Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Holy Night - Beautiful!

This is one of my favourite Carols and this version is just amazingly beautiful with the lovely voices of the Celtic Ladies, the Choir and the Orchestra. Enjoy and listen to the words!

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hallelujah - Which Version?

I was lying in bed yesterday when I heard from downstairs a song I recognised but a version a didn't. Yes it was the X-Factor winners version of Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah. Personally I am a great fan of the definitive version, in my view, by Jeff Buckley. Buckley's voice here is perfect for such a song with the raw emotion he manages to muster.

Now this is song everyone knows, or at least has heard somewhere along the way. However if you listen to the lyrics you find that what the song is about is not what the melody itself would bring out. It is a very catchy chorus that seems quite positive. Hallelujah means 'Praise the Lord' after all. However it is a deeply subversive song about emotional and sexual torment and even violence among other things. Very cleverly written by Cohen.

This leads me on to the X-Factor version. Well all I can say is:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!

Another clone comes out of the manufactured pop factory of Simon Cowell and his cohorts. Yes she can sing, that is obvious. But to do that to the song! I know she didn't write that version so she is not totally to blame. But please! To design a competition so that it guarantees the Christmas #1 is frankly criminal and then to do it with this song deserves a criminal record. Which it is, do you get it ;-) Ho Ho!

Anyway for a good article about the songs History click HERE!

For Buckley's version on youtube Click HERE!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Been Quiet of late - Little Inspiration but Merry Christmas to all!

I have been really struggling to write anything recently. I have been moved/angered by much in the news and personally but have had little inspiration to write it down. My creativity has upped and left. I have been so busy with life, Marriage, Working, running a Cell Group, Worship Team and Christmas event that I have no apparent time to write anything of length and depth except the odd review and video link.

I hope to get back into the swing of it next year. I will be tackling the subject of Election/Predestination in my Cell Group in the series from Wayne Grudems book. That should be fun and will post my thoughts on that early next year.

In the mean time if I post nothing more this year then have a great Christmas and remember what it is really about!

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel— which means, God with us. Matthew 1:23

"...you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1 v31-33)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jeremy Camp - Speaking Louder than Before

Here is the video to the title track from the New album. Great song and brilliant new album.

 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Star Trek Trailer

Now this is something I am really looking forward to. The new trailer looks very good indeed. Roll on May!

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/startrek/large_trailer2.html

Monday, November 17, 2008

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Casting Crowns

My song of the Moment from my band of the moment: Casting Crowns

When I heard this live myself it sounded better than this live recording but hey ho I love the song.

What is Man?/What is Sin?

Here is another two titles in the series that we are studying in my home group going through Wayne Grudems Book:

Christian Beliefs 'twenty basics every Christian should know':

All scripture quoted is NIV.

 

What is Man?

After God created the plants and animals on earth he created the pinnacle of his creation:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. (Genesis 1:27-28)

God did not create us because he was lacking or needing anything. He was not lonely, nor did he need someone or something to praise and glorify Him. But he still chose to create us and we do give him glory.

everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made (Isaiah 43:7)

This fact is supposed to give our lives significance but unless we understand what it means it can seem empty. To give God glory means to give him great honour and praise which can be done in various ways.

Create for God’s Glory

Because this is why we were created our ultimate goal in life should be to live for his glory. Giving glory to God will give our lives purpose and meaning. It provides the joy in life we all long for.

One way we glorify God is by enjoying him. (Psalm 16:11) “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”. Fullness of Joy is found in knowing God and delighting in Him.

Created in God’s Image

If all we were created for was to Glorify God this would be great but would not distinguish us from the rest of Creation. (Psalm 19:1) “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”. Part of our uniqueness comes from the fact we are the only part of creation made in the image of God.

This means we were made to be like him. Therefore the more we understand about God the more we understand about ourselves and vice versa. For example we are moral creatures created with an innate sense of right and wrong. A reflection of Gods perfect sense of right and wrong. We are spiritual creates not just physical which means we are somewhat like God who is spirit. By our spirit we relate to God personally. We can think and process information being a reflection of God’s knowledge. Our ability to relate to others and desire for community is a reflection of the trinity.

Sin has partly distorted God’s image. It is not seen as clearly as it once was. Sin distorts our moral judgement, clouds our thinking and hinders our fellowship with others.

The good news is that the image is being restored. We are being conformed to the image of his son, Romans 8:29. At the end of time all God’s children will become like his son Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:49) “And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven”.

Responsibilities as Creatures in God’s Image

As we are made in his image we are made to be his representatives on earth. We are called to take his image all through the world. We are also called to take care of the land, Genesis 1:28, in a way that honours him. We have an awesome responsibility to help restore his people and his land to the way they are meant to be.

Q: What does it mean to you to be created in God’s Image and how should this impact how you view yourself? Is this fact drowned out by the –ve voice inside your head. You need to meditate on the scriptures around this fact.

What is Sin?

Sin disrupts everything. We don’t live the lives we were meant to or live in the world we were meant to live in. Sin mars the image of God in us. Because of sin things are simply not the way they were meant to be. The Bible presents a story of God fixing broken people living in a broken world and his victory over the results of sin.

What is Sin?

Q: Define Sin!

Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature. God sets out his moral law in many places in the bible. The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-7 for example. These are mainly doing things and easy to define. But sin is also found in attitudes contrary to God’s moral law. Exodus 20:17 sais “you shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbours wife”. Sin is also in our nature – the internal character, the essence of who we are.

God is eternally good in character and all that he is conforms perfectly to his moral law. Anything contrary to his moral law is contrary to his character and contrary to God himself. God hates sin because it directly contradicts everything he is.

Where Sin Came From

Since sin is a direct contradiction to God, he cannot sin and we must never blame God for sin or think he bears any responsibility for it. It is impossible for God to even desire to do wrong, James 1:13. Yes the bible says that God “works all things according to his will” (Ephesians 1:11), so it seems God somehow ordained that sin should enter the world. But sin did not surprise God or overpower him. He allowed moral creatures to wilfully and voluntarily choose to sin. Putting these two truths together is one of the most difficult questions in theology and it is healthy for us to allow a substantial element of mystery admitting in this age some things are beyond our understanding.

Sin existed in Satan before the disobedience of Adam and Eve but entered the world through their decisions. They directly contradicted a command from God. No one forced them to eat from the tree. It was a willing decision to sin against God.

