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Showing posts from 2003

Relaxing at Christmas

Probably the last entry of the year. Had a nice relaxing week with family & in-laws. My sis got engaged on Christmas day which was cool! General chillout for the rest of the week til I go back to work on the 2nd! Before then... the next update on beginningwithmoses.org is due on 01-Jan-2004...

Recently I've mostly been reading: The Message of 2 Timothy to prepare for Reading CU Cells - a timely read. Simon Austen's A Better Way which sheds light on Jesus! And John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life (til I lent it to my Dad and forgot to get it back before we left...).

Jesus better than everything else..

One of them was the Reading Carol service with Krish Kandiah a couple of weeks back. He took us to the heart of Christmas - "You know how much trouble you're in by who they send to rescue you... God was sent to rescue us... hence we're in big trouble... Jesus is God-to-the-rescue.. pay attention to him".

These are notes from a talk at Surrey CU....
John Piper, C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards stand behind this talk. Not to credit this would probably make this plagiarism... I'm thankful to them but more so to Jesus and his word which is the real inspiration. I've lived at breathed Philippians this term as I've studied it with guys at Reading... Jesus is the better than everything else - Phil 3v1-11Let us approach God's word and hear him speak to us…1. Phil 3v1-6 Humanity has many boastsPaul can make more boasts anyone if you want to play that game… in Paul's culture that means religious boasts about ritual and heritage. The same occurs today but…

Don't waste your life

Just got a copy of Don't Waste Your Life, John Piper's new book! Taste this...

"You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them.

The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don't have to have a high IQ.

You don't have to have good looks or riches, or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things-or one great all-embracing thing-and be set on fire by them." (p. 44)

For God's sake let there be justice

This came out of a conversation with a student at Surrey...

There is a rising tide in the west in support of the cause of "justice". But what is justice? Why does it matter? What will we do about it? What are the larger implications of us pursuing the cause of justice.

And injustice is right on our doorstep. While today's Students campaign against fees imposed on them by MP's who got their education for free there are much bigger issues at stake. The gulf between rich and poor continues to increase even in the fully developed world that is the West. Injustice occurs when I walk down the street and all eyes are averted to the ground to avoid contact with any other person. Injustice occurs when I look straight through the bank clerk and act like they're not even there. But bigger than this our very quality of life depends upon injustice. Not against us, but the kind of injustice that entirely favours us.

This is the world justice problem that sees most of the world&…

Free Coffee

Uploaded the handout and powerpoint from Thursday night (linked on 02 December) and also study questions on Mark 14v27-52. Today was the beginning of Christmas shopping, sadly not yet the end of it! Had a great last week - first the new dol.cHe Vita expresso bar at Reading has been serving free coffee which has enhanced my meetings! and more significantly I've been reminded again of the joy of the grace of God. Re-reading some of John Piper's Desiring God has been great, and taking a look at J.I.Packer's Knowing God which turns out to be quite good too! Term draws to a close at Surrey, Farnham, Farnborough and Reading over the next couple of weeks and I'm starting to look ahead to next term and 2004

The Weight of Glory

Believe the truth & rejoice because it is much sweeter than our lies
We rejoice when we obtain this most precious treasure that God gives to us when we believe in the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!

From C.S. Lewis in his sermon, The Weight of Glory:

"If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud-pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Can you hear what Lewis is saying? We’re too easily pleased. We suppress the truth and we love it. We exchange it for lies and thing they are better than the truth. We are too easily pleased. Our lies are halfhearted imitations of the truth. Our…

God, Church & Glory

Last week was UCCF New Staff Training. Awesome week with the other new staff at Hothorpe Hall. Top notch practical stuff on pastoral care, discipleship and motivating for evangelism. Plus the legendary Chris Sinkinson on God, Church & Glory from Romans 1,3,5 & 8. Outstanding. Four days there was followed directly by Reading CU Houseparty and some seminars on Quiet Times & Evangelism. Back to work after a day off yesterday and preparing to speak at Reading this Thursday on The Most Important Decision of Your Life (DOC) | (PPT). Spent this morning discussing and delighting in God's grace and election with one of the lads from Reading. Looking forward to getting back on the road and out to Guildford and Farnham in the next couple of days.

On the train

Just posting up my one to one study guide on Philippians - Joy in Life. Had a meeting today with the Reading guys and their mission speaker Krish Kandiah which was great. Then went to SIADCU in Farnham which is great group, ploughing through Romans together! On the train home I was reading Romans 9 - God's wonderful mercy.

