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Showing posts from February, 2009

Tom Price: Questions Christians are scared of

Tom Price posts seven questions Christians say they're scared of...:
How do you know that this faith (Jesus) is true?Why did God take his people into battle so much in the Old Testament? Why is it so violent?If you believe that the world is only a few 1,000 years old, what about dinosaurs, where do they fit into that timescale?What proof do you have that there is a real living God?To say "Jesus is the only way" is incredibly arrogant. Surely, even if we agree with the theology of a single God those religions E.G. Islam that agree with you are recognising that same God. Are there not many ways to a single God?Why should I believe when so many Christians mess up and there is so much false teaching and bad things in church?If Jesus is truth, then why do so few find this truth and so many doomed to hell?I'm going to attempt to sketch some answers to these in the near future. What I wanted to begin by saying is that these aren't comfortable questions, but that there is…

Tim Chester: The curiosity of worshipper finding fresh delight in the work of his Creator...

Tim Chester completes a three part series on a kind of evangelism that you'll be up for... Part 3: Love Life:
Bill (who’s a real person) is an American friend of mine. He doesn’t really get football, rugby or cricket. I don’t think he enjoys them very much. But when he watches a game with us he’s enthusiastic. He gets pleasure from our pleasure. It’s the same with a hundred and one other topics. If Bill finds out your interest in something then the next time he sees you you’ll find he’s done some research. It’s not a technique. It’s not faked. He has a godly curiosity and delight in everything. And funnily enough, everyone loves having Bill around.I think, for me, one of the tests of sin in my heart is whether I have that curiosity for others or whether I'm so curved in on myself that I couldn't care less about other people.

Tim recommends Julian Hardyman's Glory Days / Maximum Life. I wholeheartedly agree with him. I also enjoyed listening to Tom Price on Apologetics …

Psalms: Of liturgical and music terms in the Psalm titles

Another brief extract from Mike Reeves on Psalms.  thinking about the titles of Psalms like Maskil, Gittith, Sons of Korah and words like Selah.

Logically this is a post you'll ignore - but seriously press play and let the details we usually ignore unlock the Psalms for you.

Have listen to 12mins of the subject that helps us think a bit more carefully about what's going on and opens up the meaning of some Psalms.

Download MP3: 12mins on Psalms

"First were the buses. Now atheists get a student society"

Atheist or Secular socities at Universities aren't all that new, but they're news now at The Guardian.
Every religion on campus has its student society, from the Christian Union to the Jedi Knights. Now the non-religionists will have theirs too. The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies launches today to mobilise non-believers. The "anti-God squad", as it is happy to be called, says it will fight for the voices of what it believes to be the majority of students to be heard on campus and further afield. It is planning campaigns and events across the country to protest against religious privilege and promote the understanding of science.Long-live the anti-theists as they promote debate and discussion of these things. As Pod Boghal puts it:
"Universities are a marketplace of ideas where concepts can be exchanged. Anything that encourages intelligent and meaninful discussion we see as positive. We are thankful for the atheist bus cam…

The Story of Jesus

We start with God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father sending forth his word in the power of the Spirit to bring order out of chaos, the world out of water, light over darkness climaxing in the making of Man in God’s image (Genesis 1). We find The Man placed in God’s temple-mountain garden and given a Bride. He stops to sing. Together they’re to work and cultivate this temple extending it into a global garden in which man and God dwell together, man ruling the world under God (Genesis 2). One day the world will be full of people. One day the world will be full of the glory of God, that which is supremely displayed in The Man, Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3v18).

This Man overthrows God and is kicked out of the temple (Genesis 3), though he’s promised that a seed of the woman will come who will defeat evil and bring them back into the garden. The first candidate for that is murdered by his brother who builds a city for his own glory (Genesis 4). From The Man and his Bride comes another so…

"Parachurch" and the Emporer's New Clothes? (A friendly interaction with Steve Timmis)

Oh no not him on that again! I couldn't resist the opportunity to engage the church/parachurch issue again. I'll get off the topic and onto something else tomorrow.
Steve Timmis of The Crowded House, at Resurgence:

"I know saying this isn’t going to win me any friends, but someone has to tell the king he’s naked. Is it not a quiet madness for churches to largely outsource their discipleship (to parachurch agencies) and training (to theological colleges)? The best context for both discipleship and training is the people of God on mission (a.k.a. church) Parachurch vs. Local Church Take discipleship as a case in point. It’s in the context of church that we are going to learn best what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus. Parachurch agencies do a lot of good, but they tend to draw people who share a special interest and who want similar things. By contrast, a local church is usually comprised of people from a range of backgrounds, at very different stages of development …

Interview: Table Talk 6 - Sanctification

Tim Keller Wiki for articles, audio etc by Tim Keller.  Finally loads of his best stuff all in one place. The books/articles and sermons I've digested are amongst the best contemporary gospel-saturated stuff you could get your hands on today.

Keller was with London City Mission yesterday and with Newfrontiers today, both in London, UK.

Tim Chester: How to wash up to the glory of God

Several years ago John Piper famously wrote about how to drink orange juice to the glory of God.

When you've done that you need to find out how to wash up to the glory of God, Tim Chester shows how!

 Another part of the adventure of finding out what it means to bring the rule of God into the things he entrusts me to do each day, living with him as Lord, with the grace he supplies to do the things that will bring him glory.

Be "the Bible guy" because the gospel matters

I love the church and I love the gospel and I love book by book Bible-exposition that impresses the gospel on human hearts (how could anyone not!?)....its why I love doing the crazy job I get to do with UCCF in the South West and this sort of stuff makes me want to press on in the gospel to keep doing it, and one day perhaps God will gracious let me do this stuff week in week out for a local church....

The Holy Spirit scared the wits out of me yesterday in 2 Peter 1v8 saying that if I'm not growing in my character then I have ineffective knowledge of Jesus. Flip. I need the gospel. I really need the gospel.

Matt Chandler on 1 Timothy 4:
They know about him, but they don’t know him....

"Listen. The gospel matters. Getting the gospel right matters. If you get the gospel wrong and you don’t distinguish between what the gospel is and what morality is, then what you’ve done at best is restrain the hearts of people, but you won’t see their hearts transformed. If you don’t get the g…

CS Lewis: When Cabbages teach Botany, or The Interrogation of Futility

We left CS Lewis (in De Futilitate) concluding that the way forward with futility wasn't to just take it, or to deny it, but to face it head on.

We feel a sense of cosmic futility.
Futility is the opposite of utility.
"In calling it futile we are only expressing our naive surprise at the discovery that basic reality does not possess the characteristics of a human artefact — a thing made by men to serve the purposes of men — and the demand that it should -may be regarded as preposterous" The universe fails to serve us and thus we conclude "futile!" - yet who are we to have supposed it should serve us, small us in our small corner of the Universe. Furthermore
"The proper way of stating the facts is not to say that the universe is futile, but that the universe has produced an animal, namely man, which can make deeply engrained that even when the creature is not engaged in tool-making it continues to use this pattern of thought...Hence arises the a…

Video: An Amish Reformation?

Fascinating documentary on BBC iPlayer (until Wednesday), Trouble in Amish Paradise... what happens when people who are told to keep the rules of the community and not allowed to read the Bible in their own language start doing so. Adrian comments:
"It's as near as you're going to get to understanding - in modern terms - the personal struggles some of the Reformers had as they rejected the medieval Catholic norms and power of the ruling church"ht: Adrian and Mark.

Sermon: This is our gospel, there is no other (2 Cor 11, Stu Alred)

I love our church. I love that we're in a family on mission who love the sound doctrine of the gospel because we love Jesus. This mornings meeting was no exception. Matt led us in worship of Jesus, and then Stu Alred preached from 2 Corinthians 11 (download mp3).

It was a very un-English and yet very Christian preach that called us to stay with the Christ we're betrothed too, and not to be deceived into falling for a different Christ, a different gospel or a different Spirit. It's God on his own terms as he reveals himself or we have nothing at all.

Would any man tolerate a different bride walking down the aisle to the one he agreed to marry? Paul is the most tolerant of men when it comes to bridging cultural divides but he wont tolerate alternative gospels. In our city there are Mormon Jesus' preached, and Islamic Jesus', New-Age Jesus', Liberal Jesus' and many more. Strikingly in the last couple of years two Christian bookshops have gone out of business …

FREE view (from ECU at Boston Tea Party)

Photos by Dan Partridge via Facebook.

