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Showing posts from September, 2008

From the mountains you can see things differently

I've just spent the week at a conference for 'current and potential' university evangelists. I attended as part of the British delegation of five among 55 from other nations around europe. We attended as those from a big well-resourced movement. The temptation is to think we should just teach everyone else how to do things. The experience is that we have immense amounts to learn from others. The fresh air of the Austrian mountains is good for the soul.

Photo from the IFESWORLD stream

Testimonial preaching from a Serbian colleague that was some of the most persuasive apologetics, a narrative apologetic from a Bulgarian and the most penetrating preach by another Bulgarian whose imagination and humour got the truth of the gospel under my skin. I've received instruction from a French Zacharias Trust Associate who taught me more about how to construct and deliver a talk than I ever knew. I've been inspired to press on with Dostoyevsky by a German professor. And that… - statistics, analytics etc.

So it seems more of you are reading the blog than this time last year. This is just a quickie to say thanks for clicking in and reading the words. I hope I can continue to serve you in this.

The graph comes from sitemeter. This provides information on referrals to the site from other websites, where in the world people come from and how many.

Another useful tool is google analytics which gives a widerand more user friendly interface. One account can handle multiple websites. Both services are free and require registration and insertion of some code to the website.

I've been using sitemeter for a few years - during which it's recorded 200,000 hits. I've had google on for the past five months.

It's potentially a bit vain and geeky to bother with things like this, but I do find it helpful to know where people are coming from, to track links to the site, google searches that land people up here. This helps me to know what people read most here.

Technorati and Google blogsea…

"we Christians do not go to church"

Marcus Honeysett, back blogging... about church:
"At some point in the life of most local churches a critical point is reached when the core fellowship of those committed to gospel vision are outnumbered by a fringe who are there for quite different reasons, be it spiritual comfort, kids activities, personal support, or whatever. Regardless of the particular type of church government, all fellowships struggle to maintain focus around core vision when the fringe, be they believers or not, outnumber the gospel-oriented core. It is very hard to maintain focus, or alter any aspect of church life to reflect the gospel needs of a fresh generation, when the majority are committed to maintaining their comfort. When this happens "Christians" have been replaced with "churchgoers" who assume they are Christians." Against this is the senario of Mark Driscoll's church which would appear to have a very large fringe.. the difference being this fringe seem to be drawn…

Genesis 2: The Man and his Bride in the Global Garden

There is a problem when we read Genesis 2. Not with what's there, but with us. There are lies in the air that say we can't take this as God's word, we shouldn't trust it, it's not going to fit with the rest of the Bible. Thing is - it is God speaking, we can trust it and it does fit.

We find a wilderness. A barren world. And in that God plants a garden in which he puts The Man he made. All of this enacting not a 'Plan A' that's going to be messed up in chapter 3, but implementing the plan he made before the creation of the world to save a people for himself, by grace through his promise through the blood of Jesus. The man is put in the garden by the LORD (the covenant God) to work and keep it (serving like a priest in a temple... mediating God's image to the world... ruling the earth from the garden...).

From the garden flow rivers. This is a mountain. A mountain like the other mountain where 'you shall not...' is said - except this moutain …

Terry Virgo on Mark Driscoll at Newfrontiers

Terry Virgo's reflections on Mark Driscoll speaking at our conference in July. Notice the applications... things are changing.

I'm still in Austria, enjoying greatly Michael Green on evangelism in the mountains. Michael brings a lifetime of experience in evangelism, a charismatic warmth and generosity and a great gift in evangelism.

Charlie Hadjiev of Bulgaria gave us a brilliant sample evangelistic talk this morning on the idea of the war of the worlds, tying in references to Lost and Indiana Jones with a compelling narrative. Each morning we've had a sample talk - previously from Richard Cuninngham, Michael Green and Jurgen Speiss. Four very different talks, one glorious gospel. Notes to follow.

