The Christmas Story Of A Homeless Family

Christmas is the story of a homeless couple and a homeless baby. When we strip away all the Christmas trees, festivity, and commercial activities, then a significant part of God coming to earth has to do with homelessness. We generally do not see homelessness as an important part of the Christmas story. Children’s pageants make a lot of there being no room in the inn, but the fact is that Mary and Joseph were homeless people when Jesus was born. Jesus was born into a world that actually did not care enough about a pregnant, homeless girl. Nothing much has changed.
During Jesus’ life on earth He said, “The Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” – Luke 9:58. Jesus certainly never owned His own home. In many ways, He too was homeless, although for many periods of His life He did have places to stay. It’s often true for homeless people that for some periods of their lives they are homed, and for other periods they have no home.

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Rogue Pastors – How Should The Church Respond?

Many sectors of our nation have justifiably expressed indignation at the shocking allegations leveled against rogue pastors. These have included rape, assault, and attempted murder. Other pastors have been recorded feeding dog meat, snakes, grass, or spraying insecticide on congregants. Many are accused of manipulating their flock into giving away large sums of money.
At the centre of the issue is the CRL Rights Commission, created by the State to protect ‘the rights of cultural, religious, and linguistic communities.’ After investigating abuses within some churches, the Commission began calling for what it terms a self-regulatory body, authorised by the State but made up of church leaders. Is this an appropriate response, and how should the church respond?

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Communion – The Cup Of Life

Holy Communion is essential to the spiritual life of Christians. It is not optional; we are commanded by our Master to receive it. It is no more optional than water baptism (Romans 6). Likewise, the Scripture says, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” – 1 Cor 11:26. In receiving the Lord’s Supper, we are carrying out the command of our Lord and Master.
There have been many debates about Holy Communion. This is sad, for I feel that simply receiving Communion is one of the most important blessings in a Christian’s life. Once I preached at a church in Ireland and ministered to them for an entire week. On the Sunday that I preached, they had a Communion service, but asked me to sit aside as I was “not a member of their church” and could thus not partake in Holy Communion! This was a sad day for me.
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10 Things You Want To Know About Heaven

Artists and movie makers depict Heaven as a colourless place where the occupants sport wings and halos and have nothing better to do than strum harps and lounge on clouds. Sceptics like Mark Twain denounce Heaven as unbearably boring and full of hypocritical prudes. Misconceptions about heaven abound. So let’s clear some of them up. Here are 10 questions that Christians are embarrassed to ask about Heaven.

1. Is heaven in the clouds?
2. Will heaven be plain white?
3. Do people become angels in heaven?
4. Will people have wings and halos in heaven?
5. Will people in heaven lose their sense of taste, touch, or smell?
6. Will heaven be full of nerds and prudes?
7. Will we recognise loved ones in heaven?
8. Will there be sadness in heaven over unsaved loved ones?
9. Will shame keep us from enjoying heaven?
10. Will heaven be boring?

…Find out the answers to these questions in the December issue of JOY!, on sale now!

7 Things To Consider Before Emigrating

The exodus of people from South Africa is alarming. The reason? Rampant crime, collapsing standards in education and health care, and a bleak economic future are the reasons given by many who have left and others who are contemplating packing their bags for greener pastures. Before you decide to pluck up your roots and head into the horizon, however, some important issues need to be resolved.
The best place to begin our quest for answers to this sensitive question is to reflect again on the sovereignty and greatness of God. The Bible teaches that God’s purposes will stand whatever we do and that He will do exactly as He pleases (Isaiah 46:10). In Daniel 4:35 we read these words: “He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.” This constitutes a problem for us because He does not always explain Himself.
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