Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Thursday Reading - Peter Morris (chapter 2) by Daniel Szabo

Chapter 2 of Peter Morris by Daniel Szabo:

MP3: Exodus 4 - Dave Bish at Frontiers Church

MP3 from my preach on Exodus 4 at Frontiers Church Exeter last Sunday

I'm loving that our church are working through Exodus week by week. Since we joined the church we've worked through Genesis, Jonah, 2 Corinthians and now Exodus... it's great to feast on God's word with our family.


Follow the Exodus label for the script from my preach. Parts 1 and 2 of 3 posted already. The theme of my walk is that there is good reason to believe in God. Here, that brings the defeat of evil - and adoption as sons - through and in the Son of God.

Also in this series:
Andy Arscott - Exodus 1
Ben Powell - Exodus 2
Stu Alred - Exodus 3

The very first ever initiative by a single local church for planting worldwide churches, led by the Holy Spirit.

Honeysett on fire, on Acts 13: The Great Adventure Begins

We all have our creation stories (Glen Scrivener)

Yesterday I was pondering a five part evangelistic series from the start of Genesis, more on that later/soon. 

Glen Scrivener cites Brian Cox:
"Every civilization has its own creation story": The ancient Chinese, indian mystics and Christian theologians all place a divine creator at the heart of their creation stories. Science too has an elaborate story that describes the universe’s genesis. It tells us how the fundamental constituents of the cosmos took on their form. The difference with this story is that we can test it. We can find out if its true by tearing matter apart and looking at the pieces. All you need is a machine powerful enough to restage the first moments after creation… 
Glen then responds:
The Christian story looks very different. This is because time and chance are not the main players in this story. The Christian story begins with a purposeful Creator Father who makes all things in and through and for His Son, Jesus, in the power of His eternal Spirit. Already you can see that the Christian’s story of the world will be very different...
Go read more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stamping heavenly glory upon the contemplating soul

I love the puritans for their earnest devotion to the obvious. Such as this from John Flavel in A Fountain of Life Opened Up on the centrality of Christ:

"the studying of Christ in the gospel, stamps such a heavenly glory upon the contemplating soul"
(2 Corinthians 3:18).

"[Preachers] it is our calling, as the Bridegroom’s friends, to woo and win souls to Christ, to set him forth to the people as crucified among them, Gal. 3: 1, to present him in all his attractive excellencies, that all hearts may be ravished with his beauty, and charmed into his arms by love: we must also be able to defend the truths of Christ against undermining heretics, to instil his knowledge into the ignorant, to answer the cases and scruples of poor doubting Christians...let the knowledge of Christ dwell richly in us.... Take heed that you rest not satisfied with that knowledge of Christ you have attained, but grow on... sequester yourselves to this study."

Tony Reinke has more from Flavel

The Gospel Coalition - Mark Driscoll

When I saw the 40-point outline at Resurgence of this preach by Mark Driscoll, I confess was a little dubious and "negative". 40 points!! It's not really much of an exposition of 2 Timothy and it verges on ranting a times... but there is some helpful stuff to hear for me as a member of a church knowing how I could be a nightmare to those called to preach the word and care for my soul. I want to be a joy to them as they bring me to joy in Jesus.

Go watch: Mark Driscoll - Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

I worked on 2 Timothy last year: A call to Inky and Kind Ministry

Exodus 4 - Evil Defeated (part 2)

At this point I feel a bit like a Shakespearean narrator “Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona…” because we’re about to watch the trailer for the action that kicks off from Exodus 5-15. We’re about to taste the appetizer. And what unfolds is a story better than Romeo and Juliet. And our story is no tragedy. It’s a comedy, a story with a genuinely happy ending. So, come with faith, come expectant. Let the word of God produce faith in you as you hear it. Look at 4v21-23, it’s a love story, it’s a war film. The protagonists:

1. The LORD God Almighty and his firstborn son.
2. The Pharaoh and his firstborn son.

This is the latest installment of a great cosmic battle, raging since Genesis 3. A battle between “The seed of the woman” and “The seed of the Serpent”. Between God’s son and the devilish tyrants. Battles like Abel vs. Cain – firstblood to he serpent.The Sons of Noah vs. Nimrod the tyrant who built Babel. Abraham against an earlier Pharaoh… David vs. Goliath. And so on. When you go up against the LORD and his firstborn there’s really only one winner. Pharaoh is guaranteed to lose. He’s oppressed God’s firstborn, forgotten God’s past salvation of his people… his time is up. The LORD will win.

There’s almost nothing more scary in the world for a Christian than the idea of our hearts becoming hard to God’s word. We’re warned to check our hearts daily in Hebrews 4. Here we see that Pharaoh’s time is up. 4v21 - The LORD will harden Pharaoh’s hard heart so that when Aaron speaks the Word of God he will scoff and reject it. The tyrant will die. God and his firstborn will walk out of slavery or Pharaoh and his firstborn will die trying to stop them.

Two things are going on here, both point beyond themselves to something bigger:

1. Evil Defeated
Moses and Israel look at an impossible mission, as we might faced with the evils of people opposed to God and the devil who has bewitched people with his lies, enslaving them to sin. Moses and Israel can no more save themselves than we can win this city to Jesus ourselves. Obama said “Yes we can” – we all say “No we can’t” but God says “Yes, I have”. Is your Christianity big enough for that?

Evil in the form of Pharaoh, will be defeated in events that turn rivers to blood, coin the term “Biblical plague”, darken the skies and even part the reed sea. Much more, ultimate defeat of evil is accomplished by the LORD God Almighty and his firstborn, after the pattern of the book of Exodus. Under the darkened skies of divine wrath, and with the spilt blood of Jesus’ crucifixion, overthrowing the curse of sin, death and Satan and bringing new life to his people. There will be a remaking of the world, through the cosmic intervention of God Almighty and his firstborn son. Is your Christianity big enough for that?

That is the ultimate wonder and word to which all others wonders and words point. Contrary to our emotions, perceptions and those of the world around us, Christianity is no private faith or personal belief. The whole universe is laden with the salvation plan of God and his firstborn. Evil defeated means that the devil is now disarmed and defeated. And though he has the world in the grip of his lies, the word of God is power to save.
Believing that the LORD has defeated evil means we can believe that he can save this city. On the cosmic scale of things, what is winning Exeter for God? Makes you want to go and shout and sing – which is exactly what Israel will do in Exodus 15 – as God’s people always do in victory. Stop and sing. The heart overflows.

