Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What would St Paul say to smoking?

He would say lawful . . . but certainly not expedient. And when the kid has been “brought under the power” of it, then it is no longer lawful. It was lawful to jump off the cliff, but it was unlawful to hit bottom. People who give their bodies extra dependencies to fight off are saying, in effect, that the normal course of Christian sanctification is way too easy for them. They want to undertake their earthly pilgrimage with one hand tied behind their back. They are so strong.

Via: Unlawful to hit rock bottom

Monday, 28 November 2011

John Stott (RIP) had 3 problems areas

Proving faithful to his name, Carl Trueman provides an insightful commentary on some of John Stott's failings + observing how evangelicals have largely exalted the man whilst mostly ignoring/downplaying his serious errors. In this, Trueman models for us, how to live out Scripture's injunction to speak the truth in love as we seek to grow into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. It's a great piece and the whole thing is worth a read. Here is Trueman's conclusion is:
That Stott was important and influential is beyond dispute; but we should not sentimentalise him because of that or ignore his faults or, worst of all, so praise him that those very faults might ultimately be baptized as virtues and continue to do damage long after his departure to glory.  Our brains must be kept switched on; we must give credit where credit is due; but we must also remember that sometimes we learn most from great men when we look at the great mistakes they made.

To find out more and especially what Stott's 3 problem areas were, read the whole thing here

Cameron: Dawkins is a fool and Christian education rocks


Way to go Mr Prime Minister - more answers like this and we might stop praying Psalm 109:8

Saturday, 26 November 2011

What is faith?

Hudson Taylor (missionary to China in the 19th Century) replies:

Is it not simply the recognition of the reliability or the trustworthiness of those with whom we have to do? Why do we accept with confidence a Government bond? Because we believe in the reliability of the Government. Men do not hesitate to put faith in the Government securities, because they believe in the Government that guarantees them. Why do we, without hesitation, put coins into circulation instead of as in China, getting a lump of silver weighed and its purity investigated, before we can negotiate any money transaction with it? Because the Government issues the coin we use, and we use it with confidence and without difficulty. Why do we take a railway guide and arrange for a particular journey? . . . Well, one has confidence in the reliability of these official publications. As a rule we are not put to shame! 
Now, just as we use a railway guide we must use our Bible. We must depend on God’s word just as we depend on man’s word, only remembering that though man may not be able to carry out his promise, God will always fulfil what He has said... (From Hudson Taylor, A Series of Mediations)

In other words faith is not so much a faculty or some kind of sixth sense but rather a disposition of dependence towards someone or something. The application? Babies even the tiniest of infants can have faith.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Work, love, dance as if...

Work as if you didn’t need the money, love as if you’ve never been hurt, and dance as if no one’s watching.

Author unknown

If only they could see Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5 addresses the man in a married couple thus: Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.

The woman is addressed thus: Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

In our day, these are some of the most un-PC words and yet when they are put into practice, one of the most beautiful things arises: homes where there is mutual respect and sacrificial love and where children get to see how man and wife are to relate tenderly to one another. Now compare that with the 8 characteristics below, listed in a certain now defunct pagan publication:

“Certain rules to discover married couples in large societies or in public,” from The Meteor; or, General Censor, 1814:
  1. If you see a gentleman and lady disagree upon trifling occasions, or correcting each other in company, you may be assured they have tied the matrimonial noose.
  2. If you see a silent pair in a hackney or any other coach, lolling carelessly one at each window, without seeming to know they have a companion, the sign is infallible.
  3. If you see a lady drop her glove, and a gentleman by the side of her kindly telling her to pick it up, you need not hesitate in forming your opinion; or,
  4. If you see a lady presenting a gentleman with anything carelessly, her head inclined another way, and speaking to him with indifference; or,
  5. If you meet a couple in the fields, the gentleman twenty yards in advance of the lady, who perhaps is getting over a stile in difficulty, or picking her way through a muddy path; or,
  6. If you see a lady whose beauty and accomplishments attract the attention of every gentleman in the room but one, you can have no difficulty in determining their relationship to each other–the one is her husband.
  7. If you see a gentleman particularly courteous, obliging, and good-natured, relaxing into smiles, saying smart things, and toying with every pretty woman in the room excepting one, to whom he appears particularly reserved, cold, and formal, and is unreasonably cross–who that one is nobody can be at a loss to discover; or,
  8. If you see a young or an old couple jarring, checking, and thwarting each other, differing in opinion before the opinion is expressed; eternally anticipating and breaking the thread of each other’s discourse, yet using kind words, like honey-bubbles floating on vinegar, which soon are overwhelmed by the preponderance of the fluid; they are, to all intents, man and wife! it is impossible to be mistaken.
“The rules above quoted are laid down as infallible in just interpretation; they may be resorted to with confidence; they are upon unerring principles, and reduced from every day’s experience.”

Is it any wonder that many in our society consider marriage to be such a bind? If only the could see Ephesians 5...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not re-heat his sins for breakfast.

Marlene Dietrich

Monday, 21 November 2011

Govt = the worst copycat

Governments did not invent pay-as-you-go social security. They copied it from the oldest social institution in the world — the family.

