Jesus Christ & Muhammad. Brothers of great faith. (A comparison & contrast) by Joe Bellantone Published on 聽 Published onDecember 27, 2017 聽 Edit article 聽 View stats Joe Bellantone 聽 20 0 Like 0 Commen t 聽 Edit article How are Jesus & Muhammad similar/different? I was asked the question by one of my students, a remarkable 11 year old called Numroze. I am a catholic so I have had to be careful that I try to keep objective as possible when talking about Muhammad (pbuh). I am basing my knowledge of Muhammad as a content writer so it is my job to make sure I fact check. I have done this with the assistance of religious staff at a previous school. If I have made an error Catholic or Islamic, do let me know. (However I think I have got it as accurate as I could be for a Trinity College Old Boy.) These two remarkable men have been a sublime & positive influence on our world. Jesus and Muhammad (pbuh) Around half of the world's population trace the roots of their beliefs back to Muhammad's words in the 7th century and the teachings of Jesus Christ in the 1st century. So who were these men who have changed so many lives? How do they compare with one another? I stress that I write in celebration of these two beings not putting 聽 them together in competition. Muhammad (PBUH) Muhammad didn't appear special at first. But in time his name became known throughout the Middle Eastern lands as the one who united different groups of nomad Arabs into a powerful force for the creator Today nearly 1,400 years later, 1.8 billion Muslims revere Muhammad as the greatest of all prophets. 600 hundred years before Muhammad, another appeared. Jesus Christ. Within a few generations after he left earth, the power and might of the Roman Empire was enveloped by the phenomenon of Christianity, and today it is the world's largest religion with over 2 billion followers. Muslims and Christians both believe strongly in God, their religious differences have changed our 21st century world. But, can their many religious differences be traced back to the teachings of Muhammad and Jesus? If these religious leaders were alive today, would they reflect the divisions of their followers, or would they agree with one another? A tricky question I know. I would like to look at the similarities and differences of Muhammad and Jesus. Both were great men. Jesus Christ was said to have been born about 6 B. C. in Bethlehem, an obscure village in the Roman province of Palestine. It was a time when many Jews were looking for the long promised Messiah spoken of hundreds of years before by Hebrew prophets. Luke, who documented the life of Jesus, writes that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, and that the angel Gabriel proclaimed him as the 聽"Son of the most High," the "Savior of men" (Luke 1:26-38). Jesus was said to have worked as a carpenter in Nazareth. At age 30 he began his preaching of God's Word and performing miracles. Jesus' words and miraculous deeds attracted huge crowds like a magnet. He spoke of God with an authority that marveled everyone. Jesus' is said to have had a sinless life of moral purity. This amazed both his followers and his enemies. He also astounded them by turning water into wine, walking on water, calming storms at sea, giving sight to the blind, healing limbs, and restoring life to the dead. Not only did Jesus perform great miracles, but he also spoke words of such profound wisdom. Although the crowds that followed Jesus loved and accepted him, Religious leaders were jealous of his fame and wisdom. In their envy, they continually sought to trip him up or catch him in a violation of their law. Rather than violating God's law, Jesus fulfilled every single command by his righteous life. Jesus continually demonstrated heartfelt compassion for the poor and downcast. He looked beyond the outward appearances of men into their hearts. Jesus was always kind, going out of his way to help people, regardless of how important they were. Jesus never boasted about himself. And his humility was blended with incredible courage and strength. But Jesus also taught forgiveness, and demonstrated it by forgiving his executioners as he hung on the cross uttering,聽"Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23:26-49). Jesus' claims make it impossible that he was simply a prophet, a great religious leader, or merely a good man. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his 12 disciples, and turned over to his Jewish enemies. The Romans then crucified Jesus on a cross and certified his death. After verifying his death, his body was placed into a rich man's tomb in Jerusalem. Jesus had told his disciples he would rise from the grave three days after his crucifixion. His disciples didn't believe his words at first, and they fled the scene, afraid they would be killed like their leader. But three days after Jesus' crucifixion, they were suddenly changed. In a dramatic turnaround, they began proclaiming that Jesus had risen, and eventually died as martyrs for what they believed to be true. Before he ascended, Jesus promised that he would return to earth someday as Ruler. His followers' conviction spread like a wildfire, consuming the entire Roman Empire. Hence the Catholic/Chrisitan Church coming from a minor religion to a major one. Muhammad (PBUH) Muhammad was born in 570 A.D in Mecca, Western Saudi Arabia. He was an orphan, having lost both parents by the age of 6. After age 8 the young Muhammad was raised by his uncle, Abu Talib. In time he joined the trading caravans as a merchant. At age 25 Muhammad married a wealthy widow by the name of Khadijah, 15 years his senior. The couple had four daughters and two sons who died in infancy. During Muhammad's life he had a total of eleven wives. He was described as gentle and humble by nature. He loved children and animals. At age 40, Muhammad fell into a trance in a cave on Mount Hira near Mecca where he claimed to have heard the angel Gabriel speak to him. Muhammad reportedly ran home crying out,聽"O, Kadijah! I have either become a soothsayer or else I am possessed of the Djin [demon] and gone mad." Khadijah and her Christian cousin Waraqah consoled Muhammad, assuring him his vision must be real, and that he was truly God's prophet. It wasn't until later when his revelations resumed, that Muhammad finally began proclaiming himself as a prophet, and preaching 聽"in the one sovereign God, resurrection, and the last judgment, and the practicing of charity to the poor and the orphans." ( I have tried to get this translation as accurate as possible-Do let me know if this is not correct.) Muhammad was illiterate and recited his revelations orally. It wasn't until after his death that they were compiled and written down in the Qur'an. Muslims accept the Qur'an as a miracle, believing it is 100% inspired with no human error. Much of what is known as Islam - the lives and sayings of the Prophet - is based on texts from between 130 and 300 years after Muhammad's death. Prior to his death, Muhammad led several military campaigns. He proved to be a courageous and capable military leader. By the time of his death in 632, Muslims ruled only in Arabia. But within ten years the Arab Muslims conquered Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and then Persia (Iran). In one generation Muhammad and his followers had changed the political landscape of the Eastern world. Today Muslims around the world honor Muhammad as Allah's one "True Prophet." Jesus and Muhammad Jesus and Muhammad established the world's two largest religions, Christianity with 2.1 billion, and Islam with 1.8 billion people, together half of the world's population. Although their views of God's nature were different, both men believed in and taught about one true 聽 God who is sovereign, infinite, all powerful, all-knowing, and the ultimate judge of all mankind. Both men accepted the Old Testament as God's Word, and acknowledged Abraham, as the one through whom God would make a great people. Jews and Christians believe God's promise is through Abraham's son, Isaac, while Muslims believe it is through Abraham's other son, Ishmael. Neither Jesus nor Muhammad wrote a book. However, their respective followers recorded their words that we have today; the New Testament detailing the eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life and words, and the Qur'an, which records Muhammad's account of his revelation. Muslims regard the Qur'an as a 聽"Miracle"聽 that must be taken by faith without the necessity of evidence. Christians point to numerous evidences of ancient documents substantiating the reliability of the New Testament. Muhammad's most enduring influence has been his ability to peacefully unite groups of Arab peoples under the banner of Islam.This influence spread further by conquests of several surrounding countries. Between the 8th century to the 13th century, Islam was instrumental in several developments in the arts and sciences. This period of cultural advancement is called 聽"The Golden Age of Islam" During this Golden Age Muslim scholars made contributions to literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and chemistry. Muhammad's influence rings loud today through his 1.8 billion followers around the world. Jesus Christ influenced Western Civilization peacefully. He told us that God loves each of us individually and created us for Himself . He taught us to love and forgive each other. Jesus' teaching of the high value of the individual resulted in the abolition of slavery, the elevated dignity of women, and countless hospitals charities and humanitarian works. Muhammad and Jesus (Contrast-written with respect to both people) Muhammad said he was just a man;聽 Muhammad never claimed to be more than a man, a prophet of Allah. Jesus claimed to be the son of God. Jesus was fully a man who felt pain, became hungry, tired, and was tempted like us, Jesus also claimed to be the son God, with his heavenly Father. He said that prior to becoming a man, he and the father & the holy spirit had always existed as one God, and had jointly created the universe. (Those who are catholic will know this as the Holy Trinity). Christianity would not be the same if Jesus' disciples hadn't truly believed he was the son of God.聽(The term, "Son of God" does not mean a biological offspring, or that Jesus is inferior to his Father, it only reflects their relationship with one another within the godhead). The 12 disciples embraced his deity. As a mortal man, Muhammad sinned like any human. Jesus was said to be born "without sin" (John 8:46). Even his enemies were unable to accuse him of breaking any of God's Commandments. But Muhammad admitted he had erred, and asked Allah for forgiveness three times 聽(Sura al-Ghafir 40:55; 47:19 al-Fath 48:2). Muhammad never performed a miracle 聽(Qur'an 29:50), Jesus is said to have performed numerous miracles 聽(Mark 3:9,10). Jesus fulfilled ancient Hebrew prophecies; Muhammad did not. Muhammad offered no credentials but his revelation. Jesus' resurrection demonstrated his divine power; Muhammad died and his bones are reportedly within his grave at Medina. Jesus was said to have come back to life three days after he was crucified and confirmed dead by Roman executioners. Jesus taught love and grace; Muhammad taught submission and rules. Muhammad taught that we must attain salvation by adhering to Islam's Five Pillars of the Faith. In other words, our salvation depends on our own efforts & even so , there is no assurance of forgiveness, and must depend upon the mercy of Allah (the creator) for forgiveness. Jesus said God created us for a relationship with Himself. His plan is to adopt us into His heavenly family as His beloved children. However, we rebelled against Him and broke His moral laws.聽 The Bible calls this sin. Such disobedience against a holy God requires judgment Our good deeds, money, or prayers cannot take away our sins. The Bible tells us God is a pursuing God who devised a plan to free us from our sin debt. God's solution was to pay the price Himself. In order to accomplish that, Jesus became a man who would die in our place 聽 (Philippians 2:5). Jesus said: "God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us" (John 3:16). Jesus taught that salvation is a free gift which must be embraced by faith in him alone, not our deeds. It is our choice to accept or reject God's free pardon. Jesus and Muhammad have at time been confused amongst scholars as being the same person (A reason for writing this). But Muhammad and Jesus were born at completely different times Both men served very similar purposes while on Earth. I write PBUH after Muhammad. It means peace be upon him (and his good name.) I conclude that these two remarkable beings were fine examples of great men whose commitment to their creator can never be underestimated nor ignored. To that student who asked me this question in class, I hope I have answered this question well for you. Cause I gotta have faith, faith,faith !(G.Michael) .What is faith anyway? by Joe Bellantone Published on 聽 Published onDecember 26, 2017 聽 Edit article 聽 View stats Joe Bellantone 聽 18 2 Like 0 Comm ent 聽 Edit article Faith is know it can be done. Faith. is driving at night with one headlight on your car from Perth to New Norcia (Over a 100 kms or so) with only that sole headlight to guide you knowing there are kangaroos who will unintentionally crash in into you as they make their way from one side of the winding road to another- and you knowing that you and your car will arrive undamaged. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is a big part of belief even in life itself. We have faith in everything from a car not stopping in the middle of morning traffic, to the roof on are house not toppling down on us as were sitting on our couch. We don't personally go and check every bolt and screw on an airplane before we let a stranger fly us through the air. This is because we have great faith in the airplane and the pilot. To have faith isn't a reward we are given by how much time we read or by how much we go to church. Faith is a gift. Bible quote: "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."