A couple of weeks ago the BBC screened a programme called The Narnia Code. The scholar at the centre of the documentary is Michael Ward. He suggests that a good summary of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is “winter passed and guilt forgiven”. The shape of the story echoes the great plan of God A long winter of death, oppression and injustice is about to end for Israel. Evil defeated, and yes guilt forgiven, but more: it’s going to be sonship received. Evil defeated and sonship received.

Monday, April 27, 2009

SGM Pastors Conference MP3s

Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastors Conference 2009

The Pastor’s Charge, Part 1 (C.J. Mahaney) Download MP3
ThePastor’s Teaching (Jeff Purswell) Download MP3
The Pastor’sMission (Dave Harvey) Download MP3
ThePastor’s Legacy (Jared Mellinger) Download MP3
The Pastor’s Charge, Part 2(C.J. Mahaney) Download MP3


The Pastor and Christian Liberty (Craig Cabaniss) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and College Ministry: Compelling Reasons to Take the Gospel to the Campus (Bill Kittrell)Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and His Community: How the Gospel Informs Our Mission beyond the Church (Mark Dever)Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and His Older Children: The Possibilities and Perils of Parenting Teens (Bob Kauflin)  Download MP3 | Download PDF


The Pastor and Preaching: How to Start a Sermon, End a Sermon, and Prepare the Middle of a Sermon (Mike Bullmore) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and Small-Group Leaders (Jim Donohue) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and the Counseling Process (Andy Farmer) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and the Priority of Plurality (Dave Harvey) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and the Spirit: An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12–14 (Jeff Purswell) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and Titus 2 (Aron Osborne) Download MP3 | Download PDF
The Pastor and Youth Ministry: The Priority of Teaching for Parents and Teens (Steve Whitacre) Download MP3 | Download PDF

The Pastor’s Wife and Culture: What Feminism Has Done to Femininity (Carolyn McCulley) Download MP3
The Pastor’s Wife and Ministry Opportunities: Five Great Deals She Won’t Want to Miss (Carolyn Mahaney) Download MP3

Jamie Oliver's Meatballs and Pasta

The sabbatical timetable has slipped a bit due to circumstances, so this is last Friday's new meal cooked on a Monday evening. Once more from Jamie Oliver, though sourced online rather than from 'Cook with Jamie'.

So this is meatballs made from mince beef, with Jacob's crackers, mustard, rosemary and oregano in a pasta sauce made from onions, garlic, fresh chili, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

With spaghetti and garlic bread.

I also made some additional side-dishes for a curry two weeks ago. No photos for that.

MP3: Don Carson Q&A at New Word Alive

Don Carson Q&A at New Word Alive - 75mins (free download)
Richard Cunningham: Hear the Word (free download)
ht: Mark Meynell. Other MP3s available from NewWordAlive.org for £1
Image: Roddy Mackay Photography

Christian doctrine of "heaven" and hell

John Piper provokes us with the question "would you be happy in heaven if Jesus was not there?" and now Ligon Duncan adds further clarity: Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God, with a mediator. Too easy to talk of Christ-ian doctrines without talking about Jesus Christ. Just as we all too easily slip into speaking about what it means to be a Christian without reference to Christ.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Exodus 4 - There's no good reason to believe in God? (part 1)

The weird thing about Christians isn’t that we love one another. It’s that we believe in God. Christians – may as well believe in fairies and the flying spaghetti monster – neither are more likely to be real than God, right There were days when I’d go into my job in a high street bank and find myself thinking am I just stupid and quaint to be a Christian, surrounded by those who aren’t Christians. Surely, faith is: believing without evidence, right? Why should anyone believe that God is really among us this morning (1 Cor 14v25)? Why should anyone take seriously our claims to know Jesus, personally, relationally?

We find Moses at the famous burning bush, meeting with God. He believes because he’s meeting with God. And the disciples of Jesus believed he had risen from the dead because they met with him. But, what about when Moses goes back to Israel, or what about the people we meet in Exeter? Is this church thing just Narnia? Real for us, but then we go back out through the wardrobe into the real world where no-one really believes this stuff anymore? When all is said and done, “There’s no good reason to believe God, right?”

Moses says “They wont believe me” (4v1) Why should they? Last they saw Moses he was fleeing, and that was 40 years ago. He’s hardly credible. Though, look at 4v14, his brother in a Levite. Which means Moses is a Levite – and they’re God’s priests, they’re the ones who get to meet with God. If anyone might have met God they he might. When the media wants God’s take they ask Archbishops and Theologians right?
Still, wouldn’t Moses be better to plead the Blair defence: “We don’t do God” and get on with the business at hand. Going to war against a foreign dictator in the name of God – sounds like some crazed fundamentalism… The LORD listens and then speaks. Don’t focus on Moses’ wriggling – in the Bible it’s always about God revealing himself.

WONDERS
The LORD gives Moses Wonders, or signs. Two or even three witnesses to make his testimony credible. v2-4 a staff that turns into a snake. v6-7 a leprous/healing hand. v8-9 turning the Nile to blood. Biblically it’s always two or three witnesses to make things secure. Two or three to convict a criminal in Deuteronomy 17 and 19, Two or three tongues , two or three prophecies in 1 Corinthians 14. Two or three witnesses in church discipline in 2 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 18. These wonders are signs. Signs of what? v5  “so that they will believe the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has appeared to Moses” – the LORD who – 2v24 – remembers his promises to his people. Zachary means The LORD remembers. He remembers his promise to save. Now, as promised (Gen 15), 400 years after Abraham, at just the right time, the LORD comes to his people. 

WORDS
There are wonders for Moses and Words. But, 4v10 “I’m not eloquent”. Though, neither was Paul as he preached the good news about the crucifixion of Jesus.We see in 4v11-16 that: - Moses mouth will be the LORD’s mouth - Aaron’s mouth will be Moses’ mouth - What the LORD says, Moses will say to Aaron and Aaron will say to the people - What Aaron says, the LORD says. - In the same way that, what Scripture says, through Moses and others, the LORD says. This is God’s word. - And may it be so in our preaching, may the preached word be the word of God to us – a gospel word of God’s promises , his appearing, his coming, his rescue, Christ coming in his word to offer himself to us week by week. Not by our eloquence but in the Spirit's power.

