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Showing posts from August, 2012

Video: Behind the scenes of UNCOVER

In 2011/12 we rolled out Uncover, a Bible discussion guide by Rebecca Manley-Pippert to equip students to read Luke's gospel with their friends, to give students the opportunity to see for themselves who Jesus is.

Phase 2 launches next week at Forum 2012, as 1000 student mission leaders gather to kick off a new year, and get an Uncover Luke's Gospel in their hands.

Come behind the scenes and watch this video:

We're churches together on a mission #taw2012

We did it. My family went camping for a weekend, a mere 10 minutes from our front door with 2000 others from churches across the South of England, Portugal, Spain and India.

This was the annual gathering of a family of churches on a shared mission, led by Guy Miller and his team. A people committed to reaching the people of our nations.

For me the biggest highlights were the opportunity for community with our church family. Waking up to eat breakfast with others was great, and something I'd like to think we'll do more often as part of our normal life.

The other highlight for me was Sunday morning's meeting. We sang songs about the gospel of Christ, Howard Kellett brought a word for our church and others about Jesus Christ our True and Greater Columbus who has pioneered ahead of us in this mission, and PJ Smyth who preached a wonderful gospel sermon from 1 Chronicles 11-12 (seriously!). I loved PJ's clarity about Jesus being the main plot of the Bible (with David, and …

Hosea: Of Lovers & Whores

In June I preached a three week series from Hosea 2:14-23. These are wonderful gospel-rich scriptures about the love of Christ for his people.

Download MP3: Jesus wants our hearts - 2:14-15

Download MP3: Jesus wants us to know him - 2:16-20

Download MP3: Jesus wants us to be his - 2:21-23

The series was shaped by Jeremiah Burrough's commentary Of Lovers and Whores

Here's a freebie extract from Burroughs:

This is good reasoning and worth of one who professes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, as the inference of the unbelieving heart is grievous to God’s Spirit, as it draws its “therefore” from the greatness of sin rather than from God’s mercy; so the profane heart taking its therefore from the greatness of God’s mercy, to the hardening of itself in sin, “treasures up for itself wrath against the day of wrath.” Shall God make his therefore from our sin to his mercy, and we make our therefore from his mercy back again to our sins? Where sin abounds, grace abounds; but where grace a…

Jesus our Bridegroom (Mike Pilavachi)

Social Media is great. On Friday 3rd of August Dan Hames tweeted from the New Wine festival. So, I paid my £3.00 for the download and thoroughly enjoyed hearing God's word.

In a half hour sermon structured around the patterns of Hebrew marriage, Mike Pilavachi paints a wonderful Espousal Gospel vision  from the pages of Exodus of the God who wants to make us his own.

Mike Pilavachi on God's Marriage (New Wine, Central & South West, Friday 3rd August)

Seems to me that Genesis tells the story of Fathers and Sons, generation after generation looking for the promised seed... with the key pictures of that seed enduring suffering and battling to find a bride.

Exodus picks up the same themes. The whole story is framed by the Father demanding the release of his adopted son Israel from slavery under Pharaoh. Then, as Mike's message shows we see Jesus leading his people out of slavery to bring them to marriage to have her for himself under the care of his Father in the presence …

Pentateuch: Our Saviour is a Priest

In Exodus 6 the narrative is interrupted with a genealogy. Good for geeks like me, bad for the rest of the population... skip it?

Stop and give it a thought. It's the genealogy of Moses and Aaron - in the middle of Moses' protest that he's not the man to take on Pharaoh...

The story can continue without teh genealogy of our protagonists... but their identity matters to the story as we search for the Christ and his people..

The Israelites are shaped by the prophetic words of their father in Genesis 49. We know from Exodus 2:1 that Moses is a Levite, though we might have expected a Judahite, but this is reinforced by this genealogy.

Exo 6:12 But Moses said to the LORD, "Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?" Exo 6:13 But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the …

Genesis: Six thoughts on Origins

Origins stories are in. Film franchises get rebooted, and you have to start at the beginning - it is a good place to start.

And so we open up Genesis 1 and run into the origin of origins "in the beginning" and immediately a clash of worldviews and theories and assumptions.

Any statement about origins has to come from outside of our own experience. None of us were there in the beginning, there were no human eyewitnesses.

What we find in Genesis 1 has the appearance of contradiction with today's popular scientific theories about things began (even if you can synchronise a big bang and "let there be light"). In the beginning God is a long way off anything Professor Dawkins is going to find acceptable.