From Austria

I'm in Austria, loving the training from Richard Cuningham and Michael Green and Ann Brown. Did my evangelistic talk this morning - helpful constructive feedback from Raphael Anzenberger and the other guys in our group. Ann was outstanding on arts last night - I'll write up more.

So, we got here safe, though Nay and Motsy and I took a detour on the way from Salzburg to Mittersill via Klagenfurt cos we didn't realise we needed to change trains... a six hour detour. Good to laugh heartily at yourself I say!!

Death and the Smell of Jesus (6) - other ways of responding

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

1. Some mishear and think that the message was “try hard and do good”

That is death to everyone. DIY religion is a joke – as if we could do it ourselves and please God. That’s evil. It’s not Christianity. And I hate it. If that’s what you think you heard, you’ve not caught the scent – sniff again!

2. Others haven’t misheard or been indifferent. You’re incensed by this. You fume at it.

To you this really is like water. Water poured on the hot oil of your heart. You heard every word and you are reviled: You mock at the idea that Jesus fulfilled prophecies. You scorn the prospect of a final judgement. You find the idea of a man dying on a Roman cross to save you ridiculous. And celebrating association with that seems outrageous. And you say, even if it were true, you’d rather try to save yourself. Some disbelieve because, missing the scent, they say he could never save someone as bad as them. That is not most people in Exeter.

We …

Death and the Smell of Jesus (5) - the refreshing and the responsibility

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

A smell that will not shift that says: we’re hell deserving rebels but Jesus came to comfort us, to keep the promises of God, to bring us to Himself! The church must reek of Jesus who was crucified for us. I don’t know what your favourite smell is. For me, nothing beats the smell of fresh bread, freshly cooked bacon and fresh coffee on a Saturday morning. For some of us, those ten big words about Jesus are bacon and coffee.

That is the mark of a Christian. For the Christian this news about Jesus is the sweetest of smells. This is life! You hear it and it makes you exclaim “I’m alive”. Christian, let this familiar news speak life to your heart – like the encouraging word of an old friend. Breathe in the fresh air of the news about Jesus - his free gift of himself for you, and to you.

How will you know if you’ve really grasped this? Whether you believe it? Because you’ll feel the same turmoil Paul experiences in v12-13… torn betw…

Pete Greasley on his church joining Sovereign Grace Ministries

From PROGNOSIS, some interesting comment on how Sovereign Grace Ministries arrived in the UK:

The comments on this post by Steve highlight that not everyone is a fan of this group of churches. In them, I wrote a messy comment that I've attempted to clarify further down which implies I'm criticising all three sites mentioned in the comments. I am critiquing two of the three, but absolutely not the third one.

Death and the Smell of Jesus (4) - the ten smells of Jesus

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

1. 1v3. Jesus is the comforter of the afflicted.

Some hear the idea of Jesus comforting and say – that’s a crutch because you’re weak. We don’t mock the person with a broken ankle who needs a crutch. Likewise people are in need, not just of help but of saving from God’s justice. That’s what the Bible language of comfort is about. Prophets like Isaiah spoke of God offering comfort to his people that would rescue them and then benefit them through life. We have no idea how much we need comfort. No idea.

2. 1v20. Jesus, the promise kept.

The whole of the Bible is about Jesus. All 39 books written before he was born are promises about him. He said that we don’t understand those books at all - unless they’re leading us to believe in him. 39 books of promises made. 27 books of promises kept. All of them about Jesus. Moreover, we see Jesus isn’t like us. Paul let the Corinthians down – but Jesus never will. His promises are unbreakabl…

IFES Evangelists Conference

This week I'm joining with 59 other evangelists from 20 nations across Europe as a delegate at the IFES European Conference for the Current and Potential University Evangelists.

We're being trained by Michael Green, Martin Haizmann, Richard Cunningham, John Lennox, Rafael Anzenberger, Stefan Gustavsson, Jurgen Spiess, Charlie Hadjiev and Lindsay & Ann Brown.

