Friday, December 30, 2005

A Rush and a Push and the land is ours

So, i don't so much like being ill. I've got a bit of a rubbish 'flu/cold thing, which is making me feel generally poo. Still, at least i'm not the only one.
I'm guessing its due to the general lack of physical activity on my part, too much time in the cold wearing inadequate clothing watching football probably isn't helping, but at least it was worth it last night. (Cue quick chorus of 'Thats why we're top of the league') I'm off to Bristol at 10am tomorrow for our new years eve fixture there, they really pack in the fixtures over the holiday period.

But man, isn't prayer fantastic. I've not been having the most God centred week i think its fair to say, i've struggling with my quiet time and the things i set my mind on. But recently the Lord has really powerfully answered a prayer about something thats been on top of me for, well, a year and a half. It's so good! God is awesome. It was great to really come back to the Lord in prayer today...all i needed to ever do really! To talk to Him, to know He's listening, the let the Holy Spirit show me more of Him. It was ace. Also really enjoying John Piper's book, God Is The Gospel at the moment. A lot of the stuff in there has really made me think about what i believe about the gospel, and has reassured me. I'd never really today considered what the Holy Spirit being the third part of the trinity meant. He can't work independantly of the Father and Son, His job is to help us to look more and more at Jesus, that's how the Holy Spirit will change our hearts, by helping us to see that the greatest gift of the gospel is God Himself. Which is excellent beyond measure!
Thank God for His glory, in the face of Jesus Christ, which draws us all towards Him, that He has shone into our hearts.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Colossians 2:6-15

Read it here.

Paul continues his letter to the Colossians with some first class advice on Christians living. Anyone wanting to know how to live as a Christian need only look here! Walk in Jesus Christ. Root yourself in Him, build yourself up in Him, just as you were taught. Don't get complacent, don't mix what you were taught by Paul with what people are trying to teach you now. Jesus is it, all we need. So walk in Him follow Him. And how are we meant to do this? Abounding in thanksgiving! Of course! We shouldn't walk in the Lord and complain about it, or worry when things don't go the way we planned. We should walk in Him, knowing that He set His grace upon us because He is gracious, because He chose us, not because of anything we have done. We should walk in the Lord. Not veering off down footpaths that don't take us His way, not going back on Him and walking to where we started...take the narrow path, push forward with the Lord. There is life.
So why does Paul write this to the Colossians? The whole of this letter is glued together by verse eight. Paul is exhorting Christ, Paul is spelling it out again, telling the Colossians not to fall back to their old ways or into false teaching, because of the amount of 'philosophy and empty deceit' in Colossae at the time. This obviously would have been a problem for Christians everywhere in the Hellenic world, but apprantly, particulaly here in Colossae. Paul here also attacks human tradition and elementary spirits, which oppose Christ. This is good stuff. This is relevant stuff. We must, of course be wary of reading this letter as if it is written for us, but i think the point of these few verses is that the only way we can hope to avoid falling away from Christ is to remember who and what He is, to root and build ourselves up in Him, to be ever thankful. And that's as true as we face false teaching and opposition today as it was then. The problems are the same, the answer is the same. The answer is a man, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
But why? Why is Christ the answer? Paul doesn't leave his readers waiting for Christ, the whole fullness of God dwells (present tense) bodily. Jesus, this man that Paul has been teaching and writing about and espousing as the only defence against false teaching is God! God dwells fully in Him. How can human teaching stand next to God's own teaching? Stop regarding man...what account is he? (Is 2:22). And thats not all, Paul's never going to be one to leave things unsaid. Not only does the fullness of God dwell in Jesus, but we have been filled in Him. So what does that mean. We have been filled in Christ. Well, surely it means that all our desires and wants and wishes and needs are fulfilled in Him. We don't need to try and satisfy our egos or our plans or desires any other way except in Christ. We don't need to look for another way of life, except walking in Jesus Christ the Lord. I just want to stop for a minute and reflect on what an awesome God we have. I mean, God leaves nothing to chance. God is personal, God is powerfully trancendant. God is holy with an all consuming, burning holyness, which is both scary and inspirational. God puts His grace on us because He is gracious. God loves us enough to show us His glory and propitiate our sin...what a God we have! A God that we have been filled in.
In Him we were circumcised. Not in the traditional Jewish way, but in a much, much better way, in a way that means we really belong to Him. We were circumcised with the circumcision of Christ...which is far better. Also as Christ was buried, so were we by our baptism, and raised by our faith in God, as Christ was raised. Verse 12 says we were raised 'with him' by the poweful working of God. As Christ died, all died, and as Christ rose all rose. But what of the circumcision in verse 11? I woke up this morning wishing that i didn't know some of the stuff i know, that i didn't think some of the things i think. That i knew less about the world and how it worked, and that i wasn't so entranced by its corruption. Circumcision by Christ is the only way that will happen. Again, by walking built up and rooted in Him. Circumcision as a mark of God's people in their hearts this time, not just on their bodies. Christ's real, final mark of who His people are, circumcision by a perfect high priest, by a sinless mediator. Circumcision that works. Oh Lord that is would work on me, that your light would blind me to all other lights.
I love the last three verses. Of all of Paul's wisdom, anger and beautiful sarcasm that appear so often in his letters this piece of wisdom, the way he turns the cross on it's head, is one of my favourites. God made us alive in Him by forgiving our us all our trespasses (v13). Just to dwell on that truth for a moment tells us so much. God made us alive, no other, just God. God made us alive. Alive! We're alive, we are truly living, we don't to ponder the mysteries of life, the reason why we're hear, the thousand other things that unbelievers worry about. We are alive. God made us alive in Him. Again, its all about Him. We don't just lead any old life now...we lead to life He saved us for. Having forgiven us all our trespasses. How? How can we possibly be made alive in Christ with all our rebellion against Him? Because the Lord has forgiven us all our trespasses. What i did and will do today, what i'll do tomorrow, what i did years before i knew Christ. All forgiven. We're free from guilt and the power that sin has over us, we've seen the other way, the better way. The way...Jesus Christ. So let's pray that God's kindness will lead us to repentance, (Rom 2:4). It was the legal demands God set aside, enabling Him to forgive us, 'this He nailed to the cross'. It was the demands of the law that was nailed to the cross. Christ, bearing on His Godly, perfect, sinless shoulders, our sin + the demands of the law. So who was put to shame on the cross? Not the man Jesus Christ according to Paul. The cross was a place of triumph for the Lord, not one of shame. The shame belonged to the rulers and authourities who were put to open shame on the cross. Everyone could see them, everyone could see their defeat. Jesus is victor at the cross.
So then, walk in Jesus. Remember not to let the world drag you down. In Colossae people were trying to persuade the believers to worship angels and to observe festivals. Here, it could be any number of human traditions that the world in general, our peers, people that hate the Lord want us to do. Stuff them. The fullness of God dwells bodily in Christ Jesus. That sounds much better to me! The Christ who rescued you from your trespasses, who cancelled the record of debt that stood against us. Lets go out, and by in the world, living in the world, being men and women who are seen, who are known, whilst having nothing to do with it, whilst living for Jesus, whilst walking in Jesus Christ the Lord, rooted and built up in Him, just as you were taught. There is life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I was given the new mewithoutyou album for christmas yesterday. I probably should've guessed by the fact their album is called 'Catch For Us The Foxes That Ruin The Vineyards Our Vineyards That Are In Bloom'
that yes, these guys are Christians. I don't know why, but it gives me such a buzz to find that sort of thing out...i love it!
I'll leave you with the lyrics to the first song on their album...

Nails for breakfast...tacks for snacks

Its snowing!!

The Falcon and The Antelope

Man, Christmas eve night was so good. I must've seen about twenty-thirty people from my year there, most of whom i haven't seen for ages. It was excellent, really, genuinely lovely to spend some time with some old friends, with some guys who have known me since i was 13. Great to see Marc again, to hear him and Ed talk about the same old nonsense they always have done, to be freezing to death in the middle of wycombe while we give him 21 birthday bumps (pretty much broke my wrist!) and to then sit and chat to people in the Antelope till two in the morning.

But i tell you what the best thing was...Being there, and being a Christian. Christmas eve saw me praying that i'd be able to lift up His name on my night...well, i tried. My friend was there, who's a guy i love dearly, who in his own words 'finally got himself to uni after two years of sitting in the pub', who formed the third part of 'The Unit' with me and Marc. Me and him got to talking about church, and about the Big Man, which was cool, and exciting. He was telling me how he always reads his bible at uni when he's stoned, and how he always wants to go to church more. I'm pretty sure i didn't do too good a job of explaining the gospel, but hey, 2 Corinthians 12:9, so it'll be ok. I am so thankful that the Lord has given me this oppotunity, that He called me to serve Him like this, that He is there with all the way. Me! A sinner like me! It really is unbelievable. So it was a good night, i saw some friends, had some fun, tried (failed) to represent Christ in all i did and said, shared the gospel with one of my oldest mates. Praise the Lord.
Please pray for him, i left him saying that 'those who seek will find'...i'd love him to find sonner rather than later.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve excitements

It must really be rubbish to have a birthday on Christmas eve. Tonight, i am off into Wycombe for a night out (for Marc's birthday) for the first time since Jess stayed in the summer. Now, this is not due to my lack of partyness you understand...i am the party...but simply due the terror of a night out in Wycombe, anyway, i digress. It should be good, lots of old RGS guys'll be out, i've already to spoken to a couple of 'faces' a haven't seen for ages and ages. So yeh, as long as we don't go to Here and Now, Time, O'Neills, or The Toad, it'll be good. And a real chance to Do evangelism like Jesus, i really pray i will, that i'll be a beacon for the Lord tonight.

