Friday, August 30, 2019

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command 

The air-bridged harbour that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Eight Heroes of the Hebrew Bible

The characters depicted in the Bible were not perfect by any means. We find story after story marked by scandal, failure, and intrigue. Yet we also find many stories of women and men who were able to look beyond their circumstances, completely trust in their God.

Like us, these individuals made both good and bad decisions along the way—and experienced both good and bad consequences—and we find our struggles and hopes in the pages of the Bible that tells their stories.

These eight snapshots of heroes of faith from the Old Testament will encourage you, inspire you, and help you deepen your trust in the God so that you might live out your faith in radical ways today.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Mystery of Us: Ephesians Series

The followers of Jesus are a mystery. Often powerless and poor; often down-trodden and marginalised by the reigning powers, they doesn’t look like the coterie of the King! Yet through the lenses of faith they are ‘seated in the heavens’ in Christ. 
Two big themes are revealed in Ephesians: (1) Christ and, (2) the Church. The title of our sermon series, “The Mystery of Us,” combines these two themes. 
Six times in Ephesians, the writer of the book, Paul, uses the word mystery to describe the divine breakthrough of God’s grace that occurred in Jesus.“The Mystery of Us,” series picks up on the mystery of God’s wealth and power bestowing a great destiny on insignificant people such us; and the mystery that the likes of us can withstand powers and principalities, so that the reign of God is manifest in us and through us. 
One of the great blessings Jesus gave us is the Church. In Christ, “you and I” have become “we”. We were all brought into the body of Christ, the church, with Christ as the head over us all. In Ephesians, the church is a beautiful and glorious thing. As God’s people, we are the workmanship of God. God’s work of art, and the dwelling place of God. The church exists to the praise of God’s glory. We are the stage on which God shows off. It is even said that the angels are in awe of God’s work in his church.
You can read through the whole letter to the Ephesians HERE.
Come and join us as we work through the letter to the Ephesians at Diamond Valley Baptist Church 10am and 6pm Sundays.
Download the Connect group notes from HERE

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The Writing’s On The Wall | Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier

"It’s the cliché that means everybody else knows but you, you’ve been blind to the bleeding obvious. The phrase originates from an episode in the Old Testament, Book of Daniel, where the Babylonian King Belshazzar was entertaining his courtiers on the eve of battle, getting drunk from cups stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem, instead of being with his troops."
"The hand of G-d appeared and proceeded to write on the wall, words of judgement about not measuring up to expectations. Belshazzar was dead by dawn. He never saw it coming. None of us see it coming..." (Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier)

What are the certainties that weigh us down? What are the illusions and assumptions that immobilise and paralyse us until too late?

Marcel Proust said: "The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes." 

   (Click pic to play song...)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Book Of Life | Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier

"... What holds you here? Family, religion, community, ambition, greed? From a scientific, atheistic viewpoint nothing matters. What we are, what we believe is an accident of birth. Ultimately in our scientific, godless universe, nothing can matter since the universe is amoral. Not even the existence of the Earth itself matters.

To a mere mortal this is terrifying; only a god can have the luxury of having a scientific, atheistic view of life.

What holds you here?

While writing our record a few people we knew, sadly decided that not much held them to this earthly existence. Just another death, the universe went on, but a terrible hole in our lives.

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah is a time to blow the Shofar, a ram’s horn, and celebrate with apple and honey for a sweet New Year. Ten days later the sombre day of atonement, Yom Kippur, is a day of fasting and repenting for your sins of the previous year.

On Rosh Hashanah you will be inscribed in the book of life and on Yom Kippur you will be
sealed. Your fate for the next 12 months is written. “... who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by upheaval, who by plague, who by strangling, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.”

We tried a number of versions of this song, James Black played a beautiful piano part, but ultimately the song needed to sound like a solitary prayer. May you be written into the book of life."

Source: Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall | Bob Dylan

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music