Posts Tagged ‘recommendations’

Come to Sunny Eastbourne for the first May Bank Holiday.  Bring your whole church and enjoy teaching from Stephen Gaukroger, Andy Hawthorne, Alec Motyer, Rico Tice and many more.

The long weekend is themed around “Christ in All Scripture”, there’ll be great talks, seminars and a brilliant kids work (school-age kids = £12, pre-school kids just £6!).

I’ll be there too.  Come and say hello.

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I’m half way through Mike Reeves new book “The Good God“.

It is…. drum roll… sensational!  It’s life shaping for the reader, and I hope career shaping for Mike.  Let’s pray that Christ-centred trinitarian theology becomes more than a curiosity or a passing fad, but the very atmosphere of our lives, our theology, our ministry.

Below I’ll list some favourite little quotes in my reading so far.  But really I could have picked a hundred others.  And I’m aware that piecemeal nuggets won’t convey the real strength of the book.  Essentially “The Good God” is a luxurious soak in the loving life of Father, Son and Spirit.  It’s mind-stretching, vision-lifting, paradigm shifting and all the things that a radical trinitarian theology should be.  But the greatest strength of the book is simply this: Mike loves God.  Hugely, tangibly, contagiously – he revels in the Spirit’s knowledge of our generous Father in the face of Christ.  And as you read, you cannot fail to love Him more yourself.  I can’t think of a better reason to read a book!

So pre-order your copy here!

“We must confess Father and Son before we can apprehend God as one and true” Hilary

“When you start with the Jesus of the Bible, it is a triune God that you get”

“For eternity the Father has been fruitful, potent, vitalizing.”

“The God who loves to have an outgoing Image of himself in his Son loves to have many images of his love (who are themselves outgoing).”

“The triune God is an ecstatic God: he is not a God who hoards his life but one who gives it away, as he would show… at the cross.”

“God’s pleasure is in diffusing and communicating to the creature rather than in receiving from the creature” J. Edwards

“The world must learn that I love the Father” John 14 means that the world learns from the Son how to be a counterpart to the Father [my summary].

“Absolutely singular supreme beings do not like creation”

“The very nature of the triune God is to be effusive, ebullient and bountiful; the Father…finds his very self in pouring out his love”

“To be coherent and meaningful, maths requires the existence of ultimate plurality in unity.”

“Through the cross we see a God who delights to give himself.”

“To be the child of some rich king would be nice; but to be the beloved of the emporer of the universe is beyond words.”

“Our God does not give us some thing that is other than himself, or merely tell us about himself; he actually gives us himself.”

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Dan Hames has written a lovely little intro to the Trinity at his new blog High Over All.  Check out one of his concluding paragraphs:

Our God is for us.  He puts his eternal life on show for us in history and in our relationship with him.  He doesn’t hide his ‘real’ self, and show us a different version.  It’s not as though the Trinity has a public face which is shown in the Bible and looks all gracious and self-sacrificing, while when they get home from work at 5.30, there’s a ‘real’ Trinity that is finally unleashed: lording it over each other, self-serving, and obsessed with power and glory and the worship of all lowly creatures.  The only revelation of God we have been given is this Trinity-in-action, other-centred, full of overflowing love and delight in one another, in us, in creation.  This is a lovely and lovable God that we know through Christ.

Read the whole thing… 

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Dan Hames has a new blog.  Subscribe now and stay tuned for gospel goodness like this:

Jesus is the Father’s one and only Son, the one for whom the world was made, the one on whom the Father’s love has delighted to rest from all eternity.  The Son is so much the focus of the Father’s love and attention that, even in loving you and I, the Father chooses to love us as we are in Jesus.  Nobody who has ever lived has experienced such an outpouring of divine love; the Son is the most beloved person in the entire universe.

Yet, wonderfully, since we find ourselves united to Christ, the Father loves us in him.  We share in the Son’s unique position as the only Beloved, the Father’s joy, and the Heir of all things.  We are blessed beyond measure in him, and it is all because of his generosity and grace in coming out in love  to rescue us.  Jesus took flesh, lived, died, rose, and ascended as one of us that we might become like him in the affections of the Father.  And so to us now as well, the Son is the Beloved.  The glory and kindness of Jesus stir our hearts, and cause us to love and adore him as our Saviour and Lord.

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Identity is a new evangelistic course based in John’s Gospel.  It’s by Lee McMunn of St John’s, Newlands in Hull.  I’ve seen the DVDs and they’re terrific.

