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Showing posts from October, 2006

Living Leadership - Marcus Honeysett Sermons

Marcus Honeysett is the author of Meltdown: Making sense of a culture in crisis and Finding Joy: A radical rediscovery of grace , both published in the UK by IVP.
Formerly UCCF London Team Leader, he now works with Living Leadership training leaders in the local church.
I think it's fair to say that Marcus is just a bit of a Christian Hedonist, and a thorough-going Reformed Charismatic.
Marcus Honysett: MP3 Sermons
Philippians 1-2, The Kings Centre, September 2006.
** Philippians 1 - Praying with Joy
** Philippians 1 - How to be mature in Christ
** Philippians 2 - part 1.
** Philippians 2 - part 2.
1 Peter, UCCF Midlands Student Leaders Weekend, March 2006
** 1 Peter 1v1-2v1
** 1 Peter 2v11-3v13
** 1 Peter 3v13-4v11
** 1 Peter 5v1-13
Ephesians 1 & 3, Southampton University Christian Union, October 2006
** Priorities (Freshers Week)
Reading University Christian Union, freshers week:
** Don't Waste Your Life - Marcus Honeysett, October 2006
Above Bar Church, October 2006
** The Tr…

Dawkins: Mad, Bad or Sad?

This apologetic from Tom Price (formerly of is well worth a read, considering the phenomenon of a man in a bit of a trilemma:

Richard Dawkins:
Mad, Bad or Sad?

The Times: serialising The God Delusion. Part 1: Why there is no God - (HT: Adrian Reynolds)

Orthodoxy (on Reformation Day)

To mark Reformation Day 2007 I thought I'd share some observations from the book of 2 Chronicles. This book takes us through the history of God's people from the reign of King Solomon to the exile and the decree that permits their return. We cover many centuries and darkness abounds for much of it. There are glimmers of hope, albeit flickering and imperfect. The book cries out for it's YES and AMEN in the completion of God's promises and offers many lessons for us along the way.
2 Chronicles is about Orthodoxy. Ortho meaning true, doxa meaning worship. It concerns the establishment of a place for the LORD's name with his people, a place of certain forgiveness and a place where the Word of God is found. It's about true worship. The story begins with Solomon who desires to build a temple for the LORD. His father David had shared this desire but been barred from fulfilling it. Solomon is not held back. With the help of God-fearing foreign kings he builds a magnifi…

Giving an Answer (2)

Our apologetics is to be Christ-devoted... but, what does that lead to in practice? Three foundations:

1.Ready to give an answer – an apologia

It's the scout motto - “be prepared”. And its common sense for life. When you have an exam to sit, you get prepared. It's called revision! If someone asks you to come for dinner you expect that they will be ready when you arrive. When it comes to conversation about Jesus it makes sense to think hard about what we might say in advance. It matters – because this relates to our discipleship – to wholehearted holiness about God. Life is of course spontaneous but Peter says, get ready. And what are we ready for? Apologia. Ready to give an answer.

The word means a “back-word”. A defence. That doesn't imply negativity, as they say – the best form of defence is attack. A positive answer. If we look at how Paul talks about Jesus in Acts we'll see that he is a master of this apologia. He is an apologist.

Which sounds negative – but its not ab…

Study Skill 04: Listen with your heart

This is an addition to an old series of posts from Autumn 2005. 1. It's not about you2. Connections3. Plain Meaning In many ways this develops from this recent post on application. My concern there was that God's word requires us to believe God's promises. And, that the book of James particularly expects that this change us.

This post is prompted our church meeting today, on Hebrews 3v1-4v13, which draws heavily on the events of Israel in the Wilderness (see Numbers) and Psalm 95.

The essential point here is that God says in the Bible (attributed as The Holy Spirit speaking in 4v7): "7Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,"So we must ask some questions.

1. Is it TODAY? (the answer is always yes)
2. Can I hear God's voice? (if I am a Christian with an open Bible, he is speaking)
3. Then I must not harden my heart. What must I not do? Act like Israel in the Wilderness. They failed to believe God's great promise of rest, prefe…

Seven Days

1. Visiting God's church in different places
Last Sunday was a bit crazy but it was great to spend time with God's people in different places. In case you think we were church hoping, we weren't. Instead we were visiting friends and sharing news with partners in the gospel in other churches. Delighted to hear of new students committing to local church. A month into their time at uni it's time for that to happen!

