Sunday, December 27, 2009
Some may read this passage and feel condemned, others will read it and discover God's grace (perhaps for the first time). For me the good news is that we are all in the same boat - that is to say, All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3: 23) we are all in need of a Noah's ark to escape the wrath of God - and that ark has been provided through the blood of Christ.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2: 24
Saturday, December 19, 2009
- World wide in excess of £100 Billion is spent on accessing pornography every year (what might be achieved if the world put that sort of money to good use?)
- In a US survey 20% of those asked admitted to accessing pornography at work
- 40 million US adults admitted to visiting pornography websites on a regular basis
- 10 % of adults admitted to internet sexual addiction.
Like many of Satan's prisons, pornography causes breakdown in marriages, breakdown in family relationships and drags people into a dark lonely existance. Since the day's of Adam and Eve, Satan uses glamour as he tries to deceive the eye and the mind - offering you something better than what God can offer you - only to reveal a shame that takes away all sense of self worth. In the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe the white witch offers Edmund Turkish Delight as a tempter to bringing his siblings with him, but when he is imprisoned he realises that the Turkish Delight is really nothing but the most awful of stale bread.
A friend of mine who openly admitted to using web pornography regularly has become a recluse and is not happy with himself at all. He is very inward looking, no longer visitis friends and family, is totally imprisoned and in his shame has become a recluse. There is only the cleansing blood of Jesus that can set him free.
* Unfortunately I have also accidently blocked other people's photos at the same time and am unable to retrieve them
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The answer, we may say, is faith-knowledge: by faith we know that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Yes, indeed; but what sort of knowledge is faith-knowledge? It is a kind of knowledge of which God is both giver and content. It is a Spirit-given acquaintance with divine realities, given through acquaintance with God’s word. It is a kind of knowledge which makes the knower say in one and the same breath both ‘whereas I was blind, now I see’ (Jn 9:25) and also ‘now we see as in a mirror, darkly . . . now I know in part’ (1 Cor. 13:12). For it is a unique kind of knowledge which, though real, is not full; it is knowledge of what is discernible within a circle of light against the background of a larger darkness; it is, in short, knowledge of a mystery, the mystery of the living God at work.
‘Mystery’ is used here as it was by Charles Wesley when he wrote:
‘Tis mystery all! The immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!"
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
(A comment posted to me on an earlier post)
I have yet to see any empirically tested evidence that a creator God does not exist. Or that Jesus did not resurrect from the dead. Or That after receiving the 'death sentence' from doctors my friend wasn't miraculously healed of cancer IMMEDIATELY after another friend prayed and heard Jesus say that he (Jesus) was going to heal him - even the doctors were quoted in the papers as stating this was a miracle!
If there is empiracally tested evidence for such things, why is that many who I suspect are greater and more intelligent thinkers even then those who post negatively on my blog (if that be possible - given the rudeness and patronsisation of some 'intellectual' protestors) believe otherwise???
Then I get accused of needing evidence to sustain my faith. The implication is that I should take on board: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. Heb 11:1"
I feel that on this one I just can't win. I am damned if I offer evidence for my faith, and damned if I appear to have blind faith. Well the truth on this matter is that I am sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see, but am also greatful that I can enter into the world of appologetics using the evidence that is before me.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
FAT enough for seven bars of soap
IRON enough for one medium size nail
SUGAR enough for seven cups of tea
LIME enough to whitewash one chicken coup
MAGNESIUM enough for one dose of salts
PHOSPHOROUS enough to tip 2,200 matches
POTASH enough to explode one toy crane
SULPHUR enough to rid one dog of fleas (C E M Joad)
OR PERHAPS MAN IS SOMETHING MORE THAN THIS .... PERHAPS HE IS SOMEONE WHO CAN EXERCISE FREE WILL! PERHAPS HE IS SOMEONE WHO IS ABLE TO RATIONALISE! PERHAPS HE HAS A SOUL AND A SPIRIT! PERHAPS HE HAS A REASON FOR BEING!
The human soul consists of our mind, our free will and our emotions. To say that free will does not exist, that the choices that we make are random, would make the penal system unjust. Why should one be sent to prison for murdering (even a child) if all we are is a combination of physical matter? It would also rob us of any sense of conscience any purpose or meaning of life. Evidence for the soul can be based on experience of ourselves - the fact that we are conscious of our being who we are. Evidence of the soul is our ability to rationalise and take responsibility for the decisions that we make.
Evidence for our soul is the God given ability to LOVE..