Sandwiches with JT

Action packed month. Had a great time in Cardiff earlier this week. Shadowing the Staff Worker there and popping along to some events with Cardiff and Newport CUs. Got back to find my picture in the December edition of Evangelicals Now. Alongside a top article about UCCF by Lindsay Brown. The photo was taken at the Forum conference by David Smith. The others in it are Rach, Debs, Vicky, Phil, Dave and Lexi.

INTP

Top time in Southampton this week with the UCCF guys from the South East. Some quality practial ministry training, prayer time and an evening of fun doing Myers-Briggs tests. Turns out I'm an INTP... so there you go! Bit of fun but also useful to help us think about the way we're different and made that way by God. Reading Q & A event was on Thursday night and went very well. Lots of really good questions well answered by the panel which had two students and a local vicar on it.

Notes

Mid term and things are going well. All of the CUs I'm working with are in good shape and I'm starting to see my role in each place. On Monday we're relaunching beginningwithmoses.org. Still got some finishing touches to do on what has been a huge job.

Should Christians feel guilty?

1. Guilt & Christians

1 : the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct
2 a : the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously b : feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : SELF-REPROACH
3 : a feeling of culpability for offenses

Do Christians feel guilty? Are non-Christians guilty? Are Christians guilty?

2. The Doctrine of Justification by Faith [Romans 3v21-26]

21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

What is the problem?
How can God deal with that?

BE JUST? 2. SAY, JUST FORGET IT? 3. BE JUST & JUSTIFIER?

24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is…

Scribbling

Once again some quality time with Andy Goodacre & Steph Carter at our weekly Team Meeting in Guildford yesterday before returning to Reading to lead a seminar on Should Christians Feel Guilty?. One of the best titles I've ever been given I think. I'll put the notes up in a while.

At Reading we've just completed four weeks of cell in John's gospel to fit with the Life project. We'll take one week out to focus on cell evangelism before moving back into John for four more weeks. Life - Part 1. Cell Notes from John 3,4,6 &9. It's been great preparing and teaching the material for these and I'm looking forward to the rest of term as we explore John 12,14,19 & 20.

Seventy Five Years of UCCF

Tonight we held a thanksgiving meeting for seventy five years of Christian Unions in the UK. It was a good night with John Risbridger speaking from Philippians 1. Some real encouragement about our partnership in the gospel, our need to love the right things and to proclaim the gospel. Great testimonies and we found amongst us one of the earliest members of Reading CU from 1934!

[RUCU was founded in 1927]

Permission to fail - spiritual healthcheck

Developing a “Permission to Fail Culture…”SPIRITUAL HEALTHCHECKSomeone once described the Christian life to me as living on the road of grace. It’s a great road - the most wonderful road, one on which we are completely certain of where we are going. But, he said, this road has a ditch on either side that many slip into. They take their eyes of the road of grace and soon find themselves stuck in a ditch. Thankfully, it’s always possible for God to get us out of the ditch… Sometimes we even veer between both ditches…

DITCH 1. LICENSE “God is good, he will forgive me, that’s his job…”

This can lead us to think, ultimately, that we don’t need grace and that sin is acceptable… maybe we even deny that anything “sin” is wrong… Grace is not a license to sin - rather grace teaches us to say NO to sin. Are there areas where you’re trying to get away with sin?

Sin can be hard to break free of and the only real way is to make the tough choices and to come to God for forgiveness - and he will always …

The grace driven leader

Talk notes from Canterbury CU.

THE GRACE DRIVEN LEADERS

ome questions
What does it mean to be a leader?
How do you feel about being a leader?
Why should you be a leader?

[FEEDBACK]

Let me tell you about some of the leaders who’ve influenced me most…

Ian - taught me 2 Timothy at a leaders weekend and for the first time inspired me to read the Bible. Another guy called Richard helped me a lot later by helping me understand how to read the Bible by showing me a few simple examples. Christian leaders are going to need to be Bible people. Some useful resources to help you with this are Vaughan Roberts book God’s Big Picture or the Read Mark Learn study guides on John or Romans. It’s worth studying any of these with some friends.

