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Category Archives: Lifestories

Suffering, Please Enjoy

…a contemplation by Mads Bak Pedersen

Suffering

What a suffering task to write about suffering! Hopefully not, because the Bible is full of it. I believe that there so many dimensions inside the suffering realm, but I also believe that suffering without a cause is waste of time and does not lead to any good at all. The great thing for me to reflect on and find out is how suffering and pain are presented in Bible in 2 Cor. 1 and if it works anything good into anything. Can you praise while experiencing pain? Does it make sense for those experiencing it? At last the question: how can I then apply it to any kind of church?

We know from the OT prophecy about Jesus Christ in Isa. 53 that he in many ways was meant to go through all these sufferings according to Gods will (vv. 10). He experienced our pain and suffering, was crushed, pierced, oppressed and afflicted. He was then raised, lifted and exalted. After he had suffered, he saw the light of life and was satisfied vv. 11. It seemed foreseen that this indeed was the will of the Father. So this was how Christ lived and we are called to live like him (1st letter of John 2:6). It is not only in holiness and righteousness, but in death and in life (2nd Cor. 4:10-12). It is appointed for a Christian to suffer in light of scripture.

The two main reasons for it in 2 Cor. 1 is; for God to comfort and those comforted by Him to be comfort others, and secondly to not trust in our own, but in God. In Paul`s situation, suffering did not seem like something, he was questioning God about. We know from chapter 12 in the same letter, that Paul three times asked God to take away the torn in his flesh but he got the confirmation that “My grace is enough”.

In Ph. 1:19-21, we see that he knew that no matter if he died or lived his main purpose was to display Christ in everything he did, and that’s why he knew the great reason for his suffering. He also knew that other Christians were meant to suffer (that’s why he writes that his comfort will help his brothers and sisters).

Gods compassion

in Scripture

Paul proclaims God´s compassion and comfort before talking about suffering. In the midst of suffering, suffering does not stand out as the main outcome. Paul wanted the fellowship of suffering with Christ (Ph. 3:10). Why? To be one with him and so close to him that nothing else mattered.

God especially is known as a God of compassion. Psalm 145:9 says “the Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made”. Even those who are not reconciled with God, he shows compassion. “His compassion never fails” (La. 3).

in 21st century

In 2007, 23 South Korean Christians were kidnapped by Taliban. Some of them died down there, while others were set free. This is a summary (my own) from the teaching on “suffering” by Francis Chan, where he takes up the situation from Afghanistan with the Taliban.

francis-chanEverything was taken from them. But one of the girls still had a bible or some scriptures she handed out to her fellow brothers and sisters, so they could be encouraged. They stood in a circle and surrendered their lives to Christ and some of them were saying: “no matter what brings you glory and honor, I will do it. If my death brings you honor, let it be so. If my life brings you honor, let that happen to me”. They experienced sacrificial love towards each other. Nobody wanted to be the last to say: “I will die first”. The amazing thing about this story is not that some of them died (we know that Christians die for their faith every day). But here is the thing: When those who survived came back to South Korea, one of the pastors experienced people from the trip to come to him, saying: “don´t you wish that we were down there in the hands of Taliban? Because I was so close to Jesus, so intimate with Him. I have tried to pray and fast, but it is not the same. I want to go back there””.

It blows my mind hearing and writing this, because I want it. I want to experience as Stephen said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Ac. 7:56).

“You gotta see this (suffering with Christ) as a good thing, because it brings you closer to Christ”.                                                                                                                         Francis Chan

When I look at churches in general in Denmark, I am asking myself this question: Why are we not experiencing the same kind of persecution as in the Bible, the First Church and in other countries today? Could it be that people around us do not even know we are Christians? And if they do know, are they then confronted with our faith? I believe that each individual person have to ask him- or herself these questions. An application could look like this:

Did Jesus say that people following him would suffer? (Mt. 16:24: Mt. 10) Are you suffering?

Do you only read those scriptures that you want to read?

Or do you also take them in, you do not even want to believe in?

Are you living for this life or the next? (Php. 1:21)

Did Christ come to save, so you could have the best life ever now? (John 14:6)

My conviction and what I believe the Bible testifies is that to suffer for Christ is biblical for all Christians. That does not mean we cannot be happy and rejoice. Gods comfort and compassion, the Gospel itself and that all the means of suffering are serving us to conquer by him, “who have loved us” (Rom. 8:31-37). As John Piper puts it, “What I think more than conquers means is that a conqueror has his enemies lying subdued at his feet. More than conquers do not only mean that they are at my feet, they are serving me. They are not only in chains, in prison, they are serving. My persecution, my famine, nakedness and my loss as painful and tearful they are, they work as my servants. God works them all together for my good (vv. 28). That good is the foundation of my happiness.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2012 in Lifestories, Theology

 

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Interview with Peter Makovini on Religion & Faith

What does your religion mean to you?