And having done that, they're now hell-bent on destroying the very institution where they 'acquired' most of their innovative ideas. Reminds of this cartoon:

EU says water isn't hydrated

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration. 
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact. 
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Next, tell be telling us that water isn't wet!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Temper tantrum ≠ "Come let us reason together"

When you see an out-of-control child pitching a fit in some public place, and his parents standing by helplessly with a beleagured look on their faces, the most obvious issue is lack of courage on the part of the parents... 
The reason he does this is because he has always returned from previous trips to that worthy emporium with some new item in his hot little fist. He does it because it works, and it works because his parents are cowards...  
Temper tantrums are always aimed at the gut. They are not an invitation to "come, let us reason together." Tantrums are moves of naked coercion, and the aimed-for response is one of naked capitulation. That is the game, and all the arguments to the contrary are simply self-serving rationalizations, an exercise which cowards have  practiced often, and are which they are really good at.

Via: Occupy Brawl Street and something to be remembered, next time the wee nipper loses it whilst out shopping

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I'm waiting for the BIG "but"

I'm currently reading, Jim Jordan's Creation in Six Days. Chapter 2 is a consideration of the Framework Interpretation (much loved by Evangelicals) and begins thus:

"To begin with, let me write some words in praise of Bruce Waltke."

All I'm waiting for now is the "but..."

He'd win hide & seek every time

How can we discover whether there is a God at all? I have something rather simple to say about that question at the very start. It is something that seems to me to be rather obvious, and yet it is something that is quite generally ignored. It is simply this—that if we are really to know anything about God it will probably be because God has chosen to tell it to us. Many persons seem to go on a very different assumption. They seem to think that if they are to know anything about God they must discover God for themselves. That assumption seems to me to be extremely unlikely. Just supposing for the sake of argument that there is a being of such a kind as that He may with any propriety be called “God,” it does seem antecedently very improbable that weak and limited creatures of a day, such as we are, should discover Him by our own efforts without any will on His part to make Himself known to us. At least, I think we can say that a god who could be discovered in that way would hardly be worth discovering. A mere passive subject of human investigation is certainly not a living God who can satisfy the longing of our souls... A divine being that could be discovered by my efforts, apart from His gracious will to reveal Himself to me and to others, would be either a mere name for a certain aspect of man’s own nature, a God that we could find within us, or else at best a mere passive thing that would be subject to investigation like the substances that are analyzed in a laboratory. I think we ought to stick to that principle rather firmly. I think we ought to be rather sure that we cannot know God unless God has been pleased to reveal Himself to us.”

J. Gresham Machen, The Christian Faith in the Modern World

Monday, 14 November 2011

Careful when you criticise...


The line between good and evil runs through every human heart.

Aleksander I. Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Remembrance day talk outline

With thanks to Marc Lloyd for the twist at the end...

Remembrance 2011

November is a month of remembering
5th – Remember, Remember
11th – Remembrance
Here in the parish, 13th and 26th – King James Bible events re 400 years

Ø  November has lots of remembering                                                    

BUT it’s not just November is it? We humans love remembering:

Big events like today – Remembrance Sunday                                                                   

One that we often forget is,       the most important – God           -              we humans are good at forgetting our Creator HENCE the Christian Scriptures has a lot about remembering...
The actual word ‘remember’ comes up 166 times
Other forms of remember come up 75 times                     

Ø  The Bible recognises that we’re very forgetful so it urges us, calls us to remember... to remember the important things in life and in our Scripture reading today we have one of the more famous things we are to remember – Ecclesiastes 12:1...

§  God wants us to start remembering early as later in life it’s harder – “troubles come”

·         Illustration: think of some of the young folk who went to war. What sorts of horrors did they experience/witness? How easy then to seek God? As you grow older, it gets harder to remember

Ø  Therefore remember God/seek Him today

Surprisingly however although the Bible keeps telling us to remember, in it we discover that God forgets. Scriptures repeatedly tells us to ‘remember remember’ BUT, God in fact forgets – Here is what God forgets...

“I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12)

 For those who are in Jesus Christ, God our Creator says I will forgive and forget your sinfulness – He will stop remembering them completely which is not to say that God is absent minded, as we so are. Rather, God promises that He will not to call to mind the sins of those who believe in Jesus. Yes, he knows all about them, but he doesn’t relate to us on the basis of them. God forgives and “forgets”. He doesn’t hold our sins against us if we cast ourselves on his mercy.

That surely is worth remembering.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

An Irish prayer for one's enemies

May those that love us love us, and those that don’t love us, may God turn their hearts.  And if He does not turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, so we’ll know them by their limping.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

No excuse regardless

Even in situations where external pressures (such as sickness, bereavement, abuse, abandonment etc.) come to bear on us, God holds us responsible for how our heart responds during the experience (e.g. anger towards God, harbouring fear etc.) and for how our heart responds after the experience (e.g. withdrawal, resentment, self-pity, greed etc.).
This battle for the heart is very practical. It means that we are not excused responsibility when something bad happens to us, but are held responsible for how we respond.

For example, a person may act angry or grumpy in response to lack of sleep. Even if the lack of sleep was external (e.g. side effect of a medication, a crying baby, inconsiderate neighbours etc.) God still holds us accountable for our heart response and any sin that occurs through that anger or grumpiness.

Pastoral dynamite! Read the whole thing at What you think matters

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Only in America: John 3:16 Discount

Would you recite a Bible verse for a discount at a car garage? If yes, then Charlie Whittington, an American and owner of a car garage in Texas, has a deal for you. He's offering less than half price ($19.95 instead of $46) to customers who bring a coupon and recite  John 3:16 (see the video clip below). So what do you think - is this discriminatory or could it be even worse - trying to profit from religion?