The conference information says: "This conference is a new initiative from IFES to support university evangelists as they seek to make Jesus Christ known in increasingly secularised European cultures. We are encouraging each IFES European movement to send at least two delegates from their country to the conference."

The week’s programme will include sample evangelistic talks each morning, evening question-and-answer sessions, videoed evangelistic talks and discussions related to these, and seminars. There will be an opportunity for all participants to give an evangelistic talk and receive feedback. There wil…

Death and the Smell of Jesus (3) - The aroma of Christ draws the line

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

Places have smells. Pubs no longer smell of cigarettes, now they smell of sweat. Walk into Debenhams, the smell of perfume hits you. People have smells too. Paul says wherever he goes - there is a smell that comes up from him. A smell released from his life and his speech. A smell that ultimately divides all people. V14. Not the odour of a man living on the road, who hasn’t washed. No.

He calls it The aroma of Christ . He calls it The knowledge of Christ
Who does it effect?
Look at v14-15: V14.
It comes from Paul the Christian… ALWAYS.S

What is the effect of this ‘aroma of Christ'? V15. It is…

To one a fragrance from death to death. To the other a fragrance from life to life.
Where is the line between heaven and hell? It’s about how you respond to the knowledge of Christ? For every person, everywhere, in every generation, what you make of the aroma of Christ determines whether you’re being…

Which way to go with The Song of Songs? The Peasant Princess ?

So, basically I think Mark Driscoll is outstanding. I love that his church services are regularly packed with people who aren't Christians. And I love that he gets the whole Tim Keller gospel to Christians and non-Christians thing (which Keller got from Dick Lucas... which is interesting in the light of Driscoll's recent 'run in' with the Sydney Anglicans but that's another subject!) I love that Driscoll loves the Bible and fight for doctrine.. I love that his first expository series were on Ecclesiastes and The Song of Songs. I love his clarity about mission and his activity in doing it. I love that he's a reformed charismatic. I love that he came and served us in newfrontiers this summer and learned from us. I love that that's beginning to impact the ethos of our church.

But, I'm not sure that I agree with his take on The Song of Songs. Driscoll runs with the primary meaning being sex:
"As we study the Song of Songs, our primary focus will be how… (Winner: Most Creative Site)

Hugh Bourne (winner: best young Christian blog) reports that UCCF's Theology Network website won 'Most Creative Site' at the Christian Blog and Web Awards sponsored by

Last year Emily Woods (of Brighton) won the best young Christian blog for Unfurling Flower and Colin Adams took the Leadership category for Unashamed Workman.

Death and the Smell of Jesus (2) - What if there was no hell?

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

• Death is God’s promise to us for our rebellion against him.
• Death will come to us, whether today, tomorrow, in five, twenty or fifty years.
• Death is not the end of the story.
• This is serious.

Paul describes people around him in v16: He is “…among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…” Two distinct categories. Two distinct groups of people. Everyone dies, and God says: Either we die and are saved, or we die and perish. Perish meaning to face eternal conscious judgement by Jesus. That doesn’t go down well in the 21st Century, or indeed in any century.

Firstly, because we cannot endure the notion that hell is a real prospect for some. We should be discomforted by it. We should shudder and weep at the prospect of people facing eternity being judged by Jesus.

Secondly, we think it the height of arrogance to declare the eternal destiny of anyone. But, what are the alternatives to some going to hell?

1. …

On Choosing a Church (by Craig Taylor)

Craig Taylor has moved to Newcastle and has to find a local church:

He sets out his criteria wisely in order of priority:
Firstly"Does it preach and teach the Gospel?" (That is all the core theology that can not be compromised eg. penal substitution) This is the one question that if answered "no" then it is straight off the list of possible churches. Secondly"Where does it's theology stand?" Do I disagree with some of it's views on the bigger doctrines that would make it hard to worship,serve and be fed by the sermons.
Thirdly"Are there opportunities for me to serve the church?" along with "How does it try to do community discipleship and being a missional church?"