2. Lost my voice.
Three days of not being able to talk. The voice is one of two vital tools for a Bible teacher. The other being the Bible. Humbling to remember that I shouldn't take that for granted.

3. Didn't quite renew the domain name in time
Wondered where BEGINNINGWITHMOSES.ORG has gone? Er, yeah. My mistake but we've sent instructions to get it recovered. Hopefully that wont take too long.

4. Apologetics
Teaching Surrey students about this at their houseparty. Jesus died to bring us to God! - God is the gospel! - and that's not a blind faith. S…

Giving an Answer (1)

From Surrey CU houseparty: “A good case for the Christian faith lays before the watching world such a winsome embodiment of the Christian faith that for any and all who are willing to observe there will be an intellectually and emotionally credible witness to its fundamental truths” -- James Sire“ 13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to Go…

Missing Images...

We're experiencing a technical glitch at That means the last four years worth of Biblical Theology resources are offline for now... and also some of the files linked with this blog (images/pdfs). This should just be a temporary problem but we don't yet have a clear timetable for bringing Moses back from the dead. We're believing that he's only asleep and will be back shortly....

Certainty, in our circumstances (4)


As the reversal is completed several events occur. The Amalekite's estates are given to the Jews and an order is granted to allow the Jews to assemble and defend themselves against any one who would attack them. Xerxes order to permit the annihilation of the Jews stands (his word is unbreakable), but it is countered by this.

Consequently at the end of chapter 8 we find the Jews celebrating and full of joy. Indeed many convert to their faith in the LORD. In mid-December the Jews are attacked but triumph over their enemies. Haman's sons are hanged from his gallows and the Jews are delivered from the threat against them. One thing the Jews don't do is to plunder the Amalekites in 9v10 + 9v15. King Saul was reprimanded in 1 Samuel 15v19 for having done this, seeking to keep the Amalekites possession for himself instead of thoroughly destroying them. The Jews do not fall into his error, their enemy is vanquished. So, they celebrate in style. The celebration is called …

Say to your soul

A review of Justin Taylor & Kelly Kapic's edition of Overcoming Sin and Temptation to follow in due course but this is plenty to chew on for now....

"Be sure to get an interest in Christ
if you intend to mortify any sin without it,
it will never be done."

Questions to ask of your soul, p105:

"What have I done? What love, what mercy, what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit has chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great salvation? In the meantime, what shall I …

Mark's Gospel - Cell Notes

Mark Cell Notes - 1v1-15 - PDFMark Cell Notes - 1v40-2v17 - PDF
(Cell Notes for Reading University Christian Union, Autumn 2006) "He did this with such breathless insistence, such compulsive narrative intensity, that one is reminded of a child recountuing some amazing tale, piling fact upon fact as if the whole world depended upon it, which of course, to Mark, it did. 'Straightway' and 'immediately' link on event to another, everyone 'runs', 'shouts', is 'amazed', inflaming Christ's mission with a dazzling urgency... Clearly Mark is concerned primarily with the death of Christ, to such an extent that Christ appears completely consumed by His imminent demise, throughly shaped by his death. The Christ that emerges from Mark... had a ringing intensity about Him that I could not resist."
-- Nick Cave, introducing the Pocket Canon of the gospel according to Mark.

Five quotes from around the blogs

A round-up of five quotes from the blogosphere....

"...if preachers don't point you to the Jesus of the Bible, to his I finished work and to the believer's union with him, then they must be pointing in the wrong direction."
-- Martin Downes, commenting at Pyromaniacs"It is surprising how rarely we then link these great truths with how that should make us act in every day life. How should the truths of Zephaniah 3:17 make us act? I mean, what exactly, should change in our lives as a result of this truth... It's an interesting little case but I wonder how much we've neglected such practical theological thinking in spite of our increased head-knowledge. Let's practise theology with teeth."
-- Paul Huxley, on Theology with Teeth"Incomplete knowledge is defective knowledge, but those with incomplete knowledge may not be defective people as a result."
--Martin Downes on The Sincerely Ignorant"...All of them have their own ideas about how …

