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Showing posts from November, 2005


Tomorrow: December 1st - I speak at, Bath University Christian Union - which was the CU I was part of as a student. The last time I was there was for a misison 2.5 years ago (which was where i met Becci). I've never spoken there. I shouldn't make too much of it, but I just feel a bit wierd. Last time I was in the lecture theatre they're meeting in was for a Chaos Theory lecture in May 2000 and that is a lot of life ago. Looking forward to seeing Matt, Damo, Pet, Adam, Paul and others who are still studying there! And that's wierd. As is Paul being back on the CU committee in 2005, since he and I were on committee together in 1998.... Strange world.

This Friday: My Young Person's Railcard expires. The first ever journey was to Loughborough Uni for an interview in December 1996. A week earlier I had my interview at Bath... and a month after I went to Warwick (which I then returned to last month for the first time since that, to speak at the CU). I suppose that makes m…

church in Christ

Spent this morning with most of our church preaching team working through Ephesians, led by Graham Beynon. It was great to dig into the text together. I have so much to learn from the other guys on the team. Great also to see the very high value of the church in God's purposes. A people for the praise of His glory! God's purpose to set Christ over all with the church in Christ. Done and to be done! A corporate and cosmic plan that spans eternity... no room for an individualistic plan-B type of salvation. This is big. Really looking forward to the impact this could have in the Spring term. Really challenging to see whether we bear any resemblance to this - and what might we need to change... "the idea of Christian Community is great, the experience is hard." - BonhoefferGraham has a book published by IVP called God's New Community - Today was the first time I'd met Graham... which was a bit wierd cos I know his identical twin brother already.Trivia - "in …

Martyn Joseph. High Wycombe

The last time we saw Martyn Joseph was at the South Street Arts Centre in Reading about 2.5 years ago. Tonight it was a real pleasure to fly with Joseph Airlines, discovering his new album - Deep Blue - and becoming acquainted with Paul Robeson. Add to that a whole host of old classics and the company of a good friend, top notch evening - even in damp, cold, christmasy High Wick-Om-Bee. Martyn is quality on CD, and unbeatable performing live.

Grace on the road

This term I've been teaching Luke's gospel to Cell Leaders at the Christian Union at Reading University. Week by week it's been a delight to walk down the grace road with them, following Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, between Luke 9v51-19v28. Here's a collation of the blogposts, cell notes and the like....

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
More Cell Notes at The Blue Fish

Blogged, by a cell leader
Ceryn stepped back into cell leading at the start of this term - what do you expect if you move into a hall that doesn't have any existing witness!! She's blogged some of her responses to walking the grace road...

Beautiful Simplicity
Beautiful Simplicity (2)
Proper Study
Prideless Love
Listen, be convinced and repent

Reformed Charismatics

Adrian provides some definition of Reformed Charismatics. I broadly agree to that. Likeminded blogs listed at Pneumablogs - where I've become an Anglican Charismatic... broadly accurate I suppose. Though I'd minor on the Anglican probably not because I'm not committed to my church, I am! But because its the reformed/evangelical that really defines my faith - and the Anglican church at its best comfortably sits in that category, and thus we're well at home in our Anglican church...
Thoughts from another Anglican: take a look at Jon Hobbs, on "How God Speaks Today". Well thought through methinks.

Singing of Sovereign Grace

Listening to Worship God from Covenant Life Church. Great new songs. Thanks to the guys from Grace Church.

Such a blessing to have some top music with great lyrics to fuel my desire to behold the glory of God in Jesus Christ. Free from condemnation! Alive in Christ! Sing it!! Still working on what to teach at Not to Us next Saturday. Prayer appreciated.

Grace on the road: Part 7 of 7

This passage divides into seven parts. Two triplets followed by a parable to end it. At the end of the passage, in 19v28 Jesus has completed the journey to Jerusalem that he began in 9v51. Our journey with Jesus in the road to Jerusalem comes to its close. Luke has carefully arranged his material here. Common themes run through the section, and a number of earlier themes are picked up again....

18v9-30. Seek the Saviour.
V9-14. Jesus tells a parable and we are told why. Look at v9. See, those around Jesus are confident of their own righteousness and look down on others. So Jesus tells a parable against them. The story of two men going to pray at the Temple. The first is a Pharisee. He is the picture of self-confidence and self-righteousness. He proclaims his righteousness to God. He is not like sinners. He is deeply pious. Meanwhile, in v13, we're told of a Tax Collector who stands at a distance. Tax Collectors were one of the groups singled out by this pharisee as unrighteous. This…

Yum Yum

Tonight Marcus Honeysett spoke at Surrey CU on Romans 8v1-11. Superb. Hoping Huxley will get an mp3 of that available soon. Great to have some fellowship with him and the CU leaders before the meeting - so encouraging to hear what God is doing in their lives and through them in the CU.

