This is a very positive response from a young man who was challenged to give up his old lifestyle to follow Christ more fully.Often it takes a hard message to shake men up out of their slumber!As Paul declared: “ Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Was anyone else equally challenged?
Thursday, 30 August 2007
This is a very positive response from a young man who was challenged to give up his old lifestyle to follow Christ more fully.Often it takes a hard message to shake men up out of their slumber!As Paul declared: “ Awake, you who sleep,
Sunday, 26 August 2007
This video was banned from being sold at a Church Planting conference in which Mark Driscoll was actually speaking! Many woman along with some men took offence at what was said. However it is more of a challenge to men than an attack on women. What do you think?
Driscoll was originally one of the leading lights in the emerging Church in America but has since distanced himself from them as he believes they have become unbiblical. He has also become more Reformed in his thinking associating himself with the likes of John Piper and co.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Helpdesk support back in the days of the middle age with English subtitles. Original taken from the show "Øystein og jeg" on Norwegian Broadcasting.With Øystin Backe (helper)and Rune Gokstad (desperate monk). Written by Knut Nærum.
Friday, 17 August 2007
Sinclair Ferguson has publicly stated that no one has had a greater spiritual impact on his life than William Still! William Still was the minister of Gilcomston South Church, Aberdeen, from 1945 to 1997. While his name may not feature in the official annals of the Church of Scotland, it is doubtful whether any other individual in his Church during the latter half of the twentieth century had such a profound or widespread influence. For over fifty years Mr Still pioneered a single-minded commitment to expository preaching and congregational prayer which made Gilcomston a beacon of Reformed and evangelical Christianity in Scotland. A man whose very life breathed the grace and love of God, no one who ever met him, received his counsel, or sat under his ministry, could have escaped the sheer Christlikeness of Mr Still's life. In the early days of his ministry he wrote: "There is no part of me, or of my life, that I will withhold from the work that God has called me to." It was one of the marks of his evident commitment to the service of Christ that he devoted himself to the pastoral care of his people, providing them with daily Bible reading notes that would feed their souls and prepare them for works of service. The "Notes", which appeared in the monthly "Congregational Record", soon became highly sought after across Scotland, the United Kingdom, and even to the far-flung corners of the world, increasing in many a love for and commitment to the Word of God. Drawn from every book in the Bible, this selection, edited and arranged by David C. Searle, will take the reader through the year with William Still. These pages will explain what it means to live under the authority of Scripture, to exalt the glorious Person of Christ, and to rejoice in the wonder of the gospel. "To commend these Daily Bible Readings of William Still is both a privilege and a pleasure. Although my exposure to Mr Still's preaching ministry was episodic, I never failed to benefit deeply, both from his insights into the text, and from the way he located the text within the flow of redemptive history. Whatever else William Still was he was never dull. These Daily Readings will enlarge your biblical horizons, lift up our Lord Jesus Christ, and challenge you to see the life of faith as a response to astonishing grace." (Rev. Ian Hamilton, Cambridge Presbyterian Church.This is a handsomely bound volume containing nearly 400 pages which can be obtained from the Banner of Truth Trust, Amazon and the Book Depositoryor Evangelical Book Shop Belfast.Along with his three volume 'Works' published by Rutherford House, 'The world of grace' and 'the work of the Pastor' this will be a most valued book in any Christian's library.
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Now for a bit of heavy Christian Rock
Separated, I cut myself clean from a past that comes back
in my darkest of dreams, Been apprehended by a spiritual
force and a grace that replaced all the me that I've divorced.
(Rap) I saw a man with a tattoo on his big fat belly, it wiggled
around like marmalade jelly, it took me awhile to catch what
he said 'cause I had to match the rythem of his belly with my
head. Jesus saves is what a raved in A typical tattoo green,
he stood on a box in the middle of the city and he claimed he
had a dream.
(chorus) What will people think when they here that I'm a Jesus
Freak, What will people do when they find thats its true. I don't
really care if they label me a Jesus freak. There ain't no
disguising the truth...
No there aint no disguising the truth, I aint hiding the truth...
Kamikaze my death is gain Ive been marked by my Maker a
peculiar display. The high and lofty they see me as weak
cause I won'y live and die for the power they seek, yeah
(rap)There was a man in the desert with maps in his head the
sand that he walked was also his bed the words that he spoke
made the people asume there wasn't too much left in the upper
room. The skins on his back and the hair on his face they
thought he was strange by the locusts he ate. The pharisees
tripped when they heard him speak until a king took the head of
this Jesus freak.
