Tuesday, November 28, 2006


  • In India there are 4.635 distinct people groups.
  • There are 205 people groups that number over 10,000 people that are still totally unreached
  • In the North India Ganges plan reside the greatest mass of unreached people in the world. 360,000,000 people, with only 120,000 active Christians among them.
  • 26% of the urban population live in slums. There are 41,000,000 Indians without a home.
  • The Brahmin cast number around 40,000,000, with as few as 18,000 professing Christians among them.
Doesn't it make you ache?
Also, i like it when i am thinking something and someone else blogs it for me instead. Go read, i could not agree more.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Ashes according to Facebook

Day 1: 346-3.
The aussies can shut up - it's the flattest pitch anyone's ever seen, and they let Giles get away with an economy of under 3 and even let him get a wicket.

Day 2: Australia 602-9dec, England 53-3
I hate them all, every last one.

Day 3: You don't want to know

Day 4: Positives - Ponting injured
Collingwood and Pietersen restore pride
Negatives - we're still gonna get tonked

Day 5: Unsurprising, but remember we were 1-0 down last time, and in 1954, we recovered from an innings defeat in the first test, with fast-bowler Tyson spraying it everywhere, to win 4-1. anyone else got any straws they want to throw into the mixer?

stolen mostly from the 'Ashes 2006/07' Facebook group.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The all sufficiency of Christ (2)


Christ's penal substitutionary death on the cross achieved many, many, many great things. Everything good we see in the world in fact. Every lovely sunset, every good moment with our friends, every answered prayer, every spiritual blessing...it all comes from the cross. Jesus' work was all satusfying, all encompassing, and all sufficient.

Christ's death on the cross provided a substitute for us in two ways, one of which is controversial, one of which is probably less so. Both of them are hugely important and fantastic news. In both of them Christ has become the once for all, final, satisfying substitute for us, in a way that lambs and goats never could be. Two of my favourite verses, both written by John describe Jesus put Him in these terms. He is 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' and 'the Lamb, looking like he had been slain'. Throughout the Old Testament, from the time when Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, sheep and goats have been used as a sacrifice to God for human sin. Animals are killed, blood is shed and the sin is dealt with. But it leaves the question, what sort of God is happy with the blood of an animal to deal with the sins of people? What sort of God thinks of animals as a decent substitution for people? Surely there must be another plan, a better way?

In Leviticus 16:21, Aaron is told to lay his hands on the live goat, confess on it all the sins and iniquities of Israel and send it off into the wilderness to die. This goat them symbolically carries the sin of Israel against God far away from it. This animal had sins laid onto it, it is deserted and then goes off and dies. The cross, as Liam Goligher says, is Jesus fulfilling this picture and experiencing that abandonment. God is removing the problem of our sin by Jesus taking it out of sight. And because of this God will never again feel wrath for us, or punish us for our sins. They have been removed from us. God is now working all things together for the good of those who love Him. Our sin has been removed. It had to be done by a perfect, humna sacrifice, not by an animal. What sort of substitute is a goat for a man? This is why Jesus' deity and virgin birth are so important. No virgin birth means that Jesus is born into the line of Adam and therefore, like us all, imputed with his sin. No deity means that Jesus is incapable of living a sinless life, and therefore not a satisfying sacrifice for the Lord.

This doctrine is the best bit of the Bible. The one we must fight for. One of the first 'hills to die on', as Mark Driscoll said. His first 'hill to die on' is the Bible but i guess this is much the same. I don't think you can clearly and literally read the Bible and come away without the doctrine of propitiation. In Leviticus 16:15 Aaron is told to kill the goat that is the sin offering for the people. He's told to kill it, to shed it's blood. This is how our holy and righteous God feels about sin. Sin deserves death, the shedding of blood. This goat was to be killed for the sins of the people, because sin deserves death. Again though, how can a goat be killed for the sins of men? Surely only a man can die for the sins of men? On the day of atonement the High Priest had to first kill a goat for his own sins before he could move onto dealing with the sins of the people...so even the one doing the killing had to deal with himself first. Jesus was killed for the sins of the people, fulfilling the picture given on the day of atonement. He was sinless, so didn't have to deal with His own sin first. He brought with him no sin offering, he was High Preist and sacrifice all rolled into one. He bore the whole weight of God's right, holy, measure, justified wrath against sin on His shoulders. He died under the weight of that sin. He fulfilled the picture of the day of atonement. The day of atonement had to happen every year...Jesus' death was once for all time, we will never have to kill another goat, never have to suffer the penalty of our sins, never have to face the wrath of God. Jesus has taken is all. He bore it all, and died under it all. Now we only need to believe...what a small price to pay.

Jesus really was the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world, He removed it from us, and bore its penalty. What a sufficient work. What an awesome God!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The all sufficiency of Christ (1)


Christ's penal substitutionary death on the cross achieved many, many, many great things. Everything good we see in the world in fact. Every lovely sunset, every good moment with our friends, every answered prayer, every spiritual blessing...it all comes from the cross. Jesus' work was all satusfying, all encompassing, and all sufficient.

Romans 8:22-23 talks about how creation is waiting eagerly for Christ's return, for the final completion of His work that He has started, for the end of the victory that He has won. Just like we do. Creation groans like we groan. Creation waits like we wait. Creation suffers as we suffer. God created Eden perfectly. It was a place so perfect, so paradisical that we can't really get our heads around it. It was better than anything we can really comprehend. It was perfect. Just like our vocabulary won't let us talk about Christ in the terms He deserves, so it won't let us talk about the perfection of God's creation as we should. But it was great, and created to be great.

So why is that how it is today? With earthquakes and tidal waves and electrical storms and whirlwinds. No. Thats not what God created the world for, not how it was meant to be. So God's lost control right? He gambled and the cards fell against Him...thats right isn't it? No. The disintegration of Eden starts more or less as soon as Adam and Eve disobey God and ate the apple. They were sentanced to toil on the Earth for their work, something they never had to do before the Fall (toil, not work). Nature and man were suddenly turned against eachother. Adams and Eve needed clothing after the Fall...so presumably animals were killed to provide them. Sin + nature = disaster. And this is where we are. Jesus promises that there will be earthquakes but that this will not the the end, just the beginning of the birth pains.

Birth pains is something that takes us back to Romans 8:22-23. We're told that creation groans as if in the pains of childbirth...as we wait for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. So as our bodies will be redeemed, and we'll get new ones...so creation will be redeemed and there will be a new Heaven and new Earth.

How do our bodies get redeemed? By our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. By His death and ressurection. So i guess thats how creation gets redeemed, by the work of the cross. How wonderful the cross was. How right is D.A Carson when he describes it as 'the brightest and darkest of nights'. How sufficient is Christ's work that it not only deals with man and God's great seperation, but also with all the side effects of that, as seen in the fall of creation. One day, one day Christians will be in the perfect new creation, which will more real than we can know now, where we will enjoy Christ forever. How awesome the work of the cross. Sometimes i just sit and wonder at how God has thought of everything, and i know that sounds trite, but He really has!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I'm back online after a weird few days when my laptop threw a bit of a wobbly at me for trying to do too many things at once/never actually updating any virus protection or using the mosr up to date software. But thanks to the nice men at John Lewis, and a day on the M25, its all better now. And i've got new windows live messanger, and new firefox and all sorts of exciting things. I have the lost the majority of my work from the last two years and all my pictures, which is very sad! But not the end of the world. Although i've just discovered i've lost iTunes! :sob:

On a more positive note, RUCU houseparty was really really good. Great teaching and fellowship and fort building, and people seemed to be helped by my seminar, which was nice. I was going to put that up here, but now...it's lost forever in the ether (except my hard copy). God is teaching me loads about His soveriegnty, and His glory and how important those things are, and how important He is and how all sufficient and all encompassing the work of Jesus is. So thats good. Also, i've got something very exciting to write about soon, it's just a matter of getting it out of my head into my fingers! But i like it being in my head, so its all good.

Anyway, i need to go and watch Rico Tice walk through a dimly lit room of photos and tell us what grace is. How good is my job?

Friday, November 17, 2006

every planet i visit is dead

I should be asleep.


Also, i know its five past midday and thats not exactly sleeping time...but i got up at eight (Roots breakfasts with Phil are worth it mind you) and the chance to sleep at Reading CUs houseparty this weekend will be, i think, limited.

This morning was looking at Philippians 2:14-29...do all things without grumbling or complaining. Top advice from Paul there. Am i grumbling? I don't think so. I love my job and the chance to get people excited about Jesus, so it's ok. It's just a bit discouraging when you lie down tired and the sweet kiss of sleep evades you. Nevermind.

I'm very excited about going to Reading's Houseparty this weekend. I'm doing a seminar on sunday morning on how to give you testimony, which i did a while back at UniS Houseparty...so that'll be cool. It'll be a real humbling privaledge to be back among those guys, some of my best friends. It's such an honour to go back there and serve those guys. I am excited!

I should go and do some things before i leave...

Monday, November 13, 2006

shock the world

1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5 as given (more or less) by Ben Carswell at Surrey's Houseparty.

What is the cross to you? What position does it hold in your life? Where does it stand in your list of important world events? The Cross, where the Son of God died has to have a central part in our lives, because it is the central point of world history. Nothing is more is more important than the identity of Jesus and our reaction to that. Nothing. The biggest problem in the world is not famine, or global warming, or terrorism...it's mans seperation from God. The Cross divides history, it divides men. It's either foolishness or power. Either the greatest peace and relief, or the greatest offence. But its the wisdom of God for salavation. It's how God chose to reconcile Himself to man. It's the blazing centre of our faith. Christ chose the cross to glorify His Father and save us, if we ignore God's wisdom, we will have little defence.

What is our message? What do people know us by? What is the first thing people think about then they think of us? Is it the cross? What do people want? Jews demanded a signs, Greeks demanded wisdom...both of them scorned the cross. God calls us to live and speak for Him. We need to preach Christ crucified, we need to remember Christ is the power and the wisdom of God for salvation. We need to persist and believe in this power. Paul was in Corinth for a year and a half before he saw anyone saved. A year and a half preaching the same 'foolish' message without any discernable results...do we have that persistance today?

What do we boast in? Our exam results? The school we went to? The Uni we're at? Our job? Our gifts? If you're a Christian, it's because God chose you, so you have no reason to boast. God chose and works through you. The last breath i took i stole from Jesus. When we realise that God is infinately more valuable than we ever dreamed, and we are less worthy of Him than we ever feared we are liberated from all boasting. Nothing else matters around the cross. It's faith or not. There is no hierachy at Calvary. It's all...ALL because of Christ and Him crucified. We must make this the basis of all our boasting.

Where is our confidence? Paul was an apostle and had a great ministry, and yet in verse two he decided not to rely on his experience or his calling or clever arguments...but simply on Christ. He came with weakness. He had no wisdom. He had no persuasive arguments. His message was 'not plausible' according to the world's standards...and yet he demonstrated the Spirit's wisdom and power. And this was all for God's glory and man's benefit as it meant that the new Corinthian Christians depended on God, and not on man. Verse two calls us to be monomaniacs. Mandy posted on how its ok to be completly obsessed with Jesus...this is what we must resolve, in our evangelism and growth and living. To know nothing apart from Christ crucified. That is the centre of Christianity, it must be at the centre of us.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Remembrance Sunday

They shall not grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.

