Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2006

Checking out

That'll do for now. Blogging should resume sometime in mid-September. I'm off to enjoy the summer sun, read some books and relax away from the screen before returning to work for the Relay1 and Forum conferences (drop in a comment if you'll be at either of those).

Ashrei temimei derech

O how I love thy holy law!
'Tis daily my delight;
And thence my meditations draw
Divine advice by night.

My waking eyes prevent the day
To meditate thy word;
My soul with longing melts away
To hear thy gospel, Lord.

How doth thy word my heart engage!
How well employ my tongue!
And in my tiresome pilgrimage,
Yields me a heav'nly song.

Am I a stranger or at home,
'Tis my perpetual feast;
Not honey dropping from the comb
So much allures the taste.

No treasures so enrich the mind;
Nor shall thy word be sold
For loads of silver well refined,
Nor heaps of choicest gold.

When nature sinks, and spirits droop,
Thy promises of grace
Are pillars to support my hope,
And there I write thy praise.

Isaac Watts, Psalm 119, pt 5 "Delight in Scripture"

I ♥ Biblical Theology

"I love Biblical Theology.
And I love it for one reason.
It helps me know Jesus Christ better"
Nicholas Piotrowski, reviewing books by Graeme Goldsworthy & Vaughan Roberts at

Loads more of that sort of thing at

Most of the year we update it monthly, except in July & August... so while its static why not catch up on some of the outstanding articles and papers we've managed to unearth, commission and gather!

"Church and Theology Today:
What is Really at Stake?"
Theology for All: Annual Day Conference
Saturday 30th September 2006
10.00 am - 4.00 pm

Speaker: Professor Carl Trueman,

Carl is currently Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He previously served on the Faculties of the University of Nottingham and the University of Aberdeen. A specialist in 16th and 17th century theology, he has also written extensively on contemporary evangelical theology, edits t…

Should Doctrine be Preached to the Unconverted?

Douglas Groothuis asked:
Why do so few sermons revel in the glory of Jesus Christ's matchless achievements and the eternal blessedness of knowing him? Why are so few sermons even focused primarily on God? Perhaps it is because we forget that "real preaching is born in long and laborious study of the Word of God and in the agnony of the preacher soul" (Machen, p73).  Perhaps it is because forget that The Cross is where our life is found, where our righteousness is declared.

Spurgeon wrote:
"More and more am I jealous lest any views upon prophecy, church government, politics, or even systematic theology, should withdraw one of us from glorying in the cross of Christ.” (C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students, I.83). And as Mark Dever commented:
What stops us from so glorying in the cross? This is my threatening enemy.
What will encourage us to glory in it all the more? This is my loving friend. Enemies abound, and we need many friends to urge us back to the cross. Joh…

The Crowd of Martyrs says look at Jesus the Champion

Hebrews 12v1 tells of a great cloud of witnesses, or a great crowd of martyrs who cheer us on as we run the race. "As saints of old still line the way,
retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day,
when with Christ we stand in glory"
-- Keith Getty & Stuart Townend They cheer us to look to Jesus, our champion - which is what the next verse tells us to do. I'm preparing to preach on this twice in September to 18 year olds going off to University.... in doing so, I unearthed this by Spurgeon:Where shall language be found which shall describe his matchless, his unparalleled love towards the children of men. Upon any ordinary subject one may find liberty of speech and fullness of utterance, but this subject lies out of the line of all oratory, and eloquence cannot attain unto it. This is one of the unutterable things—unutterable, because it surpasses thought, and defies the power of words...

...Christian men! If Christ endured all this [detail…

Anyone seen Copernicus?

Where's Copernicus when you need him? Apparently on the mind of an African Reverend and on the pages of Christianity Today magazine. Ben Wright asks: Is America the centre of God's activity in the world?. Sitting here in the UK its obvious that that's not the case... and before you bite back the UK isn't the centre either.

He quotes Reverend Niringiye from the Church of Uganda:If you really want to understand the future of Christianity, go and see what is happening in Asia, Africa, Latin America. It's the periphery—but that's where the action is.All of this quoted from an article in Christianity Today

Wright concludes:This seemed rather God-centered to me, and I'm grateful to be reminded that American Christianity is not the once-and-for-all apex of the history of the Church.To start the global thinking IVP in the UK have a series called The global Christian Library, edited by David Smith and John Stott:

Stott obviously is an Englishman with a lifetime of glo…

What's driving you?

