Blog Archive

Sunday, April 30, 2017

"The Kiwi's Egg" -a review of sorts.

Inside Museum at Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Many specimens. Darwin was great collector of specimens.

I have recently finished reading the book "the Kiwi's Egg" by David Quammen about the life of Charles Darwin and the events leading up to his publishing his most well known book on the Origin of Species.
It paints a picture of Darwin in a much more personable way than I had been aware of before.

Very well written and lots of interesting information about Darwin's personal life and his seemingly troubled mind regarding when to publish his ideas to the scientific world of the time.

The book also reveals the outline of a classic star crossed lovers theme.

His wife Emma did not agree with his theories that took away the reality of God as Creator of all things.

They knew that they had this difference of opinion before they were married and virtually agreed to disagree because of their love for each other.

Darwin had initially been a student of theology.

He remained involved in his parish for some years but as an agnostic so it seems . Not an atheiest. 

They had many children and suffered loss of children due to the lack of medical knowledge prevailing at the time.

It reveals his painstaking efforts to research thoroughly his theories before publishing, wanting to make sure he had answered all the objections.

It seems to me also that he had people in high places who had vested interest in him publishing his work in time to not be upstaged by his much younger rival Alfred Wallace who was coming to similar conclusions to Darwin about Evolution.

There was a contrived meeting and presenting of papers by Darwin and Wallace before the Linnean Society as Darwin's advisors were seemingly worried that Wallace, a much less credentialled nobody, was going to beat him to the punch.

The Linnean society was a body representing the top Scientists/Naturalists of their day.

It still exists today.

Wallace was not present at the time and this book suggests he didn't know about the presentation which did not include  Darwin's complete ideas, just an outline or suggestion  of things to come.

According to the author this night seemed to cause very little reaction among the establishment.

The book does show that then as now there was a  battle going on between Creationists and Evolutionists.

I  found nothing in the book that even slightly veered me away from my position as a believer in God's special creation.

I found the author's style quite refreshing in that he did not ,as some do, try to belittle the creationist viewpoint and showed clearly the personal struggles Darwin was going through.

I find this book a good companion to my copy of "the Voyage of the Beagle" which I find is a fascinating book.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday-Parkrose United Congregation 16/4/17