Remembrance sunday always deeply affects me, to the extent that this morning i was pretty much already in tears befiore the service stsrted, and ended it by gasping my way through 'i vow the thee my country'. I was at my mums Anglican church in Lacey Green this morning, as my Grandad was laying the wreath...he conceeded to wearing his Royal Marines tie, but modesty kept him from wearing his medals, of which there are many. It was lovely in many ways....i went with a lot of bad thoughs toward the place in my heart, which was wrong. We sung some great Wesleyan hymns, and Norman did mention the cross as he preached, although i doubt he enthroned Christ in the hearts of many as he did, it was thoughtfull and comforting. Though even as i type i'm asking whether those things are primary when someone preaches. I think not. Anyway, i liked it, it was a nice place to be this morning. And i enjoy the communional aspect of so much of a traditional service, like reading from the prayer book, and Communion itself, and those mats they give you to save your knees when you pray.

So i'm not sure why this day leaves me so affected. Maybe because of my time in the ATC (unlikely, i started going because of a girl and then stopped going two years later because of a girl...quelle surprise, plus ca chance mai non?), maybe because of the way that the self sacrificial death of so many points to the Cross in some way...i'd like to think it's that, but it's probably not. Maybe it is. Anyway, this morning i went to a church that is different in mostly every way to what i like, and used to and choose...and still met with the Living God...thats pretty cool.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Glory Days

I've said it once and i'll say it again...man, i do like Team Days. These last ones were made even better by the fact that they were joint 'days' with the South West Team, which gave us a great oppotunity to catch up with the Relays down there that we hadn't seen since Forum, as well as meet all the (not quite as cool as south-east) staff. Was good times.

It started on wednesday with something of an epic trip down to Exeter (it took us an hour to clear Reading), and then Marcus Honeysett, took us through three sessions on how to respond, interact and defend our faith in a post modern society (those weren't the actual titles, thats just what i picked up from it!). It was very cool, and great to be taken through such a relevant topic by someone who so clearly and passionately knows his stuff. I'll post some thoughts on here soonish if i ever get the time...unlikely then!

Then thursday was all about praying for ourselves, our CU's, praising God for what He's doing all over the south. Particular high lights for me was hearing of the potential starting of four new CUs in Cornwall, and the success of Exeter's Mission week. Great times. Then...we all went to the beach together which was amazing, and very needed! It's a shame me Bish and Carolina don't have a 'beach patch', but i guess it helps us to appreciate days like yesterday all the more...Also, if you were on the end of a very smug text from me on thursday afternoon you'll be pleased to hear my phone died soon after. I'm currently using my sisters 4 year old nokia. *retro*. Then we watched 'The Game' which was an good film...could have had a better ending mind.

Friday started with Team times, which essentially meant the SE people all got together round a table and spent half an hour sorting our our diaries and persuading Kath to let me, Jess and Carolina do our elective responses together (we're only thinking of you dude)...then Gareth took us through 1 Corinthians 1:1-7, reminding us of how our ministry and our indentity must be rooted in Christ...nothing else will do. Then we ended with an extended time of prayer for our Regions.

If you're thinking about doing Relay next year, you really got to have an amazing reason no to do it. Even if just for times like these where the fellowship, support, prayer, praise and understanding was just off the map.

Just 365 style things since this is going to be a crossover post;

'we've waited too long for a staffworker in Cantab to lose him in the first term'
Gareth watching as Olly waded a stream and then made as if to climb a sheer rock face.

'i'll tell you what i've told all my other Relays...buy. some. shoes'
Bish upon seeing the hole in my red high tops.

'it's such an honour to meet Dave Bish from The Blue Fish Project'
Jim got very excited (not for the first time) meeting Bish.

'the thing that worries me most about the SW team is their low view of Neighbours'
Me on the differences between the two teams...

Also, it was just amazing to be away with every one for a while, a chance to wallow in the glory of the Gospel, and charge up for the next three weeks, which between housepartys, conferances, court appearances, prep, supervisions, birthday partys and study responses promise to be manic.


