Sunday, September 26, 2004

God's Passion for God

God's passion for God motivates all he does, including saving sinners. Comes as a bit of a shock to see that God's first love is for himself rather than for his people - but it is his love for himself that is the foundation of his love for his people.

Exodus 32 - God's passion for his Name (PDF Script)
Exodus 32 - God's passion for his Name (PDF Article)

Script and accompanying article on Exodus 32. This is part of a study I've been doing over the summer - further articles on Exodus 33, 34 and Romans 9 to follow over the coming weeks.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Life Matters from here to Eternity!

Just home from Forum, our national Christian Union leaders conference in Shropshire. This was my fifth time at Forum and it has to be the best. A real sense of being in it together, of partnership in our vision of making disciples of Jesus in the student world as over 500 Students, Staff and Relay joined together for a week.

It was great to see about 20 from Reading University Christian Union there and great to see God challenging, inspiring and envisioning them. Julian Hardyman of Eden Baptist taught from Hebrews and Richard Cunningham stretched our thinking and our vision under the simple title of "Life Matters".

Forum was directly preceded by the first Relay conference of 2004/2005. Amazed again by the sufficiency of God's grace for the proud and the weak, the struggling and the sinful. Shaken again by Biblical perspectives on discipleship as soldier, athelete and farmer from 2 Timothy. And a real delight to see lives being changed by God.

Monday, September 06, 2004


Heading off to the first Relay conference of the year. Relay is our (UCCF) discipleship training programme in a student context. Personally I think it's one of the best one year discipleship opportunities, but then my wife and I both did it so I guess I might be biased. The wonderful thing is that it's all about grace, teaching it, living it, enjoying it.

Somehow I'll be teaching the Pastoral Care seminar which probably isn't something people would immediately connect me with, but I'm really looking forward to it. Just feeling priviledged to be involved in the programme and seeing God transform the lives of those on it.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Church is beautiful!

Church is awesome. As an institution the church probably has one of the worst reputations in the world, down there with all the things we love to hate. But church is awesome. It is. I've been reading Ephesians 2v15-3v11, preparing for a talk in Novemeber... Amazing to see the who, what, how and why of the church!

2v15-18 Who is the church?
A new humanity created by God at the cross where Jesus died.
2v19-22 What is the church?
The place where God lives!
3v1-9 How is the church?
By the preaching of the gospel to all peoples.
3v10-11 Why is the church?
To declare the gospel to the heavenly realms.

God's big plan from the beginning of time has been to create a global people whom he lives with. Human rebellion delayed this but God's purposes are being achieved! Because of the death of Jesus a new humanity, reconciled to God and to each other is made - a new community, that is what church is - not an institution but a family. A family where absolutely anyone is welcome.

And it is a house where God lives - with Christ as cornerstone, and the Bible as it's foundations, inhabited by God! God's dwelling place. God doesn't live in church buildings but in Christian people all over the world.

The church is made by the preaching of the good news about Jesus Christ to all peoples - anyone is welcome. As people hear the goods news they believe, and that is all that is required to join the church - to turn from life apart from God, and come on in.

And the result - the church a declaration of God's good news, God's purpose to the heavenly realms. This isn't something the church has to try to do - it simply is this.

The church is great. And the invitation to join is open! Come and join the people of God. Too often we look a shaby shadow of what we really are but that is because the church is made up of imperfect people saved by Jesus. Too often we, the church, forget who we are meant to be... like cinderella with amnesia...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Faith is not a leisure activity

As of today wearing symbols of religious faith is illegal in French schools. As a Christian my faith should be evident by my character and actions rather than any external clothing etc. Such things can hardly be legislated against. But are the French going too far? Is this secular fundamentalism? And how much further a step is it for them to ban speaking about faith? Will speaking the name of Jesus become illegal?

Secularism presumes to tell all "religions" that they are wrong whilst denying that it holds convictions of faith inself. And it pushes religious convictions into the private sphere of life... something that Christians (and Muslims) must refuse to do. My convictions as a Christian are universal convictions affecting my entire world view, affecting my approach to every situation. Such things cannot be confined.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Where reality and the internet connect

Driving back from Cambridge we passed the Amazon warehouse... odd to be reminded that Amazon does exist in the real world too.

In August I was browsing the shelves in FOPP Books in Cardiff looking for Anglo-saxon literature (Beowulf). Four weeks later I find myself pre-ordering Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby online. It's not quite the same!

