Category Archives: videos

Pro Life Auckland at Auckland University

Recently, students at the Auckland University were invited to a public discussion concerning an upcoming referendum. The question to be voted on from Monday is relates to whether or not Pro Life Auckland should be disaffiliated from the Auckland University Student’s Association (AUSA). The question also relates to whether a permanent ban should be imposed, preventing any group of similar ideology from becoming affiliated with the AUSA.

The 90-minute discussion was live-streamed to Facebook by the AUSA.

I have taken the liberty of making the watching of the discussion more palatable by isolating selected clips from it and presenting it as a Youtube Playlist. Some of these clips include members of Pro Life Auckland at Auckland University.

About Sikhism

About Sikhism

I have been doing a bit of reading, listening, and learning about Sikhism simply because they constitute a significant portion of the mission field of Covenant Presbyterian Church. If they are to be reached with the gospel, it is imperative that we understand something about what they believe.

Here is a brief video that outlines some of their basic beliefs.

 

about sikhism

Guru Nanak Dev Ji (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the eleven Sikh Gurus, the eleventh being the living Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Number of Adherents

Worldwide An estimated 30 million people follow the Sikh religion. Most of the devotees live in Asia, particularly in the Punjab region of India (Wilkinson, p. 335). There are also significant Sikh populations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada due to Indian immigration to these countries; the United Kingdom and Canada have more than 400,000 Sikh inhabitants each according to census data, and the United States (which does not collect religious data in its census) was estimated to have at least 200,000 Sikh inhabitants by the Pew Research Center in 2012.

Basic Tenets

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. The deity is God, known as Nam, or Name. Other synonyms include the Divine, Ultimate, Ultimate Reality, Infinity, the Formless, Truth, and other attributes of God.
Sikhs adhere to three basic principles. These are hard work (kirt kao), worshipping the Divine Name (nam japo), and sharing what one has (vand cauko). Meditating on the Divine Name is seen as a method of moving toward a life totally devoted to God. In addition, Sikhs believe in karma, or moral cause and effect. They value hospitality to all, regardless of religion, and oppose caste distinctions. Sikhs delineate a series of five stages that move upward to gurmukh, total devotion to God. This service is called Seva. Sahaj, or tranquility, is practiced as a means of being united with God as well as of generating external good will. Sikhs are not in favor of external routines of religion; they may stop in their temple whenever it is convenient during the day.
Sikhism does not include a belief in the afterlife. Instead, the soul is believed to be reincarnated in successive lives and deaths, a belief borrowed from Hinduism. The goal is then to break this karmic cycle, and to merge the human spirit with that of God.

Sacred Text

The Guru Granth Sahib (also referred to as the Aad Guru Granth Sahib, or AGGS), composed of Adi Granth, meaning First Book, is the holy scripture of Sikhism. It is a collection of religious poetry that is meant to be sung. Called shabads, they were composed by the first five gurus, the ninth guru, and thirty-six additional holy men of northern India. Sikhs always show honor to the Guru Granth Sahib by carrying it above the head when in a procession.
A second major text is the Dasam Granth, or Tenth Book, created by followers of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru. Much of it is devoted to retelling the Hindu stories of Krishna and Rama. Those who are allowed to read and care for the Granth Sahib are known as granthi. Granthi may also look after the gurdwara, or temple. In the gurdwara, the book rests on a throne with a wooden base and cushions covered in cloths placed in a prescribed order. If the book is not in use, it is covered with a cloth known as a rumala. When the book is read, a fan called a chauri is fanned over it as a sign of respect, just as followers of the gurus fanned them with chauris. At Amritsar, a city in northwestern India that houses the Golden Temple, the Guru Granth Sahib is carried on a palanquin (a covered, carried bed). If it is carried in the city, a kettle drum is struck and people welcome it by tossing rose petals.

 Major Figures

Guru Nanak (1469–1539) is the founder of Sikhism. He was followed by nine other teachers, and collectively they are known as the Ten Gurus. Each of them was chosen by his predecessor and was thought to share the same spirit of that previous guru. Guru Arjan (1581–1606), the fifth guru, oversaw completion of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Guru Gobind Singh (1675–1708) was the tenth and last human guru. He decreed that the True Guru henceforth would be the Granth Sahib, the scripture of the Sikhs. He also founded the Khalsa, originally a military order of male Sikhs willing to die for the faith; the term is now used to refer to all baptized Sikhs.