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This is the question we have been looking at tonight at a superb presentation by two leaders in our church. In the next few days I will attempt to summarise what has been said and add a few thoughts of my own. Meanwhile what do you think?
Perhaps a silly and too basic a question, but I wonder if you have sat and thought about the question: "Where does the ability to love come from?"
There is a new film out about Charles Darwin's life and of course his theory of evolution. The theory (and that is all it is!) describes a dog eat dog existence - where only the fittest survive. In all this the theory fails to address the existence of love. I'm thinking about the type of sacrifical love that we see clearly in the life of Jesus Christ. The type of love that on a good day we might manage to emulate.
The Bible of course is absolutely clear about the source of love.
Dear friends (says John) let us love one another, for love comes from God. And more clearly goes on to say: God is love!
In the New Testament there are 3 words for love:
Philia (family loyalty)
Eros: (physical intimate love)
And Agape: (sacrificial, life transforming, Christ like love)
All these are gift from God but it is the third Agape - the love that bucks the trend of a dog eat dog existence that can not be adequately be explained by those who put their faith in the theory of evolution. For this type of love there is but one explantion: that it comes from a creator God who created man in his own image.
Dear friends let us love oneanother, for love comes from God (1John 4: 7)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
picked up on his comment and it set me wondering if there is anyone out there who would put their trust in politicians to save the planet. My second thought had an eschatological slant: If the planet had 50 days left - would that sharpen Christians' resolve to evangelise their part of the planet.
The truth is we do not know the day or the hour of Jesus' return. But we do know that His return will triger the end of this planet as we know it. Why then is the church still nonchalent in its aproach to obeying Jesus' command to 'Go and make disciples of all nations.' ?
Thursday, August 20, 2009
"For centuries in Europe, people debated the question as to whether there was a land beyond the western horizon, beyond the sunset. SOme said there was, others expressed their doubts. Then one day Columbus and his men sailed out from Europe across the vast Atlantic Ocean into the sunset. When they returned they could say, 'we've been there and we know'.
In the same way, for generations people have debated the question of life after death. Some have said, 'Yes, there is life beyond the grave', others have denied it, 'No there isn't.' Then one day Jesus sailed out into that 'undiscovered country', and he came back, and in coming back, still says to us, in Isaac Watts' verse:
There is a land of pure delight
Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night
And pleasures banish pain.
'There is a heaven after death. I've been there and I know!' "
(From 'Heaven and Hell' Bruce Milne)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My family and I are just back from a lovely few days in North Wales. Weather wise we were quite blessed, but from time to time there was a gathering of cloud (and rain!) on the hills. For some reason being near to clouds never fails to fascinate me. As they perched on the hills I was awestruck. I couldn't help but gaze upwards.
After (Jesus) said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee", they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The BBC are today reporting on an atheist camp - an alternative to the Christian Camps that happen throughout summer:
"For the "centrepiece" of its scientific approach to religion the camp asks its participants to search for two invisible unicorns. The unicorns cannot be seen or heard, tasted, smelt or touched, they cannot escape from the camp and they eat nothing. The only proof of their existence is contained in an ancient book handed down over "countless generations". A prize - a £10 note signed by Professor Richard Dawkins - is offered to any child who can disprove the existence of the unicorns."
This is of course indoctrinatioin of the highest order - the very thing that atheists like Dawkins complains about. It is implying that the only proof of God's existence is an ancient Bible - of course this is not the case. I have never seen any person change their lives around from violent robber/drug addict/theif/ to servant simply because they have 'discovered' there is no God. I have seen many a person do so because they have discovered redemption in Jesus Christ.
(1) Only the Priest may partake in the wine during the Lord's Supper
(2) Those distributing bread should first wash their hands in a cleansing gel
(3) All physical contact should be avoided during the church service at all costs
What foolish panic!!!
You might as well put out a notice "Don't come to church - you are likely to catch swine flu". It is effectively banning all social functions in church (especially where food is served), banning the laying on of hands for prayer, and more importantly banning full participation in the Lord's Supper.
Why do I get the feeling that the leaders of the church have not prayed this one through and asked God for His guidance?
Why do I get the feeling that Jesus is saying "Oh ye of little faith!"?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
"their worm does not die
and the fire is not
quenched." (Mark 9: 43-48)
From this teaching of Jesus we can see:
(1) That Jesus certianly does believe that hell (greek - geenna) exists. (Indeed if there is no hell, as many churches are now teaching, Jesus suffering was futile!)
(2) Jesus is asserting the fact that no one who has sinned can enter the kingdom of God. (Gulp! that's all of us!)
