Friday, July 29, 2016

Inspiring Video: A Brand New Ending

"It is not death people are afraid of. It is getting to the end of life only to realize that you never truly lived." These words are the beginning of this very inspiring video. (Alternative Link)


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Midweek Meditation: First Ten Primitive Persecutions (Foxes Book of Martyrs)

Here is a list of the first ten primitive persecutions from Nero to Diocletian.

AD 67
Set fire to the city of Rome, and subsequently pinned the blame on Christians. Executed the Christians by feeding them to wild animals and burning their bodies.
AD 81
Framed Christians for nearly everything. Put every Christian to the test, that if they confessed they are Christians, they would be executed. Even those who refused to answer the oath were put to death. Thousands died.
AD 108
Persecutions become a daily thing where thousands were killed daily. Methods include being speared to death; burned at the stake; Fed to lions; shredded to death; etc.
AD 162
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
The cruelties used in this persecution were such that many of the spectators shuddered with horror at the sight, and were astonished at the intrepidity of the sufferers. Some of the martyrs were obliged to pass, with their already wounded feet, over thorns, nails, sharp shells, etc. upon their points, others were scourged until their sinews and veins lay bare, and after suffering the most excruciating tortures that could be devised, they were destroyed by the most terrible deaths.
AD 192
Famous martyrs include Victor, Bishop of Rome; Serenus; Felicitas; Perpetua; Speratus; Calistus. A Cecilia married a gentleman named Valerian who was converted. After Valerian was beheaded, Cecilia was stripped naked in a scalding bath, boiled for a time before being beheaded in AD 222.
AD 235
Martyred: Pontianus, Anteros, Pammachius, Quiritus, Simplicus, many Roman senators, Calepodius, Martina, Hippolitus, etc.
AD 249
Despite the persecutions, Christianity continued to grow, at the expense of the heathen temples. So desperate were the powers who tried to stem the tide that they even tried to credit anyone who can kill Christians. The worst was the island of Crete where the place was deemed “streamed with pious blood.”
AD 257
Innumerable deaths.
AD 274
Felix, Agapetus, Marcus, Marcellianus, are some of the most notable martyrs. (Read ** for a remarkable record of what happened to an entire legion of soldiers who were all Christians.)
AD 303
Books were burned; Churches were torched; and the total destruction of anything linked to Christianity….until Constantine’s conversion.

You can download the Foxes Book of Martyrs for free here or here.

**"In the year of Christ 286, a most remarkable affair occurred; a legion of soldiers, consisting of six thousand six hundred and sixty-six men, contained none but Christians. This legion was called the Theban Legion, because the men had been raised in Thebias: they were quartered in the east until the emperor Maximian ordered them to march to Gaul, to assist him against the rebels of Burgundy. They passed the Alps into Gaul, under the command of Mauritius, Candidus, and Exupernis, their worthy commanders, and at length joined the emperor. Maximian, about this time, ordered a general sacrifice, at which the whole army was to assist; and likewise he commanded that they should take the oath of allegiance and swear, at the same time, to assist in the extirpation of Christianity in Gaul. Alarmed at these orders, each individual of the Theban Legion absolutely refused either to sacrifice or take the oaths prescribed. This so greatly enraged Maximian, that he ordered the legion to be decimated, that is, every tenth man to be selected from the rest, and put to the sword. This bloody order having been put in execution, those who remained alive were still inflexible, when a second decimation took place, and every tenth man of those living was put to death. This second severity made no more impression than the first had done; the soldiers preserved their fortitude and their principles, but by the advice of their officers they drew up a loyal remonstrance to the emperor. This, it might have been presumed, would have softened the emperor, but it had a contrary effect: for, enraged at their perseverance and unanimity, he commanded that the whole legion should be put to death, which was accordingly executed by the other troops, who cut them to pieces with their swords, September 22, 286."

Monday, July 25, 2016

BookPastor >> "Discipleship That Fits" (Bobby William Harrington and Alex Absalom)

This book was first published on Feb 17th, 2016 at Panorama of a Book Saint.


TITLE: Discipleship That Fits: The Five Kinds of Relationships God Uses to Help Us Grow
AUTHOR: Bobby William Harrington and Alex Absalom
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (240 pages).

When buying clothes, we look for those that fit the wearers. When hiring people, we usually talk about whether we get the right person for the right job. Even in churches that are hiring staff, we are passionate about finding the right fit. In a world of increasing personalization and customization, the idea of fit matches very well with modern society. Bobby Harrington and Alex Absalom have extended the idea of 'fit' to discipleship. They are convinced that the primary command of the Great Commission is to make disciples. Without discipleship, churches risk getting converts without depth, believers without passion, and people without purpose. For Harrington, discipleship is about the process of turning believers into followers of Jesus in every way. For Absalom, a disciple is an "intentional learner from Jesus." The authors highlight the presence of three common sets of behaviour in churches. The "bounded set" is about churches that tend to focus on the boundary to determine who is in and who is out. Such a set tends to be too discriminative and fails to build community with people different from us. The "fuzzy set" type runs to the other extreme where there are no distinctions, leading to a confused state. The "centered set" has all persons in the community united in one goal.

The two key questions for discipleship are:

1) What is Jesus saying?
2) What am I doing in response?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Erik Erikson's Development Sequence of Child Development.

I came across Erik Erikson's work with regard to child development today. In his book, Childhood and Society, Erikson finds that there are changing psychosocial conflicts at each stage of development. It looks a little bit too simplistic in development, but it sure is interesting to see the flow of growth and the physiological changes affect the psychological growth. Truth is, these are basic markers and more often than not, there are overlaps across the different age ranges. Human beings are way too complex to be streamlined into any one particular stage.  
(Adapted from Erik Erikson's Childhood and Society, Norton, 1950)


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Midweek Meditation: Next Seven Martyrs in History (Foxes Book of Martyrs)

Here is a list of the next seven martyrs of the Christian faith. The list of first ten martyrs were published last week.

The brother of James, also called Thaddeus was crucified at Edessa in AD 72.
Having preached widely in several countries, he helped translate the gospel of Matthew into the language of India. He was subsequently beaten cruelly at length and crucified.
Also called Didymus, he was preaching the gospel in India and Parthia, and martyred by spears. 
Luke the Evangelist
A traveling companion with Paul. Idolatrous priests of Greece hung him on an olive tree.
Preached the gospel in Mauritia, Africa, and even Britain where he was crucified in AD 74.
Thrown into a cauldron of burning oil but he escaped death miraculously. Only disciple to avoid a violent death.
Died in AD 73.

You can download the Foxes Book of Martyrs for free here or here.


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