Death and the Smell of Jesus (1) - Chris Martin says "This is serious"

This morning I preached at our church (Frontiers Church Exeter) for the first time. I count it a great priviledge and honour to be able to serve the church family in this way.I'll post the notes in parts through the week.

DOWNLOAD MP3: Dave Bish - Death and the Smell of Jesus

There are, apparently, seven signs of aging. But fear not – there are products that can give you younger looking skin! And if you can’t see the signs of aging, it’s not really happening. Rather than being honoured age becomes despised. Because, logically – if we’re not aging we’ll avoid the chief side-effect of age, namely death. Yet for all the products we buy, 6000 people still die every hour. Equivalent to the population of Exeter every 18.5 hours. 12,000 while we meet today.

If we can’t avoid death we try to trivialise it. Bob Shankley famously quipped that football is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that. In cinema death happens without consequences. We’re entertained as evil hen…

Genesis 1: And there was evening and there was morning...

Chewing over Genesis 1 this morning with new CU Staff member Hannah we found ourselves recalling this...

Dan Hames:
"Also, of course the darkness of night is always a picture of evil or distress in the Bible; yet according to the creation account, even in the night there are stars created to bring light: little versions of the sun that see us through the darkness until morning comes. And there are no little darknesses in the daytime! The sun rules during the daytime!Notice as well the way Genesis records the passage of the days. We usually tend to think in terms of the day fading into night- working from light to darkness, but Genesis 1v5 records ‘there was evening and morning’; the Bible suggests that reality is really about moving from darkness into light. Far from our assumption about starting the day in light and giving way to darkness, the Bible holds-up each of our days as a little model of all reality- a reality where light conquers darkness. As 1 John 2v8 says, ‘the darkne…

Biblical Parenting Conference: Shepherding a Child's Heart (UK Conference)

The guys at Grace Church Bristol are hosting a one day parenting conference in March 2009 with Tedd Tripp (author of Shepherding a Child's Heart. Information and registration for the conference at

* Saturday 21st March 2009.

* The first session of the conference will begin at 9:30am.

* The final session of the conference will conclude by 4:30pm.

One not to miss if you're living within reach of Bristol.

Mars Hill Church Seattle has Tedd Trip doing a similar conference now on Biblical parenting

Lex Loizides blogs

Lex Loizides blogs starting with highlights from church history....
Born in London and raised in Sussex, Lex Loizides now lives with his wife, Jo, and their four children in Cape Town, South Africa. Lex and Jo have been involved in serving on the staff of local churches and helping plant churches in several countries as well as South Africa. Lex is a popular speaker at conferences and evangelistic missions with a passion and ability to bring people to Christ and equip the local church. He is an elder of the multi-racial Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town.

Keller & Clowney: Preaching Christ to a Postmodern World

Reformed Theological Seminary on iTunes - lecture series by Tim Keller and Edmund Clowney on preaching Christ from all scripture, and engaging with people. FREE Download.

Keller outlines his approach to handling scripture which is Christological, and takes us through the engaging the heart with that. Clowney contributes from a lifetime of experience in showing way scripture is about Jesus - from which we could all learn massively.. Keller shows how he prepares to preach and the way that he's learned from people like Dick Lucas. You can see why people are raving about Keller.
Listening to this series of lectures could be the best use of 18 hours of your time.

And also adding these to my iPod Together for Adoption mp3s by John Piper, Justin Taylor etc.

My Curse!

Jesus My Curse! The blessed Son, I live because he died.
Bore the wrath I earned, he is the promised seed.
All the scriptures complete, finished and done.
With whom I'm clothed, an adopted Son.

The curtain torn, the way open,
The Second Adam drank the cup
 Of the Father's wrath, at our rebellion.
Blessed in him, we live again!

Jesus My Curse! The crucified one, I heard and believed.
Sent to bring freedom, to those enslaved.
All the scriptures declared, that he would come.
The Saviour King, who brings us home.