Ooo pick me!!

I recently read an editoral that cited Isaiah 42v1 as a common baptismal verse and applied it to all Christians:Behold my servant whom I uphold,
My chosen, in whom my soul delights,
I have put my Spirit upon hum
He will bring forth justice to the nations
I can see the appeal! And yet I feel uneasy. These words from the introduction to GOD IS THE GOSPEL explain why:"Most modern people can scarcely imagine an alternative understanding of feeling love other than feeling made much of. If you don't make much of me you are not loving me" - p12And its exactly what was done of Isaiah 42v1. Taking God's word and making it all about me. We woudln't do it to Isaiah 53, and yet the same servant is in view. This is not about me. This is about Jesus. And how great a hope to behold when Isaiah 42v1 is applied to him!

Jesus whom the LORD upholds.
Jesus in whom God delights.
Jesus the Spirit-annointed king.
Jesus the bringer of God's justice.

In him what hope for a wretch like me. Tha…

The Necessity of Atheism Q7

Contining the series of responses to Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Necessity of Atheism

Q7 - If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him?

With this Shelley poses a question that we can find on the pages of the Bible. This is reassuring because it means I can simply explain what the Bible says, and because God anticipated this question."You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- " - Romans 9v19-23Argument 1 -…

Are Christians Fools?

The existentialist says its foolish to believe in God because he's a figment of your weak imagination. Its tragic you need him. The Jew says Jesus was not the Messiah we expected. And the Muslim adds that prophets don't die on Roman crosses. The Buddist pipes in that its all an illusion. And Dan Brown says faith in Christ is for the weak who got conned by a church powerplay.

Are Christians fools? The Bible says yes, on one condition."If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." 1 Corinthians 15v19Christians are fools if they hope in Christ if Christ was not resurrected. Everything in Christianity rests upon whether or not the historic physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead happened. The Hindu says, yes that's foolish - why does it matter if it happened. Surely the point is the story not whether it happened? Surely the Bible is just fiction that some people oddly believe? The postmodernist says, how could you k…

The Philosophy of Happiness

This caught my eye in the paper yesterday. What makes pursuit of pleasure right:Julian Baggini, Monday November 21, 2005
The Guardian

Is pleasure wrong? When Bill Clinton claimed he smoked but did not inhale, he was making the wrong excuse. For it seems the moral crime in cannabis is neither smoking nor inhaling, but enjoying it. It is OK for people with MS to use the cannabis-based drug Sativex for medicinal purposes, but verboten to use dope for recreation.

This may seem odd, since happiness is a higher good than health. We want to be healthy only so that we can do all the other things that make life worthwhile, whereas, as Aristotle observed, happiness is always chosen "for itself and never for any other reason".

True, pleasure and happiness are not the same thing, but they are close relations. Indeed, if Epicurus is to be believed, "Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily." And John Stuart Mill believed that "Pleasure and freedom from pain are …

Behold The Glory of God

All of my good deeds
Are but filthy rags
In which I stand,
Completely condemned
Til my Saviour calls,
Come and believe

He opened my eyes,
Where I was blind
Awakened my heart,
To turn to the Lord
I was running away,
Grace called me home

He walked on the earth,
The sinless man
Spoke the world to life,
Died for our sin
The King of the world,
The Lord Jesus Christ

Endlessly men speculate,
About the meaning of life
But God has revealed,
His written word
Enough revelation,
To repent and believe

See His matchless majesty,
For which we're made
Heaven without him,
Would be worthless as sin
Sing the song of salvation,
Behold, the Glory of God!

&copy 2005, Dave Bish
Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Christo, Sola Scriptura, Sola Deo Gloria
More new songs/poems at Aircon For My Soul

Annual Review

Grace on the road: Part 6 of 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Summary --- 16v16-18v8 --- A former revelation of God in the Old (16v16a) and New Testaments (16v16b) has been preached. We need to respond to that now by listening, being convinced and repenting (16v29-31). Real faith isn't about quantity (17v5-6) but the object of that faith (17v18). It needs to be in Jesus, expressed in praise to God. This is important because there will be a future revelation of Jesus. He will be revealed to everyone has God's King, the Son of Man (17v24). He will come in judgement (17v33-35) and he will be looking for those who have faith in him (18v8). In view of this we should urgently ensure we have repented and believed in the crucified King (17v25) who saves us from judgement. We should take sin seriously (17v1-4) and we should pray for Jesus to come and judge the world (18v8).

