|New Book now Available|
Here is an anthology of over 1100 brief prayers and thought-starters, for each day of the year, with almost 400 original prayers by Bruce Prewer.
Included is both a subject index and an index of authors-- an ecumenical collection of about 300 different sources.
| Title: Brief Prayers for Busy People.|
Author: Bruce D Prewer
Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site www.acresources.com.au
or by order from your local book shop
or online on amazon.
John 20:19-31... (Sermon 1: “Faith and Doubt.’)
I John 1-1 to 2:2... (Sermon 2: “Mind Blowing!”)
ENTRY INTO WORSHIP
Our worship is grounded in a real event.
“That which was since the beginning yet which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have touched with our own hands.........that we proclaim to you ........so that your joy may be complete.”
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples were behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews.
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: “Peace be with you.” And he showed them his hands and his side.
This is the message I have heard from him
and now celebrate with you:
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed.
Blessed are you who have not seen him,
yet you truly believe and trust him.
See how good and delightful it is
when Christians gather together as one.
The Lord has commanded a great blessing:
Life for evermore.
PRAYER OF APPROACH
Dear God, you are astounding!
At the end of all your surprises you send among us the One who was crucified, dead and buried, and risen into glory.
He comes now as a living Lord, defying our locked doors, banishing our fears, greeting us with peace, and overwhelming us with awe and wondering love.
How paltry is our vaunted knowledge, how pathetic our cultured doubts, when our souls are confronted with this risen Christ!
How blessed are those who believe him, and how happy are those who receive him.
Please receive our thanks, our praise and our worship, and continue bless us beyond our deserving, as we lift up our voices in celebration.
In the name of this same Christ Jesus whose presence makes this occasion.
CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE
Forgiveness is always at hand.
Let us pray.
Merciful God, please don’t let it ever seem that as far as we are concerned Christ has died and risen in vain. Please forgive and deliver us from the sins that can hamper and harden us against the Easter Gospel
We confess to you that sometimes we live pessimistically, as if Christ was dead and buried forever, leaving us to go it alone.
We confess to you that sometimes we live guiltily, as if Christ’s forgiveness is only attainable by those who are worthy.
We confess that sometimes we see ourselves as losers in spite of Christ’s victory. We live like paupers in the midst of the riches of his grace, we busy ourselves like church slaves in this era of Easter liberty.
Please help us to ‘get it together’ both as individuals and as a Christian community. Forgive our sins and fill us with the breath of your Spirit. Deliver us from negative thoughts that can cripple us, from fashionable ideas that can mislead us, from wounded memories that can infect us, and from a pre-Easter faith that can entomb us. Restore to us the joy of Easter and lead us in the way everlasting.
Our Lord Jesus said: “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” He then breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
If we acknowledge our sins, God is true and consistent:
We will be forgiven and cleansed from the contamination of evil.
With the authority of the risen Christ, I can confidently proclaim to you: Your sins are annulled and your hopes are restored.
Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
thanks for the many things
that we cannot see or touch,
yet in which we can safely believe.
Although we cannot see the Lord Jesus,
nor reach out our hands and touch him,
we do want to go on believing in him.
Please help us to always trust him
and to serve him with every zip and zap
of young lives.
God, you are the greatest!
What a wonderful happiness there is
when Christians share God’s harmony!
It is like precious water from the Font
flowing down across a face;
the living baptismal waters
poured by the hand of God’s servant.
It is like dew on mountain slopes,
falling from the heights of God.
Our God has commanded this blessing;
the life that will last forever.
Ó B D Prewer 2002
Thomas and I
were not there that first Sunday
when new life burst the banks
of the old religion
and flooded reborn minds
with praise and thanks.
He was nearby
nursing his grief in solitude
with tearing fierce regrets;
while I was far away
among a people of many gods
who hedge their bets.
So at the first
we missed out on that Peace
which filled their hiding place
and swept away their fears
and made them the heralds
of Easter grace.
Thomas and I
were not inclined to trust
on hearsay evidence
a story that we wished could be true
but seemed to contravene
all common sense.
