I’m not entirely sure what the deal is with 2017 but it’s been fairly sucky for us so far. Especially the last month or two. Amongst the dramas of a car crash, tonsillitis, post-natal depression and the usual ups and downs of life, our little one has had a nasty ear infection which has given him soaring fevers and very little sleep for all of us.
This is an abridged version of an essay I recently wrote, if you’d like to read the full thing do be in touch
It’s probably fair to say that the environment in which we share the Bible in the UK has changed radically in the last 100 years. People are bringing different kinds of questions to the table. As one author noted, the air of expectation and hope of the early twentieth century very quickly gave way to the cruel realities of “Auschwitz, Hiroshima and the Gulag Archipelago”. The West’s great hope of self-redemption and apotheosis through science, technology, education and the secular nation state gave way to a climate of fear, mistrust of institutions, and philosophical confusion. Continue reading Hermeneutics for Ragamuffins: Some things a Calvinist has learned from Liberation theology
I saw the following words glitter in gold print on the wall of a Church in our beloved town of Luton this week:
“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people”
The bibliophiles among us may recognise it from Luke 2:10. As I stared, and pondered these words, I couldn’t help but wonder what they might mean to those outside the cozy inner circle of religious adherents. That day I had spent time with a lonely immigrant from Senegal desperate for work, a serial alcoholic, a young lady who had recently found herself homeless, a young man suffering from chronic mental health problems, and an older gentleman in chronic pain after a botched medical treatment, and many others with troubling stories. I couldn’t help wonder, what about Christmas is good news for them? Where they might find joy at this time of year save from the bottom of a bottle or a used hypodermic? Even experiences in my own cushy little life had me hating Christmas until recently. Continue reading What’s So Amazing About Christmas Anyway?
They say you can’t steer a stationary ship, and those words took a deeper significance for me about 3 1/2 years ago while sitting astride my old Yamaha motorcycle. I grew up around motorbikes in one way or another, both my parents and my sister had bikes at different stages, but for one reason or another I didn’t get round to taking my test until I was well into my 20s.
Last Sunday I had the great privilege of sharing with St Matthew’s Church Luton on the subject of ‘Good News For The Poor’ :
I needed to read this today:
“O Thou of little faith,
God hath not failed thee yet!
When all looks dark and gloomy,
Thou dost so soon forget–
Forget that He has led thee,
And gently cleared thy way;
On clouds has poured His sunshine,
And turned thy night to day.
And if He’s helped thee hitherto,
He will not fail thee now;
How it must wound His loving heart
To see thy anxious brow!
Oh! doubt not any longer,
To Him commit thy way,
Whom in the past thou trusted,
And is “just the same today.”
From “Streams In The Desert” By L B Cowman
Checkout this excerpt of a piece I wrote for 1Africa, click the link below to read more:
#1 Jesus Had Some Rotten Branches in His Family Tree
Unlike our politicians and celebrities, Jesus was not ashamed of the skeletons in his family’s closet. The list of His ancestors includes: Abraham who let another man sleep with his wife, Judah who sold his brother into slavery, Rahab who was a prostitute and citizen of an enemy country, David a murderer and adulterer, Solomon a womaniser, and the list goes on…
#2 Jesus’ Main Opponents Were Religious People………..
#3 Jesus’ Friends Came From the Rough Side of Town…
#4 Jesus Was a Revolutionary……..
#5 Jesus Never Said “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”…
I’m really excited about what they’re doing, an excellent and aesthetically beautiful blog!
I hear a lot of talk about freedom but I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen it, except maybe in my dreams.
Some see freedom as a chance to escape. To leave and explore far away lands. But I dream of a freedom which lets me truly come home to the land where I dwell, to the person I really am. To be peace with a place. Continue reading On Freedom – Music For Searching Souls
Theology. It’s a pretty dirty word these days, even in some Christian circles. It conjures images of ivory towers, sweaty academic nerds, uncomfortable wooden pews and dusty old 9-inch thick text books written by dead German men.
Been reflecting on this poem, which is apt for the week I’m having.
It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve really had to get my hands dirty as I’ve journeyed with folks who have some complex needs and even more complex stories. And if I’m honest I’ve been wrestling with the complexties of my own needs and story too.
More and more I see what a mess the world around me is in, and my mind is searching for an answer, a strategy or something.
I got into one of those wonderful open-ended political debates on facebook the other day, with the lefties and the righties duking it out behind their screens and keyboards, and again I feel like the answer won’t be found in another ‘ism’. This is mainly because God did not send us an ‘ism’, but as the message translation so aptly puts it, he ‘moved into the neighbourhood’ (John 1:14).
I plan to write something a bit more substatial on the subject of ‘Incarnation’ for college, but then more words aren’t the answer either (although they do help in getting a university degree).
As Mr Turner so eloquently expresses it in the poem above, I want to do more than write a poem. And I’m hoping others will join me.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (Philippians 2:1-8 MSG)
This week we started a new series on the book of John with our Church youth group. The series started with me leading a session on John 12:20-36, and my prep notes ended up being long form, so I though I’d stick them on the blog:
John was a first-hand witness of the life of Jesus, one of his 12 closest mates. They journeyed together like brothers, and John particularly had a deep and emotionally intimate relationship with Jesus. John’s version of the story of Jesus was written with one purpose in mind, that it’s readers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing [we] might have life in his Name.” (John 20:31)
…“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:23-26 NIV)
Check out my guest post on my dear friend and travelling companion Graeme’s blog:
The subject is, “What does it mean to be a Jesus Freak?”
Hope you enjoy, and be sure to check out his other posts.
“Jesus hung out with he wrong side of town, and that was one of the reasons he was crucified” – Rev Dr John Smith, International President God’s Squad CMC
These words really helped a piece of the puzzle fall into place in my thinking. It’s so simple yet so true! Why is that Christians are known for being so prim and proper when our master was characterised for being a ‘friend of sinners’?
Have a little look at the video below for more about John and God’s Squad:
Had quite an emotionally charged afternoon on Saturday visiting my home church for their 25th anniversary. Must be about 11 years since I’d last been there.
Was good to spend time sharing stories and catching up with people who had great significance in the early days of my walk with Christ. It’s hard not to feel a twinge of pain looking back at some of the experiences of the last 11 years, there have been dark times where I’ve felt quite alone, felt the weight of the consequences of my own actions and those of others. The current minister hit the nail on the head with a short message which can be summarised as, “With our God mistakes are not the end of the story”.
Thank you God for redemption.