Thursday, April 30, 2009


30 places to find inspiration including the 6 most inspiring things on You tube (haven't seen or listened to any of them so see what you think) . Tim Keller talks on US TV with the Editor of Newsweek. 

The workshops from the Gospel Coalition

I enjoy Andy Stanley's podcast and a friend said that my job must be the worst in the world having tried to get volunteers for her church coffee rota and failing!  Stanley's would say if it requires more human effort than Spirit momentum then stop doing it (Gal 3:3 would agree) Listen to him here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dimensions of prayer

We listened to a segment of this talk by Pete Greig in our staff meeting as part of our studies on the Lord's prayer (which we are preaching through in our evening service)-highly recommended.

Preaching with power

I continue to enjoy 'The Heart of a servant leader' and here is Jack Miller's letter on preaching (p. 100). Those who have ever been connected with church are in one of two groups.
They either listen to someone else preach or do the preaching. I, like Miller, have to acknowledge that the experience of both often falls below that which these verses below describe. His letter tells of using these for his morning devotions.

Luke 24:29
Acts 1:8
Acts 4:33
Acts 6:8
Acts 18:19
1 Cor 2:4
1 Thes 1:5

He then writes:

"Power in preaching comes comes from a strong faith that is qualified by wisdom. Preaching is faith speaking; that is what it means to preach in the power of the Spirit. And faith and confident praying are two sides of the same coin. Basically, I am convinced that men who do not make praying their first priority in life and ministry should not preach or pastor. As preachers they will be confusing models of a Christian man, and as shepherds they will be not show willingness to die for the sheep. Their spirit will inevitably drift in the wrong direction."

So the answers is to pray. If you are a listener pray for your preacher, if you are a preacher pray for yourself and those who have to listen to you. 

We all need more power.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Culture Making

I have recommended Culture Making by Andy Crouch to a few who are now enjoying it. Here are some global street musicians singing 'Stand by me'-loved it

A few bits of our culture. 

A great humorous documentary called the Blaggers guide to Bob Dylan

Also, I met an aspiring singer called Sarah Howells (you can listen to her songs on her Myspace page) She has a band called Paper Aeroplanes and said I would commend her to you -my four readers. She writes and plays her beautiful songs around the country and in London.

Talent like this deserves a break-tell someone you know, post this song on your blog and if you know Simon Cowell tell him too!

Here she is singing in the Myspace lounge. 

Monday, April 27, 2009


Nine life lessons from rock climbing in four minutes. 

Some advice on dealing with stress from Ken Costa's book 'God at Work'.  

Tim Keller's notes on his talk and some more thoughts on Soul Idolatry. Hymn writer William Cowper's life story. A visit to Rob Bell's church which is one of the largest emergent churches in America

Thinking of planting a church? Here is some reading to be going on with provided by Ed Stetzer. Once you have read that lot you might like to have a crack at these books on movements

Karis Kids and loving God

A few things from the weekend. We have started a series on prayer and it should be a good one and had a fantastic talk on Number 6 and what it means to be blessed by God. 

Our involvement with Karis Kids and the families in a slum in Kampala is underway. There was lots of excitement and expectation as families are being linked together. DO WATCH THE FILM we made of Trevor and Becky's trip in February it will tell you what this is all about. 

I am always going on about reading the scriptures. I am encouraged that a friend says that since she started using For the Love of God (the McCheyne method) her bible reading has been transformed. Not only is she loving it but she has told her friend and she is using it and loving it too. If you want some encouragement to dig into the word and its treasures then listen to this excellent talk in biblical mediation by Andy Davis at Mars Hill.

Talking of Mars Hill, a English couple came to church for the first time to hear their marriage banns read and are moving back to Richmond from Seattle. "Have you been going to  church?" I asked. "Yes, we have recently started going to a church pastored by this chap called Mark Driscoll. Have you heard of it?" 

