Thursday, August 28, 2008

Keller on Pastor's families

Sin: that's why things are not always what they seem

I had a splendid break in France and have returned rested and refreshed which I hope will last. My holiday reading was a real blessing and encouragement and included The Shack (which warrants some additional reflection and do read Tim Challies review for a much better job than I can offer here, Into the Wild and the highlight a truly excellent biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. If you have a few days away or on your next holiday and want a book to inspire you about preaching then this is a must-read. MLJ would never get a prize for being a bundle of laughs but his impact on God's church in the 20th Century is unquestionable. This is a real treasure trove.

I also returned to an update from Soul Survivor that the song that was such a blessing (called Healer) at this years conference is fact not all that it seems. Mike Pilavachi showed his moving film and talked of having met him at a recent Hillsong conference. As it turns out, the writer has never had cancer and has been duping his wife, his parents and his church and now Soul Survivor and many others because if his issues. I guess this is an example of the fact that things are not always as they appear because we are all sinners and all fall short of God's glory. This incident, combined with the Lakeland revelations, may leave some wondering about the state of things in the Charismatic church. My fellow blogger Tim VB has a post on this thought which I commend you to read.

This verse from Colossians has been much on my heart over the last week' 'Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful'. We have much to give thanks for this summer and I have been reminded we must be watchful too.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I went to a great seminar given by Bill @ SS (who I was a college with). He spoke about pornography (not everyone's go to topic) and the stream of people queuing to thank him and ask questions at the end was a demonstration of his talks power. Do get hold of it of you can. Bill, like me , was powerfully impacted by the worship and passion at Soul Survivor.

Why did I call this post 'Shadows'? Well, last year I went to the Leadership Summit (via Battersea Rise!) and John Ortberg gave a phenomenal talk on Esther which he has now written into a book called Overcoming your shadow mission which seems, according to this review, worth getting hold of.

As Bill encouragingly reminded the saints, you don't have to live in the shadows for the light beckons. May we all have the strength to see and embrace it.

Death by Love

In Blog-land

As some know, I have followed the Lakeland activities with interest and concern and so it is with sadness that I now read this. One blogger has written a Note to Todd Bentley and another thoughtful blogger offers a strong comment called Burned. Elsewhere, there is some advice on bedtime prayers with your children. The Big 5 books now looks at biographies and has a growing and interesting list. Rick Warren is one of Time Magazine men of our time. To end, some preachers notes soon to be posted at Josh Harris including Tim Keller's and finally Driscol below on harsh words.

A good soaking

Soul survivor was a blast. You know you are on for a wet week when you arrive only to be told that your allocated spot is flooded and so you've been moved. It rained and rained and rained. In defiance, 9.5K of us worshipped and worshipped and worshipped. We stood, we sat, we kneeled, we lay down, we jumped and we danced. We sung lots of new songs mainly from the new Hillsong album called 'This is our God'. The teenage worship anthem of our time in Shepton Mallet was 'Your name high' which, as none of us will ever forget, starts woooo.....wooooo....woooo. We sang it all week and were still singing in the minibus as we turned into the carpark at Church at 11pm last night.

Although I am now old, I am heartened that our teenagers do not consider me so. On one evening there was a call to pray for 'the oldies and wrinkleys' and they assured me that I wasn't one. I stood and got some prayer anyway knowing that in fact I am! The talks of the week were the morning bible studies by Mike Pilavachi and they were the clearest proclamation of the gospel I have heard in some time. Over 450 came to Christ this week. May Jesus be praised. Mike's new book Storylines makes a good gift for anyone wanting an introduction to the bible. Excellent for teens or new and old Christians. The Chapter in seeing Jesus in the OT is worth £4.99 of your money.

Thanks to all for a wonderful week.

Jesus is risen indeed

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shepton Mallet calls AGAIN

My second week of camping beckons this time at Soul Survivor. May the good Lord shine upon us and the sun too I pray....

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I am everyone

It is wet and Saturday afternoon and I am finishing off my sermon on David and Goliath. David knew who he was and most importantly who he was in relation to God. You may have caught the new Orange ad called 'I am everyone...' which says that our environment and the people in it say who we are. This is cause for some theological reflection done well by this chap at LICC who asks "Who are you?"

It's a good question.

