New announcement. Learn more

Men's breakfast1 Corinthians 2:2ConflictsChurches and campsColemanGrace ChurchLower North Island1 Peter 1:1PeterCitizens of heavenJobRedeemerGraham AshbyPrime Time ConferenceJH Baldwin ScholarshipForest LakesThe Anchor ChurchAlan ThompsonSydney Missionary & Bible CollegeManurewa Bible ChurchChurch campGrant BirksTroubleSydneyStewards AustraliaKatoombaMMMHoward RobinsonRoosevelt Road Bible ChurchRotoruaSisters HuiHuiAlan AitkenTe MaruThank youDan TylerBrian RopitiniNew Plymouth Community ChurchManawatūComfortHoly SpiritConsolationUnited with ChristRomans 6:5PreachingTheological studiesLincoln Road Bible ChapelNorth BeachThe EmbassyDeathOBH Camp ProjectStewards TrustStaff ConferenceEAUKSTestimonyWaitangiJoyTom McIvorPaul SamuelsGraduationIan PaynePapatoetoe Bible ChapelSalvationMatthew 1:21UnitedTītahi Bay Community ChurchEphesians 2:14KidsChristmas outreachMission Without BordersTōtara Springs Christian CentreManawarū Bible ChapelBearing fruitColossians 1:6Sefton MarshallFarewellStuart BayOnekawa Bible ChurchGod's willCalendarGlentunnel ChapelNick GoodwinKoinoniaGratitudeFellowship1 Corinthians 10:16 DunedinNew buildingCornerstone International Bible ChurchDoctrinePastoral Theologians FellowshipExamine ourselves1 Corinthians 11:28Children and FamiliesKaitaia Bible ChapelNextGen Summit1 Corinthians 11:27CommunionBethany TrustDoug BennFamily FiestaFinlay ParkNarrows ParkTotara SpringsRaleigh Street Christian CentreLight PartyRedemption ChurchMark DramaFenton Park Bible ChurchOctober 7IsraelHeretaunga Christian CentreLazarusLifeJohn 11:43Peter AllenGovernanceIan Elliott ScholarshipWhite SundayBaptismsWeepingJohn 11:33Holiday ProgrammeChurch-centric campingAuckland Leaders DinnerThe Street ChurchPathway Christian CentreBroderick Road ChapelVivian Street Gospel HallInternational ServiceChurch on IngestreGriefJohn 11:35Joel BirkinHolidays ProgrammeSouth IslandComfortedConfrontedJohn 12:5Growing leadersServing the communityInvercargillCelebrationThanksgivingFranklin Bible ChurchKing JesusHosanna!John 12:13Prayer breakfastWorking beeCrossGod's powerColossians 2:15North Beach Christian FellowshipTe Awamutu Bible ChapelCity to CityMoirs Point Christian CentreMangonui Bible ChapelCoopers Beach Christian Youth CampKaitaia Bible ChapeTōtara North Bible ChapelRaumati Crescent ChapelFar NorthJesus is LordCaptivated by ChristColossians 2:6Tim HodgeCCCNZ Board75th AnniversaryMissionaryMovement of the WordKaipaki Bible ChurchAlpha CourseDave FirthLast WordsHopeDavidPsalm 139:23Jesus knows usPathways CollegeLichfield LandsScholarshipsLiz HodgeSuffering ChristiansElisabeth ElliotRevelation 6:10CampsitesEl RanchoRoss BayMiCamp TaupōExodus 29:42Church-Camp PartnershipHousing ProjectOrwell Street ChurchEden Community ChurchPakuranga Christian FellowshipAnniversaryRukumoana MaraeKids programmeKelston Community ChurchPapakuraLive the gospelEmergency housingKarakarikiWhitioraNew ZealandActs 17:24FearIdolsActs 17:16Gospel MinistryChurch Camp PartnershipMararikiJob 9:9Ruth 1:20God's purposesMaraNaomiRuthHorsemenLambRevelation 6:1Rally NZTauwhare MaraeAGMRevelation 1:12-13HM RageJesus' salvationJohn 18:10Community connectionsYouth groupServing SundaysInvercargill Combined Bible SchoolFurnaceMatthew 26:46Matthew 26:42Police chaplainsHumilityPhilippians 2:7Known unto GodJohn 15:13Willow Park Christian CampKids CampLifeSwitchChurch @ CedarwoodKingston Community ChurchRomans 1:14-15Ambassador's WrapRomans 1:18God's wrathLakeland Park CampNorm and Liz SilcockRegional summitNorthgate Community Church1 Corinthians 1:18Sarah ChalmersStewardsDoors openColossians 4:4Genesis 1:12-13Ian RoweThird-Day GardensMatthew 5:16Natural disastersFamily campLighthouse ChurchChurches working togetherOrdinary peopleJohn 1:43John 1:29The LionThe LambWho are you?Who is He?John 1:21-221 Peter 1:13Psalm 13:11 Peter 1:1-2God's realitySober-mindedFrustrationPastorCampsCycloneCampsiteHowick Community ChurchHaggai 1:3-4Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strengthLuke 2:10Good NewsIn the beginningJohn 1:1-5Luke 1:27Titus 1:9MarkLuke 1:28Psalm 31:1-5Romans 12:15Matthew 1:1Road to EmmausLuke 24:29John 20:16Mark 10:45Queen Elizabeth IIHorizon of HopeThe Mark DramaLamentationsGraceSecond windSwedish Method1-2-1 Bible ReadingPreach the WordRiccarton Community ChurchInternshipsPsalmsCreativityHoliday