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Showing posts from December, 2011

Limping over the line

In 1992 Derek Redmond pulled up in the Olympic Semi-Finals of the 400m, eventually carried over the line by his father. It's one of the most iconic sporting moments, not of joy but of anguish. A million miles from a Usain Bolt decelerating to a 100m world record, for example. Which is more glorious?

As 2011 comes to its close I feel myself limping over the line. By the grace of God I'm alive. I'm welcome in the family of the Triune God.

I'm still doing a job I love and I've received some brilliant support and training in the last year which has increased both my knowledge of God and of myself.  I've has the privilege of working as a Bible teacher and Evangelist in a wide range of contexts, opportunities I feel very thankful to have received. I'm probably playing to my strengths more than before, because I feel like I know what some of them might be now. And at home, we've received the gift of a second son and seen our first son turn into a full-blown to…

Praise be to Woody Allen Zombie Jesus

Tim Minchin wrote a song for Jonathan Ross's Christmas show about Jesus. And the ITV bigwigs cut it. That's the story. The assumption being that the song is considered to be offensive, presumably to people like... who knows really. What's true can handle a little satire. You can't watch it on ITV but it's on Youtube (see below).

Minchin likens Jesus to Woody Allen, Derren Brown, a Zombie, Superman and other stories and references in our culture.The story of Jesus is very like all our stories. Stories that speak of the need for a Saviour, even a suffering Saviour, that recognise we can't save ourselves.

None of them as audacious as the story of Jesus, of a Triune God, one who is self-giving love, who comes enters into our flesh to put it death and create a whole new humanity who will be filled up with God and who will fill up God with his people.

Some will say Christianity is just a derivative story among many stories, but perhaps it is the original story - and…

Podcasting is not Pastoring

There is more to pastoral leadership than a podcast. This is my own reflection on Trevin Wax's thoughts

In recent weeks my pastor has been able to observe a behaviour in my life and offer quite specific correction and instruction, he's been able to deliver me specific and detailed encouragement about my own service of the church, he's preached God's word for me to hear as I've sat with the rest of the church at our church weekend away. He's prayed and prophesied and strengthened our faith.

He has prayed for me, and my family during a difficult week - which I know because he told me. He's probably also prayed for me and not told me about that.

I've sat with him and other young men as he's shared his dreams and ideas and taken feedback. I've taken a train journey with him. We've talked and prayed and eaten around the same table.We learned together in the on-the-job training course we're doing. I've observed him with his wife and his …

All that I have I share with you!

We enjoyed witnessing the beginning of the marriage of Harri and Chris on Saturday, it was great to share their wedding day with them. Our friend Mike led the service, his rich and booming voice relishing the opportunity to have Christ proclaimed through the vows and commitments of a wedding.

It was particularly poignant to be reminded that when a couple make their vows to one another its like the commitment Christ makes with his church, it's like when someone becomes a Christian - to take all that is ours, and give us all that he is. And you can bet he makes that vow with even more joy than a couple of their wedding. Not to mention that the proclamation that no man put this union asunder is another way of saying, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

That we can be wed to our Saviour is unspeakably beautiful, to enter into such a union as to make us one with our Saviour, and to know that union leads to a very real and experiential communion with him. Vivid remi…

Christmas: Always Scrooge and Never Kirstie?

I love our church. I love the opportunity to be with God's people who are our family, and when we gather (and when we're scattered) to find ways to serve one another in drawing near to Christ. It was my privilege to serve our church by preaching.
My text was Genesis 3:15 asking What's Christmas About? You can listen here:
Download mp3 - "Always Scrooge and Never Kirstie" (30mins)(low quality recording taken on my phone on the lectern behind me - hopefuly the church website will have a better version soon)

I attempted to dig into some of the common views of Christmas, where there is much to affirm and console, and also to explore how those resonate and point towards the hope of The Promised Son.
Beginning with Scrooge's misery - which is both justified and overly morbid, we see there really is war and evil in the world, and yet we long for hope of victory - why is that?Considering the festivities offered by a Kirstie's Handmade Christmas we saw that it'…

Everyday Church MP3s (Steve Timmis)

As a gospel principle my desire is not to hold on tight to God's gracious gifts, but to share them as widely as I can.
I think Marcus Honeysett taught me that.
When I managed to persuade Steve Timmis to to spend 48 hours with the UCCF South West team that meant looking for ways to open our doors.

Steve spent four sessions (including Q&A) with us as a team along with a number of guests. Additionally we were able to open our doors for an evening event for the Exeter CU and other members of local churches, and a breakfast for local church leaders. We recorded the sessions and I'm posting them here for your encouragement - find yourself over 8.5 hours to listen in. I'm deeply challenged and looking forward to implementing ideas that flow from Steve's rich Ecclesiocentric gospel theology.

Session 1 (80mins)
Session 2 (84mins)
Session 3 (90mins)
Everyday Church Evening Talk (53mins)
Everyday Church Evening Q&A (30mins)
Church Leaders Breakfast - Tal…

Hugo: If you ever wonder where your dreams come from

Yesterday I took my wife to see Hugo 3D. I can't remember what the last film we saw at the cinema was, possibly Inception more than a year ago. Hugo is a wonderful fantastical story set in a Paris station in the 1930s. It's about machines and dreams, about finding purpose.

Hugo says: "I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason."

Which might all sound a little mechanisic and predestinary but really its about imagination and knowing you have a part of play in the world, however seemingly small. It's a Martin Scorsese film about film and the way the big screen unleashes the imagination. It's about adventures and about love. Dashed and recovered dreams and  boys who live in the walls of stations.

Based on the book The Invention of…

Think: Did Humanity fall on Day 6?

A month ago I received some excellent training on Genesis 1-11 that helped us understand different view points and engage with different questions that people might have. Our speaker was aimed to make us agnostic about these chapters, or at least to not make any particular reading a necessary thing for someone to be a Christian.

Some approaches major on fitting the text with scientific approaches, others lean more to a literary approach to the text with less concern for fit with science.There are choices to make. Sometimes not much is at stake... sometimes a lot is at stake.

What follows is an argument I heard from a theology student last week, from the more literary approach to the text, approaching the question of when the fall of man happened.
The events of Genesis 2 occur in "the day" that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens (Gen 2:4). You could say thats some period of time, but what if a day is just a day. And if finished means completed then we can speak of…