And so Moses goes to Israel. He has his wonders and his gospel words. Moses things, 4v1, they wont believe. What happens? Look at 4v31: “The people believed!” Believed what? That the LORD had visited. Bible words have Bible meanings: Visit means save (Ruth 1v6, Luke 1v68). They believe God’s rescue.

Still some say having faith is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, and people say “I wish I had your faith” but they really mean “I’m just not stupid enough to believe when there’s no evidence”. Others say, but we have to rule out miracles and divine words, they just don’t happen. And, if there is no god then that’s fair enough, but that’s presuming the answer in advance. And people say, you’ve had time to prove your case. But I say, there is evidence that has not been considered. Contemplate the possibility that there is a God who wants to save people for himself, a God who might do what most of us do to make himself known – by speaking, and who might write himself into his world to save us. I tell you he has. He has in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

...Yet, true isn’t enough. There are a pile of insurance papers sitting in our house, unread. They’re authentic – I know from the company logo, from the date they got delivered and from the corresponding debit from our bank account. It’ll take more than being intellectually robust to move me to read them. Plenty of true stuff in this world is ignored. True things have to be eye-catching, breath-taking, and existentially satisfying enough to raise our heart-rate, and interrupt our busy lives. And so, we cannot just stop this morning with true. Yes, there is good reason to believe God. Look at the wonders. Listen to the words. In Exodus. Today. In Jesus.

Yet, come further up and further in... (to be continued)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gavin Peacock: Up until then football was my God.. [but] our souls were made for the majesty of Christ

The Times continues to follow the story of Gavin Peacock's move from football pundit to pastor-in-training...

Gavin Peacock practises what he preaches in new career
Now 41, he became a Christian aged 19. “I walked into a youth group as a young professional footballer with money in his pocket, a nice car, promising career,” he says. “The world would say I’ve got everything. And these young people were just sitting around talking about Christ as if they knew him personally. I thought, ‘There’s something real here and something missing in my life... Up until then football was my God. Suddenly, everything fell into its proper place. I realised who Jesus was and what He had done on the cross by dying for my sin. We want to partake in something of beauty, of glory, to take us out and up. Our souls were made for the majesty of Christ,” 
he says, not watching the screen. Voice calm, clear and certain, eyes ablaze."

Helpfully Peacock highlights that the core issue is - what/who we're worshipping - and then we find the answer in that our souls are made for the majesty of Christ. Creation isn't enough to satisfy, we're made for Christ. Someone has been reading CS Lewis, John Piper... and/or The Bible!

Peacock is working at Canmore Mountain Baptist Church.

ht: Adrian Reynolds

Friday, April 24, 2009

Video: In Celebration of My Wife's 30th Birthday

This week my sabbatical has been a little less sabbathic. On Monday I gave a lecture, and I'm preaching on Sunday. Amidst all that today Zach is six weeks old. Facebook friends of mine can see him here:



And everyone else, celebrate in advance my wife's 30th birthday (which is on Sunday) with this classy video from Andrew Lawrence and her brother Pete.



Though there's a very good chance she'll be out changing Zach's nappy it is kinda cool that I get to preach the gospel on her birthday with our church family.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Thursday Reading: Peter Morris by Daniel Szabo


Daniel was my housemate for six months in 1999, this is from his first novel.

How are we to recognise the presence of God?

I think I'll be citing this quote towards the end of my preach of Exodus 4 on Sunday. From Spurgeon on Genesis 28: Jacob's waking exclamation, a passage Matt and I are studying later this morning. The question is similar to that posed by Moses in Exodus 4:1 - 'how will they believe that the LORD appeared to me?', while Jacob awakes to realise that he had not recognised the presence of God... Spurgeon's answer is great:

"Wh[o] is the Spirit which shall enable us constantly to feel [him]? The presence of electricity is very soon discovered by those bodies which are susceptible of its action. The presence… of iron in a vessel is very soon detected and discovered by the magnetic needle. There is an affinity between them. That [those who aren’t Christians] should not discover God here I do not wonder at: that they should even say, "There is no God," is no marvel, because there is nothing in their nature akin to him, and therefore they do not perceive him. They lack all the affinity that can discover his presence. If you would feel God's presence, you must have an affinity to his nature. Your soul must have the spirit of adoption, and it will soon find out its Father... You will never perceive God in nature, until you have learned to see God in grace. You must first of all perceive God incarnate in the flesh of Christ, before you will perceive God in the creation which he has made.

This resonates with Jonathan Edwards too, in Signs of the Spirit / Religious Affections, where he makes THE test of the Spirit's work our Christ-focusedness.Richard Sibbes writes of adoption saying that it's result is that we are given the ear of the Lord of heaven and earth and are favourites in the courts of heaven. If that is true, then (super)naturally we would surely recognise that "God really is among us" (1 Corinthians 14:25).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Johnny Can't Preach, and Johnny Piper's Book on Preaching



Why Johnny Can't Preach by T.David Gordon (112 pages) and The Supremacy of God in Preaching (128 pages) are probably my favourite two books on preaching. I've only just finished the first, and I've had the joy of reading the latter several times over the last few years. Neither is a technical manual, but they're books for the heart.

With Piper you get what you expect - these are lectures from several years ago on preaching passionately. I remember getting the sense of need to rub peoples faces in the text of scripture from this book. Piper helps me see the gravity of preaching, almost overwhelmingly. His T4G06 message on "Why Expository Preaching is Particularly Glorifying to God" carries a similar thrust.

Don Carson introduced Piper at The Gospel Coalition Conference 2009 saying his preaching is like a dog chewing on a bone. Chew it.

"...You shouldn't give a rip what I think the main point is.
What matters is can the people see it.
Show me the text. Like a dog, or whatever."

