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!

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


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.