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Showing posts from March, 2007

It's good to read

I'm about to take a blog-holiday and pick up some books.

So far I have two books to read, What Jesus demands of the world and Velvet Elvis. The first looks like a very challenging read, and the second seems immensely popular with some students today so it seems worth reading. They're both very recent books so I'd like to add something older as well - maybe Calvin or Edwards... and lastly some fiction to be selected. I'll blog reflections on my return.

Ten reasons why I love The Law

God said it. Any words God says are precious. Doesn't matter whether they're addressed to me or not. God said let there be light to make the universe. I love that. So too the words he said to Israel, through angels via Moses.God's promises and commands to his people reveal his character. He is faithful - both in blessing Israel's obedience and cursing their rebellion.What happened to Israel after they disobeyed the law reminds me to take Jesus seriously. This is the message of Hebrews 1v1-2v4. Angels delivered the law and it's words were binding, how much more seriously must we take the words of the one who is so much higher than the angels.The things that the law teaches are shadows of the gospel reality. Shadows of atonement and the presence of God. See Hebrews 10.The faithful among God's people loved it. Psalmists speak of their delight in the Lord and their delight in his law. Anything that can bring God's people godly joy is good.Jesus says that the bo…

Antinomian Joy?

Neil Richards thinks that Marcus Honeysett is an Antinomian.For what it's worth (which isn't much) I don't think Richards has understood what Honeysett is saying entirely - I don't think anyone could say that a call to keep in step with the Spirit is antinomianism? If I saw that we should live by the Spirit not by the law then I'm not opposing myself to the law, just saying that Christian living isn't it's purpose.See also my argument for grace not law...delighted to be a son - Spirit-filled living is about being a son of God - clothed in Christ, indwelt by the Spirit of the Son... not living by law because we live life in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself up for us. (ht: the trainspotter)

Drooling over Galatians

This post is the context for this one. It is an overview of Galatians 1:1-3:14... I'd normally take about four hours to work through this in a Bible Study questions format, so this is a high speed version. If Jonah is my favourite Old Testament book, Galatians is the New Testament equivilant. Mike Reeves calls 1 Corinthians his 'champagne and caviar' - these books are my 'coffee and chocolate' - books full of God's grace and the struggle to live in it. God's words that led me away from disobedience, doubt and deception to love his grace more and make much of the Cross of Christ in all I do.What's the effect of the gospel on us?
What was our previous condition: 1:14, 4:8, 5:1
Galatians 1v3-5. It's freedom! Jesus dies on the cross, for our sins (4) for the purpose of “delivering us from this present evil age” - to set us free, to rescue us. All of which is “by God's will” and “for God's glory”. Becoming a Christian is not a lifestyle choice, it&…

Stories that have to be told

Thoughts on pastoral care, Paul's way.

Some stories have to be told. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he felt compelled (in 2 Corinthians 8) to tell the story of the Macedonian giving. Believers in extreme poverty who begged to have the priviledge of giving, even beyond their means. And the story of what these real Christians did is recorded in Scripture. This isn't done to draw attention to them, but rather (2 Cor 8v1) to tell of the amazing grace of God to these believers.

In Galatians 2 things are a bit different. Another real life story is told. This time, The One with the Apostle and the Bacon Sandwich...Paul and Peter had previously stood united in the gospel - in full agreement. But now Paul faces off against Peter because Peter has become a false teacher, leading even Barnabas astray. In Galatian terms he is condemned. Condemned not just for false teaching, but because his actions are cross-denying. Without the cross, all you have is condemnation. Peter is a silent fal…

think hard, go deep, get a theology, and jump up and down

Passion takes it higher...(Christianity Today)

"Yes Lord, walking in the way of your truth, we wait eagerly for you, for your name and your renown are the desire of our souls." Isaiah 26:8

...most of these students have never heard anyone plead with them to think hard, go deep, get a theology, and jump up and down with David Crowder..... [Passion] just deliver sharp challenges drawn from God's Word. Who would think a generation raised on self-esteem would turn out again and again to hear "God is big, and you are not"?ht: Justin Taylor

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More MP3s on The Cross now online at and
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Seven Days

MP3 of the WeekMark Driscoll on Alcohol - written up as The Sin of Light Beer in Radical Reformission
Link of the weekSteffyB on Swearing

1. Relocation, relocation We're moving to Exeter in August because I have a new job, leading the UCCF team in the South West. 2. Holy Spirit Peter Kingston of Wycliffe Bible Translators teaching us about listening to the Spirit. See also John Piper on hearing the voice of God.Team life is great. 3. Homegroup Leaving is happiness and sadness. Daniel 9 with friends... "hear be wackos" as someone has said.4. Contentment Teaching this to the team, hard lessons that I'm still trying to learn. Hopefully these also become chapter 4 (or 3) of my book next week. 5. Evidently Anna Mac's flat Good company and Lettuce Soup as we enjoyed Jesus together 6. CrazyphobiasVisiting Adrian's church to talk about UCCF, and dinner with his family. The man who provides his guest with a triple espresso is a man of great character.http://adrianreynol…