He, a week later,
was there when the Peace returned
on another Lord’s Day
lovingly scattering doubts
like the chaff which the wind
drives far away.
like one born out of season,
I stood with the sceptical majority
when that ineffable Peace
humbly came and entered
I have not seen
with these mortal eyes
but I am touched by an Amen
whose Peace no power on earth
high heaven or deepest hell
can ever stem.
Ó B D Prewer 2002
Most holy God, patient Friend of doubters, our human eyes have not seen, nor have our hands touched, the risen Christ.
Keep fresh and alert is us your gift of faith, which though not seeing, glories in following the living Lord wherever he leads.
By this faith, enable us to love others not measuring the cost, nor expecting any pay-back except that of knowing we are participants in an Easter drama which has no end.
In the name of this very same Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit, are the joy of hearts’ desiring, and object of all our purest loving and adoring, now and ever more.
SERMON 1: FAITH AND DOUBT
John 20: 25
Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe. John 20: 25
The rising of Christ confounds our explanations and stretches our faith into new territory.
Faith and doubt is the topic for today. Out starting point is the disciple Thomas who started Easter with profound doubt but a week later found profound faith and spent the rest of his life witnessing to it.
It seems to me that Thomas has been unfairly singled out as the doubter. He certainly did doubt, but no more than the rest of the disciples. On the evening of the first Easter day Jesus appeared to the others wh
ile they hiding behind locked doors. That encounter took them from despair to faith. Thomas was not there that evening. He missed out. A week later he saw and believed. You will note that when Christ appeared to Thomas he was so convinced of the reality that he did not need to touch those wounds. It was the resurrection appearances that brought them all to faith.
Having seen the living Christ, they became apostles (those who are sent) who went out into the wide world to witness to what God had done. Thomas went as far as any of them.
THOSE WITHOUT DOUBTS
As we reflect on faith and doubt, we may be aware of some of our fellow Christians who never seem to have any doubts. They believe definitely and easily. Their faith seems like an unruffled lake. I thank God for them.
(By the way, when I speak of those who seem to have no doubts, I am not referring to those aggressive Christians who roar their way through life trying to beat unbelievers into submission. It seems to me that many of those who shout the loudest are themselves seething with doubts which they are afraid to face. Their aggression and verbal violence is a desperate attempt to beat down the unrest in their own mind and soul. I have on a number of occasions seen such souls get louder and more shrill until they suddenly collapse in a heap of utter unbelief.)
The people who genuinely appear to have no doubts are not shrill or aggressive. They go through life sturdily and gracefully, spreading around them good will and compassion as they follow Christ Jesus, encouraging those of lesser faith without any sense or display of self righteousness. Such non-doubters are beautiful, loving persons, and with all my heart I thank God for them.
DOUBTERS ARE NOT SECOND CLASS
Does that mean that such non-doubters are superior Christians, more advanced than those of us who may at times wrestle with doubt? Definitely not! Doubters are not inferior Christians. They are just different personalities. They see and feel things in a different way. Thomas was a doubter. The other disciples were doubters. Christ did not despise them.
Unfortunately there are amongst us some who think that doubt is wicked; that to admit any doubt is to disqualify oneself from Christian fellowship. I don’t accept that view. Doubt may be for some of us the very thing that clears up woolly areas of our faith and leads us on to deeper commitment. Doubt is often the springboard from which stronger faith launches itself. Doubt can be caused by the ministry of the Holy Spirit asking us to go deeper or further. Doubt can be a blessing; an uncomfortable blessing but a blessing nevertheless.
This does not mean that doubters are superior to the non-doubters about whom I spoke a few minutes ago. Definitely not! Doubters and non-doubters are just different characters being drawn forward by the same living Christ. God uses both types of personality for a larger purpose and glory.
THE VALUE OF DOUBT
God has readily used human doubt.
Long, long ago, some Jews believed that God asked of them human sacrifices. But prophets emerged who said: “I doubt that”, Through their doubt the sacrifice of children in the valley of Hinnom was finally stopped.
Long ago many Jews were taught: “God loves only Jews. Others are rubbish.” But some Jews said: “I doubt that”. And from the deeper faith that issued from that doubt the story of Jonah emerged which declared God’s love even for wicked, pagan cities like ancient Nineveh.