Yes I replied. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am enjoying the discovery moments of Britain's got talent so much. I know it is showbiz, and I know that scenes are premeditated but they move me. Here is a dance band called Diversity and a little girl called Holly

Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Browse

My nephew's Godmother Davina has a great website for readers and books lovers. I had no idea this is what she did for a living but am very happy to discover Book Browse and recommend it to you. Remember what Mark Twain said, 'The man who doesn't read is no better than than man that can't'. So be bold and read something you like the look of at this great site! Tell others too- Davina and Paul have children to feed!


A few things

Colbert and Bart Erhrmann-great stuff.

Rod Liddle on the whimpish leadership of the Church of England

Team of Rivals is the book Barack Obama is thumbing through in the White House-available here

There is quite a debate in the media about homosexuality because of this conference. I heard the man interviewed he seemed far more reasoned than the woman representing Gay and Lesbian Christians. What do you think? Have a listen here.

A good piece asking "What is twitter for?"

John Stott on self-forgetfulness

This on Rob Bell made me smile. If you haven't read Velvet Elvis you really should.

You might want to check out But is it real? 10 common questions on the Christian faith. Amy blogs every now and then here.

Some book recommendations on evangelism and biblical counseling.

And some reflections on the Quiet time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Will Jackson at the Monk Club

Will, our new Worship Pastor and muso extraordinaire is on you tube performing at the Monk Club with friends Toby and Mark. Do check out the Monk Club it is great- run by Simon and friends. 

Bring yourself, bring friends, tell others. 

Fame at last for Will. He currently remains unsigned.....  

5503 words and holiday over...

Quite a few people have discovered the Narnia Code through the blog. Always good when a few get blessed and enjoy the things I recommend. 

Today, I heard on the radio that the Orwell prize for political writing has been given for the first time to a blog. It is called Night Jack and is an anonymous blog written by a serving policeman. Also nice to see a book about fishing (oh and politics in Sweden..) as the winner. 

I wonder if cookiesdays will ever win a prize? Not likely I fear. By the way, I always mention my three readers (you know who you are and one of them is a policeman so he will like today's post about a fellow bobby blogger) As a celebration of my Narnia post I am advancing my estimate of readers to four!

Down the line on Radio 4 about the credit crunch made me laugh out loud in the car. It is written by the fast show crew.

If you are in a time of suffering this will encourage you. I listened to this talk by Keller on Job. I have just finished reading Job and was not entirely clear what it was all about (Fourth time and still not getting it) but then I was heartened to hear that Keller didn't get it either the first few times he read it. If he doesn't get it is OK for me to be a simpleton! Phew.  Amazing and encouraging.

My essay writing album was this wonderful creation by Rosie Thomas. 

Like this quote and book recommendation

Having just got back from holiday we all need to watch, as suggested here, for burnout

Gospel Coalition conference is underway and Keller, Driscoll and others are speaking. Talks will be available- Here

Did I mention my essay is done. Praise be! I have answered the question "What is a missional community and how are they created. A practical experiment" and based it on 'Live Life'. Not sure anyone is that interested but I have learnt a few things. A couple of the many books I read were Evaluating fresh expressions which is just out and the excellent The shaping of things to come. If you read just one book on the missional church this is not a bad starter. Also this is an excellent primer from J R Woodward

Live life tonight-looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

News on British churches

We are growing smaller and larger.

Who is my enemy?

A while ago I met Rich Nathan over breakfast and his talk at the conference I was attending on post-Christian culture was superb. I have reread his excellent book 'Who's my enemy?' this week and it is one you should have on your shelf. 

You don't need to be around the church that long before you recognize that there are a number of hot potatoes.  Nathan takes them on thoughtfully, theologically and with both grace and rigour. The subject matter he tackles are post-modernity, the role of women, liberalism, the new age and homosexuality. All of these in one book.  