What to do about it? Six Thoughts.

Firstly - The Bible wasn't written to answer our questions, even our very good questions about origins. In Jesus' words: Moses wrote about me. That doesn't mean Moses only wrote about Jesus but if you want a big overarc…

Introduction to Deuteronomy

Lest we forget. There are stories that need to be told because forgetting them would be harmful and remembering them is fruitful. Sit down and hear the story again. Deuteronomy says that the Triune God wants your heart. The God who is one in the plural has affection for you. He carried his people, even though they were hard hearted, like a father carries a son. He is for his people. He is kind. He is overflowing and he will gather his people to himself.

Deuteronomy wraps up the Pentateuch in the form of sermons by Moses to the people just before his death, before their new Saviour Joshua (same name as Jesus... Trying read The Book of Joshua with but calling it The Book of Jesus!) takes up the mantle and .

It's a book of transition that looks back and says again what has happened. It's often referred to as the second law (which is what its title means) or called Words in Hebrew, after its opening line 'These are the words..'

There are sections that retell the story of t…

Introduction to Numbers

Numbers is a book for those on the journey. A book for any Christian, living as a stranger in this world. It's evidence that every day is a day to believe the gospel and that Christ is being continually held up for us to believe in.

Numbers, or In The Wilderness, feels far more dramatic than Leviticus. There is plenty of legal material but also plenty of action.

1:1-10:10 Law at Sinai. Preparations to enter the land, census.
10:11-12:15 From Sinai to Kadesh
13:1-19:22 Law at Kadesh (40 years)
20:1-22:1 From Kadesh to Moab
22:2-36:13 Law at Moab

Some Gospel moments
There are major moments in the story of God's people.
We see the failure to enter the land, just a couple of years out of Egypt leading to a 40 year delay as the rescued generation, including Moses, are sentenced to die. In the middle of this rebellious Korah is swallowed up, yet the Sons of Korah will rise to sing great resurrection songs in the Psalms.We see salvation through judgement, such as the people afflict…

Introduction to Leviticus

Leviticus is a story of how sinful people enter into the life of God. It's a book for seeing salvation more sweetly than ever before, against the darkness of sin. A book to redefine what you thought matters - showing us how death and resurrection is the way to unimaginable life.

Leviticus tells a story, a story of what is pleasing to the LORD. Not so much through action but through sacrifice and community life.

It sings the song that Hebrews laments, priests never at rest but always offering sacrifices for sin. The only way to life is through death - the human race cannot be reformed it must be condemned to death and then resurrected. The flesh can't try harder, new life must come through the Spirit.

The book picks up where Exodus leaves off - the LORD has made his dwelling with his people in the Tabernacle, and now the priests ministry on behalf of the people is laid out.

Leviticus is the guide to the cross. The gospels can, at first, appear light on explanation of the cross…

Introduction to Exodus

Exodus is a book for those enslaved to sin, it's a book for those needing to know salvation, it's a book for those who need a Saviour.

Exodus picks up the plotline in Moses own generation, just before his birth. Several hundred years have passed since the end of Genesis and the people have become numerous in Egypt, but then oppressed by a Pharaoh who has forgotten their legacy as Egypt's Saviours under Joseph.

The plotline moves from the birth of Moses, advancing quickly 80 years forward by chapter 4, with the rest of the book taking place over the subsequent weeks. The clock will barely advance until Numbers 10 when the people depart Sinai and begin to wander for 40 years in the wilderness up to the death of Moses at 120 years old, at the end of Deuteronomy.

Exodus 1-4 Prologue, in which Moses is born, grows up in the royal household, flees and then encounters the Angel of the LORD who calls Moses to lead the liberation of his people.
Exodus 5-14 Confrontation betw…

Introduction to Genesis

Genesis is a book about the God who comes to us. It's a book for those who long for God. It's a book for those who are waiting. It's a book of grace for villains. It's a book for those who need food. 

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, one of the five books in the Pentateuch, the first of the books of Moses.

It's an epic narrative that follows a family line with lots of genealogies and a focus on geography. There's a global story being told but its constructed by localised family stories about marriages and childbirths and the threats and opportunities as families collide.

1-11 From Adam to Babel via Noah.
12-25 From Abraham to Isaac.
26-36 Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob is a deceiver trophy of grace.
37-50 Jacob's sons, Israel - centred on Joseph. Joseph is a picture of Jesus in remarkable detail, even though Jesus comes from Joseph's treacherous brother Judah.

