Archive for the ‘recommendations’ Category

The guys at Together for Adoption have just launched a new initiative called Live in the Story. Already there are some great resources on the website and that will build over time.

They asked me to voice the introductory video, I think, because reedy nasal whining is very now. So in this video I attempt the word “Mommy” and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. Both were bold undertakings. I found “mommy” harder.

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Union with Christ is “everywhere in Paul’s letters but almost nowhere in our churches.” Rory Shiner wants to fix that and “One Forever” is a terrific tool for the job.

In 77 – count em – 77 pages of crystal clear, garden fresh prose Shiner takes us from creation to new creation, demonstrating the centrality of union with Christ.

The material began life as a series of talks to students (see here **) and that origin shows in its relaxed tone and lively humour. He manages to quote from (among others)  Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Karl Barth and John Owen while maintaining a light touch and a simplicity of delivery.

The chapters are as follows:

1. Glory be to God for dappled things: creation
2. Into the far country: incarnation
3. In Christ you are a new creation: salvation
4. Before the throne of God above: justification
5. In which we face some playground bullies: union and sin
6. United to the body of Christ: church
7. Union with Christ, resurrection and the end of the world

Time and again Shiner returns to an illustration I’ll be nicking forthwith – the airplane. See here:

At various points the plane illustration helps him explain salvation, assurance and justification in such helpful ways.

Think about salvation… when you’re in – what happens to the plane, happens to you.
Think about assurance… if you’re in the plane it doesn’t matter how full of confidence or doubts you are, you’re gonna get home.
Think about justification… we’re not interested in some legal fiction of imputed ‘air miles’ –  if you’re “in” you’ve actually arrived!

The book is rich and warm and my only criticism is it’s over far too quickly. Please can we have more of such books that grapple with the core of our faith in fresh and engaging ways!

10ofthose are doing a special deal on One Forever until Sunday night (thanks Jonathan!). Get it NOW for the special price of £4.49: CLICK HERE.


** I know what every cricket fan will say… yes he does bear a striking resemblance to Ricky Ponting. But try to get over that, ok? Let’s be grownups please.

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Heard Jim Cymbala at Crossing London yesterday.

I was very attracted to his humility and simplicity. In the morning he spoke powerfully from 1 Thessalonians on Church, the hope of the world. And how to grow it? 1. Preach the gospel. 2. Depend on the Spirit. 3. Love your people.


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Channing Nelson

Marcus (Channing) Nelson

Last week I heard Leon Sims’ pure nard on Church: where heaven meets earth.


This Sunday I went to St Andrew’s to hear the glory man Marcus (Channing) Nelson on Malachi 4.  An absolute corker on Christ’s return – DOWNLOAD HERE.

Woody Nichols

Steve (Woody) Nichols



Later that day, Steve (Woody) Nichols preached on Galatians 4: A choice of religions. DOWNLOAD HERE.

Highly recommended.

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Are you a minister?  Don’t mind being called Eccentric?  Can you cope with the company of Steve Levy?  And his brother Paul?  Would you like to hear from Paul Blackham, David Meredith and Pete Woodcock?  Could you find an hour’s worth of distraction while I do my zany-kids-TV-presenter-schtick?

Then do I have a conference for you!

Read Paul Levy’s take on it.  And contact Mount Pleasant for more details.

Come along – love to see you there.




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I received my copy in the post on Saturday and spent a very enjoyable half an hour pouring over Jason’s “graphic guide to the life of Jesus.”  The book takes you from the birth of Jesus through His encounters with the religious, the irreligious, sin, sickness, storms, Satan and death.  It finishes with an offer of Christ.

The best thing about the book is the towering, constant, kind presence of Jesus.  On every page He topples our oppressors and lifts up the bowed down.  There’s something about the boldness of a comic format that can uniquely portray the “heroic” to Jesus.  And when we turn to the cross – ah – glory!  Very moving indeed.

In the words of the publisher, here’s a book for “non-booky people of all ages… particularly teenagers and students. Faithful, fun and imaginative, it gives a fresh, innovative twist to the greatest story ever told. Great for giving away at evangelistic events or as a gift.”

