COPY OF HYMN ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS WRITTEN IN THE AUTHOR'S OWN HAND TO BE AUCTIONED IN LONDON
A copy of the great Christian hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers, written in the author's own hand, is to be auctioned in London in April.
Auction house Bonhams says the document, signed by Rev Sabine Baring-Gould, is estimated to be worth between £1,000 to £1,500 (about $AUD1509-$2264).
DAVID ADAMS reports on the upcoming auction of an early copy of Onward Christian Soldiers... |
MORE THAN 500,000 ATTENDED CHURCH-ORGANISED EVENTS DURING OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC GAMES
It's more than a month since the Paralympic Games closed in London and More Than Gold - the Christian umbrella organisation that was overseeing many of the outreach events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games - has just released some stats on how things went during both events. It makes for an amazing read.
They say that conservative estimates - conservative, mind! - show as many as 500,000 people attended church organised events, including community festivals, during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In addition the data shows that the 300 'Games Pastors' provided 13,000 hours of voluntary service at 24 key locations, that More Than Gold's Athlete Family Homestay Programme hosted 280 guests for 2,000 nights, and, that 30 teams of musicians and creative artists contributed 440 hours of live performances.
DAVID ADAMS looks at some of the data showing what Christian outreach activities went on during this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in London... |
A SNAPSHOT OF THE RICHNESS OF HUMAN LIFE
It took me a while to get around to watch Life in a Day even though I always suspected it would be a movie I should see. It didn’t disappoint.
Life in a Day is the result of a project - a joint production effort between Ridley Scott’s production company and YouTube - in which people from around the world were invited to video a day in their life – the 24th July, 2010 - and then submit the results to create a documentary which would show life on earth for a single day.
Some 80,000 clips were submitted and these were culled and collated to produce an hour–and-a-half of documentary footage which was then first aired at the Sundance Film Festival last January. As well as being released in cinemas and on DVD, it's now also available for download free-of-charge on its website.
DAVID ADAMS is amazed with a unique documentary looking at life in a single day on earth... |
PURE BLONDE THEOLOGY
The Pure Blonde adverts on television have not only given a new brew a foothold in the lucrative beverage market, but they may actually help people with their theology! Now that’s a wow reality!
You know the adverts: the pristine world of unicorns and white-clad, perfect, human specimens is spoilt by the Aussie truck driver, picking up the divine brew they quite innocently produce.
The picture of heaven might be a caricature, but the theology is pretty good (I can’t speak for the drink). As we are, we cannot enter heaven because the moment we enter it we would spoil it; it would cease to be heaven. Even if we were mostly good, all it takes is one germ to destroy purity.
Rather than God keeping us out of heaven because He is some kind of mean ogre, as some have suggested, we can’t go to heaven simply because sin can’t go near holiness, or it will be corrupted.
PAUL CLARK finds some theological parallels in the Pure Blonde ad... |
HOPE FOR AIDS SETS AN INSPIRING EXAMPLE
Sustainable development is a subject close to my heart and I have discovered the HOPE for Aids project, underpinned by SIM (Serving in Mission), to provide care, service to others and a “can-do” attitude that presses forward in the future of many countries who have high numbers of people suffering with this disease.
The HOPE for Aids projects not only provide hope in the present time but also hope for the future and recognises the important role that children play in the countries affected. As Christians, we love acronyms and this is no exception; with HOPE consisting of these principles:
• Home-based care where volunteers working through local churches and communities provide care without distinction. These volunteers help people care for themselves and cope with the daily burden of disease that sufferers have.
JILL CAVENAGH is impressed by the work of the HOPE for Aids project... |
COME TOUCH THE PAST - KFAR KEDEM RECREATES THE DAILY LIFE OF A GALILEAN VILLAGE 2,000 YEARS AGO
Thousands of years ago, the ancient Galilee was full of hundreds of small villages where the simple people raised their crops, tended to their flocks and lived according to their ancient customs. These villages served as the backdrop for the historic events that spawned the Gospels and inspire us to this day to follow in the footsteps of the ancient apostles and to seek the landscapes that Jesus knew.
A multitude of pilgrims sojourn to the Holy Land and visit the holy sites at Nazareth, Kana, the Sea of Galilee and many others. But what is often missing from their itinerary is a hands-on experience of the daily life in an ancient Galilean village.
That place is Kfar Kedem which was established six years ago on a scenic hillside facing Nazareth and Sephoris National Park. The project was the brainstorm of Menachem Goldberg, 36, an experienced tour guide and a resident of the Galilean village of Hoshaya.
DAN WOODING, founder of Assist News Service, visits Kfar Kedem, a recreation of a Biblical-era village in Galilee... |
TO SAVE A LIFE A MOVIE EVERY PARENT AND TEENAGER "NEEDS TO SEE"
When a teenager shoots a gun in the air in his school corridor, then kills himself, people react differently. Parents mourn, relatives grieve, some kids are shocked, but quickly disassociate themselves. But one kid decided he let his friend down, and is going to make his life count.
