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Showing posts from April, 2009

MP3: Exodus 4 - Dave Bish at Frontiers Church

MP3 from my preach on Exodus 4 at Frontiers Church Exeter last Sunday

I'm loving that our church are working through Exodus week by week. Since we joined the church we've worked through Genesis, Jonah, 2 Corinthians and now Exodus... it's great to feast on God's word with our family.

Follow the Exodus label for the script from my preach. Parts 1 and 2 of 3 posted already. The theme of my walk is that there is good reason to believe in God. Here, that brings the defeat of evil - and adoption as sons - through and in the Son of God.

Also in this series:
Andy Arscott - Exodus 1
Ben Powell - Exodus 2
Stu Alred - Exodus 3

We all have our creation stories (Glen Scrivener)

Yesterday I was pondering a five part evangelistic series from the start of Genesis, more on that later/soon. 

Glen Scrivener cites Brian Cox: "Every civilization has its own creation story":The ancient Chinese, indian mystics and Christian theologians all place a divine creator at the heart of their creation stories. Science too has an elaborate story that describes the universe’s genesis. It tells us how the fundamental constituents of the cosmos took on their form. The difference with this story is that we can test it. We can find out if its true by tearing matter apart and looking at the pieces. All you need is a machine powerful enough to restage the first moments after creation… Glen then responds:The Christian story looks very different. This is because time and chance are not the main players in this story. The Christian story begins with a purposeful Creator Father who makes all things in and through and for His Son, Jesus, in the power of His eternal Spirit. A…

The Exodus Plagues as De-Creation?

Peter Leithart on Psalm 105 and the plagues of Exodus... "the summary begins in darkness (reversing the first day of creation) and ends with the death of firstborn sons (reversing the sixth day of creation)"

De-creating Egypt whilst re-creating the universe with his own firstborn at the centre of it? A new humanity being brought to the mountain of the Lord... Interesting.

Tim Hughes on the UCCF Evangelism Podcast

Stamping heavenly glory upon the contemplating soul

I love the puritans for their earnest devotion to the obvious. Such as this from John Flavel in A Fountain of Life Opened Up on the centrality of Christ:

"the studying of Christ in the gospel, stamps such a heavenly glory upon the contemplating soul"
(2 Corinthians 3:18).

"[Preachers]it is our calling, as the Bridegroom’s friends, to woo and win souls to Christ, to set him forth to the people as crucified among them, Gal. 3: 1, to present him in all his attractive excellencies, that all hearts may be ravished with his beauty, and charmed into his arms by love: we must also be able to defend the truths of Christ against undermining heretics, to instil his knowledge into the ignorant, to answer the cases and scruples of poor doubting Christians...let the knowledge of Christ dwell richly in us.... Take heed that you rest not satisfied with that knowledge of Christ you have attained, but grow on... sequester yourselves to this study."

Tony Reinke has more from Flavel

The Gospel Coalition - Mark Driscoll

When I saw the 40-point outline at Resurgence of this preach by Mark Driscoll, I confess was a little dubious and "negative". 40 points!! It's not really much of an exposition of 2 Timothy and it verges on ranting a times... but there is some helpful stuff to hear for me as a member of a church knowing how I could be a nightmare to those called to preach the word and care for my soul. I want to be a joy to them as they bring me to joy in Jesus.

Go watch: Mark Driscoll - Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

I worked on 2 Timothy last year: A call to Inky and Kind Ministry

Exodus 4 - Evil Defeated (part 2)

At this point I feel a bit like a Shakespearean narrator “Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona…” because we’re about to watch the trailer for the action that kicks off from Exodus 5-15. We’re about to taste the appetizer. And what unfolds is a story better than Romeo and Juliet. And our story is no tragedy. It’s a comedy, a story with a genuinely happy ending. So, come with faith, come expectant. Let the word of God produce faith in you as you hear it. Look at 4v21-23, it’s a love story, it’s a war film. The protagonists:

1. The LORD God Almighty and his firstborn son.
2. The Pharaoh and his firstborn son.

This is the latest installment of a great cosmic battle, raging since Genesis 3. A battle between “The seed of the woman” and “The seed of the Serpent”. Between God’s son and the devilish tyrants. Battles like Abel vs. Cain – firstblood to he serpent.The Sons of Noah vs. Nimrod the tyrant who built Babel. Abraham against an earlier Pharaoh… David vs. Goliath. And so on…

SGM Pastors Conference MP3s

Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastors Conference 2009

The Pastor’s Charge, Part 1 (C.J. Mahaney) Download MP3
ThePastor’s Teaching (Jeff Purswell) Download MP3
The Pastor’sMission (Dave Harvey)Download MP3
ThePastor’s Legacy (Jared Mellinger)Download MP3
The Pastor’s Charge, Part 2(C.J. Mahaney)Download MP3

The Pastor and Christian Liberty (Craig Cabaniss) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and College Ministry: Compelling Reasons to Take the Gospel to the Campus (Bill Kittrell)Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and His Community: How the Gospel Informs Our Mission beyond the Church (Mark Dever)Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and His Older Children: The Possibilities and Perils of Parenting Teens (Bob Kauflin)  Download MP3 | Download PDF

The Pastor and Preaching: How to Start a Sermon, End a Sermon, and Prepare the Middle of a Sermon (Mike Bullmore) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and Small-Group Leaders (Jim Donohue) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and the Counseling P…

Jamie Oliver's Meatballs and Pasta

The sabbatical timetable has slipped a bit due to circumstances, so this is last Friday's new meal cooked on a Monday evening. Once more from Jamie Oliver, though sourced online rather than from 'Cook with Jamie'.

So this is meatballs made from mince beef, with Jacob's crackers, mustard, rosemary and oregano in a pasta sauce made from onions, garlic, fresh chili, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

With spaghetti and garlic bread.

I also made some additional side-dishes for a curry two weeks ago. No photos for that.

Christian doctrine of "heaven" and hell

John Piper provokes us with the question "would you be happy in heaven if Jesus was not there?" and now Ligon Duncan adds further clarity: Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God, with a mediator. Too easy to talk of Christ-ian doctrines without talking about Jesus Christ. Just as we all too easily slip into speaking about what it means to be a Christian without reference to Christ.

Exodus 4 - There's no good reason to believe in God? (part 1)

The weird thing about Christians isn’t that we love one another. It’s that we believe in God. Christians – may as well believe in fairies and the flying spaghetti monster – neither are more likely to be real than God, right There were days when I’d go into my job in a high street bank and find myself thinking am I just stupid and quaint to be a Christian, surrounded by those who aren’t Christians. Surely, faith is: believing without evidence, right? Why should anyone believe that God is really among us this morning (1 Cor 14v25)? Why should anyone take seriously our claims to know Jesus, personally, relationally?

We find Moses at the famous burning bush, meeting with God. He believes because he’s meeting with God. And the disciples of Jesus believed he had risen from the dead because they met with him. But, what about when Moses goes back to Israel, or what about the people we meet in Exeter? Is this church thing just Narnia? Real for us, but then we go back out through the wardrobe i…

Gavin Peacock: Up until then football was my God.. [but] our souls were made for the majesty of Christ

The Times continues to follow the story of Gavin Peacock's move from football pundit to pastor-in-training...

Gavin Peacock practises what he preaches in new career
Now 41, he became a Christian aged 19. “I walked into a youth group as a young professional footballer with money in his pocket, a nice car, promising career,” he says. “The world would say I’ve got everything. And these young people were just sitting around talking about Christ as if they knew him personally. I thought, ‘There’s something real here and something missing in my life... Up until then football was my God. Suddenly, everything fell into its proper place. I realised who Jesus was and what He had done on the cross by dying for my sin. We want to partake in something of beauty, of glory, to take us out and up. Our souls were made for the majesty of Christ,” 
he says, not watching the screen. Voice calm, clear and certain, eyes ablaze."

