Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Prepare

If you want to set your sails for some fresh thoughts on how to spend 2017 and beyond you could do worse than reading 'Don't waste your life' available here for free and give 'Running with the witnesses' a listen.

I had a really good breakfast time today and talked a bit about marriage and then came across these questions which might give mine (and yours) an MOT.

We've got a new Bishop of Woolwich.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday musing

Here is an apology to any readers I may still have left. I have been woefully erratic in posting and will try to approach 2017 with more frequency, content, my own writing and some creativity. The frustrating thing is there is lots of good content and musing to pass forward to you which I will do a bit of today:

1. I have been reading 'Hidden Christmas' and have not been able to get over the character of King Herod. It's birth (ing) my Christmas day sermon.

2. This is an extraordinary extract about Donald Trump which will make you no more confident of what the future may hold. Apparently, he has nine Christians in his cabinet.

3. I have got a new iphone after 6.5 years (cracked screen etc) which is exciting. The tech has moved on a little. Here are the 10 Best Free Apps of 2016

4. This is the time of year for books list and a good time to select some potential reading for 2017









5. John Piper on reading books by non-Christians

6. Ted on 'Depression, the secret we share' and an article on 'How to sleep'.



9. Getting ready to read  the Bible through in 2017- 5 Steps.

10. Rod Liddle on 'A new poverty'

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A bit and a bob

I watched a bit of 'Brainwashing Stacey' with interest but haven't completed it yet.

A friend texted me yesterday recommending 'It ain't over til its over'

Craig Groeschl seems like he's not a real person but having seen him preach I can vouch that he is. We have practically nothing in common but he might have some communication tips for me (link updated)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday musing

I haven't been blogging for a bit so, at the prompting of a pal, thought I should post a ditty or two. Nice to missed.

I have preached a couple of sermons recently, one on heaven and one on trials, and the Lord has shown me grace for them. In the one on trials, I revisited my fathers time in a Korean POW camp as told by my Godfather in 'In Spite of Dungeons'. I nearly cried reading out a quote from it but managed to hold it together.

I am freshly reminded of my desire to at least finish, and at best to 'Finish Strong'.

Mrs C and I painted a room listening to a sermon on hell, Who said romance is dead?

I watched this and am yet to experience anyone offering to give me a private plane.

I've been mulling on this post and noted the interesting transition from alcoholic pastor to church consultant. Also, did I read that right? A $63m church budget......

An update on matters sexual in the C of E. On that same subject, Andrew Wilson has a recommendation for post of the year.

The song 'Good, Good Father' has got into my bones.

I love the Lewis quote at the end of this post.

The Discovery Bible Study is a simple but seemingly rather effective idea.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The chief cause of our ills

‘It is my belief that the modern world  and especially the  history of the present century can only be understood  in terms of the unusual activity of the devil and the ‘principalities and powers’. In a world of collapsing institutions , moral  chaos, and increasing violence, never was it more important to trace the hand of the ‘prince of the air’, and  then, not only to learn to wrestle with him and his forces, but also to overcome them ‘by the blood of the lamb and the word of his testimony’. If we cannot discern the chief cause of our ills, how can we hope to cure them’

Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaking after the Second WW. 

Quoted by Charlie Cleverly in his book 'The Song of Songs: Exploring the Divine Romance', Page 128 

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Bible says....

John Piper has responded to Andy Stanley about his thoughts on the Bible which makes for an interesting read particularly for those called to communicate the gospel and preach.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday musing

1. My pal Matthew preached on 'Hope' yesterday and I enjoyed the phrase 'confident anticipation'.

2. This morning I told the story of our church plant to someone which was a helpful process of recalling all that God has done.

3. There is much talk about 'Mindfulness' these days and here are two perspectives about the idea of 'Christian mindfulness'. A yes and a no.

4. I enjoyed this piece about the benefits of long term tenure.

5. Keller has a book about Christmas coming out.

6. Always a good corrective to read 'Four warning signs you won't survive in ministry'

7. I am being blessed by my immersion in Song of Songs through reading Charlie Cleverly's new book 'The Song of Songs: Exploring the Divine Romance'. He was my Vicar when I lived in Oxford.