Resulting in Adam’s nature becoming sinful, becoming something he naturally did. It also caused us to inherit a sinful nature that is naturally opposed to God and his moral law. Pauls says in Romans 7:18? Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 17:9? David said what in Psalm 51:5. It is why “the wicked… go astray from birth” (Psalm 58:3)

Though our inherited tendency to sin does not mean we are as bad as we could be it does mean that we are unable on our own to do anything that pleases God. We lack any spiritual good before God. Although from a human standpoint we may be able to do things that seem good to God ...(Isaiah 64:6)

Every part of our being is affected by sin – our intellects, emotions, desires, hearts, goals, motives and our physical bodies. All are subject to decay and destruction caused by sin. It all makes us guilty of sin.

We not only received Adam’s sinful nature but also the guilt caused by his sin. His guilt was not only his own but resulted in us all being found guilty. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12) and “through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19). God thinks of us all as having sinned when Adam sinned.

This may seem unfair and difficult to believe but it is consistent with the pattern of God. The whole of Romans 5:19 sais “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous”. The human race is considered by God to be organically whole with Adam at its head. Christians are also organically whole united under Christ. The second statement cannot be true without the first one being true.

Even if we don’t believe we are guilty because of Adam’s sin we must admit failing God’s moral law ourselves therefore we are all guilty of sin and in need of a way to make us right before God. The good news, or gospel, is that we can be redeemed through the work of another. Our disobedience is made right by the obedience of another. Our individual sin can be removed by the sinlessness of another.

How Sin Affects Us

Scripture is clear: “There is no one who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46);
All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no-one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3);
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8)

Therefore all stand guilty before God.

The penalty for eating from the tree in Genesis 2:17 was death. Paul says in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death”. But the penalty wasn’t brought immediately upon Adam nor is it brought immediately upon us. Through Jesus we are offered freedom from the condemnation sin brings and for those that look to Jesus there is no condemnation as it says in Romans 8:1.

When we sin, as forgiven Christians, our legal standing before God is not affected. We are still forgiven because Christ’s Death paid for all our sins. There is no distinction between past, present and future sins. We remain God’s children (1 John 3:2)

While sin does not affect our status with God is does affect our fellowship with him, for God is grieved by our sin. This can result in the Lords discipline “because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6). This is for our good so we can become more holy. Sin also affects our relationship with others resulting in broken relationships even between Christians.

Even though we all still sin we should not participate in a long term pattern of greater and greater disobedience to God’s moral law, for “No-one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). But if someone continues in disobedience without repentance, they may never have truly put their trust in Jesus for salvation. The sinful pattern could show that a person was never really a Christian.

When Christians sin they should earnestly and quickly confess their sins to God. When we do we will find “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Q: Are there any sinful habits/addictions in your life that need repentance and dealing with? These can be thoughts as well as actions. Things you feel have a hold of you and maybe have had for years. Can I urge you to find the appropriate person to confess and be accountable too. Remembering that sin IS defeated, fact, even when you feel in your own life it is not.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Casting Crowns Gig - Queens Theatre, Stoke

castingcrowns

I had the privilege of seeing Casting Crowns live on the 1st November at the Queens Theatre in Stoke on Trent. The fact I live in Sussex near the south coast may give you an idea of how much I wanted to see them. I rarely drive 3.5 hours for 200 miles to see a band play.

I have really only discovered them as listening experience this year. I had been previously only aware of them without knowing their music. I now rate them as one of my favourite bands. I find Mark Halls lyrics to be so honest and they cut right to the heart of whatever he is writing about, be it struggles with the Christian life or kicking Christians up the backside to be more true to the word of God and less wordly.

Anyway I just wanted to say they are fantastic live. Very open and direct about their faith and plainly love worshipping God during their gigs. A blessing indeed! If you ever get the chance to hear them live don't miss it.

I also liked YFriday who supported them. More a straight worship band but great lively rocking stuff.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life?

That title is what will be appearing on the sides of London buses shortly. This advertising campaign is sponsored by the British Humanist Association.

'There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life!'

It is hardly suprising that they got a reasonable amount of money from supporters, including my 'favorite' atheist Richard Dawkins.

And Richard, bless him, has been spouting his usual nonsense about "thinking is anathema to religion". Which of course is plainly wrong and utter rubbish. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise! But Dawkins thinks anyone who disagrees with him has faulty thinking so hardly surprising.

I agree with this article where the writer believes this campaign will actually benefit 'religion'.

The 'probably' says it all. They cannot be sure about it or they are just trying to be a bit PC rather than stating 'there is no God'. Don't lay the message on too thick to start with. However if it gets people thinking and talking about it that can only be good. It gives Christians an opportunity they otherwise might not get to so easily raise the topic.

Also the advice in the advert just shows humanism for what it is. Entirely self centred! If all they can offer is 'enjoy life' in the midst of economic meltdown, job loss, hardship and death then their message is hollow, a shell with no substance. Which it is! Humanism can offer no word of comfort to the grieving, the hurting, the depressed, the abused and outcast.

Let them have their 5 minutes and watch what happens. Certainly not what they would like!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prayer for a Friend

I think the lyrics say it all. I won't say any more about who or why but once again Casting Crowns lyrics express what I want to say:

Lord, I lift my friend to You,
I've done all that I know to do I lift my friend to You
Complicated circumstances have clouded his view
Lord, I lift my friend up to You

I fear that I won't have the words that he needs to hear
I pray for Your wisdom, oh God, and a heart that's sincere
Lord, I lift my friend up to You

Lord, I lift my friend to You
My best friend in the world, I know he means much more to You
I want so much to help him, but this is something he has to do
And Lord, I lift my friend up to You

'cause there's a way that seems so right to him
But You know where that leads
He's becoming a puppet of the world,
too blind to see the strings
Lord, I lift my friend up to You
My friend up to You

Lord, I lift my friend to You, I've done all that I know to do
I lift my friend to You

( (c) Casting Crowns/The Altar and the Door)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What is God Like?

Here is the second in a series we have been looking at in my Cell Group. Again taken from The Wayne Grudem book:

Christian Beliefs 'twenty basics every Christian should know':

All scripture quoted is NIV.

 

As Scripture is the highest source of information about itself so is God the highest source of information about Himself since any higher source would be above God and God wouldn’t be God. So what does God say about himself in scripture?

God Exists

Scripture simply assumes God exists. The first verse of the Bible – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Scripture also tells us that all persons have a deep sense that God exists, that they are his creatures and He is their creator. Romans 1:19 “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them”. Although many today deny He exists because as Paul says in Romans 1:25 “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised” therefore they actively and willingly reject the truth convincing themselves there is no God.

Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” shows the knowledge of God we all have. Creation gives evidence of God but we ‘created in the image of God’ give the most evidence. So belief in God is not blind faith.