Long ago many Jews claimed that God could only be known and worshipped in the temple at Jerusalem. But one visionary had his doubts and from his own experience he wrote a psalm; “Where shall I flee from your Spirit? Where shall I hide from your Presence? If I ascend up into heaven you are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold you are there.”
Then arrived a Jew called Jesus. He was a remarkable doubter of many of the things he had been taught.
He had been taught that pagans like Romans were hopeless; but he saw remarkable faith in a Roman centurion whose child was ill.
He had been taught that women were inferior beings who should be kept hidden in their homes; but he doubted that and chose women to travel with him among the band of disciples. Jesus had been taught “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth,” but he doubted that and taught: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you.”
It had been instilled in Jesus that the greatest in the whole world was the Torah and its righteous law, but Jesus doubted and instead taught that the greatest thing was love.
In the story of Christianity, doubts have again and again led to a larger faith and love.
Thomas and people like him are not to be despised. Whether our doubts arise about the resurrection of Christ or about some other aspect of the faith, they should not be stomped on by heavy-booted religion. Some of the most magnificent souls in our history are those who pursued their doubts with fierce integrity and found a larger faith.
DOUBT CAN BE CRIPPLING
Is that all that should be said?
I must also warn that doubt as a total way of life can become very fruitless. Sooner or later we need to sort out the things worth living for and commit ourselves to them. Throw in your lot with what you do know and understand about Christ, even though it be a little, and get on with it! Get on with it!
Pathetically, some get so enthralled by their doubts that these doubts stunt their lives. They constantly mull over their doubts rather than affirming their beliefs. What a miserable way to spend life! If we are serious enough about honest doubt, then we should be honest enough to vigorously question our own doubts. Our doubts themselves need to be put under a microscope. Not all doubts are healthy. If we stringently examine our doubts, we may find some of the following unsavoury factors lurking in the shrubbery.
1/ Some of our doubts may be nothing more than our being sucked in (brain washed) by the rampant materialism and hedonism of this twenty first century.
2/ Some of our doubts may be a cover-up for a cowardice that is not prepared to take the risk and launch out into the unknown, staking our all on Christ Jesus.
3/ Some of our doubts may be an uncritical acceptance of pseudo-scientific dogma that is propounded by second-rate minds who are themselves philosophical and spiritual paupers.
4/ Some of our doubts may be the result of sins we refuse to face up to, and a spiritual barrenness that can result.
5/ Some of our doubts may stem for the fact that we have never developed our own Christian understanding beyond that of an 8 year old Sunday School child.
6/ Some of our doubts may be the by-product of the disappointments, wounds, rejections and griefs we have personally suffered in the course of life.
7/ Some of our doubts may be the fruit of a negative rut into which we have allowed our thoughts to sink; a habit which has taken us over.
8/ Finally, and with all my pastoral concern I stress this: for a few people doubts may the signs of emotional disorder, maybe a chemical imbalance in our brains needing specialist help. These are the very people who may be inordinately worried and feel guilty about their doubts. If you suspect you may fall into this category, don’t torture yourself, seek help. Please seek help. Please.
WHICH KIND OF DOUBT?
With the exceptions I have just listed, I believe most other doubt is more usually a sign of spiritual health rather than malady.
Thomas asked a reasonable question: Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.
Far from rejecting Thomas, Jesus came to him with the evidence which the other disciples had already been given. What is more, Thomas may have been the very first person to express his faith in the divinity of Jesus: “My Lord and my God!”
As I was preparing this sermon, an idea kept circling the periphery of my mind: the contrast between faithless doubt and faithful doubt. Faithless doubt is the doubt that seeks to avoid the truth. Faithful doubt is the doubt that seeks to know the truth. Thomas, it seems to me, was a person of faithful doubt; he keenly wanted to know the truth about Jesus.
After that post-Easter encounter, Thomas had many long years to travel without seeing or touching Christ again. Yet he remained committed as a missionary, bearing the good news of Christ to places far away, to the very end of the known world. There is a small hill outside Madras in India where the people of that land say that Thomas finally paid the supreme sacrifice for his faith. There, far from home, he was executed for his Easter faith.