People often say that Christmas is a time for celebrating...but what are you celebrating if its not the birth of the Lord? The King of the universe, a little baby, for you and me...amazing. I've been really saddened by somethings i've seen over the Christmas period this year, more offended than ever by people misrepresenting the message of the gospel, more frustrated by my sin than ever more excited about Emmanuel than ever, which hopefully is a sign of spiritual growth.

I've also managed to fill in two thirds of my Relay application form, which is cool, i've also heard the Lord tell me where He wants me to go, which is also cool. Its all good really. I'm looking forward to (God willing) getting out there next year, grabbing people for Christ, glorifying Him with the help of the Holy Spirit, and helping people towards Him. It's going to be exciting times!
Merry Christmas, and i pray God with us, is God with you this Christmas...Praise the Lord!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Who is there like Him?

But for me it is good to be near God
I have made the Lord God my refuge
That i may tell all of your works
Psalm 73:28

Who is there like God? Who else is life? Who else is a rock? Who else is a comfort in times of need? Who else is refuge? Who else is the glory of God? Who else would go to the grave for me? What else compares to the joy of fellowship with Him? What else is like knowing Him? What else is like serving Him?

The Lord is my refuge, it is the best thing to be near Him. With His breath in my lungs, with His rock under my feet i will not die, i can not fail. Nothing Nothing in life comes close to Him, to His word, to continuing in Him. Praise Jesus for who He is, for His obedience and love, for His self sacrifice, for everything he fought for on the cross, for being a personal, unchangable God. Yes! It is good to be near my God!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


'It won't be like this forever, i promise'

The message of the second coming, the message that one day there will be no pain, no death, no hurt, no worry, that all sin will be over with. The message that something so so much better is coming, the message that one day, we will be in the courts of our King, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our only hope. We will be with Him forever.
Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Well, if anyone ever wondered how i spend my tuesday evenings in the run up to Christmas, heres the answer. This is me and some other Wycombe supporters and a couple of players celebrating our late equaliser at Walsall in last nights LDV Trophy Southern Quarter finals. Dream stuff.
Its a shame we conceded again to lose 3-2 right at the end of the game, but there you go!

Colossians 1:24-2:5

Read it here.

Early on in this passage Paul's love for the Colossians is shown again. He rejoices in his sufferings for their sake (v24), not something one would say if it were not out of love, you'd think. This the length of Pauls commitment to the gospel, that he will suffer for its sake, to make it known to the people of Colossae. That's how much he loves them, that he will suffer for them to bring them the gospel.
Paul then seems to make an outrageous claim about his sufferings and the sufferings of Christ. In the second part of verse 24 he says he is 'making up for what is lacking in Christ's afflictions'. Hang on, whats lacking in Christ's afflictions? What can Paul do that Jesus can't? What does Paul really mean here, he can't be saying that there is an area where he is more able than Jesus. There is, of course, nothing lacking in the afflictions of Christ. Nothing that His death on the cross didn't achieve, nothing that His father held back from what is Paul talking about? Well, did the Colossians actually see Christ suffer? No. So how does Paul make up for what is lacking in Christ's afflictions? He suffers where the Colossians can see him, to bring them the gospel. Christ suffered to bring the gospel to the world, and so people can see Christ. Paul says he is suffering for the sake of the body, the church. Why does Paul suffer for the church? Why would anyone suffer for the church? To make known the 'mystery hidden for ages and generations, but now revealed to the saints'...what a privaledge! Paul is writing this letter to make known the mystery that was hidden for ages, but that is now revealed to the saints. The mystery that 'prophets and Kings desired to see' (Luke 10:24). So what is this glorious mystery that Paul is carrying to the gentiles in Colossae, that we can see every time we open the bible, because of Christ and the people He called? Christ in you, the hope of glory...that is the mystery. Christ. In you. The hope of glory. If that mystery isn't glorious, if that mystery isn't light then I don't know what is. How can we win our battle with sin? Christ in us the hope of glory! How can anything separate us from God, we have Christ, the hope of glory in us. Praise the Lord. This is not an encouragement or an exultation, this is a simple statement of fact. The riches of the glory of the mystery is Christ is us, the hope of glory. End of story...nothing else can stand next to that truth. Christ in you, Christ in me, Christ in us. Christ, the God of the whole universe in us. Christ who said let their be light, has shone His light into our hearts. Woo! And in Christ in you the hope of glory. Nothing else, not you in you, not money, not lust, not rules, not longings after wordly things. Christ. Thats it. This is especially relevant to the Colossians as they struggle with being told that there are other ways. That observing rules and worshiping angels is as good as Christ. No no no! Christ in you the hope of glory. That's it. So no more nonsense from my generation about how much you read the bible, or go to church, or pray. Yes, these things are important, but they are not your hope of glory. Christ is!
So what's Pauls response to this? We must proclaim Him. How can we not? We must 'toil and struggle' on His behalf, for His glory, to present people mature for Him. We need to be mature in Christ, knowing and loving Him, 'stable and steadfast in the faith' (1:23). That is our calling, that is the only right response. But how do we do that? How can I possibly do that. Christ in me, the hope of glory. Excellent. That's all I need! The Colossians need to be mature in Christ because of the false teaching going on all around them because of the lies and deceit is being peddled in their city. Christ in the Colossians, the hope of glory.
Paul wants the Colossians to know how much he is stuggling for them (2:1). Why? Not for his glory, not for sympathy, but so that the Colossians would be aware of how much Christ is worth, especially in relation to the deceptive philosophy all around them. I think its fair to say that there is little doubt that the false teachers and angel worshippers in Colossae would be going through the same persecution for their beliefs. He wants their hearts to be encouraged by the full assurance of the knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Do we have that assurance? Are our hearts assured by this knowledge alone? Because I know mine often isn't, I know I try to justify myself far too often therefore insulting the cross of Christ. Christ is all we need. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3)...its all there. Wisdom and knowledge, something that all the Greek world sought after. Something, it seems from verse four that the false teachers in Colossae are making a big play of. But where is it? All in Christ. Not in 'asceticism and angel worship' but in Christ. Colossians, you want wisdom and knowledge? Well its all in Christ. Verse four hold this argument together. Why would Paul tell the Colossians specifically these things? So that no one may delude them with plausible arguments (v4). Surely that is the point of 'continuing steadfast in the faith' (1:23) of being 'rooted in Him' (2:7), of 'walking in a manner pleasing to Him' (1:9) that no one may take us captive, so that no one may take the Colossian hearts captive so that we hold firm to the teachings, life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The same Jesus Christ, who you have in you, as the hope of glory...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Earth applaud Heavens sing

Man, i love the end of John gospel. I mean, it's all gold, but whenever i feel a bit down (and being home does seem to do me in sometimes) i go there, look at Jesus, and see, and rest. Its great.
I love the detail, the number of fish the disciples caught under the direction of the Lord, the way that Peter and John play the main roles, the atmosphere that is created while Jesus is on trial as Peter warms himself by the fire, Jesus calling Mary by name. Its just so refreshing. And this man, was the one that created the universe, became a man to bare our sins. Luke 2:11 tells us that Jesus was savior and Lord. Both at once. Still Lord as He dies on the cross, still Savior as he ascends into heaven.
Christmas is a great time for families and friends. For feeling warm and comforted by the closeness of the people around you. But lets not get distracted by the bonfire, when he have the sun to keep us warm. Lets remember what Christmas really means, that the Son of God came to earth as a man, to save us. Jesus Christ, son of God, savior of man, Lord of the Universe. Our God for evermore. Worthy of our lives.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Difficult questions, encouraging answers

Richard Cunningham interviewed by Adrian Warnock.