16v16-31. The Former Revelation...listen, be convinced and repent.
Jesus begins by teaching about the Old Testament. In v16, he says that the law a…

Little Things

Paul Huxley is paying close attention to what God is saying.

Not to us.... Psalm 115

Preparing a study on Psalm 115, I found this hymn based on it. It's in 8787 meter which fits nicely to the tune of Love Divine All Loves Excelling...Not to us be glory given,
but to him who reigns above;
Glory to the God of heaven,
for his faithfulness and love!
What tho’ unbelieving voices
hear no word and see no sign,
Still in God my heart rejoices,
working out his will divine.

Not what human fingers fashion,
gold and silver, deaf and blind,
Dead to knowledge and compassion,
having neither heart nor mind –
Lifeless gods some yet adore them ,
nerveless hands and feet of clay,
All become, who bow before them ,
lost indeed, and dead as they.

Not in them the hope of blessing;
hope is in the living Lord!
High and low, his name confessing,
find in him their shield and sword.
Hope of all whose hearts revere him,
God of Israel, still the same!
God of Aaron! Those who fear him
he remembers all by name.

Not the dead, but we the living
praise the Lord with all our power;
Of his goodness freely giving,

The Necessity of Atheism Q6

If grace does everything for them, what reason would he have for recompensing them?

The only other attempt online to answer these questions, that I've found, doesn't answer this one. It simply confesses to not understand the question. I agree! But, I can see a possible line of thought.

Shelley is right to say that God's grace does everything for believers - grace is all we need. So the question rises why would God recompense us. Recompense meaning returning in kind, payment for service. I can only conclude that Shelley observed a kind of "christianity" where it seemed that God was subservient to humanity, rewarding our good deeds, such as they might be.

Such "christianity" is a dire perversion of the truth. God is not our debtor and God does not reward good works. Many think that this is exactly what Christianity is - that the good people do good stuff and God rewards them with blessings and heaven. This is not true. Humanity is not good. We deserve no goo…

Studying, Social Action and Scripture-on-my-mind...

The ever thoughtful Rachel posts some seminar notes on Studying. Meanwhile today we went to a Bible College open day. First time I've ever set foot in such a place. Inspiring. Opening talk on the end of Ecclesiastes was amazing and a sample lecture on Luther & Salvation was also really good. I don't know whether that place is where I will end up spending three years of my life. God knows. I guess I'll find out in due course...

Ecclesiastes - the careful teacher compared life under the sun with life with God's judgement... whatever you have without God's judgement is vanity (whether time or wisdom or even God)... the alternative: life resurrected under Christ, is glory!
Ceryn reviews Humility and posts some poetry inspired by Luke's gospel.Ed is amazed by the cross. Paul is engaged in the charismatic pillowfight.Wednesday-Friday were spent in Exeter with the UCCF Christian Union South Team, studying Social Action & Evangelism, with Andy Bathgate (CEO Scrip…

Remember the Spirit-Breathed Word...

As I've said already we could argue for eternity about the charismatic debate - the best place to speak from is what the Bible actually says. If we argue from experience we almost inevitably start to compare the best of ourselves with the worst of other people. And that is never good for the body. (See also, some helpful comment from Rob Wilkerson - The Effect of the Gospel on How We Perceive Others - Rob's Blog is so helpful, consistently gospel-centred.)

With a mind to personal study of scripture on this, here are some sermons from John Piper on relevant passages. I've not read all of these yet, so this post is partly a reference tool for me... I don't know if I agree with them or not... be Berean and search the scriptures! The Spirit-breathed Word of God.
Gifts of Healings and Workings of Miracles - 1 Cor 12v1-11
When will prophecy cease - 1 Cor 13v8-14v5
The Authority & Nature of the Gift of Prophecy - Acts 2v14-21
Why the Gift of Prophecy is Not the Usual Way of Kn…

Charismatic Convergence...

So an evangelical blogosphere frenzy kicked off because Tim Challies reviewed Sam Storms book - (a book that I highlighted a month ago...)...
seems according to Challies that the book might not be as good as it could have been. That's a shame. Unfortunately I can't get it over here in the UK til the Spring of 2006 to find out for myself. The online work of Sam Storms is very worth reading.

