Christmas 2019

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

There is much to like about Christmas —the office parties and gift giving; the decorations and carol singing; the good cheer and even the family gatherings if we are fortunate enough.

Some people today would be surprised to know that most of this comes from our Judeo-Christian past. Even though many have moved away from church and belief, and there are increasing numbers of people calling themselves non-religious, Christmas remains a deeply religious season. It seems that while our minds can’t make sense of it rationally, and we would be quick to deny it, there are times when we experience something resembling faith. It may not be belief, so much, but something deep and profound. Maybe there is something spiritual about Christmas after all? Continue reading “Christmas 2019”

With trust and cooperation, and lots of forgiveness, there is hope

Stephen Baxter, MC.

The Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast is an annual event where leaders from across Tasmania gather to pray for our State and listen to a guest speaker. Each year I have the opportunity to provide a short introduction. In 2019 this is what I said…

Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast  | October 30, 2019

“The future isn’t what it used to be,” wrote French poet Paul Valery 90 years ago. Our world is changing so rapidly it’s difficult to imagine the future. In fact, it can be quite frightening.

That’s nothing new. The ancient Greeks feared it. For them it was obvious ¾ the universe is eternal, complete9 and perfect. The senses are deceived, change was an illusion, and hope was found adjusting to the fate of a closed system. Continue reading “With trust and cooperation, and lots of forgiveness, there is hope”

Easter 2019

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

In a world fearing the future of planet earth, Easter has a profound message. That message is easily lost amid the bunnies and chocolate eggs. Just like Christmas, Easter has undergone a radical makeover. Both are now domestic, consumer driven celebrations.

But the meaning of Easter is not totally lost.

Continue reading “Easter 2019”

Patience with the World, the Church and Yourself

Patience: The world, the church and yourself.

One of mum’s favourite sayings was, ‘patience is a virtue’. In our fast paced, instant gratification world, patience is often disregarded, but sorely needed. Jesus taught about patience and it has great application for how we live are to live in the world, in the church and with yourself.

Jesus’ parable of the Wheat and Weeds (Matt 13:24-30, 36-43) is foundational to my worldview. In this parable, a farmer sows good seed. Then, in the middle of the night his enemy walks through his field sowing more seeds.

It was a scenario familiar to those who heard Jesus tell the story. The seed sown by the enemy was darnel, a type of ryegrass looking very much like wheat in its early stages of growth. Roman law prohibited sowing it in the field of one’s enemy.

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The Problem with Losing My Religion

Losing my religion

The Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast is an annual event where leaders and Christians from across Tasmania gather to pray for our State and listen to a guest speaker. Each year I give a short introduction to explain the breakfast. Here is what I said in 2017 titled, “The Problem with Losing My Religion.” See here for 2015 and 2016.

Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast | August 16, 2017

As we begin this morning, it is important we take a few moments to reflect on why we gather.

Over the past 12 years the breakfast has carved out a unique niche on the civic landscape of our state. It is a place where leaders from government, business, not-for-profits, community groups and the church gather on neutral ground to honour each other, hear a Christian talk about their life, work and trust in Jesus, and pray for our state, our leaders, our institutions and our people.

It is a unique niche, away from our churches and denominations, away from our politics and lobbying,

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A better alternative

Stephen Baxter, MC

The Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast is an annual event where leaders from across Tasmania gather to pray for our State and listen to a guest speaker. Each year I have the opportunity to provide a short introduction. In 2018 I began with the following…

2018 Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast | August 22, 2018

Each year, at the beginning of our program I take a moment to reflect why we are here. When 500 people gather so early, in the middle of winter, for a “prayer” breakfast, some explanation is appropriate.

We gather in the name and spirit of Jesus; not in the name of any religion, denomination or ideology. Yale historian Jeroslav Pelikan, wrote, “Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western Culture for almost 20 centuries.” Continue reading “A better alternative”

Easter 2018

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

“It’s okay to believe”

Despite living in one of the most beautiful and affluent places on planet Earth, too many Tasmanian young people are doing life tough. The latest Mission Australia’s Youth Mental Health Report notes the “significant increase” in the proportion of youth meeting the criteria for probable serious mental illness. Disturbingly, suicide is the “leading cause of death” for young people aged 15-24 years.

Something is wrong! Life is not working. We need to ask why.

Continue reading “Easter 2018”

Christmas 2017

Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.

My earliest memories of Christmas are a jumble of excitement, carol singing, presents, meals with the extended family and trotting off to church. My grandfather led the choir there and his baritone solos had won him many a competition.

Aged about five, I was taken to hear Handel’s Messiah because Dad was singing in it. I remember going to sleep half way through only to be woken for the Hallelujah chorus. I promptly went back to sleep again! Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I’m deeply moved by the chorus and the carols.

Continue reading “Christmas 2017”

The loss of faith has a downside

Stephen Baxter, MC

 

The Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast is an annual event where leaders from across Tasmania gather to pray for our State and listen to a guest speaker. Each year I have the opportunity to provide a short introduction. The following is what I said in 2017 titled, “The loss of faith has a downside.”

Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast | August 16, 2017

As we begin this morning, it is important we take a few moments to reflect on why we gather.

Over the past 12 years the breakfast has carved out a unique niche on the civic landscape of our state. It is a place where leaders from government, business, not-for-profits, community groups and the church gather on neutral ground to honour each other, hear a Christian talk about their life, work and trust in Jesus, and pray for our state, our leaders, our institutions and our people. Continue reading “The loss of faith has a downside”