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 lakes....now 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.