We took our Youth Group rock climbing at a local indoor climbing centre recently. We all had a great time and finished the day with a bible thought.
The big day has come and gone! We may well have eaten too much, enjoyed giving and receiving lots of nice presents and seen family and friends this time of year. It's a time of fun and festivity for many people, it's also a time when shops make a lot of money in the mass commercialism in the run up to the event, and in the sales afterwards.
But why? What's special about Christmas? Many people, in answer to this question, will say it's to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. But how many of us are remembering Jesus when we battle through the last minute christmas shopping, or are rushing around preparing the Christmas dinner, or over indulging in food and drink?
Israel and the Middle East seem to constantly dominate our news agenda. Recent events between Israel and the Palestinians are among others in numerous skirmishes between the 2 sides. Many consider the situation to be impossible to resolve. Others try, but have so far failed to produce any lasting peace.
How many thoughts does the average human think each day, do you suppose? Estimates range between 12,357 and 60,000. No doubt that variation reflects variations in how you count thoughts - or how thoughtful someone is!
How would you define pride? The following examples show the different aspects of the word as we find them in the New Testament (definitions from Strong's Concordance):
Based on Genesis 7:7-24
Natural disasters are destructions, not by man, to vulnerable men (but additional suffering can sometimes result from the foolish acts of people).
There are many examples in the Bible. Reading through Genesis, the flood is the first we encounter. The details are recorded in Genesis 7:11 and Genesis 18,22. Why did God flood the earth? See Genesis 6:1-7. The world was wicked in God's sight, and He cleansed the it of sin. In Luke 17:26, Jesus says the world around us will be in the same state when he returns.
We held a special lecture on this subject from Richard Palmer, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Birmingham, and Head of Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory. Richard helped us understand that the Bible is a very scientific book, ahead of it's time and in harmony with science!
Tumultuous events have been a feature of our world so far in 2011:
- January – Tunisian government falls
- February - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns; 6.3 earthquake - Christchurch, New Zealand
- March - 9.1 earthquake and tsunami - Japan. Over 15,000 killed, 8,000 missing. Emergencies at four nuclear power plants; Libyan uprising, no-fly zone
- April - Royal Wedding (a bit of light relief!)
- May - Volcanic ash from Grímsvötn, an ice cap in Iceland, disrupts air traffic
- June - Syrian uprising brutally repressed; Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu visits the White House
Are these events just part of the normal and mundane run of the mill happenings that have no significance beyond themselves? Or do they form part of a bigger story?
So Many Views!
If we turn to philosophy or religion, we find there are so many different views on the Meaning of Life. From the vast array of opinions, how do we know which one is right? Here are some examples: