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Awesome Cutlery

This is Awesome Cutlery is a kids CD and devotional which I received a review copy of from 10ofthose.com
I'm so glad I did!

Included between the songs are short funny sketches featuring the adventures of Captain Awesomeness and his sidekick Cutlery Boy. These superheroes face different situations inbetween some cracking songs.

In a stroke of genius the Goldsworth/Roberts 'God's people in God's place under God's rule and blessing' has been put to music, and that's alongside songs about God's word, about creation and God's rescue plan. For me, "It's a new, new day" stands out



Gareth Loh, Dan Adams and friends have put together a punch resource that is running on repeat in our car, and comes with an accompanying devotional that we've used less - mostly because the CD can't leave the car. I hope we'll use some of the songs in church and I'd recommend this to other families in the church to use with their kids.


Awesomecutlery…

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

What Wondrous Love Is This?

What Wondrous Love Is This is a southern spiritual first published in 1811. It has appeared regularly in hymnbooks since the 1960s.

1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul? 2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul. 3 To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM -
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
while millions join the theme, I will sing. 4 And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll si…

Preaching The Song of Songs

I've been preaching Christ from The Song of Songs this term. It's a daunting task and I feel my own weakness and limits faced with the task. Still 10 of 11 weeks done, one to go.

My interest in The Song stems from reading the affectionate puritan Richard Sibbes' sermons which are devotionally rich and deliciously Christ-focussed. Thanks Mike Reeves for steering me to Sibbes.

I edited and self-published some of Sibbes 20 sermons a few years ago. They’re for sale at cost price via Lulu or you can ask me for a PDF copy. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1051001

Resources on The Song vary considerably depending on the approach to the text. Some read it as simply about human relationships, some as exclusively about Christ and the church.

My approach has been a both Christ & the church and human relationships approach and that shapes who I've found most helpful. The text isn't easy to work with, and most people have never heard it preached before. …

Our Own Hymn Book

I appreciate the thoughtful words of others. I enjoy books like The Valley of Vision and perusing through old hymn books. I find that others help to form my heart and give me words to express things better. Pursuing this, I found myself looking at Charles Spurgeon's Own Own Hymn Book online recently. Free PDF via Google Books here. 

The 19th Century 'prince of preachers' had a remarkable ministry in London, which gathered vast crowds and led to the planting of many churches.

In the introduction he explains
"The providence of God brings very many new hearers within the walls of our place of worship, and many a time we have marked their futile researches and pitied the looks of despar with which they have given up all hope of finding the hymns, and so of joining intelligently in our words of praise. We felt that such ought not to be the state of our service of song and resolved if possible to reform it." The driving factor to produce a hymn book - which Spurgeon ex…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…

"In these stones horizons sing..."

[19] Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honour him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.’[20] Achan replied, ‘It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done...  [24] Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor.[25] Joshua said, ‘Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.’ Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. [26] Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since. (Joshua 7:19-26) For a 21st Century European it's hard to see why anything deserves a death penalty, but the Old Testament law establishes…

Why good people are divided by politics and religion.

Why do we speak past one another? Why do we think those who differ with us are evil?

Jonathan Haidt says that fundamentally it’s because we’ve built our understanding of what matters to us on different foundations. It’s not just that we come to different conclusions but that we get there for different reasons. We can’t see why someone would see the world a different way because their perspective is based on values that we don’t hold, which may even conflict with ours.

I’d seen psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s 2012 book cited in several articles and I engaged with that here. But, I’m really glad I followed up the footnotes to get a copy.

In the end, Haidt is appealing for us to seek to understand one another better, not to demonise those with whom we differ, and even to work together – each bringing our different strengths to the table.

The book is compelling and accessible if not brief – 375 pages plus 125 pages of footnotes and bibliography. I’m reminded of the Malcolm Gladwell book’s …

What's GOOD in this foreign country?

In the latest edition of Primer, Ed Shaw's article on Life in a foreign country notes the following matrix on the foundations of our morality, from The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt:
1. Care vs. Harm
2. Liberty vs. Oppression
3. Fairness vs. Cheating
4. Loyalty vs. Betrayal
5. Authority vs. Subversion
6. Sanctity vs. Degradation He notes that evangelicals prefer the categories down the list and seem like people in a foreign country - defining what's good differently to the culture around us. Where we look to the bottom half of the list, our culture is intellectually and emotionally more persuaded by the top of the list.

The gospel of Jesus however can easily be articulated in the higher up the list categories... In Galatians 2, for example, an appeal could be made to authority - though there's a downplaying of those held in 'esteem' but also Paul's clear commitment to the authority of God's revelation to him of his Son Jesus.

We could speak of Paul's brin…