CampRiverbend Bible ChurchPaengaroa Bible ChapelPalmerston NorthChurch on VogelThe House Next DoorSchoolLaunchpadLifewalkAmos 5:8MatarikiBad GuysTitus 3:1-2Auckland Bible ChurchDarrell BockLeanne BrownCrossroads ChurchKaipara Bible ChapelDargaville Gospel ChurchMarsden Bay Christian Camp2 Timothy 2:21 Corinthians 1:18-31James 1:2-42 Timothy 2The Orchard Church Te PukeEvangelismChurchesSupport MinistriesEasterThe cross-shaped life2 Corinthians 1:8-9IsolationLast SupperWestChurchGeoff StarkUkraineRobert MitchellTasman ChurchChurch LeadersRevelation 2-4Psalm 31Ezra 31 Timothy 6:11-21Galatians 2:10The gospelThessaloniansAotearoa, NZEphesians 2Waitangi Day 2022Working TogetherCCCNZ AucklandAmatakiloa Bible ChurchTongan TsunamiLeslie ScottRebekah ReeveConnectionsSummitTop of the SouthEaster CampRegional ConnectionsCCCNZ Children and Family MinistriesRutland Street ChurchManawaru Bible ChapelYouth Reachout RoadtripWord of LifeConnectionPartnershipRichard DavisLawson ScottRegionalChristchurchEphesians 12 Timothy 2:1-131 Peter 12 Peter 1HarvestActs 8Psalm 24:1-2Acts 27:23–26Resurrection1 Corinthians 15:14Ezra-NehemiahPsalm 231 Corinthians 15:8-111 Corinthians 15:3-81 Corinthians 15:3-5CCCNZ PrayerHillcrest ChapelPeaceConflictWearyEldershipCOVID-19 Protection FrameworkWoven TogetherAnnual Report 2020-21FaithfulnessAPARichard FountainIndianChristian radioJeewan DhaaraPsalm 146Ambassador's BlogHeavy ladenEmily TylerBaptismWhitiora Bible ChurchLifeChurch ManurewaQSMNational CCCNZ Youth TeamRob MortonWhat Comes Next?BoardAbortion Legislation BillPandemicMark GraceResponsePhilippiansChurch response to COVID-19Church response to coronavirusCoronavirusCOVID-19Worship EnablerYvonne HengNorthcross ChurchGC3AppealBushfiresSophia McCrindleCCCAustAustralian BushfiresPacific CommunityAne PonifasioLui PonifasioQueen's Service MedalNew Year's HonoursPasifikaTāmaki Community ChurchThe Riverside ClubIdeasIntergenerational ministryMassey Community ChurchBirkenhead Community ChurchBitternessThe Greatest SaviourPrayer GatheringCCNZChristian Camping NZTeapot Valley Christian CampNancy Jean Forbes Training CentreWoodend Christian CampCanterburyChurch PlantingJackie MillarPrayingDanielle DiproseAdministrationFinance60 yearsCamp ministryChristian CampingLakeland Park Christian CampPreparationChristchurch Mosque AttacksHealingTraumaWhat's Next?Julie McKinnonUnityHospitalityCultural diversityOrosiusImmigrationTeenagersGiftsYoung leadersSummer SchoolChildrenParentsChildren and Family Ministries75 JubileeGirlsBoysNZ RallyRestCCCNZ PastorLinkGrowthOrewa Community Church2019God StoriesChapel Hill Community ChurchEncouragementFriendshipEldersSuccessionGod's faithfulnessGospelFireHope Community ChurchNelsonTogether Works BetterFIRST TrainingYouth SummitCampingCommunity MinistryChildren's MinistryRallyAuthenticityMillenialsMinistryYoung AdultsLeaving HomeStudentsCampusStudent ministry at OtagoUniversity of OtagoO WeekJesus ChristStudent LifeTSCFStudent ministryTreaty of WaitangiPākehāMāoriTreatySpiritChristianityWaitangi Day 2019ColombiaRosedale Bible ChapelSouthlandInternational StudentsTimaruChurch Street ChapelIan ElliottTeensCalledTauwhare Gospel ChapelCompassionWaikatoRefugee MinistryCambell ForlongCity Bible ChurchInternationalLiving GodGlobalisationDr Merv CoatesEngagingRongopaiMulticultural ministryHaggaiPlanningPrayerJeremy SuistedInconvenienceJosephMaryLoveSaviourO Holy Night LyricsLyricsChristmas CarolO Holy NightDiscipleshipClark Road ChapelVolunteerEducationCitizens Advice BureauTe Ao NgākauCommunity CentreJames 1:26-27OutreachMaungarei Christian Community TrustMt Wellington Community ChurchMurray BrownChrist-centredHealthy youth ministryYouth leadershipHukanui Bible ChurchBible readingFreshLearningDevotionsFamilyCommitmentBible in a yearCarolsLightsOnslow Community ChurchMusicTheologyPathwaysWorship leadingWorshipPathways School of Worship LeadingSOWLChristmas messageJesusEventsAucklandGlow in the ParkAdventChristmasSupportRespiteCareRetreatLeadersPastorsPastorLinkKerry RickardSpiritual formationCross-culturalChristianGap YearHeadspaceKiwi24-7 YouthWorkCommunityFaithYouthTrainingCCCNZ YouthYoung peopleChurchChristYouth ministryCCCNZScriptureLeadershipChristian CoachingCoachingBiblePaulFaithfulOrdinary ChristianExtraordinary GodComfort ZoneGodHadfieldMissionNZWellingtonRegional Enablers
TAGS