Erik Raymond writes about Jesus My Curse

Top 10 UK Christian Blogs (September 2008)

This is my guess at the top Christian blogs in the UK at the moment. Ranking done by Technorati which really records influence among bloggers. This makes no comment on content, quality, number of readers. I'll update this monthly, to adjust for the ever changing blogosphere and for blogs I've not been aware of. If I've missed someone off, comment to let me know.

1. Dave Walker (-) - the cartoon church blog

2. Andrew Jones (n) - the tall skinny kiwi

3. Adrian Warnock (-1) - the doctor, leadership and other things

4. Jon Birch (n) - the asbojesus blog

5. Colin Adams (-2) - preachers blog for preachers, husband of one of the titus2talkers

6. Tim Chester (-2) - sheffield based church planter and author

7. Jonny Baker (n) - exploring how faith connects with contemporary culture

8. Dave Bish (-3) - enjoying grace, loving the church, in student ministry

9. Terry Virgo (-3) - leader of newfrontiers

10. Titus2Talk Teamblog (-3) -scottish women blogging the gospel

August 2008

Dominion and Dynasty (Stephen Dempster)

I'm working through Genesis and the latest helpful book I've found is Stephen Dempster's Dominion and Dynasty in the ever-strong NSBT series. In the chapter on Genesis he traces the themes of genealogy and geography through the text.

We meet the Priest-King Adam ruling under God and representing (mediating) him to the world, and we move forward through generations and God's promises seem to slip away and then to be fulfilled - chasing in faith the promise of the seed... generation by generation will we find him?

Reading it this morning I particularly loved the attention to the details of genealogy and geography - only Chronicles (the last book of the Hebrew Canon) matches Genesis for names. And geography - the two appearances of Mount Jerusalem in the narrative of Abraham.

A condensed version of the whole argument of the book, which considers the entire Hebrew Canon can be found in Scott Hafemann's Biblical Theology

Dempster blogs with Michael Bird, Desmond Alexan…

Grace Church Bristol

My good friends at Grace Church Bristol have relaunched their website:

Put together by Challies

And this makes me smile!

What does Grace Church think of CU’s?
At Grace Church we are passionate about one particular thing and that’s the gospel!  UCCF and both local CU’s are also passionate about the gospel and reaching the campuses with the good news of Jesus Christ.  So, as and where we can, we fully support UCCF and the local CU’s with resources, teachers and prayer.

The shape of creation and new creation

So, we start with 'in the beginning' with God and with a place that is formless, empty and dark. It's not really the actual start because before this the Father is loving the Son and giving him glory, in him a promise is made and people are chosen, saved and redeemed by the blood of the blameless lamb who was slain. The one who is himself The Beginning. Salvation awaits only it's manifestation and accomplishment in the creation. The Spirit is over the waters - that'll happen again.

By the end of the chapter comes form and order, filling of the world and the promise of further filling, and light overcoming darkness.

God speaks. He speaks! The Word is there! And there is light. The darkness is overcome. The void of darkness is ordered into Day and Night. And hard-wired into the shape of time is the overcoming of darkness by light as the day runs from evening to morning (rather than midnight to midnight). In subsequent days the waters are formed into heavens and eart…

"There they could enjoy all the late-night chats they wanted, for, once talking over a mug of his beloved Wittenberg beer, Luther was famed for his ability not to stop until dawn. "

"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, be it a gospel of emotional fulfilment or social transformation, can only leave us comparatively apathetic.  It was this gospel alone that fired Luther to turn Europe upside down.  If Luther were a student today, armed with this gospel, we would have another Reformation.  But what if a whole generation of students were to grasp this gospel as he did?" Read more of 'If Martin Luther were a student today' by Mike Reeves at Theology Network

New students arrive in the South West soon!

Gonna make you cry, Dawn Clark on the strategy of suffering: no mud, no glory...

