Friday, December 31, 2010

By the Rivers of Babylon, part 2

Boney M's song Rivers of Babylon is based on the words of Psalm 137. It is a lament based on the experiences of the exiles from Judah being tormented by their Babylonian captors.

The song also refers to Psalm 19 verse 4:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer

Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were four out of many thousands of exiles deported from the land of Judah. There were three deportations from 605BC to 586BC, when Jerusalem fell as recorded in Jeremiah 52.

For my first post and the video of Rivers of Babylon, click here

By the rivers of Babylon

Boney M frontman, Bobby Farrell, has died while on tour with the band in Russia. They were famous for Rivers of Bablylon song based on the lament of Psalm 137.

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.

There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign
land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand
forget its skill.

Psalm 137 verses 1-4

Click here to view

Friday, December 17, 2010

Six trends emerging in 2010

The Barna research report for 2010 makes challenging reading for church leaders. The report identifies six themes:

1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.

What used to be basic, universally-known truths about Christianity are now unknown mysteries to a large and growing share of Americans--especially young adults.

2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.

Despite technological advances that make communications instant and far-reaching, Christians are becoming more spiritually isolated from non-Christians than was true a decade ago.

3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.

When asked what matters most, teenagers prioritize education, career development, friendships, and travel. Faith is significant to them, but it takes a back seat to life accomplishments and is not necessarily perceived to affect their ability to achieve their dreams.

4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.

Largely driven by the passion and energy of young adults, Christians are more open to and more involved in community service activities than has been true in the recent past.

5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
Our biblical illiteracy and lack of spiritual confidence has caused Americans to avoid making discerning choices for fear of being labeled judgmental. The result is a Church that has become tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies.

6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
Christianity has arguably added more value to American culture than any other religion, philosophy, ideology or community. Yet, contemporary Americans are hard pressed to identify any specific value added.

Clearly the research is from an American perspective but I strongly suspect that these trends are applicable to our Australian context. Read the full report here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Time honoured advice

We found this over a doorway in a church in Tasmania.

The Primitive Methodists learned to watch (to understand the challenges of their times) and they certainly knew how to pray.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How do we keep our spiritual fervour?

The early Primitive Methodists were zealous and passionate about their faith. Where did their spiritual fervour come from?

The answer is quite simple. It came in part from powerful prayer meetings that in turn ignited powerful preachers, who were bold and effective. These prayer meetings fanned into flame the zealous faith of new converts and in these prayer meetings new converts caught the DNA of the movement. That is where their passion came from. Dynamic prayer became the fuel for the expansion of the movement.

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour” (Romans 12:11)

See also Practicing a Shout, Dynamic Prayer Meetings Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.