8. I am preaching about 'Heaven' in a few weeks and Randy Alcorn writes often about it.

9. A take on Halloween (in an American context).

10. The internal battles of even the best pastors.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Praying

Thanks to Adrian Warnock for this quote about the importance of prayer in Charles Spurgeon's ministry:
WHEN I came to New Park Street Chapel, it was but a mere handful of people to whom I first preached; yet I can never forget how earnestly they prayed. Sometimes, they seemed to plead as though they could really see the Angel of the covenant present with them, and as if they must have a blessing from Him. More than once, we were all so awe-struck with the solemnity of the meeting, that we sat silent for some moments while the Lord’s power appeared to overshadow us; and all I could do on such occasions was to pronounce the Benediction, and say, “Dear friends, we have had the Spirit of God here very manifestly to-night; let us go home, and take care not to lose His gracious influences.”
Then down came the blessing; the house was filled with hearers, and many souls were saved. I always give all the glory to God, but I do not forget that He gave me the privilege of ministering from the first to a praying people. We had prayer-meetings in New Park Street that moved our very souls. Every man seemed like a crusader besieging the New Jerusalem, each one appeared determined to storm the Celestial City by the might of intercession; and soon the blessing came upon us in such abundance that we had not room to receive it.
C. H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 1 (Cincinatti; Chicago; St. Louis: Curts & Jennings, 1898), 361.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Learning

Don't tell anyone in our church but I am continually learning how to lead from a very low base. These ten questions were a help on that road.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Books on prayer

If reading books about prayer rather than praying was evidence of a vibrant prayer life then I may qualify. Sadly, like almost every Christian I know, I long for a much fuller and deeper life of prayer. However, reading books about prayer is certainly a step on the road and if I was writing a list I would include many that are here. There are three on it that I haven't read.

One I would add is a very thin and simple book by Bill Hybels called 'Too busy not to pray' which has probably impacted my praying more than any other.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday musing

I was moved to tears yesterday at the thought of all that God has done through a missionary friend who twenty five years ago encouraged me as a very new and fragile believer in Moscow.

This little post entitled 'Well done' made me think as did this testimony. Too few have grasped that the best is yet to come and how differently we would live if we truly believed that.

I recommended 'Making sense of God' to a 96 year old friend of my mum's and he sent me a delightful letter this morning.

These days we are generally falling asleep to MLJ sermons. Last nights was entitled 'Praying in the spirit'

David Attenborough was on the telly talking about Plant Earth 2. What an extraordinary man.






Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The gospel in five words

This week a pal texted me asking if I'd heard of a theologian called Christopher West. I hadn't. Today, rather randomly, I read a quote by him that I have been pondering all day. It was this:

The gospel can be summarized in five words 'God wants to marry us' 

The context for the quote can be found here.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Ten things for a Thursday

1. I've been on a two-day thing with Lead Academy which has left me with a few thoughts to ponder It ended with a cracking night at 'Sanctuary'. 

2. I went to school and spent some of my early years living in Scotland and so anyone planting a church there is encouraging. I've was struck by the line 'No one else is coming'

3. This Simon Sinek quote is worth a mull on. He's speaking at LC17

4. We were recommended 'Real Leadership' as the best book one of our coaches at Lead Academy has read in the last five years.

5. I've been watching quite a bit of Postman Pat and it strikes me that given his serial incompetence it's a wonder he's held onto his job for so long.

6. Sally's made 'A world without Downs syndrome'. Don't miss it. Cranmer has posted this.

7. A Vicar pal recommended 'The success equation' which is about luck (which I know we don't believe in but he tells me it's jolly good and interesting)

8.  We watched this and were asked which conductor we thought we were.

9. A pal has been loving this song.

10. If you are a Type A or just trying to get things done with some pace you will relate to this trailer.

11.  I know it said 'Ten' but I had one more. Mission Direct are launching Mission Direct UK with us tonight which we are excited to be involved with.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tozer's ministers dedication

"O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou hast called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou hast stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

 

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou hast said, 'I knew thee - I ordained thee - I sanctified thee,' and Thou hast also said, 'Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.' Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done. Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou wilt honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

 

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

 

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should become a religious scribe and thus loose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the face of the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offerings.

