15 09 2012

So you’ve heard the name, but not sure of where it is actually located…or much else?

Bahrain is situated in the Arabian Gulf between the Qatar Peninsula and Saudi Arabia.

It is a group of one larger and 32 smaller barren islands, and is linked to the Saudi Arabia Peninsula by a causeway. The King Fahad Causeway was opened in November 1986, and has since been used by millions of passengers and vehicles.


The make-up of the population is most interesting: Arab 50%, Iranian 15%, Bahraini Farsi 10%, South Asian 15% (Indian, Malayi, Tamil, Telugu, Pakastani), East Asian 7% (Chinese, Korean, Filipino), European 1.5%, Other 1.5%.

What about faith? Muslim 83% and 9.8% Christian, Hindu 6%. Proselytizing Muslims is illegal. Expatriate Christians are very free to worship together in churches; practitioners of other faiths are free to do the same. With limited compounds though, dozens of congregations mus share the same building.

“Bahrain enjoys greater freedom than almost all Gulf countries and therefore is spiritually strategic. With greater freedoms, the accompanying vices are becoming problems. Many Saudis and Kuwaitis visit here to enjoy the more relaxed environment. Pray for them to meet Christians and encounter the gospel. Pray for the king as he leads the nation forward”  (Operation World, p. 130).

Christian Ministry: For over a century the American Mission Hospital has been well known and highly regarded. Pray that this may continue and that there may be fruit from the tactful witness of believers.

Local Believers: Praise God fo them, and pray that their testimony to fellow Arabs will flourish.

Among the large expatriate community: pray for courage and wisdom to share their knowledge of the Risen Jesus, and his Lordship over death, hell sin and evil, for all humanity—the New Humanity in him! Education there opens many opportunities. Pray for the teachers, and their testimony to the Living Christ.

The labour force is 59% foreign, drawn from more than 50 nations. Wow! They are however, often treated poorly, and there are great expectations from their family at home in poor circumstances.  Pray that within these groups, many will be drawn into contact with Jesus Christ.

Media ministries: High speed internet gives access to Christians across the globe, through chat, and all kinds of Christian resources.  Christian literature is available in Manama. The Bible Society works to make Scripture available in Arabic, and other languages. Christian TV and radio is accessible via satellite broadcast; so inquiry about Jesus can be made anonymously. What a fascinating place.

May the Living, Risen, Ascended Jesus, Lord of all, Son of Man, Son of God, friend of sinners, and crucified Saviour of the World, speak and minister to many hearts in Bahrain, of the hope, grace, mercy, peace and joy, that lies in knowing him.  Come Spirit of God, the Holy One. Come, Spirit of Jesus the Son, Spirit of the Father, and speak to the spirits of those who live and work in Bahrain.

Vishal Mangalwadi

17 05 2012

Seeing the world through Indian eyes. That’s what I have been doing a bit lately. And it is a very stirring, thought-provoking exercise.

I have been reading a book by Vishal Mangalwadi, entitled: The Book That Made Your World. It is a great book!

A great read!

It is subtitled: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

The subtitle could be misleading. This is not just a ‘three cheers for the Bible’ kind of book. Nor is it going to simply bolster the views of the hard-line fundamentalist, as the title may suggest.  Rather, these are the words of a man who has come into the rich flow of wisdom, and truth.  Indeed, he puts much emphasis upon the importance of “truth”. He has come to see in a very profound way how the wonderful benefits experienced by countries like Australia, America, England, Canada, Germany, France, and Scotland—to name a few, have flowed from a Bible-given understanding of the world, its purpose, of humanity and of its hope, and of God and his character as revealed in Jesus Christ.

This is a book for the benefit not only of individuals, but for musicians, for those who are troubled by the death of rock legends, like Kurt Cobain, or the enduring love of Johann Sebastian Bach.

It is a book for readers of history, ponderers of culture, and leaders of Nations. It is a rewarding read for those interested in why many nations have not succeeded. Why has poverty engulfed so many nations?

