Thursday, July 27, 2017

Unfocused thoughts.

I am at Focus 17 which is a Summer conference. 

1.  I bought a book by Bill Johnson called 'Defining moments' and Sam Storms book about J I Packer. It made me wonder if they have ever met and whether anyone, apart from me, would buy books by the two authors at the same time. 

2. Talking of J I Packer, the big idea of Focus so far is the Sovereignty of God. We've had some terrific teaching. Not sure Focus would be quite Jim's bag but who knows...

3. A chap I bumped into remembers me saying in a talk that Satan put sin on the roulette wheel and lost. I can't recall ever saying that and can't quite fathom what on earth that statement means. 

4. The same fellow credits me with the term 'hinge verse' which is apparently is one that opens the door to a theological truth. Can't recall ever saying that either. 

5. In the first evening the worship was fearfully loud. So loud, in fact,  that my wife and I had to leave. Has worship music become louder or have I just got more grumpy? It was Donington Monsters of Rock rather than my preferred volume which is Bob Harris country. Fortunately,  someone has now turned the volume knob down a bit. 

6. A pal always refers to Ken Costa as Kevin Costa which really makes me chuckle. 

7. Met and prayed for a dear couple (French and Polish) in their sixties who became Christians reading the Bible. Their story was extraordinary. They feel called to Armenia and randomly (Sovereignly) I have a missionary friend I met 25 years ago when selling fags to the Russians who has a wonderful ministry to that nation. Who knows what may come of a chance encounter in a bookshop? Might be a 'defining moment'. 

8. A wonderful young women spoke this morning but didn't hear what her name was.  So anointed and glowing. She is not yet 30, a Pentecostal theologian and about to start teaching at St Mellitus. I was struck by her story of being affirmed aged 8 by an old lady in her church. 

9. I had lunch with the new Vicar of my old church and we were both amazed how many people we both had in common. He's a terrific fellow. 

10.  I told my friend not to count how many squares his church has on the Focus map. No good can come of it. None of the NT letters seem greatly interested in how many coloured squares you have on a map. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Story's solution

'In the end, it all comes down to this. One day you will stand before God, who will sit in judgement on your life, and you will be found guilty. I suspect you already know that. When that time comes for you- and it will come- only one thing will save you from punishment that is your due- God's Rescuer, Jesus. 

Here is the Story's solution to the problem of evil: perfect justice for evil doers, perfect mercy for the penitent; evil banished forever, and everlasting good restored.'

The Story of Reality, p. 164

Friday, July 21, 2017

With Him

This was from the notes in BiOY yesterday:

Bishop Taylor Smith, former Chaplain General to the Forces, once had a conversation with a young man that went like this:
Bishop: ‘When you think about the cross of Christ, what do you see?’
Young man: ‘I see Christ and two thieves crucified either side of him…’
Bishop: ‘What else do you see?’
Young man: ‘I see the soldiers gambling…’
Bishop: ‘If that is all you see, I think you will have trouble with the Christian life. When I see the cross – with all that – I see old Bishop Taylor Smith. I was crucified with Christ.’

Friday, July 14, 2017

Kept in a state of grace

'I think this little catchphrase, perseverance of the saints, is dangerously misleading. It suggests that the perseverance is something that we do, perhaps in and of ourselves. I believe that saints do persevere in faith, and that those who have been effectually called by God and have been reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit endure to the end. However, they persevere not because they are so diligent in making use of the mercies of God. The only reason we can give why any of us continue on in the faith is because we have been preserved. So I prefer the term the preservation of the saints, because the process by which we are kept in a state of grace is something that is accomplished by God. My confidence in my preservation is not in my ability to persevere. My confidence rests in the power of Christ to sustain me with His grace and by the power of His intercession. He is going to bring us safely home'

R C Sproul

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Poor and the Gospel

I posted a quote from 'The Story of Reality' about the poor that shocked me and may have shocked you too. That's why I posted it to prompt my own and others theological reflection. Of course, it has a context and I do commend reading this brilliant book so you can see it.

In a timely way, to help with some reflection, J D Greear has just written this post entitled 'If you don't care for the poor you don't understand the Gospel'

For the pod: Jesus the Saviour vs Jesus the fake therapist

The General Synod, as noted here, is moving ever nearer towards schism which makes those of us who are part of it so very sad. A pal sent me a couple of sermons by Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden (former Chaplain to the Queen) on the most recent debates about sexuality and on why he has decided to leave the C of E.