God is Knowable

We can know things about God and come to know him personally. However we will never fully know God. He is infinite and we are finite.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom (Psalm 145:3)
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit (Psalm 147:5)
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain (Psalm 139:6)
How precious to [a] me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand (Psalm 139:17-18)

While we can never fully know God we can know Him personally. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3)

In addition to knowing Him we can know about him from what scripture tells us. God has many attributes, some easier to understand than others as some He shares with us and some he doesn’t. Also we can never understand fully about any one of God’s attributes.

God is Independent

God’s independence means He doesn’t actually need us or anything else in creation for anything. We weren’t created because He was lonely or needed fellowship with other people. God is perfectly and utterly happy and fulfilled in his own personal existence.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25-25)

God always was. He was not created or ever came into being.

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:2)

God is not dependant on anyone or anything but his whole creation is dependent on Him.
However he also chooses to give us value and significance. He allows us to be important to him! All creation glorifies and brings him joy.

God is Unchangeable

God is unchangeable but not in every way we might think. He is unchangeable only in the ways scripture tells us he is. He is unchanging in his being, attributes, purposes and promises.

Our beings and attributes change, God stays the same forever.
Once he has determined he will bring something about, it will be achieved.
His promises are also unchanging

However there are places in scripture that at first seem to contradict God’s unchangeableness – especially in relation to his purposes and promises. Eg: God did not punish Nineveh as promised when the people repented (Jonah 3:4, 10 also Exodus 23:9-14 and Isa 38:1-6). But these should be seen in relation to God’s attitude and intention at the time in relation to the specific situation. As the situation changes so does God’s attitude and expression of an intention.

God’s unchangeableness does not mean he will not act nor feel differently in response to different situations. Nor does it mean he doesn’t feel emotions. One way God shows he is God and not man is to not execute his burning anger and destroy an entire people.

"How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man— the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath”. (Hosea 11:8-9)

God is Eternal

God is Eternal, he has no beginning and end. “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2). "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8).

As he is eternal his view of time is radically different to ours. “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by or like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4). So all of past history to God is like it just happened.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8)

So with this perspective God views the whole of history as clearly as he would as if it were a brief event that just happened. And also a brief event as if it last forever. God sees and knows all events – past, present, future equally clearly. He does see the progression of events at different points in time and rules and uses time for his purposes.

God is Omnipresent

As he is unlimited in time he is also unlimited in space. He does not have size or occupy a specific point in space he is present in every point of space with his whole being. He is unlimited by material space since he created it. He fills heaven and earth “ Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24)

See also Psalm 139:7-10. God is present in every part of space but “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)

God is Spirit

In John 4:24 Jesus affirmed that God is spirit. His being is not made of any matter. He has no size, parts or dimensions. He is like nothing else in all creation.

Yet we in our spiritual nature are somewhat like him in his spiritual nature. He has gifted us spirits in which we are to worship him as in John 24:4. We must become one with him in spirit as Paul sais in 1 Corinthians 6:17.

God is Invisible

As he is spirit he is also invisible. “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18). Nor can anyone ever see Gods total essence or all his spiritual being. The bible does record people seeing the outward manifestations of God. Isaiah 6:1 sais “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple” The Lord appeared to Abraham and Jacob (Genesis 18:1 and 32:30). These are instances of God taking on visible form to show himself. The greatest visible manifestation of God is seen in the person of Jesus Christ.

God is Omniscient

God “knows everything” (1 John 3:20). He fully knows himself and all actual and possible things. (Hebrews 4:13) “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” God’s knowledge never changes or grows and nothing surprises him or is hidden from him.

God is Wise

God is also all-wise. This means he always chooses the best possible goals and the best possible means to meet those goals. He is “the only wise God” (Romans 16:27). He is “wise in heart” (Job 9:4) and with him “are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13).

God gives his wisdom to his children. (James 1:5) “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Godly wisdom is discovered through reading and obeying God’s Word.

However we will never fully share his wisdom. At times he will allow us to understand the reasons things happen and at other times we will not be able to fully understand why things happened the way they did. So we must trust God with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding as in Proverbs 3:5.

God is Truthful

All God’s knowledge and all his words are both true and the final standard of truth. Faith is taking God at his word and relying on him to do as he promised. We can imitate this truthfulness in part with knowledge of him and his Word.

God is Good

Luke 18:19 says "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.” So God is the final standard of good and all he is and does is good. His character is the highest standard of good.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

God is also the ultimate source of all goodness. James tells us “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). God does not withhold any good thing to the upright (Psalm 81:11). Even his discipline is a manifestation of his goodness and love. So all the goodness we seek is ultimately found in God himself.

His goodness is shown in his mercy and grace. Grace towards those who deserve only punishment and mercy towards those in distress and misery.

God is Love

1 John 4:8 says “God is Love” God gives himself for the good of others. This love finds its expression in God’s self giving love towards his children.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Because God loved and will love us for all eternity we can freely give that love to others in self giving action.

Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself’.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

God is Holy

This means he is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honour. God is called the “Holy One of Israel” in (Psalm 71:22).

We are to imitate this pattern of holiness. (Leviticus 19:2) says “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are to strive for holiness. Gods discipline comes so that we may share his holiness “but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10)

God is Righteous and Just

Moses said about God in (Deut 32:4) “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he”. God always acts according to what it right as he is the final standard on what is right.

As God is righteous and just he must treat people as they deserve. He must punish anything against him, ie: sin. However sometimes he forgives people and does not punish them. How can he do that and remain just?

It is because Christ died to take God’s punishment for sin upon himself. “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26)

We should always seek to do what is right and bring about justice on behalf of those who do not experience it.

God is Jealous

When explaining the first of the Ten Commandments, God says “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5). In his jealousy, God continually seeks to protect his own honour. He desires that worship is given only to himself. It is not wrong for God to seek his own honour as it is an honour only he, as God, deserves.

God is Wrathful towards Sin

God intensely hates all sin. God’s wrath burns hot against sin and it is this wrath that will eventually consume those who reject Jesus and continue in sin. (John 3:36) says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him”.

If God delighted in sin or was not troubled by it he would hardly be worthy of our worship. Sin is worthy of our hatred and we are encouraged to hate sin (Hebrews 1:9). Though we must not glory or rejoice in the demise of others instead pray for their repentance, it is also right to rejoice when evil actions are punished.

Since at the cross God’s wrath was satisfied a believer in Jesus need not fear it. But those who reject Jesus it is something to fear as it remains fully on them John 3:36)

God Wills What He Will

God continually “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). God’s will is the ultimate reason everything happens and how he chooses to do what he does and doesn’t do.

All things were created by God’s will (Rev 4:11). Governments have their power by God’s will (Romans 13:1) and sometimes even it is God’s will that his children suffer (1 Peter 3:17).

