Wednesday, December 8, 2010



We need to look for ways to glorify Christ all year round, but at CHRISTmas time, people are usually much more interested in CHRIST than at any other time of year. We must not waste this opportunity.

Ideas for things churches can do
Ideas families can do together
Ideas to do at your Christmas party
Ideas shops can do
Ideas any individual can do

Ideas for things churches can do

• Put a sign outside your church with slogan like "Jesus is the reason for the season"
• Give away evangelistic CHRISTmas cards
• Evangelistic CHRISTmas service with the salvation message of the CHRISTmas gift of Jesus Christ.
• Encourage congregation to bring their friends who don’t know Jesus to the CHRISTmas service

Ideas families can do together

• Go to a ‘Carols by candlelight’ outing e.g. Kirstenbosch summer concerns
• Show the ‘Nativity Story’ DVD to family and invite friends around to watch also.
• Have a devotional time as part of your CHRISTmas celebration
- Pray together and thank God for his gift of Jesus
- Sing CHRISTmas carols
- Read Nativity Bible stories at start of Matthew and Luke
• Buy CHRISTmas music that celebrates Jesus and not Santa Claus.
• Make a nativity scene on your mantelpiece with baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the wise men and the animals.
• Act out a nativity play

Ideas to do at your Christmas party

• Play Christmas music that glorifies Jesus Christ
• Pray before the meal thanking God for his gift of Jesus Christ.
• Tell your relatives why Christ is important to you this CHRISTmas.

Ideas shops can do

• Sell CHRISTmas carol music that celebrates Jesus
• Play CHRISTmas carols celebrating Jesus as background music
• Sell CHRISTmas cards celebrating Jesus and not Santa Claus

Ideas any individual can do

• If you are an artist, make your own CHRIST centred CHRISTmas cards.
• Send a celebrating Christ SMS to friends and family
• Celebrating Christ Facebook update
• Choose CHRISTmas cards that focus on Jesus and not on Santa Claus.
• Give CHRISTmas present of a book that will tell someone about Jesus.
• Write CHRISTmas with Christ in capital letters to emphasise Christ.
• Make a CHRISTmas gift donation to ChristianView Network to help us promote Christ in CHRISTMAS
• Copy or forward articles about Christ in CHRISTmas including this one to others.
• Pray for the Lord to give you his inspiration of a way you can glorify him this CHRISTmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Open air Passion Play to do at Easter

This Easter, people will be celebrating - either the resurrection of Christ, the chocolate Easter bunny or just the fact that they have a few days off. It is the easiest time of year to talk to people about the question of why Jesus died and the significance of his resurrection - and apart from Christmas, the easiest time to invite friends and neighbours to church. But the commercial marketing media will also be distracting people with various promotions and Easter bunnies in the windows. But it is not really going to help to fight with the commercial Easter Bunny promoters. If we don't encourage people to think about Christ and what he did for us, then their attention will be won by default by commercial advertisers.

The 'Passion Play' is one way that has been used as an effective means to reach people with the gospel at Easter time for hundreds of years. The above play was performed in Sea Point in the 1990s in which I act the part of a Roman soldier. Really I have no acting ability, but the effectiveness of the play demonstrates that if I could act in the play then it is simple enough for you to do so so too.

To act such a play, you need the following props:
* The Carmen's song 'This blood is for you', which you can download legally at (Album 6, Song #3) for only $5 or about R50.
The lyrics are at:
* A wooden plank cut to size to use as a cross - with the edges sanded to prevent hurting the person acting Jesus.
* Ropes tied to the back of the wooden plank so that the Jesus actor can hold the cross up.
* Make whips to lash the Jesus actor by plaiting wool - then plait the plaits till you get a thick soft rope that will not injure the Jesus actor (do not use normal rope).
* Get some 'make up' to paint bruise injuries on the Jesus actor.
* Make some fake blood following the recipe
* Soak the whip in a plastic bag full of fake blood and leave it in the solider's pocket until he whips Jesus.
* Gospel tracts to hand out to people afterwards to explain the meaning of Jesus death and resurrection and the call to personal salvation.

If you do the play in a public location, then apply for permission from the necessary authorities.

With easter 3 weeks away, there is still enough time to put together a play like this - especially if your church has an existing drama group. You can also share the true meaning of Easter by posting the above blog post or video to your Social Networking Profile (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo) to share with your friends.

But an open air Easter play is not the only way for you and your church to share the message of Christ's death and resurrection this Easter. Maybe you can think of another idea more suitable for your context. But lets not waste this opportunity and by our silence, let the 'Easter Bunny commercialists' steal attention away from Christ and what he has done for us.

Philip Rosenthal

Friday, February 20, 2009

Free Download of Christmas Song "Noisy Night"

Please find below a free Christmas song "Noisy Night' you can download and listen to by Evan Rogers. night 1.mp3

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Old Covenant prophecies related to Christ's birth

Isaiah 9:1-7

ISA 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan--
ISA 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
ISA 9:3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
ISA 9:4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
ISA 9:5 Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
ISA 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,n Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
ISA 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Jeremiah 31:15-17

JER 31:15 This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
JER 31:16 This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. "They will return from the land of the enemy.
JER 31:17 So there is hope for your future," declares the LORD. "Your children will return to their own land.

Micah 5:2-5

MIC 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose originsn are from of old,
from ancient times. "
MIC 5:3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
MIC 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
MIC 5:5 And he will be their peace.

Isaiah 7:10-17

ISA 7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."
ISA 7:12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."
ISA 7:13 Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give youn a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, andn will call him Immanuel.n 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah--he will bring the king of Assyria."

Eternal perspectives on the Christmas story from the Gospel of John

John 1:1-18
JN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
JN 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understoodn it.
JN 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.n
JN 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent,n nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
JN 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,n who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
JN 1:15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,nn who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

John 3:16-21

JN 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,n that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.n 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Christmas Nativity Scripture reading: Luke 1-2

Luke 1:1-2:51

LK 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilledn among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Zechariah sees an angel

LK 1:5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
LK 1:8 Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
LK 1:11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.n 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
LK 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
LK 1:19 The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."
LK 1:21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
LK 1:23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."

Mary sees an angel

LK 1:26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
LK 1:29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
LK 1:34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
LK 1:35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledn the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God."
LK 1:38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Mary goes to visit Elizabeth

LK 1:39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Mary’s song

LK 1:46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord
LK 1:47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
LK 1:48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
LK 1:49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name.
LK 1:50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
LK 1:51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
LK 1:52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
LK 1:53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
LK 1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
LK 1:55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."

Mary visits Elizabeth

LK 1:56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
LK 1:57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
LK 1:59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."
LK 1:61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."
LK 1:62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John." 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him.

Zechariah’s song

LK 1:67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
LK 1:68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.
LK 1:69 He has raised up a hornn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
LK 1:70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
LK 1:71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us--
LK 1:72 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
LK 1:73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
LK 1:74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear
LK 1:75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
LK 1:76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
LK 1:77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
LK 1:78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
LK 1:79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
LK 1:80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

The birth of Jesus

LK 2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
LK 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
LK 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christn the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
LK 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
LK 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
LK 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
LK 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
LK 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

Joseph & Mary present Jesus at the temple

LK 2:22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"n ), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."n
LK 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
LK 2:29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismissn your servant in peace.
LK 2:30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
LK 2:31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
LK 2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
LK 2:33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
LK 2:36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.n She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
LK 2:39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Jesus 12 years at temple

LK 2:41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
LK 2:49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
LK 2:51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.