Mike Reeves, writes about Luther in the latest UCCF NB magazine:

"'I am permanently loved by God despite my feelings and despite my failures. It was this that gave Luther his dazzling confidence and joy, and led him to recommend: 'When the devil throws our sins uup to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: 'I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnatino? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satifaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.' If today we fail to share Luther's world-changing obsession with the gospel, it is only because we have let the death-defying, joy-giving beauty and sweetness of justification by faith alone slip through our fingers... every other gospel can only leave us comparatively apathetic. If Luther were a student today, armed with thsi gospel, we would have another Refo…

Delighted to be a son

I spent some of today on the ninth floor of a tower block in London teaching London Relay Workers about "Understanding the Law". This is part of that. Further reading:
Chris Poteet - Why the law then?
Marcus Honeysett - Finding JoyGalatians 3v15-26:Promises are for sons! Don't get locked up – rejoice in God's promise – we're blessed sons!vv15-18 – Promise to Abraham & Jesus for justification!
Paul begins this section of his letter with what he calls a 'human example' - it's not the kind of thing we encounter everyday but the image is simple enough... the basic deal is when a promise is made you can't change the terms of the promise. God made a promise to Abraham on blessing for the peoples, of righteousness and the Holy Spirit. This promise was to Abraham and his SEED (singular) - not to a whole nation of people, but to ONE. To Jesus. Four Hundred and Thirty years later God gives the law through Moses. By the example considered earlier this promi…

Strange way to start a revolution

So... post 999. God could give everyone enough but he make some rich and others poor.God could speak clearly to everyone but he gives the message to one and not to another.God could speak intelligibly to all, but gives a tongue to one and an interpretation to another.Why?
In the first case so that the rich can give to the poor and learn about the grace of God in Jesus - that he too was rich but to save us became poor..... In the second so that one can share the grace they've found. In the third we learn to need one another for our growth.

If we were just individuals living "my personal relationship with Jesus" none of these things would make sense, but we're a body and he designs ways for us to learn that! A body where everyone can do everything is no use to anyone... but when we're all dependent upon each other we grow by working together... and giving credit to the one who gives all gifts and all things.

Tangled souls...

Radical Reformission

The Radical Reformission : Mark Driscoll
Reaching out without selling out....

This book is a companion to Confessions of a reformission rev. That book is the story of the growth of Mars Hill Church, this one takes the same convictions and translates them into missional living. The style is much like that of Confessions, Driscoll writes with clarity and clear passion. Each chapter ends with an interview with a Christian who is putting the challenges of the chapter into action. Study questions are also included to hammer home it's lessons.Driscoll has a great eye for getting the gospel into life, and for the way that it is so easily compromised. His chapter on how we can very easily get culture wrong is a brilliant piece of writing - the sin of light beer. It's evident that Driscoll has a great passion for God's word - and doesn't hold back from tackling the oft neglected wisdom literature, perhaps something that grounds his passion so well in real life. We need churches w…

Seven Days

Links of the week:

David Field on Galatians 3 according to the Conservative Party... hmmm.
MP3s if the week!Mike Reeves - 1 Corinthians 1:1-17Mike Reeves - 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5Mike Reeves - 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

1. Post 997This one is that. So, crossing the 1000 threshold next week then... how did that happen! 2. Simulation and SimulacraJean Baudrillard is dead - so the media says.3. That'll be a flood plain then..Walking over to Arborfield on Monday to find the path under water... not just a little, but a new river flowing knee deep. Let's just say I got wet, and it smelled bad.On arrival a very encouraging missions team meeting.4. Sons!Jesus outside. Jesus inside. Sons of God. Galatians with Matt on Friday.
5. StewSlow-cooked over several days. This is also the best way to prepare good talks - which I've been trying to do this week alongside some very encouraging times in the word with students. Loving the job. Particularly good studying Ephesians 6 - preparing cell lead…

Singing you shall not be able to silence

Martyr, John Huss, 1415: "It is thus, that you silence the goose, but a hundred years hence there will arise a swan whose singing you shall not be able to silence." Which Martin Luther considered to have been fulfilled in his ministry, about a century later - as he enabled the church to rediscover the glorious truth of our gospel, namely justification by grace through faith.

Prophesy is a gift from God to strengthen the church and the rediscovery of the gospel certainly fits into that bracket. In fact it's exactly what the Holy Spirit loves to do for the church - to enable us to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! And so it seems beneficial that we listen to what God says in his word - Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy (1 Corinthians 14v1) and obey the command. Let the church be strengthened through prophecy and every other gift that God would give, so we become a church that more honours his name.

Let all prophecy be te…

Don Carson MP3s

Is Christianity Anti-intellectual?