The death of Christ and all its events came about according to God’s will.

Sometimes God’s will is clearly revealed as in scripture that tells us what we should do or what God has commanded. Other times we may not have clear direction as to what to do and how to act. We then need to rely on God and his sovereign control over the events in our life.

We must however be careful not to say with certainty what God’s will is if it isn’t clear from scripture. Especially when talking about evil events as happening according to the will of God, even when the bible sometimes speaks this way. We must be careful not to imply that God is to be blamed for evil and sin. Human beings and demons are always blamed for evil in scripture, never God.

The exact relationship between his will and evil is not something God has chosen to completely reveal to us. It is one of those secret things referred to Deuteronomy 29:29.

God Has Freedom

Nothing can hinder God from doing his will. There is nothing outside of himself that can constrain him and he is free to do whatever he wants to do.

Although we can imitate God in his freedom by exercising our will and make choices all those choices are ultimately subject to God’s will.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9)

God is Omnipotent

God is all powerful. There are no limits on what he decides to do. His power is infinite! However there are some things God cannot do. He cannot do anything that denies his own character. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2), he cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13) and he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). So his infinite power is qualified by his other attributes.

God is Perfect

In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says “Your heavenly Father is perfect”. So there is no quality missing in God that would be desirable for him to have. We again can strive to “be perfect” as Jesus commanded in (Matthew 5:48). Though we won’t and can’t attain it on earth we can make progress towards it through our life.

God is Blessed

This means he fully delights in himself and in everything that reflects his character. He is the focus of all happiness and he finds complete fullness of joy in himself.

However, God also chooses to delight in his creation. Seeing what he made as “very good” and rejoicing over his children.

As we find delight and happiness in what is pleasing to God, for instance the work of others, aspects of our own lives or things in creation we show how God has blessed us and in doing so honour him. Our ultimate happiness and blessedness is found in the source of all goodness - God

God is Beautiful

In Psalm 27:4 we are told David has a great longing to dwell in the house of God for his entire life. A reason given is to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord”. So all our longings and desires can find their ultimate fulfilment in God, the only one who is truly beautiful.

God is a Unity

Although some attributes may seem to be emphasized more than others God is in fact unified in all his attributes. He is not more of one than another. He is not divided into parts and he is not one attribute at one point in time and another at a different point in time. He is fully and completely every attribute at every time.

Each attribute provides us with a perspective on who he is and give us some perspective on who we are made to be.

Q: Which of God’s attributes seems most amazing to you and why?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What is The Bible - A Study

Below is the first in a series of studies we are doing in my Cell Group taken from the Following book Wayne Grudem - Christian Beliefs 'twenty basics every christian should know':

What is the Bible?

If we are looking at any single Christian belief it should be based on what God says about the subject. So as we start the series on some basic Christian beliefs it makes sense to start with the basis for those beliefs, God’s word, the Bible.

Q: What are your views of scripture? What is it?

Q: Why is it important that the Bible be the basis for our beliefs?

The Bible speaks thoroughly about itself and it tells us what God thinks about his very words. This can be broken down into four general categories: Authority, Clarity, Necessity and Sufficiency.

The Authority of the Bible

All the words in the Bible are God’s words. Therefore to disbelieve them or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God himself.

Many passages in scripture begin with “Thus says the Lord” (Exodus 4:22, Joshua 24:2, 1 Samuel 10:18). This was understood to be like the command of a King, to be followed without question or challenge.

Paul believed the scriptures to be all God’s words not just direct quotes from God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

Here Peter refers to Paul’s writings as one part of the scriptures. Thereby placing them on the same level as the Old Testament. Therefore Paul’s words were considered to be God’s words.

If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.(1 Corinthians 14:37)

So the Bible is made up of God speaking directly to the Author, on interviews and research like Luke, or by the Holy Spirits prompting of people’s memories. So as much as the words are extensions of their personalities, skills and backgrounds they are also exactly the words God wanted them to write.

As God’s very word the Bible is more than simply true, it is truth itself.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17)

So anything that conforms to scripture is true and anything that doesn’t is not true.

The truth of scripture does not demand that it report events with exact scientific detail nor does it require that it tells us everything we need to know or could ever know about a subject. In its original form it does not affirm or claim anything contrary to fact. So by seeking to understand the words of God in scripture we seek to understand God himself.

To believe the Bible affirms something false would be to disbelieve God himself and place yourself as a higher authority than God.

Clarity of Scripture

As we know some passages of the Bible are easier to understand than others. However it is written in a way that all things necessary to become a Christian, live and grow as a Christian are clear.

There are some mysteries in scripture but they need not overwhelm us.

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130)

Understanding scripture is more to do with a person’s spiritual condition rather than their intellect. But every misunderstanding of the Bible is not necessarily due to a person’s spiritual condition.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

However it is easily possible to misunderstand and disagree on the meaning of what is written. But misunderstanding is not the problem of scripture but lies within us and our interpretation of it. We need to prayerfully read the Bible asking God to reveal its truth.

Necessity

Without the Bible we could not know how to become, live or grow as a Christian. To know God personally, to know sins forgiven and to know what God wants us to do we need to know what is in the Bible.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

So if no one preaches the word, no one is saved.

and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

But we don’t just start out our Christian lives with/from scripture it is required for us to continue our walk and to spiritually thrive .

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' (Matthew 4:4)

The word is our spiritual food, without it the health of our soul suffers.

The Bible is our only source of clear and definitive statements about God’s will. However it is not needed to know some things about God.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.(Psalm 19:1)

since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them (Romans 1:19)

So the unsaved can know of God and about God and in their minds know something of God’s moral law. This is known as General Revelation as it is given to all people in general, seen through nature, History and at some level an inner sense that is in everyone. By contrast the Bible is known as special revelation, given to specific people.

The Sufficiency of Scripture

The Bible tells us everything required to become, live and grow as a Christian.

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.(Psalm 119:1)

It equips us for ‘every good work’ that he wants us to do.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

So it is sufficient. Everything God wants to tell all his people for all time about that kind of issue or situation will be found in the pages of the Bible. It might not answer everything but will provide guidance ‘for every good work’.

If specific answers are not found we are not free to add to the commands of scripture things we have found to be pragmatically correct. We can certainly get daily guidance in particular situations but any modern revelation, leadings or other forms of guidance we believe is from God must not be placed on a par with scripture. We should not seek to impose such guidance on other Christians as we can be wrong about such things.

So we cannot impose what is not explicit in scripture. Similarly nothing is sin that is not explicitly or by implication forbidden in scripture so we mustn’t impose prohibitions where there are none.

The Bible is sufficient for all doctrinal, ethical and moral teaching.