Monday, November 06, 2006

i've been to portugal and spain...a glass can only spill what it contains

Oh man, the joy and freedom of counting on the holiness of Another.

The happiness of living free from this present evil age.

The wonder of grace.

The awesomeness (it's a word now) of God in creation.

The excitement of fellowship and baptisms.

The silliness of forgetting these things!

'open wide my door'

Thursday, November 02, 2006

there are places that aren't here

Daniel broke the king's decree,
Peter stepped from the ship to the sea
there was hope for Job like a cut down tree,
I hope that there's such hope for me
dust be on my mind's conceptions
and anything I thought I knew
each word of my lips' description,
and on all that I compare to You
[the preference of the sun was
to the south side of the farm
I planted to the north in a terra-cotta pot
blind as I'd become, I used to wonder where you are-
these days I can't find where you're not!]

mine's been a yard carefully surgace level tended
foxes burrowed underground
my gardening so highly self-recommended,
what could I have done but let you down?

the sun and the moon,
I want to see both worlds as One!

mine's been a vivid story, dimly remembered
and by the hundredth time it's told, halfway true
of bad behavior well engendered
what good is each good thing we think we do?

[find a friend and stay close and with a melting heart
tell them whatever you're most ashamed of-
our parents have made so many mistakes,
but may we forgive them and forgive ourselves]

the sun and the moon are my Father's eyes (x1,000)

'The sun and the moon', by mewithoutyou, taken from the album 'Brother, Sister'

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

whole in the earth

I was reading an article in the paper today about North Korea. Man, that is a place i would like to go to, not neccesarily just for the Gospel, although, thats the most important thing obviously, but just to see it. It seems to be the last place in the world where you'll walk down the street without happening upon a McDonalds or Starbucks. The pictures of Pyongyang were amazing.

Anyway, back to my point. Places like North Korea needs the Gospel. Yeh, everywhere needs the Gospel, but especially places like North Korea where there is, i would guess no sustainable, indigenous witness at all to the Gospel. Just none. Generations of people living and dying and going to Hell, never getting the chance to hear of Jesus. As i was reading the article my heart ached for the people out there who seem, in human terms at least beyond reaching. Even if missionaries do start to have an impact out there, how will they convice people that they are not just a foriegn conspiracy, how will they get them to give up their alliegance to the 'Eternal President', Kim-Il-Sung who died in 1994, and is the closest thing to a deity that Stalinist Theology will allow.

Well, because while going and sowing is our work, our commission, saving is God's work. Romans 9 is probably one of my favourite chapters in the Bible...certainly the one that makes me happy that i am Reformed the most. God effects salvation through the grace of election. 'He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy (Rom 9:15). Now obviously in V16 we see the huge ground for humilty for us, but i think V15 gives us huge encouragements in the mission field. If it were up to us, if it were up to human exertion, surely no one in Korea, or Libya, or Yeman or Saudi would be saved. And yet because of Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 7:9, we can be sure there are. Why? Because God will save whom God will save. It's as simple as that. Did you know there are more Christians in China than there are in North America? Isn't that amazing? So we can, i think, be sure, that there are members of the elect in places like North Korea. We just need to get out there and find them.

And obviously this is no easy task. Which is why prayer is so vital. As Hudson Taylor's parents prayed that their son would go to China, and Jesus commanded His disciples to pray for workers in the fields. So we must pray. God has used the British education system to get people from all over the world here, so it's possible that he will use either that to bring North Koreans to British Unis (unlikely) or, that He would use the increasing number of Chinese and European business investment into the country to bring Christians into North Korea. Also, there must be missionaries in Korea at the moment, according to Open Doors there are around 9000 Protestants and 4000 Catholics there, so lets pray for them, and for those that are in prison for the Name.

Open Doors Persecution Info

Doing Missions When Dying is Gain