(Hebrew 11:6) A person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. A person is justified by deeds only by man; because man cannot see our faith. Our faith is justified by God. Our deeds do not save us, but they are the evidence to our saving faith. If we could save ourselves by deeds then all the good charity work that UK pedophile Jimmy Saville would have exhonorated him from all the evil and ghastly acts he initiated and participated in during his life time. The truth is never that pure and rarely that simple. Sometimes we will have a problem in believing. When I have a crisis of faith (and we all do) I try to fill myself with God's word and meditate it with heart. To do this I read the Bible, the Quarn, the Torah, and any other holy scripture I can get my hands on. Once we become and have great faith, we can compare our life to what it used to be without that gift of faith and we can see that the struggles were harder when we did not have God (Allah, Jesus, Buddha love them all) leading us through them. I know that our faith will not always stay at the same level. "聽 We can pray, study the Bible, go to church, and serve God. These things will not give us faith, but they can help us grow in our faith. We should always continue to praise the lord as a sacrifice! (Hebrews 13:15) Sometimes we get caught spending all of our time shopping, cooking, and even work. This will consume all of our thoughts and God will be slowly pushed out of our lives, then when we have a problem we will go to God and use him to help us with our problems but we will never think to give thanks to him. You should spend most of your time reading the bible, praying to God, and thanking him for everything he has given us. Jesus died on the cross for us and has given us some very great things; the least we could do is thank him for the stuff he has given us and praise him with all we have. If we have done some really bad things in our life and don't think that God would ever forgive us or even love us anymore. Think again! I have had to forgive those who have accused me over and over again, from when I was a little child to even now. It is hard but by not forgiving its like walking around with a bag of lemons weighing 50 kilos all your life. It weighs you down emotionally and then the bag goes rotten and festers in a putrid way. The matter isn't resolved so what you are left with is a stinking and rotting mess. As I once wrote "Let it hurt, let it bleed, let it heal, let it go. God will always love us and forgive us, no matter what we have done. We could be the ones not honoring our mother and father or have even murdered someone, but they are both sins, both having consequences. Everybody sins and if we just ask for forgiveness and believe, we will have everlasting life and your journey with the Lord will continue in the right direction. When we accept God into your heart, our life will not be perfect. It does have great things that come with it though! If we have struggles in our life that you think will never go away, we can pray to God and he will help us through it. When a problem comes up and we have nothing left, we can always count on God to be there for us! God is the one that we will always need and the one that will always love us! To know God will always forgive and love us, should give us the courage to love and forgive our enemies. If we are striving to go in the right direction and want to live our life praising, and serving God, the door will always be open. God has led me to do many things that will help his kingdom grow and they were things I never thought of doing, but through faith I did it and I was rewarded. Faith is a big thing in everyone's life, I encourage everyone to go out and do the thing that God is calling you to do. This thing might be very hard to understand or you might not trust that he will get you through it but God has a plan for us and he will guide us through it and reward us for what we have done. We need to use faith and trust in God as we take these steps into the right journey. Doubts are when we are skeptical about something or have undecided feelings. Even the faithful. I consider myself a faithful and yet I have doubts. Doubts can come running in our life at a bolting speed, and will compete with everything for are attention. Sometimes we can be drowning in doubt until something reassures us of our faith. (Proverbs 3:5) "Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." We will experience doubts. There will be a point when we hit something that will make us decide between faith and doubt. This will help us grow in Faith. In the Bible there were people that had not believed in Jesus until they had seen him. Thomas did not believe the other eleven disciples when they had said (John 20:25, 27) Doubts aren't always a bad thing though. Doubts can help guide us through our journey with God. When we have doubts we might not think that we will still have everlasting life in Heaven, but doubts can help us have greater faith in the long run. When we doubt we will ask more questions to find out everything we want to know. We will learn why God is the answer and why the other theories have no way of being possible. We will also start reading the Bible more and going to church more so we reassure are faith. Doubts don't mean you're not a Christian or that you don't have faith, it just means that you doubt because we believe in God and he is unseen! Doubts are normal in life. Its hard to build so much faith up of something that we have not seen and not knowing if it's going to be true until we see it, but we need to believe and trust in the lord. Sometimes we even doubt because we have prayed and what we prayed did not go are way or we got hurt by a loved one dying. God disciplines us because he treats us as sons- everyone has had discipline. Sometimes we will pray to God, testing him so that we can believe. We will tell him "God if you let me get a job or a promotion the next day then I will believe." When that doesn't happen it does not mean God is not real or doesn't answer prayers, it just means that we want the job promotion or the high school basketball team more than we would love to believe in God. God is not a person that will hand us things when we so desire, but does answer our prayers. (Jeremiah 33:3) "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." He also promises to answer are prayers.聽(Isaiah 65:24) "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." Once we see beyond the image of God giving us what we wish for, his word promises we have confidence that we will receive anything we ask for (1 John 3:21-22) "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him." God is not a force that is just someplace. God is everywhere and he is a God that is personal with us and he is the spirit. He cares for us and he knows us all and even the number of hairs on our heads. (Luke 12:7) "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered." It is easier to realise that God is real when you know that he is not a fairytale or a force; he is the spirit. Life is an experience of living. We have two lives. One is where we are born from a human being on Earth and the other is when we die we will be born again and we will be sent to Heaven to be with God. Here on Earth we have troubles mentally, physically, spiritually, and many other ways, but in Heaven it is perfect. (Revelation 4:1-3) Heaven is where God lives. It is where God is on his throne and is the full and complete expression of God's kingship. Heaven has no pain, sorrow, deaths, crying, or sadness. In the Bible there is not a lot of information on Heaven is going to look or be, we just know that it will be a perfect place! We can only imagine what Heaven will be like, but God has way better plans then we could ever come up with, or even imagine. If we saw a mansion we would deliberate that the houses in Heaven will be three times as big, but that is not what they will be like because it would not be superior enough. Heaven is a reward for those who overcome everything in the life we are living.聽 (Revelation 3:21) "Heaven offers rewards for those who overcome in this life. " To get to Heaven we don't just live life, we have to believe in God as were living! (John 3:16) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." One of the many immense things about Heaven is there is never a time when God runs out of rooms. (John 14:2) "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you." God does not send only the best people, that have greater faith, or the ones that have done better things, he will send everyone to Heaven that believes in him. Wow! God really does answer prayer by Joe Bellantone Published on Published onNovember 30, 2017 Edit article View stats Joe Bellantone 39 Like 0 0 Commen t Edit article I don't think of myself as a very good Christian. Not like Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Max Kolbe or Sister Mary Mackillop. I do try to however make it my aim to be a Christian man. Lately I have been wondering about the future, more for my wife and children rather than myself. It does worry me. I shouldn't worry I know, I should put in the hand of God and get on with living and being the great teacher that I know I am. However I am human and worry is always a human fraility abeit a normal one. One of my teaching pals is an outstanding guy called Mr.Kevin Booth. We can forgive him for his being a South African national and we can forgive him when his Springboks massacre us Wallabies but to me, he is the teachers teacher. An amazing guy and a worthy asset in any school. In our daily conversations he said something to me that I won't forget. Faith is knowing of what we hope for and being sure and positive of the existence of what we do not see. A short time later my line manager, Alex Cilemanoff was having a conversation with me and lo and behold he said the same thing to me with different words. These two could not have possibly known that each other had said to me the same thing. A PENTACOSTAL CHRISITIAN, AN OTRTHODOX AND A CATHOLIC - well connected to God and living by their values and principles. Needless to say, it could be that this was proof to me that God does listen to you. For me this is a big part of believing in God and even life itself. We have faith in everything from an 11 year old car not stopping in the middle of the Grand Promenade during peak hour traffic , to the glass signage crashing on top of a ten yer old (Watch "The good doctor" and get plenty of Kleenex out and be prepared to use them straight away!) . The other day,I spoke to another holy man Faizel in the carpark at school and he said something about faith that I was impressed with You and I going overseas don't go on to the tarmac to personally check every bolt and screw on an airplane before we let a stranger fly us through the air. This is because we have great faith in the airplane and the pilot. Thanks Qantas (Never had a crash). Truer words were never sopken. To have faith in God isn't a reward we are given by how much time we read the Bible or by how much we go to church. Mr.Booth also told me this. Faith is a gift from God. We are given faith by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."(Hebrew 11:6). Of course for our Muslim friends it is faith in their creator Allah, the all knowing. (I am not trained in Islamic studies so I am reticent to quote Quarn without permission out of respect to these precious beings.) To have faith we also have to obey God. Our inner attitude does not define faith alone. (James 2:17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:19-24) "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that- and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the alter? And the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone." A person is justified by deeds only by man; because man cannot see our faith. Our faith is justified by God. Our deeds do not save us, but they are the evidence to our saving faith. If we could save ourselves by deeds, Jesus has not done any help for us. Faith saves us and faith alone. (Ephesians 2:1-2) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. The disciples had great faith and sometimes we desire to have faith like them. Since we have not seen Jesus and still believe we have greater faith. "Because you have seen me you have believed, blessed are those who have not yet seen but still believe." (John 20: 29) People that have seen Jesus and believe will not be punished, but that the people that have not seen Jesus and still believe are blessed. By having faith and believing in God we will have everlasting life. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."(John 20:31) Faith can also come through the message through the word of Christ/God. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ/God. Sometimes we will have a problem believing that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins. We should then, fill are selves with God's word and meditate it with our heart. To do this we should read the Bible. We will soon realise that Jesus "is the way the truth and the life."(John 14:6) Once we have great faith, we can compare our life to what it used to be without God and we can see that the struggles were harder when we did not have God leading us through them. We can pray, study the Bible, go to church, and serve God. These things will not give us faith, but they can help us grow in our faith. We should always continue to praise the lord as a sacrifice! (Hebrews 13:15) We should "continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise." This will also help us grow in Faith. Sometimes we get caught spending all of our time shopping online, cooking, and even work. This will consume all of our thoughts and God will be slowly pushed out of our lives, then when we have a problem we will go to God and use him to help us with our problems but we will never think to give thanks to him. If we have done some really bad things in our life and don't think that God would ever forgive us or even love us anymore, think again! God will always love us and forgive us, no matter what we have done. We could be the ones not honouring our mother and father or have even murdered someone, but they are both sins, both having consequences. Everybody sins and if we just ask for forgiveness and believe, we will have everlasting life and your journey with the Lord will continue in the right direction. When we accept God into your heart, our life will not be perfect. It does have great things that come with it though! If we have struggles in our life that you think will never go away, we can pray to God and he will help us through it. When a problem comes up and we have nothing left, we can always count on God to be there for us! God is the one that we will always need and the one that will always love us! To know God will always forgive and love us, should give us the courage to love and forgive our enemies. If we are striving to go in the right direction and want to live our life praising, and serving God, the door will always be open. God has led me to do many things that will help his kingdom grow and they were things I never thought of doing, but through faith I did it and I was rewarded. Faith is a big thing in everyone's life, I encourage everyone to go out and do the thing that God is calling you to do. This thing might be very hard to understand or you might not trust that he will get you through it but God has a plan for us and he will guide us through it and reward us for what we have done. We need to use faith and trust in God as we take these steps into the right journey. As I have said before I have had my doubts lately. Doubts are when we are skeptical about something or have undecided feelings. Doubts can come running in our life at a bolting speed, and will compete with everything for are attention. Sometimes we can be drowning in doubt until something reassures us of our faith. I like (Proverbs 3:5) "Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." If we are true human beings, we will experience doubts. We have not seen Jesus therefore we will have doubt. There will be a point when we hit something that will make us decide between faith and doubt. This will help us grow in Faith. In the Bible there were people that had not believed in Jesus until they had seen him. Thomas did not believe the other eleven disciples when they had said (John 20:25, 27) "we have seen the Lord." Thomas said "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." Jesus then came in through the locked doors and said "Peace be with you! Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Doubts aren't always a bad thing though. Doubts can help guide us through our journey with God. When we have doubts we might not think that we will still have everlasting life in Heaven, but doubts can help us have greater faith in the long run . When we doubt we will ask more questions to find out everything we want to know. We will learn why God is the answer and why the other theories have no way of being possible. Doubts are normal in life. Its hard to build so much faith up of something that we have not seen and not knowing if it's going to be true until we see it, but we need to believe and trust in the lord. Sometimes we even doubt because we have prayed and what we prayed did not go are way or we got hurt by a loved one dying. God disciplines us because he treats us as sons- everyone has had discipline. God disciplines us for our good, it is painful at the time but later you have a harvest of righteousness and peace for us if we are trained by it. ( (Hebrews 12:7-13) "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet" so that the lame may not be disabled." Sometimes we will pray to God, testing him so that we can believe. We will tell him "God if you let me have an extend on my contract so I wont lose my house and car and wife and kids the next day then I will believe." When that doesn't happen it does not mean God is not real or doesn't answer prayers, it just means that we want something more than we would love to believe in God. God is not a person that will hand us things when we so desire, but does answer our prayers. (Jeremiah 33:3) "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."He also promises to answer are prayers. (Isaiah 65:24) "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." Once we see beyond the image of God giving us what we wish for, his word promises we have confidence that we will receive anything we ask for. (1 John 3:21-22) "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him." God is not a force that is just someplace. God is everywhere and he is a God that is personal with us and he is the spirit. He cares for us and he knows us all and even the number of hairs on our heads. (Luke 12:7) "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered." It is easier to realize that God is real when you know that he is not a fairytale or a force; he is the spirit. Life the experience of living. We have two lives. One is where we are born from a human being on Earth and the other is when we die we will be born again and we will be sent to Heaven to be with God. Here on Earth we have troubles mentally, physically, spiritually, and many other ways, but in Heaven it is perfect. (Revelation 4:1-3) Heaven is where God lives. It is where God is on his throne and is the full and complete expression of God's kingship. Heaven has no pain, sorrow, deaths, crying, or sadness. In the Bible there is not a lot of information on Heaven is going to look or be, we just know that it will be a perfect place! We can only imagine what Heaven will be like, but God has way better plans then we could ever come up with, or even imagine. If we saw a mansion we would deliberate that the houses in Heaven will be three times as big, but that is not what they will be like because it would not be superior enough. Heaven is a reward for those who overcome everything in the life we are living. (Revelation 3:21) "Heaven offers rewards for those who overcome in this life." To get to Heaven we don't just live life, we have to believe in God as were living! This is one of my favourite passages: (John 3:16) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." One of the many immense things about Heaven is there is never a time when God runs out of rooms. (John 14:2) "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you." God does not send only the best people, that have greater faith, or the ones that have done better things, he will send everyone to Heaven that believes in him. Like I said, I don't consider myself a very good christian, but I do believe I live like a christian man the best I can. And one thing I do believe is that God does answer prayer. To those who said prayers for me recently, I am humbled and touched by this amazing gesture. To those I have said prayers for, in the quiet of my shed so no one else knows that I am connecting with God, I say this: Allah, Jesus, Buddha and anything else we humans refer to you as: I know you work wonders but what I have seen recently in my teaching and around was mighty impressive. God really does answer prayer. The Antioch Factor: A catholic in a Baptist church -by Joe Bellantone Published on 聽 Published onOctober 13, 2017 聽 Edit article 聽 View stats Joe Bellantone 聽 32 4 Like 0 Comm ent 聽 Edit article Growing up, my family practiced the catholic faith. My parents educated me as Catholic and I attended Catholic Schools. I never really experienced another kind of faith but Catholic; all my friends and people around me were from the same church. When I became an adult, I encountered Jewish, Muslim and without affiliations, and also I have witnessed various Indian religious gatherings. My curiosity led me to attend religious services different than mine. I had a few options, but I decided to go to a Baptist Church on Sunday morning. The whole church itself was quite eye opening. The Usher, the first person I see when I entered the church greeted me and welcomed me and also handle me, the bulletin and an envelope attached. It was a well organised congregation of around 50 people, not too many to look around like you usually see in a Catholic church. I saw a cross but the cross did not have Jesus on it. Everyone who was there was very well dressed (I was still in smart jeans and a shirt- I felt out dressed); women wearing hats and nice dresses and some men wearing formal suits. Even the pastor was dressed in formal attire. The choir was spectacular, very organised and the congregation seems to know the songs and enjoyed effortlessly harmonising the lyrics . It was very entertaining the form of worship they used through the singing. They sang a lot of songs, after every interval described in the program. When the service started, one of the church attendees read the Opening Selection followed by Pastor's Invocation and welcome everybody. One thing that called my attention was, every time they sing it was a five minutes song. They worshiped God on each one. I didn't notice that until later, and I wondered how long the service would run. As they end the singing another church attendant reads the Responsive Reading, they gave all the attendant an additional page attached to the bulletin, entitled: The Resurrection of Jesus in Matthew 28:1-8. The Priest instructed everybody to stand up and the Choir sang another song, followed by the reading of the scripture: "For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hoping For who hope for what is seen? However, if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience" . I'm still wondering what's the envelope for. Differently, as we do in Catholic church, I was waiting for the pastor's speech. They read the announcements for the community. It was like a fifteen-minute announcement, after that they called the visitors to stand up. At this time, I have been at that church around an hour and fifteen minutes. I stand and introduced myself as a visitor. The entire congregation came over to greet every single visitor, as to welcome them personally. Pastor's Brief? I was wondering what is that? It was the replay of the announcements but now by the pastor. And then the Offerings. That's when I realised, that is what the the envelope is for. I have to put money on it with my name and address, of course I don't have the interest to be part of that church, so I just walk to the front and put the envelope on a basket. Suddenly, the pastor everybody to stand up and read the scripture again followed by the Sermon. It was lengthy and noisy, but presented and explained very well. It was good it was about faith. It made me realise that no matter how things may look we keep believing and expecting good things from God; So don't ever give up. Hope is an expectancy; there is no hope if we always know what God has for us. Real hope says:聽 God will touch me.聽 We have to be patient, and when we are patient God will come to our rescue. He may not be there when you want it, but it will be there on time when you need it. I enjoyed that part. More singing, and then, the pastor called those one seeking salvation to come forward. There a few people who went forward, and he starts praying with his hand over their head; after praying with a lady, she faints with a "catcher" there to take her, I don't know what happened, I thought that only happens on TV evangelist shows. It was a very long and unexpected religious service. As we were blessed, the pastor walk outside first and stood in the front of the church to greet and say goodbye to the congregation. As I walk outside he approached me and start asking me questions like: Where I live, Where I come from? And then say "We are very grateful you attend our service today, we hope to see you next Sunday". I know there are a lot of different kinds of church, I don't just generalise all of them with one experience, but I liked what I saw and I did learn a great deal from it. Will I return? I can't see why not. It was nice to walk with new brothers and sisters as equals. The things that bring us together is so much more essential that that which divides us. Sacred Hearth Church in Highgate, Western Australia where I play in both English & Italian masses after many years away from the place. Good to be home He who is in music ministry prays twice: The philosophy of one engaged in Christian/Catholic music ministry by Joe Bellantone. Published on Published onSeptember 30, 2017 Edit article View stats Joe Bellantone 32 Like 1 0 Commen t Edit article This article is dedicated to the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Church in Highgate, Perth (Western Australia, Australia) His name is Father Irek. I thank him for his patience with me leading the music after 27 years away from Catholic Music ministry (I was in ministry with other churches despite my catholicism). Father Irek is loved and respected by all who attend SCCC. One day I will remember to put the offertry song in the right place! As a church musician, I always thank God that he gave the music as my talent to praise and worship him. Also, God has always given me the chances to do something for the church, and my spirit has grown stronger through serving the church. However, when I restarted my music at the church, my philosophy was more like a regular musician. I think I sometimes prided myself on my musical talent at church. I was inflated with pride. At that time, I dreamed fancy concert stage for the church service. I was a greedy musician wanting to make something with using church members. Now I realise that I was musically qualified but not theologically. I only had technical approach to my ministry, but my philosophy of ministry was not organised yet. Thus, here is my philosophy of music ministry even though I am still resdiscovering the area. For many years, the music in the church has been debated a lot. There have been congregations who have built huge churches in a relatively short amount of time and have attributed the role of music as a leading factor in their growth. Others have avoided this trend and their music seems to be stuck in another era. How should we view music in the evangelical church? What kind of music ministers are needed for today's church? And how should this be fleshed out in the life of the local church? These questions are necessary to be answered if the church is to fulfill its role for God. Christian worship music should be both objective and subjective, expressing our awesome wonder and praise of God who is beyond our imagination and also our love of, and communion with, God in Jesus Christ who lives in us through the Holy Spirit. Should we have music in the church? In Corinthians, Paul told the Corinthians to sing with the spirit and also with the mind (I Cor. 14:15). In Psalm 33, the Psalmist exhorts us to "sing to the Lord a new song", and "give thanks with the lyre". In addition, Paul encouraged the believers to "speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19). In Revelation 5:9, when the book was given to the Lamb, the surrounding elders and creatures sang a new song. This song is recognition of the person and work of Christ and that He alone is truly worthy. After the first Lord's Supper, Christ sang a hymn with his disciples (Mark 14:26). We do not know the exact meaning of this song, but the example of singing is evidenced by our Lord, Jesus Christ. In Exodus 15, after the Israelites were protected from Pharaoh and his army and were led safely through the Red Sea, it shows that Moses sang a song. He had just witnessed the great deliverance that God had ever performed on behalf of His people and Moses burst forth in a song to signify the event. In Isaiah, we see many prophecies about the coming Messiah. One of the works that he will perform is losing the tongue of the mute and enabling them