Chan Kilgore on:
Jesus-centred reformed theology

A passionate plea to be theologically driven in church planting rather than merely pragmatic.

(25.8MB; 56:29mins)

From Mark Driscoll's Acts29 Boot Camp, 2006.

Me, my money, and my God?

Here's another angle on the money issue. This is a bit of a tangent from the continuity or otherwise of the law....

What connection is there between the widespread minimal giving mentality, of keeping money for ourselves, and an over-emphasis on my personal relationship with God? Put the other way, if we had more sense of becoming a Christian being about joining the people of God would that reset the balance and fuel our generosity...

I remember seeing a poster that suggested that the church has AIDS, because there are Christians who do. But we're more concerned with me. Likewise, has the Church has simultaneously given its heart to Mammon, and is starving... And we're often more concerned with our own bank accounts than with other believers...

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis write in session seven of The World We All Want:When she was Prime Minister of the UK, Margaret Thatcher once said: ‘There is no such thing as society, only individuals and their families.’ One of the prob…

Effective engagement on campus?

Dan Denk of IVCF (IFES in the USA):
Campus engagement is based on the development of InterVarsity witnessing communities (working in cooperation with other Christian groups on campus) that are of sufficient size and quality to effectively pursue the following aims:Evangelism: saturating the campus with the gospel so that everyone has been confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ in word and deed and in a manner which encourages response. This usually requires a 1:10 ratio; that is, 10% of the campus being witnessing Christians (Matt 28:16‑20).Engaging particular groups: making the gospel known in each of the geographical sectors of the campus, each residence hall, each special interest group, each ethnic group, each club and fraternity, each academic major and department; including faculty, staff, and administration (I Cor. 9:19‑23).Engaging the college/university structure: bringing God's truth and justice to bear on the campus newspaper, student government, campus radio station…

Fresh Coffee and New Warnies

All new design at The Coffee Bible Club

Meanwhile, Adrian revives the Warnies™ and adds two new winners, both longtime "two star" entries on thebluefish blogroll:Mark Driscoll / The ResurgenceTogether for the gospelThere are also honorable upgrades for Phil Johnson... TeamPyro replaces the now silent Pyromaniac. And John Mark Reynolds is replaced by his group-blog at Middlebrow.

Grace & Marriage

I recieved a happy email yesterday from a friend:...we are getting married next May which is pretty exciting in itself, I keep having to pinch myself coz it’s happening to me! If you had one tip… Here's four tips from Joe Lee. Read the story at Conflict: Gospel Truths at the marriedlife blog. Here are the principles from it:1. The Gospel - The Gospel gives us hope in the midst of a conflict. Christ died on the cross to resolve our greatest conflict.2. God’s Sovereignty - God sovereignly allows conflicts to take place to make us more like Christ. God did not want my marriage to be characterized by my sinful craving of my wife’s approval. He wanted me to see my desperate need for him.3. God’s Grace - Where sin is revealed, God’s grace is poured out. God’s grace to me was how my wife was responding my encouraging me. My sinful craving caused me to judge my wife and not see the grace that she was extending to me.4. Your spouse is not your opponent. Think together as you work through a …

How much should we give?

Ant drew our attention to Andy Hickford's recent Christianity Magazine article, something which drew a lot of very strong mailbag response in the issues since Easter. Some extracts:

...When it comes to Jesus and the law, it can be a bit confusing. Matthew 5:17 says that Jesus came to fulfil the law. Romans 3:31 says that he upholds the law. In Romans 7:6 it says that Jesus released us from the law and in Ephesians 2 Paul writes that Jesus abolished the law! So, just what is the relationship between Jesus and the Old Testament’s laws?! Basically, Jesus replaces the Old Testament law. In him it is all fulfilled and upheld, because he completes it. We are released from its regulation and condemnation- that’s what meant by ‘He abolished the law.’ However, its wisdom and history is fulfilled in Christ. How does this work with Martin Downes' observation that instruction on parenting is take straight out of the law and applied for Christians?...most Christians I know don’t need freed… be continued?

Over the last few months I've turned my attention to think about Charismatic Gifts and to Divine Sovereignty.... At the end of June I was wondering whether I was free from the tough questions.

And then I ran headlong into another one. This one manifests itself in different issues: You can start with infant baptism and tithing, and you could chuck sabbath in the mix as well.

Anna Mack asked me to do something about understanding the law, in early 2007, and now I've hit an issue where I need to work it out!