This is good, i like the questions Adrian asks, he's certainly not pandering to Richard in any way. Obviously, i'm a fan of UCCF and Richard, his responses here have done nothing to make me want to change my stance. Saying that 'the last great hope for saving UK evangelism...are our university and colleges CUs', but it think he's right. When CU works, when students from all sorts of backgrounds are united around core truths such as propitation, the glory of scripture, the deity of Christ, the vitality of atonement and sovereignty of God, they will continue to be a great hope for proclamation evangelism.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Blog Spotting

I'm really enjoying/ being challenged by Rob Wilkerson's Miscellanies on the Gospel at the moment.
His recent post on Media and the Gospel, as directed from Bish's blog, has really made me think, and even stopped me watching Jonathan Ross this evening (i normally ^heart^ Ross, but tonight, maybe even from now on...too much)
Also, Ceryn mentioned my blog as she exapanded on the theme of friendship, so i can only return the favour! But seriously, her passion for the Gospel is so evident just from a conversation with her, and this shines through on her blog. Go see. Keep it up man, praise the Lord.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Bish probably managed to challenge every single CU leader he disciples with this post.
He's right though. The gospel is serious stuff, and i don't imagine Edwards spent too much time high fiving people or rode too many ironing boards down his stairs. My normal excuses at this stage would be that 'i'm only a kid', but i'm not, i'm twenty, or that 'i've only been a Christian 3 and a half years'...yeh? And what? I'm thirsty for knowledge of the Lord, but i'm very conscious that knowledge in itself is not enough. I could read all the Piper books/Edwards sermons/theology blogs in the world and it would mean nothing on judgement day unless they change my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I managed to attempt to share the gospel with my Dad this week as well. Now, my dad was bought up in a Christian home, and i know/think that he met my Mum at York Uni CU, or that they were at least involved in it at some stage, so he must've had some faith once....but now? This challenges me. I believe that once we are saved we are always saved, but then, think of the grain that falls amongst the thorns. So, please pray for me and my dad, that i might be brave and clear, and find my security only in Jesus, and that my dad might have his heart softened as he goes to his third carol service this month (hopefully) on sunday. I just want him to find the love, the joy, the hope that there is in Christ Jesus, to have eternal life.

Well done Joe Lowther

Just heard that one of my best mates, Joe, has just got engaged... Congratulations man!

Hebrews poses a simple question

'How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation'

Exactly. If we ignore what bible teaches us, what God has given us, what Jesus is willing to do for us, if we ignore the glorious face of Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, the gift of His all satisfying presence, His glory in conquering death. If we neglect these things, and drift, or wilfully turn our backs...what hope is there? There is no hope for a sinner like my away from the cross of Jesus Christ. His light must blind my eyes to the world, or i am nothing. I am dust.

John Piper describes the Holy Spirit as the presence and power of Jesus Christ. The presence and power of Jesus Christ. How can the world distract us? How can sin conquer us? It must not, it shall not.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas comes to Lacey Green

So we've finally got a Christmas tree! Woo! Although decorating it was a performance...everytime i picked something up/put it on the tree my sister said in pained tones 'not there', 'that goes on last', 'that looks silly'. She soon piped down after i picked her up and out her outside!
It looks good, lovely and warm. Ed likes it.

*The greatest gift of the gospel is God Himself, nothing more, nothing less*

Colossians 1:14-23

Read it here.

In the last section, up to verse 14, Paul argued that our greatest hope, our only hope, is in the God, and the gospel. The the gospel gives us a hope for everyhing. This point was argued by Paul so strongly and quickly (at the start of the letter) because of the teaching that was going on in Colossae at the time. The 'deceptive philosophy' that tired to persuade the Colossians to out their trust and hope in things of the world rather than in Christ. But why? Why does Paul argue so strongly that our only hope is in Christ, and in His power, and the gospel? Well, in verse 15 Paul starts to show us what God is like, why we should have our hope in Him alone. Jesus (His beloved son, v13) is described as the image of the invisible God. Not physically obviously, but on the inside, Jesus is the image of God, His exact reflection. God is as Jesus does because Jesus is God. God, the God we are to hope alone in is therefore trustworthy, full of love and compassion, powerful, soveriegn, real, relational and alive. This is what God is like, this is where the Colossians should put their hope, not in the things of this world. Jesus is also described firstborn of all creation, the first and most important, God's heir.
Verse 16 tells us that all things under heaven and earth were created by means of Him, and for Him. Jesus is a creator God. He was there with the father at the beginning, and through Him all tings were made. There's someone special to put your hope in. No matter how clever the arguments of the world are, they can never, with any validity claim to have existed before the world did. Christ can. All thngs (which Paul repeats) were made through Him and for Him. All things were made for Jesus. You and me, we were created for Jesus, to live for Him, to have fellowship with Him, to hope and rest on Him. For Him. So when we pray and worship, we're doing what we were created to do, because Christ's greatest gift in dieing on the cross was Himself, that we may now have a relationship with Him. The relationship we were created for. This is good news! So this is our God and our hope, the creator God, who created it all. Not only did He create everything but now He 'holds it together'. The picture Paul paints becomes more powerful still. Everything in creation is held together by Christ, not 'deceptive philosophy' but Christ. Think about that, from the smallest photosynthesis to the largest star, from the chemical reactions needed to create a light mist to our DNA, all of it is held together in Christ. Thats some power. This, remember, the same Christ who died that we might have a relationship with Him...
In addition to this, verse 18 tells us that Christ is the 'head of the body, the church' an image that i love. He is the head of what we do, we, the church, the body of believers, can't do anything without Him. Imagine a body without a head, no thought, no vision, no knowledge or leadership. This is us without Christ. The next in Paul's line of statements about Jesus (he is, he is, he is) tells us that He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. The most important to rise from the dead (obviously). He is the beginning. Jesus Christ, God, where it all starts and ends. Why is He these things, why is He the firstborn from the dead. So that He might look glorious in all things in creation. So that He might look as glorious as He is. So that none of the lies that Colossians came up against, so that none of the lies we come up against would look like anything in comparison to this...this Jesus who has had victory over the dead, firstborn from the dead. Amazing. How will any other thought, or philosophy or religion stand against that? And then more, as Paul keeps pilling on the reasons why Jesus is better than the world, why hoping in anything other than Jesus is a waste of time. In Jesus the fullness of God was pleased to dwell...He wanted to be there, He wasn't forced or persuaded, he was pleased to dwell there. The fulness of God in a man. In Jesus. Through Jesus, the next point tells us, as we reach Paul's climax, God 'reconciled to Himself all things...making peace by the blood of His cross'. Peace with who? Peace with you who were once doing hostile deeds and of an evil mind. Jesus, the fulness of God dwelling within Him, reconciled to Himself you and me, by the blood of His cross. I love the way the bible calls it His cross. He owns it, He chose it, He designed it as the way He would give Himself to us. It wasn't a mistake or a plan B. So why did Christ die on a cross? So that we might have peace with God, no longer at odds with Him, no longer in rebellion against Him, but simply with Him.
Christ did this so that we might be holy, blameless and above reproach in front of Him. Christ did this, the point made again, so that we might be ok with Him, so that by this action, by His intervention He would be glorified, because it points to our reliance on Christ, and on Him being the source of our joy. So, He died to reconcile all things to Himself, so that we might be holy and blameless before Him, so that we might enjoy relations with Him so that He might be glorified. I think!
But what about the next part, which talks about this being conditional on 'continue(ing) in the faith, stable and steadfast', which on the face of it causes a problem for someone with a 'once saved always saved theology' like myself, but then, do i let my theology influence the bible, or the bible my theology? This is a verse that could easily lead us to horrible, cross denying legalism. Lets look at the context. The Colossians were being challenged, asked to put their hope in something else, something of the world, to turn away from the 'hope of the gospel that they heard', much like we are every day. Paul's encouragement to them is to place their hope solely in the gospel and in Christ, for the reasons mentioned, so that they may be 'above reproach before Him'. This is our encouragement and our challenge, not to find out if we can cease 'to continue in the faith', but to stay 'stable and steadfast in the gospel which you heard'. I think thats great stuff. Continue in the gospel and you will be presented holy and blameless and above reproach beofre Him. Don't owrroy about deceptive philosophys of Colossae, just continue in the gospel and put your faith and hope in Christ.

Continue in the gospel, and put your hope and faith in Christ.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Nostalgia is a weird thing, friendships also. Its only recently it'd hit me how much i miss the guys from uni who graduated last year, like Dave, Arwen, Tim and Oli. Even guys who i didn't really know but it was cool to have around like Chris Hat and Sam.
Dave stayed at my place in Reading at the start of November, and i remember him getting nostalgic about some photos that Ceryn had given him on a CD. Friendship is so precious, it can be so fleeting sometimes. Dave's so special to me, he's like a brother, i went to see him in harrow a few weeks ago and it was just the best thing, great to sit and drink coffee with him all afternoon, talk about our lives, our friends and the Bible. Does that make us sound like girls?!

I don't know what it'll be like in June saying goodbye to all my mates. Even guys like Dave P, Drew and Jess who i know i'll be friends with for like, forever, guys like Nu and Bish and Annie and Heva and Tim...And second years like Andy and Tom, man, its gunna be sad. But pretty exciting also. But mostly sad right now!

I don't know what's bought this out of me. But there it is. God bless guys.

The beauty of the truth

Get this, right. Jesus, through, by and for everything was created comes to earth as a man, and allows Himself to be broken, to shed blood on a cross.
Why? Why would He do this? He who sustains everything in nature, from the smallest photosythesising plant, to the largest burning star? Colossians 1 tells us it was so that we might be reconciled to Him, and presented before Him holy, blameless and above reproach. This is what Christ wants for us, He wants us to be living in the truth, ready for what Piper calls 'that great and fearful day', but He knows we'll never do it on our He provides the means for us. Even when He does things that are, on the sufrace' for us', they're still all about Him, His power and glory. His mercy.
There is surely no other word to describe the truth of the gospel. Let's let it change our hearts, again and again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Went to see Narnia today. I loved it, it was everything i hoped it would be. I thought the four children were perfectly acted, and i loved the voices of the beavers. Also, i didn't think the allegories were over played at all...the film was just very fiathful to the book. Its a dangerous business some of the churches are playing, as there's very little continual allegory in it at all...Jesus didn't do a deal with the devil for example, it isn't as if the enemy was a willing participant in the substitutionary element of the cross, and there's no suggestion that Aslan is angry at Edmunds betrayal... The cross is amazing, Jesus is in full control. Man, what He must've gone through for us. It just blows me away.

As my mother said on the drive home: 'the useful thing about that Toynbee woman is that she's always wrong' (!)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Colossians 1:1-14

Read it here

I always struggle with the first and last bits of the letters...the personal stuff. In my mind I often skip over this first and last bit, maybe regarding them as the bread in a sandwich. Studying the first fourteen verses of Colossians has taught me how wrong that approach was. Fourteen exciting, truth packed goes.

Paul, the author of the letter, describes himself as an apostle by the will of Christ Jesus. That made me think. Now, if anyone ever could say that, post conversion, they earned what God had called them to, it would surely be Pail. But look at what he says, not 'called to be an apostle because of my work to bring the gospel to the gentiles', or '...because of the riot inspiring truth in my preaching', or 'because of my doctrine and dedication'...but by the will of Christ Jesus. Paul stands in His grace alone, nothing else holds him there as an apostle. He doesn't even seem to entertain the notion, he's Paul, an apostle by the will of Christ Jesus, end of.
Paul and Timothy thank God in this letter, because of the attitude the newly converted Colossians have towards the fellow believers. We are told that they 'love...All the saints'. Why? Why would this bunch of new Christians have so much love for their fellow believers? Because of the hope laid up for them in heaven! How do they know of this hope? Through the gospel. Which gospel is this? The same one you and I have! Thats how we know about our future hope, that's why we love, because of the gospel, which tells us of Jesus Christ, who is life.
What should our response be to this gift? Paul is clear in verse 9. He wants to believers at Collosae to be 'filled with knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord'. Wow! Walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord? How can I possibly do that? And what help is wisdom and understanding and a knowledge of His will? Well, this evening, I was in my room...kind of bored, and my mind started to wonder onto what St Augustine would call 'fruitless pleasures'...but then I remembered 'the kindness of the Lord leads to repentance' (Romans 2:4), and so I stopped my mind from wondering. And that, I think, is what is meant by these verses. Paul challenges the new converts at Colossae to 'walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord', now, of course when reading this we have to remember that we don't live in first century Colossae but none the less, there is a challenge here for us I believe. We are told to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord. We will only manage this though spiritual wisdom and understanding, and going by what Paul says in verse 9, we will only achieve this by lets pray! Lets get to know God and His will better so we can please Him more. And lets make sure people know what God's will is, otherwise they'll think we are making up rules for them...We must know what the Bible says, what the Lord says if we are ever to 'walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord'.
In verses 11 and 12 Paul continues to pray for the Colossians. He wants them to be strengthened. But not only that, he wants them to be strengthened 'according to God's glorious might.' So a couple of things. There will be trouble and hardship ahead. One hardly needs strength to endure a life of endless good fortune and wordly pleasure. Secondly, God strengthens us 'according to His glorious might'. So, the most powerful force in the universe, the power of God, is our strength. So we needn't fear anything. Sure we will need strength, but what a strength to have, and to rely upon, 'His glorious might'. But God doesn't just give us this for our benefit. He gives us strength according to His might for one reason. That we might 'with joy give thanks to the father' (v12)
And we have good reason for this joy. He is the father who 'qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints', and who 'delivered us from the domain of darkness'. WOW! Of course we should praise and sing with joy, no matter what our circumstances! Of course we should praise and proclaim His name no matter what the cost. Silent acquiescence is nothing, as Daniel demonstrates, we must be brave in His name. And guess what? Not only has He delivered us from the domain of darkness, our reason to sing through the suffering, He also strengthens us to sing in the suffering! Amazing! Thank you God.
So where are we now? No longer in the domain of darkness as the first half of verse 13 tells us, so where. We are in the 'kingdom of His beloved son' (v14b). The kingdom of God! That's where we are now. He is our ruler, our Lord, our King. It is from Him we now take our orders! No longer burdened by the yoke of slavery that kept us bound in the dominion of darkness, desperate to fulfill our empty desires with empty pursuits. No no, we are now in the Kingdom of the living God. Is that not exciting. How? How are we in this kingdom, when 'none of righteous' (Romans 3:10). Well Colossians 1:14 has the answer to is in Jesus we have 'redemption, the forgiveness of sins'. What a way to finish a greeting! Talk about leaving the best till last!
Paul talks about our reliance on God in this passage in a lot of areas for a lot of things:
  • for his calling (v1)
  • for the conversion of the Colossians (v3+4)
  • for the attitude of the believers (v5)
  • for understanding leading to a worthy walk with God (v9+10)
  • for endurance in times of suffering (v11)
  • for joy in times of suffering (v12)
  • for salvation in the first place! (v13+14)

So, it seems to be that Paul is making the point that reliance on God is pretty much the most important thing there is. Imagine the Christian life without those things...looking at verses 13+14, there is no Christian life without reliance on God for 'the forgiveness of sins' (v14). Pretty humbling stuff! There seems little doubt in Paul's mind about who is at the centre of things, of the conversion, and subsequent life of the Colossians! Why does Paul mention this so heavily to the Colossians? It seems because they were faced with 'hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ' (Col 2:8). Perhaps not the Judaisers found in Galatia, but an influential group of people trying to bring the newly converted Colossians away from the hope of the gospel, and make them hope in things of this world.
So what for us? How much do we rely on God? How much does the hope of heaven inspire us to love? How much does the greatest command to 'love God with all your heart and soul and mind' mean to us and reflect out of our lives. How often do we make the effort to grow in knowledge to walk in a way pleasing to the Lord?
This is our God, the God we worship, who will give us endurance and joy in the face of the inevitable suffering, who calls us to learn His ways and walk in them. Who is so central that without Him, not only would there be no Christians, but no universe! What a tiny person I am. How amazing it is that God would set His grace on me. How simple, yet vital, the challenge, to walk 'in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him.'
Looking at the evidence, what other choice do we have?

The Eden Project

I know, that sounds like one of Bish's talks, but it isn't, its the name for the new plan to 'regenerate' High Wycombe.
Basically, it involves building over the Western Desert carpark in the centre of town (thats right, High Wycombe, a town blessed with areas of natural beauty all around it chooses a carpark to be it's centrepiece), knocking down a load of shops (the one decent record shop in town for starters) and opening up the river that runs thru the town. So it should be good in time, when it's 2008.
Until then the centre of Wycombe is carnage! I went in at lunchtime (1430) to look at some old microfilm at the library (i was looking at the Bucks Free Press from late 1930 and early 1931, it was facsinating, i could've done it for hours). Wycombe's a lovely old market town in some ways, but suffers from being too close to London i guess, but at the moment there's just nowhere to park...roll on 2008!
That said, i love the village i live in. Small, in the middle of nowhere half way between Wycombe and Aylesbury, Lacey Green, with its pleasingly eccentric name is a grand place to live. Out walking the dog yesterday i was so overcome with the beauty that was around me, the beauty that God has created, the beauty that He sustains. I just love the natural world, i love what it says about the power of our Creator. In every square inch of mist there are millions of chemical reactions going off, all sustained by Jesus...if you extropolate that to it's Nth degree throughout all creation, just think how mighty God has to be...and its not like this effort leaves Him exhausted, our God never rests.
I love the countryside on a bleak winters evening, i love what it says aboyt my Lord and savior...Praise Him!


Something that Ceryn wrote just pretty much knocked me off my chair...
'Two members of the GodHead are interceding on my behalf'
Wow. If that doesn't get you excited and want to hit the floor in prayer and praise, then i don't know what will.
Thanks Ceryn man, Praise the Lord.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Seven Things

I knew Bish would's mine.

Things to do before i die:
1. Fly a plane
2. Get in trouble for speaking the truth about Jesus
3. Marry
4. Have Kids
5. Spend time abroad proclaiming the gospel
6. Write a book
7. Be part of a huge revival in my generation.

