Author Archives: Martin Pakula

Hanukah and Christmas

As a Jewish Christian, I celebrate Hanukah and Christmas.

Hanukah occurs in December.  I think that Hanukah has become a modern Jewish substitute for Christmas (presents are given).  Originally this festival celebrates the Maccabees’ defeat of the Greeks in 165 BC. The Greeks had stopped the sacrifices at the Temple.  They were oppressing God’s people and trying to bring an end to God’s one true religion.  But the Maccabees trusted in God and defeated their enemies.  It was just like the time of the Judges and other Old Testament events when God defeated the enemies of his people.

After 100 years or so of independence the Jews were then dominated by the Romans.  During this time Jesus came and died for his people’s sins.  Later, the Jews were defeated by the Romans in 70 AD, and the Temple was destroyed.  The Zealots had seen themselves as modern-day Maccabees.  If they trusted in God, God would defeat the Romans, they thought, and save his people.  But having rejected their Messiah, they were not trusting in God, and they were defeated. Continue reading

Listening to the Sermon

Here is an excerpt from a fantastic article from The Briefing on preaching sermons and listening to sermons entitled: “The dilemma of preaching and hearing God’s word” by Peter Greenwood.  The whole article can be read here.

“How do we ‘hear’ a sermon, as opposed to merely being entertained by one? Why do we prefer the ‘application’ of the text, to the ‘understanding’ of the text? And why do we yearn for the ‘take home’ message?

We live in a fast-paced world of instantaneous news, fast food, and information at our finger tips, in the shape of smart-phones, computers, or whatever the latest gadget might be. In this world, we are Continue reading

Stranger Evangelism

Photo credit: Susan NYC, some rights reserved

I’m always amazed at the capacity we Christians have for justifying our own sinfulness and apathy.  I have done my fair share of stranger evangelism in the past.  It’s not easy, but almost always rewarding (and easier than you think it will be!).  Stranger evangelism is basically the idea of walking up to someone you don’t know and sharing the gospel with them.  This could take the form of door-knocking or walk up evangelism at University or the shopping centre, etc.  But it’s amazing how many reasons Christians can suddenly think of as to why we shouldn’t do it!

This week I was out at the University campus, not doing stranger evangelism, but inviting strangers to Continue reading