(Chorus) What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus
freak what will people do when they find thats its true I don't
really care if they label me a Jesus freak there aint disguising
People say i'm strange does it make me a stranger that my
best friend was born in a manger. People say i'm strange
does it make me a stranger that my best friend was born
in a manger...
What will people think (what will people think) What will people
do (what will people do) I don't really care (what else should I say)
there aint disguising the truth (I'm a Jesus freak)
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Secondly, Christlikeness and the challenge of evangelism. Why is it, you must have asked, as I have, that in many situations our evangelistic efforts are often fraught with failure? Several reasons may be given and I do not want to over-simplify but one main reason is that we don’t look like the Christ we are proclaiming. John Poulton, who has written about this in a perceptive little book entitled A today sort of evangelism, wrote this:
‘The most effective preaching comes from those who embody the things they are saying. They are their message. Christians need to look like what they are talking about. It is people who communicate primarily, not words or ideas. Authenticity gets across. deep down in side people, what communicates now is basically personal authenticity.’
That is Christlikeness. Let me give you another example. There was a Hindu professor in India who once identified one of his students as a Christian and said to him: ‘If you Christians lived like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow.’ I think India would be at their feet today if we Christians lived like Christ. From the Islamic world, the Reverend Iskandar Jadeed, a former Arab Muslim, has said ‘If all Christians were Christians – that is, Christlike – there would be no more Islam today.’
That brings me to my third point – Christlikeness and the indwelling of the Spirit. I have spoken much tonight about Christlikeness but is it attainable? In our own strength it is clearly not attainable but God has given us his Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to change us from within. William Temple, Archbishop in the 1940s, used to illustrate this point from Shakespeare:
‘It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it – I can’t. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it – I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if the Spirit could come into me, then I could live a life like His.’
So I conclude, as a brief summary of what we have tried to say to one another: God’s purpose is to make us like Christ. God’s way to make us like Christ is to fill us with his Spirit. In other words, it is a Trinitarian conclusion, concerning the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Some of you may immediately recoil in horror from such an idea. Surely, you will say to me, the Incarnation was an altogether unique event and cannot possibly be imitated in any way? My answer to that question is yes and no. Yes, it was unique, in the sense that the Son of God took our humanity to himself in Jesus of Nazareth, once and for all and forever, never to be repeated. That is true. But there is another sense in which the Incarnation was not unique: the amazing grace of God in the Incarnation of Christ is to be followed by all of us. The Incarnation, in that sense, was not unique but universal. We are all called to follow the example of His great humility in coming down from heaven to earth. So Paul could write in Philippians 2:5-8: ‘Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God some thing to be grasped for his own selfish enjoyment, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.’ We are to be like Christ in his Incarnation in the amazing self-humbling which lies behind the Incarnation.
Secondly, we are to be like Christ in His service. We move on now from his Incarnation to His life of service; from His birth to His life, from the beginning to the end. Let me invite you to come with me to the upper room where Jesus spent his last evening with His disciples, recorded in John’s gospel chapter 13: ‘He took off his outer garments, he tied a towel round him, he poured water into a basin and washed his disciples’ feet. When he had finished, he resumed his place and said, “If then I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet, for I have given you an example’ – notice the word – ‘ that you should do as I have done to you.’
Some Christians take Jesus’ command literally and have a foot-washing ceremony in their Lord’s Supper once a month or on Maundy Thursday – and they may be right to do it. But I think most of us transpose Jesus’ command culturally: that is just as Jesus performed what in His culture was the work of a slave, so we in our cultures must regard no task too menial or degrading to undertake for each other.
Thirdly, we are to be like Christ in His love. I think particularly now of Ephesians 5:2 – ‘walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ Notice that the text is in two parts. The first part is walk in love, an injunction that all our behaviour should be characterised by love, but the second part of the verse says that He gave Himself for us, which is not a continuous thing but an aorist, a past tense, a clear reference to the cross. Paul is urging us to be like Christ in his death, to love with self-giving Calvary love. Notice what is developing: Paul is urging us to be like the Christ of the Incarnation, to be like the Christ of the foot washing and to be like the Christ of the cross. These three events of the life of Christ indicate clearly what Christlikeness means in practice.
Fourthly, we are to be like Christ in His patient endurance. In this next example we consider not the teaching of Paul but of Peter. Every chapter of the first letter of Peter contains an allusion to our suffering like Christ, for the background to the letter is the beginnings of persecution. In chapter 2 of 1 Peter in particular, Peter urges Christian slaves, if punished unjustly, to bear it and not to repay evil for evil. For, Peter goes on, you and we have been called to this because Christ also suffered, leaving us an example – there is that word again – so that we may follow in His steps. This call to Christlikeness in suffering unjustly may well become increasingly relevant as persecution increasesin many cultures in the world today.