(3) The fate of the sinner is so serious that it is worth endless self-denial/self sacrifice in order to avoid sinning.
(4) Hell is like an eternal (never ending!) fire.
Bruce Milne observes, "Elswhere hell is 'a place of darkness' (eg Matt. 8:12) 'a lake of fire' (eg Rev 19:20) ... a place where we can be 'beaten with blows' (Luke 12:47) a condition which evokes "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (eg Matt.8:12) a fate describable as being 'shut out from the presence of the Lord" (2Thess. 1:9)
Now I would never preach about hell and judgement without mentioning God's grace. Our God is a God of justice indeed can not be unjust. This means that God must pronounce the just judgement given to all the guilty - the separation from God that is like entering an eternal fire. The good news is that God is also a God of grace. In His love God the Father has sent his one and only Son to die on the cross, to pay the price of our sin. All we need to do is make Jesus the Lord and Saviour of our lives and we will escape this terrible fate.
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
TIll on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Question: What is the first verb in Jesus' great commission (Matthew 28:20)
That is right we are told to "GO ... therefore and make disciples of all nations". Simple isn't it?
Why then have we continuously expected people to 'come' to church, to come to us?
Jesus' model for the Church is for the Church to Go! This verb should run through our veins, should be our reason for being, our very essence/DNA. It's about time the whole church got out there in the community to proclaim to the world the Good News of Jesus Christ.
A church that is not continuously looking outwardly is dying inwardly!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
How refreshing is that!
We were to use use a questionnaire called 'Who do You Trust the Most?' to start off our conversations with people and invite them to a service on this subject the following week. For some, this was their first experience of public witnessing in this way.
Conversation with Chris and his two friends
There were three students sat outside McDonalds and I felt that the Holy Spirit was guiding me to them. They were most willing to fill in the questionnaire and treated me with some respect. One of the questions was about who we trust the most. Whilst to Chris politicians were the least trustable, he thought that he himself was amogst those he trusted the most:-
Neil: What makes you think that you can trust yourself.
Chris: Well I'm a good person.
From this point our conversation turned to the subject of heaven. He thought that God was real and if there was a heaven, he would surely deserve a place there.
Neil: Chris you describe yourself as a good person, but have you ever sinned?
Chris: I don't believe I have.
Neil: OK let's take the ten commandments, one of them commands us not to tell a lie - have you ever told a lie? Even a small one?
Chris: Well yes I have occasionally lied.
Neil: Ok so you have broken one of the Ten Commandments. Another tells us not to steel - have you ever stolen anything - and bear in mind that you have already admitted that you are a lier (smile on my face).
Chris: Well yes there has been a couple of things that I have stolen.
Neil: Oh dear not doing too well here are you? - you have admitted to being a liar and a theif. Have you ever committed adultery?
Neil: Are you aware that Jesus said that if you even look at a woman lustfully you are committing adultery - have you ever looked at a woman lustfully?
Chris: (Smiling) Well yes of course I have.
Neil: So let's get this straight, you are a liar, a thief, an adulterer - have you ever used God's name as a swear word?
Chris: (Sheepishly) well yes.
Neil: And now you are admitting that you are a blasphemer! Chris you told me you were a good person! (smile)
Are you aware that the Bible says that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?' - it goes on to say that 'the wages of sin is death' - ie separation from God. The good news is that God has made a way back to him throught the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says 'For God so loved the world (including you!) that he gave his only son that whoever believes (and trusts) in him shall not die but have eternal life.'
Now Chris did not say that he trusts and believes in Jesus for eternal life, but he was excited about the fact that there is a service that will allow him to find out more and he and his two friends agreed to come next Sunday. In fact so excited wre they that they bumped into two other friends and told them about the discussion. They asked for a leaflet for directions to the church.
What about you: Who do you trust the most? Can you be certian without a shadow of doubt that if you died tonight you would be in heaven?
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Radio one Dj Chris Moyles had an amazing conversation about a church service he watched on TV the other day. Although clearly non-Christian, there was a real sense of exuberance and excitement as he described the service. Well worth a listen!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
In contrast Jesus tells us that "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."
Whose report do you believe? I believe the report of the Lord!
There is a brilliant post on this on FriendFluence's blog here
Friday, April 10, 2009
This card was made by my sister. I like it because it reminds me that Jesus made it clear that He is the only way to the Father. It reminds me that there was only one way in which we could be redeemed from the consequence of our sin and that is through Jesus taking the Way of the cross and by our believing and trusting in Jesus and the victory that He claimed there. For this it takes pride of place on my shelf in my office.
