|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.
Mark 10:2-16.... (Sermon 2: “Marriage and Divorce”)
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12....
Job 1:1; 2:1-10... (Sermon 2: “The Man From Uz”)
ENTRY INTO WORSHIP
“We delight in your house, loving God,
the place that is dedicated to your glory.”
God is among us, and we shall not be afraid,
God is here to help us, and will do so speedily.
“We look at Jesus, who for a short time was made lower than the angels, but is now crowned with glory and honour because of his sufferings and death.”
The glory of Christ Jesus be with you all.
And also with you.
Welcome in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, may we love the sanctuary of your house,
the place where your glory dwells.
If you are here for the first or second time,
may you find the depth of faith and love that you seek.
If you come occasionally, and half-heartedly,
may you find a keener thirst for the truth of God.
If you are here through habit, that is not necessarily a bad thing:
There are good habits and bad habits,
mindless habits and thoughtful habits.
reluctant habits and loving habits,
May we glorify God with our good habits, new or old,
and may they lead us to the Source of peace and joy
PRAYER OF APPROACH
Family of God, I ask you to pause a few moments and to silently pray for the people near you; those directly to your right and left, those in front and behind. Seek the warm blessing of God on them as they gather with you in God’s house.
Most holy God, glorious in your beauty, awesome in your humility, please bless us, one and all, as we gather in this sacred meeting house. Assist us to experience sincere gratitude and praise, repentance and renewal, encouragement and enlightenment, wonder and delight, joy and adoration. Through Christ Jesus your divine Son.
CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE
Let us repent our participation in the evil of the world, and hand ourselves over to God’s salvation.
Let us pray.
Never let it be said, O God, that we came before you without realising your greatness and our smallness, your seamless beauty and our flawed nature, your holiness and our culpability, your saving grace and our souls being forgiven. We place our lives unconditionally before you.
Have mercy upon us, loving God, according to your grace in Christ Jesus.
Pity our folly, uncover our self-deceits, forgive our sins, and put away from us the enervating burden of guilt.
Please restore us to our right minds, reorder our wants and wishes, and re invigorate our faith and hope.
Stretch our love so that we may be able to forgive others just as you have forgiven us.
Through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen!
My Friends, let it never be said that we went through the ritual of confession and forgiveness without letting it take hold. Those who sincerely repent and trust in Christ Jesus are indeed saved. Hear this, do this, trust this and humbly enjoy the gift of liberation and healing. It is a gift. Absolute gift. Ask and you will receive.
Thanks be to God!
PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
it is awesome the way a super star
like your true Son Jesus,
was not only kind to kids
but also respected them.
We don't want to be just treated as cute;
we like to feel trusted and useful
within your busy church,
and to try to serve you
with our hands and legs,
our brains and our voices.
Thanks for listening, God.
Note: I find this Psalm verging on the self righteous.
I have therefore tried to move it into the sphere of N.T. grace
Stand by me God, for I have done my best,
I have trusted you without wavering.
Test me, loving God, and sort me out,
analyse my thoughts and feelings.
Keep my eyes focussed on your love,
that I walk secure within your grace.
I do not sit down with ‘wheelers and dealers,’
nor spend my time among liars and cheats.
The smiles of con-men make me sick,
no way will I be bought by wicked schemers.
Please wash my hands and make me clean,
then I can come to your Table without shame,
to sing aloud the hymns of thanksgiving,
and to celebrate your loving deeds.
I delight in your house, loving God,
the place that is dedicated to your glory.
Don’t let me be get carried away by sinners,
nor by those with no respect for life.
Don’t let me fall into the hands of rogues,
nor be tempted by their flattery and bribes.
I really want to walk with integrity;
by your grace redeem me for that purpose.
Help me to keep my feet on level ground,
in the great congregation to sing your praises.
