Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Monday, December 4, 2023
My wife E's family have had no Christmas traditions -- none whatsoever. It is simply the fact that Christmas traditions never reached rural Africa. This year they have decided to change that. We shall exchange Christmas gifts -- yet we are under strict instructions: only one reciprocation each. So, for instance, E will give me a gift, and I shall give E a gift, but neither of us will give anyone else a gift, nor will we receive one. OBSERVATION: I am interested to get behind the thinking here. I can think of a few possible reasons why it is so announced.
Sunday, December 3, 2023
"I know that some ministers are continually dis-couraged by their members (sometimes, chiefly the Church leadership). I am continually en-couraged. Oh, just fifteen minutes with the members makes me feel better. This is not to say that there aren't discouraging moments of ministry, or discouraging aspects -- but on the whole, I am so encouraged. OBSERVATION: I think there are a few things that lie behind their encouragement. Here are three that I can think of: 1. We continually focus on what the Lord is doing among us, 2. I have a relaxed approach to ministry (though not disengaged or slack), and 3. There is a living faith among our members."
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Friday, December 1, 2023
A common theme in the Bible is: one is saved by faith, not works. Questions which then arise from that are: what quality of faith is needed? How much faith is required? One finds such questions fairly often in ministry. The biblical answer, though, comes in different form. The Bible speaks of "the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption". It lies in the presence of the Spirit. OBSERVATION: On this basis, one can then ask diagnostic questions. It goes to the doctrine of assurance, also called, significantly, "the witness of the Spirit".
Thursday, November 30, 2023
There were times that I seemed to have strong and plentiful posts on this blog -- yet page-views were few. When I say "few", I mean fifty a day. Yet the weather does not make a climate. This month, there have been more than two-hundred page-views a day. Some months, more than one-thousand a day. OBSERVATION: It isn't all about page-views, though, as if numbers were everything. There is the helpfulness of a blog, the influence of a blog, the training of a blog (for oneself), the blog as searchable source, and so on.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
It is "old news" that ministers may be underestimated for their experience of the world. They are often underestimated, too, for their training: "What does a minister know about X?" Your humble minister may be well trained not only in theology or homiletics (preaching), but in psychology, philosophy, leadership, education, ethics, even biology or music, and a range of other subjects. OBSERVATION: My own theological education encompassed most of the above.
Monday, November 27, 2023
Sunday, November 26, 2023
Saturday, November 25, 2023
Friday, November 24, 2023
Wife E and I recently sought a new place to stay. We thought it would be as it was ten years ago -- a laid back affair, affordable places, and spoilt for choice. In the interim, however, all of Africa is crowding in on Cape Town. Some places receive hundreds of inquiries within days. I needed to make nearly fifty applications in one form or another -- until I decided to be street smart. OBSERVATION: Fraud is common. At least 7% of agents I dealt with were fraudsters. One obtained sufficient information from me to make attempts on my bank account. Every time he did, the bank froze my account, which was many times.