I'm speaking on this in a week's time - here's a first draft for your interaction.So how do you answer this question? I could I suppose wheel out some clever Christians to show that clever people believe in Jesus. But there are plenty of stoopid Christians in the world. Instead I'm going to interact with Richard Dawkins. He's the professor for public understanding of science, but he's also rather interested in this question about faith and intellect. It's the subject of his recent bestseller, The God Delusion, and all quote from him are from that book.Firstly, Dawkins says (p51) "It is the nature of faith that one is capable of holding a belief without adequate reason to do so". He asserts that faith is anti-intellectual because it isn't based on evidence. So the question is, does this describe Christianity. In John 20v31, an eyewitness of Jesus' life writes to say that he has gathered a stockpile of evidence. That evidence is for us to co…

Hear! Hear!

Top Link:Live within the hearing of God's word... but there are Three Types of Expository Preaching.
You wouldn't think it would be hard for God's people to listen to his word.... yet even today Godly men have to stand up to defend God's word from those who would undermine it. The human story is one of persistent defiance of God's word. Yet as the book of 2 Chronicles approaches it's end the tide appears to be turning... Josiah was the last of the good kings of Judah. He 'found' the law, that had been lost. And then he read it to the people! He cleared out the temple, instituted the passover. And yet within 22 years of the high point of his reign all was lost. Of all the Kings he was faithful, of all of them he knew the voice of God. Theirs was a classic case of the movement from gospel-loving to gospel-denying. But how?

For some reason he went off to the Euphrates to fight King Neco of Egypt who was there to fight someone else (Babylon?). This was a batt…

UCCF South East Leaders

Download Mike Reeves' talks from the UCCF South East leaders weekend. Session 1 - Mike Reeves - 1 Corinthians 1:1-17Session 2 - Mike Reeves - 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5Session 3 - Mike Reeves - 1 Corinthians 2:6-16Mike reckons that 1 Corinthians is like champagne and caviar. I've fine food! Never had caviar, but feeding on God in 1 Corinthians was very tasty indeed. God's gospel is foolish to the world, but wonderful wisdom to the spiritual.

Seven Days

Links of the week:

Rosemary Grier - Creeds and Confessions
Life. A good invention. God has given us everything to be enjoyed for his glory! "my hope isn't in shells but I can still enjoy them"**

MP3 sermons from Jonathan Thomas at Ammanford Evangelical ChurchJT was my mentor in my first year with UCCF which means I spent two days following him around Cardiff being fed nothing but sandwiches.

1. The world's wisdom can't know God
Not, the William Lane Craig - Lewis Wolpert debate but big Mike Reeves at our CU leaders weekend on 1 Corinthians 1-2. Mp3s online here in a few days.Champagne and Caviar!2. The return of God
John Humphrey's write up of the debate
He doesn't exactly engage with it but interesting nonetheless. HT: Mark Meynell
3. Blood red moon with hot chocolateStaring at the sky in the cold. The audacity of Kath / the servant leadership of Gareth4. The Real ThingTalking to guys at TVU on Tuesday about Jesus
5. Ahem. Service providers should provide serv…

Biting off more than you can chew

Sennacherib (King of Assyria about 2500 years ago - see 2 Chronicles 32) mocked God's people saying that he'd beaten every other 'god' in the world... but he made the fatal error - The LORD is real, unlike all the gods that people invent.

It's not exactly politically correct to say that.. especially at Surrey University where multi-faith is the rising agenda... welcome to Athens - idols everywhere... let the Christians be distressed and so go into the market place and the debating halls and speak of Jesus and his resurrection, as Paul did in the first century.

Sennacherib over-stretched himself. Anyone can defeat an idol (it doesn't exist, such things are delusions) but when you take on the real thing, the LORD who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit you don't win. No one takes on the LORD and wins...

God's response to the taunts of Sennacherib was to send his angel, God's postman to obliterate the Blasphemers army. Sennacherib went home ashamed and his own…

R.I.P Sky One

So, a few weeks ago Virgin Media take over ntl, and now they've failed to renew their contract to show Sky One so now it's gone. No more channel 120. That's what I call service. Thanks Mr Branson. Thanks Mr Murdoch. Just when you need Jack Bauer to come and fix a problem he disappears.... still there are other (legal) ways to see Day Six - like friends with Sky...Enough of my selfish mourning :(
The Guardian weighs in...

Wives should submit to their husbands...

Ephesians 5v22-33 (RUCU Cells, Week8)

Paul continnues his great exposition of the universe under Christ and the church in Christ. He's still talking about living worthy of the call to be in Christ together... about wisdom which is being Spirit-filled – wrapped up in God. Now he focusses on two inseparable themes - Christ and the Church, and Marriage. Clearly marriage is not exclusively for Christians, but there is such a thing as 'Christian Marriage' – that fulfills the true intent of the Genesis 2 mandate for marriage. In teaching us about this – and then about family and work – he fills in the details of God's big Jesus plan. Some how I think this bit of God's word isn't going to go down well in our culture (as if any of it ever really does...)

In Outline
22-24 To wives and the church
25-31 To husbands and the church
32 This is really about Christ and the church
33 But it's also about marriage

The message to wives is simple to understand but perhaps hard to stom…