Cherishing the Gospel

Mark Lauterbach's posts on Cherishing the Gospel are well worth a look. One of the posts gathered there is about a sermon he heard on Numbers 33. He recalls these words: "...when God speaks of the places where he was faithful, he develops the details. When God writes about the places of failure, he speaks of his care and not their sin. He made this point -- God is forgetful of our sins. He does not summarize our lives as those moments of great transgression on our part. In our self-righteousness we make a monument to our sins and live in endless regret of them. In our pride, we make monuments to others sins and remind them of them. But God records his gracious care of us in our sin so that we see his mercy and not our evil."Quote Source: Seeing the Gospel

Certainity, in our circumstances (3)


The events of Esther 4-7 once more require us to believe the promises of God against all evidence. The powerfful Haman appears at first to be bound for abolute triumph until things take a turn for the worse, with comedic irony that almost makes you feel sorry for this enemy of God.

Esther & Mordecai: Confident in God's promises.
Esther 3v1 is the highpoint of the record about Haman. At this point he is the Prime Minister and seems free to wield absolute power even against the people of the LORD. By the time Act 2 ends he will be hanging from his own gallows. As the narrative resumes Mordecai and Esther are on stage, albeit separated and communicating by way of the messenger Hathach. Mordecai leads the Jews of Susa to fast and mourn over their impending annihilation. They lie in sackcloth and ashes surrendered to the LORD.

When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone…

Perplexed to see you...

Many highlights on Sunday. Chief among them must be Dannie at Wycliffe Church and Nathan at Grace Church, for their comically perplexed expressions as they realised we'd just turned up at their churches. Fair enough really...

Great to share excitements about the ministry of UCCF: The Christian Unions with Wycliffe in the morning, and to catch up with friend at Grace Church in the evening - and collect some books from them.

I'll resist any temptation to compare between the three meetings we attended. They were all good, in different ways. A joy to remember that Christ destroyed death, is coming back and wants us to do our jobs wholeheartedly. Great to hang out with God's people.

The downside of the day is that I continue to get more ill, and my voice is somewhat mislaid... alongside my Bible my voice is the main tool of my trade... so that's not ideal.

Certainity, in our circumstances (2)


Esther is a peculiar book in the Bible. It makes no mention of God though it deals with his people. It is only as it is tied into the rest of the Bible, and read within that context that it can be understood at all as anything more than a compelling, comic tale, certified 18 for scenes of sex and violence.The key to the book of Esther seems to be that God's promises stand even if the circumstances say otherwise. The promises are hidden and only revealed in the confidence of some of the characters - chiefly Mordecai and Zeresh, and to a lesser extent Esther. The book is very pertinent for our age. A time where the church looks finished. Where the Amazon bestseller is Dawkins new book that preaches that God is a dellusion. A world where people fear global warming and North Korean nukes rather than the judgement of God because God's promises seem distant and most people aren't even aware of them.

Getting to grips with Esther 1-3. Xerxes the Muppet?
On the face of it …

Seven days

1. Partnership

Image Source: Funky Pancake @ the event
Churches gathered with one thing in common: God's glorious gospel. Great to be together for the gospel. And now I've set foot in Maidenhead. How exciting.
UCCF: The Christian Unions are all about partnership in the gospel. On Thursday I loved seeing that in action. At 7.10pm I finished my talk in Farnham CU. At 8.10pm I was at Surrey CU (Guildford) where God's same gospel was being proclaimed by Ian Stackhouse. In that hour I walked, and used two nice South West Trains. Oh, and there was the thing with bananas and lemonade which is probably inexcusable, much like Cat's insights about Tescos!

2. Permission to fail

Image Source: Funky Pancake
Pride is so self-deceiving and it's not very nice to have to face up to that. But my sin is not too big. God is God. The gospel is still true. Grace is enough. I don't want to fail, but when I do fail God's gospel does not. This week I think I've seen and hated my sin

24 - Day 6 Trailer

Certainty, in our circumstances (1)

This is intended to be the first of a series of posts about God's promises. Starting with a adaptation my last post (on James 2), and then moving into the book of Esther, and possibly some considerations of Galatians 5-6. The essential thesis is that the way to live is by faith in the promises of God - real Biblical active faith that effects the way we live, by believing that God's great promises reflect reality rather than circumstances and senarios.

