Middlesbrough 0 Leicester City 0

Another 0-0 draw away from home against a team who at the start of the match were sitting proudly on top of the table. This is not one to get excited about – the stats say possession and chances were even – I suppose a point and a clean sheet will have to suffice. Once again the lack of goals is a cause for concern – we now have only nine in nine league matches. I did read a comment from Sven about the players being tired in the last ten minutes, it has been (by professional footballing standards) a busy two weeks for the boys, hopefully a good result against Derby (currently in 3rd place) on Saturday will be a good forerunner to the international break which follows with no league matches for two weeks.

Reports here and here – as usual photos from lcfc.com

Pressing for Palestinian statehood

If you have followed recent news you will know of Palestinian pressure at the united Nations for recognition of their own state in their own homeland. As a Christian I believe God has a special plan for the Jews, on the face of it there appears to be more antagonism and hatred of them, a greater desire to extinguish them, than of any other people group I know of. (Incidentally I also believe that we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that God loves all men, Jews, gentiles, Arabs, Israelis.)

This video presents what appears to me to be a pro-Jewish reporting of events over the last century or so. I found it worth eleven minutes to help me think, understand and pray more.

CNN explains the situation here, whilst the BBC website has a sereis of articles attempting to explain what the Palestinians want in UN membership, an Israeli view and a Palestinian view.

Should women choose to use the gender inclusive NIV 2011?

My students will tell you that I strongly favour using the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible for studying. The language is harder than some other versions so it will require some more thought on your part, but from all that I read it is arguably the best current translation available.

This year there is a new edition of the New International Version (NIV) available and it has been the focus of much discussion some of which I have mentioned previously. One of its features is an increasing use of gender inclusive language – one person I read disparagingly parodied this by saying the authors had now decided God had made mistakes which they had kindly chosen to rectify. Whilst this is unfair we should ask if there are good reasons for not using the new NIV with its gender inclusive approach to biblical language? One recent article on the girlsgonewise website, and written by a woman suggests ten reasons why the new NIV is bad for women. The full article is worth a read but if you don’t have time the headlines are below. As a man sometimes I think I might be a little ignorant of how women might really feel on this – I did wonder what a woman’s perspective is on this – what is it I am missing?

1. It obscures the profound symbolism of gender:2. It exalts gender above that to which it points:

3. It diminishes the unique beauty of womanhood:

4. It is less inclusive of women:

5. It demeans women:

6. It patronizes women:

7. It calls God’s attitude toward women into question:

8. It calls God’s wisdom into question:

9. It encourages further changes to Scripture:

10. It leads women away from truth:

Being Proud

If you read this blog regularly you will realise the football (soccer) team I coach recently did very well in the Siliguri Churches Tournament. I was proud of them for many reasons some of which it appears to me have Christian discipleship parallels.

They trained – in fact they trained very hard – they didn’t complain, grumble or give up – they persevered, pressed on and gave 100% – sounds like 11 men who followed Jesus.

They used the gifts given to them – some are not great footballers, but they brought all their gifting to the ground and sacrificed it for the good of the team – God gives gifts to all men, do you use yours?.

They stuck to plan – they knew what they had been told to do (I am a bossy coach who had worked out a game plan) – people stood and watched, some even cheered, many shouted advice – the team ignored them and achieved more than they might ever have hoped or expected – read Matt 28:18-20, it is a good outline of God’s plan.

They listened to the coach – they knew who they should be listening to, there were no mixed messages – their masters voice was loud and clear – frequent shouts of encouragement, instructions and lots of clapping – prayer, meditation, Bible reading, listening to the voice of God is non-negotiable.

There are lots of other parallels I might draw but want to finish this by thinking of the joy I got from the teams performance – a smile on the face of God when we walk in his paths.

Honouring Jesus

Do you observe the Sabbath? Is it a special day to be kept special with no work and no stress? An interesting story has emerged from the rugby union world cup where Euan Murray, a member of the Scotland squad, refuses to play on Sundays and has questioned why matches should be played on a Sunday at all. Murray plays in one of the most physically demanding positions in rugby, prop forward, not a place for the fainthearted. The BBC had a great quote fom Euan in their report about this,

It’s basically all or nothing, following Jesus. I don’t believe in pick ‘n’ mix Christianity. I believe the Bible is the word of God, so who am I to ignore something from it?

“I might as well tear out that page then keep tearing out pages as and when it suits me. If I started out like that there would soon be nothing left.

“I want to live my life believing and doing the things (God) wants and the Sabbath day is a full day.

“It’s not a case of a couple of hours in church then playing rugby or going down the pub, it’s the full day.”

I love the fact that this manly man can stand such a public stand for Jesus and pray for him as he chooses to honour God in this.

Personally I do not believe that Sunday has to be observed as the Sabbath but I do think God has created within man a need to rest, relax and most importantly to worship Him. Christians traditionally, and usually, do this on a Sunday. My reading of the Bible is that there might be more flexibility in observing a day of rest, Colossians 2:16-17, Romans 14:5,

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
Incidentally if you don’t know anything of rugby union, rules etc. then the English Rugby Football Union has some helpful information for the person wanting to learn more – try here.