© B.D. Prewer 2002
What God has joined, let no one put asunder:
Creature and Creator, breath and dust,
eternity and time, knowledge and wonder,
love and commitment, risk and trust,
mind and feelings, body and soul,
church and world, secular and sacred,
faith and hope, source and goal,
prayer and service, word and deed,
travail and birth, growth and decay,
mercy and justice, law and grace,
seedtime and harvest, toil and play,
heaven and earth, time and space,
thirst and water, hunger and bread,
tears and laughter, growth and pain,
birth and death, the A and the Z,
love and joy, loss and gain.
glory and humility, God in a stall,
wise men and baby, the One and the All.
© B.D. Prewer 1993
God of the highest values and the deepest mercies, please tutor us in the ways of your true child, Jesus. Help us to trust him sufficiently to aim high without anxiety, to take pleasure in small achievements, and to allow your saving grace to pick us up whenever we fall backwards. To the honour of your Fatherly goodness, your Brotherly graciousness, and your Sisterly encouragement.
SERMON: MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE
Note: This is a copy of a sermon preached some time ago. In situ, there were a number of people in the congregation who were wrestling with the issue of divorce.
“Some Pharisees came up to Jesus in order to test him. They asked; “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife.”
In the discussion that follows between Jesus and the Pharisees, it appears at first glance that Jesus utterly forbids divorce. Jesus said that Moses only allowed divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts. He went back further to the beginning of the Bible, to Genesis, where it is written that man and woman ‘shall become one flesh.” “They are no longer two but one. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
From this, some churches have totally forbidden their members to undertake divorce. Others have tried to side step it (doing a “blind turn” in the lingo of Australian Rules Football.) by the device of “annulment” instead of divorce. Others, such as the Uniting Church in Australia, accepts divorce as the best option where a marriage has irretrievably broken down.
If Jesus utterly forbids divorce, on what grounds can our church tolerate divorce and remarry divorcees? I will attempt to make this clearer in what follows.
THE SITUATION IN JESUS’ DAY
I invite you to keep in mind two things when this passage from Mark’s Gospel is read.
First, a man’s game. The conversation started with the Pharisees asking if it were lawful for a man to divorce his wife. It was about men’s rights. In that era in Jewish culture, divorce was largely the prerogative of men, not women.
As far as I can remember (from previous study of the issue) there were only three grounds on which a woman could divorce her husband: If Jewish man wanted to leave the holy land and go and live in a pagan country, she could refuse and seek divorce. If the man embraced another religion, the wife could divorce him. The third ground for divorce I think (not sure) was if the man committed blasphemy.
On the other hand, men had numerous grounds. Women had no right of reply. If a man found anything “unseemly” in his wife, all he had to do was to write out a statement of divorce, listing the grounds, get it witnessed by another man, and then send the wife away. This put a woman in a perilous situation. She was disgraced in the community; her family were not likely to take her back. If she could not quickly find another husband, her options were either to become a servant, a beggar, or turn to prostitution to keep alive. So when Jesus speaks about divorce in his social environment; it should be heard as a vigorous protest against a grave social injustice.
Secondly, back to basics. Jesus immediately drives the Pharisees back to basics. They wanted to have a discussion about their rights under the regulations of Moses; their right to divorce a woman. Jesus pushes them back to Genesis and the basic intention of God: From the beginning a woman and man were intended to stay together in mutual respect, trust and love. Basically marriage was meant to be a life-long commitment.
Jesus takes us away from the compromises and confusions that happen when relationships do not work well, and he moves us back to God. That is the only valid starting point as far as Christ was concerned. What does God see as the best possible way of life? Togetherness; an ever-growing love through a life of mutual cherishing. That is the goal.
WHAT IS RIGHT?
There is a yawning gulf between Jesus and legalistic religion. The Pharisees came asking ‘Under what circumstances is it right for a man to divorce his wife?”