My fifth and last example from the New Testament is that we are to be like Christ in His mission. Having looked at the teaching of Paul and Peter, we come now to the teaching of Jesus recorded by John. In John 20:21, in prayer, Jesus said ‘As you, Father, have sent me into the world, so I send them into the world’ – that is us. And in his commissioning in John 17 he says ‘As the Father sent me into the world, so I send you.’ These words are immensely significant. This is not just the Johannine version of the Great Commission but it also an instruction that their mission in the world was to resemble Christ’s mission. In what respect? The key words in these texts are ’sent into the world’. As Christ had entered our world, so we are to enter other people’s worlds. It was eloquently explained by Archbishop Michael Ramsey some years ago: ‘We state and commend the faith only in so far as we go out and put ourselves with loving sympathy inside the doubts of the doubters, the questions of the questioners and the loneliness of those who have lost the way.’
This entering into other people’s worlds is exactly what we mean by incarnational evangelism. All authentic mission is incarnational mission. We are to be like Christ in his mission. These are the five main ways in which we are to be Christlike: in His Incarnation, in His service, in His love, in His endurance and in His mission.
I remember very vividly, some years ago, that the question which perplexed me as a younger Christian (and some of my friends as well) was this: what is God’s purpose for His people? Granted that we have been converted, granted that we have been saved and received new life in Jesus Christ, what comes next? Of course, we knew the famous statement of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever: we knew that, and we believed it. We also toyed with some briefer statements, like one of only five words – love God, love your neighbour. But somehow neither of these, nor some others that we could mention, seemed wholly satisfactory. So I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth and it is – God wants His people to become like Christ. Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.
So if that is true, I am proposing the following: first to lay down the biblical basis for the call to Christlikeness: secondly, to give some New Testament examples of this; thirdly, to draw some practical conclusions. And it all relates to becoming like Christ.
So first is the biblical basis for the call to Christlikeness. This basis is not a single text: the basis is more substantial than can be encapsulated in a single text. The basis consists rather of three texts which we would do well to hold together in our Christian thinking and living: Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 1 John 3:2. Lets look at these three briefly.
Romans 8:29 reads that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son: that is, to become like Jesus. We all know that when Adam fell he lost much – though not all – of the divine image in which he had been created. But God has restored it in Christ. Conformity to the image of God means to become like Jesus: Christlikeness is the eternal predestinating purpose of God.
My second text is 2 Corinthians 3:18: ‘And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.’ So it is by the indwelling Spirit Himself that we are being changed from glory to glory – it is a magnificent vision.
In this second stage of becoming like Christ, you will notice that the perspective has changed from the past to the present, from God’s eternal predestination to His present transformation of us by the Holy Spirit. It has changed from God’s eternal purpose to make us like Christ, to His historical work by His Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Jesus.
That brings me to my third text: 1 John 3:2. ‘Beloved, we are God’s children now and it does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when he appears, we will be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’ We don’t know in any detail what we shall be in the last day, but we do know that we will be like Christ. There is really no need for us to know any more than this. We are content with the glorious truth that we will be with Christ, like Christ, for ever.
Here are three perspectives – past, present and future. All of them are pointing in the same direction: there is God’s eternal purpose, we have been predestined; there is God’s historical purpose, we are being changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit; and there is God’s final or eschatalogical purpose, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All three, the eternal, the historical and the eschatalogical, combine towards the same end of Christlikeness. This, I suggest, is the purpose of God for the people of God. That is the biblical basis for becoming like Christ: it is the purpose of God for the people of God.
Monday, 13 August 2007
YOU HAVE FIRST LOVED US, O God, alas. We speak of it in terms of history, as if you have only loved us first but a single time, rather than that, without ceasing, you have loved us first many times and every day and our whole life through.
When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul to you, you are the first. You have loved us first; if I rise at dawn and at the same time turn my soul towards you in prayer, you are ahead of me; you have loved me first.
When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul in thought towards you, you are the first and thus forever. And yet we always speak ungratefully as if you have loved us first only once.
