Monday, November 11, 2013

The incoherence of Atheism (Ravi Zacharias)

What happens if God does not exist? Ultimately we would have to find the answer for a moral law. Who defines good and evil?
 
J L Mackie (a prominent Australian atheist) struggles with this dilemma when he says:  ‘The whole nature of moral reasoning has such an immense configuration to it, that it is impossible to actually arrive a rational defence of it apart from invoking a moral personal first cause.’


Monday, October 14, 2013

Restoration of that Which Was Never Good?

Below I have attempted to articulate my struggles with those who see macro evolution as being compatible with Christianity. It does not mean to offend and I am aware that a lot of people whom I love would disagree with me:
 
Those who believe that macro evolution and Christianity is compatable tend to agree with those of a creationist view that one of the main points of Genesis’ creation story is that God’s creation was ‘Very Good’. The context of ‘very good’ surely describes perfection, after all why should an omnipotent God create anything other than that which was perfect?
My atheist friends, on the other hand, who also believe in macro evolution are quick to point out that any would be god who designed evolution, rather than being a god of love, would be a cruel god, indeed a god who designed and created pain and suffering. They surely could have a point if a god used Darwinian evolution to create the world of living things.
Whilst Genesis declares that it was the fall of man that brought about wholesale corruption and death, macro evolution declares that they were there from the very beginning, indeed that battle, conflict, war was evolution’s main propeller.

For those who believe that the two are compatible, I feel it is more than problematic:

If God did use such an evolutionary process to bring about mankind, then presumably there was a day when He came to the conclusion that mankind had evolved sufficiently to work out the difference between good and evil (a very different scenario from that of Genesis!). We would have a (ridiculous?) situation that one second (due to lack of evolvement) it was impossible for man to sin, the very next second the (evolved!) potential for sin consciousness is in place … enter the 'metaphoric serpent'. The serpent's task would simply be to persuade man to carry on doing those things that a moment ago he had no responsibility for, indeed moments ago was a natural part of being. What was God designed a moment ago is now against God's laws.

Some Christian 'evolutionists' would never the less go as far as talking about a God who will restore the world into its original ‘goodness’ or perfection. They would quote Revelation and believe in a new heaven and new earth, where there is no more corruption, no more tears, no more pain (a place that presumably doesn’t allow for the cruelty of Darwinian evolution).

I can’t help thinking that there is inconsistency in such a theology. How could God restore that which was never perfect in the first place?




Friday, August 16, 2013

Praying for divine appointments

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

I love this passage from Acts. Love too Philip's passion for the gospel! He has really taken to heart and is living out Jesus' command to GO and make disciples of all nations. Philip is prepared to 'Go' where ever the Holy Spirit will send him. But look just where he has been sent!
“Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
He has been sent to the desert road. You might have excused Philip if he had said:
"Surely that's not right... what's the point of going to the desert road Lord?" After all the desert road leads to the desert place! The desert place is fruitless, it is desolate, it is hot and it's no place for an evangelist!

But God knows that just around the corner is a God seeker, someone trying to make sense out of life, someone in need of salvation. And anyway that is not Philip's attitude. Philip obeys the Lord's instruction but how!
Then Philip ran up to the chariot
Did you get that? He RAN! You see Philip knows God is on the case. I believe that Philip prayed that morning for divine appointments, prayed for opportunity to share the good news of Jesus (a dangerous prayer - a prayer that Jesus will always answer!) and Philip knows that this is his answer to prayer, so Philip is excited, he is hungry, he is up for it - so he runs!
Paul says: 'make the most of every opportunity' and here is Philip making the most of every opportunity! Paul also says 'I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes' and here is Philip showing that he is no ashamed of the gospel, recognising its power to save.  ' my food' says Jesus ' is to do the will of him who sent me' and here is Philip doing the will of Jesus who sent him.

All this leaves us with challenging questions:
Are we prepared to pray daily for divine appointments, opportunity to share the good news of Jesus?
Are we prepared to make the most of every opportunity when it comes along?
Are we prepared to show that we are not ashamed of the gospel?