Gordon takes a different angle. He pleads that our problem is that we don't know what to do with Texts, and so since Preaching is inherently about declaring the message of the Bible we can't preach anymore. He appeals that we need to learn to read books and enjoy them as books, and that we need to learn to write for the sake of writing - to write letters and papers. Imagine, he says, trying to construct a biography "The Life and Letters of..." as would have been done in the past. No letters. Without learning to craft words we never learn to communicate well.

He also suggests listening to non-Christians speakers and taking lessons in public speaking. Maybe he wouldn't want to do a Driscoll and learn from Chris Rock, but there is surely much to gain from this pursuit - whether from watching The West Wing, Live at the Apollo, The Speaker, or anything else where words matter.

In someways Gordon appeals to a golden age, but I can't help but thinking we have lost something. It could be argued that he's longing for a literate age that is so locked away as to be beyond recovery, and his qualifications to be able to preach are tinged with the need to be bookish and literate. Perhaps Gordon overstates his case a little, but in this generation it is a case that needs to be stated.

I've attempted to spend a lot of my Bible time in OT Narrative and Wisdom literature in recent years, mostly because I wanted to immerse myself these books as literature, to appreciate the form God has spoken in and not just the contextless content. It's rewarding.

Similarly I'm trying to keep reading good books, fiction and otherwise to have myself used to good writing. And one of the many reasons I blog is that, perhaps not so much as writing handwritten letters, it helps me learn to write. Whether that's working is another question.

Why Johnny Can't Preach: T.David Gordon
The Supremacy of God in Preaching: John Piper
Tim Challies reviewed Why Johnny Can't Preach - including a careful warning that this book is good to serve preachers not to destroy them.

Good designers ask "why?"

Three of my favourite blogs are Funky Pancake, The Book Design Review and Retinart because they're about creativity and design. Alex Charchar at Retinart just blogged this...


Client: "Make this line of text fluro pink, I like pink. And the background yellow. Yeah! Yellloooww. I like pink and yellow."
Designer: "Pink on yellow? Mmm. 
From what depth of the ABYSS did the logic you insult the intelligent by pretending to posses come?! Answer me with nobility and reason, lest I cast you into the fiery pits of the damned for wishing such a horror on the eyes!
 Why's that?"
Client: "It's more important than that other text there"
Designer: "Ah, I see what you're going for. But.. Pink on yellow will be a bit strong and hard to read because of the low contrast—in fact, it'll probably be ignored because of it... Why don't we go with a rule in the margin, between this column and the one next to it? Nothing big and bold, something subtle and gentle – it'll grab attention without being too over the top, which means people will be invited to read the text. We can also make the heading a red, which is your corporate colour, so it links in with your other branding materials as well as the rest of the book and will grab attention to this text, which will clearly be important because of it.
Client: "You're awesome, have more money"

The good designer asked why, discovered why the client was making their request and turned it around. Sometimes the client has no real reason and the suggestion disappears into the ether. Sometimes they're just masks for an effect or emotion they are going for but can't articulate.

Sometimes this senario happens in my work. It's not just good designers who will ask why?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven

Cited by Tim Keller at The Gospel Coalition conference which I'm attending some of in my study, with my son...

Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven: David Clarkson: "Secret and soul idolatry, when the mind is set on anything more than God; when anything is more valued than God, more desired than God, more sought than God, more loved than God. Then is that soul worship, which is due only to God."

Note to self, much as I value Tim Keller's teaching he's not my pastor, his name is Andy Arscott.

Watch The Gospel Coalition Conference on Live Webcast

Watch Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and others live. GMT -6hrs.

The Disciple in Christ

On Monday I gave a 'lecture' for the Peninsula Gospel Partnership Training Course in Plymouth on Discipling Others. This is part of that.

Who a Christian is is a vital question. You can’t do much Christian discipleship without being able to answer it. We jump into Galatians 3v26-4v7 after the most phenomenal rollercoaster of an unpacking of the story of the law and God’s promises. It’s so tasty. And now discover that v23, faith has come = Jesus has come… and so, v26 – IN CHRIST YOU ARE ALL SONS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH. Male or female, Jew or Gentile, Slave or free. ALL are sons of God.

The Christian looks like Jesus (Galatians 3v26-29)
Here is the status of the people of God!! V26 – you are all sons of God through faith. Having – v27 – put on Christ – wearing him – clothed in righteousness, his righteousness.. Just as Jacob dressed up as Esau and received his blessing, so we are dressed up as Jesus, by God. Earlier Paul made a big fuss of God’s promise only being to the ONE seed of Abraham – there is only one inheritor and his name is Jesus. That doesn’t rule us out – if we’re in him. As far as God is concerned when he looks at the Christian disciple, when he looks at us he sees Christ. You’re Christ.


The Christian sounds like Jesus (Galatians 4v1-7)
But that’s only part of the story. 4v1-7. Illustration – a child is like a slave while they’re a child. Until the right time. And then, v5 those under law are redeemed – the Jews. And so, we might receive adoption as sons… and because you (Gentiles) also are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying ‘Abba Father’.

The Christian is in Christ.
And so, v7, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son than an heir through God. Do you see that not only can God look at you and see the righteousness of Jesus. But when he listens to you, what does he hear? V6, he hears the voice of the Spirit from you saying – Abba Father. In Romans the parallel passage talks about us saying this, here though the Spirit talks. And the Spirit says Abba Father. The Spirit says exactly what you would expect to hear from a son. The Father listens to you and he hears what he expects to hear from his Son. As far as he is concerned you’re Christ. Gulp! The Christian disciple is someone IN CHRIST. Christ outside. Christ inside. Christ. 4v7 – YOU ARE A SON and so AN HEIR with CHRIST of the KINGDOM (ch5) of EVERYTHING since God gives it all to Christ. Can you feel what this means for who you are as a Christian? I’d like you to bask in what others have said of this doctrine of adoption as sons…

Joel Beeke - “Spiritual adoption is the excellency and apex of God’s salvation.”

Who are you? By the grace of God and to the glory of God: You – are – a – son – of God! And when you look at things that way, what's the focus of your discipleship? Not self - who cares about looking in the mirror. It's time to look at Christ, he's the one my attention is on. What has he done for me? How did he do it? What relationship does he have with his father? What is his inheritance? Who is he?