 

Help me to remember that I am prophet not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to the crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or, if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And, if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

 

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

 

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Thoughts on extra Vicars and an interesting quote

I have promised a friend I would write more 'of my own material' on the blog which I will try to do.

In the meantime, David Keen's excellent post called 'More on Extra Vicars' is worth a read by anyone with even a passing interest in the state of the C of E.

As an aside, this Jeremy Paxman quote caught my eye:

‘What interests him now more than the TV ephemera of catching out politicians are the bigger questions. “Is there a purpose?” he says. “What do things mean? What is the right way to live?” I would rather spend an evening talking about those than how to manage Vladimir Putin or reform the NHS.’
Janice Turner, Interview with Jeremy Paxman, The Times Magazine 24 September page 22

Monday, September 26, 2016

Keep running

'All death can do to the Christian is make their lives infinitely better'

Tim Keller
h/t Tim Challies

This post entitled 'Five ways to recover your passion for pastoral leadership' is helpful and encouraging.

I would like to tell you that I have not been able to put Keller's new book down but I have because life and deep reading were not able to be bed-fellows this weekend. However, I am on page 80 and amidst all the intellectual discourse (of which there is lots) I am being renewed and reminded of grace. If I lived in Oxford or Cambridge or a University town full of clever secular people and intellectuals, which I once did, I think I would be giving 'Making sense of God' away to every other person I met. Andrew Wilson has reviewed it and given it a hearty thumbs up.

I had a chat with someone recently about 'Mindfulness for parents'  which seems to be based loosely on Bhuddism (as far as I have yet worked it out).

I preached a sermon about salvation and as part of my preparation I read 'Stop asking Jesus into your heart' which is a book about assurance. I am convinced that if Christians were more assured they wouldn't worry so much or be so interesting in chasing more 'stuff' or be so fearful of what others thought of them or get so easily thrown by suffering and disappointment. I have all those emotions/reactions at different times but considerably less so I pray having read this book.

Alister McGrath interviewed here used to run my Vicar factor and is a very clever and fascinating man. I remember reading in his biography that during his year off he learnt Russian and German in preparation for reading biochemistry at Oxford. I went back-packing in American and drank Budweiser and chased girls (unsuccessfully) which perhaps explains why I am not the leading theologian of my generation- nor very likely to be....

Miriam Swaffield has some fire in her belly and you should check out this talk on holiness which she gave at Focus.

This resignation by Pete Wilson from his church made me cry and moved me and I appreciated this post about burnout.

A pal asked me to name ten things that I think move the audience about this guy that might be transferable to preachers:


1. His ordinary 'just turned up' clothing
2. His non-celebrity looks
3. His passion and zeal for his song
4. He's singing to someone who appears to not be in the room
5. His upward gaze and posture
6. His quiet confidence that what's inside him is bigger than him
7. He knows the words, hits the notes and can sing the tune
8. He's not playing to the judges or the audience
9. The hand in the pocket
10. It's summed up when the first judge says' 'welcome back'

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Some Thursday Musings (from the sofa)

Mrs C says that I should write more and post less links to other people. This morning I read two books that have been on the pile for a while and they were quite helpful in different ways.  One of them was called 'Turn around at Home' which I bought for £2.99 and I promised to read it and glean some parenting wisdom. Well, I am happy to be able to report that I have done that. The other was about marriage and 'Dating' called 'Date your wife'.

Turn your home around: I'll be honest it's not the best book in the world but it had three sections on legacy's which you had to answer questions about and tot up the scores which Mrs C and I did. Oh and it's American so has a rather different context. Anyway, we both answered the questions and found out we had similar legacy scores. The three legacies are Spiritual/ Emotional/ Social and you are asked to reflect on your family environment growing up and mark accordingly. We had a pretty good chat as we did it which was, in itself, probably worth £2.99. It then has a section called tool kits for marriage, parenting young kids, parenting older kids and a section for grandparents with a few quite helpful ideas. If there is a big idea then its really very simple. If you invest in your marriage and your spiritual/emotional and relational life at home then the parenting thing flows from that and your kids discipleship and development should by grace turn out OK.