Things i can not do:
1. Play football like a combination of Thierry Henry and Steven Gerrard.
2. Sing
3. Play guitar
4. Paint
5. Score an important goal for Wycombe Wanderers and run, arms aloft, into the Valley End
6. Save myself
7. Be humble

Things i say most often:
1. Yo
2. Dude
3. Man
4. Is that ok
5. What does that mean
6. What does the bible say about that
7. The bible says

Seven Books i Love:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harpur Lee
2. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
3. All Six Harry Potters, (even the fifth one) JK Rowling
4. Don't Waste Your Life, John Piper
5. Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby
6. Notes From a Small Island, Bill Bryson
7. The Heavenly Man, Brother Yung

Seven movies i can watch over and over:
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Fight Club
3. Warriors
4. Saving Private Ryan
5. Fever Pitch
6. Men in Black
7. The Matrix Trilogy

Seven songs i currently love: (to keep the sevenness due to my lack of wife/gf)
1. Your Know You're Right, Nirvana
2. After The Rush Hour, Million Dead
3. Everyday, Tim Hughes
4. Love Song, The Cure
5. Biology, Girls Aloud
6. My Jesus My Savior, Hillsongs
7. New Pin, Oceansize

Seven people to do this next:
1. Tim
2. Ceryn
3. Kath
4. Sally
5. Lou
6. Dave Long (if he EVER blogs again)
7. ?

Red Sky at night...

Incredible sunset tonight, gloomy reds and browns mixed with bright yellows...all down to the oilfields at Hemel being on fire. At one stage the mist was rolling up from the valley, the smoke was towering in the sky, the sun was setting in the middle of it and theere was a star far far above was amazing!
I was woken up by the explosion this morning, despite living nearly fourty miles away! Seems as though London is getting the worst of it smokewise...although if the wind swings round then leafy south bucks is for it!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Merry Christmas

God created the world, the whole world, the whole universe, from the tiniest cell to the largest star, God created and holds it all together.
God created man and woman, to live together in harmony with eachother and with Him. At the start of this creation, everything was great, God and man lived in perfect harmony in Eden. The Bible doesn't tell us how long for, but i like thinking it was a decent while. Then, man disobeyed God, man did the only (the only) thing that God told him not to. From then onward a wedge was driven between man and God.
But for a few notable exceptions man lived in the image of Adam for centuries...lost, hopeless, far from God, in total rebellion. This is the cause of what we feel in our hearts today...the emptiness, the unfulfillment, the lack of worth and of purpose. Because God created us to live in harmony with Him, and we're not.
God is the answer to these feelings, to this hopelessness.
Around 2000 years ago, around this time of year, God became man, Jesus of Nazareth. This Jesus, fully man and fully God, is everything we can never be. Because of our rebellion against God, we are under His wrath, we deserve the punishment of hell, there is no way around that. You can not be 'good enough' to get into Heaven. The Bible says that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. So what of this Jesus? He lived a perfect, sinless life. He was tempted, He was sad, He loved His close friends dearly. Just like you and me but Jesus, that is to say, God, died a cruel death. Crucified for being a criminal. Surely this can't have been God's plan, surely this was God's council frustrated?
Not at all.
This was the plan all along. God din't have to change anything because of the cross, as amazing and mind blowing as it is, the cross was the plan all along. Jesus died to glorify God. To bring glory to a name that had been trodden through the mud by those meant to upkeep it. Jesus died, to restore the relationship that was lost in Eden. He died, instead of you and me. He was punished for you and me.
Three days later, the tomb was empty. Jesus had risen. Jesus had defeated death. All His claims to be God are true! This man can defeat death, surely this man is the Son of God! Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and resurrected.
Now, because of Jesus dieing instead of you and me, we can have that relationship that Adam and Eve enjoyed before it all went so wrong. Jesus has paid the penalty for all the things we do that gets in the way of us and God. He is our fulfilment, our forgiveness. He is our savior, our Lord and King. He knows me better than i know myself. My King Jesus. My Lord. He in the only way.
Because Jesus died, now we can live the way we were created to live, hidden in Jesus. No more empty longing, no more wondering at what life is really about, no more lack of self worth. There is the cross of Jesus Christ, thats where it all begins, thats where love and sorrow, life and death meet. That is my hope for the future. Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come.

This is the real meaning of Christmas. The baby who grew up, the baby who is God. The baby who lives today. Lord Jesus, there is none like you, your name echoes through eternity. Lord, i love you, and i want my life to reflect you. I want to get out there, to do what you would have me do. Help me Jesus to glorify you in everything. Thank you Jesus that you are love, that you lived and died and lived again. hallelujah!

These words...this life...mean everything to me

Totally cool song line from track two of the debut Emery album (The Weak's End), i meant to buy the 2nd one (Studying Politics) but HMV Reading didn't have it...Boo! Mind you TWE is excellent. So yeh, even though they're not Christians i thought i'd steal their lyrics and make them about the Big Man. I love the times when His words and His life DO mean literally everything to me, they're the best, but far too few and far between...They should mean everyhing to me. My mind was suitably blown by Kath's Emmauel post. Well, not the actual post you understand, but the point behind it...God...with us...its amazing.

So i'm home for Christmas now, just had news that my dissertation oral is going to be Weds afternoon week 2. This news could not be worse, but in usual Ed fashion i'm going to put it out of my mind for as long as possible. I kinda know what i'm going to say anyway... Hopefully these holidays will see me blog my thoughts on Collosians (much easier at home than in the uni library) finish some books, start some other books, get my head around Mark's gospel...

Found a load of stuff about the death of Kurt Cobain last night, which i'd forgotten i'd spent about 6 months of my life on when i was 15/16. The short version of the story is that i'm just not sure he killed himself, the longer version involves police incompetance, contradictions of logic, inconsistencies among other things. What i think four years later, and more to the point whether i even care it something of a moot point...

Stil,l supper's on the table (i'd rather it was on plates but there you go) so thats it from me for now (sighs of relief all round)

Friday, December 09, 2005


Just a quick one to say i was 100% wrong about one of my song 'reviews' a few days ago.
'God see's the depths of my heart AND He loves me the same' because God is gracious. Obviously. God is not gracious because i sin, God is gracious because God is gracious. Just like His love for me is not depoendant on me, neither is His grace toward i said, God is gracious because God is gracious.

Praise Him for that!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

These photos make me smile

All from the RUCU houseparty 2005.

Jude Law and a Semester Abroad

Random song lines floating around in my head right now:

'You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same' I love this song, God is amazing! I tend to sing *yet* you love me the same because A) i'm a song snob, and B) it's more true, God looks at my heart and loves me despite what He sees, it's not a cause and effect thing.

'amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me' Well quite. Me? How am i a Christian? How can i have a relationship with the Creator. There are times, like today, like every time i sing this song, when this blows me away. A wretch like me?! How amazing is the power of the Cross.

' When we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining like the sun' I remember the first time i sung this song at church as a Christian. the thousand years? And we will not have a second less? Wow! Thats eternity baby! I remember sitting in the car park outside church just saying that line over and over again... I don't really get eternity!

'Your blood speaks a better word, than all the empty claims i've heard upon this earth' This. Is. So. True. I love this song. I'm getting kind of emotional right now even thinking the words to myself (i am a girl). Its so true though. The lies that the world tells you, or Jesus? Sex outside of marrige, or Jesus? Randomly pulling someone at the Union, or Jesus? Ignoring His claims on your life, Or Jesus? Me, or Jesus? I love this song!

'My Jesus, my savior, Lord there is none like you' This is my favourite worhsip song. It'll always remind me of being a young Christian, getting to know Jesus for the first time, trying to get to grips with things. *gets all nostalgic* Man, the Lord has taught me so much since 2002, i've got so much more to learn...

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Unity of the Cross

Really enjoyed studying the end of Ezekiel 37 with Bish on Friday afternoon. Now, I will admit I am not the most theologically knowledgeable person, but we covered one aspect of the cross that had previously escaped me completely.
In the passage, the houses of Judah and Joseph are prophesied about. They are in exile at the time and they are told that they will be reunited, and that they will be bought back into their homeland. Reunited. Under 'my servant David who shall be King over them'. I've always thought it was great the way that Christians from all over the world could come together and work for the Lord's glory. How I can feel equally at home with Christians in India, Bulgaria, Reading and Bourne End, i've always thought it was great. But I never really appreciated why there was such a love between believers. Its because of the cross which has given us peace (v26). How cool is that? The cross unites believers, it gives us fellowship, family, peace...all that good stuff. It destroys all the things that provoke disunity between men like pride, jealousy and anger. It humbles us, and brings us together in praise.
Buts thats not it according to this. God will make His dwelling place with us (v27) God, with us. Living with us, in us. His spirit in us. This must have been amazing to hear as an exiled Israelite...its amazing to hear here and now. The cross is amazing, it does everything!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why am i having an MSN coversation with someone i can see?!

Things that make me smile:

This, obviously, following saturdays heroics just south of Glasgow. Winning with an 88th minute goal almost made it worth leaving High Wycombe at 0630 and getting back at 2315. We stopped at Tebay in the i can see why Kaths always going on about them!

The emergance of a Christian Union at Thames Valley University in Reading. How exciting is that! Woo! Thank you Jesus.