Structurally the phrase "these are the generations of" marks…

Jesus in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy sums up what has happened in the Exodus and prepares the people for what's to come. A lot of the material recaps what has been read before - much of the legal material of Exodus is repeated and expanded, for this new generation to hear as they head into the land under Joshua.

There is minimal action so you can forget seeing Jesus on stage in person - except as the one speaking to Moses, but its a great place to see how the events of the Exodus and the detail of the law finds its fulfillment in Jesus... a world where a tiny insignificant group of people hadn't had these words wouldn't have had the categories to interpret vast amounts of what the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection were about.

Here is light by which to see Jesus...

Jesus in Deuteronomy is:
1v6 The word spoken by the LORD that it's time to go
1v8 The Yes and Amen of the promise of inheritance of the land
1v10 He who increases and multiplies is his people - he is life.
1v30 He who fought f…

Jesus in Numbers

Numbers picks up the plot at Sinai, before tracking a journey that almost gets into the promised land before failing to do so. A book called Numbers is a turn off to most people and is based on the Greek name for the book because it opens with census data - members of the people of God who are as real as the people in your church... the original Hebrew title is more like "In the wilderness" which probably reflects better the story... of a people tested for 40 years who fail, whose Saviour the True Israel would be tested far more intensively for 40 days in the wilderness.

@John Hindley offers some gospelicious tweeting from Numbers:
"Numbers 5 - the bride of Christ would fear being filled with holy water, except that her husband has taken the curse already on himself" "Numbers 15 - Israel's clothes reminded them of the Lord's commands. We wear the Lord's himself (Galatians 3:27)" "Numbers 18 - the High Priest has no inheritance, the Lord …

Jesus in Leviticus

People say Leviticus is where people stall when reading the Bible... I suspect it's probably at the Tabernacle in Exodus (though that's tragic because Tabernacle is so gospelicious). Either way, Leviticus arrives as a different kind of book to the previous two. The action largely stops as this book sits in the middle of the scroll between Exodus 19 and Numbers 10 with the people camped at Sinai..

It's a book to read quickly to pick up the feel and themes, though it also rewards those who take time to meditate upon it. The recurring phrase of the book concerns sacrifices that have aromas that are pleasing to the LORD. Every sacrifice that Israel is taught to offer points forward to the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross.

Andrew Bonar: "None but a heavy-laden sinner could relish this never-varying exhibition of blood to the eye of the worshipper." (on Psalm 84 in his Leviticus Commentary). On which Tim Chester comments: "we see in the blood God’s love, God’s jus…

Jesus in Exodus

The Exodus is perhaps the greatest prophecy of the gospel, the event in which we see "Jesus led a people out of Egypt" (Jude), the defining story of Israel and that which shapes the story of Jesus from his Incarnation to his Crucifixion and beyond, he himself makes an Exodus (Departure) in his death, after feeding his people and being seen to be the true bread from heaven etc.

How does that show up in The Book of Exodus? Where is Jesus in Exodus?

The Father has not been seen but Jesus makes him known - so The Seen God is the Son. Seems to me that we see Jesus on stage in Exodus, and we see him foreshadowed in the events of the Exodus. He is The Exodus and seen in many of its components... and then there's The Tabernacle that sets almost the entire grammar for understanding the cross.

In Exodus Jesus is
1v17 The true midwife, protecting the people of God...
2v10 The true Moses drawn up out of the water...
2v23 The true answer to the salvation cry of God's image beare…

Jesus in Genesis

Christ casts his shadow over the whole of the Scriptures, and can be readily seen there as the Spirit shine his light into our hearts.

Is it anachronistic to seek Jesus in the Pentateuch? Perhaps by the name Jesus which he was given in his incarnation, but Jesus himself said that Moses wrote of him. The Scriptures aren't latterly about Jesus and formely about something else - they've always been speaking about him.

We don't know exactly in what sense Moses testifies about him, but the church has long searched the Scriptures to encounter Jesus, in various methods, sometimes fanciful sometimes faithless...  In the book of Genesis Jesus can be foundby type, analogy, appearance, prophecy, allusion, allegory etc...

In Genesis Jesus is....
1v1 There in the beginning before, being loved
1v3 The Word that the Father spoke, to shine into the world
1v5 The light overcoming darkness to bring morning
1v12 The true third day seed, bearing fruit according to his kind
1v16 The true light…