'Date your wife': It starts with a bit of a rebuke of men for generally being useless ('idiots'  to use the  precise word) which felt heavy-handed and to be honest the Appendix '100 ways to date your wife' is the best bit. The big idea here is that when you fall in love and date etc husbands in the main make a big effort and then, so the hypothesis goes, when you marry you stop doing that and metaphorically buy a pipe and slippers, watch TV and potter in the shed.  In other words, you stop dating. The book is probably not bad to give a marriage a bit of romance and a spiritual/gospel health kick and, not being the most creative of bods, the list of interesting date night ideas was good. Hopefully Mrs C will bear witness to my putting the pipe and slippers to one side in favour of all sorts of exciting and creative dating adventures. We'll see....

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday bed-ridden musing

I've put my back out rather badly which is why the blog has been quiet but I hope to be up on my feet shortly. I have been flat out and alone (mostly) for 3 days which is an extroverts nightmare. Mrs C has been an excellent Florence Nightingale. It's also not very easy to type with your back flat which I am attempting today.....

Lots of time to think, some reading, I have been immersed afresh in Galatians, I've explored the idea of Bullet journalling, reflected on Michael Hyatt's ten favourite books, planned some stuff with a pal for our Men's ministry, mulled on what to cook for an event at church that I've agreed to cater, am finishing off 'Stop asking Jesus into your heart: How to know for sure you are saved', had some forced upon me time to stand back from my role (s) and so have been asking the question 'How can I best use my time and plan it better?' The appendix of a book called 'Date your wife' has a hundred ideas on that subject.  Oh, and I've been falling asleep to Martin Lloyd Jones sermons which I have found therapeutic and rest inducing (I fall asleep).

I am excited about Tim Keller's new book 'Making sense of God: An invitation to the sceptical' which looks like a good one for those with questions about God. It should come through the letter box tomorrow and you can watch him speaking about the ideas behind the book here. Also there is an interview 'Why Tim Keller wrote a prequel to The Reason for God'. For ages people have been saying to me that many of their friends are too far back to do Alpha which starts with the question 'Who is Jesus?' Now my answer will probably be- give them 'Making sense of God'.

It took me almost 10 years from giving up my business career to actually becoming a Vicar but as I reflect back it's been hard at times but so so worth it. The C of E are looking for more to follow in my footsteps. The church plant I adventured into is four years old this week. Too many to thank by name but you know who you are. Thank you for everything and for showing me such grace.

Ben Arment is a guy who wrote a book that helped me with some ideas as I planted our church and I listened to his podcast and he always makes me think. He's decided to write a novel.

A line that our new intern said when I interviewed her in church has stuck with many of us:

' I want to see what God can do with a year completely devoted to Him'

I have been revisiting my journalling which is something that I do that has sustained and encouraged me. Having read this post one sentence stuck with me.

'What happens to me is not as important as the meaning I assign to what happens to me'

Mrs C and I have been giving some attention recently to stewardship and this post will introduce you to a chappy called Dave Ramsey who is something of a guru on such matters.  An article in the Telegraph I read last week told me that 46% of lottery winners lose all the money within 5 years. We should give them the book of Proverbs with the cheque.

The TV show that has kept me company while on my back has been Madam Secretary. I do enjoy an American political drama. If only real politicians were more like their fictional counterparts.

I appreciated the post 'Why is preaching so hard?'

A pal sent me 'A guide to northern accents'.

A friend in our church dropped a book by Eugene Peterson called 'Travelling Light' though our letterbox, three bars of chocolate and a lovely postcard. I am so thankful for the saints of our church.

Finally, another dear friend sent me this Ted talk which is simply brilliant. Enjoy....



Monday, August 29, 2016

Support rather than enthusiasm

'Evangelicals have done a superb job of evangelizing people, bringing then to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, but they are failing to provide believers with approaches to living that keep them going and growing in spiritual relationship with him....Many start the life of faith with great enthusiasm, only to discover themselves in difficulty shortly afterward. Their high hopes and good intentions seem to fade away. The spirit is willing, but the flesh proves weak.....People need support to keep them going when enthusiasm fails'

Alister McGrath quoted in 'Future Grace' by John Piper, P 10. 

