Monday, September 01, 2008

Liveblog - FORUM day one: Rain, Richard Cunningham and the regions

It's wet. It's late. But almost a thousand people are gathered here to meet with God. I've just come from our South West gathering where a packed room prayed and shared news, enjoying good gospel company together.

This evening Richard Cunningham preached on 1 Samuel 14. Back in July Richard was at the Newfrontiers conference when David Stroud preached this passage and was provoked and inspired by that. His version was similar though not entirely the same.

We stand between cynicism and triumphalism. The Philistines dominate the scene (think LOTR Orcs). Israel hides and only 600 remain, and then only two weapons. God's people are attacked mercilessly and look weak - like us in the face of rising new atheism. Do we give in to cynicism? Do we embrace blind triumphalism? Jonathan says let's go and perhaps the Lord... his armour bearer goes with him. Just bravado? No.

1. Jonathan is indignant - because he knows God's promises. He sees idolatry, like Paul in Athens. The glory of GOd must be the primary motivation for evangelism and all action. Saul by contrast is indignant about the negotiable things that don't matter.

2. Jonathan is unafraid of failure. He says perhaps. Like Michael Jordon, trying and trying and trying. Failing is better than not trying. Don't wait to be ready. The atrophy of hope comes from fear of failure. New Word Alive was a perhaps!

3. Jonathan knew God's power and character. He heard Samuel's Bible Overview in chapter 12. He's not man-centred. He's Yahweh centred. The LORD saves. We know our inheritance in the LORD.

Contrast - Saul's religion with ichabod's relative, he's dancing with the glory-departed man. It's horrendous. Jonathan has good gospel company - a heart & soul man. Contrast - Saul's passivity with Jonathan's plan. Saul is all 'Dads Army' counting the people, Jonathan goes for it. Get out of maintainence mode into mission mode. v23 - we go from perhaps the Lord to "so the Lord saved!"


  1. Thanks for this post Bish. I am looking forward to being kept updated about all the ongoings at Forum this year.

    Gutted to be missing it this year, I hope the weather improves for you all!

    pass on my greetings to anyone who might know me!!

  2. Is it weird that i read that whole post inside my head with Cunningham's voice?

  3. Dave - looking forward to all your posts this week. Be assured that while you guys are sleeping - I'll be praying on the other side of the world that God will use the week to envision His people in living for Him in gospel living...

  4. This conference is seriously exciting. There is always the danger of Piperism (this is where you start to try to insert phrases like "For God's own glory for himself" or "Do you desire your own happiness?" or "Would you still love God if he smashed your face in?" into normal conversations about dogs and tea and stuff). But seriously, he is great I love him.

    I wish I was on staff to be able to be there - such a fantastic group of people and the students are so brave and bold.

    I read the post with Cunningham's voice in my head too.

  5. No Piperism. It's low-key, great Bible teaching. The guy seems normal, human and marked by a God-centred passion that makes a lot of other preaching look pretty weak.