to sing for joy (Is. 35:6). The ones who have been redeemed by Christ will have a song in their heart and on their lips as a response to his saving work. This list could continue for many pages, but I believe the point is adequately made, so music is a right expression for the believers to respond to God. It has been employed by the people of God throughout the bible from Moses to David and to even Christ Himself. The effort to be a real worshipper I have often struggled to find most important elements in the worship. I feel the need of growing myself more as a worship leader to help others experience real worship. By the way, what is real worship? Not academic elements, but also I was able to learn practical approach to worship. Today's Church and Where Should music in church go to from Now? There are still a lot of churches where losing the heart of worship although their outward appearance seems rich and brilliant. God wants our real heart of worship, and we, worshipers, have to be ready to put all of our effort to find that for God. Also, we, ministers have to be ready to sacrifice ourselves for others in the service. Since my philosophical attitude got organised more than past, I would like to mention one clear sentence that the great worship should be about God not about us. God will be moved by our real heart of worship, not by fancy concert or models that impress people. There are some similarities in many churches' service. The similarities are kind of trend in contemporary churches. They use a lot of contemporary Christian music for their own worship service. In fact, I agree that using contemporary materials are absolutely recommendable for today's churches. It can be good motive to bring out younger generations' hearts. Nonetheless, it is not always good elements for true worship. Today's worship leaders should recognise that we are not pop stars or pop musicians. Worship leaders sometimes misunderstand that powerful sound and energetic passion make true worship. It may catch the attention of audiences in church, but it is not going to catch God's attention. I believe that true worshiper should give a bridge to connect between worshipers and God. Are worship leaders today interested in making the bridge? Or are they are just interested in reaction of audiences? Unfortunately, most of today's young worship leaders are interested in the response of audiences not God's response. Once more, Worship has to focus on God's glory, and also true worship will give recovery of our souls. In other words, we will need to see changes of worshipers if the worship was received by God. Not only approaching the trend of today's Christian music for worship, but also we need to approach to worshipers' soul. As mentioned, some of worship today suffers from the shallowness of those who are prone to flashy displays. Worship doesn't have to be luxurious or brilliant for audiences. However, I was also one of them who had misunderstanding of worship. When I just started my ministry at the church, my philosophy was more like a secular musician. I was sometimes priding myself on my musical talent at church. Now I think I got more peace in my mind than past. Even though, my philosophy of worship became simpler than past, I feel more Jesus from my recent service. Now I understand why I need to try to make my ministry becomes all about the "state of the heart" for worship first, and then state of the art. God wants our heart of worship that can make connection between God and us, and I am ready to put all my effort to find it for God. Qualities for the Minister of Music The minister of music should be characterized by the guidelines found for those charged with church leadership in Timothy and Titus. He is to be "above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money, he must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity, not a new convert.... and he must have a good reputation with those outside the church" (I Tim. 3:2-7). None of the above qualities can be lacking because the testimony of the church and its Savior is at stake. The music minister should be gripped by the great commission and see his calling first as making disciples by teaching them to obey the things of God. His primary focus should not be on having larger musical productions for the sake of musical productions, but teaching the word through music and also through his lifestyle and conduct (2 Tim. 4:2). The training of the minister of music should include musical training, but more important element is that we must have a solid biblical foundation. What is worse, singing a song with bad tone quality or with bad theology? I would propose the latter is much worse. The minister of music must be able to spot the misleading notion in the texts of music and clean them up from congregational use. Does this mean that the musical growth under his care is of no value? The answer is obviously no! But theological clarity is the most important goal for the music minister (Titus 1:9). In addition, the minister of music should be involved in the pastoral ministry. The minister should seek to comfort the sick and bereaved. He should find to make disciples on purpose. His ministry must be one of building the body in many ways. The burden of the flock must not be laid on one man alone, but on several overseers of which the minister of music should qualify to be a part. The music minister should take great care to minister to the ones hurting even if they do not happen to be involved in the music ministry of the church. He should also be actively involved in the community with the local schools and other events and organizations in order to build a relationship with the lost in the surrounding area (2 Cor. 5:11). The minister of music should also be a man of discernment (Phil. 1:9). There have been many men who have tried to change things too fast. He or she must take time to view the current situation and move prayerfully and slowly to institute changes. The music minister's concern must be for the good of the people and he must be careful not to needlessly offend them. He should know that people do not care what you know unless they know how much you care. He also must be a man who knows how to manage his time and efforts well. He must be driven by a desire to accomplish certain tasks by formulating a daily schedule to execute the details. He should learn how to hand over responsibilities throughout the church without losing his responsibility. Team Ministry As music minister, the ability of sociality is one of the most important elements. I have seen many ministers who sometimes failed in their ministry area due to their limited socialising skills. Our natural personality is also one of the elements that are very effective a lot to our team ministry. Some might say that bad personality or unopened mind will never be able to success in team ministry. Nevertheless, I believe that there is still possibility, although he or she doesn't have natural-born like good personality as minister. We can put our effort to improve our weak area, and here are my ideas to be better a leader in team ministry. First, keeping the faith one another is most important element in our team ministry. We sometimes doubt about others' abilities. Thus, sometimes we tend to do too many things alone for any event in church instead of sharing the work one another. Even though, there is sometimes skeptical moment in our team ministry or somebody's ability seems weaker than others, we should remind ourselves that everyone in our church are called by God not by you or me!. We should try to give a chance to others to get involved in. Since they got chances, they might have some trial and error process which is natural. Then it is time to help them. Helping their weakness is minister's another job, and it is starting point of team ministry. Because the team ministry is organised by people not by only one person, there might be some trouble one another. Some might demand too strongly, and do not agree with others. If their opinions are different with yours, then we should take a time and think again instead of just being against to them. If you believe your opinion is still right, then you need to have specific plan to persuade them. We should never forget that people in your team ministry are supposed to be on your side, and you need to use them in a good way. They are not there in order to be against to you. They are with you to be helpful for team ministry. As I suggested, we, music ministers, need to improve our weak portion. Do not just give up the portion which has been weak to you. It is like an assignment from our God. We need put our energy and effort, so that your leadership will grow. We are in the position of leader in our team ministry, and all the assignments are already given since we became ministers. As mentioned in the introduction part, our fundamental thing such as natural personality is not that big matter. All we need to do is putting our effort and devotion as a leader in the team ministry. Ministry is demonstrated within the community of faith with the love and edification of God's people-brotherly love and mutual benefit. Music of edification is an astonishing tool in teaching and in bringing people together. Church is like a tumbler and rocks bump into each other and get refined: bad rocks becomes powder, good rocks become more glistening. Music Ministry in the Local Church and Functions of Church Music The local church's most visible aspect is often music program. The first element that is visitor will likely notice could be something about the music. When that person leaves, what impression will he or she have of the service? The goal for the church is that people leave not with the idea of how marvelous the production was or how finely the choir or soloists sang, but with a sense of the power and majesty of God. Knowing that music should be a part in the worship of God, what should it sound like? The music in biblical times did not know of electronic sounds. Their focus always seemed to be on what was sung rather than how it is was sung. When Paul instructs his readers to sing with their hearts, he was emphasising the personal nature of right singing. We know that while men look at outward things, the Lord looks at the heart (I Sam. 16:7). Music that is acceptable to God must first find its root in the heart. The unbeliever does not have a heart for God. His heart is wicked and needs to be changed by the grace of God (Rom. 3:11). Right music should come from a heart that is right with God due to the fact that God changes its nature. The priest and music minister relationship is vital for the health of the church. A priest must not place unhealthy demands upon the minister of music by asking him to make sure certain emotional chords are struck with the congregation. The minister of music must see the preaching of the word as a vital part of the growth of the church. Both men must have a common view of the worship in the church and if this is not developed, there must be a calling to different places of service unless these differences can be reconciled. When those involved with the service begin to formulate it, there must be a concern for the glory of God. There is a need for the service to be relevant for the participants, but what is a more relevant starting point than coming face to face with the God who made them and calls them to repent and trust in Him (Rom. 10:9-10)? He alone is the supplier of every need and deserves all the attention. He has spoken sufficiently through His Word and everything that takes place must have its root in the teachings of scripture (John 17:17). The focus on the musical end of the service should be on congregational singing. Included should be songs of praise, confession, meditation, supplication, stewardship, dedication, thanksgiving or remembrance and dismissal. These songs do not have to be present in every worship service, but over the life of the church all should be found. The inclusion of all these forms will help the believer have a full worship experience before God and will aim at transformation of the believer. If only a few songs are used over and over, there is a tendency to fall into the trap of singing only what is known and can slip into sentimentality. The use of songs just to evoke an emotional response should be avoided and the people must be taught to learn new texts and melodies. There must be careful attention to place new and fresh applications of favorite songs. Those adaptations must seek to bring the focus of the song back to the text (Matt. 15:8). The attitude of the heart must match the words of the lips. Before a music minister makes significant changes he should recognise where his people are musically. Then, he should plan and begin to see that spiritual and musical growth will take place. There should be a moving in the direction of improving vocal quality and encouraging the singing of songs where the music is well played and well crafted. God deserves our best and we should endeavor to achieve the best of our ability, but this goal should be secondary for the biblical development of the people (2 Peter 3:18). When a minister of music leaves a church or after a period of time has passed since his arrival, the people should have learned the value of texts and quality music. The minister of music should not seek to manipulate the people by using songs that excitement for the moment, but encourage a deeper spiritual effort for an eternity. When the minister of music is developing the worship service, it is important that he keep in mind the varied musical tastes of his congregation. He must be careful to employ many styles in the service, not with the hopes that a few people will be satisfied part of the time, but so that he can reflect the diverse ways in which God created us. No church should seek to please only one group of people, for that is antithetical to the fact that God calls people from all walks of life and of all nationalities (Rev. 5:9, 14:6). There is much value in selected singing by choirs or special groups provided the focus on such singing is not on entertainment but on true expressions of worship. The choir serves as a great help for the overall singing of the people and provides necessary leadership. It is encouraging for the congregation to hear ordinary people using their voices corporately to worship the Lord, but the focus of the group must not be on style or feeling, but on what they are singing. Musically, the words must be clearly articulated and there must not be any obvious musical flaws that would detract from the text. That is why it is important to include