Like their imitators in today’s world, some of the Pharisees always wanted to be in the right. They expected to get from Jesus a list of conditions under which they could divorce their wives and feel very righteous about it. That was their thing; the thing that gave them a buzz. They had to be in the right. It was not only in matters of divorce that they saw things this way. It applied to every other moral and religious issue. They were fanatical about justifying themselves. Therefore they were continually looking for ‘mitigating circumstances’. For it was such mitigating circumstances, deduced from the laws of Moses, which allowed them to maintain their high and mighty self-righteousness.
There we have it. In a society where marriage was in a mess, and where men were divorcing their wives for trivial reasons, these paragons of virtue wanted to talk about rights. Jesus stumped them by in effect retorting: “It is never right to divorce your wife.” The only thing that God intends, and the only thing in God’s eyes that can bear the load of being called “right,” is a life-long relationship of committed love. Such can only happen in an environment of shared grace, where forgiveness and respect is ever present.
You might think that Jesus is being very hard. He is. But that is the only way Jesus can be if he is a man of utter love. You see, all this talk about our rights is a self-deception which prevents us from achieving profound self-honesty, and from dealing with our own failings and those around us, cleanly and therapeutically.
Let us illustrate this by taking the examples of telling lies or stealing. Both of these are forbidden by Moses.
Lies: Suppose that at 10.00 one night I answer the door bell to find a young man, who is the ex boyfriend of my son’s present girlfriend, standing there with the shape of a pistol bulging his jacket. With steely eyes he asks whether my son is in. Seeing that gun and the look in the fellow’s eyes, I am constrained to say: “No, not this evening. I think you will find him working out in the gymnasium down the road.”
I would be lying. My son is actually in his room with his earphones on listing to his favourite group’s latest disk. I blatantly lie. Is it right to lie in that situation? Jesus, I think, would say “No! It is not right.” To lie always adds to the breakdown of trust between people; that trust which is God’s best intention for us.” If we lie, we water down, adulterate, the precious wine of human integrity, and add to the cynicism of the world.
The lie I would tell may be the best thing I can do in a bad situation. It may be the lesser of two evils. It may be the best I can manage, both for the young man with the gun and for my son. But do not let us confuse the issue, or feed our appetite for self-righteousness by decorating a lie with the word “right.” A lie can never be a glorious “right.”
Jesus, by taking away my lust for always wanting to be in the right, opens me up to self-honesty, a caring compromise, and a repentance which continually seeks God’s grace and renewal in all my affairs.
Stealing. The same applies to stealing. If my country were ravaged by some disaster, and food resources were hoarded by the powerful and rich, while the rest of us were starving, I almost certainly would steal to try and keep my children alive. It might be the best thing I could do in a bad situation. It might be the better of two evils. But it does not deserve to be called “right.” It is not God’s intention that we should steal from one another. Stealing, even if it is the best we can do in a bad situation, always adulterates the plan of God.
Far better for me to acknowledge the compromise I am making, and say “Sorry again, Lord. Forgive me. It’s the best I can do.” In this way my self-honesty is maintained, the goal of God’s values are upheld, we are opened up to God’s compassion and saved from the insidious trap of self-righteousness.
BACK TO DIVORCE
The Pharisees came wanting a debate about legitimate grounds on which a man could discard his wife. They demanded grounds that would enable them to feel righteous if they should be involved in a divorce. “Teacher,” they say, “when is it right for a man to divorce his wife?”
“Never!” That’s certainly what Jesus’ reply means. He tells them that Moses allowed it only because of “the hardness of men’s hearts.” It is a compromise; a concession to the folly and sin of human beings. But that is not how God intended it to be. From the beginning God wanted male and female to live together in harmony. That is the aim. That is always the goal.
Jesus is not so much forbidding divorce as driving us to recognise our inability to fulfil the perfect law of God, and then offering us grace. Grace is the remarkable alternative to legalistic self righteousness. In matters of marriage and divorce, as in all other ethical issues, we fail often, yet can gladly avail ourselves of the liberating grace of God, through Christ Jesus our Saviour.
