Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Furious Longing of God

I read this in one sitting in a coffee shop in the sunshine. As C S Lewis says we must constantly be 'reminded' of the gospel. This was a reminding: heart-meltingly so. 

If you want to know more of grace then just let Brennan Manning open you up afresh to Jesus its bringer. 138 pages of grace and a reintroduction to the beloved. 


Saturday smile

Friday, May 29, 2009

Two Englishmen in New York

Two friends are in NYC on holiday. Watch out-they have a blog

Learning about fishing

Make the arts part of your lives.

Five minutes with Dawkins

A lost art of reading out loud

The Keller day I missed is now available on audio

A friend has been meeting with an elderly mentor for study and prayer and tells me his friend really 'knows' the bible. His new encourager has had him reading an old book called 'In understanding be men'. You might want to read it.

I have introduced a friend to my passion for fly-fishing and you never quite know if the enthusiasm will last- I think it might. By the way, I am the one fishing in the rain!

The gift of discernment

One of the first sermons I ever preached was on Galatians and here are some commentary recommendations

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Currently on the go...

Longing for God


Three questions with Tim Keller about idolatry

Eight questions about how proud you are.

I sadly learnt this week of someone in ministry whose marriage has ended. If you are in ministry and you haven't listened to this talk yet it may encourage and help you?

Equally, someone gave me this film to watch called Fireproof which is rather poorly acted but is about one couple repairing their lost love in marriage. It is moving and filled with hope.

We have taught at Live life on the gifts of the spirit and it has raised a few questions. Here is a sermon and a Q&A that may be a helpful resource.

The Next talks.

Sometimes people confess things to me and I too confess to others- but what exactly is confession?

Blogging on the good news continues at Dream Awakener

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Who you gonna call?

So said the ghostbusters in the 1980's.

That was my problem in the face of my chronically bad back. You might think it would be simple but there is so much to choose from and everyone has a view. Here are just four that were suggested: cranial osteopath, osteopath, physiotherapist and chiropractor. To be honest, I didn't much care, didn't know the difference between any of them and just wanted the pain to go away. 

A few factors came into play and here's how I made my decision:

1. Go with a recommendation

2. Go local- (I needed to be able to walk)

3. Go where you can get an appointment quickly and to a place and person you like the look of

So I opted for an osteopath called Phil recommended by my friend Millie. 

On my form, I put my occupation which then led to an interesting discussion. I asked Phil how you know which of the back disciplines to choose. "Much like your game" he replied "It's all spirituality isn't it- you just have to go ahead and choose and hope you pick a good one"

So this is my ecclesiological thought. To most people the church is like a back remedy. They have no idea where we are until the problem comes and when it does have no idea what we do.  They pick one someone recommends, make a visit and give it a go untrusting themselves to the person up front. At the end, they are asked for money, may or may not feel any recognizable difference and are left almost as bemused as when they began. They may or may not come back, might try another discipline but, there again, it might just get better over time anyway now the pills have started to work.

What you really wanted was good news and you surely know when you have encountered it.

Still chewing this thought, I called my friend who is a GP. What she said was interesting. "They all do the same thing but give it different names" ....."What matters is the person doing it and whether or not they do it well". 

Church as back remedy. Confused? You will be and they certainly are...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


'Coldplay Live' which they are giving away free to fans. Also on the music front, Paolo Nutini's new album can be listened to for free

Paul William Young speaks about the Shack

Seth Godin says we should keep a scrapbook.

The Blogging parson has an ethical debate on torture on facebook.

A good question: Who's your target?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I have done my back in so am laid up in bed in agony. Very dull.

Brennan Manning has been an author I have loved and is a man who has truly encountered grace. He has a new book out.

Do watch John Piper explain what preaching should be about.

Ravi Zac came to speak at my college and I share this posts enthusiasm for his preaching. By the way the book that most impacted his life and preaching is called  Why Revival Tarries.

The miracle of forgiveness through the horror of Rwanda.