Major Holy Sites

Amritsar, India, is the holy city of Sikhism. Construction of the city began under Guru Ram Das (1574–1581), the fourth guru, during the 1570s. One legend says that the Muslim ruler, Emperor Akbar, gave the land to the third guru, Guru Amar Das (1552–74). Whether or not that is true, Amar Das did establish the location of Amritsar. He chose a site near a pool believed to hold healing water.
When construction of the Golden Temple began, only a small town existed. One legend says that a Muslim saint from Lahore, India, named Mian Mir laid the foundation stone of the first temple. It has been demolished and rebuilt three times. Although pilgrimage is not required of Sikhs, many come to see the shrines and the Golden Temple. They call it Harmandir Sahib, God’s Temple, or Darbar Sahib, the Lord’s Court. When the temple was completed during the tenure of the fifth guru, Arjan, he placed the first copy of the Guru Granth Sahib inside.
Every Sikh temple has a free kitchen attached to it, called a langar. After services, all people, regardless of caste or standing within the community, sit on the floor in a straight line and eat a simple vegetarian meal together. As a pilgrimage site, the langar serves 30,000–40,000 people daily, with more coming on Sundays and festival days. About forty volunteers work in the kitchen each day.

Major Rites & Celebrations

In addition to the community feasts at temple langars, Sikhs honor four rites of passage in a person’s life: naming, marriage, initiation in Khalsa (pure) through the Amrit ceremony, and death.
There are eight major celebrations and several other minor ones in Sikhism. Half of them commemorate events in the lives of the ten gurus. The others are Baisakhi, the new year festival; Diwali, the festival of light, which Hindus also celebrate; Hola Mahalla, which Gobind Singh created as an alternative to the Hindu festival of Holi, and which involves military parades; and the installing of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Derived from: “Sikhism.” World Religion Profiles (Online Edition). Salem Press. 2013.

What does the law of God require?

Question seven of the New City Catechism asks: What does the law of God require?

Personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience; that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves.What God forbids should never be done and what God commands should always be done.

Bible on: What does the law of God require?

Matthew 22:37–40

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Commentary on: What does the law of God require?

Loving the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength is the first great branch of Christian righteousness. You shall delight yourself in the Lord your God; seeking and finding all happiness in Him. You shall hear and fulfill His word, “My son, give me your heart.” And having given Him your inmost soul to reign there without a rival, you may well cry out in the fulness of your heart, “I will love You, O my Lord, my strength. The Lord IS my strong rock; my Savior, my God, in whom l trust.” The second commandment, the second great branch of Christian righteousness, is closely and inseparably connected with the first: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love—embrace with the most tender goodwill, the most earnest and cordial affection, the most inflamed desires of preventing or removing all evil and bringing every possible good. Your neighbor—not only your friends, kinfolk, or acquaintances; not only the virtuous ones who regard you, who extend or return your kindness, but every person, not excluding those you have never seen or know by name; not excluding those you know to be evil and unthankful, those who despitefully use you. Even those you shall love as yourself with the same invariable thirst after their happiness. Use the same unwearied care to screen them from whatever might grieve or hurt either their soul or body. This is love.

John Wesley (1703–1791). An English preacher and theologian, Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles, with founding the English Methodist movement. He travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day, and is said to have preached more than 40,000 sermons. He also was a noted hymn-writer.

From “The Two Great Commandments” in Renew My Heart: Classic Insights by John Wesley (Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour, 2011).

Juan Sanchez: What does the law of God require?

Prayer on: What does the law of God require?

We thank you Heavenly Father that you have not left us to grope in the darkness without any light to show us the way. We thank you that your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. And we thank you that you have given us in the Holy Spirit an indwelling comforter and strengthener who writes your law in our hearts enabling us to love and to obey it. Grant us in increasing measure the fulness of the Spirit that we may live a life that is pleasing in your holy sight. For the glory of your great name. Amen.

John Stott (1921–2011). An English Anglican preacher who for many years served as rector of All Souls Church in London, Stott was one of the principal framers of the Lausanne Covenant (1974). His numerous books include Why I Am a Christian and The Cross of Christ.

From the end of the sermon “The Call to Fulfil the Law” on Matthew 5:17–20, recorded 15th October 1989, available from www.allsouls.org

Sermons

Here’s an embedded playlist of some sermons that I’ve preached at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Manurewa.

