or allow for a momentary escape from reality but it can also be mindless time-wasting and can very easily become addictive. How many of you share this experience with me; coming home from a long day at work or uni to plonk yourself on the couch and before you know it the night is gone. That list of things you thought you would get done that evening isn’t any shorter at all! Or you could even get as far as sitting down at your computer to get something important done and ﬁnd you end up surﬁng the net looking for a new car to buy, watching videos or just chatting to people! Having just ﬁnished a degree at university, I look back now and wonder how much time I would have had to do things I really wanted or needed to do if there wasn’t a TV in our house. Could I have got better marks? Could I have done the things with friends that I said no to at the time? Could I have avoided bad days at work, making mistakes or forgetting things the day after staying up late cramming – a result of procrastination? Could I have been more active instead of vegging out too often? How much more time could I have given God?? With technology, as with most things in life, it all comes down to personal limitation and choosing how best to spend our time and where better to give our attention. ‘There is a right time and a right way to do everything,’ Eccl 8:6. Phil Hall
outh – what youth? South African youth are the youth in ecclesias all over the world! In 1994 when the South African Government became truly democratic and every person could vote there were a lot of mixed reactions. Many people were afraid that the country would become like our neighbour Zimbabwe, with all the whites being persecuted and driven out. Many families, especially those with young children, emigrated to Australia, England and New Zealand. There were very few of us here in South Africa. At one stage, my sister and I were the only Christadelphian girls here in Gauteng, with the nearest Christadelphian friends more than six hours away. It meant that our social group and friends were non-Christadelphians. The school social structure is very interwoven with the Afrikaans church structure and because we didn’t support the Afrikaans churches and camps we were very isolated. Over the last ﬁfteen years things have got a bit better. My parents took over the youth camp some eight years ago and dropped the age to ten years old so that we could have at least ten young people at the camp. It was a matter of necessity and turned out to be great fun. Over the years the camp has grown so much that we are hoping to run the two camps separately again. If I count the names on our address roll there are currently about 450 Christadelphians in total in South Africa and thirty-one young people spread all over the country. There are also two girls for every boy. Rough, they have more choice! Our youth are spread far apart, between four to six hours drive, so it is quite an eﬀort to organize something socially. In Guateng there are seven baptized and four unbaptized youth between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one. We try to get together socially with activities like ten pin bowling, ice skating, stay awake nights and sometimes camping weekends. We have one youth week in January every year and now have about sixteen to twenty young people there. It’s so much fun and we get to know everyone really well by the end of the week because there are so few of us! South Africa gives you the opportunity to experience a third world country, whilst still being in the comfort of a ﬁrst world country! You can do a lot of preaching here, help out in the BEC and at the orphanage in Tembisa. Other than the great company we can oﬀer we also have tropical seasides to desert plains from high mountain to sunny beaches and even the possibility of an elephant chase – not that I would recommend that. Do come join us, our door is always open. Liezl Scheepers firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
THE FLOUR AND THE LEAVEN
ave you ever wondered what the Kingdom of God is going to be like? We know that ‘no eye has seen or ear heard nor has it risen up into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,’ 1 Corinthians 2:9. But, what will it be like? You would think that of all people to answer this question Jesus would be the go-to man. Considering he starts parables in Matthew 13 with ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is like,’ no less than seven times. Unfortunately none of his parables actually tell us what the Kingdom will be like. So what is Jesus trying to tell us? What is he saying? From a quick study of these parables it becomes obvious that Jesus is primarily concerned with our reaction to the Kingdom of Heaven. How does the knowledge of God’s glorious Kingdom aﬀect us, aﬀect the way we live and aﬀect the way we treat others. Let’s look at one little-known passage in particular to see what he’s on about. ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of ﬂour until it was all leavened.’ Matthew 13:33 The Kingdom is like a pinch of yeast, a pinch of yeast put into three measures of ﬂour. This isn’t very clear so far. Let’s look deeper. The yeast is
the knowledge of the Kingdom, but what about the ﬂour? The interesting factor in this parable is the mention of ‘three measures.’ This is ﬁrst written of in Genesis 18:6 when Sarah is preparing a meal for Abraham to share with the angels of God. This suggests the ﬂour is about preparation. Romans 12:1 tells us we should oﬀer our bodies as a living sacriﬁce, preparing our bodies and our lives for God. The woman in the parable ‘hid’ the yeast, which means to incorporate into the dough so much so that it cannot be removed. Any good baker will tell you that is exactly what you have to do to get the bread to rise and swell properly. If the yeast isn’t spread through it won’t react like it’s supposed to. So are we working the gospel and the knowledge of God’s kingdom into our lives? Are we working it into every aspect of our lives? The woman made sure it was ALL leavened, wholly, completely and fully. Would we use these words to describe our reaction to the Kingdom? If not, then let’s get cracking! And if so, continue on and remember you’re not working on your own. Philippians 1:6 ‘For I am conﬁdent of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus’. Jono Russell
Sydney - December 2007
AMANZI GATHERING South Africa - January 2008
advising him of our disapproval of his antics and reminding him of his responsibilities and to the Queen stating Australia’s position. Now I’m ﬁfty and sending this message via cyberspace. Txt messages to Morocco take seconds and to survive my friendships, I’ve become the world’s oldest Facebook guru (bar Bob Lloyd!)