Two people have shaped the graduate life of my wife and I massively, Andy Shudall and Dawn Clark, aka the Relay Coordinator and Administrators when we did the programme in 2000-2002. Back then they taught us grace upon grace. Now they're in New Zealand and Greece, respectively, on mission.
I think that somewhere between 150 and 200 stood at the first call. I, of little faith, couldn’t believe so many responded. As the second group were called to stand with them a further 400 or so stood. Most of the tent was standing. It moved me to tears and I need to explain why. 13 years ago I stood at FORUM and responded in the same way that some of these guys had: tentatively, knowing that God had called me to give my whole life for his glory and that, for me, that would mean moving outside of my comfort zone. I cried that Wednesday night because I know how much that response is going to cost. Suffering is not an option, it’s a cost and a strategy. But, and this is what I really want to make c…

On mission, like Jesus (Stu Alred)

Continuing a four week topical series on being missional, between our series in Jonah and 2 Corinthians, Stu Alred: Be like Jesus.


So, why do we run to the slavery of sin and legalism?

The issue is the cross. The false teachers who peddle legalism want to avoid being persecuted for the cross. And they'll achieve that, because no-one persecutes moralisers and do-gooders. We follow their enslaving lies because we too want to avoid being fundamentally associated with the cross of Christ.

By contrast the way of the Spirit for Sons is the way of the cross. To live as a son means making much of the cross as our only ground for confidence, our absolute passion and obsession.

Burn After Reading

The last time we went to the cinema was to see The Dark Knight.. I think next might well be Burn After Reading by the ever-brilliant Coen brothers (Oct 17) swiftly followed, no doubt, by Quantum of Solace (Oct 31).

Today though we rewatched Changing Lanes with friends. An interesting moral story with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson whose good friday altercation sinks them into deceit and depravity from which redemption seems unlikely.

Adopted as Sons: Seen and heard as Christ.

The Father turns his eye to the Christian and sees Christ.We are counted righteous in Christ. Clothed with him.So all the promises he made to the one seed Jesus are ours. The Father turns his ear to the Christian and hears Christ. We received the Holy Spirit. The promised blessing. The Spirit says: Abba Father. As sons we inherit with Jesus!

Puritan quotes via Timmy Brister
Dan Cruver: Together for Adoption
Joel Beeke:

We are sons of God! Big news about the accomplishment of the Cross.

I've been preaching on Galatians for my team this week...
Download MP3: Galatians 3v1-12 (introduction) Download MP3: Galatians 3v13-4v7 (main talk on law and being adopted)
Kenny Robertson, notes on Galatians 3v1-4v7
The essence of this talk is about how the gospel not law means we're sons of God in Christ. God made his promise to Jesus, and Christians are 'in' Christ - clothed with his righteousness, given the Spirit. It's not flattery because this comes from the cross. And the cross never flatters - it shames and exposes us, and saves us!!

Download MP3: Galatians 5v15-6v18
Kenny Robertson, notes on Galatians 5v15-6v18
Why do we struggle to live by the Spirit - why do we struggle to live like Sons even though Sonship is glorious? The nub of the issue is the struggle to be associated with the cross of Christ. Sonship is fundamentally tied up with the Cross of Christ. Legalists want to avoid the cross, Christians glory in it and shudder at the thought of glorying in…

To the Cross! Galatians, Luther, Law and Grace.

Gathered the South West Team this week to study the Bible, pray, walk, eat, get to know each other etc...

Download MP3: Galatians 2v11-3v1. To the Cross

Kenny Robertson has written up the notes he took on this talk...

Peter steps out of the way of the gospel - fearing men not Christ, living in legalism, false teaching. Three-times self-condemned. Paul walks him back to the gospel. He need not fear sinning -

Luther:A Christian is not somebody who has no sin, but somebody against whom God no longer chalks sin, because of his faith in Christ. Luther once more:Read the words “me” and “for me” with great emphasis. Print this “me” with capital letters in your heart, and do not ever doubt that you belong to the number of those who are meant by this “me.”

Christian life isn't doing, it's Union with Christ. Paul often talks about being ‘in Christ’ and what he means is that our very existence becomes utterly entwined with him.