Don’t be afraid of honest doubt. Faithful doubt can be blessed, and redounds to the glory of God.
SERMON 2: MIND BLOWING!
1 John 1: 1-4
If we take Christ Jesus completely to heart, including the cross and resurrection, the whole thing becomes mind blowing.
It was that way for the first wave of Christians. They were excited, they sparkled. Each one knew what they had to share was “out of this world.” Truly awesome!
We have witnessed a similar excitement in converts who have had no previous Christian background. The whole thing staggers them; blows the mind wide open to realities they did not know existed.
In the new Testament, we find that the first wave of believers maintained their sense of excitement and awe. Paul for example. Even in his letters near the end of his life, there shines though his words an enthusiasm like that of a new of a new convert.
Likewise the writer of the First Letter of John. (I follow those among Biblical scholars who consider it most likely that it was indeed John, one of the original disciples, who wrote it). If this letter was penned late in the first century (when we know John lived to an old age) then his enthusiasm for the momentous Gospel still sparkled even in his aged frailty.
Just listen to how that letter commences. It launches itself big time, with a direct echo of those striking words with which the Bible begins: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Says John: I am writing about something which existed from the beginning
The Word of Life that we find in the Lord Jesus, John claims, was intimately present at that beginning. Yet in some marvellous way he was thoroughly one of us; truly human. In Jesus, God was accessible; accessible as never before. Seeable, touchable.
I am writing about something which existed from the beginning; That which we
ourselves have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have
looked upon and touched with our own hands. the Word of Life. This Life was
made visible; we saw it and testify to it. We announce to you the eternal life which
was in the Father’s presence, and has now been revealed to us. That which we have
actually seen and heard we declare, so that you may be a shareholder with us. For
our share-holding is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to you
so that your joy and ours may be complete. 1 John 1:1-4
[Note: some of the ancient manuscripts read “our joy” and others read “your joy”. So I have gone for both in my translation. BDP]
For John, even in his old age, the Jesus-event (from birth to death to resurrection) remained mind-boggling. He reiterates the marvel which remained mind blowing: that Holy Love which was from the beginning has actually taken human form. The life of eternity was born as one of us; a real man, who lived and taught, ate and slept, and who finally was betrayed, crucified, dead and buried, and then was arisen with eternal life in his keeping. Unbelievable!
Three times John repeats the message that he and his friends personally knew this marvel in a palpable way. We have seen, heard it, and touched it with our own hands. Three times he emphasises this awesome message. LIFE! God-life. Eternal Life incarnate. The old man’s heart raced every time he thought of this awesome privilege: he had actually heard it, seen it, and touched it! And he went on living with it for the rest of his life. The Gospel still made the old fellow sparkle.
WHERE IS OUR SPARKLE
I ask now a question: Where is our joy? Our sparkle?
How much wonder is present in our heart and mind? How much enthusiasm? How much awe have we in the Presence of this mind boggling Easter reality? Over the Easter holy-days, how often did our pulse race with sheer joy, or our hearts burn within us? Or was it rather “Ho. hum, here we go again.”
One of the reasons why excitement may seem scarce is because many of us were brought up within the Christian community. There has never been a time, which we can recall, when we have not known this good news: “Christ has come, Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.” It has always been there for us.
This gives some of us a big advantage over those who come late to the faith. We have understandings that are woven deeply into the whole of our life experience.
However, the contrary may also be true. Maybe the new convert without Christian upbringing has an advantage over us.
New converts see a whole world transformed before their amazed eyes. It is all fresh. All new. All unexpectedly wonderful. What seemed shallow now has wondrous depth, that which seemed barren now flowers, that which seemed empty now overflows, that which seemed dark is now flooded with light, that which seemed aimless is now caught up in a dancing current of holy meaning.
New converts at first often feel the church to be staid and boring. They want to shake us up, to become excited with them, to sing, to dance, to express without inhibition our gratitude and praise. They cannot understand how we can read the Good Friday account without tears, or hear the words of the Easter story without our eyes shining, or to keep still in our seats when we offer praise. Where is the sparkle, they ask?
