Sunday, 19 April 2009

Digging in the Mound

"As sinners, we have a natural bent to turn away from the Creator to serve the creation. We turn away from hope in a Person to hope in systems, ideas, people or possessions. Real hope stares us in the face, but we do not see Him. Instead, we dig into the mound of human ideas to extract a tiny shard of insight. We tell ourselves that we have finally found the key, the thing that will make the difference. We act on the insight and embrace the delusion of lasting personal change. But before long, disappointment returns., The change was temporary and cosmetic, failing to penetrate the heart of the problem. So, we go back to the mound again, determined this time to dig in the right place. Eureka! We find another shard of insight, seemingly more profound than before. We take it home, study it, and put it into practice. But we always end up in the same place. The good news confronts us with the reality that heart-changing help will never be found in the mound. It will only be found in the Man, Christ Jesus."

Taken from 'Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands' - Tripp

God of Eternity (Psalm 93)

Before the world was shaped and formed,
You ruled in mighty power
Exalted over everything,
The universe is yours!

God of eternity,
Ruler of the skies,
Robed with majesty,
Your name be lifted high,
Author of history,
I kneel before your throne,
King of life to me,
Ill worship you alone.

The seas have lifted up their voice
Creation shouts your praise
Your holiness adorns your house,
You rule for endless days

Son of God

Son of God, you left your royal throne,
Where angel voices named you Lord of all
In Bethlehem's bleak stable you were born,
The King of Kings, a baby frail and small.

Son of God rejected by the world
Derided as a madman or a fraud
By those who should have bowed the knee before
The King of Kings, the Sovereign Lord of Lords

Son of God, impaled upon a cross,
In agony I see my Saviour bleed,
Your arms outstretched, ironic thorns your crown,
The King of Kings, your last breath breathed for me

Son of God, within a borrowed tomb,
The slaughtered Prince of Peace in silence lies,
But night could never hold the Morning Star,
The King of Kings, in victory you arise.

Son of God, in splendour you'll return,
Angelic voice cries 'Jesus, Lord of all!'
The skies aflame with Heaven's glorious praise,
The King of Kings, before your throne I'll fall.

Cross of Christ

Cross of Christ, towering over me,
Cross of pain, hung on your beams I see, the
God of love, dying to set me free.
Cross of Christ, triumphing over death,
Cross of pain, paradise for a thief, the
God of love, forgiveness his final breath.

Oh beautiful love
God dying for us
Grace, Grace beyond measure
I can't comprehend
Oh beautiful love

Cross of Christ, this is the price for sin,
Cross of pain, my punishment falls on him, the
God of love, dying so I can live.
Cross of Christ, all Satan's power destroyed,
Cross of pain, sinners are justified, the
God of love, in weakness glorified

Cross of Christ, chorus of heaven's song,
Cross of pain, splendour of heaven's Son,
God of love, glorious victory won.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Philemon 1:1-2

"Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon, our dear friend and fellow-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow-solder and to the church that meets in your home."

Paul uses 5 terms to describe the spiritual bond he has with other Christians:

1. Brother
  • This suggests a strong bond, a loving relationship of mutual care and concern,because they are of the same family - they have the same Father, whose perfect attributes the family try to exhibit.
2. Dear Friend

  • You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. Not only is Paul joined to them by obligation, he counts them as his friends. They have all that really matters in common.
3. Fellow-worker

  • He identifies a common goal in life, presumably here the spread of the gospel for the salvation of the nations.
4. Sister

  • Paul thinks of Christian women with purity, respect and love, as he would a physical sister.
5. Fellow-soldier

  • Paul acknowledges that they are united in a common cause, against a common enemy - not each other's secondary opinions, but against sin and Satan. They are different in many ways, but united in the promotion of loving worship of God across the globe.

So Paul is keen to emphasise the strength of the bonds he has with fellow believers, however different in character, temperament etc they may be; bonds established at the cross. My natural (sinful) tendency with other believers is to identify and accentuate differences, exploit weaknesses, build dividing walls. But Christ died to tear those walls down. Can I really afford to build them up again?

Monday, 13 April 2009

When He Came

The God of cosmic power and might
The King who dwelt in perfect light,
Exchanged angelic praise and awe,
For tiny frame and stable floor.
No regal wreath or carpet laid,
No royal train or motorcade,
Just beast and stench and trough and stain,
The King of Heaven when He came.

Though foxes dig and swallows nest,
He had no place to lay His head,
The Son of Man, in shabby robe,
Who shaped the stars and dressed the globe.
Would one brief glance reveal that He,
Gave life and breath to you and me?
The face of Yahweh: weathered, plain,
The King of Heaven when He came.

And as for followers, He chose
The low and unregarded. Those
The world considered too obtuse,
To be of any lasting use.
Not from universities
Not Sadducee or Pharisee,
He chose the weak and poor and lame,
The King of Heaven when He came.

A mocked-up court, a screaming mob,
The man on trial, the Son of God.
The only innocent on earth,
They hate Him; mock, abuse and curse.
The brilliant light of Heaven's Day,
Judged by those He came to save,
Condemned to die the traitors way,
The King of Heaven when He came

It brings me close to tears still,
As I consider Calvary's hill.
That God incarnate, Lord of all,
Should bear the guilt; should take the fall.
And as the nails go though his hands,
It is for me; for me He hangs,
He paid my price, He wore my shame,
The King of Heaven, when He came.

The slain Messiah, body cold,
The Promised One for silver sold.
And Satan laughed and Mary wept,
And Roman guard their vigil kept-
Had they forgotten what He'd said?
Could Life's creator long stay dead?
On Easter Day He rose again,
The King of heaven, when He came.

He's coming back one day; you'll see,
Though not in stable poverty.
With trumpet call and angel choir,
In glory bright and eyes like fire,
He'll bring the dawn of Heaven's Day,
And wipe all longing tears away.
When He appears this world is done,
The King of Heaven, when he comes.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


"There is a mindset in the prosperous West that we deserve pain-free, trouble-free existence. When life deals us the opposite, we have a right not only to blame somebody or some system and to feel sorry for ourselves, but also to donate most of our time to coping, so that we have no time or energy left over for serving others."

Taken from 'Roots of Endurance', by John Piper

New Identities

"The challenge for us is to let these new identities define us on Monday mornings. It's easy to sing about being a child of God or the bride of Christ on a Sunday. The challenge is to think of ourselves as children of God in the classroom on a Monday morning when our classmates jeer at the way we live. The challenge is to think of ourselves as the bride of Christ in the office when the banter is coarse and the ambitions are worldly, and as the home of the Holy Spirit in the supermarket, when every thing feels mundane and dreary."


Just got home from New Word Alive. What an incredible week.

At the same time, I wonder if NWA might turn out to be a dangerous conference for my generation, Christians from all over the stylistic map, all putting aside differences to focus on what really matters? Refusing to let interpretative distinctives on secondary matters segregate the true church of God, to the point where Presbyterian, Baptist, Charismatic, Cessationist, Dog-lovers, Cat-lovers and all and sundry can all happily worship and listen to God together? What, no suspicion of other church cultures? No cold-shouldering of 'dubious' sections of legitimate evangelicalism?

Very dangerous indeed.