Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday musing

If I was preparing a sermon on the resurrection for Easter day I would certainly recommend reading the chapter in Andrew Wilson's 'If God then what?'

There has been a big debate across the pond about religious discrimination in Indiana. The Governor seemed determined not to want to answer the gay bed and breakfast guest question.

I am happy to see that Sunday worship is now being viewed as something that can be missional.

I cooked Lamb with apricots from Camellioa Panjabi's book. It's absolutely delicious but I added some creme fraiche and through in some left over gravy from this great Normandy Lamb recipe I did the day before.

I had a moment considering 'costliness' in Matt 8 listening to talk 5 in the series 'Follow' yesterday.

A quote from Sundays sermons that has stuck with me and I will ponder during Holy Week is this one:

'Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us we have to see it as something done by us'

John Stott

Lots of academics seem to be in a stew about changes to theological education. I think I need to dig around more to better understand what their beef is.

Some tips on taking better photos from Steve McCurry, whose exhibition we visited on honeymoon in Sienna. You can see his work in Monza if you happen to be in Italy.

We are starting a new teaching series on the Holy Spirit after Easter it being Pentecost n'all soon. J D Greear has come on my radar in the last few months and this belting talk on the Holy Spirit is worth checking out. The Holy Spirit is a person with power to bestow to his children who ask for it......

I am thinking about starting on Instagram. Cutting edge me :)  Just as I am joining all the trendy folk will be moving to some much  more hip platform. Any suggestions of alternatives?

John Legend singing Amazing Grace
h/t Ann Voskamp

Friday, March 27, 2015

For the pod: People pleasers

I've been working through Rick Warren's 'Best Messages' and recently listened to 'Escaping the people pleaser trap' which I found very helpful.

So many live in fear of disappointing others or feel the pressure of keeping up with the crowd and conforming to their opinions. We worry about the performance of our kids, the lives of other parents at the school gate, the opinions of colleagues and friends, the views of our boss and a whole host of other people who we let dictate how we react and feel and think.

I hope this message is a help if you find yourself falling into the people pleasing trap.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday bits and bobs

Matt Bird the founder of 'The Cinnamon Network' has written an interesting book called 'Relatianology: Secrets to grow your business through the power of relationships'

John Lennox, an apologist and Math Professor at Oxford, taught be the book of Daniel at Vicar Factory and he's just written it up into a book called 'Against the flow:The inspiration of Daniel in an age of Relativism'. His Bible teaching on this material moved me to tears when I heard it.

Keep a watch on your life and illustrations

Three bad reasons to leave your church

This is an interesting piece about the 'Four pervading themes in the writing of Dallas Willard'

I am very slowly working my way through Capital and this is an interesting piece about the solutions to inequality. Worth a read, as it seems the middle classes rather than the poor are absorbing all the political energy on the build-up to the election.

I had to make a big leadership call this week and this insight was interesting on changing your mind. I also found 10 Dumbest things a Pastor says on a Building Project a help to me.

I always love a new or interesting commentary on Romans like this one.

Enjoyed the seven distinguishing habits of highly effective pastors.

Have you ever considered a stand-up desk?

3 Team Killing church cultures

You may not be working in the White House but this is ....How the most powerful people get things done

The 20 most popular TED talks if you happen to have hours to watch them all. A 20 minute TED when you are in need of some inspiration can be a good thing I've found.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Scandinavian church planters

It's rather fun to have a crowd of Norwegian and Swedish church planters visiting HT Barnes this afternoon. I have been asked to encourage them and to share our story. As I have been thinking this through I have looked back on the books, websites, sermons and resources that have been part of the story for me personally and for our church.


DMLJ Iain Murray (2 Volumes)

A Resilient Life MacDonald

Finishing strong Farrar

The Missionary Movement in Christian History Walls

The Cross cultural process in Chrsitian History

Edward George Marsden

The Shaping of thing to come Hirsh

More Ponsonby

Who is my enemy Rich Nathan

Wesley Pollock

Leading with a limp Allender

Leading from the inside out Rima

A million miles in a thousand years Miller

Bonhoeffer Metaxas

Leading on empty Cordiero

Confession of a reformission rev Driscoll

Vintage Jesus by Driscoll

Why Revival Tarries Ravenhill

Sensing Jesus Eswine

It Groeschl

The Reason for God Keller

Working the angles Peterson

Total Church Chester

Churchill Johnson

The Big Story Buzzard

Rethinking the church White

Courageous Leadership Hybels

Fresh wind fresh fire Cymbala

The way in is the way on Wimber and Hayford

Reformed doctrine of predestination Boettner

C T Studd Norman Grubb

Too busy not to pray Hybels

Ordering your private world MacDonald

Church in the making Arment

The Heart of a Servant leader Miller

In a pit with a lion on a snowy day Batterson

Fail J R Briggs

Talks and Films

Furtick's advice is not to plant a church unless God has called you to. I concur

Platt's advice is to pray. Good idea and do lots of it.

Driscoll is a very flawed man but this sermon did something deep in me. Not for the faint-hearted so you've been warned but it's part of my story so I share it.

Simon is a pal and he blessed me and made me laugh as I planted our church and spoke at our first weekend away.


Nehemiah is a book I have often turned to on our planting adventure.

I read 'The purpose driven life' and Romans while fly-fishing in Chile for 2 months and I've been set on a different course ever since. 

A bit of advice. Read the bible and pray said so brilliantly by Hybels

Billy Graham's talk on the Cross moved us all deeply when I showed it in church and blow me down someone gave their life to Christ. Wonderful stuff.

Watching this moved me and compelled me pray that we might see a few folk believe and be baptised. We haven't quite got to 2158 yet but give us time :)

These Keller sermons on Galatians were a turning point in my encounter with grace. I listened to them driving up and down the A3 to work over a months and have never been the same since.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Leaky roofs and other matters

The budget gave a tax break to church roofs.