The excitement of new converts is in sync with the letter of the elderly John who still got -gob-smacked!
I am writing about something which existed from the beginning [of time and space]; That which we ourselves have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have
looked upon and actually touched with our own hands. the Word of Life.
The new Christian resonates with the same wonder:
We announce to you the eternal life which was in the Father’s presence, and has now been revealed to us. That which we have actually seen and heard we declare. so that you may be a shareholder with us.
John’s sparkle did not die out. "Where is the happiness?" new believers ask when encountering sombre Christians? Where is your sparkle? Where is your excitement?
Why aren’t you still bubbly, like old John?
We write this to you so that your happiness and ours may be complete.
In comparison with those who maintain their delight in the Gospel, many of us do not come out so well.
WE ARE NOT ALL DEMONSTRATIVE EXTROVERTS
However, do not let us rush into lambasting what may appear (to the newcomer) to be dull congregations. Look, my friends, I am a realist. I have come to terms with at least two things.
Firstly, some of us are by nature reserved and non-demonstrative. We can be filled to the gills with joy yet give only faint external signals of the wonder that is in our hearts. It is neither realistic nor fair to expect us all to be bouncy, extroverts. God has not made all of us that way, and we must pay respect to these differences that exist within human nature.
Second, we have no right to expect that the bubble-liness of the new convert’s fresh experience should be mirrored by those of us who have spent many years in the company of the Lord Jesus whom we love and serve.
Let’s use a comparison; falling in love. We expect more extravagant behaviour from the newly-in-love than from those who have cherished each other for many years, and whose love (without flamboyance) has continued to deepen with each passing day. Early on in a romance the adrenalins run wild. Later on our love becomes more focussed and channelled into thorough commitment, with loving daily respect and care for each other.
Appearances can be deceptive. Therefore I say: Do not jump to rash conclusions and condemn out of hand either ourselves or others for apparent Luke-warm faith. Things are not always as dull as they may superficially appear. There are some still rivers that run very deeply indeed.
SOME VALID QUESTIONS
Yet having said that; said it both to myself and to you, I still harbour some disquiet. A disquiet which I reckon is valid.
Has familiarity bred (not contempt) apathy? Maybe we have lived so long within the rich content of the Jesus story that we have begun to take it for granted. Maybe our faith does grow stale, just as a marriage can if it is not nurtured. Maybe some of us are not “still rivers that run deep” but stagnant pools; bored Christians who have dozed our way through a shallow Easter.
Where is the sparkle?
Perhaps this ongoing Easter season is the time to wake up and ask:
“Are we still alert and spiritually available to still experience worshipful awe in the presence of the risen Lord? Are our deeds (rather than just effervescent words or high emotions) gladly expressing the Gospel that enthrals us, or have we grown slothful and indifferent. Do our hearts still profoundly “burn within us” when we allow the words of Jesus to speak with us as we travel the road of life? Is there still some fire in our belly and a holy wind at our back?”
“Do we still permit our spirits to reverberate with the holy laughter of the saints, as God raises Jesus triumphant over sin, ignorance, cruelty and death?”
Questions. Yes questions. I ask them because I need to ask them. I ask them of myself. I put them to you, not out of any desire to verbally “rough you up,” but with the sincere desire to travel joyfully with you on the resurrection road towards the final, complete fulfilment of all Christ was, said and did.
A PRECIOUS VIVACITY
If we take Christ Jesus completely to heart, including the cross and resurrection, the whole thing becomes mind blowing, soul stirring, heart warming, life changing; A precious vivacity and sparkle continue to enhance all our praises and our dutiful service for the Lord Jesus Christ.
We announce to you the eternal life which was in the Father’s presence, and has now been revealed to us. That which we have actually seen and heard we declare. so that you may be a shareholder with us.
We say this to you so that your happiness and ours may be complete.
In spite of many unanswered questions, I believe.
I believe in the living God, the joy of the universe,
who is the pulse and purpose of all things seen and unseen,
who from the dust of earth calls up living beings to be children of eternity,
who through countless ages has provided for us many liberators
and tirelessly seeks to bring victory out of defeat and life out of decay.
