Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Of course, in North Carolina, people are wearing jackets because it's in the sixties.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
There is a stench in America by the name of Roe vs Wade. And it's obvious because the Christians over there keep pointing it out. Unfortunately they're heading fast in our direction thanks to misguided Christians who think that voting for Obama is acceptable (note: I do not mean for one second that voting for McCain is compulsory)
Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Mark Driscoll has, of course, just started to preach through the book at Mars Hill, taking the meaning of the book to be the face value 'man and woman, sex and marriage meaning'. And fair enough, he's got a much bigger brain and a much quicker spirit than i have, but i'm not totally sure i'm on board with his take on it. So that was the other reason for spending some time in the Song, using Daniel Newman's notes to see if i could discern what it is about. Of course this is aside to the reason Christians read the Bible each day, to meet Jesus, to warm the heart and inform the mind.
I guess my starting thoughts are these:
The book is about Jesus somehow, the question is how.
Christ and the church came first, not marriage, therefore Christ and the church should come first in every illustration, probably.
How is the book about Christ if it's about sex and marriage first?
What did Soloman think when he was writing it?
I read from 1:1 to 2:8 this morning. It was great. I love the way the man and the woman express their love for eachother, and it is quite exciting to be able to express our love for Christ in that expressive way. That we could have that freedom to be able to articulate our love for Him and His for us like that. The illusions to the temple and the Garden are many in the first chapter and a half. But then so are the illustrations to support a man and a woman reading. These are two people very much in love!
So it seems so far, that whatever your view is of the book, there is enough to support it. But i think there will be enough to draw conclusions one way or the other. Mark Driscoll's series is well worth listening to, whether or not his reading of the book is right, it's still packed full of wisdom and great advice. I'm looking forward to tomorrow...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Friday, October 17, 2008
There are three reasons this video is worth 181 seconds of your time:
1) James and Jess, two members of The Race are faithful members of Reading Church, often arriving early doors to set up the PA
2) It's littered with Reading landmarks, which is nice, because i've started to miss Reading recently, even the funny way the air smells.
3) It's flipping excellent. The sliding guitars break my heart.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
But why are these things important? Surely once we’ve saved we can live as we want? Well Paul tells us the reason this is so important at the end of verse five. Older women are to teach in this way, and younger women are to live in this way so that ‘the Word of God be not blasphemed’. The Word of God is the cornerstone of any church worth the name, the Word of God is to be listened to, obeyed and revered. The life changing affect of the Word must be reflected in our lives so that we may attract the unsaved to the Gospel. If people in the church look no different to those outside the church, what does that say to non Christians about the power and reality of the Gospel? In Matthew 5:16 Jesus commands His followers to ‘let you light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven’. We must live in a way that the Word of God is not blasphemed so that when people look at us, they want Jesus.
I think it is impossible to over emphasis the importance of the Word in the life of individual and corporate Christians. Therefore if we take this text to it’s logical conclusion it is impossible to over emphasis the importance that a holy, modest, Christ exalting lifestyle has. I don’t want to live a Bible based life, I don’t want to go to a Bible based Church, I don’t want to be a Bible based preacher…I want my church, my life and my preaching soaked in scripture. But that means that my life, and our lives must reflect the values and character Paul talks about here. For the Glory of God in His Word, and for those on the outside looking in…
Friday, October 03, 2008
And we see the results that Paul expects to see in the lives of the younger women which will result in good in the lives of the rest of the members of the church. The younger women are taught to love their husbands, and love their children, to be discreet, chaste keepers of homes. Paul expects the older women of the church to teach the younger women in the church how to be good wives and mothers. Isn’t that outrageous to our modern and post modern ears? But this is what the Bible calls for. For women to be loving, modest, Godly mothers and wives. There are seven things that Paul calls on they older women to teach the younger women, all of which complete this picture.
Firstly she is to love her husband. This is not a love based on the man’s worthiness but based on a commitment by the woman to love him and stand by him. This love is willing, determined love based on God’s commands for wives to love their husbands. I think that young Christian marriage is one of the greatest testimonies to the Gospel there is to my generation, and it’s the older woman’s responsibility to teach and model it, and the younger woman’s responsibility to throw off the shackles of culture and partake in it.
Secondly, women are told to love their children. This love will be, almost be definition a selfless and sacrificial love, one that again grows from an understanding of the Lordship of Christ in every area of life, one that again is a great testimony. This love is demanding as it will need to include every physical and spiritual need. This is the sort of love that Timothy would have experienced from his mother and grandmother that we read of in 2 Timothy 1:5. And, as we can see from Timothy’s life, what great fruit can come from the endeavor of a mother. These women are also to be discreet, the same quality that Paul calls for from the Elder and the older man. This good judgment in all matters should be something that is apparent in all believers, young or old.
The fourth quality called for is for the women to be chaste. This word means moral and sexual purity. It means marital faithfulness, it means to opposite of almost everything that young women are told to be by the media today. Paul calls on the young women to be chaste rather than lustful, chaste rather than causing men to lust after them, and chaste rather than pursuing sexual relations outside marriage.
Fifth, women are called on to be keepers at home, and this is probably the Biblical command under most attack from feminism. There’s nothing in the Bible that says that women shouldn’t work outside their homes, in fact this church is packed with women who work and are great, Godly, mothers and wives, but scripture is clear that a woman’s first responsibility is to her husband and children, that this is her highest calling. And what a high calling it is. There is nothing innately inferior about keeping a home than working in an office. The responsibility of looking after a husband and raising children is a high and holy one, and it’s a great shame that so many in my generation look at it with such distain. One commentator puts it like this: ‘the home is where the wife can provide the best expressions of love for her husband. It is where she teaches and guides and sets a Godly example for her children. It is where she is best protected from abusive and harmful relations with other men… The home is where she can find authentic and satisfying fulfillment both as a woman and a Christian.’ The next quality called for is that the young women be good, the meaning of which is fairly obvious.
