Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Blog-sweep

Making this for supper....

A pal says The Virgin Monologues is the best thing she has read on Christian singleness.

Churches oppose three person baby plan

Famous workspaces via Jesus Creed

The biggest obstacle to spiritual formation

The Foremost

24 Free Ebooks on everything from C S Lewis to Spiritual leadership and Abortion (I read two great stories about Hudson Taylor and George Mueller in 'The Marks of a Spiritual Leader p 11-15)

Four ways to become a terrible pastor

Stephen Fry on God being a Maniac

I re-watched Jamie Oliver's TED talk with Mrs C

The Best jobs for all 16 Myers Briggs Types

Top 10 Christian albums of 2014

As Valentines day approaches here are some Stupid things to say to singles

I've pre-ordered 'Scary Close' after reading this post which really blessed me. Part of it has ended up in tomorrows sermon.

Do you believe God will save your kids? and 13 ways to waste your money

Archbishops of Canterbury and York warn of collapse and do make sure you read 21 things to do while you are not multiplying churches

A mobile phone contract for our daughter

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two ditches

I found Darrin Patrick's observations on church and culture interesting:

There are really two ditches that churches fall into when it comes to entering into and challenging the political climate—and culture, generally:
Unrighteous Activism
Some churches are tempted to think, “Jesus is gone, it’s all on us.” It’s not that activism itself is wrong, but it becomes unrighteous when it’s done without God’s strength. It becomes unrighteous when sin is reduced to corporate injustice. Sometimes the theology of these churches is more like deism. God’s there, but he’s not real helpful. “Thanks for creating the world. We appreciate some of these inspirational verses, but we’ve got it.” These “liberal” churches are really good at entering into culture, but they can easily jump into the prevailing stream without considering how the Bible might offer some critique.
Unrighteous Passivity
“Conservative” churches fall into this. For the most part, the attitude is something like this: “Jesus is gone, but he’s coming back, so we just have to sit here and wait it out.” This is how the whole evangelical subculture happens with it’s own t-shirts and breath mints (Google “testamints”). “We’re going to do our own thing, and hide from the big bad world.” These churches can give the impression that sin is something “out there,” and as long as interaction with the world is limited, you’ll be safe.
These ditches are why the church has lost a lot of influence.

H/t Jesus Creed

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

For the pod: How to respond to divorce

In my 'Bible in one year' today we read Matt 19 on Divorce. The notes contained a link to an excellent sermon by Nicky Gumbel entitled 'How to respond to divorce'. It's well worth a listen and using as a springboard for prayer or to pass on to others.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday musing

I have started reading Jesus our destiny which a wise prophet recommended to me

I read 'Tithing' by R T Kendall in preparation for our vision and gift season which you can listen to his teaching on here (and will save you buying the book). You may find it beneficial.

A pal is preaching a series entitled 'Man up' inspired by James Emery White which is seemingly going down a storm.

Matt Chandler is powerful on the sanctity of life.

Some friends who came to stay were evangelistic about their new eating habits and kindly bought us Helmsley and Helmsley which we are now reading. Sugar and processed foods are by all accounts v v bad and we should all be drinking extremely green-looking drinks.....

Bishop Libby Lane, a Cartoon about Bishops and Who is ducking what in the C of E

Some new mental health resources for churches

I found Ten ways to grow your church in 2015 a real springboard to lots of thoughts and creativity that is currently in process and you might like to use it to MOT your own church.

All paths lead to God

I've bought The Equalizer on the basis of this review (be warned this a very violent film and is not for the faint hearted)

I had a cup of tea with Tom who runs a great charity called 'Surfers not street children'. Check it out.

Finally, an episode of The Undateables made Mrs C and I cry.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Paul's conversion

O God, who through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may shew forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
This is today's collect from the Book of Common Prayer which remembers the conversion of St Paul. It was a joy to read and pray as I discovered it this morning. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

For the pod: Whitfield, 'The main thing' and what it means to be an influencer

Last week I spent time with 142 evangelists and these talks are worth putting on the pod and listening to on your next car journey.