Fuel your prayers about being in Christ with Twixt Jesus and the Chosen Race.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

When I don't desire God: The Good News of Psalm 63

Glen Scrivener - When I don't desire the Lord... the King does: 
"I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands."
Now be honest, doesn’t some part of you go “Really? Have I really beheld His power and glory? Really? Have I in the past and will I in the future praise Him so wholeheartedly? Really? As long as I live? Am I perjuring myself here??” But friend, read on to the final verse…
11 But the king will rejoice in God
These are the words of the king - the king on whose lips are the words of The King. And He has beheld the power and glory of the LORD in the ultimate sanctuary. He is the ultimate, white-hot Worshipper of God. These words are not a guide to human worship so much as a window onto divine worship. So what should be our response?

Why I love the church - Marcus Honeysett

Marcus Honeysett is blogging on "Why I love the church" which is a subject I could write on for days. I am, actually - 10,000 words in the last couple of weeks...

Go read Marcus...  I want to start this reflection by saying “be excited about the biblical vision for church, and decide to be the church as God declares it to be in the Bible. Don’t settle for less.”

Also, Marcus has new mp3s available on: Growing in Spiritual Leadership and Keep going with God in junior leadership.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Narnia Code: Planet Narnia by Michael Ward

Just watched The Narnia Code on BBC1. It's a fascinating look at the Narnia Chronicles, triggered by Michael Ward noticing that CS Lewis wrote a poem about Jupiter in which he summarised it as being "winter past, and guilt forgiven" which is a very fine five word summary of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Ward argues that Lewis believed in a meaning-drenched universe, that you have to have this if you're going to believe in Christianity. Even though the stories of the planets aren't true, the point is they they display the sense that this universe is radiating the glory of God.

I've ordered the book, all 364 pages of it. Having walked with CS Lewis over recent months, enjoying several of his imaginative novels (like Perelandra) and essays (like The Funeral of a Great Myth), enjoying his perspective on God's meaningful universe. Our apologetic can learn much from Lewis I'm sure, not just to argue rigorously, but to invite people to see the universe as so much richer than we care to admit in the halls of science. And not just our apologetic but our lives - immersed in this world that is at once as vapourous as Qoheleth teaches and yet as very good as Moses records.

Narnia Code Website and Planet Narnia Website.
** Oxford Inklings Blog - The Planets poems by CS Lewis and blogging through Planet Narnia

Lex Loizides on The Great Awakening

Lex continues his journey through church history - reaching The Great Awakening.


"Rooted strongly in the theology of the Reformation (16th Century) and the Puritans (17th Century) these young evangelists and church planters proclaimed a Bible-based message with a new passion.
Their experiences of God’s love and their encounters of the power of the Holy Spirit brought them criticism from the religious minority, and a skeptical press, but it gave them an irresistible magnetism amongst ordinary people. Unprecedented numbers attended their meetings."

Note: This isn't photo isn't Newfrontiers gone Emergent, it's a preacher with a sporting injury. Pray for his recovery.

Matt Giles: Undone on Spotify

Listen to the album of Newfrontiers Worship Leader on Spotify: Matt Giles: Undone. Matt is a member of our church, Frontiers Church Exeter.

Happy Blogiversary Adrian Warnock and FunkyPancake

Six years of two great British blogs began: Funkypancake's photoblog, with an eye for the mundane and Adrian Warnock's blog. Today Adrian posts an interview with Liam Goligher, pastor of Duke Street Church, Richmond, and one of the main speakers at New Word Alive this year.

The Blue Fish Project, as a blog is six years old in September. Though things really began here in the autumn of 1998.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Loving my wife... when she's a new mother.

This is something of a follow-up to Loving My Wife that I wrote last summer. It also resonates with Dave Warnock's post on How to help your wife when there is a new baby.

Previously I reflected that this Bible teacher isn't going to best love his wife by filedumping conference audio, study and the like onto my wife when I get home, instinctive as that is for me. Rather, if I've really studied and benefitted from a conference - if I've met Jesus - then the effect should be transformational, and that should help me fulfil my primary humanward calling, to love my wife, through love, kindness, patience etc. Which isn't to say I shouldn't be verbally bringing her to see and treasure Christ, but that firstly I should adorn that gospel with my life. Preaching the gospel without words, one could say.

Life with our newborn son, now 10lb 10oz of him, in the house follows in the stead of this. One might give her the Bish-family iPod with sermons to listen to whilst breastfeeding at 2am, but I'm inclined to think that this isn't her primary need. For a while she's not likely to be in any position to take in sermons from an iPod or even at church, or to read the Bible much. She's been through phenomenal trauma and then has the drain of motherhood to deal with hour by hour.

I'm not holding myself up as a model husband here at all, my patience has failed, I've kept records of wrongs at points, I've spoken harshly in the last month more than I want to admit. But it seems to me that I might best serve my wife by dying to myself, by getting the tea and honey sandwiches that will get her through the night feed, by taking Zach for a walk around the house when he's crying so that she can get that extra hour of sleep she needs, by changing that nappy, by washing up, by cooking. Some might call that unmanly. Some might say that's not my place, but last I checked I was called to be like Jesus, and he became the servant of all. I think that's what leading my family looks like.

Yes I will pray for and with my wife, yes I will seek to remind her of the glories of the gospel, but I want the loudest voice to be the embodiment of the gospel through my service of her, and my repentance for my lack of service. The next way to love her is to hit publish, then hit that red button in the top corner of the screen, get out of my study and go be with her and my son.

Ann Brown - Word and Image

We invited Ann Brown to our most recent team gathering, in March. Kenny blogs his notes from her sessions on Word and Image.

Calvin: "In faithful preaching of the Word of God Christ is depicted before our eyes as crucified. From this one fact they could have learned more than from a thousand crosses of wood and stone...the invention of the arts is a gift of God, by no means to be despised."

I attempted to record the audio of these sessions but the files corrupted. Ann Brown is speaking at Forum in September so.