Mangalwadi addresses questions like:

  • ‘Rationality: What made the West a Thinking Civilization?’.
  • ‘Technology: Why Did Monks Develop It?’
  • ‘Languages: How Was Intellectual Power Democratized?’
  • ‘Caring: Why Did Caring Become Medical Commitment?’
  • ‘The Future: Must the Sun Set on the West?’

I first heard Vishal Mangalwadi address a modest sized crowd of listeners in Adelaide, in October, 2011. I would like to have heard more from him. I would like more people to have been able to be there to hear him.

There are some You-Tube links:

But I suggest you purchase the book, and have a read for yourself.  I certainly have benefited from such an enjoyable read, and from a man who does evidently have a very keen intellect.  And not only that, he does stack of original research – to find out if what he is being told is true. What a good idea.

He also wrote :

  • The World of Gurus
  • In Search of Self: Beyond the New Age
  • Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto For Ailing Nations
  • Legacy of William Carey: A Model for Transforming Culture
  • Missionary Conspiracy: Letters to a Postmodern Hindu
  • India: The Grand Experiment
  • Quest For Freedom and Dignity: Caste, Conversion and Cultural Transformation
  • Astrology

For further resources:

The Meta-Narrative BC

14 05 2012
  • The Everlasting God
  • The Plan: before the Foundation of the World
  • The Beginning: Creation
  • Galaxies, planets, suns, moons, stars
  • The Earth as Home: plants, animals, oceans
  • Adam and Eve, Created in God’s Image
  • Marriage – Centrality and Prototype
  • The Mandate for Humanity
  • The Great Tragedy
  • Great Grace
  • Anger, Mayhem, Murder
  • Noah and the Rainbow
  • The Nations
  • Abraham: Call, Faith, Blessing
  • Isaac
  • Jacob and Esau
  • Joseph and his Brothers
  • Egypt, Power and Slavery
  • Moses
  • Community Life of Israel: Law, Culture, Worship, Wisdom
  • Joshua, Judges, Prophets
  • David: The defeat of Goliath and Charter for humanity
  • Kings, Prophets and a Recalcitrant Nation
  • 587 BC     Babylonian Captivity
  • Daniel
  • 400 BC     Malachi
  • No Prophets
  • The Rise and Fall of Empires
  • The Roman Empire
  • Alexander the Great

The Filler

25 05 2010

Most people experience a sense of emptiness at one time or another.  “It’s all empty. It’s all vain. It’s all futile.” we say.  “What does it all mean? Is life just everyone out for themselves to try to fill their own life with activity, and, if possible, with some meaning, some point?

Of Jesus, it is said: ‘He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things’ (Ephesians 4:10).  It is the last phrase we want to explore: ‘that he might fill all things’. So, we can say, that Jesus is ‘The Filler’.

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I like contemplating the event of the ascension of Jesus on Mount Olivet.

It was crucial that Jesus ascended far above all the heavens, so that the Father, through his Son, Jesus, might outpour the Holy Spirit, the gift of God, the ‘dorea’ of God upon all flesh.

On the day of Pentecost, the promise of the Father, was poured out through the Ascended Christ.  As the gift of the Spirit was given, so too were these people filled with the Spirit given to the church, for the world, so that the whole earth might be filled with the meaning, significance and power of the risen and ascended Jesus Christ.

This Filler, fills his people with life and the ability and desire to go and tell the world to rejoice, in the Christ who is filling all things, from his own fulness.  From his own fulness we have all received, grace heaped upon grace (John 1).

Jesus is the Unifier, the Filler, the Reconciler, and the Harmoniser – as we shall see.

The old prophet Habakkuk knew what it was all about, when he said:  “But the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

Jesus was certain of the joyful outcome, yet to spring forth, saying:  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

I will come back to this post… and fill it out a little more, soon… cheers!