The highlights were:

All three from R T Kendall particularly the first one on Romans 1. If you are unclear on the gospel this will probably straighten you out. His third on the Ten Virgins is a prophetic talk that I found both informative and v. challenging.

Dave Smith on Whitfield was superb (he spent 7 years doing a D Phil on him.) If you preach you should certainly listen to both these talks. J John advised if you are going to visit any church in the land then Kingsgate Peterborough which Dave Smith pastors is worth travelling to. They had 4500 through over Christmas….

I also really enjoyed Phil Cooke on being an influencer.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday blogsweep

Stunning act of forgiveness

Go forth and multiply

A couple of good books on marriage to read out loud together 'The mingling of souls' and You and me forever

Love this story about people who decide to change their life for the good of the others

The remorse of abortion and the healing of the gospel

France's secular space not so neutral

Church announcements

16 ways to think like a leader

Ten books that have shaped me as a Christian inspired me to think about my own ten.

Stories in preaching

A map of the blizzard of C of E discussion papers

My pal suggested Appendix 1 of the Pilling report makes a compelling case for a traditional view of marriage and is worth reading. Appendix 2 is the case for inclusion which he found far less so. If you are in the C of E then you will not be able to ignore Pilling over the next year or two so we had all better crack on and read all about it.

A new pal, who is a tutor with OCCA, recommended I read two papers by Ranald McCauley called Being Human and The Great Commissions  which deeply impacted his theology and life.

Phil Cooke recommended Daily Rituals a book about the process of creativity

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An extroverts paradise

"I believe it to be a grave mistake to present Christianity as something charming and popular with no offense in it. Seeing that Christ went about the world giving the most violent offense to all kinds of people, it would seem absurd to expect that the doctrine of His person can be so presented as to offend nobody. We cannot blink at the fact that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, was so stiff in His opinions and so inflammatory in His language and He was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger. Whatever His peace was, it was not the peace of an amiable indifference." --- Dorothy Sayers 

I am spending the next couple of days at the 'UK evangelists conference'. An extroverts paradise.  RT Kendall is teaching and he says he has spent more time working on these talks than any other in the last decade. He'd be happy for these to be his last word to the UK church. The first (of 4) was spellbinding and if they put them up on the Philo trust site I will link to them. We also have Michael Ramsden and Phil Cooke- a chappy from LA speaking. Tonight we have a talk on the life of George Whitfield. Can't wait. 

As an aside, David Keen's blog has a great post on the discussion papers for the next General Synod. 
The Archbishop really is giving the old girl C of E a makeover.  The subject matter is 'discipleship'- whoever would have believed it? One day, you never know, we might even hold an evangelists conference :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The one thing necesary

Serve God love me and men

This is not the end

Live unbruised we are friends

And I'm sorry

I'm sorry

Sigh no more, no more

One foot in sea, one on shore

My heart was never pure

you know me

you know me

Sigh no more
Mumford and Sons

Every time I do a funeral, or indeed every time you attend one, each one of us connects afresh with our mortality. As the coffin lowers into the ground the thought that crossed my mind yet again is that this will be me one day. As the undertaker said to me as we drove to the cemetery 'No one likes to speak of death these days'. Of course, the reality is that for all of us our time is finite and as I prayed 'Give us the wisdom and grace to use aright the time that is left to us here on earth. (Common Worship Service and Prayer, p. 265) it's for me too. I quoted these lyrics in my talk, as I was speaking to a good number of musicians and rock and rollers, though I am not sure everyone entirely approved of my band choice as they more a more punk than folk crowd. The Eulogy given was very moving and heartfelt. 

Death cannot but lead us to reevaluate our priorities. 

I am personally still dwelling on the final chapter of Crazy busy that is entitled 'The one thing you must do' which references the story of Martha and Mary. 

It says of Mary that she did 'the one thing necessary (Luke 10:42). 

Here's the question I am asking myself (and the church I pastor) as January 2015 runs its course. 

What is my/our 'one thing necessary'?