Let me quote from the erudite New Testament scholar Eduard Schweizer: “A legalistic requirement forbidding divorce does not help............but also a freedom in which a man can avoid the confession of guilt is even less beneficial.” “Divorce can be a sign of repentance by which two people face up to their failure. It can be a confession that they have not succeeded in living according to God’s will............Divorce can therefore set one free to experience the mercy of God.”
I believe that at one level, Jesus was confronting the male arrogance which had made divorce primarily a male privilege. He was angry with their treatment of women. His words about divorce and the hardness of men’s hearts are a social justice protest.
But even more they are a protest against moral and religious legalism, which does not put you closer to God but further away.
Jesus was not putting a ban on divorce. He was putting a ban on self righteousness.
At a basic level, all of has have committed adultery. That is, we have watered down the perfect, beautiful, loving will of God on a dozen different moral issues. Every one of us has compromised thousands of times. Only when we stop trying to put ourselves in the right, when we cease asking “when is it lawful” to do less than the best, do we open up our minds and hearts the renovating mercy of God. Then we are enabled to get on with life, gratefully and grace-fully.
This is the Good News.
SERMON 2: THE MAN FROM UZ
* Too wordy! Reduce by one third! Or use over two Sundays.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. And that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. Job 1: 1
A man in the land of Uz? Please take note: the word is not Oz (as in Aus,) but Uz. Although, having said that, the man called Job could indeed be living in the land of Aus/Oz.
Today we commence the first four weeks of Old Testament lessons which are taken from the Book of Job. I am not likely to preach on Job each week, so today I thought I could offer you a quick look at the drama within this poetic, old document. It is by far the bravest attempt in the Old Testament to confront the perplexing problem of suffering: that is, how, if God is faithful and just, can he allow some good people to suffer while many rogues have it easy?
Job is an old story. In its present form it was told a little over 2,000 years ago. But the core of the story may go back many generations before its present form.
THE SET UP
Once upon a time, in the land of Uz, there lived a good, kind, happy family man called Job. This fellow always said his prayers, went to church, cared about his neighbours, and freely gave money to the poor. He was an unpretentious righteous man. Now that is very rare is it not? How often can you easily combine those two words “righteous” and “unpretentious?”
Satan, an angel who was jealous of the love being given to God, set Job up for a fall. Strangely, God allowed this to happen. Refused to veto Satan’s plans. Just like these days, huh?
First Job’s many cattle and sheep, asses and camels were stolen, and his farm workers were killed by the robbers. Bad news for farmer Job.
Worse followed. A cyclone swept through Job’s region, flattening his eldest son’s large homestead and killing all Job’s sons and daughters as they were having lunch. Devastating news for any farmer.
If that wasn’t enough, Satan afflicted Job with some awful disease that made his whole body break out in foul smelling boils, leaving him in misery. Job sat down on a rubbish dump, and took up a broken piece of pottery to scrape clean the festering sores.
Job’s wife was scathing about her religious husband. As Job sat on his rubbish heap, she stood with her hands on her hips mocking him: “That’s religion for you, you stupid old goat!! It didn’t do you much good, did it? Where is this God of yours when you really need him? Where, huh? Why don’t you cut the pious crap, curse this God of yours and then die?”
Job shook his head. “Now you’re talking like one of the foolish woman. I don’t understand how things work, but I will not curse God. Shall we only believe when God hands seem to give us good things, and then get bitter when bad things happen to us?”
Satan could not break Job.
THREE PIOUS FRIENDS
Have any of you suffered at the hands of ultra pious friends? Job was about to. Three guys who used to sit near him in church decided to do their religious duty and come out to visit Job (Beware of pious men intent on doing their religions duty!)
They were shocked to see of Job so ill, dirty and destitute. For a while their compassion took over from their sense of religious duty and they displayed exemplary empathy and patience. The three did not rush into words. Instead they just sat there with him waiting for Job to talk about his predicament. It was a very long wait.
