Sep 11, 2016
WEiRD in a Good Way
Posted by Sarah Walker
Series: WEiRD
A few years ago a psychologist carried out a simple experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group pressure. The team brought groups of ten adolescents into a classroom for a test, and each group was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one teenager in the group did not know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for the second-longest line.

 So the experiment began with nine teenagers voting for the wrong line. The ‘one’ would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and put their hand up with the rest of the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time, the self-conscious student who wasn’t given prior instruction, would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because they lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases! 

There always seems to be some part of us that desires to be normal. Sometimes we’d rather be seen to be doing the same thing as everyone else, even if we know it’s not right, in an attempt to fit in or not be singled out. But in Romans 12, we’re told not to conform to the pattern of the world. Jesus’ life and teaching continually challenged people’s view of what was normal. Jesus consistently taught his disciples that they were called to live in a very different and radical way. Their ways of thinking, and therefore their behaviour was to be different, because they represented Christ and desired to become more and more like him. Jesus made no promise that this way of life was going to be easy and he certainly didn’t suggest that it was ‘normal’, but he did affirm that this way of living was what lead to true life.

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  • Sep 11, 2016WEiRD in a Good Way
    Sep 11, 2016
    WEiRD in a Good Way
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    Series: WEiRD
    A few years ago a psychologist carried out a simple experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group pressure. The team brought groups of ten adolescents into a classroom for a test, and each group was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one teenager in the group did not know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for the second-longest line.

     So the experiment began with nine teenagers voting for the wrong line. The ‘one’ would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and put their hand up with the rest of the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time, the self-conscious student who wasn’t given prior instruction, would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because they lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases! 

    There always seems to be some part of us that desires to be normal. Sometimes we’d rather be seen to be doing the same thing as everyone else, even if we know it’s not right, in an attempt to fit in or not be singled out. But in Romans 12, we’re told not to conform to the pattern of the world. Jesus’ life and teaching continually challenged people’s view of what was normal. Jesus consistently taught his disciples that they were called to live in a very different and radical way. Their ways of thinking, and therefore their behaviour was to be different, because they represented Christ and desired to become more and more like him. Jesus made no promise that this way of life was going to be easy and he certainly didn’t suggest that it was ‘normal’, but he did affirm that this way of living was what lead to true life.

  • Aug 21, 2016Tainted Tongue
    Aug 21, 2016
    Tainted Tongue
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    A few times over the last week that I've been in the US, I've found myself turning on the TV in my hotel room. The programming is fairly predictable, with straightforward coverage of the Olympics and other current events. What are shocking however, are the political commercials. These commercials personally attack the opposing party's candidate. The things they say are aggressive, rude and demeaning. If my mother had heard me talk about someone like that, I would have been i

    n big trouble!

    James, in the bible, warns us of the power of our words and the risks we take when we speak irresponsibly. How we speak to each other matters so much to our community, to our families and to our inner lives. This Sunday we celebrate our young people, as our Junior soldiers renew their pledges which includes the commitment to ask God to help them to be clean in 'thought, word and deed.' We would all do well to follow their example and increasingly rely on the Holy Spirit to help guide our words, as we seek to live out our faith, with our words and actions, all day every day.

  • Aug 14, 2016Why Can’t We Just Get Along
    Aug 14, 2016
    Why Can’t We Just Get Along
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    I love the Olympics! The athletes are incredible, there's always something to watch on TV and I'm provided with a never ending supply of small talk material. For the most part, the Olympics make me proud to be an Aussie. While I don't know many Olympic athletes on a personal level, I do know whose team I'm on. Do I care about diving or equestrian or the modern pentathlon? Usually, no. But when someone's out there in the green and gold, I can't help but cheer. We're on the same team. 

    There's also something about the way the Olympics unites the world that invokes an overwhelming emotion within me. I love that moment, especially in the swimming, when the race ends and the athletes reach over to hug their opponents. It's a moment of sincere love and appreciation, and it reminds me that while they're not on the same team, they can still be united because they have a common purpose. Skill, talent and athleticism are crucial, but the spirit of the games is what brings the world together. That's the part I love the most. 