How has our communication changed over the years? Up-to-date Aunty Gilly takes us back to how things used to be. n the sixties I was a kid and blackberries were put in fruit salads. Facts (not fax) were things found in a thirty-six-volume encyclopaedia. Ringing Grandma from the “call-box” up the street was a weekly highlight. Putting the two-shilling coin in the slot was a very serious business.
Occasionally if I hadn’t pestered my mother beyond human endurance she would let me do it! The operator’s voice would twitter down the line asking where you wished to be connected and for how long? You held as asked and almost burst with nervous tension waiting to hear Grandma’s voice– sixty kilometres away! Daily newspapers were tossed over the fence but what was happening in the rest of the world barely penetrated our consciousness until the big event of the moon landing. Several other kids and me were allowed home from school to watch it on a neighbours TV. We crowded in one small lounge as ‘The Dish’ brought us the fuzzy black and white image of Neil Armstrong crackling out his legendary message, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” With the seventies, ‘Postie’ stopped bringing mail six days a week and Roger Moore dashed around the ‘Big Screen’ lugging a suitcase sized mobile phone whilst saving the world. In the real world I began work for the Minister for Justice where things were getting
very ‘High-Tec.’ I used a special pass to visit the ‘Computer’ the huge basement of the Treasury Building. Floor-to-ceiling steel whirred, blipped and ﬂashed lights. A bevy of data assistants (a.k.a. geeks) grappled with kilometres of paper spewing from every oriﬁce, while more geeks encoded and decoded computer read outs, which were just a bunch of little holes all over slim brown cards. I quickly typed the sensitive material up on my IBM golf-ball (typewriter) and visited the photocopier that was so huge it had to be manned by two men. If the general population should know about it, the Press Secretary would dictate a statement, which I took in shorthand, typed up (in triplicate) and telexed to the newspaper! News from other countries was now ﬁltering through. Two of the most memorable letters I typed on my golf-ball, in order to avoid the atrocities of WWII, were to Idi Amin in Ethiopia
Yet do we stop and remember that the inventor of communication owns cyberspace? Sorry Google! Only three verses into Genesis 1 He speaks, ‘Let there be light.’ Light – so we could see our way! He provides us with air to breathe and by verse 11 has given us food to eat. By speaking and acting He prepared everything we needed. Does this happen when we communicate? In the world of Facebook are we like Shakespeare’s Gratiano who, ‘speaks an inﬁnite deal of nothing?’ Emails have replaced smoke signals but God has not changed. Unless we want to change and stay changed our communication with Him is paramount. He has given us all the help we need to meet him face to face. He has our proﬁle written on his heart. He’s keeping track of our friendship wheel. God is our Facebook and he is switched on 24/7! ‘All day long I have both hands stretched out,’ Roms 10:21. ‘You set me before your face forever,’ Psalm 41:12. It is God who has preserved the greatest snail-mail ever penned. Paul had a face-toface relationship with God. He tells us so in his famous letter 1 Cor 13, ‘Without love now we see dimly, but with love we will be face to face’. He knew, because he was. God’s Facebook is interacting with us. God has put post-it notes all over the place for us. His super-wall is full of messages to keep us safe and saved. We can go wall to wall with Him 24/7! Jesus helped his disciples in their communication with God. Sometimes like us they found it hard or stuﬀed up. Jesus said to them, ‘hey, sometimes you do have to put in a bit of extra eﬀort.’ ‘You will say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. However,
this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’ Fasting – that’s submission, giving up everything for God, acknowledging that God is all-powerful. And prayer, that’s talking to God. Talking to someone means you have a relationship with them. Is this the missing ingredient? Did they need to work on their relationship with God? Prayer and fasting were part of Jesus’ way of life just as they were for David, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise is continually in my mouth,’ Psalm 34:1.