Job was in no hurry to talk. It was seven days before he blurted out his feelings. The poor fellow complained volubly, and said he wished he had never been born. Life was an intolerable burden. What was more, he thought it was about time God did some explaining.
Now that upset his friends. They were shocked at his irreligious defiance. To dare ask God for an explanation? That was like blasphemy.
Besides, they believed they had the explanation. And they reckoned Job should agree with them. Ever since they had been little children, they had been taught the standard doctrine which said that God rewarded good people with health, wealth and happiness, and punished bad men with sickness, poverty and misery. They insisted that Job face up to this well-accepted dogma.
Job would have none of it. He knew in his heart that he had always tried to be true. Job told the three visitors:
“I have been a good person. I have given my best all my life. I’ve said my prayers, gone to church, and helped other people in need. I’ve shared my wealth and always paid good wages. I have not mistreated either my children or my servants. I am not a bad, bad man!
So the misfortunes that have devastated me, and this disease that afflicts me, cannot be God’s punishment.”
His friends shook their heads at his obstinacy. “Face the truth Job. You must have done some very bad things. It cannot be otherwise. You would not be punished so sorely if you had not done evils from which you are hiding.”
Job looked up at them through the slits in his swollen eyes: “Tell me then. You know me fairly well. Tell me some of these very bad things I have done. Come on you three, expose my sins.”
The three visitors looked at one another and shook their heads. They could not recall any specific wickedness that Job might have done that would warrant such punishment. But something had to be wrong. It was a matter of pure logic. Premise: God rewards good people and punishes the bad. Conclusion: Job then, must be a secret sinner. There was no other possibility. He could not be as innocent as he claimed.
One of them said so to his face: “Oh Job, Job. You must have been wicked secretly. You have covered up your wickedness, well enough to fool us. But God has seen. You can’t fool him. You are reaping your just reward. Get real, we are here to help you. Come clean. Repent and make a confession. Maybe God will then have mercy on you.
But Job knew this was not right. He had never indulged in secret wickedness. His integrity was intact. He could not think of any sins that he had not been open about. So he again protested: “No. You’re wrong. I know you are mistaken. God knows you are wrong. Nothing is as simple as it seems to you guys.
Oh how I wish God would clearly explain himself!
INTERMISSION: REFLECTING ON THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING
At this point I leave the story for a short intermission. Think with me about those rigid ideas held by Job’s three friends.
They clutched tenaciously at the simplistic notion that God always rewards a virtuous man or woman with lots of physical blessings, but takes public retribution on those who offend against his laws. This was a common doctrine. It crops up in various places within the books of the Old Testament.
Jesus did not agree.
Our Lord did not accept such a simplistic misreading of God and this world. Jesus would have agreed with Job. Sickness, disease, cyclone or earthquake, were not selective acts of God against unrepentant sinners. He did not embrace the doctrine that heaven decreed bad things for bad people and heaped “goodies” on righteous people. Jesus consistently went out of his way to demonstrate that God was on the side of redemption and healing.
One day, some people who did hold to the simplistic view, brought to Jesus a man who was born blind. They put the question to Jesus:
Who did this sin? Was it this man’s own fault, or was it his parents, that caused him to be born blind?
Jesus’ answer was swift and definite:
“Neither did this man sin, nor his parents, to cause his blindness. But to demonstrate clearly how the actions of God can be plain through him, I shall continue to do the works of the God who sent me while I have daylight.”
Jesus spat on the ground and made some clay, he anointed the man’s eyes with it and told him “Go now, and wash in the pool of Siloam.” So he went, and washed, and came back seeing.
That incident makes it clear where Jesus stood. It was at Job’s side. There is no simple correlation between goodness and a trouble-free life. God is not the purveyor of disaster, but the fountain of free mercy and hope.