The tithing issue is the pressing one as I work on my money study. Israel did it(although it looks like it was more like 23% than 10%), should Christians be tithing? And if not, then what?
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
-- Matthew 5:17, ESV My instinct is that if Jesus fulfills the law then we're not expected to. The law is like rules that apply to someone else, not to us. Neve…

Our God is a great BIG God (5)

2. Election is not by works (Romans 9:10-13)

This is really important. We've said that you get saved because God chooses to save you. Now, you might think that that's because of something in you.

What was it like a school when you played sports – when did you get picked? Up to the age of 15 I was tiny and not very good at sport as a result. I'd be among the last picks. Then at 15 I shot up the best part of a foot in height in just over a year... the moderate skill that I'd been working at was added too by some bulk and physical power... Everyone still thought of me as the little kid but eventually they noticed.... finally when we had our year photo arranged in height order, it came as a shock to many that I was stood among them... Not my fault that I'd shot up to 6 foot.

Whether its outward appearance or performance, we live in a world that is all about how you do. And you get picked based on how good you are at something. You got into Reading University because y…

Our God is a great BIG God (4)

1. Election is not genetic (Romans 9v6-9)

Election is not genetic – not all Israel are Israel. Here's the point, v6, not everyone in Israel is “Israel”... not everyone descended from Abraham is a child of Abraham. Behind this is Romans 4. Essentially – being physically a child of Abraham doesn't make you a true child of Abraham in the faith.

Take the Argentina Number 10 shirt. Diego Maradona's shirt. Several have worn it after him... Ortega, Saviola, Riquelme... maybe next Messi... Raising hopes of Argentina having a new Maradona. But there's nothing magic about the shirt... wearning it doesn't make you worldclass.

Consider Abraham – He had two sons. Isaac and Ishmael. One was truly part of God's people – Isaac, and the other wasn't – Ishmael. Both genetically his children.. but that didn't make them God's people.

Rather – it was God's word, God's promise that declared Isaac as a child of God... and Ishmael not. Isaac was born because God …

Our God is a great BIG God (3)

Five Grace-bloggers:Ed Goode: Jonny Quest Thinks I'm Selling OutPaul Huxley: What is Legalism (1)Anna Hopkins: Grace not worksNicola Abram: Take TwoKath Arnold: The Love Fest ContinuesGareth Russell: Scandalous Forgiveness
Meanwhile: Our God is a great BIG God (3).

We join Paul in the clouds, glorying in the gospel! Full of joy at the grace of God. But... lets just throw a spanner in the works for a few minutes. You see, its all well and good for God to say – believe my totally secure promise. In fact its brilliant. God calling us to believe his word.

But hasn't this happened before? Wasn't Israel previously secure in the love of God? Has God's word failed for them? Doesn't that mean it might fail for us? From the heights of joy, to the depths of anguish.... V1-5. What a turn around... from 8v39 to 5v2... from the heights of joy to the depths of sorrow. What could possibly turn things so sharply? Anguish so deep that he would give up his salvation to save Israel. He&#…

The Very Different Son

Download: The Very Different Son - MP3 18MB
Sermon on Luke 4:1-13 from Arborfield Church, July 16th, 2005 Question – How do you respond to temptation to sin? I'll define what I mean by sin in a few minutes, but for now run with what you think of when I say “temptation to sin”Approach 1: License
If you're anything like me then quite often you take this approach. License is the approach that does nothing to resist. Temptation rings the door bell and walks straight in. No resistance. We do this because we're easily pleased. A few weeks ago I was buying lunch at Greggs in Reading... just a sandwich... but why not a sandwich and a cake... a little of what you like is good for you isn't it? Before I knew it the words were out and the money was handed over... on the way out of the door I walked past a friend. Caught in the act!We settle for what temptation offers. It happens to us all, by weakness, negligence or deliberate fault. We confess that together when we meet here. The c…

Our God is a great BIG God (2)

What makes Christianity different? A debate once raged as to what was the distinctive thing about Christianity, compared to other world faiths. After much debate, C.S. Lewis walked in and simply said: grace.

Those very famous words in Romans 8v37-39 tell us much of grace. Sinners secure in the love of God. Terry Virgo calls it: “God's lavish grace”. The clouds open when we discover the reality of grace, with fresh wonder, such that “God's grace defies our comprehension”.