Many issues we often argue over or have differences in are often issues the Bible places little emphasis on. So a humble approach is required rather than bashing others with our own viewpoint where it is not explicitly supported.

Q: What is one issue that the Bible speaks clearly on? What is one issue that the Bible does not speak clearly on? How does this affect the emphasis you should place on the issue?

Useful Links

http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/3052 - About the Bible

http://www.carm.org/bible.htm - Great Apologetics site on many subjects

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/ - Good articles on some controversial issues

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByTopic/54/2514_The_Authority_And_Meaning_Of_The_Christian_Canon/

Monday, September 22, 2008

Praise you in this Storm

This song sums up what it means to truly know what worship of the Lord is! The beginning introduction is a real heart wrenching story. I challenge you not to have a tear in your eye by the end, gets me every time, enjoy!

 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Men, their Caves, their Emotions and a whole lot of Internet searches!

I have been taking note again recently about how people come to visit my little piece of Cyber Space. My Stats counter records what link or search people enter this blog from. It has continued to surprise me how many people search on the following terms. This is over the space of about two weeks:

men and their cave
men and their caves
men and their caves
emotional support pgce
men and their caves=men and their cave
can men learn to show emotion
men in their cave
womans emotion men god
men emotions hurt

Well you get the idea and the theme here. So if you have stumbled upon my blog searching with the above then welcome and stick around, make yourself at home and hopefully something of what I have shared can help you on your quest.

This article I wrote about a year ago shows much the same thing as far as searches go. This must only be a fraction of the amount of searches done on the subject. I am not about to suggest that over the course of a year anything should have changed about Men's Emotions. However I wanted to give some further thoughts as to why this is such an issue in today's society . I dealt with this nearly two years ago, here and in some depth, but would like to revisit it a little if I may.

So the perception is that men do not either have emotions or simply won't share them. This is clearly nonsense as everyone has emotions. Women just don't understand this male behaviour of retreating into themselves and not wanting to talk about it or show emotion. Or the very different way men deal with emotional pain.

Some Possible Reasons behind the issue!

Back in January my one post mentioned a little saying that was given to me on a fridge magnet, which was:

How many roads must a man travel down before he admits he is lost?

Despite the obvious connotations of men never asking for directions what does this really say about us humans and men in particular?

The classic observation that men never ask for directions says much about the psychological makeup of today's men. I believe the reason why we, as I include myself in this, don't ask for help easily is this in built voice that whispers, or shouts, in our ear that 'to be a man':

  • 'We should know where we are going and how to get there'
  • 'we should know how to repair a puncture'
  • 'we should know how to do DIY'
  • 'we should know how to deal with family crisis'
  • 'we should be able to provide for and protect our families'
  • 'we should be able to father children'
  • 'we shouldn't show emotion openly, unless for football, as it is a sign of weakness'
  • 'we must not cry'
  • 'we must not admit we failed or can't do it'

Recognise any of those? I realise some of these are trite and some are very stereotypical views. However I guarantee they are all thoughts that take hold at some time or another. Look at what type of statements they are. Men are by and large goal orientated people. The pressures of upbringing, society and I believe, design all contribute to this behaviour. I am in no way saying this is necessarily wrong either. We are far by and large more goal orientated than women.

So we bluff our way through life hiding behind this facade of perceived manliness. Blagging our way in conversations we know nothing about. Pretending to be strong when inside we are cowering in fear of failure and weakness. In our marriages and relationships with the opposite sex we are at our most pressured and vulnerable to being found out.

Think about it, when watching a film with your partner. Say a 'Pride and Prejudice' or some heroic film like 'Gladiator'. Women love the strong, heroic, 'manly' types who would sweep them off their feet in passionate desire. I watch those films and it has a twofold effect on me. I identify with those characters and feel a deep tug in my soul to stand up and be counted, feeling inspired to be more. On the other hand I think how can I ever match up to that? More often than not the effect is to retreat inside in fear.

Men retreat and women talk when trying to cope with uncomfortable emotions. Sharing feelings is not natural to men for some of the reasons above and because we feel the need to deal with stuff by ourselves. We are solution orientated: Problem > analysis > solution. This is why a man wants to fix a situation when a woman presents it to him.

The Root Cause

The big problem lies when we place our sense of worth and security on these thoughts, beliefs and ultimately the subsequent goals. We believe that to be a man we should be able to do X and when that X is blocked, removed or underachieved it can have a devastating effect on a mans soul. I use the term soul as the effect goes much deeper than just impacting the emotions.

In every human, man or woman is a need to feel a sense of security, worth and significance. If we have been told when growing up, either directly or indirectly, that being a man means X, Y or Z then that is what we will pursue as one of our goals in life and that goal being expressed through the lenses of masculinity. Men's makeup leans us towards pursuing goals that fill the needs of worth and significance. Women tend towards goals of security. We all need all three to be fulfilled but the two sexes prioritise them differently. This is important for women to realise when trying to understand male behaviour and vice versa.

As I said if we place our need for worth, significance or security in something or someone then there will always be a sense of anxiety since it is uncertain if that something or someone can satisfy that need. Men live with an anxiety that they cannot fulfil their role as men because the goals we believe we need to pursue to satisfy those needs are misplaced. If you think your need for worth and significance is found in your job, your performance in bed, how you provide for your family, your chosen sport, to name a few then those things can be undermined and taken away.

The solution

I have found that there were many things I used to look to and do that brought me a sense of worth and significance. But none of them could ever fully satisfy. I believe as Christian that only in God can we find those needs fulfilled. He created us and put them there in the first place. He is the only one able to do it. The wonderful thing about it is that it takes away the striving and massive emotional effort that is required to satisfy those needs yourself. I find my worth, significance and security in my relationship with Christ. Nothing can take that away! Sure I still have many misplaced dependencies in my life but as I grow and seek God those things are revealed, challenged and gradually changed.

My wife would say I still don't show emotions enough. I still retreat into my cave and stay there for a while figuring things out rather than risk the open minefield of sharing. Of course I have deep, passionate emotions that bubble around inside and I express them as the man I am. Don't pressure us men too much with expectation of grand expressions of emotion.

How many roads must a man travel down before he admits he is lost?

Please don't carry on through your life without considering if you are lost, trying everything you can think of to find satisfaction in a world that can only provide muddy pools that have no lasting worth.

We are all lost without God and the saving grace of the cross of Christ. Apart from Him there is no life. Only a wearisome struggle from one source of unsatisfying excitement to another.

Only in Christ can we be set free to be the true men and women we were created by God to be. Only by placing all our core needs in him and being truly satisfied can we give to others without fear and express ourselves fully. The masks can only be laid at the cross, there is nowhere else. You cannot remove it yourself!