Get it here!

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Paul Blackham’s Men’s Weekend Talks for City Evangelical Church, Leeds:
Beginning With Jesus

Talk 1

Talk 2

Talk 3

Talk 4

Talk 5


Mike Reeves:
The Difference Jesus makes…

To your view of God

To your self esteem

To your prayer

To the hard times


Ben Myers
John’s Gospel.

Go here and download the row of files second from bottom

1. The Word Made Flesh (John 1)
2. The Coming of the Light (John 9)
3. The Triumph of Life (John 11)
4. The Doorway to Eternity (John 17)
5. The Way of Discipleship (John 21)


A recent LTS conference:
The importance of Adam in the Bible, the Church and the World:

Introduction:  Garry Williams

Session 1: David Green: Adam in the Old Testament

Session 2: Lane Tipton: Adam in the New Testament

Session 3: Lane Tipton: Adam and Christ in Systematic Theology

Session 4: Stephen Lloyd: Adam, Where art thou?’

Session 5: Garry Williams: Adam in the Covenant of Works

Session 6: Steve Jeffery: Original Sin: Unbiblical, Unjust and Unreasonable?

Session 7: Michael McClenahanPreaching Adam to Adam’s Race


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Seriously, why not!?

It’s not just her hubby, check out any of these reviews.

Mark Meynell

Anita Mathias

Ruth Field

Kath Cunningham

Admiral Creedy

Emily Paterson

 Matthew Currey

Not to mention the latest by Steve Jeffery.  It finishes like this:

A New Name is subtitled Grace and healing for anorexia. But it’s about far more than that. It’s for anyone who wants to know how broken people tick – regardless of exactly where the breakage is – and how, by God’s grace, they can be put back together again.

This book is not only for anorexics and dieticians, or even just for “counsellors.” It’s for anyone who cares about badly messed-up people and is willing to live through a tiny taste of the pain they experience in order to help them deal with problems far too big for them to handle alone. It’s for anyone who thinks they might not be a perfect friend or parent or sibling or Pastor, and who wants to avoid making some potentially life-wrecking mistakes (other people’s lives, as well as their own) before it’s too late.

I’ve read a few books on different “personal and pastoral issues” – depression and bulimia and bereavement and so on. Some of them have been pretty helpful. But none of them come close to this. Brutally honest, theologically acute and astonishingly insightful. Alternately heartrending and hilarious. And (for what it’s worth – though frankly it seems almost trivial to mention it) some of the most stylish prose I’ve read in years. Buy two copies, because by the time you’ve finished it you’ll have thought of at least one person who needs it, and yours will be so dog-eared and tear-stained that you’ll be embarrassed to let it be seen in public.

I can’t think of another book so consistently and lavishly praised as A New Name.  Get it!

Buy from IVPamazon.co.uk or amazon.com


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Dave Bish has a brilliant series of posts on Jesus in the Torah…

Jesus in Genesis

Jesus in Exodus

Jesus in Leviticus

Jesus in Numbers

Jesus in Deuteronomy


Here’s a taster of Genesis to whet your appetite…

In Genesis Jesus is….
1v1 There in the beginning before, being loved
1v3 The Word that the Father spoke, to shine into the world
1v5 The light overcoming darkness to bring morning
1v12 The true third day seed, bearing fruit according to his kind
1v16 The true light ruling over the day and the night
1v26 The true Image of God, after which humanity is made
1v28 The one who truly has dominion over all things, which will in the end be under his feet
2v1 At rest, with his Father and the Spirit, the rest we strive to enter
2v15 The true gardener
2v18 He who should never be alone, and yet would be for our sake
2v23 The true husband who will be wounded to take a wife to himself
2v25 The one in whom we will find freedom from all shame
3v6 He who was betrayed when the lies were believed
3v8 He who came walking in the garden seeking fellowship
3v14 He who spoke curse upon Adam’s race, but would bear it for us
3v15 The true seed of the woman who would be crushed for us
3v21 The true clothing for ashamed people
3v24 He who will be able to get past the cherubim and bring us back to the greater Eden
4v3 The true worshipper whose sacrifice is acceptable
4v10 The one whose blood speaks a better word than Abel
4v16 The better Cain, driven from the LORD not for his sin but for ours
4v17 The better Lamech who builds a true city
4v25 The better Seth, the true substitute for his brothers
4v26 The one upon whom Enosh and his generation called


Dave’s also embarked on an introduction to these five books too, so check back at thebluefish.org for more.