This Easter Sunday I once again had the privilege of leading the worship service at the Parkrose United Congregation.
This is an outline of the message I gave.
On Friday we followed the scriptures of the events leading up to and the actual crucifixion of Jesus.
The Last Supper, the agony in the Garden of Gethsemene,the betrayal by Judas, the trial before Pontius Pilate and the horror of the Crucifixion.
“and darkness fell across the whole land[b] for three hours, until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone—and suddenly[c] the thick veil hanging in the Temple split apart.
46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I commit my spirit to you,” and with those words he died.”
Then there followed some strange things happening in the weather and many people rising from the dead.
The curtain in the Holy of Holies in the temple being rent, torn from top to bottom.
And so we come to Easter Sunday.
What happened next?
A day of celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus was taken down off the cross and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Amirithea.
He was a member of the Sanhedrin who was not present at the vote by his fellow clergy to have Jesus done away with.
He obviously had a high regard for Jesus.
Jesus rose from his grave clothes from within the tomb that was sealed by a massive rock.
No one saw this happen.
It has been said that resurrection power is very quiet.
The rock was later found to have been rolled away and there was no one inside.
The guards who had been placed there were totally baffled.
Then we have accounts of those first at the tomb to discover Jesus was missing.
The core of the story is the same in all the Gospels.
The tomb is visited by a small group of women followers early on the Sunday morning following the crucifixion, and they find the tomb is empty.
They see a vision of Angels saying the tomb is empty.
Then there is a steady stream of witnesses to the fact that Jesus is alive recorded until the time of His ascension into Heaven.
He appeared to the two on the Emmaeus road, to Peter, to James,to all the apostles and the Apostle Paul and the a group of 500 of His followers all at once.
Many witnesses.
The resurrection has indeed happened and did happen.
People might say that it is medically impossible to rise from the dead.
To us from a human standpoint , a medical standpoint, that might be logical but we are not talking here  about our limit of human knowledge in the world of the flesh.
We are talking here about the power of Almighty God for whom nothing is impossible.
I have a friend who is intrigued by Faith and Jesus and the Christian story.
He brings Christianity into our conversations up every now and then, indicating to me that God is speaking to him,
 as he does to so many.
Many people hear the call of God but few choose to follow His voice.
My friend says he can’t believe what he can’t see.
“Unless I can shake His hand I can’t believe!”
Yet for all of us who are Christians this is not a stumbling block!
Why are we so convinced that Jesus is real?
That He is alive today?
That He can speak to us through scripture,(the Bible)?
That He can speak to us through our minds,
That He can speak to our spirit by His Holy Spirit?
That He can speak to us through prayer and we can speak to Him?
That He can speak to us through life’s circumstances?
That He can speak to us through a sermon?
A Christian Book?
Another Christian?
And the list can go on.
For many of us,
 as Christians,
 this is all true,
Not withstanding that at times we have doubts.
We wonder whether it is all real sometimes,
 usually when we are feeling a bit depressed
 or challenged by current circumstances.
There is no doubt that Jesus lived and breathed and walked this earth.
There is no doubt that Jesus was crucified on a cross.
These facts when scrutinised by un biased historians are found to be true.
The stumbling block for many is when it comes to the resurrection.
Our whole basis for faith in Jesus rests on this truth.
Rests on this as fact.
Any other means of us having a basis for faith could well be figments of our imagination.
Without the resurrection of Jesus and our promise of life after death through Him our faith is not going to do too much for us.
Some people think that if we are good and well behaved that’s as much Christian Faith as we need.
Being good of course is a wonderful virtue and can make us feel good and others, but without the resurrection it is just a way of living and not much else.
Some people like my friend,
and ,
like some of the frightened apostles when he appeared to them,
 say they need to touch His hands.
To know Him and Trust Him?
Our reading today says this:
“38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why do you doubt that it is really I? 39 Look at my hands! Look at my feet! You can see that it is I, myself! Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost! For ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!” 40 As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see the marks of the nails,[a] and showed them the wounds in* his feet.
41 Still they stood there undecided, filled with joy and doubt.”
“Undecided, filled with Joy and Doubt.”
And yet they had Him there in front of them!
Isn’t that a good description of how we are lots of times as we live out our Christian lives.
filled with Joy,
 and Doubt.”
There are many people who try to say the resurrection didn’t happen,
That someone stole His body,
That He did not really die,
He just swooned!
We don’t have the time today to go through the reasons,  why the resurrection did happen,
 or examine the overwhelming circumstantial evidence,
and what about the eyewitness accounts of all who saw Him after He had risen..
and the fact that a band of defeated Apostles turned the whole world upside down, as we read in the Book of Acts!
You would hardly think if Jesus had not risen they would have put their lives so much  at risk.
Some times, as we become Christians we do experience emotions and feelings similar to what the two on the emmaeus road felt.
“32 They began telling each other how their hearts had felt strangely warm as he talked with them and explained the Scriptures during the walk down the road.”
We might, or we might not have a warm and “fuzzy” experience when we encounter Jesus, but either way,
do we need to be able to see His hands before we will believe?
I think not!
The reason we don’t need to see His hands is that on the day of Pentecost as Jesus had promised the Apostles, He sent the Holy Spirit to be made available to live in the hearts and minds and spirits of all who put their trust in Him.
It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the assurance that all the promises of God are true.
We can’t see Him but we can see the evidence of his presence and work.
The Bible gives us the analogy that the Holy Spirit is like the wind.
We can’t actually see the wind but we can see where it is blowing.
So as we conclude our Easter celebration, let us be jubilant that the Lord indeed has risen.
That He lives today.
In us and His Church.

 Order of Service

Welcome and Call to worship
Hymn: 159  “Glory to God”
Announcements: Barrie
Bible Reading:  Luke 24:35-49
Hymn:  “There is a redeemer”
Communion: Geoff
Offering and Church Prayer
Hymn: 156 “Thine is the Glory”
Sermon:     “Do we need to see His hands?”
Hymn: 160 “The day of resurrection” Plus “He Lives”
Benediction and vesper

Bible Reading

Luke 24:35-49

35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.

