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Showing posts from 2005

Last Warnie of 2005

Slightly disappointingly my nominations didn't achieve...(there's a need for more UK Warnie Winners in 2006 methinks.) That said, Mark Lauterbach recieves the last Warnie of 2005. Very well deserved. I've been reading Mark for a while and he's wonderfully gospel-centred: GospelDrivenLife:
Making the most of the cross and empty tomb

Take a look at these for a sample of what he's writing...
On Gospel-Driven, On Church and On Genealogy

Grace Unmeasured

Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth

Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear your righteous name

Grace (grace, grace)
Paid for my sins and brought me to life
Grace (grace, grace)
Clothes me with pow’r to do what is right
Grace (grace, grace)
Will lead me to heav’n where I’ll see Your face
And never cease to thank you for Your grace

Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died

Grace unending, all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

© 2005, Bob Kauflin,
From Worship God Live. MP3 Sample

Makes me weep

Matt pointed me to this Letters expose 'breathtaking' rudeness of church life. Makes me weep that this is done in the name of the church.

That said, firstly, I'm not all that surprised - Christians make mistakes. I've love to explain it all that away but some of it was probably done by genuine Christians. We're not perfect people saved by doing good. We're counted right by God by grace - by God's gift to us, not by anything we do.

But secondly, the church is a mixed bag, Jesus said as much. There are plenty of people who are church-ians rather than christ-ians who've not really grasped the transforming power and beauty of the glorious good news about Jesus Christ. Such people need to be instructed in the faith. Why they want to hang round in the church, serve in in but not believe in Jesus confounds me...

Being a Christian is not attained by doing good. Rather by admitting you can't do good. But it is also unable to leave an unchanged life. Encounter…

This Week

I said I wasn't going to blog til the new year. I'm still taking something of a break even if not entirely... meanwhile I'm enjoying digging into 1 Corinthians 12-14. Superb! And enjoying quality family time out in the snowy real world.

Look back, look forward...

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." (Titus 2v11-14)What do we have to show for 2005? What has the year been like? Is it simply another year on the treadmill? Is all of life ultimately futile? We could be tempted to think so. Can there be more? Let there be a resounding "yes!" Futility is a way of life open to humanity, if we will ignore the judgement of God and try to live under the sun, under our own rule (try Ecclesiastes for some light festive reading). Such futility is not inevitable. Life doesn't have to be this way!

There are two places we must loo…

2005 Top 10.... Films I've seen (released this year)

This year hasn't been a great year for films methinks. Last year we missed some of the best films - The Village, Garden State, Collateral and Enduring Love - which gives me some hope. Mark Kermode's best two films from the year are my number 1, and A History of Violence. Which means I've missed one good film.

1. Crash (blogged)
(are we safe from ourselves, best film by a mile)

2. Elizabethtown (blogged)
(superb, success, failure, life, and in need of some edits, a shorter directors cut on dvd would be welcome)
3. Hotel Rwanda
(deeply moving film that we saw in July)
4. King Kong
(mindless with cool effects, bit saggy and slow though, lets hope Jackson could give us a shorter dvd version)
5. The Island
(mindless fun - you need one of these every summer)
6. Hitchhiker (blogged)
(crazy fun)
7. Broken Flowers
(bit slow but good because of Bill Murray)
8. Melinda and Melinda (blogged)
(woody allen does sliding doors)
9. Sin City
(wierd but kinda cool)
10. Million Dollar Baby (blogger)
(good drama,…

Wojtek @ Vue

One for the Relay guys... we went to see Narnia at Bristol Vue Cinema the other night and I ran into Wojtek Kaftanski, who you'll remember from Relay 1. Bizarre! Good news is he'll be at Relay 2 too!

ChSA - Christian Unions in Poland

Confused bigotry?

Elsewhere, David McKie offers comments on civil partnerships. He observes something of a south & east, north & west divide in application numbers. He posits this simply as grounds for enquiry. Tony Blair meanwhile evidently things that the south & east are more progressive.