CS Lewis: De Futilitate - Then what's the good of the ruddy world going on?

I'm loving continuing to read CS Lewis' Christian Reflections essays. I've moved on from The Funeral of a Great Myth to his De Futilitate.

Early on this essay takes a similar angle. He speaks into WWII's sense of futility. Strikingly he notes that people really should experience futility. He tells the story of serving in the Home Guard with someone and watching them for the first time face the issue. Lewis says the norm should be for us to ask, what's the use of the world going on?

How could we not ask that? Don't we all see the repetition, the closed system that goes no-where, the spinning of planets, the lack of real progress...

However, this futility is very well concealed by the myth of evolution. As in Funeral Lewis critiques not the science but the myth, the "popular evolution" attached to it. Lewis:
"As J. B. S. Haldane says, in evolution progress is the exception and degeneration the rule.Popular Evolutionism ignores this. For it, ‘Evolut…

Genesis 20-21: The Sons of Abraham

Previously… Christ overthrew the wicked, remembered the righteous and saved beyond expectation. Lot was offered the opportunity to flee to the mountain for grace but refused and his story ends desperately… His family will one day find redemption, adopted into the line of Judah when Boaz marries Ruth.

Meanwhile for Abraham he faces the indignity that his nephew has four children while he still only has the illegitimate Ishmael. The promise awaits fulfilment. The wandering king-priest finds himself in Gerar, a foolish land where “there is no fear of God at all” (20v11). And so we find a re-run of Abraham’s earlier detour to Egypt (ch12), once more he asks his half-sister to deny that she’s his wife and say only that he is his sister to preserve their lives from the tyrants who would attempt to prevent the Seed from being born.

In the night the Lord speaks to King Abimelech and declares him a dead man. Abimelech is however the one god-fearer in his land and this apparent tyrant is sho…

New Word Alive (2009) - Book Now!

NWA1 30th March - 4th April 2009 NWA2 4th April - 9th April 2009
Don't miss out on a life transforming week - Places available from £121 per person Occasionally the phone rings in the New Word Alive office and we are told "I would have loved to come this year but you're obviously sold out." Well we did book out quickly last year, but that led us to double our capacity by holding two New Word Alive events this year. That has made lots more room and places are still available for week 1 or week 2 from as little as £121 per person. However certain types of accommodation are selling out so make your booking quickly. To make booking or discuss availability call Haven on 0871 230 1199. We've got a great programme lined up of high quality Bible teaching that will help us grow in our relationship with God, and training tracks that will equip us to serve him. Some rece…

New: Ecclesia Reformanda Journal

Check this new journal - Ecclesia Reformanda by Matthew Mason, Ros Clarke, Neil Jeffers, David Field and co... Sure to have some stuff to stir your heart and mind. They say:
"Ecclesia Reformanda is distinctively Reformed, with a contemporary cutting edge. It presents some of the best in British Reformed thinking and writing to serve the Church, her teachers, and her Lord."

Tim Keller (London - Feb 25th)

Book now for "A Day with Tim Keller" at Westminster Chapel, hosted by Newfrontiers... Wednesday 25th February, 10am - 4pm, for £10. Refreshments will be provided but you will need to bring your own lunch. Tim Keller seems to be in the UK a lot a the moment - I mentioned the London Men's Convention yesterday - and now here's another opportunity. Go enjoy!

ECU Preaches

Download mp3s from Exeter University Evangelical Christian Union. I particularly recommend this week's preach by Stu Alred on 2 Corinthians 5 (download mp3) (all 47mins of it is well worth listening to...) and last week's talks from John Risbridger at the Exeter FREE week.

I can't get the download links to work there but the real player plugin download option seems to work fine, and they'll play online too. 

Starbucks Instant Coffee?

Starbucks today launched an instant coffee brand. I am appalled - the last thing the world needs is encouragement to drink this vile coffee impersonator. They say it will taste the same as the coffee in their shops - though to be fair, Starbucks' coffee is pretty awful.

Mandelson says: "please don't project Starbucks onto the UK economy as a whole."