'I am more a more convinced that what gives a ministry its motivations, perseverance, humility, joy, tenderness, passion, and grace is the devotional life of the one doing ministry. When I daily admit how needy I am, daily meditate on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and daily feed on the restorative wisdom of his Word, I am propelled to share with others the grace that I am daily receiving at the hands of my Saviour'  (Crazy Love, p 116-117)

So writes Kevin de Young quoting Paul Tripp's 'Dangerous Calling'. He then follows it with this sentence

'Maybe devotion to Christ is really the one thing that is necessary.'

There's a challenge to my priorities and maybe it's a challenge to yours too?

Monday, January 05, 2015

Random Monday Musings

1. I'm loving listening to Needtobreathe

2. As a boy hearing about Robin Knox Johnson inspired my love of dingy sailing and adventure. I watched this and loved it. He's a proper tough old sea dog.

3. We have watched Newsroom Series 2 and I think Aaron Sorkin is a genius. Terrific, intelligent and gripping telly.

4. I read Keller's funeral sermon in this book and think I became a Christian again.

5. I discovered today that you can be buried in a painted coffin.

6. If you want a belting action movie that is Diehard remade then watch White House Down. Trust me- it really is Diehard remade and is never going to be classed as a great piece of moviemaking but we loved it.

7. I was rubbish at science but if I had read Bill Bryson's book it would have all made more sense.

8. Rick Warren preached the last sermon at Mars Hill.  Well worth a watch.

9. If Simon's sermon 'How far can you see?' (30.11.14) doesn't make you burn more for mission then you may be deaf. Loved the David Livingstone story.

10. The Green Report won the FT's Fallen Angel prize. Really made me smile :)

'… This year I’m awarding a special prize to an organisation that ought to have risen above jargon, but has been dragged down into it. Winner of the inaugural Fallen Angel award goes to the Church of England, which in a paper on training bishops talked of “a radical step change in our development of leaders who can shape and articulate a compelling vision and who are skilled and robust enough to create spaces of safe uncertainty in which the Kingdom grows”. Our Lord, looking down on a sentence in which His Kingdom was obliterated by a dozen dreary management clichés, must have found his genius for forgiveness sorely tested…'

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Crazy busy

We are starting a new series today called 'Simplify'. In preparation, this week I read a great book called 'Crazy Busy by Kevin do Young. Reading 'Crazy Busy' during January will certainly set the sails for your year and get your priorities on track. How to find your priority? Here's a verse from my morning reading in BiOY:

'Start with God' (Proverbs 1:7 Msg).

There's no other place to go.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Tozer on 'Power'

'We are turning out from the Bible schools of this country year after year young men and women who know the theory of the Spirit-filled life but do not enjoy the experience. These go out into the churches to create in turn a generation of Christians who have never felt the power of the Spirit and who know nothing personally about the inner fire....The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus. Everything that men do in their own strength and by means of their own abilities is done for time alone; the quality of eternity is not in it. Only what is done through the Eternal Spirit will abide eternally; all else is wood, hay, stubble....We have the blessed Holy Spirit present, and we are treating Him as if He were not present at all. We resist Him, disobey Him, quench Him and compromise with our hearts. We hear a sermon about Him and determine to learn more and do something about it. Our conviction wears off, and soon we go back to the same old dead level we were in before. We resist the blessed Comforter. He has come to comfort. He has come to teach. He is the Spirit of instruction. He has come to bring light for He is the Spirit of light. He comes to bring purity for He is the Spirit of holiness. He comes to bring power for He is the Spirit of power...God Almighty is saying to us, “I am not wanting to wake up the power that lies in you. Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you!” That is a different thing altogether. If we had only to be awakened, the Lord would simply have gone around waking us up—but we need more than this. We need to be endued with power from on high...many Christians spend a lot of time and energy in making excuses, because they have never broken through into a real offensive for God by the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit!...Many persons preach and teach. Many take part in the music. Certain ones try to administer God’s work—but if the power of God’s Spirit does not have freedom to energize all they do, these workers might just as well have stayed home."
A W Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 1955, p.88

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