Seven Days on Sabbatical

1. Walk of Witness in the city centre - watching the passion narrative enacted on Good Friday.
2. Cooking on Sabbatical with Jamie Oliver. The pasta worked. The lamb worked. The veg worked. The cake didn't rise.
3. Teignmouth beach on a sunny day. You have no idea how blown away we still are that we got sent to Devon.
4. Season Six of The West Wing. All change but good change.
5. Duck racing at Fingle Bridge. We didn't know this was happening but we arrived just in time for the action.
6. Lunch with Em and Zach in Costa Coffee. Chilled family time followed by time in the good book.
7. Musing on the Wisdom Literature, especially Proverbs and The Song of Songs... Refreshed to see Christ our Wisdom, and Christ the husband of the church!
7a. Spotify. Started out with Classical and now moved on to studying to the sounds of Spotify 80s: Anyone for Huey Lewis' The Power of Love or a bit of Dire Straits Brothers in Arms...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

MP3: Richard Sibbes - God and the gospel

Go listen to Mike Reeves interviewing Ron Frost for TheologyNetwork.org's Table Talk reflecting Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) on God and the gospel.

Read Richard Sibbes' The Bruised Reed. Ron Frost blogs, Mike Reeves doesn't.

The Unquenchable Flame: Introducing the Reformation - Michael Reeves (IVP, 2009)


Burning pyres, nuns on the run, stirring courage, comic relief: the story of the Protestant Reformation is a gripping tale, packed with drama. But what motivated the Reformers? And what were they really like?

'With the skill of a scholar and the art of a storyteller, Michael Reeves has written what is, quite simply, the best brief introduction to the Reformation I have read.'
Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

'A lively and up-to-date account of this important event in Christian history that will stir the heart, refresh the soul and direct the mind towards a deeper understanding of our faith.'
Gerald Bray

Don't miss out: pre-order now from IVP online. Enter the code 'FLAME09' when you order before May 31st to get a £1 discount.

ht: Dan Hames

AN Wilson: The Resurrection - An Extraordinarily Haunting Story

Can't say I read the Daily Mail, but someone pointed out this Easter article by AN Wilson: Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity

"....In the past, I have questioned its veracity and suggested that it should not be taken literally. But the more I read the Easter story, the better it seems to fit and apply to the human condition. That, too, is why I now believe in it. Easter confronts us with a historical event set in time. We are faced with a story of an empty tomb, of a small group of men and women who were at one stage hiding for their lives and at the next were brave enough to face the full judicial persecution of the Roman Empire and proclaim their belief in a risen Christ.


...in contrast to those ephemeral pundits of today, I have as my companions in belief such Christians as Dostoevsky, T. S. Eliot, Samuel Johnson and all the saints, known and unknown, throughout the ages. ...Sadly, they have all but accepted that only stupid people actually believe in Christianity, and that the few intelligent people left in the churches are there only for the music or believe it all in some symbolic or contorted way which, when examined, turns out not to be belief after all.


As a matter of fact, I am sure the opposite is the case and that materialist atheism is not merely an arid creed, but totally irrational. Materialist atheism says we are just a collection of chemicals. It has no answer whatsoever to the question of how we should be capable of love or heroism or poetry if we are simply animated pieces of meat. The Resurrection, which proclaims that matter and spirit are mysteriously conjoined, is the ultimate key to who we are. It confronts us with an extraordinarily haunting story. J. S. Bach believed the story, and set it to music. Most of the greatest writers and thinkers of the past 1,500 years have believed it. But an even stronger argument is the way that Christian faith transforms individual lives - the lives of the men and women with whom you mingle on a daily basis, the man, woman or child next to you in church tomorrow morning." 

Read the rest of the article, it's refreshing. See also The New Stateman: Why I believe again.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Gospel According to Proverbs

Sean Green is blogging through Proverbs one chapter at a time. The last few days I've been reflecting on it as a whole - which is a big task, and maybe the best way to eat an elephant is in thin slices as Sean is doing. Nonetheless...

* Update: 2 page version of this - The Gospel according to Proverbs PDF

A King (Solomon) instructs his son, as he should (Ephesians 6:1-4), about which woman to marry. A kinda inverse of Voddie's book What he must be if he wants to marry my daughter. This is a gospel drama. Two women seek the affections of this son of the king. This is the tale of the two women. One is fruitful and life-giving, her name is Wisdom. In her is knowledge of God and understanding. The other woman sounds amazing, she dresses seductively, she has persuasiv e and sweet words, but the aftertaste is bitter and her path leads to hell, her name is Folly or the Forbidden Woman.


Who can find the woman wisdom? Who can solve this riddle?  The drama climaxes in Proverbs 31 with the portrait of the supreme wife.  Here is the wife, Wisdom. Take hold of her as your wife, my son. This is the gospel I can preach to my son - yes, for which woman he might marry, but supremely to prepare him to marry Wisdom over Folly.


This is a book grounded in creation – wisdom involved in shaping the world and sustaining it. She gives life to the soul. This is a book grounded in the law – it is a shadow pointing to this wisdom. This is a book grounded in the gospel. Christ himself is the wisdom of God – personified here through the perfect wife, and the father’s instruction to his son: marry wisdom.

This might seem strange to us, but if we allow this book to be literature then it works – we’re not saying Jesus is a woman. This is the gospel as preached by a father, to his son as he seeks a wife. The book appears at first to be a random collection of wise sayings but is arranged into five parts, like Moses’ Pentateuch, David’s Psalms, this is Solomon’s Torah. We must view it as a whole book, a piece of literature. We must also remember that as Scripture this is a book about Christ. It is not, as it is often mistaken to be, an encyclopedia of self-help sayings, sanctified fortune cookies for Christians. The sayings are not absolute statements – we find contradictions, even next to one another, like ‘answer a fool according to his folly’ and ‘do not answer a fool according to his folly’. The writer is not stupid. He knows that he writes this. He does it for a reason. This is wisdom, riddles to ponder not a quick-fix tick-box spirituality. A bit like another teacher, another son of David some generations later.

Book 1 – ch1-9 – My son, marry wisdom not folly.
Book 2 – ch10-24 – Contrasting wisdom and folly.
Book 3 – ch25-29 - Contrasting wisdom and folly.
Book 4 – ch30 – Agur (Son of Obedience = Solomon?) asks.. Who can find wisdom?
Book 5 – ch31 – The climax of the drama: Lemuel (Belonging to God = Solomon?) asks... Who can find this supreme wife? Who can solve the riddle...