Each week there is a little Bible study, a talk from Lee on the issue of the day and then a “Big Question” which Lee tackles towards the end of the evening.  The titles for the weeks are:

WEEK 1: The God who created us
WEEK 2: The God who wants to rescue us
WEEK 3: The God we were made for
WEEK 4: The God who wants to comfort us
WEEK 5: The God who loves relationships
WEEK 6: The God who died for us
WEEK 7 The God who wants to persuade us

The Big Questions are:

WEEK 1: Are science and Christianity enemies or friends?
WEEK 2: What about other religions?
WEEK 3: Where can I find lasting pleasure?
WEEK 4: Why do we suffer?
WEEK 5: Do I need to go to church to be a Christian?
WEEK 6: Does God care about justice?
WEEK 7: Do I need to see in order to believe?

Lee teaches with great assurance and winsomeness.  He is a master of illustrations (some of which I’ve stolen already) and both his main talks and his “Big Questions” sessions are marked by a real clarity and simplicity of expression.

I love the idea of a course based in John (after all, it is the Gospel that tells you “I am an evangelistic tract!!“).  Therefore Lee follows the Apostle in putting the Trinity front and centre in his evangelism.  As the course develops, John’s themes come through – particularly regarding “Life to the full” and the relational life of the Christian (both vertically and horizontally).  This is a real plus.

There is also a simplicity to the course, with the Bible studies and talks following a logical flow through John’s Gospel.  And, barring the final “Big Question” (which feels like it should come earlier in the course), the apologetic issues addressed each week tie in well with the teaching.

The strength of the course comes in it’s Johannine flavour and, for what it’s worth, I think there is still room for that to be developed.  John’s “faith” language was more often unpacked as “following Jesus”, “putting Jesus in charge”, “committing yourself to Jesus” rather than receiving the gift of the Son.  Similarly, sin was often spoken of as “rebellion” which is extremely common in modern evangelism but much less common in John.

But all in all it’s a well written and well produced resource that I hope will introduce thousands to Jesus.

Order the DVD and Guide Books from 10ofthose.  And visit the website here.



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Every year Steve Levy’s congregation ask him to preach his hell sermon.  They invite their friends and people become Christians.  It’s phenomenal preaching and if you ask me it’s exactly the way to speak of judgement.

Hell is already on us.  We experience it (John 3:18,36; Romans 1:18).  We see the “trailers” for the main feature and everything screams at us “You do not want to go there!”  Jesus does not come into the world to save some and damn others.  He comes into a condemned world only to save.  We are not at a cross-roads with heaven or hell in the power of our choosing.  Hell is on us.  Our only response is to turn to the Saviour.

Download here.

Also check out the rest of the Mount Pleasant sermons.  Wonderful stuff – including some recent Blackham sermons too.

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Do you like your preaching declarative, doctrinal and devotional?  You’ll love Luke Ijaz:

I will not leave you as orphans

Ascension Sunday

More here.

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Some talks

Mike Reeves on Just Jesus – three talks on the incomparability of Christ.  His self-giving sets Him apart!

Rich Owen on Colossians 1:3-14 – “We need Jesus more today than we did yesterday”.  Amen!

And I’ve just spotted Rich’s Colossians 1:15-23 sermon.  Haven’t listened to it yet. But very much looking forward to it.

UPDATE: See also Michael Luerhmann’s sermon on Colossians 1:1-2  (ht Dave K).

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From Ben Myers’ sermon here:

When we talk about God, when we write books and attend lectures, and read discussions about this question, “Does God exist”—as Christians when we talk about God we’re not talking about some kind of intellectual hypothesis. We’re not talking about a speculative idea that may or may not have certain arguments for or against it. We’re not talking about a psychological technique for coping with the difficulties of our lives. And when we talk about God, we’re certainly not talking about a supreme being that is so infinitely remote and distant from our world that all we can do is kind of look through our little theological telescopes and try to make a few connections.

As Christians—as followers of the Lord Jesus—when we talk about God, we are talking about one who has entered into the very fabric of our world, who has come as close to us as we are to ourselves, a God who has become incarnate. When we talk about God, ultimately, we are always talking about Jesus. For the God of the gospel is the God who has come among us in Jesus of Nazareth.  We believe in God because of Jesus.

Jesus is the one who showed us the face of God—Jesus shows us the truth of God, Jesus shows us the love of God.  Jesus is God’s smile beaming at us out of the depths of eternity.  Jesus is God’s love wrapping around us, seizing us and not letting us go.  Jesus is God’s grace, reaching into the darkest and most shameful dimensions of our experience.  Jesus is God’s healing, binding up the wounded.  Jesus is God’s goodness, in a world full of chaos and disaster and catastrophe.  Jesus is God’s great strength for the weak.  Jesus is water for the thirsty, and when you drink that water you will never thirst again.  Jesus is bread for all those who are starved and hungry, famished for something good and something true.  Jesus shows us God.  He is not God’s explanation, he is not God’s argument, he is not God’s debate.  He is God’s simple, great, loving act, showing us, Here I am, here you are.  In Jesus, God shows us God.  That I believe, is the whole secret of the Christian faith.

