Monday, 30 March 2009

Why Jesus lived on planet earth for as long as he did.

Have you ever found yourself asking the question? Why did Jesus not get slaugtered as soon as he left Mary's womb? If he was born to die, why did he bother to live a life that took him into adulthood? Why wait...?

Up to yesterday, the answer that I would have given to that question was: to show us how to live properly with one another -to be our greatest example. I would have wheeled out verses like Matthew 16:24 to make my point good. That, whilst not a wrong answer, is not the best answer. There is a better one.

To help us we need to consider Hebrews 2:10 and what it means that Jesus was made perfect through suffering.

The simple answer is that over his "planet-earth" lifetime he was in himself crafting the righteousness that he would give to all people, whether Old or New Testament, whether Jew or non-Jew, who put their trust in him.

Like the prototype wing being taken to the wind tunnel to test its integrity, so Jesus was sent to earth to test (although probably vindicate is a better word here) his righteousness and win himself a people to be his very own.

So the righteousness that Jesus gives his people is not a "bargain-bucket" righteousness that breaks on first use, untried and untested. It is not a righteousness that has never experienced demonic attack or fear or suffering or limitation or abandonment, or temptation to self exultation; it is a tried and tested righteousness that is strong: approved by God the Father and attested by God the Holy Spirit.

So if like me, you have put your trust in him in this earthly life, then when we stand before Jesus in the Judgment and he considers us, he will see neither our lifetime lack of righteousness nor our heap of wickednesses, but rather his own lifetime of tried and tested sinless perfection radiating back at him. He will then say This one I know, for I see my likeness (righteousness) in him. Welcome good and faithful servant, come and share in my Father's happiness, then he will introduce and commend us to the Father.

What a moment that will be.

What an awesome God!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Updates... updates...

Due to the busyness of life, I have not been updating my blog with what has been going on at the school CU on a Friday lunch time!

The Headlines are:

Having started the Questions series off with 50 boys, (most of whom were probably there on the promise of free food), we stablized out at around the 25 mark. Before this we had been around 6!

Many good conversations have been had, but no obvious fruit yet. We continue to pray for some.

We covered questions like:
Who came first, Adam and Eve or the dinosaurs?
Why does God remain hidden?
Why is there so much suffering in the world?
What's God's take on suffering?
What do you live for?/What would you die for?
What's Easter all about?

Today we addressed the last one in that list. Romans 4:25 shaped it for me. How both the death and resurrection of Jesus are needed to save sinners like you and me. Let me explain...

Jesus' death, clears away the moral guilt of my rebellion against God, let's call it my -1000000000 debt of sin, but if that is where it ended, then I still have nothing, zero, in my moral account, nothing to offer God when he comes knocking, nothing to commend me to God. To get into Heaven I need to be like Jesus and have +1000000000 moral points to give as it were, which I will never achieve.  If Jesus stayed dead, I would still be damned.

To put it another way, you might find it in your heart to forgive me if I murdered your parents, but there would be nothing in me that would commend me to you that you should love me.

And so this is why the resurrection is so key.  Dead men don't give anything to anyone, but because Jesus is ALIVE he gives his perfection as a gift to all who trust him.  If you are a Christian, you can commend yourself to the Father NOT because you have a perfection of your own but because you have been given the gift of perfection by another - Jesus. And when the Father sees his righteousness over you and in you he is moved with love for you.  To love you as he loves his very own Son.

And this is why we can now not just be shuffled into Heaven as tolerated forgiven sinners, (that category doesn't exist in the mind of God, only in the minds of people bound up in "religion"), but welcomed into the fellowship of God as beloved adopted children and co-inheritors with Christ of the new creation.

And all this, through the Holy Spirit who lives and works it all in us!

One boy was very perceptive, he said: but that's not right, you can't let people off like that! 
Yeah I said, Great isn't it?  He was then sidetracked by something else! Then Pavlov called (the bell went) ...

What and awesome God! :-)


My sincere thanks to all the adults and boys that helped to make Christian Union the joy and the success it was this term.