One man is dying of thirst.

Mark Driscoll on 'little negatives'

Everyone including Rowan has a view on MP's expenses.

I enjoyed listening to this evangelist's story and you might too.

I am enjoying reading this while flat on my back to celebrate his recent Everest climb. Clearly the man is completely nuts!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I have finally got around to listening to Keller's talk on idols. I have been rather busy with essay writing and preaching and tax returns so have not been listening to talks or reading much. My next read is going to be 'The quest for more' which I am looking forward to.

There were many things that moved me and challenged me in this talk but the main thing was that Keller did exactly what the preach was about. Here, sitting before him were a couple of thousand? (I don't know exactly how many) church leaders and 'sound' preachers and he read their mail. He went after their idols of preaching and ministry and over work and competitiveness and of power and pride. 

This is courageous preaching. 

He saw the Asherah poles and tore them down before people's eyes. At least he tore them down before mine.

Idols. Yes, idols yet again (It's all about idols-read the last verse of 1 John). 

As an aside, a pal and I speak a two or three times a week on matters of scripture, life and 'stuff'. If there is a verse we don't get or a drama we are facing we share the burden or theological question or thought or joy. He is a great encouragement to me. Ministry and life is not meant to be a solitary business- try to get someone to call.

The verse we are pondering is Proverbs 20:5. I am enjoyed the chew.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Ruth Gledhill reports on Anglican's trying to work out a way forward with an interesting exchange of letters with Orombi.

Matt Chandler on 'Silly myths'

Mike Breem and Eddie Gibbs on the end of Christendom and mission (Breem is the ex-Rector of St Thomas Crooks in Sheffield).

Scott McKnight says beware of spiritual eroticism

The Bishop of Croydon also has some views on  'girly music'.

A friend recommends an album by  Ashley Cleveland called Before the Daylights Shot which might be worth checking out. He says it is '..some of the best reworking of hymns I have ever heard...'. It is £17 on import so try Spotify for a listen.

Frustrated by your MP? You might find this site helpful

A new leadership initiative in Watford.

Some community group training from Steve Timmis at Mars Hill

Adopted for life may bring you to tears according to the reviews.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


They have been dubbed the new atheists. Here one of them, Christopher Hitchens, and Pastor Doug Wilson agree to thrash out the issues. Looks like this film will be fascinating stuff so here is a sneak peak.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Romans 6

A pal is giving a paper on Romans 6 and I told him that Lloyd-Jones would not preach on Romans until he had understood chapter 6. He asked me for the reference so I had to go and search for it and typed it out for him and here it is:

"One Sunday evening at the close of the service at Westminster Chapel, somewhere about 1943, a certain well-known preacher came into my vestry and said to me: 'When are you going to preach as series of expository sermons on the Epistle to the Romans? I answered immediately: 'When I have really understood chapter 6'

Like many others I had struggled with this chapter for several years, and had read, not only well-known commentaries, but also many sermons and addresses on it. But none had satisfied me; rather they had left me with the feeling that they were in trouble. Some just skimmed lightly over the surface, using the chapter to prove their particular holiness theory. The more solid commentaries seemed to be contradicting themselves and each other.

In 1954, while preaching a series of sermons on Spiritual Depression, and studying this chapter again, I suddenly felt I had arrived at a satisfactory understanding, and preached two sermons on Sunday mornings giving what I now regarded as the true exposition of the main argument of the chapter. Having done so, I felt that I was now in a position to preach an extended series on the whole Epistle; and I began to do so in October 1955"

From the preface to his 'Exposition of Chapter 6-The New Man' (Banner of Truth 1972)
Page [xi]

Saturday smile

Friday, May 08, 2009


I have been listening to Carl Medearis (whose site is worth looking at) at New Wine Leaders all week so I also found this interesting

Joe Thorn has some best books that have been read so far this year.

Is craft beer a picture of the local church verses the institutional one?

Driscoll on the call to endure

20 minutes to change your marriage

Are you a weary mother?