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Now that is Security! That is who you can be!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who are the British Creationists? Should it be discussed in School?

Just Who are the British Creationists?

This is the question posed by the BBC site (hotlink above) prompted by a comment by Professor Michael Reiss (BBC Link) where he thinks that Creationism should be allowed to be discussed in a Science lesson if a pupil brings it up. From what I gather this is purely from the point of view that this would then enable the teacher to point out, in his view, that Creationism had no scientific basis and that Darwinian molecules to man Evolution does. He believes it is better to open dialogue in order to hopefully 'educate' a person in a real scientific view.  To quote:

"However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific."

Now this created a complete overreaction by some more vocal evolutionary evangelicals in the scientific community. I am not sure if they just read the media and believed the misquotes and assumptions made and got all emotional rather than approaching it 'scientifically' and finding out some facts first. However this has led to Professor Reiss being pressured into resigning his position as 'Director of Education' of the Royal Society (BBC Link).

All I can say is what does this tell us about the scientific community in this country. Are they so arrogant or threatened when anyone mentions Creationism that they react like this. If they are so sure they are right and Creationists are wrong then why are they so threatened by one of their own suggesting lets actually engage these young people in the classroom in the hope of convincing them that Molecules to Man evolutionary theory is the only scientific viewpoint.

As Dr Ross Rosevear, curator of the Genesis Expo museum and part of the UK Creation Science Movement, says in the first article I linked too.

"All we are saying is that it is not unreasonable to present an alternative explanation of how life began,"

The article fails to mention that he is a Biochemist who used to lecture at the University of Portsmouth and knows his stuff. He is not some ignorant crackpot with is head buried in the sand. Neither are most true Creationists, who have usually read widely both sides of the debate and are either actual research scientists or lay people with a scientific interest. I count myself in that second category. Many I know are former Evolutionists who realised the argument is in no way as cut and dry as the likes of Dawkins would like everyone to think.

So I am one of these British Creationists. I am not ignorant, stupid, blind or unquestioning. I question everything! This is why I 'AM' a Creationist when I looked at what I was taught in science class and what I was being bombarded with in the media. It didn't all fit and make logical sense.

I do believe genetic mutation coupled with natural selection causes changes/adaptations in the animal kingdom but only within kind. The straw man argument used that Creationists don't believe in Evolution is nonsense. Humans have artificially done to dogs for hundreds of years what would have taken thousands of years naturally to accomplish and they are still 100% dog and always will be. Just one example. No amount of this process could create the complexity and diversity of life we have today from a single common ancestor.

In some respects I think it will be difficult for teachers to deal with children who raise the Creationists viewpoint in class. They, the teacher, will have no understanding of it and likely the child will know more than them. They may end up losing any authority with the young people when they are unable to counter a strong Creationist argument or show Darwinian Molecules to man Evolutionary theory is in fact provable in science...... cause it isn't!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Star Wars - The Force Unleashed

SWTFU_WP1_1024x768

I am waiting semi-patiently for Star Wars - The Force Unleashed to be released in the UK. I have a Wii so as much as the graphics won't compare to the PS3 version the actual gameplay should be great fun. wielding the Light saber and throwing enemies around should be fun.

Not very Christian I know but.... the story is one of falling into darkness followed by redemption in the end!

Only another week or so to go, then my wife won't get near her Wii! Okay that last statement may be a little inaccurate.

(I did see a friend playing Grand Theft Auto on PS3 and I was really sickened by that game. I didn't carry on watching it as the relentless bad language and violence got too much and I just found it offensive!)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Are we Happy Plastic People under Shiny Plastic Steeples?

I just led a group talk, in my Cell group, that dealt with the issue of us as Christians not pretending we are fine when we are not. Not being honest with ourselves about how we are feeling and not being honest with God about how we are feeling.

For the first of these points I was challenged by a song by Casting Crowns called 'Stained Glass Masquerade'. The lyrics to which are as follows:

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

*Chorus*

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Chorus x2

Well if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

dolls_450x304

Now I love this song and Casting Crowns lyrics in general because of the absolute gut wrenching honesty in which they are written. I know several people who's view of the church is of judgemental hypocritical people who don't live in reality. They feel that were they to go to church and reveal to people how they lived their lives they would be judged, looked down on and generally feel pretty out of place. Now I am sure, to the shame of the Christian church, there are churches like that. However in my 19 years of being a Christian I have never truly seen that played out. There are hints of it and individual people who may have that attitude but on the whole the people I know are in the most part warm and friendly to anyone who steps through the doors.

So firstly we have a perception problem in the church but that is not the focus of what I want to say. Where I want to focus is the fact that sometimes I, as a Christian, can stand in church and feel that no one else around me could possibly be as sinful as me and that if they knew what I was really like they would be utterly shocked and ashamed of me. I see good, smiling, super spiritual Christians with their evangelical Sunday smiles and their lovely super families. This is what it seems like when you feel spiritually low and stuck in some deep dark hole.

However the pressure is there to not feel like that. We are spirit filled evangelicals that are saved, have a hope in eternity and are filled with the Joy of the Lord. Now all that may be true but is set against the reality of living in a fallen world. With being a Christian God never promises an easy life that you can sail through without problems arising. In fact sometimes becoming a Christian makes your life way harder. So why do we feel the pressure to conform to this view of how a Christian should appear.

I am not sure there is a specific answer to that. There are many and varied reasons for us wearing masks that hide our true feelings. I think one of the biggest reasons is Trust. We have this deep fear that if anyone was to see us as we truly are then no one would love us. So the degree to which we wear our mask and reveal ourselves depends on the level of trust we have in that particular situation and in the people in question. But my argument is that if you can't reveal your true self to the body of Christ then who can you reveal it to. The Body of Christ, the Church, should be the number one place you can be as real and honest about who you are without the fear of rejection and judgement. We are all on the road of Sanctification, that is God changing us from the inside out to be more like Christ. We are all sinners, imperfect, flawed individuals with no right to put ourselves above anyone else on some moral high ground. Humility, Love and Grace should be the hallmarks of the people who call themselves Christians. None of us meets Gods perfect standard.

So that kind of looks at the first point of the issue of us as Christians not pretending we are fine when we are not. How about why we are not honest with ourselves about how we are feeling. Well that is even more complex an issue and I don't pretend to have the answers. Again it can come down to having this notion that Christians should feel and be a certain way. This unwritten set of rules that states we should feel full of Joy and happy clappy all the time. We are afraid that to admit we feel crap, depressed, sad, angry, resentful, jealous is to somehow say we can't be Christians if we feel that way or that we shouldn't feel those things. Sure some things we feel and some attitudes we have will need repenting of, but that doesn't mean we must suppress and hide from those things. It is so dangerous to deny what you are feeling regardless of the right or wrong of it. Admit it then do whatever is required of you. If what your attitude is sinful then repent and bring it to God. If you are deeply wounded and hurt then bring it to God. He will not turn you away!