If you are looking for a read that can help you ...'when enthusiasm fails'.... 'Future grace' is one to seek out, dwell in and take much encouragement from. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bits and bobs

I love Matt Redmond's 'Random thoughts' and this one makes me want to go and buy the new Radiohead album.

Thinking Anglicans has a whole lot of stuff on the C of E getting managerial that includes a quote from Ric Thorpe who is splendid. Eugene Peterson is not a fan of the managerial in ministry.

Ever since I discovered my Myers Briggs profile on a course run by Deidre Tidy it has been of interest to me. Here is some stuff on what book to read depending on your MB profile.  If you'd like more this is about best leadership type by profile. Eugene Peterson hates Myers Briggs.

This open letter to someone having an affair is powerful, Eugene Peterson hates divorce and the pain it causes as he described to me once in his talks on Ephesians.

15 verses to get into you (h/t Challies)

This review by Denny Burk has horrified and stuck with me long after I read it as its implications will with you I imagine.  On that same topic, Mrs C and I watched 'Spotlight' which is a terrifying and compelling film not to be missed.

I happened upon this book list on prayer. On balance Eugene would I think approve.

A friend went to work with Jackie Pullinger for three weeks and while she was there read 'Different: living the holy life'. It impacted her greatly and she tells me it will you if you read it. Eugene is a fan of holiness.

Searching for a sermon I listened to recently, I found this post entitled 'The 7 Greatest sermons I've ever heard' . I plan to listen through a few of them for my holiday devotions, refreshment, inspiration and refilling. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, no Eugene. He's not everyone's cuppa.

I've revisited 'The Passionate church' and think it holds such good visual tools for discipleship.

In August I've seen and visited lots of people in our church and its been wonderful and so very encouraging. Looking out over all the people in our garden at our recent church BBQ I felt deeply moved (once again) by God's grace to us all.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Tuesday bits and bobs

1. I caught this on Radio 4 'Brexit and the English Reformation' which was fascinating.

2. Someone spoke to me recently about this book which looks interesting.

3. A carer looking after my mum's friend gave her the book of the story of her life which is called 'Ordinary people finding Jesus'.  My mum read it and then gave it to me. I have just started it.

4. This article is interesting entitled 'How to accomplish more by doing less'

5. An interesting piece on respected theologian Wayne Grudem endorsing Donald Trump.

6. The founder of Ted pick his 'Top 5 talks'

7. 'Nine ways to keep your prayer life fresh' and 'Nine ways to keep your Bible reading fresh'.

8. John Piper reflects on when it is right to leave a church.

9. Louie Giglio on burnout

10. What to do if you are in a spiritual dry spell.

Focus 2016


They only have one of the talks up which was by Archie Coates but it will give you a taste of Focus.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bits and bobs

1. Interesting piece in the Guardian about the Conservatives doing God again.

2. A review of 'Why vote leave' which new Tory cabinet ministers will probably all have on their bedside tables.

3. May's mission

4. We had a great word at 'The Sanctuary' (our monthly prayer night) on 'Come to me all you who are burdened'. This post on 'The spirituality of vacation' is worth a read.

5. A week until a crowd of us head off to Focus

6. I am preaching on spiritual gifts in a series inspired by reading 'Jesus continued'. This quote is included in Sunday's message.

"Whatever you are good at, do it well for the glory of God- and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God " (p. 129)

7. Ian Paul on Synod's shared conversations. This post 'Where the difference lies' also caught my eye quoting Ruth Gledhill suggesting that sexuality issues have at their root the role of Biblical authority.

8. I learnt yesterday about Pokemon go

9. This photo made me smile.

10. I chatted with a mum today about video games and a particular incident her child had faced relating to 'Grand theft auto'. Driscoll was asked recently 'Should a Christian play video games'. I have in the past found his three categories: Receive, Reject or Redeem quite helpful when thinking about cultural engagement.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Disciples

I sometimes dose through sermons that I put on in the very early morning. This morning, I was dosing through 'The Glory of God as the ground of the minds certainty and the goal of the Soul's satisfaction' ( now that title positively trips of the tongue) and one statement shook me into being fully awake.

This was it:

'If you don't want God more than anything else- you're not a Christian'

This is a deep and long talk but is worth 1 hr 7 mins and I have been mulling on that one sentence all day since I heard it. Mulling and praying.