Here's what he says:

'I hope after reading this book, many of my Christian brothers and sisters will gain new perspectives on the question "Who is my enemy?" and will join me in saying, "We must stop shutting the door of the kingdom in the faces of those whom God is inviting in. We will reserve our harshest judgement for ourselves. As we carry out our ministry of welcome, we will season our moral stances with profound mercy and compassion for a hurting world'

This book  has a treasure trove of stuff in it and here is but one-from C S Lewis- apt as I am so into the Narnia Code at the moment. Lewis coined the wonderful phrase 'Chronological snobbery' which I like.

"You must find out why [an idea] went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively, or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also a "period" and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions" (P.43)

You can listen to Rich Nathan preach-HERE

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


J R Woodward has a great set of posts on the meaning of the good news that are worth checking out.

The Divine Commodity seems like it is well worth reading and here is one of many reviews on its blog tour. A new Keller talk on faith and work and ten lessons from great Christian minds

After my comments on Susan Boyle someone recommended I check out this. Really, does TV get any better than this? 

Finally, a redefinition of what it means to be a church choir.

Faith, science and the kettle

In the Narnia Code the scientist Sir John Polkinghorne is interviewed. He is not only an eminent man of science but also an Anglican priest.  "What about science? is the question he was asked (see the side bar for John Lennox on this) and here is Polinghorne's answer which is so simple and I loved.

"Imagine a kettle boiling on a stove. The scientist can tell you much about it. What temperature the water will boil at, the interaction of atoms at different temperatures, the change in the nature of matter and many other interesting and important things. But what science can never discover is that that the kettle is on the stove so that you can have a cup of tea with a friend. That is the real reason the you are boiling the kettle and science can't, nor was it ever designed to, tell you that"

In the year where we are remembering Darwin, you might want a good book on science and I commend Dawkins God , alternatively you can watch McGrath and Dawkins in conversation here

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Narnia Code

Don't whatever you do miss watching this and then buy the book.

Find your part to play and play it

I came across Matt Chandler when someone said they often could not choose whether to listen to one of his sermons or one of Tim Keller's. He seemed worth hunting out and is to be found at the Village Church. In this chat with John Piper he has some wisdom to share and says the key for all of us is to find our part and play it.

Square in the eye

In the recent BBC documentary about oratory Tony Benn, the veteran British politician, said he is not convinced by speaking and rhetoric. He said he always likes to look a man who is speaking square in the eye and ask these questions:

1. Does he believe what he is saying?

2. Does he know what he is talking about?

3. Why is he saying it?

4. Why is he saying it to me?

5.  Why is he saying it to me now?

It was the second time in a week (the first was a documentary on Radio 4 on great parliamentary speeches) that I heard him say this so I decided to ponder the thought awhile.......

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ricky Gervais on God

Some short films from Rick Warren, Sam Harris, Tim Keller and Ricky Gervais- Here

(H/T  Sets & Service)

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I am back from a break staying near Dorchester and enjoyed a visit to the Tolpuddle Martyrs museum. I think I am the last to hear of Susan Boyle on Britain's got talent but if you missed it read and watch this. Heart-warming stuff. I enjoyed reading the Saturday Times this morning in which David Baddiel recommended a novel that made him cry on the tube. 

A N Wilson says he believes again which is good and he also writes an interesting article in the Daily Mail. I enjoyed reading Tom Wright in the Times over Easter.

I have also been enjoying an episode or two of the Speaker on BBC 2 and going to try and catch the Narnia code.

Rowan Williams suggests Sentamu for Canterbury and a thought-provoking Easter message which may be worth three minutes to watch here.

This post put me on to the splendid Sir Ken Robinson speaking at TED on education and creativity. Should I have heard of him which I hadn't? Anyway, watching him at TED had me laughing out loud and thinking in equal measure and I might read his book called Element: How finding passion changes everything even though the reviews seem a bit mixed.

A thought on developing family traditions and a suggestion of four important changes for churches. A book I have been greatly blessed by is the 'Heart of a servant leader' , read it's story here.

Martin Luther says as a means of staving off the Devil have a drink..

A Keller podcast on planting and movements

5 P's for ministry

If you are a fan of journaling you might like to check out the ESV Journaling bible which is moleskine meets the word of God.