Lastly why hide from God when He knows exactly what is gong on anyway? Shame and fear can stop us coming to God and being absolutely honest, can He handle us, He'll be angry and punish me etc... However I suggest that comes from not knowing Gods nature as revealed in scripture. There is no point in hiding so be courageous and tell God exactly how you are feeling and what is going on in your life and heart. He will never stop loving you, never reject you, never turn you away. He may require repentance, he may bring the consequences of our actions and choices to bear upon us and those around us. But I reiterate, He never stops Loving You with a greater Love than you can possibly grasp.

So lastly I ponder what would Gods Church look like if everyone dropped their 'Stained Glass Masquerade'? If we engaged with each other and the people around us. If we stopped pretending and said 'I'm broken!' I think the response would be 'Yes, me too!' The Church then may not be the organised, sanitised place it can be today. It would be messy, people are messy but I bet it would be somewhere outsiders would feel welcome, loved and not judged. A church that would be growing and a force for Good in a world that so desperately needs Christ's Love, saving power, Mercy and Grace. What a place that would be, it starts with you and me!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dawkins on Religion - (Genius of Charles Darwin part 3)

Well thank goodness that is over. This programme did more to show us who Richard Dawkins is than anything to do with the so called 'Genius of Charles Darwin'.

For a review of this third and final programme click here.

Very sad indeed to see an 'intelligent' man make himself look so foolish.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dawkins, Worship of Dawkins!

Well Part two aired on Monday of Dawkins worship of evolutionism, atheism and everything anti 'religious'. Click here for a further review of said program.

Dear oh dear oh dear!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let's Talk Ourselves Into Recession

I am no economist and very likely have a limited grasp of global and local economics. However I do know that quite a lot of it is based on confidence in the Market from pretty much everyone. Including us poor consumers.

I have noticed recently in the media that nearly every day is a report on credit crunch this and recession that. Now this strikes me as being very foolish but also typical of the media. There is talk of everyone buying less and spending less. Half of which I am sure is for legitimate financial reasons. However I am convinced much of it is because we are being told there is a recession therefore we automatically tighten our belts when it comes to spending money. We are effectively being talked into a recession by the media. I know it is more complex than that but I am certain that plays a significant part.

If something is repeated enough times we take it as fact. A bit like Dawkins in his program last week repeatedly saying evolution is fact in the hope if he said it enough times it becomes believed to be fact. When of course the molecules to man evolution to which he refers is nothing of the sort.

The media really should take responsibility for the power it wealds and the influence it has over our nation and much of the world and choose the way things are presented way more carefully than the cavalier way it currently does!

And breath and step off soap box!

Posted with LifeCast

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dawkins, Darwin Worship and the usual nonsense!

Well Richard Dawkins is at it once again and ably supported by Channel 4. So you either watched this because you love RD, or you are like me a Creationist wanting to have a cry and a laugh as the same old easily refuted arguments are trotted out ad nauseum or you are an interested not sure!

Well for the first and the last category I suggest reading the following article which is a review of said Darwin Worship! Don't believe the propaganda, use you brain and ask the logical questions!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

First Post From iTouch 2.0

Well I successfully updated my iPod touch to the new version 2.0 OS. I now have all the apps I need from the new appstore to use my iTouch as a proper PDA making my poor Palm Tungsten redundant.

I only have one issue with the update which I believe is more to do with the new iTunes 7.7 update as opposed to the new OS. My calendar has syncing issues from iPod to Outlook whereas the other way is ok. This is reported widely on the apple forums by other users. The entries are missing in Outlook in the main view but show up in other list views. I think there is a format error in what iTunes syncs.

Apple really need to fix this and many other reported bugs quickly before the update becomes a real embarrassment for them.




Posted with LifeCast

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dr Horrible's Sing-along Blog

Joss Whedon is a genius, hurry it is not around forever:

Prince Caspian Film review

Note this is a review of the film not the book. I am treating them as different!

This was one of those films of 2008 to look forward to for me. I love the C.S Lewis books and greatly enjoyed the film of 'Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe'. Prince Caspian is, as has been widely reported, a darker more grown up film. It is most definitely for kids but it takes the themes of the first film and grows them.

It is a year on from when the Pevensie children last visited Narnia but 1300 years or so in Narnian Time. The children are in war torn London at School. Peter seemingly having forgotten the lessons learned in Narnia resorts to fighting when another boy bumps him. Edmund however, the selfish brat previously, seems to have matured. Susan has tried to forget Narnia as a means of coping with living back in our world. Lucy however has never forgotten and still has absolute faith in returning to Narnia and seeing Aslan again.

Much has changed in Narnia with the human Telmarines ruling the land and the Narnian creatures apparently near extinction having been hunted down by the humans. Aslan's name has fallen into myth as have the children of Adam, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Summoned by Prince Caspian blowing on the horn given to Susan in TLWW the Pevensie children find themselves back in the land they so longed to return to but shocked by it state.

I won't give any more of it away suffice to say the special effects are outstanding. Better than the previous film I feel. The 'message' is more subtle in this film. It is more about remembering and becoming who you were meant to be. With Peter clashing egos' with Caspian to start with until he relearns those lessons.

As for Aslan himself, he only makes a much more brief appearance in this story than previously. With, of course, Lucy being the one who sees him first and suffering the disbelief of the others but keeping her faith in him. For me the most touching and meaningful moment in the film is when Lucy first meets Aslan again for real. She runs to greet him and he rolls over on his side and she hugs him. Bear in mind this is a honking great Lion, the tenderness of the moment really spoke to me. Here is, as I said a great huge Lion, tenderly greeting a child. The imagery reminded me that we have a God who is so mind bogglingly majestic, powerful, mighty, to be rightly revered and feared, yet He is so intimately, lovingly and tenderly involved in our daily lives if we let Him.

I have to congratulate Georgie Henley for giving another incredible performance as Lucy. She is that part and makes the film. The Chronicles of Narnia are largely based around her character and these films needed someone to make that character believable and likable. She just nails the innocent wonder and absolute faith that Lucy has. Such a mature performance for a 13 year old. Skandar Keynes, as Edmund is also very good showing Edmund to have grown and matured from TLWW. The others actors are also very good but these two stand out.

I thought the film was great wholesome family entertainment. One for the DVD collection!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ducks and Sticking close to God!

