Friday, July 17, 2009

Oxford Outreach to all Nations

There wont be any blogging for the next two weeks as I am off to Oxford to reach International Students with the Gospel! I am very excited!!!

Please do pray for wisdom, open hearts to the Word of God, a chance to build relationships and for Al and I to lead our team well - looking out for them and showing them Jesus.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The idols of our heart

Tim Keller says about idols:

"Our idols are those things we count on to give our lives meaning. They are the things of which we say, "I need this to make me happy" or "If I don't have this my life is worthless and meaningless"

Yet Jesus offers something much better. Who or what do you treasure in your heart?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Making much of who?

A question that caught my attention in my inbox from Desiring is John Piper asking:

"Do you feel more loved by God because he makes much of you, or because, at great cost to himself, he frees you to enjoy making much of him forever? "

This is a real heart cutting question. It is about pride and worth and where we find it. I tend to feel more loved when things are going well, when I am being praised, when I am doing something well. However since when does Gods love depend on what I do? Since when does feeling Gods love be more real then Gods actual love for me in Jesus, despite not feeling it?

Piper unpacks this question nicely:

The point of that question is to expose the deepest foundation of our happiness—whether it is ourselves or God.

  • Is the deepest basis of our joy God’s greatness or our greatness?
  • Am I more satisfied praising him or being praised?
  • Am I God-centered because of his surpassing value, or am I God-centered because he highlights my surpassing value?
  • Would it be heaven to me to see God or to be God?
What is our foundation of happiness? Is it ourselves? Our success, our relationships, our possessions or status or how we are feeling at this exact moment? Are we trying to be happy by looking at ourselves and trying to change ourselves or do we have Joy in Jesus?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Coffee and Adventures

A bit of blog spotting here.

On Marcus Honeysetts blog, he notes how having adventures in our christian life is important. It is easy for us to get comfortable and miss out on what we could be doing. He says:

The worst thing is to settle for having no adventures in the Christian life. That is the definition of faithless spiritual mediocrity. Do we somehow think that travelling with God to see new vistas, new things he is doing, new fields to reach for Jesus won't be wonderful? If our watchwords are "caution", "safety", "risk-free", "comfort" we will have a really boring spiritual life. At the end of our lives the tragedy will be that we realise that there were escarpments to climb that we never climbed, rivers to ford that we never crossed, panoramas to marvel at that we never glimpsed, adventures with God that we politely declined.

I agree with Marcus here. How boring and sad it would be to not have any adventures in our Christian life, to not have joy in Christ and to not stretch out of our comfort zones. He goes on to say that we need people in our life that stretch us and push us into adventures with God. I know a few of these people in my life, where by just being around them I know that no moment with them is dull because of their excitement with Jesus. It is inspiring.

Marcus goes on to say in an earlier post about church and comfort zones:

How many churches are comfort zones for people, that justify and validate us not living as Jesus lived, rather than discomfort zones that challenge and equip us to live as Jesus lived?
Once again, really challenging! We so easily lie in our nests and get comfortable. The Christian life is not meant to be comfortable, it certainly shouldn't be in church.

On a different note - Over at the Bluefish. We have Dave taking us through what good coffee is. I like this. I am tempted to throw all instant coffee out - you can't beat filter coffee. Possibly my favourite line:

Kenco promise that they use the same coffee beans for their instant and ground coffee products. That may be true enough, but that's more of an insult to the name of coffee than an enhancement of their instant brand. Instant coffee is to ground coffee what a McDonalds burger is to a steak. It makes a lot of difference.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Time to consider

Time is an interesting thing, it always feels to me that time speeds up at the best parts of life and then slows down during the waiting periods of life. 10 month of my life seemed to disappear into moments that consisted of challenges, struggles, laughter, epic lessons, study and life changing moments. Right now I have been given what seems a whole summer, two or three months to prepare for the next adventure. I look at this stretch now and know that it will go quickly, but if I stood on the other end of this stretch would I conclude that I made the most out of the time given to me? Would I see all the people I wanted to see, read all the books I wanted to read, watched the movies, taken Gospel opportunities, encouraged others, served in church and show my parents something of Jesus Christ.

One thing I must remember is that time is not my own, it is all Christs. Every day is His. Which really challenges me in how I will spend each day. Will it be idle or will it be full of activity that is exhausting? Will it be rooted in his word, feasting on it daily or will it be quick glances and then sliding into a Sunday Christian.

The last word from Bristol Staff Worker Jim, was a challenge about our bibles. Will they be left on the bedside table or will they be open and regularly read? Its not about legalism or works or guilt. Its about knowing Jesus.

This summer has been given to me as a gift and I want to use it well. A time to rest and to sharpen my mind and to get to know Jesus. It is exciting! Any suggestions on what I can do are welcome...

How are you going to spend your summer?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

How to find God

On Channel 4 on Sunday there was a programme on called "How to find God", you can catch it on 4OD. Its a show that records the lives and events of some agnostics who go to Alpha. We are taken on a journey to see how they respond to Alpha, the questions they have and their response at the end.

Some bits I wasn't sure about. I am not too convinced whether its right to get non Christians to try to speak in tongues. I also wasn't sure whether the narrator was being sarcastic and trying to expose Alpha as a ploy to brainwash people. But what it did show was real people coming from very real and diverse backgrounds that have real questions. The one thing I love about Alpha and Christianity explored is that it is for everyone and anyone can come with any questions they like.

I have seen Christianity Explored work in Exeter. A good meal and a Gospel message is key. Bringing friends along is essential and being honest and real is important. This year through Christianity Explored I have seen a number of people come to know Jesus and want to give up their lives to follow him. These weren't people brought up as Christians nor were they brainwashed. Instead they were shown who Jesus is through the Gospels, they were shown the evidence, their questions were answered as much as possible and then they made up their minds. They weighed up the evidence. Nothing spooky happened. Real people seeing the truth of who Jesus is and making a response. It isn't something to sit on the fence about.

Alpha and Christianity explored does work, not as a magic formula, but because the Gospel is true and when you present who Jesus really is through the Gospel then lives will be changed, which can be seen on the programme. But for some it doesnt work and they walk away not wanting to know more - its sad, but their hearts are veiled to the truth and we can continue to pray for them and continue to show them Jesus but it is God that removes that veil. It doesnt mean we say that those events don't work, because our trust isn't in them but in God. It means that we keep striving, keep bringing friends along and keep showing them Jesus.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I thought it was a bench...

The first of July is here.
Relay has ended.

It can only mean one thing!

Lets talk about.... ART!

I have embarked on a new project with fellow ex-relay workers. It is called - "I thought it was a bench" here is the blurb for it:

Have you ever been to an art gallery and sat an a piece of art, mistaking it for a bench? Or have you spend a long time examining the bench as if it were the main exhibit, only to see someone come and sit on it and look at the painting behind you? And then you see loads of similar benches around the room.

Maybe you've not been in those particular situations - but if you're anything like me, you've been to art galleries and felt out of place and a bit of an ignoramus.

Maybe you don't care - just so long as you know what you like... But why?

Today sees the launch of this exciting new project called "I thought it was a bench..." Welcome.

It's going to be a fascinating journey of discovery as we learn more and more about art and truth.

Please continue to check the website out as the plan unfolds about what we are doing.