For now Caffe Nero has my Hight Street vote, though the coffee brewed in my kitchen is probably the best :) at which we're currently experimenting with some Lavazza, kindly donated by Chris Oldfield.

"There's probably no God ...well reasoned fact or wishful thinking?"

DOWNLOAD MP3 There's probably no god... Bristol University:

I’m sure you’ve seen the buses going up Park St, I’ve seen them passing my house in Exeter – bearing the advert: There’s probably no God, so don’t worry, enjoy your life.
-Christian Voice – objected, as they did to Jerry Springer the Opera, and to pretty much anything else that breathes.
-The Trinitarian Bible Society has retaliated with an antiquated “The Fool hath said in his heart there is no God”.
-Christian Think-tank Theos helped to fund the atheist led campaign.
-And a Christian bus-driver called Ron is boycotting his bus.

I’m in favour of the campaign - “all publicity is good publicity” – anything that gets us thinking is good. Richard Dawkins has defended it saying that “thinking is anathema to religion” – which confirms my thinking that Christianity isn’t a religion – free as it is from rule and ritual etc. The Bristol University Christian Union exists to get people thinking about the biggest question. So, you’re …

Whoah, that just felt like Christianity

[Francis] Chan talked about a gang member who got saved and then baptized in his church yet disappeared a year later. A leader in the congregation noticed and sought him out and asked “What happened?” He said “I had the wrong idea about what I thought church would be. I thought it would be like family, a different kind of family. See, when I was in the gangs, we hung together, watched each other’s backs, took care of each other, we committed to each other 24-7, not just two meetings a week. When I got here, it was like each one was on his own. There was just no reason for me to be here with these people.” Chan said this broke his heart. The gang was better at being the church than the church was at being the church. Story Two:  Chan met with the elders over this (I presume)....They saw in themselves what this gang member saw in the congregaton. And they started to break it down and commit to each other...“I commit to take care of your kids if you die.” “What is mine is yours.” (go re…

London Men's Convention - Tim Keller, Mike Cain & Wes McNabb on Jesus

London Men's Convention on Saturday 18th April at ExCeL London... (with).. London buses proclaiming the fool’s message that there (probably) is no God (Psalm 14:1), it’s obvious that this city and nation urgently need to hear about Jesus in language they can understand. Wrong part of the country for me, but worth a look if you can get there.

Wes McNabb of Slade Church, Plumstead, Mike Cain of Emmanuel at Badminton, Bristol and Tim Keller of Redeemer, New York, worship led by Stuart Townend of CCK Brighton.

Enjoying the FREE time

Lo-level blogging because I've been a bit busy. Dropped in at ECU's Christianity Explored last night - great to see around 30 people there listening as Matt Herring held out Mark's gospel so we could see Jesus and hear his gospel - "He did it. He did it. It's Finished! The war is over..."
Today is my last speaking engagement ahead of paternity leave and sabbatical, speaking at Bristol this lunchtime on "There's probably no God... well reasoned fact or wishful thinking"

Psalms with Don Carson

In recent weeks I've heard Don Carson teaching Psalms to our annual staff conference, and Mike Reeves doing them for my regional team - a slight accident of planning, but it's a big book and I think it was beneficial to hit it twice! I can't share Mike's mp3s at the moment but here are the ones from Don, via Andy Naselli.
Psalm 1 -- Psalm 2 -- Psalm 40 -- Psalm 110

Seven Days - Lots of FREE stuff

1.FREE at Exeter University - struck by the clarity of John Risbridger's talks, the numbers attending and the way that Bostons Tea Party is a great venue. Encouraged by Dan giving his first lunchbar talk. Dan and Catherine led the evenings well and seeing a Relay worker being given a rose, in public, by a student, at an evangelistic moment was priceless. Big up the local church guys and the SW relays for serving. Christianity Explored starts on Monday in Wetherspoons, and I've heard of at least a couple of students who chose to become Christians during the week.
2.FREE at Plymouth University - struck by CU guests telling me how genuine peoples questions have been. Photos from Pudding event at Plymouth. Great to have Robin Sydserf and a team from Cornhill serve there.

3.FREE at Bath University - I love the CU at my alma mater, they've made it normal to have two weeks like this each year (November and February) which is great, and they learn how to run them well because of thi…

In praise of... taking responsibility for things

Here's my confession, I used to work for Sir Fred Goodwin. For a year I worked in retail banking, at the height of the consumer credit race before the crunch. Debt was peddled like free money. On some scale blame lies with me and people like me who identified lead for other people to sell 'credit' to. We worked there. We got paid (not much) for it. And older colleagues bemoaned the fall of banking compared to the old respectable banking of 30+ years ago where it was a priviledge to meet a bank manager. Yesterday Sir Fred, hailed by our bosses as a hero bank in 2002 offered some sense of apology:
"There is a profound and unqualified apology for all the distress that has been caused... What I'm concerned about is that it is just too simple if you want to blame it all on me. If you want to blame it all on me and close the book, that will get the job done very quickly, but it does not go anywhere close to the cause of all of this."Perhaps for legal reasons, perhap…

"media savvy non-confrontational strategies for those gripped by the natural world"

We've had three fascinating guests stay with us in the last 10 days, firstly Mike Reeves, and then Adrian Warnock and on Tuesday this week the most excellent Chris Oldfield, who is pursuing some imaginative blogging threads: "Non-christian society is recognising and grieving human sin more than most Christians and are literally calling for repentance (an utter changing of mind), but crying out for compelling reasons"

Onwards and upwards in veneration of Charles Darwin

Paul Eddy asked the Church of England to affirm the uniqueness of Christ and the need to evangelise..... Cranmer reports that they've decided to do it. The General Synod: "the Church of England has a mandate to proselytise; to convert all non-believers. Eschewing all the multicultural and multi-faith political correctness of pluralism, they reiterated the uniqueness of Christ and the imperative of preaching the gospel to all – even Jews and Muslims, whatever the offence."

I asume that also means Anglicans are free to evangelise Darwinians, whose founder is 200 today - impressive evolution. (ht: Reynolds). That said, the 'Great Myth' would survive if Darwin never existed, as Buddhism can handle if Buddha never was, but Christianity holds itself hostage to the existence in history of Christ. It's the achiles heel and the greatest strength of Christianity - it's not about a person but about what God has done in history. Dropping in at another FREE Week at ye…

The FREE Gospel Project (Exeter)

Yesterday I connected with FREE at Exeter.

Dan Roach spoke on "The Historical Jesus" to a full room at lunchtime, and then John Risbridger spoke on "Who is Jesus" in the evening. Great to be reminded of the goodness and reasonableness of the gospel, rooted in history, revealed in the Bible - the kind of thing that those who want to embrace free thinking will investigate. The evening was particularly well done - outstanding venue - Bostons Tea Party, great Jazz, helpful testimony, quality talk. Most encouraging point of yesterday: "Cat prayed with a girl as angels rejoiced today!" - pray for as he makes her first steps as a Christian and connects into the local church.

Similar events are ongoing at Bath and Plymouth this week in the South West, and elsewhere at Newcastle, Southampton, Surrey and many other Universities. The Free Gospel Project is in action, Christian students are reading Mark's gospel with non-Christian students. C'mon!

I'll com…

Latest UCCF Evangelism Podcast -- including Cully's Bee-Gees/Parable Song!!

Dominion over the Earth: What should Christian Students do with their Student Loans? Or, being human whilst being a student. Or, being a Christian student.

Christian students are encouraged to live and speak for Jesus. And that's a good thing. The question is - who is this Jesus whom they live and speak for? If it's just the Jesus of popular opinion then we're talking about a very small Jesus. One who is kept out of saying anything about "our sin, our genitals and our thinking" (Richard Dawkins).The alternative is to meet the Christ of Scripture, the real Jesus, the one through whom and for whom all things were made, the one who came into the world to do everything so that a renewed heavens and earth would be offered to us. The real Jesus who rightly stakes his claim on all of his world, and all of our lives. God's son, God's king, who reigns from God's holy hill where his life was poured out for his people...  Discipleship is the outworking of life in relation to that Jesus. In essence it's taking refuge in Jesus (Psalm 2v12) but what would that look like in all of life...

Luke Wood from Life Church …