How to read theology-a guide for the perplexed

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Orombi: Moses on Leadership

This is a stunningly simple and enormously powerful talk by Henry Orombi on what it means to be a leader. If you lead a church (wherever you live) then listen to it and may it bless and encourage you-spend the £4.40-and if you are abroad get New Wine to send it to you.  

Do whatever you can but make sure you listen to this talk and particularly the prayer at the end-just this alone will teach you how to pray. Incredible, moving, stirring. 

For such a time as this......


A good book on the history on influenza. Another good book recommendation from Buzzard called the Quest for more

Bill writes on the story of an ex-porn star.

A pal is really enjoying Mark Stibbe's new book on missional communities called Breakout.

Clips from the LICC's Imagine DVD now available online.

Finger of God is causing comment in charismatic circles but can't say I have watched it. Someone buy it and tell me what you think.

Goldsworthy's 'According to plan'

Bible and Church conference at Westminster Chapel on 20th June sponsored by Tyndale House.

A pastors bookshelf on Romans

The book Unfashionable is generating some comments and thoughts

Donald Miller who's Blue like Jazz is a great read has a new initiative.

Ken Costa on spiritual hunger.

John Piper on how he reads and studies the bible using arcing.

And if you have 77 mins to watch Keller it is worth it. (I was there)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Did you know

Orombi at New Wine Leaders

I am enjoying seeing some old friends and am being blessed and encouraged. 

Henry Orombi the highlight thus far preaching on Elijah. He is a prophetic and bold leader and leads 9.2m Anglicans in Uganda (as well as his influence over the global church).

"People kind of lean on me-should I fall how many will fall with me? Who leans on you and should you fall how many will fall with you?"

"Make your role model someone who is difficult to follow"

"Unpopularity will mark the men and women of God"

1. Teach and preach the gospel
2. Do acts of kindness-feed the dying world
3. Heal the wounded

Also listening to Carl Medearis author of Christians, Muslims and Jesus and Jean Darnell.

Monday, May 04, 2009


There was some disappointment that I failed to post a Saturday smile so I will try and do so from now on. Here to compensate is Rowan Atkinson and his invisible drumkit. 

With some help from this post and some techno savvy friends I have just linked my Facebook and my blog. 

Books by Don Carson

"There are none so blind as those who do not know that they are blind" Don Carson in For the love of God (March 19th)

If you have never read a book by Don Carson here are some to choose from.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Random Huggers

Today, after a nice lunch on the river in Richmond a lady came up to me and said "Would you like a hug?". Why not, I replied and she duly gave me a huge hug. 

It is (I now learn) random huggers day- so go on- give someone a hug.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

New Wine Leaders

A pal has given me a spare ticket to New Wine Leaders, transport and space in their hotel so I am off next week to Harrogate. Here is some information on New Wine for those who have not heard of it.

I wonder if anyone else is going?

A few things to go to..

If you want a five day conference, I did the LICC Toolbox a few years back. Great for anyone who wants to explore issues of faith and culture.

The Acts 29 Network has a London Bootcamp.

Wycliffe Hall (my old college) are having a conference on Theology and Worship with Tim Hughes, Louie Giglio and others.

And a couple of things you might like to read.

Steve McCoy has a great post on how to blog better and how blogs can help people engage with the arts.

For you twitterers (or are you called a twit?) out there some advice on not wasting your tweets.

Should I be on twitter I wonder-I remain to be convinced?

Friday, May 01, 2009

New Poet Laureate

Carol Ann Duffy is the new poet laureate taking over from Andrew Motion. I heard her say that she is not a person of faith but she says she misses the Catholic liturgy of her childhood. People who pray, she mused, have the benefit that they have someone to speak to and she also said interestingly '...I think poetry is secular prayer' [speaking on Radio 4]

Here is one of her poems on exactly that subject.


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. 2 Grade I piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

(C.A. Duffy, 1993, Mean Time, London, Anvil Press)

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