Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brilliant Human BeatBox video!

This is classic, found it linked on another blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How Britain is turning Christianity into a crime!

I just came across this article written last year that I thought presented a good case for the title above! Enjoy and feel free to comment!

I am on holiday soon which is a great relief I can tell you. Off to beautiful Cornwall again. Time to relax and reflect I hope.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Santification - What's it all about?

We looked at Sanctification in Church recently and this was a follow up study. So what does that big holy word mean?

7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to look directly at Moses' face because of the glory from his face—a fading [glory]— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious in this case because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious. 12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness— 13 not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel could not look at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside [only] in Christ. 15 However, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:7-19)

(Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.)

  • Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives. (Systematic Theology, © Wayne Grudem, IVP)

  • Continuous through life of believer, completed in Heaven, Growth in likeness to Christ, progressive process after we become Christians, becoming progressively more like Jesus.

Started at Conversion:

1 Corinthians 6:11

11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Therefore we are no longer to be dominated by sin:

Romans 6:11-14

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Romans 6:17-18

17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

So on the one hand sin is no longer our master but we will never be able to say ‘I am completely free from sin’ since sanctification is never complete while we are alive (1 Kings 8:46 — for there is no-one who does not sin—). But we are now slaves to righteousness. Our hearts have been changed and sin is not the dominant driver in our life.

Romans 6:19

19 I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

So sanctification is an ongoing process requiring us to cooperate with God.

Romans 12:1

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship.

It requires a heart of flesh not a heart of stone:

Ezekial 11:19

19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

Q: Think for a moment, How soft is your heart and how yielded are you God?

Sanctification is primarily a work of God with the Holy Spirit enabling us.

Hebrews 13:20-21

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Our part is to yield to God and then to actively pursue holiness and work at it.

Philipians 2:12-13

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Hebrews 12:14
1 Thess 4:3
1 John 3:3
1 Corinthians 6:18
2 Corinthians 7:1
2 Peter 1:5

All the above verses are all about our part in the process!

Q: How Free is you heart? What Areas do you know you don’t live in freedom? What areas of your heart do you keep as stone?

Galatians 5:3

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Often our past can bind our hearts up. Emotional hurt/abuse/rejection can cause us to not trust and risk being hurt again. We are not free to truly love God and our neighbour.

Q: How transformed is you life?
  • Can you see growth in sanctification over the past few years in the following areas:
    • Your emotions
    • Your physical body
    • Your thinking
    • Personal holiness, being more conscious of the weight of sin in your life.
  • Are there things you used to like doing that no longer interest you?
  • Are there tings you now find interesting that used not to be?
  • Is there the fruit of the spirit evident to some degree?
Galatians 5:22-23

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

None of these things should make us feel condemned. If we are saved then we will have moved forward to some degree or another. We should be spurred on to open our hearts to God and ‘…14 press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus’. (Philipians 3:14)

There are many things that God can do in an instant but as George Macdonald put it ‘It takes time to make a saint’

(All bible references should be except where stated:

New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Drink of the Spirit - Quench that thirst!

This was a group Study I led off the back of a Sermon from a Sunday Meeting at church.

Water is a necessity for life.

  • We all need water to survive
  • 60% of our body is water and every major function involves water
  • We must have an intake of 2 to 2.5 litres of water a day in order to avoid dehydration.
  • Many people are dehydrated and don’t realise.
  • Eventually we will die from the effects of dehydration if we don’t drink.

There is another Life Giving water that we ignore at our peril. – The water of The Holy Spirit!

John 7 v37-39

37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Q: What do we thirst for?

There are 7 categories/things that people thirst for (not obviously exhaustive):

1. Purpose – Why am I here?
2. Identity – Who am I?
3. Significance – What part do I play in this world?
4. Relationship – Who can I share this life with?
5. Security – Is there a God who cares about me?
6. Contentment – how can I be at peace with God; with others; with myself? (Shalom)
7. Change – How can I make things better? People know there is something wrong in the world and desire to make things better.

These can be broadly broken down into three: Security, Significance and Self Worth. Only God can fully satisfy all of these needs/thirsts!

Do we know we need to drink daily and are doing so?

Q: What are some of the signs of Holy Spirit dehydration?

Jesus said “… come to me…”

This was spoken about in Isaiah 55 v1

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Do we really believe that Jesus Christ alone can satisfy us or are we trying to meet those needs elsewhere?

An oft quoted passage fits nicely here, Jeremiah 2:13

"My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Q: Can you think of any areas in your own life where you seek satisfaction of those needs apart from God?

Before the fall Adam and Eve had full communion with God and all their needs met fully. They were Secure, felt significant and knew their inherent worth in God. After the fall these attributes became the needs/thirsts for Security, Significance and Self Worth.

We have established that we are thirsty and at our core thirsty for what God alone can provide and what we lost as a consequence of the fall. Thus we are entirely dependant on Him. However our sinful human nature resents this as it dislikes feeling helpless and thus prefers to bring about its own satisfaction as is highlighted in the Jeremiah passage.

Our Actions tell us much about what we really believe deep down. If we are not utterly convinced God can meet our needs we won’t come to him in prayer and drink of the spirit.

Some things to consider:
  • Do you look for approval from other people like friends, partners?
  • Do you get easily defensive or deeply hurt at the slightest criticism?
  • Do you use shopping, chocolate, service in church to feel good about yourself?
  • Do you get your sense of meaning/significance from your job?
  • Do you watch too much telly, drink, gamble, buy things, do you get obsessed about/with things?
  • Do you have anything that you would identify as an addiction? A habit you can’t seem to break?
  • What makes me feel alive?

“…and drink…”

Q: How do we drink? How do we live spirit filled lives?

a) We must ask Him to give us a drink! Luke 11:11-13

11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

b) We must Surrender our hearts, minds and lives. Let Jesus be Lord!

c) We must receive what He gives us. We will only receive if we believe that what is being given is good for us.

d) Recognise that we receive also through others, sometimes through the ‘laying on of Hands’. Acts 8:14-17

14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[a] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

e) We need to continually drink. Ephesians 5:18

"…be filled with the spirit"

It is an ongoing process, day by day taking a drink.

“…streams of living water…”

What could be some characteristics of these streams?

a) Fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23:

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Do we show these things in our lives?

b) Utter Satisfaction to our deepest needs. Psalm 36:8:

'…you give them drink from your river of delights'

c) We have an impact on others:

i. We are attractive in the good to be around sense, drawn to the life of the spirit within us.
ii. Through us other are able to experience the life the spirit brings.


Don’t be discouraged by all this if you feel you are so far from where you should be.

Sanctification is an ongoing process, there are many things that God can do in an instant but as George Macdonald put it ‘It takes time to make a saint’.

God does not wait until we are perfect before He uses us!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Time oh where art thou?

I realised after prompting from my wife that I have not updated my blog in a while with anything of substance. Been very busy recently and just don't seem to have had the time to do much at all. Yet what I have been doing I really couldn't say.

I will write the article on trusting God etc... however it is a matter of when. I will get there eventually.

However a thought for the day:

I will not set anything godless before my eyes.
Psalm 101:3

What are you looking at anywhere that you shouldn't? It goes on to say:

I hate the doing of transgression; it will not cling to me.
A devious heart will be far from me;
I will not be involved with evil.
Psalm 101:3-4

I found that a challenge! How about you?