Jesus answered "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
Surely He has borne our griefs
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I am speechless! (But if we don't speak up for innocent babies then who will?)
"He desecrated Topheth, which was in the valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech." (2 Kings 23: 10)
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Church was never meant to be like this -in Acts it was all about the church moving outwards (being sent). God is indeed a sending God - not a 'let's hang around and see what happens' type of God.
God sends his Son, Jesus send us and sends the Holy Spirit to motivate us to GO.
Our first motivation for mission is of course Jesus command to "GO and make disciples of all nations."
It is because Jesus is Lord that we say "Yes ... Here I am ... send me" and in fact we should need no other motivation than this.
For me though I have a picture in my mind when I am doing mission and sharing God's grace and means of salvation. It looks something like this:
Beautiful isn't it?
The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. (Revelation 21:19,20)
You see, when we are doing mission I believe we are helping to build the very foundations of the new Jerusalem itself!
But our greatest motivation to do mission will always be what Jesus has done for me!
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free
for God, the just, is satisfied
to look on Him and pardon me
Behold Him there the risen lamb
My perfect, spotless, Righteousness
the great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with himself I can not die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ, my Saviour and my God.
(Charitie Lees Bancroft)
There will never be any greater motivation for church to get involved in mission than this!
If you believe Jesus died for your Sins, why not share this good news with someone else today?
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I have no doubt that her gifts are God given!
I sometimes pop into a school breakfast club where again (mainly mums) there is regularly some fantastic crafting going on. It was here that I put my hand to designing this fish, painted on wood. My wife liked it so much that she put it up on the wall in our lounge and I felt really encouraged! No I am not a natural but enjoyed making it never the less.
Craft has very much been on my mind just recently. I need a craft designer for a Christian after school drama club that I am launching next week. I have my first craft in place. We are thinking about Jesus calming of the storm and so I have designed a boat. On the sails of the boat is written 'Be still and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10). This 'being still' talks about that peace of God that passes all understanding! - even when we are going through the storm!
Any way I am needing someone to design a stick of sweet rock with 'Jesus' written all the way through (as opposed to 'Blackpool'), a lighthouse, a picnic basket, etc etc. The catch is that they need to be simple enough (a) for me to do! (b) for a child to complete within 15 minutes.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
(William Reel writing in the The Times - taken from my good friend Peter Graystone's book: Ready Salted)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I mention the above having learned today that a Christian nurse in Somerset has been suspended from duty after offering to pray for an elderly patient in her care (see Ekklesia).
Caroline Petrie who is a Baptist said "I'm not angry and I do understand if people don't believe in the way that I do. But I am upset because I do like this job and this is a very valuable part of the care I give. I saw my patients suffering and I do believe in the power of prayer, I began asking them if they wanted me to pray for them. They are absolutely delighted."
I am convinced if Caroline had offered some off the wall - new age/pagan alternative remedy - she would not have been suspended and would be working today.
All this of course has serious implications for those who wish to witness in their workplace. But witness we must if we want to win people for Christ!
Of course Jesus did warn us about facing oppression - so we should not be surprised.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I am told (correct me if I'm wrong) that in New York it can snow for days and life carries on as normal.
Anyway it gave me and my daughter opportunity to build this rather elegant looking snowman. Well I thought he looked rather elegant anyway - until that is I looked outside my front door window and saw one twice as big donned with a hat and scarf.
All this leaves me with 2 questions: (1) Is coveting the neighbour's snowman really a sin? (2) What has happened to global warming?
Answers on a post card please.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The production team of Coronation Street got a blasting in the press this week for covering up a cross that was fixed onto the altar in a church where they were filming a fictitious wedding of two characters from the Street. Their reason? Because they did not want to offend anyone. This of course is political madness gone crazy! We shouldn't be too surprised about this: It was Paul who said that the cross is an offense to unbelievers and considered foolishness to those who are perishing - "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God!" 1 Corinthians 1:18
I am however more concerned for parts of the church who effectively cover up the cross in their denial of the doctrine of penal substitution! - The fact that Jesus took the punishment for our sin, so that those who trust and believe in Him shall not go to hell but have eternal life.
This doctrine is absolutely central to the Christian faith and to deny it is as far as I am concerned is to cover up the cross and to deny Christ.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Is God calling you to be an evangelist in the UK?
Why not check out Church Army's Website and view the film entitled: 'Mission Based Training' ?
And for further information check out this lead
If you want a chat about how exciting this calling can be - contact me by e-mail - details available on my profile.
One thing I can confirm for sure: It will be life changing!