Thanks to David Keen for putting me on to the Evidence to Action website of church growth resources. Well worth breaking a fast for!

These lyrics were quotes in the BioY notes:

‘The night is deafening,
When the silence is listening,
And I’m down on my knees,
And I know that something is missing

Sooner than later, I’ll need a saviour,
I’ll need a saviour...
I just wanna run to you,
And break off the chains, and throw them away,
I just wanna be so much,
And shake off the dust that turned me to rust.
Sooner than later, I’ll need a saviour,
I’ll need a saviour...’

J D Greer in chapter three of 'Gospel' describes asking his wife to tell him about his sins. It is a very challenging read if you happen to be a pastor (as I am) and it came on the back of my reading this post about envy and rivalry in ministry.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday bits and bobs

Loved these reading nooks

A strong response from Peter Ould about the Southwark crisis now spreading across the C of E. It made the front page of the CEN this week and the Church Times. Looks like this one requires some bold decision making and leadership and requires it pretty fast.

If you lead something these four things are worth dwelling on for a moment.

I appreciated the post '7 things the church can't do for the pastor'.

I am enjoying reading 'The Pregnancy Book' and I would heartily recommend giving it to anyone in your church expecting a child.

Justin Buzzard has written an interesting post about pastors working a five day week like everyone else.

I am pondering this piece on why God doesn't remove sinful cravings. I am also enjoying reading J D Greear's book Gospel which someone gave me after church last weekend.

I am excited afresh about the things of the Holy Spirt and have been reading this material called 'Understanding spiritual gifts'.

There is quite a lot of comment on the Dolce and Gabbana gay adoption debate/argument with Elton John.

I found listening to Paul Maconochie on Missional Communities helpful and interesting.


h/t Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Longview

'Your ministry doesn’t need the flair of your inflated ego; rather, it is your authenticity that will most effectively motivate those you serve in leadership. And that genuineness is most often communicated in a soft tone that has no relation to bravado— a well- reasoned argument that can be coupled with passion to get the attention of internal and external constituencies, and a caring and gracious spirit that attracts around it people ready to listen and respond.'

Monday, March 09, 2015

Monday musing

It's late on Monday and I have a few things I've read that have stuck with me that I share.

The first is N T Wrights piece on Cranfield which was fascinating for anyone a wee bit interested in the scholarship of Romans.

I also appreciated 10 Christian Influential Leaders 5 best books. I always love a book list.

Cranmer has a punchy post on Islamism.

There is much in the blogosphere about inerrancy after John MacArthur held a conference about it. I found R C Sproul's thoughts on the subject interesting.

Finally, lots of posts about Apples new watch and Kester has views. Also, I enjoyed the 'Art of the Keynote' which has some helpful thoughts if you speak a bit- as I do.

My Ma's church are having a series of Lent film nights and one they showed was 'The fault in our stars'. It has gone on my radar as a result. Others she has watched are 'The Way' and 'Pass it forward' which are both excellent movies (apart from the fact that the DVD broke down for 'Pass it forward' and I told her the ending).

Mrs C made Hemsley and Hemsley's kale pesto for supper which you might think would be vile but we both agreed was rather delicious and interesting.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A bit and a bob

Yesterday we went to see 'The Second Best Marigold Hotel'. In truth, we had turned up expecting to watch 'The Theory of Everything' but discovered we were a day early and I had misread the website. The administrative cross I bear :) The film had some lovely bits and I enjoyed the Tennyson moment and Maggie Smith's thoughts at the the conclusion. Dame Judy is as stupendous as ever.

We were all rather surprised that the Kentucky Fried Chicken Ad at the start brought a tear all our eyes. That's a first.

I preached a lively message on Sunday from Psalm 73. I quoted this from Donald Miller. 

“Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and, for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human's social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and, sadly, their greatest tragedies. It is as though something that helped them function and live well has gone missing, and they are pining for that missing thing in all sorts of odd methods, none of which are working. The greater tragedy is that very few people understand they have the disease. This seems strange as well because it is obvious. To be sure, it is killing them, and yet, sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem.” 

I chatted to someone who has started writing a book about their recent spiritual journey and recommended Blue like Jazz' to them. It's a fantastic read. 

I've started reading 'The Longview'

I am trying to make time to read the Bishop's pastoral letter 'Who is my neighbour?' A neighbouring parish were challenged recently in a sermon to read the letter and to at least consider voting differently from the way they normally vote or differently from your default political leaning. 

I've been wondering what we are left with in the Bible if we take the Dean of St Paul's advice on Scripture. 

It reminded me of the section in 'The Reason for God' about creating a 'Stepford Wives' God:

“If you don’t trust the Bible enough to let it challenge and correct your thinking, how could you ever have a personal relationship with God? In any truly personal relationship, the other person has to be able to contradict you.
“For example, if a wife is not allowed to contradict her husband, they won’t have an intimate relationship. Remember the (two!) movies The Stepford Wives? The husbands of Stepford, Connecticut, decide to have their wives turned into robots who never cross the wills of their husbands. A Stepford wife was wonderfully compliant and beautiful, but no one would describe such a marriage as intimate or personal.
“Now, what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that offends your sensibility and crosses your will? If you pick and choose what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a God who can contradict you? You won’t! You’ll have a Stepford God! A God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can have a relationship and genuine interaction.
“Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination.
“So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.”
– Tim Keller, The Reason for God, pages 113-114
We are watching an episode or two of 'Lie to me' which is really rather interesting on deception and lies. 
I cooked Kedgeree over the weekend and also made my mothers delicious spicy sweet curry sauce with it.  I enjoyed watching Tony Singh on India and Indian food recently. 

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