36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them, and greeted them. 37 But the whole group was terribly frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why do you doubt that it is really I? 39 Look at my hands! Look at my feet! You can see that it is I, myself! Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost! For ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!” 40 As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see the marks of the nails,[b] and showed them the wounds in* his feet.
41 Still they stood there undecided, filled with joy and doubt.
Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched!
44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, don’t you remember my telling you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true?” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand at last these many Scriptures! 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day; 47 and that this message of salvation should be taken from Jerusalem to all the nations: There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me. 48 You have seen these prophecies come true.
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit[c] upon you, just as my Father promised. Don’t begin telling others yet—stay here in the city until* the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”



Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Parkrose United Congregation 14/4/17 Geoff Thompson

This is the communion address I shared with the Parkrose Congregation this Good Friday.

 The first communion, as we practice it today, came into being at the Last Supper Jesus had with His disciples prior to heading off to the Mt of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemene, and His trial before Pilate and then His crucifixion;
His death on the cross.
At the supper with the 12 disciples,
Jesus broke the bread apart.
 (as we will read in a minute,)
We can wonder even then was He feeling as He broke it, as it crumbled, as it was torn apart, 
“is this what is going to happen to my actual body?”
He may have been thinking and asking His heavenly Father is there another way that you can bring your people, mankind, back into a right relationship with you.
He knew also His father would not be there to comfort Him and make the pain go away as He hung dying on the Cross.
He knew His Heavenly Father loved the world and everyone in it so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son for the purpose of redemption from Sin.
For each one of us.
We read also that when Jesus and the disciples(now 11 as Judas had gone off to betray Him) were in the Garden of Gethesemene that
“41-42 He walked away, perhaps a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed this prayer: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him, 44 for he was in such agony of spirit that he broke into a sweat of blood, with great drops falling to the ground as he prayed more and more earnestly.”
The problem Jesus had was that for this sacrifice to be valid was that  He had to die as a man, totally human with all the physical pain and emotional and spiritual pain they we are all subject to.
He had to die as a human being with all the sin of each person becoming as if He had committed that sin.
Manifesting itself in Him.
He had to die in our place.
He took all our guilt on Himself.
He could have called on all the Angels to rescue Him but He had to resist that temptation.
He knew that He would not be able to be comforted  and strengthened by even one angel,

 as He was in the garden ,

as He sweated great drops of blood in anguish.

So we read this:

Matthew 26:26-30Living Bible

 26 As they were eating, Jesus took a small loaf of bread and blessed it and broke it apart and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take it and eat it, for this is my body.”

27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks for it and gave it to them and said, “Each one drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, sealing the new covenant. It is poured out to forgive the sins of multitudes. 29 Mark my words—I will not drink this wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives."
So let us remember as we give thanks for this bread and the cup why we take it.
We do so in memory of what Jesus has done for us ,
and any who will receive Him,
and we give thanks that our Heavenly Father would allow His son to go through such agony,
 and that Jesus was willing to obey.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Come and Try Photography

I have just this last Friday(31/3/17) completed 12 hours of photography training for 2 hours once a week through the community outreach programmes organised by the Burnside Council in Adelaide.
 My general feeling and feedback from participants is that this was a worthwhile exercise.

We had much discussion and viewing of samples of photography.

I worked my way through a keynote(powerpoint) programme I have developed on the fundamentals of photography although time running out cut us a little bit short on that.

A highlight was a field trip to a local park where we practised different techniques.

On the last day we discussed a quiz I  had handed out on the first day and generally speaking most were able to get the majority of questions right.

I have offered to all the participants a couple of hours extra time to help them fine tune their cameras as it is difficult to do that in a group setting.

With their permission and the permission of the Burnside council I have posted some of the pics recorded during the course by the participants.

During the course one of the participants,Wendy, brought in some old negatives her Nanna had taken years ago on a box brownie camera.

I scanned them for her and there were some iconic Australian picnic scenes amongst them.

On our field trip I had the idea we would re create some picnic scenes with a blend of old and new technology.

That was fun with "Mr. Tripod" and his "self timer" friend getting some good shots.

I apologise for being the subject material in some of these shots as I did not have any paid or volunteer models to help out and I did not want to embarrass participants into the role.

Many thanks to the staff at Burnside for co-ordinating and setting up.
Matthew, Shandre and Ros.

from Wendy's box camera negs

from Wendy's box camera negs

from Wendy's box camera negs

Wendy using Box Camera as in days of old.

Tripod "selfie"

Shooting into the light.

Capturing the peak of action

Capturing the peak of action