Rob Wilkerson collated the progress of the debate, and invited me to join it... I haven't got time for more than a few thoughts shared testimonially.

1. 1997. Within a few months of becoming a Christian I was part of a Toronto-Blessing charismatic church. Tongues and prophecy were a normal part of church life there... sadly gospel-centred preaching probably wasn't. I encountered debates on the issue through the Bath Christian Union - for a time half the CU went to my church and half to the local FIEC church. Pyromania...

2. 2000. I graduated with a fairly subjective arminian charismati…

Choosing new leaders

Over the coming months the current leaders of Christian Unions I work with will begin to search for new leaders. Its an exciting time, releasing new students into ministry within the context of the Christian Union. Five factors worth considering. My underlying presumption is of course that a Christian leader is a Christian... once that's in place...

Titus 1, when Titus is told to find leaders he's instructed to look for people of impeccable character. The search there is for church elders, for a new young church. No reason to aim lower just because Christian Union leaders don't have all the same responsibility of church elders. The search is for leaders of a student-led gospel centred mission team. People with good character, humble servants, self-controlled and applying the gospel to all of life.

Titus 1, the final consideration is those who are committed to sound doctrine. The healthy teaching of the gospel. Why? Because sound teaching is what i…

The Necssity of Atheism Q5

If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses?

A common question. The Bible teaches that God is just - perfectly so. We need to understand the foundations of his justice to consider this question. We are also told that God will punish people, not for weaknesses - but for sin.

God always acts justly. Sometimes it is very hard for us to see how certain actions are just. We must consider the basis on which he acts. His prime motive is to bring glory to his own name among his people and the nations.

This is seen with Israel after they turn from God to worship a golden calf. God would destroy them, but he doesn't because (a) The nations would mock him for rescuing his people after saving them out of egypt, (b) Israel were promised, through Abraham, to be a great nations. The same logic follows again and again throughout the Bible. God acts justly for the sake of his own name - not for our sake, primarily.


Surrey CU Houseparty - Talk 3

This is the third talk... this also is slightly different from what I actually said but the basic content is the same.

LOVE 2 Corinthians 5v11-21

This weekend we've considered...

We need to sit under God's word, not stand over it.
As we do so we're under Jesus' Lordship and he grows his kingdom.

We share the gospel with people, the Holy Spirit changes lives, God gets glory! And so we seek to open the Bible with people.

Not just a sentimental declaration – but an effective work for people that justifies us. And justified, commissions us to be Christ's ambassadors to the world.

I received this in an e-mailout from a University Chaplain recently....
Remember, the message God wants you to hear is "I love you", not because he's kidding you and the real agenda is "fierce anger", but because that truly is God's natu…

Surrey CU Houseparty - Talk 2

The first talk I did at Surrey Houseparty is basically the talk I did at Warwick CU 10 days ago, with some minor edits (done by pen not on the digital version of the script). Jesus rules by his word. My main edits clarified that the word brings "forgiveness and judgement" where the previous script says "life and death". And clarified what it means that Jesus judges people by his word.

Session 2: POWER
2 Corinthians 3v6-4v7
The Ministry of the Spirit:

Eyecatching. Impressive. What does it for you? When you think about a Christian Union weekend away – what will make it a worth while experience for you? What would make this a good year of evangelism on campus?

The vision of the Christian Union is to Live for Jesus and Speak for Jesus – to make disciples of Jesus Christ on campus. And that's done through the vehicle of a student led mission team – united by a common commitment to the Bible and the truth of the gospel. These aren't theoretical commitments but practi…

Grace on the road: Part 5 of 7

Part 1 - Eternal life is for those who know JesusPart 2 - Eternal life comes to those who askPart 3 - Eternal life transforms this lifePart 4 - Eternal life is for the humble
Part 5: Eternal life is for repentant sinners

This is a complex passage with some very familiar teaching. The danger is that we simply presume we know what it says. Odds on we'll miss the point if we approach it that way. There are also many potential red-herrings for us to avoid.

Things open with three very similar parables from Jesus in v3-24. The story of a lost sheep, a lost coin and a son who loses himself, in each case what is lost is found. The first two parables end with the conclusion “in the same way” there is rejoicing in heaven when sinners repent. The repetition emphasises the point.

You'd expect v25 to repeat the same conclusion but it doesn't. Instead we get a new development. This should draw our attention to who is listening. In v1-2 we're told that there are sinners who want to hear…