I have a heart for young people. Teenagers have had so many battles of recent times. Addictions, depression, suicide, abuse, and it all stems from a generation who haven’t been loved. A generation who have no hope for the future. More than 80 per cent of teenagers leave church after school has finished. I will do everything I can to see this generation of youth hear the good news of Jesus, and walk into their destiny.
Recently I saw a movie that I believe every teenager and parent needs to see, To Save a Life. I relate personally to this movie because my school life has a similar story line to the main character. Cutting a long story short, I committed my life to Christ at the age of 15, and wanted to reach my school for Christ. There was a horrible shooting at my school. Where a 14-year-old kid shot two teachers and a student in an act of drug induced madness. No-one died, but it shook our school to the core.
MATT PRATER writes about a film he thinks every parent and teenager should see... |
SANDWICHES FOR THE POOR
It’s the sort of thing that makes me go wow! when I hear of it. I recently found out that largely UK-based sandwich chain Pret A Manger not only donate money to a range of charities to alleviate poverty in the UK – focusing particularly on the homeless – they also give their unsold sandwiches to them at the end of each day.
While some charities for the homeless pick them up directly from the company's shops, the Pret Charity Run operates vans which deliver 12,000 meals to London-based shelters each week, making it, according to the company, a total of 1.7 million products donated each year.
DAVID ADAMS finds a sandwich chain with a charitable mission... |
$100,000 TO HELP MORE PEOPLE LIVE OUT 'GOD-GIVEN DREAMS'
It’s an offer that seems too good to pass up. Melbourne-based Christian company Mission Travel Group has announced it’s giving away $100,000 in travel grants this June to “help more people live out their God-given dreams”.
The company is funding 13 individual grants of $5,000 and $10,000 in a range of categories including ‘Holy Land experiences’ (aimed at giving ministers the opportunity of visiting the Middle East), Bible college scholarships, ‘Compassion sponsor child visits’, ‘volunteer Africa’ (a range of month long placements in African nations) and cash grants available to Christian individuals, churches, ministries, and not-for-profit organisations.
Lisa Scerri, who founded the company with her husband Frank, says they are giving away the money because they believe in the importance of investing a substantial amount of their profits back into the Christian community.
DAVID ADAMS reports... |
UNCOVERING THE 'ESSENCE' OF THE FATHER
During my pursuit to learn Hebrew, which is the language of both the Old Testament and the modern State of Israel, I've made many precious Jewish friends, travelled throughout Israel and experienced many 'Wow!' moments.
Unlike in English, every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a unique meaning. If you combine the meaning of each letter, you can usually understand a new word that you've never heard before.
Here's an example of how this works: The Hebrew letter 'alef', which is similar to our letter 'A', is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It literally means 'leader'.
KARYN MARKWELL says that her quest to learn Hebrew has led to many Wow! moments... |
THE 100 WELLS CAMPAIGN
American Brad Phillips began Persecution Project Foundation (PPF) in 1997 to mobilise Christians to engage in 'active compassion for the persecuted'. Brad had traveled through war ravaged areas of Africa as a teenager with his father and had seen the devastation caused by religious persecution, in 'terms of blood, disease, starvation and death'. In 1998, he traveled through Southern Sudan and documented on video the persecution of Christians by the National Islamic Front government.
PPF has continued to work in Sudan, helping plant churches, supporting orphanages and providing emergency relief to refugees. In 2004 PPF began working with refugees on the Darfur border, providing wells, a clinic, educational services, and pastor training.
They are currently one of the few NGO's still in Sudan, working with the hundreds of thousands of refugees most of whom are women and children, the men having been killed in the war.
MICHELLE WHITE says helping people in places such as Sudan can be as simple as buying a T-shirt... |
MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS ILLUMINATE LIFE AS IT WAS
I’ve always found it a moving experience to look at something that was created hundreds of years ago and a recent visit to the State Library of Victoria to take a look at The Medieval Imagination: Illuminated Manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand exhibition was no exception.
DAVID ADAMS is impressed by wonders of a bygone age... |
DELIVERING LAPTOPS TO CHILDREN IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
Nicholas Negroponte had a dream to supply children in the developing world - those in cities and remote places alike - with a powerful education tool that most in the developed world have relatively open access to.
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) non-profit organisation was his subsequent brainchild. Negroponte’s answer to the challenge of education is the XO laptop.
The XO is built specifically for children in the developing world and is designed with a number of well-adapted features. It has a dual-mode display; first as a conventional colour LED laptop and then as a sunlight readable black-and-white e-book as most of the target children have classes out in the open.
CHOE BRERETON looks at an innovative program to provide computers to children in less wealthy nations... |
SCAREDSACRED - A LOOK INTO THE HEART OF HUMANITY
Hope is a remarkable, understated human capacity that allows an individual to stand with only their bare bones against external forces that are so much more powerful than they and should knock them down like twigs.