Call me Mara

Ruth 1:20

"Na ka mea ia ki a ratou, Kaua ahau e karangatia, ko Naomi; ko Mara ta koutou e karanga ai ki ahau: he kawa rawa hoki ta te Kaha Rawa mahi ki ahau."

"Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter."

"A ‘ua fai atu o ia ‘iā te i latou, “‘Aua tou te ta‘ua a‘u o Naomi, a ‘ia ta‘ua a‘u o Mara; auā ‘ua matuā ‘o‘ona mea ‘ua faia ‘iā te a‘u e Lē ona le malosi uma lava."

Ruth chapter one takes place in tumultuous times. The story takes place in the days of the judges. It has been a bleak 400-year period, a time of anarchy. It was profoundly difficult for women.

Ruth chapter one is broken into three scenes.

In scene one, we are in Moab.

It’s the scene of Naomi’s bleakness. Famine forced her family to Moab, 50 kilometres from Bethlehem. Elimelech and Naomi are immigrants in a land not their own.

Death finds her husband, Elimelech.

After ten years her sons, Mahlon and Kilion, are dead too.

Naomi is in a foreign land. She had lost her two sons and her husband. She’s now responsible for two foreign daughters-in-law. She has no status, she has no security, no identity. She’s broken and bereft.

It’s bleak. As thick as a blanket of soot, that bleakness covers everything.

In scene two, we are on the way back to Bethlehem.

The scene takes place amidst preparations for the week-long walk from Moab to Bethlehem. It’s a dangerous walk over treacherous terrain. Naomi’s bleakness is now full-blown bitterness. And bitterness towards God begins to blur her thinking.

Look with me: in verses six through twelve, Naomi recognises God coming to the aid of his people. She recognises that God can show kindness and protection to her daughters- in-law. But she is still so, incredibly bitter about the Lord's treatment of her. Her bitterness leads to deep hopelessness.

Naomi exclaimed: “The Lord's hand has turned against me.”

Naomi’s bitterness has led her to exactly the wrong conclusion. It has blinded her eyes to see God’s grace in Ruth.

Like fogged-up windscreens, bitterness blurs what we see.

I’ve known this bitterness before. I faced a year-long struggle with jealousy that turned into bitterness. Any bitterness can so quickly lead us into bitterness towards God.

This bitterness "starts in our hearts when we sense there is an unfairness, an injustice, a sense we’ve been wronged*."

In the future it is possible that Bible in Schools will struggle. Conversion practices prohibition legislation could have far-reaching consequences for the church. Freedom of religious speech is likely to diminish significantly over the next few years.

All of this can lead us to exactly the wrong conclusion. It could lead us to be fearful at the very moment we need faith, to be fragile at the very time we need to be fearless, to freeze at the very moment we need to focus on Jesus.

In scene three, we are in Bethlehem.

Naomi and Ruth have made the difficult journey back from Moab. But Naomi’s bitterness now leads to full-blown blindness.

Bleakness, bitterness, blindness.

The bitterness is so deep, so painful, that Naomi shapes her identity around it. "Call me Mara." "Call me bitterness."

The bitterness is so raw, so real, so personal. She interprets her whole experience through it: "The Lord has brought me back empty."

Like a wall of mirrors distorting our image, bitterness distorts her understanding of herself and God. “God made my life bitter. He has brought me here empty. He's afflicted me. He has brought me misfortune."

Notice how self-focused Naomi’s bitterness becomes.

“Made my life very bitter.”

“Brought me back empty.”

“The Lord has afflicted me.”

“Misfortune upon me.”

This kind of bitterness draws us into the centre. This kind of bitterness makes us big and God small.

It’s 2020. I’m heading out fishing with a mate off Himitangi beach.

We get into real trouble. The wind gets up, the surf becomes huge, we are tossed out. We end up clinging to our kayaks, exhausted in the surf. We are saved by the incoming tide, washed toward the shore.

As difficult as Naomi’s circumstances are, God's sovereign plan—like the incoming tide—rescues her.

Despite Naomi's bleak, bitter, blind outlook, God is at work. He gives her Ruth. In the rest of the book, God gives her Boaz, their redeemer and provider. God gives them a baby, a baby who will be the grandfather of King David.

Only thirty generations later, God gives another baby—this time, he is the King of Kings. Jesus, God’s true and better redeemer.

In all the bleakness and bitterness that washes over us, God is at work. Steady as the tide, his plans are coming to pass.

God is growing a more robust church, a more distinctive church.

In the bleakness of a changing New Zealand, bitterness need not define us. God is doing something better.

*taken from Tim Keller's sermon, How to Deal with Dark Times

By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador

Outreach News From Churches

CCCNZ Camping Enabler Richard Davis recently met with Justin Thompson, a pastor at Manawaru Bible Chapel.

Richard writes: ”Justin shared the church's vision for their community which is centred around the local school, Manawaru Primary, which has about 85 students.

"The church has built a strong relationship with them over a number of years through Bible in Schools, school chaplaincy work, and other school community assistance. One result of this relationship is that approximately 20 children from the school now regularly attend Rally.

"Today the church started a 'Coffee On Us' at Cafe 77 where they invite ladies from the community for a free coffee and friendship and provide a space to be heard and to hear.

"I shared our desire to investigate how camps can help and suggested that Justin talk to their local camp and share their vision for the Manawaru community.

"It is awesome to hear that they are planning a church camp where they will invite the Rally families and others from the community to attend. It has taken a number of years for this relationship with the school community to be built, but the church is now seeing the fruit of that connection.”

Scones from Cafe 77.

Onslow Community Church in the Newspaper

Above and below: I was encouraged to read how Onslow Community Church is pointing people to Jesus in their region's local newspaper.

If you’d like to know more about how to engage your local newspaper, don’t hesitate to be in touch with Peter Rhodes-Robinson, Warriors fan and elder-pastor at Onslow Community Church.

Crisis Communications for Christian Organisations

Engaging your local newspaper is also one of the topics touched on in the Crisis Communications Workshop at the regional CCCNZ summits.

As a church leader or camp manager, what happens when you receive that phone call?

A journalist is calling you at 11am and needing your comment for their 3pm deadline. They are raising questions about a church leader, or questions about content in a Bible talk, or questions about the handling of funds.

What will you say? What procedures and policies do you have in place to equip you in this moment?

Managing communications in a crisis is an increasing feature of Christian leadership in our culture.

The time to prepare for the crisis is before the crisis.

At each Regional Summit we invite professional Christian communication specialists to introduce leaders to the types of procedures and planning that can make all the difference when a crisis hits.

We have had very positive feedback from elders, ministry leaders, and camp managers who attended the Waikato and Lower North Island workshops.

We would like to invite all elderships, chairpersons (of elderships, community trusts, campsites and ministries), and pastoral leaders to attend.

More info on the 2023 Regional Summits



 

This product has been added to your cart

CHECKOUT