Christ being the new Adam viewed through the virgin birth. The preach i heard on this at Fam on sunday was amazing...more on that later perhaps.

Christmas is nearly here, i get to go home!

The thought of a new generation of Committee and Cell Leaders at RUCU.

Things that make me frown:

Christmas is nearly here, i have to go home.

My lack of focus and energy.

My lack of Cross centerenedness

My dissertation.

My ex girlfriend on MSN.

But heres the thing, no matter what i feel, whether i'm having a good day or a bad day, a smile or a moan, i'm still in Christ, still in the new Adam, still forgiven. My God is still the same glorious, awe inspiring, love inspiring God He was and is throughout eternity. He still loves me the same, He'd still die for me on a 'good day', as on a 'bad', because its all for and about Him. I think thats pretty cool!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Every time a teenager listens to drum 'n' bass a rockstar dies

As much as i dislike both the recent demise of Million Dead, and the epic sceneness of myspace, you have to admit, that Frank Turner can pen a tune.

*i woke up on a sofa, surrounded my people i didn't know*

RUCU Houseparty 2005

Wow! It was amazing. God blessed us so much, the time, the fellowship, the talks, the prayer, the worship, the trips to A&E. It was all so good. And so refreshing. I love the Bible, i love being 'in' it, i love it's truth, it's helpfulness, it's Good News for sinners like me!
Ceryn has already blogged all her notes from the talks here (don't 4th years have work to do?) so 'tuck' on in!

Savior, teach me of the Cross

Do you ever get times where you just feel weary? When political issues feel like personal attacks, when relevant, insightful fair questions feel like bitter critisism, when it seems like all the earthly things that you trust in are letting you down, and when it seems like you are the cause of all your problems, and that just sucks?

This is when we need to look at Jesus for our only security. Our 'great high priest whose name is love' as the song goes, the author and perfector of our faith, who's felt it all. Man, i'm so thankful for the cross at times like this, when i'm weary. When i realise that Jesus is all that i'll ever have thats worth anything, all i'll ever have that i'll ever need. I need to be more cross centred, less Ed centred, less anything else centred really. To look, remember, and change. To grow, and to be a thief who ceases to steal.

Jesus, thank you for the cross, thank you that it is accoplished. Thank you for saving me.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mark 15:38

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two,
from top to bottom...

unremarkable sentance, a remarkable, life changing, eternity shattering truth. This, of course, is Mark 15:38, the event it describes happens as Jesus breathes His last (v37). He dies, and the curtain of the temple rips. Coincidence? I think not. What does it mean, what is the curtian, what purpose did it serve? Why is it so important that Mark chooses to record it in the middle of an account of Jesus's death and the reaction to it?

In 2 Chronicles 3:14, the curtain of the temple is descibed as being 9 metres long and extremely thick, it was made of 'blue, purple and crimson yarn, and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it.' It seperated the Most Holy Place of the temple from the rest of the temple, and was symbollic of the seperation man faced from the presence of God. This is further strengthend by the mention of the cherubim, which is Genesis 3: 24 is placed at the east of the Garden of Eden 'turning every way to guard the tree of life.' Cherubim is also mentioned in Psalm 18:10 and 104:4. If it guarded the Tree of Life, it was put there by God to protect from man what man had tried to gain. The chrubim to the garden, and the curtian to the temple. This was what seperated man from the life giving presence of God. And this was a thick curtain, this was not a curtain that could easily be pulled down or would sucumb to wear and tear. This curtain was there for good and it was to be respected. It was representative of all that had been lost in man's relationship with God, all the barriers that had been created by man that could not be overcome by man...

And when Jesus died, it ripped in two. Just like that. Jesus breathes His last, and down it comes.

We can only imagine the carnage this caused. How the proud Pharisees would've felt about 'their' temple being damaged, or the fact that now everyone could enter the Most Holy Place. We can only conject as to what explanations they came up with, how they explained it away, and what the people believed about it. But to me, there only seems to be one explanation. One reason the curtain ripped, and one reason for Mark thinking that it was important to record.

When Jesus died, not only the physical barrier between man and God fell, but so did the spiritual. It says in Romans 4:25 that Jesus was 'delivered up for our trespasses'. Suddenly all the things that seperate us from God are laid on the creator of the universe, who died: Jesus. All the sin we commit now laid on His shoulders. Price paid. Anger propitiated. How amazing is that? Jesus dies, and we can come into the presence of God. Jesus died, and not only can we come into the precense of God, but any meaning the temple structure had is washed away. So? So we can meet with the risen God anywhere. The earth is His tabernacle. Jesus is God's temple, having fufilled the law which man could never keep. Because of Jesus dieing on the cross, i can have a relationship with Him, enjoy His presence. I needn't visit a temple, or wonder whats behind a curtain, but enjoy the full amazing presence of God all around me all the time. All because our Lord died on a cross, and split the temple curtain...

There is no other way. No one else's death throughout eternity has or will have this effect on the order of God and man. No one. This is what Jesus did on the cross. This is what happened the second He died. The curtain ripped, and we were able to enter and enjoy His precence. If we accept the death and resurrection of Christ, then we can enjoy (and i mean enjoy) the presence of God for all time. How exciting is that!

Odysseus Vs Jason

Please don't be put off by the fact that this story contains figures from Greek Mythology, i think, (and much more importantly, so does Sam Storms) that this point of it is wholly biblical. This is a reproduction more or less, of a story in One Thing, a very excellent book written by the aforementioned Storms. The only real difference is that Storms calls the first protagonist Ulysees, whereas I, as a Greekofile, call him Odysseus.

As a teenager at school i (thats me, Ed, not Sam Storms for a minute) was lucky enough to study Classics. One of the myths we read was The Odyssey, a story of how Odysseus travelled home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Along the way they faced many problems and troubles, but one of the best know stories of this, is the story of the Sirens. The Sirens are, as Storms describes them 'full of outward beauty, and sing beautifully seductive songs to lure unwitting sailors to come closer to their island, where their boats sink in the hidden rocks, and the Sirens waste little time hungrily devouring their flesh.' Odysseus knew of this of course, and had his sailors ears plugged with wax, and told them to look neither left nor right, but to keep on rowing until the boat had cleared the island. The man himself had different ideas though. He was to be tied to the mast, with open ears, as he wanted to hear the sirens song, he wanted to stay there until the songs were out of earshot. Of course, the songs were more than his otherwise strong will could resist. He was tempted beyond measure by their seductive promises of instant gratification. One siren even took on the from of his wife, Penelope, in an effort to persuade him he was home. The ropes held strong though, and he resisted the call of the sirens. Although his heart and soul said yes, his body was restrained by the ropes. His 'no' was not the result of revulsion at the temptation, but the product of an external shackle.

Jason had another idea. He had to deal with the sirens as Odysseus did. he was faced with the same temptations, the same weakness of will, the same problems. He knew this. Jason had another way of dealing with the Sirens. He bought with him on his voyage Orpheus, a man renowned throught the ancient world for his musical ability. When the time came for the boat to pass the Sirens, Jason did not orders his men's ears to be plugged, neither did he strap himself to the mast of the ship to deny himself whatever lustful yearnings might make his mind their playground. He simply ordered Orpheus to strike up a tune. The Sirens didn't stand a chnace. They had gronw no less attractive, their song no less sweeter, but the minds of their targets were focussed on something else. The sweeter, sublime soud of Orpheus had caputred their ears and hearts. Jason and his men did not say no because they were physically restrained, but because they had tasted something far sweeter, far more noble. Their body, soul and heart all said no to the sirens, and yes to Orpheus.

Do you see? Do I see?

Christianity is not Odysseus. Christianity is Jason. I can imagine nothing more heart breakingly soul deadening than to spend my life, (and if we follow this argument through to its natural conclusion my eternity) denying myself what my heart and soul desire most, as Odysseus did. I can imagibe nothing more fulfilling and awakening than to spend my life and my eternity following the desires of my heart. Notice, that both Jason and Odysseus avoided the lure of the sirens. Odysseus, because he was restrained, resisting the desires that were overrunning him, hating every second that he was tied to the restaining mast, wishing for a taste of what he was being denied. To many this is what Christianity is all about. Jason resisted because he imerssed himself in something different, he found the way to triumph over the sirens rather than just avoid them. He was captivated by something far more beautiful, far far more worthy of our attention, as to make the sirens look worthless. This is what Christianity is.

So where do you stand, where do I stand? Far far too often, i am Odysseus, clinging to this man made, Christ insulting 'christianity' of do nots, of rules, longing for a taste of what i am denied. Sometimes, some sweet awe inspiring times, i am Jason, drawn away from sin by the beauty of our Lord, triumphing over temptation in Him. I long to be more Jason. I long to see sin as it really is next to the beauty of the Lord. I was made to worship Him, i will spend my sternity worshipping Him. I love to worship Him. It is only in Christ we can have freedom, and triumph over sin. I urge you to go and buy One Thing. It is a great book.