the text of the music in the bulletin for the congregation to follow. It would be a travesty if the congregation went away humming the tune without remembering the words. The soloist is in particular danger here. When the average person is selecting a song to sing, the basis of choice is often only what they like or what will complement their voice. Much caution should be employed and the text must have prime value. St. Augustine well said that if he enjoyed the voice of the singer more than the words that were sung, he confessed to have sinned. The outward appearance of our music, as well as other spiritual exercises, must not have showy, self-centred features (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16). The singing of songs that provide themselves to the flashy nature of the voice or that is chosen to showcase the talents that God has given can evidence this. It will also be an obstruction to true worship when the purpose of singing becomes driven by entertainment rather than an expression of the heart. Many churches have a visual emphasis for the musical performance with the hopes that they will make the audience's emotions into a certain state that allows them to respond to God. When it comes to the worship of God, we must be careful to get out of the way and place the focus on the one who is worthy to be praised (Rev. 4:11). Today, there have been two trends in church music. One is to reject all that is new and the other is to reject what is old. There is so much rich heritage in what has passed before us that we abandon it to our danger. These writings are not perfect, but they do take the weight of centuries of God's faithfulness to people . The observation of many generations is important. With the new material, there must be proper discrimination because we do not have the testimony of time on its side. We must evaluate the content and musical elements and then use it often. There needs to be an encouragement of new material as we live our lives of faith and trust, but it should be carefully selected. Planning My music for church. On reflection, my music for church has had a lot of mistakes and fails. I was a totally rookie as a music minister when I first started it. Without enough experience, my ministry did not work out well, and there was often no specific planning on every Sunday. I was a kind of self-educated music minister, so that it was not often enough to be a well-prepared music minister. With all the experience, now I feel the importance of planning as a music minister. The first thing should be making a plan. We all know God will give us a mission and even plan our steps for us, but we have to do our part. We should not just sit around, and waiting on God to bring everything for our ministry. Planning the service must not seek to manipulate the people by appealing to their emotions alone. They must diligently expound the scriptures. The building up of the body should be the goal of the whole service. The ministry of the church must be viewed not by what is only outwardly successful, but by an adherence to the Word of God. There must be an understanding that true worship is not the one-hour event on Sunday morning, but the whole life of the believer that is poured out and sacrificed before the Lord (Rom. 12:1). I have planned many events for my church and local communities. Most of the events were successful, and I thank God that he gave all the blessings for my effort. The most of successful events were made by well-planned arrangements. By the way, what is the well-planned arrangement? When I was a younger musician for church & youth group, I thought that it was all about my detail preparations and efforts. However, I often missed most important part for the planning. The first step had to be praying. I believed myself and my knowledge first then I pray after everything had already done by my plan. Yes, it was the reason why some of my events impressed only men not God. I shouldn't forget that in a Christian music ministry, I am representing God, so I have to be with him before I start my journey. However, the first step is often missed and forgot by a lot of ministers in the world today. After the first step which is asking God before we plan something, we can start all other steps. We should always not forget the first step that is praying, and take that first step with all of our faith. In fact, there are many big musical events coming up this year and next year I have to plan and direct, but I know that anything will not be successful enough if they are not planned by God not by me. In fact, when I first started the music ministry at my current church, I struggled a lot because there was a lack of practical knowledge although I was pretty well-trained musician. Even though we are well-trained musicians, there can be a lot of variables during our music ministry lives. Therefore, we really need to know and be ready in more practical way than rigid theory.Thus, it may be applied in different way a bit, depending on what country's church you serve and each church's background or denomination. Music ministry is a challenging, and rewarding experience. It must be driven by a desire to please God and not men and seek to glorify Him in all aspects of life. When we look at the surrounding families and see their need, we realise that it is not a need for a more exciting church service, but a saving relationship with Christ (John 3:16). Only when we have a passion for God's glory and true passion for those individuals without Him will we exhibit a biblical understanding of music ministry (I Cor. 10:31). It has been many years since I was first involved in church as a music minister, and now I think I got more peace than past. My philosophy for music ministry might have become simpler than past, but I feel more Jesus from my recent service. I try to make my ministry becomes all about the "state of the heart" for worship first, and then state of the art. Also, I have to be ready to sacrifice myself for others in the service. I am a musician, but also preacher who can speak in music. The church has always been very good place to me, and I thank God for giving me the most wonderful place for me to present my music to heal and save the souls. I will use my talent as much as I can in my life, and praise him where ever I may be. The childs first experience of the sacrament of penance/reconciliationBy Joe Bellantone. Published on Published onAugust 30, 2017 Edit article View stats Joe Bellantone 50 Like 2 1 Comm ent 1 Edit article Not so long ago, I came across a thesis by a person I once knew briefly in another lifetime. The title of the thesis was called Students' Perception of Their First Experience of the Sacrament of Penance Within the Archdiocese of Perth, Western Australia by Janine Sanzone Edith Cowan University. As I read this 148 page piece, I questioned myself on why the sacraments dealt with the seven mysteries in this order: baptism, penance, Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, anointing but in particular focused on the pennance side of things. Shouldn’t confirmation follow baptism and precede the Eucharist in the proper theological order? Sanzones article questions whether these students have the testimentary capacity to understand the process of the pastoral order for reception of these sacraments in schools and parishes. You would have to go back to St. Thomas Aquinas in support of this order as the proper theological order (If I can put it that way). After reading Sanzones thesis, it prompted me to look at the Decree Quam Singulari (issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments). This document forms the basis of our current pastoral practice, by which first confession and first communion usually precede confirmation. What it focuses on is the appropriate age for the reception of the sacraments of penance and communion. This is variously referred to as “the age of reason” (as Sanzone herself refers to) or “the age of discretion”. But what is the “age of discretion”? Some theological academics claims that the “age of discretion” is 14 years, and that this is how Australian clergy interpret it understand it. I am at a loss to find any references for this interpretation? More confusing though is that the age of discretion is the age at which a person acquires the use of reason, presumed in the Code of Canon Law at the age of seven. This is the same age at which children can also make their First Reconciliation and First Communion. All of which adds up to…what? Perhaps I could suggest that Sanzones argument would be more interesting if the traditional age for the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation would be around the age of 11 or 12 on the basis of the fact that children are more likely to benefit greatly from the grace of the sacrament in the years of adolescence. So to get a clearer understanding of what Sanzone may be referring to, lets define the difference between apology, forgiveness and reconciliation. Apology is a formal justification, defense, excuse; an admission of error accompanied by an expression of regret. It implies an attempt to avoid or remove blame or censure. It's possible to forgive someone without offering immediate reconciliation. It's possible for forgiveness to occur in the context of one's relationship with God apart from contact with his/her offender. But reconciliation is focused on restoring broken relationships. And where trust is deeply broken, restoration is a process-sometimes, a lengthy one". So why the importance of distinguishing the difference? The process of reconciliation depends on the attitude of the offender, the depth of the betrayal, and the pattern of offence. When the offended party works toward reconciliation, the first and most important step is the confirmation of genuine repentance on the part of the offender. Another way to look at the sacrament of penannce/ reconciliation is 'Transformation'. When we sin we separate ourselves from God's love or put a barrier between God and ourselves. We have deliberately, by our own free will, performed an act of disobedience against God. We can apologise to God, but it does not hold the person accountable to change or transformation of oneself and it is not your simple "get out of jail free card" But if we ask for forgiveness resulting in reconciliation, we then are asked by God for a commitment to change in which a transformation takes place of ones lifestyle. The sacrament of reconciliation can also be used as a sacrament of healing. This is not mentioned in Sanzone thesis and it is an important factor in the defining of the testimentary ability of a child to understand what sacrament they are undetaking. A healing of not only our spiritual self but also our emotional and psychological being. Sin leaves ugly scars on a person. These scars can be emotional and psychological which can have physical effects. A person can go to a GP and be healed from the physical aspect but if the scars go deeper into the spiritual being of a person then one is not completely healed. What I get from the thesis is the more important issue: Is the child ready to accept on an emotional level what they may already know on an intellectual level: that God's forgiveness is already available, and that they must decide to reach out and grasp it firmly. There are three important aspects to this "firm grasp" on forgiveness: (1) knowing Who ultimately has paid the debt, (2) allowing intimacy with God to be restored and (3) understanding the difference between punishment and consequences. The Bible clearly teaches that God has made provision for the forgiveness of wrongdoing. Like the person described in the Matthew 18 parable, she has been told of her Lord's forgiveness; but her guilty emotions still demand that she pay her debt herself. Restoring intimacy is the second aspect of reconciliation/forgiveness, and it is perhaps best understood in the parent-child relationship to parallel the point Sanzone is trying to make. When a child chooses to do something wrong, a healthy, loving parent needs only to know that the child is genuinely sorry for her actions for reconciliation and intimacy to be restored. In the same way, God only needs for us to verbalise our responsibility and sorrow for our action in order to restore intimacy with Him. Finally, the third aspect of forgiveness has to do with understanding the difference between punishment and consequences, which are all too easily confused. God, in the role as a loving parent, is as grieved as we are about the losses brought on by our choices. But living with the consequences of our choices is a key part of the free will relationship God desires to have with us. The sacrament of confession unveils us and humbles us before God. Confession removes barriers of sin so that the love from the Father can be completely received by us and then we in turn are strengthened to return that beautiful unconditional love back to the Father and share it with others around us, particularly our spouse. Christ conquered the death of sin at the cross- He became sin itself, died and defeated it through the resurrection. Ironically, it is through Christ, that our sin brings us to new life. The more we reveal of ourselves, the more we are forgiven- where there is much forgiveness there is much love and gratitude. Anger dies, bitterness dies, resentment dies, critical spirit dies, and our desire for revenge dies. We are now set free so that we ourselves may forgive and live a joyful, fulfilling marriage in and through the grace of Christ. It may be that at one time or another we have found the sacrament of Reconciliation a burden. But certainly in our saner moments we find Reconciliation a sacrament that we love, a sacrament we would not want to be without. At the same time, the sin itself (or sins) is forgiven. Just as darkness disappears from a room when the light is turned on, so too must sin disappear from the soul with the coming of sanctifying grace. When received without any mortal sin on the soul, the sacrament of Reconciliation imparts to the soul an increase in sanctifying grace. This means that there is a deepening and strengthening of that divine-life-shared by which the soul is united to God. It is a spiritual medicine which strengthens as well as heals. That is why a person intent upon leading a good life will make it a practice to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation often. All these results of the sacrament of Reconciliation-restoration or increase of sanctifying grace, forgiveness of sins, remission of punishment, restoration of merit, grace to conquer temptation-all these are possibleonly because of the infinite merits of Jesus Christ, which the sacrament of Reconciliation applies to our souls. In the sacrament of Reconciliation we simply give God a chance to share with us the infinite merits of his Son. "Your sins are forgiven."