Jesus did not solve the problem of suffering. He did everything he could to alleviate it. He left us in no doubt that his compassion flowed from the heart of God.
You and I, and those many generations who will come after us, may never understand the conundrum of who God allows good people to suffer. There is now slick reply to the question: If God is just and loving, how can such a God tolerate so much injustice. But one thing is certain: God does zap sinners.
THE DRAMA OF JOB CONTINUES
Back to the action in the drama of Job.
In spite of the pleas of his friends to repent, Job stood firm: “I have not been secretly wicked.
Like (in today’s terms) I haven’t ripped off the poor and stashed a fortune away in a Swiz bank account. I do not secretly debase myself on pornography, nor am I paedophile. I do not get drunk and beat up my wife in the kitchen. There is no sordid, secret life. I know that. God knows that.”
Job turns on God himself. In the chapters that follow Job complained bitterly to God about the way the Almighty ran the earth. He complained about the injustice of his own misfortunes. He demanded: “Show yourself like a man, and let me confront you face to face.”
This outburst plunged his three friends into anxiety. They must have regretted their close friendship with Job; they hoped God would not imply guilt by association. So they told the man with the festering boils, “Can you hear yourself? Just see how wicked you truly are. How dare you talk to God like that! Now you are revealing your true self, showing us the reason why God has punished you. Behind your devout exterior you are an arrogant, blasphemous, wicked man.”
Job sighed. “Look, I am only telling the truth. Life is not fair. Something is surely wrong. God’s people do suffer. I do not understand why. This makes me angry. But I will not, cannot lie to myself about this. If there is an answer a fellow can understand, then I wish God would hurry up tell us.
Jobs friends were relentless. The debate went on for days. A fourth friend arrived, a much younger man with all the confidence of youth. He summed up the situation, decided that the older three had argued poorly, and he went for the jugular with a every reproof and argument
his agile mind could muster.
Poor Job. These men really were friends, especially those first three. They did seek his happiness. But their minds were captive to erroneous beliefs, and so all they brought to Job was additional torment. But to their credit, even though they were appalled at what they saw as Job’s obdurate heart, they hung in there with him.
Not so the younger man. After his eloquent lecturing and upbraiding of Job, he disappears from the story. No patience, I suppose.
What did God do about it? Did he aim a bolt of lightening at the man with boils all over his body and frustration in his heart, and put him out of his misery?
God permitted Job to give a full vent to his feelings. He let him have his full say. Then at last the Almighty spoke to Job out of a wily [indigenous Aus: whirlwind].
First the Lord reminded Job about his puny human mind and minuscule wisdom. He told Job to stop standing up on his tiny human legs and ridiculously demanding explanations. He reminded Job of all the majesty and mystery of the world around him and of the skies above him. The wisdom underwriting this universe is far beyond the capacity of the tiny mortal brain of a man.
“Yes, dear Job, you have been pretentious. In your distress you have spoken foolishly to me.”
However, God agreed he did not send suffering. It was not his wish. There was no simple correlation between goodness and evil and earthly happiness or distress.
Job listed to God. He apologised. He said he was sorry he got so angry and uppity. He had spoken about matters he could not possibly understand. But he was relieved that he was right in sticking to his ground against the mistaken arguments of his friends.
Finally God turned to the first three friends. God rebuked them:
I am very angry with you lot. You have not spoken to me with your minds open, as my servant Job has. He was right to be honest. You lot had better make some sacrifices to signify your repentance.
For his sake, and because he prays for you, I will not deal with you according to your foolishness.
But get this clear: You have not spoken rightly as has my servant Job.
Isn’t that marvellous? God honours Job’s honesty. He condemns the closed minds of the other three.
A MAN FROM OZ?
That in brief, and without the magnificent poetry of the 42 chapters which constitute the Book of Job, is the story line. The ancient tale of a man from the land of Uz.