Lastly, young women are to be obedient to their husbands. One thing I love about marriage, one thing that excites me more than most other things about getting married is that husbands and wives get to be a picture, an illustration of Christ and the church. Christ is the head, in charge, leading, protecting loving and giving Himself up for His bride, the Church. And as Paul says in Ephesians 5:24: ‘therefore as the church is subject unto Christ so let the wives be to their husbands in every thing’. I can’t wait to get married, because I can’t wait to live out Christ’s relationship with the church. This is our privilege.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Mark Driscoll's was amazing. I can't really get over his passion and joyful humility. His topic was 'How sharp the edge? Christ, controversy and cutting words' Feed the sheep, rebuke the swine, shoot the wolves, bark at the dogs and pray for the shepards.
I also listened to Bob Kauflin on 'Words of wonder: what happens when we sing'. I was really challenged and encouraged by this...and especially enjoyed the signing!
Well our journey though Titus has already had us look at the qualifications for the Elder of the church, and older generation of men in the church. We’ve seen that those qualifications, those standards are high. We’ve seen that Paul wants Titus to build a stable church around holy people. We’ve seen, by implication that for any church to be prosperous in the Lord it needs men who are like this. Tonight, in verses 3-5, Paul turns his attention to the older women in the church, to detail what he expects from them, and what the church needs to look for in them.
As ever, the Word of God is central here. We see in verse one that this character is to be produced by the teaching of sound doctrine, and we see at the end of this passage that the reputation of the Word is why our conduct is so important to Paul. It’s inevitable that anyone who preaches on the subject of Biblical womanhood is going to say some things that are considered out of date and unpopular. But that doesn’t bother me at all, I’d far prefer to hold to Biblical values that modern ones.
We see in verse three that there are four qualities that Paul expects from the older women in Titus’s church, the first of which is described as ‘in behavior as becometh holiness.’ The older women in the church are to promote holiness by their living, actions and speech in the church. They are to be a great example to those who look up to them. They are to be women whom the younger members of the church can look up to. The word described here as ‘becometh holiness’ is only used this one time in the New testament, and has the root meaning of being priest like. Here is clearly describes the quality of holiness in all of life, a holiness that means others want to draw nearer to God as they view the older woman.
As a result of their holy way of life, the older women are expected to not be false accusers. To not be slanderers. Not to spread gossip that spreads and destroys like wildfire. If the older, holier, more revered members of the church are behaving like this, what chance to the younger members have? The older women in the church are not to be slanderers, but, if they really are in behavior as becometh holiness, they will love truth, and want to speak it into all situations. One of the most common titles scripture gives to Satan is ‘the accuser’. The message here from Paul is clear. False accusations and slander are demonic and have no place ion the life of the church, certainly not from the older members of the body. When we have problems with each other we are to follow Matthew 18, not the world. It should strike us as to how serious our false accusations are when they can get us put in the same class as the Devil himself.
Finally women are not to be given to much wine, that is, they are not to drink and put alcohol in the place of Christ for comfort and release.
They are also to teach good things. This is the final quality that is mentioned by Paul for the older lady in the church, and the first positive one. The older women are to teach good things. They are to be able to teach what is noble and right. They must be able to teach, either with words, or by example. The older women, having fulfilled the responsibility of teaching their children in the way of the Lord, now have the opportunity to teach the younger women in the church to be the same way. We see from this that the high standards set for the women of the church are not just ends in themselves, but they have a reason behind them. The older women of the church are given a great responsibility here to hand over the baton of their love and experience to the next generation. Whether this is in a formal teaching setting, like we might do in the Bible study or a Sunday School class, or whether in a more informal setting the text isn’t clear, but the point is. While scripture is clear that women can not teach men, it is equally clear that older women have a responsibility to teach younger women, and younger women have a responsibly to listen.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Get involved in a local church
The church is the hope of the world, the church is where you’ll meet God’s people, learn from His Word and reach out to those in the community around you. It’s easy to hide in a student bubble for three years…but this is where you’ll be spending the majority of your next three years, go get stuck in! Join a cell group, serve on a Sunday morning, be generous in your giving.
Find your Christian Union
CUs are student lead mission teams there to reach out the students on campus. They are supported by staff to support and envision you about doing on campus mission. They are a great place to get equipped and strengthened to live and speak for Jesus on Campus
Don’t hide in a Christian ghetto
As important and true as the above are, you won’t meet many non Christians at church or CU. So make sure you make the time to spend with them. Get to know the guys on your corridor, you’ll be living with them for a year and they’re the most likely people you’ll be living with in your second and third year as well. Get involved in a club or society. Be a Christian in all areas of your life.
God is glorified by excellence amongst His people. So do your degree to the glory of God. It’s sometimes easy as a student (perhaps especially at Reading!) to end up seeing your degree as just something you do in your spare time. But don’t less this happen. Your degree is primarily why you’re here, so do it well and do it for God. Get to know people on the same course as you.
Eat well, sleep well
This will help you to study and live more effectively. Your body belongs to God, treat it well. The next few weeks could be the busiest and most emotionally exhausting of your life, so rest well, eat well and live with a clear head.
Think about 2012
It’s easy as a student to think in one year blocks…the world doesn’t work this, so think about what you’ll do when you finish. Makes God’ will and being settled in a good church paramount in your thoughts, don’t spend your life chasing a bigger paycheck, spend it pursuing the glory of Christ.