(Luke 5:20) Philippians 4:13 reads "I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power." What I get from Sanzones article is that the sacraments are a living concept. God is actually present in the sacrament of reconciliation through His grace (the power of the Holy Spirit). God loves humility so when one completely reveals their failings to God in the sacrament of reconciliation, God gifts me with His grace and through His grace HE inwardly strengthens me against future sin and temptation. The Holy Spirit fills a person with love, joy, peace, true happiness and a feeling of being content no matter what my life circumstances may be. Ultimately, in the sacrament of pennance/reconciliation, the individual is slowly being set free from the bondage of sin because in the deepening love for God one loses the desire to sin. The crown of life-How a Catholic/Christian can change his/her p.o.v. By Giuseppe Sandro Bellantone Published on 聽 Published onJuly 10, 2017 聽 Edit article 聽 View stats Joe Bellantone 聽8 0 Like 0 Comm ent 聽 Edit article There are multiple principles that have been taught in this course that have changed my view of being a Christian but here I would like to focus on temptation and the Crown of Life. These two topics shed new light in my understanding of resisting temptation and the reward for doing so. Not all Christians know how to deal with temptation nor that their efforts go unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. Resisting temptation can prove to be very difficult at times and one of the biggest temptations can be to avoid persecution for being a Christian. But not only does resisting temptation help one stay on the way to Heaven, God will single out those who resist temptation and are willing to die for their faith, and reward them justly. Temptation can be theologically defined as a trial; In basic terms, it is the enticement to sin. The devil brought temptation into the world. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life to save us from sin and overpower Satan. It is up to each person to make a concerted effort to resist temptation, just as Jesus did in the wilderness. In the Old Testament, the word for temptation is the Hebrew word 聽 maccah, which translates to temptation or trial. I n the New Testament, the word in Greek is 聽 peirasmos,聽 which means temptation(s) or to try. According to the Blue Letter Bible website, the word "temptation" appears in the King James Version sixteen times in fifteen verses. One of the foundations for the doctrine comes from Matthew 26:41:聽"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak"聽. The first recording in scripture of Satan tempting humanity is when he tempted Eve's loyalty through her lust of the flesh to God, which led her to eating the forbidden fruit. He also appealed to her lust of the eyes whereby the appearance of the fruit caused her to desire what she did not already have as well as feeding on her basic feeling of self-worth and self-preservation. Temptation is even mentioned in The Lord's Prayer:聽"And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil" (Luke 11:4. There are several practical applications regarding the issue of temptation. One of the best ways to protect oneself is to stay alert at all times and remember that the flesh is weak. Be sure to test everything that comes across your path and question whether it is from God or not. People should make every attempt to avoid conditions that might lead them to temptation. It is always important to focus on the truth and if we follow Christ, He will show us the truth, and it will set us free. When a person feels tempted, if they turn to prayer, God will always provide another way. You just have to be vigilant in looking for His way. The Crown of Life 聽 is one of the rewards for believers that will be given by Jesus from his seat of judgment. Theologically defined, the Crown of Life is not something that is received as soon as someone becomes a Christian but something the Christian will receive from God after proving firmness in faith. It is also sometimes referred to as the martyr's crown. This crown has a guarantee and is a promise to those that suffer deprivation now and to those specifically who love God and honor Christ. Simply put, the Crown of Life is God's reward to humanity for his perseverance in faith and his honouring of Jesus Christ. Revelation 2:10 stands out the most to me: "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life". Jesus specifically tells us that we will be tempted throughout out lives and we will more than likely receive persecution for our faith in Him. It is our duty to keep Satan beneath our feet and proclaim the truth in Jesus in order to receive this honour. James 1:12 is also another great reference for this doctrine:聽"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the Crown of Life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him" The applications of this doctrine are more than practical but one must be very cautious because this is not a reward to be making bets for when you choose to live a life in faith. You do not live in faith just to receive this reward, quite the contrary. You receive this award for living in faith without regard to being rewarded for it. Making it through the temptation and persecution is of way more value than the gaining of the crown itself. If a Christian loses everything they have, Christ is still worthy of honour and the Crown of Life is still worth the steadfastness. Do not get wrapped up in things of this world such as money being the source of self-worth, security, and/or power. These things can only be appropriately received through faith in God and if a person lives by biblical principles with a true heart and without regard to their own humanly wants and temptations, they will receive their just reward - the Crown of Life. If a Christian loses everything they have, Christ is still worthy of honour and the Crown of Life is still worth the steadfastness. Everybody gets tempted in life.聽 Pleasing God is all in how you deal with those temptations. The world today is so far gone from what God seeks from His people now that temptation is rampant. So many sinful behaviours are seen as normal everyday things that are okay for people to do. This denial of God's truth will keep His people from grace and all of His rewards, including the Crown of Life, which is eternal and assured for all of those who live righteously. People should not resist temptation just to receive the crown reward but rather should earn it by living everyday in light of God's desires. Resisting temptation is a huge part in earning the Crown of Life. It is not going to be easy if one does it alone, but if they look to God, he will help make it a little more bearable. The essence of the Catholic Church by Giuseppe Sandro Bellantone Published on Published onJune 12, 2017 Edit article View stats Joe Bellantone 16 Like 0 0 Comm ent Edit article Christianity begins with Christ and the New Testament is the story of how it started, but the Christian Church goes back to Abraham and the Christian faith has its roots firmly embedded in the experience of the people of the Old Testament. Not all the texts of the New Testament are stories but, taken together, they "tell the story" of Jesus and the first Christian communities. The New Testament refers to the new covenant of friendship one for us by Jesus Christ. It is the record of the incredible good news that we are loved by God and that we have a destiny of eternal life in union with Him. By reading the New Testament we can hear for ourselves the word of God that gives life. This word- the word of God recorded for all time- proclaims the best possible news we could ever hear-the essence of the Catholic Church. We meet Jesus in the New Testament and by reading it we will be rewarded with an experience of meeting the Lord. When Jesus was talking to the crowds who gathered around Him, His favourite method of instruction seems to have been that of telling them little stories, or parables as they were called. These were homely illustrations taken from daily life, suggesting in a way that anyone could understand that point that He wanted to make. Many of these parables are recorded in the Gospels but we may take two of them as bringing out in a vivid way the theme of Jesus' message. They are, as it happens, perhaps the two best known of all-the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. Indeed they are so well known that we may well miss the point. In the story the Prodigal Son the spotlight is not meant to fall on the boy who goes in search of a good time, ends up destitute and when he comes to his senses, returns home sadder and wiser, nor on his elder brother who takes a dim view of the fuss that is made over his homecoming, but on the boy's father. The old man is so delighted to get his son back that he runs out to meet him, with words of welcome and not of reproach. Jesus' point is that this very human story suggests something of the love of God, for even the most undeserving black sheep of his family. Samaritans were traditionally detested by the orthodox Jews. Yet the story of the Good Samaritan underlines that it was one of these despised people and not a devout Jew who passed by on the side of the road, who helped the injured traveller lying in the ditch. The Samaritan had least reason of all to come to the rescue of the wounded Jew, but he was the one who understood best that human need comes before questions of race or creed. These two stories illustrate the two commandments that Jesus picked out of the great burdensome mass of obligations contained in the Law which the Pharisees wanted to hang around the neck of every citizen. Jesus maintained that the Law could be summed up in to two commandments: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with your entire mind and with all your strength", and "You must love your neighbour as yourself". In loving God, we are to think of someone who is like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son and try to follow the example of Good Samaritan who understood that by "neighbour" was meant anyone at all who needed help. In what we call the Sermon on the Mount, which is really a collection of the bestremembered and therefore probably most often repeated sayings of Jesus, we are not given a programme of action which can be put into effect by any political party. Indeed it can hardly be called a programme at all, even for individuals. Jesus is not outlining a blueprint for Utopia or a code of social reform. No one apart from Jesus himself has ever loved God with all his heart and mind and soul and strength, to say nothing of loving his neighbour as much as he loves himself. Jesus presented his followers with the challenge to try to do so. His whole emphasis is not on rules of behaviour with which we must comply if we want live in the right relationship to God and with one another. In a sense in the Sermon on Mount Jesus is painting a picture of himself. He never calls it that, of course, but as we look back over his life and compare it with the lives of the most saintly of men of whom we have records in any religion, it is clear that no one apart from Jesus has ever measured up to the selfless concern for others and the total commitment to God which he demanded of his followers. Right through the New Testament we can see that the teaching of Jesus is concerned to show what happens in a man's life when he gives himself to God and becomes a follower of Christ and he claims that it is this type of man who knows what true happiness is. Jesus said that a man is happy when he lives his life in dependence on God when he knows what sorrow means, when he is concerned about justice, when he is merciful, utterly sincere and bent on promoting the well-being of the community at all levels. The impression we get from the New Testament is that the compassionate power of God flowed through Jesus in boundless measure because no one before or since his day has been so much at one with God, or felt himself to be in such an intimate relationship with him. It is in the light of this that we can perhaps to understand his "mighty works", even on those rare occasions when he turned death into life. We may note that in all three cases recorded in the New Testament, the circumstances were peculiarly poignant-the death of a small child, a widow's only son and a dearly beloved personal friend. Of course all three whom Jesus restored to life would die again in the normal way when their time came. These cases would also point forward to the truth which Jesus' resurrection demonstrated that through him death is merely a sleep and an awakening. As the importance of the parables can hardly be over-estimated, they comprise of a substantial part of the recorded preaching of Jesus. These stories are the best known of Jesus' words and so the parable has made it possible for hearer's mind to be opened to new understanding. The minds of children can be opened up to become aware of the essence of the Catholic Church through the New Testament and parables. The work of the New Testament and the stories can be related in a version suitable for the age group within the class-this can be followed by class discussions on what it all means to them-all the children in the class should be encouraged to participate and each would understand in their own way why the New Testament is the essence of the Catholic Church. Candles (under careful supervision in the classroom) have a function in Christian worship. Firstly, in the honouring of the tradition surrounding the observance of the Church Year and secondly, the honouring of the integrity of the various forms of public worship utilized on a given occasion. Candles are lit during the Mass and as all the Sacraments are being administered. The Sacraments are very important in our lives and On one occasion when Jesus was talking to his followers, He said to them "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). So, we can see clearly that the New Testament says that the person who is trying to be a Christian must be like a light in the world. The first thing which strikes anyone about a light is that a light can be seen. Each pupil in the class will light a candle and they will see that it illuminates the classroom. If they raise their candles and look up they will find that it strikes their eyes immediately. The