Next, McKie turns his eye to the Christian protests in Belfast. People exercising a write to freedom of speech and religion. He finds fault in their argument as they quote parts of Exouds and Leviticus whilst overlooking other parts. I have sympathy with him. What we have in Exodus and Leviticus are laws given to another people in another time, which never seem to be universally applied. They have much to reveal to us of God's unchanging character, and human need of rescue by a saviour...

The second appeal is based on 1 Corinthians 6v9, a text from a letter to a very troubled church community. This community is rife with sin and believers taking one another to court for their troubles. They are remi…

We wish you a mythical Christmas?

Karen Armstrong writes that "the Christmas story was not intended to be factual". The problem is that Luke, particularly, is a meticulous historian, seeking to write an accurate history. The other gospel writers are no different. I have to wonder if she has even opened the texts she critiques.

She says that the gospels are not accurate biographies. They are not comprehensive biographies detailing every detail of Jesus' life. They are designed to teach us about Jesus, often with explicit statement of "authors purpose". (see also - John's purpose statement). John, like Luke, wants to record accurate evidence of what happened so that we could believe that. Neither has any interest in fiction or myth. Armstrong believes that Luke and Matthew make events happen in particular ways but they state what happened and it is the events, not their agenda, that drives things. She cites particularly Jesus' birth in Bethlehem rather than Nazareth. Luke says there are pa…

Christmas Exegesis at The Guardian

One of the things I love about the week leading up to Christmas is the way that otherwise competent journalists turn into Bible teachers. Be nice if they heeded the stern warnings that scripture issues to those who presume to teach before they started doing this. My next two two blogposts respond to a couple of yesterday's articles.

See also

Gateways to Grace (3)

Luke 3v21-4v30

Jesus is assumed to be Joseph's son (noted in Luke 3v23 and 4v22). We already know otherwise as careful readers of Luke's book. Mary was told that this would not be Joseph's son - and since she's still a virgin that would be biologically difficult too.

Luke the historian gives us detail of Joseph's entire genealogy. He tracks all the way back to the creation and to Adam's divine sonship. Even as a supposed son of Joseph Jesus has divine origins but there is more here than that. God declares Jesus as his son in 3v22.

The genealogy is followed by Jesus' temptation. Not an example to us, but a testimony of his divinity., This is God's son having his identity tested. "If you are"... and he is. Where God's son Israel fell to temptation in the wilderness, this Son is different. Satan seeks to manipulate Jesus' identity for his own ends, but fails. This is the Son of God par excellence, no-one's puppet.He withstands temptati…

Gateways to Grace (2)

Luke 2v1-3v20

Rooted in time and space Luke records the arrival of Jesus. Caeser Augustus rules. Quirinius is Syrian Governor. A census is called so Jesus must be born in Bethlehem, as his parents must travel there. He comes into history. He is born in the city of David (2v4, 11). This is a royal birth. This is the birth of Jesus the Christ. He is God's king

He comes as a peace-maker, a welcomer of outsiders, a light to the whole world... he comes to bring life and to judge. He will be responsible for the rise and fall of many. He is the great judge and saviour.

Later in the reign of Tiberus Caeser, with Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanius in power in the region and under the religious leadership of Annas and Cauaphas, John is preparing the way for Jesus to come. Luke gives us excessive historical detail - these events happened. Our faith in Jesus can rest on secure foundations - that is Luke's purpose. John speaks of Jesus the one who reveals God's salvation, the coming of the L…

Gateways to Grace (1)

Luke 1v1-80

Having spent the autumn working through Luke 9-19, I thought I'd return to the start of the book. Given Christmas celebrates the incarnation of Jesus its good to come back and look at it.

Chapter 1 is laced with divine intervention. We're given the stories of Zechariah being told of the birth of a son to him, John the Baptist. Then of the forthcoming birth of Jesus to Mary, and then the birth of John. Around these are two psalms - one from Mary and one from Zechariah.