Douglas Coupland views the world from an incredible angle, seeing some of the misery and meaningless that dominates peoples lives in the late 20th and early 21st Century. His insight is always readable, sometimes frightening and makes me glad that I have an unchanging real hope.

Meanwhile the revolution continued night as the first music downloads chart was broadcast. Westlife at number one. Someone save us! Maybe one day we'll never buy books or music on the high street, maybe not... Flying without wings? Shopping without shops?


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  • About

    To help you see where I'm coming from here's some information about me. This should help to keep me accountable.
    The site started out sometime in 1998 as a spin off from the University Christian Union website I was running at the time. The idea was to put some quality articles online to explain what Christians believe and to pose big questions about like.

    about Dave
    I'm 25. I grew up in a liberal-anglo-catholic church environment and became a Christian when I was 18. God graciously used the evangelical ministry of Spring Harvest and individuals to teach me the gospel, along with the Anglican liturgy which taught me the truth weekly.

    My early experience of church led me to think nothing about sin nor about grace and left me thinking that God was distant... though with some sense of relationship.

    Around the age of 18 I became aware of my sinfulness and had no cure. I reasoned into legalism and dipping into the Bible misread the Old Testament law to think I should attempt to atone for my sin. The law did what it does and I knew myself a worse sinner, but still no cure. Praise to God then that he showed me through the liturgy and songs of church, and through the few bits of the Bible I knew of that Jesus was the cure I needed. It's been a delight since then to discover that the same grace that saved me is the grace I live by:

    Not the labor of my hands
    Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
    Could my zeal no respite know,
    Could my tears forever flow,
    All for sin could not atone;
    Thou must save, and Thou alone.

    Nothing in my hand I bring,
    Simply to the cross I cling;
    Naked, come to Thee for dress;
    Helpless look to Thee for grace;
    Foul, I to the fountain fly;
    Wash me, Savior, or I die.
    (Rock of Ages, Toplady)

    My church background since then is largely Arminian, Evangelical and Charismatic, at churches in Bath and Reading, UK. We're now part of an Anglican church near Reading.

    I'm thankful for all the churches I've been part of for directing my life to the Lord. Today I'm a self confessed Christian Hedonist with a Charismatic/Reformed/Calvinist theology - for those whom those terms are useful.

    I'm working as a Bible Teacher and Evangelist with the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (My Page at

    Reading the Bible in 1998 the year after I became a Christian I discovered the word so in Acts 17v16 which connected Paul's distress at idolatry with his move to speak of Jesus in Athens. I think Dick Dowsett may have helped me find this since I'd been at the UCCF Forum conference where he'd preached Acts not long before, but I don't remember.

    From 2000-2002 I was on the UCCF Relay programme which was a formative time for me. Big thanks to Andy, Rachel and the Relay team for making grace so alive as the source of my life.

    The grace-filled Christ-exalting ministry of UCCF has shaped me in my faith. This is largely why I work for the ministry today. I sat in my interview and thought "I'm gutted if I don't get this" because this ministry stands for all that I do. Since early in my Christian life UCCF Staff have cared for me, I remember the kindness of Chris Sinkinson helping me get started on personal Bible reading at a CU Leaders weekend in 1998.

    Today, it's a huge priviledge to serve on the South East UCCF Staff team and be part of the Relay programme too. My students know that I work hard to recruit them to do Relay after graduation... because they need to get deeper into the glorious grace of God.

    Whilst on Relay I read John Piper's Let the Nations be Glad and was blown away reading the first page. I saw there my discovery in Acts 17 put more eloquently and clearly. John Piper is probably the single most influential author I've read. Citations from his work mark much of mine and I happily use his terms. My hope is that I never knowingly plagiarise him but I confess his thoughts have so affected mine that it occasionally feels like I must be copying him.

    The other major influence on me comes through the ministry of Vaughan Roberts and Graeme Goldsworthy who taught me about Biblical Theology. In September 2002 I stumbled into involvement in, for which I am the webmaster. That project is run with Dave, Jonny and Andy.

    Ultimately this site exists partly because I love to write articles and poetry (you'll find over 200 songs/poems of varying quality on site if you look hard enough), partly to resource the students I work with, partly because I think clearest when I have to communicate my thoughts, and chiefly because I hope God will look big through what I write.