Luther:Since Christ is now living in me, He abolishes the Law,…

Taking ourselves less seriously.

"Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity; he cannot give himself over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego." (Terry Lindvall, in Humility by CJ Mahaney)

The godly wife laughs at the future. (Proverbs 31v35)

There's a strange balance to strike in life. We want to take the gospel with absolute seriousness. The gospel leads us to mourn for sin and the fleeting nature of life in this world, and for the destiny of those who don't know Christ.

The danger is that this weightiness means we take ourselves seriously. What I love about the Sovereign Grace Ministries, and I thank Lewis Roderick for reminding me of this, is that they don't take themselves seriously. They suspect themselves of sin rather than prancing around as if they're sinless. They laugh together. They laugh at themselves. At the start of…

FORUM - Conference Roundup

Some MP3s still to come from the 2008 UCCF The Christian Unions FORUM Conference where 980 people gathered in the mud at The Quinta, Shropshire, to be equipped for student mission.

Main speakers were Richard Cunningham, Graham Daniels and John Piper. With seminars and training tracks by UCCF staff.
Student delegates represented 122 Christian Unions from England, Wales and Scotland. Student-led, evangelical mission teams.

John Piper at The World Service... As the Father sent meJohn Piper at The World Service... so I sent youJohn Piper - Ruth 1John Piper - Ruth 2: Under the wings of GodJohn Piper - Ruth 3: Strategic RighteousnessJohn Piper - Ruth 4: The Redeemers NameDave Bish - Study for JesusDave Bish - Love the Church
MP3s of other seminars, training tracks and the main sessions by Richard Cunningham and Graham Daniels to follow. Also, Mike Reeves interviewing John Piper on Justification by Faith for


On having John Piper with usMudsliding with the E…

FORUM - "Sometimes, its just good to know that someone you have heard of is with you."

"...the thing I loved most was this. In a day when I have heard famous Christians (evangelicals apparently) scoff at the idea that people will meet Jesus in his word as students give it out and study it, when the mood of evangelicalism in Britain has (as we have seen this summer) been so obsessed with the so-called miraculous at the expense of simply testifying about Jesus, when the world and his mother seems to either think there must be some magic technique for winning people to Christ, or that we are due a wave of blessing to make it happen, I loved seeing a world renowned evangelical stand up and say well done to all the students who will be risking much to open the Scriptures with non Christians this year. "It will be better and harder than you ever thought!" Maurice McCrackenIt's not Christian-celebrity worship (or Piperism). Leaders rise up beyond their local settings and it's just a relief to see one, like John Piper, who loves the gospel. What we need i…

What's the point of our Sunday meeting?

"There is an important difference, it seems to me, between running a Christian gathering whose focus is on evangelizing the outsider, and running a Christian gathering that is welcoming and intelligible for the outsider, but where the focus is on fellowship with Christ, in speaking, hearing and responding to his word." 
(Tony Payne)

Our church has been chewing over Mark Driscoll's challenges to be a missional church recently.  But what does it mean for us? Certainly it effects the way we should be livinng when we're scattered. What about when we gather? Driscoll speaks of being seeker-sensible in our meetings, which Payne notes above - welcoming and intelligible. I wonder if it changes the way we preach? Same gospel for Christian and non-Christian.. but delivery might need to be different.

Even after 11 years as a Christian I still get narked when preachers say 'we all know the story of...' or 'remember the story of...' - what about the new Christian …

A story to want to be a part of...

"Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule" (Gen 1:28)
We have heard these words so often that we no longer feel their breathtaking force. God commanded two people, a man and a woman, to be king and queen of the whole creation and to produce a worldwide race of kings of queens to rule the creation. They and their children were to learn more and more about God's good creation, to discover ever new uses of the things God had made, to bring the world more and more completely into service to God and man. Over time, they were to build from the raw materials of creation a glorious temple-city on earth as a replica and image of the heavenly city of God.

The Kingdom and The Power: rediscovering the Centrality of the Church, p25.Peter Leithart, (P&R 1993)

FORUM - Theology of everything, theology of rain...

In view of the rain at FORUM.... some thoughts :
Genesis 9v13-15. God isn't going to let it keep raining forever (even if it has rained a lot). The world will be judged and renewed, but not through rain. Remember the rain will stop. This is grace and patience.Isaiah 4v5-6. The Lord provides the refuge we need from the rain.Isaiah 55v9-11. Remember God's word is like rain. It comes from heaven and bears a harvest. Human ideas get us no where near God but God's word reveals him to us and it serves it's purpose. See also Hebrews 6v7. Is the word bearing a crop in my life?Jeremiah 51v15-17. Amongst other places - it's God who made it rain. Thanking him for what he does is a good idea rather than grumbling!Job 38v22-30. Can you make it rain? No, God does that. John Piper: "whether we focus on the earth or the sea or the dawn or the snow or hail or constellations or rain, the upshot is that Job is ignorant and impotent. He doesn't know where they came from. He do…

Go preach the gospel to Christians

When’s the last time you looked another Christian in the eye and said ‘Mate you’re a sinner. I know you have struggles, I know you’re tired but, deep down you’re wicked! That’s your real problem. But Mate - you’re clothed in the righteousness of Christ, carried on His heart before the Father, rejoiced over in the presence of the angels.’ Glen Scrivener. Amen!

Too often we assume that Christians know the gospel. We need to keep being told it. By each other. Too often we preach moralism in church to Christians - which is useless for the Christians, and preaches a false gospel to any visiting non-Christians. If we preached gospel on Sunday from all the scriptures we'd serve one another and be accessible to visitors. I don't mean gospel summaries - I mean the way that the scriptures declare the message of the gospel, in all their resplendent symphony. I don't mean to be reductionist, but more to sound the call of Peter Leithart in his book The Kingdom and The Power (p93)


FORUM - ECU Mudsliding

The Exeter University Evangelical Christian Union are best known for being caught up in a legal conflict with their Students Guild. They'd like to be most known for the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it may be that this mud-related banter becomes a defining moment for them: ECU Mudsliding Video on Facebook

FORUM - Hark, the Voice of Love and Mercy

In the morning meetings at FORUM we sang just a couple of songs with much more time for celebratory worship in the evenings. The new song of the week was probably Red Mountain Music's version of Hark, the Voice of Love and Mercy, with a slight and very helpful edit to the lyrics about the law by Dan Hames. PDF: Sheet Music of Hark the Voice of Love and Mercy

Hark! the voice of love and mercy
sounds aloud from Calvary;
see, it rends the rocks asunder,
shakes the earth, and veils the sky:
'It is finished! 'It is finished!'
hear the dying Savior cry.

'It is finished! O what pleasure
do the wondrous words afford!
heavenly blessings without measure
flow to us from Christ the Lord:
'It is finished! 'It is finished!'
saints the dying words record.

Finished all the types and shadows
of the law that went before,
Finished all that God had promised;
death and hell no more shall awe;
'It is finished! 'It is finished!'
Saints, from hence your comfort dra…

Dave Bish - MP3s

FORUM - Evidence of Grace in the days of mud and rain

Rosemary Grier observes:
"What I'll remember this Forum for, more than John Piper's Bible preaching, the big top worship, the workshop I led or the joys of going into it on the back of a week of Relay training conference;what I'll remember this Forum for is the joyful Spirit-ful gospel response of the students to their circumstances.
Their neighbours' tent flooded: they serve them and clean up for them. They haven't grumbled or grown bitter. They've got on with joyfully receiving the word which is able to save their souls, and humbly serving each other. They may have bad nights of sleep but they refocus on their Saviour in the morning, praise Him, and love each other.Why? Do they not have rights? They've paid to come to this conference!The answer comes in the song that's now started to ascend from the impromptu Welsh-led quartet beneath my window, whose numbers seem to have swelled: "And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour…