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the Christian ministry of the whole people of God.

In the UK, a new academic year begins ...

Learning is the key to prosperity - for each of us as individuals, as well as for the nation as a whole. Investment in human capital will be the foundation of success in the knowledge-based global economy of the twenty-first century. This is why the Government has put learning at the heart of its ambition.  So wrote David Blunkett when UK Secretary of State for Education and Employment.  In other words, we need to work ever smarter if we are to survive global competition.

Followers of Jesus are also likely to be passionate about learning. In the fascinating dialogue with a Jewish scribe (Mark 12), Jesus quotes: “love the Lord your God with all your heart … soul … mind … strength”.  “Mind” is Jesus' gloss, it's not in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.  Is this to affirm the scribes - men of learning, lawyers and academics?

Then we recall the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry in Matthew 28, telling the eleven to: go … and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them … and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  Learning is not all there is to discipleship - but it's a key part. There's more on this at www.allbelievers.org/rationale/disciple.htm.   And in Acts 2:42 we see that “the apostle's teaching” was one of four core activities of the early church, while Paul's letter to the Ephesians (4:11-16) asserts that teachers - and presumably learners! - are key to building the church, to unity, maturity and Christlikeness.

So is Christian learning much the same as any other kind of learning?  Yes and no.  Many processes are, and educators need to know their craft whether in school, college or church.  But it's the scribe's desire to love God “with all the understanding” that is endorsed as wisdom: learning that leads to love of God is part of the most important commandment (Mark 12: 33-4). We might echo the psalmist's prayer: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name (86:11).

What learning will your autumn bring?  Learning that will help your country be more competitive? Learning that will increase your knowledge of and love for God?  If Christian learning opportunity or your time is in short supply, you might like to consider a Connected Community Learning eLearning course.  www.allbelievers.org/courses/cclcourses.htm sets out the stall if you'd like to know more, and the next email posting will be a one-off giving more detail on what's available.

Yours in Christ

Peter Nicholls

We might echo the psalmist's prayer: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name (86:11). What learning will your autumn bring? Learning that will help your country be more competitive? Learning that will increase your knowledge of and love for God?

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