Mary speaks of the God who keeps his promise to Abraham, remembering and saving his people (47,55). She had previously been told (31-33) that her child would be named Jesus (Saviour) and would be Son of God, reigning on David's throne forever. The birth of this saviour and king follows in chapter 2 (The Angel's message to the Shepherd's parallelling his message to Mary)

Whilst Mary had been quick to believe, Zechariah had doubted and so been silenced. His voice returns and he is filled with …

Glimpsing the invisible, embracing the visible

They say, "United we stand. Divided we fall". Unity between Christians is highly sought after. Some love to denounce other believers but the gospel demands unity. How does it work? What does real unity look like....?

Unity Achieved!
One of the key things that the Cross of Christ achieved was peace between people - removing the dividing walls and hostility between those who were once separate from God and each other. It follows that every Christian is a member of the church global. This is not optional it is simply part of what it means to be a Christian. All too easily we make our message about person X needing to come into relationship with Jesus. That is true, but the full message of the gospel also includes person X being brought into unity with person Y and Z who are also in relationship with Jesus.

Unity is not a default thing. And its not just about wearing a Christian badge - it is a cross-centred cross-achieved thing. It occurs at the place where humbled believers can …

Introducing Tim Neale

This seems worth a look - Tim Neale, newly arrived in the blogosphere.

2005 Top Ten... Posts on my blog

Of the writing of many posts in 2005 there has been no end. Here's a selection of ten of my favourite posts at the blue fish project during 2005. Words get written, appear briefly and then get lost to the archives. Sometimes they need to be recalled. Sometimes its just nice to remember them.
eBay spiritualityJerry SpringerPreach the gospel and if necessary use wordsShut up and speak upWhy have a doctrinal basisHeartbreaking experience at MontserratFreshers fayreThe true heart of the Bible's message is I love youA worship conversationChoosing new leadersI've written a number of series this year, on Luke's gospel, on the little books of God, my favourite to work on, as yet unfinished is this one:
The necessity of atheism

Hopefully most of the dross has never got past being saved as a draft. Of course that's blatently not true, I've posted around 300 times this year and that simply can't all be worth saying. Maybe its all one big ego trip? Maybe my fragile words…

Richard Cunningham Interview

Adrian Warnock has interviewed UCCF Director Richard Cunningham. This is well worth reading for anyone involved in Christian Unions, but also in the UK Evangelical church and beyond. Headlines, as expected, are high view of the Cross and of local Church.

Amusing the world to death...

Rosemary and Milton spotted Rob's post on Media & the Gospel. Its very good. As a lover of films I'm challenged, not so much to abandon the pursuit altogether but to examine my life. A created Universe can be enjoyed and appreciated, but nonetheless I do not exist to be amused.

Titus is challenged by Paul (Titus 2v7-8) to have a seriousness in his life and ministry. Stott's commentary on Titus notes the comments of Lloyd-Jones:"I confess freely, I cannot understand a jocular evangelist... God back and read the lives of the mean whom God has used in the mightiest manner, and you will invariably find that they were serious men, sober men, men with the fear of the Lord in them"
(considering Romans 1 where God's wrath is mentioned 10 times)Likewise Richard Baxter:" cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them"As I think about training students as Christian leaders seriousness is strangely lacking in many, particularly among young men. Havi…

Relay Bloggers

10/53 Relay workers are now blogging (plus three of the Relay staff). Welcome the latest addition:

relay bloggers: andy witherall | alison young | curt harrier | dan deacon | jonny hannan | katie vivyan | nathan burley | phil abbott | sarah brown | sean clokey | relay staff bloggers: dave bish | mo mccraken | kath arnold

Who are you?

Rach spots Face Recognition. Who are you?

Best quotes from Krish Kandiah at the Surrey CU Carol Service... leaving aside his blue peter hibernating hedgehogs... the thing that struck me most was that there are no first class lifeboats (Titanic). Jesus Christ comes to bring peace with God and peace between people, bridging class, race, age and any other divide between people... making a peacemaking people. Who am I? Peacemaker.

Meanwhile Huxley is asking whether we're seeker-church. While Purgatorio check whether we're going hyper... Though, like Andy, I have to wonder...

