Thunder and Lightning, Sin and Truth

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Thunderstorms are natural. They look beautiful, but they are dangerous causing much damage and loss of life. They are a normal occurrence in a world gone wrong. In the same way, greed is common in sinful people, and we human are all sinful. Separating out truth from error is difficult for sinful people. Many churches have giving talks which at best are intended to be helpful, but because of sin, they can engage human greed to extract money from people wanting more money.

Does God want sinful people to be wealthy? Does God want sinners to be healthy? Does God want you to live forever and never die? If the answer to that last question requires some qualifications, so do the first two.

Is there anything a sinful person can do that wont be tainted by sin? There is always someone presenting an opposing point of view. So, I have to remind myself not to get angry at someone for simply holding another opinion. All of us get criticised from time to time for having different ideas. It is good to present our perspective as an opinion piece rather than hand it down as certain truth.

With regard to the prosperity gospel (hard and light versions) which has been endlessly promoted and criticised by many on the Internet (so I don’t have anything new to offer), the danger is to present our point of view as God’s truth. It is not that divine mystery prevents us from knowing truth, but for us sinful humans to know our condition, that as sinners truth may elude us because of sin, not because it is unknowable.

Humility is the issue at the heart of our debates over the prosperity gospel, women in ministry, gender issues, etc. Let us hold lightly to our opinions. They are but the deliberations of our sinful minds. But let us hold tightly to one another, for our brothers and sisters in the church are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

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Looking for a Sign from God

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

At the start of the new year I thought it would be nice to ask God for a sign, a prophetic word or a vision for the year ahead. I thought it showed respect and appreciation for God’s input. “What am I to do to further Your kingdom?” I prayed. I fasted for several hours. I wrote in my prayer journal and waited, and waited. I got no reply.

Should I seek out someone with a prophetic gift? In the past, when I ask someone to practise their prophetic gifting on me, they looked at my grey hair and said, “God is not finished with you yet. There is more to come.” I already knew that much. Just as most prayers for healing go unanswered, most prophecies are not from God. This is not to say that some sick people are not gloriously healed and some prophecies are very helpful and accurate. But, a lot of them aren’t. If you Google last year’s prophecies for the year just completed, you will find the prophets mostly got it wrong. So, I take this year’s crop of prophecies with a pinch of salt.

Do we need a sign at all? When Jesus had completed his mission on earth, he instructed his disciples what they should do.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NRSV)
18  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus intended the church to continue teaching its members to do these things. They would not have to seek signs or look for further revelation. In fact, to do so would be to go AWOL. Consequently, my three points for this year (or any year) are as follows.

1. Proclaim the Gospel

Making disciples requires us to proclaim the gospel. Jesus went about proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of God is near. Adding people to the church through baptism is what the church is supposed to be doing, whether we see revival or not.

2. Teach Everything Jesus Taught His Disciples

Once people are added to the church, Jesus said to teach them everything he taught his disciples, this includes the use of the gifts of the Spirit. Possibly the church isn’t very good at prayer for healing, prophetic words and casting out demons is because it is not taught in church. Yet, Jesus taught his disciples these things. I suggest our teachers themselves are ill equipped. Possibly they don’t like to be seen to fail. In not trying to heal the sick, we deprive ourselves of the joy of seeing Jesus heal a sick person through our ministry.

3. Love One Another

Jesus mentioned that his disciples should teach people what he commanded us, which immediately brings to mind the new commandment.

John 13:34-35 (NRSV)
“…34  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Too often we maintain our comfortable lifestyles using the excuse that we haven’t been called or gifted to do anything in particular. God has given us free will but we shirk responsibility for making a decision to do something. The needs around us are immense and we can’t do everything, but we can do something. Jesus’ teaching is the sign we need and his Spirit goes with us.

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Achieving Atonement

My free eBook “Achieving Atonement” presents a new atonement model that is biblical, ethical, reasonable, comprehensive, ecumenical, and avoids the problems of traditional atonement theories while retaining their truths. The book explains how God is achieving atonement and the place of Christ’s violent death on the cross. The book is 170 pages plus 102 pages Scripture Index and end matter. Various eReader formats are available from A PDF version with numbered pages may be downloaded from

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The Prayer Mission

The Prayer Mission is a short book about Christian prayer that surveys the many biblical passages about prayer to arrive at the conclusion that prayer is not an optional extra to the Christian life, but is an integral part of the Christian’s mission in life. If we are to have a relationship with God that transcends sterile religion, prayer is essential.

Topics covered include the different types of prayer, subjects for prayer, unanswered prayer, and the life of prayer. Jesus and his apostles taught the importance of prayer. It is a high privilege that is too much neglected. Paul’s encouragement to pray without ceasing is often brushed aside as being literally impossible. For the Christian mission to be successful, it must be conducted in prayer, unceasing prayer. The use of Scripture makes this conclusion irrefutable to Christians. The book presents a forceful challenge to see prayer as the means to connecting with God.

The book is a concise 55 pages (12,600 words), including Scripture quotations and pictures. Download the eBook in any format from Smashwords.


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Observers’ Guide to God

My new eBook is presented as a Field Guide for observing God written in the humorous narrative nonfiction genre. The narrator, Albert Steinberger, is an experienced author of Field Guides for bird watching and train spotting and here turns his expertise to the popular pastime of God observation. The narrator makes no reference to any particular religion, person or sacred scripture. Both novice and experienced God watchers, will find helpful insights to help them on their quest to find God. Albert consults a team of experts to advise him on the quest to observe God. His success will stimulate many to take up this hobby and, like Albert, become members of the God Observers’ Club.

Available at Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Amazon and other fine ebook retailers., where it is freely available in numerous eBook reader formats:-


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