I love grace – and so I love the scriptures because they're full of grace. Even a few words on grace can make you want to turn to praising God. But... back to Virgo... he says: “Few joys can be compared with discovering the wonder of God's grace, and I now set this material before you, certain that, if you will give yourself to reading it with an open heart and a willing spirit, your whole experience of Christ can also be transformed. You can be set free to enjoy his grace, to celebrate his love, to be c…

Hove, actually

So last night the scheming turned to action and we surprised Kath by turning up at her house for a birthday BBQ. Making people happy is fun.

Lots of people (pictured: Anna, Roz and Jon) stole Kath's clothes. Kath is so UCCF that she owns a million CU hoodies, and Mark was going sailing:

Em, SteffyB, Kath and Nay playing losing at Swedish Sticks:

Mrs Dawson and Mrs Bish:

Kath writes about it: Birthday Surpises. On the way home we nearly had a surprise when we very nearly ran out of petrol.... made it to Asda on the fumes around half-midnight, just in time to buy some stuff for brunch.

Like the sailor said "prophecy is easier when you know what is going to happen."

Grace Transforming

Milton Stanley quotes Scot McKnight: I see two major approaches: first, preach discipleship harder — rail away on the weakness of individual Christians today and highlight those weaknesses by showing just how committed Jesus wanted us to be. I would say I followed this approach from the time I read Bonhoeffer as a sophomore in college until I began teaching college students when it dawned on me that such an approach might get the whole notion of gospel and law mixed up.

So, the second approach is to speak of God’s embracing grace, of the gospel of God, and of the power of God’s Spirit. It would be unwise to choose between these, but I will offer this: If it is God’s grace that transforms, focus on God’s grace, God’s Spirit, and the gospel as the power of God for all of us in every way imaginable.

Our God is a great BIG God

I've been studying the "easy" subject of Spiritual Gifts after which I decided to gorge on Romans 9-11 for a while. Just for fun! Had the opportunity to teach some of that at Reading Family Church last month, and to work it through with some keen students, so here it is in bitesize blogpost. Why hit the hard doctrine? Because:
"Young people today don't get fired up about denominations and agencies. They get fired up about the greatness of a global God and about the unstoppable purpose of a sovereign King." -- John Piper, The Supremacy of God in PreachingGet into it with this introduction: Romans 9 - Breathless and Heartbroken.  

And our hearts don't just drift towards believing in such a big God. God reveals himself and if you want a big vision of God Romans 9-11 is a great place to go. Its warm and tear-stained stuff from a man wrestling in the agonies of prayer for his people. It stretches the mind but stretches the heart even more, will we believe t…

Wish List

Absolutely Dependable Human Beings

iMonk: a little less squirrely discernmentOchuk: A lesson in discernmentMark Heath shares from a TOAM seminar by Philip Greenslade: The story of Josiah... there was much economic and even religious activity, but the word of God had been lost. Josiah learned that God must have the first word in everything.... The story of Josiah's son Jehoiakim [he] tried to destroy the word, but discovered that God always has the last word.... The Jehoiakim church is a church that cuts bits out of the word of God to tame it, and make it culturally acceptable. But is the Josiah church honouring the word? Do we simply assume that people know the "apostle's teaching" or are we giving space to expository teaching. This is central and vital - so we need to do it, and do it well.

The third story is of Jesus being handed the scroll in Luke 4. He pointed out that Jesus himself chose to expound scripture, rather than telling his feelings, vision or his life story. This seemed to me to be a wo…

Spice up your life

Maurice McCracken starts blogging his 1 Corinthians 12-14 talks from RELAY3 last month:When the church has the spirit:
(or, spice up your life)
How the church shows Jesus
(or, I'm in the middle of a chain reaction)
The church that works properly
(or, We’re just a love machine)
"Why do 1 Corinthians 12-14?

I suppose the real question for me is, why not do it? Many of us will be used to being asked by students about some of the issues in this part of 1 Corinthians and saying “whoops, secondary issue” and moving on. Now, in the context of a mission team where the discussion could be needlessly divisive in a particular situation that may be the wisest thing to do, but we don’t want you to get the impression that issues like the role of women and so-called charismatic gifts are totally off the agenda. The point of a secondary issue is not that we never talk about it, but that we say that the truths of the db provide us with gospel unity, and we agree to have different views on secondar…

Christian Students Mental Health

Rachel Matson has put this resource together, I'm sure it can be very helpful for all of us who are involved in student ministry:

Students are particularly vulnerable, as they are exposed to many stressors. Living away from home, being lonely, not being able to get a good night’s sleep (particularly in halls!!), having new financial responsibilities, probably having an unhealthy diet (pasta and baked beans hardly supply all we need!), and the pressures of study, etc.

