Tag Archives: Jesus

Intelligence on Fire – RIP Rev. Dr. John Smith

I received the sad news today that a man I’m deeply privileged to have called ‘friend’ and ‘brother’ was promoted to glory last night. He has been affectionately called “Bullfrog”, “John Wesley on a motorcycle” and even “Intelligence on fire!” I am, of course, talking about Rev. Dr. John Smith – founder of God’s Squad Melbourne, Concern Australia, mission-troubadour and ordained-pioneer way before it was cool.

The following is an extract from a piece I wrote on him for my BA a few years ago. There’s a bit of extra pain in sharing this today, as after a lot of prayer and discernment, me and the family decided in January it was time for me to resign my membership of God’s Squad. The colours given to me personally by John Smith have gone back to the club, but the radical Jesus Movement culture we learned from him and others will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Every time I find myself in some shady bar or risky situation – I’ll be raising a glass of good scotch to you Smithy. Rest In Peace good and faithful servant.

The reason I want to share this paltry piece (alongside recommending that you read some of his own work), is that I believe Smithy had a pretty unique gift – in that he was the real-deal. A deeply faulted person, like all of us, but the real-deal nonetheless. I see a lot of Christians virtue-signalling on social media about the latest fad cause, but I don’t tend to see them in the soup-line sharing a meal with people. Smithy was different. He lived it. And he started living it in a time when it cost him his job at a Christian ‘mission’ agency, surely cost him some friends, and certainly cost him his reputation as a ‘clean-cut’ Christian minister. He was a man of his time, and some of his views might seem a little out-dated to the younger generation, but I hope you can see past this.

So if there’s one thing I’ll be taking from Smithy’s legacy, it’s this – I’m not going to try to gain kudos by talking about issues which affect people I don’t have proximity with. Smithy showed us a type of pioneering-incarnational-mission that came with blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. I hope this is an encouragement to people who’ve never heard of this great man, and comes with some comfort for those of us that are grieving. I’m glad to have been part of a culture where it’s ok for men to show their grief, tears, and affection for one another.

I might not be ok for a few days.

Continue reading Intelligence on Fire – RIP Rev. Dr. John Smith

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St Paul the Rebel?

N.B. – I am no longer a member of God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club after resigning in January 2019 to focus on family, training and local work. I am grateful for the continued friendship and incredible ride I’ve had with some amazing people.

Back home in Blighty after a great weekend celebrating the launch of God’s Squad CMC’s new chapter in Malta. A great time catching up with club family and mates, and making some new friends too. The sunshine was an added bonus. Continue reading St Paul the Rebel?

Revival.

 

Wanna see a revival tonight
Lord, let there be a revival, yeah
I need to see a revival tonight, oh
Wanna see a revival, oh

A bit of a dirty word in some circles, some prefer the gentler “renewal” – but what is it about this idea of “revival” that captures us for good or bad? The sin scandals of tent-revival televangelists used to undermine charismatic belief. The “glory days” of the past world-shaking movements – now studied and dissected in the hope of finding a sliver-bullet to turn the tides of decline in church and religious adherence. It’s fascinating.

Continue reading Revival.

Faith Like a Child

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.

Continue reading Faith Like a Child

Hermeneutics for Ragamuffins: Some things a former Calvinist has learned from Liberation theology

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 former Calvinist has learned from Liberation theology

What’s So Amazing About Christmas Anyway?

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?

Jesus Christ, Friend of the Outcast – A Reflection on my journey so far with God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club

N.B. – I am no longer a member of God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club after resigning in January 2019 to focus on family, training and local work. I am grateful for the continued friendship and incredible ride I’ve had with some amazing people.

 

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.

Continue reading Jesus Christ, Friend of the Outcast – A Reflection on my journey so far with God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club

“Good News For the Poor?” Sermon Video

Last Sunday I had the great privilege of sharing with St Matthew’s Church Luton on the subject of ‘Good News For The Poor’ :

 

Streams In The Desert

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

On Freedom – Music For Searching Souls

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 – Retreat or Quest?

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.

Continue reading Theology – Retreat or Quest?

Lord, Lord

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)

A Different Kind of Kingdom – John 12:20-36

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 12:20-36

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)

Continue reading A Different Kind of Kingdom – John 12:20-36

What does it mean to be a “Jesus Freak”? – guest post

Check out my guest post on my dear friend and travelling companion Graeme’s blog:

http://www.revgraeme.net/2014/11/guest-blog-luke-larner-jesus-freak.html

 

The subject is, “What does it mean to be a Jesus Freak?”

 

Hope you enjoy, and be sure to check out his other posts.

 

Much Peace.

Jesus hung out with the wrong side of town…

 

 

“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:

 

John Smith – On the road again 

 

Much peace