Pete Sanlon writes very helpfully at BeginningWithMoses.org: Like the rest of Scripture, Proverbs reveals the personal God and calls on us to trust in Him... However for our purposes it will be enough to say that Biblical Theology forces us to read individual proverbs in the context of the book Proverbs, and Proverbs in the light of the whole Bible story. As I have done this in my personal reading, I have rediscovered Proverbs as a book that stirs up trust in the God who is Wisdom, deepening love, fear and knowledge of Jesus, who has become our Wisdom. 

Much work to do yet. These are just initial thoughts. Yours?
* Update: 2 page version - The Gospel according to Proverbs PDF

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Times: The Church must stop trivialising Easter

Bishop Tom Wright in The Times: Christians must keep their nerve: the Resurrection isn’t a metaphor, it’s a physical fact

"....Easter has been sidelined because this message doesn't fit our prevailing world view. For at least 200 years the West has lived on the dream that we can bring justice and beauty to the world all by ourselves. The split between God and the “real” world has produced a public life that lurches between anarchy and tyranny, and an aesthetic that swings dramatically between sentimentalism and brutalism. But we still want to do things our own way, even though we laugh at politicians who claim to be saving the world, and artists who claim “inspiration” when they put cows in formaldehyde. The world wants to hush up the real meaning of Easter. Death is the final weapon of the tyrant or, for that matter, the anarchist, and resurrection indicates that this weapon doesn't have the last word. When the Church begins to work with Easter energy on the twin tasks of justice and beauty, we may find that it can face down the sneers of sceptics, and speak once more of Jesus in a way that will be heard." 

ht: Adrian Reynolds ditto his reservations about NTW, but on the resurrection he's excellent, and I love his language here.

Tyndale House Conferences

The Bible and recent discoveries
Saturday 25 April 2009 at Tyndale House, Cambridge
Dr Martin Heide, University of Marburg
We live in an age when many discoveries are being made and when sensational and misleading claims about what has been discovered catch the public eye. This day conference with a leading expert, well experienced in evaluating and explaining discoveries for lay audiences, will seek to equip Christians to understand the historical basis of the Christian faith and to share that with others. Alongside a long involvement in church leadership in southern Germany, he has two doctorates in Semitic studies. He has published previously unknown material in Arabic, Ethiopic, and Hebrew, and carries out research in a large range of ancient languages.
 
Further details: The event will be held at Tyndale House, 36 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge, CB3 9BA; www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk. Coffee will be available from 10.00. Spaces are limited, so please reserve a place in advance by contacting Mrs Kathryn Williams, k.j.williams@cantab.net; (01223 566616).

Responding to Secularism: Christian Witness in a Dogmatic Public Culture
Friday 24th April 2009, 10.00am – 5.00pm, Tyndale House, Cambridge
.. TRACING secularism from its origins to current developments
.. DEFINING the secularist worldview and its depiction of religion
.. ENGAGING secularist public policies and polemics
SPEAKERS: John Stackhouse (Regent College, Vancouver), Elaine Storkey (Tearfund), Andrew Kirk (formerly University of Birmingham), Dominic Erdozain (King’s College London). This event is organised by The Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics and The Gospel & Our Culture Network.

The John Wenham Lecture 2009: “The Perspicuity of Scripture”
Dr Wayne Grudem,
Research Professor of Theology & Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary - 7.30 pm, Wednesday 8th July 2009, Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge This event is organised by Theology For All.

More details about these and all Tyndale House events are available on the Tyndale House website.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Proper Blokes' Sausage Fusilli

On Sabbatical, at Marcus' suggestion, I'm going to try to learn to cook something new each Friday...

UCCF's South East team gave me Hot Fuzz and Cook with Jamie when I defected to the West nearly two years ago. The DVD is well used but I confess this is the first use I've made of the cookbook. Belatedly, thanks!
 
Ingredients: fusilli, fennel seeds, parsley, chillies, sausage meat, white wine, parmesan, butter, oregano.

Savouring life as gift.

Video: Easter - Life to Death


THAT'S EASTER Life to Death from St Helen’s Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

On the Third Day: reflections on the Resurrection of Jesus


Posted for The Evangelical Alliance, Slipstream blog day on the resurrection.

Jim Hamilton on the books of Samuel and Jesus...
[In David's rise to power we see the ] king who would be anointed, who would save God’s people, and who would restrain their evil.
This king would be something of a surprise—he would come in an unexpected way, and he would be opposed by the establishment. He would follow in the footsteps of those “of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb 11:38).
This coming king might be expected to take responsibility for wrongs done by others, be betrayed by those whom he had blessed, and refuse to lift his hand to defend himself but rather entrust himself to God, who judges justly.
This king would almost certainly be expected to crush the head of the serpent, and in so doing he would have his heel struck. And something remarkable might be expected to happen “on the third day,” [for David: see the end of 1 Sam and start of 2 Sam] after which, like not only David but all the righteous kings of Israel, he would seek to build the temple.
James Hamilton, The typology of David's rise to power, MP3.
And then pay attention to detail...
Nor are these the only two significant “third days” in the Old Testament: Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac “on the third day” (Gen 22:4).=
Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai to meet Israel “on the third day” (Exod 19:11, 16).
The Lord raised up Hezekiah “on the third day” (2 Kgs 20:5).
The second temple was completed “on the third day” (Ezra 6:15).
Esther interceded on behalf of the Jewish people “on the third day” (Esth 5:1).
And perhaps most significantly, Jonah was in the belly of the whale “three days and three nights” (Jon 2:1 [ET 1:17]), while Hosea prophesied that the people, having been torn by Yahweh as by a lion (Hos 5:14–6:1), would be raised up “on the third day”
(See Matthew Henry on: Hosea 6:2)
Big stuff happens on the third day.
Victory happens on the third day.
Salvation happens on the third day.

When Paul writes that Jesus was 'raised on the third day according to the scriptures' it's not so much one specific text in view as the unstoppable torrent of God's salvation history that demands new life and victory on the third day.

Jim Hamilton references GK Beale's excellent The Temple & The Church's Mission which is a seriously helpful (if long) book. Particularly helpful is what Hamilton draws on in terms of the mandate to expand Eden to a global temple. A temple extended out from Jerusalem by the disciple-makers from Matthew 28 forwards.. a place ruled over by the Third-Day-Resurrected Man, first-fruits of God's new creation.

