Archive for March, 2012

Here’s something I did for a school assembly 7 years ago.  I’ve been wheeling it out as an all-age sermon / kids teaching  ever since.  It’s a game and a song that teaches the Garden of Gethsemane.  Feel free to rip it off – that’s why I’m posting it :)


Drink up, Drink up, the poisoned cup!
Drink up, Drink up, the poisoned cup!
It’s full of gunk and it’s full of junk,
But without doubt, it must be drunk!

My Lord, my God, what will you do,
My Lord, my God, you jumped in the queue.
Jesus, Man! how can it be,
That you my God, drank the cup for me!?

Now I know, now I’m sure,
You love me so much, you couldn’t love me more.
You took the pain, so I could gain
Eternal life, forever more!


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This time I’m ripping off Steve Levy.  But I can’t do it like he does it.


Audio  Video  Text  Powerpoint


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Here’s my first talk from Ask Eastbourne.

I ripped off stuff from Vaughan Roberts, Lee McMunn, Mike Reeves,  CS Lewis and probably others too!



Audio  Video  Text  Powerpoint



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Happy Friday

Following the exciting news of an Anchorman sequel…

Coupla swear words at 5 mins

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I’m always coming across it.  Do you ever hear this kind of statement?

— It’s important to be Christ-centred, but let’s not forget about God.

Now this could mean one of a number of things.

It could mean “I need to hear about the Father and His Spirit of Adoption”

Or it could mean “We need to give equal prominence to the one god of philosophy.”

In either case, the answer is to give the person more Jesus!  The first person needs to know the Father and the Spirit in Christ (and in Christ alone) and the second person needs to replace their theological method with Christ (and with Christ alone).

Because if someone says “We need to focus less on Jesus and give more time to “God” or “the Father” or “the Spirit”… where does that leave the mediation of Christ ?  Do we really believe in Christ as Mediator?

Or do we think it’s about balancing our respect for the Persons?  As though ‘being trinitarian’ means standing before a loose association of deities and ensuring equal devotion.  That sounds more like speed-dating at the Pantheon.  Do we really imagine ourselves to be outside the Three, making sure we spend equal time at the feet of Each?  Have we forgotten that we are in the Son?  And nowhere else!  Have we forgotten that the Father and the Spirit are in the Son?  And nowhere else!

Or is that only an incidental point?  Is that only half true?  Or only sometimes true?  Because if it’s just true – true true – then there’s no way to be Patro-centric or Pneuma-centric except by being resolutely Christo-centric.

I know the Father as ‘Him Who makes the Son Son.’  I know the Spirit as ‘Him Who makes the Christ, Christ.’  And I don’t know them otherwise.

But a theologian making a plea for equal time for the Persons… once they turn their gaze from the Son, how exactly are they going to view the Father?  They’re not.  So this one to whom they turn when they look away from Jesus, who is that guy?

And what’s he doing?  Clearly he hasn’t committed all things into his Son’s hands.  He’s got a venture or two on the side that requires supplemental enquiries!

And where do they imagine themselves to be as they circulate around the trinity?  Do they think of themselves as a fourth individual at the heart of the Holy Huddle.  Well the Shack might put me there and some Christian art might put me there, and that might be an improvement on unitarianism. But that’s not really where I am.  I’m IN Jesus participating in His Sonship and Anointing.  This is my only access to the life of the trinity.  Jesus is not just One of the Three, He is The Way.

I don’t have a relationship with the Father and the Spirit except the relationship that Christ has with them.  I know the trinity not from some objective fourth perspective, but only from Christ’s perspective.  Only in Him, and all that He is and does for me, do I know His Father and Spirit.

So, absolutely, don’t forget the Father or Spirit.  Get to know the Persons in all their distinct glory and grace. But they are not outside of the Christ, the Son of God. And neither are you!

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There’s Q&A at the end that includes the excellent questions:

“Why does Paul call us sons but also slaves?”,
“Is there any place for self-offering to God?”,
“You dislike the “Omnibeing”, do you mean to say that Jesus is not all-powerful, all knowing, etc?”





RECAP:  The Trinity is not a maths problem, it’s the good news that God is love

The Trinity is the THREE-UNITY of God – God is Three Persons United in Love


How is God Three? –  Eternally distinct Persons.


How is God One?  (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Eternally united in love.  “Perichoresis” – the round dance of the Three


Use of “one” in the Bible:  Genesis 2:24; 11:6; 34:16; Exodus 24:3; 26:6; Deuteronomy 6:4; Joshua 9:2; 10:42; 2 Samuel 2:25; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 30:12; Ezra 6:24; John 17:11,20-21

God is one the way a married couple or a united church is one.


When Trinity Goes Wrong  (Heresies)…

Arianism:  Jesus is not as God as God is God!  (JWs)

Modalism: There’s one Person wearing 3 masks (Oneness Pentecostalism)

Tritheism: There are three Gods doings their own thing.  (Mormons)

Fourth Thing: Having a “God” beneath or beyond the Persons.  (Shamrock)


Our biggest problem:

We try to reconcile the omnibeing with the Trinity.

We need to replace the omnibeing with the Trinity.