Drove to Norfolk and listened to this teaching on Proverbs which is worth listening to as a primer and Driscoll has a good church history book to recommend and also has some thoughts on Spiritual Gifts

The book Unfashionable is getting lots of press.

Finally a rather depressing piece of journalism on the state of Britain. News too of the importance of church slipping.

I am writing a 5000 word essay this week so am planning to have my head in my books.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Tim Keller has a new book coming about idols. A note to self together with a book to read every year. Tim Challies has some things to say about prayer

A new book called Godology by the author of Sex sushi and salvation which I read and enjoyed last year-reviewed here

Seth Godin has a good thought on being an opening act verses having a small audience. 

I have been listening to this on Revelation  in the car over the last couple of months-the man certainly can preach.  A good reminder that they aren't all saved. Finally, some great books on apologetics.

By the way, this Easter remember-JESUS WANTS THE ROSE.


Michael Jensen has written a book called You which is worth checking out. Here is a good review. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

A prayer for freedom

Sometimes following Jesus is tough-at times it may seem unbearably difficult. You may find yourself assailed by defeat, doubt, sin, lost dreams and hopes or your own weaknesses. You may feel so frail and helpless and confused that it would just be easier to give up, believe the lies and run away. 

When the Cross presented itself to the disciples that's exactly what happened. 

They had been sleeping in the garden while Jesus prayed and sweated droplets of blood of their behalf. They had tried to survive by trying to follow-by doing their best to do the things he said. Our own efforts will always end in disappointment.  They all left him. A few stayed a while at a distance but none came with him to the Cross. All their talk did not prepare them to be people who could take a nail with him. 

It should have all ended for them there. 

But he bore their transgressions.

He did what they couldn't

He did it and when he did it was done. Finished.

We are all people who fail. 

We all need to see grace

Maybe you need a prayer. 

Recently, I was introduced to a prayer written by John Eldredge. It is one of those prayers that can save your life. He suggests we pray it every day. 

Perhaps, pray it once and see.

It is called a daily prayer for freedom.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


A few things. A great post on how to be missional without getting into a sweat-a refreshing list most of which is simple but may not obvious. Some advice from Driscoll on Easter preaching and here is a great quote from Tim Keller on the resurrection 

A good book on guidance called 'Just do something'. A worship 'flash-mob' in Liverpool.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Do you want to listen to some helpful things on marriage?

I became a Godfather again this morning to young Theo. 

While driving to Oxford, I listened to this talk called 'Into the fields' which made me reflect on the practicalities of good relationships. Mark Driscoll describes this as the most practical sermon he has ever given at Mars Hill and I tend to agree. It is particularly appropriate for husbands and offers wisdom on what it means to love your wife. 

Listen and see what you think.

May this bless your marriage I pray.

As an aside, a little mind-blowing fact from this talk about D.A Carson. Apparently, he speaks 6 languages and has memorized the whole of the New Testament in Greek! Incredible.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I am David

A friend said that I am David was the first book that wrote itself on his heart. He read it when he was 10 and is now introducing his two boys to it. I confess I had never heard of it. I watched the film yesterday and really enjoyed it, but you might want to read the book first. 

Friday, April 03, 2009


This guy is nuts but incredible-who said man can't fly?-HERE


The Beatitudes are still offensive to us-HERE

Knowing God is the best book I have read this year and the great J I P has some wisdom for the New Christian-HERE

Shaming teenagers in Nottingham-HERE

Ignore your critics (H/T S.McCoy)-HERE

A friend recommended the Ancient Practices series to me the same week as I read a review. One is on Sabbath by Dan Allender who wrote the excellent Leading with a limp.-HERE

Lots of comment on the retirement of the Bishop of Rochester together with yet another recommendation for Flat earth news which I should probably check out-HERE

When is it right to leave your church?-HERE

Don't buy into a wasted life-HERE

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

AA Gill on the Elderly

A friend told me of this article about how we treat the old from the Sunday Times. It is a sobering read.

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