candles stand out from their backdrop of classroom walls. If the classroom is darkened they will notice that the light can be seen from a long distance away. So, when Jesus said that we must be the lights of the world, He meant that we must make our own Christianity be seen. This is not always easy but the Christian must stand out from other people. A Christian is a person who has received good news from God. The New Testament texts do not simply give symbolic, narrative expression to certain fundamental and pervasive features of the human drama. They also express their author's confidence in one man in whom the mystery of divine action is seen to have been embodied and disclosed. In addition, the texts of the New Testament not only claim to express the fact and significance of one man but in doing so, they refer both fact and fiction and significance to the mystery of divine action. The Catholic way of education (A personal view) by Giuseppe Sandro Bellantone Published on 聽 Published onMarch 13, 2017 聽 Edit article 聽 View stats Joe Bellantone 聽 28 Like 0 0 2 Comm ent 聽 Edit article Introduction Christian/Catholic religious education is defined as the process where by Christian learning takes place. It often involves, "teaching which enables practicing Catholics/Christians to adopt and deepen their Christian belief, values and dispositions to experience and act in a Christian way". It depends to a greater extent on how this process is adopted and practiced in different churches. Catholic/Christian churches have a similar aim's and practices. The liturgical aspect is of paramount importance in the Trinity (Father, son and holy ghost) belief and practices in that it serves as introduction to what Christianity is all about. This is where the process of cognitive learning takes places it involves the worship service where hymns are sang, lessons extracted from the books of the bible are read, sermon often punctuated with exhortation, admonishment and instruction in righteous living is delivered and prayers are said. It also involves the celebration of the Eucharist which Jesus Christ is recognised as the head of the church, initiated based on experience acquired in the worship service, it can be seen as Christian religious education is a confessional activity of evangelism, instruction and nurture. I guess younger people are the most critical of all critics when it comes to religion. Today we 聽 pray and accept the holiness in church for Christ which they are aware that Christ constitutes the sacred bread and wine, but do not entirely act upon worship and fail to confront the thoughts and feelings to masses which would spread dignity of godliness among themselves. The morality lies in the fact that this creates a shortfall to reach spiritual beliefs through worship and liturgy resulting in declination the faith which affects the divine nature approaching positivity. Christian religious education & pastoral care is a vital important part in spiritual development. For Christian/Catholic education to be explored, all generations should be brought into contact through various practices. In the early centuries, reformers emphasised and trusted true faith and doctrines, to change and reform behaviour as the only solution for salvation in Christian education. Christian schools prove a challenge as a messenger to convey God's mission and to honour God. Traditional approach This approach was practiced since many decades and is still continued to be practiced which helps in binding and governing the ethics and morality within the religion and belief. Since beginning described, in leaving our homeland to teach the gospels throughout the world through scriptures, God conveyed his message -聽 by sending his son Jesus for us, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Church, and Baptism for building unity. Christianity consists of three things Religious faith, Way of life Community of mankind towards salvation . The most vital of all belief preached is that there is only one God. The term Christian does not imply on the fact that a Christian should grow up in a Christian community, but precisely accepts Christian faith and belief, follows and leads the path of life on which Jesus walked and made mankind accept Christian community through involvement and participation physically and mentally, as a result, traditional approach is how the local churches and preachers go about conducting their services. The apostle's creed was developed to summarise the Christian doctrine for man who baptised himself. Theological/Bibical approach This approach is regarded as an abstract discipline which teaches what bible is written. It is the study of god expressing god's thought. God's salvation to the world, worship of the holy spirit, batism in gods name, preaching gospels as the word of God, sharing Christ's own body and blood as bread and wine in holy communion, repenting and confessing god's forgiveness are the concepts of theological and biblical foundation to Christian education. Even though mankind is aware but fail to involve due to the increasing evil and greed. The service is organised to accept the call of god and to love him and others and which aims to gather people to worship him in return allowing him to take control over the world and through his presence spread peace, righteousness, justice, joy and helps in the growth of the life in an individual through increased faith. Activities organized and performed in different local churches through to these practices Some churches develop the initiative of confessing their faith in the words of the apostles creed. Each activity is correlated and composes a range of varied elements. Their current activities reflect the lives of an individual and drive them for a purpose through various numbers of activities to attain a better quality of life. Due to activities, all age group gain variety of skills through many spiritual centred activities. The Church should act as an interpreter between God and follower to support in training the composition of these activities which are far more complex to solve a disturbed youth. I believe it is necessary to reach our young people, i.e. train them to be strong future leaders. They should be kept one step ahead, for their life is very challenging. The best way to reach out to our young is to be 聽 youth-like to understand 聽 a young persons 聽 psychology as it differs from every individual. The future as I see it. Workshops, seminars for peer mentoring, identifying preventive measures instead of curative measures targeting the social, political and the economical factors would be effective for incorporating the overall issues to bring the insight of the good and evil sides of every consequence, discussion on essential real life skills. Our goal as Catholic/Christians (and like ecumencial creeds with similar philosophies) is to create "world changers". As the world is awash with varying degrees of crime, terrorism, corruption, violence, our youth have been diverted to a fast-paced and expects instant opportunities. Perhaps, the approaches of these local activities tend to be helpful and may bring positive results but I still feel that there is something missing. We need to monitor our youth from within. craving for friendly support socially and for stimulation. Overall factors which come together are peers, parents, teachers, church members and Christian community. All factors rely on one common feature which constitutes leadership. Ironically, most youth do understand the surrounding factors but the factors themselves become tough unknowingly that they can't quite control the situation which then becomes too late to recover. The task is questioned commonly as what kind of leader a person should be to prove credibility and capability to influence the youth to pursue the direction towards God. The Catholic/Christian church is in a unique position to develop a precious being 聽 in this process. The church is a role model fosters spiritual growth in every youth making them responsible to participate in Christian faith ; a sign for an entrance of the God's kingdom to the world of salvation, repentance, justice and peace to bring equality. Church members as supporters, preach to establish and to promote a platform and share to encourage several types of civic, cultural, religious educational associations. I suggest they experiment in 聽 bringing out good approaches to youth's growth. I suggest the approach can be focused to bring in the outcome irrespective to exploration and innovation of ideas and thoughts for internal and external behaviour of an individual related to the surroundings around him, deepening of commitments to the teaching, provide opportunities to analyse socially and theologically and viewing his life in a theological manner. To build a scaffold of an activity consist of - to have an experience "like us", to sense new boundaries by exploring new links to every Christian among themselves and to god across social and cultural boundaries. In addition, exploration and inventive programmes can be executed to judge youth's spirituality. Everyday opportunities resulting in disorientation gets support through God. Integration conceptual activities also can help in building and to capture 聽'a born leader'. A 聽 Church leader serves them as task leaders in the corrosion and freeing the task of a disconnected mind by planning tactics and dividing the burden of other's through consultation. As the purpose is commitment, to serve the lost, skill based leadership formation training programmes can be organized to develop an effective leader so as to sustain the capability and capacity of the leader to solve the complaints lies in the dimensions of the ability. Workshops on intersections to shape boundaries of an individual and communities through theological and biblical language, symbols, and rituals to attain certain centered objectives. When the 聽 young people 聽 develops a church from within, he will be able to observe and analyse the holistic environment.We ourselves give birth to a problem and then strive hard to face it because as there are few leaders left to catch a grip to support a large community. It requires a great deal of effort to help churches grow whereas large church with mass contribution grows as their already exist efforts in large numbers which take over the chained actions for development. Whether single church group or many, big or small, the development is important. No matter how large or small challenges occur, the way we approach it is unique and comprehensive as this brings out effects of development in the youth. Whereas in large churches it becomes more difficult to assist as there 聽 is more than one individual to serve Due to small groups according to races and culture, differentiation exists. But the important criterion is group commitment and work effort in all sets of practice for congregations in any race or culture for a healthy youth so that to accomplish god's mission. As a result both objectives are co-related to each other. To understand the nature of Christian youth it is a very distinguished and a unique phenomenon. Due to the increasing issues of 聽'peer pressure', this has led to the obstruction in the development of youth. There are negative as well as positive aspects of it. Negative aspects influence an uninformed mind. It is the most consistent findings revealed in observation. Due to the inquisitive innocence, an innocent becomes a prey of the negative aspect, thereby exploited and develops an evil companionship where he adopts negative qualities and habits. But there is positive aspects as in there are some groups who work towards peer relationship. Here the innocent gets an opportunity to identify his fear, weakness and have control over his own power. The peer mentors play the part in organising programmes to understand the behaviour. We are all born innocent and a church 聽 congregation plays an integrate role, it is a challenge for them to develop the youth and make Christian education reachable to them. Teachers are responsible preachers. Youth 聽 development depends on a teacher.They are the true facilitators of our learning and true authors of an individual's life book.They also act as the resource developer and planner setting the curriculum for the healthy growth of an individual, depending how the curriculum is designed with the kind and level of leadership skills to recognise the youth psychology. Parents play a significant role in Christian education. They are the promising leaders which shape up Christianity, infact are the real teachers of Christian education. Parents act as a moral standard and support, therefore can synchronize to their growing youth to be aware from their early hood to gain knowledge in Christian faith and this is done when they themselves too experience a fullness of church. Misunderstandings and miscommunication 聽 between parents and their children are one of the issues which follow break downs 聽 in the development of 聽 youth. Due to parent's own principles, for respect and love of family values often creates harmness to the children's growth which tempts them to behave against them. Thus youth becomes a totalitarian of his own life by going against the values and ethics and unknowingly gets stucked in the torturous situations. Most Christian youth, fail to act upon the 10 commandments . Many people are often drawn towards the attention of the church because of their felt needs and not for spiritual needs. The main question lies whether churches fulfill and meet to mature catholics 聽 in Christian education? Today our 聽 youth 聽 are distracted to attending church because they are building 聽 castles in the clouds 聽 due to the materialistic desire. Our young have focused their vision to crave success and prosperity for their rising life graph; they exploit their own ones due to greed and selfishness. During the primary phase of struggle and hard work, the young 聽 craves to achieve prosperity, at the same time, thank God and accept his involvement for success, but hand in hand, the bibles breakdown in following chrisitan principle and biblical ethics which says 聽 to respect others in and with unity. We see our young push the fellow mates and strive to takeover their place. They themselves are unaware that they give birth to exploitation and inequality. And due to inequality, unity is declined, wherein bible does not specify inequality. For a church to survive, the basic foundation is the youth and for the youth to be saved and attracted the church has to be healthy. In my knowledge it is a 'never ending Circle'. The church to some extent do specifically fulfill