The Roles of the Persons

2 Corinthians 13:14
Isaiah 11:1-5; Is 42:1-4; Is 48:12-16; Is 61:1-3


The Father is the Loving Sender / Initiator

John 3:16, 35; 1 John 4:8-9


The Son is the Beloved and Obedient Sent-One / Executor

Psalm 40:7-8: John 5:30


The Spirit is the Personal Empowerer / Perfector / Applier

Acts 10:38; Romans 8:14-16

All things are FROM the Father, THROUGH the Son, BY THE POWER OF the Spirit.


What does it mean that the Son is “eternally begotten”?

By the Spirit and through the Son, God is eternally outgoing

Life-giving, Communicating, Shining, Loving


Richard Sibbes: “God’s goodness is a communicative, spreading goodness. . . . If God had not a communicative, spreading goodness, he would never have created the world.  The Father, Son and Holy Ghost were happy in themselves and enjoyed one another before the world was.  But that God delights to communicate and spread his goodness, there had never been a creation nor a redemption.  God useth his creatures not for defect of power, that he can do nothing without them, but for the spreading of his goodness.”


If God is eternally outgoing, what is “godliness”, “faith”, “sin”, the Christian life?

“The Christian lives far above themselves in Christ through faith and far beneath themselves in their neighbour through love.”  (Martin Luther)

“God does not need our good works, our neighbour does.”  (Martin Luther)

Philippians 2:1-18
:  An outgoing God makes for an outgoing people

CONCLUSION:  Look again to Christ.  Be filled by His Spirit.  Know the Life-Giving Father.  And overflow to the world.  This is our participation in the divine nature!


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We’re in the middle of Ask Eastbourne at the moment – please be praying that folks keep coming and trust in Jesus.

Here’s a section of tonight’s talk I’ll have to leave on the cutting room floor.  I’m speaking about “What happens when we die?”

With Jesus we have the only gracious Judge the world has ever conceived.  I want to be very clear here: There is only ONE gracious Judge and His name is Jesus.

That’s a bold statement I know, but I thought I’d put it to the test by considering the top 5 spiritual beliefs in the world.  Let’s compare what they believe about judgement.

Christianity is number one, let’s look at the number 2 belief in the world: Islam.

Who is the Judge?  Allah.  Now Allah continually calls himself the compassionate and merciful.  But even Mohammed was utterly terrified by the prospect of judgement day.  He had no confidence that he would fare well on the last day.  Allah told him he would inherit paradise but, in the Quran Allah is known as the Best of Deceivers (Sura 3:54).  And Mohammed knew that he couldn’t trust Allah to save him.  His promise might be a deception.  So Mohammed did not trust Allah to save him.  And the Quran forbids you to trust him for that day (Sura 7:99)

Interestingly, the next in line after Mohammed was a man called Abu Bakr – the first Caliph in Islam.  When someone tried to encourage Abu Bakr that he would probably do alright on judgement day Abu Bakr said:

By Allah! I would not rest assured and feel safe from the deception of Allah, even if I had one foot in paradise.’”

No Muslim can presume to know how they will fare with Allah on judgement day.  And the very greatest Muslims were terrified of coming before that judge.

Let’s consider the third most popular belief in the world: No religion.  Now if you don’t believe in God, you have not escaped judgement have you?  You are still at the mercy of bigger forces than you, aren’t you?  You will be judged by decay and death.  And you will get absolutely no mercy from death.  No-one has ever avoided that judgement.  Death is, perhaps, the least merciful judge of all.  And it’s certainly the least hopeful.

What about the number 4 belief in the world: Hinduism.  Here your fate in the afterlife is determined by your Karma.  If you do good, you’ll accumulate good karma, maybe you’ll get reincarnated as a priest.  If you do bad, you get bad karma, you’ll get reincarnated as a donkey or something.  But it’s all down to you.  There is no mercy whatsoever.  It’s all about earning.

The number 5 belief in the world is Buddhism.  The Buddha started life as a Hindu, but he didn’t like the idea of continually being reincarnated.  So his hope for the future is “Nirvana” when you finally get off the merry-go-round of re-incarnation.  Then your soul is “blown out” like a candle.  That’s what Nirvana means – it means being blown out.  So Buddhism again teaches that your after-life is down to your karma – down to your performance.  And the ultimate hope is non-existence.

So have a look at the beliefs in the world and know that, apart from Jesus, there is NO MERCY from the Judge and NO CERTAIN HOPE for the outcome.

But with Jesus…

Here’s what the Judge of the world has done, according to the Bible.  Jesus is the judge who has stepped down off the judgement bench.  He’s put Himself into our shoes. He’s taken our side completely – we who are in the dock.  He has stood with us.  And then on the cross He stands for us.  On the cross He takes HELL on Himself.  He takes our Hell, to give us heaven.  And He does it so He can offer anyone and everyone eternal life.

This is the Judge in Christianity.  A Judge who is judged.  A Judge who pays the price for our sins and offers us free forgiveness.  What a Judge!  You will not find any other Judge like this Judge.  In religion, in atheism, in all the world – you won’t find a Judge like Jesus.  Run to Jesus.  He gives you immeasurable mercy and a certain hope for the future.

When you hear that Jesus judges the world – don’t hear that as bad news.  It’s GREAT news.  Jesus judges the world!  We should rejoice to know that Jesus is Judge.  He’s the Judge we want.


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