    As people of faith, we're all supposed to be on the same team. Part of the same family, James tells us. We're united in Christ; our purpose to love God and love others. But sadly, it's an easy thing for us to lose sight of. Unfortunately within the walls of the church, where we should love each other best, we often pull each other down. When there is division, opposition, negative talk and unhelpful criticism, the church is failing to accurately represent all Christ is and all he can offer in our hurting and broken world. If Olympic Spirit can unify nations, how much more so should the power of love unify the church? May we at Wollongong Salvos be a community of believers that are unified because we are each living in complete submission to the father; allowing love to be greater than all else.

  • Aug 7, 2016Faith ACTS
    Aug 7, 2016
    Faith ACTS
    Posted by Rebecca Inglis
    This Tuesday night is a night to be counted. Every dwelling in Australia is going to take part in the census by answering a myriad of questions. One of the most intriguing is the question, "What is your Religion?" This question compels us to think about whether or not we have faith, and what kind of faith it is. This year the response 'No Religion' has been moved to the top of the list of possible answers. This simple change in the layout of the census form has caused qu

    ite a stir on social media networks. Many Christian organisations are afraid that people will simply choose "no religion" because it's the easiest. Some are afraid that the statistics will show a significant drop in Christianity as a result, and that churches will no longer hold the same political power they once did. 

    We would encourage you to answer this, and every other question, honestly. If Christianity is what you identify with, choose that. You don’t have to sign up to any particular statement of faith but rather simply acknowledge that you belong to a wider group of people who also identify as 'Christian'. However, there is a very big difference between religion and faith. If we were asked in a census "What is your Faith?" answers should be very different. Many people identify as Christian, some who even regularly attend church, but their lives show no sign of developing, moving, changing, becoming more and more like Jesus in character.

    The Book of James teaches us that faith makes a difference. Faith should be seen all day every day. Faith acts and if it doesn’t, we need to take a better look at what we are calling faith.

  • Jul 31, 2016Royal Rule
    Jul 31, 2016
    Royal Rule
    Posted by Phil Inglis
    Over the past few months we have seen a great deal of political change. Not only have we been through our own federal election, but we have seen people in the UK vote to leave the European Union and we’ve watched the circus of an American presidential race. In each of these three political movements we have heard a similar story. In each case one group of people has expressed distrust and dislike of another group of people living in the same country. Perhaps the most o

    bvious and visible example of this is Donald Trump’s nomination as presidential candidate for the conservative party in the USA. Trump’s discrimination against, women, black people, Mexicans and Muslims is well documented and yet there are a significant number of Americans who support him.

    Fear and mistrust has recently risen to disturbingly high levels in our closest allies and groups within our communities are being discriminated against. 

    This week, we turn again to the writings of James, the little brother of Jesus, the guy who grew up with Jesus, who watched his every interaction for years, who saw how he lived day to day life out of the spotlight. In James 2:1 it says… "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT SHOW FAVOURITISM". James states that we aren’t to draw lines, segregate anyone, label any group, or treat people differently according to trivial observations and fears drawn from those trivial observations. 

    It’s not easy because it’s something we do from birth. But by the grace of God, the salvation given to us by Jesus, and the power given to us by the Holy Spirit, we can truly become the free, redeemed people God has called us to be.

  • Jul 24, 2016Hope Rising
    Jul 24, 2016
    Hope Rising
    Series: Special

    I love the Booth quote....."The Salvation Army stands for hope; that when every light is extinguished, and every other star has gone down this one gleam shines steadily and clearly out in the darkened sky; "If I could only get to The Salvation Army they could do something for me""

    Hope is not something that is "airy fairy". It is grounded in Jesus. Our hope is in Him. Because of our relationship with Jesus we become the hope givers to a world that desperately need hope, that 

    desperately needs Him.

    Wilma Gallet said to me many years ago, "Australia has a poverty of hope", and I believe that she is right.

    Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit". May that be so.

    A friend penned these words...

    Hope Rising
    Hope is when you are in your deepest valley but you still believe in the mountain top,
    Hope is when you are in the darkest tunnel but still believe in the light at the end of the tunnel,
    Hope is when you are confused beyond the point of understanding but still believe that the Holy Spirit has a plan for you,
    Hope is that you know, that you know, that you know that in all of this, it is going to be okay and you are going to be okay.
    Hope is…..

    Hope bringers....let's believe that quote of Booth. Let's believe in the words of Jesus. We stand for hope. We stand for Him.

