Rob Buckingham's Blog

Easter Possums

We’ve all heard about the Easter Bunny and most of us love Easter eggs, but what can we learn from possums at Easter?

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Australia’s Retail Dilemma

There’s been a lot in the news recently about the dilemma of falling sales being experienced by Australian retailers.  This is blamed in part by the GFC that rattled people’s confidence and made us save more.  The other contributor to this dilemma is said to be the increasing number of purchases being made online.  In the face of these claims the inconvenient truth is Australia’s retail sales are currently experiencing 4.5% growth.

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The Religion of Atheism

The religion of atheism will once again be preached at the 2012 Atheist Convention coming up in April in Melbourne with an impressive lineup of preachers including Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett.  Christopher Hitchens was also supposed to […]

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The Season of Lent

Every year at this time the Bayside Church community commits to 40 days of prayer and fasting based loosely on the tradition of Lent.  So, when did Lent begin and what is it all about?

There is clear evidence that a period of fasting before Easter was practiced at least during the second century, and that by the fourth century there was a widespread practice of a 40 day fast. The reason for 40 days is found in the biblical significance of that number in the lives of Noah, Moses, Jonah, and Jesus.

Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance.  It’s a time for reflection and taking stock.  In the early days of the Church it was used to prepare for Easter, as an act of rededication to Jesus as well as to prepare new converts for baptism.

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Donate Life

This week is Donate Life Week, Australia's national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation, and is part of the Australian Government's National Reform Agenda to increase organ and tissue donation rates.  This awareness campaign is essential because right now only one in 10 Victorian adults are registered organ donors – and many of those never have their final wishes fulfilled because grieving families often block the wishes of the deceased.

Currently about 1,700 Australians are waiting for organ donations.  Last year only 309 donors gave organs that saved 931 recipients.  So, what is a Christian view of organ donation?

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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.

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The Moral Police

Many people have a completely wrong idea about Christianity and what it means to be a Christian. The sad fact is often they get this wrong idea from Christians themselves!  Let me explain…

Many people I speak with think that being a Christian is about being a “good” person and living a “good” life.  This message is communicated when the church takes on the role of moral policeman for society – thinking that its main role is to say what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour for everyone – even those who don’t consider themselves to be Christian.

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Rules and Relationship

Christie and I were watching World’s Strictest Parents recently.  We enjoy this program, as we love to see the transformation that happens in these young people who were totally out of control.  In every case the transformation happens because of the introduction of two things that were previously lacking – rules and relationship, and both of these ingredients are totally necessary.

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Knowing God’s Will

The most often asked question that Christians have of their faith is: “How can I know God’s will for my life?”

Many Christians bind themselves up believing that the will of God is very constricting, but it isn’t.  God has called us to freedom – in fact the first three words God ever spoke to a human being were “you are free” (Genesis 2:16).  But you can’t have true freedom without boundaries!  That’s why God told the first humans they were free to eat from ALL the trees in Eden accept one.

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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.

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What About Santa?

Every year at Christmas time I get asked by Christian parents “what should I tell my children about Santa Claus?”  It’s a fair question that I will do my best to shed some light on in this blog, but first a little history:

What many people don’t realise is that the picture of Santa we have today is largely thanks to the Coca Cola Company.  Starting in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola featured St. Nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit. Due to magazines being so widely viewed and this picture of Santa appeared for more than three decades, the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on advertising.

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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.

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Jesus is Better Than Santa

In my last blog – What about Santa? – I said that I believe there is a place for Santa Claus in the celebration of a Christian Christmas, although the decision of whether or not to allow Santa to be part of Christmas must ultimately rest with parents.

Even though I think it’s fine to include Santa as part of a Christian Christmas I think it is also important that Jesus occupies the top spot because Jesus is better than Santa …

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Bayside Bridging the Racial Divide

Recently I conducted an interesting exercise at Bayside Church in order to find out the number of nationalities in our church.  Just by going through our church’s database I came up with 41 different nationalities.  Then, by asking people at all the services, we discovered another 18 – bringing the total to 59.

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Responding To Poverty

It’s been heartening to see many groups and individuals rising up in recent times with a mandate to address and eradicate world poverty.  The Make Poverty History campaign, World Vision, Oaktree Foundation, Micah Challenge and many other aid agencies are making serious inroads into poverty, but the problem is still immense.

And yet, according to the United Nations, if everyone in the developed world donated the cost of a cappuccino each week specifically to combat world poverty there would be no poverty in the world.  That’s right, about $4 a week!  So easy, and yet most people in wealthy countries don’t even do that.  Why?

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Atheists are created, not born!

What I have believed and taught for years has been backed up by research – children are born believers!  Not that I personally needed the research to back up what I believe – the Word of God is sufficient for that – but it is nice to have some fuel for the fire.

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I am grateful

We all face difficulties from time to time.  I wrote a blog a couple of weeks about a particularly tough time that I have faced recently after being burned by boiling water from a hot water bottle (see blog: “Hot water bottles are evil” for all the details).

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Boat People: A Christian Response

We’re hearing a great deal about “boat people” in the news currently.  It’s not a new term or issue for that matter.  The term “boat people” entered the Australian vernacular in the 1970s with the arrival of the first wave of boats carrying people seeking asylum from the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

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Hot Water Bottles are Evil

A few Saturdays ago Christie and I had an almost perfect day.  Our three daughters spent the day with friends that gave us a rare day on our own.  We made the most of it – grabbed a latte, walked along the beach, chatted about life, faith and the future, then had a relaxing lunch together before heading home.  

In the afternoon I spent a couple of hours reading the Bible and getting ready to teach at the Saturday evening service.  My topic was “Free to be patient.”  Little did I know that my own patience was about to be tested to the limit.

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Australia’s carbon tax – A lot of hot air

I’ve just been overseas for two weeks in Africa.  Before I went away the debate over Australia’s Carbon Tax was running hotter than the globally warmed planet we live on.  Flying back into Australia last week the first thing I noticed was this debate was still raging – and for a number of reasons; not least Julia Gillard’s back flip on the Carbon Tax that would not happen under a government she leads.  One only has to wonder who actually is leading Australia’s government at the moment!  In addition to this, our PM has ignored the “Law of Process” that engages everyone concerned BEFORE a policy is announced.  She has also changed her tune on why we need a Carbon Tax in the first place.  Initially it was because of our care for the environment.  This week in China she said it was to safeguard Australia’s economic future – which one is it?

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