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Showing posts from July, 2012

A New Name: Cadaver cloaked in sequins

The face of anorexia is not a glossy model in a perfume ad. It’s a starving animal, circling the empty cupboards, blank-eyed and vacant. It’s a face frozen in a rictus grin, mouthing lies. ‘I’m fine,’ it says. ‘Everything is under control.’ ‘I have always felt hungry,’ says Emma Scrivener.

Emma Scriverner's book is out on July 20th. It's called A New Name.

‘Not just for food, but for everything: from money to recognition. I’m a human chasm, a vortex of insatiable longing.’ Rescued from a disorder that nearly killed her, Emma is now passionate about warning others about the dark and hidden world she inhabited for too long.

Harrowing, heart-breaking, human and humorous, this book will grip you from start to finish. Wonder with Emma as God’s grace breaks through and reshapes her heart and thinking, redeeming that which had seemed lost. Emma's personal story of the God who is for the good girls as well as the bad.

‘A moving and beautifully written book for all who want to thin…

Sibbesian Books

I've edited and modernised three books by Richard Sibbes and Jeremiah Burroughs. They're English puritans which means people will probably assume they're stern and cold, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  The puritans were a divided house and some were hard and moralistic, but some where of a different class.
The Sunshine of the Gospel - Richard Sibbes, is the place to to start. Catch his vision of the Christ who changes hearts from a collection of his sermons.

A Fire Kindled from Heaven - Richard Sibbes, more of Sibbes' portrayal of Christ, our great husband, particularly from The Song of Songs.

Of Lovers and Whores - Jeremiah Burroughs, the sermons of Burroughs on Hosea 2:14-23, where you'll see how the LORD allures us back to himself as we run hard away from him.

You'll be able to tell they're old books but the language has been modernised and updated for today, with footnotes added. The voice of Sibbes and Burroughs lightly edited for today.


Students need church

It's claimed that most Christian students fail to connect to church at University. But, University isn't dangerous for a Christians. I see students thriving in Christian Unions and same students are highly committed to their church.

When you come out as a Christian at University it's harder to avoid church than it is to find it. The road is well trodden.

Christian Unions are the witnessing communities of Christian students, gathered together to support one another and to give the rest of their University the opportunity to hear of Jesus, and to respond and join them as members of the church for eternity. 

At the start of a new year the Christian Union has to rebuild its team and a vital part of that is to connect new arrivals to a church in their city. The average Christian student arriving at University will find that there is a 2nd year student connected to their hall whose purpose is to find them, to connect them to a church and get them started in the life of a discipl…

Our great desire is to be characterised by generosity

"It is our great desire that in pursuing our own strategic goals of establishing a Christian centre of excellence we develop relationships with those around us that are characterised by courtesy and generosity."

The Oxford Mail, reports on the opening of a new centre for global student mission in Oxford, quotes UCCF's Director Richard Cunningham expressing our desire - generosity.

Stated desires make me ask the question of myself... cos there's my ideal and desire, and then there's me!

I've been involved with this work for 15 years since just after I became a Christian - first as a student, then an intern, and then on the staff team. The ministry of the UCCF and IFES is the fruit of a move of God through students like Norman Grubb at Cambridge in 1919 which has grown and borne fruit all over the world, gathering evangelical churches together for student mission for nearly a century... a legacy carried by subsequent generations who've given themselves t…

Some days I'm not sure I know the first thing about Jesus

Last month a friend shared that he'd been teaching explicitly on grace but had implicitly taught the opposite of grace by making it too heavy and difficult, leaving his listener feeling unable to grasp it.

He'd been heartbroken to see how he'd inadvertantly perverted grace.

My friend humbly and helpfully challenged a sermon I'd preached where I'd used an overly intellectual introduction. I'd implicitly preached that the gospel is for smart people.

Heartbreaking. How does one preach the overwhelming love of Jesus while simultaneously saying that love isn't for everyone...

Some disclaimers help. I say this because I found this interesting. This might not help you and that's ok. You don't need to understand this. Self-deprecation helps - because really who am I! I'm the oddball in the room, not you...

It's not just what I say, it is the way that I say it.
Jesus didn't turn children away so why should my sermon do that?

Like Paul said in 1…

Bobby Moore's Muddy Hands

Bobby Moore had muddy hands as he approached The Queen to collect the 1966 World Cup... He tried to clean his hands but just spread the mud around.

Last week a rat jumped out of our dustbin and into our house, for hours afterwards we felt unclean and defiled by the vermin... there are things that make us feel that way... but what if the problem goes deeper?

If our hands are muddy we can clean them, if our hearts are muddy we have a real problem.
If it's not just a rat in the house but a rat in our hearts, what then can we do?

Jesus speaks to the Pharisees and says Isaiah is right.
They say "Keep your distance, we're holier than thou" (Isaiah 65:5), Isaiah is right: your hearts are far from God. 

They're relationally estranged from God.

Jesus says: If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
If your eyes cause you to sin, pluck them out.
Hands and eyes aren't the problem, hearts are.
If your heart causes you to sin... cut it out and you die?
Our heart-deep…