Remember then, James is provocative. A bit of a John Piper or Mark Driscoll of his time (sort of...). He uses shocking illustrations and words that make us stop and think. He kicks off in James 2 by saying there is a thing we might call faith which is actually demonic faith rather than real faith. That is to say that demons believe good doctrine. They probably have better doctrine than much of the church and they also shudder at God, where we may often only saunter before the LORD. Note that in the early chapters of Mark's gos…

What does a Christian look like?

What does a Christian look like? What is the archetypal image of a Christian? James 2 is concerned with this question. Its a controversial chapter that deals with what a Christian looks like. And it blows away a myth. That myth is that “Faith is what I think”. (Mark Dever)

As I said it's been a controversial chapter. The great church reformer Martin Luther didn't get on too well with this. He was the champion of Protestantism – reforming the church from its errors in the Roman Catholicism of 450 years ago.

He observed two key foundations for Protestants: 1.Authority – that it rests with the Bible not with Rome or the Church2.How we stand before God – that this rests on faith in Jesus blood not my works.[Thank to Carl Trueman for this clarity]

This is known as “Justification by grace, through faith”. It is the cornerstone of true Christian faith. That we are counted perfect by God, because Jesus died in our place.

And when Luther read the passage we're studying tonight he blew …

Henry Martyn 1781-1812

Today in the Church of England calender Henry Martyn is remembered. He was a missionary to India who translated the Bible. Martyn was an assistant to Charles Simeon, the long suffering evangelical vicar of Holy Trinity Cambridge until 1805, after which he travelled to India where he worked with William Carey.

This is the Anglican prayer for the day...
Almighty God,
who by your Holy Spirit gave Henry Martyn
a longing to tell the good news of Christ
and skill to translate the Scriptures:
by the same Spirit give us grace to offer you our gifts,
wherever you may lead us, at whatever cost;

through Jesus Chrits your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Near the end of his life Martyn wrote this: "Whether life or death be mine, may Christ be magnified in me! If he has work for me to do, I cannot die"

Permission to fail

I'm looking forward to having Josh Harris' - Sex is not the problem (lust is) on my bookstall this term:"...lust's power will decrease as we relentlessly pursue holiness. Unlike so many books that share a shelf with this one at the local Christian bookstore, Harris holds out lust as a problem, but provides the gospel as a solution. And that isn't even a fair fight..."
--Tim ChalliesThe only way to fight sin is with the gospel. The gospel doesn't let us deny our sin. And it gives us permission to fail. There is always enough grace to cover our sins, and the Holy Spirit's power to change our desires - so we settle for more of God rather than less with sin. The gospel is not just the answer to sexual sin - it is the way to fight against any sin. And its definitely not a fair fight. God wins! God is God. The gospel is still true!

Talking about my sin, a wise friend said this to me today:"...if we don't have permission to fail then we might as well …

Forty Years of hurt?

Pete Jackson posts:It was forty years agoEvangelical unitySchism and 1966As does Martin Downes:On this day in historyEvangelical unity appeal (Extracts)And less recently, Guy Davies:1966 and all that1966 and TodayUpdate: The pyromaniacs are concerned that a non-cessationist is triumphing, as nominated by the newest member of The Coffee Bible Club Blog....
Martyn Lloyd-Jones is my Homeboy? (Get yours here)

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Theology is The Revolution

Rosemary transcripts this priceless quote from Mike Reeves on theology, from Judges 6.... Theology is smashing up idols - smashing up the idols in our minds and in our world. And not just smashing them up but replacing them with (v26) proper kinds of altars to the Lord our God: replacing them all with Jesus Christ.

The story here is: Gideon is surrounded by the idolatry of the Mideonite regime. And he begins the revolution against it by bulldozing Baal. And that is theology! It's not just reading books, studying languages, whatever. It is about rebelling against the world order, not just the Mideonites' little regime; rebelling against the whole world order as it rebels against God. Rebelling against it, bringing down the system, utterly replacing it; that is theology. Theology is The Revolution.