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Emma’s book is coming out this week.  It’s a phenomenal read.  Brilliantly written, brutally honest, incisive, touching and hopeful.  You’ll be hooked from the first sentence.

Emma has struggled with anorexia both as a teenager and as an adult. This book tells her story, but more than this, testifies to the grace of Jesus who met her in the darkness and brought her out.

This book is not just for sufferers and those who care for them – although it will be vitally helpful for them.  It’s a testimony to Jesus.  It’s a meditation on the gospel and how it addresses a deadly mental illness, so emblematic of our culture’s struggles with food, body, performance and identity.  It’s one of the most compelling and vivid accounts you’ll ever read of the lies that can enslave a person and how the truth sets them free.

In your families, in your congregations and among your friends, there are people struggling deeply with food issues, body issues, OCD, burn-out, anxiety disorders and depression, to name just a few.  The body of Christ with the word of Christ has medicine.  I don’t say “the solution” because “solution”-thinking is a hair’s-breadth away from the philosophy behind much of these issues.  But we do have gospel balm that the world knows nothing of.  Yet Christians are often too scared to get close to these issues.

Too often we palm “problem people” off to medical and psychiatric professionals, expecting them to fix it.  Medical and psychiatric help can often be crucial, but A) it’s by no means certain you’ll find such help – many of these services are incredibly over-stretched, and B) your friendship, prayers and words of grace are absolutely critical alongside professional help.

Emma and I have seen too many people struggling alone with deep problems because their churches have no idea how to help.  Christians feel out of their depth and too easily abdicate pastoral responsibilities to the world.

I hope Emma’s book makes people see, “Yes we are out of our depth here.  But that’s precisely where Jesus works – out of our depth.”  I pray it will equip God’s people to see that we have a gospel big enough to handle the biggest issues.  And that churches will start to be the places where these problems aren’t hidden or exacerbated, but addressed and healed.

Read commendations here.

Pre-order the book here.

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I stumbled across Don Fortner when I was preparing for my Isaiah talks.  I downloaded 20 random Isaiah sermons from sermonaudio.com.  19 of them ranged from the fairly helpful to the downright depressing.  Don Fortner’s was pure glory from the very beginning.

I’ve only heard a handful of sermons from him since then but already I’m struck by certain things in evidence:

He PREACHES.  He actually believes in heralding the gospel, and does so with the tone and passion to match.

He preaches CHRIST.  He actually believes that the whole Bible is understood only when it’s received as a proclamation of Christ.

He preaches Christ to the COMFORT OF SINNERS.  He’s very much a faith alone, grace alone guy.

Other things might irk you about his preaching, but if you get that from a preacher, you’re doing pretty well in this day and age!

Here’s a few I’ve heard already, looking forward to more on the iPod…

Discovering Christ in Isaiah

The Message of Holy Scripture

Ten Words of Comfort for God’s People (Exodus 3)

Christ is the End of the Law


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If you don’t know about my wife’s wonderful blog and ministry – check it out now.

Here’s the opening to her latest article for the Church of England newspaper:

If you’d met me seven years ago, here’s what you’d have seen:  a ‘successful’ Christian, newly married to a vicar in training. Leader of a thriving children’s ministry. A talented student with a bright future ahead. Someone who seemed to have it all together.