A blog sweep

This article really caught my eye. About four years ago in my old church we embarked on a re-evaluation of small groups. We chatted to St Andrew's Chorleywood about mid-sized groups. Four years on it seems to have had quite an impact on their growth and vitality.

What theological issue do you think you need a grasp on? J I Packer has a view. Anyone leading should also pause at the 8 leadership lessons of Mandela which are worth some perusal. There is more on the Big 5 list-this time Daily devotionals. Driscol has now posted his talks and reflections on his London trip.. And Bill Hybels has a new book out and a book for those of us needing more humility- who doesn't need more of that?


I have read two Andy Stanley books this week and found them both helpful. The first is called Visioneering and uses the book of Nehemiah as a template for leadership and vision (much as John White's excellent book does). He then uses this to outline how visions are lived and worked out. 'The soul never thinks without a picture' said Aristotle and a vision is born from a discontent about the way things are. This need not be a gigantic thing.

1. A discontent with your parenting or work life balance

2. A discontent with the job you currently do

3. A discontent with the school your children attend

4. A discontent with an area of ministry that is not happening in your church

5. A discontent with the state of something in your environment

Vision's, says Stanley, are born. This is not just a 'something could be done' it is a something should be done. To put it in my own words- a vision starts in the guts. There is tons of good stuff here. I read this book while also reading Nehemiah and have made lots of notes on things. I commend this as a profitable read.

The other book is called Next Generation Leader and is equally full of the many things Stanley has learnt along the way.:

His five principles of leadership are;

1, Competence

2. Courage

3. Clarity

4. Coaching

5. Character

This is a book worth having on the shelf not only so you can read it but also to lend to others you are mentoring. I hope you find it as helpful as I have done.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Faith is like climbing up a high diving board and walking out along the plank-seeing there is no water in the pool and hearing God say "I'll fill the pool on the way down" Anon

What is the bible?

I am embarking on my new essay for the degree I don't need, the title if which is:

“I take up the Bible and I read. Here are a million or so printed words, in which divine gold and human clay are mixed, and I have to take the gold and leave the clay” Austen Farrer, The Inspiration of the Bible. Do I? What theologies of the inspiration of Scripture lead you to your answer?

I have chosen this as a title partly because of the huge endorsement Eugene Peterson gives Farrar in Eat this Book and it will give me the chance to read his work. If anyone knows how to get hold of The Glass of Vision by Farrar then I would be grateful- I have been unable to find a copy anywhere. If you wanted a good starter on Farrar then I commend 'The truth seeking heart'

In my reading I came across this quote from Farrar which I liked and so share.

‘What is the Bible like? Like a letter which a soldier wrote to his wife about the disposition of his affairs and the care of his children in case he should chance to be killed. And the next day he was shot, and died, and the letter was torn and stained with his blood. Her friends said to the woman: The letter is of no binding force; it is not a legal will, and it is so injured by the accidents of the writer’s death that you cannot even prove what it means. But she said: I know the man, and I am satisfied I can see what he means. And I shall do it because it is what he wanted me to do, and because he died the next day’

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I admit I have been rather busy and completely missed the whole Lambeth Conference. Oh well, maybe next time- who know's I might be a Bishop by then (that's a joke by the way!) My friend's tell me that very little was resolved or debated but I am in need of catching up on the facts. My blogging pal Tim VB has posted this and says it's helpful so do watch and see what you think- HERE

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Keller on Bad Reports

Interesting thoughts -HERE

Five leadership lessons

Dave Ferguson has posted his five leadership lessons. Here they are:

1. The “God-Thing” Comes Before The Vision
Most leaders make the mistake of thinking that change starts with their vision; change starts with a “God-thing”. ...

2. Money Always Follows Vision
People give money to a compelling cause with a clear vision. ...

3. Make It Fit On A Napkin.
If it can’t be explained on a napkin it is too complicated. ...

4. Lead With A “Yes” And Ask “How” Later
If you want to lead in bringing about innovation learn to lead with a “yes” and not “how”. ...

5. Take Risks On Emerging Leaders & Artists
Resist the urge of telling young leaders to wait a few years; they need and deserve opportunities to lead, so take a risk on them now! ...

Saturday blog-sweep

 Some interesting books for pastors The State we're in Attack at dawn Joseph Scriven Joy comes with the morning When small is beautiful