Maybe wrapping up the charismatic blogdebate Challies has his interviews with:Sam Waldron (1) (cessationist)Sam Waldron (2) (cessationist)Wayne Grudem (1) (charismatic)Wayne Grudem) (2) (charismatic)Handled carefully, iMonk proposes a Humility Zone. That is, being able to agree that we don't agree on everything and that scripture may not be totally clear on every question we have. This is what we've tried…

Are we safe from ourselves?

At the weekend I watched what will probably rate as my best film of the year (to be announced in the next week or so). Paul Haggis' CRASH. Its a magnolia-esque twisting tale of interconnected lives (minus the offense of Tom Cruise). Sandra Bullock comments on the dvd that in the wake of 9/11 this film poses the question not of whether we're safe from the world out there, but are we safe from ourselves. We're given the stories of heroes and villans, how become villans and heroes. There are twists and turns that will shock and surprise.

And that brings me to what I've spent the last three days studying with our team in Southampton. John Risbridger has taught us from Judges. A book of heroes and villans, and villans and heroes. A book that exposes our own folly... we are no better than them really... we are not safe from ourselves. How we, like Israel, need a perfect rescuer. The world of Judges cries out from over 3000 years ago the same thing. The world of Crash cries o…

My experience of Narnia

While Em's been out at her staff meal I've been to see The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe with Phil, Rich & Nicky and Ruth. Much fun.

The first observation was the excessive adverts and trailers. That did give me a first glimpse of the new superman film depicting humanity with a great capacity for good... and more promisingly Pirates of the Caribean 2. Finally after half an hour the film began.

It goes as read that the plot is excellent. Its a great kids adventure story with some extra depth for those who know where to live. You'd not guess what C.S. Lewis probably intended from the book or the film, unless you know the Christian story. But thats because its allegorical. Having produced my own version of this story in Bulgaria in July the story is fresh in the mind and it's basically faithfully done.

The acting is obviously lead by the children. This is always a tightrope to walk. They do well I think. None are stunningly good but they hold the fort well. Tilda Sw…

Sing to the Lord

Speaking Lord, revealing truth
Your word stands firm, creating all things
Sovereign Lord, your plans succeed
Your people rejoice, to live within your care

Seeing Lord, nothing is hidden
You know our hearts, our deepest sin
Saving Lord, rescuing all who believe
You are our protector, our great hope

Sing to the Lord, shout with joy
The new song of our salvation
Celebrate that he is the --
Speaking, Sovereign,
Seeing, Saving,
Steadfast -- Lord our God!

Steadfast Lord, always the same
Your ways faithful, forever true
Steadfast Lord, for you we wait
You justified us, glorious one

© Dave Bish, 2005 - from Psalm 33

Blind Man Sees

I preached on the story of the blind beggar in chapter 9 of John's gospel twice in the last 14 months, once at Royal Holloway Christian Union, once at our church. John Frame's insight into this incident is superb: A Blind Beggar Becomes an Apologist.

"...apologetics is a simple business, and every Christian is called to it. Whenever somebody asks you to give a reason for your faith, you should be ready to give it..."

Francis Shaeffer and Douglas Groothuis on apologetics, at Groothuis also blogs, at Culture Watch: Thoughts of a Constructive Curmudgeon. Groothuis also wrote an afterword to the US edition of Marcus Honeysett's Meltdown.

Remembering, Allan Kelly

Allan Kelly. July 7th 1919 - Dec 12th 1995

Ten years ago my Grandfather died. It was the first death that really impacted me. Other relatives had died when I was much younger and I'd not really processed it. My paternal grandfather had died when I was six months old. Allan was my maternal grandfather, he died in a hospital in London in the winter of 1995. That was where I last saw him, but its not what I want to remember of him.

My Grandad was sixty years older than me so most of his life was before I was born. I don't know that much of the details. I know he taught in the Sunday School at his church in Clapham. I know he spent most of the Second World War in a Prisoner of War camp in Poland - a country I would first visit as a missionary 2.5 years after he died. He never talked about his time in Poland, for obvious reasons. Those are conversations I would have loved to have had, and not just about that but about the rest of his life. But I was a kid, and such things weren't…

Seven Things

So, Cat asked me to do this...

1. Write a book that is worth reading
2. Learn to sing
3. Leave Europe
4. Become a Father
5. Learn NT Greek
6. Start driving again
7. Record my own album

1. Sing
2. Dance, and neither do I want to
3. Keep the house tidy
4. Use a Young Persons Railcard anymore
5. Speak in Tongues
6. See without my glasses
7. Resist Blogging my life away....

1. Her passion for Jesus
2. Her singing voice
3. Her cheeky grin
4. Her natural blondeness
5. Her silly sense of humour
6. Her nose - even when pouring with snot like it is today
7. Her honesty

1. Grace
2. What would that look like
3. Depends on what you mean by
4. Piper says...
5. No
6. Where?
7. Really?

1. Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
2. George Orwell - 1984
3. Douglas Coupland - Girlfriend in a Coma
4. GK Chesterton - The Man Who Was Thursday
5. Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
6. Ian McEwan - Enduring Love
7. Ian McEwan - Atonem…

Am I an Atheist?

At face value its a bit of a stupid question I suppose. After all I'm a Christian blogger. I'm a Christian preacher at our church. I even work for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship. Outwardly everything looks in order. All the pieces are in place. But why then raise the question. The Bible is full of instruction to pray. Calls to be devoted to prayer. Devoted to a dependence on God. R.W. Dale said: "work without prayer is atheism..."
Why then am I so prayerless?

Perhaps because I've been preaching for five years, and so have a modest level of competence. Perhaps because I've been writing online for seven years, with a modest readership - my hit counter says 100 people a day...why? After eight years living as a Christian I know how things are supposed to work.

The more I know the more I should be driven to my knees in prayer. For all my basic competence without God I have nothing. Without his saving of me I am lost. I could bumble along but I w…

Christmas Explored?

Celebrating CHRISTMAS seems to be increasingly unacceptable. In the name of religious tolerance its being replaced with winterval, festival of lights and that sort of thing. The religious tolerance argument doesn't really hold though because other religious festivals are openly celebrated. And those of other religions don't seem all that offended. A few years back I gave a Muslim colleague a book about Christianity in our "secret santa". Many of my secular colleagues were deeply offended. He however seemed to really appreciate it. This seems similar. It looks like a secular anti-christianity agenda. And of course, this unoffending secularism presumes all religions to be equally false...

Now, that said, secularists have the right to their views. And I don't overly see the necessity to celebrate Jesus' birth on a particular day. The incarnation of Jesus is incredibly important but Christians don't keep special holy days - we can remember the incarnation eve…

Sing with me... how great is our God!

One of the pleasures of the last seven days has been studying Psalm 33 with several people.

v1-3 - The Singing People
Its a great community song, sung by believers to believers. Its an encouragement to sing, shout, praise and give thanks musically to God. A call to worship. Its the song of the "righteous", the "new song" of salvation, calling for the fitting response to our big God by those God has saved through Jesus' death.

v4-9 - The Speaking Lord
The Lord speaks truth (4), creating the universe (6) and effectively making things happen (9). So, let us praise him! What God says happens! What he says is true! We are counted righteous, his promises are true.

v10-12 - The Sovereign Lord
Human plans are thwarted by God, but his plans stand forever. How favoured are his people. So, let us praise him!

v13-15 - The Seeing Lord
The Lord sees everything. Nothing is hidden from him. This might seem like a reason to fear, but it is given to motivate praise. God sees our sin a…

Seven Things?

Frankly I object to this sort of thing on blogs.... Cat however wanted me to do it... so here we go..... Seven things to do before I die:
1. Write a book that is worth reading
Actually, I really can't be bothered with this. Sorry Cat. That said, equally narcissistically here's some Blogspotting....Ant Adams and Luke Wood read my Narnia posts. Dave Kirkman picked up my top books list and shared his.

The Cross-Centred Community

Galatians 6, Talk at Reading University Christian Union

“Hill Valley – A Nice Place to Live” Some of you weren't even born when it came out but nonetheless its my favourite film trilogy. Back to the future. As Marty and the Doc travel between times they encounter two versions of their town in 1985... one is a nice place to live, the other kinda looks similar but is more like Hell Valley than Hill Valley.

Where would you rather live? The world thinks of church as the last place on earth it would want to be... and yet God's vision is the church as the hope of the world... The best place to live.

Bonhoeffer said that the idea of Christian community is great, the experience is hard... I wonder what your experience is?

End of term. How have you found being part of the community of the Christian Union as a mission team? Are you committed to relationship with one local church? Or are to standing on the sidelines, dating church, dating the CU...

Maybe you've embrace and enjoyed Chris…

The Necessity of Atheism Q8

Continuing the series of responses to
Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Necessity of Atheism

If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable?

I'm not entirely sure where this question arises from. But I'll try...

The blind referred to here are evidently not the physically blind but the unreasonable. The question takes it that God gives people the liberty of being unreasonable and is then angry at them for being so.

There are unreasonable people. And it is true that God makes people as they are. We saw that in the answer to question 7 previously.

Romans 1v21, ESV:"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."It is God who causes peoples hearts to become futile (unreasonable?) but this is in partnership with their own failure to honour God - which is an unreasonable action in the first place. Thus …

2005 Top 10... Christian Books I've read this year

1. Finding Joy - Marcus Honeysett
I'd been waiting two years for this since I heard Marcus was writing it. Didn't disappoint. Practical journey into the grace of God.
2. Humility - CJ Mahaney
No books by CJ on my top 10 last year which suggests I'd not read any of them. I've read most of his books this year. The latest, humility is great. A bit like Piper Mahaney's stuff is all the same... but its all about the Cross so I'm not complaining. Still waiting for my free copy from Sovereign Grace Ministries... but Grace Church Bristol sent me some so that's great.
3. God's Lavish Grace - Terry Virgo
I stood on stage at Forum in September and said that this was the best book I'd read this year. It was at that point. It remains excellent. Very similar to Honeysett's book.
4. The Roots of Endurance - John Piper
My Barcelona holiday reading. Simeon's story alone makes this biography worthwhile. Picked up from Oxfam in March... who on earth didn't want …


New look at Ed's Fallible Thoughts...


Do visit the remodelled

Repugnant Christianity?

Narnia continues to provoke press-coverage. Polly Toynbee today:"Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?"I'm not going to criticise Ms Toynbee for writing this. Its exactly what I'd expect. She has a secular mindset and its amusing to see her comment on how Narnia invades children's minds whilst Phillip Pullman's secular agenda is marvellous... But what really caught my eye was the way that she singles out the Cross of Christ as the most repugnant part of Christianity. She's seen the very centre of the message.

And why is it so repugnant? She protests that we never asked for this to happen.... what right has God got to offer rescue to us? The underlying issue I think is human self-reliance which doesn't want someone else to sort out our problem. John Stott - “Far from offering us flattery the cross under-mine…

Offended by grace?

"The Last Battle.... many readers have been infuriated by his condemnation of the former wise and gentle Queen Susan, as no longer "a friend of Narnia". She is cast out of paradise for ever because at 21 she speaks of her earlier experiences as only a childhood fantasy. She is also said to be "too keen on being grown up" and "interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations". Apart from the fact that these seem very small sins, it is hard to believe that Susan could have changed that much in only a few years, and forgotten her joy in Narnia. It seems deeply unfair that Edmund, Susan's younger brother, who has betrayed the others to the Witch, is allowed to repent and remain King Edmund, while Susan, whose faults are much less serious, is not given the opportunity. It has been suggested that some of these problems arose because Lewis himself did not think things through carefully;"Grace seems too hot to handle for Al…

Not to us

December 3rd, 2005.
UCCF: The Christian Unions, South East.
Regional Worship Leaders & Musicians Training Day
at Winchester Family Church.
Prayer appreciated for us in this,
and particularly for Nay Dawson and myself who are speaking.

UPDATE: - 18 students from across the region came. Very humbling cos I didn't expect that many. Praise God! What a miserable wretch I can be...
Thanks to Winchester Family Church for use of their building. And thanks to the students too!!

Not to us 1 - Sing of the Cross
Not to us 2 - Stand beside the Cross (humility)
These talks plus Nay's seminar notes should go up on the UCCF South East website soon.

One more Warnie...

Adrian wants nomination for a last Warnie of 2005

Here's my nominations:

1. Paul Huxley - Rock Badger.
Paul is one of the guys I disciple so I'm inherently biased here... but the reason to award him is that he's consistently writing about God's grace. And that's good enough for me. Recently he's contributed to the charismatic debate, and previously blogged some quality interactions on calvinism.

2. Rosermary Grier - Etrangere.
Rosemary is another grace-blogger. An ex-Relay worker she's now on the missionfield in Belgium. Her insights are wonderfully inspiring and Biblical. Rosemary is well read and thoughtful and as she experiences being a stranger in a foreign land that adds further depth.

3. Ant Adams - Homeward Bound.
Ant is a pastor in Derby and writes some top-class stuff that is worthy of much attention. Writing quality stuff on the Bible, on doctrine... on life.

New on the scene, and contenders for 2006... keep an eye on these:
Nathan Burley is full of qua…

Splashing around in Bath

So yesterday was my visit to the wonderful city of Bath. Sadly it wasn't at its best. Pouring rain does not do the views or the architecture justice. I arrived at about 1.30 to meet Matt, who'd forgotten I was coming. When we realised this we managed to meet up at the University. Slightly surreal conversation about Narnia and then about some Maths, in the Claverton Rooms.

Decamped to Matt's office where Damo also works... and managed to distract a second postgrad from his studies. Back to the Claverton Rooms for hot chocolate with Dr & Mr Harwin.... and then downstairs to the Parade Bar for coffee with Mr.

Next stop one floor down in the delightful Choices restaurant to meet some CU Leaders, and also Maths postgrad number 3, Adam. Encouraged by stories of what God is doing in and through the CU this term... and fun plans for Christmas evangelism - including Wade on the Parade on Tuesday 6th.

Then came the CU meeting. It was great to be with them, to worship with them and…


Tomorrow: December 1st - I speak at, Bath University Christian Union - which was the CU I was part of as a student. The last time I was there was for a misison 2.5 years ago (which was where i met Becci). I've never spoken there. I shouldn't make too much of it, but I just feel a bit wierd. Last time I was in the lecture theatre they're meeting in was for a Chaos Theory lecture in May 2000 and that is a lot of life ago. Looking forward to seeing Matt, Damo, Pet, Adam, Paul and others who are still studying there! And that's wierd. As is Paul being back on the CU committee in 2005, since he and I were on committee together in 1998.... Strange world.

This Friday: My Young Person's Railcard expires. The first ever journey was to Loughborough Uni for an interview in December 1996. A week earlier I had my interview at Bath... and a month after I went to Warwick (which I then returned to last month for the first time since that, to speak at the CU). I suppose that makes m…

church in Christ

Spent this morning with most of our church preaching team working through Ephesians, led by Graham Beynon. It was great to dig into the text together. I have so much to learn from the other guys on the team. Great also to see the very high value of the church in God's purposes. A people for the praise of His glory! God's purpose to set Christ over all with the church in Christ. Done and to be done! A corporate and cosmic plan that spans eternity... no room for an individualistic plan-B type of salvation. This is big. Really looking forward to the impact this could have in the Spring term. Really challenging to see whether we bear any resemblance to this - and what might we need to change... "the idea of Christian Community is great, the experience is hard." - BonhoefferGraham has a book published by IVP called God's New Community - Today was the first time I'd met Graham... which was a bit wierd cos I know his identical twin brother already.Trivia - "in …

Martyn Joseph. High Wycombe

The last time we saw Martyn Joseph was at the South Street Arts Centre in Reading about 2.5 years ago. Tonight it was a real pleasure to fly with Joseph Airlines, discovering his new album - Deep Blue - and becoming acquainted with Paul Robeson. Add to that a whole host of old classics and the company of a good friend, top notch evening - even in damp, cold, christmasy High Wick-Om-Bee. Martyn is quality on CD, and unbeatable performing live.