Album of the Year

Time to end the charade...Despite worthy efforts from the likes of Million Dead, Reuben, Funeral for a Friend, SOAD and Yourcodenameis:Milo, i can not see past the second Oceansize album 'Everybody into Position' for the best record released this year. Not very accesible, nor at all commercial, Oceansize have released a work of such beauty, it occasionally makes me weep (ok, i made that last bit up) track six 'Not Now' is an epic, lovely samples, soaring guitars, excellent drums and vocals...its just amazing. It took me two or three listens to really get into this album, but it is well worth it...go buy!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sam Storms and Revelation 5

So i've always been a little bit scared of Revelation. I mean, some of the imagery in there is pretty weird (without meaning to be irreverant) and i've never really been able to get into it. What i have been getting into recently though is a book called 'One Thing', by Sam Storms. Storms, clearly heavily influenced by Piper's opus 'Desiring God' is taking me on a refreshing and exciting journey through Christian hedonism right now, i'm very much enjoying it. But what thats got to do with my new found love for Revelation 5? Well, in the third chapter of the book, Storms starts to talk about Heaven, and takes us into Revelation, with chapters four and five being where he focusess.

I am now very VERY excitied by Revelation 5! 'Who is worthy to open the scroll and break it seals?' 'The Lion of Judah, the Root of David'...Jesus is worthy! The lamb who has been slain, Jesus, the perfect sacrifice...the only Righteous Judge...
I love the images of perpetual worhsip as well. The 24 Elders who sit around the Throne who constantly worship the Lord, casting their crowns before Him singing:

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."

All the time. Why do they do this? What else can they do but worship God when faced with His full and perfect presence? There is no option in their minds, Jesus fills their hearts and minds...

And the four living creatures who sing constantly:
'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty
who was, and is, and is to come'
And they don't do this because they are made to, or because people are watching them. They love to do it, they consider doing nothing else, there is nothing else that comes close to worshipping the Lord in their minds...their minds are filled with Him.
From around the throne come peals of thunder and flashes of light, how amazing is that! That is the power and awe God creates and inspires just by being present.
When i was reading this i had this feeling in my heart, this kind of stirring, longing feeling, this desire to be there, with the Lord, giving Him the praise that is due His name, to be enjoying His perfection and love....
One day, one day.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Anger and love are not mutually exclusive

Currently reading this at the moment, getting fairly raged up about the school of thought that denies the cross is about penal substitution.

If the Cross of Jesus Christ is not about penal substitution, at least in part, then it seems to follow that God is not angry with us, neither on a corporate nor personal level.
It would seem then to follow, that God is not bothered by sin, let alone angry with it. He can tolarate it, He doesn't mind it. He will indulge our lustful worldly passions. How can you worship a God like this? A God that doesn't mind the fall, a God that is happy to watch the rebellion and consequent misery of the ones He created and loved. If God doesn't mind sin, why did He remove Adam and Eve from Eden? If God doesn't mind sin then why punish His Son at all?
In Heaven we believe there will be no more misery or death, for me at least, this is based on His charecter, that fact that in heaven we will have a perfect fellowship with Him, and that this will involve no death or misery, only pure and perfect joy. But, all that falls apart if you start to believe that God doesn't mind our sin, that He's not perfectly angry with us. That His holiness doesn't burn within Him when we sin.

Yes, God is love. Yes He loves us completly. Thats WHY the Cross is about Penal Substutution. Thats why Christ is a propitionary sacrifice. If He didn't love us He wouldn't give us a way out of Hell, He wouldn't die to provide life for us. God loves us, God is angry with us. God's love + God's anger = Jesus dieing on the Cross for our sins.

If God just wanted to tell us He loved us, he would not needed to have His son executed. God needed to punish sin. Our sin. This is what the cross is about. Punishment for sins, because of God's anger, not inspite of it. I'm not going to pretend that this is anything like a perfect piece of prose on the subject, or even that i've got everything right. But for me, penal substitution says 'i am angry but i love you'...not just one or the other.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Watching waiting comiserating

So why haven't i blogged for so long?
1) I am lazy
2) I have never been busier
3) I'm not sure i've really had much to say
4) Lack of internet access

I'm sure its a combination of all four really, hopefully broadband will arrive at my house soon and i'll be able to blog away at whim. My laziness will still hold me back though! Recently i got as far as sitting at a PC with the Bible open ready to ramble on about Mark 15:38, (which i still hope to do, its probably one of my favourite Bible verses) and just lost my will. Not good scenes.

Elsewhere in life Wycombe *galacticos* Wanderers remain unbeaten at the top of Football League Division Four. 15 games unbeaten now in the league now, which has broken all sorts of records
RUCU continues to grow, despite some problems midweek, we had a good meeting on Thursday. Rich Fairbarn concluding our four week Bible Overview (the next time someone complains about having been given too much to speak on, we'll tell them of the night that Phil Rout took us from Genesis 12 to Malachi in 45 minutes!). Its been excellent, and i thank Jesus for what He's doing in Reading. These are exciting times.

So, 7ish months left at uni. That is weird. Anyway, i'll probably be resuming normal service soon with the usual mixture of half baked Biblical stuff and inane ramblings...Laters

Monday, October 10, 2005

One Thing Is Neccesary

'but one thing is neccesary.
Mary has chosen the good portion
which will not be taken away from her.'
Luke 10:42
What encouraging words from Jesus! This piece of direct speech from Jesus to Martha, comes just after the great commission and the parable of the good samaritan. Jesus visits Mary and Martha's house after this momentous day, and sits and teaches. Mary sits at His feet, and listens to her Lord, soaking up what He has to say, loving her oppotunity, Martha on the other hand, is 'distracted with much serving'. She appeals to Jesus to ask Mary to help her, which, given the amount of people that have presumably just decended on her house seems fair enough...and it is here that Jesus speaks these wonderful words.
It is better, He says, to get to know Him, to spend time with Him than to do anything else. He describes Mary's choice as 'the good portion', the right thing to do, the correct decision, confounding the culturally accpeted norm. Earlier on in Luke 10, Jesus says that having our names written in Heaven is better than seeing the devil fall from the sky as we share the gospel (v17-20). I think He makes the same point here. Knowing Jesus is all there is that matters, all there is that counts. What a counter to legalism! What a repsonse to the devil, when he whispers that we do not read the bible enough, or pray enough, or evangelise to our friends enough...Knowing Jesus is all there is! All there will be. It is the good portion! How cool is that. Knowing Jesus is all there is. The law, legalism, works...they all crumple next to this. One thing is neccesary he says. Thats it, nothing else. These are the Jesus's own words... this is the absolute, objective truth that He speaks. One thing is neccesary. Know Him. Love Him. Thats all.
So you can keep legalism. You can keep feeling guilty about 'not reading the Bible enough', or 'not praying enough'. Legalism robs the joy from those things, it makes them a shallow pointless hypocrisy...worship is for the Lord's benefit, not ours. And i tell you what as well, the world can keep its culture, its drink and drug abuse, its promiscuity, its pride and vanity. The Lord and redeemer says that one thing is neccesary, i think i'll stick with that...

You Win Nothing in October

But despite that, i am today very proud that Wycombe have climbed to the top of Football League Division Four ('League Two') after Friday nights Humberside heroics. As you can see Grimsby can not pay us enough compliments! We've even gone all continental, where the best lead, Wycombe Wanderers will follow and improve. Who needs Robino, Raul and Zidane when you've got Torres, Betsy and Matty Bloomfield...perfect.

*more soon*

Friday, September 30, 2005

Standing On The Edge Of Summer

Well. Freshers week. Well. I have been touched, humbled, excited, blown away, bought nearly to tears, worn out and generally inspired by Freshers Week this year.
The fun begins last tuesday when we find out that we are in fact going to be at freshers faure for all three days, instead of just stuck in a tent on friday. To say i was excited would be an understatment, to say i was jumpoing around my room would not be. A slow start at St Georges on sunday was followed by an explosion of interest on wednesday and thursday. Its really not about people putting their name on a sheet of paper but to have 150 people do just that in 2 days is incredible. Thank you Jesus!
We had our first meeting of term lat night. Not only was the theatre packed, Marcus Honeysett preached the word of God powerfully and sincerly, he was preaching on Phillipians 1, and was very direct about it, but people loved it, it was increcible! As importantly people were still in the room nearly two hours after the meeting finished, talking to church reps and Cell leaders, and then many more stayed on in Mojos till the dark hours.
Of course, this is all an amazing testament to the power and grwce of Lord Jesus Christ, who had perfected our faith, and done all things for His good this week. This is only the start. The start of something huge. The hearts of the freshers i spoke to yesterday are incredible. They're ready for action, ready for the journey the Lord will take them on in the next three years. Please keep them and us in your prayers. I really feel this is the start of something big at RUCU, the start of a real revival at Uni. I think we are Standing on the edge of summer. PRAISE THE LORD!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Christian Hedonism

I shall be buying this book soon. I urge you to do the same!

Just realised that the author is speaking at RUCU in just over a week as well!