It’s the foundational rock from which nearly everything else unwinds. In other words, it influences my worldview to its deepest measures.

What makes your life valuable when you’re religious?

Namely because I am a Christian, I see life as something valuable since it was created by a loving God, according to his own image with a specific intention for every individual.

Do you try to make other people believe the same as you? If yes, a short explanation why?

I surely am. Before I answer why, I think it’s important to differentiate ones view on Christianity and being “religious”. For there is a serious number of people out there who the word Christian and “being religious” take as a mere tradition of going to church, having Children Baptism or Confirmation. While those are all good things, there is much more to being a Christian. In the end, you need to ask yourself the question – ”Does God really exist?” and if he exists “Is He the God about which we read in the Bible?” Because there surely are answers to those. It’s either “yes” or “no”. No matter which of them you take, this belief should seriously affect the way you live your life.

When I tried answering these questions for myself, after some years I had to say “yes” to both. This knowledge brought joy into my life which I simply had to share with other people and later as I read my Bible I found that it is actually also something we are to do as Christians, in places like Mark 16:15 “…Go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone.

Do you think other religions offer a better life than your, even though you believe in what you do?

This question can be answered in a number of ways since it very much depends on what the word “better” means. I guess I would briefly say that if one thinks merely about expanding his material wealth, securing health and enjoying all the 21st century pleasures Earth can offer, than I would agree that the belief that God does not exist, namely atheism, might be the “better” way. However if meaning, purpose, joy and happiness are part of the definition, I would say that I don’t think other religions including Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam, even if true, can offer better life.

Do you think your religion expand in a way that makes your life more valuable?

It seems to me that the question 2 and 5 are quite similar so I would just add to it in the way I understood it. I indeed can say that I know for sure that Christianity expands the value of one’s life in contrast for example to atheistic belief. Try to follow me here.

When someone puts his faith on the fact that there is no God, no Creator, nothing but a blind chance by which we ended up all here on this speck of dust called Earth in the endless and mindless universe; he must deal with a series of terrible truths for his life and his future. Namely, that his very existence is absurd without a real purpose, meaning or value. If life ends at the grave it makes no ultimate difference whether you live as a Stalin or as a Mother Teresa. One of the prime atheists in Britain, Professor Richard Dawkins puts it well, for given atheism: “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference… We are machines for propagating DNA… It is every living object’s sole reason for being.” More than that from what we know from modern science is that the universe is expanding and as the galaxies are further and further apart it gets colder and colder for its energy is used up… Eventually all the stars will burnout. There will be no light; no heat; no life; only corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the endless darkness. Not only that life of each individual person will stop, but at some point the accomplishment of human civilization as such will perfectly turn in vain. There is no hope, no escape.

I admit, this alone does not make Christianity true, yet it shows some good news about how much this belief expands value of one’s life, simply by giving it objective meaning.

Many of my answers were inspired by the book “On Guard” written by Professor William Lane Craig.
 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Lifestories, Reasonable Faith

 

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How old is Grandma?

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandma replied, “Well, let me think a minute, I was born before:

television,
penicillin,
polio shots,
frozen foods,
Xerox,
contact lenses,
Frisbees and
the pill.
Man had not invented:
pantyhose,
air conditioners,
dishwashers,
clothes dryers,
and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and
man hadn’t yet walked on the moon.

Your Grandfather and I got married first-and then lived together.

Every family had a father and a mother.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, ‘Sir’- and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, “Sir.’

We were before gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Ethics, Lifestories, Podcast

 

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The Story of My Life (by Matthew Burnett)

Matthew Burnett

After 3 months of sketching, acting, recording, cutting and editing finally the job is done. My former classmate and present very good friend Matthew Burnett had recorded the story of his life altogether in less then 7 minutes! In it he speaks about his struggles and victories, questions that needed to be answered and a journey that starts in his early teenage years when he was bullied for his skin tone.

I won’t say anymore than that, perhaps only I would suggest to comfortably sit in your chair and believe that what you are about to see is true and sincere. After a couple of years I had the privilege to be around this man and I can honestly say that today whatever he does is full of fun, joy and laughter; however these do not fondly stand alone, for they are built on an authentic foundation of a life-long searching course of his life.

Thank you Matthew for sharing it with us!

 *do not forget to use 720p HD 😉
written by Peter Makovíni 
 
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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Lifestories

 

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Mission Trip

To download this video with:

  • Slovak subtitles click here. (74.5MB, 720p HD)
  • English subtitles click here. (74.5MB, 720p HD)


Here we present a video that is showing where do we spend this year of our lives, guides you through our school, but more importantly is presenting the idea of Fund Raising for a Mission Trip.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Lifestories, Mission

 

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