But there’s one part you might have missed: a young woman gripped by an eating disorder that would nearly take her life…

Read the whole article here

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After yesterday’s post I remembered this sparkling gem from Mike:

We are not saved by grace

John Bunyan believed that Christians are saved by grace. Of course. It was what everyone seemed to say. The thought left him pretty miserable, though. In fact, when he really thought about it, it left him profoundly depressed. God is gracious, he knew: but how gracious, exactly? And that made him wonder: ‘my peace would be in and out, sometimes twenty times a day; comfort now, and trouble presently’…

…For all that we speak of grace, and however strongly we speak of it, we will remain prisoners of spiritual insecurity for as long as we imagine that we are independent islands. And rightly so: all spiritual blessings are to be found in Christ alone. Just read Ephesians 1 for an avalanche of verses to prove that. There is no hint of salvation to be found anywhere else. God only ever blesses through Christ. He is the vine of God’s blessing. And the only way to be blessed is to be grafted into him.

It’s only short, read the whole thing.

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God is Good

“I’m afraid it’s going to be expensive,” said my car mechanic.

I started to smile, realising I was in the middle of a mini-miracle.  “How much?” I asked, knowing exactly what he’d say.  And he said it.  To the pound.  He said it exactly.

Read Emma’s post for more…


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Come and join RON FROSTPETER MEAD and myself as we speak about the triune God, His outgoing life of mission and the gracious proclamation of Christ.  It’s COR DEO, so you know it’s good.

Tell your friends!

Details here

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4 – 7 MAY

SAVE UP TO £10 ON A DAY TICKET for Bible by the Beach.



 Friday 4th May       £10

Saturday 5th May   £30

Sunday 6th May      £20

Monday 7th May     £20

Children Day Ticket £ 5


I’ll be there!  Come join me :)

All tickets can be booked online with The Good Book Company –www.thegoodbook.co.uk/biblebythebeach or by phoning  0333 123 0880.

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You’ll have noticed my blogging output aint what it was.

Part of the reason is my recent discovery (which you all made years ago): most of my blog posts are nothing more than tweets inflated by a hefty dose of soap-box rhetoric.

So, for those not subscribed, here are some rants limited to 140 characters…

– What’s the first thing Lazarus saw after rising from the dead? The tear-stained face of Jesus.

– Just seen Apprentice 1: Starting out calling your team “Phoenix” is a particularly supralapsarian move.

– I’m always hearing “Such and such a place is spot on theologically, they’re just quite unloving.” Nonsense. They Must be wrong theologically

– If u just preach hell as future threat u concede that hell aint essentially Christlessness & it aint that bad. #hellisnow #john318#rom118

– Christ’s work does not ‘make possible’ a relationship with God. If that were true all our work would be ahead of us…

– …Christ’s work renders all our work as filthy rags – including the work of ‘having a relationship with God.’…

– …Christ IS my relationship with God…

– …Which is why atonement debates over “Penal Sub” vs “Christus Victor” are inadequate. Deeper still is Christ’s *ontological* achievement

– … Or to put it another way: Christ aint just my slaughtered goat, nor just my scapegoat. He’s my high Priest. And He’s sat down!

– I want to write a book on Luther, from “Bondage of the Will” to his dying words. I’d call it “Choosers can’t be beggars.”

– Jesus is not calling you out of comfort into service. He’s called you from cocoons into real life.

– Maybe u thought you were sacrificing comfort in order to be godly. Actually Christ was removing your chains and giving you joy. Phil 3:1-11

– Why we don’t connect in conversation: we spend our time Proving ourselves, Protecting ourselves and Pleasing ourselves.

– Sick of ‘Jesus is Lord’ interpreted according to Caesar. Didn’t Jesus explicitly define His Lordship in opposition to the Gentiles? Mk10:42f

– If you think ‘I AM WHO I AM’ is about divine self-sufficiency, remember: It’s spoken by the LORD’s Sent One (Ex 3:2,14)

– For every use of ‘gospel’ as adjective I want 3 explanations of the noun & if u bang on abt gospel-centred by golly u’d better centre on it

– Ever noticed: James Cameron’s (& the popular) cosmology is the reverse of Bible’s: the Abyss is friendly, the heavens have malign ‘Aliens’


You can subscribe to my Tweets here.

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I’m speaking at this in a fortnight.  More importantly RON FROST and PETER MEAD are speaking at this in a fortnight!

It’s COR DEO, so you know it’s good.


Details here

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