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Showing posts from April, 2012

Enjoying Christ with the Church Fathers

Dan Hames is a Masters student in early church fathers ("Patristics") at Oxford University. We've just had seven hours of training with him.

Church history for a team involved in evangelism among students? You bet. Church history, and historical theology, are vital disciplines to stop us swallowing the assumptions of our age, to keep us humble and to help us see Christ more clearly.

We spent time with the mostly heroic
Justin Martyr and Ireneus, with Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria and their opponents Arius, Diodore, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius.

Of huge importance was considering the importance of the incarnation - for "the unassumed is the unhealed" so it is necessary that the Son took on Flesh, and in healing us he brings us to participate in the divine nature! This stands in great contrast to those in the early centuries of the church who bought into a separation between God and man, to ideas of God being unaffected, to non-Christ-centred approa…

Lift the veil and see

Happy endings need the right hero, what only the hero can do. But in the end, 'The Hero' is 'The Happy Ending'. The best story. The mega story, isn't about happy benefits. It will be said on that day,

“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9 ESV)

We're called to look to The LORD of Hosts but some say, what's the fuss about. His death and resurrection answers death, and sorrow and shame and "the veil" or "covering" that covers the world. Human eyes, minds, hearts are veiled. They cannot see.

But, the LORD of Hosts says as we hear of him, as we turn to him, the veil is lifted and the flood light of the Holy Spirit shines into our hearts so that we might see him. As in creation so in recreation, our hearts are remade to see him.

As a bride walking down the aisle is veiled, so we are. But as we come to our d…

On the first day of a renewed creation

The happy endings we seek in life so often go AWOL. The career prospects. The dream of a relationship. Or, as I witnessed a few months ago, my parents plans for retirement thrown up in the air by a health scare for my Dad. He's had surgery and seems well, but in the week between Christmas and New Year everything was unknown. The future looked insecure. What were we to think then?

To get a happy ending, you need the right hero - and you need what only he can do.

Isaiah tells the story (25:7-8).

Death is the greatest enemy. It makes every story tragic in the end. We say someone died before their time, but every death is too soon. We say, they died well, but death always steals people away.

And with and on top of death come sorrow and shame. Ruining our stories.

The LORD of Hosts calls for a wedding feast but we can't get ourselves there.

He has to open the door. And he did. He walked into his world (as a child, born from a virgin's womb). Lived spotlessly. Lived lovingly, e…

How do you get a happy ending?

Life is story. You might want to say its all meaningless, but even a three year old can see patterns and plots in their day to day life.

Life is small stories and subplots, big stories and big events. Micro-narratives and Meta-narratives.

Karaoke competitions have been turned into stories, twenty-first century soap operas.

Sport is story, with history and rivalry and form between teams, men and women just doing their job become characters in an unfolding story. But will the story have a happy ending or a unhappy ending. Comedy or tragedy? And if the subplots are tragic might the big story be comic? What kind of story is my life or your life?

Isaiah painted a picture of the future to the people of his day and ours, as he searched the Spirit for revelation of Jesus Christ. Death would come to the people and death would come to the nation, but Isaiah believed in resurrection, in another day beyond the last day.

Happy endings need the story to have the right hero.

There would be a feast.…

Video: The Atonement in Hosea: Redemption (Andrew Wilson)

Andrew Wilson kicks of a series at Kings Church Eastbourne on The Atonement in the Minor Prophets, with this from Hosea 3, on Redemption.

I appreciate the way he weaves scenes from Liam Neeson's film Taken into his preaching, noting that human trafficking is probably the closest illustration to slavery today, and that the picture of redemption in the Bible is about liberation from slavery.

Watch the video here:

Redemption from Kings Church Eastbourne on Vimeo. Song: Redemption (Matt Giles)

Video: The Story of Jesus is the Story of the Whole Bible

Andrew Wilson offers a short summary of the Old Testament scriptures, the books that tell the story that leads up to the coming of The Messiah, who it was written would live, suffer and rise from the dead.

The message of the New Testament is that Jesus is who everyone was meant to be expecting - because he is the Christ of the Old Testament. Jesus is the expected Eucatastrophe not some Deus Ex Machina moment

Andrew's 10 minute summary video is a great way to catch the big picture:

Old Testament Summary from Juicy Digital (Josh) on Vimeo.
More from Andrew Wilson here: Atonement: Redemption and here Kings Church Eastbourne

Video: 5 reasons to believe Jesus rose from the dead

Richard Cunningham (UCCF Director) lays out five good reasons to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

Christianity stands and falls on this claim. And its a claim that can be tested in the court of history. It makes sense to test the claim and you can.

Watch and think:
5 Reasons Why You Can Believe Jesus Rose From The Dead from Highfields Church on Vimeo.

Sharing the love: UCCF & Student Alpha

The Alpha course needs very little introduction having become something of a global phenomenon, and a tool used to bring many to know Jesus.

The student version 'Student Alpha' takes the same basic, relational introduction to Jesus into a student kitchen, balancing a laptop on an ironing board, and gathering a small group of friends together. It'sone of many excellent tools to equip students to introduce their mates to Jesus and I'm glad to see students using it.

Our friends at Student Alpha are a great partners in our mission to see every student in Great Britain have an opportunity to respond to the good news of Jesus. In addition to my role as a UCCF Team Leader I have a volunteer role as Student Alpha's Advisor in the South West and I've done a brief interview for the Student Alpha blog.

To keep growing I need to keep listening

The Holy Spirit gives the church teachers.

One of the ways to access teachers is through books.

You can learn from books. And you can learn from life. Usually more from the latter, but "both-and" is better than "either-or".


1. The Good God (Michael Reeves)
Long awaited, this book gets the reader right on the most important of questions - the God question. 
You've almost certainly never read such an accesible book on God. 
Mike looks at the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and shows how good they are. 
The Good God contrasts the Triune God with classic approaches to a solitary god, providing clear answers to interact with Islamic and Atheist approaches, and also to root out the incredibly unhelpful thinking about "god" that slips into our doctrine of God, usually depersonalising and debeautifing him.
I'm reading…