Maybe it is also the contemporary story of a man from Oz? And a woman from Oz? Indeed, the story of thousands of Aussie Christians who have wrestled with the apparent unfairness of life, and not arrived at any satisfactory end for their effort?
You and I will not come up with an answer. But I hope we can maintain the integrity of Job. Of course, we have a massive advantage over Job. We have Jesus of Nazareth, the very reflection of the face of God.
We have the Gospel. We have Christ’s compassion to steady us, his healing to regenerate us, his words to enlighten us, his patience to calm us, his enduring love to enfold us, and his cross to redeem us .
We may not understand why some things are as awry as they are. When disasters happen to us, our dear ones, or our friends, or to our honest fellow citizens, we have no slick doctrine to dispel our confusion. But we do know that the Spirit of God is always with us. Always bearing our pain, calming our clamorous fears, sharing the burdens.
Our God does not give us a neat theory to unravel life’s hard mysteries. But this God is one who sows hope in desolation, spreads peace in conflict, turns defeat into victory, and from death brings abundant new life.
The hardest questions remain, implacably baffling. Yet the darkness has been driven back sufficiently for those of faith to see the next steps we must take. The night is riven by the light of God which shines from Golgotha. Unquenchable is the Light from that cross where the most just man whose smile ever graced this planet willingly died for his people.
I met a man from the land of Uz
who trusted God beyond all reason,
He spoke as he scraped at seeping sores:
“The fruits grow best when out of season.”
I said to the man with the wounded feet,
“Where is God when you need him at night?”
He looked at me with a seer’s clear eyes,
“The darker it gets the nearer the Light.”
Although I may spend all my days with disjointed relationships around and conflicts within me, I believe in ultimate reconciliation.
I believe in the reconciling of all things through the grace of Christ.
Personal relationships shall not remain locked in alienation forever.
Misunderstanding and suspicion shall not always subvert openness.
Resentment and revenge shall not prevail over forgiveness.
Tyranny and exploitation, shall not perpetually trample on justice
Violence, terrorism and war, shall not always outgun peace.
Carelessness and apathy shall not forever diffuse compassion.
Personal and political deceits shall not overwhelm integrity.
Prejudice and discrimination and shall never strangle goodwill.
Graft and corruption shall not put paid to honour and trust.
Ignorance and blind dogmatism shall not finally divide and rule over truth.
Because I believe in Christ, I believe that love will have the last word.
I believe in reconciliation.
I believe in grace.
I believe in love.
I believe in God.
Responses L: Let there be light and hope.
P: Let there be peace and joy.
In countries caught up in fear, hatred, terror and bombs, come with your reconciling love;
In circumstances of suspicion and distrust, new slights and old misunderstandings;
In terminated relationships where past resentments and hurts continue to sour the present;
In communities that permit racist, sexist, or class structures to cripple the hopes of many;
In families for which past or present abuse continues to rob people of trust and respect;
In situations in which old wounds and angers persist even after the death of the perpetrators;
In workplaces in which employer-employee conflict seems incapable of a just settlement;
In schools that are big on academic results but small on respecting and nurturing the battlers;
In churches where clergy have badly treated parishioners or laity have denigrated their clergy;
In congregations which suffer from grievances between members who won’t seek resolution.
Loving God, please give us the courage, sensitivity and humility to be your agents of reconciliation, neither glossing over the awkward issues nor relying on our own strength.
Through Christ Jesus your supreme gift of reconciliation.
If your days seem short and the tasks too many, learn quietness from the unhurried Christ.
If opponents should harass you and friends unintentionally hinder you, learn from his grace.
If fresh challenges frighten you and disciplines pain you, learn from his courage.
If success comes to you and others thank or applaud you, learn from his humility.
If you should hit rock bottom and feel hopeless, learn from his cross and resurrection.
The bountiful grace of our Saviour
the unconditional love of our Creator,
and the generous friendship of our Inspirer,
will be with us
from this day forth, even for evermore.
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.