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Showing posts from September, 2007

Snakes and ladders

On Friday lunchtime I found myself sat in a lecture theatre at the University of Bath. I have mixed memories of the venue, I've seen it packed with people hearing about Jesus but it's also where I found myself desperately struggling to understand fluid dynamics some eight years ago. I was there for a talk on 'who is Jesus?' - hosted by the CU as a talk to be followed by questions. The speaker was running a little late and as the most 'senior' student worker in the room my fingers flicked open the copy of John's gospel in front of me and began pondering what I might speak on if the speaker didn't show!

John 3 was in front of me. What could I say? We find Jesus met at night by religious leader Nicodemus. Nicodemus has heard a bit about Jesus and comes with more questions. He's a bit like the kind of person who comes to a 'who is Jesus?' talk - not entirely clueless, interested but still needing answers. And sometimes a little embarrassed to be …

October at

We're back after the summer with a selection of new articles for you at

BIBLICAL THEOLOGY BRIEFING: Change your values - Joel EdwardsBOOK REVIEW: The World We All Want - Steve Timmis & Tim ChesterBOOK REVIEW: Marriage - Christopher AshBible and Mission - Richard BauckhamPreaching Christ from Genesis - Sidney Greidanus"unless you understand fully that Jesus is the one to whom the whole Bible points then your heart won’t burn within you as fiercely as it should."

God gave us teachers

Over the summer I've read a number of books, and I guess I'll find myself referencing a number of them in the months ahead. First up was GOD'S SMUGGLER and LIGHT FORCE by Brother Andrew, and I'm currently reading SECRET BELIEVERS. In August I also spent some time in THE REFORMED PASTOR by Richard Baxter and read a little R.Paul Stevens at the recommendation of a friend.

I dipped into Jasper Foorde's THE THIRD BEAR and Chris Wright's THE MISSION OF GOD. Two very different books that I failed to finish. Em and I began to read Dave Harvey's WHEN SINNERS SAY I DO, which will take some time to work through.

At our new staff Orientation, Tim Rudge recommended GROWING LEADERS by James Lawrence which is a brilliant manual on leading from grace and developing transformational ministry. I'm a long way from knowing how to put this into practice but I've very keen to pursue it. More thoughts on it to come along the way. Most striking for me was Lawrence thinking …

Seven Things

This week I've learned...

1. There are 3000 people on the waiting list for an NHS dentist in Exeter. Soon to be 3002. The good news is that there used to be 7000.
2. My sister lived with the Match of the Day's first female commentator Jacqui Oatley when she was at Uni. Which might be a better claim to fame than me going to school with Maps' James Chapman. You decide, if you care.
3. Water companies paint things blue to indicate where work needs to be done. Thanks to the man who came to survey us for a water meter.
4. Jane BH makes very good chocolate brownies. Alex delivers them well. And we ate them well.
5. Jesus holds all chocolate together, not just the fair trade stuff (discovered in homegroup...)
6. Bath is a building site at the moment.
And Ecclesiastes is very pertinent to 'gospel-ministry'.
7. House is great TV. I knew this before but felt like saying so.

Not yet learned: how Song of Songs is Christian Scripture... 'reflect on these things, the Lord will give y…

Fresh words

For the last couple of years I've provided tips for Freshers here, this year I'll defer to ex-Relay Ed whose managed to get in ahead of me: Hello Christian Freshers.

Two things I will offer - firstly a page from a talk I've not quite finished preparing on Luke 3v1-21 for Bath CU next week:Firstly, Don't trust in your background. John calls the people to repent saying - "Do not begin to say to yourselves 'we have Abraham as our Father'". The Jewish people are descendants of Abraham. Dangerously they assumed that physical relationship saved them. John says no. You're vipers, evil and deceiving. Don't think this way “For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham”. God can and will miraculously raise up the kind of people he is looking for. Children of Abraham is Bible language for people who trust God like Abraham did, and you can read about that in the book of Genesis.

We might think the same – perhaps you have Chr…

AutoHands™ etc

(not very secret, occasional) diary of a UCCF Team Leader

8:13 I ran out of the door, slightly later than planned. Quickly across the first pedestrian crossing before being halted by the second. I saw the train pulling into the station, released by the green light I ran up the stairs and dived in the doors of the 8:14 train. Changing trains at St Davids I boarded the 8:40 train to Bristol Temple Meads. I like trains because they enable me to travel and work or rest. This morning I was feeling fairly alert and so after spending a little time in Lamentations I was able to make a few phone calls and edit my notes for a talk at Bath CU next week.