the discipleship through the practices and play a great emphasis in fulfilling and conveying the message of god to us, but still lack to read the minds and bring the youth closer to her, for which she has to upgrade her atmospheric appearance with new packages to reach the youth in a new taste due to the competitive modernism which is hovering on the youth. Towards a healthy faith, healthy church can turn and seed a growth of spirituality through which mankind will grow spiritually from within thereby causing church growth. Along with the concept of ministry, believer, purpose; effort is also the key concept and it has to be achieved from the youth as well. A healthy youth will gain efforts only when the growth will favour them from within, when the forces of the ministry believers and youth will collide with each other to form a healthy growth. "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is god who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" Philippians 2:12-13: If one is to grow towards maturity in Christ then one must cultivate and demonstrate the efforts with passion, "聽 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you be glad and rejoice with me"Philippians 2:17-18 Young people pick their ideas which suit their taste through various religious beliefs. There are few in bunch who strongly believe, there exist only single religion which has controlled the truth. Young people 聽 prefer to perform all activities as per their own desire which in return less importance to the religious belief are being given, which gives birth to the side effects of the conduct. Personal, Spiritual, Social, Cultural values and beliefs define a relationship of human being. Catholic/Christian education acts as a stepping stone for 聽 child/youth development to develop and mature for spiritual hunger. It also aims to reach the lost youth to bring back on the path of truth and nurture their life towards sincerity and god's will. Catholic/Christian education through the practices of traditional, theological and biblical approach establish a chief guide towards faith and a safely satisfying life. (Dedicated to the wonderful people I have had the pleasure to have been guided by at St.Columbas CPS, Xavier College,Trinity College, Mercy College & Sacred 'Heart CPS (Perth, Australia) who inspired this article.) From an Untitled prayer "...Give us knowledge, courage and a willing heart to be the disciples of today,to learn God's will, to share God's message and to be God's people;To know, to love and to serve with youthful zeal." Mother Teresa Published on Published onMay 4, 2017 Edit article View stats Joe Bellantone 31 Like 5 0 Comm ent Edit article By Giuseppe Sandro Bellantone Mother Teresa was born as Agnes Bojaxhiu. Since, childhood she was committed towards the work performed by the missionaries. She took the name 'Teresa' when she joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns in 1928 and dedicated herself towards(poverty), remain without possessions, (Chastity )to remain pure in mind and body and promised to obey her religious superiors(Obedience). Mother Teresa was embodied with vision, compassion, dedication and an excellent power to inspire others. Influencing others with her work was the main characteristic that differentiated her from the other leaders of the century. At a very early age Mother Teresa was taught to feed the poor , help those in need and to donate money to those less fortunate than her own family. Agnes was a determined and strong follower of cause as taught to her by her father, a nationalist .Agnes was also a member of "Soldality of the Blessed Virgin Mary" where letters from missionaries were often read. Hearing about thousands of deaths in India due to lack of hunger, incurable diseases, poverty inflamed Mother Teresa's mind and soul. Her passion to serve the needy people grew along her age and she finally left her home at the age of 19 and joined "The Sisters Of Loreto" in Ireland. After coming to India in 1929 Mother Teresa enjoyed her occupation of teaching at St. Mary's, Darjeeling but her passion to help the poor was still very much alive. Mother Teresa even after becoming The Principal of St. Mary's knew that her home was not within the walls of the convent rather it was outside the bounded line of the school with the poor. "Inspirational Day", 10th Sept 1946 as perceived by Mother Teresa was the day when she finally realized the meaning of her birth and at once she left her position at St. Mary's to help the poor. On August 16th 1948, at the age of thirty-seven, after getting the permission from The Holy Father of Catholic Church ,Teresa removed the black veil and habit of the Order of Loreto and donned a white cotton sari, with three stripes of blue and walked through with nothing but blind, total faith, to begin her new life. The first thing she did was that she travelled Patna to study nursing, the knowledge for which she knew she would have a definite need, if she were to help the sick and poor. She learned how to give injections, measure the doses of medicines, deliver babies, and perform simple first aid. Mother Teresa started her work in Calcutta with just 5 Rs. in her pocket. The first main attainment was when she was able to gather 30 students for her own set-up school in which she taught them by writing on the ground with the help of a stick. After teaching, she and her students from St. Mary who were very much touched by her examples on love and care joined her in the activity of begging food for the poor. Mother Teresa and her students took the same diet as the poor. They collected food by going to church with tin pans and asking people not to throw the left over food. Not only food Mother and her followers also begged and prayed on regular basis in front of the medical suppliers to obtain the medical supplies for free that were very much needed. Soon many nuns joined Mother Teresa and devoted their lives towards serving the poor. Mother and the Sisters moved into a building, called Kalighat, the House of the Destitute and Dying allotted to them by the Government of India. At first the citizens feared that Mother was here to change the religion of people but,there was no attempt to do this and slowly after a long-suffering effort on the part of the Sisters and Mother, they were hopefully able to gain the trust of the Indian people. Their main aim was to care for their needs. When people died they were buried according to their own faith. Thousand of people had contracted leprosy at that time, a disease which measured in almost epidemic proportions. Leprosy was a horrible contagious disease, but treatable. Mother Teresa along with the help of other sisters established a leper town for the sufferers where they and their families could live in a clean, safe place and learn skills that would enable them to support themselves. In 1984, the Missionaries of Charity Fathers was founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta with Fr. Joseph Langford, to combine the work of the missionaries of Charity with the ministerial priesthood wherein a new vow to give whole hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor was introduced. It was better known as the home of joy for the sick children. Missionaries cared not only for the poor but for the refugees, ex-prostitutes, mentally ill, those suffering from various diseases like AIDS, Leprosy and also took care of the aged people. Separate homes were made for separate people.eg 19 homes in Kolkata alone were established for women, orphaned children ,people suffering from AIDS, leper colony etc.These services were provided to people regardless of their religion. Apart from Missionaries of Charity ,Place of the Immaculate Heart,Town of Peace, etc were some of her few contributions by Mother Teresa to the mankind. A leader is not only the one who just influences or motivates his/her followers but, also has the courage to face each and every situation that acts as a hurdle in his/her objective. Mother Teresa was a true leader in every sense. In order to serve the poor she reached the unreached .This was proved in 1982 when Mother Teresa and her followers rescued 37 children trapped in front of line hospital by brokering a temporary cease fire between the Israeli army and the Palestine Guerillas. She along with the Red Cross workers travelled through the war zone to the devastated hospital to evacuate the young patients. The spending of the charity money received was criticized by some to which Mother stated that "No matter who says what, you should accept it with a smile and do your own work.". She believed only in the contact with God through serving people. The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children: People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. Mother Teresa in the late 20th century had become a world famous personality as she travelled around the world to help those in need. 1991 was the first time when she returned to her hometown and opened a missionaries of Charity Brothers in Tirana ,Albania. By 1996,almost 517 missions in more than 100 countries were operated by her with the help of other sisters & brothers. Over the years Mother Teresa's missionaries of Charity grew from twelve to thousands serving the "poorest of the poor" in 450 centers around the world. Mother Teresa did not focus on the donated money for the elimination of poverty or improving the condition of her small homes established for the needy but also on opening new convents and increasing the missionaries work. On March 13, 1997, six months before Mother Teresa's death, Sister Mary Nirmala Joshi was selected the new Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity. Her death was mourned in both secular and religious communities. Her recognition in India :She was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 1962 by The Govt of India.She continued to receive major Indian Awards such as Jawaharlal Nehru award and Ratna award. During her life she faced many criticisms from the Bhartiya Janta Party,Vishwa Hindu,Giriraj Kishore but , at the same time she gained recognition from various renowned personalities such as President Pratibha Patel .She said of Mother Teresa "clad in a white sari with a blue border, she and the sisters of Missionaries of Charity became a symbol of hope to many - the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families." Her Reception in rest of the world :In 1962,Mother Teresa was awarded the Philippines based Rawon Magsaysay Award for International understanding,given for work in South & East Asia. She was even presented with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom at a White House ceremony in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. Since her death Mother Teresa has progressed rapidly along the steps towards sainthood. She was even awarded civilian awards such as Balzan Prize for promoting peace,humanity brotherhood and the Albert Scheweitzer International Prize. She was "a rare and unique individual who lived long for higher purposes. Her life-long devotion to the care of the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged was one of the highest examples of service to our humanity." As stated by Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and "She is the United Nations. She is peace in the world." As said by The former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar . Missionaries of Charity "To those who say they admire my courage, I have to tell them that I would not have any if I were not convinced that each time I touch the body of a leper, a body that reeks with a foul stench, I touch the same Christ I receive in the Eucharist." Mother Teresa In 1971, Paul VI awarded her the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize, commending her for her work with the poor, display of Christian charity and efforts for peace. She later received the Pacem in Terris Award (1976). Since her death, Mother Teresa has progressed rapidly along the steps towards sainthood, currently having reached the stage of having been beatified. Mother Teresa was honoured by both governments and civilian organizations. She was appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia in 1982, "for service to the community of Australia and humanity at large". The United Kingdom and the United States each repeatedly granted awards, culminating in the Order of Merit in 1983, and honorary citizenship of the United States received on 16 November 1996. Mother Teresa's Albanian homeland granted her the Golden Honour of the Nation in 1994. Her acceptance of this and another honour granted by the Haitian government proved controversial. Mother Teresa attracted criticism for implicitly giving support to the Duvaliers and to corrupt businessmen such as Charles Keating and Robert Maxwell. Universities in both the West and in India granted her honorary degrees. Other civilian awards include the Balzan Prize for promoting humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples (1978), and the Albert Schweitzer International Prize (1975). In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace." She refused the conventional ceremonial banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $192,000 funds be given to the poor in India, stating that earthly rewards were important only if they helped her help the world's needy. When Mother Teresa received the prize, she was asked, "What can we do to promote world peace?" She answered "Go home and love your family." Building on this theme in her Nobel Lecture, she said: "Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society-that poverty is so hurtable [sic] and so much, and I find that very difficult." She also singled out abortion as 'the greatest destroyer of peace in the world'. Her death was mourned in both secular and religious communities. In tribute, Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan said that she was "a rare and unique individual who lived long for higher purposes. Her life-long devotion to the care of the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged was one of the highest examples of service to our humanity." The former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar said: "She is the United Nations. She is peace in the world." During her lifetime and after her death, Mother Teresa was consistently found by Gallup to be the single most widely admired person in the US, and in 1999 was ranked as the "most admired person of the 20th century" by a poll in the US. She out-polled all other volunteered answers by a wide margin, and was in first place in all major demographic categories except the very young.