Add these to the usual stresses we all face in life, and it’s little wonder that in your work you will meet many students struggling with mental health problems. This site is intended to equip you to help those students, and to know where your limits lie.

Kermode, Virgo and Driscoll

You have to listen to Mark Kermode's very funny ranting against Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which is bound to be high quality nonsense. Film reviews from July 7th. These are live on Simon Mayo's Radio Five Live programme every Friday, and good to download too. What Dr. Kermode fails to realise is that we know its like a silly theme park ride... we know it is mindless. But we like that kind of fun, once in a while. And given that Capote and Munich were the last two films I saw its time for a bit of sunsoaked drivel.

Meanwhile, Adrian was at TOAM and loved Terry Virgo and insists that you get familiar with Terry by listening to his Romans preaches from last Septembers UCCF Forum conference - they were best with the front-row seat I managed to bag for most of the week, but they work well on MP3 too! Key quote:"Lets go and make Jesus famous"
HT Clokester: Mark Driscoll's interview in Christianity Today makes good reading - bring on a revival of chi…

From fear to faith

Ex-Relay worker Nathan Burley launches a new interview blog which will be interesting to follow.
When Nathan met... Liam Goligher:
Liam Goligher is Senior Minister of Duke Street Church, Richmond-Upon-Thames. He has also been involved in student ministry in the UK and eastern Europe, and has pastored churches in Ireland, Canada and Scotland. His new book, The Jesus Gospel: recovering the lost message, is published today."'Bible doctrine doesn't need to be reinvented for each new generation, it simply needs to be rediscovered. The best interpreters act like tour-guides who've lived in the area for a long time, know the language and local history, and can reveal surprises usually missed by day-trippers in a hurry. Liam Goligher is one such guide. He traces the blood-stained path of God's rescue plan for mankind, casting fresh light on biblical events and making the Cross stand out so ruggedly that you could splinter your finger on it."
- Greg Haslam, Westminster…

Life is like a box of chocolates?

Adrian Warnock is at the new frontiers leadership conference:
Together on a Mission,
kindly liveblogging for the rest of us.
(Note to self, don't be jealous).

Anna Hopkins reflects on anxiety in the Christian life.

Sam Best says one of my favourite phrases: I love church.

New Zealand based Scotsman, Nigel Pollock invites us back to the cross"If I could get students of today into a room I think the one thing I would tell them is to cling to the cross. I began to understand the importance of the cross at my first inter varsity conference it has taken me a lifetime to begin to appreciate its meaning. So I would say to todays students, come to the cross, humble yourselves at the cross, seek to grow in your understanding of the cross, proclaim the cross boldly, never grow tired of taking up the cross or talking of the cross. The cross is at the very centre of all we believe, all we do and all we are”
The John Piper Audio Archive appears to have grown recently. Now including some serm…

On Writing

So here's the think, I'm attempting to write a book. I'm enjoying it, though I find it a challenge to turn on the creativity during working hours. More than that I might be a bit of an introvert but a day on my own in front of a laptop isn't entirely my idea of fun.... I love being with people. I think its also going to affect my blogging.... you see, my mind is rather pre-occupied with the subject matter... but I can't blog that because if I publish everything here it rather defeats the point of writing the book.

And then it occured to me I could publish what I have written so far this week, we're standing at around 8000 words:

Happy reading.... of course this wont really stop me blogging. For a start I have several other projects I'm working on in parallel to the book writing (- some stuff for the september Relay and Forum conferences, some Cell notes on Mark 1-8, a talk on Luke 4), not to mention all the other drivel going around in my head every day. And …

Sparks capable of igniting a preacher

One reviewer has written:
"The Art Of Prophesying carries sparks capable of igniting a preacher. It should be beside every minister's desk as a book to turn to again and again."

The Art of Prophesying by William Perkins is one of the books I picked up at the EMA bookstall last week. Its a short book by the puritan Vicar of St. Andrew the Great, Cambridge. Its title would attract many people, however it is not the gift of prophecy that concerns Perkins. His concern is the ministry of prayer and preaching, a ministry he derives from observing the ministry of the Bible's prophets.

As he writes:

"Every prophet's task is to speak partly as the voice of God (in preaching), and partly as the voice of the people (in praying)."

