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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Good God (Mike Reeves)

Which god do you believe in? Which god don't you believe in? Important questions that aren't always well answered.

"Reeves’ light touch & theological wisdom combine to provide a truly helpful book - both clears your mind and warms your heart." Terry Virgo

Mike Reeves gets to the heart of everything with this pop-level book on the Father, Son and Spirit. His  way with words is both clear and engaging. He'll move you from wierdness you never realised you believed to the bright sunshine of the gospel in which you will know and enjoy the Triune God more fully. Whet your appetite with these quotes

"Since God is, before all things, a Father, and not primarily Creator or Ruler, all his ways are beautifully fatherly. It is not that this God ‘does’ being Father as a day- job, only to kick back in the evenings as plain old ‘God’. It is not that he has a nice blob of fatherly icing on top. He is Father. All the way down. Thus all that he does he does as Father. Th…

Ex-Chief to Lead Church

We arrived in Exeter a little over four years ago. It took us a while to find a new church family but finally we found our home at Frontiers Church Exeter. After a whole lot of soul searching we walked into a meeting at the start of the Spring term.

A highly gifted 26 year old was leading worship, a 58 year old bald man gave us the warmest of welcome's and a 23 year old was preaching from the flood in Genesis - the best young preacher I've ever heard by several miles. We met with God. We turned to each other after the meeting and smiled. We knew we were home.

And we knew that this four year old church was a place with both real depth and a phenomenal investment in raising up a new generation of leaders. Now, four years later that 23 year old is 27, his Rugby career is over, and will become our lead elder this Sunday.

He's five years younger than me and I'm thrilled to be led by him. I'd met him once before that first Sunday morning meeting - he was the church …

The Seed of the UCCF: Faithfulness to the Word, germinated by a remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit

The story of the beginnings of the UCCF may be best told by Norman Grubb, to whose God-given vision the first Conference owes its inception. He writes:

The real foundation of the IVF (now UCCF) was laid at a Committee Meeting held in Trinity College, Cambridge, early in 1919. Men had begun to pour back into the Universities after demobilisation, and all the various Varsity unions and societies were being restarted. The SCM had I think ceased to function at Cambridge during the War but had now resumed its activities and was going very strong under the guidance of a most capable secretary.

The CICCU, on the other hand, had been kept alive throughout the War by a small group of undergraduates, but did not rapidly increases its numbers afterwards. There were still only some fifteen regular attendants at the Daily Prayer Meetings in early 1919. But most of these fifteen were very keen men, whose faith had stood the test of the war experiences. Realising the keenness of these men, and the n…

Richard Sibbes' God's Spreading Goodness

Get ready to think differently about the puritans. Let Ron Frost introduce you to the sweet puritans, chief among them Richard Sibbes.

"English Puritans of the Stuart era were divided by a number of questions. The greatest these asked what constitutes salvation and restoration from sin. 
All agreed that it was by grace through faith. But few could agree on how to define sin, grace, and faith. Richard Sibbes consciously followed Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin in defining sin as self-love and grace as God's redemptive love in Christ.
His theology centered on the love of God expressed through Christ and offered by the Spirit; and faith as a response to that love.
This produced a winsome and transforming theology of union with Christ and communion with God. In this he was a counterweight to the spread of moralistic Puritan theologies in his day."

Get Ron Frost's perfectly readable PhD on this via R N Frost: Richard Sibbes' God's Spreading Goodn…

Pastoral Refreshment Conference

For whatever reason many church and ministry leaders seems to lack support, encouragement and refreshment in their Christian lives. This cannot be a good thing.

I've watched over recent years as my friend Marcus has been raised up to meet some of this need across a wide spectrum of churches. He's received a growing sphere of influence through his service of leaders, particularly through the Pastoral Refreshment Conference which he hosts.

It runs twice in February, the first week with Terry Virgo speaking is fully booked but there is still space at the second, where Peter Maiden of OM is preaching (8-10 Feb 2012).

There are still places available for leaders and spouses (full time or elder-level or equivalent). Come and be refreshed and encouraged. Enjoy God in an environment specifically tailored to the needs to church leaders. 

Previous delegates say: 
"The best ministers' conference I have been on - booked" 
"A must for all Baptist ministers" 
"An un…

Nothing wrong with comfort food

Last winter my friend Tom took me to Raymond Blanc's cafe in Oxford. The taste of the onion soup stuck with me for hours afterwards. It was wonderful. Even though my journey home from Oxford that day took a cable-theft related seven hours (should have been about two and a half hours), lunch had been sweet.

Today I finally got round to making my own, and whilst it clearly wasn't as good as the real thing it was pretty tasty. There is so much that is good to taste in this world and it's not to be despised but to be enjoyed. I have Jesus and (so) I can enjoy good food too, even if my toddler refused to touch it.

I appreciated this slight critique of Christian Hedonism not because I've got stones to throw but because it gets things the right way round on this:

"God gives himself to us. That is he gives us our righteousness. He gives us himself. We don’t have to sit around desiring him. He is ours, just as we are his. That is what the cross was about. And in my mind h…