Helpfully Peacock highlights that the core issue is - what/who we'…

Video: In Celebration of My Wife's 30th Birthday

This week my sabbatical has been a little less sabbathic. On Monday I gave a lecture, and I'm preaching on Sunday. Amidst all that today Zach is six weeks old. Facebook friends of mine can see him here:

And everyone else, celebrate in advance my wife's 30th birthday (which is on Sunday) with this classy video from Andrew Lawrence and her brother Pete.

Though there's a very good chance she'll be out changing Zach's nappy it is kinda cool that I get to preach the gospel on her birthday with our church family.

How are we to recognise the presence of God?

I think I'll be citing this quote towards the end of my preach of Exodus 4 on Sunday. From Spurgeon on Genesis 28: Jacob's waking exclamation, a passage Matt and I are studying later this morning. The question is similar to that posed by Moses in Exodus 4:1 - 'how will they believe that the LORD appeared to me?', while Jacob awakes to realise that he had not recognised the presence of God... Spurgeon's answer is great:

"Wh[o] is the Spirit which shall enable us constantly to feel [him]? The presence of electricity is very soon discovered by those bodies which are susceptible of its action. The presence… of iron in a vessel is very soon detected and discovered by the magnetic needle. There is an affinity between them. That [those who aren’t Christians] should not discover God here I do not wonder at: that they should even say, "There is no God," is no marvel, because there is nothing in their nature akin to him, and therefore they do not perceive him. …

Why Johnny Can't Preach, and Johnny Piper's Book on Preaching

Why Johnny Can't Preach by T.David Gordon (112 pages) and The Supremacy of God in Preaching (128 pages)are probably my favourite two books on preaching. I've only just finished the first, and I've had the joy of reading the latter several times over the last few years. Neither is a technical manual, but they're books for the heart.

With Piper you get what you expect - these are lectures from several years ago on preaching passionately. I remember getting the sense of need to rub peoples faces in the text of scripture from this book. Piper helps me see the gravity of preaching, almost overwhelmingly. His T4G06 message on "Why Expository Preaching is Particularly Glorifying to God" carries a similar thrust.

Don Carson introduced Piper at The Gospel Coalition Conference 2009 saying his preaching is like a dog chewing on a bone. Chew it.

"...You shouldn't give a rip what I think the main point is.
What matters is can the people see it.
Show me the text. L…

Good designers ask "why?"

Three of my favourite blogs are Funky Pancake, The Book Design Review and Retinart because they're about creativity and design. Alex Charchar at Retinart just blogged this...

Client: "Make this line of text fluro pink, I like pink. And the background yellow. Yeah! Yellloooww. I like pink and yellow."
Designer: "Pink on yellow? Mmm. 
From what depth of the ABYSS did the logic you insult the intelligent by pretending to posses come?! Answer me with nobility and reason, lest I cast you into the fiery pits of the damned for wishing such a horror on the eyes!
 Why's that?"
Client: "It's more important than that other text there"
Designer: "Ah, I see what you're going for. But.. Pink on yellow will be a bit strong and hard to read because of the low contrast—in fact, it'll probably be ignored because of it... Why don't we go with a rule in the margin, between this column and the one next to it? Nothing big and bold, something subtle and …

Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven

Cited by Tim Keller at The Gospel Coalition conference which I'm attending some of in my study, with my son...

Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven: David Clarkson: "Secret and soul idolatry, when the mind is set on anything more than God; when anything is more valued than God, more desired than God, more sought than God, more loved than God. Then is that soul worship, which is due only to God."

Note to self,much as I value Tim Keller's teaching he's not my pastor, his name is Andy Arscott.

Watch The Gospel Coalition Conference on Live Webcast Watch Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and others live. GMT -6hrs.

The Disciple in Christ

On Monday I gave a 'lecture' for the Peninsula Gospel Partnership Training Course in Plymouth on Discipling Others. This is part of that.