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A heart-warming video interview on the love of Christ by Dave Bish.  Go watch now!

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Here are all 12 of Mike Reeves’ “Great Theologians” – from the 2nd century to the 19th.

Lots of great sermons from Mockingbird – Anglican-y, Lutheran-y, pastorally sensitive, engaging with culture, what’s not to like.

Stunning sermon (text) by Jason Goroncy on Matthew 15.

Jeremiah 39 and Jude 1 (now updated) by Rich Owen.

2 Corinthians 4 by Dev Menon.

And don’t forget Paul Blackham’s Jesus talks here.

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Christ Alone: Luke 10 by Rich Owen

Trinity and Polyphony by Doug Jones

Psalm 22 by Steve Levy

Revelation 2 by Paul Mallard

Psalm 66 by Paul Mallard


Rich and Steve’s sermons are some of my very favourites of this year.


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I’d downloaded Dev’s sermon on addiction last week, but I finally listened to it last night.  Wonderful!

The church of God is not a gathering of the self-righteous, but the gathering of the broken well diggers around the Fountain of Life-Giving Waters. We are a community of grace, where mistakes are understood for what they are, because we are addicts too, addicts in rehabilitation. Together we fight the battle to stand firm in the grace of Jesus Christ, in the love of God, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit – together we fight the battle against unbelief. We use every resource God has given us to proclaim the desirability, the beauty of Jesus to one another – that we may see Him, believe in Him and remain in the Light.

Read (or listen to) the whole thing.

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A Sermon by Gerhard Forde
from the blog “Cross Alone”
(ht OldAdam)

On Death to Self
Matt. 17=22-27 and 26:47-56

We speak a good deal during Lent about that supreme mystery of our faith, the death to self. For, as we have heard, he who would save his life shall lose it, and he who loses his life for Jesus’ sake shall find it. But what does that really mean -to die to self? Does it mean, perhaps. selling my car and going on foot or by bus? It might. We can’t rule out the possibility. Does it mean, perhaps, selling my good clothes and furniture so that my wife and I should sit around in rags on orange crates? It might. Certainly we can’t dismiss that possibility either. For the problem is that t!nless words like “dying to self” are translated into some kind of action, or something that actually happens -that is, some real change -they don’t have any real meaning. So we certainly must try, eventually, to translate them into the language of action.

But before we get too hasty and impatient there are some things at which we should take a hard look. The first is that we have a rather incurable tendency always to refuse to really listen to the words of God and instead to translate them immediately into something we are going to do, indeed, can do. This is what we always do with the law. We take it and translate it into a do-it-yourself kit for salvation. It is as though we think we are going to do God a big favor by living up to what is demanded of us and even, possibly, put him out of the salvation business byaccomplishing all or at least some ofitourselves-evenifthatturns out to be just a teeny-weeny little bit. But when we do that we really come a-cropper when we come to this word about dying to self. For what can that possibly mean in a do-it-yourself religion? Here God has set a snare for us in our easy confidence that we are big enough to handle the job. For this is a word that we find difficult to handle. We find ourselves forced either to ignore it -which we mostly do -or to try to cut it down to size so we can handle it -maybe by selling our car or our furniture or our clothes. But even then we can’t rest too easily with it, for we are never quite sure that that is enough. For however much discomfort such actions may cause us, is that really dying to self? They may be just another means of keeping myself in the business of doing God big -or little -favors, and thus ofprotecting myself from really hearing the words. The trouble is that the self keeps getting in the way.

But what then does it really mean? When considering this question, I was struck by some of the incidents recorded in our texts for today. For here we have the picture of Jesus on the way to his death. His disciples are with him, and are apparently figuring that they are going to have a hand in what is about to happen. They want to go along. They want to help out, to do their bit in the business of bringing in God’s kingdom, even, as Peter says in Mark’s account, if that means sacrificing their lives. But the really difficult thing for them to take, as I suspect it also is for us as “religious” people, is that in the final analysis there is absolutely and utterly nothing they can do. When Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem, Peter wants to do something about it. He sets himself in the way and says, “God forbid, Lord! Don’t do it! Don’t go!” Peter wants to do God a favor – to protect and preserve the Messiah and his kingdom. But Jesus looks at him and says, “Get thee behind me Satan! For you are hindrance to me, you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Mark 8:33)’ This, Jesus says, is something that must happen; it is going to happen because God wants it, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

