Tag Archives: gospel

Oh that my Ode was for You

15 Feb

Recently I’ve begun taking part in a series of writing challenges, Daily Prompts & Weekly Tasks. Unsurprisingly yesterday’s prompt was focused on love coming in the form of an encouragement to write an ode to someone or something you love. [Bonus points for poetry!]

Of course I had a few options open to me; I could write about my dear wife, my precious son, or even my darling cat. But I felt it most important to be honest and admit that the greatest love in my life is usually me. Left unattended my heart will always deviate back to itself. So I wrote about that…: Continue reading

Why Jesus is perfect for you

9 Mar

Justice isn't blind, Justice is Jesus

Justice isn't blind, Justice is Jesus

Psalm 82 reveals how God is ultimately the judge that we all crave. Justice is something hard-wired into our very beings, we hate injustice and love it when we see justice met. Who can’t echo the psalms request that God stand up for the needy and deliver them from the wicked?

Here’s the problem, as much as we desire justice, we deserve to be on the receiving end. None of us can truly call out to God for the justice we crave without calling judgement down on themselves.

Luckily the Gospel tells us that while Jesus is the just judge, He’s also the incredible forgiver. With Him there is the justice we want and the leniency we need.

Thank God for Jesus.

The Prestige

5 Nov

Sometimes my course is just ridiculous. Take the other week for example. As study I had to sit and watch The Prestige (one of my favourite films of all time) and write an analysis for my Popular Culture class. Read my paper here.

The Prestige is a film which gets an awful lot right about mankind and the world we live in. This film that’s all about deception calls us for what we really are.

Romans 1 says we are all deceivers, even worse self deceivers, and that’s what characterises the people we find in Nolan’s 19th Century England. Whether it’s the deception that magicians are crafting for the audience or Angier’s self deception that he deserves more than Borden or Sarah’s deception that a life where her husband loves her every other day is enough. In The Prestige deceptions are everywhere.

The film also lays bare the results of such deception…utter ruin.just like in Romans 1 where we are told that God’s wrath is being revealed…against the deceivers of the world(aka everyone).

However the film fails to offer a third way. In the world of The Prestige, it’s either live a lie or give up completely. There’s no real hope, only the false hope of the deception.

But the Gospel isn’t so gloomy. While a hideous, hopeless eternity awaits decievers there’s also the salvation offered in Christ. Just a little later in Romans we read how God who is just (and therefore reveals his wrath against the deception) is also the justifier of those who have faith!

Ultimately what the world of The Prestige is doing is trying to satisfy through deception. But there’s no craving we can have that isn’t most satisfied in the truth, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To read a more detailed analysis click here.

1 Cor 2:1-5

7 Jun

I’ve the privileged of preaching this little treasure twice in one week! Once to a group of my contemporaries in College and once to my family in Church.

How much the Holy Spirit has packed into these tiny 5 verses! In them we learn that for the Gospel to be preached fully we need to share both the person and the work of Jesus. That is that he’s the Crucified Christ. It is no good making Jesus out to be less than he really is or limiting his work to moral teaching or example.

Secondly we see that our confidence in sharing this full truth (person and work) is not in ourselves, our skills or ability or even the reason that God has graciously endowed on the hearer. Instead our confidence is in the fact that the Holy Spirit can and does demonstrate the Gospel to be true in the heart of the one who hears.

Thirdly Paul explains that this leaves a believer whose faith has God and his unchanging truth as their foundation rather than emotion or even rational thought which can change.

Wow Paul, you really knew how to fill your words with Gospel truth and lift our eyes to the sovereignty of the entire Trinity! Thank You.

Sharing the Gospel Effectively in Normal Conversation

7 May

Tim Chester has a lot of really insightful things to say, especially about living missionally. Chester is great at helping us break out of the boxes we often (artificially) create in our Christian lives.

Here’s a great post he wrote about sharing the Gospel in our conversations with people. I think he hits the nail on the head. It might not be ideal for you our the people your around but it shows a way of thinking about sharing the Gospel that makes it relevant, accessible and understandable to people without compromising the glorious truth:

Here are two frameworks that may help talk about the gospel in the context of ordinary conversations.

Four points of intersection
Everyone has their own version of the ‘gospel’ story:

creation – who I am or who I should be
fall – what’s wrong with me and the world
redemption – what’s the solution
consummation – what I hope for

When we hear people expressing their version of creation, fall, redemption or consummation, we can talk about the gospel story. Talking about Jesus begins with listening to other people’s stories and sharing our own story of Jesus.

Four liberating truths

Everyone’s behaviour is shaped by what they believe. We can listen out for the beliefs that shape people’s behaviour and shape their hurts and hopes. This then allows us to speak of the liberating truth of God which counters the lies upon which people build their lives and which eventually fail them in some way:

God is great – so we don’t have to be in control
God is glorious – so we don’t have to fear others
God is good – so we don’t have to look elsewhere
God is gracious – so we don’t have to prove ourselves

It is usually less confrontational to present the truth in the form of a personal story. For example, ‘When I was ill last year I found it a great comfort to know that God was in control.’

ht: Tim Chester

Is Church Boring?

5 Apr

I’m in the process (yes I know it’s slow) of reading the highly valuable book, Why we love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.

The other night I read a paragraph that struck a chord and instantly thought it worth sharing. So here’s a snippet of that paragraph by Ted:

Church isn’t boring because we’re not showing enough film clips, or because we play organ instead of guitar. It’s boring because we neuter it of it’s importance.

Wow. How true is that. Often, especially when we’re thinking about contextualization, we can neuter the power right out of the Gospel. Quite a warning.

He continues with regards the way he hopes his life is viewed when he’s gone:

…At the end of my life, I want my friends and family to remember me as someone who battled for the gospel, who tried to mortify sin in my life, who fought hard for life, and who contended earnestly for the faith. Not just a nice guy who occasionally noticed the splendour of the mountains God created, while otherwise just trying to enjoy myself, manage my schedule, and work on my short game.

Giving Up Coffee

17 Feb

So it’s Lent. A religious observance I have never observed before. Probably because I thought it too religious.

This year is different. This year I’m giving up coffee. Why?

Fasting is a powerful tool. In the past when I’ve fasted it’s given me a reason to remember the Gospel (you know, your belly rumbles and you think to yourself why am I doing this…ah yes, so that I ask why am I doing this!).

I’m a firm believer in the Christians need to constantly be reminding themselves of the Gospel day in and day out. Placing little reminders in our lives so that we don’t get a chance to forget. Jerry Bridges calls it ‘preaching the Gospel to ourselves.’

So here goes my newest attempt of reminding myself of the Gospel. Every time I have a hankering for Coffee or someone offers a brew I’m going to be forced to remember that Jesus gave up an awful lot more for me.

I wonder, what things do you do to remind yourself of the Gospel?