I was at a seminar yesterday at CWR in Farnham, Hampshire. Before it started I was walking by the river that runs along the lower grounds and saw a Mother Duck with three quite young ducklings. When they saw me the ducklings immediately swam to the mother and couldn't have been closer if they climbed on her back. God then made the point to me that this is how we should be in relation to Him. We should stick so close to God that we are under His protection and not stray away where we can be picked off by the enemy.

God speaks to me through nature as I guess that is the way I most easily hear His voice. Anyway here is a picture to help visualise what I saw. Sadly I didn't take a picture of the scene myself.

ducklings

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:4)

Friday, June 06, 2008

New Labour's attack on true Demomcracy - 'Free Vote' sham!

I have previously posted my views on the Human Embryology bill recently passed in all it 'glory' by our government. I knew the 'free vote' statement by Gordon Brown was a joke but this article just highlights what an utter sham and disgrace it was. It was obvious that 'Free Vote' means free to vote as long as you vote the way we want you to.

No party is without its skeletons and in any way perfect but Labour has become so dictatorial from its leadership that I question how democracy can be served in this country with them as the Governmental party.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Switcfoot - This is Home from Prince Caspian

Dispatches 'In God's Name' - Liberal intolerance and poor Journalism.

Channel 4 in the UK showed a program last night called 'In God's Name' and was placed in their Dispatches series of programs. Click HERE for a very good article and analysis of the program. Also views on the Embryology Bill.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Embryology Bill and the state of Scientific morality/ethics!

 

BBC NEWS | Politics | MPs to vote on abortion limit cut

 

The Link above takes you to the details about the bill from the usually biased BBC website. Here is a link from another point of view that details why in particular stopping Animal-Human hybrids, the threat of 'spare part children' and Fatherless families and Abortion Limit reduction are so important.

At least David Cameron is voting to drop the 24 week limit and Ian Duncan Smith is behind wanting to keep the requirement for a Father with IVF. Mr Brown on the other hand is voting yes on all of them. How can a man who professes to be a Christian support this Act.

The Hybrid arguments that support the creation of Animal-Human hybrid creation just highlights to me where evolutionary thinking leads. If we are just a cosmic accident and here by pure chance then there is no basis for morality. An argument that sticks dogmatically to the point that it 'may' help develop cures for diseases is missing a huge side. Where do we draw the line between the noble cause of wanting to help cure horrible diseases and taking another life to do it. From an evolutionary point of view it is survival of the fittest or just nature and natural selection. It is this kind of thinking that devalues human life and has led us to the point we are at.

It begs the question as Mr Spock said in 'The Wrath of Kahn', '... the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.... or the one'. I don't believe in this instance that applies. To understand why I feel that let me explain my point of view on when life is created. I believe at the point of conception a foetus should have the right to a full life. Therefore I believe it is quite simply infanticide or more bluntly murder to destroy a foetus for whatever reason. Therefore I believe creating a hybrid embryo to be morally bankrupt on so many levels let alone abortion.

We have crossed a line here in the UK by allowing this to go ahead. This is not the needs of the many or even the one in the case of a mother wanting an abortion. This is about the innate value of every human life. One persons 'rights' are not above another's. A woman's 'right' to choose stops when she gets pregnant from unprotected sex and is then responsible for another life. Up to that point she and her partner have a choice!

Lord Acton certainly had it right in saying, "Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."

20:49 pm MP's have removed the necessity for a Father in IVF. Again the rights of Fathers is corroded to the point of non-existence. Contrary to Liberal PC nonsense a baby is made by a Mans stuff and a Woman's stuff mixed together. A further corrosion of the family unit by this Government.

I realise this is not a very well constructed article but I felt the need to vent!!!!

God help us all!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tina Dico Live at Komedia Brighton - Review

As per previous post I saw Tina Dico live at the Komedia in Brighton last night. This was in what is known as Komedia Downstairs and is a fairly small intimate venue.

The support act who mercifully only played about 25 minutes was called Ain and hails from Dublin. All I can say if that is your day job then you are in trouble. Sorry to be so negative but it was truly awful and hats off to the very English polite crowd who clapped in the right places and didn't make any loud or rude comments. The man knows one melody, in the loosest sense I use that term and played several songs with different lyrics to that same melody. Awful!

Anyway to the reason why I went. Miss Tina Dico performed for around one hour fifteen minutes. Short yes but so very good. It was just her and her two guitars along with her beautifully crafted intelligent vocals. I knew she had a great voice from the albums and from seeing some recorded live work but in the flesh so to speak, simply knock out. Emotive, pure and powerful live bringing all the nuances of the songs to life.

Musically it really impressed me that way she can play some quite complex guitar rhythms and plucking whilst singing the melody lines she writes. Not only a great vocalist but great musician as well.

tinadico

She deserves greater recognition in the UK than she has as she is so much more talented than the likes of Amy Whinehouse, Amy MacDonald or Katy Melua to name but a few. Go out and by her albums and help raise her profile in the UK.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tina Dico @ Brighton plus Count to Ten Review

counttoten

I am going to see Tina Dico tonight at the Brighton Komedia. This will be an acoustic gig as far as I know which will be interesting. I have not heard her live before except on video. If you have never heard of her then I suggest looking on her Home Page to discover a really great talent. She is from Denmark and has what I think is a quite unique style. Yes there are many female singer songwriters out there but her choice of melodies I think makes her stand out from the crowd.

Her new album Count to Ten is really very good. The previous album 'In the Red' is a firm favourite on my iPod and this is as good if not better. Stand out tracks are You know Better and On the Run to name but a few. This is an 8/10 album easily. Emotive and relaxing with well crafted lyrics and interesting melodies.

My favourite song from In the Red is Warm Sand and here it is live, enjoy:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Great new artist - Patrick Barrett

Just thought I'd post this video from YouTube as this young lad has great talent. He is also a member of my church worship team and at 17 years old has a great possible future as a singer. Not that I am a frustrated Rock drummer and not a tincy bit envyous of all that he has before him. Though envy is a bad thing and I say it only tongue in cheek. May God bless you Patrick!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Merry New Happy Year... or something like that!

Yes yes I know it is the 9th of January and all that merriment has long passed with the return of work and normal life. But hey I have been lazy and very busy in equal measures lately. Busy at work so no time for blogging there, which I shouldn't do anyway and busy at home with worship team commitments and Cell group leadership carrying on and general being a husband and all that.

So a belated Happy New Year and I pray that this year is a positive one for anyone who reads this little corner of cyberspace I inhabit.

I am working on a proper entry regarding a fridge magnet I was given over Christmas but that will be along soon. In the mean time here is what it says:

How many roads must a man travel down before he admits he is lost?