Then I got home from work and chuckled listening to this bit (1:18) from my favourite radio programme - The Now Show. Somewhat ironic, I feel...

Are you like me?

I find myself both amusingly and eerily reflected here.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Britishness Test

If, like me, you're a fan of Radio 4, you'll hear them from time to time talk about the government's desire to have all those who are seeking permanent residence in the UK take a Britishness test.

Unfortunately, the sample, just for fun test I took didn't ask you questions about how to form an orderly queue, (a very important part of our national life) but rather how many MPs are there in Parliament. (If I hadn't been given some options, I would never have guessed/remembered.)

I got 8/10, and was relieved to be informed that I had passed! Click here and see if you can beat me!


Friday, 20 March 2009

Home and Away


We are in between kitchens here at home. Thus we only have the microwave to cook with, which does make meal times a little drawn out if I want more than a ready meal. And I DO want more than a ready meal! (I have also of late picked up the habit of dropping our Pyrex dishes on the floor, further limiting my dearth of cooking options) If I wasn't such a skin flint, I'd go to the chippy! ;-)


I'm off to Buxton in Derbyshire tomorrow for expedition training. It's preparation for taking 17 yoofs from school to Uganda and Western Kenya for a month in the summer (6 Jul- 6 Aug). We're about turning pansies into proper men! It will be great...

...But I will miss gathering with the church I love...

Toxic debt

This is chiling.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Helping hand

Like my friend Sean, I too have a thermometer, although I don't dislike it as much as him!

Should you wish to sponsor me, please click here.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Provocation to fast

See this post: 1hr 11mins 14secs.

Worth paying the licence fee for!

Whilst I don't have a TV and therefore don't pay the licence fee, I still get to watch BBC programmes for free on the internet, although I am told that free access won't last for long!!

One day I will have to pay! In the mean time, I enjoy programmes like this one for free!!

Great video 2:38

Go watch this.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Trinity: On Gift Horses and Mouths

A pupil at school asked me last week to give him a verse that illustrates the Trinity. If you know me, you'll know that the words "gift horse" and "mouth" sprung to my mind.

Turns out that the pupil in question is a Christadelphian. To see how they differ from mainstream evangelical theology on the person of Christ click here and scroll down to the sections titled "The nature of Jesus" and "The Son of God not God the Son".

What would you have said to his question?

Turns out he had his answer ready asuming I was going to go to either John 1 or Titus and sensing that his question was loaded somewhat, I went at it from a different angle and to the Old Testament:

Gen 19:24, which clearly gives us two LORDs acting in unity (of the Spirit).
Isaiah 63:7-10 where we have all three: the LORD (the Father), the Angel of his Presence who is sent to save his people (the Son) and the Holy Spirit, whose conviction the people stubbornly refuse.
Finally Isaiah 48:16 where one who clearly identifies himself as the LORD says that he is sent by the Lord along with the Spirit.

If there is no Trinity, there is no gospel, no hope and no meaning to existence, in fact we wouldn't even be here in the first place.

He's a really nice guy. Not sure what he made of the answer I gave him, but a dialogue has opened and he has faithfully returned to our meetings ever since and seems to genuinely interested in what we are doing!

So hurrah!

TBC... I hope!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Ruminating on a Ransom Whilst doing some Routine Running

It's a funny kind of joy that the Christian has. It is at one and the same time exuberant and contrite.

As I jogged to work today, I pumped along to the sound of the Psalms on my iPod and the one that struck me most afresh was Psalm 49. The Psalm recounts how stupid and hopeless men and women are when they trust themselves and each other to make themselves acceptable before God.

Then comes beautiful verse 15.

And with the sun streaming down on my face, wonderfully symbolic (I run in an easterly direction to work), I gave thanks to Jesus for paying my ransom and ran on full of hope.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Eternal Life

This morning I read 1 John 1:2 and was gloriously reminded that Eternal Life is not an elixir that you find after a quest deep into the Andes, or at the chemist (after someone has been to the Andes to get it for you). It is not something that your money can buy or an education figure out. It is a relationship, pure and simple.

(Eternal) Life is not about what you know and have, but rather who you know and have.

So I press on in Hope.