Monday, 29 November 2010

Jesus is the Kingdom of God - Sermon Notes

On Sunday, I had the privilege of concluding our church's "Beginning with Moses" sermon series looking at how Jesus, in a couple of key ways, is the fulfillment of all Old Testament promise.  (PowerPoint slides available here)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Could Jean-Pierre et Marie-Laure be "Dos?"

Today, a couple of schools, along with some government ministers are calling for a reintroduction of compulsory language learning in Key Stage 4 (in case you're not down with the jargon, that's 14-16yr olds).

Will be interesting to see where this goes!

More on the BBC website about this and other government educational reforms ici.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Deep Comedy of God and His People

Peter Leithart describes Christian history in comic terms. (Comic in the academic sense of happily ever after; the opposite of tragic. He doesn't mean a 7000yr episode of Fawlty Towers).  He writes:

The classical world ... was dominated by a tragic view of history, in which history moved from a glorious beginning to a tarnished end ... manifested in a predominantly tragic literature. ... the gospel challenged this tragic classicism by presenting a fundamentally comic vision of history.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Apparently, It's My Birthday Next Week

I was reminded recently, that it's my birthday next week. Old grumble chops here finds the idea of hosting a "party" too much like hard work.  That said, if you're in the South Reading area next Sat (27th) from 7pm onwards, come and join us for an open house "bonfire" and some crack (the talking kind).

Nibbles provided. BYOB/BYOSD

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Genesis A La Take That

The opening track from Take That's latest album is an interesting one. There is a fistful of Genesis imagery here. (For the record, I didn't go looking, I just noticed it at the top of the iTunes chart as I was looking for something else! ;-)

Press play below:

Doing Accountability Well

I went to a most enjoyable Men's Breakfast this morning, organised by the church to which I belong. We had an army guy speaking to us. One of the things that came out of it was the importance of accountability.

My experience of accountability (maybe yours is the same) has often been like this:

- "Managed to stay out of (insert habitual sin tendency no.1) recently?" 
- "Yes."
- "Managed to stay out of (insert habitual sin tendency no.2) recently?"
- "Yes, definitely."
- "Managed to stay out of (insert habitual sin tendency no.3) recently?"
- "On balance, Yes."
- "Managed to stay out of (insert habitual sin tendency no.4) recently?"
- "Yes, give or take... [mumble mumble]"
- "Good, let's [gloss over the little shortcomings, give it a 4 out of 4, cos we're all busy people] pray and go!"

This is an understandable approach.  But there are two death traps here.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

I Am Unclean

Jesus said that it wasn't what went into a man that would make him unclean, but rather what came out of him.

Jesus' testimony about the bitter spiritual fruit of my heart is backed up by the testimony of physical reality. Nothing that comes from my body is fit for human consumption/edification.

Of course, in extreme circumstances of survival or emergency medical attention, one can recycle certain elements, but not indefinitely, the level of toxicity becomes too great and eventually poisons us.

Ascension And Pentecost Take Two

Only after you use a handout, do you realise that it isn't as clear as you once thought. So I've tweaked this in the hope of avoiding misunderstanding.

Have also posted the docx file, should anyone want to rip/"bling"/hybridise/liquidise it.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

James Jordan On How to Read The Bible

James B Jordan has some refreshing (and politically incorrect things) to say about how to read the Bible. Good for stirring up your thinking. Warning - he has a dry sense of humour. Some of the things he says aren't to be taken seriously.

Download the first talk from here.

You can find the rest of the talks in the series here on page 2/3. (For some reason they don't get indexed in order.)

The thrust of what he says is: If you want to understand the Bible you have to read it, alternatively you can read it, or even read it, better still you can read it.

Ascension And Pentecost

Tomorrow night is the next session of the Biblical Thinking Forum.  We have reached Acts and so the focus will be on the significance of Ascension and Pentecost as seen through the eyes of the whole Bible.

Below is the copy of the handout I have prepared, shaped like a flower, aahhh!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

An Afterword on Salt

Following this post, it's interesting to note that whilst in Matthew's gospel, the accent is on Jesus telling his people they are like salt in the context of proclamation and persecution, in Luke the accent is on renouncing the comforts of this life - esp. family and wealth.

The saltless (fruitless/useless) Christian is the one who does not exercise good judgment in the face of all that God has done in Christ, who has a divided heart and a compromised allegiance.

Fruitfulness in life is not dependent, as in so many other religions and philosophies, on the mastering of a technique, but in total joyful surrender.

Bubblings From Babel AKA "Who'd Have Thought Franglais Is The Future? - Kind Of"

Most of the boys I teach still live in that beautifully walled-garden world where everyone speaks English, where we don't need to learn anyone else's language. I don't blame them. Most don't get exposed to any foreign language except in a classroom. Moreover, classroom-based language learning is like being taught to swim on dry land. The ability to manage deferred gratification, (something we adults find hard enough, let alone the kids) is more important here than in many subjects.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Eat Your Heart Out, Alan Titchmarsh - Jesus Wins!

Back in Genesis 1-2 God created all kinds of animals and plants, that would bear offspring according to their kind. Apple seeds would bring forth apple trees. Dove "seeds" would would bring forth more doves. Banana trees wouldn't suddenly start spouting butter-nut squashes, nor would pigs be expected to birth hammerhead sharks...

Thank God for Men Like These

It's easy to forget, in a prosperous and democratic society like our own, that many lost their livelihoods and even their lives to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to us in an easily available format and understandable form.

The following documentary traces some of those who were martyred for the cause of getting the Bible translated into English so that common folk, like you and me, could understand its message. Who knows where you or I would be now if it were not for the power of God at work in the lives of these courageous men.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Getting In The Mood For Christmas??

There's nothing like stunning truth set to beautiful music to get you feeling like you're going to burst out of your skin if you get any more excited!

Having posted recently on the similarities between Genesis 1 and Matthew 1, here is stunning Christmas song that brings out the echo wonderfully. Much better than poor old red-nose Rudolph ever could!

Oh and the house in the video is impressive - if only for wondering how long it took the guy to set it up.  Don't let it distract you from the magnificent words though... ;-)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Sermon Notes on Genesis 17

Genesis 17 here

God's Gracious Restoration (v1-2): Abraham was a man who, back in Genesis 12, God had called to leave his family and his country to go to another land that God would show him. God gave him the promise that he would make Abraham's descendants into a prosperous and mighty nation and that through his offspring, all the nations of the earth would be blessed by God. The problem was, his wife was sterile, so Abraham and Sarah (Abram and Sarai as they were known at that point) tried jamming a square peg in a round hole by getting a son/heir through his maid - perfectly acceptable in that culture, but not with God. Nevertheless, God does not disqualify Abraham on account of his presumption and not only seeks out face-to-face fellowship with him, but makes the promise he gave him in Genesis 12 even better!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Beans Are the New Lettuce

The specialists are tweaking their methodologies, it seems.

Follow Helman's argument and you have to say that beans are the super food of the hour - high fibre, protein and carbs, and what minuscule amount of fat is in there is unsaturated! They are the lettuce in a full English breakfast!! I could almost talk my way vegetarian at this rate!

If these new trends hold, the smart money is investing in air fresheners and nose pegs, at least for the transition phase!

If You Have Strong Views on Election, Calvinism and Arminianism, Read This - Not What You Think

Dave Bish has posted a wonderful blog on the issue of election, Calvinism or Arminianism. Many churches, denominations and individual Christians have said and done some very hurtful things to each other in the name of the side they hold in the argument.  I'm with Dave in that I think we need to frame the question a whole lot differently.