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Consumer God; Consumer Church

Nearly 2000 years ago Paul the Apostle wrote these words to the Christians in Rome:“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed.” In other words, the way the Christian thinks is not to be influenced by the world’s way of thinking. This of course is easier said than done as we are constantly bombarded with what the world thinks.

One area of the world’s influence on Christian thinking that concerns me is the consumer mindset and how it influences our response to God and to church.

Nearly 2000 years ago Paul the Apostle wrote these words to the Christians in Rome:“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed.” In other words, the way the Christian thinks is not to be influenced by the world’s way of thinking. This of course is easier said than done as we are constantly bombarded with what the world thinks.

One area of the world’s influence on Christian thinking that concerns me is the consumer mindset and how it influences our response to God and to church.

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Religion: True or False

I used to love true or false questions at school.  Even if I didn’t know the answer I could still take a guess and have a 50% chance of being right!  But, when it comes to religion, it doesn’t appear to be that easy.

In research that Bayside Church conducted last year, those that were outside of the church saw the word “religion” as a mixture of positive and negative.  Some used positive words such as “faith, diversity, hope, community and strength” to describe how they felt about religion, while others saw things differently: “strictness, fanatical, divisiveness, war and politicised.” 

I used to love true or false questions at school.  Even if I didn’t know the answer I could still take a guess and have a 50% chance of being right!  But, when it comes to religion, it doesn’t appear to be that easy.


In research that Bayside Church conducted last year, those that were outside of the church saw the word “religion” as a mixture of positive and negative.  Some used positive words such as “faith, diversity, hope, community and strength” to describe how they felt about religion, while others saw things differently: “strictness, fanatical, divisiveness, war and politicised.” 




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Born again – What’s that about?

"Born again!". It's a familiar term that's been done to death in recent times.  If you google it you come up with all sorts of things from movies to songs, albums to books, and of course the Abba tribute band Bjorn Again.  Born again is a hair product, a beauty mask, a motorbike restoration business and a fashion show.  It's an American activist group and a comic book. Right here in Melbourne you can even cover your concrete slab with "Born again floors."  Born again is an Elvis impersonator in Sydney, and rapper Snoop Dog said he was born again after visiting a Rastafarian Temple in Jamaica earlier this year where a High Priest told him, 'You are the light; you are the lion.'  He now refers to himself as “ Snoop Lion” .  I kid you not.

"Born again!". It's a familiar term that's been done to death in recent times.  If you google it you come up with all sorts of things from movies to songs, albums to books, and of course the Abba tribute band Bjorn Again.  Born again is a hair product, a beauty mask, a motorbike restoration business and a fashion show.  It's an American activist group and a comic book. Right here in Melbourne you can even cover your concrete slab with "Born again floors."  Born again is an Elvis impersonator in Sydney, and rapper Snoop Dog said he was born again after visiting a Rastafarian Temple in Jamaica earlier this year where a High Priest told him, 'You are the light; you are the lion.'  He now refers to himself as “ Snoop Lion” .  I kid you not.



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Persecuted For Your Faith

Persecution is when one person defines another person by a particular attribute and then proceeds to punish or vilify those with that attribute.  People are persecuted because of their racial background, physical appearance, political persuasion, sexual orientation, social status or religious beliefs.  Christianity is not the only religion that faces persecution.

Persecution is when one person defines another person by a particular attribute and then proceeds to punish or vilify those with that attribute.  People are persecuted because of their racial background, physical appearance, political persuasion, sexual orientation, social status or religious beliefs.  Christianity is not the only religion that faces persecution. Read More

To Smack or Not To Smack?

Smacking is back in the news – again. This topic is like a common cold … it comes around about three times every blinkin’ year; this time it’s been raised by Dr Gervase Chaney the head of Australia’s leading paediatric body. Dr Chaney said it was no longer okay for parents to argue “it never did us any harm” – and called on colleagues to stand up for children’s rights. Dr Chaney said the current position opposing the use of physical discipline as “ineffective and unhelpful”, did not go far enough.

Smacking is back in the news – again. This topic is like a common cold ... it comes around about three times every blinkin' year; this time it’s been raised by Dr Gervase Chaney the head of Australia’s leading paediatric body. Dr Chaney said it was no longer okay for parents to argue “it never did us any harm” – and called on colleagues to stand up for children’s rights. Dr Chaney said the current position opposing the use of physical discipline as “ineffective and unhelpful”, did not go far enough. Read More

Tithing: Putting God First

As we approach Christmas time, I’d like to remind you of the well-known story of the Magi who followed the star to find the Christ child. “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts” (Matt 2:11).  This story emphasises a strong Biblical principle:  the worship of Jesus is usually accompanied by giving.  In the Bible, giving starts with tithing.

As we approach Christmas time, I’d like to remind you of the well-known story of the Magi who followed the star to find the Christ child. “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts” (Matt 2:11).  This story emphasises a strong Biblical principle:  the worship of Jesus is usually accompanied by giving.  In the Bible, giving starts with tithing. Read More