I have also been considering what it means to be 'a disciple' and have spent some time asking how we, as a church, are doing on our desire to be a people who 'make disciples'. I came across this talk by a chap called Ron Edmondson who gave these eight marks of a disciple he got from a book called 'Growing up':

1. Bible engagement
2. Obeying God and denying self
3. Serve God and others
4. Sharing Christ
5. Exercising faith
6. Seeking God
7. Building relationships
8. Unashamed transparency.

It was the last one 'unashamed transparency' that jumped out at me and I rather like it as a marker of discipleship.

We are planning to go from one to two services in the morning from September and have a great logo to communicate as much. I do know we may need more than a logo i.e plenty of prayer needed over the summer and we've also planned a preaching series entitled 'Invited'.

Indeed, you are, and bring friends.....

Disciples

I sometimes dose through sermons that I put on in the very early morning. This morning, I was dosing through 'The Glory of God as the ground of the minds certainty and the goal of the Soul's satisfaction' ( now that title positively trips of the tongue) and one statement shook me into being fully awake.

This was it:

'If you don't want God more than anything else- you're not a Christian'

This is a deep and long talk but is worth 1 hr 7 mins and I have been mulling on that one sentence all day since I heard it. Mulling and praying.

I have also been considering what it means to be 'a disciple' and have spent some time asking how we, as a church, are doing on our desire to be a people who 'make disciples'. I came across this talk by a chap called Ron Edmondson who gave these eight marks of a disciple he got from a book called 'Growing up':

1. Bible engagement
2. Obeying God and denying self
3. Serve God and others
4. Sharing Christ
5. Exercising faith
6. Seeking God
7. Building relationships
8. Unashamed transparency.

It was the last one 'unashamed transparency' that jumped out at me and I rather like it as a marker of discipleship.

We are planning to go from one to two services in the morning from September and have a great logo to communicate as much. Plenty of prayer needed over the summer and we've also planned a preaching series entitled 'Invited'.

Indeed you are and bring friends.....

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday musing

1. I haven't read the book but love the idea of 'Moving towards the mess'

2. Marriage takes constant work and I found this short post called 'The Silent Marriage Killer' a blessing. Last year Mrs C and I did 'The Marriage Course' which I would recommend to anyone wanting to put some good habits and foundations into a marriage.

3. In 'The Prayer Course' Pete Greig talks about '...praying the Bible'. I can commend 'A call to spiritual reformation' as a way to help you do that.

4. A while back I really enjoyed watching 'The History of Christianity'.  MacCullough has a new book out called 'All things new'

5. Andrew Jones (TSK) sadly reports the death of his wife.

6. A mega-church pastor falls foul of the drink.

7. I was blessed by this little clip about praying in Jesus name and the power of his word.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

An unseen revolution

Jonathan Martin, author of the book I am currently reading called 'How to survive a shipwreck' included this quote in his recent post 'Hey preacher'.

From Herbert McCabe’s Love, Law and Language:   “The Christian minister is meant to be neither the pillar of an established quasi-feudal order, as conservative Christians are inclined to think, nor is he the democratic representative of a quasi-bourgeois society as the progressives seem to suggest; he is a revolutionary leader whose job is the subversion of the world through the preaching of the gospel.  He exercises authority amongst his people not as maintaining an established structure; he is the leader of his people in a movement towards a new community.  He is representative of his people not necessarily in the sense of being their elected spokesman; he may represent them in the way a revolutionary leader does, a way that is not obvious to them and only becomes clear when the revolution is achieved.”

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The little room

Rev Gary Jenkins in this post offered up a fascinating Churchill quote (source Robert Harris in the Sunday Times)

"Late one night in 1917, at the height of the First World War, Winston Churchill beckoned to a fellow Liberal MP to join him for a final look inside the deserted Commons chamber. Everyone else had gone home. “All was darkness,” wrote the MP in his diary. “We could dimly see the table, but walls and roof were invisible. ‘Look at it,’ he said. ‘This little place is what makes the difference between us and Germany. It is in virtue of this that we shall muddle through to success & for lack of this Germany’s brilliant efficiency leads her to final disaster. This little room is the shrine of the world’s liberties.’”