More from James Hamilton at BeginningWithMoses.org
This post is a light edit of something I've posted before.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Video: Life in Technicolor ii



ht: Josh Harris

Preaching: "Fill the sails of your hearers' souls with the wind of confidence in the Redeemer"

T. David Gordon in Why Johnny Can't Preach:

"I know that there are those who are terribly afraid that such Christ-centered preaching will lead to licentiousness; but I categoricaly deny it. I've witnessed with my own eyes the difference between believers who suffer through moralistic preaching and those who experience Christological preaching.  The former are never as strong or vibrant in their Christian discipleship as the latter.  In theory, we all say we believe, for instance, that good works are the "inevitable" fruit of saving faith.  I not only say this; I believe it.


I believe that as people's confidence in Christ goes they do, ordinarily and inevitably, bear fruit that accords with faith.  Thus, there is no need for some trade-off here, or some alleged dichotomy suggesting that we need to preach morality if we are to have morality.  No; preach Christ and you will have morality.  Fill the sails of your hearers' souls with the wind of confidence in the Redeemer, and they will trust him as their Sanctifier, and long to see his fruit in their lives.  Fill their minds and imaginations with a vision of the loveliness and perfection of Christ in his person, and the flock will long to be like him.  Impress upon their weak and wavering hearts the utter competence of the mediation of the One who ever lives to make intercession for them, and they will long to serve and comfort others, even as Christ has served and comforted them."

ht: Jollyblogger

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Yes we can! The Lost Art of Oratory

With Paul's words about the folly of human wisdom in my head, with the knowledge that it's the power of the Spirit that changes things, and with the recognition that since God speaks words nonethless matter, I'm watching: Yes we can! The Lost Art of Oratory

Julian Hardyman: How to make your pastor look shifty

How to make your pastor look shifty by Julian Hardyman (Evangelicals Now)

You are a nice kind person, I’m sure, so you won’t want to do this. But if you aren’t, let me tell you an almost sure way to make your pastor or vicar look shifty and feel guilty. Ask him a question. Not ‘How much of your last four sermons did you get from the internet?’ or even ‘How many non-Christian friends do you have?’ or ‘What is your Five Year Strategy for the church?’ (though those might achieve the desired effect). Try this: ‘How often do you work on your day off?’...

I wonder if that applies to blogging on your week off.  Um...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Luke 16 reading by Andrew Parsons



By uccf media, used for Don Carson's preach at New Word Alive. Blogged by Hugh Bourne and Adrian Warnock.

UCCF media also carries Andrew Parsons on Romans 8 from NWA08. Andrew is a student at the University of Reading.

Jesus is the New Israel (Marcus Honeysett)

Marcus Honeysett continues to revel in who Jesus is:
"Isn’t Jesus amazing? 
I hope your heart is worshipping him today"

And, Martin Downes on Richard Gaffin at WEST on Biblical Theology (i.e. the Bible being all about Jesus)

“Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” (Poland 2009)

When Carey, fueled by the gospel-saturated theology of Andrew Fuller, headed to India he went on the condition that those left behind would hold the rope for him. I'm on sabbatical but I'm glad to be holding the rope over the coming week. We have two teams of students from the South West (and London) heading to Poland, to Warsaw and Katowice, to be CU guests for university missions there. We did this last year for the first time, in Gdansk, and my prayer is that we'll again be able to rejoice at the unstoppable spread of the gospel in the week ahead.

#uccf, #ifes

The Affections and a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship: "teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea"

Adrian Reynolds notes that the why of partnership is affections "a lot of Christian "partnership" is based on toleration. "I can just about put up with you." Or "I know we are different, but I can live with our differences."

Reflecting on what's happening three hundred miles away from here at Pwllheli at the second New Word Alive conference (#nwa9) [and delighting to hear from #nfellingham that Jerry Bridges and Wayne Grudem are appearently going to be there next year] I love that Christians can stand together. Not because we're lily-livered people who will overlook differences to be together and put up with one another, but big as our differences are we're people who want it all, we want to big-up our joy in the gospel and foster affection for those who share our love for the gospel.

Initiatives like New Word Alive offer surely opportunity for robust unity grounded in relationships - witness the affection developed from the first conference that led to Hugh Palmer preaching recently at Tope Koleso's Newfrontiers church, not from obligation but out of warmth of relationship. Sometimes you have to travel five hours cross-country to make it twelve miles up the road.

Not everyone is going to join the celebration, but some surely will, not just at a conference but on the ground discovering that we can be together in the gospel. Steven Camp makes a humble confession of how this has been happening for him towards Mark Driscoll of whom he has been a vocal critic.

The gospel is the blazing centre of unity, and gathered around the gospel it's all about relationships. Stephen Murray, links from Justin Buzzard to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” 

How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity...  And for what its worth, its this kind of gospel-affection that makes me link often to Marcus Honeysett and Adrian Reynolds often. I know them, know their love for the gospel, and deeply appreciate that.


Driscoll - on not shooting other Christians:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Preaching: Holding a brief for the great King who has sent me as his ambassador

Sean Lucas on preaching: "What that means is that though my preaching explains the text, it is not meant to be an in-depth technical treatment of a particular text. I can do that and I do that when I teach a Bible class; but preaching is not that kind of thing. That is not to say that I don't teach or do my homework when I preach--I do and am constantly pointing people to what the Bible says (often you'll hear me say, "Look at verse 4; see what it says there..."). But preaching is ultimately about persuasion--I'm holding a brief for the great King who has sent me as his ambassador. I am before the congregation to persuade them that God is the greatest being in the universe, the only one who can truly satisfy their deepest longings and desires."
Lucas moving to be Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Missisippi.

MP3: Tim Keller and Gary Habermas: "Christian philosophers [are] writing really sharp apologetics"

Evangelical Alliance's Slipstream podcast has an interview with Gary Habermas and Tim Keller. EA Slipstream

Gary Habermas is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia in the USA, and a known expert on Christ's resurrection...  Tim Keller is founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City which has spawned an international church planting movement.