He summarises that preaching involves:1) Rereading the text clearly from the canonical Scriptures.
2) Explaining the meaning of it, once it has been read, in light of the Scriptures themselves.
3) Gathering a few profitable points of doctr…

Images from the end of the year

Featuring some RUCU bloggers...
Sam Best | Anna Hopkins | Ed Goode | Ceryn Oakes

See also some classic images from the end of last year

Ultimate Realities

How do you mobilise a people into mission? In September I have a few of speaking engagements to do just that. A couple to send freshers off to University... another to prepare current students to make the most of freshers week. What do I need to teach them? I'm persuaded by John Piper's argument in his introduction to The Supremacy of God in Preaching:"Young people today don't get fired up about denominations and agencies. They get fired up about the greatness of a global God and about the unstoppable purpose of a sovereign King. I will talk about the vision of Christian Unions but that is not ultimate. The vision of Christian Unions is one I've given myself to serving not because Christian Unions are ultimate, but because the of global greatness of God. His fame and reputation are ultimate. The grace of God wrought into the lives of many is ultimate. Our ministry in Christian Unions is a means to an end, a means to seeing God become famous on campus, and worldwide…

Grace that sustains

Talking one of my favourite people, from the other side of the world, on Skype last night, he said: I think grace sometimes makes the hard times harder - it means we don't ignore suffering, or try to escape it: but face up to it; but in the hard times we discover the value of suffering and find joy, and the hope that will not be taken away. Living by grace takes away the pretense. When you live by grace you can't just say its all fine and think you're respectable and nice and always happy. Grace exposes all that and gives freedom for failure, honesty about struggles and about the hardness of life.

But, grace also sustains. As Piper defines it:Not grace to bar what is not bliss,
Nor flight from all distress, BUT THIS,
The grace that orders our trouble and pain
And then in the darkness is there to sustain Grace is secure. And no failure or suffering or struggle, darkness or trouble can keep us from God's secure grace. It remains. It endures. And by grace we are kept. By grace…

Over again then...

Don't wanna hear the news
What's going on, What's coming through
I don't wanna know, Don't wanna know
Just wanna hide away, Make my my escape
I want the world, To leave me alone
Feels like I feel too much, I've seen too much
For a little while, I want to forget

I wanna be numb
I don't wanna feel this pain no more
Wanna lose touch
I just wanna go and lock the door
I don't wanna think
I don't wanna feel nothing
I wanna be numb
I just wanna be
Wanna be numb

Can't find no space to breathe, World's closing in
Right on me now, Well that's how it feels
That's how it feels, Too much light
There's too much sound, Wanna turn it off
Wanna shut it out, I need some relief
Think that like I think too much, I've seen too much
There is just too much, Thought in my head Numb; Pet Shop Boys, 2006.
The music on the BBC's end of programme scenes.

EMA: John Piper - Sustaining Grace

Following the first talk on risk is right we were reminded: that we will risk only by passion for God's glory when we know the great reward and tresure in Christ. We must preach the glory of the THEN so people will suffer NOW. You cannot be too heavenly minded... and then Dr. Piper turned to Sustaining Grace:

1. Enduring as a Christian: pray to stay a Christian
2. Enduring in word ministry
3. Enduring where we are as long as we're called to be there
4. Enduring in marriage, even in hardship

In our time endurance is not valued. Everything has to change. So, how do we endure? Sustaining grace is the answer. Defined in Piper's poem:Not grace to bar what is not bliss,
Nor flight from all distress, BUT THIS,
The grace that orders our trouble and pain
And then in the darkness is there to sustain

God can prevent the pain but often he doesn't. Instead he proves the grace to sustain. This happened with Paul in 2 Corinthians 12. Piper also cited a number of examples from his own church.

EMA: John Piper - Risk is Right

See also Ant Adams notes on this talk

Take risks for God.

Effective pastoral leaders
create an atmosphere in which
the prudent and status quo people
cannot control the church.

The next step is risky.
What might God be calling me to in the next year, two, five...

Risk:An action than exposes you and others to loss or injury Risks are good. Not all risks are good. BUT more risks than we think are good.

Question: Why does the possibility of risk exist?
Answer: Ignorance.

We don't know what is coming tomorrow. God does so God cannot risk. Jesus didn't risk: it was all PLAN. But we don't know. So, we can risk and we must. We don't know if we'll die before the talk finishes. When God says "enough" then it is over. Its an awesome thought. You need to be right with Jesus.

We cannot avoid risk in sleep or anywhere. Minsitry and mission are not risk free. There are no closed-countries. Risk is right.

1. 2 Samuel 10v11-12.
Joab and Abishai vs. Syria and the Ammonites. Be co…