torsdag 29. november 2007

The year of the Lord's favour!

Four Sundays before Christmas the new Church year begins. In Norwegian churches on Sunday 2 December the gospel reading takes us to the town of Nazareth, the home town of Jesus. In the Synagogue on the Sabbath, Jesus stood up to read from the Scriptures. He opened the scroll on the text in Isaiah 61 and read:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." (Luke 4:18-19)

This is the time to announce that YOU have the favour of the Lord. Did you know that?
Now is the time for you to be set free from all your chains.
Ask him, the King of kings, to do it for you now.

torsdag 22. november 2007

Minority? Absolutely not!


I must admit that after the vote in the Church of Norway General Synod (Kirkemøtet) last week, I felt rather discouraged. I now belong to the minority in my church who believe that what the Bible says about homosexuality is valid for us today as well. I have lost much of my motivation for continuing to be a minister in the Church of Norway, and I have once again reviewed all the arguments for and against staying in this church.

Gradually I have felt my strength returning. God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Amen!
And when I serve in Bergen International Church, I realise that I am absolutely not in a minority. For the liberal part of the Church of Norway is merely a tiny part of the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ. It is also the least vibrant part of the worldwide church. It is a part of the church that will wither away. It is only by staying in touch with the part of the body of Christ that is really alive that we will survive as a church. It is particularly in Africa, Asia and South America we find the vibrant part of the church today. We need you, brothers and sisters, to breathe life into this ailing old Norwegian church!

tirsdag 20. november 2007

Freely you received, freely give!

I have been blessed by a free Bible commentary software called E-Sword, so I want to give you the link: http://www.e-sword.net/
E-sword is called "The Sword of the Lord with an electronic edge".  It's a very useful Bible study tool, and it is completely free.  It has got a whole lot of Bible translations,  including the classic languages Greek, Hewbrew and Latin + many modern tongues, in addition to some dictionaries and classic commentaries. 

søndag 18. november 2007

When shepherds disagree

The Church
of Norway has eleven shepherds - bishops - 
who disagree among themselves about the issue of homosexuality.  
Six of them  want to allow persons who practice homosexuality to be priests in the church.  
Last Friday a majority of Norway's state church voted to let each bishop and diocese decide their own practice in this matter.  The shepherds disagree.  What do the sheep do?

We are grateful that we still have some bishops who teach according to the Bible in this matter,
but disappointed that they don't go even further and admit that the church is not one anymore. There is a deep divide going right through our church.  Our unity is only outward.  

When the shepherds point in different directions,
the sheep must listen to the chief shepherd, the one who "enters by the gate". 
"The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  
When he has brought out all his own, 
he goes on ahead of them, 
and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."

Has the time soon come for the sheep to go out?    

torsdag 15. november 2007

The Lord's my Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

King David