I believe in Jesus the Christ, God’s true Son,
who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
who took upon himself the healing of the human race,
who bearing the burden of our sins went to Golgotha carrying his cross,
who was betrayed, crucified, dead and buried in a borrowed tomb,
who on the third day was found to be gloriously alive,
meeting with those who trust him and serve him to the end of the world.
I believe in the Holy Spirit of God, within and among all who cherish Christ and his way,
who brings hope out of despair, love out of apathy, and joy out of sorrow,
who unceasingly regenerates and reforms the church
that it may always be the contemporary body of the risen Christ,
loving the world through prayer, word and deed.
I believe that even I am caught up in the resurgent life of Christ Jesus,
and that nothing in life or death can separate me from his love and joy.
In spite of unanswered questions, yes I believe.
Two voices may be used.
We bring the diverse needs of church and world before God.
Let us pray.
God of Easter, our sure saviour and faithful friend, wherever the irrepressible grace of Christ Jesus is known, may it be freely shared. We pray for teeming millions around the world, and for your servant the church, at work in every land.
We pray for the witness of the church in whatever community it is set. Keep it loyal through times of harassment and suffering and, what is more difficult, keep it faithful in times of prosperity and comfort.
We pray for the church wherever it is in dialogue with other religions. Keep it humble yet absolutely true to its own gospel, and what is more difficult, keep it open to anything you want to say to us through other faiths.
We pray for our nation with its many strengths and considerable flaws. Bless those political and community leaders whom we respect and cherish, and what is more difficult for us to ask, we pray for your blessing on those who disappoint, frustrate and anger us.
We pray for other nations and their leaders, especially those that are struggling against heavy odds to maintain the well being of their citizens. and what is more difficult, we pray for any nations that despise or would spitefully abuse us.
We pray for friends and family who love us well and whom we love dearly, in happiness or in grief, in success or failure, in sickness or in health; and what is more difficult, we pray for those prickly souls among relatives or neighbours whom we find it hard to like.
We pray for the hardworking immigrants who have brought skills and wealth to our nation, and whose diverse cultures have so enriched us; and what is more difficult we pray for those refugees who come uninvited to our shores with nothing but their pitiful need.
We pray, Saviour and Friend, for each other gathered here today. We especially pray for those who are suffering physical or emotional ills with scant complaint; and what is more difficult, we pray for any who seem to advertise even minor aches and pains with repetitious stories.
God of the Easter Christ, please endow us with more of his kind of love, that we may give of our best without looking for personal profit, and go on our way rejoicing even when we are misunderstood or rebuffed. For yours is the kingdom of love, the power of love, and the glory of love, now and for ever.
Christ is risen.
Christ is risen indeed!
There is now no negative force that can finally defeat us,
and no power on earth or in the heavens that can ultimately destroy us.
Leave this house of prayer confidently, walk purposefully, and travel joyfully,
love generously, serve gladly, and arrive safely.
For all things are ours, and we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
The grace of............
My Best Mate, (first edition 2013)
ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:
ISBN : 978-1-937763-79- 4: USA
Third edition May 2014
ISBN 978-1-62880-033-3 Australia
Jesus Our Future
Prayers for the Twenty First Century
Second Edition May 2014
|Although this book was written with young people in mind, it has proved to be popular with Christians or seekers of all ages. Through the eyes and ears of a youth named Chip, big questions are raised and wrestled with; faith and doubt, unanswered prayers, refugees, death and grief, racism and bullying, are just a few of the varied topics confronted in these pages. Suitable as a gift to the young, and proven to be helpful when it has been used as a study book for adults.||
Australian Prayers has been a valuable prayer resource for over thirty years. These prayers are suitable for both private and public use and continue to be as fresh and relevant today as ever. Also, the author encourages users to adapt geographical or historical images to suit local, current situations.
This collection of original, contemporary prayers is anchored firmly in the belief that no matter what the immediate future may hold for us, ultimately Jesus is himself both the goal and the shape of our future. He is the key certainty towards which the Spirit of God is inexorably leading us in this scientific and high-tech era. Although the first pages of this book were created for the turn of the millennium, the resources in this volume reflect the interests, concerns and needs of our post-modern world.