John F Kennedy apparently said "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

Chris - a Christian Union Staff Worker, rebuked me for pushing an idea that would have compromised the interdenominational nature of the CU. But after that didn’t give up on m…

On the road

Been a while since I've had time to post anything here. The last week has been great - I've got started on meeting one on one with some lads and we've had some good times exploring the Bible. It's been a challenge and a joy. I'm determined that my vision will be grace and my attitude one of joy and the more I read the more I'm finding this. Today's headline in The Times said: Savour this Monday morning: if only life could always be as sweet as this in response to the weekend's sporting triumphs.

God's mercy's new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Every morning is one to be savoured because God's mercy is new to us because of what he did at the cross. Sport is ok but forget such second rate savouring... God says (Lamentations 3v22-23.): Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Savour that!

Spent a few sunny hours in Canterbury at th…

Mad month

What a mad month. I've been away from home for nine nights and eaten more conference food than I wish to remember. That said it's been a fantastic time of new beginnings. It's been great to start to get to know Surrey CU, particularly with their Cell weekend which we've just had. A real focus on building community and being evangelistic. My session was on honesty & openness, titled not about sex... and it wasn't. Meanwhile Reading start back this week and with the FE Colleges in the area also up and running I'll be all over the place trying to show people how wonderful Jesus is, from the Bible.

Not about sex

Ephesians 2v11-22
There are no strangers in the new humanity created by Jesus blood (11-19a)

Image 1. A new Humanity
Jesus’ triumph at the cross means…
All the divisions have gone
Access all areas for everyone

In what ways do we discriminate between each other? (be honest!) How will you treat everyone equally in your cell? We’re all sinners which means failure is ok. How can you create an environment where there is “permission to fail” in cell? What will you do to ensure that God’s abundant grace flows in your cell? How will we grow from being strangers to being open with each other? God’s glory inhabits the new house when it is built on the gospel & the Bible (19b-22)

Image 2. Inhabited House
The inhabited house is built on 2 foundations… “Jesus blood” & “The Apostles” –
i.e. The Gospel, The Bible Get those in place and God moves in! In what ways are our individual lives built on these foundations? How can we build these foundations in cell? “Being Jesus-centred means being Bible-cen…

Student Alpha Conference

Alpha Conference was great. Very challenging afternoon session on Worship, Evangelism & Justice by Mike Pilavachi. Some strong challenges - first to see the connection between Worship & Evangelism (a point i've longed to see made for four years - on which see my article on Acts 17v16ff), but then to consider whether our lives are truly worshipful lives - do we live justly, mercifully and humbly - like Christ? I suspect we don't. And grace abounds from Jesus, who is all those things but it never absolves us of living in right response to the gift we've recieved from God. I know I need to think over this more and more than that to begin to act more justly, mercifully and humbly. The other big challenge for me was a seminar by Danny Brierley of Oasis to think about community - what impact am I having on the communities that I'm a part of - that then points to the sphere in which my life is to be led in justice, mercy and humility.

The Distress of Idolatry to the heart of the worshipper

If we profess to be serious about God - if we consider his name and his glory to be the most important things and indeed the things for which we were created then this will impact our lives. Driven by this as we meet together we will proclaim this in songs of great joy and truth. And we'll do it in the preaching of the Word of God faithfully. And it will impact our lives, it will be applied.

"Worship which does not beget mission is hypocrisy.
We cannot acclaim the worth of God if we have no desire to proclaim it" (Stott, 1967)

A great example for apologetics (or at least that is how it is used) is found in Acts 17 but so often we miss the backdrop of this great triumph of cross-cultural evangelism. What was it that drove Paul? In v16 we see him enter and observe the city of Athens and he is found to be greatly distressed at the idolatry he sees - men worship anything and everything - even unknown gods, but they do not honour the true Sovereign God. And so, he takes the gosp…
Day off work to rest and recuperate after the FORUM conference. Fantastic to see over 400 students getting a vision for the good news about Jesus and looking to tell their fellow students about it, with the aid of the new Life resources. Off to the Alpha for Students conference tomorrow and then on to meeting with students on campus

My job is to meet with students and study the Bible with them, the aim of this is to see them gain in confidence and joy in Jesus' good news, and so to push forward the witnessing communities of students (CU's) on campus as they seek to take that good news to students. This is a genius way to work - sending 18 year old Christian missionaries from across the world into the student world as students to take the good news of Jesus to students. These missionaries work for three years in the most transient population in the country whilst they study, getting to the heart of student culture and speaking about Jesus.