Monday, July 04, 2016

Monday musing

1. I was reminded yesterday by Will's sermon of grace He started a six-week series inspired by 'Jesus continued'.

2. The current UK leadership vacuum reminds us all of the need for some sort of plan. Michael Hyatt wrote a book called 'Living Forward' which we could have done with a bit of recently.

3. Eric Metaxas has a new book out. In this review, my interest peaked at the mention of a James K A Smith book called 'You are what you love: The spiritual power of habit' which has reviews packed with theological debate. I lingered a while reading them.

4. Interesting reflections on Ian Paul's blog about 'priestly ministry'.

5. I am still enjoying Jonathan Martin's 'How to survive a shipwreck' which I would recommend to anyone who wants to dig deep below your own surface waters.

6. I have rediscovered Piper talks in the early and sleep-interrupted hours and listened to this one called 'The bondage of the will'.

7. The BiOY has been such a blessing recently.

8. Andrea Leadsom was very composed until Marr caught her napping at the end with a blinding question about her tax returns.

9. Tim Challies mentions a few new and notable books.

10. Brexit and social divisions.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The King

'I have this picture in my head of being part of a village, once an enemy of the King. But the King conquered us and we knew he now controlled our fate. Fear overwhelmed us. But then a messenger brought news of the King. And the message was good news. He not only forgave us but promised us he would fight for us now and give us all we needed. We knew we deserved punishment but instead we receive grace and mercy. I keep that picture in my head all the time.'

These beautioful words of Matt Redmond spoke to my heart today @ Echoes and Stars

Saturday blog-sweep

3 elements to your calling via Dash House

Brexit basics and an updated Basics 2

True leaders are teachable

The poor and Brexit

The Book of Jeremiah

Centenary of the Battle of the Somme

Why praying the prayer is not enough

Brexit, Hate Crime and Fear: What's the Christian response?

A history of the sinners prayer

The awkward love story of Trump and American evangelicals

The Conservative party at prayer

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Onwards and upwards

Apologies for the silence on the blog but I've been away on Men on Mountains. We climbed Hellvelllin and Red Pike which was fun and we missed all the pre-Brexit build-up.

I am happy to confirm - God is good, the gospel remains unchanged and the church is still very much the hope of the world.

Loved David Keen on 'And now the good news...'

Enjoyed this about slowing down over the summer

I never got around to watching this 'Brexit the Movie' which I probably should now we're out and the 'Yes minister' clip has been doing the rounds.

A good piece by Patrick Dixon on the post-Brexit outlook.

Johnson's article in yesterdays Telegraph and Owen Jones on 'Great changes ahead'. Also, an interesting piece by Yanis Varoufakis

Love the photo in this piece by Cranmer.

The BBC has a crack a predicting impact on everyone's money

The new book by Os Guinness caught my eye so did Zeal without burnout.

I enjoyed reading J D Greear's plumb lines and Trevin Wax's post entitled 'The counter-intuitive vision of Christian morality'

One of our Men on Mountains is now running All nations.

It's always my recommendation but worth saying again- a good response to just about everything is to pray....

'When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine'

Prayer, Tim Keller P. 171

Onwards and upwards

Apologies for the silence on the blog but I've been away on Men on Mountains. We climbed Hellvelllin and Red Pike which was fun and we missed all the pre-Brexit build-up.

I am happy to confirm - God is good, the gospel remains unchanged and the church is still very much the hope of the world.

Loved David Keen on 'And now the good news...'

Enjoyed this about slowing down over the summer

I never got around to watching this 'Brexit the Movie' which I probably should now we're out and the 'Yes minister' clip has been doing the rounds.

A good piece by Patrick Dixon on the post-Brexit outlook.

Johnson's article in yesterdays Telegraph and Owen Jones on 'Great changes ahead'. Also, an interesting piece by Yanis Varoufakis

Love the photo in this piece by Cranmer.

The BBC has a crack a predicting impact on everyone's money

The new book by Os Guinness caught my eye so did Zeal without burnout.

I enjoyed reading J D Greear's plumb lines.

One of our Men on Mountains is now running All nations.

It's always my recommendation but worth saying again- a good response to just about everything is to pray....