Australian Society

17 05 2010

Someone on ABC radio, the other night said of Australian Society: “we live in a multi-faith society, not a secular society. Some 75% of Australians lay claim to a faith, or sorts”. Well said. Most identify as Christian – even if many of these may be nominal, rather than dynamically or actively so.

It has implications for the premise on which we conduct our public conversations.

It would be great to wake up to our rich Christian heritage.

Compost Heap

5 12 2009

I have always marveled at the workings of a garden compost heap. Years ago, on the farm, (following mum’s suggestion I reckon) my dad built 2 large wooden compost boxes, and proceeded to fill the first one with all sorts of garden waste.  Once that one was filled, it was left to rot, while the second heap took over the receptive role. (the sides were made of boards, as the heap got higher the new side boards were added).

The new family directives for disposing of the kitchen scraps became ‘put it in the compost heap’.  It took a while to get the hang of this new idea. It was before these days of green, green, green—the new ‘higher righteousness’ of the human race. Family members soon became well-drilled, and alert to compost heap, and were amused at the whole thing – as the legal beagles kept an eye out for erring family members.

Prior to that, we just put it all in the kitchen rubbish bin, and – on a large dairy farm, there was always a back paddock dump, where most things ended up.  It was always good to make a back paddock trip to the dump —with the cut open topped 44 gallon drums tied tot the carry-all, and all the kids aboard the Massey Ferguson 135 tractor [with multi-power shift], and the dog running beside.

In those days, the 60’s, the 70’s and the 80’s, there was also a local community dump, on the outskirts of the country township – free to use, of course, for depositing and for withdrawals. (Ah, lament, lament, all that has changed now – gee we had some fun fossicking through the old Myponga rubbish dump … some of the locals would bring in a trailer load of junk, and then take almost as much “new stuff” home with them!  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure).  There were spare-parts for old cars, wheels for buggies, and … you name it! But, I digress.

The thing that has always fascinated me with compost heaps, is that they are for the most part, quite static. That is, the contents, just sit there, still. Time passes, and you … hey presto, you soon have some beautiful garden additive. For little ongoing work, this miracle takes place. To look at the compost heap, it is dark, and still. It smells a bit now and then, and gradually builds to a large pile. Compared to sky, and sea, trees, bushes and grass, and animals—cows, dogs and so on—it is not much to look at. To sight, it is … rather dull.

However, the humble compost heap is one of the most dynamic and life-renewing places on earth! Pardon the pun. It is earthy, rich, and full of little creatures—mostly unseen. This little unseen world of bugs and beetles, earthworms, mite, centipedes, springtails, spiders, slugs, sow bugs, ants, flies, nematodes, flatworms, rotifers macro-organisms and micro-organisms is working away, night and day.  Rightly understood, the eating, and breaking down of organic material is one of the creation’s mighty wonders. so much is happening in a compost heap. The larger little creatures chew, tear, grind and suck material into small bits. Especially important are the tiny, tine, tiny aerobic bacteria—for they can eat almost anything.

To sight—for many people—the compost heap does not look much. But the eyes of understanding realise that it is a great matter. The hidden workings are amazing.

The eyes of understanding, for the human race, include the sight of Christ Jesus risen, and at work in his people, and in the world. The eyes of faith-understanding realise that the hidden working of the kingdom of God, is the most important, significant matter in human history.

To some, the church looks like a little like a compost heap—dull, rather static, and not especially thrilling to consider.  Things one can see (i.e our idols), seem far more interesting. However within the dynamics of people at prayer, and in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, co-creator, and ruler of creation, much is happening.

Even when a person has cancer, and is wasting away, outwardly, much is happening in that person’s depths! And in those who are friends and family. For God, is at work, thought many may not see or consider this is going on, night and day. (My Father is always working – said Jesus).

This is what Paul, the Apsotle wrote, of a person’s life given up to death, in serving the Father, Son and Spirit.

“So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

In the same letter, he says:  “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

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