He has our proﬁle written on His heart. He’s keeping track of our friendship wheel. God is our Facebook and He is switched on 24/7! Prayer isn’t just for when we want something, when we have an extra big-ask. Living a strong spiritual life can’t just happen when we need a quick ﬁx for our problems. David and Jesus show that when God is a part of our everyday world, the giants are little, God is outsize and our relationship begins to be two-way not just about ourselves. Submission requires active obedience, recognition of God’s total authority. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Get face to face! Gillian Pooley
How you can use the Internet to spread God’s word. Vanessa Sultana gives us some practical tips.
grab a coﬀee. I sit at the table, ﬂip open my laptop and start. One by one I open applications; MSN Messenger, Outlook, Facebook and Youtube. I scroll through catching up on the latest news from family, friends and the world. Procrastinating just a little, escaping into the online world so that I can put oﬀ the real world for a wee bit longer. This becomes my daily ritual, a kind of wake up routine. It dawns on me one morning that the online world has become a reﬂection of the real world. More and more of my social interaction is taking place in cyberspace. It occurs to me that my Myspace and Facebook pages suddenly have little ‘Vanessa’ billboards lining the information superhighway. The realisation hits that I have to start taking what I say and do in my online spaces a little more seriously.
I ask the inevitable questions, ‘what do I want these huge ads to say about me?’ and ‘what is it that I really want to tell the world?’ I know before I have ﬁnished my coﬀee for that morning. I want people to know I am happy, grateful and loved. I care about people. I am interested in other people and I am all those things because of the grace of God. Most of all I want to tell other people that Jesus died and lives today so that they might feel the grace of God as well. I still have my coﬀee and computer wake up routine, but now I am a bit more focused on spreading the Gospel message. I’m going to share with you some tips and tricks that I use for spreading the Gospel message online.
Use your Spaces
Post a video to YouPreach
Social Networking sites like Myspace and Facebook are perfect places to give a personal statement about your beliefs. You can give a detailed statement of your beliefs or a short essay about your life as a Christian.
Christadelphian YouPreach is an exciting way to preach our faith to people all over the world. Its an uplifting challenge, which can build up our own faith, and help spread the Gospel message. YouPreach uses videos on YouTube, to broadcast the message of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. It encourages positive and creative preaching (see the YouPreach Review on page 21).
I recently saw a Facebook proﬁle where listed under religious beliefs was: “I have lots of those – Just ask me” I immediately wanted to ask and I’m sure lots of other people already have.
Don’t waste a single contact
Use the Online Bible Courses There are some fantastic online courses that have already been developed by the Christadelphian community. These are especially handy if you know someone who wants to complete a more in depth study of scripture.
You can direct them to these guided courses which have additional support from tutors should they require it. Consider tutoring for the bible correspondence course or asking members of your ecclesia to tutor. You can ﬁnd three diﬀerent courses at: www.bibleed.com For a ﬂexible self-guided course check out:
So often as we will come into contact with someone very brieﬂy that wants to know more about our beliefs or why we have behaved with unusual compassion or love. Carry a contact card that you can pass out immediately which has the URL to a YouPreach video or an online bible course. Remember! Online preaching is a tool for spreading the Gospel message. Most things we do online will act as a hook to catch the attention of a contact and prompt them to ﬁnd out more. No matter which tool you choose, keep your message short, positive and focused on the essential Gospel message. ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,’ Acts 2:38.
REVIEWS Bible Gateway: A Study Resource Bible study has changed. In the old days you’d hunker over an ornate desk, all carvings and inlays, put a taper to some dribbly candles, grab your quill and parchment and look with fear at the collection of scholarly tomes. A crow fed on scraps of meat in the background.
studies or helping with talks. One thing to note: The verse it provides will be based on someone else’s understanding of the bible, so it might miss important bits or give you something that’ll leave you scratching your head.