Just after 10am we arrived in Bristol. Birthplace of my wife and the city where we were married. Ahead of me a 3 mile journey. I was tempted to get the bus but wanted to drop into the Wesley Owen on the way, and with a day sitting in meetings I figured a bracing walk would be good for me. Bristol unfortunately has several big hills. Halfway up the hill and away from the bus route regret and hindsight are…

Sanctifying the Ordinary

The wonderful people at Sovereign Grace Ministries have made their MP3 library available for free download! Among the multitudes of messages I found this series which on the ordinary... the outworking of the conviction that Jesus claims all things for himself...
This sort of stuff was also the subject of a conversation with Pod & Becci at Tom & Carolines wedding about the area of life God has had his finger on with each of us this year...

Sanctifying the Ordinary:
1. A Biblical Understanding of Sleep (C.J. Mahaney)
2. A Biblical Understanding of Work (John Loftness)
3. A Biblical Understanding of Eating (Robin Boisvert)
4. A Biblical Understanding of Leisure (Jeff Purswell)

The first one is worth it for the ice cream story!

Back on the rails

Blogging should resume as normal soon. We're online at home which is nice after five weeks without that. I've missed a lot of bloggage but it's good to see that Adrian Warnock is promoting John Owen. Owen's work has added ballast to my Christianity which I've deeply grateful for. And I know I've got a lot more to read of him yet.

Yesterday was Tom & Caroline Price's wedding. A wonderful day and a priviledge to pray for them during the service. Great to catch up with Adam & Jo, Pod & Becci, Dan & Steph and run into a load of other ex-Reading CU and UCCF people.

In the last week I've had the pleasure and honour of starting to supervise those on my team who fall under my responsibility. I'm supervising Andy on the Relay programme and we'll meet week by week for Bible study, prayer and training to prepare him for service with the mission team at Exeter University. There are also five Staff on my team. So far I've met with Alex, Ken…

Dave Bish Ministries

It has a nice ring doesn't it? Thankfully Dave Bish Ministries doesn't exist. And it had better never exist. Not because I don't want to do 'ministry' - everything I do should be. But, because it might suggest I was trying to build a name for myself. My self-deceiving heart could probably come up with reasons to do that, which is at least one reason why I need to feel the sea-breeze of Eccesiastes.

This little book is fresh-air for our celebrity-intoxicated culture and it's christian imitations. Ecclesiastes gets under the paint and corrodes away the lies, trite-answers and escapism we covet. From the outside Dawkins says we're the climax of history, inside the liberal Christians look down on their forebears as primitive... but 3000 years ago The Preacher had already said it all. Innovation was already bunk by then. Nothing's new. Problems are not new. We're not the best generation, just the latest. And before long we'll all be forgotten. That…

Seven days

Still offline at home1. TeamGathering the South West Staff and Relay for 48 hours of gorging ourselves on a meal that oozes grace in Hebrews 10-12. And walking the Teign Gorge.2. RevelationKen McLeod burning with the gospel at Trinity on Sunday. Revelation 123. SkyTV we have, internet we lack.4. WeekendRest is great.5. The next weekTrains to London and Falmouth.6. Growing LeadersBy James Lawrence, an excellent book. Also re-reading The Glory of Christ by John Owen. 7. CongratsTo my little sister on passing her driving test.

NUS-UCCF Guidelines

New guidelines from NUS and UCCF on Christian Unions and Student Unions working together.
Press Release:
Guidelines for students’ unions and Christian unions, ‘a real step forward’

The National Union of Students (NUS) and the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) today launched joint guidance to help students’ unions and Christian unions manage good local relationships. The guidance comes after tensions were reported between these groups in 2006.

The guidance, drafted and agreed by the NUS and UCCF, with advice from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), is in line with the law, university regulations, union regulations and the democratic principles of liberty, equality and respect for diversity.

Gemma Tumelty, NUS National President said:

“These guidelines are a genuine step forward for positive interfaith relations on campuses across the UK.

“NUS greatly values the contribution that faith societies make to campus life and we are absolutely committed to helping SUs and CUs work …

Seven Days (and a bit)

Still offline at home but we should be back online in the next 13 days or so.. this is a catch up on recent weeks...1. HouseWe're in and that's nice. Settling in but missing people from Reading.2. Richard CunninghamPlaying seven degrees of Kevin Bacon at Orientation over a nice beer in Northampton.3. ReevesOn 1 Corinthians. Champagne and Caviar, once more.4. In praise of... listening.Over breakfast with Brother Andrew. I had nothing to say and everything to hear.5. Sickness.At idolatry. Acts 17v16.6. The beach.The whole earth proclaims the glory of God. Listen up!7. Studying for Jesus.Teaching about it at Forum. And Jason's quality session on what it means to be human!