'When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine'

Prayer, Tim Keller P. 171

Monday, June 20, 2016

Under the waves

'Whatever storm, whatever crisis, may have caused the shipwreck may not be nearly as scary as the things you have to confront out here on the other side of where your ship sunk. When we are shipwrecked, everything that has lurked beneath the surface of our lives will rise from the bottom to meet us- and these are not beautiful creatures. Everything we've tried to push down for so long- every flaw and fault we've denied or ignored, every truth we'd rather not come to terms with- all of this will come to light in the crisis of a shipwreck

And we're not going to make it safely to shore unless we deal with these monsters we've dealt with for so long'

Jonathan Martin 'How to survive a shipwreck' 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday musing

1. It was the last chapter of 'Jesus continued' that moved me most deeply. It was about being broken and weak of which I am both.

'Remember he didn't call you  because he needed you. He called you because he loves you, he wants you to know his wonder and be amazed by his glory, and he wants to show off his power in you.' p.223

2. My next read is called 'How to survive a shipwreck'.

3. We have a super group gathering in our home for 'The Prayer Course' 

'The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from prayer. He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work, prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.....Prayer turns ordinary mortals into men of power....It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God. There is no power like that of prevailing prayer.' Samuel Chadwick 

p. 205' Jesus continued'

4. I enjoyed these photos of Mecca. Thank the Lord for the gospel of grace....

5. I will always need parenting tips.

6. I was reminded afresh of the timely watch of this which simply says: 'If God hasn't told you to plant a church don't'

7. I like the idea of a biography of a book. 

8. One of the Men on Mountains has been learning about problem-solving and dealing with anxiety. He sent through these three questions which are interesting:


Who knows about this problem? (if it’s just you, probably more people need to know)
Who cares about this problem? (feelings question)
Who can fix this problem? (ultimately a question that teases out the will - what do you really want and who has to  make that happen?)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lower is higher

'The gospel begins with our brokenness and inability, not our power and potential. Billy Graham once said that rarely is it someone's sin that keeps them from heaven; usually, it is their good deeds. In the same way, it is our false sense of ability, not our inabilities, that keeps us from the power of the Spirit. Thinking we can get along fine "apart from" him keeps us from the gift of power available in him (John 15:5)

When you finally come to the place where you realise you have no true power, then you are ready to receive his. The great irony in the Christian life, you see, is that the way up is the way down. The lower we sink in ourselves, the higher we rise in him'

Jesus continued, J D Greear, p 217

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Seven bits and bobs

1. Mike Breen's model UP/IN/OUT for thinking about church and mission is a wonderfully simple one and has stuck with me since I first heard it.


2. Most people are more on the In and Out rather than Up thinking currently. Jason Manford made me laugh on HIGNFY saying his Dad's reason for staying 'In' was 'you don't want to be in that non-EU queue on holiday - it's always longer'. He is a very funny man...

David Keen has some interesting EU thoughts.

3. James Fraser, the long-time missionary to China, said, "I used to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now feel it would be truer to give prayer the first, second and third places and teaching the fourth'

Jesus Continued, Page 202


4. I found this post called The four burners: Work-life balance thought-provoking and have been appraising my burners as a result.



7. Aimee Semple. McPherson was new person to me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Greatest Discovery of your Life

'My greatest joy as a pastor is seeing people come alive in their spiritual gifts. If there ever has been someone I knew who had the spiritual gift of faith and intercession, Curtis was he. Curtis was an older gentleman in our church who had worked more than thirty years in the Veterans Affairs hospital. One day, in his late fifties, he listened to a message by Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle on how God answers prayer. Curtis confessed he'd never seen God clearly answer a prayer in his life, so he set aside five minutes a day to pray for others.  That grew to ten minutes, then half an hour, then eventually an hour and a half each day. He developed a large email chain in our church that involved hundreds of people praying around the clock for one another's needs. At every stage of our church's growth, he bathed our steps in prayer. He spoke prophetic vision into my life, and into the future of our church

Curtis has gone to be with Jesus, but he remains for our church an example of the extraordinary accomplishments God brings about through those who pursue his mission in step with the Spirit.'

Jesus continued, Page 133