...Theology is washing our brains by the Mediator rather than being brain-washed by the media.

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Together for the Gospel

Tonight nine of our church travelled to Maidenhead for the "launch" of the Reading-Affinity partnership of churches (not sure how many churches are actually involved - maybe 10?).

Will Stileman, vicar of St Marys Maidenhead hosted us, with Graham Cooke of Kennet Valley Free Church preaching from Philippians 1, with contributions from James Muldoon of Carey Baptist Church, and Adrian Reynolds of Yateley Baptist Church.

I'm encouraged to see both Free and Anglican churches entering into partnership - time will tell what God will do through this. Many of the church leaders involved are well known to me through their partnership with Reading University Christian Union which continue to be a source of great encouragement.

Great to catch up with friends, and to meet a few new people in the crowd.

Jesus the Only!

Our pastor Piers Bickersteth spoke this morning starting our autumn series in the magnificent letter of encouragment, Hebrews.

Jesus the Only - Hebrews 1:1-2:4 MP3What God says is authoritativeWhat God done is uniqueMore: Arborfield Sermons

Creative Arts: Factory

Alistair Duckworth was a student at what is now the University College for the Creative Arts, Farnham (where one of my CUs is). Recently he produced this:

Alistair said, 'I wanted to show that the culture we live in is quite manufactured and so it can often feel that our life is happening to us and that we are just on a treadmill which ultimately leads to death... the trick was to present death as a fact but in a funny way. I wanted it to be light-hearted but at the same time leave you with a bit of a shock a the end.'Another Farnham grad is Simeon Lumgair

What do you wanna see?

Steven Harris isn't a blogger I always see I to eye with, but he certainly makes some good points. He's also a friend of my brother-in-law, but that's not relevant. Anyways this is spot on:"I don't want to see Jesus lifted high"

Me neither, not least because when Jesus talks about being "lifted up" or "lifted high" he is referring to his impending crucifixion, not lots of charismatics clapping along singing "We wanna see Jesus lifted high". I always imagine the crowd stood before Pilate yelling "crucify him" whenever I hear that song...
-- World of SvenThe serious point here is that if we're going to use Biblical terms in our songs we should use them the way the Bible does. Good news is that Jesus was lifted up once for all... and he is seated over all things!

Meanwhile my fellow-coffee Blogger, Sam Shearn, quotes this, from Cowper:Lord it is my chief complaint,
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love you and adore,

Seven Days

Some memories of the last seven days, mostly from work and church...Pipes not tanks.
Stephen Abery at Arborfield Church: GenerosityRain and Trains.
The rain at pouring through the roof at Reading station on Wednesday morning. Amusing.

Image Source

Rather spoiled later that day by four cancelled trains (due to flooding and landslides) and what should have been a 70 minute journey taking 200 minutes.
Visiting all four of my CUs in three towns using seven trains. Plotting a course through Esther 1-3 to preach from it at Surrey in the new year was thrilling. Such a good little book of God. Prayer.
Church prayer meeting. Its good to pray together with God's people! I love the church.Preacher-boy.
Ed glories in the gospel, preaching Luke 10 at Surrey CU. Gave me a strange fatherly feeling. Unexpected. Big thanks to Danutia for the lift home and conversation. Welcome back to Reading.Evangelism.
Nicola's Christianity Explored article in Reading's SU paper (Spark)
...nice contrast to the …

Winning hearts and minds

Songs are brilliant. They enable human beings to express creativity. They allow us to encapsulate great truth in ways that are memorable and easy to communicate. And they engage both the mind and the heart - a song can unlock emotions in ways that straigh speech may not (though the spoken word is very capable to evoking great emotional response)

Jonathan Edwards was once accused of being too emotional in the language of his preaching. He responded by saying something like - I only raise affections in proportion to the truth considered. Therefore to speak of Jesus, heaven or hell requires great emotional/affectional engagement... whereas the to-do list for a day isn't quite so engaging, generally.

This rule of thumb is a useful one for those who write and select songs for Christian meetings. The New Testament doesn't call this worship - but it does speak of it as singing. Singing to God and to one another.

Jesus sang with his disciples, and the Bible as a whole contains a whole s…