Anything else? Or maybe it was never like that. But it is diﬀerent BibleGateway isn’t good for much else. There are now. Gone are the books and stationery; all you a couple of name dictionaries and commentaries, really need is a laptop. The tools you need can but if you’re looking for fancy Greek and Hebrew be found online, either in searchable websites meanings, you won’t ﬁnd that here. If that’s what or software for installation. One such resource you want, go to E-sword (www.e-sword.net) and is BibleGateway (www.biblegateway.com). It’s a start downloading. BibleGateway is what it says it pretty simple concept: store a gazillion of bible is. versions in electronic format, it’ll give you links and give you and me the ability If you want to share to Sometimes other websites underneath to search them. a few verses with a all the bible verses, and Passage search since BibleGateway is run by friend, it couldn’t be Select your fave version, type mainstream Christians the easier. in the passage you’re looking material will say things that as for, and away you go. No need Christadelphians we don’t believe. to type the whole book name; part will do. You But you’re smart enough to know the diﬀerence can read one or more chapters, a single verse, a and there’s no need to click. passage, or even a couple of passages separated Its strength lies in the variety of versions, by commas in the search ﬁeld. It’ll bring them all including old favourites like the King James, and up on the screen for reading. some that are not readily available in electronic Keyword search We don’t all have the memory for verses, and sometimes all you’ve got is a couple of words. No dramas; ask an old person. Better yet – do a keyword search, based on the one or two words that you remember. Let’s say you remember an awesome verse, but all you remember is that it says something about God’s ways and thoughts. Easy: look up “thoughts ways” in keyword search. It’ll pop right out (try it – it’s a great passage). Topic search If you’re particularly interested in passages talking about ‘mercy’, just type it into a topic search and it’ll give you a whole list of passages talking about that theme. It’s great for doing
format, like the NIV and The Message. Particularly useful is the English Standard Version, which provides you with masses of linked references to other scriptures. If that’s not enough, there are translations in heaps of other languages.
‘Preach the good news to all creation.’ Mark 16:15. Technology is amazing and has a massive eﬀect on everyone. Billions of people from all around the world use the internet every day! Think about it - most people you know have a TV, most people you know use the internet. They are continually bombarded with moving images, sound, colour and music. The only problem is the majority of this technology does not bring people closer to their Creator. In June 2007 three Christadelphians thought of a great way to bring the powerful tools of the internet and video together to help broadcast the message of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. They uploaded a video challenge on YouTube asking Christadelphians from all over the world to make three-minute videos explaining an aspect of their faith. YouPreach was born!
The challenge: 1. Post a positive and creative video on YouTube 2. Aim it at people outside our community 3. Share what is important about your faith
And if you want to share a few verses with a friend, it couldn’t be easier. Once you’ve found the passage, just copy the URL from the bar in your browser, and paste it into an email. Done.
The idea really took oﬀ. Over 40 videos have been posted, the initial video has been viewed over 5000 times, and many Christadelphians and non-Christadelphians have commented on the videos.
A computer may never replace the feeling of a book in the hand but if you’re at a friend’s house or traveling, want to check out a passage in a version you don’t own, send a link to a mate or you’re searching for that tricky hard-to-ﬁnd verse, BibleGateway is a great resource.
Preaching on the internet is unthreatening. The viewer watches from the comfort of their own home and the preacher has the chance to make sure they say what they wanted to say, exactly how they wanted to say it. Making a video is something that you or a group of friends could do
in an afternoon that could help inﬂuence someone to get to know God better. If you were talking to someone and struggling to get your message across it would be so much easier and more eﬀective to say, ‘look at my video on YouTube,’ rather than, ‘come to an evening lecture with me.’ The three-minute videos are just a ‘hook’; people aren’t converted by watching a video. However, YouPreach has stimulated many discussions, led people to make contact and directed viewers to other Christadelphian sites packed with more information. YouPreach is a really great site, with many exciting possibilities. At the moment there is a good selection of music, photography, personal testimonies, factual videos and even a great little skit entitled ‘The Existence of Bob.’ However, there is still plenty of space for you to contribute. Would you talk about creation, Israel or prophecy? Would you talk about the way God has worked in your life? What format would the video take; music, photography, animation, drama? Do you know someone with specialist knowledge who could be encouraged to upload a video? YouPreach encourages individuals to be creative, and allows everyone to use the talents God gave them to share their faith with the whole world. God be with you in your preaching, however you do it. Tim Mogg The YouPreach team recognises that new technologies can also bring new dangers; therefore they have requested videos should only be made by over 16’s, as well as other conditions to make this medium safe. See the disclaimer on the YouPreach Facebook group.