I was at Elim Festival a couple of weeks ago, where we were asked if over the years ours sense of salvation has been self devalued somewhat. 'If not' said Mark Greenwood, 'why then have we stopped talking to our friends about Jesus?'

Friday, July 26, 2013

Christians who have forgiven much

“Alan was a man who was driven by love and compassion and he would not want any of us to hold on to feelings of hate and unforgiveness. So in honour of Alan and in honour of the God we both love, my prayer is that this story doesn't end today. My prayer is that Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster will come to understand and experience the love and kindness of the God who made them in His own image and that God's great mercy will inspire both of them to true repentance.”

Maureen Greaves is an amazing beautiful Holy Spirit filled gracious lady and a fearless Evangelist. Alan indeed a most generous and loving man - now with the Lord.
 
Maureen Greaves is here following the example of Jesus, Stephen, Corrie ten boom, Nelson Mandella, Kim Phuc, Gordon Wilson and many more Spirit filled Christians, as she forgives her husband's murderers and prays for their salvation.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I hurt!

 
Love is my first and foremost motive for telling the Gospel. I deeply love Jesus and deeply love my neighbours.
 
I live in a community of hurting people and I hurt for those who are hurting. I hurt for those who seek some kind of hope through yet another inappropriate relationship, I hurt for those who have had yet another child removed from their care, (I hurt for that child!) I hurt for those who get into huge debt because they feel that possessions will bring some sense of satisfaction to their lives, I hurt for those suffering from addiction of alcohol and other drugs. I hurt when children are suffering from family breakdown, when they are growing up without any sense of hope, when they are made out (often by people who should know better!) to be nobodies, when they are labelled as 'compulsive liars' or 'compulsive thieves.'  
 
I am not talking about statistics here, I am talking about individuals whom I know and love.
 
And I am in no place to judge  - I have fallen short of God's best on much of the above.
 
Perhaps that is why I hurt for the lost.
 
That is my sole motivation for facing ridicule for offering something better.  I know that the only way these beautiful(!) people will receive the healing they need is through a transforming relationship with Jesus first as Lord then as Saviour.
 
Jesus said:
 
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom
for the prisoners
and recovery of the slight for the blind,
to release the oppressed
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour. Luke 4: 18 -19

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Male 'wives' and female 'husbands' I personally believe this simply can't be right!

 
My personal view on this is that the Government is making an horrendous mess!  In a strange way the Government's intervention on marriage feels to me like a matter  from George Orwell's 1984 - only with an illiberal liberal agenda . I personally feel sure that the 'Thought Police' will be hunting out those who disapprove to all this all too soon, dismissing school teachers and Christian Registrars who conscientiously can not in any way promote same sex marriage. I am not sure that even the Church will be safe from civil law when European courts are asked to intervene! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Community Cafe to bring hope for a Flax harvest


 
 
For 18 months we have been praying for a hub for our outreach on the local estate.  During a prayer session in December last year, we believed that God was saying that we would have breakthrough in the Hebrew month of Nisan.  But when is Nisan? A book that we later found revealed Nisan to be between March and April.
 
Interestingly it also stated that Nisan is the month of the Flax harvest. From December onwards we carried pushing doors - one with some force - but they remained firmly shut. In April we pushed a door that flew open and so we now have a (trial) Community Café and can share all what Jesus has done for us over cake and coffee.
 
But back to the point of the Flax harvest. The Road on which our café is situated is no other than: Flaxley Road!
 
We are now praying that God will make our new ground fertile for a Flax harvest: a place where people of Flaxley Road will turn away from the stuff that is causing them so much pain (there is lots of pain here!) and turn to Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Forgiveness!





'I was determined to turn aside from hatred, vengeance, unforgiveness and retaliation towards those who had killed him'

 

Maureen Greaves is a lovely lady and a passionate evangelist working in Sheffield. Her murdered husband Alan a most beautiful and generous man.   I praise God for her strength to remain true to Christ in the most horendous of circumstances. If ever there was evidence of the Holy Spirit at work it is in the way Maureen has reacted towards her husbands death.Maureen's gracious words are nothing short of a miracle.