And at the betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane when the crowd comes out against Jesus with swords and clubs, they still want to do something. They still want to do their bit for God. They want to take up the sword and risk their lives, perhaps, and fight. One of them grasps a sword and cuts off the ear of one of the assailants. But Jesus will have none ofit: “Put up your sword,” he says, “for there is absolutely nothing you can do!” In Luke’s account, Jesus even stretches out his hand to undo what the disciples had tried to do -he heals the wounded man. At that point, no doubt, everything within us cries out in protest along with the disciples. Is there nothing we can do? Could we not at least perhaps stage a protest march on God’s behalf? Could we not seek, perhaps, an interview with Pilate? Could we not try to influence the “power structures”? Something -however small? But the unrelenting answer comes back, “No, there is nothing you can do, absolutely nothing. If there were something to be done, my Father would send legions of angels to fight!” But there is nothing to be done. “For how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” And when it finally came to that last and bitter moment, when these good religious men finally realized that there was nothing they could do, they forsook him and fled.

Can you see it? Can you see that hidden in these very words, these very events, is that death itself which you fear so much coming to meet you? For there is nothing that the old man -the self which must die fears so much as having everythinB taken out ofhis hands. When they finally saw there was nothing they could do they forsook him and fled before the awesome truth. You, who presume to do business with God, canyou see it? Canyou see that this death of self is not, in the final analysis, something you can do? For the point is that God has once and for all reserved for himself the business ofyour salvation. There is nothing you can do now but, as the words of the old hymn have it, “climb Calvary’s mournful mountain” and stand with your helpless arms at your side and tremble before “that miracle oftime, God’s own sacrifice complete! It is finished; hear him cry; learn ofJesus Christ to die!”

Can you see it? Can you see that really the last, bitter death is there? That in that cross God has stormed the last bastion of the self, the last presumption that you really were going to do something for him? Can you see that the death of Jesus Christ is your death? He has died inyour place! He has done it. He made it. He created a salvation in the midst of time and his enemies. He is God happening to you. It is all over, finished, between you and God! He died in your place that death which you must die; he has done it insuchaway as to save you. He has borne the whole thing! The fact that there is nothing left for you to do is the death of self and new birth of the new creature. He died to make a new creature of you, and as he arose, to raise you up to trust God alone.

If you can see it, perhaps then you can see, or perhaps at least begin to see, what is the power of God’s grace and rejoice. For that is the other side of the coin once you have gotten out of your self-enclosed system. Then perhaps you can turn away from yourself, maybe really for the first time, and look upon your neighbors. Maybe for the first time you can begin to receive creation as a gift, a sheer gift from God’s hands. And who knows what might happen in the power ofthis grace? All possibilities are open. You might sell your car, or even give it away -for someone else. You might find even that you could swallow your pride and stage a protest march -for your neighbor -or begin to seek to influence the power structures! For in the power of his cross the way is open! The way is open to begin, at least, perhaps in faltering ways, in ~ountless little ways, to realize what it means to die to self. For that, in the final analysis, is his gift to you, the free gift ofthe new man, the new woman, the one who can live in faith and hope, for whom all possibilities are open!

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Of course you do.

Check out the in-creh-di-bull Steeeve Leeevy at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

Perhaps begin with Revelation 5.


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…unfortunately, that’s how some people view and use the Old Testament. They see Christ emerge from the picture at the end of Old Testament history (and that’s good), but they do not see him in all the little pictures. …For example, some see all the Old Testament priests as pointing forwards to Christ’s priestly work; and they do that. Some see all the Old Testament kings as pointing forwards to Christ as King of all kings; and He is that. But is Christ only seen at the end of these long lines of priests and kings? Does He only emerge from the picture when we look back with New Testament eyes? Sometimes that’s the impression that’s given. But where does that leave Old Testament believers? Did they simply put their trust in Moses’ sacrifices, Aaron’s priesthood, and David’s monarchy? No! By faith they saw the coming Messiah pictured in the Mosaic sacrifices, Aaron’s priesthood, and David’s kingdom. They saw Christ in the small pictures. True, they only saw Him in shadow form; but shadow implies at least some light, doesn’t it!

From David Murray

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Mount Pleasant Baptist Church have made available the mp3s from their latest Doctrine Day.  Praise Jesus!

Part 1 – David Meredith

Part 2 – Paul Blackham

Part 3 – David Meredith

Part 4 – Paul Blackham

Well worth a listen.


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This Saturday – 11th June 2011
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Swansea
from 10am -3.30pm
What the Bible says about Heaven & Hell

Talks from Paul Blackham and David Meredith

Cost £10 (£3 for members)

Crèche facilities and a lovely lunch will be provided

More info here.

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