2 Kings 11:2-3 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons, who were being murdered. And they hid him and his nurse in the bedroom from Athaliah so that he was not killed. So he was hidden with her in the house of the Lord for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.
ncapsulated here is the life of a girl that completely understood God’s plan. She loved God’s ways and showed it by actively involving herself in God’s plan, putting her life on the line for what she believed. This girl was Jehosheba.
Jehosheba was living in a society where Baal worship was a strong inﬂuence and others around her had lost direction. Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel and Ahab, had been married into the royal line in Judah. Out of grief and revenge for her son Ahaziah, power hungry Athaliah massacred the royal family of David and came close to wiping them out completely.
God had promised that David’s seed would be forever and through Jehosheba, the line to Jesus was saved. Risking her own life, Jehosheba actively made herself the instrument of God. Jehosheba gave of herself, patiently enduring six years of trial for the greater good. She never threw in the towel. This act says a lot about the personality of Jehosheba and her love of God. Jehosheba took the initiative to do God’s will and didn’t just sit back and say, ‘it will all work out’ and ‘I don’t have to do anything.’ Sometimes it’s easy for us to achieve spontaneous actions for God. Like the impulsiveness of Jehosheba kidnapping Joash. However, the part of the story that really shows Jehosheba’s faith is where she gave up six long years to look after the heir. This was an extreme commitment to God. Let’s take this amazing lesson from the life of Jehosheba and commit to God both in the dayto-day sprints and in a life-long marathon. Josh Dawe
o be totally honest the thought of living forever freaks me out sometimes. If I think about it for a long time the concept of forever just blows my mind– one hundred years followed by one hundred thousand years followed by two hundred thousand years and more! But making the Kingdom real in our hearts and getting excited about it can make us stronger and help us to live a righteous life serving our Creator.
see the temptations of this world. But we need to bring it to the front of our minds, to motivate us towards living a righteous life. Think about this; ‘no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ 1 Corinthians 2:9. It’s a gift we can’t earn but God willing, we can be part of this amazing future, which will be literally the best thing ever!
Is the Kingdom a focus of your everyday life? Sometimes it’s hard to keep the Kingdom the top priority in your day. We get caught up in activities, assignments, work, normal living, and forget that we should be fervently praying for Jesus’ return. We sometimes think it would be more suitable for us if he returned ‘after I get married’, or ‘when I’ve had kids’ or ‘when I get the perfect job.’ We have been so blessed in this country, in the lives God has given us but we cannot confuse that blessing with the ultimate blessing of peace He is oﬀering in the Kingdom.
Getting excited about the Kingdom helps you keep it a daily focus. How? Talk to close friends and share your visions. Share the little things you look forward to like seeing someone you love or patting a lion. Bring it to life. Share it with others!
The Kingdom can often seem like a distant thing we have in the back of our minds. We can’t see it as clearly as we can
In the end if it gets too much for my mortal mind to think about, I try to trust my Creator who by His Almighty power and love sustains all things. He guides me through life if I let Him. Through His abounding grace gives me, and all those who love Him, the chance to be part of His amazing Kingdom. Sally Gould
‘My microwave! It says “Hello” to me and I think it’s really cute!’ - Heather Stewart
‘My DVD player, I love my girly movies’
- Katie Shields
Joel Hillman Sally Gould Wendy Gould
Lizzy Oldﬁeld and Phil Pooley Miriam Hindmarsh and Phil Window Sarah Nutter and Josh Sawell
Births Elijah Roy Evans (Rob and Liz)
‘My mobile phone, for keeping in touch with friends and family’ - Mark Stewart
‘My iPod, because it’s small and I can take music with me anywhere’ - Cam Lapham
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Published on Feb 2, 2008