Early sunsets over Monroeville

Moved back into my house in Reading on thursday. Its far nicer than my old gaffe on Addington Road, we've got a living room and everything! Thursday evening i headed down to Drew and Zoe's place for dinner, Danutia was there, and we ended up staying together till one, in their house and mine, worshipping the Lord, and praying for our non Christian housemates. It was cool to be back in Reading, to be back with some of my closest friends. I'm glad i'm here a bit early. Campus and the library are nicer when their empty! And its cool to be abel to settle in again and get my bearings beofre the madness of Freshers week decends on us. I am very excited about it all though. I think the fun's going to start on wednesday wehn me and Jess go to 'buy paper', in preparation for two days of photocopying. Now, you perhaps wouldn't expect me to be that excited about that, but i really am! I'm looking forward all the entailments of freshers week, including spending hourse arguing with a tempremental photocopying machine... Why? Because i'm doing it for the Lord, and thats all that matters, thats all i want!
God's really been speaking to me about freshers week since yesterday morning. How much to i really trust the Creator, how much do i fear and honour Him with all i have? Sean Green preached at Fam yesterday on the might of our creator, and His ability to do anything. This was then rammed home to me by the Missions chapter of 'Desiring God' by John Piper. He really majored on 'with God, all things are possible'. Quite. Something i really need to remember.
There are roughly 3000 freshers turning up next week, most of them need the gospel more than they can possibly imagine. Three thousand. So why do i think i'll be happy with 30-50 freshers coming to CU? Jesus didn't die for 1% of people to be saved, He died for all of them! So, i shall now be praying for 3000 new guys at RUCU. And why not? God can, lets remember that!

Attempt great things for God,
Expect great things from God.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Racecar is Racecar backwards

Now, its fair to say i've been to some fairly obscure football matches in my time, Oxford United reserves versus Brentford reserves springs to mind (just don't ask right? I don't even like Oxford or Brentford let alone support them), but i think that yesterdays game just about shades it. Whilst my Dad was a guest at Stamford Bridge watching Chelsea in the Champions league, i was at humble Wilks Park, along with, i would guess, no more than thirty others, watching Flackwell Heath play Brook House in the Isthmian League Associate Members Trophy. Now i have neither the time nor the inclination to go into why this tournament, for Isthmian League Division Two sides exists, and how the Isthmian League itself was ravaged during the restructuring of the non-league pyramid, but lets just say its all a bit anomolous...
Why did i go? Maybe to prove something to myself, partly because i've always wanted to see Brook House play, and an ILAMT game. Partly just because it was on, and i had nothing better to do. I'm not sure what it is about my presence at Wilks Park that brings out the worst in people, but in my three visits there (four and half years between my first and second, 11 days between my second and third) i have seen three red cards, and any number of 'handbags' incidents...
Anyway roughly an hour from now i shall be taking my seat to watch Wycombe Wanderers reserves take on Brighton reserves. At least this game has some relevance to me!

...and the Omega

Got an email from Nicola today, the girl running RUCU's Alpha course. Its got me very excited. We're really going to hammer this one this year, promote it properly, and make sure people get involved. I'm a big fan of the Alpha course having been involved in three now, (one as a guest). It didn't bring me to faith so to speak, but the way the guys who ran the one i did loved me, and answered my questions really helped me. This is a course, an event, that can build friendships, start communities, and most importantly, save lives!
So yeh, it was really cool to hear from someone so fired up, so ready, so full of ideas... Lets go and make disciples!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Romans 6:1-18

Terry Virgo preached on this at Forum. I was blown away. In an attempt to process what i learnt and wrote down, i'm going to try and 'write up my notes'. Before i start, i just want to make it clear that what The Virg said was gold, and anything that is other than that, is entirely my own fault!

Shall we carry on sinning? (v1-2)
'By no means' as Paul puts it. Or, as JB Preistly says, 'what a ghastly thought!' We died to sin. This is not an exhortation, or a promise. This is an event that happened. As we were baptised with Jesus in His death, and as we rose out of the water, we were a new creation. Our dying to sin is an event that has happened, not a process. The Gospel is good news not good advice. Here is the deliverance. This is our red sea moment. When the Jewish people were fleeing from Egypt, they would have been terrified. Faithful hopefully, but definately terrified. As they came up against the Red Sea, they would have seen their old slave masters, and feared that they would ever really escape. But then the sea opened. And for us, our old self is dead. You can scream at a corpse all day long, and it won't do anything...

Do you not know?
All of us have died to sin. Our sin, our old sinful lives, are behind us. Elsewhere in Romans Paul says that we, along with Adam committed that first sin in Eden. We were in Adam. But now, Yes!! We're in Jesus! This is objective truth and we need to live in it. There are hours, days, even weeks and months where we don't feel that we are dead to our sins, that our sinful bodies are alive and well. What then? Well, lets look at Abraham. He trusted God when it would have been easy not to, he had faith in his heart, when his head was trying to convince him otherwise. We need to believe this truth. To press on inot it, and to remember it each and every day. We, most of us, believe that two men were crucufued with Christ. Why do we believethis? Because it says so in the Bible! Guess what else it says in the Bible? That one who has died has been set free from sins! Believe it and live it!

We need to consider, reckon or account it true because God says it's true.
In Romans 6:11, we come across the first command in Romans. And what is it? That we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ. Following on from the last point, we must MUST remember and consider the truth in this. We must believe it. It's not a case of if we think it long enough, we will believe it. No no no! It is true, so we must think it. We must line up with the new time, with the new age in our lives. With our new lives full stop!! It says in Hebrews that i have been 'perfected for this time'. Its time we all (myself included) started living in this. Started pressing into it.

Responsible action.
Romans 6:12 tells us not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. It tells us in short, to stop it! It is time to take responsibility and respond to what God has done for us. If watching TV late at night causes you problems, stop watchin TV late at night! If boredom on the internet gets you into trouble, get off the net before you get bored! If you struggle with alchohol, stop drinking! Let him who steals steal no longer. Sin doesn't happen in a vacuum, our bodies are its vehicle. We must, in view of this, take responsibility for what we do. We must let God reign. C'mon, our old selves had died!

Slaves to a new master.
We are under grace so that sin maybe overcome. Sin has no answer to grace. None. Sin can not and will not defeat God's greatest gift to man. Once we were slaves to sin. We unquestioningly followed the sinful desires that our slavery demanded of us. We were blinded to God's love by our sin. Blinded to His power. Now, we are slaves of righteousness. Slaves of Christ. Called to do His will where and whenever. What a transformation. And the best thing? Our old desires were destroying us, and condeming us to an eternity of fire and misery. But our new master. Wow! The riches and joy and goodness He brings are beyond comprehansion, incomparable, and without end. We need to commit and devote ourselves to our new Master, to our new Lord and live our lives for Him, and in view of His sacrifice. Here is our joy, here is our life, here is our meaning. Jesus is all these things. The great God eternal, who one day we will be with forever.
Shall we continue to sin in view of these things?



The desire of the righteous ends only in good
the expectation of the wicked in wrath
One gives freely yet grows all the richer
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched
and one who waters will himself be watered
The people curse him who holds back grain
but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it
Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favour
but evil comes to him who searches for it.

Loving these verses, from the middle of Proverbs 11, right now. I read them yesterday along with Luke 12:22-34. Just excellent stuff, and very encouraging. Look at it. If we give of ourselves, we will recieve. We don't need to worry about how we will provide for ourselves, whether we'll have all that we need, if we'll get tired. The Lord will do all that.
And again, the desire of the righteous ends only in good. No, of course, none of us are righteous alone, not even one, but thanks to the glorious mystery of the cross, we are counted righteous with the Lord (if we believe), and, according to this, our desires can only end in good. Now, we need to be a it careful here. Desires is obviously not talking about the desires of our flesh, which, in a lot of cases are an abuse of ourselves and God, but the desires of our heart after God. The desire to spread His word, to be loving and compassionate as He was. These will only end in good. They can only end in good. Praise the Lord!
And look at the next two verses. Give freely, it says. Give with joy in the knowledge that those who give will become all the richer, and those who do not, will not. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul describes himself as being poured out like a drink offering. I know that in the context of his circumstances this doesn't neccesarily sound like a good thing. And yet he knows because of this, he can look forward to his crown of righteousness.
The more we give, the more we 'water' the more we will be blessed. The more we expose our lives to the Lord, and His service, the more of our lives He will bless. Those who bless will be enriched! By Jesus! Is there anything better!?
The last verse seems coupled with the first to me. Those who seek good seek favour, those who do not, will fall into evil. There is no arguing with this one. You will find what you seek in your heart, be it good or evil.
So lets have a joy in our hearts as we serve, as we give. Lets give more knowing that we will grow all the richer, lets water more, so we are watered mores, lets bring more blessing, so that we will be enriched. What an excellent word enriched is! To be enriched by Jesus! Wow.
Lets give our own desires up. Lets seek the Lord first, and serve Him with a joy in our hearts at what our reward will be...