Monday, 20 August 2012

From Affairs to Playfairs - From Glory to Shame

Catherine Hakim writes in the Telegraph that the reason our divorce rate in the UK is so high is not because we're unfaithful, it's because we are not unfaithful enough...

I think I've given up trying to figure out just how nuts we're going...

I can only guess that her article is plausible because the culture in which it is produced largely believes that it finds it's primary meaning in consumption and self-gratification rather than self-denial. Even if deep down we know it is better to give than to receive, we still can't help but worship and be enthralled by those who get / achieve more than those who give.

But then this article is only the tip of the iceberg. It seems - when push comes to shove - we will happily tear our souls, our families and our social structures apart, so long as we "get" gratification in the process. (Prov.8:36, Ec.9:3)

The only way to live or die is to give in to the counterintuitive notion that in giving (losing) our lives to Jesus, we find them. (Matt.16:25)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Chocs Away - Here We Come Zimbabwe!

Tomorrow evening, through the kind provision of a friend, I fly to Zimbabwe.

Through connections in our church (e.g. these guys), a team of us are going out there to bless and be blessed! I go a week earlier than the rest, because I need to be back for the start of the school term and want to have more than just a week there.

I've been asked to speak at a mid-week church meeting on Seeing Jesus in in the Old Testament and also at the Sunday meeting too, so my first week will be busy in prep for those! :-) Please pray that what I deliver blesses those who hear it.

Some pray for our safety for which I am grateful, but then I am reminded of the words a great woman of God said to me once - the safest place to be is in the will of God. Whether I am at home or away, that is where I need and want to be.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

David Mitchell on Football

It's the start of the football season! Not being a fan of the game, I love the way David Mitchell mocks it here. The human heart has an unbelievably great capacity to make the inconsequential appear invaluable and vice versa (Jer.2:25).

And before you think I'm up myself, I have to be reminded that cycling round the countryside in circles wearing lycra is just as ridiculous when taken so seriously.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Mr. T on Parenting

In a week, when we've been thinking about parenting at RFC - who better to give us some encouragement the right direction than Mr. T.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Important Difference Between Union and Communion

In introducing readers to John Owen's classic work "On Communion with God", Kapic, summarising what Owen will say in more detail, talks about the difference between union with God and communion with God.
Believers are united to Christ in God by the Spirit. This action is a unilateral action by God, in which those who were dead are made alive... When one speaks of union, it must be clear that the human person is merely receptive, being the object of God's gracious action. This is the state and condition of all true saints.

Communion with God is distinct from union. Those who are united to Christ are called to respond to God's loving embrace. While union with Christ is not something that does ebb and flow, one's experience of communion with Christ can fluctuate. This is an important theological and experiential distinction, for it protects the biblical truth that we are saved by radical and free divine grace. Furthermore, this distinction also protects the truth that the children of God have a relationship with their Lord, and that there are things they can do that either help or hinder it.

Monday, 6 August 2012

How Far Would You Go to Save Your Life?

The following harrowing video is an incredible exemplification of Matt.5:29.

Jesus wasn't actually advocating people mutilate themselves, but he wanted to ram home the point that sin has to be radically dealt with.

You don't play around with that which is trying to kill you.

Better than that, you'll do anything for the one you love best.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sermon Notes on Pride from Proverbs

Have you ever:
  1. Been frustrated because you wanted to be or thought you were the exception to the rule?
  2. Claimed better things about yourself, your family or your achievements than you, your family or your achievements deserved?
  3. Told God that you aren't listening to him and are going to do your own thing on an issue?
The common factor in all of them is pride. Pride isn't limited to individuals, and is displayed at all levels of society, e.g. organisations and nations.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Things about Proverbs, I researched / prepared, but won't use in Sunday's Sermon

The book of Proverbs isn't a self-help book for the masses, it isn't a "Live Well for Dummies" manual. It was a "passing the baton" text. We see a father instructing his son on how to be man. We get to listen in on the advice given.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Is Following Law Hard?

Most people who know anything about the Old
Testament law, have somehow got it into their heads that it was really hard and complicated to follow. That wasn't God's assessment. He thought it was very straight forward (Deut.30:11-14)

There were just 613 laws in the Torah that you needed to remember. How does that compare to today?

I don't have any figures, Google wasn't helpful, but when you consider how many terms and conditions you sign up to (most of which you never read) whether it be software licenses, insurances, holiday purchases, or the rules you follow regarding use of the roads, general law and order, when you put your bins out, playing football, care of your property, conduct in the work place etc etc, it is most definitely more complex than anything Israel had to cope with, but most of us just don't think twice about it.

Moreover, there are laws that stop you from robbing banks, however, I must confess I have never wanted to break that law, so it's never been an issue for me. In the Old Testament Law, the Israelites were forbade having relations with animals, and I'm guessing for the VAST majority of them, this wasn't a rule they had any problem following!!!!

The problem was that rather than using the law to look forward to and anticipate the coming Messiah, (what it was meant for) in their pride, they tried to use it to establish and justify their own standing before God and claim that they were good enough. It was this that became so crushing and why we assume it must have been so hard.

And it is why Christ is so liberating.