Friday, March 30, 2012

Video: What's Easter really about?


Easter is great because you get to eat lots of chocolate and you get two bank holidays, and I get to spend it in Devon. But What's it really about?

Here's a short scene that shows there is more - not less - to Easter than chocolate eggs.

The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. In The Jesus Storybook Bible, every story whispers his name. It tells the story beneath all the stories in the Bible. With voice over by David Suchet, and music by Moritz Schmittat.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What happens when you encounter God? (mp3)


I remember my early experiences of church as a new Christian at University, a large charismatic church. A profound experience of encounter with God, but coupled with a terrifying sense that one sunday someone would get a word of knowledge to expose and humiliate me for the stuff in my heart. I thought God would be out to get me.

What would Jesus do if he peeled back the mask and shone his light into my heart? Thankfully he would work to shine light - to bring life - to breathe love and life into me. Love doesn't attack, love breathes.

And he's done that in my life. In the early years of marriage I thought I was a great husband, but he kindly shone light into my heart to show me how things really were, and to begin to change me.

So it was for the church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6). With a reputation of being alive, and yet dead. Insecure, nervous, not sure she's loved by her divine husband Jesus. He says, repent. Not weep but come. Come to Christ. Come and receive from him... come receive beauty, clothed in his gospel not on our works... come receive security - safety, knowing he'll never leave us. Your name on his breastplate and carrying you into the presence of his Father and his angels. He rejoicing in you. He and you saying: I am my beloved's and he is mine. For he is mine, and I am his!

How do I come to know the depths of his love? Jesus has the Holy Spirit - the one who brings us into the reality of life in God. Filling us. Delighting us. Transforming us. He peels back the repuation and uncovers our hearts - not to destroy us but to love us.

MP3: Love Breathes (Revelation 3:1-6) - 33mins (Frontiers Church Central - March 18th)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jesus is the Yearbook


It's not uncommon today for someone to suggest that Christians, Muslims, Atheists and others mean the same thing when they use the word "God".

John Piper offers a really helpful illustration here Response to a common word, where he suggests (around 5 minutes into the video) that it's like two old friends arguing about someone they went to University with 30 years previously. Someone comes up and says, "Why don't you look in the year book"

And they open it up and realise that they weren't talking about the same person.

Jesus is the yearbook. (Does it work if we say facebook?)

Look at Jesus and ask, is that who you mean by God?

And if not then we're talking about a different God.

Which is a great basis for talking, but the conversation proceeds differently than trying to squeeze everyones different ideas into the word "God".

Christians, say God is who you know when you know Jesus.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gospel: A different kind of divine sovereignty?

Technicolor Joseph dominates the story of Genesis. The first book begins with Adam and runs to this second Adam. An altogether Messianic figure, a suffering servant who is then raised up fills up the final quarter of the book - a strange figure who isn't in the line of the true second Adam but resembles him vividly.

Early on his brothers hate him. They hate that he's loved by the father. They hate that its prophesied that all will bow to him. (Genesis 37)

And then it begins to happen. (Genesis 41). Except, when the Pharaoh tells the world to go to this Christ - this world-saviour - its not to be oppressed by a tyrant.

They come in days of famine. The world is cursed.

And he has food. Abundantly.

His sovereignty is of a kind that feeds them. Where else would they go? He is life to them...

This is the sovereignty of a loved one, who has been afflicted and now having been raised up gives to the afflicted.

Gospel shaped sovereignty isn't about imposing, but providing, giving, loving.

Sovereignty that fills the empty tastes very different, doesn't it?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Student Leaders #ForumSW

Last weekend 80 student leaders gathered for a weekend to grow in love for Jesus and be equipped to lead mission in the coming year to the students of the South West.

Here's some of the media. Main sessions: Love Wins (mp3), Love Sings (mp3), Love Breathes (mp3), Love Eats (mp3) (Dave Bish)
 Eat and Drink (mp3) (Jo Larcombe)
Unity without denying Christ (mp3) (Brian Whittaker)
The Word of God(mp3) (Becca Whittaker)

Love Sings (The UCCF Story & Vision) ppt
Strategy & Planning ppt and Gospel Project Launch ppt
Flickr page for Strategy Session.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Truthful beauty and beautiful truth

Here's a prophetic challenge to the "neo-reformed" crowd from the creative wilderness:
Why does neo-reformed preaching tend to be so biblical in content but often boring and unengaging, whereas more "emergent" preaching isn't so solid but is so much more attractive?

Why should it be that way? If truth is portrayed boringly, is that faithful or unfaithful communication?

Liam Thatcher cries out, as voice from among us: "Oh, for truthful beauty and beautiful truth"

Can we have truth and beauty together?