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
A Talk About Nothing: Postmodernism, Culture and the Gospel
Speaker: Mike Gunn ( Check out his articles and audio messages by hitting this link)
POSTED ON: 17.05.2007
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ"Colossians 2:8
"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with the world that no longer exists."Eric Hoffer
Postmodernity in my estimation is a reaction within modernity and is quite possibly a transitional ideology; nonetheless, it remains a formidable factor in the modern 21st century life, and is still shaping our culture as we speak. To this David Wells writes, "The emergence of the postmodern ethos and the growing religious and spiritual diversity are by no means parallel or even complementary but they are unmistakably defining American culture in a significantly new way."1 As believers who care about people and the gospel, I think it is imperative to understand this transition in ways that can help us to understand our culture and reach it properly.
We cannot resort to old staid methods for reaching a culture that rapidly morphs and changes it's identity at lightening speed. Since the Postmodern mind is often comfortable with irony, juxtaposition, complexity and paradox, as well as chaos and uncertainty, the classical method of defending and articulating our faith may no longer be of any assistance in gospel telling.
Therefore we need to continue to be learners and students of our culture and construct ministries and methodologies that are contextual and authentic to the context in which we live.
This is NOT an academic exercise; it is a gospel exercise, a missional exercise that begins with Exegeting (Interpreting) the culture.
I. The Current Context of the Issue
Modernity (Or Enlightenment Worldview)The western world has been, and in many ways continues to be dominate by an enlightenment worldview, which entrenched itself in "Cartesian"2 thinking by the middle of the 17th century. It is impossible to understand the basic thinking of Postmodernity without first understanding the 7 characteristics of modernist epistemology (Thinking).
1.The Supremacy of Reason
3.The Elimination of Purpose
5.Distinction Between Facts and Values
6.The Potential Solvability of Humanity's Problems
7.The Objective Autonomous Individual
As I said earlier, I think Postmodernity is a reaction to the stale harshness of modernity. David Harvey (Author of the "Condition of Postmodernity") writes that, "There is much more continuity than difference between the broad history of modernism and the movement of postmodernism…to see the latter as a particular crises within the former, one that emphasizes the fragmentary, the ephemeral and the chaotic…while expressing a deep skepticism as to any particular prescriptions as to how the eternal and immutable should be conceived of, represented or expressed."3As David Wells notes it may be important to distinguish between postmodernism (The intellectual/academic) and postmodernity (The pop/social expression), since in reality it is the latter that toppled the modernist giant, and not the former, which has little or no connection to the mainstream public. Intellectuals like Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida certainly may have their place in postmodern philosophy, but the bigger question is how did we get "from Foucault to MTV?" 200 years of Christian apologetics and critique did little or no damage to the Enlightenment, while it took only 40 years for the postmodern attack to take root, and topple such a philosophical giant. Though by definition postmodernity would be indefinable, let's look at some of the major tenets of the theory that does appear to link most postmodern thinkers, and see how these aspects helped tarnish and topple the enlightenment.
1.The inadequacy of "Pure" Reason
2.The Subject-Object Holism
3.The Elimination of Meaning
5.A Blur Between Facts and Values
6.The Potential Destruction of Humanity
7.The Subjective Autonomous Self
II.Towards a Biblical Commitment to Bring the Light of the Gospel in the Culture
Let's examine certain commitments that are both biblical and useful to reach a postmodern culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1.Commitment to a "Faith Tradition"
2.Commitment to Gospel Telling
3.Commitment to Contextualization
4.Commitment to Biblical Community
5.Commitment to an Embodied/Incarnational Gospel
Postmodernity can be either the bane or the boon for Christianity. It has certainly opened up the doors in the marketplace of ideas, but it has also helped fragment our world, and relativize the truth, but with all the possible negatives of our postmodern culture, we have ample opportunities to reach this lost culture with the truth of God's word!
Sunday, 5 August 2007
Some of these new members of the lifeboat station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those who were saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifeboat station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a memorial lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them were foreigners. The beautiful new club was in chaos. Immediately, the property committee hired someone to rig up a shower house outside the club, where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because they felt they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. A small number of members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The small group’s members were voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives, they could begin their own lifeboat station down the coast.
As the years went by, however, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old station. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore.
Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the passengers drown.
As disciples of Jesus, our primary task is to go and make disciples. (See Matthew 28:19.) To put it another way, we are to go and save lives. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget our purpose. We need to recover our passion for lifesaving. We need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. (See James 1:22).
Friday, 3 August 2007
John Piper attacks the teaching that calls the atonement theory of the cross a form of 'Cosmic Child Abuse'.I would appreciate your views. Postmodern Christians certainly will find this video hard to take: How can a God of love kill his own Son for sins He did not commit? Does the Bible teach it? Do we misunderstand what the Bible teaches or is it that though the Bible does teach, it is wrong?