Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2015

All is gift (reflecting on the sacraments)

I had the opportunity to travel to London on Monday for a day with Peter Leithart, a pastor, author and scholar from the US who spoke on the place of the Sacraments in the life of the church.

I was struck by the high value he placed on unity in the church, on his practical application of the generous welcome of God to the weak, and his passion for these oft neglected gifts of Christ to his church. It was great to learn from one in another tradition alongside Lutherans and Anglicans, Baptists and Presbyterians and others from Newfrontiers and more.

I'd have plenty of questions around his theology - not least that he baptises babies, but Leithart's pastoral heart for his people, his love of the church, his conviction that church has something to say to our world moved me deeply.

I appreciated his attention to the Rites (rituals) of the church and the way that these both engage and challenge our culture and our world. He noted that we all have rites, however formal or informal. …

Looking back on #ilovemycity

As a church we're persuaded from the Bible that we're to explore, experience and express the goodness of God across our city. From a preaching perspective we work through different books of the Bible and seek to hear the good news of Jesus in the language and emphases of those books.

Exploring, experiencing and expressing God's goodness isn't a set of three mutually exclusive categories but inevitably some terms we're more generally addressing our UP-ward relationship with God, sometimes our IN-ward experience of church, or our OUT-ward experience of life in our city.

That means each term has a different feel. In the autumn we were unpacking Galatians, exploring the character of relationship with God with his people. We called this 'You are always welcome'. Over Christmas we considered the incarnation and its implications for life in this world, 'One of us'.

This term we've been in Genesis 1-4 considering the foundations of all things 'I lo…

Process stories: behind the scenes of a new preaching series

A week on Sunday we start a new preaching series for the summer term, unpacking the message of 1 Peter. We're calling this 'EVERYDAY CHURCH' which is the title of Steve Timmis and Tim Chester's book on 1 Peter. For us discipleship has 'UP' to God, 'IN' to church, and 'OUT' to our city aspects. After series in Galatians on God's welcome, on the Incarnation and Genesis on living in this world, this is going to be more of an 'IN' series. A look inside how Christian faith, layed out to the mix gathering of newer and more established believers and many friends who are journeying regularly with us. 
As Jesus has welcomed us we seek to offer his welcome.
In looking at 1 Peter, we're asking what's special about church, why bother with church community, and how does that work in today's society?

This series will begin in the school and University holidays so we'll be podcasting and seeking to communicate clearly so people cat…

How (not) to be secular?

James K A Smith engages with Charles Taylor's big book 'A Secular Age' to consider what it means for someone to follow Jesus in our time, and to communicate the message of Christ to others.

The Plausibility Problem
Once men and women looked up to the sky and it sang to them, today we look at the vast empty vacuum of space. Something has changed. 500 years ago it was plausible to believe, and implausible if not impossible to reject Christ. Today the reverse seems so. It seems thoroughly plausible not to believe in Christ, and implausible if not impossible to believe.

Confidence or Conversation
Taylor observes four forms of belief today. A grid - Immanence vs. Transcendence, Take vs. Spin.

There are those who believe in a transcendent world - there is more than you can see. Some, like Taylor do so with an openness to discussion (take) while others are less inclined to ask questions but rather incline to confident confrontation (spin) - 'the fundamentalists.'


The iceberg is melting

Church in decline
I've lived in University towns and cities since I was 18 years old. In those places church can look quite healthy. There are young people in the church. There are congregations that feel big (200+).

The view is distorted though. Half of churches in the UK don't have any teenagers. The church population is aging and declining. That's a problem because when the clock goes forward that's an absence of 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s... and a population who are heading for their eternal home.

The church might be growing in London but the national picture is numerical decline.

And these might be days of small things.
But, who can settle for that?
Who could settle for people not knowing Jesus?

I'm persuaded that knowing Jesus is good.  And not knowing Jesus is bad for people and for this world. People not in churches means people not walking with Jesus but walking against him and away from him and means further ruin for this world.

Hope for the world
It's been sai…

Faithful, Creative, Presence - David Stroud

This is fresh