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Showing posts from March, 2011

Where is the Garden of Eden?

Last weekend my two year old son and I watched the F1, and we raced model cars around the living room floor. One was real racing, the other was a model. Just because the model is more real to my son than what he's watching on TV doesn't mean it is.

In her final programme uncovering the Bible's buried secrets Francesca Stavrokopoulou claims to be able to overthrow the Bible by claiming that Adam was a gardening King in a Garden where he walked with God, and that garden was where Jerusalem is (a city whose temple was built after the pattern of Eden). She speaks of the strangeness and appeal of a God who could be known so intimately! She's an atheist - but she's not so far from the truth here...

In a persistent theme she wants to throw out sin and amplify her own innovative voice: 'my idea that Adam is a king'. Again the observation isn't so strange, nor innovative. To anyone reading the Bible seriously many of her discoveries are not so new! Sure they chal…

Does God have a wife?

When Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou asks on the BBC 'Does God have a wife?'the answer is surely something like this:
...the Father sent the Son into the world to give himself up for his bride, for the Father loved his Son and did not want his Son to be alone but to have a wife who could enter into the roomy life of the Triune God. This bride is a people gathered from all the peoples of the world who are not royal in themselves but become glorious by virtue of their marriage to the king who loves them. Kate Middleton wont be Queen because she's worth it but because our future king loves her and marries her - so with the church - Christ is our glory, though indeed we will be his! And today the Son is betrothed to the church and there is going to be the most phenomenal of weddings at the climax of history - so Francesca,  do you know our beloved (and if not can I tell you more about him), and would you like to seek him with us, and would you like to be at the wedding?Consequently…

How does the LORD allure us?

Adapted from puritan Jeremiah Burroughs on Hosea 2:14 'I will allure her'. Our LORD allures us with himself in his gospel. Our LORD says:
I will open the beauty and excellency of the infiniteness of my grace and goodness and set it before them to allure them. I will spread before their souls the beauty of my Christ.
My people pursued their lovers.

They went after KPMG, PwC and Lloyds TSB; for money offered comfort and control. They went after celebrity gossip, social media status and pornography; for they offer intimacy. They went after H&M and Ben & Jerrys and HDTV; for retail therapy, over-priced ice-cream and Brian Cox talking science break the numbness of life.

Did their lovers offer comfort and gain, honour and respect? Yes – but I will bid more. I bid more and will so persuade their hearts that they shall come to enjoy more in me that they possibly could enjoy with all their lovers. Then my gospel will have its full and gracious effect in the hearts of men and wo…

He Loves Us (He is Jealous for me)

I spoke at Bath Uni and Bath Spa Uni CU's joint meeting this week. Over 150 students, and a handful of church leaders from the city, gathered to give thanks for the last year of student mission and to look to the next year. I had the honour of preaching. MP3: He Loves Us (Hosea 2:14-20)

Outline
1. He brings2. He woos.3. He betrothsThe Evangelists HeartThe Evangelists TaskThe Evangelists AimAfter the talk Sarah and James led us to sing Here is Love, of Jesus the Saviour of the world and we sang John Mark McMillan's He Loves Us. They were great choices. Dean chose In Christ Alone and He Loves Us after I preached on the same text in Cardiff last month. I really like McMillan's song though I find the lyrics are a bit sloppy in places - cutting the tree line in half sings oddly and a few of the phrases are probably too poetic for congregational singing. And it's about the only song on this theme of the affections and jealousy of God that anyone seems to know. I intend to kee…

Husbands love your wives

Elders are a gift to the church, and I find it a huge privilege to be in a church where Andy Arscott is the lead elder. We younger men need those who are 30 years ahead of us who will watch over us and humbly walk ahead of us in the Christian life, especially in key areas such as marriage.

Download mp3: Andy Arscott: Family Matters - Husbands love your wives

Love Wins More Than You Can Imagine

There's been a lot of blog ink spilled over the book already and I'll aim not to duplicate too much of it. I received  a free copy from the publisher and I'm thankful to them for that. I know they think this book will prove to be really significant, and I want to be nice here. Sales will be high but this is a Rebecca Black of a book, it's just not very good.

Rob Bell is a big selling author (Velvet Elvis etc) and pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, not to be confused with Mark Driscoll who leads a similarly named megachurch.

He's known for being an outstanding communicator. I think he's fun with words but probably not actually that good a communicator. When challenged he argues he's misunderstood, which can only happen for so long before you have to ask why. His style is very accessible (though having only 150 words per page grates after a while). He constantly asks questions and rarely answers them which while provocative is a bit annoying.

He asks some reall…

Olly Knight - Forum Sessions

Jeremiah Burroughs on Preaching and the Heart

Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs is in the Sibbesian camp:
"That which comes from the heart will most likely go to the heart, though I know god can take that which comes but from the lips and carry it to the heart when he pleases, yet ordinarily that which comes from the heart goes to the heart, therefore ministers when they come to speak the great things of the gospel should not seek so much for brave words, and convincing ways of man's wisdom but let them get their own hearts warmed with that grace of the gospel, and then they are most like to speak to the hearts of their auditors.... Otherwise they speak with the tongues and men and angels, yet become like the sounding of brass and the tinkling cymbal. This is an expression even of a Jesuit, it was then a great shame, that god's ministers should not labour to speak so as that they may speak to the hearts of people: you must be desirous of such kind of preaching as you find speaks to your hearts, not that comes merely to your …

Enjoy Christ from Leviticus

Mike Reeves at Forum NW on Leviticus.
That's Mike Reeves on Leviticus.
You know it'll be tasty.
Download: Four talks on Leviticus

UCCF Forum South West 2011

Here are the mp3's from Forum SW where Pete Greasley and Jim Walford were our main speakers.
The conference was for student leaders in the South West.
Workshops related to CU values were also held (not recorded).
Session 1 - The Hope of Grace (Pete Greasley). MP3 failure.
Watch/listen to another version of the same material from Pete's church, along with the rest of his Romans seriesSession 2 - The Gap between Grace & Glory (Pete Greasley)Session 3 - A Word to Leaders from 3 John (Jim Walford)Session 4 - The Triumph of Sovereign Grace (Pete Greasley)

The Necessity of Atheism

My first post is now up at Newfrontiers' Theology Matters:
The Necessity of Atheism

In other linkage: Don't miss Faulks on Fiction, only on iPlayer for a few more days. Faulks on Fiction: The Hero, The Lover, The Snob & The Villain. A great insight into story.

Love Wins: How do you talk about heaven and hell well?

It is very difficult to talk about hell and it should be.

It's a subject for anguish and tears, and because it's almost impossible to be heard when you mention the word. I spoke on the subject evangelistically a couple of years ago and got a lot of flack for it.
It's hard to speak of, hard but necessary,

I do however think this is by far the best way in:
Kings English: I am a jealous God. Glen writes:
"We are very far here from the popular conception of God as some distant omnibeing indifferent to the plight of his creatures. Neither is he some stern patriarch in the sky unwilling to reveal his feelings lest he lose face. Here is a God with His heart on His sleeve. “I am jealous” He says. In fact a few chapters later He will say “My name is Jealous.” (Exodus 34:14).
God loves with a burning, faithful, marital, rightly possessive, rightly jealous love.
First of all the Father loves His Son in the power of His Almighty Spirit. It is a marriage like love, a burning, fai…