Who a Christian is is a vital question. You can’t do much Christian discipleship without being able to answer it. We jump into Galatians 3v26-4v7 after the most phenomenal rollercoaster of an unpacking of the story of the law and God’s promises. It’s so tasty. And now discover that v23, faith has come = Jesus has come… and so, v26 – IN CHRIST YOU ARE ALL SONS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH. Male or female, Jew or Gentile, Slave or free. ALL are sons of God.

The Christian looks like Jesus (Galatians 3v26-29)
Here is the status of the people of God!! V26 – you are all sons of God through faith. Having – v27 – put on Christ – wearing him – clothed in righteousness, his righteousness.. Just as Jacob dressed up as Esau and received his blessing, so we are dressed up as Jesus, by God. Earlier Paul made a big fuss of God’s promise only being to the ONE seed o…

Tim Keller in London

When I don't desire God: The Good News of Psalm 63

Glen Scrivener - When I don't desire the Lord... the King does: 
"I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands."
Now be honest, doesn’t some part of you go “Really? Have I really beheld His power and glory? Really? Have I in the past and will I in the future praise Him so wholeheartedly? Really? As long as I live? Am I perjuring myself here??” But friend, read on to the final verse…
11 But the king will rejoice in God
These are the words of the king - the king on whose lips are the words of The King. And He has beheld the power and glory of the LORD in the ultimate sanctuary. He is the ultimate, white-hot Worshipper of God. These words are not a guide to human worship so much as a window onto divine worship. So what should be our response?

Why I love the church - Marcus Honeysett

Marcus Honeysett is blogging on "Why I love the church" which is a subject I could write on for days. I am, actually - 10,000 words in the last couple of weeks...

Go read Marcus...  I want to start this reflection by saying “be excited about the biblical vision for church, and decide to be the church as God declares it to be in the Bible. Don’t settle for less.”

Also, Marcus has new mp3s available on: Growing in Spiritual Leadership and Keep going with God in junior leadership.

The Narnia Code: Planet Narnia by Michael Ward

Just watched The Narnia Code on BBC1. It's a fascinating look at the Narnia Chronicles, triggered by Michael Ward noticing that CS Lewis wrote a poem about Jupiter in which he summarised it as being "winter past, and guilt forgiven" which is a very fine five word summary of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Ward argues that Lewis believed in a meaning-drenched universe, that you have to have this if you're going to believe in Christianity. Even though the stories of the planets aren't true, the point is they they display the sense that this universe is radiating the glory of God.

I've ordered the book, all 364 pages of it. Having walked with CS Lewis over recent months, enjoying several of his imaginative novels (like Perelandra) and essays (like The Funeral of a Great Myth), enjoying his perspective on God's meaningful universe. Our apologetic can learn much from Lewis I'm sure, not just to argue rigorously, but to invite people to see the univer…

Lex Loizides on The Great Awakening

Lex continues his journey through church history - reaching The Great Awakening.

"Rooted strongly in the theology of the Reformation (16th Century) and the Puritans (17th Century) these young evangelists and church planters proclaimed a Bible-based message with a new passion.
Their experiences of God’s love and their encounters of the power of the Holy Spirit brought them criticism from the religious minority, and a skeptical press, but it gave them an irresistible magnetism amongst ordinary people. Unprecedented numbers attended their meetings."

Note: This isn't photo isn't Newfrontiers gone Emergent, it's a preacher with a sporting injury. Pray for his recovery.

Happy Blogiversary Adrian Warnock and FunkyPancake

Six years of two great British blogs began: Funkypancake's photoblog, with an eye for the mundane and Adrian Warnock's blog. Today Adrian posts an interview with Liam Goligher, pastor of Duke Street Church, Richmond, and one of the main speakers at New Word Alive this year.

The Blue Fish Project, as a blog is six years old in September. Though things really began here in the autumn of 1998.

Loving my wife... when she's a new mother.

This is something of a follow-up to Loving My Wife that I wrote last summer. It also resonates with Dave Warnock's post on How to help your wife when there is a new baby.

Previously I reflected that this Bible teacher isn't going to best love his wife by filedumping conference audio, study and the like onto my wife when I get home, instinctive as that is for me. Rather, if I've really studied and benefitted from a conference - if I've met Jesus - then the effect should be transformational, and that should help me fulfil my primary humanward calling, to love my wife, through love, kindness, patience etc. Which isn't to say I shouldn't be verbally bringing her to see and treasure Christ, but that firstly I should adorn that gospel with my life. Preaching the gospel without words, one could say.

Life with our newborn son, now 10lb 10oz of him, in the house follows in the stead of this. One might give her the Bish-family iPod with sermons to listen to whilst breas…

Ann Brown - Word and Image

We invited Ann Brown to our most recent team gathering, in March. Kenny blogs his notes from her sessions on Word and Image.

Calvin: "In faithful preaching of the Word of God Christ is depicted before our eyes as crucified. From this one fact they could have learned more than from a thousand crosses of wood and stone...the invention of the arts is a gift of God, by no means to be despised."

I attempted to record the audio of these sessions but the files corrupted. Ann Brown is speaking at Forum in September so.

Seven Days on Sabbatical

1. Walk of Witness in the city centre - watching the passion narrative enacted on Good Friday.
2. Cooking on Sabbatical with Jamie Oliver. The pasta worked. The lamb worked. The veg worked. The cake didn't rise.
3. Teignmouth beach on a sunny day. You have no idea how blown away we still are that we got sent to Devon.
4. Season Six of The West Wing. All change but good change.
5. Duck racing at Fingle Bridge. We didn't know this was happening but we arrived just in time for the action.
6. Lunch with Em and Zach in Costa Coffee. Chilled family time followed by time in the good book.
7. Musing on the Wisdom Literature, especially Proverbs and The Song of Songs... Refreshed to see Christ our Wisdom, and Christ the husband of the church!
7a. Spotify. Started out with Classical and now moved on to studying to the sounds of Spotify 80s: Anyone for Huey Lewis' The Power of Love or a bit of Dire Straits Brothers in Arms...

MP3: Richard Sibbes - God and the gospel

The Unquenchable Flame: Introducing the Reformation - Michael Reeves (IVP, 2009)

Burning pyres, nuns on the run, stirring courage, comic relief: the story of the Protestant Reformation is a gripping tale, packed with drama. But what motivated the Reformers? And what were they really like?

'With the skill of a scholar and the art of a storyteller, Michael Reeves has written what is, quite simply, the best brief introduction to the Reformation I have read.'
Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

'A lively and up-to-date account of this important event in Christian history that will stir the heart, refresh the soul and direct the mind towards a deeper understanding of our faith.'
Gerald Bray

Don't miss out: pre-order now from IVP online. Enter the code 'FLAME09' when you order before May 31st to get a £1 discount.

ht: Dan Hames

AN Wilson: The Resurrection - An Extraordinarily Haunting Story

Can't say I read the Daily Mail, but someone pointed out this Easter article by AN Wilson: Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity

"....In the past, I have questioned its veracity and suggested that it should not be taken literally. But the more I read the Easter story, the better it seems to fit and apply to the human condition. That, too, is why I now believe in it. Easter confronts us with a historical event set in time. We are faced with a story of an empty tomb, of a small group of men and women who were at one stage hiding for their lives and at the next were brave enough to face the full judicial persecution of the Roman Empire and proclaim their belief in a risen Christ. contrast to those ephemeral pundits of today, I have as my companions in belief such Christians as Dostoevsky, T. S. Eliot, Samuel Johnson and all the saints, known and unknown, throughout the ages. ...Sadly, they have…

The Gospel According to Proverbs

Sean Green is blogging through Proverbs one chapter at a time. The last few days I've been reflecting on it as a whole - which is a big task, and maybe the best way to eat an elephant is in thin slices as Sean is doing. Nonetheless...

* Update: 2 page version of this - The Gospel according to Proverbs PDF

A King (Solomon) instructs his son, as he should (Ephesians 6:1-4), about which woman to marry. A kinda inverse of Voddie's book What he must be if he wants to marry my daughter. This is a gospel drama. Two women seek the affections of this son of the king. This is the tale of the two women. One is fruitful and life-giving, her name is Wisdom. In her is knowledge of God and understanding. The other woman sounds amazing, she dresses seductively, she has persuasiv e and sweet words, but the aftertaste is bitter and her path leads to hell, her name is Folly or the Forbidden Woman.

Who can find the woman wisdom? Who can solve this riddle?  The drama climaxes in Proverbs 31 with the…

The Times: The Church must stop trivialising Easter

Bishop Tom Wright in The Times: Christians must keep their nerve: the Resurrection isn’t a metaphor, it’s a physical fact

"....Easter has been sidelined because this message doesn't fit our prevailing world view. For at least 200 years the West has lived on the dream that we can bring justice and beauty to the world all by ourselves. The split between God and the “real” world has produced a public life that lurches between anarchy and tyranny, and an aesthetic that swings dramatically between sentimentalism and brutalism. But we still want to do things our own way, even though we laugh at politicians who claim to be saving the world, and artists who claim “inspiration” when they put cows in formaldehyde. The world wants to hush up the real meaning of Easter. Death is the final weapon of the tyrant or, for that matter, the anarchist, and resurrection indicates that this weapon doesn't have the last word. When the Church begins to work with Easter energy on the twin tasks of…

Tyndale House Conferences

The Bible and recent discoveries
Saturday 25 April 2009 at Tyndale House, Cambridge
Dr Martin Heide, University of Marburg
We live in an age when many discoveries are being made and when sensational and misleading claims about what has been discovered catch the public eye. This day conference with a leading expert, well experienced in evaluating and explaining discoveries for lay audiences, will seek to equip Christians to understand the historical basis of the Christian faith and to share that with others. Alongside a long involvement in church leadership in southern Germany, he has two doctorates in Semitic studies. He has published previously unknown material in Arabic, Ethiopic, and Hebrew, and carries out research in a large range of ancient languages.

Further details: The event will be held at Tyndale House, 36 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge, CB3 9BA; Coffee will be available from 10.00. Spaces are limited, so please reserve a place in advance by contacting Mrs Ka…

Jamie Oliver's Proper Blokes' Sausage Fusilli

On Sabbatical, at Marcus' suggestion, I'm going to try to learn to cook something new each Friday...

UCCF's South East team gave me Hot Fuzz and Cook with Jamie when I defected to the West nearly two years ago. The DVD is well used but I confess this is the first use I've made of the cookbook. Belatedly, thanks!

Ingredients: fusilli, fennel seeds, parsley, chillies, sausage meat, white wine, parmesan, butter, oregano.

Savouring life as gift.

On the Third Day: reflections on the Resurrection of Jesus

Posted for The Evangelical Alliance, Slipstream blog day on the resurrection.

Jim Hamilton on the books of Samuel and Jesus...
[In David's rise to power we see the ] king who would be anointed, who would save God’s people, and who would restrain their evil. This king would be something of a surprise—he would come in an unexpected way, and he would be opposed by the establishment. He would follow in the footsteps of those “of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb 11:38). This coming king might be expected to take responsibility for wrongs done by others, be betrayed by those whom he had blessed, and refuse to lift his hand to defend himself but rather entrust himself to God, who judges justly. This king would almost certainly be expected to crush the head of the serpent, and in so doing he would have his heel struck. And something remarkable might be expected to happen “on the third day,”[for David: see …

Preaching: "Fill the sails of your hearers' souls with the wind of confidence in the Redeemer"

T. David Gordon in Why Johnny Can't Preach:

"I know that there are those who are terribly afraid that such Christ-centered preaching will lead to licentiousness; but I categoricaly deny it. I've witnessed with my own eyes the difference between believers who suffer through moralistic preaching and those who experience Christological preaching.  The former are never as strong or vibrant in their Christian discipleship as the latter.  In theory, we all say we believe, for instance, that good works are the "inevitable" fruit of saving faith.  I not only say this; I believe it.

I believe that as people's confidence in Christ goes they do, ordinarily and inevitably, bear fruit that accords with faith.  Thus, there is no need for some trade-off here, or some alleged dichotomy suggesting that we need to preach morality if we are to have morality.  No; preach Christ and you will have morality.  Fill the sails of your hearers' souls with the wind of confidence in …

Yes we can! The Lost Art of Oratory

With Paul's words about the folly of human wisdom in my head, with the knowledge that it's the power of the Spirit that changes things, and with the recognition that since God speaks words nonethless matter, I'm watching: Yes we can! The Lost Art of Oratory.

Julian Hardyman: How to make your pastor look shifty

How to make your pastor look shifty by Julian Hardyman (Evangelicals Now)

You are a nice kind person, I’m sure, so you won’t want to do this. But if you aren’t, let me tell you an almost sure way to make your pastor or vicar look shifty and feel guilty. Ask him a question. Not ‘How much of your last four sermons did you get from the internet?’ or even ‘How many non-Christian friends do you have?’ or ‘What is your Five Year Strategy for the church?’ (though those might achieve the desired effect). Try this: ‘How often do you work on your day off?’...

I wonder if that applies to blogging on your week off.  Um...

Jesus is the New Israel (Marcus Honeysett)

“Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” (Poland 2009)

When Carey, fueled by the gospel-saturated theology of Andrew Fuller, headed to India he went on the condition that those left behind would hold the rope for him. I'm on sabbatical but I'm glad to be holding the rope over the coming week. We have two teams of students from the South West (and London) heading to Poland, to Warsaw and Katowice, to be CU guests for university missions there. We did this last year for the first time, in Gdansk, and my prayer is that we'll again be able to rejoice at the unstoppable spread of the gospel in the week ahead.

#uccf, #ifes

The Affections and a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship: "teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea"

Adrian Reynolds notes that the why of partnership is affections"a lot of Christian "partnership" is based on toleration. "I can just about put up with you." Or "I know we are different, but I can live with our differences."

Reflecting on what's happening three hundred miles away from here at Pwllheli at the second New Word Alive conference (#nwa9) [and delighting to hear from #nfellingham that Jerry Bridges and Wayne Grudem are appearently going to be there next year] I love that Christians can stand together. Not because we're lily-livered people who will overlook differences to be together and put up with one another, but big as our differences are we're people who want it all, we want to big-up our joy in the gospel and foster affection for those who share our love for the gospel.

Initiatives like New Word Alive offer surely opportunity for robust unity grounded in relationships - witness the affection developed from the first conferen…

Preaching: Holding a brief for the great King who has sent me as his ambassador

Sean Lucas on preaching: "What that means is that though my preaching explains the text, it is not meant to be an in-depth technical treatment of a particular text. I can do that and I do that when I teach a Bible class; but preaching is not that kind of thing. That is not to say that I don't teach or do my homework when I preach--I do and am constantly pointing people to what the Bible says (often you'll hear me say, "Look at verse 4; see what it says there..."). But preaching is ultimately about persuasion--I'm holding a brief for the great King who has sent me as his ambassador. I am before the congregation to persuade them that God is the greatest being in the universe, the only one who can truly satisfy their deepest longings and desires."
Lucas moving to be Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Missisippi.

MP3: Tim Keller and Gary Habermas: "Christian philosophers [are] writing really sharp apologetics"

Evangelical Alliance's Slipstream podcast has an interview with Gary Habermas and Tim Keller. EA Slipstream

Gary Habermas is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia in the USA, and a known expert on Christ's resurrection...  Tim Keller is founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City which has spawned an international church planting movement.