Most of the sermons are from either Mark or Titus.

How and why did God create us?

The Fourth Question in the New City Catechism asks:  How and why did God create us?

God created us male and female in his own image to know him, love him, live with him, and glorify him.  And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.

Commentary on:  How and why did God create us?

The glory of God is the first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord’s own prayers: “Father, glorify thy name.” (John xii. 28.) It is the purpose for which the world was created. It is the end for which the saints are called and converted. It is the chief thing we should seek, that “God in all things may be glorified.” (1 Peter iv. 11.)… He alone deserves to receive all glory…we give Him all honor and praise and rejoice that He is King of kings, and Lord of lords…. Where are our hearts? What do we love best? Are our chiefest affections on things in earth, or things in heaven?… Singleness of purpose is one great secret of spiritual prosperity. If our eyes do not see distinctly, we cannot walk without stumbling and falling. If we attempt to work for two different masters, we are sure to give satisfaction to neither. It is just the same with respect to our souls. We cannot serve [God] and the world at the same time. It is vain to attempt it. The thing cannot be done…. God must be king over our hearts. His law, His will, His precepts must receive our first attention.

We have all talents in God’s sight…. Anything whereby we may glorify God is a talent, our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections, our privileges as members of Christ’s Church, our advantages as possessors of the Bible, —all, all are talents. Whence came these things? What hand bestowed them? Why are we what we are? Why are we not the worms that crawl on the earth? There is only one answer to these questions. All that we have is a loan from God. We are God’s stewards. We are God’s debtors. Let this thought sink deeply into our hearts.

John Charles Ryle (1816–1900). The first Anglican bishop of Liverpool, Ryle’s appointment was at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. As well as being a writer and pastor, Ryle was an athlete who rowed and played cricket for Oxford University. He also was responsible for the building of over forty churches.

From Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. Matthew (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1870), 51–56, 336–337.

John Piper on:  How and why did God create us?

A prayer for: How and Why did God create us?

I pray God, for the sake of Christ…to receive me now as entirely his own, and to deal with me, in all respects, as such, whether he afflicts me or prospers me, or whatever he pleases to do with me, who am his. Now, henceforth, I am not to act, in any respect, as my own—I shall act as my own, if I ever make use of any of my powers to any thing that is not to the glory of God, and do not make the glorifying of him my whole and entire business.

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). A colonial American preacher, theologian, and philosopher, Edwards became pastor of his church in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1726. He is widely known for his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” as well as his many books including The End For Which God Created the World and A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University).

From “Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1 (London: William Ball, 1840), lxvii.

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

As soon as I saw today’s daily prompt topic, I thought of this song:  By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

 

By the light of the silvery moon
I want to spoon
To my honey, I’ll croon love’s tune
Honey moon, keep a-shinin’ in June
Your silvery beams will bring love’s dreams
We’ll be cuddlin’ soon
By the silvery moon

Place, park, scene, dark
Silvery moon is shining through the trees
Cast, two, me, you
Summer kisses floating on the breeze
Act one, be done
Dialog, where would ya like to spoon?
My cue, with you
Underneath the silvery moon

By the light of the silvery moon
I wanna spoon
To my honey, I’ll croon love’s tune
Honey moon, keep a-shinin’ in June
Your silvery beams will bring love’s dreams
We’ll be cuddlin’ soon
By the silvery moon

Act two, Scene new
Roses blooming all around the place
Cast three, You me
Preacher with a solemn-looking face
Choir sings, bell rings
Preacher, you are wed forever more
Act two, all though
Every night the same encore

By the light, not the dark but the light
Of the silvery moon, not the sun but the moon
I wanna spoon, not croon, but spoon
To my honey, I’ll croon love’s tune
Honeymoon, honeymoon, honeymoon
Keep a-shinin’ in June
Your silvery beams will bring love’s dreams
We’ll be cuddlin’ soon
By the silvery moon
The silvery moon

The Family Project – Focus on the Family

The Family Project

Focus on the Family New Zealand

Can we truly say that Christians have a robust theology of family today, one that is true to the fullness and beauty of the Christian story, but also deeply practical to our everyday lives?

Focus on the Family has been long concerned that Christians do not. This is why we developed the Family Project.

It is a 12-part small group video curriculum that takes participants on a trek around the world to diverse cultures, talking to leading experts on the question of how and why family matters to each of us in light of a larger Christian worldview. It is a smart, creative and fun examination of how rich our faith is in terms of what God created each of us to be and how the story of salvation and the story of why family matters go together in remarkably beautiful ways. It helps us understand both the truth of our faith and the wonder of family at the same time.

Equipped with this information, viewers will also be exposed to a wealth of hands-on tools and resources to help them embrace those values within their own families and pass them along to future generations.

For more information – please visit the Family Project website.


The Family Project

Why do families work? Because God Himself designed them! Thriving families will lead to thriving communities, and thriving communities will transform the world. People will find purpose, joy and redemption; and generation after generation will create a positive legacy.

The Family Project is a 12 session DVD experience for couples or small groups that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.

The Family Project also offers a hope-filled, optimistic antidote to the current landscape of familial breakdown, sending a clear message that a return to the time-tested, historical model of the family is where so many of our culture’s wounds begin to heal. It’s designed to develop a new appreciation for why family matters…based on a bigger understanding of who God is in His character and why He created humanity the way He did. Equipped with this information, viewers will also be exposed to a wealth of hands-on tools and resources to help them embrace those values within their own families and pass them along to future generations.

How many persons are there in God?

The third question in the New City Catechism asks: How many persons are there in God?

There are three persons inthe one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

The Bible on: How many persons are there in God?

2 Corinthians 13:14

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Commentary on: How many persons are there in God?

The…Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, beingone God, is…necessary to us to be believed, not only as to the eternal…but especially for the knowledge of God’s three great sorts of works on man: that is, as our Creator, and the God of nature; as our Redeemer, and the God of governing and reconciling grace, and as our Sanctifier, and the Applier and Perfecter of all to fit us to glory.

The Scripture tells us that there are three, and yet but one God.… We are to be baptised into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Matt. xxviii. 29.) And there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one (1 John v. 7.)… [That] God is one infinite, undivided Spirit; and yet that he is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, must be believed.

We must…know, believe and esteem him to be the only infinite, eternal, self-sufficient Spirit, vital Power, Understanding, and Will, our most perfect Life, Light, and Love; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things; our absolute Owner, Ruler, and Father; our Maker, our Redeemer, and Sanctifier.

Richard Baxter (1615–1691). An English Puritan, Baxter served as a chaplain in the army of Oliver Cromwell and as a pastor in Kidderminster. When James II was overthrown, he was persecuted and imprisoned for 18 months. He continued to preach, writing at the time that: “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” As well as his theological works he was a poet and hymn-writer. He also wrote his own Family Catechism (from which this quote is taken).

From “The Catechising of Families” in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Volume 19 (London: Paternoster, 1830), 33, 62, 165.

Kevin de Young on: How many persons are there in God?

Prayer on:  How many persons are there in God?

Not without trembling, we have entreated of the most holy mystery of the reverend Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which we have learned out of the scriptures: and here now we will stay, humbly worshipping this Unity in trinity and Trinity in unity. And let us keep in mind and acknowledge this distinction or division most manifestly declared in the scriptures, and the unity also commended unto us with exceeding great diligence…. There is but one God…. Therefore when we read that God created the world, we understand that the Father from whom are all things, by the Son by whom are all things, in the Holy Ghost in whom are all things, created the world. And when we read that the Son became flesh, suffered, died, and rose again for our salvation, we believe that the Father and the Holy Ghost, though they were not partakers of his incarnation and passion, yet notwithstanding that they wrought our salvation by the Son…. And when sins are said to be forgiven in the Holy Ghost, we believe that this benefit and all other benefits of our blessedness are unseparably given and bestowed upon us from one, only, true, living, and everlasting God, who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. To whom be praise and thanksgiving for ever and ever. Amen.

Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575). A Swiss reformer, and the successor of Zwingli as head of the Zurich church, Bullinger wrote both theological and historical works comprising some 127 titles. There exist about 12,000 letters from and to Bullinger, the most extended correspondence preserved from Reformation times. He corresponded with Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I of England, Christian II of Denmark, and Frederick III Elector Palatine among others.

From “Of The Holy Ghost: The Eighth Sermon” in “The Other Eight Sermons of the Fourth Decade” in Decades of Henry Bullinger, translated by H.I., Volume 4 (Cambridge: University Press, 1851), 325–326.