  • Jul 17, 2016Act On What You Hear
    Jul 17, 2016
    Act On What You Hear
    Posted by Sarah Walker
    "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” I’m sure at some point we’ve all seen or heard the story of Snow White. The Evil Stepmother is quite content when her magical mirror responds to her question by affirming her as the most beautiful woman in all the land. However, the story truly begins when the mirror starts to respond differently. The mirror reveals that Snow White has now succeeded her stepmother in beauty. The Stepmother, being her evil self, sets out to destroy Snow White and reclaim her crown as fairest in the land. What the mirror reveals changes something within the Evil Stepmother and urges her to act on what she has heard. 

    Despite this mirror’s magical, make-believe powers, it in essence does what all good mirrors set out to do; tell the truth. The truth that we see in the mirror should affect us in some way. It should spur us on to action. If I look into a mirror and see that my hair is a mess, I’m going to spend time fixing it. If I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see a pimple on my nose, chances are I’m going to try and cover it up! Sometimes my mirror confronts me with bigger issues that make wish that mirrors did lie. I’m not sure if this happens to you, but my mirror is never shy about telling me that I’ve gained a few kilos. While I wish my mirror would be a little more gentle about revealing this information, I rarely walk away and forget. Usually, what I see in the mirror causes me to act - this may involve me making better food choices throughout the week, or going to the gym (even if I really don’t feel like it).

    In James 1, we’re reminded not to be the type of people that look into the mirror and walk away unchanged. The mirror James is referring to, for people who are in relationship with Jesus, is the word of God; a clear, true, living reflection. This mirror, like all good mirrors, doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear. Sometimes it reflects a blemish or an imperfection that we can’t just ignore. It’s not intended to make us feel bad or guilty, but to aid in the journey of continual transformation. The word of God sets out to help us each day in continuing to become more and more like Christ.

  • Jul 10, 2016Faith Under Pressure
    Jul 10, 2016
    Faith Under Pressure
    Posted by Phil Inglis

    On All-Saints day in 1755 an earthquake struck the city of Lisbon. In the quake, and the tsunami and fires that followed, up to half the population was killed and 85% of the buildings were destroyed. On this significant Christian holiday, in this significant Christian city, almost all the significant churches were destroyed and thousands of Christians were killed on their way to church. 

    The world was shocked and devastated. It caused philosophers and theologians to question the place of God in suffering such as this earthquake. More recently this question is written something like this: "How could a good and loving God allow people to suffer?"

    How do you answer this question? When life throws you into a storm, a doctor gives you bad news, things break down, kids make poor choices or you end up in trouble, how do you feel about the role God plays in the events of your life? 

    James, the little brother of Jesus, says that we should "consider it all joy when we face trials of many kinds." How does this work? What is he talking about? Join us this Sunday as we search for the place and presence of God in our pain and suffering.

  • Jul 3, 2016Sacrifice
    Jul 3, 2016
    Sacrifice
    Series: Special
    Although it may not look like it, sacrifice stands at the very centre of the United States political system. In December 1783 George Washington was the commander in chief of all the military forces of the Continental Army. So that he would be successful in the war against the British, he was given immense authority, as much as any dictator in history. There were even groups of people who wanted to make him ‘king’. Instead of taking hold of this power and authority that 

    people were giving him, he retired. Instead of living in comfort and luxury for the rest of his life, he sacrificed his power and authority for the good of the new nation. His resignation set in place a pattern of 8 years, after which a president must retire and a new president has to be chosen. 

    Sacrifice also stands at the centre of our nation. Our greatest holiday celebrates the sacrifice of our military forces who not only fought with strength and skill but their sacrifice also brought a new understanding and a new pride in what it means to be Australian. They gave up the comfort and peace of Australia, at the other side of the world, to go and fight in Europe and Africa in horrific conditions because they believed in the ‘right-ness’ of what they were doing. They believed it was important to stand up to the bully and defend the weak. 

    In the bible however we see a story of sacrifice we don’t understand. The close call experienced when Abraham almost sacrifices his son. What are we supposed to learn from this story? Why is it such an important story for Jews, Christians and Muslims? How does it relate to us?

  • Jun 26, 2016SNS: Acts
    Jun 26, 2016
    SNS: Acts
    ACTS  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication