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Showing posts from January, 2005

Labouring to waken a taste for God

This from Piper, God's Passion for his glory (p38-39)

"If the exhibition of God's glory and the deepest joy of human souls are one thing, then evangelism means depicting the beauty of Christ and his saving work with a heartfelt urgency of love that labours to help people find their satisfaction in him. The most important common ground with unbelievers is not culture but creation, not momentary felt needs but massive real needs. Augustine's famous prayer is all important: "You made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace till they rest in you." If a person realises that the image of God in man is man's ineffably profound fitness to image forth Christ's glroy through everlasting joy in God, then he will not gut the great gospel of its inner life and power.

The gospel is not the good news that God makes much of me; it is "the gospel of the glory of Christ." And evangelism, St. Paul says, is the outshining of "the light of the gospel …

The Secularist Agenda

From Mr Andrew Armitage

Sir, Does the justifiable concern of David Bell about Islamic schools (report, January 18) not strengthen the case for an entirely secular school system in which religions are taught about rather than taught? Children should learn about the role religions have played in the lives of peoples, but should not be expected to take part in any indoctrination or rituals.

All schools should be either brought into the state sector or severely scrutinised as to what they are teaching or, moreover, preaching. Religion would then be left to the private sphere of home and meeting house, sectarianism would be dealt a severe blow and harmony given a fair chance to thrive.

This from The Times on 20th January. Can someone please take note - the secularists are as religious as the rest of us... One wonders whether they would like it if we insisted that Secularism had to be a "private faith". Then we could just teach about Secularism rather than it being taught!


eBay Spirituality

"We believe people are basically good."
This is the first value of the eBay community. Having recently made our first acquisition on eBay it was interesting to come across this. The whole process was quite tricky for Em, she knows what's wrong with the above statement and found it very difficult to assume we weren't being conned or ripped off.

Because essentially the eBay community principle number 1 is false. It's just not true. People are not basically good. And yet from many Christian meetings its the impression you could easily get. We talk about people needing to know God's love and comfort. The gospel begins to sound like some kind of cotton wool that we can wrap around the poor innocent people of the world. That would be a very popular message. Very Politically Correct, very unobtrusive.

The response to the Tsunami has largely been twofold. On the one hand many have testified to their new respect for the planet and its power, becoming worshippers of cre…

Simeon Lumgair

Following up on my thoughts on Christian protests at Jerry Springer, let me suggest an alternative strategy... I conceed it may be necesary to take a stand on things, for the good of humanity (since sin damages people and God's ways are what we're made for) but there must be a more positive approach.

And here is the mind-blowingly obvious solution... Christians in the media, Christians in the arts, Christians in academic... People who will stand in the midst of the world holding a Christian worldview and engaging thoroughly with the world around them. Christians who will get in the middle of the things for the long term and produce the best quality films, drama, documentaries, literature, art, design etc... this is no quick fix and will take time but it's time to make a start!

This wont be my field but there are people who will be able to get in for the distance. The same applies to the sciences and politics etc. All the above is one of the key reasons I believe in student…


Meltdown is a superb resource for the church. Marcus Honeysett takes us through case studies, discussion questions and careful insight to help us wake up to the world we're in. He then goes onto explore the impact our culture has had upon contemporary Christianity - ultimately we either establish a solid Christian worldview or we will end up falling beneath the worldviews of our culture. Meltdown shows us how we can not only survive but also thrive as we develop a more thorough and consistent Christianity in today's culture.

Review of Meltdown at
Being a Christian in Today's Student Culture (Marcus Honeysett)
Postmodernism at (Marcus Honeysett)

Self-Starting Discipleship

2 Timothy 2v2 - Paul teaches Timothy to teach what Paul has taught Timothy (the gospel) to people who will be able to teach others.... Paul has in mind an unending chain of disciple makers... the challenge then I'm finding for ministry is to disciple people with the expectation and sufficient investment that they can go on to disciple others.

When I struggle with this, I remember a story an old missionary re-counted to me. He taught the gospel to an illiterate people, he preached a message to them and returned a month later. One of the congregation he'd preached to was there, and he said - "you're preaching this week". To which the man said, "I don't know what to say". The missionary then said, "do you remember what I preached before". The man said "no". And so the missionary told him again, and said - now preach that.

We have an amazing message, God's good news about Jesus death... we just need to get telling people...

Jerry Springer

This week I have recieved several emails inciting me to protest against tomorrow's screening on the BBC of Jerry Springer: The Opera. This despite the fact that I don't actually have a TV, and am therefore neither able to watch it nor do I pay the BBC License fee.

But let me offer a few observations nonetheless...

1. Talk about what you know - It strikes me that my fellow Christians are protesting about something on the basis of heresay. That is a little unwise, particularly as some of the Radio Times' original comments about the content of the programme are now reported as a little exagerated.

2. There's no such thing as a Christian country - Critisism is made on the basis that this is a Christian country. Whilst technically 70% (ish) of the nation call themselves Christian when it comes to census... the statement is patently false. Not primarily because it is obvious that the vast majority of that 70% aren't actually Christian, but because the term Christian coun…

Let our hearts be broken

"The point of every deadly calamity is this: Repent. Let our hearts be broken that God means so little to us. Grieve that he is a whipping boy to be blamed for pain, but not praised for pleasure. Lament that he makes headlines only when man mocks his power, but no headlines for ten thousand days of wrath withheld. Let us rend our hearts that we love life more than we love Jesus Christ. Let us cast ourselves on the mercy of our Maker. He offers it through the death and resurrection of his Son.

This is the point of all pleasure and all pain. Pleasure says: “God is like this, only better; don’t make an idol out of me. I only point.” Pain says: “What sin deserves is like this, only worse; don’t take offense at me. I am a merciful warning.”

But the topless sunbathers amid the tsunami aftermath in Phuket, Thailand did not get the message. Neither did the man who barely escaped the mighty wave with the help of a jungle gym and palm-leaf roof. He concluded, “I am left with an immense re…

An Inquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens

No one in the village of Paulersbury, England, expected William Carey to become a missionary, especially since Carey was a boisterous teenager. But on the 10th February, 1779, he experienced a spiritual transformation.

Only three years after his conversion, William Carey was speaking regularly at Earls Barton Church, a tiny Dissenter congregation that relied on visiting lay preachers. The apprentice shoemaker had studied the commentaries and books of his employer - and with the help of a friend, even taught himself New Testament Greek.

Carey soon began to question the church's reluctance to take the Gospel to foreign lands, but was told that that was the responsibility of God. Crushed, Carey remained silent for the rest of that meeting, but six years later he wrote a pamphlet: An Inquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, which refuted the five major arguments against missionary work. Carey reminded the ministers: "It only requi…

Seeing the big story....

Just finished the first update of for 2005, with new articles on Jesus' temptation, Prayer and several new books profiled.

Its about two and a half years since I joined the project and it's great to see it still growing and going strong. It fits with my big passion (see previous blog post) to get people into the big story of Jesus, the story of God-people-and-place as Charlie Peacock calls it. Or the story of God's People, in God's Place, under God's rule and blessing to borrow from Graeme Goldsworthy and Vaughan Roberts.

Bible Overviews which are designed to get people into this big story are the highlight and distinguishing feature of the Spring Harvest Word Alive Students week, and something that we all need to get into. Word Alive is once a year, so the best bet is to get into some good books to help along the way. My big recommended reading at an entry level on this would be Vaughan Roberts Bible Overview books - God's Big Picture a…

Coffee, Piper and the Big Picture

Mmmm. Coffee and a Piper book. Recipe for a good afternoon. Browsing it reminds me I must diary in planning my christian union leaders seminar on evangelism. A real highlight later this term, to share the biblical vision of spreading a passion for the supremacy of God through missions.

As a south east team in December we looked at Psalm 67 (which I'd preached at Reading's houseparty in November), facing the challenge as to whetherwhether the joy and gladness that the peoples of the world are supposed to have knowing God is normal for our Christian experience, and if not why not. And likewise for non-Christian expectation of what Christian life should be.

Charlie Peacock in New Way to be Human, poses the same questions - ultimately concluding that we are not gripped by the big story that being student-followers of Jesus puts us in, in other words - a lack of Biblical Theology.


Lost at scrabble this evening. Not by much and it should have been a lot more, except Em missed a really obvious opportunity to use all her letters with SOLDIER just before the end....