Wednesday, 26 August 2009

'Set free to live' : C.H. Spurgeon

“If you believe with all your heart, you may.” Acts 8:37

These words may answer your scruples, devout reader, concerning the sacraments. Perhaps you say, “I should be afraid to be baptized; it is such a solemn thing to confess myself to be dead with Christ, and buried with him. I should not feel at liberty to come to the Master’s table; I should be afraid of eating and drinking damnation on myself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

Ah! poor trembler, Jesus has given you liberty, be not afraid. If a stranger came to your house, he would stand at the door, or wait in the hall; he would not dream of intruding uninvited into your living room — he is not at home: but your child makes himself very free about the house; and so is it with the child of God. A stranger may not intrude where a child may venture. When the Holy Ghost has given you to feel the spirit of adoption, you may come to Christian sacraments without fear. The same rule holds good of the Christian’s inward privileges. You think, poor seeker, that you are not allowed to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; if you are permitted to get inside Christ’s door, or sit at the bottom of his table, you will be well content. Ah! but you shall not have less privileges than the very greatest. God makes no difference in his love to his children.

A child is a child to him; he will not make him a hired servant; but he shall feast upon the fatted calf, and shall have the music and the dancing as much as if he had never gone astray. When Jesus comes into the heart, he issues a general licence to be glad in the Lord. No chains are worn in the court of King Jesus. Our admission into full privileges may be gradual, but it is sure. Perhaps our reader is saying, “I wish I could enjoy the promises, and walk at liberty in my Lord’s commands. ”If you believe with all your heart, you may.” Loose the chains of your neck, O captive daughter, for Jesus makes you free.

'A Portrait of An Authentic Evangelist as an old(er) man':Micky Walker an American street evangelist living in Dublin

When I go down to Dublin I always like to visit the statue of James Joyce(who was made famous by his novel: 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'),on North Earl Street, off O'Connell street(near the giant spire).It is here I usually see my friend Micky Walker preaching the good news aided by his use of a Sketch Board. Micky has been doing this for many years and many of those who have come to faith in Dublin through his simple message have also learnt the art of 'Sketch board evangelism', and are now part of his ministry of helpers here in Dublin or elsewhere.As regards 'sketch boarding'as an art he describes it as: 'far from good but good from far!'

It is interesting that every time I go down there, there is usually a new 'preacher' on the block and sometimes they are nearly as old as him. This is surely the way that both Jesus and Paul did it,investing their lives in others in order that they in turn could pass on both the message of the gospel and the life of Christ to others.As D.L. Moody once wrote: “I’d rather get ten men to do the job than to do the job of ten men.” Through producing disciples by this method the work is thus multiplied and hopefully no one gets burnt out!

Micky also follows in a long line of evangelists such as George Verwer and Walter Burrell who have led many to Christ who have also become evangelists. Though this interview took place some ten years ago Micky can still be seen at the same street (as witnessed yesterday), preaching that ever ancient but ever new message of God's remedy for a lost humanity! Micky like the authentic prophets of old is not embarrassed to use words such as sin,death and hell-yet he does it with grace, compassion and a winsomeness that draws many 'sin sick souls' to the Master for healing.He is not what some would call a 'hell fire preacher' yet it could always be said of him that he preaches the gospel truth.So if you are down in Dublin, do pay him a visit, and say hello from me.

Saturday, 15 August 2009


This my favorite clip from the classic film 'Shawshank Redemption'. Andy discovers a record of Mozart and playing it causes his spirit to soar out of the confines of the prison he's in. He also can not keep it to himself, but must share this sublime music with the other prisoners,and in doing so, sets them free for a few short moments. This is of course in direct defiance of the powers that be, who try to stop him, and so continue to oppress the prisoners, keeping them in a state of hopelessness. The authorities of course are not truly free themselves, nor do they appreciate the sublime quality of the music.

This reminded me of how Peter and John, having been so captivated by God's Spirit, were prepared to risk punishment, even death, for sharing with others the hope that they had in Christ - saying to the authorities who forbade them: 'Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.' So it was with Andy in prison, who felt the price of this freedom was worth the punishment he was to receive for both listening to it, as well as sharing it with the others- for the authorities could not ultimately take it away from him.

Quotes from the film

Red: I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are better left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

Andy: Here's where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don't forget. Forget that there are places in the world that aren't made out of stone. That there's a - there's a - there's something inside that's yours, that they can't touch.

Andy: That's the beauty of music. They can't take that away from you.

Monday, 10 August 2009


'Forever Young' is one of my favorite Dylan songs. But what did Bob mean by 'forever young'? I'd be interested in your thoughts.AK

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Marks of an Apostle

Still, I want it made clear that I've never gotten anything out of this for myself, and that I'm not writing now to get something. I'd rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives. If I proclaim the Message, it's not to get something out of it for myself. I'm compelled to do it, and doomed if I don't! If this was my own idea of just another way to make a living, I'd expect some pay. But since it's not my idea but something solemnly entrusted to me, why would I expect to get paid? So am I getting anything out of it? Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don't even have to pay my expenses!

Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.

I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

Paul to the Corinthians

Saturday, 1 August 2009

"I in them." -- John 17:23

If such is the union which exists between our souls and the person of our Lord, how deep and broad is the channel of our communion! This is no narrow pipe through which a thread-like stream may wind its way, it is a channel of amazing depth and breadth, along whose glorious length a ponderous volume of living water may roll its floods. Behold He has set before us an open door, let us not be slow to enter. This city of communion has many pearly gates, every gate is of one pearl, and each gate is thrown open to the uttermost that we may enter, assured of welcome.

If there were but one small loophole through which to talk with Jesus, it would be a high privilege to thrust a word of fellowship through the narrow door; how much we are blessed in having so large an entrance! Had the Lord Jesus been far away from us, with many a stormy sea between, we should have longed to send a messenger to Him to carry Him our loves, and bring us tidings from His Father's house; but see His kindness, He has built His house next door to ours, no, more, He takes lodging with us, and lives in our hearts, that so He may have perpetual fellowship with us. O how foolish must we be, if we do not live in habitual communion with Him.

When the road is long, and dangerous, and difficult, we need not wonder that friends seldom meet each other, but when they live together, shall Jonathan forget his David? A wife may when her husband is upon a journey, live many days without speaking with him, but she could never endure to be separated from him if she knew him to be in one of the rooms of her own house. Why, believer, do you not sit at His banquet of wine? Seek the Lord, for He is near; embrace Him, for He is thy Brother. Hold Him fast, for He is your Husband; and press Him to your heart, for He is of your own flesh. C.H.S.