Grace on the road

This term I've been teaching Luke's gospel to Cell Leaders at the Christian Union at Reading University. Week by week it's been a delight to walk down the grace road with them, following Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, between Luke 9v51-19v28. Here's a collation of the blogposts, cell notes and the like....

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
More Cell Notes at The Blue Fish

Blogged, by a cell leader
Ceryn stepped back into cell leading at the start of this term - what do you expect if you move into a hall that doesn't have any existing witness!! She's blogged some of her responses to walking the grace road...

Beautiful Simplicity
Beautiful Simplicity (2)
Proper Study
Prideless Love
Listen, be convinced and repent

Reformed Charismatics

Adrian provides some definition of Reformed Charismatics. I broadly agree to that. Likeminded blogs listed at Pneumablogs - where I've become an Anglican Charismatic... broadly accurate I suppose. Though I'd minor on the Anglican probably not because I'm not committed to my church, I am! But because its the reformed/evangelical that really defines my faith - and the Anglican church at its best comfortably sits in that category, and thus we're well at home in our Anglican church...
Thoughts from another Anglican: take a look at Jon Hobbs, on "How God Speaks Today". Well thought through methinks.

Singing of Sovereign Grace

Listening to Worship God from Covenant Life Church. Great new songs. Thanks to the guys from Grace Church.

Such a blessing to have some top music with great lyrics to fuel my desire to behold the glory of God in Jesus Christ. Free from condemnation! Alive in Christ! Sing it!! Still working on what to teach at Not to Us next Saturday. Prayer appreciated.

Grace on the road: Part 7 of 7

This passage divides into seven parts. Two triplets followed by a parable to end it. At the end of the passage, in 19v28 Jesus has completed the journey to Jerusalem that he began in 9v51. Our journey with Jesus in the road to Jerusalem comes to its close. Luke has carefully arranged his material here. Common themes run through the section, and a number of earlier themes are picked up again....

18v9-30. Seek the Saviour.
V9-14. Jesus tells a parable and we are told why. Look at v9. See, those around Jesus are confident of their own righteousness and look down on others. So Jesus tells a parable against them. The story of two men going to pray at the Temple. The first is a Pharisee. He is the picture of self-confidence and self-righteousness. He proclaims his righteousness to God. He is not like sinners. He is deeply pious. Meanwhile, in v13, we're told of a Tax Collector who stands at a distance. Tax Collectors were one of the groups singled out by this pharisee as unrighteous. This…

Yum Yum

Tonight Marcus Honeysett spoke at Surrey CU on Romans 8v1-11. Superb. Hoping Huxley will get an mp3 of that available soon. Great to have some fellowship with him and the CU leaders before the meeting - so encouraging to hear what God is doing in their lives and through them in the CU.

Ooo pick me!!

I recently read an editoral that cited Isaiah 42v1 as a common baptismal verse and applied it to all Christians:Behold my servant whom I uphold,
My chosen, in whom my soul delights,
I have put my Spirit upon hum
He will bring forth justice to the nations
I can see the appeal! And yet I feel uneasy. These words from the introduction to GOD IS THE GOSPEL explain why:"Most modern people can scarcely imagine an alternative understanding of feeling love other than feeling made much of. If you don't make much of me you are not loving me" - p12And its exactly what was done of Isaiah 42v1. Taking God's word and making it all about me. We woudln't do it to Isaiah 53, and yet the same servant is in view. This is not about me. This is about Jesus. And how great a hope to behold when Isaiah 42v1 is applied to him!

Jesus whom the LORD upholds.
Jesus in whom God delights.
Jesus the Spirit-annointed king.
Jesus the bringer of God's justice.

In him what hope for a wretch like me. Tha…

The Necessity of Atheism Q7

Contining the series of responses to Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Necessity of Atheism

Q7 - If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him?

With this Shelley poses a question that we can find on the pages of the Bible. This is reassuring because it means I can simply explain what the Bible says, and because God anticipated this question."You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- " - Romans 9v19-23Argument 1 -…