Velcrow Ripper’s documentary is a five year journey into hope. He begins with a narrative: “One night I dreamed that I am awakened with shouts and cries. Then I’m pushed and shoved into a cattle cart filled with starving people. An old woman sitting next to me sighs, it finally happened, we are on our way to the camps, so it’s our turn now, I always thought...it’s happening to them not to me...to them...always to them. In the light of day I realised it’s impossible to run away. So I decided to take the opposite approach - I’m running towards. I’m setting out on a journey that will eventually consume five years of my life and take me to the ground zero’s of the world. Searching for the possibility in the darkness...for the sacred inside the scared."
ADAM KELSALL is impressed by Velcrow Ripper's documentary about finding the sacred in the toughest situations... |
A NOOMA MESSAGE FOR TODAY
Wow! is one I’ve been meaning to write for some time.
For a couple of years now I’ve been enjoying an amazing
collection of short films featuring Rob Bell, founding pastor
of the Mars Hill Bible Church in the US. Known by the name
NOOMA (a phonetic English spelling of the Greek word pneuma,
translated as ‘spirit’ or ‘breath’),
the DVDs take a fresh and deeply insightful look at some of
the key issues raised in the Bible and how they affect our
daily lives. Addressing questions such as where is God in
our sufferings (Rain) to forgiving others (Luggage)
and the fragility of life (Breathe), the films -
which run between 10 and 14 minutes - feature Bell speaking
conversationally and personally about the issue at hand while
a story unfolds around him.
DAVID ADAMS tells of a film series made to help answer
today's questions... |
a great way to make yourself feel good in the New Year! Greenfleet
are a non-profit organisation created in 1997 to provide an
easy way of off-setting your car’s impact on the environment.
For $40 they will plant 17 native trees on your behalf which,
as they grow, will help to absorb around 4.3 tonnes of carbon
dioxide every year - a sum which is calculated to equate to
the amount of greenhouse gases an average car produces every
year. Since its foundation, the organisation - which has tree
planting projects in all mainland states and the ACT (they
were looking for sites in Tasmania) - has planted more than
two million trees.
DAVID ADAMS finds a simple way to balance out your
FOR A WARMER FUTURE
Vision’s Guardian Angel campaign started in 1998 and,
in 2005 alone, 340,000 articles were given out to chidren.
Workers have provided clothing for children in 13 countries:
Uganda, Armenia, Romania, Vietnam, Indonesia, Uzbekistan,
Rwanda, Zambia, Lesotho, Cambodia, Bosnia, Thailand and this
year's target country Mongolia. Their motto is 'knit one,
save one' (a pun on knitting techniques) which is so true
for children living in basic shelter or in tunnels with torn
nylon clothing in minus 40 degrees.
LINDA ADAMS finds a way knitting can make a difference... |
I have been wowed
by Switchfoot’s latest CD. I bought this back at Christmas
time and it’s called Nothing is Sound which
is really a contradiction because this is one very sound album.
Some of you have who won’t have heard of Switchfoot
may actually have recognise one of their songs because the
AFL have used it in some of their advertising. What I really
like about this album is that it is sound in lyrics and in
music - in fact we’ve had a debate not that long ago
or a discussion on Sight about intelligent design and I don’t
know what to call this album other than to call it ‘intelligent
rock’ - it’s good, solid, earthy, rock and it’s
intelligent stuff. When you listen to the whole album it’s
got the feeling of the Psalms and Ecclesiastes combined. There
are songs in here that are about the emptiness of those things
that are under the sun but the beauty of the album is that
it comes at everything from the eternal perspective
LLOYD HARKNESS finds an album that's 'sound in lyrics
and music'... |
DELIVERS A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF CHRISTIAN TV
In Australia, Christian content on TV is usually nil, or confined
to the time of night when most of us are asleep.
There is, of course, the highly
regarded Australian Christian Channel on pay TV, which offers
quality Christian content with an Australian flavour, but
not everyone can afford the monthly subscription.
But there is another choice
and it has to be one of the best-kept secrets in Christian
circles: free to air satellite television.
It's relatively cheap - after
the one-off set-up cost of about $450 (standard installation)
there are no further charges, it's available just about anywhere
and there is an abundance of Christian content to choose from.
GAVIN BOX finds find a whole new world of free Christian
HARKNESS revisits Jean P. Sasson's books Princess and Daughters of Arabia... |
QUINN on a couple of books that have helped her with the concept
of suffering... |
LEWIS recalls part of a sermon which amazed him... |
TOWNSEND on a renowned pole-sitter... |
HARKNESS finds a challenge in Josh McDowell's More than
a Carpenter... |
FENTON is inspired by The Interview with God... |
If a passage from a book or song
has particularly inspired you, why not share it with others
in Wow! Email your contributions to email@example.com